Posted in children, food, Health, news

Child Goes “Blind” From Junk Food Diet: The Growing Malnourishment Epidemic

A case report in Annals of Internal Medicine describes a teen who went “blind” from a junk food diet.

A 14 year-old boy described as a “fussy eater” presented to his doctor with fatigue after years of eating meals rich in fries, white bread, chips and processed meat.  He was told to take supplements when they found him to be iron and B12 deficient but progressively over the next 3 years he began to suffer from vision loss.  Upon lab testing he was found to be deficient in iron, copper, selenium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B 12. And upon further testing was found to suffer from optic neuropathy.

He was further treated with supplements and now is under the care of specialists including nutritionists and eating disorder specialists.

His condition stabilized but reportedly he still has deficits such as blind spots  in the middle of his vision (central scotomata), rendering him “legally blind.”

This wasn’t the first case of nutritional optic neuropathy.

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Above is a picture of the fundi of a 28 year-old male who suffered from central vision loss as a result of his diet which consisted of heavy alcohol use.  The progression of his disease has stabilized with intervention but he too has had to learn to adapt to his central scotomata.

Our eyes need vitamins such as A, a variety of B’s, C, E, and omega-3 fatty acids to name a few.  Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and for protection against diabetes and cancer.

Most fast food is rich in carbohydrates, fats, salt and preservatives, and lacking in rich nutrients and amino acids.

So comes the question, are the majority of our youth “malnourished?”

Unless our children are eating diets rich is fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy and health fats, they could be at risk of not receiving vital nutrition.

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Vitamin supplementation helps but may not satisfy all the nutritional needs of a growing child.  Hence in addition to the millions of children who suffer from malnourishment due to poverty, millions more are expected to suffer similarly as a result of poor diet choices.

This is a developing story.

 

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

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Posted in food, Health, news

Most Americans Don’t Realize They’re Speaking Yiddish

If you ever had to nudge someone to get off their tush and fix a glitch….then you’ve yodelled some good ole Yiddish.

Yiddish is a language most commonly spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. Its roots are believed to have originated in 1250 when Jews began to migrate to the German Rhine Valley and then east to Central and Eastern Europe.

It’s a mixture of languages including Hebrew, German, Aramaic, Slavic and Romance languages.

As opposed to Aramaic, the language of learning, and Hebrew, the language of prayer, Yiddish was the common, regular day-to-day language.

Yiddish became very popular where millions spoke it by the early 1900’s.  After the Holocaust, however, its use dropped drastically.  However many words and phrases are still spoken strong in multiple countries, and some have even been adopted as mainstay vernacular.

Take America, for example. The following words are used ubiquitously, with few knowing of their Yiddish roots.

  • nudge – came from noodge, to pester, nag, bore
  • bagel – comes from beygl, a ringed bread food
  • lox – from laks, salmon
  • blintz – crepe
  • glitch – a small malfunction
  • -nik – someone aligned with a movement such as Beatnik
  • klutz – someone who’s clumsy
  • slob – one who is unkempt
  • tush – from tuchas, buttocks

and that’s just a bissel (small amount) of it. A full comprehensive list of Yiddish words can be found here.

So next time your buddy invites you over for a bagel and lox, get off your tush, schlep over there, and schmooze a little.

 

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in food, Health, news

How to Prevent Your Next Shart

You think you’re safe. Tummy’s grumbling, gas a bubbling, and you want to let it out.  A coworker leaves their desk and you have a moment of freedom.  Assuming the other coworkers aren’t short of 20 feet downwind, you attempt to let the gas out, easy and quietly.  But instead..no sound, no air….but a warm mushy, wet feeling takes over.  Your shorts become heavy and woah…you’re soiled and so is your suit.  What happened??? You’ve just become a victim of a shart…….

 

What is a Shart?

Made famous in the 2004 comedy, Along Came Polly, “shart” combines the words “S$%t” and “Fart”.  Medically speaking, it’s when you pass stool instead of passing gas.

It may be a sign of gastrointestinal illness if happening frequently but usually its a rare occurrence, with negative consequences from a social perspective.

 

How can we tell if we’re about to Shart?

Fortunately sharting is predictable, but the signs are subtle.

Usually the fart prior to the shart is not very gassy. It’s usually small and you feel like you need to poop soon.  If you forget and minutes later try to pass gas, poop will come out instead.

Most sharts involve wetter stool, since passing a constipated rock is not that easy and triggers the rectal sphincter to tighten a bit prior to passing.  So if your stool is running loose, you may be more inclined to shart if you pass gas.

 

How can we prevent a Shart?

Firstly, have good bowel health. Eat foods that form stool that is firm but not hard.

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Per this Bristol Stool Chart, types 4-5 are ideal.

Secondly try to stay on a predictable stooling cycle. If you have a bowel movement each morning before going to work, you hopefully should be less likely to need to poop during your shift.

Thirdly, eat a balanced diet that helps you have regular bowel movements and avoid foods that give you gas.

Fourthly, you can wear extra padding like I do…..

 

padding

 

Finally, go to the bathroom when you feel the need to pass gas.  If you’re sitting on a toilet, you’ll plop rather than shart, and your pants will thank ya.

 

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

Posted in food, Health, news

Death Reported After Eating Five Day Leftover Pasta

The death of a 20 year-old Belgium student who ate leftover pasta has gotten attention this week from a report published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

“A.J” had eaten spaghetti and tomato sauce that was prepared 5 days earlier and left at room temperature. Within 30 minutes he began feeling ill with abdominal pain, headache and nausea and vomiting.  Later that evening he had diarrhea and when his parents went to check on him the following morning he was found dead.

A post-mortem exam suspected he passed away within hours at approximately 4 am as a result of Bacillus cereus poisoning.

Dr. Bernard on a YouTube video highlighting the case report states he went into acute liver failure.

B. cereus bacteria reproduce quickly at room temperature and can produce an emetic toxin that causes illness within 30 minutes.

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Leftover food safety

To help avoid food poisoning, the USDA recommends the following:

  • Be aware of the “Danger Zone” in which bacteria can grow on food between the temperatures of 40 – 140 degrees F.
  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours, one hour if outside temperature is above 90 degrees.
  • Perishables should be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees F or colder
  • Wrap leftovers thoroughly to retain moisture and keep other bacteria out.
  • Throw out leftovers after 3-4 days. Food can be safely frozen for 3-4 months.
  • Cook food thoroughly. Red meat to 145 degree F, Ground meat to 160 degree F and poultry to 165 degree F.
  • Reheat food to 165 degrees.
  • Cool food quickly so food doesn’t stay hot in the refrigerator cultivating more bacteria. Divide food up into smaller containers to allow a speedier cool.
  • When in doubt throw it out.

 

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

Posted in food, Health, news

Reusable Water Bottles Harbor Poop Bacteria

A study out of Brazil finds reusable water bottles to be as filthy as a toilet seat.

In this small study, researchers sampled 30 water bottles used by people at the gym and compared them to unused, new water bottles. They found the following:

  • 83% had bacterial contamination
  • 27% contained Staph. aureus
  • 17% contained E. coli

among other contaminants.

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Staphlococcus aureus

 

Although Staph. aureus and E. coli occur naturally in human orifices such as the nose and colon respectively, both have been implicated in multiple diseases.

 

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E. coli

 

This echos a 2016 study published by Treadmill Reviews which compared straw top to slide top to squeeze top to screw top reusable bottles and found the slide top design to be the worst in contamination.

 

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Study author, Dr. Gilmar Weber Senna of the Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro told Runner’s World, 

“We tested in a real-world scenario, by surprise, asking for [bottles of] those who were arriving at the gym at those particular days……. We did this to avoid an intentional over-cleaning.”

Medical experts believe steel, metal or glass bottles may provide better protection against harboring pathogens.  Studies need to determine which water canister is the safest.

For now, clean the bottle out regularly, wash your hands before grabbing it, and watch where you set it……

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in food, Health, news

You’re mom’s chicken soup – healthier than you think

Updated from Dec. 2011

 

We all endured it…our mothers forcing us to drink “Zoup” to help our sore throats, coughs, even menstrual cramps.  “But Mom…you’re not a doctor”…well moms have more medical wisdom than we give them credit for.

Chicken soup was the cure for everything in my household…and I mean it..it cured.  Was it because of its warmth, its taste, the fact that Mommy was doting over me?  Nope… it was because we were ingesting a bowl full of antioxidants, antiinflammatories, amino acids, and anti-histamines.  Tasty, huh!!!

So what has to be in chicken soup to make it healthy?

First, it will go down easier if it’s in the form of a liquid…just a suggestion.  The warmness soothes the throat and stimulates circulation.

 

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The salt helps fight bacteria.

 

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And even though as kids we picked out the vegetables, the carrots, celery, and onions provide much needed vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that seep into the juice.

 

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Moreover whole chicken pieces, including the cartilage, have been proven to be antiinflammatory.

 

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No wonder we feel better.  It’s an antibiotic, pain pill, antiinflammatory, steroid, and fluid bolus all in one!!  Just wait….some pharmaceutical company will realize they can capitalize on this and cram it into a pill, or better yet, suppository.   Hope they master grinding down the celery stick.

Either way, Mom has her hands full.  So next time you see your Mom, take a deep breath, suck it in, and tell her that she was right.

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My Mommy xoxo

 

And if the thought of Mom saying “I told you so” sickens you….just have her whip up a batch of chicken soup.  Looks like it works like a charm.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in food, Health, news, sex

Did the Legalization of Marijuana Lead to a Rise in STD’s and Foodborne Illness?

Reports of increasing cases of STD’s appear to correlate with the legalization of marijuana.

Could marijuana be leading to a complacency when it comes to handwashing and condom use?

STD-Trends

 

This Fall the CDC reported a continued rise in cases of sexually transmitted diseases by the following:

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2017, according to preliminary data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C. This surpassed the previous record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases and marked the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in these sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

And this week, the World Health Organization sounded the alarm of rising HIV cases in Eastern Europe.

At the same time more countries are easing up on legal restrictions when it comes to marijuana.  Which leads to the question, has the legalization of marijuana led to the rise in STD’s?

BackgroundChecks.org released this graphic displaying STD rates by state.

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Strikingly, there are some similarities to a map outlining state cannabis programs.

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Cannabis use is known to decrease anxiety and motivation and so an unintended consequence of increasing access to its use may be the decrease in precautionary thinking when it comes to unprotected sex.

Rare STD Evading Doctors and May Become Next Superbug

 

On that same note, multiple outbreaks have been reported in the food industry when it comes to pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, Hepatitis A and Listeria.  Could complacency with proper food handling and hand washing be related to marijuana use?

Multistat-eOutbreaks-byYear

This could easily be analyzed by screening those with an STD for marijuana use, as well as those involved in a foodborne illness outbreak.

Now the legalization of marijuana allows more studies to be done to to determine its health benefits. I suggest, however, we also study, any links to complacency issues when it comes to home and workplace safety and exposures.

 

Why is food borne illness on the rise?

Multiple issues could be playing a role.

  1. Fresh produce is not cooked like meat and can therefore harbor more germs
  2. Preservatives, used in fast food, help to deter pathogen growth, and more people are shying away from fast food than in the past, opting for “fresh”, healthier options.
  3. On-the-go produce may not be washed after packaging due to a false sense of security that the vegetables are “clean.”
  4. As our population ages, and as more people suffer from immunocompromising disease such as diabetes and cancer, they may be more susceptible to food borne illness.
  5. Our gut microbiome has changed as our diets have shifted to food with more preservatives, hence possibly being less resilient to new pathogens that enter.
  6.  In regards to the ground turkey, it is not the same as ground beef and leaving the patties pink in the center mean you are consuming raw poultry. Turkey meat may need to cook longer until no pink is seen and core temperature is at least 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds
  7. We’re less strict about cleaning than we used to be.  Counter tops used to be bleached and scrubbed for longer periods of time than we do now-a-days with antimicrobial wipes.

Therefore be diligent about cleaning counter tops, cook your food thoroughly, wash produce before eating and be aware of any reported recalls.

 

A Review of Syphilis

Syphilis is also called “the great imitator”.  Many don’t realize they have syphilis as the symptoms mimic so many other diseases.  Syphilis has been on the rise and hasn’t been routinely tested in STD/STI panels.  It’s caused by a spirochete (spiral bacteria) called Treponema pallidum, and can cause infection in stages.

Primary Syphilis can manifest as a painless ulcer on the genitals, mouth or skin.

Secondary Syphilis can manifest as a rash, along with fever, joint pain, malaise…mimicking other illnesses. In this stage it can also manifest as warts on the genitals called condylomata lata.

 

Syphilis

 

As the course progresses, syphilis may become latent. For years one may have no symptoms at all.  The patient may mistakenly feel they suffered the flu and think nothing more of it. But if left untreated, syphilis can enter the final stage, Tertiary Syphilis, which can cause severe neurological disability (neurosyphilis) and can also severely affect the heart.

Penicillin is the treatment of choice for any stage of syphilis, including the latent stage of the illness.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada