Monthly Archives: May 2017

Do they live up to the hype

Juicing seems to have reached a new height of trendiness. Just look at the star power behind juice cleanses – Selma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba are just a few A-listers who have gone public with their love for juice. And the idea is appealing. Everyone wants to start over sometimes, especially after a stress-filled week of packaged foods and too many trips through the drive-thru. But does it really work that way? Can saying no to solid food and yes to fruit and vegetable juice for a few days improve your health and kill your cravings for junk?

Let’s take a look at what juice cleanses are and what they’re designed to do. There are many programs, and each one is a little different. Some completely eliminate solid foods while others allow snacking on fruits and vegetables, but they’re all based around the idea that getting most of your nutrients from fruit and vegetable juice (and sometimes nut milks) for a certain number of days can cleanse your body of toxins and improve your health.

PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SURGICAL MISTAKES

Let’s look at the primary claim – that juicing will cleanse your body of toxins. There’s simply no scientific evidence that this is true. To be fair, there’s not ironclad evidence that it’s false either, but the burden of proof lies with the companies and health gurus making the claim. And biologically, there aren’t a lot of reasons to believe that the body works the way they say it does. Your body is great at removing toxins, whether you’re eating solid food or not. Your liver and your kidneys have quite a few jobs, but one of their most important is to break down and eliminate normal quantities of toxic chemicals. And a properly-functioning colon cleans itself without any special help.

Tips for Avoid dehydration

With the weather heating up it’s important for people of all ages to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, kidney stones and joint pain. Plus it can put you at risk for stroke and other vascular issues like high blood pressure.

We recently got this question from a viewer:

Dear Dr. Manny,

With summer in full force and a few heat waves that are sure to set in soon, is there anything I should do to keep my family better hydrated?

Thanks,

Rebecca

Heat-related illnesses are common not just among children and the elderly, it can happen to anyone particularly when temperatures start pushing 90 degrees or higher.

PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM SURGICAL MISTAKES

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, leg or abdominal cramps, constipation, lightheadedness, confusion, dry mouth, headaches and migraines.

To prevent dehydration don’t wait until your thirsty to drink. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking enough cool fluids each hour to maintain a light normal color and amount of urine. And during heavy exercise in a hot environment, you should drink two to four glasses of fluids each hour. Alcohol or drinks with lots of sugar can cause you to lose more body fluid.

There are a few other precautions you can take to be safe. Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, make time to rest in shady areas to give yourself a chance to recover and cool down. Dress children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella. And be sure to avoid hot foods and heavy meals as they can add heat to your body.

Should know about your health

It starts with something innocent enough: that familiar sluggishness during a long workweek, forgetting friends’ birthdays here and there. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you might brush it off. But what if we told you these could all be early warning signs of multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Symptoms of MS can start as early as age 20, come and go in unpredictable patterns, and often appear under the guise of symptoms you deal with on the daily.

“Many symptoms that occur early in MS can also occur in other conditions—some more commonly occurring conditions than MS,” says Kathleen Costello, a nurse practitioner and associate vice president of healthcare access at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “Some of the early signs can also be generalized, such as an increase in overall fatigue level, which makes zeroing in on one diagnosis initially difficult.”

MS can happen to anyone; in fact, about 2.3 million people around the world are living with it right now, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. And that’s just a rough estimate: Since the symptoms are so hard to spot, many people don’t even know they have MS and are currently undiagnosed. Women, however, are two to three times more likely than men to develop this debilitating disease, in which your immune system wreaks havoc on your own central nervous system and damages the connections between your brain and your body.

While doctors still don’t know exactly what causes MS, they do know that getting diagnosed early can trim down your chances of long-term disability. So being able to recognize the early signs of multiple sclerosis—no matter how tricky they are to detect—is critical. If your nerves are feeling a bit shot lately, be on the lookout for these hints that a larger issue might be at hand:

IMPAIRED VISION

When you work a nine-to-five desk job, it’s normal for your vision to have to readjust itself as soon as you peel your eyes away from the computer screen. But if you’re experiencing a dimming, blurring, doubling, or complete loss of vision—especially if it’s only in one eye—you might be feeling the effects of something called “optic neuritis,” a common symptom of MS that causes inflammation of the optic nerve.

“Some people describe this as looking through a smudged contact lens, or looking through a screen or through water,” says Costello. “It may also be associated with pain or a pulling sensation during eye movement, and there may be a noticeable loss of color vision—particularly a desaturation of reds that makes them look more grayish-red.”

Patch promises painless flu vaccine

Would you be more likely to get your flu vaccine if, instead of getting a shot, you could simply stick a patch on your skin? A small new study suggests that such a patch is safe to use and that people preferred it to a shot.

In the study, which was a phase I clinical trial, the researchers looked at how a “dissolvable microneedle patch” that contained the flu vaccine stacked up against the traditional flu shot . The patch is about the size of a thumbprint and contains 100 needles that are 650 micrometers (or about 0.03 inches) long. Of the 50 participants who tried it, 48 said it didn’t hurt.

The researchers found that the microneedle patch was safe and led to a good immune response in the study participants, suggesting that the vaccine was working, although further study of the patch in a larger trial is needed to confirm this.

They also found that the study participants preferred the patch to getting a flu shot, said lead study author Dr. Nadine Rouphael, an infectious-disease specialist and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia.

The finding that the people in the study preferred the patch to the traditional injection was an important one, because not enough people get their flu vaccine each year . The flu is responsible for around 48,000 deaths in U.S. annually, according to the study, published today (June 27) in the journal The Lancet .

The researchers hope that because the microneedle patch is painless and easy to use, “that should encourage more people to get the vaccine,” said senior study author Mark Prausnitz, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prausnitz co-founded Micron Biomedical, a company that manufactures the microneedle patches.

For the most part, medicines are given by one of two methods: a pill or an injection , Prausnitz told Live Science. Most people can take pills, but getting an injection is more complicated and typically requires a trip to the doctor’s office, he said.

Prausnitz and his team wanted to come up with a method to make it easier for people to take medicines that normally need to be injected.

The microneedle patch was designed with transdermal patches in mind, Prausnitz said. Transdermal patches are another method of drug delivery, but they only work for a certain subset of drugs that can be absorbed through the skin.

Most medicines are typically not well-absorbed through the skin because of a tough-to-penetrate layer called the stratum corneum, Prausnitz said. But this layer is incredibly thin — about 10 or 20 micrometers thick — which is thinner than a human hair, he said.

Help with common form of vision loss

An experimental drug reduces eye damage in people with a common form of vision loss for which there is currently no available treatment, a new study finds.

The new research sought to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) , the leading cause of vision loss in industrialized countries, according to the World Health Organization. The disease damages the macula, a tiny spot near the center of the retina , the light-sensitive part of the eye. The result is blurriness or a loss of vision straight ahead in a person’s field of view, which can have a devastating impact on many daily activities, such as reading, driving or recognizing faces.

The new study included 129 participants ages 60 to 89 in the United States and Germany. All of the participants had a particular type of AMD called geographic atrophyAMD, or ” dry AMD .” In the 18-month trial, the participants who were given monthly injections of a drug called lampalizumab had a 20 percent reduction, on average, in the size of the area of the retina that is affected by the disease, compared with the control group that was given a placebo injection.

One group of patients in particular benefited from the drug, experiencing a 44 percent drop in the size of the area affected by the disease. A genetic analysis of these patients revealed that they shared a certain genetic mutation , according to the study, which was funded by the company Genentech.