It may seem obvious, but achieving health goals or improving a health condition requires some skin in the game from us. For many, that’s often the hardest thing to maintain. All our reasons, objections or opinions about what’s going on or what’s possible can get in the way.
Fortunately there are some pretty cool new tools and technologies to make paying attention a little bit easier.
A new health tracking app called Nudge lets users score their health behaviors. Nudge leads the charge in apps that sync data from the most popular health tracker apps and wearables including the popular MapMyFitness, Moves, RunKeeper, Strava, Up by Jawbone and FitBit.
This data along with information input by the user produces a Nudge Factor, a score based on Nudge’s evidence-proven algorithm gleaned from multiple studies including United States Department of Agriculture, Center of Disease Control and World Health Organization as well as applied research from an in-house advisory team of sports and health professionals.
Similar to a Klout score for social media influencers, the Nudge Factor ranges from 1 to 110. with 110 representing optimal health. The score is broken down into four categories based on recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, hours of sleep, minutes of exercise and intake of water.
Nudge allows users to connect with others through contacts, social media and Nudge clubs including Outdoor Adventure, Recipe Network, Runners’ Club, Stress Less and Weight Loss. Through clubs users can interact with one another to ask questions and offer motivation, support and healthful tips. Users can also join as circles of friends, coworkers and classmates and participate in friendly competition for the highest Nudge Factor.
Research shows the feasibility of using social networks for weight loss goals and that when others are involved in a supportive role, health outcomes are more likely to be achieved. Nudge is available for free in the iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nudge-yourself/id605363055?mt=8.
See also: Are You Hard Wired For Exercise?
For those who simply can’t get enough data to measure, Mimo Baby, has a set of three baby bodysuits that includes a device used to measure respiration, skin temperature and body position. The product sends the vital-sign information to a smartphone. There’s also a smart sock made by startup Owlet Baby Care Inc. that senses a baby’s oxygen saturation and heart rate.
While having lots of data at our fingertips can be helpful in taking appropriate actions toward health goals, often ‘knowing’ is the booby prize. After all, everybody already knows how to lose weight: diet and exercise. If knowing made the difference, we’d all be thinner, wouldn’t we? The take away here is that informed action can be a powerful tool to achieve
Use of Streptococcus salivarius K12 in the prevention of streptococcal and viral pharyngotonsillitis in children
From Dove Medical Press
Background: Streptococcus salivarius K12 is an oral probiotic strain releasing two lantibiotics (salivaricin A2 and salivaricin B) that antagonize the growth of S. pyogenes, the most important bacterial cause of pharyngeal infections in humans also affected by episodes of acute otitis media. S. salivarius K12 successfully colonizes the oral cavity, and is endowed with an excellent safety profile. We tested its preventive role in reducing the incidence of both streptococcal and viral pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis in children.
Materials and methods: We enrolled 61 children with a diagnosis of recurrent oral streptococcal disorders. Thirty-one of them were enrolled to be treated daily for 90 days with a slow-release tablet for oral use, containing no less than 1 billion colony-forming units/tablet of S. salivarius K12 (Bactoblis®), and the remaining 30 served as the untreated control group. During treatment, they were all examined for streptococcal infection. Twenty children (ten per group) were also assessed in terms of viral infection. Secondary end points in both groups were the number of days under antibiotic and antipyretic therapy and the number of days off school (children) and off work (parents).
Results: The 30 children who completed the 90-day trial with Bactoblis® showed a significant reduction in their episodes of streptococcal pharyngeal infection (>90%), as calculated by comparing the infection rates of the previous year. No difference was observed in the control group. The treated group showed a significant decrease in the incidence (80%) of oral viral infections. Again, there was no difference in the control group. With regard to secondary end points, the number of days under antibiotic treatment of the treated and control groups were 30 and 900 respectively, days under antipyretic treatment 16 and 228, days of absence from school 16 and 228, and days of absence from work 16 and 228. The product was well tolerated by the subjects, with no side effects, and only one individual reported bad product palatability and dropped out.
Conclusion: Prophylactic administration of S. salivarius K12 to children with a history of recurrent oral streptococcal disease resulted in a considerable reduction of episodes of both streptococcal and viral infections and reduced the number of days under antibiotic and/or antipyretic therapy and days of absence from school or work.
Authors: Di Pierro F, Colombo M, Zanvit A, Risso P, Rottoli AS
Published Date February 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 15 – 20
||24 December 2013
||15 January 2014
||13 February 2014
Francesco Di Pierro,1 Maria Colombo,2 Alberto Zanvit,3 Paolo Risso,4 Amilcare S Rottoli5
1Scientific Department, Velleja Research, Milan, 2Pediatric Department, University of Parma, Parma, 3Stomatology Institute, Milan, 4Laboratory of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry, Mario Negri Institute, Milan, 5Pediatric Department, Uboldo Hospital, Cernusco sul Naviglio, Italy
Keywords: Blis K12, pediatric trial, Bactoblis, S. pyogenes, antibiotic therapy
In a TED Talk, Lissa Rankin, MD discusses the results of her research of the medical literature and comes up with lots of examples of spontaneous remissions and placebo effect incidents. What’s going on here?
The same neurotransmitters that show up when we’re relaxed and focused on our own healing or focused on our own health habits are telling. They’re telling us that we are at cause in the matter of our health and happiness. “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”. Watch and learn.
Your can check out her book to get all the scientific evidence you’ll ever need to put yourself back in control of your health.
Fabulous Foodie Fridays Celebrates…Cinco de Mayo, or “the fifth of May” in Spanish, is a day to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride. Not that I need a reason to make my favorite Mexican recipes. With a family of 4 that includes a gluten free vegan, a teenager that prefers her meals out of a box and 2 in between, preparing a meal can be a challenge. One of the things I like best about Mexican cuisine is you have so many options that can be made unbelievably delicious without meat (and gluten free), family and friends won’t give it a second thought.
Easy Veg Nachos
Cinco De Mayo Pizza
Courtesy of Jil Conyers.com
Scripps Florida Scientists Reveal Molecular Secrets Behind Resveratrol’s Health Benefits
29 April 2014 The Scripps Research Institute
Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing “bad cholesterol,” heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now identified one of the molecular pathways that resveratrol uses to achieve its beneficial action. They found that resveratrol controls the body’s inflammatory response as a binding partner with the estrogen receptor without stimulating estrogenic cell proliferation, which is good news for its possible use as a model for drug design.
The study was recently published as an accepted manuscript in the online journal eLife, a publication supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust.
“Estrogen has beneficial effects on conditions like diabetes and obesity but may increase cancer risk,” said Kendall Nettles, a TSRI associate professor who led the study. “What hasn’t been well understood until now is that you can achieve those same beneficial effects with something like resveratrol.”
The problem with resveratrol, Nettles said, is that it really doesn’t work very efficiently in the body. “Now that we understand that we can do this through the estrogen receptor, there might compounds other than resveratrol out there that can do the same thing—only better,” he said.
“Our findings should lead scientists to reconsider the estrogen receptor as a main target of resveratrol—and any analogues,” said Jerome C. Nwachukwu, the first author of the study and a research associates in the Nettles laboratory. “It has gotten swept under the rug.”
In the new study, Nettles, Nwachukwu and their colleagues found that resveratrol is an effective inhibitor of interleukin 6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory protein that is part of the immune system (although IL-6 can be anti-inflammatory during exercise). High levels of IL-6 are also associated with poor breast cancer patient survival. According to the study, resveratrol regulates IL-6 without stimulating cell proliferation by altering a number of co-regulators of the estrogen receptor.
In addition to Nwachukwu and Nettles, other authors of the study, “Resveratrol Modulates the Inflammatory Response via An Estrogen Receptor-Signal Integration Network,” include Sathish Srinivasan, Nelson E. Bruno , Travis S. Hughes, Julie A. Pollock, Olsi Gjyshi, Valerie Cavett, Jason Nowak, Ruben D. Garcia-Ordonez , Patrick R. Griffin, Douglas J. Kojetin and Michael D. Conkright of TSRI; Alex A. Parent and John A. Katzenellenbogen of the University of Illinois; and René Houtman of PamGene International, The Netherlands. For more information, see http://elifesciences.org/content/early/2014/04/24/eLife.02057
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants PHS 5R37DK015556; 5R33CA132022, 5R01DK077085, 1U01GM102148, R01DK101871 and F32DK097890), the Ballen Isles Men’s Golf Association, the Frenchman’s Creek Women for Cancer Research, the State of Florida and the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program, Florida Department of Health (1KN-09).
Full bibliographic information eLife 2014;10.7554/eLife.02057, published April 25, 2014.
Jerome C Nwachukwu, 1; Sathish Srinivasan, 1; Nelson E Bruno, 1; Alex A Parent, 2; Travis S Hughes, 1; Julie A Pollock, 1; Olsi Gjyshi, 1; Valerie Cavett, 1; Jason Nowak, 1; Ruben D Garcia-Ordonez, 1; René Houtman, 3; Patrick R Griffin,1; Douglas J Kojetin, 1; John A Katzenellenbogen, 2; Michael D Conkright, Kendall W Nettles, 1.