Beware of ‘restorative’ therapies for ED

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“Feeling like a shockwave, shockwave, shockwave, shockwave ... Ooh yeah, babe, get ‘em with the shockwave.” Marshmello, AKA Christopher Comstock, sings that plaintive tune about a broken heart, but it just as well could be the over-the-top marketing slogan of a facility that offers “restorative therapy” for erectile dysfunction.

There’s a roster of restorative therapies -- shockwaves, platelet rich plasma, and all kinds of stem cell treatments -- that are advocated by some doctors, as well as medi-spas and anti-aging clinics. Low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy for ED is especially popular in America.

Unfortunately, the use of shockwaves, stem cells or platelet-rich plasma is “experimental and should be conducted under research protocols (clinical trials) ...” That’s the conclusion of researchers who recently made a presentation at the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. In addition, the Society’s position paper on restorative therapies says, point blank, “restorative therapies should be reserved for clinical trials and not offered in routine clinical practice until adequate studies have demonstrated efficacy and safety.” In other words, don’t risk far worse disability than your ED (which can be safely treated).

What is the right treatment? That depends on the cause. Have your cardiologist check if you have obstructed blood flow. Ask about procedures and medications like statins that are known to work safely. Consider talk therapy. Whatever your treatment, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a remission rate of 29% after five years. And even if ED cannot be “cured,” the right -- approved -- treatment can reduce or eliminate symptoms.

Kids eat more vegetables when you put more on their plate

Do you try to negotiate with your kids to get them to eat their vegetables?  One Brussels sprout, 10 more minutes of TV time? (Don’t let it go over one hour for toddlers, and keep it balanced with physical activity for older kids.) Or do you promise dessert if they eat their salad? That’s hit or miss, at best, and then you have to fret about whether the dessert is healthy or not. Turns out the most effective way to get kids to eat more vegetables -- and fruit -- is to put more on their plate. (Who knew?)   

Researchers from the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State tested two strategies for encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. One group of kids had 50% more to fruit and vegetable side dishes added to daily meals. A second group had 50% more fruits and vegetables substituted for an equivalent weight of the other foods. For example, when researchers added a couple of extra ounces of veggies to lunch, they subtracted a couple of ounces of mac and cheese. Both strategies work: Adding more fruit and vegetable side dishes boosted kids’ intake of veggies by 24% and fruit by 33%; substituting fruits and veggies for some of the other foods increased veggie consumption by an astounding 41%, fruit by 38%.

One more thing -- while you’re tricking your kids, trick yourself, too! Only 9% of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables; 12% get enough fruit.

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