New Link Found Between Insomnia Drugs and Dementia

Modern medicine has advanced our society in numerous ways.  Diseases and conditions that existed decades ago have been effectively treated or in some cases cured due to our advancement in medicine and science.  One factor that is still being discovered with our advanced medicine is long-term effect.  We still don’t quite know exactly the long-term effect of these drugs on patients that take them over a long period of time.

Recently, doctors found a link from insomnia and anxiety drugs to Dementia.  The study finds that seniors who take these type of drugs known as benzodiazepines (e.g. Ambien, Halcion, Klonopin, Restoril, Valium, and Xanax) run the risk of developing Dementia.  The intent of these drugs is for short-term use.  The problem is that many of them can become habit-forming, causing long-term use.

It’s important to point out that these studies found an association and not a cause.  Most experts agree that these drugs are probably safe to take for a short period of time but warns seniors should try to avoid them at all cost.  The group of seniors that were studied, found that 32% had measurable memory loss and difficulty thinking.  Doctors did take into account other factors that cause reduced brain function in seniors such as age, living alone, depression, diabetes, etc.

Doctors are advising for elderly people with sleeping problems or depression to seek alternatives to benzodiazepines.  I think that these studies put an even brighter spotlight on monitored healthcare.  It’s important to be properly diagnosed and treated but it’s equally important to monitor and observe during the treatments.  All to often healthcare in our society tends to be like a drive through window at a fast food restaurant.  People want their medicine and they want it fast.  I believe that it’s important to take time and find the underlying causes for problems and if they cannot be solved without medicine then and only then look at drug options.

If you are seeking solutions to your healthcare issues, you should find a trustworthy physician that has your best interest in mind.  Do your homework.  Find out about your doctor.  Interview your doctor.  Ask about their philosophy on diagnosis, treatment, and medicine.  This is your life and your health at stake.  Leave no stone unturned.

If you need a doctor in Nashville, TN to review your overall health, don’t hesitate to call or book an appointment with our office online.

Here’s to your health

Dr. K. Bennett


WARNING! You May Be Eating Dangerous Levels of Arsenic!

You may have heard the reports this week about potentially dangerous levels of arsenic found in rice       products.  Consumer Reports and the FDA are both revealing results from independent test they ran on 60 different rice products.  The results are shocking to say the least.

Every single test that was performed found some level of arsenic.   Tests were run on such products as rice milk, rice cereal, rice cakes, and brown and white rice.  Arsenic has been linked to serious health problems such as cancer and heart disease.   The reports indicate that eating even one serving at the highest levels of arsenic found is more than what is allowed in drinking water by the EPA.   While further testing is ongoing, it’s probably a good idea to limit the amount of rice and rice products you or your family members intake.  Especially if you have an infant or small child that is starting out on rice cereal.

It’s hard to avoid arsenic completely.  It’s found naturally in the soil, air, and water.  Which means that it can be found in most naturally grown products such as fruits and vegetables.  The problem with rice is that rice is grown in flooded fields so the arsenic is soaked up in the rice plants and stored in its grains.

What can you do about it?

Check your water system.  If you aren’t on a public water system get your water tested for arsenic and lead.  If you are on a public system, you should be o.k. since public systems are required to test for these things regularly.

If you do eat rice cook it with more water than what is called for.  Usually about 6 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice is a good idea.  This will help eliminate some of the inorganic arsenic that exists.  Make sure to rinse and drain in thoroughly.

Mix up your diet.  Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and always make sure you rinse them thoroughly before eating or cooking.

Try eating other grains such as wheat and oats.  These products typically have less arsenic than rice.  If you are allergic to gluten you can substitute it with quinoa, millet, and amaranth.

The bottom line on all of these is we have to be proactive in what we eat and how we eat it.  We do live in a well-developed country that has checks and balances in place for a lot of what we eat.   However, don’t assume that having the ability to buy something from the shelf, that it is always healthy or risk free.
Here’s to your health!

Dr. K Bennett


How Important is Vitamin D to Your Health?

For some time doctors have known that vitamin D deficiency was linked to diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.  Now doctors are learning that depression is on this list as well.  While depression and vitamin D are linked it’s not exactly known to what extent.  What the science community is trying to figure out is whether low levels of vitamin D cause depression, worsen it, or maybe just a symptom of the underlying problem.

Vitamin D is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies produce it when exposed to sunlight.  You can also intake vitamin D from foods such as milk, tuna, salmon, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.  Most of these foods contain small amounts of vitamin which is why it’s important to add supplements if needed.  The daily recommended amount of vitamin is 600 IU for anyone ages 1-70 and 800 IU for anyone over 70.

If you suffer from depression you are more than likely to be inside, not exercise regularly, and not eat healthy.  These actions can increase the vitamin D deficiency which in turn creates more depression.  You can see what a vicious cycle it becomes.

A good way to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency is to see your doctor.  A doctor can test and diagnose your vitamin D levels.  Michael Holick, MD is the director of Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Lab at Boston University.  He says “People often feel better when they take vitamin D”.  Vitamin D improves the serotonin levels in the brain, which is the same chemical many antidepressants work to improve.

One word of caution on vitamin D supplements.  Taking too much vitamin D can create adverse health problems such as constipation, calcium deposits, and damage to organs.  Before ingesting new supplements you should seek a doctor’s guidance on what a proper level of intake is for you.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett


Be Aware of New Laundry Detergent Gel Packs

If you the parent or guardian of a small child you are going to want to be aware of this!

A new product for laundry detergent has has hit store shelves and they are causing quite a stir with parents across the U.S. and the U.K.  These laundry detergent gel packs are used in place of regular laundry detergent.  You throw them in the washing machine with your clothes and turn on the machine.  Easy enough you say.  While it may be a convenience for some it is a danger for others.

These gel packs (pictured above) look very much like candy to young children.  They are about the size of a marshmallow and have bright colors, which causes some of the confusion with candy.  So far this year U.S. poison hotlines have received almost 3,000 phone calls in regards to children 5 and under being exposed to the detergent packs.  734 of those calls came in the month of August alone!  Luckily there have been no deaths reported from these cases.

Some children who have swallowed the packs have become very ill and even hospitalized due to the concentrated cleaning agents found in the packs.  Experts say the packs if swallowed can destroy tissue and cause intense inflammation and swelling.  If you suspect your child has swallowed a pack, signs to watch for are excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep these products out of the reach of small children.  Also, sit down and have a conversation with your child about the gel packs and stress the importance of never handling them.

If you suspect your child have poisoned themselves, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett