Readers’ physical and cognitive health is as important to us (and no doubt to them) as their political well-being. That is our justification for today’s focus on four recent health reports of interest: on mindfulness, sugar and Alzheimer’s, the hitherto unsuspected contribution of Medicaid to the opioid epidemic, and the dangers to men of prolonged ibuprofen use.
Are you afraid that you may have missed out on the mindfulness revolution? Not to worry! A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of mindfulness meditation concludes that “mindfulness is no better than watching tv.” Acupuncture‘s claimed benefits are similarly unproven. At best, mindfulness is just another form of relaxation. The full scientific report, published in Nature, is here. Scientific American also weighs in here.
Sugar and Alzheimer’s
High blood sugar, as measured by HbA1c, is associated with early cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. High blood sugar is the usual result of a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, which quickly metabolize to sugar.
[P]eople with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.
Medicaid contributed to the opioid epidemic
Medicaid didn’t cause the opioid epidemic but it conributed to it, according to a Senate Homeland Security report released in mid-January by the committee’s chairman, Ron Johnson:
Medicaid expansion greatly increased access to prescription drugs….The report studied hundreds of cases in which Medicaid was abused and defrauded to obtain opioids that were often resold on the streets….
The Senate Homeland Security report further notes that Medicaid fraud is rampant and has not been handled effectively by the government, a fact known to any serious student of the waste, fraud, and abuse that politicians of both parties vow to crack down upon during every election.
Ibuprofen can damage men’s endocrine system
Young men taking the widely used painkiller ibuprofen for 44 days ended up with testosterone levels typical of 70-year-old men:
“It’s worrying because it’s important that men’s testosterone levels are stable. Otherwise, it can lead to problems with, for example, muscle development, mood, and potency,” says David Møbjerg Kristensen, a senior researcher at the Danish Headache Center at Rigshospitalet and co-author of the new study, which is published in the scientific journal PNAS.
The full Danish scientific study is available here.
Tomorrow, Founders Broadsheet will have a report on education.
Click here if you missed yesterday’s Founders Broadsheet (“China is gaining on the United States. What is the US doing about it?”)