A few months ago, a debate on the use of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) in healthy individuals, and the risks of side effects associated with such therapy reached the headlines of many news media.
One of the points raised was that doctors can inflict harm to their patients by exaggerating potential adverse effects of statin drugs. This might lead to a patient’s unwillingness to accept treatment that is of potential benefit.
What followed was a heated discussion about the responsibility of medical journals and their peer review process, how erroneous statements should be corrected and when scientific papers should be retracted.
Most of those diagnosed with breast cancer go through three basic stages once they’ve accepted the diagnosis and begin treatment. Those stages are fear, depression, and surviving. The last of these stages is surviving the aftermath of the treatment ordeal and a big part of that is recovering your sense of beauty and personal vanity.
It may sound odd, but a woman’s sense of self is intimately tied to her perception of her own good looks. Although it’s nice to say the truth that “All Women Are Beautiful!” that platitude does not repair the injured vanity of the self-conscious breast cancer survivor who’s feels she’s lost her beauty thanks to the ordeal she’s been through.
Luckily, restoration of outer beauty is relatively simple and goes a long way towards restoring inner beauty as well.
Begin by visiting Look Good.. Feel Better, a project of the American Cancer Society at LookGoodFeelBetter.org. This program offers hair, makeup, and other tips that can help the cancer patient going through treatment and the aftermath of that treatment. It can also steer you towards specialists and volunteers in the beauty business who are happy to help.
For some women, a trip to the salon to restyle their returning hair, or perhaps the fitting of new wigs to replace those worn during treatment, is all that they need. For others, makeup might be added. Or perhaps a full spa treatment to go with it all.
All women, however, can benefit from a few things that aren’t so focused on false vanity. Makeup and hair can do a lot, of course, but they are temporary measures.
Long-term beauty and a feeling of inner vitality comes from nutrition and exercise. After surgery, for example, WebMD recommends that you boost protein intake through protein shakes, an increase in dairy product intake, and eating nuts. For the longer-term, once surgery and recovery are complete, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fresh foods is a must.
Nutritionists recommend a diet that includes low-fat proteins (fish, chicken), a diet heavy with vegetables and fruits, and whole grains like brown rice. This diet will help you lose weight and feel much healthier. Cutting back or eliminating alcohol and soda also boosts energy and reduces water retention and skin wrinkling.
Exercise, especially low-impact cardio like walking, gardening, etc. can improve both your mood and your physical well being. Avoid overworking yourself in a mad effort to lose weight or tone your body and focus instead on combining exercise with stress relief and natural surroundings.
These basic life changes in nutrition and lifestyle can mean a far more beautiful you from the inside out. Even after cancer surgery.
Patients with asthma who were treated with vitamin D and asthma controllers had significantly improved airway function after 24 weeks compared with patients treated with asthma controllers alone, according to recent study results.
Researchers studied 130 patients, aged 10 to 50 years, with mild to moderate persistent asthma during a 24-week period in Tehran, Iran. Patients were randomly assigned to intervention (n=64; mean age, 24.4 years; 57.8% females) or control groups (n=66; mean age, 28.64 years; 63.6% females). Asthma controllers (budesonide or budesonide plus formoterol) were given to both cohorts, based on disease stage, and vitamin D supplementation (100,000-U bolus intramuscularly plus 50,000 U orally weekly) also was given to the intervention cohort.
The researchers assessed patients’ BMI, asthma stage, serum total IgE, history of allergic rhinitis, food allergy and urticaria.
Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity and serum vitamin D measurements were obtained before intervention and at 8 and 24 weeks after therapy.
At 8 weeks, both cohorts had improved FEV1 (P<.001, intervention group; P=.001, controls), while no significant difference was found between groups at baseline or beyond 8 weeks. The intervention cohort showed significant improvement of FEV1 in the final 16 weeks of the study, and at 24 weeks, it displayed better FEV1 compared with controls (P<.001).
“According to our findings, vitamin D supplementation may lead to a better and prolonged response to asthma controllers,” the researchers concluded. “For this purpose, it is better to use vitamin D for at least 24 weeks.”
Erik Stokstad in Science (AAAS) writes: Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year.
But these 150,608 scientists dominate the research journals, having their names on 41% of all papers. Among the most highly cited work, this elite group can be found among the co-authors of 87% of papers. Read the rest of this entry »
Professor Alon Chen and Dr. Orna Issler of the Weizmann Institute investigated the molecular mechanisms of the brain’s serotonin system and believe they’ve found specific molecular markers in those suffering from depression and anxiety. Their research focused on the microRNA molecules in the nerve cells that produce serotonin. These tiny non-coding RNA molecules regulate various cellular activities and the researchers found that in those with depression or anxiety, miR135 (one of the microRNA molecules) and two proteins can affect serotonin production.
The findings were published in Neuron last month. The scientists noted an increase in miR135 molecules in serotonin-producing areas of the brain when antidepresants were introduced. After engineering mice to produce higher-than-average amounts of this microRNA, the found that they were more stress resistant, taking longer to develop chronic stress behaviors. This is in contrast to mice with low levels of the microRNA molecule, which showed higher levels of stress-related behaviors under the same pressures.
Using human blood samples, the researchers followed the rodent-based research in the lab with tests to find the markers. The miR135 levels in subjects who suffer from depression were low. Closer inspection of the genome showed that the genes which produce miR135 are located in the same areas as those known to be associated with risks for bipolar disorders.
Professor Chen believes that this molecule could become a blood test for depression and related disorders and as a target for further pharmaceutical research.
Professor Peter Gibson at Monash University in Australia conducted a pioneering study in 2011 that gave credence to the idea of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is often-cited in the current gluten-free diet craze and food industry.
Gibson, however, was not convinced that his study had been conclusive and set out to create a new, more controlled study.
That new study has now concluded, and it counters the findings of his 2011 study. In this study, which included patients in a completely controlled nutritional setting with a high level of rigor, Gibson found that gluten sensitivity (non-celiac) is almost certainly either psychological in nature, as no physical or nutritional reason could be noted, or due to fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs). Patients reported the same level of discomfort and symptoms when given a placebo diet as they did a gluten-rich one, but did report general improvement when given a low-FODMAP diet.
The study was very complex and well-conceived. The study removed nearly all of the possible external triggers (non-gluten) for gastrointestinal distress and once it did so, a low-gluten diet did not necessarily mean lower levels of gastro-distress. This very conclusively shows that “gluten intolerance” without celiac disease does not exist and points to psychological or FODMAPs as the more likely culprit.
The Veteran’s Administration estimates that between 11 and 20 percent of all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the American Psychology Association says that PTSD affects 7.7 million people in the U.S.
A study recently published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that in women suffering from PTSD, practicing yoga resulted in a marked decreased in reexperiencing and hyperarousal symptoms associated with PTSD.
“Yoga may downregulate the stress response, and positively impact PTSD and comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms,” explained the researchers in their conclusions. They believe that yoga may be an effective complementary treatment for PTSD algonside traditional counseling.
The study focused on 38 women who showed full or subthreshold PTSD symptoms. Traumatic “trigger” events ranged from childhood physical abuse to the unexpected death of a loved one.
There are thousands of articles published every year about attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). These two disorders are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and are widely recognized as one of the most-often-diagnosed problem for children and adolescents. Yet there is a prevailing assumption among both medical professionals and society at large that ADD/ADHD is a “disease”.
In the medical community, the disease model assumes there is a known, physical cause that can be attributed to the symptoms and thus treated. With ADD/ADHD, there no such thing. It is, instead, a subjective disorder whose diagnosis is based not on physical evidence, but on subjective evidence.
This is not meant to be an argument for or against subjective diagnosis. They are common in psychology and the practice is the basis for most of the disorders listed in the DSM. But implying that there is a genetic, physical, or other known physical cause for disorders like ADD/ADHD is incorrect and dangerous.
Let’s consider how most ADHD diagnosis in children are made. First, the patient and parents visit a doctor. Anecdotal evidence regarding the child’s behavior is solicited and questions are asked which subjectively measure the behavior patterns of the child. Some observations may be made, such as the child’s apparent attention span, anxiety level, and so forth. Then a diagnosis is given.
There is no blood test, x-ray, or ultrasound capable of substantiating a diagnosis for ADD/ADHD.
Massage therapy has been around for centuries and continues to be increasingly popular. We know from our research that massage is among the top ten most frequently used complementary health practices by adults and by children. Researchers have been investigating the effects of massage therapy on a number of wide-ranging conditions, and while a lot of the research is preliminary or conflicting, there is scientific evidence that points toward beneficial effects on back pain. In fact, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society have issued joint clinical practice guidelines that include massage therapy as one of the nonpharmacologic treatment options that should be considered for patients with low-back pain who do not improve on their own. There is also some evidence that massage may help improve quality of life for people with conditions such as depression, cancer, or HIV/AIDS.
We have some information about the evidence base of massage therapy for health purposes on our Web site. If you or a loved one is considering massage therapy for a particular health condition, I encourage you to take a look at this information and talk it over with your health care provider. Although massage therapy appears to be safe when performed by a trained professional, some people with certain health conditions should take precautions. As always, take care and be well!
In a failed attempt to explain away why vaccinated individuals seem to be the
only ones contracting and spreading whooping cough during major outbreaks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched an inquiry aimed at better understanding how the controversial vaccine works. But what the agency ended up discovering is that the vaccine for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, spreads the very same pathogenic bacteria that causes whopping cough in the first place, which in some people can lead to serious infections.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the new FDA study claims to demonstrate that vaccines for acellular pertussis are effective at preventing the disease in those who are vaccinated. But at the very same time, the agency admits that, based on its findings, the vaccine itself spreads Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria responsible for triggering the highly contagious respiratory disease.
“[A]cellular pertussis vaccines licensed by the FDA are effective in preventing the disease among those vaccinated,” claims the agency in a recent announcement, “but… they may not prevent infection from the bacteria that causes whooping cough in those vaccinated or its spread to other people, including those who may not be vaccinated.”
In other words, the whooping cough vaccine is definitely effective at preventing the whooping cough, except that it’s not. This is the essence of what the FDA is claiming here with this dichotomy — people who are vaccinated for whooping cough are somehow protected against the disease, but they might still develop it as a result of contracting the bacterium responsible for triggering whooping cough, which is contained in the vaccine.
This type of meaningless equivocation is nothing new for the FDA, of course, which two years ago tried to pull the same
say-something-while-not-actually-saying-it stunt with bisphenol A
(BPA), the plastics chemical that has repeatedly been shown in scientific literature to damage hormones.
FDA admits whooping cough vaccines diminish immunity, increasing likelihood of infection
Besides putting those who receive it at a higher risk of developing pertussis infection, the pertussis vaccine also admittedly lowers immunity. In a recent press release about its study, the FDA spills the beans about how decreased immunity is a common adverse effect of the childhood pertussis vaccine, and that health experts have never really understood why those who are vaccinated against pertussis still contract the disease.
“While the reasons for the increase in cases of whooping cough are not fully understood, multiple factors are likely involved, including diminished immunity from childhood pertussis vaccines, improved diagnostic testing, and increased reporting,” says the FDA. “With its own funds plus support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FDA conducted the study to explore the possibility that acellular pertussis vaccines… might not prevent infection.”
Based on this assessment, it is astounding that any parent would ever agree to having their baby injected with a chemical solution that just might cause the very same disease that it is supposed to prevent. We now know for a fact that children vaccinated for pertussis can still develop whooping cough and are, in fact, carriers that can spread the disease to others.
“This research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may [emphasis added] be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.”
You can read the full FDA announcement here:
Sources for this article include: