Volume 18 • Number 12 • December 2017

As we reflect on our lives and our relationships through the Holidays, it is helpful to consider what Mariah Carey tells us— it is “All In Your Mind.” Hopefully, the pejorative meaning behind that sentence has been eliminated with all the scientific research we now have backing up the notion that the Mind and Body are one single unit. We separate them at our own peril. However, in rightfully emphasizing the power of the Mind over our Body we run the risk of forgetting that the Body also influences the Mind. It is a matter of Balance, a concept the Avatars we celebrate this time of year, have taught throughout the world. They also taught that Balance = Homeostasis = Health.

Merry Christmas!

Hugo Rodier, MD

Strong friendships may contribute to higher cognitive functioning, better memory in aging adults

The Chicago Tribune (11/6, Thayer) reports that research suggests “strong friendships may contribute to higher cognitive functioning and sharper memory in adults as they age.” These findings, “part of Northwestern’s study of so-called SuperAgers – adults 80 or older with the cognitive abilities of those in their 50s or 60s,” were published in PLOS ONE.

Psychological trauma may increase a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with lupus.

The New York Times (9/20, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) “Well” blog reports a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine which examined 54,763 women found that psychological trauma is a contributing factor to an increased risk for lupus. Among the women, who responded to questions regarding their “exposure to trauma, including serious car accidents and sexual assault,” those who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder “were almost three times as likely to have lupus,” while exposure to trauma, “even without having symptoms of PTSD, more than doubled the risk of developing the disease.”

Men with gambling addictions may be more likely to have endured childhood trauma.

Reuters (8/17, Rapaport) reports that research suggests “men with gambling addictions are more likely than their peers to have endured childhood traumas like physical abuse or violence at home, and treatment needs to address this underlying stressor.” In the study of more than 3,000 men, investigators found that “compared with men who rarely if ever placed wagers, the men with a pathological addiction to gambling were more than twice as likely to have witnessed violence at home or to have experienced physical abuse or assault growing up.” Additionally, “they were…more than three times as likely to have suffered a serious or life-threatening injury as” children. The findings were published in Addictive Behaviors.

People with “purpose in life” may age better.

TIME (8/16, MacMillan) reports people who have “a purpose in life” may age better than those who do not, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers found that people “who reported having goals and a sense of meaning were less likely to have weak grip strength and slow walking speeds,” which are both “signs of declining physical ability and risk factors for disability.”

Medscape (8/16, Harrison) reports that Carol Ryff, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, wrote an accompanying editorial, which concluded, “Leading a life of purpose not only feels good and meaningful, existentially speaking, it may also be an area of rich potential in which intervention studies and public health education programs might contribute to improved health of our ever-growing aged population.”

Older adults who practice tai chi as exercise may have lower risk of falling.

The New York Times (8/8, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) reports an analysis published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that older people who practice tai chi as an exercise could see improved balance and a lower risk of falling. The review of “10 randomized trials analyzing the effect of tai chi on the incidence of falls or the time until an elderly person first has a fall” found tai chi reduced participants’ “incidence of falls by 43 percent in those followed for less than a year and by 13 percent in those followed longer.” The data showed “some weak evidence that the practice reduced the number of falls that resulted in injury.”

Dog ownership may be linked to lower risk of dying from Cardio Vascular disease.

USA Today (11/18, Rossman) reported that research published in Scientific Reports suggests “having a dog could” be linked to “a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.”

Bloomberg News (11/17, Cortez) reported that investigators “analyzed the health records of 3.4 million people in” Sweden. The data indicated that people who owned a dog “were less likely to have cardiovascular disease or die from any cause during the 12 years covered by the research.”

TIME (11/17, MacMillan) reported that “the protective effect was” particularly “prominent for people living alone, who have been found to have a higher risk for early death than those who live with other people.”

Drug Fights

FDA may be approving drugs without adequate evidence of safety and effectiveness

Reuters (8/15, Boggs) reports many drugs that were granted accelerated approval by the Food and Drug Administration “lack clear evidence of safety and effectiveness, and the same is true for [modifications to] most high-risk medical devices,” according to two new studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found in one study that 14 of 22 drugs granted accelerated approval by the FDA did not undergo randomized controlled trials. In another study, researchers found that 71 of 78 modifications to high-risk medical devices that were approved “were supported by a single clinical study, and half of these enrolled 185 or fewer patients.”

HealthDay (8/15, Thompson) reports researchers also found that the FDA ordered follow-up studies for many drugs granted accelerated approval. However, many of those follow-up studies had not yet been completed several years later, and many that had been completed “were not performed to a higher standard.”

Pediatric psychiatric disorders may be associated with in-utero antidepressant exposure

Reuters (9/13, Weinstock) reports research indicated “antidepressant use during pregnancy is tied to an increased risk of psychiatric illness, especially mood disorders, in children.” Children whose mothers continued taking antidepressants in pregnancy were “27 percent more likely to be diagnosed with mood, anxiety, behavioral or autism spectrum disorders.” The overall risk remains low, as just three percent of more than 900,000 children in the study were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder by age 16. The findings were published online Sept. 6 in the BMJ. The authors of an accompanying editorial “point out that only ‘the most severely sick women have drugs prescribed in pregnancy.’”

The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants Are Moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease

J. Psychother Psychosom 2017;86:268-282. The study notes that anti-depressants increase mortality only in those who don’t have cardiovascular problems. In my opinion, this is due to the numbers and statistics getting in the way. We already know that taking these drugs have significant side effects that may shorten life in all patients.

Cardiac Risk the Same With All Sulfonylureas in Diabetes

Medscape – Sep 21, 2017. Drugs like Glucotrol have been associated with cardiovascular problems. Ironically, the most prescribed cardiovascular drugs—statins for cholesterol, have been associated with an increase in Diabetes.

Adverse drug reactions of montelukast in children and adults

J. Pharmcol Res Persp 20 September 2017. There is an increase in psychiatric disorders with this allergy pill. Best to work on improving immune system, which is done be maximizing gut flora health through a plant-based diet. Try MSM sulfur, and/or Bee Pollen before using drugs for allergies.

Do Cold Meds Carry a Psychosis Risk?

Medscape – Sep 13, 2017. Yes, they do. Most of them are ineffective. Asks yourself why we still have them cluttering up store shelves throughout the country. The ones with pseudoephedrine (mostly allergy pills) also raise blood pressure, and have been associated with a higher risk for strokes.

Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors Usage With Risk of Pneumonia in Dementia Patients

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017;65(7):1441-1447. Many f these patients get these acid-blocking drugs to treat Reflux, and thus prevent aspiration pneumonia. But, their risk of infectious pneumonia goes up because these drugs compromise our gut flora, which is two thirds of our immune system. Patients could just as well treat their reflux with Alkaline Water and the Mediterranean Diet.[1]


  1. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online September 7, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.1454
Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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