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Health pearls

We live in an era of maybe “too much" medical information. As most of us know, medical information and opinions can drastically change over time. For example, when I was a resident in OBGYN more than 20 years ago, it was common for a menopausal woman to be placed on “Estrogen Replacement Therapy" for multiple reasons such as osteoporosis prevention, hot flashes, and heart protection. We were told how estrogen treatment in the menopause years can even raise HDL or the “good" cholesterol. After the WHO study was released in 2002, however, we learned how estrogen therapy can raise the risk of breast cancer! Gone also is the heart protection theory from years ago.

For decades, we also had told our female patients how important it was to take calcium supplements to protect their bones. Now, however, we tell them to wait until after menopause to consider this supplement, as the scientific community now warns us of the elevated incidence of kidney stones. One clinical study even reported how too much calcium supplementation can be hazardous to cardiac health, only to be struck down about two weeks ago by another scientist whose observations of the literature led him to conclude that this “cardiac hazard" was not true!

In Health Pearls, we will try to summarize some recent scientific studies for you in the hope that the information will help you lead a more healthy life. However, we hope we won’t have to oscillate back and forth, telling you one week to stop doing what we were advising the prior week! We do not claim to be experts in all medical fields but rest assured that we do practice what we preach.

Recently, I was amused when I watched a video clip from a famous physician, now in the league of Hollywood celebrities, making recommendation on a “weight loss pill" made out of Mangosteen, one of my favorite childhood tropical fruits.

“One pill a day and you will lose FOUR pounds a month!"

Four pounds a month? That sounds pretty easy, no more harassment from Michelle Obama for those “Not moving” people? No more injuries at the gym trying to run faster to burn more calories? Just imagine, many Americans would love to sit in front of their TV taking Mangosteen pills watching the Food Network! Who would have thought we could solve the obesity problem in America by taking Mangosteen pills?

I can reassure you that I know many obese Asians who eat Mangosteen. Maybe they did not eat enough mangosteen? How many mangosteens does it take to make a pill, I wonder?

We hope all the pearls we will be gathering will help you on your journey to good health and happiness!


Big News From the FDA Today Regarding e-cigarettes
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Wednesday, 12th September, 2018

Well, we’re finally seeing some action on e-cigarette use in youth! It’s a few years too late, but hopefully we can catch up. E-cigarettes are a form of ENDS, or electronic nicotine delivery systems. We reviewed some pros and cons of the first generation of these devices in October, 2014. “We've worked so hard for decades to limit teen use of cigarettes. Why ...

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Have you noticed there are so many numbers on your menus?
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Sunday, 5th August, 2018

Over the past few years, and more commonly in the last few months, you may have noticed calorie counts on menus. Federal requirements for this information have been in the works for years, with some cities and states leading the way. New York City was at the forefront with implementation in 2008. Since these rules mainly affected chains of restaurants, having different requirements ...

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Low Dose Aspirin as Preterm Birth Prevention; Low Levels Alcohol Consumption & Brain Health; Grilled Meat & Elevated Blood Pressure
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Saturday, 23rd June, 2018

Low Dose Aspirin May Lower Rate of Preterm Birth (PTB) A recent study, released on June 15, 2018, by researchers from the Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, showed how baby aspirin use significantly lowers the rate of preterm birth in patients less than 34 weeks pregnant. In this study, consisting of 2543 women ...

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Basic Strategies for Stress Management
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018

Everyone deals with stress in his or her own way. Some of us seem to have as busy and as stressful a life as others, yet we seem to have little or no anxiety or depression, whereas others in similar situations suffer significantly. Some of us, when feeling stressed, develop “bad” habits, like drinking alcohol or using other drugs, or engaging in binge eating. Others ...

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Safeguard Yourself from Ticks and Mosquitoes
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Tuesday, 15th May, 2018

With warmer weather and longer days, we spend more time outside. This brings plenty of opportunities to improve our health with exercise and events in the great outdoors. The great outdoors also exposes us to more insects such as ticks and mosquitoes that can threaten our health. We need to be preparing for protection. This article was inspired by the very well written article ...

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Acrylamide in Coffee? I Am Not Giving Up My Daily Two Cups of Coffee
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Sunday, 8th April, 2018

Every Sunday morning, a group of Lady Docs friends and I take our run or walk on the C&O canal by the Potomac River, a five mile run or four mile speed walk. We then regroup at the starting point and drive to Black Lion Cafe, a charming Ethiopian coffee house in Rockville, to spend an hour chatting about our week or our concerns about the world. I have participated in this ...

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Dr. Rachel Schreiber welcomes spring by talking to Kojo Nnamdi on NPR
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Thursday, 29th March, 2018

Our own Dr. Rachel Schreiber, former President of the Greater Washington Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society, was interviewed at length on the Kojo Nnamdi show on NPR. I was so proud of her - so calm, so knowledgeable! She answered Kojo's questions and those from many callers. They covered everything from the most common allergens, to why the Washington DC metro area ...

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Have You Had Your Screening?
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Thursday, 15th March, 2018

This year, as we are in the middle of colon cancer awareness month, I have been thinking about two people who would have benefited from screening. One is my 54 year old neighbor who recently died of metastatic colon cancer. I don’t know his medical details, but he did tell me that he didn’t go for screening at age 50 and he also didn’t seek medical care when ...

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Secondhand Smoke - The Times They Are a'Changing
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Wednesday, 7th March, 2018

It seems almost comical now, looking back to measures that were taken to reduce SHS exposure - non-smoking sections in airplanes. You can smoke in row 11 when the non-smoking section was rows 1-10. You could smoke on one side of a restaurant without concern for the SHS exposure to your waitstaff and to the diners two tables away from you. When the hospitals went smoke free, walking ...

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Health News: Limitation of Over the Counter Antidiarrheal Medication; Depression Prevalence in American Adults; Brain Concussion Blood Test Approved by FDA
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Saturday, 17th February, 2018

Limitation of OTC Antidiarrheal Medication Doses by FDA The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it will work with manufacturers to limit the number of doses in packages of over the counter antidiarrheal medication Loperamide ( Imodium). Loperamide (Imodium A-D) can lead to serious heart problems and even death when consumed in a higher dosage than ...

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