Helping Others Reduces Heart Disease Risk Factors



A new clinical study reveals that performing acts of kindness can lower our personal risk of heart disease.


 

HELPING OTHERS REDUCES HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS

Booker T. Washington once said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”  Certainly, most of us would agree that lending a helping hand benefits both the person in need and the person who has volunteered to help.  Other than the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a positive difference in the life of another person, however, are there other potential benefits associated with altruistic behavior?   Well, a newly published prospective randomized clinical research study suggests that volunteering to help others may actually improve the heart health of those who lend a helping hand to others in need.  This study appears in the current issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

A total of 106 tenth grade students agreed to participate in this prospective randomized clinical research study. The student volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was assigned to volunteer to work with elementary school children on a weekly basis, while the other group (the “control” group) did not participate in any volunteer activities. At the beginning of this clinical study, measurements of the following cardiovascular disease risk factors were performed on all study participants: C-reactive protein level, interleukin 6 level, total cholesterol level, and body mass index. These same heart disease risk factors were measured again 4 months later.

The findings of this study were quite interesting. The results of testing at the beginning of this study revealed no significant differences in the measured cardiovascular disease risk factors between the two groups of study participants. However, 4 months later, significant differences in these established cardiovascular risk factors were observed between the two groups of high school students. Specifically, interleukin 6 levels, total cholesterol levels, and body mass index (a measure of weight versus height) were all significantly improved within the “volunteer group” when compared to the control group. While marginally significant, blood levels of the inflammatory C-reactive protein were also noted to be lower in the group of teens that had been randomized to work with elementary school children. Most interesting was the observation that the greatest decrease in these cardiovascular risk factors occurred, over time, among the teens in the volunteer group who also demonstrated the greatest increase in empathy and altruistic behaviors, and the largest decrease in negative mood, during the course of this study.

The findings of this very novel prospective randomized clinical study suggest that engaging in acts of empathy and altruism may directly lead to a reduction in several well known cardiovascular disease risk factors, although this study did not follow its very young volunteers long enough to determine whether or not the act of volunteering to help others actually reduced the incidence of cardiovascular disease.  However, based upon this innovative study’s findings, it certainly appears that helping others is a definite win-win situation.  The persons being helped obviously benefit from the acts of empathy and altruism bestowed upon them by others.  At the same time, not only does it feel good to help others in need, but the person who voluntarily reaches out to another may very well reap, in turn, the benefit of improved health!  (Another positive finding of this study is that this very positive phenomenon apparently works on teenagers!)

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

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Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

 

Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk



A new clinical research study shows that a Mediterranean diet significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk.


 

MEDITERRANEAN DIET REDUCES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK

As I have discussed in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a Mediterranean diet appears to significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in particular. In general, a Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. The use of unsaturated cooking oils, like olive oil and canola oil, and the avoidance of saturated fats, are also hallmarks of a Mediterranean diet, as is the decreased intake of red meat, processed meats, and dairy products. A Mediterranean diet has also been viewed by many experts as a heart-healthy diet, although most of the studies that have looked at the effects of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk have relied upon dietary surveys to collect data, which is a less rigorous method of doing research when compared to prospective randomized clinical research trials. However, a newly published prospective randomized clinical trial now provides the high level research data needed to properly assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This important new clinical study appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this study, 7,477 research volunteers were randomized into one of three different study groups. The first group consumed a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts. The third group, which served as the control group, was given advice on how to adhere to a low-fat diet, but the diets of the volunteers in this control group were not modified or controlled by the study’s researchers. Research dieticians closely followed the food intake of the volunteers in this study, and they worked intensively with the volunteers assigned to the two Mediterranean diet groups to modify the diets of these volunteers. All male study volunteers were between the ages of 55 and 80 years, while the female volunteers ranged in age from 60 to 80 years. None of the study volunteers had cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, when they entered into this clinical trial, although they all had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes or at least three of the following risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, increased LDL cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of early-onset coronary artery disease.

After an average of almost 5 years of follow-up, the impact of a Mediterranean diet on these research volunteers was highly significant. Both groups of volunteers who adhered to a Mediterranean diet in this study experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, or death from any cardiovascular cause (when compared to the control group). Indeed, both the group that adhered to the olive-oil-supplemented Mediterranean diet and the group that was placed on the nut-supplemented Mediterranean diet experienced 30 percent fewer cardiovascular events when compared to the control group that did not adhere to a Mediterranean diet!

In summary, among a group of middle aged and elderly men and women with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or tree nuts significantly reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death due to these or any other cardiovascular causes.

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well! This new research study also shows that it is never too late to adopt a healthier diet, and that health benefits derived from switching to a Mediterranean diet can be enjoyed by even middle aged and elderly men and women.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Toddler May Have Been Cured of HIV (AIDS) Virus

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Thousands of Surgery Mistakes Are Still Happening Each Year

Kids with Food Allergies May Become Targets of Bullies

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods

 


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1



Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Common Household Chemical May Double Heart Disease Risk





 

A new clinical study finds that a common household chemical (perfluorooctanoic acid) may double the risk of heart disease.


 

 

COMMON HOUSEHOLD CHEMICAL MAY DOUBLE HEART DISEASE RISK

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the most common causes of disability and death, accounting for one out of every four deaths in the United States.  The most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease are well known, and include lack of physical activity, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes.  Additionally, a strong family history of cardiovascular disease, particularly at an early age, also increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.  Now, a newly published research study raises the possibility that a manmade chemical commonly found in household products may also significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.  This new study appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) appears in numerous household products, including carpet-care products, clothing, floor-care products, non-stick surfaces in cookware and paper food-wrapping products, polishes, dental floss, and implantable medical devices, among others.  In fact, PFOA is so ubiquitous in the United States that it is detectable in the blood of 98 percent of the population.  Moreover, once ingested, PFOA remains in the human body for many years, and can therefore accumulate at increasingly higher levels over time.

In addition to being a known carcinogen, PFOA has been previously linked with cardiovascular disease in animal studies.  Therefore, this new clinical study was designed to assess the association between cardiovascular disease and blood levels of PFOA in humans.  In this clinical study, 1,216 volunteers were recruited from the ongoing National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) prospective public health study, and were tested for the level of PFOA in their blood.  They also underwent both extensive surveys regarding their health and physical examinations for signs of peripheral arterial disease.  Importantly, known risk factors for cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease were assessed in each of these volunteers, and this information was used to improve the accuracy of the study’s conclusions regarding PFOA and the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease.

Even after correcting for preexisting risk factors for cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease, this study found a significant association between PFOA levels in the blood and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.  When comparing volunteers with the lowest and highest levels of PFOA, patients with the highest levels of POFA were found to have two times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and almost twice the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease.  Once again, the association between PFOA levels in the blood and the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease remained even after correcting for gender, age, race/ethnicity, smoking status, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

While the findings of this study will have to be verified by additional and larger prospective clinical studies, these findings do nonetheless raise concerns that PFOA may, itself, be an independent cause of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease.  Given that almost every adult in the United States has at least some measurable concentration of PFOA in their blood, even a small associated increase in the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease could have a significant impact on the overall incidence of these diseases within the larger population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 40 percent of adult Americans already have at least two conventional cardiovascular disease risk factors.  However, given that PFOA is present in virtually everyone’s body, our risk of cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease may actually be significantly higher than previously appreciated, based upon the findings of this important new clinical study.

 

At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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