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Aug 17

Dr. Darrien Gaston honored with recognition for ‘Premium Care’ – The Beverly Review

Dr. Darrien Gaston has been a prominent gastroenterologist in Beverly for 25 years, but his patients know that he could also add the title of teacher.

Thats because Dr. Gaston takes the time to educate his patients about all aspects of their condition and the field of gastroenterology.

Dr. Gaston will admit that his specialty may not be the most well known, but hell gladly explain any aspect of his work as a gastroenterologist, a physician of internal medicine who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases of the digestive system.

People see a gastroenterologist for such things as colon cancer screenings; stomach pain and gas; heartburn; anemia; ulcerative colitis; hemorrhoids; constipation; hepatitis; difficulty swallowing; acid reflux; liver diseases; irritable bowel syndrome; diarrhea; Crohns disease; diverticulosis; Barretts esophagus; and chronic pancreatitis.

Knowledge is the first step to helping patients take control of their health, Dr. Gaston said. I make sure I listen to their concerns, answer their questions and then listen for more questions. When patients thoroughly understand their upcoming procedure, we are more likely to avoid complications.

Dr. Gaston opened Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants, 10444 S. Western Ave., 18 years ago, and it that time he has become a leader in his field.

Gaston is the leading provider in Chicagoland for the SlimSmart Balloon, a non-surgical temporary weight loss procedure that helps people lose three times the weight they would with diet and exercise alone.

Dr. Gaston also performs procedures including colonoscopy, gastroscopy, video capsule endoscopy, and hemorrhoid banding.

He performs endoscopic procedures in his office, which offers patients the convenience of not having to go to a hospital. His office provides a comfortable and friendly environment right in the neighborhood.

He also places the SlimSmart Balloon in his office. It is part of the Orbera Managed Weight Loss System, a non-surgical weight loss procedure.

A St. Ignatius College Prep (1976) and Northwestern University graduate (80), Dr. Gaston earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1984. He completed his residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago in 1988 and his fellowship in gastroenterology at Cook County Hospital in 1990.

Dr. Gaston in board certified in gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Gaston is also a member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Association for Bariatric Endoscopy.

The outstanding care that Dr. Gaston provides has not gone unnoticed.

United Healthcare designated Dr. Gaston and Metropolitan Gastroenterology Consultants as a Premium Care Physician for 2017, the highest of four designations.

United Healthcares Premium Program assesses more than 350,000 physicians across the United States.

A factor considered when United Healthcare makes such a designation is whether patients had to have screening procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies performed again within a short period of time.

Our facility is accredited by the Joint Commission with the Gold Seal of Approval, Gaston said. Our screening standards are at the absolute highest levels. The percentage of patients who need to come backbarring their personal lack of colon prepis extremely low.

One of the procedures that Dr. Gaston uses with great success for patients is the Orbera Managed Weight Loss System, which is FDA-approved and has been in use for over 20 years. Over 220,000 people have achieved successful long-term weight loss with the device. Clinical studies have shown that patients usually lose over three times the weight with a gastric balloon than with diet and exercise alone.

Dr. Gaston is the only gastroenterologist in Chicagoland performing this procedure. Using an endoscope, Dr. Gastonan experienced endoscopistinserts the Orbera balloon through the mouth and into the stomach of the mildly sedated patient. Flexible and durable, the balloon is then filled with a safe, salt-based solution until its about the size of a grapefruit.

Dr. Gaston has placed more balloons than any other gastroenterologist in the city.

Its like having an upper GI examquick and non-surgical, Dr. Gaston said. There are no incisions, no stitches and no staplesno hospital stay. The whole thing takes about 20 minutes.

The Orbera balloon is kept in place for six months and helps control portion size by taking up room in the stomach.

The device is there to help you feel full. There can be significant weight loss in those six months.

Dr. Gaston provides Obera patients with 24/7 access in case they need to ask him questions or address concerns. He partners his patients with a wellness coach, so they learn to establish a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.

After six months, the balloon is removed just as easily, but the support continues for a full year after the procedure.

Dr. Gaston offers free initial consultations for those who are interested in finding out if they are suitable candidates for the Orbera balloon procedure.

For more information, call (773) 238-1126 or visit

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Dr. Darrien Gaston honored with recognition for 'Premium Care' - The Beverly Review

Aug 17

Skin Cancer Cells More Likely to Develop in Mice with Abnormal Eating Schedules – Sleep Review

Sunbathers should consider avoiding midnight snacks before catching some rays.

A study in mice from the ODonnell Brain Institute and UC Irvine shows that eating at abnormal times disrupts the biological clock of the skin, including the daytime potency of an enzyme that protects against the suns harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Although further research is needed, the finding indicates that people who eat late at night may be more vulnerable to sunburn and longer-term effects such as skin aging and skin cancer, says Joseph S. Takahashi, PhD, chairman of neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Centers Peter ODonnell Jr. Brain Institute.

This finding is surprising. I did not think the skin was paying attention to when we are eating, says Takahashi, also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The study showed that mice given food only during the dayan abnormal eating time for the otherwise nocturnal animalssustained more skin damage when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light during the day than during the night. This outcome occurred, at least in part, because an enzyme that repairs UV-damaged skinxeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA)shifted its daily cycle to be less active in the day.

Mice that fed only during their usual evening times did not show altered XPA cycles and were less susceptible to daytime UV rays.

It is likely that if you have a normal eating schedule, then you will be better protected from UV during the daytime, says Takahashi, holder of the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience. If you have an abnormal eating schedule, that could cause a harmful shift in your skin clock, like it did in the mouse.

Previous studies have demonstrated strong roles for the bodys circadian rhythms in skin biology. However, little had been understood about what controls the skins daily clock.

The latest research published in Cell Reports documents the vital role of feeding times, a factor that scientists focused on because it had already been known to affect the daily cycles of metabolic organs such as the liver.

The study found that besides disrupting XPA cycles, changing eating schedules could affect the expression of about 10% of the skins genes.

However, more research is needed to better understand the links between eating patterns and UV damage in people, particularly how XPA cycles are affected, says Bogi Andersen, MD, of University of California, Irvine, who led the collaborative study with Takahashi.

Its hard to translate these findings to humans at this point, says Andersen, professor of biological chemistry. But its fascinating to me that the skin would be sensitive to the timing of food intake.

Takahashi, noted for his landmark discovery of the Clock gene regulating circadian rhythms, is researching other ways in which eating schedules affect the biological clock. A study earlier this year reinforced the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested. He is now conducting long-term research measuring how feeding affects aging and longevity.

The UV study was supported by the Irving Weinstein Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the China Scholarship Council, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

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Skin Cancer Cells More Likely to Develop in Mice with Abnormal Eating Schedules - Sleep Review

Aug 16

Ketogenic diet becoming popular weight-loss plan – Pueblo Chieftain

In the 1980s, health and nutrition experts waged a war against dietary fats.

Food companies began to cash in by creating "fat-free" versions of popular foods.

That trend continued into the 1990s and even into the new millennium.

Now, a growing number of health experts, including some doctors and nutritionists, are finding that fat may not be the enemy after all, rather shifting the focus on reducing the consumption of too many carbohydrates.

The shift in philosophy has caused a rise in popularity of a diet called the ketogenic diet, or keto, for short.

The ketogenic diet is a variation of a low-carbohydrate diet, which encourages the process of ketosis. That, in turn, utilizes fat as the body's fuel rather than carbohydrates.

"The level of carbohydrates that are consumed for a ketogenic diet are super-low," said Dr. John Thomas, owner and physician at On Point Primary Care. "Usually carb intake is at 5 percent, versus the normal diet of 45 to 65 percent in the makeup of macronutrients of proteins, carbohydrates and fats."

Thomas explained that carbohydrate consumption has been what he believes to be a leading cause of many health problems.

"All in all, we just consume, as Americans, way more carbohydrates than we need," he said.

A ketogenic diet often is a more extreme reduction of carbs. Thomas said that this isn't always necessary to help.

He recommends a less drastic approach.

"The benefits for most people are just reducing their consumption to maybe moderate levels of carbohydrates and not the extreme," he said.

Unlike other low-carb diets, the ketogenic diet focuses more on consuming a larger portion of fats, a moderate amount of protein and a very low amount of carbohydrates.

"Often times the ketogenic diet has between 70 and 80 percent fat consumption, and proteins are between 25 and 30 percent," Thomas said.

The key for a ketogenic diet to work is to trigger ketosis.

Carbohydrates are used as energy in the body.

From simple sugars to complex carbs, the body relies on the macronutrient as fuel.

However, eating too many carbs causes the body to store fat at a greater rate.

"Our bodies have a tendency to burn carbohydrates pretty rapidly, before we're going to burn protein and fat," Thomas said. "Carbs aren't bad, they serve a purpose. Too much might be a problem and that's where I say we eat too much."

In a ketogenic diet, the low amount of carbs causes the body to adapt to a new fuel utilization.

"You're not really going to break down your muscle tissue unless you're in a starvation mode," Thomas said. "But, we have plenty of fat stores, most all of us do. By lowering carbs drastically, we begin a survival process called nutritional ketosis where we start to liberate fat, typically from the liver, and we'll break that up and utilize it as fuel."

The process produces ketones in the liver, which in turn act like carbs in many ways. Ketones are transported throughout the body, providing fuel.

"The ketones will allow all these cells that normally use glucose to run on ketones," Thomas said. "This allows you to push whatever glucose you do have to the brain."

Chiefly, people use the keto diet to lose weight.

By using body fat as the energy source, the body's insulin (the hormone responsible for fat storage) levels drop greatly.

"If you're burning fat in that way, there's a tendency to lose weight," Thomas said. "Weight loss is probably the major reason people are getting into this."

The ketogenic diet has also been shown to help control blood sugar levels.

Though there are not long-term studies, research has shown several significant benefits to ketogenic, and other low-carb diets.

"We have studies that show that this diet improves blood sugar and lowers insulin levels," Thomas said. "It can lower high blood pressure, decrease weight and improve cholesterol, decrease triglycerides and can reverse fatty-liver diseases."

Keto could help treat diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes; however, there are no studies that show long-term lasting effects.

Though the diet is high in fat, it is recommended that a majority of that which is consumed should be from natural sources.

Peanut butter, avocado, some nuts, fish and grass-fed meat such as beef, lamb, goat and venison are recommended staples of the diet.

"The one thing I think is important, and what I try to emphasize when a patient is consuming a little bit more fat, is that those fats are healthy fats instead of high fats," Thomas said. "I like to emphasize the healthy benefits of omega-3 acids."

Oils, too, can be a source of such healthy fats.

"Coconut oils, olive oils ... those should be emphasized as fats to obtain," Thomas said.

High-fat foods, like bacon, can be eaten, but in moderation.

"Bacon would be considered an edible item in the ketogenic diet," Thomas said. "But, it'd have to be mixed with the healthy fats."

While eating low-carbs, it is suggested that the carbs that are consumed come from leafy, green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, chives, kale, celery, stalk, asparagus, cucumber and summer squash.

A drawback to the diet is what is often called the keto flu.

"It can be presented with headache, fatigue and muscle cramping," Thomas said. "Those are potential side effects with ketogenic diets, or any of the lower carbohydrate diets."

Keto can cause a significant drop in water retention, and without proper hydration, can cause dehydration.

"We encourage water intake, as these symptoms could be secondary to dehydration," Thomas said. "Some will also recommend additional sodium in their diet during that period, or as needed if you're having these symptoms. Again, I caution that sodium introduction may interact with people who have high blood pressure."

These symptoms typically last for only a couple of weeks.

Thomas said the symptoms are similar to having a withdrawal.

"They're similar effects to when people take too much caffeine," he said. "People have severe migraines because of the withdrawal of caffeine."

To combat cravings and symptoms, Thomas said to remain consistent and try salt water.

He also recommends consistent medical supervision.

"Always seek advice from your doctor and nutritionist," Thomas said. "That's super important."

If ketosis becomes too great, it can lead to ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a pathological response which can be life-threatening.

"Even with your typical American diet, we still form ketone bodies, but the amount we make is super small," Thomas said. "We generally see nutritional ketosis occur when the levels rise about 10 times the normal amount, all the way up to 70 times. When blood-ketone body concentration exceeds 250 times normal, that makes our blood become acidotic, and that's where it becomes life-threatening."

Thomas said this does not occur often, and is usually caused by a pre-existing condition.

"It would generally be rare unless there are some issues, like diabetes," he said. "You'd have to be careful, even Type-II diabetics have that possibility of going into acidosis."

Thomas again recommends working closely with a licensed medical technician when attempting to go on a keto diet.

"Any diet, and something like this, you should be monitored by a doctor or nutritionist and followed closely," he said.

Thomas himself is not necessarily a proponent of a keto diet.

He is, however, an advocate of lowering carbohydrates and tailoring one's nutrition to impact long-lasting change.

"What's important is, and what we try to do at our clinic because we can monitor our patients pretty regularly is, we identify and overcome barriers as they happen," he said. "This is typically on a month-to-month basis. I ask every one of my patience if this is something they can do for the rest of their life."

Thomas explains that diets are only truly effective if they can be sustainable. He suggests implementing a complete lifestyle change rather than creating a temporary solution.

Thus, it is important to tailor these diets to the individual.

"We begin to make this diet that is individualized for that person," he said. "It's no longer a low-carb, ketogenic diet. It's your diet within this (low-carb) spectrum that we've worked with by going back and forth and find out what you can live with for the rest of your life."

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Ketogenic diet becoming popular weight-loss plan - Pueblo Chieftain

Aug 16

Lifestyle Adaptations for Preventing Diabetes – Medical News Bulletin

Lifestyle interventions were effective in reducing the rate of diagnosis of diabetes in prediabetic adults when compared with standard treatment with medication. Researchers also noted improved control of blood sugar, improved exercise capacity, and increased weight loss with lifestyle adaptations. Nevertheless, issues with adherence to lifestyle changes caused deterioration in long-term health improvements.

George Kerrison, from the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, and colleagues reported their findings in the Journal of Diabetes Research in April 2017. The researchers critically analyzed 9 randomized controlled trials to assess blood sugar control and incidence of diabetes diagnosis following lifestyle interventions. Additionally, changes in body mass index (BMI), weight, and exercise capacity were assessed.

Each study adopted different methodologies for delivering lifestyle interventions; nevertheless, healthy eating and an increase in moderate physical activity were promoted in all 9 studies. The majority of the studies delivered interventions via face-to-face meetings; others used phone interviewing or group-based sessions. The majority of the studies followed participants for 36 months.

The incidence of diabetes diagnosis was higher in the control groups (standard treatment) than in the lifestyle intervention groups in all studies except for the only study that used group-based sessions. This indicates that an individualized approach might be more effective. Blood glucose was better controlled in the intervention groups; fewer participants remained with prediabetes at the end of the study. In the short term, lifestyle adaptations were effective in controlling blood glucose; however, long-term follow-up revealed obstacles with adherence. Physical exercise capacity was greater in the intervention group; still, the number of participants performing 150 minutes of activity per week was low. Finally, over the short term, weight and BMI were improved following lifestyle adaptations, but a lack of long-term motivation for change resulted in weight and BMI increases.

The results of this systematic review encourage lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes in prediabetic patients; however, obstacles with adherence to lifestyle modifications were apparent. Once the intensity of the interventions dropped, improvements in blood glucose control, physical exercise capacity, BMI, and weight all deteriorated.

Lifestyle adaptations were effective in preventing diabetes, controlling blood glucose, improving exercise capacity, and reducing weight and BMI. Before this intervention is used in practice, more studies are required to assess how to improve patient adherence to lifestyle adaptations.

Written by Jessica Caporuscio, PharmD

Reference: Kerrison G, Gillis RB, Jiwani SI, et al The Effectiveness of Lifestyle Adaptation for the Prevention of Prediabetes in Adults: A Systematic Review. J Diabetes Res. 2017.

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Lifestyle Adaptations for Preventing Diabetes - Medical News Bulletin

Aug 14

Intermittent fasting, nutritional cleansing –

Fasting is not a new concept to humans nor are the benefits newly recorded. Virtually all major religions include periods or elements of fasting throughout the year within their rituals. Many religions use fasting as a means to cleanse not only the body but also the mind.

Many modern-day advocates refer to this process as cleansing or detoxing. Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine), Plato and Aristotle all wrote about and extolled the virtues of fasting.

One of the earliest modern-day investigations into the benefits of intermittent fasting was conducted by the Spanish physician Eduardo Vallejo, who conducted a three-year study of healthy elderly men, some of whom followed a fasting protocol, and who were subsequently compared to others who did not fast. He discovered that those who fasted were healthier on several important health markers.

In 2005, researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana conducted the initial alternate day fasting protocol in a strict clinical setting. These researchers noted that alternate day fasting increased fat burning and promoted weight loss. However, they also noted that hunger did not decrease with alternate day fasting and therefore it may not be effective as a long-term strategy.

Several researchers have introduced low caloric intake on intermittent fasting days such as in one study wherein overweight subjects consumed 320 to 380 calories every other day and consumed a normal caloric intake on the alternate days.

These subjects exhibited significant weight loss, burned more fat and had improved quality of life measures over control subjects who did not adopt the intermittent low calorie fasting days. Other studies have compared both calorie restriction as well as intermittent fasting as tools for weight loss and found that both strategies are equally effective for weight and body fat loss accompanied with metabolic health measures including improved measures of cardiovascular health.

Intermittent fasting is not starvation or a fad diet. If it properly performed, intermittent fasting can be an extremely beneficial and sustainable method to achieve optimal body fat loss and improve metabolic markers. It is important on fasting cleanse days to stay hydrated with water, tea or unsweetened herbal tea. As well, if using calorie restriction days be sure to include high fiber foods to help move things along and help you feel full.

Changing your food intake in terms of quality and quantity is the most important step that you can take to reduce your body fat.

Ive told my clients many times throughout my career that they can exercise until they are blue in the face, but if they dont get their diet under control they wont realize the results that they wish for.

Sure, you will get stronger and fitter, have better balance and endurance and flexibility if thats what you are training for, but to be lean and fit, you need to address the food component and eat for success.

On the flip side, typically when individuals lose weight and dont exercise, but just change their dietary habits, up to a quarter of the lost weight comes from lost lean body mass that is, muscle!

So, by strategically eating, using proven methods such as calorie restriction, intermittent fasting and incorporating a comprehensive exercise program you can achieve an optimal body mass/fat ration that will minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss. This strategy is also a proven strategy for long-term maintenance.

The exercise component should have both a resistance component as well as a cardio component in order to maximize fat loss and muscle retention.

Cardiovascular training helps you burn more visceral (belly) fat. This is the most dangerous type of fat that exist internally, lodged around the organs and increasing the risk of chronic disease states associated with metabolic syndrome.

Resistance training can help build additional muscle mass and therefore raise the metabolic rate. Muscle requires more energy (calories) and is metabolically more active than fat so your overall daily calorie burn is higher if you develop more body muscle mass. Other aspects of training such as flexibility and balance work round out a comprehensive approach.

Being truly healthy and fit does not come by accident; it takes a concerted effort and requires a lifetime of devotion to ones own well-being and fitness. I urge you to take responsibility for your own health and life your life to the fullest!

Dr. Jane Riley, EdD., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser and behavior change specialist. She can be reached at, 212-8119 cell/text and

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Intermittent fasting, nutritional cleansing -

Aug 13

This Redditor Just Dropped A Truth Bomb About The Huge ‘Lie’ That Kept Him From Losing Weight – Women’s Health

RELATED: 7 Changes To Make If You Want To Lose 20 Pounds Or More

Now, UpOwlNight says hes figured out why. It's so weird to me, that after I admit it and accept it, that I realize I've always known I was lying to myself, he writes. I tell myself I can do it fast.

The Redditor says he reads recommendations that people should strive to lose a pound or two a week and writes them off because he thinks that will take too long. I always think I can kill it at the gym, or skip a meal here or there, or completely give up drinking and knock this fat thing out quick, he writes. I simply cannot do that. Eight years have proven it to me, and countless failed attempts make me realize how silly it would be for me to fall down that same insane rabbit hole of three hours per night at the gym, and 1,800 calories per day.

I just had this really sad realization that the only reason I haven't reached my goal weight after 8 years is because I have been fighting doing this the "right" way. from loseit

I'm not saying I'm not going to try again, I'm just saying I'm going to try something I've never tried before; one pound a week, he writes. I don't know what happened, maybe the eight years is weighing on me harder, but 52 pounds a year doesn't sound so bad. Thirty pounds a year doesnt sound bad. The only thing that sounds bad is going insane again for four months at the gym, and suffering and starving myself, and having insane ups and downs that I'm cured, and that I'm not cured, and then giving up, and gaining it all back.

Check out some of the weirdest weight-loss trends throughout history:

In the comments, people shared stories of their own struggles and words of support. Good post buddy! I fully support your plan and think its smart, one commenter writes. Slow and steady is a great and safe way to lose weight. My man, that was exactly the realization that led to me finally making real sustained progress on losing weight, another adds. You can do it too. I won't lie and say it will be easy, but doing it this way is definitely easier. Get after it, bro. (Hit the reset buttonand meet your weight loss goals with The Body Clock Diet!)

Experts have long said that one to two pounds a week is the most you should be losing to set yourself up for sustainable, long-term weight loss. Cutting out entire food groups isn't great either because it's more likely you'll fall off the wagon and overindulge, which doesn't get you anywhere.

If youve been struggling to lose weight for a while and arent getting anywhere near your goal, maybe its time to take a page of out this Redditors book and get real about what's holding you back. It could get you farther than you think.

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This Redditor Just Dropped A Truth Bomb About The Huge 'Lie' That Kept Him From Losing Weight - Women's Health

Aug 12

Are gastric balloons safe? After several deaths, the FDA isn’t sure – Metro US

Gastric balloons are quickly becoming the go-to option for people who want to lose weight but dont want surgery. However, its not an easy fix and some patients have experienced dangerous and even deadly results.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert about the devices after five people died less than a month after the balloons were placed in their stomachs. Four of the deaths were attributed to two manufacturers: the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System, manufactured by Apollo Endo Surgery, and one report involves the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System, manufactured by ReShape Medical Inc.

The Agency has also received two additional reports of deaths in the same time period related to potential complications associated with balloon treatment (one gastric perforation with the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System and one esophageal perforation with the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System), the FDA wrote in a press release.

Gastric balloons are billed as an option for people 30 to 100 pounds overweight who dont want to undergo more invasive surgical options, like a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass or the Lap-Band. Basically, the balloon is there to decrease the amount of food the stomach can hold and help patients feel fuller sooner, leading them to eat less and lose weight.

Placement of a gastric balloon is an outpatient procedure with no sedation patients simply swallow a pill and doctors then use a micro-catheter to inflate the balloon with gas or saline until its about the size of an orange. The balloons are removed after about six months and keeping up with any weight loss is up to the patient, though some doctors provide additional nutrition assistance afterward.

I have literally been on a diet since I was 13 years old, gastric balloon patient Virginia Trice told People in 2015 of why she opted to get a balloon placed. Ive tried every fad diet out there but Ive never been able to keep weight off until now.

She lost 70 pounds and kept it off because the balloon trained her to eat less. Thats not common, according to one gastric balloon manufacturer.

It is important for you to understand that the balloon is a tool to aid weight loss and must be used in conjunction with diet, exercise, and a behavior modification program, the Orbera company wrote on its website. The amount of weight you lose and maintain will depend on how closely you follow your diet and adopt long-term lifestyle changes.

The company said patients who participated in a clinical trial lost over three times the amount of weight of people who only dieted and exercised, with an average loss of 21.8 pounds.

The FDA is careful to say that they cant yet directly attribute the patient deaths to their gastric balloons.

At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices (e.g., gastric and esophageal perforation, or intestinal obstruction), the agency wrote.

The FDA continues to work with Apollo Endo-Surgery and ReShape Medical Inc. to better understand the issue of unanticipated death, and to monitor the potential complications of acute pancreatitis and spontaneous over-inflation, they continued.

However, Dr. Shawn Garber, director of the New York Bariatric Group, told People that side effects are minimal for most patients.

The first few days people have pretty severe nausea and vomiting, and maybe a little bit of abdominal pain from spasms of the stomach, he told the magazine. But after three days, most patients are feeling fine.

Though gastric balloons are FDA-approved, they havent been studied for long-term effects, so its probably best to skip it if the agencys advisory scares you.

Additionally, as part of the ongoing, FDA-mandated post-approval studies for these devices, we will obtain more information to help assess the continued safety and effectiveness of these approved medical devices, the FDA added.

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Are gastric balloons safe? After several deaths, the FDA isn't sure - Metro US

Aug 12

PEOPLE Explains: Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet –

Popular belief deems fat as the dietary enemy, but according to the ketogenic dietketo for shortthat may not be the case.

The very low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat eating plan has been around for decades. Originally, it grew popular for treating patients with epilepsy and diabetes, but today its gained a following for success stories in weight loss. While its definitely fairly restrictivedessert lovers keep movingits doable in the office, youll find options when you eat out, and you can still enjoy some of your favorite cravings.

1. You dont have to give up cheese or bacon.

If youve ever done a fad diet, you know they often have you sacrificing your breakfast bacon and all things dairy. But this new eating fad encourages you to so-far-as put butter in your morning coffee. High amounts of good fat, such as cream, butter, avocado, and nuts are all encouraged. Eating a high-fat diet curbs your hunger cravings, which means less snacking and less calories overall.

2. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian have taken to the eating fad.

OnLive! with Kelly and Ryan, Berry claimed that the no sugar, no carb diet works for her as a diabetic. I eat healthy fats all day long, avocado, oil, coconut oil and I use butter, but dont have any sugar. So when your body gets trained to burn fats, its constantly on fat-burning modethats the secret, she said. If you follow the eldest Kardashian sister on social media, you know she takes her fitness regimen seriously, and her bikini body is a good proof of that.And according to a recent post on her app, shes also super dedicated to her eating habits. The reality star says she has been detoxing her body on and off for months now. To stay in a state of ketosis, she follows a similar restrictive eating plan to Keto during her detoxes.

RELATED:We Tried Gwyneth Paltrows 2017 Goop Detox and Were Still Hungry

3. Theres a scientific reason its particularly effective for weight loss.

This diet works, New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist Maya Feller told ABC news. This style of eating prompts ketosis, a metabolic process in which the body burns stored fat instead of glucose for its daily energy. Normally, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose for energy. But while in ketosis, the body derives ketone bodies from the butter you just drank or from previously stored fat. Feller added that it will, in fact, give people weight loss.

WATCH:Kourtney Kardashian Reveals All the Details on Her Insanely Strict Detox Diet

4. When personalizing the high-fat diet, be careful with your choices.

It can be easy to overload on red meat and butter with the Keto Diet. While those are totally permitted, the most beneficial approach is to focus on healthy fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Non-starchy veggies like spinach, kale, cucumbers and proteins like all-natural nut butters, chicken, tuna and salmon are also key.

Wantthe ultimate dish on the latest celebrity food news, plus exclusive recipes, videos and more? Click here to subscribe to the People Food newsletter.

5.You should talk to your doctor before trying it out.

Though this diet surely caught the attention of several stars, Nutritionist Fellerexplains that its probably not a great long-term plan. The jury is out on if that is safe for the long term, Keller noted. What most studies say is that you can follow a ketogenic diet for some months. You dont want the body to stay in ketosis long term.

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PEOPLE Explains: Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet -

Aug 12

The Freshman 15 Is ‘Graduation Season Click-Bait’ – NBC News –

It seems all graduating high school seniors know about the freshman 15. You may have heard about this infamous 15 pound weight gain from your friends, the media, maybe even a nutrition class in school. Its time to set the record straight and stop perpetuating this myth.

The freshman 15 is not real. Its #fakenews. Graduation season click-bait.

Heres what you need to know:

It is true that some young men and women do gain weight freshman year. Current North American studies suggest the average gain is 7.5 pounds, with only 10 percent of students gaining 15 pounds or more. Studies also suggest weight gain is not really a spike in the first year, but a slow accumulation of weight during the college experience and after graduation. Finally, the risk of weight gain seems higher in men than women.

More from Parent Toolkit: 8 Life Skills Your Teen Needs Before Moving Out

Often not discussed is that the same stress and expectations that can make one individual gain weight, can trigger the opposite effect in others. In fact, 15 percent of students actually lose weight during the first year. This timing correlates with peak disordered eating behaviors at 18-21 years of life. Strict dieting and unhealthy food relationships can lead to significant, unhealthy weight loss. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of casual college dieters will develop a full-blown eating disorder.

These studies matter because it helps us re-frame what is normal. As we head off to college, its important to know what our healthy long-term weight actually is. From that target weight range, it is easier to appreciate natural fluctuations in weight that occur as part of our life experience, and to choose healthy means of weight loss or gain if we notice a significant change to our target goal.

Although its easy to give the finger wag to high-calorie alcoholic drinks, moderate drinking in college is not associated with weight gain. Important note: Drinking alcohol in college is associated with other significant problems. Before you choose to drink, read up on your risks. It is true that many alcoholic beverages are high-calorie; but so are sodas, juices, and fancy coffee drinks. Weight gain can come from drinking too many calories, regardless of what type of drink it may be.

More from Parent Toolkit: How to Let Go

In addition to simple liquid calories, researchers have suggested many other reasons for college weight gain. Lack of parental oversight to food choices; cheap, high-calorie foods due to a limited budget; late night eating; moving away from routine athletics; side effects of drugs and alcohol (munchies, hangovers); cheap food availability; decreased quality college cafeteria foods; chronic stress; less sleep.

In short, the entire college experience.

Ultimately, there are not any tricks to maintaining your healthy goal weight. Remember that a lifetime of small decisions matter. Consistency and common sense over the long-term is what will contribute to success. Some weight-healthy habits include:

Visit Parent Toolkit to read the rest of this story.

Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP is a general pediatrician in Kansas City, MO and National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Aug 10

The 1 Very Clear Reason Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Skyrocketed 41% in July – Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of small-molecule drugs for the treatment of a variety of diseases, catapulted 41% during July, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The incredible surge in Arena's share price can be traced to the company's July 10 press release detailing its top-line results for a midstage study involving experimental drug ralinepag in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

As you can likely surmise by the 41% return shareholders were privy to in July, the phase 2 study involving ralinepag offered plenty of encouragement. The 61-patient phase 2 study demonstrated "a statistically significant absolute change from baseline in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) compared to placebo." It also showed a numerical improvement in six-minute walk distance.Overall, a 29.8% improvement in PVR was noted versus the placebo arm, and a 20.1% improvement relative to baseline. A statistically significant improvement in PVR was the primary efficacy endpoint of the study.

Image source: Getty Images.

Furthermore, the data showed that the safety profile of ralinepag was consistent with other prostacyclin treatments for the management of PAH, raising no warning flags with investors. The full study results are to be released at an upcoming scientific conference.

Nevertheless, the data was convincing enough that Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer Preston Klassen, M.D., had this to say: "It is exciting to see the positive nonclinical pharmacological profile translating into potentially the first oral prostacyclin therapy that may approach consistent therapeutic levels without the complexity of parenteral (IV) therapy. These data give us confidence to move expeditiously toward a Phase 3 clinical program."

Positive results from this midstage study are exactly the jolt in the arm shareholders needed after Arena threw in the towel on weight-loss drug Belviq earlier this year. Belviq was projected to verge on blockbuster sales status, but like other Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved weight-loss therapies, price and long-term use concerns worried consumers and physicians, limiting sales to just a fraction of their potential. Belviq was sold to Arena's marketing partner Eisai in January, leaving Arena looking for a fresh start.

Image source: Getty images.

The data from ralinepag in midstage studies is encouraging, and while the PAH landscape has plenty of competition, the inherent pricing power advantages offered to U.S.-based drug companies should still allow Arena plenty of opportunities to generate positive cash flow and profits from a possible FDA approval in a few years' time.

Arena also has etrasimod and APD371 in development. Two years ago, etrasimod delivered positive phase 1b results in treating various types of autoimmune disease, while APD371 is an oral drug focused on treating Crohn's disease. APD371 targets the CB2 receptors of the cannabinoid receptor system in our bodies, and it's one of a number of CB-receptor-targeting or cannabinoid-based drugs aiming to potentially replace opioids as a pain management tool.

Though Arena arguably has a lot going on clinically, it's also been consistently burning money for years. At this point, this Fool would prefer to see successful late-stage data in hand before even considering an investment in Arena.

Sean Williams has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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The 1 Very Clear Reason Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Skyrocketed 41% in July - Motley Fool

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