In The News With Karolyn Gazella | November

Stay up to date on contemporary developments in the natural health profession with Karolyn Gazella. In this edition, we cover colonoscopy confusion, probiotics for the elderly and the connection between polypharmacy and dementia.

Karolyn Gazella founded the Natural Medicine Journal in 1992 and has been writing about integrative health since then. Karolyn keeps us posted on important stories in integrative health during our regular check in with her. Join host Brian Johnson and Karolyn talking about some current controversies and curiosities in integrative health and natural medicine.

Key Take-Aways


Colonoscopy confusion
This week, a new European study raised questions about the efficacy of colonoscopies as cancer screening tools. That study, however, had many limitations. For example, it turns out that more than half of the research participants who were 'invited' to get a colonoscopy never even showed up for the procedure.

That didn’t stop the mainstream media from running with the story (eye roll).

In contrast, there is more than a decade of research showing colonoscopies save lives. For example, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in 2018, screening colonoscopies reduced cancer deaths by 67%.  If you are at higher risk for colon cancer, then it's still recommended that you have a colonoscopy.

Probiotics provide immune support in the elderly
Research in human aging continues to be an important area of clinical research, especially in the wake of the pandemic. A recent study reported in the Natural Medicine Journal on a double-blind, placebo-controlled study aims to find out whether a probiotic formulation reduced “common infection symptoms” in the elderly. 

The key take-away will be no surprise to natural health practitioners. Common symptoms of infection in the elderly were less prevalent in those who took a multistrain probiotic. Compared to placebo, the probiotics were much more effective at reducing symptoms and reducing length of cold and flu.

Polypharmacy and Dementia
It’s estimated that one in ten Americans have dementia. Research out of Columbia University that was published in JAMA Neurology also shows that 22% of Americans have mild cognitive impairment.

Now there is a new study that investigates the link between polypharmacy and dementia. Using machine learning, the study examined health records to explore the patterns associated with polypharmacy, the use of multiple medications, and dementia.

What they found was people who took three different medications for a period of five years leading up to their diagnosis had a much higher risk of developing dementia than the people who were not taking three or more medications.


Key Quote  


“We're learning now that probiotics can help with mental health issues and they help with cognition. Your gut is incredibly important! 70% to 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, so the immune connection is really clear. And when you're talking about gut-brain, that's some fascinating stuff. The gut is really the purview of the naturopathic and integrative health community. That's where we do our best work.” Karolyn Gazella



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