Odd Health Nuggets

Aug 19, 2014

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Sheldon often kicks me in the head when we sleep together. He runs up to new people to greet them and then stops just out of reach, because he cant decide if he is desperate to get attention from this stranger or should be afraid of them. Sheldon always wants to be in the bathroom with you when you are in there using the facilities. Sheldon is our dog. He is lovable and happy and cute, but he is a little quirky. Maybe even odd. Such as how he likes to sleep with all four feet in the air. And how he wont chase a squirrel, but any windblown leaf drives him crazy. I guess Im saying this odd little dog fits perfectly into the family.

It is warm out. We are in the dog days of summer, and I dont have the attention span to write a whole article about one thing. And I love odd little things like Sheldon. So here are three little bite sized, but odd, health nuggets.

Does your bedroom temperature affect how your body uses insulin? Maybe. Paul Lee et al. published a study online in the June 2014 issue of Diabetes that looked at brown adipose tissue and temperature. Brown adipose tissue or brown fat is interesting stuff. The more brown fat you have in you, helps you use insulin better. More brown fat helps you convert your thyroid hormone from its inactive T4 form to its active T3 form. Brown fat helps control how much heat you produce. Brown fat helps warm you up if you get too cold, so it can cause the body to burn more calories. In general more brown fat is better. In rats we know that if we make the rat cold for a long period of time, it will produce more brown fat. This increase in brown fat made the rats less likely to be obese and less likely have diabetes. Paul Lee and colleagues took 5 healthy human males and had them sleep in temperature controlled rooms. They slept at 19 C for 1 month, 24 C for 1 month and 27 C for one month. The researchers carefully controlled their diets and they continued their normal activity during the day. The researchers found the amount of brown fat in the subjects increased when they slept at 19 C and decreased at 27 C. Now this was a very small study, but wouldnt it be cool if we could decrease diabetes and maybe even obesity simply by turning down the temperature when we sleep?

What prescription that I was asked to fill in the pharmacy surprised me the most? Well, there have been a lot of surprises, but the premarin vaginal cream for a guy was right up there. As a pharmacist, one of my jobs is to catch prescriptions that arent quite right. We check the dose, if the patient might have an allergy or an interaction and a number of other potential problems. But first and foremost, we want to make sure the prescription has the right drug for the right person on it. Every so often typos happen and one persons name ends up on another persons prescription. I was sure that was the problem with this premarin cream prescription. But before I could ask, the patient said, The doctor told me to tell you that yes this cream really is for me. I had to ask him what we were treating. Apparently, when standard treatments fail, premarin vaginal cream works well on chronic recurring nose bleeds. I honestly had no idea that was a use for premarin cream. I did some reading, and the doctor was not off their rocker. It is not entirely clear why premarin might help nose bleeds, but one of the theories is the estrogen in the premarin thickens the tiny blood vessels and the mucosa in the nose. That thickening makes nose bleeds less likely. Who knew?

Sugar has been in the news a lot lately. There is even a fake Coke commercial that basically blames Coke and sugar for most of the worlds ills. Would you be surprised to hear there are healing effects of sugar? Thanks to Dr. Scott Kish, several years ago we started compounding sugar for wounds. It is really neat. We mix some regular sugar, some icing sugar and some superpotent hydrogen peroxide together until we get something that looks like grey silly putty. You can mold that silly putty into certain wounds. The sugar does a few things. It stops microbial growth. Just like jam is self-preserving because it has too much sugar in it for bacteria to grow, our sugar paste suppresses microbial growth. The sugar paste also absorbs lots of goo. This is important because you dont want oozing wounds to be too wet. You also dont want them to get too dry. The sugar paste strikes a nice balance between wet and dry. Apparently, honey can be used in a similar way. A really interesting pharmacist from Alberta, Igor Shaskin, told us they use Medihoney, a medicinal grade honey in a very similar way. Finally there was a recent article in the UK paper the Daily Mail about a guy who healed his leg ulcers with sugar. As neat as that is, please see you doctor before you start pouring sugar all over a wound. Please. Really. No home ulcer treatments, okay?

Hey, odd stuff sticks in your brain. It might as well be almost useful odd stuff. Cold temperatures to prevent diabetes, estrogen for nose bleeds and sugar for wounds. Not exactly useful info, but like Weird Als song, Tacky, theyll be stuck in your head for a while. Ive got to go now. Emily just dumped a bag of leaves over Sheldon and I think he is going to lose his mind.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

American Diabetes Association online line journal article on sleep temperature affecting brown adipose tissue http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2014/06/18/db14-0513

Sugar the Wonder Drug: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2715979/Introducing-new-wonder-cure-SUGAR-Its-demonised-diet-But-thanks-Mail-reader-banish-leg-ulcers.html

Upworthy Coke Ad:www.upworthy.com/the-brutally-honest-coca-cola-commercial-youll-never-see-on-the-air

Igor Shaskin: Medihoney www.staffordpharmacy.com/home-healthcare/home-healthcare-center/wound-care/

Weird Al Tacky Video - www.nerdist.com/vepisode/weird-al-yankovic-gets-tacky-with-pharrells-happy/


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