Another Reason to Drink a Glass of Wine a Day

A study done at the University of Navarra, in Pamplona, Spain, has provided further evidence that ingestion of moderate amounts of wine on a regular basis can have beneficial effects on our health.

In the same way that small amounts of wine may be good for the heart, it appears that one glass of wine a day can help prevent depression.

A variety of studies have already shown that resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, can protect against aging, heart disease and several types of cancers – e.g., melanoma and prostate cancer.

In the Spanish study the researchers evaluated more than 5500 light-to-moderate drinkers, comparing them to nondrinkers for as long as seven years.

Participants who consumed up to seven glasses of wine per week were least likely to suffer depression.

Advising patients to drink small amounts of wine on a regular basis can be a somewhat delicate issue.However, it certainly appears that it can have substantial health benefits.

Too Many Antiobiotics

One of the major health problems in the USA for many years has been the misuse of antibiotics.It has resulted in an alarming increase in the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria with subsequent morbidity, mortality and expense.

The unnecessary use of antibiotics by physicians not only results in as many as 25,000 deaths per year from infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria, but also high rates of Clostridium difficile diarrhea, as well as an estimated $35 billion in medical costs.

Clostridium difficile, a difficult to treat infection, has an infection rate that nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010 in the USA.

Despite repeated warnings to physicians, antibiotics are prescribed for approximately 60% of sore throats, and more than 70% of cases of acute bronchitis.

The only justifiable reason for prescribing antibiotics for a sore throat is in the presence of group A Streptococcus bacteria, which occurs in only about 10% of cases.

Acute bronchitis is almost always caused by a virus. Antibiotics should only rarely be prescribed for bronchitis, because they are ineffective against viral illness.

It is time that physicians stop prescribing medications that they know are inappropriate – often because they may be afraid the patient will leave their office unsatisfied without a prescription.

Increased Height Increases a Woman’s Risk of Cancer

A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention has demonstrated a greater risk for all types of cancer in taller women over the age of 50.

It was an unexpected, but across the board, finding.None of the taller women showed a decreased risk of cancer when compared to shorter women.

The risk of developing a host of different cancers, including melanoma, breast cancer, blood cancers, etc. increased significantly (by 13%) for each 10 centimeters – or almost 4 inches – of height in this group of almost 21,000 postmenopausal women.The women were divided into five groups according to height, starting below 5 feet 1 inch.

This association between cancer and height raises some interesting questions regarding the role played by environmental, nutritional and genetic factors, all of which help determine adult height.

Actually, some earlier studies have demonstrated a similar association between cancer and height.

It may be that hormones which influence height may also affect cancer risk.It is also possible that, since taller people have a larger number of cells, their odds are increased of having some cells develop abnormally into cancer.

In any case, it is a somewhat unsettling finding for tall women.

Green Tea Helps Prevent Strokes

A team of Japanese researchers recently published compelling evidence that drinking green tea regularly (i.e., on a daily basis) significantly reduces one’s risk of stroke.

In this long term study of more than 85,000 adults, drinking 2-3 cups of green tea per day reduced one’s stroke risk by 14% over people who rarely drink green tea.For those who drink 4 or more cups of green tea daily the risk of stroke is decreased by 20%.

These are impressive numbers, especially because the authors adjusted for other healthy lifestyle factors and still found that green tea independently reduced the stroke risk.

It is not clear what the active ingredient is in green tea that confers this benefit. It remains to be determined whether it is caffeine.

No connection was found between the risk of heart attack and green tea consumption in this study, although some other studies have shown some reduced risk of heart attack related to drinking green tea.

It looks like it’s time to switch to green tea – right now.

Regulators in Europe Endorse Safety of a Class of Diabetes Drugs

Many diabetes patients will be comforted to know that, at the end of July, 2013, the European Medicines Agency reached the conclusion that there is little evidence that a group of diabetes drugs could cause inflammation of the pancreas, or, more importantly, pancreatic cancer.

The group of drugs includes Januvia, Byetta, Victoza and others, whose safety is presently under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The concerns about the safety of the drugs have been raised primarily by a researcher at the University of California over the past few years.

In his most recent study, after examining the pancreas of 34 post-mortem diabetes patients, he concluded the pancreases of those who had used these drugs had more signs of inflammation and precancerous changes.

However, the European agency felt the study contained sources of bias and limitations, making it difficult to draw these conclusions. In addition, the agency said clinical trials thus far have shown no increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

The F.D.A. is continuing its review, but agreed that there is no cause for concern based on our current knowledge.

Testosterone Therapy Shown to Improve Memory in Women

Two separate studies in Melbourne, Australia have demonstrated a significant improvement in learning ability and memory when postmenopausal women are treated with testosterone.

It is well known that testosterone is an important hormone for women for other bodily functions, but it now appears that it can help cognitive performance as well.

In one study, a group of postmenopausal women were treated for 26 weeks with transdermal testosterone or placebo. At the end of the study, the testosterone treated patients displayed significant improvement in memory when compared with the placebo group.

Pending further research, testosterone therapy may become a viable option to improve cognitive ability in postmenopausal women.

AMA Decides to Recognize Obesity as a Disease

The recent American Medical Association decision to classify obesity as a disease state may have some wide ranging consequences.

Included among the organizations at the annual meeting of the AMA House of Delegates  to come out  in favor of the long overdue recognition were the Endocrine Society, the American College of Cardiology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

They all agreed the scientific evidence is overwhelming that obesity, like other diseases, has multifactorial causes which can be treated with a variety of options, including medications, counseling and surgery.

It has been well established that obesity increases one’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,colon cancer, stroke, breast cancer and other diseases.

One probable consequence is that doctors will become more proactive in the use of medications, counseling and surgery in the battle to conquer this disease – which will likely exert pressure on insurance companies to provide better reimbursement for medications and other measures to treat obesity.

At present, obesity drugs like Belviq and Qsymia are not covered by all insurance companies, which is more apt to change now.