Posted in Entertainment, Health, music, news

Charlie Daniels Dies of a Stroke, Age 83

Monday morning, singer, songwriter and multitalented musician, Charlie Daniels, died of a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83 in Tennessee.

In addition to hits such as “The Devil Went Down in Georgia,” the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member acted, playing himself in “Urban Cowboy”.

He previously successfully battled prostate cancer, but did suffer a previous stroke years prior.

This is a developing story……

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop
  • Tongue that deviates to one side

and more…..

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.


What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

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 Health, music, news

Why Music Helps One Sleep

A study from the University of Sheffield has found people find music, such as Perfect from Ed Sheeran, to be the most helpful sleep aid.

Looking at 651 respondents, study authors found 62% used music to lull themselves to sleep and genres chosen included Classical (Mozart, Chopan), Pop (Ed Sheeran, Coldplay) and Brian Eno (rock, ambient techno).

The Guardian reports the following:

When streaming service Spotify analyzed its users’ Sleep playlists, it found Sheeran was the most commonly chosen artist, although this is probably down to his ubiquity rather than some hitherto unexplored somnolent quality in his music. In fact, his three most popular tracks on Spotify all hover slightly above the ideal bpm rate for sleep: Perfect comes in at 95bpm, Shape of You at 96bpm and Happier at 90bpm. Still they are notably slower than the 117-122 bpm that has characterized most popular music from the 1940s until today.

How does music affect sleep?

Although we don’t know for sure why music helps one sleep, we believe it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing relaxation, slower breathing, slower heart rate, and digestion.

A study in 2017 performed by neuroradiologist, Dr. Jonathan Burdette, found any music that appeals to an individual will better connect a “default mode network” in the brain seen on functional MRI.


Brain-on-music (1)



Another study from the University of Helsinki found music to affect the receptors of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in mood.

Another theory is music distracts one from thinking about his/her day thereby reducing stress hormones and epinephrine that may be triggered from anxious thoughts.


Sleeping Pill Use “Worse than Smoking”

Arizona State University researchers last year reported the use of use of sleeping pills is “worse than smoking” for one’s health.

Sleep researcher, Shawn Youngstedt, told CNN, “They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.”

For years sleeping aids including antihistamines (ex. diphendyrdramine), benzodiazepines (ex. lorazepam, alprazolam), non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic (ex. Ambien) have been studied and linked to side effects including:

  • Sleep walking
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • and more

In 2012, a study of 10,500 people found those who used sleeping pills were 4X as likely to die in the 2.5-year study than those who didn’t use medications for sleep.

Dr. Kripke and his colleagues at Scripps also found a 35% increase risk of cancer, noting lymphoma, lung, colon and prostate cancer risk was worse than that of smoking.

Also in 2012, a study published in Thorax, found benzodiazepine use linked to the severe lung infection, pneumonia.

In 2014, a study from China Medical University in Taiwan found only four sleeping pills a year increased risk of heart attack by 20% and 60 tablets a year was linked to a 50% increase.

A separate study found an increased risk of aortic dissection with sleeping pill use.




What causes insomnia?

Insomnia is a disorder where one has difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep.  Many factors can cause insomnia. These include:

  • Medications (stimulants, decongestants)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Neck and back arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory conditions (asthma, COPD)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Urinary frequency
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological conditions
  • Sleep apnea

and of course environmental issues such as noise, temperature, and kitty cats.

Treatments for insomnia

Treating insomnia can be complex.  We begin by treating the underlying cause, such as any of those listed above.  Then we can try the following:

  • Lowering the room temperature to an average of 65 degrees F
  • Shut off artificial lights 1-2 hours before going to bed
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Dinner  including foods rich in tryptophan (fish, nuts, tofu, turkey, eggs and seeds)
  • Warm bath
  • Cognitive and/or behavioral therapy
  • Aromatherapy including lavender
  • Black out curtains to keep out light
  • Daily exercise
  • Listen to low volume music such as classical, the blues, or jazz
  • to name a few.

Youngstedt also suggests exercise. He states its “healthier” than using sleeping aids and “research suggests those who are physically active have a lower risk of developing insomnia in the first place.”

Now it could be that those who suffer from certain medical conditions are more at risk of insomnia but more needs to be studied in terms of why these medications are linked to poor health outcomes.




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

Posted in Health, news

Musical Tampon Earns “Nobel” Peace Prize

We’ve known that babies respond to music while still in the womb but what if the music was in stereo sound coming from the vagina?  Researchers Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte, from the Institut Marqués proved that a fetus could hear and benefit from music as early as 16 weeks old.   Previous research had demonstrated response to sound at 25 weeks gestation.

3D ultrasound technology demonstrated the fetus, as seen below, opened his mouth and extruded his tongue when music was played intravaginally.



A Babypod “musical tampon” transmitted the harmonious sounds, more acutely than would be transmitted transabdominally.

It retails for about $170 and has been recommended to be used for only 20 minutes a day to expose the fetus to musical sounds.  Whether the mouth gyrations were due to fetal stress or a positive fetal response has yet to be confirmed.

This research earned the scientists an Ig Nobel Peace Price, a humorous/parody Nobel Peace Prize awarded for research that “makes people laugh, then think.”

Would the average pregnant woman want to insert a subwoofer into her vagina…..I think not and wouldn’t want to be the one to ask her to do it….


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

Posted in Health, news

Global Blindness Expected to Triple by 2050

Image above from Telegraph.UK

A study published this week in Lancet Global Health reveals, without increasing access to treatment, the number of cases of blindness will rise from 36 million cases reported in 2015 to 115 million by 2050.

The cause is the growing aging population, even though the actual percentage of the population with visual impairment is declining.

Factors leading to blindness may include diabetes, stroke, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and trauma.

In addition to these startling numbers of vision loss, moderate to severe visual impairment cases are set to surpass 550 million by 2050.

Study author, Rupert Bourne of Anglia Ruskin University, reviewed population based data from over 188 countries and found currently 200 million people suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment.

Bourne states, “Interventions provide some of the largest returns on investment. They are some of the most easily implemented interventions in developing regions.”

He continues, “They are cheap, require little infrastructure and countries recover their costs as people enter back into the workforce.”

Even minimal visual impairment can prevent those affected from obtaining a driver’s license or performing many activities, resulting in economic hardship.


The study authors hope this news could help shape future public health policies as well as encourage more investment into cataract surgeries and access to eyewear.

One is deemed “legally blind” when their central visual acuity falls under 20/200 (in the better eye under the best corrected circumstances) or their visual field is 20 degrees or less.

Childhood Vision Impairment

According to Prevent Blindness Northern California, 3% of children under 18 in the US are blind or visually impaired, despite maximum correction efforts.

In 2015, the American Community Survey (ACS) reported 455,000 children in the US with vision impairment.  Of these, 62,000 are legally blind, according to the 2015 Annual Report from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Sadly, not all states have schools for the blind.

Leslie Jones, marketing and special events director of Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF), tells us, “Nevada is one of a handful of states without a school for the blind, and what resources are available through the Clark County School District are severely limited (there are just 11 Teachers for the Visually Impaired {TVIs} for more than 500 visually-impaired students needing resources from the Vision Services department).”

Foundations such as the NBCF try to fill the gap with services these children need.

Jones states, “Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) works alongside CCSD to provide additional after-school educational and adapted recreational programs and services to ensure that these underserved children are given what they need to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

A child’s development and windows for learning necessitate early intervention.  Programs slow to enroll or lacking funding burdens blind children more as they fall behind in learning and development.  Building schools for the blind, such as in Nevada, will help thousands of children lessen their disability.

nv blind children

To help the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, please visit: here.




Dr. Daliah Wachs with Children from NBCF – Lady Bug Ball 2017



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

Posted in Health, news

E-cigs Should Not be Used to Help Curb the Obesity Epidemic

While we’re winning the war on tobacco, we’re fueling the obesity epidemic.  Americans kept themselves slim for decades puffing on a cigarette, some mistaking the hunger pains as a need for more nicotine.  Some purposely curbing their appetite reaching for a smoke.

In the 1920’s Lucky Strike targeting female consumers by promoting the appetite suppressant effects of their cigarettes.




Over the years, adults have wised up to the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, and chronic respiratory infections, and tobacco users have fallen to record numbers, 16.8% to be exact.  Last year, however, the CDC reported 36.5 % of Americans are obese, more than doubling since the 1980’s.


imrs (1).jpg     obesity chart


Now smoking cessation doesn’t get all the blame for our obesity crisis.  Junk food being cheaper than healthy food, fast food franchises opening up on every street corner, and the average consumer being inundated with plastic products, manipulating one’s metabolism have led to higher weights.  But when someone who used cigarettes to curb their appetite can’t reach for one anymore, weight happens.

So many Americans trying to quit smoking have turned to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs.  They “vape” a vapor composed of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, water and flavorings.

In 2011, Yale researchers looked into how nicotine can decrease the appetite by studying receptors in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain involved in appetite.  Activation of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) cells within the arcuate nucleus region decreased appetite and food intake and additionally increased energy expenditure, according to Mineur et al.

Nicotine patches and gum have been used anecdotally as well for weight loss.  Further research has found nicotine to decrease blood glucose levels, increase insulin resistance and break up stored fat.

Yet nicotine is not without its risks as its one of the most addictive agents out there, equal to that of heroin according to some experts.  Moreover, nicotine has been found to affect the kidneys, heart, and induce cancer in studies involving  the lungs, GI, breast, and pancreas.

The safety of vaping liquid in e-cigs has been debated as well as the chemicals involved may seem benign at room temperature but what happens when the internal e-cig coil turns the liquid into vapor?

So how can we combat the obesity epidemic if we want consumers to avoid tobacco and stay clear of nicotine and vaping liquid?

Going back to 2011, the Yale researchers also looked at cytisine, a plant compound similar to nicotine, and it worked on the POMC cells as well.   According to WebMD, cytisine is found in the seeds of the golden rain tree, and has been used in Eastern Europe for decades to help smokers quit.  In late 2014, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found cytisine to trick the brain into thinking it was getting nicotine and was more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping smokers stay off cigarettes in the first week, and after two and six months.

Cytisine, a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, can produce side effects as well such as nausea, vomiting, fast heart rate, but appears to be less toxic than nicotine.

So we have a compound that acts like nicotine and can help stave off the obesity ensuing after smoking cessation.  In the meantime, I would use caution turning to e-cigs.

For more on the harmful effects of nicotine


                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

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





Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Chuck Berry, the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll, dies at age 90

This is a developing story.

Music has lost another legend.  Chuck Berry died at his home near Wentzville, Mo., about 45 miles west of St. Louis, on March 18th.  He was found unresponsive and resuscitative measures could not revive him.  Its believed he had a heart attack.  No autopsy is being planned at this time and according to TMZ his death will be listed as “natural causes”. He was 90.

Songs such as Johnnie Be Good, Sweet Sixteen, and Nadine were iconic in the early days of Rock n’ roll.  And not only could he write and sing the songs America wanted, but he made musicians realize how guitar solos catapulted the music to new levels.    Chuck Berry was a master at the double stop, harmony “lick” where he would bend two strings at once…..a move emulated by musicians for decades.

The St. Charles County Police Department posted the following on their facebook page:

St. Charles County police responded to a medical emergency on Buckner Road at approximately 12:40 p.m. today (Saturday, March 18). Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m.

The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.

The family requests privacy during this time of bereavement.






                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

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