Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?

January 10, 2021 Adiantku 0

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, pregnant and breastfeeding people have many questions around risks and benefits. At first, many of those receiving vaccines in US will be healthcare workers, although the circles for vaccine eligibility are widening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine agree that the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination.

Here are answers to some basic questions you may have about getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding — or are considering a pregnancy. Keep in mind that information is evolving rapidly. Your obstetric provider or medical team can advise you more fully, based on your personal health risks, exposures to the virus that causes COVID-19, and preferences.

What do we know about how COVID-19 affects people

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Can gout be prevented?

January 9, 2021 Adiantku 0

To many people, gout seems like a disease of the past. Cartoons from 200 years ago depicted it as a condition afflicting the wealthy (“the disease of kings”), whose gluttonous consumption of food and drink was thought to bring on the attacks of debilitating arthritis.

All these years later, much about gout is still misunderstood. Shame, derision, and the belief that the gout sufferer deserves the condition linger. And rather than being a disease of the past, gout is quite common — and rates are rising. Estimates suggest gout affects nearly 4% of the adult population in the US, an increase from prior decades. And it’s not a disease limited to the well-to-do; it affects people of all economic classes.

The most likely explanations for the rising rates of gout are an aging population and excess weight. Both are major risk factors for the disease. The expanding waistline of the … Read the rest

Sexual health and gender-affirming care

January 8, 2021 Adiantku 0

LGBTQ+ people are often considered a cohesive group, but sexual orientation and gender identity are different. Sexual orientation describes who a person prefers to be sexually intimate with. Gender identity, on the other hand, describes their sense of themselves as male, female, or another gender. Transgender and other gender diverse (TGD) people, whose gender identity is not aligned with their recorded sex at birth, can have any sexual orientation. (The same is true, of course, with cisgender people, whose gender identity aligns with their recorded sex at birth.)

What is sexual health?

Sexual health is a concept that goes beyond pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention. The World Health Organization describes it as “the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.” This is not assured for many people, particularly TGD people, who face higher risks for discrimination and interpersonal violence, including … Read the rest

We’re supposed to make resolutions now?

January 7, 2021 Adiantku 0

After everything that’s happened in 2020, setting goals seems like a big ask. Resolutions inherently mean discomfort and require resolve, and most of us have had enough of the former and don’t have much left of the latter. The response to the annual tradition might involve a collective groan, eye roll, and require a censor.

The question is, is it okay to take this year off?

“It’s always okay,” says Dr. Inna Khazan, clinical psychologist and lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Why do we make resolutions?

Resolutions have their use in pushing us out of our comfort zones, but they aren’t required. Some people stick to them and benefit, but others have a different relationship with resolutions: they make them without any intention of keeping them, and repeat this cycle year after year.

Khazan says that the result can be almost like doing less than nothing. “It … Read the rest

3 easy ways to eat a healthier diet

January 6, 2021 Adiantku 0

While many people might be taking a pass on formal New Year’s resolutions this year, others may mark a fresh start this month by resolving to make up for poor eating habits of the past. But this motivation is often focused on a diet that’s too ambitious, or too restrictive. Without a solid plan, you may fail quickly. So consider a compromise: start with these three easy ways to eat a healthier diet.

Aim for real food only

Look at your plate and note what’s processed and what isn’t. Maybe it’s the whole thing (like a frozen dinner), or maybe it’s just part of your meal (like the bottled dressing on your salad). Think of where you can swap processed foods for healthier versions. Ideas include

  • eating whole-grain pasta instead of enriched white-flour spaghetti
  • having quinoa instead of white rice
  • making your own snacks like baked chickpeas, instead of
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Do pro-inflammatory diets harm our health? And can anti-inflammatory diets help?

December 30, 2020 Adiantku 0

Our emerging understanding of the role of inflammation in major chronic diseases has brought much attention to the effect of diet on the inflammatory process. Understanding the link may help us identify specific dietary patterns and foods than can diminish chronic inflammation and improve health.

Inflammation: Helpful, harmful, or both?

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the body’s protective response to an injury or infection. For example, acute inflammation occurs when you cut your finger. Your body dispatches white blood cells to protect the area. You may see some swelling and redness and feel pain, but this process is critical to preventing infection.

Chronic inflammation may be triggered when the body tries to rid itself of harmful substances such as toxins from smoking. Increased levels of chronic inflammation are also associated with excess fat, especially around the abdomen.

Low-grade chronic inflammation may damage blood … Read the rest

Making the most of physical activity apps

December 24, 2020 Adiantku 0

One of the best moves you can make for your health is to get moving. “Walking is man’s best medicine” is a well-known quote from Hippocrates. Centuries later, we have multiple research studies that reveal the power of exercise as medicine. One study specifically compared exercise to common medications for heart disease, stroke, and prediabetes, demonstrating that exercise can have comparable outcomes with regard to lowering risk of death. Recent research also highlights the impact that even short doses of exercise can have on your mood and increased creativity. However, as when you stop taking a medicine, if you stop exercising, the benefits stop as well.

Finding ways to make exercise fun and engaging is key

Most people know exercise is good for their health, yet only about half of Americans meet the physical activity guidelines to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

These days, making … Read the rest

The health effects of too much gaming

December 23, 2020 Adiantku 0

It is estimated that 164 million Americans — half of our population — play video games, also known as gaming. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just teens who play games. According to a recent survey, only 21% of gamers were under 18 years old. While gaming can be a fun distraction or hobby (and is even becoming a competitive sport on many college campuses), there are health risks that come from too much gaming. What are these harms, and what can be done about them?

Is there anything good about gaming?

Before discussing the harms of gaming, it is only fair to mention the benefits. Aside from being entertaining and a fun pastime, gaming can provide a way for people to interact with each other — a virtual community — as they work together toward completing common tasks. Our society suffers from an epidemic of loneliness, and gaming … Read the rest

Choosing joy during difficult times

December 20, 2020 Adiantku 0

Feeling good may be in short supply these days. The pandemic is on the upswing again, and many of us anticipate spending the colder months ahead cooped up in our homes with computer screens as our only windows into the world. Meanwhile, climate-related natural disasters are driving thousands of people out of their homes. Millions of jobs are being lost. I won’t even mention politics. It is as if the whole universe has conspired to take the joy out of life.

Then, in the midst of it all, I lost my sense of smell and taste after a bout of COVID. I was very distraught. I couldn’t taste the delicious chocolate cake my wife made for my birthday, nor smell the lilacs that burst into bloom in our garden. Suddenly, my world had gotten smaller, grayer. No one else I knew had this disease. I began to ask myself, “Why … Read the rest

New high-resolution imaging scans approved for use in prostate cancer

December 19, 2020 Adiantku 0

Imagine trying to find a single match from a book of matches in a large room. Not an easy task, right? But if the lights were dimmed and the match was lit, then its location would be immediately apparent.

This is the basic idea behind PSMA imaging, a newly approved method for detecting prostate cancer that is spreading, or metastasizing. The method relies on a minimally radioactive tracer called gallium-68 PSMA-11. Delivered in tiny amounts by injection, the tracer travels throughout the body and gloms onto a protein called PSMA that is found at high levels on prostate cancer cell surfaces. The labeled cells will then light up on whole-body imaging with a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan.

Per the FDA’s new approval, doctors can give a PSMA-PET scan to hunt for metastases in men with rising PSA levels after prostate cancer treatment, or if they suspect cancer is metastasizing in … Read the rest