Interesting

Eye Test
Stress Related Disease
Interesting Medical Cure ?
Interesting reading to realize that medical science is not-exact-science.
Medical Research : Believe it or not ?
Forget pills, eat healthy: US group
French woman wakes up 14 hours after being pronounced dead
Ice packs for injuries may not be so cool, say researchers
No mobile phone when pregnant ?
Low cholesterol level increases cancer risk

To cancer docs, cure’s a 4-letter word

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — There wasn’t any doubt six years ago that Mr Doug Jensen had cancer.The Oregon engineer’s blood was clogged with the immature cells that are sure signs of leukemia. Treatment with a new wonder drug, Gleeve, made them disappear.

Since then, doctors repeatedly have searched his blood, even individual molecules, for bits of DNA and other substances that would reveal he still had the disease. None has been found.

Is he cured ???

“They don’t use that word,” said Mr Jensen, who would dearly love to hear it. Ironically, at a time when more people are cured of cancer than ever before, fewer doctors seem willing to say so.

They call the cancer undetectable, or in remission. They tell patients they can quit seeing cancer specialists. they quote statistics and say chances are slim that the disease will come back. they say these things because the simple truth is, they can’t tell when or if someone has been cured. even the most widely used benchmark — being alive five years after diagnosis — has no real basis in science, experts admit.

There’s a label for people like Mr Jensen who are in cancer limbo — “survivor”. nearly 10 million Americans have battled cancer, including 1.4 million who had it more than 20 years ago and are called “long-term survivors” by those afraid to call them cured. “The medical community has backed off the term ‘cured’,” said Ms Julia Rowland, a psychologist who directs the federal Office of Cancer Survivorship, which was started in 1996.

The reasons involve more than just semantics, she said. Cure is a term with emotional and medical meanings about which there is little agreement. To many people, it means that cancer is gone and is not going to come back. But some cancers — certain lymphomas and leukemia in particular — never go away completely yet are controlled so that they’re no longer life-threatening. Some call that a remission, but others consider it a cure.

Other cancers look like they’ve gone away — no signs of them can be found by exquisitely sensitive and sophisticated tests — but recur many years later, suggesting that they weren’t really cured after all. breast cancer is notorious for this. complicating matters is the risk of second cancers. Some of the very treatments used to cure cancer, like chemotherapy and radiation, actually can trigger new cancers down the road. People with an inherited genetic flaw that predisposed them to cancer still have that underlying problem after being treated successfully.

Mr Jensen is one of the few chronic myelogenous leukemia patients who show absolutely no sign of cancer. “They say it’s undetectable,” he said of his cancer. “I’d like to have them say I’m cure.”

Medical Research : Believe it or not ?

In a society rife with conflicts of interest, disclosure of such conflicts is usually a good tonic.

In finance, we can read the fine print and decide whether to invest or seek other advice.

But in medicine, where decisions on treatment can have lasting effects, mere disclosure isn’t enough. Patients need advice they can act on without having to calibrate how likely it is to be biased.

Physicians and scientists with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry should not just have to disclose conflicts – they shouldn’t be permitted to issue guidelines at all.

But they are permitted, and they do so routinely. The most prominent recent example of this is how the US federal government came up with and then defended new recommendations on cholesterol levels for individuals with a high risk of heart disease. It’s an enlightening – and depressing – story.

On July 13, the US national Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), unveiled tougher guidelines for cholesterol levels – guidelines so stringent that millions of Americans at risk of heart disease would have to take costly statin drugs to meet the new lower limits.

What the NCEP didn’t unveil was that the recommendations had been written by a panel of doctors, most with financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that stood to gain enormously from increased use of cholesterol-lowering statins.

Critics immediately complained about the hidden financial ties and demanded disclosure.

Within days, the respected sponsors of the cholesterol guidelines – the NIH, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology – posted the disclosure online.

The extent of the connections was stunning: Of the nine panel members, six had each received research grants, speaking honoraria or consulting fees from at least three and in some cases all five of the manufacturers of statins.

If all the members with conflicts had recused themselves, only two would have been left.

That didn’t look too good, so another note appeared on the NCEP site, explaining that the draft proposals had been “subjected to multiple layers of scientific review”, first by the NCEP’s coordinating committee, “consisting of 35 representatives of leading medical, public health, voluntary, community, and citizen groups and Federal agencies”, and then by the scientific and steering panels of the heart association and the college of cardiology.

“Altogether approximately 90 reviewers scrutinized the draft,” the note said. The message to the public: No need to worry about pro-industry bias.

The heart association whose journal Circulation had published the guidelines sent an e-mail to its board of directors, its national strategic team, its communications advisory team and more than 30 prominent physicians who have worked closely with the organization.

It reminded them of the association’s conflict of interest policy, namely that “if in any situations, a pane
list has a current relationship that could unduly influence guidelines or statements, that individual recuses himself from that aspect of the work of the writing panel”.

“This process ensures that the guidelines are not inappropriately influenced in any way.” (Apparently, none of the panelists felt his drug-company connections required recusal.)

But patients deciding whether to take these drugs, and physicians deciding whether to prescribe them, still don’t know whether the NCEP panel members consciously or subconsciously colored their analysis in favor of statin manufacturers Merck, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Cholesterol guidelines have broad impact. They help doctors decide how aggressively to prescribe drugs. When the guidelines promote greater use of statins, they also raise the cost of care. And in some cases, statins cause liver and muscle injury; in rare cases they have led to kidney failure.

So why did three major organizations choose such a conflicted panel to write the guidelines ?

Quite likely the panelists were experts in the field. Most had helped to write the preceding round of cholesterol guidelines three years earlier.

Is it imaginable that using conflicted experts is the best way of getting unadulterated assessments of clinical data ?

I don’t think so. The best collective decisions arise from divers and independent views.

Forget pills, eat healthy: US group

Washington – People hoping vitamins can protect their hearts need to eat healthy foods instead of popping pills, the American Heart Association said on Monday.

A review of various studies on whether supplements can reduce heart disease risk shows they have virtually no effect, the group said.

“At this time, there is little reason to advise that individuals take antioxidants supplements to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton from Pennsylvania State University who led the study.

Antioxidants are molecules that work to reduce the damage done to cells and to DNA by free radicals – charged chemicals particles found in the environment and caused by everyday biological processes.

It is clear that foods rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, and scientists have been working to isolate the particular compounds responsible. Vitamins, such as A and C, are antioxidants.

But several research studies have shown that people who took supplements did not have a lower risk of cancer or heart disease, and one important Finnish study showed that male smokers who took supplements actually had a higher risk of lung cancer.

Nutritionist and doctors now argue it is probably a combination of compounds in foods that give the healthy antioxidant benefits.

“The American Heart Association continues to promote a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, poultry and learn meats to derive antioxidant vitamin benefits,” the group said in a statement published in its journal Circulation.

French woman wakes up 14 hours after being pronounced dead

PARIS – A 60-year-old French woman pronounced “very certainly clinically dead” has confounded doctors by waking up 14 hours later. Staff were so convinced that Mrs Lydia Paillard had died, they asked her family if they could switch off her life support machine.

Mrs pollard had walked into a clinic in Bordeaux, south-western France, on Monday for a chemotherapy session but after being put on a drip and taking pills, she went blue, fell into a coma and was pronounced dead.

Despite the doctors’ assurances, her three sons could not bring themselves to switch off respiratory support and she was transferred to another wing of the hospital.

That afternoon, staff in the new clinic noticed encouraging signs of brain activity.

Finally, some 14 hours after she had officially dies, Mrs Paillard woke up. Turning to her son, Sebastien, she said: “Ah, I fell so good, I had a wonderful sleep.”

Mr Yves Noel, head of the Bordeaux Nord Polyclinic, said one possible explanation was that Mrs pillared may have had an epileptic fit and passed out, leading to the “appearance of death”.

The family is considering legal action against the hospital.

Ice packs for injuries may not be so cool, say researchers

Ohio – Slapping a pack of ice on a black eye or a sprained ankle may prevent it from getting better, new reseach suggests.

This discovery turns the conventional wisdom that swelling must be controlled in order to encourage healing and prevent pain. It could also lead to new therapies for acute muscle injuries that lead to inflammation.

The study, in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal, suggests muscle inflammation after acute injury is essential to repair.

Professor Lan Zhou and colleagues at the Neuroinflammation Research Centre at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic have discovered that inflamed cells produce a high level of hormone call insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which significantly increases the rate of muscle regeneration.

During the study, the scientists studied two groups of mice. The first group was genetically altered so they could not form an inflammatory response to injury. The second group was normal.

All mice were then injected with barium chloride to cause muscle injury. The first group did not heal but the bodies of the second group repaired the injury.

When thy studied the muscle tissue, they saw the healthy mice produced a high level of IGF-1 in their inflamed tissue.

This discovery could change how much patient monitoring is required when potent anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed over a long period.

No mobile phone when pregnant ?

Study links regular mobile phone use during pregnancy to behavioural problems in kids.

Washington – Reseachers who studied the health effects of mobile phones have found evidence that pregnant women who use them regularly are more likely to have children with behavioural problems.

The study, sure to renew controversy over the safety of mobile telephones, did not demonstrate that the use of mobile phone causes the behavioural problems and did not suggest a possible way that they could.

But the researchers said their findings are worth checking out.

“It is hard to understand how such low exposures could be influential,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr Leek a Caitiffs, an epidemiologist at the University of California Los Angeles. “It is just something that needs to be pursued.”

Dr Caitiffs and her team looked at data from 28,000 seven-year-olds and their mothers who took part in a Danish study that has been tracking 100,000 women who were pregnant between 1996 and 2002.

The mothers of about 3% of the children said they had borderline behavioural problems, while 3% of the children showed abnormal behaviour , such as obedience or emotional issues.

The children whose mother used mobile phones while pregnant and who also used the phones themselves were 50% more likely to have behavioural problems, the researchers reported in the journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Children whose mother use the phones but who did not themselves use the mobile phones were 40% more likely to have behavioural problems, they found.

Low Cholesterol Level Increases Cancer Risk – American College of Cardiology

For years, I’ve been telling my patients that the medical establishment’s obsession with lowering cholesterol per se to prevent heart disease is causing more harm than good.

If your doctor continues to get you worried about your high cholesterol levels, here’s *a bit of news* for you…

In fact, your high cholesterol may be protecting you from cancer.

Today, I’ll explain the truth behind the myth of cholesterol, and show you how to achieve heart health naturally.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that driving down cholesterol levels actually increases the risk of cancer.

Researchers at the Tufts University School of Medicine found that among people taking “*statin drugs – like Lipitor and Zocor* – there was a higher* *rate of cancer*. Although the link between the drugs and cancer wasn’t clear, there was no doubt ! that *drastically low cholesterol levels *correlated to cancer risk.

The big drug makers continue to sell the notion that the best way to fight heart disease is to lower LDL levels, the so-called “bad” cholesterol.

Yet 75 percent of people who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.*

It makes sense that low cholesterol levels are linked to cancer because cholesterol is one of your body’s basic building blocks. You need it to produce testosterone, to build and repair cell membranes, and to preserve your nerve cells through the formation of the protective “sheaths” that cover them.

Starving your body of this critical substance will lead to other health problems. We already know that extremely low cholesterol levels result in muscle weakness, fatigue, depression, decreased sex drive, and “brain fog.” This new research shows that there may be even more deadly consequences*.

What really matters is not low “*bad” cholesterol, but high levels of HDL*, the so-called “good” cholesterol*. As long as you have a high HDL count – 75 to 80, for example – it doesn’t matter whether your total cholesterol is 150 or 350. A high HDL will always keep your risk of heart disease extremely low.*

So why haven’t you heard this already? It may be because there’s *no drug that effectively raises good cholesterol levels*. You can only effectively do it naturally.

Consume natural fats. Avoid processed or fast foods containing* “trans” fats * – these man-made substances *were never meant for consumption*, and your body doesn’t know what to do with them. They wind up clogging your arteries and putting you on the fast track to heart disease. *

Instead, get your fat from free-range or grass-fed animals, eggs, nuts, and unprocessed vegetable oils*. These are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. (As with all foods, look for organic or minimally processed options whenever possible.)

The health benefit of these natural fats comes from their balance of *Omega-3 and Omeg! a-6 fatty acids*. Your body needs both but, as with cholesterol, they have to be in balance. *Omega-3s are great for your heart. They’ve been shown to prevent irregular heartbeat, reduce clogging of the arteries, lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation in body tissues*.

If you stick to eating *natural fats*, you’ll automatically get the right ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3, which is about 2:1. As an added bonus, you’ll automatically raise your “good” cholesterol levels and you’ll reduce your risk of cancer.