All Sauce from Weekly Gravy:

Despite a long and illustrious pro baseball career, Tommy John is more famous as the source of the name for a surgical procedure than for the nearly 300 games the left-handed pitcher won. But Dr. Tommy John — who shares his dad’s name and played pro ball himself — is determined to change that. He’s a performance and healing specialist and a chiropractor in San Diego. Dr. John would prefer that his father — a four-time Major League All-Star — is remembered for his baseball achievements than for the elbow surgery that got him back on the mound for many years. And both son and father would really be happy if fewer young athletes had to undergo the procedure to keep playing the sport they love. The elder John’s career spanned from 1963 to 1989. After playing big league ball for more than 10 years and enduring about 40 cortisone shots to dampen the pain he felt from pitching, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow “exploded,” his son said. At the time, Dr. Frank Jobe had successfully performed surgery using a tendon on polio patients’ ankles, the younger John explained. But no one had ever reconstructed the elbow ligament of a major league baseball pitcher. “My dad wasn’t one to be told that he would have to stop,” Dr. John said, adding that…  read on >

People with desk jobs want to move more, a new study suggests. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate how long desk-based workers actually want to sit, stand, walk and be physically active,” said study lead author Birgit Sperlich. She’s a postdoctoral researcher at German Sport University Cologne. Sperlich and her colleagues interviewed 614 people with desk jobs in Germany and found that they spent an average of 73 percent of their working day sitting down. Meanwhile, only 10 percent of the day was spent standing, 13 percent was spent walking and a mere 4 percent was spent doing physically demanding tasks. But the workers said they wanted to spend 54 percent of their work day sitting down, 15 percent standing, 23 percent walking, and almost 8 percent doing physically demanding tasks. The workers spent about 5.4 hours per eight-hour day sitting, but they wanted to spend an additional 46 minutes walking and an additional 26 minutes standing, on average, the researchers said. The findings were published Nov. 16 in the journal BMC Research Notes. “So far, plans to increase physical activity in the workplace primarily focus on health outcomes without asking the target group what they prefer,” Sperlich said in a journal news release. “Interventions to reduce sitting time may need to include more options for walking rather than only for…  read on >

Having a father with depression may put teens at a heightened risk for the mental health problem, a new study suggests. Previous research had linked depression in mothers and in their children. But according to the investigators, this is the first study to find such an association between fathers and their children, independent of whether the mother has depression. The findings were based on an analysis of data from thousands of families in Ireland, Wales and England. “There’s a common misconception that mothers are more responsible for their children’s mental health, while fathers are less influential,” said lead study author Gemma Lewis. She is a researcher with the division of psychiatry at the University College London. “We found that the link between parent and teen depression is not related to gender,” Lewis said in a college news release. “Family-focused interventions to prevent depression often focus more on mothers, but our findings suggest we should be just as focused on fathers,” she added. Rates of depression rise sharply at the start of adolescence, so learning more about risk factors at that age may help prevent depression later in life, according to the study authors. “Men are less likely to seek treatment for depression,” Lewis said. “If you’re a father who hasn’t sought treatment for your depression, it could have an impact on your child. We hope…  read on >

States that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw a greater increase in low-income adults who quit smoking than did states that did not expand Medicaid, a new study found. Under the health care act, states that expanded Medicaid had to offer services to help people quit smoking. About 30 percent of low-income adults in the United States smoke cigarettes, which is double the national average. For the study, University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzed the responses of more than 36,000 low-income adults, ages 18 to 64, who took part in a federal government survey on health behaviors. In the 31 states that expanded Medicaid, 8.1 percent of newly covered low-income adults said they’d quit smoking in the past year, compared with 6 percent of low-income adults in states that did not expand Medicaid. The findings show that government policies meant to reduce high smoking rates among low-income adults must include services to help people quit, according to the researchers. “Smoking cessation is notoriously difficult to achieve,” said study senior author Marian Jarlenski. She’s an assistant professor in the department of health policy and management in the university’s School of Public Health. “The sizable increase we found in smoking cessation might lead to significant reductions in death and diseases caused by smoking, and the taxpayer-funded health care expenditures that come with treating them,” Jarlenski said…  read on >

Your heart will thank you if you stick to a mostly plant-based diet, a new preliminary study suggests. Researchers evaluated five dietary patterns. They found that people who ate a plant-based diet most of the time had a 42 percent lower risk of developing heart failure over four years than those who ate fewer plant-based foods. “Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don’t already have it,” said study first author Dr. Kyla Lara. She’s an internal medicine resident at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Heart failure means the heart is unable to pump enough blood to maintain its workload. It affects about 6.5 million adults over the age of 20 in the United States. The study involved more than 15,500 American adults, aged 45 and older, without known heart disease or heart failure. The plant-based diet was weighed against diets of convenience (red meats, pastas, fried potatoes, fast foods); sweets-laden diets (desserts, breads, sweet breakfast foods, chocolate, candy); southern diets (eggs, fried food, organ meats, processed meats, sugary beverages); and eating habits heavy on alcohol and salads (salad dressings, green,…  read on >

Offering both the promise of better patient compliance with health care, but also fears of a medical “Big Brother,” a newly approved “digital pill” allows physicians to track whether or not it’s been ingested by patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the nod to Abilify MyCite, for use in patients with schizophrenia, an add-on treatment for depression, and to help control episodes of either manic or “mixed” episodes for people with bipolar disorder. As explained in an FDA news release, the pill contains a sensor that communicates with a wearable patch. This patch in turn sends signals to the patients’ smartphone, telling them whether or not they’ve taken the pill, along with the pertinent dates and times. “Patients can also permit their caregivers and physician to access the information through a web-based portal,” the FDA noted — opening the possibility that others can track a patient’s adherence (or lack thereof) to drug therapy. “Being able to track ingestion of medications prescribed for mental illness may be useful for some patients,” Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of psychiatry products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the news release. “The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers.” Otsuka Pharmaceutical…  read on >

Even if researchers were to find a groundbreaking new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, millions of people might not benefit from it, new research reveals. That’s because the U.S. health care system doesn’t have the ability to quickly implement a newly approved treatment on a widespread scale, according to a report from the RAND Corporation. For instance, there aren’t enough doctors to diagnose all the people with early signs of dementia who would be good candidates for such a treatment, the researchers explained. In addition, scanners used to detect the disease are in short supply, and there aren’t enough treatment centers that could administer the therapy to patients. An estimated 5.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2040, that number is expected to jump to 11.6 million, according to the study authors. “While significant effort is being put into developing treatments to slow or block the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia, little work has been done to get the medical system ready for such an advancement,” said study lead author Jodi Liu. She is a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research group. “While there is no certainty an Alzheimer’s therapy will be approved soon, our work suggests that health care leaders should begin thinking about how to respond to such a breakthrough,” Liu explained in a RAND news release. At least 10 therapies…  read on >

Holiday parties are fun social gatherings, but they can also be diet disasters. Here’s how to enjoy yourself while sparing yourself hundreds of extra calories. First, eat healthy in the hours leading up to the party. Focus on lean protein, whole grains and simply prepared fruits and vegetables to pack your day with nutrients, suggests the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Don’t attempt to starve yourself or create a calorie deficiency thinking this will give yourself leeway to splurge — that strategy often boomerangs. At the event, set a firm drink limit. Calories can quickly add up when the alcohol is flowing. Two 5-ounce glasses of white wine top 200 calories, so keep a running tally in your head or, even better, a calorie-counting app. Have a glass of plain or sparkling water between alcoholic drinks. This will help you stay hydrated (alcohol acts like a diuretic) and allow you to better pace the booze. Watch out for the hors d’oeuvres, especially if you’re at a cocktail party. It’s easy to mindlessly munch every time a tray passes by. Even bite-sized pastry treats like cheese puffs and mini hot dogs contain loads of calories. Choose high-protein shrimp cocktail instead — you can even enjoy a dollop of tomato-based sauce guilt-free. While nuts are healthy snacks, each handful is about 150 calories, so if you can’t…  read on >

If you love to while away a weekend watching a season’s worth of episodes from a favorite TV series, you may inadvertently put yourself at risk for developing a dangerous blood clot. When researchers compared people who reported watching TV more often to those who seldom or never watched TV, the risk of a venous thromboembolism (VTE) jumped by 70 percent. A VTE is a type of blood clot that can block blood flow in a vein, according to the American Heart Association. “I don’t think TV watching itself is an evil thing, but everything in moderation,” said study co-author Dr. Mary Cushman. She’s a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont’s Larner Medical College. “Think about how you’re spending your time, and see if you can take advantage of your TV time to get some activity in,” advised Cushman. Her own solution? Walking on her treadmill when she watches TV. Cardiologist Dr. James Catanese concurred. He said when he watches TV, he rides a stationary bike. If you’re not going to exercise while watching TV, he recommended watching an episode and then doing something physical for 20 minutes. “Physical inactivity is a risk factor for every cardiovascular disease, including VTEs,” said Catanese, chief of cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He wasn’t involved in the research. The study included more…  read on >

Need another reason to keep your weight under control? Excess weight can cause dislocation of your knee and may even lead to a complication that results in amputation of your leg. A new study attributes a surge in dislocated knees to the U.S. obesity epidemic. “Obesity greatly increases the complications and costs of care,” said study lead author Dr. Joey Johnson, an orthopedic trauma fellow at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. “As the rate of obesity increases, the rate of knee dislocations increases. The total number of patients who are obese is increasing, so we are seeing more of these problems,” Johnson explained. Knee dislocations result from multiple torn ligaments. Vehicle crashes or contact sports, such as football, are common causes. For the study, the researchers analyzed more than 19,000 knee dislocations nationwide between 2000 and 2012. Over that time, people who were obese or severely obese represented a growing share of knee dislocation patients — 19 percent in 2012, up from 8 percent in 2000. Obesity is also linked to more severe knee dislocations, longer hospital stays and higher treatment costs, according to the study published recently in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. And the chances that a knee dislocation would also injure the main artery behind the joint and down the leg were twice as high for obese patients than for those…  read on >