In one “Saturday Night Live” skit, Kristin Wiig plays a woman in a Chantix commercial. As in any real drug commercial, the narrator comes on listing possible side effects: “If you notice … a powerful, overwhelming desire to kill the person you love most, call your doctor right away.” And, “If you notice symptoms such as rashes, fever, droopy lip, jazz hands, Robert De Niro face or Incredible Hulk strength, call the police right away.”
The list of side effects jammed in at the end of real drug commercials often seems staggering, but a new review in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism looked at 1.6 million people with Type 2 diabetes and found that a third of prescriptions for metformin, the first-line drug used to manage diabetes, are never filled. Researchers think the drug’s side effects, like gut problems or having to take one or more pills daily, discourages folks from taking it.
If you’re skipping your prescribed diabetes med(s) or know someone who is, work with your doc or talk to them about doing so. Find a treatment routine to stick with. There are lots of options, more every year.
Taking your prescribed diabetes medication is crucial to help prevent complications like eye, nerve, heart and kidney disease, and AMPUTATIONS! (Lifestyle upgrades also are crucial: daily exercise — 10,000 steps — and avoiding the Five Food Felons of added sugars and syrups, processed grains and sat and trans fats.)
You deserve better health, and you have the power to make sure you get it!
Only breastfeeding or formula for six months: Why is it so hard?
Breastfeeding moms have been harassed for feeding an infant in museums, on planes or trains and in shops and restaurants. One was even arrested last year for breastfeeding in a secluded section of a Walmart in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Such disapproval of public breastfeeding makes is easy to understand why so few women continue exclusively breastfeeding an infant for the first six months as recommended by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In fact, only 51 percent of moms are breastfeeding at all by the time their baby is 6 months old — and fewer maintain an infant on ONLY breast milk or formula for that long.
New data gathered from 2009-2014 finds that only 32.5 percent of babies in the U.S. were introduced to complementary foods (including cow’s milk, juice, sugar water, baby food, water) at 6 months, when it’s recommended. Around 16 percent got such food before 4 months; almost 39 percent at 4 to 5 months.
To make it possible for you to continue feeding your baby only breastmilk or formula for the first six months:
• Develop strategies for pumping: Employers are required to provide a private, clean space to do so.
• After a few months, consider using formula to complement breast milk when heading into potentially difficult situations.
• Ask your doctor when it’s time to add complementary foods, and what they should be.
At least the Pope gets it: He just issued a statement declaring that women are welcome to breastfeed during church services in the Sistine Chapel. Hallelujah!
Go for the greens
Between 1984 and 2010 there were four movies titled “Green”! They ranged in subject matter from a bad LSD trip and living rural (1984), to making money running a marijuana business (2010). All are rated one star.
Somehow they missed the news that the real power of green is to fuel your brain. A new study in Neurology of 960 older folks — average age 81 — found that the top 20 percent of leafy green eaters (they ate an average of 1.3 servings daily) delayed their cognitive aging by 11 years compared with the 20 percent of folks who had never seen a salad they liked (they ate less than a tenth of a serving of leafy greens daily).
The nutrients in green leafy veggies -- such as spinach, collard greens, kale, bok choy, turnip greens, dark-green leafy lettuce, watercress, arugula and mesclun -- that are the brain boosters include vitamin K, lutein, beta carotene, nitrate, folate, the flavonol kaempferol, and a form of vitamin E called alpha-Tocopherol.
So what should you do to get the full recommended amount of seven to nine daily servings of veggies and fruits?
• Eat at least three to four servings of dark-green leafy vegetables; get the rest of your veggies from a variety of colors to maximize your nutrient intake. Opt for at least two servings of fruit (a whole small apple, 1 cup chopped melon) daily.
• Raw green leafy veggies: 1 cup is 1 serving. Cooked green leafy veggies: 1/2 cup is a serving because they cook down.
When Lyme disease lingers, it’s in your body, not in your head!
On a “Seinfeld” episode, Jerry has given Kramer his spare keys, but keeps finding Kramer in his apartment at inopportune times. Finally, Jerry brings a date home, only to see Kramer and his girlfriend emerging from his bedroom. “All right, that’s it. Hand ‘em over,” says Jerry. Finally, Kramer agrees to, but threatens, “You’re going to regret this.” Probably not!
Ushering out a “guest” who just won’t leave is the same as KO-ing a stubborn bacterial infection and restoring your good health. But what if you are infected with a bacteria that just won’t go? Turns out, that’s sometimes the case with the Lyme disease bacteria.
A study in PlosOne reveals that the infection can linger after you’ve taken long-term antibiotics and tests show you’re OK (even though you keep feeling lousier and lousier). That’s because it’s possible for Lyme bacteria to survive the typical 28-day course of antibiotics. In fact, surviving bacteria can migrate to organs like the heart and brain, even when tests for the bacteria show negative results.
So, if you’ve been treated for Lyme disease and fatigue, joint pain, confusion, numbness, heart problems or other hard-to-figure-out symptoms persist, you’re not crazy! Your symptoms well might be related to a continuing Lyme infection. Make sure your doc does another blood test, and that you aren’t misdiagnosed with some other disease. It may be that Lyme is the cause of your symptoms and you need continued, aggressive treatment(s) such as IV antibiotics or other therapies for arthritis or neurological conditions.
the brain creates stuttering
When British actress Emily Blunt hits the big screen as Mary Poppins in the December release “Mary Poppins Returns,” few will guess that she stuttered as a child. She told an interviewer in 2008: “I was a smart kid, and had a lot to say, but I just couldn’t say it … I never thought I’d be able to sit and talk to someone like I’m talking to you right now.”
What changed everything? “One of my teachers at school had a brilliant idea and said, ‘Why don’t you speak in an accent in our school play?’… It was really a miracle,” says Blount.
Well, it turns out there’s a scientific explanation for the brain activity that triggers — or avoids — stuttering. Whether it’s initiated by genetics, a head trauma, premature birth, a birth complication or some unknown factor, it’s a disruption in the motion or muscle movement involved in speaking that causes the speaker to “get stuck.” In a stutterer’s brain, hyperactivity in regions of the right hemisphere causes other brain areas involved in the initiation and termination of motor movements to malfunction.
What does this mean for those who stutter? One day soon, there will be ways of restoring normal function to those brain areas, so motion related to speech starts and stops normally. But until then, the best options are speech therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and using electronic devices that can improve fluency. It also may be smart to consider a future on the stage. Just ask Emily, or Ed Sheeran!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.