Parents too often wave the white flag when it comes to young picky eaters, a new survey finds. Three out of five parents say they’re willing to play personal chef and cobble up a separate meal for a child who balks at the family dinner, according to a national poll from the University of Michigan. This often leads to the kids munching something less healthy, said Dr. Susan Woolford, a pediatrician with the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Parents should instead greet such obstinance with a shrug, Woolford said. “Rather than allowing the child to choose an alternate menu, parents should provide a balanced meal with at least one option that their child is typically willing to eat,” Woolford said in a hospital news release. “Then if their child chooses not to eat, parents should not worry as this will not cause healthy children any harm and they will be more likely to eat the options presented at the next meal,” Woolford added. Parents’ biggest mealtime challenge is getting a healthy diet into a picky eater, according to results from the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. But the desire to make sure a preschool or elementary-aged child eats a balanced, nutritional diet often leads to strategies that backfire, poll results suggest. “The preschool and…  read on >  read on >

A head-to-head trial of obese, pre-diabetic people who ate the same amount of daily calories — with one group following a fasting schedule and the other eating freely — found no difference in weight loss or other health indicators. So, despite the fact that fasting diets are all the rage, if you simply cut your daily caloric intake, weight loss will occur no matter when you eat, the study authors concluded. “Consuming most calories earlier in the day during 10-hour time-restricted eating did not decrease weight more than consuming them later in the day,” wrote a team led by Dr. Nisa Maruthur, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Her team presented its findings Friday at the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians (ACP) in Boston. The study was published simultaneously in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Intermittent fasting has become very popular among weight-conscious Americans in recent years. In an ACP news release, the researchers noted that “evidence shows that when adults with obesity limit their eating window to 4 to 10 hours, they naturally reduce caloric intake by approximately 200-550 calories per day and lose weight over 2-12 months.” But what if people simply cut their daily calories by the same amount, without shifting their eating schedules? The new trial involved 41 people with obesity and pre-diabetes,…  read on >  read on >

The right diet may be the best medicine for easing the painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), new research shows. In the study, two different eating plans beat standard medications in treating the debilitating symptoms of the gastrointestinal disease. One diet was low in “FODMAPs,” a group of sugars and carbohydrates found in dairy, wheat and certain fruits and vegetables, while the second was a low-carb regimen high in fiber but low in all other carbohydrates. Published April 19 in the journal Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the findings suggest that patients should first try dietary changes before moving to drugs for relief. IBS is one of the most common and stubborn conditions gastroenterologists treat. It affects roughly 6 percent of Americans, with women diagnosed more often than men. Its symptoms are hard to ignore and life-limiting: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Treatments often include dietary changes or taking medications that can include laxatives and antidiarrheals; certain antidepressants; and other prescription medications such as linaclotide and lubiprostone — both of which increase fluid in your gut and the movements of your intestines. Research has found that a low-FODMAP diet — which involves avoiding foods like wheat products, legumes, some nuts, certain sweeteners, most dairy products and many fruits and vegetables — can reduce IBS symptoms in most people, Dr. William Chey, a gastroenterologist at Michigan Medicine, told the…  read on >  read on >

Two implanted heart devices used by patients in end-stage heart failure are now under a strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall, after being tied to 273 known injuries and 14 deaths, the agency said Tuesday. The HeartMate II and HeartMate 3 are manufactured by Thoratec Corp., a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories. About 14,000 of the devices are thought to be under recall, but as of now the two devices not being removed from the market. “The HeartMate II and 3 are used for both short- and long-term support in adult patients with severe left ventricular heart failure,” the FDA explained in a statement. “It can be used while waiting for a heart transplant, to help the heart recover, or as a permanent solution when a transplant isn’t an option.” The devices replace the blood-pumping action of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. They divert blood flow from that weakened chamber and propel it into the aorta, where it flows to the rest of the body. However, in rare cases a type of clot can form from “biological material” that builds up in a particular area of the devices. “This buildup can obstruct the device, making it less effective in helping the heart pump blood,” the FDA explained. “It can trigger alarms indicating low blood flow and affect the device’s ability to help…  read on >  read on >

Eating healthy can lower the risk of heart disease in breast cancer survivors, a new study has found. Heart disease is a top cause of death in women who’ve survived breast cancer, likely due to the toxic effects of chemo, radiation and targeted cancer therapy on the heart, researchers said. Breast cancer and heart disease also share some common risk factors, including aging, lack of exercise and smoking. But following a heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet appears to blunt this risk, according to findings published April 17 in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum. “Our findings suggest that we need to begin talking to breast cancer survivors about the potential heart benefits of the DASH diet,” lead researcher Isaac Ergas, a staff scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, said in a journal news release. For the study, researchers analyzed data for more than 3,400 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between 2005 and 2013. The women were monitored through 2021. Women whose diets were most similar to DASH at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis had a 47% lower risk of heart failure, a 23% lower risk of irregular heart rhythm or cardiac arrest, a 21% lower risk of valve heart disease, and a 25% lower risk of deep vein thrombosis, results show. A DASH…  read on >  read on >

Changes in gut bacteria have been linked to a variety of different diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Now, a new study indicates that gut bacteria also might play a role in a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Certain species of bacteria actively consume cholesterol in the gut, which might help lower cholesterol levels and heart disease risk in people, researchers reported recently in the journal Cell. In particular, people with higher levels of Oscillibacter bacteria in their gut have lower levels of cholesterol, because those bacteria drink in and process cholesterol from their surroundings, results show. These findings could serve as “starting points to improve cardiovascular health” by tweaking a person’s gut bacteria, also known as the microbiome, said senior researcher Ramnik Xavier, co-director of the Broad Institute Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program in Boston. Prior studies have linked the gut microbiome to heart disease risk factors like triglyceride or blood sugar levels, but they have failed to completely explain the means by which these bacteria affect heart health. For the study, researchers analyzed the gut bacteria of more than 1,400 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, a decades-long effort to investigate risk factors for heart disease. They found that people with several Oscillibacter species tended to have lower cholesterol than those who didn’t. They also found that Oscillibacter…  read on >  read on >

Keeping blood pressure under control could be crucial for women in preventing uterine fibroids, new research shows. Middle-aged women tracked for up to 17 years in a new study were 37% less likely to develop these painful growths if they treated their high blood pressure with medication. On the other hand, “patients with new-onset hypertension had a 45% increased risk of newly reported fibroids,” said a team led by Susannah Mitro, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. The findings were published April 16 in JAMA Network Open. As outlined in the study, uterine fibroids are benign but painful tumors that arise in the uterus and affect up to 80% of women by the age of 50. Fibroids can trigger pain and bleeding, but right now there are no known means of preventing them. In the new study, Mitro’s group analyzed 1996-2013 data for 2,570 U.S. women who enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, beginning at the age of 45. All of these women had no prior history of fibroids when they joined the study, but over the following 17 years, 20% did receive such a diagnosis. The women’s blood pressure was tracked over time, as well. The researchers found strong correlations been blood pressure and a woman’s odds for uterine growths. For example, those who were found to…  read on >  read on >

Women who experience common complications during a pregnancy could face heightened odds for early death for decades to come, new research shows. In the largest such study to date, “women who experienced any of five major adverse pregnancy outcomes had increased mortality risks that remained elevated more than 40 years later,” said a team led by Dr. Casey Crump, of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. The team published its findings April 15 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. According to Crump’s group, “pregnancy has been considered a ‘natural stress test’ that may yield valuable information for understanding [women’s] future health risks.” Indeed, conditions that raise the odds for complications in a pregnancy — smoking, obesity, diabetes and heart disease — can raise overall health risks. In the new study, the Texas team analyzed data on over 2 million Swedish women who delivered single babies between 1973 and 2015. They then tracked the women’s health through 2023, when these women averaged 52 years of age. The team found that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes (diabetes arising while pregnant) raised a woman’s odds of dying over the study period by 52%, compared to women without a history of this complication. Similarly, premature delivery was linked to a 41% higher odds for early death, the study found, and delivering an underweight baby was tied…  read on >  read on >

Cancer-linked ‘forever chemicals’ made news this week, with the Biden Administration vowing to cut levels in the nation’s tap water. New research finds that the chemicals, known as PFAS, can also contaminate the seafood Americans eat. No one is advising that consumers avoid fish and shellfish, the study’s authors stressed. However, their findings point to a need for federal guidelines on PFAS levels in seafood, similar to what happens with mercury. “People who eat a balanced diet with more typical, moderate amounts of seafood should be able to enjoy the health benefits of seafood without excessive risk of PFAS exposure,” said study first author Kathryn Crawford, now an assistant professor of environmental studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. She worked on the study as a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to PFAS chemicals leaked from industrial sites and other sources has long been linked to various cancers, liver and heart issues, and immune and developmental damage to infants and children. “PFAS are not limited to manufacturing, fire-fighting foams or municipal waste streams — they are a decades-long global challenge,” study co-author Jonathan Petali, a toxicologist with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, noted in a Dartmouth news release. In the research, Petali, Crawford and colleagues analyzed levels of 26 different forms of PFAS in…  read on >  read on >

Phillips Respironics, the company responsible for the recall of millions of defective sleep apnea machines since 2021, must overhaul its production of the machines before it can resume making them in the United States, federal officials announced Tuesday. Under a settlement reached with the company, Phillips must revamp its manufacturing and quality control systems and hire independent experts to vet the changes. Phillips must also continue to replace, repair or provide refunds to all U.S. customers who got defective devices, the court order stated. The action helps resolve one of the biggest medical device recalls in history, which has dragged on for nearly three years and involved 15 million devices worldwide, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. “The finalization of this decree is a significant milestone. Throughout this recall, we have provided patients with important health information by issuing numerous safety communications and have taken actions rarely used by the agency to help protect those impacted by this recall,” Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release. “Today’s action is a culmination of those efforts and includes novel provisions aimed at helping ensure that patients receive the relief they have long deserved.” Most of the devices that have been recalled are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These devices force air through a…  read on >  read on >