Health Front: Caffeine Effects on Newborns, Allergy Alternatives
By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA, TRT Contributing Writer
•The coffee or other caffeinated beverages a woman drinks during her pregnancy might up the odds for a low birth weight newborn or an extended pregnancy, a new study reports in the journal BMC Medicine. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health tracked the consumption of caffeine in all drinks of cola, coffee, tea and cocoa in almost 60,000 pregnancies. They found that while caffeine was not linked to premature birth, caffeine from all sources was attributed to the risk of a reduced birth weight.
Moreover, every 100 mg of caffeine consumed per day (one average coffee serving) increased the length of pregnancy by about eight hours. The more coffee or caffeine consumed daily the longer her term of pregnancy, while the newborn’s weight would be less than it should. Scientists are now trying to understand why caffeine has this effect on newborns . Caffeine does not cross into the placenta, so some other factor concerning the mother’s metabolism must be in play.
The World Health Association had previously advised women to limit the amount of caffeine to 300 mg a day. However, this appears to be way over the limit and will soon be changed.
•A recent study reports that immediately reducing people’s average salt consumption a day could save 500,000 to 850,000 lives over the next decade. Excess salt and sodium contributes to high blood pressure and vascular and heart disease, a big killer in the United States. Gradually reducing sodium levels in processed or restaurant foods by 4 percent a year would save over 280,000 lives, details computer models published in the journal Hypertension, and now accepted by the CDC. “No matter how we look at it, the story is the same – there will be huge benefits in reducing sodium,” notes mathematician Pam Coxson with the University of California, San Francisco.
It is not enough to take the salt shaker off the dinner table because 80 percent of excess sodium consumed by Americans comes from processed foods and fast food restaurants. Processed bread and cereals account for about one-third of daily sodium intake. Canned soups, processed meats and chicken have very high amounts of injected sodium.
•Researchers have found that 71 percent of people being treated with acupuncture point therapy reported improvement in their allergies. The new study at Charite University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany tested 422 people with seasonal allergies by giving them a real or sham acupuncture, or taking antihistamines as needed. After 12 treatment sessions, average allergy symptom scores dropped among people in the acupuncture point therapy group. Most people with sinus conditions and coughing are still relying on spraying a nasal steroid in their nose in the morning, or taking antihistamines that make them groggy all day long. They are unaware of any alternatives to pharmaceuticals.
• In recent years, in recognition of the value and the benefits of chiropractic care, Congress has passed, and the President has signed into law, legislation establishing a permanent chiropractic care benefit for both active duty military personnel and veterans. Furthermore, a doctor of chiropractic is now stationed in the U.S. Capitol to provide necessary care to members of congress.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has instituted chiropractic doctors at 60 military bases to make the care more available to servicemen and women. If a chiropractor is not on the medical staff at the military clinic, a veteran or serviceman can ask for a referral to a chiropractic doctor outside the system.
•A new report says the 53 shark attacks in 2012 off the coast of the United States were the most in more than a decade. The attacks included one fatality in California. Florida had the most with 26 shark bites in one year, while Hawaii came in second with ten. Western Australia had the most white shark attacks. Surfers suffered from the most attacks – 60 percent of them, while divers only had 8 percent of the attacks.