Posts tagged with "doctor"

Gym Illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

UVA on Battling Diseases by Exercise

A top exercise researcher and colleagues at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have launched an ambitious effort to understand the whole-body benefits of exercise so that doctors can use that information to prevent and treat disease.

Zhen Yan, PhD, and his collaborators aim to identify the sources, functions and targets of the molecules that provide exercise’s well-documented health benefits. By understanding this, doctors will better understand how exercise helps fend off disease, and they may be able to design drugs to mimic those benefits for people who cannot exercise, such as those with limited mobility. The cutting-edge research could open new doors both for preventing and treating many common illnesses, the researchers hope.

“No one would dispute that physical activity or regular exercise is the best measures for health promotion and disease prevention,” said Yan, director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. “In fact, the health benefits of exercise are way beyond our imagination. The underlying reasons for the superb health benefits of exercise are being uncovered by many talented and passionate scientists around the world.”

Understanding How Exercise Improves Health

The UVA researchers have recently joined a national consortium seeking to create a “molecular map” of exercise benefits. Known as the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, or MoTrPAC, the group includes researchers at top institutions across the country, including Harvard, Duke, Stanford and Mayo Clinic.

The consortium came about after the National Institutes of Health invited Yan and a dozen other prominent scientists to a roundtable discussion in 2010 about the future of exercise research and the obstacles that stood in its way. The NIH then set aside almost $170 million for MoTrPAC’s research – believed to be the agency’s largest-ever investment into the mechanisms of how physical activity improves health and prevents disease.

“The program’s goal,” Yan explained, “is to study the molecular changes that occur during and after exercise and ultimately to advance the understanding of how physical activity improves and preserves health.”

The consortium is looking at exercise benefits in both humans and animal models. Initial animal research was conducted at Harvard, the University of Iowa and the University of Florida. In the latest round, UVA is joined by the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The vast amount of information collected as part of the project so far has poised the UVA team to make “unprecedented” advances, Yan reports. He and his multi-disciplinary team will employ advanced computer algorithms to sift through the heaps of data to identify specific molecules to study. They will then conduct state-of-the-art research in lab mice using gene editing, combined with a wide range of functional assessment, including muscle, cardiac, metabolic and cognitive/mental functions. This will let them determine the effects the molecules have and lay a foundation for doctors to harness the molecules to benefit human health in the future.

Yan’s team will work closely with colleagues at Stanford, who will conduct advanced “multiomics” analyses, meaning they will bring together data on genes, cellular proteins and much more to obtain a more holistic understanding of exercise’s benefits to the body.

UVA’s research team includes Yan, of the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center and the Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology and Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics; Wenhao Xu, PhD, of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology; Chongzhi Zang, PhD, of UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics, the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics; Matthew Wolf, MD, PhD, of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center; Thurl Harris, PhD, of the Department of Pharmacology; and Alban Gaultier, PhD, and John Lukens, PhD, both part of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG).

“It is well known that exercise is one of the best treatments for mood disorders,” Gaultier said. “We are excited to test the group discoveries using animal models of anxiety and depression.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for team science,” Zang said. “I am happy to work with colleagues at UVA and across the country and use data-science approaches to unravel the complex molecular effects of exercise.”

UVA’s effort has received almost a half-million dollars in backing from the NIH’s fund for MoTrPAC’s research.

“Our research team encompasses exceptional talents. The collective wisdom and expertise of the team at UVA and MoTrPAC will allow us to reach a level that we would not be able to reach by an individual,” Yan said. “It is an unprecedented opportunity in our lifetime to tackle this incredibly important question to mankind.”

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

MORE: Exercise may help prevent deadly COVID-19 complication.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Dental Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Oral Hygiene × SARS-CoV-2

The British Dental Journal recently found that poor oral hygiene may be linked to more severe cases of COVID-19 because of the harmful bacteria found in mouths that have not been properly taken care of.

While the mouth has always been known as a gateway to the rest of the body, giving it the ability to cause problems in other areas, it is now found that poor oral hygiene can cause respiratory infections, making COVID-19 stronger.

The good news is that the best defense, in this scenario, is to follow good oral practices, like flossing, brushing and using mouthwash.

COVID-19 continues to be deadly, but there does appear to be some sort of link in more than half of fatal cases.

According to the British Dental Journal, “More than 80% of COVID-19 patients in ICUs exhibited an exceptionally high bacterial load, with more than 50% of deaths exhibiting bacterial superinfections.”

Even though COVID-19 is transferred virally, complications like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress might be caused by bacterial superinfection, which begins in the mouth.

The study says, “We recommend that oral hygiene be maintained, if not improved, during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the potential risk of a bacterial superinfection.”

Again, hygiene can be maintained by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, but oral-care probiotics can also offer protection.

Oral-care probiotics are a specialized type of probiotic formulated to repopulate the oral cavity bacteria, which battles harmful bacteria that could lead to cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Dr. Eric Goulder, founder of the Heart and Stroke Prevention Center of Central Ohio, said he thinks heart health is also determined by oral health. His team uses ProBiora, which supports health in teeth and gums.

“We think everyone should be extra careful during the pandemic, and oral-care probiotics are a great way to help keep the oral cavity in balance 24-7,” Dr. Goulder said.

To see the study, you can click right here.

Loose Standards Undermined Research on COVID-19 Test Accuracy

The COVID-19 pandemic was met with a rush of research on the many factors related to the crisis, including the accuracy of different testing methods. However, many of the studies conducted in the early stages of the pandemic did not meet the usual rigorous scientific standards, according to researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine.

In “The estimation of diagnostic accuracy of tests for COVID-19: A scoping review,” which will appear in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Infection, authors Dierdre Axell-House, Richa Lavingia, Megan Rafferty, Eva Clark, E. Susan Amirian and Elizabeth Chiao found that better-designed studies are needed to appropriately evaluate the different types of COVID-19 tests.

They reviewed 49 articles published between Dec. 31, 2019, and June 19, 2020, that evaluated the validity of different types of coronavirus testing. These studies were assessed using elements of the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) guidelines, which are used to evaluate if bias could be playing a role in the results of studies on diagnostic test accuracy.

Amirian, an epidemiologist at Rice’s Texas Policy Lab (TPL), said when it comes to conducting studies on testing accuracy, design is critically important. She said the major limitations found in the design of most of the studies they examined could lead to erroneous or misleading results.

“Without rigorous evaluations of which tests are the most accurate, it’s hard to know which tests are more likely to lead to false negatives, which could contribute to greater spread of the virus,” said Rafferty, a health data analyst at the TPL. “Although it’s difficult to say, some of the quality issues may have resulted from these studies being streamlined in response to the immediate need for timely information.”

“COVID-19 has now been a health crisis for nearly a year,” Amirian said. “With regard to research, the academic community needs to move away from being in acute emergency mode and think about how we’re going to handle this as a chronic crisis. When researchers are in emergency mode, we tend to be more open to sacrificing a lot of the strict quality standards for conducting research that we usually uphold.”

The paper is available online here.

How to get rid of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes may not transmit COVID-19, but they can carry other dangerous diseases, including West Nile virus and Zika.

Most regions of the U.S. have issues with mosquitoes, but knowing prevention and mitigation measures can stop them from mushrooming into a big problem, says Dr. Craig Stoops (www.mosquito-authority.com), a retired U.S. Navy medical entomologist and chief science officer at Mosquito® Authority, a mosquito control company. 

“People are unfortunately attractive to mosquitoes,” Dr. Stoops says, “but there are numerous ways we can avoid the irritation and the potential danger of a bite. So much has to do with preparing your property and knowing how mosquitoes thrive.

“Some people are more susceptible to bites than others. Mosquitoes can be attracted to different chemicals found in human skin. But just because mosquitoes are an inevitable part of summer doesn’t mean you’re defenseless.”

Dr. Stoops offers five tips to reduce the appearance of mosquitoes and their biter:

  • Consider a professional service. Sometimes people prefer to do it themselves when it comes to fixing home issues, but they later find that a persistent problem is often better left to trained professionals. “Companies that specialize in mosquito control can effectively address the problem by implementing an entire program over a period of time, including follow-ups,” Dr. Stoops says. “There is a science and strategy to a program, and it requires considerable knowledge of how to treat different types of yards in different regions of the country. A good company in this industry continually educates its people as well as the consumers on how to effectively stay ahead of the problem.”
  • Get rid of standing water. Still water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Common places of standing water include: clogged drain gutters, corrugated drain pipes, bird baths, pet bowls, planters, trash and recycling bins, children’s toys, and kiddie pools. “It is important to remain vigilant and remove any containers and debris from your yard to lower the habitats available to mosquitoes,” Dr. Stoops says. “A mosquito needs only about a tablespoon of water to lay eggs.”
  • Use safe repellents. Repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency have been reviewed and approved to pose minimal risk when used properly. “Some of the most effective ingredients commonly referred to in a repellent are DEET, Picaridan, and oil of lemon eucalyptus,” Dr. Stoops says. EPA-approved repellents provide up to two hours of protection.
  • Dress appropriately. “Studies have shown that some mosquitoes are more attracted to dark clothing,” Dr. Stoops says. “Avoid wearing lightweight, thin materials, which mosquitoes can bite right through. Instead, opt for tightly woven materials, like cotton, denim, nylon, or windbreaker-type materials, which are more difficult for the bugs to penetrate. Clothing that provides UV protection is typically tightly woven and often protects against insect bites, too.”
  • Keep your landscape clean. “Trimmed trees and shrubs improve a property’s air circulation,” Dr. Stoops says. “The increased air flow will physically push mosquitoes out of that area and remove the environment they thrive in. Also, there are some gardening choices that can deter mosquitoes: basil, lavender, and catnip are all plants that mosquitoes don’t like.”

“Many people just think of bug spray during mosquito season,” Dr. Stoops says. “The main idea should be to keep them out of your yard as much as possible. From there, considering summer is the time to get away, always prepare for your environment, especially if hiking or camping.”

About Dr. Craig Stoops

Dr. Craig Stoops (www.mosquito-authority.com), LCDR (ret.) MSC USN, is a retired U.S. Navy Medical Entomologist and chief science officer at Mosquito® Authority, a mosquito control company. He has conducted mosquito control and research in the United States, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has a B.S. in biology from Shippensburg University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology from Clemson University. Dr. Stoops is board certified by the Entomological Society of America in Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Dental Health Article for 360 MAGAZINE

At-Home Dentistry: Dos & Don’ts

By Justin Lyons

What are some of the craziest things you’ve done with your teeth at home? Have you tied one end of a string to your loose tooth and the other end of a string to your front door, then slammed it to pull the tooth out? Have you used pliers to pull a tooth? How about bleaching your teeth?

With viral TikTok and YouTube videos popularizing these practices, healthcare professionals are reasonably and rightfully concerned.

Dentist and author of Age With Style: Your Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living Dr. Nammy Patel wonders why anyone would perform self-surgery and risk trauma.

“Even before the pandemic, some people were resorting to DIY measures while trying to be cost-effective, but many of these actions bring significant risk to the teeth and gums,” Patel said. “People aren’t realizing that while it may be interesting and cheaper to try these dental actions on their own, it’s going to cost you more money, time, and pain before the mistakes are corrected by a professional.”

She specifically cites three at-home procedures people have taken up after losing insurance or while staying home. You should NOT be trying these three things at home:

1. Pulling a tooth: Dr. Patel says to never do this yourself. It can cause cavitation and infections in the bone that used to hold the tooth. Dental tools are designed to clean the area and remove the tooth, and trying to pull your tooth at home can lead to a snapped root, infection and surgical procedure. Just don’t do it because it might lead you to the dentist’s office anyways.

2. Bleaching: Dr. Patel says bleaching can lead to gum damage, burning in the gums, gum recession, tooth loss, enamel damage and tooth sensitivity.

“Some of the people you see doing this on social media are using hydrogen peroxide purchased online that has many times the amount allowed in regulated online teeth-whitening products,” Patel said.

3. Filing: First of all, ouch. Second of all, Dr. Patel says you can remove too much of your tooth if you try to smooth rough edges or adjust shape. It can change the way you bite and even cause jaw problems, specifically TMJ disorders.

There is dental care you can provide for yourself at home. In fact, Dr. Patel encourages three things. You SHOULD be doing these things at home:

1. Make your own toothpaste: Dentists provide suggested lists of ingredients as well as lists of toxic ingredients.

“By making toothpaste yourself you can create a better product, one without dangerous chemicals, and it’s cost-effective, too,” Dr. Patel said, adding that her toothpaste contains coconut oil and other natural oils and spices like cinnamon and peppermint.

2. Make your own mouthwash: Over-the-counter mouthwash typically contains alcohol, which is bad for the gums and can dry the mouth. Dr. Patel’s mouthwash is composed of peppermint oil, On Guard, distilled water and salt.

3. Power up your daily oral care: Dr. Patel suggests a water flosser, as it reaches cracks and crevices that typical floss does not.

“It’s easier to use than floss and provides a deeper clean with a pressurized stream of water, which pulsates to blast away food particles and built-up plaque,” Patel said.

She also suggested using a sonic toothbrush over an electric toothbrush to eliminate more bacteria.

It’s important to be careful and knowledgeable when it comes to arm-chair dentistry. If you try to avoid a seat in the dentist’s chair, you might not have a choice if you cause damage irreparable without surgery.

To learn more about Dr. Nammy Patel, you can click right here.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Tyrod Taylor

By Justin Lyons

Justin Herbert lined up under center on the first drive Sunday for the Los Angeles Chargers, which was a surprise.

Herbert was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but Tyrod Taylor was supposed to be the starter while Herbert learned from the bench. Herbert had a successful day, scoring on his first drive and going on to throw for 311 yards and a touchdown, but he came up a bit short of the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs in overtime.

It’s now clear why Taylor didn’t play quarterback Sunday. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told ESPN’s Shelley Smith that Taylor’s lung was punctured by a team doctor attempting to administer a pain relief injection just before kickoff.

Lynn told Smith that the injury is not career-threatening, and Taylor isn’t mad or upset. Lynn appeared to reaffirm Taylor’s status as a starter when he is cleared to return, saying there was a lot the Chargers didn’t get done with Herbert as their quarterback and that Herbert is a backup “for a reason.”

George Atallah, the assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFL Players Association, tweeted that the union’s medical and legal teams are looking into the incident. He also confirmed that the NFLPA has initiated an investigation.

According to ESPN, the injection is not uncommon, but the doctor is unable to see where the needle is going, which can be difficult. Though the procedure is standard, it is rare that a player’s lung is punctured.

Lynn said Herbert will start Sunday at home against the Carolina Panthers, as Taylor won’t be fully healthy.

“I am looking forward to seeing him play with a week of preparation and knowing he is the starter,” Lynn said.

The Panthers and Chargers will kick off at 1:05 p.m. local time Sunday.

Alison Christensen, illustrations, pandemic, 360 MAGAZINE

Mask Wearing Risks

A New York City doctor is available to discuss the long-term health impacts of wearing a N95 or similar mask to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While studies have shown that masks cause dizziness caused by restricting oxygen flow, Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg, M.D., has also issued a warning about serious, permanent damage to the face, nose, jawline, and skin, caused byincreased pressure from mask wearing. Ranging from infections and allergic reactions to permanent, premature wrinkling of the skin on the face, a mask worn improperly or for long-periods of time can cause adverse health conditions for the wearer.

While these conditions may once have been industry-specific, impacting those who must wear a mask in the workplace, Dr. Greenberg can discuss the more widespread occurrences of these conditions caused by requirements of Americans to wear a mask while in public. The doctor can discuss treatment, prevention, and additional concerns at greater length.

Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a nationally renowned cosmetic plastic surgeon with practices in New York, the Hamptons, and Boca Raton. Ivy-League educated with degrees and training at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, Greenberg is the author of A Little Nip, A Little Tuck. Greenberg has been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, FOX News, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Regaining Control in Uncertain Times: Advice from a Doctor/Cancer Survivor

As a doctor and entrepreneur, I spent most of my life seeking control – obsessively studying, planning, and working to guarantee my success. That’s why I wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place – I wanted to be my own boss, in charge of my own fate. Despite my success, in 2013, I would lose every semblance of control in my life. In 2013, I was diagnosed with cancer.

My cancer diagnosis came with many emotions: anger, anxiety, uncertainty, depression. I felt alone and hopeless, like everything I had worked so hard for suddenly didn’t matter. I just had to “wait and see” if the chemotherapy worked; how sick I would be; if I could have a family one day; if I would ever have my regular life back.

In many ways, I see similarities between the way my cancer diagnosis impacted my life and how the current Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all. Life as you know it has suddenly stopped. You don’t know when it will return to normal, and you may feel like you have completely lost control of your life.

Even though the unknowns of cancer treatment terrified me, certain strategies gave me a “sense” of control – and often times, that was enough. I hope that you can employ these strategies in the coming days and weeks to regain control in these uncertain times.

Exercise

Although chemotherapy prevented intense workouts, simply walking regularly released feel-good endorphins in my brain, and it’s something I had control over. Similarly, a self-imposed routine may help you cope with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though gyms are closed, consider doing body-weight workouts at home, YouTube fitness tutorials, or walking/running outside.

Breathe

You can also change your breathing patterns voluntarily, resulting in various powerful effects. For example, if you feel a wave of panic approaching, try taking deeper breaths using your diaphragm, which will cause your heart rate to slow and your body to relax.

Journal

Exercise and focused breathing are two techniques that worked for me, but it’s also important to remember what activities made you feel the best. Try journaling how different activities make you feel – more/less anxious, more/less in control, etc. This way, you can continue doing things that make you feel good, even when the Coronavirus is a distant memory.

Sometimes, challenging times are the kickstart you need to pursue a better life. After my cancer diagnosis, I completely transformed my stress-filled, unhealthy lifestyle. I overcame cancer, and I owe it all to positive lifestyle changes. If you are ready to start your journey to better health, check out my book “From Doctor to Patient.”

About Dr. Diva Nagula

Dr. Diva Nagula is a board-certified osteopathic physician with extensive knowledge and training in Integrative and Functional Medicine. He was diagnosed and treated for Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After several years of treatment, he remains in complete remission.
You can purchase his book here.

Vaughn Lowery, illustration, dating, 360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman

Allergy Season

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), allergy season affects 37 million people each year and the winter season can be a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and animal dander due to heat, and lack of ventilation.

“During the Winter months and leading into the rest of the year, many suffer from seasonal allergies that continue to persist if not treated appropriately. I often recommend tips and lifestyle changes to my patients in order help to alleviate symptoms by implementing effective at home remedies,” says Shirin Peters, M.D. with Bethany Medical Clinic.
Here are some tips to find relief from winter allergies:

  1. Reduce your exposure to dust: Vacuum carpet and upholstery daily; wash your bedding weekly in hot water then dry
    on the highest temperature setting; and cover your pillows and mattress in air-tight allergen-resistant covers (seal dust away from you and put sheets and bedding on top) to eliminate dust mites.
  2. Use a HEPA filter in your home to remove dust and allergens from the air.
  3. Invest in a humidifier as dry air can cause dry, uncomfortable nasal passages, which are more easily inflamed by allergens.
  4. Bathe pets frequently to control dander
  5. Change air filters monthly to eliminate airborne dust containing lint, animal dander, bacteria, fabric fiber, and food material.
  6. Use fragrance and dye free laundry detergent like hypoallergenic Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear as it is gentle on the skin without irritation or worry of itchiness.
  7. Incorporate honey into your diet, although not scientifically proven, consuming a bit of honey every day may gradually immunize you to the irritant.
  8. Irrigate nasal passages with a saline solution for drug-free congestion relief and to soothe irritated passageways.
  9. Alternating hot and cold compresses over your eyes and nose can help relieve sinus pressure.
  10. A steamy hot shower clears nasal passages

“If you have allergy symptoms, getting a skin allergy test to determine the root cause and confirm the specific triggers for your symptoms can also be very useful,” adds Peters.

About Shirin Peters, M.D.

Shirin Peters, M.D. attended college at New York Medical College and completed her residency at the Former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, NY. The following year, she worked at a private practice in North Carolina and learned more about the business of medicine. She returned to New York City and founded Bethany Medical Clinic of New York in 2011. She feels that New Yorkers face unique health challenges and set out to build a model of care that could reduce illness and improve health for New Yorkers and all city-dwellers. She uses her diverse past work experiences, and her understanding of city life, in her practice to give care to busy New Yorkers.

Harvard & Texas A&M

I write to inform you of my dismay over recent actions by Harvard faculty Dr. Walter Willett and Dr. Frank Hu and their associates, Dr. David Katz and the True Health Initiative (THI). Their actions, as
described in a recent JAMA article here
are unethical, distort the results of important scientific research, and, in our opinion, are false and harmful to Texas A&M University and its faculty. These are serious matters that undermine the values espoused by your institution and must be corrected immediately. 

I trust you were as surprised as I was after reading the JAMA article and ask that you take a look at the outrageous actions by THI. JAMA found that THI and several of its council members, including Harvard faculty Dr. Willett and Dr. Hu, mischaracterized scientific research
and falsely accused Texas A&M scientists of selling out to industry interests. According to JAMA, THI not only broke journal embargo policy but apparently used automated bots to flood the email inbox of the Editor in Chief of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Several of your faculty are involved as council members or advisers of THI and collaborated with THI in their effort to discredit scientific evidence that runs contrary to their ideology. I can assure you that Texas A&M’s research is driven by science. Period.

In addition to my concern about JAMA findings, I am attaching an illustration
Dr. Willett presented at a cardiology conference to attack a distinguished Texas A&M professor and the university itself as being influenced by industry. This unsubstantiated claim has been independently rejected and shown to be false in the JAMA article.

At this time, we have no hard basis to show that these actions against Texas A&M and its faculty are endorsed or condoned by your institution, and we hope we can work together to resolve this problem. Such
resolution should include a serious assessment by Harvard of its affiliation with THI and a comprehensive ethical review into any Harvard faculty involved with THI. Several scientists have severed ties with THI because of the issues discussed in this letter. Texas A&M applauds the stand taken by these scientists and encourages Harvard to show the same courage.


Texas A&M asks that Harvard join us for a purely scientific approach to nutrition for the sake of public health and public trust and reject the politics and unethical actions of THI that have sought to discredit science and interfere in the scientific process.