Health-E-News. January 2009
empowering you to optimal health
Cervical Adjustments Benefit Tennis Elbow
A single cervical spinal adjustment can produce a significant reduction in pain associated with lateral epicondylitis (LE), according to a new report.
As part of the experiment, 5 women and 5 men with tennis elbow attended two experimental sessions on two separate days at least 48 hours apart. At each session, participants received either a cervical spine adjustment or a manual contact intervention.
Pressure pain threshold (PPTs), hot pain thresholds (HPTs) and cold pain thresholds (CPTs) "over the lateral epicondyle of both elbows was assessed preintervention and 5 minutes postintervention by an examiner blinded to the treatment allocation of the patients."
The investigators also measured pain-free grip strength (PFG) on the affected arm and maximum grip force on the unaffected side.
Findings showed that "the application of a manipulation at the cervical spine produced an immediate bilateral increase in PPT in patients with LE. No significant changes for HPT and CPT were found. Finally, cervical manipulation increased PFG on the affected side, but not the maximum grip force on the unaffected arm."
JMPT - November 2008;31:678-81.
Review Study Looks At Chiropractic For Low Back Pain
A large review study confirms that chiropractic adjustments are highly effective at eliminating low-back pain.
The analysis pooled data on a total of 887 source documents. Specifically, these included 12 research guideline reports, 64 randomized control trials, 13 systematic reviews/meta-analyses and 11 cohort studies.
Results revealed that "as much or more evidence exists for the use of spinal manipulation to reduce symptoms and improve function in patients with chronic LBP as for use in acute and subacute LBP. Use of exercise in conjunction with manipulation is likely to speed and improve outcomes as well as minimize episodic recurrence. There was less evidence for the use of manipulation for patients with LBP and radiating leg pain, sciatica, or radiculopathy."
JMPT - November 2008;31:659-74.
Migraine Medications Worsen Condition
A recent investigation found that the use of medications commonly prescribed to relieve episodic migraine (EM) significantly boost the risk of developing transformed migraine (TM), a form of migraine characterized by 15 or more days of headache per month.
In the study, 8,219 people with episodic migraine were followed for one year; 2.5% developed TM over the course of the year. The use of commonly prescribed medications, particularly narcotics (such as acetaminophen with codeine or Percocet), or barbiturates (such as Fiorinal, Fioricet and Esgic) were associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of new onset of TM.
Principal investigator and senior author of the study, Richard Lipton, MD notes that "this confirms the longstanding feeling among many doctors that certain medications used to treat migraine may increase the frequency of headaches if overused. These findings have important public health implications."
Headache - December 10, 2008;Epub.
Sugary Beverage Consumption On The Rise
Over the past two decades, the number of adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches has increased dramatically, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"More adults are drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and, among those drinkers, consumption has increased," said Sara N. Bleich, PhD, lead author of the study. "From 1988 to 2004, the percentage of sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers increased five percent. Per capita consumption of energy from sugar-sweetened beverages increased 46 kilocalories (kcal) per day, and daily sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among drinkers increased 6 ounces per day."
Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was highest among young adults (231-289 kcal/day), who consumed roughly 20% of their sugar-sweetened beverage calories at work, and lowest among the elderly (68-83 kcal/day). Among race/ethnicity groups, the percentage of sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers and per capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was highest among blacks followed by Mexican Americans. Overweight/obese adults who were trying to lose weight were less likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages compared to those who were not, but they still consumed a considerable amount from 1999 to 2004 (278 kcal/day).
"Although this analysis does not attempt to estimate the effect of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on obesity incidence, a number of studies have linked sugar-sweetened beverage consumption to obesity and type 2 diabetes," said coauthor Youfa Wang, MD, PhD. "Based on these nationally representative surveys, our study found higher sugar-sweetened beverage consumption also happened to be among populations at greater risk for obesity. There are few signs of improvement over the past decade and the situation seems to become worse among young adults aged 20 to 44."
AJCN - January 2009;Epub.
Aerobic Exercise - Effective At Suppressing Hunger
A vigorous 60-minute workout on a treadmill affects the release of two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while 90 minutes of weight lifting affects the level of only ghrelin, according to a new study. Ghrelin is the only hormone known to stimulate appetite. Peptide YY suppresses appetite. Consequently, the research shows that aerobic exercise is superior at suppressing appetite than non-aerobic exercise.
In this experiment, 11 male university students did three eight-hour sessions. During one session they ran for 60 minutes on a treadmill, and then rested for seven hours. During another session they did 90 minutes of weight lifting, and then rested for six hours and 30 minutes. During another session, the participants did not exercise at all.
During each of the sessions, the participants filled out surveys in which they rated how hungry they felt at various points. They also received two meals during each session. The researchers measured ghrelin and peptide YY levels at multiple points along the way.
They found that the treadmill (aerobic) session caused ghrelin levels to drop and peptide YY levels to increase, indicating the hormones were suppressing appetite. However, a weight-lifting (non-aerobic) session produced a mixed result. Ghrelin levels dropped, indicating appetite suppression, but peptide YY levels did not change significantly.
Based on the hunger ratings the participants filled out, both aerobic and resistance exercise suppressed hunger, but aerobic exercise produced a greater suppression of hunger. The changes the researchers observed were short term for both types of exercise, lasting about two hours, including the time spent exercising.
American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology - November 2008;Epub.
The ABCs of Nutrition
The New Year is upon us and it's a great time to talk about nutrition and basic snacks for adults and kids.
Make sandwiches using whole-grain bread, natural almond butter and unsweetened jelly, baked or roasted meats, and sliced vegetables (cucumbers, red peppers, etc.). Don't forget some sprinkles of flax seed. Another great sandwich option is a "wrap." This can be done by purchasing whole-grain or gluten-free tortillas and wrapping up healthier protein and vegetable sources. For example, start with baked turkey or chicken and add any or all of the following: cucumbers, sprouts, red peppers, hummus or a handful of beans. These choices are a definite improvement over what most children consume during their lunch hour.
Pack It Right
Part of putting together a healthy packed lunch is having the right storage containers. Be sure to use an insulated lunch box that will hold up to four small food containers and a thermos. When purchasing lunch containers, consider purchasing at least two sets; this will eliminate the hassle of having to wash them each night. As for the thermos, be sure it is the wide-mouth variety, which can be used for many purposes (drinks, soup, etc.).
Water Is Best
When it comes to healthy lunches, milk, juice and soda should be avoided whenever possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, juice consumption contributes to cavities and gastrointestinal issues in children. Many health authorities believe milk plays a role in childhood allergies. So, what should they drink? The best choice is water in a stainless steel container. That way, you're promoting "green" and at the same time saving money by not using plastic bottles.
Cubes of baked chicken, turkey or tofu are all great sources of protein that can be packed in a small lunch container. Limit processed meats (some children develop allergies, headaches and behavioral problems from the chemicals in processed meats) and plan ahead when making dinner. Leftovers can be cut into bite-sized pieces and eaten as finger food. A hard-boiled egg is also a great source of protein.
That wide-mouth thermos can bring great variety to an average lunch. Chili beans (another great source of protein) with organic tortilla chips for dipping can break up a boring lunch routine. At home, start to prepare homemade soups and stew, which will help steer your children away from the chemicals and high salt content found in many store-bought brands.
One of the side dishes we need to encourage kids to enjoy is green vegetables (snap peas, broccoli, zucchini slices, etc). Don't forget to expand the color spectrum (squash, red and yellow bell peppers) to include the antioxidant family. Introduce a healthy dip like hummus. You can also find healthy vegetable-based dips in whole/health food stores and major chain stores.
Fruit is also a great side dish, but try to avoid fruit cups and processed roll-ups. Your child's lunch will be much healthier if it includes sliced or chopped organic fruit topped with shredded coconut, raisins or raw nuts instead of processed snacks.
Consider putting together a grain salad - for example, couscous or steamed, long-grain brown rice with chopped cucumbers, red peppers, baby carrots or a similar vegetable. Marinate the chopped vegetables in a salad dressing for a few days prior to preparing the salad. Drain the vegetables and then mix them in. This will add moisture to the salad, reducing the need to add excess dressing.
Create a Menu
Your children know better than you do what they're going to want for lunch, so it's important to let them participate actively in the selection and preparation of their lunches. When children are included in the process, they are more likely to finish what they started.
As a parent, where do you begin? Start by committing to only healthy lunch choices. This might involve spending a few hours with your children at a bookstore or library, or searching on the Web. What are you looking for? Cookbooks and other resources that focus on whole/natural menus for kids. Then develop a planning board so your children can mix-and-match their lunch menu for the week.
Using a white board, poster board or something similar, draw out five columns and label them for each day of the week. Using color-coded Post-It notes, index cards or colored paper, create a square for each lunch option. For example, put protein options on blue cards/paper, vegetable options on green, fruits on yellow and snacks on pink.
Each weekend, let your children select from each of the food cards and build a five-day lunch menu for the upcoming school week. Remember that while this is being done, the entire family can begin preparing and prepackaging some of the choices that can be frozen or stored for a few days. When Monday rolls around, you'll be ready to go with healthy options for your kids' lunches!
You Are the Teacher
It's important to remember you have to be your child's advocate when it comes to eating healthier lunches. If we let this meal go to the "waste side," we are not only losing another opportunity for children to grow up healthy with the necessary building blocks, but also missing the opportunity to teach them that each meal counts and can have great taste appeal.
- Whole-wheat and other whole-grain breads provide dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Leafy green vegetables are typically low in calories and high in dietary fiber, iron, calcium and phytochemicals.
- Tomatoes, yellow peppers and other brightly colored vegetables are packed with antioxidants.
- Modest amounts of lean meat provide essential protein. Avoid processed meats and try meatless substitutes.
- Cheese and other dairy products contain protein and calcium. As with meat, avoid processed cheeses and experiment with nondairy substitutes.
Have fun, and experiment. Try picking a new, fresh (if possible, locally grown and organic is the best) fruit or vegetable to try each week. Make it a family event by allowing your children pick the fruit or vegetable and then research how to prepare and eat it.