Tuesday, March 29, 2011
We know that sleep is very important. But according to a new report when you combine a lack of sleep with stress it can lead to big problems especially when it comes to weight. The study in the International Journal of Obesity found that if you slept 6 to 8 hours a day and were under stress you lost less weight than if you slept the same amount and weren't under stress. This is particularly important because it could affect the way we treat obesity in the future. Obviously we look at things like diet and exercise but it is clear that we have to start looking at lifestyle. We need to include things like the stress a person feels that they are facing each day. Whether the stress is real or perceived the same when it comes to the person. In addition we need to be concerned about proper time and again to getting sleep as well as the issues that may prevent people from getting the sleep they need. This could include their environment, their mood and the foods they eat
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. It is extremely aggressive and very difficult to control. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania believe they have made a major stride in the battle against pancreatic cancer. They studied 21 patients with surgically incurable pancreatic cancer. They gave them what is called an immune activating treatment in addition to their chemotherapy. Although they did not cure the cancer they were able to cause substantial shrinkage of the tumor. What they found is that their experimental drug stimulated immune system to produce cells that act the supporting tissue of the tumor. According to leading experts this type of attack on tumors has not been reported before. Adding many of these major breakthroughs we are not seeing immediate results but these critical steps are necessary to win the overall battle. Clearly this is a major step in the fight against pancreatic cancer
Monday, March 21, 2011
There is a disturbing new report that says some sports fans can take winning and losing too far. Fans of the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tennessee Titans were studied. According to scientists at the University of California at Berkeley there was a 10% increase in the rate of domestic abuse by men against their wives and girlfriends when their own football team lost a game they were expected to win. However when teams were expected to lose the violence was not as great. The researchers discovered this by cross checking the time of police calls with game times. Quite alarmingly increasing domestic violence occurred in the final hour of the game till two hours thereafter. The NFL cannot be blamed for this but the study shows how those who are prone to violence are more likely to act out after a negative experience in their life
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
You might be wondering why people in Japan are taking iodine after the tsunami. Damage to the nuclear power plant has led to the release of radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine can lead to thyroid cancer. Taking iodine pills saturates the thyroid gland and can prevent the radioactive iodine from entering the body. Certainly no one can argue that taking iodine tablets in such a potentially dangerous situation is not a good idea. But people many miles away in places like Toronto and San Diego are buying iodine tablets as well with the thought that radiation might travel to them. As radiation travels the concentration decreases and experts say there is little chance of problems so far away. But does taking iodine cause any risks. If iodine is taken in extremely high amounts --- a dosage of many grams-- it can cause acute iodine poisoning with burning in the mouth throat and stomach diarrhea weak pulse and ultimately coma. But these are extremely high amounts. People who abuse iodine can impair the production of thyroid hormone but once again were talking about abuse. So in reasonable doses iodine does not present a significant risk but without a real chance for exposure to radioactive iodine people should save their money and not rush to the store to buy it.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Alzheimer's Association has just released 2011 statistics surrounding the disease. Much like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society does with their results, the Alzheimer's Association provides a snapshot into this devastating illness. Alzheimer's is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Perhaps most concerning is that it is the only one in the top 10 diseases that cannot be prevented or cured. 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease but by the year 2050 is estimated that number will reach 16 million. To try and put those numbers in perspective, every 69 seconds one person develops Alzheimer's in this country. Of course the greatest toll both physical and mental is often on the caregivers. 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers provide unpaid care valued at over $200 billion dollars
Saturday, March 12, 2011
There is good news in the world of preventive medicine. Top medical experts from the United States and Europe have reached a consensus. They both believe that pre-hypertension needs to be addressed and aggressively treated. Now, as you know, I believe the prevention of disease is far more effective than treating health problems later on. Pre-hypertension is a newly recognized diagnoses that focuses on people who are on the road to high blood pressure. Most treatments center around lifestyle issues like changing diet and increasing exercise. The fact it’s becoming an international issue is a major help in control. I truly believe that if we’re going to deal with pre-hypertension, we need to understand what the risk factors are and then slowly but surely find ways to attack them to reduce it so those problems won’t be as bad.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The deaths of teenage basketball Star West Leonard closely followed by 17-year-old rugby player Matthew Hammerdorfer have raised a very reasonable question, "just how often do tragedies like this strike". According to the journal Circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association, the rate of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes was similar to that of deaths from lightning. But even though they are rare they are hard-hitting and have tremendous impact. The two primary causes of sudden death from heart conditions in which there were no previous symptoms are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a genetic condition called long QT syndrome. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle and can cause cardiac arrest during exertion. The QT syndrome is a problem with electrical regulation of the heart. It is very difficult to detect these underlying heart conditions but a physical examination. EKGs can help but in the United States they are not recommended because testing is costly and can lead to false positive results which would mean unnecessary additional testing. There are many cardiologists who believe the EKGs should be standard. The European Society of cardiology recommends routine EKGs. One of the best ways to screen is through pointed questions for instance does the child have heart palpitations, a racing heart or passes out. Sadly the first warning in many of these cases is the sudden cardiac event while participating in a sports related activity.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that results in cognitive delays. It is caused by having an extra copy of chromosome. Down syndrome can be diagnosed with a procedure called an amniocentesis where amniotic fluid is taken from the pregnant mother. This procedure does carry a small risk of miscarriage. Now there is news out of the journal nature medicine that a simple blood test could help detect a baby with down syndrome. The study which was performed in Greece involved 40 cases. The scientists were successful in detecting down syndrome however the authors believe that more cases are necessary and more studies need to be completed before the test can be approved for use. According to the article the scientists believe they can spot down syndrome through fetal DNA that has been shed into the mother's bloodstream. Once again this is not approved for use in United States