Sunday, November 26, 2017

Should I Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Research shows that eating the same thing every day may help you lose weight. Psychologists believe that eating the same thing every day results in psychological "habituation" (or boredom), which tends to reduce calorie intake. Also, when you have a plan in place it means you’re less likely to make a fast food run or grab the endless bag of chips. 

If you eat the same things day after day you can miss out on important nutrients. Studies have also found health benefits associated with eating a more diverse diet. A 2013 study with over 5200 people found that the greater diversity of healthy foods was associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that increasing the variety of healthy foods increases life span. Researchers concluded that if you increase the number of healthy foods regularly, you also tend to decrease the number of less healthy foods consumed.

Eating a variety of good foods can play an important role in promoting a greater bacterial diversity in your gut. Bacterial diversity (the “microbiome”) not only may keep the weight in check but also can help prevent more serious illnesses such as diabetes.

What to do? Whatever works best, everything in moderation.  Portion controlled servings of many foods is generally recognized to the best choice. Alternatively, you could eat the same thing every day but switch up the menu every week.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Vitamin K

Vitamins are a number of chemically unrelated families of organic substances that cannot be synthesized by humans but need to be ingested in the diet in small quantities to prevent disorders of metabolism.

Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is found in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. The liver and pancreas work together to help the body absorb vitamin K from food. Vitamin K deficiency in a health adult is very rare, but a deficiency can develop with long-term antibiotics or with starvation. Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include easy bruisability, gum bleeding or blood in the urine.

Vitamin K deficiency is common in the newborn, and if vitamin K is not replaced, the infant is at risk for vitamin K deficient bleeding. Vitamin K is given to infants at birth and infant formula is supplemented. High doses of vitamin A or E can also cause vitamin K deficiency.

Blood thinners, such as warfarin, act to block the action of vitamin K and can be reversed with the administration of vitamin K. Vitamin K toxicity is rare and the upper limit for supplementation is not defined.

In addition to its role in blood clotting, vitamin K has role in cardiac and bone health.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Acute appendicitis is the most common abdominal surgical emergency in the world. The appendix is a pouch that projects from the large intestine on the lower right side. The pain often starts near the navel and then moves to the right side. There is often nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The standard treatment is immediate surgical removal; these days the surgery is most often done via a laparoscope (Band-Aid operation).  If not treated, an acutely inflamed appendix could burst and cause a life-threatening infection.

There are some trials that show that treating acute appendicitis with antibiotics alone is effective. The risk with this choice is a recurrent/relapsing infection or missing a hidden cancer. It is easy, even with sophisticated imaging, to underestimate the severity of disease.  Many medical centers have operating rooms ready to go twenty-four hours per day but it appears safe to wait twelve hours (the next morning) if the patient presents in the middle of the night. Antibiotics need to be started immediately in any case.

Thirteen to twenty percent of acute appendices will perforate (burst). The surgery may be delayed if the diagnosis of perforation is made initially. The patients are often sicker and delay of surgery allows stabilization and better antibiotic coverage.

Less than one percent of cases of acute appendicitis will show a cancer. The diagnosis may not be made until the pathologist reviews the specimen.

Severe abdominal pain, especially when accompanied by fever, chills, nausea and vomiting, requires prompt evaluation by a medical professional. Imaging and blood tests are almost always required. The emergency department might be the first and best place to seek care.