Top 10 Health Trends of 2009

From extreme wound-healing methods and miracle fruits to ear stapling and even designer babies, The Doctors bring you the Top 10 Health Trends of 2009!

Before digging your teeth into the top 10, here is a groovy honorable mention that just missed the list.

Dancing with The Doctors
While it didn’t quite make the top 10, ballroom dancing has become a popular way to get fit. In fact, former Dancing with the Stars contestant Lisa Rinna says it got her into the best shape of her life. “I liked that body I got,” she says after boogying out on stage. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to lose this.’”

To keep that body, Lisa and her Dancing partner, Louis Van Amstel, came up with a dance class that helped her and her students get in shape and lose weight. “They started to really feel good,” she says. “They were happy. They loved doing this.”

Lisa built on to the success of the class with a workout DVD series, “Dance Body Beautiful,” which takes the moves from Dancing with the Stars and puts them in a routine you can do at home. Dr. Ordon asks if the program is only for women, or if men can participate, as well. “Men can do it, too!” she says with a big smile. “I would love it if I could get a guy to do it, or lots of guys to do it!”

Dr. Ordon takes Lisa up on her request, gets into his dancing gear and brings Lisa to The Doctors’ dance floor. The two groove to some salsa music under a disco ball, impressing The Doctors and the audience!
Watch Dr. Ordon and Lisa get their groove on, right here!

10. The Hawaii Chair

Have you ever wished you could exercise at work without leaving your computer? The Hawaii Chair is a device you can use right in your office to try and firm up your waistline. It works by mimicking a hula dance motion, and you operate it sitting down. As The Doctors try the chair out, Dr. Travis says, “I have to admit, it’s kind of fun.”

Dr. Ordon admits he feels his abdominal muscles getting a workout, but Dr. Travis questions whether the device can truly be used at work.  “If you turn it to a lower setting, maybe you could do a little bit of work,” he says. “But, I think I’d have motion sickness!”

“I think it makes exercising fun and kind of interesting,” Dr. Lisa says.

9. The Electronic Cigarette
If you are one of the millions of people addicted to smoking, there may be some hope in a possibly safer alternative. The electronic cigarette is a device that gives the impression of smoking, while not emitting the thousands of chemicals that can cause health problems like cancer. The only chemical you consume in using the electronic cigarette is nicotine, and water vapor replaces the harmful smoke that emanates from cigarettes.

“For some people, this may be a big help to get them to quit smoking,” Dr. Ordon says. “We don’t want to get people on nicotine; that’s not good, either [because it] constricts your blood vessels, but it’s a lot better than consuming all that tar and charcoal and carbon monoxide [that is in cigarettes].”

The product is currently available in England, but has not yet been FDA approved. The Doctors try the cigarette and cigar versions. They speak to 41-year-old Beverly, who has been a smoker for 15 years and wants to quit so she can raise her baby daughter. Beverly tries the electronic alternative for a few days and returns with rave reviews. “I am convinced it’s very good. It’s a great alternative,” she says. “It still gives you the action of smoking -- you inhale, you blow out -- so it’s not like a patch or chewing gum, which is something completely different. So I would, as a smoker, recommend it to smokers [who] are trying to give up. Most definitely.”

The Doctors do stress, however, that if it is approved, the electronic cigarette should only be used as an alternative to the real thing, because the nicotine in it can still be harmful to your health.

8. Maggot Therapy
Maggots may disgust some people, but can these creepy crawlers actually help heal wounds? Dr. Ordon says yes they can. “They are wonderful scavengers,” he explains. “What they do is, they will clean dead tissue that has bacteria in it and leave good, healthy tissue, which we [cannot] do precisely surgically.”

Pam, 56, has been a diabetic for 46 years and shares her experience with maggot therapy. She developed an ulcer on her foot which became infected and required surgery. The surgery left a hole in the bottom of her heel, and doctors told Pam she would need to have her foot amputated. Before undergoing an amputation, Pam tried maggot therapy, and it worked! The maggots healed the ulcer and she was able to keep her foot.

7. A ‘Miracle’ Fruit?

Can a berry grown in the Amazon rainforest work miracles? The Acai berry is made into a juice that is high in antioxidants and is said to help stabilize cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss and work as an anti-inflammatory. While the berry may not technically work miracles, it is a healthy drink. On the other hand, however, bottles of the juice are expensive similar nutrients can be found in other drinks. “I’m a big fan of pomegranate juice,” Dr. Travis says. “[Acai] is a great berry to drink. [But] if you can’t afford it, there are other berries.”

6. Anti-gravity Yoga
This trend may just turn your idea of yoga upside down! Anti-gravity yoga combines yoga and Pilates, but adds an AntiGravity Hammock, which is a structural fabric connected by two overhead points that acts as a swing or soft trapeze. The Doctors show a video of an anti-gravity yoga class, where women hang upside down and swing around on the hammock. The program is designed to help realign the spine, relieve tension in joints and balance the brain, all while defying gravity. “As you age, [yoga is] really, really good, especially for your posture, your flexibility,” Dr. Lisa says. “It’s so important.”

“Yoga’s big in ’09!” Dr. Ordon says.

5. Vitamins by Profession

Employee Vita is a new product that tailors vitamins to certain professions. Currently there are four types: teacher, nurse, firefighter and trucker. “It’s a great idea,” Dr. Jim says looking over the firefighter vitamins. “Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in firefighters, so they’ve basically taken a multivitamin, added Omega-3 to it, so it’s good for your heart.

If job-specific vitamins are out of your price range, however, Dr. Jim says, “You could get those ingredients off the shelf. You might have to get one or two or three different bottles, but it’ll probably be cheaper that way.”

4. Ear Stapling

You’ve probably heard of stomach stapling for weight loss … but could stapling your ears have the same effect? This type of acupuncture uses a specialized surgical staple gun to target an area in the ear which curbs the appetite. In addition to weight loss, the acupuncture can help relieve pain caused by stress, digestive issues, migranes and other ailments.

Vanessa, 29, suffers from endometriosis, which causes pain in the lower back and abdomen, bloating and sinus and allergy problems. She undergoes acupuncture treatments weekly and says they have helped tremendously. “[Acupuncture] is very effective, very helpful,” she says. “I’ve been dealing with this for 14 years, and this is the first time that I’ve been able to find relief from my pain naturally.”

Acupuncture specialist Bryan Abel performs the prickly procedure on Vanessa onstage, placing small needles in her ear. She says it calms her, and she feels no pain.

3. Bird’s Nests: A Fountain of Youth?

People claim that swallows’ nests are helping people look younger and live longer, but is this trend for real, or is it for the birds? The nest is mostly composed of water-soluble protein that is easily absorbed by the human body and is rich in amino acids. “They’ve shown that this can decrease the aging in mice there’s some research that shows that and may be useful in the treatment of AIDS,” Dr. Jim says.

The nests are usually consumed as a soup after being soaked in liquid. “This is pretty good!” Dr. Jim says after taking a taste. “It tastes like coconut.”

While a box of birds’ nests are pricey, they are popular in China as a health food.

2. Oxygen in a Can

Have you ever craved a quick shot of oxygen? New portable spray cans containing oxygen are gaining in popularity. The Doctors try them out, and Dr. Jim says, “This might be nice after a long flight. Sometimes I can feel sick and headachy. This might help out with that.”

But Dr. Travis doesn’t buy it. “I think it’s fun [to spray], but truth be told, we use oxygen in the hospital all the time with oxygen facemasks and nasal prongs when people need oxygen,” he says. “If you really need oxygen, this is not a very effective delivery form of it, and it’s probably more psychological than anything.”

1. Designer Babies

Imagine having the option to choose your child’s hair color, eye color and even the status of his or her health! A brand new form of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) technology runs 6,000 tests on a single cell – including ones for sex, hair and eye color, and certain genetic disorders – and returns results in 12 hours without requiring embryos to be frozen. Previously, doctors had the ability to run only 12 tests on a single cell and results took five days.

“It’s revolutionary,” Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, medical director of the Fertility and Surrogacy Institutes, says. “Of course, it’s not designer babies the way you would pick a pair of designer jeans. It’s the ability now to use the genome and apply the genome practically to helping people assure that they get healthy babies, disease-free babies, babies of the gender they like, and now, babies with eye and hair color and complexion characteristics that they might be interested in.”

Dr. Steinberg says his technique for sex selection has a 100 percent success rate on more than 7,000 cases thanks to PGD. “We look at the genetics of the embryos, and we know what genetics you carry as a female and what genetics we carry as males,” he explains. “So if we see female genetics, we know we’ve got a girl. If we see male genetics, we know we’ve got a boy. We give mom back girl [embryos] if she wants girls, and boys if she wants boys.”

Mindy, 39, and Bob, 44, have been married for 18 years and have four girls. The couple wanted a boy, saw Dr. Steinberg give an interview about PGD and contacted him. After having the procedure, Mindy and Bob had twin boys, Trevor and Tristan, who are now six months old.

“A lot of people will say very casually, ‘Well, you shouldn’t be able to pick boys or girls,’ but I’ve had a lot of patients in my practice who are just like [Mindy and Bob] who have had three or four or five girls or boys, and wanted another one [of the opposite sex],” Dr. Lisa says. “[PGD] is not a lot of hocus pocus, it’s very much science.

“It can be abused,” she continues, “but I think when your heart is in it, and you’re really trying to do something good, I think that it has a lot of technology behind it.”

Aleve's "No Need to Worry
Did you know that about 20 percent of women will get at least one bladder infection at sometime in their life? The best ways to prevent these infections are to urinate regularly and empty your bladder completely. Also, wearing cotton underwear and loose clothing can help keep that area cool and dry, which helps since bacteria live in warm, damp places. Drink plenty of liquids, including cranberry juice, which helps keep bacteria from attaching to the bladder. Stay away from drinks that are known to irritate the bladder, such as coffee and alcohol. If you find yourself with a bladder infection, call your doctor, because it can lead to a serious kidney infection.

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OAD 1/7/09