Newsletter 04/19/18 – Slurp, sleep, schlep, repeat

To My Patients and Friends,

Here are some of the latest highlights from the medical journals.  Lots to report… I’ve tried to keep it brief and have selected the most relevant topics.  Enjoy!

Sweet dreams
According to a recent study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, just one night of poor sleep can increase brain levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that accumulates on the surfaces of the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  So be sure to protect your sleep by implementing the following sleep-hygiene basics:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Avoid naps if possible
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime
  • Avoid exercising too close to bedtime (but be sure to exercise regularly)
  • Have a quiet, comfortable bedroom
  • Have a relaxing pre-bedtime routine (a warm bath, quiet reading under dim light, etc.)
  • Avoid watching TV or using screens while in bed
  • Don’t linger in bed for more than 20 minutes if you can’t fall asleep… better to get up, sit quietly for a while and then return to bed

Heartfelt praise for coffee
… and after that good night’s sleep, enjoy your cup of java.  A recent Australian study suggests that a morning cup of coffee or espresso may not only be safe for people with atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm abnormalities, it may in fact reduce the frequency of arrhythmias.  Disclaimer: highly-caffeinated energy drinks may not fall into the “safe” category!  Read more here.

Get up and go
UCLA researchers recently determined that sitting for long periods each day may actually lead to thinning of critical brain regions associated with memory, and can ultimately lead to cognitive decline as we age.  It’s not news to anyone that we could all use more exercise, but this is just one more good reason for us to get up and move around as much as we can.  Read more here.

Think twice
Another study from Cleveland, Ohio involving 38,000 patients demonstrated that a second blood pressure reading (after siting quietly for five minutes or so) will often yield a better reading and may even spare you from an unnecessary BP prescription.  So please make sure your doctor or nurse checks twice before sending you on your way, especially as the second reading is considered to be more accurate.

And speaking of hearts and minds
This snarky but insightful commentary sheds some light on the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry.  Spoiler alert: not pretty.

But the good news is…
We can take action to  prevent these costly diseases in the first place.  I end with this optimistic and informative piece on cancer prevention.

That’s all for now.  Be well, sleep tight, and have a nice weekend!