August 24, 2010

Not Just for Crackpots

1 First Lady Michelle Obama Does Cleanses

In the September edition of the Ladies' Home Journal Michelle Obama lets slip that she does the occasional dietary cleanse. Generally a cleanse involves a very low calorie quasi fast during which the cleanser may also take natural laxatives. The theory behind most cleanses is that you excrete toxins from your body. Mainstream medicine scoffs at cleanses, points out that there is no evidence that they are even necessary or work, and notes that the liver, kidneys, lungs, and intestines are very efficient filters. In reaction to the First Lady's revelation mainstream medical commentators gently registered concern, and the First Lady's press office quickly released a statement that Ms. Obama merely increases vegetables, and cuts meats, fats, dairy, caffeine, and sugar during her cleanses.

More at Washington Post | Posted 7 years ago by Mark

Tags: First Lady, Cleanse, Cleansing, Cleanses, Michelle Obama, Ladies' Home Journal

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Or Maybe Some Other Cause

2 Noted Composer W. A. Mozart Dead of Kidney Failure

When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791, medical science was in its infancy, and his death was vaguely attributed to "miliary fever," a vague term that is more of a description of symptoms than a disease. But a cottage industry has developed around speculation over Mozart's death, lead by musical physicians. There have been anywhere from 118 to 136 diagnoses proposed (depending on who's doing the counting), falling into categories like poisoning, infection, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and "miscellaneous." Among the specific diseases that have been proposed are endocarditis, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, congestive heart failure, uremia, and Schönlein-Henoch syndrome. Most medical investigators believe the disease that ultimately killed Mozart affected his kidneys.

More at New York Times | Posted 7 years ago by Mark

Tags: Mozart, Schonlein-Henoch Syndrome, Kidney Disease

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

Herbivores Fed McDonald's

3 Ants Abused for the Sake of Art

A New York City gallery has played host to an art exhibit that involved feeding Pogonomyrmex badius -- red harvester ants -- nothing but McDonald's for a month. Artist Elizabeth Demaray says the exhibit is meant to be a comment on the American diet and its effect on creatures that rely on us for food, but scientists say it's a nice way to torture ants that are basically seed collectors. Entomologists say about all the ants would eat from McDonald's would be the sesame seeds on the bun, and many of the ants have died during the exhibit's run. What's more, the ant farm lacks a queen, so the ants inside are starving and lack a purpose in their life. Scientists say army ants would have been a much better choice for the exhibit, since they are omnivores.

More at New York Times | Posted 7 years ago by Sarah E. White

Tags: McDonald's, New York City, Art, Ants

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (41%) / No! (59%)

Scientists Mystified

4 Rectal Cancer on the Rise in Younger People

Rectal cancer rates in people under the age of 40 are on the rise - and have been climbing steadily for the last twenty years, say researchers who remain baffled as to the causes for this increase. Both rectal and colon cancers are believed to share the same risk factors but while the incidence of colon cancer remains steady, the incidence of rectal cancer has grown by almost four percent. "We've scoured the literature for a cause and spoken to others in the field and we haven't identified anything that is able to explain this," said lead author Dr. Joshua Meyer, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia. Researchers caution doctors to follow up with young patients who exhibit rectal bleeding and not to assume bleeding is caused by something else, like hemorrhoids.

More at LATimes.com | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Tags: Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Rectal Bleeding, Hemorrhoids, Dr. Joshua Meyer

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Diet Soda = Preterm Delivery

5 Skip That Diet Soda to Avoid Premature Delivery

A new study from Denmark found that diet carbonated drinks containing artificial sweeteners could result in delivering a baby early. Researchers placed the women into groups depending on beverage drinking habits: those who never drank soft drinks or drank less than one per week, one to six per week, one each day, two or three per day, or four or more daily. The women who drank four or more artificially sweetened diet carbonated drinks a day were 78 percent more likely to deliver early than women who never drank the beverages. Women who had four or more artificially sweetened diet non-carbonated drinks daily were only 29 percent more likely to deliver early. The researchers found no association between premature delivery and the intake of carbonated drinks sweetened with sugar.

More at Yahoo News | Posted 7 years ago by Marty Shaw

Tags: Premature Babies, Preterm Babies, Diet Drinks

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (40%) / No! (60%)

Grab and Go Listeria

6 Walmart Recalls Deli Meat for Listeria

Walmart has recalled Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches sold in their delicatessens nationwide for possible tainted meat. Varieties recalled include several ham and roast beef sandwiches. It's believed that the meat, which could be tainted with the harmful bacteria Listeria, has already been consumed. According to MSNBC, the packages were produced between June 18 and July 2, and had "use by" dates of August 20 through September 10. While no illnesses have been reported from the 380,000 pounds of possibly tainted meat products, a sample from Georgia tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, which may cause serious or fatal infections in people with weak immune systems, young children and the elderly. Walmart has removed the sandwiches from their store shelves.

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches, Listeria, Walmart Sandwich Recall, Weak Immune System, Listeria Dangers, Deli Meat Recall, Listeria Monocytogenes, Tainted Deli Sandwiches

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (41%) / No! (59%)

Salon Fears Chair May Break

7 Nail Salon Charges Extra for Being Overweight

A nail salon in Georgia tried to charge customer Michelle Fonville an extra $5 for being overweight! Huffington Post reports that Natural Nails in Dekalb County, Georgia wanted Fonville to pay the extra charge because they worried she'd break their chair, which has a weight capacity of 200 pounds. Salon manager Kim Tran informed Fonville that the charge would help pay for the $2,500 pedicure chair in case it broke. Fonville was humiliated by the extra charge, which was ultimately removed from her bill. She was told to take her business elsewhere. The salon manager told the local news station, WSB, that if she'd been their when she arrived, she'd have told Fonville that she couldn't be serviced there. Fonville thinks that the salon should post their weight policy.

More at Huffington Post | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Michelle Fonville, Natural Nails in Dekalb County, Weight Policy, Charging Overweight Customers More, Discrimination Against Overweight, Nail Salon Charges More for Obese, Kim Tran

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (46%) / No! (54%)

Flomax Makers Raised Price

8 Brand Name Drug Costs Up 8 Percent

The cost of 217 brand name drugs used most by seniors rose by an average of 8.3 percent in 2009, reveals AARP in a new report to be released on Wednesday. Drugs mentioned in the report include Flomax, which saw a price increase of 24.8 percent, and Nexium with a price increase of 6.6 percent. Other drugs with price increases in 2009 include Plavix, Prevacid, Protonix and Lipitor. New York Times reports that the drug price increases seen in 2009 are the largest in years. According to the AARP report, retail prices for the most popular brand name drugs rose by 41.5 percent over the last five years. However, officials in the drug industry challenged the findings, saying that more people now use less expensive generic drugs, which account for 75 percent of prescriptions in the U.S.

More at New York Times | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Lipitor, Prevacid, Protonix, Plavix, Flomax, Nexium, Rising Drug Prices, Prescription Drug Prices, Generic Drug Prices, Drug Prices in 2009

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (46%) / No! (54%)

BPA Harmful to Fetus

9 Low-Dose BPA Exposure Alters Mice Ovaries

The ovaries of mice still in the uterus may be altered quickly by low-dose exposure to bisphenol A (BPA). According to researchers, the endocrine-disrupting chemical could produce adverse effects on gene expression in fetal ovaries beginning just 12 hours after the maternal exposure. The mice in the study were given doses of BPA thought to be equivalent to what's experienced by humans every day from sources like plastic water bottles and the linings of food and beverage cans. The research, published online in the journal Biology of Reproduction, was carried out in the lab of Dr. Patricia A. Hunt at Washington State University. Research findings suggest that even the grandchildren of females given BPA could suffer genetic defects.

More at EureakAlert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: BPA on Register Receipts

Tags: Low-Dose Exposure to Bisphenol A, BPA Effects, Biology of Reproduction, Dr. Patricia A. Hunt, Washington State University, Gene Expression, Plastic Water Bottles, Sources of BPA, Harm of BPA, BPA Effects on Unborn Kids

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Vitamin D and Genes

10 Vitamin D Influences Key Genes in Certain Diseases

Researchers have discovered that Vitamin D affects parts of the human genome associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Chron’s disease and cancers such as leukemia and colorectal. These results may explain why those with a deficiency are at risk for such illnesses. Vitamin D works through the vitamin D receptor that binds to parts of the genome and affects expression, a process in which information from the gene is converted into a protein that exerts a function. Researchers looked for areas where vitamin D binds so they could link it to diseases. Vitamin D is obtained in the diet and through sunlight but some people are genetically predisposed to a deficiency. The current U.S. guidelines that recommend daily dose of 200 to 600 IU a day is under review.

More at Yahoo! Health Day | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Three Genes Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

Tags: Colorectal Cancer, Leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, Vitamin D, Vitamin D Deficiency, Vitamin D Receptor, Autoimmune Disease

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (46%) / No! (54%)

Chinese Diabetics Most Affected

11 Mutation Ups Kidney Disease Risk in Some Diabetics

Four mutations in a gene called PRKCB1, found most commonly in ethnic Chinese individuals, appears to increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease in type 2 diabetics. Kidney failure is one consequence of diabetes and Chinese individuals appear to be more at risk than their Caucasian counterparts. The nine-year study looked at 1,172 diabetics in Hong Kong who did not initially have kidney disease. Ninety of them developed kidney disease by the time the study ended and researchers found that most of the 90 had a mutation in the PRKCB1 gene. Another study involving 1,049 diabetics confirmed the findings. Type 2 diabetes results when the body cannot use insulin properly to take up glucose and is exploding in China as people’s lifestyles are fueling an obesity epidemic.

More at Yahoo! Reuters | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Green Veggies May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes

Tags: Type 2 Diabetes, PRKCB1 Gene, Chronic Kidney Disease, Type 2 Diabetes in China

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (44%) / No! (56%)

As Tired As a Mouse?

12 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Mouse Viruses

A study by the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration has found that a family of mouse viruses may play a role in some individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, which it thought to affect about 1 million Americans. One study in which 101 people in chronic fatigue were tested found XMRV, a type of mouse virus, in their blood, but this study could not be repeated. The most recent study by the government found that 86 percent of the 37 chronic fatigue patients they took blood from contained MLV-“murine leukemia-related viruses”-compared to only 7 percent of the 44 healthy individuals that donated blood. These viruses cause cancer in mice and no one is sure how people become infected. The next step is to figure out if the virus is transmitted through blood.

More at Yahoo! AP | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Raw Crayfish Leads to Rare Parasitic Infection

Tags: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, XMRV, MLV, Mouse Viruses, Murine Leukemia-Related Viruses

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

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