Poor old Humpty Dumpty. Not only did he fall down from the wall, but despite all of the high tech efforts of all the kings horses and all the kings men, it seems that all efforts failed when it came to trying to put Mr. Dumpty together again.
But it may well have been that our friend Humpty Dumpty may have been better off if all the kings horses and all the kings men would have been less aggressive in their efforts.
In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard researchers looked at 30-day mortality risk of Medicare patients admitted to the hospital between 2002-2011 with a diagnosis of either heart failure or cardiac arrest. What the researchers wanted to explore was the possible correlation between risk of death within the first 30 days following admission compared to whether or not there was a national cardiology meeting going on around the time the admission took place.
One would assume that when many cardiologists were attending a national meeting and were not available in the hospital to take care of patients with these acute issues, the risk of death would certainly be higher. As a matter of fact, the results revealed just the opposite.
Risk of death when patients were admitted with heart failure was 17.5% when the cardiology meetings were underway versus 24.8% when there was no meeting. Similarly, rates of death from cardiac arrest were 59% if patients were admitted during the time of the meeting, but significantly higher, 69%, if they were admitted to the hospital when no major national cardiology meeting was taking place and presumably cardiologists were more available for patient care.
In their conclusions the authors stated, “One explanation for these findings is that the intensity of care provided during meeting dates is lower and that for high-risk patients with cardiovascular disease, the harms of this care may unexpectedly outweigh the benefits.”
We expect that when someone is admitted to the hospital in some form of cardiac crisis situation that they will receive aggressive therapy whether it be catheterization and balloon angioplasty, stent placement, or any number of other high-tech interventional approaches. But it now looks like, at least to some degree, this aggressive approach may not necessarily be the best choice in all cases.
Once again, it’s important that we always honor the dictum of above all, do no harm. And who knows, maybe if all the kings horses and all the kings men would have backed off in their aggressive efforts to help Humpty Dumpty, he might have gone back to sitting on the wall.
What a humbling notion it is to consider the fact that 99% of the DNA contained within the human body is actually DNA that is associated with the bacteria that live within us. When we consider how the human genome has been so aggressively studied as representing the “holy grail” in terms of its role in determining our health destiny, to get our arms around the notion that in fact almost all of the DNA in the human body is actually bacterial certainly changes our perception of who we are and what we are.
And even more compelling is new research that indicates that even that 1% of the DNA in our bodies that we consider our own is itself actually and powerfully influenced by the gut bacteria, our microbiome.
In a new study, published in December 2014, researchers attempted to unravel the finding that changes in the various groups of bacteria contained within the human microbiome have an effect on metabolism. It is known that the ratio of two very large groups of bacterial organisms, the Bacteroidetes group and the Firmicutes group strongly relates to risk of things like obesity, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and even inflammation. Those individuals with higher levels of Firmicutes organisms, in comparison to the Bacteroidetes group, are more prone to problems in these areas. Moreover, the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes is strongly influenced by diet.
Just last week, I had the pleasure of joining Kelly Ripa and guest host Anderson Cooper on LIVE with Kelly & Michael to talk about Grain Brain. While my segment was short, I like to think it was packed with actionable information that you can use to help eat your way to a better brain. Remember, go gluten-free, and low-carb, and load up on healthy fats, and you’ll be well on your road to a healthier tomorrow.
To this day, you still see products in grocery stores labeled, “low fat” as if this somehow translates into meaning the product is more healthful. Obviously the manufacturers of these products feel that there still is enough consensus in terms of the public’s perception that low fat is a good thing. So they persist in perpetuating this myth in order to sell product.
Nowhere is the idea that lower fat consumption more off base than when this idea is exploited in the context of weight loss. Virtually every weight loss product and program clings to the outdated notion of fat restriction being the key to weight loss as well as heart health, and nothing is further from the truth.
In the September 2nd issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, Tulane University researchers published a report, titled Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets, A Randomized Trial, in which they evaluated weight loss and various cardiovascular risk factors in a group of 148 men and women without cardiovascular disease. Continue reading
It seems self evident that consumption of sugar sweetened beverages would be associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). And in fact, this has been demonstrated in multiple studies. This is understandable when you consider what a powerful slug of fructose is delivered by each can or bottle of this stuff.
So it is that the term, “sugar free” is being exploited to death by soft drink manufacturers because of the mistaken public perception that choosing artificially sweetened drinks would be a healthier choice. It is a mistaken perception as now we’re seeing studies that have demonstrated that the risk for T2D is also dramatically increased in individuals who choose not to drink sugar sweetened beverages, but opt for those that contain artificial sweeteners.
In a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, French researchers evaluated more than 66,000 women over a 14 year period and found that those who favored sugar sweetened beverages did in fact have an increased risk of T2D, by about 34%. Incredibly, those choosing artificially sweetened drinks had a risk increase for T2D that was more than twice what that amount.
Many recent studies have confirmed how adequate sleep plays a pivotal role in fostering cognitive function. This is particularly evident in those individuals who do not sleep adequately, and may as well be obese.
In a recent study, entitled “Sleep Extension Improves Neurocognitive Functions in Chronically Sleep-Deprived Obese Individuals,” researchers evaluated a cohort of 121 obese individuals, both men and premenopausal women, who slept less than 6.5 hours nightly. When initially evaluated, 33% of the participants had impaired memory, 35% had impaired attention, 42% had deficits in motor skills, and slightly more than half had problems with executive function.
They then engaged these individuals in a program to extend the length of time that they were sleeping by using various lifestyle management techniques, as opposed to any pharmaceutical intervention. At the conclusion of the study, global cognitive function and attention improved by 7% and 10% respectively, with a tendency for improved memory and executive functions as well.