Medical Assistant

Skip the following natural cures


Interesting healthsmart article in the July 2015 All You edition which highlights some home treatments for stress headache, menstrual cramps, runny nose, canker sores and recurring yeast infection.

It recommends skipping the following natural cures!

1. oil pulling for oral hygiene which consists of swishing oil around your mouth for up to 20 minutes is said to whiten teeth and prevent cavities. You still have  to brush, floss and schedule a routine dental visit.

2. ear candling for congestion sucks out ear wax and impurities caused by a cold. Research reveals that the candle doesn’t create a suction effect and warns you can get burns or a punctured ear drum.

3. black cohosh for hot flashes refers to an herbal supplement has not proved to be effective in larger studies. You are better off trying meditation or other techniques to control stress which makes it harder to handle hot flashes.

Brave New Worlds In Diagnosing Diseases


Information on the latest generation of test to identify who’s at risk for certain diseases, as well as determine the best treatment.

The Oncotype DX prostate  cancer test analyzes genetic information in a biopsy to distinguish between slow-growing tumors that warrant regular monitoring and faster-growing tumors that dean immediate treatment which avoids aggressive treatment.

By analyzing a person’s genetic code, it’s now possible to predict which drugs will work bet for each patient and which ones are ineffective and possibly dangerous. The FDA has posted on its website more than 150 medications for which DNA screenings can help avert futile treatments.

Instead of a colonoscopy, some people have a new alternative: the PillCam COLON2. It is a disposable, battery-run video camera in a capsule that is swallowed. It travels in the body for up t 10 hours and transmit high-speed color pictures of its journey to a recording device attached to a belt around the waist. One still needs a cleansing prep and any polyps or other findings must be dealt with in the old  fashioned way. For now it is available for  those who can not have a traditional colonoscopy.

AliveCor Heart Monitor ECG Check uses your smartphone to record an accurate ECG and send it to the physician. A thin device with built-in sensors is attached to the back of the phone and a free app is downloaded.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities May 2015

The head-to-toe guide to natural remedies


Great article in June 2015 Real Simple magazine regarding herbs, minerals and even good that can improve health- often with minimal side effects.

For your brain there is information on butterbur, magnesium, melatonin and rhodiola.  People who supplemented with the butterbur herb reduced migraine frequency by 48% in four months. Rhodiola is an herb native to Eurasia which reduces stress and fatigue, improves mental focus and fights depression.

For your eyes there is information on lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For your nose and sinuses there is information again on butterbur, Echinacea and zinc. Butterbur relieves seasonal allergies by shrinking swollen nasal membranes  and blocking the release of histamine, the chemical that triggers sniffles.

For your mouth there is information on vitamin B12 and lemon balm. Applying lemon balm cream to a cold sore right after it surfaces helps it to heal faster.

For your heart there is information on dark chocolate, coenzyme Q10 and garlic. CoQ10 is an antioxidant found in every tissue of the body with its highest concentration in the heart, where it plays a key role in controlling blood pressure.

For your stomach information is included about apples, ginger and peppermint the  latter which is helpful for IBS or chronic stomach pain.

For your skin there is information about arnica, calendula, honey, oatmeal, tamanu oil and tea tree oil. Arnica ointment may help bruises heal fast reducing inflammation and pain. Calendula is a marigold derived extract with antibacterial properties that reduce the risk of infection in open wounds. Tamanu oil is native to the South Pacific Islands and is high in anti-inflammatory fatty acids that may spur the growth of new, healthier tissue.

For your whole body there is information about coconut oil, coffee and curcumin.  The latter is derived from turmeric root which is a primary ingredient of curry powder ad reduces inflammation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Redefined


Between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans have CFS and an estimated 84 to 91% of people with this illness are not diagnosed.

The Institute of Medicine committee recommends CFS be renamed systemic exertion intolerance disease. New diagnostic criteria has been identified to streamline diagnosis. People with CFS demonstrate three core symptoms:

  1. impaired ability to engage in pre-illness levels of activity for at least six months, with profound fatigue
  2. worsened symptoms after any type of exertion
  3. fatigue that persists even with sleep

To be diagnosed, the patient must also exhibit one of two additional symptoms:

  1. impaired ability to think
  2. inability to remain upright, with symptoms that improve when lying down

CFS tends to begin affecting people between the ages of 40 and 60 years and occurs four times more often in women than men.

CMA Today May-Jun 2015


Sleep Soundly

lavender aromatherapy

If having trouble falling asleep, put this plan in place instead.

Set your alarm for bedtime to serve as a visual and auditory clue because maintaining a regular sleep schedule is crucial for mental and physical health.

Avoid social jet lag and stop overscheduling yourself. Many get by with too little sleep during the work week only to try to catch up on the weekend. Try to stick with the same sleep schedule seven days a week.

Have a regular prebedtime ritual: dim lights, read a book, play calming music or do some simple stretching.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Light makes your brain think that it must be morning, throwing off your circadian rhythms.

Dress the bed in layers to enable you to toss sheets ad blankets on and off during the night to stay comfortable.

When drowsy but slightly tense you ma want to try aromatherapy.

If you don’t feel tired until way past bedtime you may want to try melatonin. May 2015

How to assess your risk for skin cancer


Your chances of getting skin cancer are based on heredity- what you’re genetically predispositioned toward- as well as your own tanning and burning history.

  1. Have you or any of your first-degree relatives (parents and siblings) had skin cancer? Yes- having a first-degree relative who has had melanoma  increases your risk by 50%, so does a bout with breast cancer.
  2. Have you ever used a tanning bed? Yes- using a tanning bed for the first time before age 36 increases your risk of melanoma by 75%.
  3. Do your have blond  or red hair, light eyes and skin that burns easily? Yes- fair skinned people are at an increased risk for skin cancer.
  4. Did you ever have a blistering sunburn as a child, or have you had more than five painful sunburns during your lifetime? Yes-these factors double your risk of getting melanoma.
  5. Have you ever had any moles that turned out to be cancerous?  Yes- A prior diagnosis increases your risk as does having more than 50 moles. May 2015

Hidden hindrances to health



Health magazine shares multiple healthy foods that aren’t toxic, but are poisonous to a health-conscious diet:

Dried fruit- Seemingly harmless, dried fruits are normal fruits with water removed. However a cup of dried fruit has five to eight times more calories and sugar than a cup of fresh fruit.

Gluten-free packaged foods often contain cornstarch and brown rice flour as replacements for regular flour and have become more calorically dense. Eat as many whole, natural foods as possible.

Whole wheat bread- Often ground into a fine flour, whole wheat is easy to digest and spikes blood sugar as quickly as processed white bread. Look for 100 percent whole wheat, whole grain or sprouted grain breads.

Tofu is rich in iron, calcium and protein. Tofu sponges up the oil in cooking and the meal can become a fat bomb. Stick to 1 tablespoon of oil when cooking.

Tuna salad- Canned tuna, a hearty source of protein, doesn’t put a dent in calorie counts. But once mayo is added, calories and grams of fat pile on. Substitute mayo with Greek yogurt which offers a fraction of the calories and fat with an addition protein boost.

CMA Today May-Jun 2015

Make Over Your Refrigerator…

If you fill your home with these 15 ingredients, every time you reach for a snack- or cook up a meal- your only option is a healthy one.

  1. avocado- 20% of daily fiber in 1/2 C serving
  2. black beans- boast antioxidants and magnesium which help maintain nerve and muscle function
  3. blueberries- packed with fiber and one of the top antioxidants
  4. broccoli- a vitamin C gold mine
  5. chard- supercharged with nutrients like calcium, B vitamins, and beta carotene
  6. eggs- whites offer protein with minimal calories; yolks are awash with vitamins A and B12
  7. kale- vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and antioxidants
  8. kiwi- twice amount of vitamin C as and orange and twice the potassium as a banana
  9. lentils- protein powerhouse, flush with folate
  10. oatmeal- hold cholesterol in check, help fight heart disease, keep you full, soluble fiber
  11. quinoa- complete plant based protein (all amino acids)
  12. sardines- excellent source of protein, vitamins B12, D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids
  13. sweet potato- the darker the color, the richer the tuber is in antioxidant beta carotene
  14. walnuts- rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good
  15. wild salmon- omega-3 fatty acids improve mood  and help your skin glow

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

How to be healthier… in 24 hours


  1. Wake up happy by energizing every morning: let in the sun and stretch, look at something you love, scent your shower, edit your closet.
  2. Take a walk that triggers a mood boost that last for two hours: boost the benefits by heading outside or get creative indoors, use a pedometer. Don’t have a foot-wear fail, go too slowly, or carry weights.
  3. The most powerful way to fight cancer is to prevent  it: educate yourself about your cancer history. Women who are at risk for types of cancer may need to get screened more frequently and at a younger age. Really quit smoking whether it is electronic cigarettes, hookahs and cigars. A social smoker is still a smoker. Other than sunscreen by taking added precautions and taking time to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure can greatly curb  your chances of getting sunburns and skin cancer. Being overweight or obese is linked to several cancers including breast and uterine cancers. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and include strength training twice a week.
  4. Your grocery list matters- antioxidants and vitamins matter
  5. All males and females should be vaccinated with HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. The vaccine may prevent infection from the strains that cause more than 90% of cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.
  6. Beat stress- take 60 seconds each day to focus on your quality of life. May 2014


20-Second Brain Health Test


Japanese researchers wanted a simple, low-cost test for brain health.

Their solution: Ask patients to balance on one leg for at least 20 seconds. A study of about 1,400 adults, average age 67,, found that those who couldn’t were more likely to have had silent strokes that damaged tiny blood vessels in the brain, affecting balance, memory and skills.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities march 2015