Risks of Pill-Popping: Side Effects in the News

September 1st, 2015

By Cathie Dunal, MD, MPH:  A few months ago we were astonished to learn that common medications—sleep meds like Sonata and Ambien, anxiety meds like Xanax and Valium, and over-the-counter allergy meds like Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton—are all associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  A five percent increased risk with as little as ninety days of use in your lifetime! Yikes!

The latest medicine surprise is NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. They bring a ten to fifty percent increased risk of “cardiovascular thrombotic events”—heart attacks and strokes.  We pop these pills like candy—the most common are Motrin/ibuprofen, Aleve/naproxen, and prescription anti-inflammatories.  The new advisory from the FDA is to take as little as possible for as short a time as possible.

My take is that we ought to wake up to the possibility that popping a pill isn’t the optimal first step to treating medical conditions.  (Note that I’m not talking about serious infections, endocrine conditions, etc.)  The first step should be prevention via lifestyle.  The next first step, assuming a problem is already raising its ugly head, is lifestyle treatment.  Then—but only after addressing immediate and preventive lifestyle interventions—we should delve into non-pharmacological interventions–and prescriptions.

Let’s take aches and pains as an example.  Continue reading »

Face Yoga with Ranjana Kahn

January 20th, 2015

Here is a version of face yoga that feels like yoga, from Ranjana Kahn.

Face Yoga for Lips

July 14th, 2013

Here’s more facial yoga from Anneliese Hagen, author of The Yoga Face. She demonstrates these simple exercises, practiced in front of a mirror, that can minimize wrinkles around your lips.

Power Plate Benefits: Lose Weight and Visceral Fat

July 18th, 2012

power plate

From MedicalNewsToday.com (2009): Power Plate Exercise Aids In Weight Loss, Reduction Of Harmful Visceral Fat:  (Cathie’s note: This research confirms our experience with the power plate in our office . Please call if you’d like to make an appointment for training.)

New research presented at the 17th European Congress on Obesity (ECO) suggests that exercise done on Power Plate® vibration plate exercise machines in conjunction with a healthy diet may help people lose weight and trim harmful belly fat.

The study [Note: 1], conducted at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, found that overweight or obese people who regularly undertook Power Plate® exercise were more successful at long-term weight loss and shedding visceral or belly fat (which is associated with a higher susceptibility to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes) than those who combined dieting with a more conventional fitness routine and those who simply dieted.

The study was conducted over a six month period, after which subjects returned to their daily lives and reported back for retesting at 12 months. In terms of weight loss:

  • The “Power Plate®” group lost 11 percent of their body weight and maintained a 10.5 percent loss
  • The diet and conventional fitness group lost 7 percent and maintained a 6.9 percent loss
  • The diet only group lost 6 percent, and maintained less than 5 percent loss

Even more promising was the reduction of visceral fat: Continue reading »

Antibacterial Personal Care Products Are Linked to Allergies in Children

June 20th, 2012

 From Science Daily (June 19, 2012) This study gives us yet another reason to use more natural products! Cathie— Exposure to common antibacterial chemicals and preservatives found in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other personal-care products may make children more prone to a wide range of food and environmental allergies, according to new research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.  Results of the NIH-funded study are published online ahead of print June 18 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Using existing data from a national health survey of 860 children ages 6 to 18, Johns Hopkins researchers examined the relationship between a child’s urinary levels of antibacterials and preservatives found in many personal-hygiene products and the presence of IgE antibodies in the child’s blood. IgE antibodies are immune chemicals that rise in response to an allergen and are markedly elevated in people with allergies.

“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.   Continue reading »