Monthly Archives: February 2014

Doctors’ Germ-Laden Stethoscope May Spread Nasty Bacteria

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Stethoscopes help diagnose and heal, but this primary tool of physicians also has significant potential to spread germs from patient to patient, a new study reports.

The diaphragm of a stethoscope — the round piece placed against a patient’s body — can become filthy with antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as potentially deadly MRSA, researchers found.

They discovered that a diaphragm will pick up more bacteria during a patient examination than any part of the doctor’s hand except the fingertips.

The tube of the stethoscope also can become laden with bacteria, and the contamination level of both the diaphragm and the tube increases with the amount of bacteria on the doctor’s fingertips, the study said.

“Germs are acquired from the patient’s skin in contact with the stethoscope, the same way hands usually get colonized with the patient’s germs,” said study senior author Dr. Didier Pittet, director of the Infection Control Program at University of Geneva Hospitals, in Switzerland.

“The important implication is that the stethoscope, whether used by a doctor, a nurse, an assistant nurse or any staff, needs to be cleansed after each use,” said Pittet, who also heads the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety at the hospitals.

The potential of health care professionals to inadvertently spread disease through their tools or attire is becoming an area of focus because of concerns about the rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

Epidemiologists — experts who study disease patterns and causes — raised the possibility in January that doctors may want to ditch their traditional attire of white coat and necktie, since the articles of clothing can become contaminated and are not easily washed between patients.

The new study compares the level of contamination on physicians’ hands and stethoscopes.

In the study, physicians examined 71 patients using sterile gloves and a sterile stethoscope.

After doctors completed the examination, researchers measured the bacteria on the tube and diaphragm of the stethoscope. They also tested the fingertips, ball of the thumb, palm and back of the physicians’ hands for bacteria.

They found that the stethoscope and the fingertips tended to be more contaminated than all other parts of the physicians’ hands, both with bacteria in general and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) specifically. They also found that the contamination level of the stethoscope increased with contamination of the hands.

“Although infection cross-transmission from one patient to another has not been demonstrated in this study, it seems clear that staff and doctor stethoscopes constitute an extension of their fingertips in terms of risk for germ’s cross-transmission,” Pittet said.

“Hand hygiene remains the primary measure for the prevention of hospital infections, and appropriate handling of stethoscopes — their cleansing immediately after use — should be part of good patient care practices,” Pittet said.

The study results are published Feb. 27 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Leaders of two primary care medical societies said they weren’t surprised by the study findings, and called on doctors to practice better hygiene.

“The numbers are alarmingly low on the frequency of handwashing among physicians,” said Dr. Charles Cutler, chair of the American College of Physicians Board of Regents. “We’ve got to get it to 100 percent between patients. Anything less than that is not good enough.”

Medical schools emphasize that students should regularly wash their white coat and tie, and wipe down their stethoscopes between patients, said Dr. Daniel Spogen, chair of family and community medicine at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ board of directors.

“Being a practicing physician, there are things that we carry from room to room between exams, and the stethoscope is the main one,” Spogen said. “We encourage them to douse their stethoscopes between patients, but some days when you’re moving quickly between patients, you sometimes can forget.”

Cutler and Spogen said patients should feel free to speak up and ask health care professionals to wipe down a stethoscope before using it. Don’t worry about offending your doctor, they said.

“If I were a patient, I would want to be certain that took place,” Cutler said. “If the doc is offended, the doc better go back to school.”

More information

For more information on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gene Study Offers Clues to Why Autism Strikes More Males

By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new DNA study begins to explain why girls are less likely than boys to have an autism spectrum disorder.

It turns out that girls tend not to develop autism when only mild genetic abnormalities exist, the researchers said. But when they are diagnosed with the disorder, they are more likely to have more extreme genetic mutations than boys who show the same symptoms.

“Girls tolerate neurodevelopmental mutations more than boys do. This is really what the study shows,” said study author Sebastien Jacquemont, an assistant professor of genetic medicine at the University Hospital of Lausanne, in Switzerland.

“To push a girl over the threshold for autism or any of these neurodevelopmental disorders, it takes more of these mutations,” Jacquemont added. “It’s about resilience to genetic insult.”

The dilemma is that the researchers don’t really know why this is so. “It’s more of an observation at a molecular level,” Jacquemont noted.

In the study, the Swiss researchers collaborated with scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine to analyze about 16,000 DNA samples and sequencing data sets from people with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders.

The investigators also analyzed genetic data from almost 800 families affected by autism for the study, which was released online Feb. 27 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

The researchers analyzed copy-number variants (CNVs), which are individual variations in the number of copies of a particular gene. They also looked at single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), which are DNA sequence variations affecting a single nucleotide. Nucleotides are the basic building blocks of DNA.

The study found that females diagnosed with any neurodevelopmental disorder, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and intellectual disability, had more harmful CNVs than males who were diagnosed with the same disorder. Females with autism also had more harmful SNVs than males with the condition.

“There’s a well-known disparity when it comes to developmental disorders between boys and girls, and it’s been puzzling,” Jacquemont said. “And there have been quite a bit of papers trying to investigate this bias that we’ve seen in the clinic.”

The study authors pointed out that autism affects four boys for every one girl. The ratio increases to seven-to-one when looking at high-functioning autism cases.

It’s an interesting study, said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

“It’s not an easy study to read, but certainly the take-away suggests it tries to lend further support to the assumption that the ratio of males to females [who have autism] is affected by genetic vulnerabilities — that it has a genetic underpinning,” Adesman said.

What do the findings mean for parents and patients?

Adesman said there are no immediate benefits, but the knowledge can help direct future research.

“This isn’t going to lead to a breakthrough in treatment, but from a clinical standpoint it may help researchers and academics understand why it is that developmental disorders seem to be more common in boys than girls,” he noted.

The new research also reinforces that genetic differences — or vulnerabilities — aren’t limited to sex chromosomes, Adesman added.

“The presumption has been, ‘Well gee, boys have a Y chromosome and girls don’t, so are there problems with the Y chromosome that explain it?’” Adesman noted.

“The bottom line is that there are a lot of different genetic abnormalities and atypicalities that result in developmental disorders in children and adults,” Adesman explained. “Women seem to be a little more resilient in terms of being able to have minor abnormalities without having a developmental problem.”

Jacquemont agreed that the team’s discovery opens the door for new avenues of study.

The findings provide ideas “for deciphering the issue further,” said Jacquemont. “One study that might be helpful would be trying to understand what are the symptoms that appear a lot faster in males than females. There are a lot of alleys that could be explored.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about autism.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercises

What’s the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises?

Aerobic- In the presence of oxygen

Anaerobic- Without the presence of oxygen

That’s the basic definition of the two general types of exercises. To be a little bit more specific, aerobic exercises are the ones that cause your heart rate to increase for an extended period of time. Think of exercises such as running, swimming, exercise bikes, etc. These types of exercises burn fat or calories to meet their energy needs.

Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, are high-intensity activities that build up an appreciable oxygen debt. Basically, this means that these exercises are too intense for your body to supply the oxygen that is necessary for long periods of time. Anaerobic exercises burn a type of muscle sugar called glycogen to meet energy requirements.

Not all exercises are purely aerobic or anaerobic. Power lifters probably do the most anaerobic of all exercises. Their goal is to maximize their strength for just one lift. Power lifting exercises usually involve low numbers of repetitions at very heavy weights. It doesn’t get much more anaerobic than that.

Body builders, on the other hand, tend to focus on sets that fall into the range of anywhere between 5-15 repetitions with some breathing. Their workouts are still very anaerobic.

Now, it might be easy to just say that all weight lifting is anaerobic while running is always aerobic. That would be a mistake. Instead of thinking about the type of exercise being performed, think more about the intensity and how it is being executed. Sprinting is a very anaerobic exercise, while weight lifting can actually be aerobic.

Circuit training is an excellent example of aerobic weight lifting. In circuit training, light weights are used and exercises are done back-to-back with little or no rest between.

There are Two Types of Endurance:

You will have to build two types of endurance in order for your body to perform well when you lift weights. The two types of endurance are:

Muscular Endurance: This is the ability of your muscles to contract over and over during an exercise and to effectively utilize the maximum number of muscle fibers possible.

Cardiovascular Endurance: This relates to your circulatory system. Your heart and lungs need to be able to efficiently bring oxygen to the muscle sites during exercise and also carry away waste products such as lactic acid.

These two types of endurance are actually complementary and quite necessary.

For example, what is the use of having excellent cardiovascular endurance if your muscles can’t keep up while you exercise? And on the other hand, how well will your muscles perform during a lifting exercise if they have incredible muscular endurance but your cardiovascular system is unable to deliver the oxygen they need?

Not breathing properly deprives your brain of the oxygen it needs and can cause a person to pass out. Just think of the damage that could be caused if you were to pass out while holding heavy weights above your head, or while squatting with hundreds of pounds on your back!

Remember to keep breathing!

For More FREE Info Click Here!

How quickly did you see results?

Evening all

Just wondered how soon into the plan you started noticing a difference? I’m only on my third day and I might be a bit mental but I swear my trousers were a tiny bit looser today. I’m a massive snacker and used to eat from Pret a manger all day and usually a takeaway at night so maybe it’s just my body sighing with relief

Steph x

5 Delicious Pistachio Recipes

5 Delicious Pistachio Recipes

February 26, 2014 | By Sophia Porotsky


Happy National Pistachio Day! Delicious pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts—you can munch on a whopping 49 of these green gems for just 162 calories.

Pistachios also contain essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium and vitamin K, which support bone health, and powerful antioxidants such as lutein, which supports healthy skin and vision.

Why not celebrate the amazing pistachio today? Enjoy the nuts either as a snack or as an ingredient in one of these five delicious recipes:

Winter Salad with Pomegranate, Clementine, and Goat Cheese


Ingredients: Clementines or navel oranges, champagne vinegar, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, winter salad greens, pomegranate seeds, pistachios, goat cheese

Calories: 209

Try this RecipeWinter Salad with Pomegranate, Clementine, and Goat Cheese

Red and Black Fruit Salad


Ingredients: Red plums, raspberries, blueberries, sugar, fresh orange juice, cinnamon, unsalted pistachios, mint

Calories: 90

Try this recipeRed and Black Fruit Salad

Tropical Trail Mix


Ingredients: Honey, canola oil, ground allspice, ground ginger, raw almonds, raw cashews, raw pistachios, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried pineapple, dried papaya

Calories: 162

Try this recipeTropical Trail Mix

Cardamom-Pistachio Biscotti


Ingredients: Whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground cardamom, salt, eggs, sugar, roasted unsalted pistachios

Calories: 23

Try this recipe: Cardamom-Pistachio Biscotti

Fruit and Nut Bark


Ingredients: Dried cherries, unsalted pistachios, crystallized ginger, dark chocolate

Calories: 189

Try this recipe: Fruit and Nut Bark

Obesity Rates in Young Children Dropped 43% in Past Decade

Obesity Rates in Young Children Dropped 43% in Past Decade

February 26, 2014 | By Health Editor


By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Obesity still looms large in the United States but the scale’s relentless climb may have leveled off, according to the latest results of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

One-third of adults and 17 percent of children and teens are obese, said CDC researchers who focused on more than 9,000 adults and children in 2011-2012 and compared them to five previous obesity analyses dating back to 2003-04.

“We found overall that there was no change in youth or adults,” said study author and epidemiologist Cynthia Ogden.

But within specific age groups, weight shifts were apparent. More older women are obese, but very young children seem to be slimming down.

One specialist in childhood obesity was pleased with the overall findings.

“I tend to be an optimist. The fact that we are seeing a leveling off is actually a good thing,” said Dr. Sara Lappe, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s who specializes in childhood obesity.

Obesity in adults is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is a calculation of body fat based on height and weight. A 5-foot 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds has a BMI of 30 and is considered obese, for example.

Obesity in kids is defined as a child who has a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.

Ogden said the results for preschool-age children are a bright spot in the findings.

“We found among preschoolers, 2- to 5-year-olds, there was a significant decrease in obesity,” Ogden said. Prevalence of obesity in children that age dipped from 14 percent in 2003-2004 to about 8 percent in 2011-2012, she noted.

Cleveland Clinic’s Lappe said: “I think this piece of the study is actually good. There are a lot of early intervention programs in Head Start and preschools, and education directly to parents that may be starting to pay off.”

“Hopefully,” Lappe added, “as they [the children] get older, we’ll see the numbers come down.”

The authors of the study, published in the Feb. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, report that many preventive health programs and efforts have been launched by the government in recent years to combat the obesity epidemic in the United States.

These include new food labeling measures by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state and community programs sponsored by the CDC, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program.

Even so, the overall numbers haven’t inched down. In fact, obesity prevalence ticked up in women 60 and older, from less than 32 percent in 2003-2004 to more than 38 percent in 2011-2012.

Overall, more than two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese, and more than 6 percent are extremely obese.

There hasn’t been a big impact on prevalence in the last eight years, but at least there’s a leveling off, said obesity expert Dr. William Yancy, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

“There are a bunch of competing factors that make it hard for people to manage their weight,” Yancy said. “Genetics are involved, chemicals in foods and the environment may be involved. Clearly, the food environment stimulates us to eat more and more higher-calorie foods, and our environment also encourages us not to be active.”

Those factors make it “really difficult” to maintain a healthy weight, he said. “I liken it to how difficult it is to get people to stop smoking,” said Yancy. As with smoking, he said, it may take bigger policy changes to bring prevalence down, such as taxes and restrictions, but it’s a complicated matter.

“People have to eat but they don’t have to smoke, and there’s a lot of controversy about what’s a healthy food and what’s not,” Yancy said.

Ogden agreed there’s no simple solution. “Obesity is obviously a multifactorial problem. It’s very complex,” he said, adding that surveillance of obesity in the United States will continue.

More information

To learn about First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to reduce obesity, visit the Let’s Move program.