Review

BBC: Old before their time

Published 6.23.2017
Young people in the United Kingdom (UK) are getting fatter and fatter at younger and younger ages. Contrary to those who assert that excess weight is not related to health, carrying a lot of excess weight ages the body before its time. I came across this BBC documentary while looking for something else. I wound up watching it and decided to write up my notes about it and review it because I think it fits with my latest stint of anti-HAES (health at every size) writings.

Weight is related to health and does affect health and health risks. Losing weight can positively affect health status. HAES proponents deny this. While HAES supports the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, deliberately choosing to decrease the amount of weight on your frame is verboten.

It's the standard documentary, in which the earnest host, a pregnant Cherry Healey, introduces the topic with grave concern. In this case, it's the increasing number of young obese Britains who are succumbing to afflictions that typically don't manifest until later in life. This unfortunate fact directly contradicts the HAES shibboleth that weight is no indicator of health. Also standard is to introduce tow or three subjects whose stories will form the bulk of the narrative.
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Movement/Exercise

Yoga beats meds for back pain

Published 6.21.2017
Movement is essential for health remains a cornerstone of my healthy aging mantra. Movement is essential for health at any age, but since I am in the final third of my time on this plane of existence, my focus tends more towards aging in health. I don't have a specific age number in mind as a goal, longevity itself is insufficient. Longevity with health enough to maintain both intellectual and physical activity is the goal. Maintaining a healthy weight (Health at Every Size is a lie) and moving regular are essential to attaining that goal.

I never took pain medication for my lower back pain, I simply endured it. However, I can testify to the benefits of yoga for relieving lower back pain. I didn’t start doing yoga for my back, as I’ve noted previously I began with the goal of increasing my bone mineral density. The first effect I noticed had nothing to do with bones. After a few weeks of yoga, I no longer had back pain in the evenings. My husband noticed the difference even before I mentioned it because I had stopped requesting back rubs.

Relieving back pain is a second reason that I wholeheartedly recommend yoga to anyone who can do it. I hedge the recommendation because I have friends who can not do yoga, I know a few of the counter indications. In particular, if you have issues with the flexibility of your wrists, many yoga poses are going to be problematic. If you suffer from Meniere’s disease, well, don’t even consider it. I’m sure there are plenty of other conditions that would mean that yoga is not an option— as I so often point out, I am not a medical professional.
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Heart Health

Coconut oil is not good for the heart

Published 6.18.2017
The American Heart Association is not backing down from its saturated fatty acids (SFA) position. It is sticking with its prescription to replace SFA with poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) because the overall evidence shows that doing so lowers the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Especially omega-6 oils, which is interesting given all of the presentations I've listened to over the years that rail against those PUFAs particularly.

The advisory seems to be an answer to the meta-analyses that have been emanating (mostly from low carb doctors) that show that SFA is not associated with CVD.

The evidence cited centered on four trials comparing high saturated fat intake against high intake of polyunsaturated fats with at least 2 years of sustained intervention, objective adherence measures, and validated cardiovascular event monitoring. Together, those trials showed a relative risk of 0.71 for coronary heart disease (95% CI 0.62-0.81).

Replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates and sugars doesn't have a benefit, other studies suggested.

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Health

Human Foie Gras two ways

Published 6.15.2017
It would be hard to overstate the importance of the liver. Perhaps third in human organ hierarchy (behind the brain and heart), the liver is central to the body's ability to convert food into energy as well as keeping hormonal levels in balance. And as a species, humans are poisoning their livers on a historic scale.

Human foie gras comes from the title of this article, which discusses the huge pharmaceutical market opportunity this state of affairs represents. Of course pharmaceutical companies see this as dream market. With so many overweight and obese people— and a concerted effort to say that being so is perfectly healthy, hello HAES (Health at Every Size)— they have a large and growing potential cohort for their drugs.

The GlobalData research group estimates that NASH could underpin a market worth more than $25 billion (22 billion euros) by 2026.

And the market should grow by a healthy 45 percent each year in the initial phases of the rollout of drugs to counter the disease, GlobalData says -- with the main customer base in the United States, western Europe and Japan.

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Menopause

Peri and post menopause are easier if you teetotal and aren't fat

Published 6.14.2017
Despite the tagline for this site, my trip through menopause ended years ago. I've written about it a bit, and will again in the future. My bottom line when it comes to menopause: aging is not a disease, and menopause is part of aging. I still follow news about the menopause process, and what follows are interesting items I've come across recently.

Drinking alcohol increases muscle wasting post-menopause. I enjoy having an adult beverage (or two) in the evenings with my dinner, hence my focus on research suggesting health effect of imbibing. Most often those effects are said to be positive, the Blue Zone populations, for example are known to enjoy moderate alcohol intake associated with meals. However, that is not the case here.

Led by Yu-Jin Kwon, MD, of Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, prevalence of sarcopenia among post-menopausal women rose as alcohol-drinking patterns increased (7.6% low-risk, 11.0% intermediate-risk, 22.7% high-risk; P=0.003), published in Menopause, The Journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

In a fully adjusted model, postmenopausal women who consumed the highest levels of alcohol had over four-fold increased odds of developing sarcopenia compared to those who drank the least (OR 4.29, 95% CI 1.87-9.82). Similar findings were reported in an age-adjusted only model (OR 3.97, 95% CI 1.78-8.88).

Sarcopenia is loss of muscle mass due to aging. Post menopausal women should limit their alcohol intake. They should lift heavy things and do yoga, both of which have been shown to mitigate muscle loss and increase bone mass.
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Diabetes

Artificial pancreas in the offing?

Published 6.13.2017
Diabetes is a topic of ongoing interest for me, not because I have it, but because I wish to avoid type two diabetes (T2D) and have those close to me avoid it as well. Type one diabetes (T1D) exists in my extended family, so advances in that topic interest me too.

Artificial pancreas may soon be a reality for type 1 diabetics. Although it could be a bit of hype too.

There is no single model for the artificial pancreas, which despite its name is not an actual artificial organ. To date, only one such device -- the MiniMed 670G from Medtronic -- has received approval from the FDA.

The 670G, which was approved last fall and is beginning to roll out to customers this spring, is described as a hybrid closed loop system.

Childhood obesity is associated with T2D but not T1D.

English children with obesity (≥95th percentile for age- and sex-specific BMI) had a significantly higher risk of incident type 2 diabetes compared with children within a normal BMI category (odds ratio 3.75, 95% CI, 3.07-4.57, P<0.01), reported Ali Abbasi, MD, PhD, of King's College London, and colleagues.

Similarly, obese children were at an over four times higher probability of developing type 2 diabetes versus normal weight children (4.33 incidence rate ratio, 95% CI, 3.68-5.08, P<0.01), they wrote in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

I don’t imagine that this result is a surprise to many.
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Nutrition

Parents and paradoxes

Published 6.7.2017
Periodically, I collect interesting links about a given subject. Today's topic is nutrition.

This result should not surprise. Kids follow the parents’ lead— if the parents adopt a healthier lifestyle, then so do the kids. Parents bring the food into the house. Don’t buy junky crap and your kids won’t eat it. Sure, they may have some when they are out with friends or if they have their own money, but most children get the bulk of their food from their parents who provide and pay for it. Parents can’t control everything, but what’s available to be snacked on certainly can be controlled.

There is no obesity paradox. Yet another study has refuted Flegal et al’s 2013 meta-analysis that asserted that there was.

Using data from three large cohort studies, comprising over 225,000 individuals, the researchers demonstrated that, no, there was no protective effect of being overweight. In fact, there was a small, but significant, added risk for all-cause mortality.

What did this study do that the 97 in that meta-analysis didn't? They looked at maximum weight achieved over the past 16 years in addition to current weight. This helps to account for those people that lost weight due to underlying, perhaps undiagnosed, diseases.

I think this must be the second or third study to debunk Flegal. The bottom line is that a singly snapshot of BMI is not conclusive of anything.
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