Category Archives: Health

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.

The future of weight loss

Obesity is one of the most serious health problems worldwide. In the U.S., a whopping 1 in 3 adults is considered obese, and 2 in 3 are either obese or overweight by clinical definitions. It’s estimated that by 2030 more than half the world’s population will be overweight or obese. Associated health problems include certain types of cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure.

Despite wide acceptance by physicians, weight loss surgery like the gastric bypass procedure has been largely rejected by healthcare consumers. Only 1 to 2 percent of people who qualify for weight loss surgery decide to have it. For the other 99 percent, the idea of permanently changing their bodies and the risk of life-threatening complications aren’t worth the potential for weight loss.

UGLY TOENAILS? IT MIGHT BE TOENAIL FUNGUS

Other consumers are discouraged by how difficult it is to get insurance coverage for weight loss procedures. Many have to appeal several times before getting approval, and some are never approved at all. And many Americans don’t have the $23,000 it may cost to pay for gastric bypass surgery out of their pockets.

What Are Stomach Balloons?

Stomach balloons (also known as gastric balloons), a less invasive, cheaper weight loss therapy, are growing in popularity. Insurance companies often refuse to cover a gastric balloon, but the total cost of the procedure is under $10,000. Instead of permanently changing a patient’s body, a gastric balloon is meant to be a temporary weight loss aid.

A silicone balloon is inserted endoscopically (down through the esophagus) and then inflated with a sterile saline solution. The balloon takes up space in the stomach to help patients adjust to healthier portion sizes. The entire procedure takes about 20-30 minutes, and the balloon is inflated to about the size of a grapefruit. The balloon stays in place for six months, which is thought to be long enough to change the eating habits of most patients.

During those six months, patients also receive diet and lifestyle counseling to help them get the most out of the procedure. After the balloon is removed, patients continue with another six months of counseling to help them keep off the weight they’ve lost.

In one study patients who had received ORBERA, the most popular gastric balloon device, lost an average of 21.8 pounds while the device was in place and maintained a weight loss average of 19.4 pounds in the six months after removal. Comparatively, patients who didn’t receive a device but participated in the weight loss counseling part of the program lost an average of seven pounds.

Amoeba found in Louisiana drinking water

Traces of a deadly brain-eating amoeba were found in a water system in a parish in Louisiana this month, but officials said the water is safe to consume.

The brain-eating amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri is a “single-celled living organism found in warm freshwater and soil,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NEW ORLEANS TOURISTS ATTACKED: 4 ARRESTED IN FRENCH QUARTER BEATING

The amoeba spawns primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an infection in the brain that causes the eradication of brain tissue.

The Louisiana Department of Health told water and town officials Thursday that the amoeba was detected in Terrebonne Parish, according to the New York Post. In a statement, the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Water District 1 said the amoeba was found in “our ACR-182, last fire hydrant on Island Road.”

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGH FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

The water district said the organism was found in the same location that also tested positive in Aug. 2015.

“We changed disinfectants on June 12, 2017, to a free chlorine, and will remain on free chlorine until September 1, 2017,” the statement said.

THE WEEK IN PICTURES

The office confirmed that the water is safe to drink but cautioned residents not to let the water go up their nose.

Placenta pills after baby’s illness

A group of doctors is warning against a growing trend among celebrities and some new parents that sees moms consume the placenta after birth in an effort to stave off postpartum symptoms. The warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doctors stems from a case involving a newborn in Oregon, who contracted a strep infection twice.

THE WEEK IN PICTURES

The unidentified infant had contracted group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) during birth and was given an 11-day course of ampicillin, according to a CDC newsletter, which detailed the case. Five days after treatment was completed, the child was admitted to the emergency room again for strep, and it was revealed that the child’s mother had been consuming two capsules of her hydrated placenta three times per day.

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGH FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

“A sample of the capsules was cultured, yielding penicillin-sensitive, clindamycin-sensitive GBS,” the CDC newsletter read, in part. “The three GBS isolates (one from each blood infection, and one from the placenta capsules) were indistinguishable by pulsed-filed gel electrophoresis.”

The mother was instructed to stop consuming the capsules, and the infant was given additional ampicillin and gentamicin before being released from the hospital.

“Although transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out, the final diagnosis was late-onset GBS disease attributable to high maternal colonization secondary to consumption of GBS-infected placental tissue,” the doctors said, in the newsletter.

BRAIN-EATING AMOEBA FOUND IN LOUISIANA DRINKING WATER, OFFICIALS SAY

The newsletter noted that there are no standardized practices for processing placenta products, potentially leaving room for error.

“The placenta encapsulation process does not per se eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided,” the newsletter said. “In cases of maternal GBS colonization, chorioamnionitis, or early-onset neonatal GBS infection, ingestion of capsules containing contaminated placenta could heighten maternal colonization, thereby increasing an infant’s risk for late-onset neonatal GBS infection.”

The dangerous mom delays cancer treatment

A Kansas mother who discovered three masses on her brain and two in her abdomen when she was 17 weeks pregnant with twins has decided to put off intensive treatment until after her unborn children are delivered in early July.

Danielle Dick, who underwent surgery in 2011 to remove a mole found to be melanoma on her back, was having trouble speaking and piecing together sentences in April.

“They immediately went to the hospital where they found that Danielle had three brain masses and two masses in her abdominal wall,” a post on a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the 31-year-old’s family, said.

NAVY HUSBAND WELCOMED HOME BY WIFE’S SURPRISE BABY BUMP

Dick, who also has a 2-year-old daughter, was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and underwent surgery to remove the masses in early May.

“All were found to be melanoma, likely spread from the original mole,” the GoFundMe post said. “Danielle came home on May 5th and has recovered well from surgery. The twins were monitored frequently in the hospital and are also doing well.”

While Dick received radiation on the areas of her brain where the masses were removed, an MRI showed more growth in her body. She will receive limited treatment until the twins reach 29 weeks gestation, at which point they will be delivered and cared for in the NICU, according to the GoFundMe.

CHRISTIAN ROCKER RAISING FUNDS FOR BANDMATE WHOSE WIFE DIED HOURS AFTER GIVING BIRTH

The fundraising campaign, which surpassed it’s $5,000 goal and has reached more than $18,000 in one week, also urges others to wear sunscreen and be aware of melanoma.

“Please share Danielle’ story so others will become more aware of this disease and take necessary action to prevent it,” the post said. “It seems that skin cancer is often seen as easily treatable and not a serious issue, which is obviously not the case.”

Metastatic melanoma, which is also known as stage 4 melanoma, occurs when melanoma cells have spread through the lymph nodes to other areas of the body and organs, particularly the liver, lungs, bones and brain, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation.

A new study says it may be possible

Good news for those making plans for their 110th birthday: The human lifespan is perhaps far more robust than previously thought. The Guardianreports that new research disputes a high-profile claim last year that the human lifespan has maxed out at 114.9 years.

In an extraordinary scientific feud, five research teams banded together to trash that conclusion, publishing their findings in the journal Nature, which is where the original study appeared.

Author Jim Vaupel, a specialist in aging at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, tells the paper there’s no evidence for an upper limit on human longevity.

And if there were, he adds, “it is above 120, perhaps much above—and perhaps there is not a limit at all.” Vaupel calls the original study led by geneticist Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York “the worst piece of research I’ve ever read” in Nature, adding that he was “outraged” that the journal would publish “such a travesty.” Vijg, who’s standing his ground, had used existing data to show that after a period of steadily rising longevity, humans appeared to hit a ceiling of 115 in the mid-’90s.

But the new papers pooh-pooh the plateau prediction and, in a sci-fi twist, suggest humans could be blowing out 150 candles by the year 2300. Vijg suggests his nitpicky critics didn’t read his work properly, and perhaps have issues with their own mortality.

“When you look at these super-old people, there are not many of them,” he says. “That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?” (A rare aging disease killed the 2nd oldest patient to have it.)