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Aspirin a Day

Millions of us take low dose aspirin every day as a way to help our heart. But it may be time to put “an aspirin a day” to bed.

Now, I don’t mean get rid of the idea. I recommend daily aspirin therapy to some of my patients. However, new research shows aspirin may be most effective when it’s taken at night.

Most heart attacks and strokes occur in the morning, and it’s believed aspirin’s effects on the blood will have the greatest impact when taken in the evening. In fact, researchers found a reduced risk for the conditions in those who took an aspirin at night. Many naturally take it in the morning or early in the day.

If you’re not taking a daily aspirin, check with your doctor first. But if you’re already on aspirin therapy, and your doctor has recommended it, consider taking it as you tuck in.

Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. I’m Dr. Walt Larimore for Shine dot FM.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Have You Experienced “Facebook Rejection?”

How do you feel when no one likes your post or photo on Facebook?  Well, a new study has found that rejection on social media, even if unintended, can lower your self-esteem and affect your sense of belonging.

According to TheAge.com, researchers in Australia did an experiment in which some Facebook users were not allowed to share information, while others didn’t receive feedback on their updates.  Both groups had lower levels of belonging, control, self-esteem and even a lower sense of meaning in life.

One of the users who was prevented from posting anything said: “I did not enjoy having to stop sharing on social media!  I felt like being grounded and watching my friends play outside…”

Lead researcher Stephanie Tobin points out that social media is different from having a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation where you receive non-verbal feedback from the person you’re talking to.  She says with Facebook, “When you put something out there, people don’t have that sense of obligation to respond right away.”

Dr. Tobin says that if the need for belonging isn’t being met through Facebook, people will go elsewhere for positive reinforcement.

Sociologist Brady Robards says that may explain the increasing popularity of social networking apps such as Snapchat and Instagram.

By the way, the research team found that as new Facebook features become available, users are beginning to develop new habits.  These include grouping their best friends and unsubscribing from all their friends’ news feeds. Instead more people are manually checking individual profiles to get their updates.

For an interesting faith perspective on social networking, go to Relevant Magazine.com and look for the article “Is Facebook Killing Our Souls?”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

The Link Between Anger & Heart Attacks

Here’s another reason to keep your cool under stress.  HealthDay News is reporting on a new study that found that angry outbursts could raise your odds for a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers say the risk to any one person of a having heart trouble after an outburst remains very low.  But their review of multiple studies found that the risk did rise considerably compared to periods of calm.

Dr. Sripal Bangalore at NYU Medical Center in New York City says “It’s not surprising that such an association is seen since we know that anger is associated with increased reaction of the body’s nervous system to stress.”

The unhealthy reaction to anger includes “increases in heart rate and blood pressure — both of which can have immediate negative consequences.

In the study, researchers found that within two hours of an angry outburst, a person’s risk of heart attack increased nearly five-fold, their risk of stroke rose nearly four-fold and their risk of a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called ventricular arrhythmia also rose.

The risk was highest among people who got angry more often and had existing risk factors such as prior heart problems.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Mostofsky at the Harvard School of Public Health, says because outbursts of anger are relatively rare and the effect seems to be temporary, “the impact on an individual’s absolute risk of a cardiovascular event is small.”

But she says certain people might be at higher risk, such as those who have already had a heart attack, a stroke or diabetes.

To learn more about caring for your heart and the risk factors for heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s website at heart.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today audio here.

Teen Girls Are Cutting & Legalized Marijuana

Teen girls are cutting themselves in record numbers—and sometimes they are doing it with their friends!

A new study out of New Zealand found that nearly 22% of 13- to 16-year old girls surveyed admitted to cutting.

Dr. Shelly James at Massey University says although the number was shocking, that’s not really what caught her attention.

She says the common perception is that cutters are isolated, unpopular outcasts.  But in reality, the cutters were just as likely to be among the most popular kids in school.

Her study also found that many girls had actually self-harmed in front of other people—or actually that girls had engaged in cutting together.

Dr. James says “Approximately 23% of self-harming kids had harmed in front of other people, and nearly 12% had actually harmed in conjunction with another person, so they had harmed together….that was staggering to me.”

In other news, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, 52% of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. It marks the first time a majority of those polled have been pro-pot.

Also, fewer and fewer Americans believe that smoking marijuana is a moral issue.

Today, just 32% believe it’s morally wrong, compared with 50% just seven years ago.

So what does the bible say about using marijuana?  Well, although it doesn’t specifically address it, it does command us to show self-control (Titus 1:8) and to “have a clear mind in every situation” (2 Timothy 4:5).

If you’re a parent and would like to get some solid facts on marijuana and your kids, go to drugfree.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Jolt Your Joints

I’ve had several patients ask me about using glucosamine to help treat osteoarthritis—the most common form of arthritis. It has been touted to help with joint pain, but are the claims a stretch?

Though research has been conflicting, overall results seem to point to positive results—but not for everyone.

However, glucosamine shouldn’t be your first step. Regular exercise, weight loss, and a diet high in fruits and vegetables are all part of a successful treatment program. Physical therapy can also help.

That said, I believe glucosamine sulfate, in particular, may be effective for relieving pain and improving joint function, associated with osteoarthritis—especially of the knees—and for anyone struggling with this frustrating condition, that’s a relief.

Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. I’m Dr. Walt Larimore for Shine dot FM.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Hard Drinking College Students May Be Damaging Their DNA

Weekends spent drinking and partying may seem like harmless fun for young adults, but new research has revealed that this level of alcohol consumption may actually damage their DNA.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse states that around four out of five college students in the US drink alcohol, and almost 2,000 college students die each year as a result of unintentional alcohol-related injuries.

According to Medical News Today, researchers in Mexico set out to analyze the oxidative damage caused by drinking alcohol in young, healthy people.  Oxidative damage is considered damage to proteins, membranes and DNA.

For the study, researchers recruited individuals between the ages of 18 and 23, who were then split into two groups.  One group was required to drink an average of 1.5 liters of alcohol each weekend, and the other group did not drink any alcohol.

The researchers found the drinkers had twice as much oxidative damage to their cell membranes compared to the non-drinkers.

By the way, if you’re the parent of a teenager, here’s something you should know.

The American Medical Association has found that a large percentage of teens who drink get the booze from their own parents.

25 percent of parents surveyed admitted to allowing their child to drink under their supervision.

And get this–One out of 12 parents said that they allowed their child’s friends to drink in their own home—often serving the alcohol themselves.

So even if you set a healthy example in your home, it’s anybody’s guess what may happen when your son or daughter visits a friend’s home.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

How Food Choices Of Our Friends Affect What We Eat

You’ve probably heard the old saying “you are what you eat.”  But according to a new study, what you eat may be partly determined by who you’re with.

Newsy.com writer Danny Matteson reports that researchers from the University of Liverpool found the food choices of the people around you help to determine the choices you make for yourself.

So if you’re out to lunch with a friend and he orders a burger, you’re more likely to get or burger or something similar.  On the other hand, if your friend orders salad, you’re more likely to get something healthy as well

According to lead researcher Eric Robinson, the study’s findings go along with social identity theory — or the theory that a person’s sense of who they are is based on their group membership.

The researchers also found that besides helping determining what you eat, your social circles also influence how much you eat — if they eat more, you’re more likely to eat more.

The new results line up well with other recent studies on the psychological aspects of eating.

Last year researchers found that found larger bowls can lead to kids asking for larger portions of food.

And a 2007 study that found obesity can be contagious. When one person gains weight, their friends are more likely to gain weight as well.

The team behind the study says more research needs to be done on the topic, but that it could be used to help develop effective public health campaigns.

The book of proverbs has a lot to say about who we hang out with.  Proverbs 13:20 says: “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Addicted to Caffeine? The Impact of So-called “Energy Drinks”

Can you overdose on caffeine?  Yes, it is possible.

Reporter Cody Lyon at Upwave.com says according the experts, the trick is to know your body, pay attention to what else you’ve ingested, and do your homework on energy drinks.

There have been plenty of reports that say caffeine is beneficial. Some studies call it a potential protector from diseases such as Parkinson’s, and even some forms of cancer.

A safe dose of caffeine is ususally considered 200 to 300 milligrams, or two to four cups of coffee per day.

Energy drinks like Red Bull usually contain around 80 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce can. Some of the bigger cans (such as a 16-ounce Monster) have up to 240 milligrams.  Meanwhile, a 16-ounce cup of coffee packs about 300 milligrams.

Barbara Crouch, executive director at the Utah Poison Control Center, says that unlike coffee drinkers, energy drink consumers (especially young people) like to chug down not just one, but two or three to get a good jolt on before a hardcore workout, a soccer practice or a night of dancing.

She says “When you pound down more than one energy drink verses sipping a cup of coffee, you’re not metabolizing it the same way.”  She points out that factors like size, age, sex, drug interactions, hydration levels and the amount of food in the stomach can mean different outcomes for different people when on a caffeine binge.

Crouch says: “Yes, there is absolutely such a thing as caffeine poisoning, and the dose essentially makes the poison.”

All the press about energy drinks led the FDA to take a fresh look at caffeinated food — and it plans to focus on how energy drinks impact young people.

So if you think YOU’VE got a problem—step away from that can of Red Bull!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Lisa’s Home School: E-Readers

Lisa shares some interesting information on how E-Readers help people with specific reading disabilities. Listen here:

Lisa’s Home School: E-Readers

Harmful Supplements

A listener says, “It seems like most doctors have an axe to grind when it comes to dietary supplements. What’s the big deal?”

Here’s my take: some supplements and natural medicines have merit, but many come with hidden side effects and drug interactions. Plus, supplements aren’t regulated for quality or safety like regular medicines, and their labels can promise they’ll treat just about anything.

If you’re going to use supplements, I advise talking to your doctor to make sure they won’t affect any prescriptions or pre-existing conditions you have. And research before you buy. There are great resources including ConsumerLab, the FDA, or even WebMD.

For some, my advice may be a bitter pill to swallow. But a dose of caution with your health is worth it.

If you have a comment or question for the New Shine.FM wellness expert Dr. Walt Larimore, visit the wellness expert page at Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.