September 15, 2017

Weekend reads: Do you really have to go hungry before surgery? Maybe not, experts say.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    It's not just for pumpkin pie—cinnamon could be good for your health, too, research says. Cinnamon might be more than the pantry staple integral to your seasonal beverages, cakes, and pies, Sandee LaMotte writes for CNN—research has shown it may also be widely beneficial medicinal agent. For instance, a few studies suggest that cinnamon might help curb inflammation while helping manage insulin sensitivity and glucose transport. And other studies on Ceylon cinnamon have shown that it could potentially help prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia, help combat HIV, fight cancer, and kill a number of common bacteria, such as streptococcus and E. coli. But experts urge caution, LaMotte writes, noting that the American Diabetes Association, for instance, doesn't think there is sufficient evidence supporting cinnamon's effect on blood sugar. In the meantime, however, Lisa Drayer, a registered dietician, said the spice remains "a perfect pantry staple."

    Go ahead: Have your cake and eat it too (before surgery), experts say. Medical recommendations since the 1940s have advised patients to fast before surgery—but the evidence, and practice guidelines, has changed, Marina Kamenev writes for Slate. According to Kamenev, the recommendation stemmed from research showing that some anesthetized patients were vomiting and aspirating during their surgical procedures because their laryngeal reflexes did not work under general anesthetic. However, anesthesiologists no longer use ether—a substance that causes nausea—and surgeons use endotracheal tubes, which shield the patient's airways from the aspiration of stomach contents. Yet while the American Society of Anesthesiologists have amended its guidance on preoperative fasting to allow some consumption, research suggests that most patients are still "getting outdated advice and arriv[ing]e to surgery thirsty and irritable," Kamenev writes—with clinical consequences of dehydration and anxiety. Kamenev calls for change, writing, "The physical pressure a surgery puts on a body is much like a marathon, so it's baffling to think that patients ... would commence such an event by dehydrating themselves."

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Do smartphones lead to more unwise purchases? People may be more likely to make frivolous purchases when they're shopping on a smartphone than when they're shopping on a computer, according to a study published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. In the study of 99 people, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that people behaved more "rationally" when they were using a computer than when using a smartphone. For instance, one experiment showed that smartphone users were more likely to make "hedonic" purchases, such as a restaurant gift card, while computer users were more likely to make a more useful purchase, such as a grocery store gift card. Why might this be the case? The researchers explained, "When a consumer uses a touchscreen device, the novelty and fun generated by finger movements create experiential and affective feelings, in alignment with the playfulness and emotional nature of hedonic products."

    How a dog tuxedo ended up on an Arkansas County's credit card bill. Kristi Lyn Goss, a former administrative assistant to an Arkansas judge, on Monday pleaded guilty to six felony counts of fraudulent use of a county credit card after an audit earlier this year found she'd used the card for personal purchases. Among those purchase: a tuxedo for her dog. Goss was accused of spending about $200,000 with the county card—but not all on dog tuxedos. Authorities also accused Goss of using the card to purchase dog insurance as well as non-dog-related items, such as a diamond bracelet and college football tickets.

     

     

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