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Weight Loss

Many of our patients who don’t usually partake in the practice of medicine other than their regularly required annual physician visits, would be appalled to learn the truth about the lack of nutrition training in medical school.

Our A4M fellows and faculty assure us every day that most traditional physicians practicing medicine in our country today are not given ample time or training on nutrition during their many years as students.

Globally, studies indicate that more than two billion adults and children across the globe are overweight or obese, and suffer from related health problems. This number equates to one-third of the world’s population.

The saddest part about this topic is that our own country is suffering from an obesity epidemic where more than one in three U.S. adults and one in six children (ages 2-19) are obese; this data includes that one in 11 young children (ages 2-5) are obese.1

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death and as physicians, we would be lying if we did not say these numbers do not reflect in our practices.

How many obese patients do you see? How many of your patients are overweight?

Do you feel fully equipped to discuss eating, diets, and exercise with them?

We know from experience that this is not an easy topic. Harvard Medical School published an article on habits to encourage weight loss that we have shared with our community. It brings to light the fact that “eating healthier” is not so much the mystery here; it is more the changing of a person’s everyday habits that make them able to combat being overweight.

Eating slower, consuming more even-sized meals and making the time to prepare healthier meals while at home were among the likely habit-changing suggestions in this article2. A daily weigh-in on a digital scale was suggested as more effective than calorie tracking since evidence of weight loss on an actual scale proved to remove weight and keep it off. But the most surprising habit listed was regarding sleep.

Sleep, another topic we have covered in our education at A4M was classified as a habit tied to weight loss. Studies show that the shorter time someone sleeps, the more at risk they are to becoming obese or overweight. Recent articles suggest that these people are up eating…and those same people who are up and eating, are not eating kale and nuts. They are eating the things that hurt like ice cream, chips, and cookies.

If you want to learn more about fighting weight and helping your overweight patients with their related health issues, we can help. We will provide you with proven clinical strategies that can be used to optimize your patients’ health and provide diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic interventions. Visit us this December at our 25th Annual World Congress and get actively involved in fighting this epidemic and ultimately changing your patients’ lives.

1National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Fact Sheet: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/factsheets/factsheet_nhanes.pdf. January 2016. Accessed October 4, 2017.
2Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. 5 Habits that Foster Weight Loss. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/5-habits-that-foster-weight-loss? February 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.
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No More Pricks: Trading blood tests for tear tests?

Here at A4M, we are all about moving forward into the future of medical care. How many years have we been drawing blood to detect health and nutritional deficiencies in our makeup?
Too many.

We are actually starting to see that this may now change. We may have figured out that we may not need to be pricked by a needle to get tested.
A study now suggests that tears could be considered an alternate source of diagnostic fluid for testing for nutritional deficiencies.

Researchers from Michigan Technological University in partnership with UP Health System -Portage in Michigan have determined that tears are not only easier to produce than blood, but tears are also easier to work with when analyzing as a fluid.

Maryam Khaksari, study author and research specialist at Michigan Tech, said studies show that people with nutritional deficiencies blink more than those without deficiencies. “We hypothesized that nutrients are transferred to the living cells of your cornea through your tears,” Khaksari said. “We would like to translate the information we have for blood to tears. In this paper, we did show that there are correlations between vitamin concentrations in tears and blood – so it’s possible.”

The researchers involved in this study retrieved samples of both tears and blood from 15 different families that each had a four-month-old child. The samples taken from a child and a parent were then compared between tears and blood, infants and their parents, and against self-reported dietary intakes.

Multiple vitamins were all detected in both the tears and blood, and although Vitamin A was only found in the blood samples, researchers claim this is only the beginning. This project is the first step which proved vitamins are detectable in tears, and that they do correlate with blood levels. “Our goal was to seek the viability of establishing measurable vitamin concentrations in tears for nutritional assessments,” Khaksari said. “Your body cannot manufacture vitamins, and vitamins reflect available food sources in your body. That’s what makes them good indicators of nutritional health.”

We fully understand that this is only the start of the discussion regarding the trade of blood for tears, but we are very excited to follow this research and report back to all of our followers that there may be a day where we don’t have to have a needle draw blood to determine everything!

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Diagnostic for Early Biomarker of Cognitive Decline

Arterial spin labeling (ASL), a promising magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that doesn’t require injection of a contrast agent, can detect signs of cognitive decline in the brain even before symptoms appear, say researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

Sven Haller, MD, and colleagues studied 48 healthy elderly participants and 65 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The participants underwent brain MRI and a neuropsychological assessment, a common battery of tests used to determine cognitive ability. At clinical follow-up 18-months later, of the 148 healthy individuals, 75 remained stable, while 73 deteriorated cognitively.

Those who deteriorated had shown reduced perfusion at their baseline ASL MRI exams, particularly in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area in the middle of the brain that is associated with the default mode network, the neural network that is active when the brain is not concentrating on a specific task.

Declines in this network are seen in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and are more pronounced in those with Alzheimer’s disease. “There is a known close link between neural activity and brain perfusion in the posterior cingulate cortex. Less perfusion indicates decreased neural activity,” Dr. Haller said. “ASL MRI is simple to perform, doesn’t require special equipment and only adds a few minutes to the exam.”

The results suggest that the technique has the potential to serve as a biomarker in very early diagnosis of preclinical dementia. Early detection of cognitive decline is vital, as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, are most effective in this early phase.

Xekardaki A, Rodriguez C, Montandon ML, et al. Arterial Spin Labeling May Contribute to the Prediction of Cognitive Deterioration in Healthy Elderly Individuals. Radiology. 2014, Oct 7. 

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