Teenage Boy Goes Blind After Existing on Pringles, White Bread and French Fries

Eating a diet of french fries, Pringles and white bread was enough to make one teenage boy lose his sight, according to a case study published in a medical journal.

Scientists from the University of Bristol examined the case of a young patient whose extremely picky eating led to blindness, and have warned of the dangers of a poor diet.

The unidentified patient told doctors he had only eaten fries from the fish and chip shop, Pringles potato chips, white bread, slices of processed ham and sausage since elementary school, and he avoided foods with certain textures. He first visited a doctor at age 14, complaining of tiredness, according to a case report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday.

He wasn’t taking any medication, had a normal BMI and height, and showed no visible signs of malnutrition.

Doctors discovered low vitamin B12 levels and anemia, treating the patient with vitamin B12 injections and offering dietary advice.

One year later there were signs of hearing loss and vision symptoms, but doctors did not find the cause.

The patient’s extreme diet led to nutritional optic neuropathy.

His vision had worsened to the point of blindness by 17 years of age, and doctors identified vitamin B12 deficiency, low copper and selenium levels, a high zinc level, reduced vitamin D level and bone level density, according to a statement from the University of Bristol.

By this stage, vision damage was permanent.

Researchers from Bristol Medical School and the Bristol Eye Hospital examined the case and concluded that the patient suffered nutritional optic neuropathy, a dysfunction of the optic nerve.

In developed countries it is mostly caused by bowel problems or medication that interferes with the absorption of nutrients, and it is rarely caused entirely by poor diet because food is readily available.

In some places, malnutrition caused by poverty, war and drought is linked to higher rates of nutritional optic neuropathy, according to a statement.

Fast food may contribute to teen depression, study says

The condition is reversible if treated early but can lead to blindness if no action is taken.

“Our vision has such an impact on quality of life, education, employment, social interactions, and mental health,” said study lead author Denize Atan, an ophthalmologist at Bristol Medical School and Bristol Eye Hospital.

“This case highlights the impact of diet on visual and physical health, and the fact that calorie intake and BMI are not reliable indicators of nutritional status.”

The researchers say that poor diet and reduced intake of minerals caused vision loss in this case, and warn that nutritional optic neuropathy could become more common due to the consumption of junk food.

They also warned vegans to make sure to supplement for vitamin B12 to avoid deficiency.

To prevent similar cases, doctors should ask patients about their dietary history as part of routine clinical examinations, the researchers urged.

“Extreme example”

Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, was critical of the case report, saying it relied on the patient’s own recall of his eating habits and did not take into account other possible explanations for the condition, including genetic defects or environmental exposures.

“Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause optic neuropathy but it is very unusual to find dietary deficiency when animal products are consumed e.g. ham and sausages which are significant sources of the vitamin B12,” he told the Science Media Centre in London.

Gary Frost, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the research, told CNN it is incredibly rare for someone in the UK to have a diet so limited it results in micronutrient deficiencies.

“Although it is an extreme example, it highlights the importance of having a wide and varied diet to ensure that you get the profile of nutrients and micronutrients that are needed for healthy development,” said Frost.

These deficiencies become more likely the more limited the choice of food, he added.

“Fussy eating is very common in young children and in extreme cases can lead to very limited choice of food,” said Frost.

“There is a need to pick up on eating problems such as these as early as possible so the issue around limited textures and tastes can be addressed.”


IV Drips Are Injecting Their Way Into Wellness Routines

You may have heard of IV drip treatments as the speedy antidote to hangovers in recent years. But many wellness insiders now are making this quick, intravenous method of taking in nutrients a regular thing—thanks to its reputed ability to thoroughly hydrate you and add a vitamin, mineral and amino acid boost to your bloodstream in levels that would be impossible to absorb orally.
How? Since it’s an IV, the drip bypasses your body’s digestive system—where nutrients can pass through without being fully absorbed, especially if you have gastro issues—and delivers nutrients in a more bio-available form. In other words, the idea is that your body can put whatever’s in the IV to use, fast. The IV infusions have been credited with doing everything from enhancing your skin’s glow, to combating jet lag, aiding muscle recovery, and improving your digestion (the most popular being the skin-enhancing and immunity boosts).
And as wellness aficionados are incorporating the on-the-go treatment into their regular health routines, the market for IV solutions is expected to reach about $13.79 billion by 2024.

—”You generally feel good [with the treatments]. IVs have got all the components to be big in wellness.” —Frank Lipman, MD


Functional medicine pioneer Frank Lipman, MD, who has been utilizing IV treatments for almost 20 years in his practice, sees them as a booming trend. “I’ve definitely seen an increase—in the last five years, IVs have been becoming more popular,” he says. “It’s done everywhere now, not just in doctor’s offices. I think it’s going to be bigger in 2019 because people like a quick fix. And you generally feel good [with the treatments]. IVs have got all the components to be big in wellness.”
Erika Schwartz, MD, of Manhattan’s Evolved Science, adds, “No one wants to get sick, no one wants to feel tired, and people want to feel like the best version of themselves—therefore they’re very interested in safe and medically sound new and exciting approaches to obtain this feeling.” But a warning: We’re talking about needles! (Duh.) Make sure you’re dealing with medical pros who are experts at administering the drips safely.
The once celeb-only trend is going mainstream around the country: In addition to spots like NutriDrip in New York City and Infuse Wellness in Santa Monica, IV therapy-focused wellness centers have popped up between the coasts, at Thrive Drip Spa in Houston, Drip IV Therapy in Kansas City, The Drip Room in Scottsdale, AZ, and many others.
Olivia Kim, an IV technician from the medical partners of NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, notes that she’s had lots of company owners with wellness brands reaching out for advice on how to start IV therapy in more rural areas. “I really do believe that it is going to transcend outside of New York City,” she says. “We’re seeing more customers starting to apply IV therapy into their lives. I think it’ll start to get bigger and busier.” So, unless you suffer from aichmophobia (AKA fear of needles), prepare to have more options when it comes to your vitamin-and-mineral regimen.
Contributor: Well+Good.com

The Same Exact Foods Affect Each Person’s Gut Bacteria Differently

How does diet affect the thriving communities of microbes living in your digestive tract? It’s personal.


New research finds that the types of foods people eat really do impact the makeup of their gut microbiomes. However, the same food can have opposite effects in two different individuals. That means that the specifics of how diet will influence any given person’s gut are still a mystery.


“A lot of the response of the microbiome to foods is going to be personalized, because each person has that unique mixture [of microbes] that’s special only to them,” said Dan Knights, a computational microbiologist at the University of Minnesota. [10 Ways to Promote Kids’ Healthy Eating Habits]


Meals for microbes

The microbes that populate the intestinal tract may have a major influence on human health. Researchers have found that gut bacterial communities may be linked to the difficulty some people have losing weight, and they could play a role in cardiovascular disease. The microbiome also seems to be intimately tied to the immune system, and thus it plays an important role in immune-related diseases and disorders, including allergies.


A few studies have suggested that diet can influence the microbiome, Knights told Live Science, but the connection is poorly understood. He and his colleagues tackled the problem by asking 34 healthy volunteers to record every morsel of food and drink they consumed for 17 days straight. The participants then collected stool samples over the course of the study, which the researchers analyzed with a method called shotgun metagenomics. This method involves taking random samples of the genetic sequences in the microbes in the fecal material, Knights said, then piecing together what species and what genes those sequences came from.


This very detailed approach revealed that diet does indeed affect the gut bacteria. In a given person, the researchers could predict changes in the microbiome based on what they’d eaten in the days prior. For each person, they found a median of nine specific relationships between a type of food and specific gut microbiome changes.


But those changes didn’t generalize well from one person to the next. The team found 109 total food-gut microbe relationships that were shared by more than one research participant — but only eight that were shared by more than two. And of those eight, five of the relationships went in opposite directions. In one participant, eating a particular veggie caused a specific group of bacteria to multiply like mad. In another, that same veggie could quash that same group of bacteria.


What’s in a food?

What’s more, the nutrients on the nutrition label didn’t correlate with any of these changes. At first, that seemed surprising, Knights said. But then, he said, “we realized it kind of makes sense, because the nutrition labels are written for humans.”


And while humans might care about things like magnesium content and saturated fat, gut microbes are apparently a lot more interested in the unlisted stuff, including hundreds of unknown compounds that are in any given food.


“There’s all of this — I like to call it dark matter — that’s in our foods that we’re not really measuring,” Knights said.


Instead, the correlations the researchers found were between gut microbes and specific food types, such as leafy green vegetables or yogurt (specific type notwithstanding). Two of the study participants consumed primarily meal replacement shakes of the Soylent brand. That turned out to be interesting, Knights said, because though those two people subsisted on the same thing almost every day, their gut communities changed daily, just as the microbiomes of those on a more varied diet did.


“There are very clearly other sources of variation in the microbiome in addition to the foods that we eat,” Knights said.


The meaning of the microbiome

Despite the unique nature of each microbiome’s response to specific foods, Knights believes there is a way to make sense of the data.


Doing so will require two approaches, he said. The first is to drill deep into what’s actually in specific foods. Researchers will need to identify specific compounds that gut microbes metabolize, to understand the nitty-gritty details of the gut ecosystem.


“That’s something that is going to take a lot of work, but we can get there,” Knights said.


The second approach is to look at huge data sets on diets and microbiome communities, he said. With thousands of participants, trends can pop out, even if the details are unique to individuals, he said.


The study was funded by General Mills, the food manufacturer, reflecting that company’s interest in basic nutrition research, Knights said. One major question he and his colleagues want to tackle is how the modern American diet affects the microbiome. People living in developing nations or in more traditional cultures have different gut microbiome communities from what’s found in developed nations, Knights said.


“One thing we’re very interested in understanding is how our diets in modern society might be contributing to the loss of our ancestral microbes,” he said.


The researchers reported their findings June 12 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.


Contributor: Stephanie Pappas-Live Science

Taming Your Anger…

Taming your anger can have important benefits to
your health

The goal: an easy system, based in sound psychology, to employ in moments
of annoyance.

You shouldn’t live with it, though.

Beyond improvements to your general mood and happiness, taming your anger
can have important benefits to your health. Constant stress and aggravation is
linked to a range of issues including overeating, insomnia and depression, and
angry outbursts increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Despite how common it is for us humans to become annoyed and angry — from
road rage to air rage and work frustrations to parenting — there are few easy
solutions. Maybe we’ve just accepted outsize irritation as a part of life, or maybe
simple answers are antithetical to a problem that can be ingrained.

Easily getting bent out of shape, even angry, is my problem, too. It was
happening more than I wanted and was cumulatively stressing me out, which is
why, a couple of years ago, I set a goal to come up with an easy system, based on
sound psychology, that I could employ in moments of annoyance.
Anger “is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control,” the Zen master
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote. I aimed to teach myself how to rob it of oxygen and
snuff it out.

“We all have a ‘fight or flight’ trigger,” explained Dr. Mark Crawford, a clinical
psychologist. “It is adaptive. Some of us have a more sensitive one than others.
However, the good news is that we can almost ‘reprogram’ this by techniques
like breathing and particularly mindfulness meditation.”
For me, that reprogramming was best achieved by gaining perspective.
Drawing upon your own life experiments
Below are the 10 simple steps I use to give perspective to, and gain distance
from, unbridled irritation and anger. Employing them has significantly reduced
the number of instances in which I get irritated, or at least has shortened their

It’s important to note that these are progressive steps. I rarely need to escalate
through all 10.

Many smaller annoyances (someone cutting in line, traffic jam, kids not listening)
can be tackled with just the first step. Others (unfair parking ticket, public
rudeness) may send you halfway up the steps. And bigger situations (a blow-up
with a family member, being denied a promotion at work) may require the
collective effort of them all before it is defused.
You may also find it more effective to change the order, or a step itself.

Step one: 10 breaths
At the first moment you realize you are experiencing annoyance or anger, just
breathe. Ten slow, deep, even breaths do wonders. Sometimes, the annoyance
will have passed in just that time.

Even if it hasn’t, the breaths still help. Diaphragmatic or abdominal (as opposed
to shallow) breaths, in which you breathe from deeper inside your belly and fill
your lungs, deliver more oxygen to your body, which stabilizes blood pressure
and helps invoke your body’s relaxation response.

What’s in your mantra?
It may help to add a mantra (“I have the patience of the Buddha” is one I like to
use when the kids’ bedtime-delaying tactics are keeping me from relaxing on the
couch) or a calming image to hold in your mind. I sometimes accompany my 10
breaths with a memory of a surfer I once watched paddling into the sunset of the
Pacific Ocean. He is often capable of pulling my annoyance out to sea with him.

Step two: Explain it to yourself
If the breaths don’t make a dent, try explaining what’s happening to yourself.
“I’m annoyed right now because …” is a good sentence to finish. Articulating the
issue changes your response from emotion to logic.
The explanation itself may be all you need, either because it creates an even
longer mental break from the situation than just breathing or because when you
say it to yourself, it makes more sense. It may even sound petty or even funny.

Step three: Walk a meter in their shoes
Make use of this step when another person is part of the reason you are upset.
Try hard to see the situation from their reality and invent a subjective theory for
why they did what they did.

Your theory will probably be rooted in a cause that’s benign or about them, not
you. Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe you can think about an
emergency that might be affecting their behavior.

Step four: Role model grace
Think beyond the annoyance, or annoying person, and focus on your own
behavior. By thinking of how you can be a model for grace under pressure, you
help yourself to become one.

What would the most diplomatic, logically thinking version of yourself do next?
Do that. It may help to think of a cool, calm and collected pop culture icon such
as James Bond, Ellen Ripley, Cary Grant, Pam Grier or Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Change, the double-edged sword that’s worth mastering

Step five: This too shall pass
Whatever it is that is getting your goat, it is temporary and manageable. You
won’t always feel this way. It’s just a question of how long.
Acknowledging that your annoyance is finite and, in your control, and that the
winds of change will blow again in your favor (sooner or later), helps frame the
scope of the problem, no matter how large.

Step six: What really matters?
How important is the matter upsetting you? How does it stack up against the
things in life that you know matter? What is important (loved ones are a good
example) can be the antidote to what troubles you now — as long as you can
bring them to mind in this moment.

Turn your attention in that direction, and you won’t just be distracted but
connected to something more important that brings you happiness. Scrolling
through the photo stream on your phone is a quick way to do this.

Step seven: A funny thing happened on the way
Whatever the annoyance, make a joke about it, even if it’s a bad one. If you can
find some grain of humor in the situation, smiling, laughing and even being silly
can all defuse anger and annoyance. It’s not psychologically possible to
experience two emotions at once.
This technique is great when my child is making me wait to brush her teeth
because she “has” to brush her stuffed penguin’s teeth first.
Even if you’re not feeling it, the fake-it-until-you-make-it trick of smiling to boost
happiness really works.

Step eight: Seek solutions
If you’ve made it this far up the steps and you are still really peeved, here’s a
good (if seemingly obvious) question to ask yourself: “Is there something I can
do to make it better?” Even if the answer is a small step that may not seem that
effective, just taking action gets you out into the frame of acting, not reacting.
If you can then come up with a successful solution, so much the better. You will
be the agent of change that fixes the situation and discover that you have more
power than you think. Just pause to make sure your solution won’t create
another problem. (Hint: Sleep on that angry email response.)

If you can’t come up with anything, that’s useful, too. Knowing that you can’t
change something is the first step in accepting it. Cue the Serenity Prayer.

Step nine: Trust in time
In the future, it is possible that you will see this particular anger-causing
situation differently. Look at past problems and see how they’ve been a catalyst
for change or even a blessing in disguise. You may even look back at a difficult
situation with fondness, humor or gratefulness (for having overcome it). It’s
worth keeping in mind that what seems bad now won’t always be so.

Step 10: Call a lifeline
If you’ve hit No. 10, it’s time to talk about the frustration with someone you trust
who is not involved in the situation. Start by telling them what you did in the
previous steps and why they didn’t fully work.
Another person, by definition, gives you an alternate perspective; the more
outside your frame they are, the better. If they are a good friend or mentor, they
will indubitably have advice tailored to you and your situation that has eluded

Good and bad, it’s all the same: a Taoist parable to live by
There are also professionals to talk to, especially if you feel that anger is often
out of your control. Reflect on the severity and frequency of your anger, because
an expert may be what you need if these episodes are disrupting your life.
There is one more step, but it’s a bit dramatic and not so simple. It’s an Eskimo
custom of dealing with anger, as noted in Rebecca Solnit’s surprisingly
fascinating book on the history of walking, “Wanderlust.”

Walk in one direction for as long as you are aggrieved. When the emotion finally
evaporates, drop a stick on the ground and head back, creating a physical
manifestation “bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage.”
It not only combats the anger; it is also good for your heart. Exercise in general
is good for reducing stress and anger.

As for me, my inner Hulk shows its ugly face a lot less than it used to before I
practiced this technique.
Triggers are reduced as well. And I, and everyone around me, am better for it.

Contributor: G. Allan, CNN