RateMDs Health Blog https://www.ratemds.com/blog Doctors You Can Trust Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 9 Ways to Protect Against Lyme Disease and Not Be Paranoid https://www.ratemds.com/blog/9-ways-to-protect-against-lyme-disease-and-not-be-paranoid/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/9-ways-to-protect-against-lyme-disease-and-not-be-paranoid/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:00:56 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10658

by Victoria Simpson

With Avril Lavigne opening up about her battle with Lyme Disease in an interview on ABC News this week, it’s clear that the disease is on the rise and that with summer in full swing it’s important to know how to protect yourself.

Lyme Disease is an infectious illness caused by the spread of bacteria through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (formerly deer tick). It was diagnosed for the first time in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut and while the government of Canada reports that the number of cases have jumped from 128 in 2009 to 682 in 2013, (reports for 2014 are still being validated), Jim Wilson president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation says that the actual number is probably in the thousands.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S reports about 30, 000 cases of Lyme Disease each year.

The illness is contracted when an infected tick bites the body and lodges itself under the skin for at least 36 to 48 hours. Sufferers can show multiple symptoms including a rash, (like the one above), flu-like symptoms, fatigue and impairment of motor or sensory functions.

Key things to know about ticks include the fact that they can’t jump and that they live in shady, moist areas near ground level in tall grass, lawns, gardens and at the edges of wooded areas.

If you avoid these areas, you can probably avoid being infected with a tick.

If you can’t avoid contact with tick environments but you still wish to enjoy the outdoors and not panic every time you open the front door, read on.



The tailored khaki (slim fit) - chino academy


Wear light-coloured clothing with a tight weave to help spot ticks on you easily.



rubber boots


Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots and your shirt into your pants to prevent easy access.



self check


Do a personal one-over and check your clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.



tick repellent


Use anti-tick insect repellent.





Walk in the middle of trails while hiking and avoid dense wooded areas.



Spring Weather Finally Arrives In The UK


Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.



pony tail


Keep long hair tied back at all times, even while gardening.





Take a bath or shower as soon as possible once you’re inside (preferable within two hours of coming in). This enables you to wash off ticks and see any that have become embedded in you, more easily.



tick check


Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of each the day outside (this includes children and pets), and remove anything suspicious right away.

9 things to remember. Enjoy the great outdoors this summer and stay safe.

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Is Your Blood Type Attracting Mosquitoes? https://www.ratemds.com/blog/is-your-blood-type-attracting-mosquitoes/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/is-your-blood-type-attracting-mosquitoes/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:00:06 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10394

Love the warm weather? Cottages, campfires and a bit of a constant buzz-yes, it’s mosquito season and those boys are back in town. Boys and girls. And the girls, as we know, are a-biting.

But is it fair? The return of the winged beast would, perhaps, seem o.k if mosquitoes were generally considerate. How? If they knew how to dole out their damage equally; you know, everyone gets ten bites on Wednesdays, three on Thursdays and Fridays are a freebie. But, as we know, the buggers are choosy. According to Joseph Stromberg at Smithsonian.com as high as an estimated 20 percent of people are actually being bitten by mosquitoes more than others, and this on a regular, consistent basis.

The Facts:

But what to do? First of all, take a load off. Let it be heard that if you are one of the dreaded 20 percent this isn’t your fault. Wearing dark colours and eating bananas, while it might be doing something, isn’t what’s driving the biting pests to you in droves. According to Stromberg, something as simple as your body temperature can do it. Mosquitoes find us by using their senses of smell, sight and heat.

Many studies have found that pregnant women, whose body temperature is about 0.3 degrees Celsius higher than normal, can attract about two times as many mosquito bites when compared with the average person.

Other easy targets include larger people, as they exhale more carbon dioxide than normal. And the list goes on. A 2011 study found skin bacteria to do the trick (smelly feet and bites on the ankles), as well as blood type, (in one study, Type O blood got hit up nearly twice as often as Type A, with Type B falling somewhere in the middle,) exercise, (active people expel smelly lactic acid, uric acid and ammonia via their sweat and get bitten more often), and a bottle of beer. Yes, beer. Scientists aren’t quite sure what the correlation is but one study found that a single 12-ounce bottle of beer can make you more susceptible to bites.

And so, if you fall under any of these categories- if you like to move and sweat and drink beer in the backyard or be pregnant- there’s not much you can do but wait for the future.

Some Hope:

Researchers have started looking at why a minority of people are actually rarely bitten by mosquitoes. Using the study of chromatography Scientists at the UK’s Rothamsted Research lab have found that some lucky ducks seem to emit a handful of substances that keep the pests away. Work is being done with the hopes of isolating the chemical mix these people emit and bottling it into the next generation of fancy insect repellents. Until then…

What to Eat:

Chemistry professor Anne Helmenstine recommends eating less salt and potassium in order to hide yourself from mosquitoes. Helmenstine says choosing healthy foods such as blueberries, apples, watermelon, cucumbers, cabbage, and green peppers, over potatoes, prunes, raisins, spinach, bananas, lima beans, and acorn squash, all of which are particularly high in the chemical, might help.

Many believe that taking vitamin B1 can help keep bites to a minimum, but some say it’s an old wives’ tale. There can’t be any harm in trying.

What to Wear:

Light coloured, loose-fitting clothing is always recommended.

Non-scented shower products and mosquito soap might help to reduce your bites.

Sources familiar with life in the Colombian Amazon rain forest swear by a mixture of Nopikex soap, menthol solution and baby oil, applied to the skin.

Other natural repellents include:

-crushed lavender flowers

-cinnamon oil

-thyme oil

-lemon eucalyptus oil

-Greek catnip oil

-soybean oil

-geranium oil


Not to drag in the big scare but the dangers of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses are real, and should be respected. While numbers are uncertain in Canada, West Nile virus was reported in 47 states last year and killed a total of 85 people in the U.S.

The Low Down:

Aside from staying indoors, mosquito repellents containing DEET are still your best option for protection. The side effects of DEET in moderate amounts cannot be as bad as the possibilities when contracting West Nile virus.

Cover up with clothing, spray exposed skin and clothes and wash off your repellent as soon as you come indoors.

That chromatography can’t come too soon!


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Jim Carrey calls California Governor ‘Fascist’ Over Vaccine Law https://www.ratemds.com/blog/jim-carrey-calls-california-governor-fascist-over-vaccine-law/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/jim-carrey-calls-california-governor-fascist-over-vaccine-law/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:15:24 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10570

“Republicans, democrats, communists. They all look alike to me.” – The Majestic

Is California Governor Jerry Brown included in your list, Jim?

In a series of escalating Tweets yesterday, Carrey took to social media to voice his outrage with California’s governor. He labelled Brown a ‘fascist’ after he approved one of the stingiest immunization programs in the country.

Carrey held nothing back in a tirade to his 14 million followers:

Over a dozen Tweets long, the actor does insist he’s ‘pro-vaccine’. He believes there’s a direct link between vaccines and autism, and is only ‘anti-neurotoxin’, as chemicals such as thimerosal and mercury carry a risk to children.

Carrey has been activist on the issue since his relationship with Jenny McCarthy, who claims her son’s autism was due to vaccines.

The Centre for Disease Control has been adamant that autism and vaccines are unlinked. There’s general agreement with the CDC that there is “no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and [autism], as well as no link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and [autism] in children.”

Carrey had the CDC covered too:

California now joins West Virginia and Mississippi as the only states lacking a personal belief-system for vaccines, according to the Associated Press. In other words, they have no choice or say in whether to be vaccinated or not – it has to be done, by law.

“The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases,” Brown wrote in a message. “While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.”

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Can Hoppy Beer give you ‘Man Boobs’? https://www.ratemds.com/blog/can-hoppy-beer-give-you-man-boobs/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/can-hoppy-beer-give-you-man-boobs/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:08 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10338

We’ve all heard of the infamous ‘beer belly’ or ‘Molson muscle’, where your beer intake inhibits your ability to see your toes. It hasn’t discouraged men to cut back on the booze, but recent online news might change that.

What if hoppy beer increased estrogen levels, resulting in ‘man boobs’? That’s what author Stephen Buhner suggests in his book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers; hops found in your favourite beers could potentially lead to unwanted breasts. Though it was originally published in 1998, it’s started to gain steam on the web recently.

Hops have high levels of phytoestrogen, or estrogen for plants. They were historically used to help with menopause and endometriosis among women, as well as reduce sexual desire in monks…but it’s difficult to prove if it actually worked.

Are Buhner’s claims backed by science? There’s no doubt beer contains phytoestrogen, but how much would you need to drink to grow man boobs? Probably more than you’d be able to before passing out.

Phytoestrogen is found in lots of common natural foods and vegetables, and they’ll never be accused of making your body any worse than it already is. So if you’re getting a little ‘top end’ heavy from your drinking, blame the calories, or start exercising.

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A Five-Day ‘Fasting’ Diet could Reduce Cancer & Diabetes Risk https://www.ratemds.com/blog/a-five-day-fasting-diet-could-reduce-cancer-diabetes-risk-2/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/a-five-day-fasting-diet-could-reduce-cancer-diabetes-risk-2/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:00:33 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10322

Fasting is known to help lose weight, boost brain functions, and improve the immune system. It’s such an extreme form of dieting that doctors have always been reluctant to suggest it to patients.

Scientists have created a five-day, once-per-month, diet that replicates fasting, without putting the body through massive change.

Published in the journals Cell Metabolism, the study discovered a massively reduced risk of problems like aging, cancer, and diabetes, after participants irregularly fasted for three months. The results were so positive the University of Southern California researcher is already trying to get approval to recommend it to patients.

The idea is to ‘reset’ the body; clearing out damaged cells and replacing them with healthy, new ones.

“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it …” co-author Valter D. Longo said. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”

So how does this new diet – known now as the ‘Fast Mimicking Diet’ – exactly work? Check out the video from the Washington Post for an overview.

Essentially, for all but five days of the month, you can eat as you normally would. Chips, soda, chocolate, beer, vegetables, meats, whatever you’d like. Then, for one day of the diet, you’d eat exactly 1090 calories – 10 percent protein, 56 percent fat and 34 percent carbohydrates. For the last four days, that number drops to 725 calories: 9 percent protein, 44 percent fat, 47 percent carbohydrates.

During those days, calorie intake is about 55, to as low as 34 percent of the normal intake. Repeating this diet on a three month cycle resulted in not only reduced health risk factors, but no major side effects from the change in diet.

Petronella Ravenshear, a nutritional therapist in London, is on board: “[The diet] is less of a stressor on the body than complete fasting.

“It supplies most of the carbohydrates in the form of vegetables which are packed with phytonutrients and minerals and positively good for us, rather than grain-derived carbohydrates which don’t supply much except sugar,” she told the Telegraph in an interview.

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Beards are as Dirty as Toilets https://www.ratemds.com/blog/beards-are-as-dirty-as-toilets/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/beards-are-as-dirty-as-toilets/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:00:03 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10098

The next time you fiddle with a beard – whether your own, your boyfriend’s, or girlfriend’s (like my ex’s…) – don’t forget to wash your hands.

No, it isn’t because of the small chicken bones or other leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Beards are as “dirty as toilets” and full of “poop particles”, according to a study from a lab in New Mexico. Featured on VuzTV, men had their beards swabbed in search of what lies beneath. How the lab got funding for this hirsute research is another story.

“I’m usually not surprised, and I was surprised by this,” said microbiologist John Golobic in a TV interview, who conducted the study.

While poop was prevalent amongst other common bathroom matter, the traces were minimal, so you can’t contract an illness or anything like that. In fact, our planet is more poop-infested than you’d think. So while it is tough to stay completely feces-free, you can possibly salvage your beard with some care.

This results of this study aren’t a shocker to some women. When I told my mum about the findings for example, she shrugged: “I already knew men were full of crap anyway.”

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A 17-Year-Old’s Plant-based Gel Stops Bleeding in Seconds https://www.ratemds.com/blog/a-17-year-olds-plant-based-gel-stops-bleeding-in-seconds/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/a-17-year-olds-plant-based-gel-stops-bleeding-in-seconds/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:00:11 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=10026

A new gel that instantly stops bleeding, creates clots, and fully heals wounds is about to hit the U.S. market at the end of the summer.

VetiGel, an algae-based polymer created by Joe Landolina when he was 17, will be shipped to veterinarians through Landolina’s biotech company, Suneris. And if all goes well, humans shouldn’t be far behind.

After an injured area has been injected with this revolutionary gel, the wound clots and heals within 12 seconds.

“The fastest piece of equipment we have measures every 12 seconds,” Landolina, now 22, told Business Insider. “So we know that it happens in less than 12 seconds.”

See the fast-acting VetiGel go to work in this demonstration:

The key to the simple science behind the gel is algae. Composed of small, individual polymers, they can be broken down and put into the gel, detached, “like Lego blocks” as Landolina describes it. Once the gel touches a wound – it works on both open or organ injuries – it instantly merges to create a mesh-like material. Most importantly, it facilitates the production of fibrin on the wound’s surface, the key to repairing tissue and healing the wound properly.

The initial product is a five-pack of 5-milimeter syringes that go for around $150. Rollouts start in the U.S., with Europe and Asia in the company’s sights next year.

Down the road, Lalondina is confident he can acquire FDA approval to begin testing on human ailments. Helping military personnel and EMTs treat severe injuries are priorities. From there, he hopes to go to operating rooms, and finally, people’s homes.

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7 Amazing Stretches To Do On a Plane https://www.ratemds.com/blog/7-amazing-stretches-to-do-on-a-plane-2/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/7-amazing-stretches-to-do-on-a-plane-2/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:01:50 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=9818

 by: Victoria Simpson

Flying? Planning on flying? Many say it’s the journey that counts not the destination. However, if the journey involves propelling your body through the air far above the earth’s crust and leaves you so stiff and swollen that you can’t make it out of your seat to get to the bathroom down the aisle, it might be time to break out your in-flight Richard Simmons. According to Charlotte Dodson at travel.cnn.com, simple stretches can help alleviate tension and promote relaxation when flying. These easy yoga-inspired moves can help get you to your landing pad in a better frame of mind and body-and, hopefully, feeling a little less jet lag. In your seat:

1) Neck Release

neck rolls_1neck rolls 2


Inhale. Slowly exhale while lowering your right ear toward your right shoulder. Breathe gently into the stretch created along the top of the shoulder and side of the neck. Roll your chin down toward the chest, across and up the other side. Repeat on the opposite side.

2) Seated Spinal Twist (a variation of Ardha Matsyendrasana)

seat stretch


This stretch works to loosen the shoulders, hips and back. Cross the right leg over the left and place the left hand on the outside of the right knee. Place your right hand on the armrest behind you. Keeping both sides of your butt on the seat, twist as far as you can to the right. Hold for 1 minute-switch sides and repeat.

3) Eagle Arms (Garudasana)

eagle arms yoga


This stretch is named after the mythological Hindu “king of the birds,” known as “Garuda” and helps to open up the space between the shoulder blades. Extend your arms in front of your body and drop your left arm under your right. Then, bend your elbows, raising your forearms so they are perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together as close as they can go. Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Breathe and hold.

4) Hands Under Armpits (Padadhirasana )



This pose helps to calm the mind and alleviate common emotions when flying like stress and anxiety. Cross your arms in front of your chest and place your hands under opposite armpits with your thumbs pointing upward. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Continue for 5 to 10 minutes. Out of your seat: If you can find a spot at the back of the plane, out of the way, some of these standing stretches can do wonders.

5) Quad stretch

quad stretch


Stand with your feet hip-width apart and relax your shoulders. Bend your left leg and grasp your foot behind you, bringing your heel to your butt. Feel the stretch through the front of your left thigh. Hold and switch. Keep your balance by staring at a spot on the floor or wall, or reach out and touch the wall for support.

6) Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)

yoga-warrior pose  


This pose stretches the hips and strengthens the butt and thighs. Start by standing with your feet 3 to 4 feet apart, and turn your right foot to 90 degrees. Bend your extended knee to 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your ankle, making a lunge. Inhale and draw your arms over your head in an H position, with your palms facing each other. Keep the shoulders relaxed and your chest lifted. Stay here or bring the palms together and carefully arch your back, looking towards the ceiling. Hold for 3-6 breaths.

7) Chair Pose

chair pose yoga


Another yoga standard, you can start this pose by standing with your feet together or hip width apart and inhaling your arms forward so that they are parallel to the floor with the palms facing down. Next, exhale while bending your knees. Sit back as if you were going to sit on the edge of a chair, bringing your weight to your heels. Relax your shoulders down and back and reach over your head, looking towards your fingertips with your palms facing each other. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.


Remember to always drink enough fluids when flying, and don’t be afraid to take your legs for the occasional stroll down the aisle in addition to stretching-every bit helps. Bon voyage!      

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How Good Is Your Survival Rate? https://www.ratemds.com/blog/how-good-is-your-survival-rate/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/how-good-is-your-survival-rate/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 01:00:43 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=9602

A zombie apocalypse, extreme natural disasters of blockbuster movie proportions – there’s no lack of possibilities, however real or unlikely they may seem, for challenging one’s survival. But now researchers have created a test that can gage what your chances of life survival are in the next five years.

The test, which is online and can be completed in five minutes, consists of a series of questions (11 questions for women, 13 questions for men) and is supposed to determine your mortality rate.

Researchers from Sweden used data from the UK Biobank study, which tracked and assessed 500,000 participants’ health and lifestyle over a five year period. Their research was published in the journal the Lancet.

After taking the test questions you are given a percentage of the chance of you dying in the next five years – with up to an 80 percent accuracy according to the researchers.

You can take the test on the recently launched website Ubble.

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This May Be Why Your Partner Remembers Things More Than You Do https://www.ratemds.com/blog/this-may-be-why-your-partner-remembers-things-more-than-you-do/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/this-may-be-why-your-partner-remembers-things-more-than-you-do/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=9570

When it comes to remembering things, we all slip up from time to time, but more so for the guys, new research suggests.

Men are apparently worse at remembering to do things than their female counterparts, according to a study by researchers at Aston University and published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

For the study, researchers had 100 participants, both men and women aged between 15 and 40, undergo memory tests.  It was found that women were better at remembering plans than men.

More specifically, women were better that remembering tasks that involved the action of doing something rather than just saying it.





Sources: QJEP
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