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Are Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?  - web md

Are Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?

Looking at two decades' worth of data on U.S. adults, the study found generational differences in tests of cognitive function. That refers to essential mental abilities such as remembering, reasoning and problem-solving.
web md - 12 hours ago
School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19 - harvard

School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19

Summer activities are underway and some schools will be reopening come September. Does your child need a physical exam, or a form from the pediatrician? Here's how to think through the options for fulfilling these requirements. The post School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 days ago
Young Black Americans at High Risk of Hypertension  - web md

Young Black Americans at High Risk of Hypertension

The study, of 18- to 44-year-olds in the United States, found that high blood pressure was prevalent across all racial groups: Among both white and Mexican American participants, 22% had the condition.
web md - 3 days ago
Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are - harvard

Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are

What are goosebumps? Why do we get them? Do they serve a purpose? Some of these questions can be answered, others can’t. But a recent study in mice links goosebumps to stem cells responsible for the regeneration of hair. The post Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 days ago
Another Effect of COVID: Lasting Hearing Problems?  - web md

Another Effect of COVID: Lasting Hearing Problems?

When the patients were asked if they had any changes in their hearing, 13% said it was worse. Eight patients said their hearing had deteriorated and eight said they had tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
web md - 6 days ago
Study Reveals How Coronavirus Travels Indoors  - web md

Study Reveals How Coronavirus Travels Indoors

For the study, they created a model of how these aerosols travel in indoor spaces such rooms, elevators and supermarkets. They also compared how the virus did in various types of ventilation and with different spacing of people within a room.
web md - 6 days ago
Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane Season  - web md

Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane Season

The average hurricane season has about 12 named storms, but up to 20 storms are being predicted this season, according to Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia.
web md - 6 days ago
New Study Shows Kids Are COVID Spreaders, Too  - web md

New Study Shows Kids Are COVID Spreaders, Too

Coronavirus testing performed in Chicago in March and April shows that children and teens tend to have as much virus in their nasal passages as adults, according to a research letter published online July 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.
web md - 1 week ago
One Disease Mosquitoes Don

One Disease Mosquitoes Don't Spread: Coronavirus

The researchers found that the new coronavirus can't replicate in three common species of mosquitoes -- Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus -- and therefore cannot be transmitted to humans.
web md - 1 week ago
Common Diabetes Meds Tied to Complication Risk  - web md

Common Diabetes Meds Tied to Complication Risk

People taking a class of diabetes medications called SGLT2s have up to three times the risk for a serious complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) compared to people taking another drug, new research reveals.
web md - 1 week ago
Yet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are Safe  - web md

Yet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine hesitancy among Americans has been highlighted as a potential problem in the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some experts concerned that too many folks simply won't get a coronavirus vaccine even if one proves safe and effective.
web md - 1 week ago
Concussion Ups Odds for Many Brain Conditions  - web md

Concussion Ups Odds for Many Brain Conditions

The study of more than 186,000 Canadians found that those who suffered a concussion were more likely to develop any of several conditions, including: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); depression or anxiety; Parkinson's disease; or dementia.
web md - 1 week ago
Survivors

Survivors' COVID Antibodies May Be a Powerful Gift

These antibodies are among the most potent against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and could be produced by drug companies in large quantities, according to a team from Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
web md - 1 week ago
WebMD Poll: Most Would Wait on COVID Vaccine  - web md

WebMD Poll: Most Would Wait on COVID Vaccine

Fewer than half of people plan to get a coronavirus vaccine in the first year it’s available, and an even smaller group -- fewer than a third -- say they’ll get it in the first 90 days, a new WebMD reader poll finds.
web md - 1 week ago
In Rush to Publish, Some COVID Studies Not Reliable  - web md

In Rush to Publish, Some COVID Studies Not Reliable

Only 75 out of 664 clinical trials for COVID-19 -- about 11% -- have all the hallmarks of a scientific study that could be expected to produce solid results, according to the study published online July 27 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
web md - 1 week ago
Doctors Worry About COVID

Doctors Worry About COVID's Effects on Hispanics

While race and ethnicity data about the coronavirus isn’t complete, the reported numbers so far suggest Hispanic American adults of any race are disproportionately represented in certain coronavirus measures:
web md - 1 week ago
Will COVID Vaccine Trials Reflect U.S. Diversity?  - web md

Will COVID Vaccine Trials Reflect U.S. Diversity?

Although racial minorities, older people and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk from COVID-19, they’ve historically been the least likely to be included in clinical trials for treatments for serious diseases. Will that change with COVID-19?
web md - 1 week ago
Another COVID Mystery: Why Some Fall Ill  Twice  - web md

Another COVID Mystery: Why Some Fall Ill Twice

Experts are puzzling over cases where people have had COVID-19 twice. There’s been no comprehensive study of cases like this, and no one knows yet whether reinfection is possible, especially so soon after someone has recovered.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease? - harvard

Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease?

It has been known for some time that air pollution causes heart and lung diseases. Now, results from three different studies on populations in different parts of the world show an association between higher levels of air pollution and greater risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The post Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
I’m leaving Woohoo Inc - positive sharing

I’m leaving Woohoo Inc

I started Woohoo Inc back in 2003 so we have been spreading happiness at work for over 16 years. Our keynotes, workshops, articles, conferences, videos and books (download them for free) have reached millions of people all over the world. But something is wrong. For the last couple of years I have been unhappy at work and that won’t really … Continue reading I’m leaving Woohoo Inc →
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Should you use probiotics for your vagina?

Should you use probiotics for your vagina?

harvard - 7 months ago

You know probiotics can be good for your gut, but does your vagina need one too? You might think so, based on probiotic marketing these days. Probiotics are in everything from drinks to pills and powders, and in many cases, are being promoted as a means of improving your vaginal health.

Women seem to be listening, says Dr. Caroline Mitchell, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. Vaginal probiotic supplements are hugely popular. This includes both probiotic pills and suppository capsules that are inserted into the vagina using an applicator.

But evidence of effectiveness is scant. “There is almost no evidence that these have benefit for vaginal health. The studies are mostly poorly done and don’t adhere to rigorous reporting standards, even if they are randomized trials,” says Dr. Mitchell. But that hasn’t stopped companies from promoting products for that purpose.

However, while today’s vaginal probiotic products should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, that may change as scientific knowledge builds. Meanwhile, here’s what’s known and unknown about probiotics and your vaginal health.

Sorting facts about probiotics from fiction

Vaginal probiotics are touted as a way to introduce live microorganisms into your vagina to improve health. It’s true that your vagina, like your digestive tract, is teeming with beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms. When it comes to vaginal health, some common gynecological conditions are thought to be caused by an imbalance of bacteria inside the vagina. More often than not, when women seek out probiotics, they’re doing it in an attempt to ease discomfort caused by two of them: bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection, says Dr. Mitchell.

Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. There’s still a lot that experts don’t understand about the condition, but it is associated with an overgrowth of harmful microorganisms (such as Gardnerella vaginalis or Prevotella), which outnumber healthier types of vaginal bacteria, including a common organism called Lactobacillus.

Vaginal yeast infection also stems from an imbalance in the vagina. But in this condition, the problem is a fungus called Candida, which overcomes healthy bacteria. Candida can exist normally in the vagina without any problem, but may cause trouble if it outnumbers other microorganisms.

“There are some women who could benefit from probiotics at least in theory,” says Dr. Mitchell. Among them are women with bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection. For example, when it comes to recurrent bacterial vaginosis, the thinking is that introducing more of the helpful lactobacilli might protect against that overgrowth of harmful organisms, and consequently reduce recurrent infections. However, proof is lacking, says Dr. Mitchell. If that theory is shown to be true, a probiotic could be beneficial, but no one is sure. And it’s not at all clear that taking a probiotic orally will help the vagina.

There are also unknowns related to vaginal yeast infection. “In the vagina, yeast and lactobacilli coexist quite happily, while in the laboratory, lactobacilli can kill yeast,” says Dr. Mitchell. So, taking probiotics isn’t a scientifically based strategy, because real-life circumstances don’t match what happens in the laboratory.

For now, the only proven treatments for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection are antibiotic or antifungal treatments, says Dr. Mitchell.

A solution springs from frustration

But sometimes women don’t respond to the standard treatments and experience recurrent problems that leave them searching for solutions. Dr. Mitchell says that some women she’s encountered are trying not only probiotic supplements, but also alternative treatments they’ve found on the Internet. These include putting yogurt-soaked tampons, tea tree oil, and even garlic cloves into their vaginas in an effort to introduce beneficial bacteria. These solutions, she says, are not only ineffective but highly inadvisable.

“It’s true that a compound in garlic, allicin, has been shown to kill yeast in a laboratory. But you cannot put enough cloves of garlic in your vagina or take enough oral garlic capsules to achieve the same effect,” says Dr. Mitchell. Tea tree oil also has no demonstrated benefit and can cause irritation. Yogurt-infused tampons don’t work either. Many probiotic supplements and most yogurts do contain Lactobacillus bacteria, but it’s generally not the same type of Lactobacillus found in your vagina. L. crispatus and L. iners are the most common species found in the vagina. Most probiotics and yogurt contain other species, such as L. rhamnosusor L. acidophilus, which are more common in the gut.

Benefit or harm?

There also isn’t enough information to determine if introducing new bacteria using probiotics might do more harm than good. One study published in September 2018 in the journal Cell found that when people were given a probiotic after antibiotic treatment, their natural gut bacteria actually took longer to recover than did the gut bacteria of people who didn’t take the probiotic.

What I tell people is that over all, vaginal probiotics are probably a waste of money,” says Dr. Mitchell. “But if you are going to pick one and you really want to try one, the probiotics that seem to show some benefit in studies are ones containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1.”

Keep in mind that supplements, unlike medications, are not FDA-regulated. “Studies have shown that when these products are cultured, they often don’t have as much of what is on the label as promised, or don’t even contain what is on the label,” says Dr. Mitchell. The FDA has also found that some supplements contain potentially dangerous contaminants.

The post Should you use probiotics for your vagina? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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