Bright Indicator Lights Ruining Your Sleep? You’re Not Alone. Here’s Why They Exist.

Bright Indicator Lights Ruining Your Sleep? You’re Not Alone. Here’s Why They Exist.

Claremont Colonic Center Newsletter
For thousands of years, the nighttime’s daily darkness naturally told humans it was time to go to sleep. That’s an evolutionary principle embedded into our brains — and it becomes apparent for those who can’t peacefully slumber at night because of the annoying indicator light that’s part of many household electronics.
Countless devices and appliances — from surge protectors and televisions to headphones and laptops — often have a bright light that turns on when plugged in but can’t be turned off unless the product is unplugged. It’s a pesky bedroom nuisance.

“Exposure to light at night is a completely unnatural and alien experience,” Steven Lockley, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine, said in author Paul Bogard’s 2013 book, “The End of Night,” which explores the effects of artificial light on society and health.

Not only are there more of those lights these days, but many are brighter than they used to be. Some manufacturers say indicator lights can sometimes serve a practical purpose. But the one thing that’s clear is that at bedtime, people looking to get some sleep just loath those difficult-to-ignore dots of light ruining the comforting darkness needed to get some shuteye.

The solutions we come up with

For Kyle Moschen, a 27-year-old public relations professional based in Seattle, it almost looked like a starry night sky in the studio apartment he used to live in with his boyfriend, except it wasn’t beautiful like Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting, it was irritating.

Bright lights emitting from many sources — from the oven, an automatic fan, the fire alarm, an air purifier and a wireless phone charger — made it difficult for Moschen to sleep at night.

His solution: Tape those bad boys right up.

“I was looking around and I just kept noticing more and more and I felt so confused, like why are there so many lights?” Moschen told CNN. “I was like this crazy person putting these black strips of electrical tape on every little light.”

Amazon, among other retailers, stocks several different sizes and shapes of blackout, or light-dimming, stickers and sheets.

The solution looked a bit different for Jonathan King, a finance professional based in New York.

“I plug in my Logitech headphones and it’s a little blue light but I really have a hard time sleeping with any light on so I have to either wear a face mask or what I usually end up doing is putting a shirt over the headphones so I don’t see them,” King told CNN in an email.

The practical and aesthetic purposes of indicator lights

To put it simply, an indicator light just reflects the status of a device, and that varies from product to product. For example, an indicator light could show that a device is charging or plugged in and working properly. For Bluetooth devices, they’re necessary when pairing with a phone.

Those bright indicators are often LED lights. LED lighting is an energy-efficient option for manufacturing indicator lights. The light has a long lifespan and doesn’t generate excess heat — important qualities for a technology that’s used every day.

Blue LED light — a common indicator color but one particularly disruptive to sleep — was such an industry breakthrough that the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to physicists Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for creating it.

Blue LED was introduced for commercial use in the 1990s. Amid a growing tech industry, blue LED offered a new, innovative color that gave consumer electronics a cutting-edge appearance.

“Sometimes those lights are on there just for aesthetic appeal, contributing to the gadget’s design, appeal and user experience,” David Loftus, president and chief executive of the Electronic Components Industry Association, told CNN.

Still, many manufacturers do without them. “A lot of times, some don’t have it because it is a very inexpensive device and the manufacturer has chosen not to spend a few pennies on putting an LED status light in it. Or, the devices are just really simple and don’t need it,” Loftus said. Manny Linhares Jr., senior director of product management at Legrand, a French electrical equipment manufacturer, said the indicator lights of Legrand’s products are essential for functional, aesthetic and safety reasons.

“As a manufacturer, adding an LED light does cost something, so to add one just to add one seems quite wasteful. So in our case, it’s used purposely to enhance the user experience,” he said.

Linhares Jr. also said the lights can be helpful as night lights.

“We aim for the subtle lights to help a customer know where these devices are when the lights are off in spaces where the occupant isn’t familiar with the room, like in hotels you at least have that subtle light glow,” he said.

Contributors: Bryan Mena, John Towfighi – CNN Health

Protect Those Eyes on the Sky

Protect Those Eyes on the Sky

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
On April 8, a solar eclipse — when the moon blocks the sun — will be visible in North America as the sun crosses Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. A total eclipse will occur in certain locations in the U.S., and a partial eclipse will be visible in other areas of the country, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. While the eclipse is a momentous occasion, it’s something eye experts say you need to enjoy safely.
Eye safety during the eclipse

Looking into any type of eclipse — partial or total — poses severe risks to your eyes. You could permanently damage your retina or even cause blindness. It’s not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized protective eyewear.

If you plan to take part in the solar viewing, you need to use solar eclipse glasses or a solar viewer to be completely safe. Solar viewers or glasses labeled as ISO 12312-2 compliant reduce the sunlight to a safe level for viewing.

Regular sunglasses and homemade solar filters are not safe for use. Regular sunglasses don’t provide adequate eye protection like eclipse glasses, no matter how dark the sunglasses are.

The eclipse can be viewed directly without eye protection only when the sun is entirely covered by the moon, which is called totality. During this period, you’ll no longer be able to see any part of the sun through your eclipse glasses or solar viewer.

It’s crucial to immediately put on your eclipse glasses or use the solar viewer again as soon as the sun’s first light is visible behind the moon.

Safety tips for eclipse viewing

Eclipse viewers should follow these safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Astronomical Society:
  • Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses.
  • Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches, tears or damage, don’t use them.
  • Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — don’t remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Help children use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.
  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or similar devices. This is important even if you’re wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.
  • Talk with an expert astronomer if you want to use a special solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

Have fun watching the solar eclipse, but be sure your eyes are properly protected.

Contributor: Robert Friese O.D. – Mayo Clinic

Research Says: Drinking This Red Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

Research Says: Drinking This Red Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

Claremont Colonnic
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases were responsible for 15.2 million deaths around the world in 2016. Sadly, even if one does not die from a cardiovascular event, it places a tremendous burden on the body and can drastically reduce the quality and duration of life.
The good news is, there are several lifestyle changes that can be made to lessen the risk of a cardiovascular event, including using non-pharmacological methods to reduce blood pressure. A recent study points to a familiar vegetable juice as a possible dietary measure to keep blood pressure in check.

What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the bloodstream against the inside walls of the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The responsibility of the veins is to bring the blood back to the heart.

Out of control blood pressure damages your arteries. When arteries become weak, they are not as effective at moving blood around the body. Cholesterol plaque can also form in the scar tissue that is created by long-term hypertension.

High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular problems in general. It is certainly something you don’t want to leave untreated.

What causes elevated blood pressure?
Essential hypertension, also known as primary hypertension happens when high blood pressure develops over time without any apparent cause. Secondary hypertension can be traced to a specific secondary cause including:

  • Kidney problems
  • Thyroid disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • A heart condition
  • Rare metabolic disorders

In addition, your risk of high blood pressure may also increase with the following factors:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating too much sodium
  • Being older
  • Family history of hypertension

How to treat high blood pressure
There are a number of ways that you can help to lower your blood pressure by making some changes to your lifestyle including:

  • Dropping weight
  • Reducing sodium intake
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting more sleep
  • Reducing alcohol consumption

Some medications can help to decrease blood pressure; however, they come with risks. The following drugs are commonly prescribed:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers ( ARBs)

What about statins?
It is possible that your doctor may prescribe stains for you to help control your blood pressure. These drugs are generally used to lower cholesterol by lowering the amount of cholesterol plaque that builds up in the arteries.

Statins inhibit the proper functioning of the body at a cellular level. By blocking LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, statins also block essential nutrients such as CoQ10, beta carotene, and vitamin E from reaching the mitochondria of the cells. CoQ10 is essential for a healthy heart, and cholesterol itself is key for brain function and hormonal balance, along with other system-wide processes.

The documentary Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover Up presents a great deal of research supporting the hypothesis that lower LDL cholesterol does not lower the risk of heart disease. In fact, it creates many additional problems.

Statin Nation references a study from Japan that found that individuals with the lowest cholesterol levels had three times the risk of dying of cancer than those with higher cholesterol. Another large-scale study from Hawaii found that those with low cholesterol levels had a higher risk of early death.

As you can imagine, there is much controversy around the use of statins and whether or not they do, in fact, help lower blood pressure. One thing is for certain, these drugs are not without risks.

Adverse Impact of satins
A paper published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs makes note of 900 studies indicating the adverse effects of statins. However, one issue with statins is that side-effects don’t appear immediately. A person may take a statin drug and experience the desired effect of lowered cholesterol and have the false impression that the drug is doing “all good.”

As side effects of the drug begin to appear, they are often not associated with the drug but rather diagnosed as new problems requiring treatment. This may result in additional drugs and therapy and even more side effects.

Some people who take statin drugs over a long period experience such things as:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy
  • Anemia
  • Acidosis
  • Cataracts
  • Sexual Dysfunction

In addition, other serious and sometimes life-threatening side effects have been found and include:

  • Immune system suppression
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Muscle tissue degeneration
  • Pancreatic dysfunction

Could tomato juice be the answer?
As mentioned earlier, a new study published in Food Science and Nutrition, found that drinking unsalted tomato juice lowered blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol in Japanese adults at risk of cardiovascular disease. Study authors noted, “To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate the effects of tomato or tomato product intake on cardiovascular disease risk markers over the course of a year and over a wide age range.”

The study included 184 males and 297 female participants who were provided with an unlimited supply of unsalted tomato juice throughout the course for a year. When the study was finished, the blood pressure in 94 participants with untreated prehypertension to hypertension dropped significantly. The systolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 141.2 to 137.0 mmHg, and the diastolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 83.3 to 80.9 mmHg.

What’s so great about tomatoes?
Tomatoes contain a number of potent bioactive compounds including carotenoids, vitamin A, calcium, and gamma-aminobutyric acid which all play a part in maintaining physical as well as psychological health, including the prevention of CVD.

Lycopene is a carotenoid in tomatoes that gives pink and red-colored fruits and veggies, including tomatoes their hue. Lycopene has been widely studied for its role in protecting against cancer, and has also been found to improve heart health.

Research from the University of Cambridge found that lycopene improves blood vessel function in patients with cardiovascular disease. Patients who took 7 mg of oral lycopene improved the widening of blood vessels by 53 percent. This improvement was comparable to other studies that found improvement with 20 mg of the drug simvastatin.

There have also been studies indicating that lycopene can have a positive impact on blood pressure. Previous reports have shown that drinking unsalted tomato juice for eight weeks improved elevated triglyceride levels in middle-aged Japanse women.

How much tomato juice should I drink?
Most of the participants in this new study consumed about 7 ounces of unsalted tomato juice per day over the course of one year. Be sure that you purchase organic, unsalted tomato juice with no additives. As always, enjoy a diet that is loaded with colorful fruits and veggies.

Contributor: The Alternative Daily

As More Young People Get Colon Cancer, it May Be Time for a Colonoscopy

As More Young People Get Colon Cancer, it May Be Time for a Colonoscopy

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
Colon cancer may seem like a distant concern for some, but with the growing trend of younger people being diagnosed, staying informed and proactive is crucial. March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to educate people about this prevalent and potentially lethal disease on the rise.
As a surgeon, I’m acutely aware of the impact cancer can have. I lost a dear friend — a doctor, father and husband, just like myself — to colon cancer in 2017. He was only 38. His memory is a constant reminder of the importance of awareness and early detection in the fight against colon cancer.

Just one year after I lost him, I started experiencing sharp abdominal pain and a change in my bowel habits. Never mind that I’m a urologist; I still freaked out and feared the worst. I consulted my doctor and underwent a CT scan, which thankfully showed no major cancers. Still, my doctor recommended that I have a colonoscopy.

I was in my 30s, so I didn’t meet the criteria for a screening colonoscopy, but he needed it for diagnostic purposes to complete my workup for abdominal symptoms. Technically the colonoscopy was optional, but with my friend’s memory always on my mind, I did not hesitate.

Most people should start screening with colonoscopies by age 45, experts recommend. A select group may need to start earlier than 45; beginning a conversation with your primary doctor can help with a road map on when to start and at what frequency.

The risks of colon cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 106,590 new cases of colon cancer in the United States this year, nearly evenly split between men and women. The rate of diagnosis for colon cancer has been dropping overall since the mid-1980s, mainly because people are getting screened and changing lifestyle-related risk factors. However, this downward trend is mostly seen in older adults. For individuals younger than 55, rates have been increasing by 1% to 2% a year since the mid-1990s.

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 25 for women. However, each person’s risk might be higher or lower than this, depending on their risk factors for colorectal cancer. Not everyone needs an early colonoscopy, but everyone should be aware of the signs, symptoms and benefits of screening.

Understand your colon

The colon, or large intestine, plays a crucial role in our digestive system, acting essentially as the waste processing and recycling center of the body. After the stomach and small intestine break down food and absorb nutrients, the colon manages what’s left. Its main job is to remove water and salts from this material, transforming it from a liquid state into solid waste or feces, or as my kids like to call it, poop.

Beyond waste management, the colon also houses a complex microbiome, which plays a key role in overall digestive health, immune function and even mood regulation. The entire colon is about 5 feet (150 centimeters) long and divided into five major segments, with the rectum as the last anatomic segment before the anus. That’s why it’s called Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and not just colon cancer awareness. Cancer can occur in any of these segments, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive colonoscopy when indicated.

The great colonoscopy prep adventure

The preparation for a colonoscopy might be the most memorable part of the process. It’s less of a medical procedure and more of a rite of passage. The day before, you start on a bowel-cleaning cocktail meant to clear out the colon for optimal visualization during the colonoscopy.

The “prep” is not as bad as one might think. Dehydration and exhaustion can occur, and I remember being unable to sleep the night before, still feeling the need to “go.” It was quite the experience but essential for a successful colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy procedure

A colonoscope, a camera on a flexible tube, takes a tour through your colon, transmitting live images that allow the doctor to spot any abnormalities. It’s akin to sending a rover to explore the moon or Mars. If doctors find something suspicious, such as a polyp, they can biopsy and/or remove it on the spot, preventing potential future complications. This proactive approach isn’t just diagnostic; it’s a powerful form of prevention that can offer peace of mind and actionable insights into your health.

Fortunately for me, the colonoscopy revealed no signs of cancer, and my symptoms had already resolved by then. Although my procedure was primarily for diagnostic reasons, regular screenings are essential for many, serving as a key preventive measure.

What should you do next?

The US Preventive Services Task Force advises adults ages 45 to 75 to undergo regular colorectal cancer screenings, emphasizing the importance of early detection.

Those with an elevated risk, perhaps due to family history or other factors, should consult their health care provider to determine the best screening schedule and methods tailored to their specific needs.

Despite these recommendations, a significant portion of the eligible population hesitates to participate in screenings. Common deterrents include the discomfort associated with stool-based tests, the preparation required for procedures, and anxiety surrounding colonoscopy examinations.

This apprehension may contribute to only about 60% of those eligible for colorectal cancer screenings staying up to date on the recommended tests. If it weren’t for the memory of my friend, I would have likely been in the “I’ll skip all this” group.

In a promising development, a new blood-based screening test for colon cancer boasted an 83% effectiveness in detecting the disease, according to a study published March 13 in The New England Journal of Medicine. This test identifies DNA markers released by cancer cells in the blood, specific to colorectal cancer. While not a replacement for a colonoscopy, a positive result from this test indicates the need for further examination. The hope is, once approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, this blood test would increase screening for colorectal cancer.

If you have any abnormal symptoms anywhere in your body, get checked. The earlier you do so, the longer you will likely live thanks to getting proactive care.

Contributor: Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, CNN