Diet: Consuming Olive Oil Daily Lowers Heart Risks

Consuming just a half-tablespoon or more of olive oil a day is linked to a lower risk of dying from heart disease and other chronic health conditions, new research suggests.

photo of a hand holding a bottle of olive oil and drizzling it on a dish of quinoa

The study included more than 92,000 women and men from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, who filled out diet questionnaires every four years for 28 years. Olive oil intake was calculated from how much they reported using in salad dressings, on bread and other food, and in baking or frying.

Compared with participants who rarely or never consumed olive oil, those who consumed the most (about a half-tablespoon or more daily) had a 19% lower risk of dying from heart disease during the study. Researchers also noted lower death rates over all among people who substituted olive oil for a similar amount of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, or dairy fat. The findings, published Jan.18, 2022, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, lend further support for choosing olive oil — a key component of the heart-friendly Mediterranean diet.

Read more at Harvard Health

Strokes: Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Treatment

Subarachnoid hemorrhages account for approximately 1.2 million cases of stroke each year, and nearly 40% of those cases are fatal. Dr. Rabih Tawk, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon explains the early signs of a subarachnoid hemorrhage and how it’s treated.

Bleeding in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage, a medical emergency, is usually from a bulging blood vessel that bursts in the brain (aneurysm). It may lead to permanent brain damage or death if not treated promptly.

The main symptom is a sudden, severe headache.

Hospital care is needed for supportive care and to stop bleeding and limit brain damage. Treatment may include surgery or catheter-based therapy.

Telemedicine: UCM Digital Health Aids NY Hospitals

Telemedicine could soon offer relief local emergency rooms desperately need.

UCM Digital Health offers a digitally integrated, whole person health solution that provides patients with immediate access to care on their terms.

UCM combines a digital front door platform, multi-disciplinary team of providers, and a 24/7 telehealth triage, treatment, and navigation service to provide a range of patient services, including emergent and urgent care, primary and specialty care, behavioral health, and more. Care begins digitally and can seamlessly integrate across other points of care for a simple patient experience.

UCM brings together clinical expertise, advanced technology and compassionate care to offer powerful advantages for insurers, employers, patients and providers.

Artificial Intelligence: Its Benefits For Radiology

Using artificial intelligence in health care seems like a futuristic concept, but it’s something that’s being used now to complement the knowledge of doctors. Radiology was one of the first areas that saw a lot of AI applications.

Dr. Bradley Erickson, director of Mayo Clinic’s AI Lab, says in the case of radiology, machine learning is used to complete some of the more time-consuming work. Beyond that, the diagnostic capabilities of AI are what attracts a lot of the appeal. While imaging-related AI has seen a lot of advancements, Dr. Bhavik Patel, director of AI at Mayo Clinic Arizona, says the next step is looking at AI applications for preventive health and shifting the mindset from pipeline to platform thinking.

There are a broad area of applications (for AI), starting in radiology, but really spreading into the rest of the clinic, including cardiology and even pathology.

Medicine: Graves’ Disease Autoimmune Disorder

Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Although a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is a common cause.

Thyroid hormones affect many body systems, so signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease can be wide ranging. Although Graves’ disease may affect anyone, it’s more common among women and in people younger than age 40.

The primary treatment goals are to reduce the amount of thyroid hormones that the body produces and lessen the severity of symptoms.

Medical Conditions: Signs And Treatment Of Sepsis

Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues. When these infection-fighting processes turn on the body, they cause organs to function poorly and abnormally.

As sepsis worsens, blood flow to vital organs, such as your brain, heart and kidneys, becomes impaired. Sepsis may cause abnormal blood clotting that results in small clots or burst blood vessels that damage or destroy tissues. If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which can lead to death.

Nearly 270,000 people in the U.S. die each year as a result of sepsis, and one-third of people who die in a hospital have sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Signs of sepsis

To be diagnosed with sepsis, you must have a probable or confirmed infection, and all of these signs:

  • Change in mental status.
  • Systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — less than or equal to 100 millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg.
  • Respiratory rate higher than or equal to 22 breaths per minute.

Signs of progression to septic shock include:

  • The need for medication to maintain systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 65 mm Hg.
  • High levels of lactic acid in your blood, which means that your cells aren’t using oxygen properly.

Treatment

Early, aggressive treatment increases the likelihood of recovery.

A number of medications are used to treat sepsis and septic shock, including antibiotics, corticosteroids, painkillers and sedatives. Supportive care, including oxygen and dialysis, and surgery to remove the source of the infection, also may be needed.

People who have sepsis require close monitoring and treatment in a hospital ICU. Lifesaving measures may be needed to stabilize breathing and heart function.

Read more at Mayo Clinic

COMMENTS:

The hospital is a dangerous places to be, and the most common cause of death there is sepsis. Sepsis is an underappreciated killer, and it’s getting more common because people are aging, devices are more commonly implanted into the body, immunosuppressive treatment is being used more commonly, and hospital acquired infections are increasingly resistant to treatment.

Sepsis can be caused by an overwhelming infection with bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses, fungi, and severe trauma. Low blood pressure is a common  problem, and is associated with change in mental status, and increased breathing rate in raising a red flag for sepsis. Endotoxins play an important, if confusing, role. Endotoxins derive from Gram negative bacteria, but the most common bacterium causing sepsis is the gram positive staphylococcus aureus. With sepsis, though,the gastrointestinal tract may become more leaky, and Gram negative organisms may thereby gain  access to the blood stream.

A ccmmon test to detect sepsis is the serum lactate, which becomes elevated if oxygen utilization is diminished, such as in sepsis. There is also a direct test for endotoxin in the bloodstream, performed by using LAL, or Limulus amebocyte lysate. This substance, derived from the cells of the blood of the horseshoe crab, is very sensitive to endotoxins, and coagulates in its presence. This test is also used to detect endotoxins in Biological products and devices, making horseshoe crab is quite valuable.

Maintaining general health, keeping up on your immunizations, wishing your hands, keeping cuts and burns free from infection, ovoid smoking, controlling diabetes and avoiding hospitals whenever possible are useful preventative techniques.

—Dr. C.

Dr. C’s Journal: Flat Feet And Overpronation

Flat feet will exempt you from the draft, but that is where are their benefit stops. This condition can be inherited, but the arch can also fail to develop during puberty.

The entire bottom of the foot will contact the ground when walking if you have flat feet.

Overpronation happens when the way you walk causes the arches of the feet to flatten even more, putting a strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your arches. Overweight and running a lot on hard surfaces accentuates this problem, and pain in the ligaments in the arch of the foot is the result.

Overpronation may be indicated by excessive wear on the inside of the heels and soles of your shoes, and can cause all kinds of problems such as Achilles tendinitis, iliotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and even knee, hip, or back pain. these things may  develop in compensation to overpronation while walking.

As an older person, I have pretty much given up tennis and running, and walk rapidly for long (for me) distances in order to get sufficient exercise. Without noticeably increasing my walking, I have recently developed tenderness in the arch of my left foot that made walking painful. Curling my toes, and walking on the outside of my feet seemed to alleviate the pain. This is an exercise that I remember from my childhood, and may have been shown me because of my moderately flat feet.

Swimming for Exercise, and decreasing the amount of walking seems to have corrected the condition at least temporarily, but I have also ordered some orthotic inserts for my shoes as an arch support, in case I need them going forward. I have been told that if this is insufficient I can go to a specialty store and order some special shoes that might help. I have not mentioned painkillers such as NSAIDs, because I try to avoid them

Please check with the accompanying references for more information about flat feet and over pronation.

—Dr. C.

Read more

Eye Disorders: The Types And Causes Of Myopia

Image

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is a very common condition that typically starts in childhood. Severe forms of myopia (pathologic myopia) are associated with a risk of other associated ophthalmic problems. This disorder affects all populations and is reaching epidemic proportions in East Asia, although there are differences in prevalence between countries.

Myopia is caused by both environmental and genetic risk factors. A range of myopia management and control strategies are available that can treat this condition, but it is clear that understanding the factors involved in delaying myopia onset and slowing its progression will be key to reducing the rapid rise in its global prevalence.

To achieve this goal, improved data collection using wearable technology, in combination with collection and assessment of data on demographic, genetic and environmental risk factors and with artificial intelligence are needed. Improved public health strategies focusing on early detection or prevention combined with additional effective therapeutic interventions to limit myopia progression are also needed.

Read more

Dr. C’s Journal: Plantar Fasciitis And Foot Pain

Our feet are subjected to such abuse that it is amazing we don’t have more problems with them. But problems there are, and I have been having some. I will be exploring the different types and causes of foot pain  beginning with this article on plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a triangular web of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot that begins at the heel and fans out to attach to the toes. With repeated stress, it can become torn or inflamed and caused pain.

The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually centered around the heel, on the bottom of the foot. It is often absent first thing in the morning, produces a stabbing pain on first walking, and goes away with activity; you can “walk it off”. Plantar fasciitis is usually slow to heal and may take several months

The doctor will usually make the diagnosis by your story(history), and the localization of the pain. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs or necessary only if there’s a suspicion of a stress fracture.

Conservative treatment focuses upon stretching exercises and orthotics, but there are various types of injections, shockwave therapies, ultrasonic tissue repairs, and surgeries that some people need.

A particularly interesting treatment cited was the injection of platelet rich plasma from your own blood to promote healing. I recently read that this technique, in addition to a collagen scaffold  is currently used to treat rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee.

Of course, prevention is the ideal. Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Supportive shoes, with thick soles and good arch support will help. stretching exercises are also helpful as a preventative.

Please check with the Mayo Clinic article for more information.

—Dr. C.

Read more

Empowering Patients Through Education And Telemedicine