by Joe Thompson for Parentology
A new study by Dr. Liping Pan, MD, MPH of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the CDC showed that childhood obesity rates have plateaued or even dropped in the last 9 years. They revealed that though obesity rates among low-income families were on the upswing between 2000 and 2010, they’ve dropped for preschoolers since then. That is some of the best news we have heard in a while.
Though findings do suggest that obesity rates are highest among low-income children, additional research found that children’s meal options at fast food and sit-down restaurants may contribute to childhood obesity.
“We compared the nutritional value of kids’ menus to [adult menus] in [select] establishments and found that most of the meals offered to children did not comply with the US Dietary requirements,” said Dr. Luz Claudio, Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine who conducted the study. She explained to Parentology that, according to the study’s findings, the majority of meal options for children had fat, sodium and saturated fat contents that exceeded daily meal recommendations. They were also low in fiber.
“Based on those studies,” Claudio says, “I recommend that families avoid eating out with children. When they do, they may choose to share an adult entree with their child or share a side dish such as a vegetable or salad. These habits will not only save them money but also be a more nutritionally-balanced option for the children and serve as a teachable moment [in which] healthy choices can be discussed.”
By Lisa Rapaport for Reuters
Women exposed to triclosan, a chemical often found in soaps and hand sanitizers, may be more likely to develop osteoporosis than women who don’t have this exposure, a new study suggests.
Triclosan has been widely used for years as an antimicrobial agent in consumer goods and personal care products including soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste and mouthwash, researchers note in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
While the exact effect of the chemical on human health isn’t clear, some previous research suggests that triclosan may interfere with thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Triclosan has also been shown to impact bone health in animals, but less is known about the potential for this chemical to contribute to weak, brittle bones in people, said Yingjun Li of Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in China.
For the current study, Li and colleagues examined data on 1,848 women in the U.S. and found that those with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine were two and a half times as likely to have osteoporosis as women with the lowest triclosan levels.
“Triclosan exposure may be a risk factor for lower bone mineral density and osteoporosis,” Li said by email. “The evidence was stronger in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal women.”
In women, reduced estrogen production during menopause and afterward can slow production of new bone tissues. Over time, this process increases their risk of osteoporosis.
About 30 percent of postmenopausal women in the U.S. have osteoporosis, and four in 10 of them will experience a bone fracture, the authors note.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how triclosan might directly cause osteoporosis.
But it’s possible that triclosan exposure could trigger changes in the production of thyroid hormones and estrogen that interrupt normal skeletal development and maintenance of healthy bones as women age, Li said.
“Triclosan could lead to lower bone mineral density and increased prevalence of osteoporosis,” Li said.
Even though more research is needed to prove whether triclosan directly causes osteoporosis, it still makes sense to avoid using products that contain the chemical, said Luz Claudio, an environmental medicine and public health researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
“Luckily, triclosan is rapidly excreted from the body after exposure, so in theory, it should be possible to reduce the amount of it we have on our bodies by avoiding continuous exposure,” Claudio, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
“People who are concerned can avoid products that contain triclosan by reading the labels,” Claudio advised.
Washing with regular soap and water, for example, can help fight germs just as well as using antibacterial cleaning products and avoid exposure to triclosan, Claudio said.
But consumers do need to read the labels because triclosan is in a lot of cosmetics and personal care items that aren’t necessarily marketed as antibacterial products.
“If a product contains triclosan, this should be listed on the label,” Claudio said.
By Emma Sarran Webster for Teen Vogue
Some students start school knowing exactly what they want to "be when they grow up". But for the majority, it can be a hard decision-making process with little useful guidance.
For this article, I was interviewed for one of ten tips that can help students make this important choice. I was quoted as:
"Should I go to grad school?" is one of those questions that students ask me, often. Many of them ask this question while they are ALREADY in graduate school! This tells me that much more needs to be done to help students make these important decisions about their education. This is especially important at this time, when the student loan debt in the US has been described as a "$1.5 Trillion crisis".
I was recently interviewed by Ilana Kowarski for an article on U.S. News and World Report about the differences between college and graduate school. In it, I was quoted as follows:
"Luz Claudio, a tenured professor with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, says graduate school typically requires an abundance of motivation and personal accountability, since students are frequently asked to work independently."I tell college students that one of the keys to success in graduate school is self-discipline," Claudio wrote in an email. "There's generally no 'homework,' quizzes and few exams. Students need to learn how to learn class materials without such close guidance from a teacher. However, most graduate programs have a long-term project that students must complete, such as a research paper. These require a different kind of relationship with a teacher. For these, the teacher becomes more like a mentor and the student is more like an apprentice."
Other educators in different fields from educational institutions from across the United States were also cited in the article. One, for example, was Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in California. He said: "Too often, college students or people who only have had a college experience somehow think that graduate school is going to be more of the same, and it's not,".
Many of my students aim to get into medical school. I hope that they also want to succeed in becoming caring, inquisitive, and knowledgeable doctors. One common question they ask is: What GPA do I need to get into medical school?
In an article for US News and World Report, reporter Ilana Kowarski interviewed me and others about this question. In general, most other experts included in the article and I agree that students should aim for a GPA of at least 3.5. In fact, for my NIH-funded internship programs, I am not even allowed to take students with GPAs below 3.0.
In the article, I was quoted as follows:
"Dr. Luz Claudio, a tenured professor with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the author of "How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide," warns that signing up for easy A college classes isn't the best strategy for improving your odds of admission. "I see that students sometimes take relatively easy courses to raise their overall GPA, but if their science grades are still low, this may not help them enter med school," she wrote in an email.
"Another thing that students wanting to go to medical school may consider is doing medical research internships, especially if those lead to publication in good peer-reviewed research journals," Claudio says. "Published papers coupled with spectacular letters of recommendations and excellent MCAT scores can sometimes propel a student who is on the borderline to get into medical school."
To read the full article published on October 2, 2018, please click below.
Last school year, I reviewed over 600 applications from students to my training programs. Over SIX HUNDRED, for 16 research internship positions that I had available!
One of the most important skills that we look for in students is STATISTICS. Students who are proficient in statistics can apply those skills to almost any kind of internship project, from community-based research, to cell biology.
In an article titled Six Classes and Certifications That Can Help You Get a Raise, by Joanna Hughes for MasterStudies.com. I was quoted as follows:
"We already addressed how actuary certification can be a major career booster for actuaries. But the study of statistics has general -- and lucrative -- applications, as well.
Professor of preventive medicine Luz Claudio told Monster.com, “I know it may sound boring to some, but statistics can be applied in so many fields: biomedical research, business, economics, social sciences and computer sciences. If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, but you are proficient in statistics, you can get a job in almost any field until you find a path that better suits your passions.”
So, if you are a student starting a new semester in the fall, think about taking courses in statistics. Talk to your advisers and mentors about how statistics may fit your curriculum of study. You will find that this knowledge will open many doors for you.
Click to download the CHECKLIST FOR MEETING WITH A MENTOR and other free resources for students.
Dr. Luz Claudio is a Tenured Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and the author of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide, the Spanish edition: Cómo Escribir y Publicar un Artículo Científico: La Guía Paso a Paso, and the New Notebook for Seminars and Lectures.These books and free resources can be found on Amazon and at www.DrLuzClaudio.com.
The opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect those of her employer or colleagues.
I have previously written about how food packaging, particularly plastic packaging, can affect environmental health. Solutions to this problem have been scarce, meanwhile, vast expanses of plastic waste are growing in the oceans. More recently, it has been discovered that plastic materials do not decompose, instead, they breakdown into tiny pieces called microplastics. In time, these microplastics are slowly turning the oceans into a toxic soup.
Chemicals contained in plastics may affect human health, especially in children. This is why it was so gratifying to see a 12-year-old girl's invention to help identify and visualize microplastics in the ocean. This young scientist, Anna Du, has entered her device to compete in the 2018 Discovery Education 3M Scientist Challenge. I commented on her invention for an article published in AccuWeather.com:
“I’m extremely impressed by her innovation and initiative to help solve the problem of plastics in the ocean, especially the issue of microplastics,” said children’s environmental health scientist Dr. Luz Claudio.
“We know that exposure to chemicals in plastics can affect human health, especially in children, and I’m glad to see that children can come up with solutions to the problems that we have created,” Claudio said.
Comment on a Research Study that Suggests a Mediterranean Diet May Protect Against Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health
Several research studies have looked into whether a diet rich in antioxidants and other nutrients can help mitigate the health effects of exposure to pollutants in the environment. One such study from the lab of Dr. George Thurston, a professor of environmental health at New York University, was recently presented at the American Thoracic Society Conference in San Diego. Results suggested that having a dietary pattern resembling a Mediterranean diet could reduce adverse heart and lung effects caused by exposure to air pollution.
I was asked to comment on this preliminary work for the website Everyday Health. In the article, I was quoted as follows:
“Some air pollutants are thought to affect health through a mechanism called oxidative stress,” says Luz Claudio, PhD, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who was not involved in the research.
“Therefore, it is possible that people who consume more antioxidants in their diet may be better protected from the effects of exposure to such air pollutants,” Dr. Claudio adds.
After tidying up your home for spring cleaning, you might think of ways to clean up everything in your home, including the air. Some people think that one way to do that might be by having houseplants inside the home. It makes sense. Plants produce oxygen as they also capture carbon from the air. Could they also filter other pollutants from the air, especially inside the home?
I was recently interviewed about this question for an article in Time magazine. In it, I was quoted as follows:
“There are no definitive studies to show that having indoor plants can significantly increase the air quality in the home to improve health in a measurable way,” says Luz Claudio, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Claudio has reviewed the research on the air-quality benefits of indoor plants. She says there’s no question that plants are capable of removing volatile chemical toxins from the air “under laboratory conditions.” But in the real world—in your home, say, or in your office space—the notion that incorporating a few plants can purify your air doesn’t have much hard science to back it up."
“As a mother, I understand that our children live in a plastic world and are surrounded by potentially hazardous chemicals,” Claudio said. “I think that if parents become aware of the issues, they will come up with alternatives to protect their children.” To read the article on Reuters News, click the link.
We can do more to empower children in understanding nature and their own role in the environment. In this article published in Reader's Digest, we give 41 quick and easy ways to help children make a connection between what they do, the choices they make and the environment. Most of these actions take less than 5 minutes but can bring awareness and good habits to children, as they will one day inherit this Earth. Read the full article for great ideas to involve children in Earth Day Every Day.
How to crush your first job interview: Got your first job interview lined up? Don’t worry, you got this. We’re here to help. by Jon Simmons for Monster
In this article, we give advice on how to prepare for a job interview.
“My advice is to at least Google the person who will interview you, the institution, their work, the market. Find some information in advance,” says Dr. Luz Claudio, who directs the Division of International Health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
In addition to advising undergraduate and graduate students on interviewing, Dr. Claudio interviews about 70 applicants per year and he’s reviewed more than 400 resumes.
“When the person asks: ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ take out your notes and ask some specific questions about what they do. This shows your interest,” she says. “It shows that you did some homework and preparation prior to the interview and that you took initiative in searching for additional information.”
A clean home doesn't always equal a healthy home: Cleaning products can be loaded with dangerous chemicals. Read this before you spring clean this year. In the article, several experts identify potential environmental exposures that can occur during home cleaning and give alternatives on how to reduce exposures. In the article, I am quoted as follows:
Luz Claudio, PhD, professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has done a lot of research work on children's asthma, and she's particularly concerned about spray cleaners. "Some of these products contain chemicals that are known or suspected to be asthma triggers, such as ethanolamine and ammonium compounds," she says. She adds that simple vinegar and water in a spray bottle work just as well as any chemical combo purchased in a store.
Click the button to read the full article in Reader's Digest.
Public School Review: Why Students and Schools Benefit from Foreign Language Programs. Foreign language skills are critically important for opening the door of possibility to have a great learning experience in another country.
Luz Claudio, PhD, professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, sought to understand participation of minorities in medical research in a study of parents of New York City children.
Claudio said. “Our conclusion was that minorities would participate in medical research if asked by their trusted physician, particularly if that physician is also a minority.”
Getting into Medical School is Becoming Harder by Ilana Kowarski, U.S. News & World Report, Oct 31, 2017
Admission rates for medical school are falling. Medical schools are receiving more applications. This is partly because most students send applications to more than a dozen medical schools.
I tell students that research internships can help their applications.
This article provides 5 ways to encourage your household to recycle. In it, I was quoted as: “Make it easy to recycle by having a designated space for recycling.” Also:
“Students can get the most out of their time as an intern by creating a plan with their internship mentor to achieve something tangible by the end of their time as interns.” She stressed the importance of creating concrete results that can be leveraged in future job applications and on your resume.
Dr. Luz Claudio, author of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper is a professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said, "I think that the most successful students in international programs have one thing in common: They have a curious and open mind. She further described some of the key characteristics needed to succeed in international educational experiences.
A Pew Research Center study showed that there were more minority babies born in 2015. If the trend continues, minorities (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Mixed Race, etc.) will be the majority in the US by the year 2060. Yet, the number of minorities in higher education has remained stagnant.
In the article, I was quoted as: Claudio noted that she has seen progress in terms of the numbers of minority students as well as scientists and physicians at some institutions but not at a pace in keeping with the growth of the minority population nationwide.
Dr. Luz Claudio, who trains postdoctoral students in research techniques, is one of a few minority women senior faculty members at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She credits her achievements to the mentoring she received in the past 25 years.“A mentor is somebody who can be impartial when it comes to providing you advice,” she said. “Your needs will change throughout your working lifetime and you will need different viewpoints along the way. Ultimately, the mentee will make their own decisions.”
Writing a perfect letter of recommendation can seem intimidating, especially if you have never written one. The struggle between staying honest to yourself while trying not to destroy one’s future is always challenging. You don’t want to make things up, but you are even more unwilling to write a template-like vague, dull and unconvincing letter.
She inspired me: The role models who helped women envision a career in STEM. by Neil Gladston for Verizon Community
Many of us women in STEM owe our careers to the pioneering women who encouraged us, guided us and mentored us to succeed. Here are the stories of six of us who were fortunate to have wonderful mentors.
I now mentor many students. One of the most important things I teach them is scientific writing. It’s the main thing Dr. Brosnan taught to me and was the biggest key to my success.
54 Health and Wellness Experts Reveal the Single Most Important Tip for Living a Healthy Lifestyle by John Sichel for Delimmune
"A large portion of diseases is preventable. This is not a widespread concept, partly because the health-care system is really a “disease-care” system, where the emphasis is on managing disease once people have it, not on preventing disease. The environment plays a significant part in health and disease. The World Health Organization estimated that globally, a quarter of disease in adults and more than a third of children’s diseases are caused by environmental factors. For example, 20% of lower respiratory infections are attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution."
So, make environmental health part of your healthier lifestyle resolutions.
The Art and Science of Poster Sessions by John R. Platt for InSight, website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The men and women getting off the plane looked like an army of ancient soldiers marching into the battle, only instead of spears or quivers of arrows each weary traveler carried a thin brown or black tube slung across their shoulders. As we all marched down the hall toward baggage claim, I turned to one of them. “What’s with all of the tubes,” I asked. “They’re too small for golf clubs.” He smiled and filled me in. “We’re all presenting posters at a conference this weekend,” he said.
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