Archive for November 10th, 2011

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According to a new study.

Chewing gum containing xylitol may actually prevent ear infections in kids, researchers say.

In a meta-analysis of three Finnish studies, children who chewed gum — or took other products laden with xylitol, including lozenges or syrup — had about a 25% lower risk of developing acute otitis media compared with control interventions, Amir Azarpazhooh, DMD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues reported in Cochrane Reviews.

“Based on the studies we reviewed, xylitol seems to be a promising alternative to conventional therapies to prevent acute otitis media among healthy children,” they wrote.

Acute otitis media is the most common infection for which kids are treated with antibiotics, which has spurred concerns over antibiotic resistance. So researchers have searched for alternative means of prevention or treatment, not all of which have been successful.

Xylitol, or birch sugar, has been one such alternative. It’s a five-carbon polyol sugar alcohol found in a number of fruits, which has been shown to inhibit the growth and acid production of certain bacteria, particularly S. mutans.

It is for this feature that some dentists recommend it for preventing cavities, the researchers said.

Since a key step in the pathogenesis of otitis media is the colonization of the upper airway with bacteria that move from the nasopharynx to the middle ear via the eustachian tubes, the researchers hypothesized that it may be effective for preventing middle ear infections.

A win – win here. Prevent tooth decay and ear infections.

Hey, a lot better than taking massive amounts of antibiotics.

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Yes, according to a new study.

Football players experience repeated head trauma throughout their careers, which results in short and long-term effects to their cognitive function, physical and mental health. University of Missouri researchers are investigating how other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, impact the late-life health of former collision-sport athletes.

The researchers found that former football players experience more late-life cognitive difficulties and worse physical and mental health than other former athletes and non-athletes. In addition, former football players who consumed high-fat diets had greater cognitive difficulties with recalling information, orientation and engaging and applying ideas. Frequent, vigorous exercise was associated with higher physical and mental health ratings.

“While the negative effects of repeated collisions can’t be completely reversed, this study suggests that former athletes can alter their lifestyle behaviors to change the progression of cognitive decline,” said Pam Hinton, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. “Even years after they’re done playing sports, athletes can improve their diet and exercise habits to improve their mental and physical health.”

While the hitting cannot be eliminated in football, again, it comes down to lifestyle after the player leaves the game. 

Again, diet and exercise play a role.

“Football will always be around, so it’s impossible to eliminate head injuries; however, we can identify ways to reduce the detrimental health effects of repeated head trauma,” Hinton said. “It’s important to educate athletes and people who work with athletes about the benefits of low-fat and balanced diets to help players improve their health both while playing sports and later in life. It’s a simple, but not an easy thing to do.”

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