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We provide the same Preventive Executive Physical Program as received by the President of the United States.


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FDA Studying Safety of Caramel Coloring in Soda

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The agency is investigating the ingredient after a Consumer Reports study found many sodas with levels of 4-methylimidazole that are questionable. The report included 12 soda brands from five different makers sold in California. Research on the safety of the caramel coloring isn’t consistent, but in California, the chemical is considered a carcinogen and is supposed to be labeled if the amount passes a threshold of 29 micrograms. In the Consumer Reports analysis, two soda products — Pepsi One and the beverage Malta Goya — had levels beyond 29 micrograms. And according to the Associated Press, companies like Coke and Pepsi have asked suppliers to reduce the labeling threshold. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is looking into the matter, but so far, the Associated Press reports, decades of studies on the chemical show there is no known health risk to humans. The FDA will consider new data to determine whether consumers’ exposure to the coloring is affecting their health. The chemical can also form when meat is grilled and coffee beans are roasted.

Source: Time


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Good and Bad About Cold Weather

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“Temperature training” may be what is missing from your weight-loss plan. New evidence suggests that regular exposure to mildly cold air may help people lose weight by increasing the amount of energy their bodies have to expend to keep their core temperature up, researchers say.

In other words, warm, cozy offices and homes may not be ideal places for those who want to lose weight. In fact, being able to control the ambient temperature might be partly responsible for the rise in obesity rates in industrial societies, said researchers from the Netherlands in a study published last week in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90 percent of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures,” said study researcher Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt of Maastricht University Medical Center. “What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature?”

The human body withstands the cold by shivering, which produces heat; this provides one explanation for why cold temperatures may promote weight loss. Studies have shown that people expend five times more energy when shivering than when they are resting.

The body uses more energy when the mercury drops for other reasons as well. For example, a type of fat called brown fat, which burns calories rather than storing them, is activated in response to cold. In young and middle-aged people, heat production through brown fat can account for up to 30 percent of the body’s energy budget, the researchers said.

A previous study from researchers in Japan found a decrease in people’s body fat after they spent two hours per day for six weeks in a room with a temperature of 62.6 degrees.

The new study also found that people get used to the cold over time. After spending six hours a day at 59 degrees for 10 days, people in the study not only had more brown fat, the participants also said they felt more comfortable and shivered less when exposed to lower temperatures.

Although a 59-degree room would probably be too cold for most people, it’s possible that room temperatures in the mid-60s would also activate brown fat, the researchers said.

The long-term effects of regular exposure to cold are still unclear and require further investigation, but evidence suggests that training the body to tolerate cooler air may indeed help burn calories, the researchers said.

“Similarly to exercise training, we advocate temperature training,” the researchers said. “More-frequent cold exposure alone will not save the world, but is a serious factor to consider in creating a sustainable environment together with a healthy lifestyle.”

However, exposure to cold weather still poses a risk for hypothermia, loss of electricity and heat, etc. It’s a good reminder that everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit available at all times. At the Presidential Healthcare Center, we provide advice regarding emergency preparedness supplies and can make a Presidential Healthcare Center Emergency Backpack for you if need be.

Source: Washington Post


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Study Shows Sleep Cleans Out Gunk in Brain

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A study conducted by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that, during sleep, the brain flushes out cellular waste. Though the study was conducted on mouse brains, the lead researcher said that the plumbing system also exists in dogs and baboons, and it’s logical to think that the human brain also clears away toxic substances. This study may provide new clues to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders, in which toxic substances build up.

When we sleep, our brains get rid of gunk that builds up while we’re awake. The finding may mean that for people with dementia and other mind disorders, “sleep would perhaps be even more important in slowing the progression of further damage,” Dr. Clete Kushida, medical director of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, said in an email. Kushida did not participate in the study, which appeared in the journal Science.

People who don’t get enough shut-eye have trouble learning and making decisions, and are slower to react. But despite decades of research, scientists can’t agree on the basic purpose of sleep. Reasons range from processing memory, saving energy to regulating the body.

The latest work, led by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center, adds fresh evidence to a long-standing view: When we close our eyes, our brains go on a cleaning spree. The team previously found a plumbing network in mouse brains that flushes out cellular waste. For the new study, the scientists injected the brains of mice with beta-amyloid, a substance that builds up in Alzheimer’s disease, and followed its movement. They determined that it was removed faster from the brains of sleeping mice than awake mice.

The team also noticed that brain cells tend to shrink during sleep, which widens the space between the cells. This allows waste to pass through that space more easily.Though the work involved mouse brains, lead researcher Dr. Maiken Nedergaard said this plumbing system also exists in dogs and baboons, and it’s logical to think that the human brain also clears away toxic substances. Nedergaard said the next step is to look for the process in human brains.

In an accompanying editorial, neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said scientists have recently taken a heightened interest in the spaces between brain cells, where junk is flushed out.

It’s becoming clearer that “sleep is likely to be a brain state in which several important housekeeping functions take place,” she said in an email.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In a statement, program director Jim Koenig said the finding could lead to new approaches for treating a range of brain diseases.

Source: USA Today


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Acute Hepatitis and Liver Failure Following Use of Dietary Supplement

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) was notified of seven patients with severe acute hepatitis and fulminant liver failure of unknown etiology. Patients were previously healthy and sought medical care during May-September 2013. Clinicians reported that the seven patients had all used OxyElite Pro, a dietary supplement marketed for weight loss and muscle gain, before illness onset.The HDOH, with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), initiated a public health investigation including patient interviews, medical chart reviews, and collection of supplement samples for analysis. Results from FDA product testing are pending. While the investigation is ongoing and these data are preliminary, clinical data, laboratory tests, and histopathology of liver biopsy specimens collected thus far suggest drug- or herb-induced hepatotoxicity. Drug- and herb-induced hepatotoxicity have been reported in association with exposure to a variety of drugs and herbs used as dietary supplements and can lead to severe acute hepatitis and liver failure.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention


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Study: Strokes now affecting more younger people, global burden could double by 2030

Strokes are increasingly hitting younger people–and the incidence of the crippling condition could double worldwide by 2030 according to the first global analysis of the problem. Though the chances of a stroke jump dramatically with age, the growing number of younger people with worrying risk factors such as bulging waistlines, diabetes and high blood pressure means they are becoming increasingly susceptible. Scientists combed through more than 100 studies from 1990 to 2010 studying stroke patients across the world and used modeling techniques when there wasn’t enough data. They found the incidence of stroke has jumped by a quarter in people aged 20 to 64, and that those patients make up almost one-third of the total number of strokes.

Most strokes occur when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Patients often experience symptoms including a droopy face, the inability to lift their arms and garbled speech. If not treated quickly, patients can be left with long-term side effects, including speech and memory problems, paralysis and the loss of some vision.

Researchers said most strokes still occur in the elderly and that the numbers of people suffering strokes are still increasing as the world’s population ages.

Read more at CTV News.


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High-normal Blood Sugar Tied to Memory Lapses

Even if they’re still within the normal range, higher glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels may be associated with poorer performance on certain cognitive tests and with differences in hippocampal structure, German researchers found. Among healthy middle-age and older adults with mean HbA1c levels of 5.8%, each standard deviation increase in HbA1c was associated with significant declines in delayed recall, learning ability, and memory consolidation… They added that “lifestyle strategies” to achieve strict glucose control could prevent age-related cognitive decline, even in individuals with HbA1c levels currently considered normal — a hypothesis that should be tested in future trials, they noted.

Read more at MedPage Today.


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Bisphenol A is Affecting Us at Much Lower Doses Than Previously Thought

Canned goods can contain traces of BPA.

Canned goods can contain traces of BPA.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a known endocrine disruptor that hijacks the normal responses of hormones. Yet, traditional toxicology studies indicate that only very high doses of this chemical affect exposed animals—doses as high as 50 mg/kg/day. For the past decade, scientists have used modern scientific techniques to probe the effects of BPA on numerous endpoints that are not examined in those traditional toxicology studies. Examining these non-traditional endpoints reveal a very different story. Because of increased understanding of the mechanisms by which hormones and chemicals that mimic hormones work, it has recently become clear that endocrine disruptors need to be studied at much lower doses.

Read more at Science Daily.