Weekend Health Wrap-Up | March 5th, 2011

Posted on March 5, 2011


I didn’t have much time to peruse the research this week, but here is the cream of the crop.  -Jim

Have (another) banana:  We are used to hearing guidelines about sodium restriction in our diets, but rarely hear about the benefits of including more servings of foods rich in potassium (at least not directly).  This week, Italian researchers released the results of a large meta-analysis concluding that those who consumed the most potassium (an amount roughly equal to 3 servings of potassium-rich fruit) had a 21% lower risk of stroke.  So try to work a banana or two into your daily routine – they’re affordable on any budget.  Read a commentary on the findings at Everything Health for more info and a challenge from Dr. Brayer.

Cutting Parkinson’s risk:  An abstract released this week concluded that those with the highest consumption of berries had a 22% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, compared with those who at the least – but the findings were released as an abstract at a neurology conference and have not undergone the peer review process.  Further, the benefit was only observed in men – the researchers aren’t ready to recommend flavanoids for prevention until the findings are duplicated.  Other recently published research concluded that regular ibuprofen use was associated with lower Parkinson’s risk.  Researchers do not yet know the mechanism, and it’s far too early to make any recommendations, but keep an eye on this.

Supine is best for baby’s brain:  Research coming to us from Australia earlier this week concluded that babies who slept on their back had better cerebral oxygenation than those allowed to sleep in a prone position.  The role of cerebral oxygenation has already been implicated in SIDS, and this research provides more evidence against allowing your baby to sleep on their belly.  We already know that the supine sleeping position is best for prevention of SIDS – here are some additional recommendations.