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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Why Kids Younger Than 12 Don’t Need OTC Cough And Cold Remedies

The common cold season is here, and if you have children, you will likely feel their suffering from these annoying upper respiratory tract viral infections. Children experience more colds, about six to 10 annually, than adults. With each cold producing symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and mild fever lasting up to seven to 10 days, it may seem that children are nearly continuously sick.

Parents certainly want their ill children to feel better, and they, naturally, want to help. A frequent solution is over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, which are heavily advertised to treat many maladies, including colds. A stroll down your local pharmacy OTC drug aisle will highlight the numerous OTC drug products available for adults and children.

It is tempting to buy one or more of these products to help your child. However, for children younger than 12 years of age, it is best not to use commonly advertised OTC cough and cold drug products. These products lack supportive clinical study efficacy and safety data, an issue I’ve studied as a professor of pharmacy practice.

Children are not just small adults

When treating children with OTC or prescription drugs, it is important to understand that young children differ significantly from the adult population with respect to drug efficacy and adverse effects.

Over the past 30 years, we have learned much more about pediatric pharmacology and drug action and behavior, known as pharmacokinetics, and differences compared to adults. Prior to this, and even today to some extent, health care professionals assumed that drugs functioned and behaved similarly in children as in adults.

Based on this assumption, health practitioners often only reduced the amount of a drug to a child based on a proportion of the child’s body weight to an adult. For example, a provider would prescribe 50 percent of an adult drug dose for a child with 50 percent body weight of an adult. The efficacy of OTC cough and cold product active ingredient, as demonstrated in adult studies, was assumed to be similar in children.

However, we have learned, and are continuing to learn, that this strategy is not accurate and can be dangerous. Most drugs are not specifically studied and evaluated in children prior to their labeling by the FDA and availability to the public.

A safe and effective drug dose and dose schedule (how often a drug dose is given) is derived from these formal studies and evaluations. But without these formal studies, pediatric-specific drug pharmacology is not accurately evaluated and determined. In addition, a physician can legally prescribe any drug for a child, even if there aren’t data supporting its efficacy and safety in children.

OTC drugs regulated differently than Rx drugs

FDA regulation of OTC drug products differs from prescription drug regulation. Active ingredients in OTC drug products are evaluated and approved by therapeutic category, such as the cough and cold therapeutic category. In a major undertaking begun in 1972, the FDA has been reviewing OTC drug product categories for safety and efficacy, and it continues to do so.

Pediatric OTC cough and cold products have seen significant regulatory changes in recent years. In 2007, several health care experts petitioned the FDA to carefully review pediatric efficacy and safety data of OTC cough and cold products, requesting that these products be specifically labeled not for use in children younger than six years of age.

sick_kid

In 2008, the FDA recommended that OTC cough and cold products not be given to children younger than two years old. The trade group representing OTC drug product manufacturers, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, additionally announced that these products would be labeled “not for use” in children younger than four years old. The FDA agreed, and this remains the current status of pediatric age labeling for OTC cough and cold products.

In addition, reviews of the medical literature indicates that OTC drug ingredients are actually ineffective in reducing cold symptoms in children. OTC cough and cold products can be dangerous to use as well, with more than 100 deaths of infants and young children described in published reports where these products were the sole cause or important contributive causes.

Although several doses of pediatric OTC cough/cold products are unlikely to be toxic, these reports have described scenarios where the products were used inappropriately, by administration of doses too large, doses given too frequently, measurement of liquid doses inaccurately (too much) or administration of similar active ingredient drugs given from numerous OTC products resulting in accumulative large doses.

These mistakes were easily made by parents, considering the difficulty in accurately measuring out small liquid doses and a desire for the drugs to help (more is better).

A word of caution regarding codeine

Recent studies and recommendations have significantly altered our use of another drug historically used to treat cough in children – codeine. It is an opioid, and it is still available over the counter in some cough medicines in some states. It is available in all states as prescription products.

We have learned in recent years that codeine is metabolized differently from subject to subject. Codeine alone has very little useful pharmacologic activity, but the liver chemically alters it into its active form, morphine, and another chemical. Morphine is dangerous, as it suppresses breathing. It must be used cautiously even in adults.

For many years, codeine has been used for treating pain and cough in children and adults. Recent evaluations, however, have determined that its clinical efficacy for these uses is inferior to other available drugs. We have learned that the amount of morphine produced from codeine liver metabolism can vary widely from person to person, a result of genetic differences.

Some individuals may convert codeine to a lot of morphine, while others may convert codeine to much less morphine. Evidence has accumulated over the past 10 years demonstrating that codeine can produce a significant decrease in breathing in some infants and children.

More than 20 cases of fatal respiratory depression have been documented in infants and children. In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a warning on the dangers of administering codeine to infants and children, recommending that its use for all purposes in children, including cough and pain, be limited or stopped.

Try these remedies instead

When your child next suffers from a cold, instead of reaching for an OTC cough and cold product, use an OTC nasal saline drop or spray product to help with nasal congestion. You can also run a cold air humidifier in his or her room at night to additionally help loosen nasal congestion. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given as needed for fever.

If your child is coughing enough to be uncomfortable or to prevent nighttime sleep, try giving honey, so long as he or she is one or older. Honey has been recently shown by several clinical studies to be an effective cough suppressant, and is likely to be much safer than codeine and OTC cough and cold products.

These therapies have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When using these treatments in infants and young children, it is always wise to speak with your child’s pediatrician first, as several more serious illnesses may initially produce symptoms similar to those of a common cold.

November 23, 2016     Edward Bell       Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Drake University

 

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How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity

Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. Complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable — such as smoking or eating a pound of bacon for breakfast – complaining isn’t good for you.

Your brain loves efficiency and doesn’t like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future – so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.

You can’t blame your brain. Who’d want to build a temporary bridge every time you need to cross a river? It makes a lot more sense to construct a permanent bridge. So, your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists like to describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.

And here’s the kicker: complaining damages other areas of your brain as well. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus – an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.

Complaining is also bad for your health

While it’s not an exaggeration to say that complaining leads to brain damage, it doesn’t stop there. When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

It’s not just you…

Since human beings are inherently social, our brains naturally and unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us, particularly people we spend a great deal of time with. This process is called neuronal mirroring, and it’s the basis for our ability to feel empathy. The flip side, however, is that it makes complaining a lot like smoking – you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. You need to be cautious about spending time with people who complain about everything. Complainers want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.

eckhart-tolle-complain-quotes

The solution to complaining

There are two things you can do when you feel the need to complain. One is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. That is, when you feel like complaining, shift your attention to something that you’re grateful for. Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood and energy and substantially less anxiety due to lower cortisol levels. Any time you experience negative or pessimistic thoughts, use this as a cue to shift gears and to think about something positive. In time, a positive attitude will become a way of life.

The second thing you can do — and only when you have something that is truly worth complaining about – is to engage in solution-oriented complaining. Think of it as complaining with a purpose. Solution-oriented complaining should do the following:

  1. Have a clear purpose. Before complaining, know what outcome you’re looking for. If you can’t identify a purpose, there’s a good chance you just want to complain for its own sake, and that’s the kind of complaining you should nip in the bud.
  2. Start with something positive. It may seem counterintuitive to start a complaint with a compliment, but starting with a positive helps keep the other person from getting defensive. For example, before launching into a complaint about poor customer service, you could say something like, “I’ve been a customer for a very long time and have always been thrilled with your service…”
  3. Be specific. When you’re complaining it’s not a good time to dredge up every minor annoyance from the past 20 years. Just address the current situation and be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Your employee was rude to me,” describe specifically what the employee did that seemed rude.
  4. End on a positive. If you end your complaint with, “I’m never shopping here again,” the person who’s listening has no motivation to act on your complaint. In that case, you’re just venting, or complaining with no purpose other than to complain. Instead, restate your purpose, as well as your hope that the desired result can be achieved, for example, “I’d like to work this out so that we can keep our business relationship intact.”

Bringing It All Together

Just like smoking, drinking too much, and lying on the couch watching TV all day, complaining is bad for you. Put my advice to use, and you’ll reap the physical, mental and performance benefits that come with a positive frame of mind.

TRAVIS BRADBERRY       Entrepreneur.com      Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016
A version of this article appeared on TalentSmart and Entrepreneur.com.


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Top 10 Brain Boosting Superfoods

While it’s common to think that brain health is simply the product of good genes, the reality is quite different. A growing body of research shows that we really are what we eat, and that couldn’t be truer than with maintaining a healthy brain. There are many excellent brain-boosting superfoods, but here are some of my picks for the top ten:

1. Grapes

If you’ve been following news reports you’ve probably already heard about the compound resveratrol found in purple grapes. A large volume of studies link resveratrol with protecting brain cells against damage from beta-amyloid plaques linked with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It appears to work by mopping up free radicals before they can cause damage to the brain and by protecting brain cells against plaque build up. While the media loves to recommend red wine to obtain resveratrol, the reality is that the alcohol in red wine counteracts many of the benefits.

2. Blueberries

While grapes get all the attention when it comes to brain health, it’s time for blueberries to share in the acclaim. These delicious berries are brain-healing powerhouses that work to protect our brain from disease in several different ways. They contain a group of plant nutrients called flavonoids that protect both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against free radical damage; few foods can make that claim.

3. Turmeric

Research conducted by a medical team at a graduate school at Kanazawa University, Japan, demonstrated that curcumin, found in turmeric – a common curry ingredient — prevents the development of a substance called beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. The easiest way to enjoy the benefits of curcumin is by adding turmeric to your favorite curry dish.

4. Walnuts

For better brain health, it’s time to go nuts: with walnuts, that is. Walnuts offer numerous brain health benefits. To start, they are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids that help protect the fatty portion of the brain and quell brain inflammation, too. Research in The Journal of Nutrition found that walnuts also contain natural compounds that act as antioxidants to destroy free radicals that could otherwise have a damaging effect on the brain. These same compounds reduce brain inflammation, improve signals between brain cells and increase the generation of brain and nerve cells. Choose raw, unsalted walnuts found in the refrigerator section of the health food store.

walnuts

5. Fatty Fish

Our brains are about 60 percent fat and need healthy fats to replenish these fatty parts. While walnuts are an excellent source of fats needed by the brain, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention fatty fish. Fish that contains high amounts of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout and herring. But be aware, some of these fish have become contaminated with mercury. Avoid fish that consistently shows up high on the mercury radar, including predatory fish like swordfish and shark, as well as sea bass, northern pike, tuna, walleye and largemouth bass, as well as farm-raised salmon.

6. Apples

When it comes to brain health, an apple a day may keep the doctor away. Research published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias found that people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s who drank two four-ounce cups of apple juice daily had a 27 percent reduction in agitation, anxiety and delusion. Add an apple to your lunch, as a snack on a break from work or as an evening treat to quell a sweet tooth.

7. Pomegranates

One of my favorite fruits, pomegranates, offer more than just sensational taste — they are nutritional and healing powerhouses, particularly when it comes to brain health. Not only are they high in antioxidants that help protect the brain against stroke, research published in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that pomegranates destroy free radicals in the vascular system, helping to ensure healthy blood flow to the brain. Eat them fresh on their own or drink unsweetened bottled pomegranate juice.

8. Tea

Perhaps the Queen of England’s afternoon tea break has helped to keep her mind sharp as she has aged? That’s because black, green and white tea all have significant amounts of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds called catechins, which boost brain health. Scientists found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

9. Tomatoes

If you’re only enjoying tomatoes as part of an occasional pasta dinner, you might want to expand your tomato repertoire. That’s because lycopene found in tomatoes has also been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Tomatoes have been shown to prevent clumping in the blood (known as platelet aggregation), which is a risk factor for stroke.

10. Coffee

According to an animal study, researchers found that caffeine supplementation combined with moderate swimming, reduced inflammation, which is a precursor of many brain diseases.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook        November 24, 2016         @mschoffrocook
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the president of PureFood BC,
an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:
Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds: The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.
Source: www.care2.com


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8 Ways Eating Better Can Improve Your Mental Health

You probably already know that fruits and veggies can make you healthier, but did you know they could also make you happier?

I walked into my apartment to find my roommate sitting on the couch with her head in her hands. She looked as if she had reached a breaking point. “Another tough day at work?” I asked her.

“Not really.” She sighed as she reached for what looked like a day-old carton of fast food fries.

I bit my tongue from reminding her (again) that what you eat actually plays an important role in how you feel mentally. In fact, mental illnesses from depression to schizophrenia have been linked to diet. And if you’re reading this, then I suspect you’re actually ready to hear it—and I’m here for you!

Although French fries and ice cream often make it on the list of grub to dig into when we’re down, true comfort food comes from a healthier crowd. Don’t just take my word for it. Spanish researchers who followed 15,000 young adults over the course of nine years found that those who ate more nuts, fruit, vegetables, and fish had a 30 percent lower incidence of depression than those who gorged on sweets or processed foods. That’s not all. The UK-based Mental Health Foundation reports that fewer than half of patients who suffer from mental health problems eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Contrarily, nearly two-thirds of those free from daily mental health problems eat fresh produce regularly.

Ensuring your diet is full of adequate amounts of healthy nutrients can enhance your mental clarity, provide a more balanced mood, and protect your mind from early mental decline. Discover all the ways that eating better can help improve your mental health—and when you’re finally convinced it’s time to make the change, add these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body on your grocery list to get you started!

1) YOU’LL SAVE MONEY

Think about all that cash you blow on soda, grabbing takeout at restaurants, picking out a snack every couple of hours, and ordering dessert after every meal. It’s not just food you’ll save money on when you start to eat better. Those who clock in at a healthy weight spend an astounding 42 percent less cash on medical bills and health expenses than their overweight peers, according to a Health Affairs report. Sounds pretty good so far, but get this: you’ll not only be less stressed financially, but a study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences says that financial strain is a strong risk factor for and predictor of worsening mental health. Clear mind, full wallet, can’t lose.

2) FUELING UP PROPERLY MEANS YOU WON’T BE HANGRY AS MUCH

Whether you’re constantly muttering under your breath about coworkers’ minute errors or snapping at drivers during rush hour, you go about life with a short fuse. Rather than looking to poor anger management or mood disorders, look to your rumbling stomach. You could actually be hangry! One of the reasons why you’re always hungry, and thus, always hangry, is perhaps because of an inefficient diet that subsists on empty carbs. This food burns up in your body quickly, which causes your body to crave substance more quickly.

When you deprive yourself of food while your body screams at you to eat, your body goes into a state of distress. The result is low dopamine levels—AKA less control over your emotions and commonly experiencing irritability, anxiety, mental confusion, and slowness in thought. If you choose to fuel up with slow-burning sources of energy like complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats, you’ll start to see your anger subside in no time.

3) COMBATING NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES CAN IMPROVE YOUR MOOD

Studies show that a number of nutrients are associated with brain health, and deficiencies of these nutrients have countlessly been linked to depression. It should be no surprise that many of these micronutrients are abundant in “healthy” foods and M.I.A. in junk foods. Some of which include omega-3s (salmon, flax and chia seeds, walnuts), folate (asparagus, chickpeas, lentils), vitamin B12 (tuna, shrimp, milk), choline (egg yolks, broccoli, brussels sprouts), magnesium (spinach, yogurt, black beans), vitamin D (fatty fish, eggs). Always check with your doctor before going off any anti-depressants, but you may want to get blood work done to see if the reason your mood has tanked is because you’re experiencing some nutritional deficiencies.

Carrots

4) EATING ANTIOXIDANTS CAN HELP YOU FEEL MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE

Whether you’re a recent college grad or just attended your last child’s college graduation, the future can certainly seem daunting at times—and that can cause some serious anxiety. That’s even more so the case if you’re not eating enough carrots. Why? A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that individuals with higher levels of carotenoids (a type of antioxidant) tended to be more optimistic about the future, an indicator of positive health. Unless you’re always ordering sweet potato fries when you eat out, you’re likely missing out on these beneficial antioxidants. On the other hand, a healthy diet easily incorporates many of its top sources: carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and kale.

5) CHEMICALS IN FAST FOOD BLOCK MOOD-BOOSTING NUTRIENT ABSORPTION

It might be hard to pronounce, but phthalates (thāl-ates) are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemical toxins you need to know about. Just like BPA, phthalates are used in plastic food and beverage wrappers notorious in fast food places—but those toxins aren’t staying just on the wrappers. A study recently made headlines that connected people who ate fast food with dose-dependent higher levels of phthalate metabolites than infrequent eaters. And that’s bad news for all-day-breakfast lovers since a separate study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that exposure to BPA and phthalates may reduce adults’ vitamin D levels—a vitamin whose low levels in the blood have been connected to mental decline in older adults and chronic migraines in young people. Bottom line: lay off the fast food and not only will the scale tip in your favor, but you may also have more mental clarity!

6) YOU’LL KICK THE JUNKY FOODS THAT EXACERBATE STRESS

Believe it or not, but the foods that worsen stress are also the ones that are connected to weight gain. Worst of all, they’re often our go-to snacks when we’re feeling particularly anxious (think: chips and ice cream), which just throws our bodies into an endless cycle of stress. On the other hand, there are numerous options that have been scientifically proven to alter both your brain chemistry and hormones to help your body deal with stress more easily. And you guessed it: they’re all good-for-you foods.

7) YOU MAY BOOST THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR MEDICATION

On antidepressants? A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that supplementing your diet with certain nutrients found in healthy foods—omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin D—can be effective in boosting the positive effects of antidepressant medication.

8) YOU’LL SLEEP BETTER

You may have never thought about how—or if—your diet controls how easily you fall asleep and how well rested you are upon waking. When you eat a poor diet centered on foods that digest quickly and leave you hungry often, you can disrupt your sleep cycle by making yourself hungry in the middle of the night. When you improve your diet and lose weight, you’ll likely be able to put sleeping problems such as sleep apnea to bed. In doing so, you’ll improve your mental health in the meantime.

Countless studies have found that sleeping problems often precede mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression. In a widespread study of 1,000 adults, researchers found that those who reported a history of insomnia during an interview were four times as likely to develop major depression by the time of a second interview three years later.

By Olivia Tarantino


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TV Ads May Spur Snacking in Kids as Young as Two

Mindless snacking in front of the television set may start long before children know how to work the remote control, a U.S. study suggests.

In an experiment with 60 kids aged 2 to 5 years, researchers focused on how advertising influences what’s known as eating in the absence of hunger.

They gave all the children a healthy snack to make sure they had a full belly, and then sat the kids down to watch a TV program with ads for Bugles corn chips or for a department store.

All of the kids had Bugles corn chips and one other snack in front of them while they watched the show. Children who saw ads for the corn chips ate 127 calories on average, compared to just 97 calories for kids who didn’t see Bugles on the screen, researchers report in Pediatrics.

“This is the first study to show that exposure to food ads cues immediate eating among younger children – even after they had a filling snack,” said lead study author Jennifer Emond of Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“Young children average up to three hours of TV viewing a day,” Emond added by email. “If kids are exposed to food ads during that time, they may unconsciously over consume snacks which can lead to extra weight gain.”

More than one third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against any screen time for children younger than 18 months and suggests no more than an hour a day for kids aged 2 to 5 in part to encourage language development, support healthy sleep habits and limit sedentary activity that can set preschoolers on a path toward obesity.

The type of TV program matters too. The AAP encourages educational programming like “Sesame Street” that can support language learning.

For the experiment, researchers sat kids down to watch a 14-minute segment of “Elmo’s World” that included three minutes of advertising.

kids-watching-tv

Before the show started, all of the kids could snack as much as they liked on banana, sliced cheese and crackers. They also got water to drink.

Children were randomly assigned to view ads for national department stores or to watch Bugles spots that showed kids playing and eating the corn chips.

While the shows played, kids were given bowls of Nabisco Teddy Grahams and Bugles corn snacks.

There wasn’t a meaningful association between how much kids ate during the program and their age, weight or the way their parents typically supervised mealtime at home.

In particular, researchers looked at whether parental feeding restrictions – which can include things like pressuring kids to eat or prohibiting certain foods – and didn’t find any association between these practices and the amount of snacks kids consumed in the experiment.

One limitation of the experiment is that it included mostly white, affluent rural kids, which may make the results less relevant to the broader population of U.S. children, the authors note.

Young children can also be unreliable when they tell adults whether they are full, so it’s possible some children who claimed they had enough to eat before watching TV were actually hungry, the researchers also point out.

Even so, the findings should give parents another reason to limit children’s exposure to media that comes with advertising, said Dr. Julie Lumeng, a researcher at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Many children’s programs are now instead using product placement to advertise,” Lumeng added by email. “Parents should also pay attention to how product placement occurs in the television programs or other media their young children may be watching.”

Age 2 may be too young to understand how ads can influence behavior, Lumeng noted.

“But parents can consider gradually introducing the power of advertising to young children as a strategy for helping their children resist the effects of these ads,” Lumeng said. “Ultimately limiting the child’s exposure to the ads is the key strategy.”

 By Lisa Rapaport    Reuters Health

 SOURCE: bit.ly/2fCqsMF Pediatrics, online November 21, 2016.

 source: http://www.reuters.com


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Fun Fact Friday

  • A survey says that those who wear black are seen as serious and reliable — almost 50% women and 64% of men agree that black exudes confidence.
  • Treadmills were created to punish English prisoners in 1818.
  • Loneliness increases a person’s risk of mortality by 26 percent, an effect comparable to the health risks posed by obesity.
  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.
strawberries
Strawberries actually contain more vitamin C than oranges

 

  • Falling in love has similar neurological effects as the high produced from taking cocaine.
  • Strawberries actually contain more vitamin C than oranges.
  • A breakup feels more extreme than other forms of social rejection because romance ties into more primal parts of the brain.
  • Intelligent people are more forgetful than those with average intelligence.
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles only 8 times.

Happy Friday  
🙂

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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What is Acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a chemical used mainly in certain industrial processes, such as in making paper, dyes, and plastics, and in treating drinking water and wastewater. There are small amounts in some consumer products, such as caulk, food packaging, and some adhesives. Acrylamide is also found in cigarette smoke.

Acrylamide can also form in some starchy foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking. Acrylamide forms from sugars and an amino acid that are naturally in food; it does not come from food packaging or the environment.

How are people exposed to acrylamide?

In certain foods

Acrylamide has probably always been in some foods, but this wasn’t known until Swedish scientists first found it in certain foods in 2002.

Acrylamide doesn’t appear to be in raw foods themselves. It’s formed when certain starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures (above about 250° F). Cooking at high temperatures causes a chemical reaction between certain sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) in the food, which forms acrylamide. Cooking methods such as frying, baking, broiling, or roasting are more likely to create acrylamide, while boiling, steaming, and microwaving appear less likely to do so. Longer cooking times and cooking at higher temperatures can increase the amount of acrylamide in foods further.

Acrylamide is found mainly in plant foods, such as potato products, grain products, or coffee. Foods such as French fries and potato chips seem to have the highest levels of acrylamide, but it’s also found in breads and other grain products. Acrylamide does not form (or forms at lower levels) in dairy, meat, and fish products.

In cigarette smoke

Acrylamide is also found in cigarette smoke. This is probably one of the major ways smokers are exposed.

On the job

People who work in certain industries (particularly in the paper and pulp, construction, foundry, oil drilling, textiles, cosmetics, food processing, plastics, mining, and agricultural industries) may be exposed to acrylamide in the workplace, mainly through skin contact or by breathing it in. Regulations limit exposure in these settings.

Does acrylamide increase the risk of cancer?

Researchers use 2 main types of studies to try to figure out if a substance causes cancer.

  • Lab studies: In these studies, animals are exposed to a substance (often in very large doses) to see if it causes tumors or other health problems. Researchers might also expose normal cells in a lab dish to the substance to see if it causes the types of changes that are seen in cancer cells. It’s not always clear if the results from these types of studies will apply to humans, but lab studies are a good way to find out if a substance might possibly cause cancer.
  • Studies in people: This type of study looks at cancer rates in different groups of people. It might compare the cancer rate in a group exposed to a substance to the cancer rate in a group not exposed to it, or compare it to the cancer rate in the general population. But sometimes it can be hard to know what the results of these studies mean, because many other factors might affect the results.

In most cases neither type of study provides enough evidence on its own, so researchers usually look at both lab-based and human studies when trying to figure out if something causes cancer.

Based on the studies done so far, it’s not yet clear if acrylamide affects cancer risk in people.

Studies in the lab

Acrylamide has been found to increase the risk of several types of cancer when given to lab animals (rats and mice) in their drinking water. The doses of acrylamide given in these studies have been as much as 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the levels people might be exposed to in foods. It’s not clear if these results would apply to people as well, but in general it makes sense to limit human exposure to substances that cause cancer in animals.

Studies in people

Since acrylamide was first found in certain foods in 2002, dozens of studies have looked at whether people who eat more of these foods might be at higher risk for certain cancers.

Most of the studies done so far have not found an increased risk of cancer in humans. For some types of cancer, such as kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, the results have been mixed, but there are currently no cancer types for which there is clearly an increased risk related to acrylamide intake.

The studies that have been done so far have had some important limits. For example, many of the studies relied on food questionnaires that people filled out every couple of years. These questionnaires might not have accounted for all dietary sources of acrylamide. In addition, people might not accurately remember what they have eaten when asked in personal interviews or through questionnaires.

While the evidence from human studies so far is somewhat reassuring, more studies are needed to determine if acrylamide raises cancer risk in people. The American Cancer Society supports the call by federal and international agencies for continued evaluation of how acrylamide is formed, its health risks, and how its presence in food can be reduced or removed.

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What expert agencies say

Several national and international agencies study substances in the environment to determine if they can cause cancer. (A substance that causes cancer or helps cancer grow is called a carcinogen.) The American Cancer Society looks to these organizations to evaluate the risks based on evidence from laboratory, animal, and human research studies.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer.

IARC classifies acrylamide as a “probable human carcinogen” based on data showing it can increase the risk of some types of cancer in lab animals. The evidence in humans was considered to be “inadequate” at the time of the last IARC review of the subject (1994), and at that time acrylamide was not known to be found in foods.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In its most recent Report on Carcinogens (2014), the NTP has classified acrylamide as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” based on the studies in lab animals.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an electronic database that contains information on human health effects from exposure to various substances in the environment. The EPA classifies acrylamide as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” based on studies in lab animals.

(For more information on the classification systems used by these agencies, see Known and Probable Human Carcinogens.)

It’s important to note that the determinations above are based mainly on studies in lab animals, and not on studies of people’s exposure to acrylamide from foods. Since the discovery of acrylamide in foods, the American Cancer Society, the FDA, and many other organizations have recognized the need for further research on this topic. Ongoing studies will continue to provide new information on whether acrylamide levels in foods are linked to increased cancer risk.

Are acrylamide levels regulated?

In the United States, the FDA regulates the amount of residual acrylamide in a variety of materials that come in contact with food, but there are currently no regulations on the presence of acrylamide in food itself. In 2016, the FDA issued guidance to help the food industry reduce the amount of acrylamide in certain foods, but these are recommendations, not regulations.

The EPA regulates acrylamide in drinking water. The EPA has set an acceptable level of acrylamide exposure, which is low enough to account for any uncertainty in the data relating acrylamide to cancer and other health effects.

In the workplace, exposure to acrylamide is regulated by the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Can I lower my exposure to acrylamide?

For most people, the major potential sources of acrylamide exposure are in certain foods and in cigarette smoke. It’s not yet clear if the levels of acrylamide in foods raise cancer risk, but for people who are concerned, there are some things you can do to lower your exposure.

Certain foods are more likely to contain acrylamide than others. These include potato products (especially French fries and potato chips), coffee, and foods made from grains (such as breakfast cereals, cookies, and toast). These foods are often part of a regular diet. But if you want to lower your acrylamide intake, reducing your intake of these foods is one way to do so.

The FDA’s advice on acrylamide is to adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

This type of diet is likely to have health benefits beyond lowering acrylamide levels.

Acrylamide has been detected in both home-cooked and in packaged or processed foods. Acrylamide levels in foods can vary widely depending on the manufacturer, the cooking time, and the method and temperature of the cooking process. Since acrylamide is formed from natural chemicals in food during cooking, acrylamide levels in cooked organic foods are likely to be similar to levels in cooked non-organic foods.

When cooking at home, some methods may lower the acrylamide levels produced in certain foods.

For potatoes, frying causes the highest acrylamide formation. Roasting potato pieces causes less acrylamide formation, followed by baking whole potatoes. Boiling potatoes and microwaving whole potatoes with skin on does not create acrylamide.

Soaking raw potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes before frying or roasting helps reduce acrylamide formation during cooking. (Soaked potatoes should be drained and blotted dry before cooking to prevent splattering or fires.)

Storing potatoes in the refrigerator can result in increased acrylamide during cooking. Therefore, store potatoes outside the refrigerator, preferably in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry, to prevent sprouting.

Generally, acrylamide levels rise when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures. Cooking cut potato products, such as frozen French fries or potato slices, to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color helps reduce acrylamide formation. Brown areas tend to have more acrylamide.

Toasting bread to a light brown color, rather than a dark brown color, lowers the amount of acrylamide. Very brown areas contain the most acrylamide.

Acrylamide forms in coffee when coffee beans are roasted, not when coffee is brewed at home or in a restaurant. So far, scientists have not found good ways to reduce acrylamide formation in coffee.

Not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke are other ways to potentially reduce your exposure to acrylamide, as well as to many other potentially harmful chemicals.