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Archive for the ‘Integrative Medicine blog’ Category

Everyone At Risk From Mad Cow Disease

By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, PA News

No one is immune to the human form of mad cow disease, variant CJD, new research suggests today.

Some people whose genetic make-up normally acts as a barrier against infection may ultimately develop a different and so-far unrecognised type of disease, it is claimed.

Scientists have shown that individuals with a pair of genes known as MM about a third of the population acquire vCJD relatively easily.

No one with a different paring, VV, has been known to suffer the disease.

Then in August it emerged that a patient from a mixed MV genetic group had been infected with vCJD from contaminated blood, without showing any symptoms. Just over half the population has the MV pairing.

The news sparked fears of a mad cow disease timebomb in the population, with thousands of people unwittingly carrying the brain disease on a long incubation fuse. Read more…


Needle-Sharing by Sex Workers Tied to Spread of Syphilis

(HealthDay News) -- Needle-sharing among drug abusers may play as big a role as risky sexual behavior in the transmission of syphilis, a new study suggests.

American and Mexican researchers interviewed more than 900 female sex workers in the Mexican border towns of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, which are adjacent to San Diego and El Paso, Texas, respectively. The sex workers, who were also tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), operate legally in the two Mexican towns, which are located on major drug trafficking routes.

The researchers found that female sex workers who didn't have HIV, but tested positive for active syphilis infection, were more likely than those without active syphilis infection to inject drugs, to use illegal drugs before or during sex in the past month, and to have U.S. clients who had higher rates of drug use, including the use of injection drugs. Read more…


Enriched Skim Milk Good for Gout, Study Suggests

(HealthDay News) -- If you have gout, drinking enriched skim milk may help reduce the frequency of painful flare-ups, new research suggests.

The new study included 120 patients who had experienced at least two flare-ups in the previous four months. They were divided into three treatment groups that consumed either lactose powder, skim milk powder or skim milk powder enriched with glycomacropeptide (GMP) and G600 milk fat extract (G600).

Gout, a common form of arthritis, is caused by uric acid buildup in blood. Often, the big toe is the first place where gout strikes. Previous research has shown a higher risk for gout among people who consume fewer dairy products, and earlier work suggested that GMP and G600 tone down the inflammatory response to gout crystals.

The powders were mixed in roughly 8 ounces of water as a vanilla-flavored shake and consumed once a day. The patients recorded their flare-ups and went to a rheumatology clinic once a month. Read more…

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Obesity Causes Increased Risk of Kidney Cancer, Kidney Stones, and Stroke

by: Steve G. Jones, Ed.S

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or greater. BMI is a ratio determined by weight and height. With a large percentage of Americans classified as being obese, research is showing the effects extra weight and obesity have on a person's overall health. Recent studies show that obese people have an increased risk of developing common kidney cancer, kidney stones, and an increased risk of having a stroke.

A study involving 1,640 participants studied the effects of weight on kidney cancer. The average age of patients was 62 and all participants had kidney tumors. The study showed that patients with a BMI of 30 or higher were 48% more likely to develop clear-cell renal cell cancer (RCC). With every 1 point increase in BMI, obese patients increased their odds of getting kidney cancer by 4%.

Out of all the participants, 67% of the obese patients had kidney cancer compared to 57% of non-obese patients. Researchers do not know why there is a link between obesity and kidney cancer. Researchers are looking into a secondary link involving diabetes, hypertension, hormonal changes, and decreased immune function. Read more…

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Fatty liver disease – Choline provides a nutritional solution for a silent epidemic

by: Helmut Beierbeck

Fatty liver disease used to be associated with alcoholism, but it is no longer
restricted to heavy drinkers. Our calorie-rich but nutrient-poor diet has led
to an epidemic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that tracks our
rising obesity and diabetes rates (1). Autopsies and ultrasound studies have
shown that up to 75% of the obese and 70-85% of type 2 diabetics have fatty
livers. And the low-profile but essential nutrient choline appears to provide
the solution to the problem (1, 2).

What is NAFLD?

NAFLD develops in two stages (1). In the first stage fat accumulates in the
liver. This fat can come from several sources: free fatty acids released into
the blood by fat tissue, lipogenesis in the liver from carbohydrates
(especially fructose from HFCS or table sugar), and dietary fats carried to the
liver by chylomicron remnants. Fatty liver disease is a silent epidemic because
its first stage, fat accumulation, generally doesn't produce overt symptoms. Readmore…


Bipolar Kids May Focus on Different Facial Features

(HealthDay News) --
Children with bipolar disorder and a similar condition called severe mood
dysregulation spend less time looking at the eyes when trying to identify
facial features, compared to children without the psychiatric disorders,
researchers say.

This new study finding may help explain why children with bipolar disorder and
severe mood dysregulation have difficulty determining other people's emotional
expressions, said the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health investigators.

The researchers tracked the eye movements of children with and without
psychiatric disorders as they viewed faces with different emotional
expressions, such as happy, sad, fearful and angry. In general, the children
spent more time looking at the eyes, the facial feature that conveys the most
information about emotion. Read more…


Heart Disease, Diabetes, Depression a Deadly Mix

(HealthDay News) --
Heart disease, diabetes and depression can be a lethal triple-play -- boosting
a patient's death risk by 20 percent to 30 percent, new research shows.

"We do not know what this increased risk is due to, but it could either be
that depression influences crucial aspects of self-care behaviors needed to
manage diabetes or that a more severe disease process is reflected in more
depressive symptoms," said lead researcher Anastasia Georgiades, a
research associate in the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Duke
University in Durham, N.C.

Georgiades was expected to present the findings Friday at the American
Psychosomatic Society annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

In their study, the Duke team followed 933 heart patients for more than four
years. During that time, there were 135 deaths among patients with type 2
diabetes and/or depression, the researchers found.

Among patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression who were also
diabetics, the researchers observed a significant 30 percent greater risk of
dying over the four-year period compared with patients with either depression
alone or diabetes alone. Read more…


New Heart Valve Repair System Tested for Safety

(HealthDay News) --
A new method of repairing leaking mitral heart valves appears safe, a small
study shows.

In the new study, researchers tested a reversible implant called the
Percutaneous Transvenous Mitral Annuloplasty (PTMA) system, which is installed
via a catheter.

In the heart, the mitral valve controls the flow of blood from the left atrium
into the left ventricle (from the upper left chamber into the lower left
chamber). A leaking mitral valve causes blood to flow back into the left
atrium. This condition can worsen existing heart failure or cause congestive
heart failure, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

Currently, mitral valve repair requires opening the chest and putting the patient
on a heart-lung machine. This method increases the risk of heart attack and
stroke during surgery, as well as post-surgery risks such as lung problems,
irregular heartbeat and infection, the news release noted. Read more…


Complex cancer industry trial literature is too confusing for patients to understand

By J. D. Heyes

Have you ever read something so complex and confusing that it frustrated you to
the point of distraction? Well, a new study has found that cancer trial
literature causes that kind of frustration - and may be misleading to patients
as well.

According to Prof. Mary Dixon-Woods, professor of Medical Sociology at the
University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences in Great Britain, a
number of cancer patients found information leaflets describing cancer trials
too long, too incomprehensible and too intimidating.

"These information sheets are poorly aligned with patients' information
needs and how they really make decisions about whether to join a cancer
trial," said Dixon-Woods, lead author of the research,
which was published in the international journal Sociology of Health and

"Some patients did find them very useful, but many others paid them little
attention. They preferred to rely on discussions they had with their doctor to
make up their minds," she said. Read more…


Two Drugs Safe for Rare Forms of Kidney Cancer

(HealthDay News) --
Using a combination of the drugs temsirolimus (Torisel) and Bryostatin appears
to be safe in patients with metastatic kidney cancer, according to early data
from 25 patients in a phase 1 trial.

The researchers said a pathway known as mTOR signaling promotes tumor cell
proliferation and tumor blood vessel development. The temsirolimus-bryostatin
combination blocks two portions of the mTOR signaling pathway, and the early
data suggests the drugs may be active in patients with rare forms of renal cell
cancer that are less likely to respond to other therapies.

"We have certainly seen sustained responses with this combination, which
are encouraging," Dr. Elizabeth Plimack, a medical oncologist and attending
physician at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said in a news release
from the center.

"Patients with non-clear cell renal cell cancer, including papillary renal
cancer, don't respond as well to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as sunitinib [Sutent]
and sorafenib [Nexavar], as patients with clear cell renal cell. So there is an
unmet need for therapy for these patients. We've seen that this combination may
be active to some degree for them," Plimack said.

The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Society of Clinical
Oncology annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. Read more…


Study Compares Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Methods

(HealthDay News) -- A less-invasive method of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair reduces the short-term risk of death, according to a new U.S. study.

The interim findings are from a nine-year multicenter trial comparing patient outcomes after endovascular and open surgical repair of AAA. The report included postoperative outcomes of up to two years (average 1.8 years of follow-up) for 881 patients, aged 49 or older, who had endovascular repair (444) or open repair (437).

Endovascular repair is performed through a catheter inserted into an artery. Open repair involves an abdominal incision. Of the 45,000 patients in the United States who undergo elective repair of an unruptured AAA each year, more than 1,400 die in the perioperative period -- the first 30 days after surgery or inpatient status. There's limited data available about whether short-term survival is better after endovascular repair compared to open repair. Read more...

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Barry Callebaut investigates Acticoa for ageing, longevity

Barry Callebaut is venturing down avenues of research that would allow it to market its Acticoa chocolate on an ant-ageing and longevity platform.

Dark chocolate has been much on the news lately thanks to research on the healthy potential of its high antioxidant content. Barry Callebaut has devised a process with which it says it can preserve more of the natural polyphenols than is possible through conventional methods.

So far chocolate produced using this process, called Acticoa, has been marketed mainly on the basis of its high polyphenol content and health benefits associated with polyphenols. But with positive results from a pre-clinical trial in which rats that suffered oxidative stress and were fed the chocolate were seen to live considerably longer than rats that received a placebo, the company is paving the way to market it to the burgeoning anti-ageing market. Read more...

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Depression drugs linked to falls in elderly

by Mike Adams

Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly population of adults over 65 years of age. A recent study found that elderly people who suffer from dementia are more likely to suffer falls if they are given anti-depressants.

Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to dementia patients, who often also experience depression. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that the risk of elderly injuring themselves from falls was TRIPLED after they were given SSRIs. This class of drugs includes the popular depression drugs Prozac and Paxil, which have long been considered first-line therapy for treatment of depression in older adults.

The high risk of falls following treatment with older anti-depressant medications is well established, as these drugs have long been shown to cause unpleasant and dangerous side effects in elderly such as dizziness and unsteadiness.

Although the medical industry and Big Pharma made claims that the newer SSRI-type anti-depressant drugs would likely reduce these dangerous consequences, the latest research from the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam appears to show the reverse. Read more... 

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Understanding the science of cannabis is integral to appropriate regulation and use

by: Raw Michelle

Cannabis is a plant with demonstrable
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both aspects that point to
its potential to be used as an anti-cancer drug. Cannabinoids have been
used in tentative studies, demonstrating their ability to greatly
reduce tumours, and cure cancer, in mice.

A controlled substance

medical establishment continues to reinvent their justification for the
demonization of marijuana as more and more of the claims made against
cannabis are disproven. The justification currently holding the most
ground is that cannabis is a plant, and cannot be carefully regulated
because of the great chemical variability that is found between
individual plants.

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Obesity Surgery Complications on the Decline

(HealthDay News) -- Obesity surgery-related complications in the United States declined 21 percent between 2001 and 2006, and payments to hospitals for obesity surgery decreased by as much as 13 percent, partly because there were fewer patient readmissions due to complications, a new study reports.

The findings from a study by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are based on an analysis of more than 9,500 patients under age 65 who had obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, at 652 hospitals between 2001 and 2002 and between 2005 and 2006.

The researchers found that the complication rate among obesity surgery patients dropped from 24 percent to about 15 percent. Contributing to that decrease were declines in post-surgical infection rates (58 percent lower), abdominal hernias, staple leakage, respiratory failure and pneumonia (29 percent to 50 percent lower).

There was little change in rates of other complications such as ulcers, dumping (involuntary vomiting or defecation), hemorrhage, wound re-opening, deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke, the researchers noted. Read more...

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Study Reports Progress Against Fatal Brain Cancer

(HealthDay News) -- A new method to prevent recurrence of deadly glioblastoma brain cancer shows promise, say U.S. scientists.

Radiation can temporarily shrink a glioblastoma tumor, but the cancer nearly always recurs within weeks or months. Few people with this type of brain cancer survive more than two years after diagnosis.

In a study on mice, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that blocking access to oxygen and nutrients prevents tumor recurrence.

The first step, they said, was discovering that tumors blasted with radiation use a secondary pathway to generate blood vessels needed for regrowth.

"Under normal circumstances, this pathway is not important for growth of most tumors," senior author Martin Brown, a professor of radiology, said in a Stanford news release. "What we hadn't realized until recently is that radiation meant to kill the cancer cells also destroys the existing blood vessels that nourish the tumor. As a result, it has to rely on a backup blood delivery pathway."

The Stanford team used a molecule called AMD3100 to block the secondary glioblastoma tumor growth process in mice.

The study was published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Read more...

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Coriander oil (cilantro) can be used to treat food poisoning and drug-resistant infections

By Jonathan Benson

Food-borne illness outbreaks and the growing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" are two very serious societal problems for which researchers say they are actively looking for viable solutions. But one such solution found right in nature is coriander oil, which has been found to kill a number of different bacterial strains, as well as aid in digestion and treat the symptoms of food poisoning.

Dr. Fernanda Domingues and her colleagues from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal tested the effects of coriander oil, an essential oil extracted from the seeds of the coriander plant, also known as cilantro, on twelve different bacterial strains, including Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella enterica, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the infamous hospital superbug. Read more...

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BPA may cause arrhythmia, heart attacks in women

by: Tara Green

Bisphenol A overrides the natural heartbeat signal causing female heart cells to misfire, according to a recent study. Given how pervasive BPA is these days, this could mean heart problems, possibly even fatal ones, for millions of women.

BPA is everywhere

BPA is ubiquitous in the industrial world: in clear plastic containers, in the epoxy lining of canned foods, in dental sealants, and even coating many store receipts. Studies in the past five years have shown that nearly everyone living in the industrial world encounters at least trace amounts of this compound.

Yet industries using plastics for packaging, as well as some mainstream medical experts, have long assured the public that small concentrations of BPA do not pose a serious health hazard. FDA efforts in reference to BPA have so far been limited to supporting industry self-limitation such as eliminating the compound from products specifically designed for infants and children. Read more...

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Regular vitamin and mineral supplementation lowers colon can

by: John Phillip

Researchers publishing in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP) have found that a diet enhanced with vitamin and mineral supplementation can lower the risk of developing precancerous colon cancer lesions by up to 84%. Colon cancer is the second most common form of the disease affecting men and women in the US, with nearly 150,000 new diagnoses each year.

Nutrition experts and alternative practitioners understand that cancer is largely a disease caused by poor lifestyle behaviors including a diet lacking an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals. Chronic illnesses including colon cancer are the result of many years and decades of low nutritional status, as support for a healthy immune response is suppressed. Scientists now provide compelling evidence in support of whole-food based vitamin and mineral supplementation to dramatically lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Read more...

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Too Much Drinking May Raise Lung Cancer Risk: Study

(HealthDay News) -- While smoking has long been linked to cancer, its frequent companion, drinking, may be as well, a new study suggests.

Three new studies presented at a medical meeting this week find a link between heavy boozing and a rise in risk for the number one cancer killer.

On the other hand, studies also suggest that heavier people are less likely to develop lung cancer than smaller folk, and black tea might help ward of the disease, as well.

The findings were to be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, Oct. 22-26, in Honolulu.

More Americans die from lung cancer than any other form, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than 203,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with lung cancer, and nearly 159,000 died. Read more...

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Colon Cancer Screening Needed Less Than Every 5 Years

Colon Cancer Screening Needed Less Than Every 5 Years - Colon cancer is easily treated if found early enough, but it appears current recommendations for scope screening every 5 years is unnecessarily frequent.

Sigmoidoscopy screening for colon cancer is recommended every five years for people over 50, however a new study found that screening that often may be unnecessary.

Sigmoidoscopy screening allows a doctor to identify polyps, or small growths, in the colon that could turn into cancer. Other colon cancer screening methods include fecal occult blood testing, which identifies blood in the stool, and colonoscopy, which examines the entire colon (sigmoidoscopy only examines the lower part).

While the American Cancer Society recommends that adults over 50 receive sigmoidoscopy screening every five years and a fecal occult blood test annually, some say this may be overly aggressive.

According to experts, it could take up to 15 years for polyps to develop into cancer and it may be that a one-time sigmoidoscopy screening is enough for those at average-risk. Read more...

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Report: Antibiotics can permanently destroy gut flora balance, leading to lifelong illness

Overuse and overprescription of antibiotic drugs has become a widely known culprit in causing the emergence of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," as well as the onset of digestive and other health problems, caused by the elimination of beneficial gut flora. But a new review published in the journal Nature suggests that such gut flora alterations could be permanent.

Professor Martin Blaser from New York University's (NYU) Langone Medical Center has been studying the long-term effects of antibiotics on gut flora, which has already confirmed a definitive link between antibiotics and the disruption of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. But what his research also seems to confirm is the possibility that such disruption might be permanent, at least in some individuals, and thus carry with it lifelong health consequences. Read more...

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Leading heart surgeon calls for ban on butter

A British heart surgeon has issued a call for a ban on butter, citing excessive consumption of saturated fats which he believes has rapidly increased the number of heart disease cases in the Great Britain. Dr. Shyam Kolvekar expressed concern that people as young as 30 years old are now getting heart bypass surgery, an issue that he believes could be remedied by switching from butter to margarine or other "healthy" spreads.

Roughly 90 percent of British children eat too much saturated fat according to a U.K. diet survey. Eighty-eight percent of adult men and 83 percent of adult women also consume too much, averaging 20 percent over the recommended maximum. Some researchers believe that saturated fat contributes to high cholesterol and artery blockage. Read more...

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Cholesterol—How Low Should It Go??


Cholesterol—How Low Should It Go?
Bringing your cholesterol numbers down is an important part of improving your heart health.

By Arthur Agatston, MD, Everyday Health heart expert If you have established heart disease or are at high risk, aggressive cholesterol lowering is beneficial no matter what cholesterol levels you start with. There are a number of studies that demonstrate this.
The 1998 Air Force/Texas Atherosclerosis Coronary Prevention Study was different from prior statin investigations. In this study, the participants started with normal levels of total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and no obvious signs of cardiovascular disease. Understandably, many people thought that giving statins to people with normal LDL cholesterol was "overkill." In truth, it turned out to be lifesaving. Compared to people who were given a sugar pill (placebo), those who took a statin had a 37 percent lower risk of having a heart attack, unstable angina, or sudden cardiac death. Read more...

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Monitoring Protein Didn’t Improve Heart Failure Outcomes

(HealthDay News) -- Using the biomarker molecule known as brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) to guide treatment for older people with chronic heart failure did not improve the clinical outcome in most cases in a Swiss study.

There have been conflicting reports about the value of monitoring blood levels of BNP, a protein produced by stressed heart cells, for better management of heart failure. For example, a French study reported in 2007 found that BNP monitoring reduced deaths and hospitalizations in a 115-participant trial.

But the new study, published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association by physicians at University Hospital Basel, found that BNP-monitored therapy guidance generally did not improve 18-month survival or quality of life over conventional symptom-guided therapy.

All the people in the trial were 60 or older. All were hospitalized for heart failure, and all had BNP blood levels at least double the normal readings. Read more...

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