Dr. Magryta: Odds & ends
Taking the Time
When I think of taking the time, I think of the Cat Stevens song, “Cats in the Cradle”* and its lyrics pointing to time missed between a son and a father. Having always been moved by these words, I swore to myself as a young teenager that I would be like my father, present, and not grow up to be another member of the song’s story as the son or later the father.
Fast forward to the year 2019 and look around us. We are constantly challenged by video streaming devices and work based distractions that try to pry us away from our quality time with loved ones. It is ever present like a gorilla waiting to steal your time away leaving you feeling empty if you let it.
How can we keep the tide of distraction at bay? The simple answer is by daily consciousness to the need to. Being aware will make it easier to put whatever you are doing down and spend more time with your little child or teenager. Or on the flip side, your wife, aunt, uncle, father or mother.
I recently hopped on a plane to visit with my father and my aunt, his older sister, with the sole purpose of hearing their story in its entirety. 6 hours of video recordings later and I was amazed at the depth of the World War II immigrant history that I did not know in its complete linear fashion. The time spent was special and the memories are locked in forever. Value at its best.
Where in your life can you add value to a loved one’s life? Where in your life can you stay conscious to your family’s needs and be present moment as often as possible? If you haven’t spent quality time with your elders, I highly encourage it. They have so much to share with memories and wisdom.
I am so grateful for the memories made.
High School performance
High School performance significantly improves with more nighttime sleep. Gideon Dunster and colleagues looked at a 55 minute later HS start time in Seattle, Washington and its effect on school performance. The authors state: “We carried out a pre-/post-research study and show that there was an increase in the daily median sleep duration of 34 min, associated with a 4.5% increase in the median grades of the students and an improvement in attendance.” “We also show that the later school start time is associated with a better alignment of sleep timing with the circadian system (reduced social jet lag), reduced sleepiness, and increased academic performance. Although it is highly likely that increased sleep was the cause for reduced sleepiness, it is much harder to attribute causality for 4.5% higher grades on increased sleep; nevertheless, it is certainly reasonable that students who are better rested and more alert should display better academic performance.” (Dunster et. al. 2018)
This is self explanatory. Our teens need more sleep to thrive. Later start times make logical sense.
Gastric acid suppression
Gastric acid suppression is associated with allergies over time. Dr. Jordakieva and colleagues looked at the association with acid blocking medicines and the development of allergies over time in Nature Communications this year. They found a correlation and an increasing risk with advancing age and female gender. The simple answer to the why is that the lack of gastric acid causes a dysfunctional protein breakdown mechanism allowing these intact proteins to be presented to the immune system abnormally via the gut thereby causing an allergic reaction. Avoid these medicines at all costs.
Pregnancy and the Mediterranean diet
Pregnancy and the Mediterranean diet are a good match. So says Dr. Wattar and colleagues in PLOSone this year. They found that a Mediterranean diet has the ability to reduce maternal weight gain and gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Simple and logical. The more I research maternal health for my book, the more I realize that an anti inflammatory diet coupled with drug/chemical avoidance, stress reduction and daily movement are keys to a good pregnancy outcome.
Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at email@example.com