Medical News Notes

The mission here is for us to search through information sources that might be hard for most patients to find on their own.  We want interesting articles to offer useful, current information.  Sometimes, we have looked in the medical journals, the Internet news services, rarely some AI assistance. and we have researched some topics at patient request.  Some medical news that touches all of us:

March 8, 2024

                                                  Nuts to you! 

No, that’s not an insult. It’s a recommendation to add nuts to your diet for the sake of your health and longevity.  Consistent evidence for the health benefits of nuts has been accumulating since the early 1990s. Frequent nut consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including heart and blood vessel disorders and Type 2 diabetes.

The newest and most convincing study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, come from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together have followed nearly 119,000 women and men for decades. 

The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed. The nuts in question were pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts.

Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die from 1980 to 2010; even among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.

I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t nuts fattening? Yes, an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories, nearly 80 percent from fat.  But in study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be.  For example, in a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese.

The full story can be found in the New York Times with this permalink:


September 18, 2023

                                        Caffeine has geniune health benefits!

There was a beneficial link established between caffeine levels and body weight and the risk for diabetes.  Among the caffeine comsumers, there was a clear reduction in body weight, and a lower fat mass.  Clinical trials showed this resulted in a lower risk for diabetes.  Interestingly, the caffeine was not linked to adverse conditions like atrial fibrillation, heart failure, or stroke.

Do you drink coffee?  Or, do you prefer the calorie-free beverages that have caffeine?  Try to be careful not to have “too much" caffeine as can be found with the “energy drinks”.  Remember that tea also has some caffeine.

"Considering the extensive intake of caffeine worldwide, even it's small metabolic effects could have important health implications," the researchers said.                                                     


July 17, 2023

                                       Explained: The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a nutritional pattern inspired by the traditional eating habits of people living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and others. It is known for its emphasis on plant-based foods, healthy fats, and moderate consumption of animal products.

This is a healthy pattern for eating that has demonstrated improved overall health.  There are cardiovascular benefits from encouraging the vegetables, legumes, and grains while paying attention to just how many fatty foods are consumed.  

While this diet is not specifically designed for weight loss, it does shift the food selections toward the lower calorie foods.  For those interested in weight loss, this diet offers excellent guidance for the food selections, and all one would add is learning how to limit the portion sizes.

Here are the key components of the Mediterranean diet:

1. Abundance of fruits and vegetables: The diet encourages the consumption of a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

2. Whole grains: Whole grain foods like whole wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice are preferred over refined grains. They are rich in fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.

3. Legumes and nuts: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios) are a significant part of the Mediterranean diet. They are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

4. Healthy fats: Olive oil is the primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to heart health. Other sources of healthy fats include avocados and nuts.

5. Limited red meat: Red meat consumption is limited in the Mediterranean diet. Instead, the diet encourages the consumption of lean proteins like fish, poultry, and eggs.

6. Moderate dairy: Dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, are consumed in moderation. They provide calcium and protein but should be chosen in their healthier forms, such as low-fat or Greek yogurt.  I would add that the 2% dairy products are an excellent lower-fat food.

7. Wine in moderation: The Mediterranean diet allows moderate consumption of red or white wines with meals. However, excessive alcohol consumption is discouraged.

8. Herbs and spices: Mediterranean cuisine relies heavily on herbs and spices to flavor dishes instead of excessive salt. This promotes flavor diversity while reducing sodium intake.


The Mediterranean diet has been associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. It is also praised for its overall sustainability and the enjoyment of food as a social and cultural experience.


June 22, 2023

                           Gas stoves cause pollution in the home!

Gas stoves pollute homes with benzene, which is linked to cancer

Benzene is among the pollutants gas stoves emit into homes, Stanford University researchers show. The toxin is linked to a higher risk of leukemia and other blood cell cancers.

Read in NPR:

Shared from Apple News


March 27, 2023

                          Coffee is popular, and has health benefits

"Coffee has been associated with multiple health benefits and even a lower risk of dying, based on large studies that observed participants’ behavior. Despite research that has shown moderate coffee consumption doesn’t raise the risk of heart rhythm problems, some professional medical societies still caution against consuming caffeine.


February 28, 2023

                                                   Reminder: complete physical exams on request 

Some patients have expressed they would like a more complete Physical Examination.  Keep in mind, not all patients want such detail, but it is always available.  Simply telephone the office and request that the next visit should include the more complete examination.

Be well,

   Dr. V


November 6, 2022

Milk and Lactose and Casein-Protein

Lactose is the main natural sugar in milk, and people need to have the right enzymes to digest this.  However, a few people do not have enough of the enzyme, and have a “gas” type reaction to milk.  These people usually do well with the Lactaid®️ products because they have been treated with the enzyme already.

It is interesting to observe some of the patients with milk intolerance do not tolerate even the lactose treated products.  That is because some of them are actually intolerant of the protein in milk products, specifically, the A1-beta-casein protein.  Most of the milk in the United states has this protein and people can actually have a reaction to the protein, not the lactose.

Fortunately, there is an alternative milk source that is well tolerated by most people.  About 5,000 years ago, in Europe, the cows had the A2-beta-casein protein, but there was a mutation of this protein, and that created the newer A1-beta-casein protein.  It is the A1 protein that bothers so many people.  The A2 milk comes from cows that have been carefully raised to produce only this type of milk.

There has been an increasing awareness of this protein change, and in the United States, there are now an increasing number of dairies devoted to producing the A2 milk products.  This is still a specialty item in food stores, and it does cost a bit more.  Part of the costs is that some of the dairies are far away in Pennsylvania, Colorado, or California.  Read the lables carefully to select the type of milk you want.

Recently, I heard a woman from France taste a sample of the A2 milk and remark, “This tastes just like the milk in France!"

The farmers in nearby Lancaster, PA are quality produceers of A2 milk, and they published a recent news article that is very educational:   What Is A2 Milk and What are its Potential  Benefits?


September 18, 2022

The Covid Pandemic

It seems the higher levels of effectiveness for these vaccines last about 5 to 6 months, so to stay currentwe need to get new doses about twice a year.   The mRNA technology vaccines are the best we have until additional technological advances become available for making the vaccines.

These vaccinations are the main method we have for preventing the Covid-19 infection, or at least preventing severe symptoms.  Wearing masks and keeping some distance from other people are additional important measures.  Combined, these are the best public health tools available for eventually bringing an end to the pandemic.

The Covid infections are caused by a virus, not bacteria, and there are some outpatient treatments.  Most people are doing Covid tests at home.  If you test positive, you may be a candidate for Paxlovid.  This is a 5 day treatment with pills, and it greatly reduces the severity of the symptoms.

The illness is sometimes asymptomatic, and many have only a mild sickness, but require bed rest and supportive medications.  However, some patients need hospitalization, and some of them die.  Across the country, this summer, there have been tens of thousands of new cases every day, and there have been over 400 deaths every day.

Troubling, it seems between 10% and 20% of the patients develop “long Covid” with symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and “brain-fog” persisting for longer than the acute illness. The risk of one patient developing “long” symptoms is not related to the severity of the acute illness.  Some have had symptoms  for a year or two without improvement.  Frankly, this “long” syndrome is one of the biggest reasons to avoid this infection.

Click here to read the news release from the CDC agency

The full name SARS-Cov-2 stands for Severe acute respiratory syndrome, CoronaVirus, and the 2 identifies this strain is similar to but still different from the first SARS strain of year 2003. The name Covid-19 was selected to have a common name and to identify the year 2019 when the pandemic began.  And, that has evolved to the simple term Covid.

We know the Covid virus spreads through the air, and wearing masks reduces your risk of infection.  Currently, the N-95, KN-95, and NK-94 masks are the most effective and are available.  If you cannot find them, please contact our office and can direct you to suppliers.

The two most commonly used vaccines are the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.  Both of them have been updated to include protection from the original strain, BA.4 and BA.5 antibodies.  Both are considered safe, and both give a measurable degree of immunity.

Right now, the new vaccines are available in many pharmacies; although, some want appointments.


SARS-CoV-2 noun

\ ˈsärz-kō-ˈvē-ˈtü\

Medical Definition of SARS-CoV-2: the coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus) that is the causative agent of COVID-19


February 9, 2014

“ Just one soda a day!” 

Are you drinking "extra sugar”?                                                   

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control showed that most American adults have more sugar in their diet than is healthy.  This high consumption of sugar increases the risk for diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.  There is a real risk of increased cardiac and stoke death as the sugar intake goes higher.  Most people seem to get the added sugar in sweetened beverages.  There are no formal federal guidelines yet, but patients would be safer to limit their calories consumed as added sugar.



© Lawrence Vidaver 2022, 2023, 2024