Briefings for August 2018

Interesting information and news for people living and dealing with pituitary conditions.


Leptin: According to experts increasing Leptin sensitivity may help in weight loss. There is still much research needed to understand the puzzle that enables leptin to induce weight loss and help maintain healthy weight levels.  We published a few articles on the subject which you can read here.   There is growing interest in understanding how a pituitary disease affects the way our bodies manage leptin.  A recent article published in lists 23 foods that increase leptin sensitivity and does a great job explaining the function of leptin.  The article points to the possibility that since Leptin curbs appetite it may be advantageous to elevate levels of the hormone.  I find this a fascinating subject probably because we know so little about it and the potential to affect quality-of-life is so great!  Read it more about it here!

Data privacy: On the “be careful how you handle identity and data on the web” front, this article offers some helpful hints to fixing privacy settings in some of the more ubiquitous platforms like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others.  According to this article from the Washington Post, it’s all about managing the default settings in your devices.  Geoffrey A. Fowler serves up a comprehensive list of fixes you should consider to increase control over your devices.  Read the article here.

Clinical trials: In addition to the mainstay of clinical trials in the US, this resource is an interesting web blog that positions itself as the Google of clinical trials.  It’s mission, as described in their site, is to “build a bridge between you and the world of medical innovations, so you can search, find and join a trial within a few clicks.”  The blog uses unique algorithms that search through 95% of the clinical trials available worldwide and connects readers with the leading researcher.  This may be an excellent first step if you are interested in learning what’s going on in and outside the US.  Click here to read more about FIndMeCure

Nutrition:  There is New research from Italy called the CARDIVEG Study (Cardiovascular Prevention With Vegetarian Diet), published in February 2018.  This is an exciting study, a summary of which you can read here.  The study compares a vegetarian vs. the Mediterranean diet.  Results showed weight loss for both diets with some slight differences in their ability to lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and reducing triglycerides.  The study also touches on the recent Stanford study that measures outcomes for a low-fat vs. low carb diets.   Bottom line: all this research continues to show there is no “best diet” that works for everyone.  Healthy eating is key!

… and hurray for Tomatoes!   For all of you tomato lovers, tomatoes are extremely healthy and contain lycopene a cancer-fighting nutrient.  Here’s some recent research on that from the Cleveland Clinic

Endocrine disrupting chemicals:  We’ve covered this subject a few times in our periodical briefings section.  This article from Berkeley Wellness has been updated with the latest developments.  It is a comprehensive view of the current knowledge, and the limitations of that knowledge, on how these chemicals/industrial compounds also called EDC’s can disrupt hormone and hormone production.   Something to be aware of and nothing to snooze about!

Music and your brain:  It turns out that playing a musical instrument can improve your brain.  This article from the World Economic Forum discusses research that focuses on how playing a musical instrument can impact on intelligence, and musical training can shape brain development.  Like in all research these findings are not without their detractors.  However, despite the arguments, according to the article, there is a wealth of evidence that musical training is beneficial.  So, my take: go out and learn to play something. At the very least it’s a ton of fun. And to prove it here’s a podcast where the music is an original recording of Neil Gow’s Lament, a Scottish ballad, recorded by Dr. Lewis Blevins on the Northumbrian Small Pipes and me on guitar.  By the way, I am learning how to play the “Low D” Irish flute and working very hard not to sound like an upset donkey.  Enjoy!



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