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Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


A  new study performed in mice has found that the presence of Clostridium gut bacteria plays an important role in preventing the development of food allergies.  In recent years, food allergy rates among children in the US have risen sharply -- increasing approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.  Studies have shown a correlation between antibiotic and antimicrobial use and risk of food allergens, suggesting that disruptions of the body's microbiota, the population of bacteria that naturally live in and on people, might play a role in the development food allergies.

To see how changes in the microbiota of the intestines might influence allergic responses to food, researchers compared the immune response to peanuts (one of the most allergenic foods) of germ-free mice (mice reared in sterile conditions so that they have no microbes inside them), mice treated with antibiotics as newborns (these which have significantly reduced gut bacteria levels), and mice with normal gut bacteria.   When exposed to peanut proteins,  the immune systems of both the sterile mice and the antibiotic treated mice exhibited much stronger antibody responses than the immune systems of mice with normal microbiota.

The scientists then investigated which types of gut bacteria, if any, could be given to mice to prevent them from developing peanut allergies. They found that when a class of bacteria called Clostridia was implanted into the mice's intestines, it could both prevent these mice from developing a peanut allergy and reverse any sensitivity they had to peanut allergens.  Clostridia are a highly diverse class of bacteria common in humans. Further investigations revealed that the presence of the Clostridia triggers the body's release of molecules that decrease the permeability of the gut lining and thus prevent antigens from entering the bloodstream where sensitization to allergens occurs.   

What to do:  These results highlight just how integral healthy gut bacteria are to the proper development and functioning of our immune systems.  Take care of your microbiota by consuming a healthy diet rich in fibers (these feed our natural bacteria) and cultured foods such as yogurt (these contain healthy bacteria), and by only using antibiotics when prescribed by a physician. 

Adapted from articles available at:

Stefka AT, Feehley T, Tripathi P et al.  Commensal bacteria protect against food allergen sensitization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412008111

Kalliomäki M, Isolauri E.  Role of intestinal flora in the development of allergy.  Current  Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology2003 Feb;3(1):15-20.  Available at:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/448473_5

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


A new study has found that not only does eating better and exercising improve diabetics' quality of life but it also saves them hundreds in out of pocket healthcare costs each year.  Diabetes is an expensive disease.  Patients must obtain medications plus blood sugar testing equipment and strips, and they often have diabetes-linked complications that involve hospitalizations and/or surgery.  Nationally, total healthcare costs related to diabetes are estimated to be $245 billion annually and this value is expected to rapidly rise as an estimated 35% of U.S. adults now have pre-diabetes.
This analysis, led by Dr. Mark Espeland, evaluated medical histories for over 5,000 obese and overweight type 2 diabetes patients, ranging in age from 45 to 76, who were participating in the Look AHEAD intervention by the Center for Disease Control. In this trial, participants, were randomly assigned to either an intensive "lifestyle change program" focused on diet and exercise, or to a standard diabetes support and education program.
Over 10 years of follow-up, the patients in the intensive lifestyle change group had higher levels of physical activity and maintained a lower body weight, resulting in better diabetes control, blood pressure, sleep, physical function and fewer symptoms of depression.  The lifestyle change intervention group also had 11% fewer hospitalizations, 15% shorter hospital stays, and fewer prescription medications than those in the diabetes support and education program.  Those benefits led to an average savings of $5,280 in health-care costs per person over 10 years, or about $528 a year.  Researchers reported that the cost savings for people in the lifestyle intervention gro up were similar regardless of age, initial weight, gender or race.
What to do:  Modest lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your health.  Results from the LookAHEAD trial indicate that losing as little as 7% of body weight and getting in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) five days a week can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58%.  So, to save your health and your wallet, challenge yourself to make some healthy changes!  The curriculum from the Look AHEAD trial is available online at Lookaheadtrial.org.  Or, for personalized help with these changes, see NYCC's in-house dietitian.
Adapted from articles available at:
Espeland MA et al. Impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention on use and cost of medical services among overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes: The Action for Health in Diabetes. Diabetes Care, August 2014 DOI: 10.2337/dc14-0093 1935-5548

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


A new study has found that major stressful events such as the loss of a job or the death of a loved one accelerate aging at the cellular level.  But, individuals who maintain healthy patterns of diet, activity, and sleep minimize the damage that major stressors exert on our cells.

Researchers assessed cellular "aging" by measuring telomere length.  Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that affect how quickly cells age. They are combinations of DNA and proteins that protect the ends of chromosomes and help them remain stable. As they become shorter, and as their structural integrity weakens, the cells age and die quicker. In recent years, shorter telomeres have become associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases, including stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis diabetes, and many forms of cancer.

In the study, researchers tracked physical activity, dietary intake and sleep quality of 239 post-menopausal, non-smoking women for one year. The women provided blood samples at the beginning and end of the year for telomere measurement and reported on any stressful events that occurred. length  Among women who had lower levels of healthy behaviors, for every major life stressor that occurred during the year there was a significantly greater decline in telomere length. Yet women who maintained active lifestyles, healthy diets, and good quality sleep appeared protected when exposed to stress -- accumulated life stressors did not appear to lead to greater shortening.

What to do:  While we cannot avoid experiencing stressful events, we can make an effort to maintain healthy behaviors even when experiencing stress.  Building healthy habits into your life situation such as meal planning, minimizing TV time (less TV is associated with more sleep), and establishing convenient ways to get activity (such as getting a treadmill) can help you weather stressful times while not abandoning healthy behaviors.

Adapted from articles available at:


Puterman E, Lin J, Krauss K, Blackburn EH, Epel ES. Determinants of telomere attrition over 1 year in healthy older women: stress and health behaviors matter. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.70.