Once upon a time in science class we learned that heat is a product of energy. Think of a light bulb that’s been on for a while, or the expense of warming your house through cold winters. Now scientists from UCLA are turning that relationship to your advantage: Hot peppers, they find, may help you lose weight. The spicy ingredient in those peppers, capsaicin, raises your body temperature during meals. And since heat requires energy, they hypothesized that this would require you to burn calories. Testing this on people found that pepper eaters did use more calories, and also burned more fat. The study was limited, so effects are not guaranteed. But if peppers please your palate, go ahead and spice things up! (Via The Los Angeles Times).
With all the news lately about estrogen-mimicking chemicals found in plastics, including sippy cups for babies, it’s been easy to ignore natural sources of potentially similar problems. One such source: Soy found in infant formulas. You’ve likely heard soy isoflavones touted for peri- and menopausal women who are at the end of their major estrogen-producing years. Soy is touted as a way to reduce hot flashes and protect against breast cancer. But those issues don’t concern babies, and researchers have started looking at the effects of soy on young children. Instead, high exposure in kids may lead to early puberty and other problems later in life. So is soy as bad as plastic villain bisphenol A? Scientists disagree. But animals fed the same as babies do show effects, some of them stronger than with the chemical. (Via The Raleigh News & Observer).
A little study out last week used the words “hypervirulent” and “infection”together and created a frenzy. The report looked at changes in a tropical fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, that is now showing up in the Pacific Northwest and has mutated into a more aggressive version. Infections cause symptoms mimicking pneumonia or meningitis. The study’s author, a Duke University graduate student, found the new strains to be 100-percent fatal for his lab animals. That’s the scary part. But human infections are rare, at least to date. The take-home message is that folks shouldn’t change their lives around — you can’t really avoid the tiny spores anyway, and treatment is available. But medical professionals should be aware that this is out there. (Via Time).
Want to lower your cholesterol? It’s not just about the fat. Turns out sugar — added to processed foods and sweetened drinks — is a big culprit. New research in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association studied 6,100 people to see how sugar intake affected cholesterol levels. They found people consuming the most sugar generally had higher triglyceride (blood-fat) levels, along with lower levels of protective HDL cholesterol. They also found sugar intake has risen nearly 50 percent over common consumption in 1977-78. Sugars already are linked to obesity, hypertension and other conditions known to increase heart and stroke risks. These new finding add one more reason to cut down. (Via USA Today.)
Researchers have found a new ally in the effort to maintain memories with advancing age: Two new studies find low levels of Vitamin D are linked with impaired mental function. Oregon researchers tested 150 people, averaging 85 years old, living on their own. Participants were given a standard test for cognitive impairment; those with the lowest Vitamin D levels scored the worst, and those with the highest scored the best. French researchers looked at 752 women over 75 years old, and found those with the lowest Vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have cognitive impairment. It’s not clear exactly how Vitamin D works to maintain brain power, but researchers think it’s related to the vitamin’s anti-inflammatory action. That means blood vessels in the brain are in better shape to deliver food and oxygen to power the brain. (Via WebMD.)
Canadians who got a seasonal flu shot in 2008 were substantially more likely to contract the H1N1 swine flu in 2009, scientists there have found.
In four new studies, researchers compared people who got the regular flu shot the prior year with those who didn’t, and then tracked the frequency of infection with the swine-flu virus. The studies found risk increased as much as 500 percent.
The study’s authors caution that the numbers show some relationship, but can’t definitely prove prior flu vaccinations were directly responsible for the increased incidence of swine flu. But the findings do raise questions about how flu strains interact, and the World Health Organization now recommends including swine flu in new seasonal flu vaccines.
Our applications to become an in-network provider with several local insurance companies went out in March. Now we wait, but we’re hopefull about getting on with PacificSource and LifeWise.
One of the most popular plans, offered by ODS, is closed to naturopaths until further notice. Not willing to take no for an answer, we’ve submitted an application anyway. If you or someone you know is on ODS, call and ask them to add Dr. Orna Izakson to their network — it can only help the cause! The customer-service number is 503-243-3962 or 877-605-3229.
Even if we aren’t in your network, Celilo’s staff can help determine what kind of naturopathic coverage your plan offers and bill your insurance for you. If all else fails, we offer generous discounts for payment at time of service.