Thursday, August 28, 2014

Annual Pelvic Exams are Found to be Unnecessary

The American College of Physicians published a controversial guideline this spring stating that annual pelvic exams are unnecessary in asymptomatic women who are not pregnant.  Visual inspection of the cervix and periodic pap smears are still recommended.  Many gynecologists disagree with the guideline because a number of abnormalities such as pelvic floor weakness, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids can be detected by the exam.  It would appear that women on hormone replacement therapy should still have annual exams.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sugary Drinks Stimulate Adolescents’ Brains

Unpublished research presented at the ADA annual scientific meeting showed that sugary drinks stimulate the brains of adolescents such that they crave more and thus gain weight.  The sugar appeared to increase blood flow to the executive function and reward areas of the brain.  Addiction might result.  Care should be exercised until we know more.

See for more details.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Low Vitamin D3 Increases the Risk of Premature Death from All Causes

Dr. Cedric F. Garland and associates at the Univ. of California, San Diego, showed that patients with blood levels of vitamin D of 9 had double the risk of premature death compared to those whose levels were > 50 nannograms per milliliter.  He noted that there is little danger in taking vitamin D supplements, as long as levels are kept below 200.  Any doctor can measure this with a simple blood test.

See The Blade, Toledo, June 23, 2014, section D, p.1.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Low Protein in the Diet Increases the Risk of Strokes

Those of 250,000 patients who had the highest portion of protein in their diet had a 20% decreased risk of stroke.  This is about an extra 3 ounce serving of various meats, chicken, fish or beans.  This finding might support a lower carb diet.  However, many older patients have decreased digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and/or probiotics.  Thus they do not digest protein in the diet as needed.  A simple test by measuring amino acids in the urine can detect this problem, which might be of considerable help to the patient.              

The study by Dr. Xinfeng Liu was published in Neurology earlier this year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weight Loss Can Reduce Hot Flashes

The Women’s Health Initiative showed that synthetic estrogens and progestins, which were often prescribed for hot flashes, increase the risk of breast cancer and vascular disease.  Derivatives of the anti-depressant drug, Paxil, reduce the symptoms but can cause suicidal ideation and other side effects.  Bio-identical hormones are much safer than synthetic ones, but they also have not been studied as extensively.  Weight loss of an average of 19# in 40 women with severe hot flashes provided significant relief.  An anecdotal report implied that women who have hot flashes are much less likely to develop breast cancer.  So if they are not too bad, it might be best to put up with them.

 See Rebecca Thurston of the University of Pittsburgh.  Contact Campbell North at