Tag Archives: SMA

Straight, No Chaser: The Health Benefits of Red Wine

It’s the start of a new week, and we’re coming off a lot of Straight, No Chaser posts on alcohol, so let’s just address some questions you’ve asked about the benefits of alcohol.
So alcohol is good for me now (especially after all those other blog posts)?
red-wine-health-benefits

Red wine has been known to provide specific health benefits for at least 10 years now. Of course, you have to interact with it in a certain way to receive these benefits. More on that in a bit, but yes, moderate alcohol consumption (especially red wine) does have a direct, beneficial effect on the heart.

Can you be more specific?

red-wine-and-heart-health

Ok. The skin and seeds of red grapes contain substances called flavonoids. Flavonoids reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) production, increase good cholesterol (HDL) production and reduce blood clotting, all of which are significant risks leading to many instances of heart disease. Each of these actions by flavonoids independently reduce the risk of heart disease.
Ok. So how much wine should I be drinking per day? 
If you’re drinking “for the health benefits,” a four-ounce serving is generally what’s recommended for women, and 4-8 ounces works for men. Higher levels of daily consumption than this introduce health risks that offset any benefits.
Is this true for all wines?

redwine-ecg

Unfortunately, not to the same extent. Here are two simple (and admittedly overly simplistic) rules regarding the number of healthy flavonoids in wine.

  • Red wines are better than whites.
  • Bitter red wines are better than sweet wines.

The best red wines have been found to be Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir.
So should I start drinking if I don’t already?

red-wine-ink-heart

Probably not. Most drinkers don’t have the discipline to limit their consumption to just one 4-8 ounce serving of red wine a day, and alcohol comes with too many other health risks to offset the benefits of not drinking at all. This is especially true in those with existing health conditions such as hypertension, pancreatitis, depression, high cholesterol/triglycerides or congestive heart failure. Besides, grape juice has been shown to offer the same benefits!
Enjoy your week, just remember (as I always say): good health isn’t found at the bottom of a bottle!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser In The News: A "Smart Drug" That's Actually Safe and Effective

smartdrugsmodafinil
When I hear medical news that’s too good to be true, it usually is. However science evolves, and new discoveries must be evaluated. Typically my first thought is “consider the source.” More often that not, the credibility of a claim is highly correlated with the credentials of the individual making it and/or the source publishing it. Another very important consideration is “does the discovery or proposed mechanism of action make sense in the context of what we know about anatomy, physiology and science?”
brainup
To that end, review of 24 existing studies on the topic and research at Harvard University and Oxford Universities have concluded that a safe and effective “smart drug” exists. This drug is named modafinil, and it is currently used for treatment of narcolepsy (a brain disorder that causes affected individuals to suddenly and uncontrollably fall asleep at inopportune times). You may have heard of “smart drugs” in the past, within the context of students using medications to enhance performance on tests – but this conversation goes beyond that use. This Straight, No Chaser will frame the conversation in “question and answer” form for your review. This is fascinating stuff!
smartpill
1. How does this drug work on the brain? The prevailing (and admittedly oversimplified) thoughts are that modafinil may increase blood flow to specific sections of the brain that control attention and learning, and it may enhance activity in areas of the brain that manage memory, problem-solving and reasoning skills. At this point specific effects on a cellular level are not well understood.
smartdrugsstupill
2. What does this drug do to make one “smarter?” The data is pretty clear that modafinil can enhance attention, improve decision-making abilities, improve learning, improve problem-solving capacity and make certain individuals think more creatively. Research has also shown that modafinil’s effect were even more pronounced the long and more complex the task, and it made completing tasks more pleasurable.
3. Has this drug been used in this context before now? Modafinil is licensed and prescribed in the UK as Provigil and has been used since 2002, although it is not prescribed as a “smart pill.” Surveys in respected journals note that 44% of those seeking drugs to improve focus prefer modafinil.
4. Is this drug safe? Answering these types of questions is typically what makes physicians start equivocating, but the answer appears to be yes. In the context of short-term use, modafinil has very few side effects and no demonstrated addictive qualities. Importantly, the drug appears to have miminal effect on mood. It is acknowledged that ongoing information is needed regarding long-term use and its effects. Regarding negative effects, one study in the review showed those already deemed “creative” saw a small drop in that creativity, but this was not a consistent finding.
5. Does it work in both healthy and unhealthy people? Modafinil appears to be safe and effective in healthy and unhealthy individuals.
smartdrugsRitalin-on-off-label
6. How does this compare to other “smart drugs” like Ritalin? Other drugs have a much more pronounced side effect profile than modafinil, meaning modafinil appears to be an overall safer drug.
7. Is this drug available? It’s available for use in narcolepsy but not in the context of improving performance. There really are two considerations. It would be difficult at best to obtain permission to conduct a research examining the long-term effects on the brain of such a drug; this presents a serious ethical dilemma. Similarly another ethical question is whether healthy individuals should be allowed to have access to a drug that improves performance when no problems exist? The manufacturer has indicated that they will not pursue license for modafinil in this context.
Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be much more to come on the topic. In the meantime, the smart choice would be to guard your overall health.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Taking a Daily Aspirin

aspirin-for-heart-disease-and-prevention-of-cancer1-500x375

Thanks for your enthusiastic response to yesterday’s post on taking an aspirin.  Today, I’ll follow up with some of your questions.
So you’ve been told to take a daily aspirin to reduce your risk of a heart attack because you likely fell into one a high-risk category. Here are some logistical considerations about what to do.
1) Is there a better time of day to take an aspirin?
Recent data suggests that most heart attacks occur early in the morning. The best time to take an aspirin is relatively soon before you have that heart attack. However, since your heart doesn’t give you a heart attack alarm clock (and many of us aren’t especially mindful of heart attack recognition), the best move would seem to be to take an aspirin before going to bed, and recent research supports that an aspirin taken before going to bed offers the most protection from a heart attack. There are limitations to doing this (e.g. taking aspirin on an empty stomach if you have a history of ulcers may not prove to be the most pleasant thing), and you should discuss such timing with your physician.
2) Is there a better dose of aspirin to take?
That’s a question your physician will answer and is dependent on your personal situation. That said, doses as low as 75-81 mg have been shown to be effective. You may be placed on any dose up to 325 mg/day. It really is important to take an aspirin dose recommended by your physician for this consideration.
3) Is it better to chew or swallow an aspirin?
Chewing an aspirin is the quickest way to achieve effective blood levels. In case you were thinking about taking an alka-seltzer (which contains aspirin), that’s also good – but it’s just not as good as chewing an aspirin.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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From the Health Library of SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: "Is skin glue as good for stitches for laceration repair?"

laceration_chindermabond_chinlac0

So your child has been cut.  S/he is writhing in pain and anxiety and lives in deathly fear of needles.  The doctor tells you that you have options.  Your child can be strapped down, sedated or… the laceration can be repaired with some variety of ‘medical glue’?  Let’s briefly look at what it means to use a skin adhesive for laceration repair.

  • The main advantage to skin glue is that it is quickly applied and virtually painless to use if applied correctly.  Occasionally a small amount of burning will be felt after application.
  • There are no needles, papooses, or putting the child to sleep.
  • The main disadvantage to skin glue is that sometimes the cosmetic result may not be as good as with stitches, especially if the laceration is in an area of high skin tension or if it’s in an area where the child can pick the wound apart.  It is very important to understand that if you can’t control your child to the extent to if s/he picks at the wound, you can’t come back and get stitches later.
  • In short, in most instances it’s as good of an option as stitches.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

About SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: "Is SterlingMedicalAdvice.com right for me?"

Everyone, whether insured or not, can register for SterlingMedicalAdvice.com.

  • If you enjoy being empowered with more knowledge and control over your healthcare, SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is for you.
  • If you appreciate the security of having healthcare professionals available to answer urgent questions for you and your family 24/7,  SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is for you.
  • If you prefer not to waste time and money on unnecessary ER and physician visits, SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is for you.
  • If you represent a corporate entity looking to reduce healthcare related costs and provide a healthcare benefit to your employees, SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is for you.
  • If you are an educator who wants to empower the next generation with a robust complement of health and medical knowledge while measurably improving our nation’s public health outcomes, SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is for you.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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About www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: "Why would I need this? I already have insurance!"

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Insurance covers most of the costs of the care you need when you need it. However, did you forget that insurance comes with co-pays and deductibles?

  • Before receiving any insurance benefit, patients pay $1,500 in deductibles on average. The year’s deductible alone is 2½ times the cost of a year’s subscription to SMA.
  • Emergency room (ER) and urgent care facility co-pays average between $50–$150. Patients have an additional responsibility for about 30% of the total cost of the bill (the average ER bill comes to about $1,200/visit; your share comes to about $400). So you’re still paying approximately $500/ER visit, even if you have insurance – and that’s after you’ve exhausted your deductible! Even one ER visit with insurance is more expensive than a year’s subscription to SMA.

One of the main purposes of www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com is to save you multiple ER visits over the course of a year.
SMA works inside your insurance (included as part of your deductible, for example) to reduce additional yearly expenses. Try us, and experience the difference!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

About www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: How is this different than online libraries?

betterinformed
When you join SMA, you gain a live personal healthcare consulting team!
Whenever your SMA consultants chat with you, they have your personal health information in front of them. This is the information you give us in our initial questionnaire and which we update during every chat. Every interaction with SMA is customized and personal, which makes all the difference in getting you the best answer to your questions.
With SMA you are not just looking through an encyclopedia, though you do have an extensive resource of health information at your fingertips.
Try us, and experience the difference!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

From the Health Library of SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: “What signs or symptoms should I look for in my child as an indicator of mental health issues?”

peds behavior
Be aware of changes in your child’s emotional, behavioral, and/or mental functioning. Remember that children often express sadness and feelings of depression in the form of anger, through outbursts, tantrums, etc. If the symptoms persist for more than a month, seek evaluation from your child’s doctor or a mental health professional.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress