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Archive for Conditions and Diseases

Best Health Advice of 2010 via [more]


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by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel

Tidings of comfort and well-being from the latest medical research.

This year delivered some thrilling breakthroughs: the discovery of a new ovarian-cancer marker, the development of a more sensitive test for determining people’s risk of acquiring serious diseases and confirmation that there’s a safer way to relieve hot flashes with hormones. But in 2010, scientists also looked at certain unremarkable but essential daily tasks, such as flossing and serving dinner, and found new approaches that may help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease, depression and skin cancer and perhaps make dropping a few pounds a bit easier, too. Big or small, each of these 12 standout pieces of advice is a holiday gift—because it will help you stay healthy in the years to come.


Sick of hot flashes?

Stick on a patch: If you’re gritting your teeth through hot flashes because you’re afraid that hormone therapy will cause blood clots or stroke, new research suggests that you don’t have to assume risk to get relief. Unlike estrogen and estrogen-progesterone pills (which can raise the risk of stroke by as much as 35 percent), hormone skin patches that have 50 micrograms or less of estrogen (with or without additional progesterone) do not increase the chances for stroke, a study in the British Medical Journal found. These transdermal patches are believed to be safer than pills because the estrogen goes through the skin and directly into the bloodstream. Oral ­estrogen, on the other hand, is filtered through the liver, where it produces enzymes associated with clotting and inflammation. “We think that bypassing the liver avoids generating the mechanisms associated with increased cardiovascular risk,” explains study author Samy Suissa, PhD, professor of epidemiology at McGill University.

The BMJ study did reveal a danger: Patches with more than 50 micrograms of estrogen raise stroke risk by 89 percent. “But most women will find relief with 50 micrograms,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. (No one knows if patches reduce the small correlation between HT and breast cancer.)


Want a better sex life?

Ditch your hormone-based contraception:Take a look at your birth control if you’re wondering where your libido (and perhaps your orgasm) has gone. Hormone-based contraceptives—the Pill, the patch, the ring—work by reducing ovarian function. That’s great for preventing pregnancy. But it also means less testosterone, which is key for desire, because most testosterone is made in the ovaries. In addition, hormone-based contraceptives cause your liver to produce much more sex hormone-­binding globulin, a magnetlike protein that binds free-floating sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone). The result of this reduction in free-floating hormones: impaired sex drive, arousal and orgasm. In a recent study of more than 1,000 female German medical students, those using hormone-based contraceptives scored significantly lower on an index of female sexual function than those who used nonhormone contraceptives or nothing at all. There’s no question that hormone-based contraceptives affect older women’s sexual function, too, notes Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, in which the study was published. “For someone in that age group, the ideal contraceptive is mechanical, not hormonal,” Goldstein says. That means condoms or an IUD.


Got hypertension?

Try a diuretic first: If you’ve been told you have hypertension (meaning that your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher) and you’ve tried and failed to coax the rate down with diet and exercise, the typical next step is medication. Even though your doctor has nine types to choose from, the latest research says your best bet may be the oldest medicine: diuretics, used to control hypertension since the 1970s. Diuretics, which flush excess water and sodium out of the body, not only lower blood pressure as successfully as newer meds, such as calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors, but also are better at preventing stroke and heart failure, according to data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (aka ALLHAT). Plus, they’re cheaper: Generic diuretics cost about $20 a year, compared with upwards of $150 a year for newer, brand-name drugs. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute already recommends diuretics as first-line treatment, but Paul Whelton, MD, chair of ­ALLHAT, points out that physicians don’t always follow that advice. “Doctors tend to think if an agent is new and perhaps a little more expensive, it must be better,” he says. “But the sensible one to start with is a diuretic.”


Can’t sleep?

Drink tart cherry juice: In a two-week pilot study at the University of Rochester Medical Center, 15 adults with insomnia who drank two eight-ounce bottles of CherryPharm’s tart cherry juice every day slept about 20 minutes longer than they did when they drank a cherry-flavored placebo beverage. Why? According to one theory, tart cherries (but not sweet cherries) may improve sleep because they contain relatively high amounts of melatonin. “Melatonin is used for shifting the biological clock when it gets out of sync, such as when people suffer from jet lag,” explains study author Wilfred Pigeon, PhD, director of URMC’s sleep research lab. Tart cherry juice isn’t as potent as pharmaceutical sleep medications, but it works about as well as over-the-­counter sleep ­supplements, like tryptophan and valerian. Find it at Traverse Bay Farms (traversebayfarms​​.com), R.W. Knudsen Family (rwknudsen​family​​.com) and supermarkets.


Getting your nails done?

Bring sunscreen: Drying your nails under a UV lamp at the salon is like sticking them in a mini tanning bed: Your hands are exposed to the same harmful UVA rays that prematurely age skin and potentially cause skin cancer. The Archives of Dermatology recently reported that two patients who put their hands under nail lights regularly (once a week or less) developed skin cancers on their fingers. UV lamps can also promote brown spots and crinkly skin on your hands. Protect your mitts by applying sunscreen after the manicurist has wiped off the hand cream but before she puts on the polish. Choose a product that has an SPF of at least 30 and contains a physical UV block, like zinc oxide. “Chemical sunscreens can take 30 minutes to get absorbed into the skin and take effect, but physical sun blocks work almost instantly,” explains David Bank, MD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. Or simply turn off the UV light and let air alone set your polish; this will add 10 minutes to the drying process. You can also reduce exposure by having the nail technician apply a quick-drying top liquid or nail polish, such as OPI Drip Dry or Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color.


Pressed for time?

Work harder, not longer: If you really rev up the intensity of your workout, you can significantly cut the time you spend doing it, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Called high-intensity interval training (HIT), the practice involves alternating one-minute sprints—­running, walking, biking, swimming—done at about 90 percent of your maximum heart rate with one-minute cool-down intervals. “We’ve been having people go at an eight or nine on a scale where 10 is an all-out effort,” says Martin Gibala, PhD, chair of McMaster’s department of ­kinesiology. This means getting beyond, maybe even way beyond, your comfort zone. But 20 minutes of HIT (in other words, 10 sprint-recovery cycles) can be as effective as an hour of continuous aerobic training for boosting the fat-burning capacity of your muscles, increasing the elasticity of your arteries and improving exercise performance.


Wondering how healthy you are?

Get the new health-risk score: You can already calculate your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack in the next 10 years with the Framingham Risk Score, which is based on your age, gender, cholesterol and blood pressure and whether you smoke or have diabetes. (The test is widely available on the Internet—for instance, on the site of the American Health Association, health.org.) Now epidemiologists at the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City have built on the Framingham model, using scores from two common sets of blood tests, the complete blood count and the basic metabolic risk profile, to create a new tool called the Intermountain Risk Score (IMRS), which predicts how healthy you will be for the next five years.

The complete blood count test (measuring, among other things, your white blood cells) provides information about factors such as inflammation and anemia, while the metabolic risk profile measures levels of many key nutrients, such as calcium, creatinine and bicarbonate, giving doctors an idea of how the muscles, lungs and kidneys are functioning. “This provides a much more accurate picture of one’s health than the Framingham score alone, especially for someone who doesn’t smoke and has normal cholesterol and blood pressure but has other things going on that haven’t been accounted for,” explains Benjamin Horne, PhD, MPH, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Med­i­cal Center, who helped develop the IMRS. Although using the new risk score has not yet become standard practice, your physician can help you determine your own IMRS by ordering the appropriate blood tests and then plugging the numbers into the calculator located at intermountain​health​care.org/IMRS.


Trying to lose weight?

Leave serving platters in the kitchen: Location, location, location: The mantra of real estate agents apparently applies to food as well. In a Cornell University lab study, when serving plates and bowls were kept on a kitchen counter rather than on the table, women ate 10 percent fewer calories. There’s only a split second between experiencing the impulse to eat and then heaping second, even third, helpings on our plates, notes study author Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “Keeping the platter away from the table interrupts this automatic feeding and provides enough of a pause that you ask yourself, Am I really that hungry? Half the time, people say, No, I’ve had enough.”



Call Mom: Simply talking to someone who makes you feel loved releases the bonding hormone oxytocin, which in turn lowers the stress hormone cortisol, according to research conducted at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “We thought you needed a physical experience to release oxytocin, such as breast feeding or orgasm,” says study author Seth Pollak, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the university’s Child Emotion Lab. But his research indicated that a simple hug or phone call from their moms could soothe a group of jittery girls. The same lessons apply when we’re under stress, Pollak says. “Our primary caregivers are our source of comfort when we’re young, but as we get older, we develop close attachments with partners and friends,” he explains. “After a hard day, the best thing to do is pick up the phone. Just making that contact with someone who makes you feel loved may relax you if you’re very stressed.”


Feeling down?

Try omega-3 supplements: If you really don’t want to take an antidepressant, you may now have a good alternative, according to research from the University of Montreal. Over an eight-week period, the authors treated people who were experiencing a major depressive episode with concentrated omega-3 supplements (1,050 milligrams of EPA and 150 milligrams of DHA) and found that the subset of patients without an anxiety disorder (but not those with one) improved; these patients scored about three points ­better on depression-symptom scales than participants given a placebo. Though three points may not sound like much, “that’s about the same improvement you’d get from an antidepressant medication for this kind of condition compared to a placebo,” notes study author François Lespérance, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal. Omega-3 supplements are thought to work by reducing inflammation and improving communication among key neuro­transmitters in the brain. Omega-3 supplements don’t yet qualify as a first-step treatment, but, Lespérance says, “if someone is mildly or moderately ­depressed and it’s been going on for some time, omega-3 supplements could be part of a treatment strategy that might also include psychotherapy and exercise.”


Using botox?

Spend less by spacing out your injections: In a study at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, women received shots between their brows every four months for 20 months, then stopped for six months. At that point, half the women showed no evidence of forehead wrinkling at all, and 87 percent said they were satisfied with the condition of their skin. “If regular Botox injections keep the muscle still for one and a half to two years, this appears to give the skin a chance to repair itself and become smooth,” explains study author Roger A. Dailey, MD, chief of oculofacial plastic surgery at OHSU. “Once injections bring about a level of wrinkle reduction you like, you can start spreading Botox shots out from every three to four or five or, in some cases, six months.”


Becoming forgetful?

Brush, floss and see your dentist: A healthy mouth can mean a healthy brain as you grow older, according to a recent study showing that people with gum disease are nine times as likely to score low on cognition tests at age 70 as those without the condition.

“Gum disease is a chronic local bacterial infection that affects about 30 percent of Americans over 30,” says study author Angela Kamer, DDS, PhD, associate professor of periodontology and implant dentistry at New York University’s College of Dentistry. When gum disease is severe or extensive, the pro-inflammatory molecules the body produces locally to fend off the infection can get into the bloodstream and from there reach the brain. The molecules may damage neurons in the brain, contributing to cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s. Since gum disease has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, “my advice is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least daily and visit your dentist as often as she recommends,” Kamer says.

Next: 3 Tests That Could Save Your Life

3 Tests That Could Save Your Life

3 Tests That Could Save Your Life

Early detection of serious diseases can be crucial to successful treatment—or even survival. Here are two tests to ask your doctor about today, plus one more that’s on the horizon.

Available now

For Diabetes The NMR LipoProfile is a simple blood test that measures the size and number of cholesterol-carrying particles in the bloodstream. It can predict the development of type 2 diabetes in women as early as 13 years before they get a glucose reading high enough to put them in the diabetic column, Harvard University researchers say. Women with the greatest concentration of small LDL and HDL particles, a study found, were two to four times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those with the least, possibly because the tiny particles are more densely packed with cholesterol and triglycerides. For more information, go to lipoprofile.com.

For Ovarian Cancer A genetic test called PreOvar uses a blood or saliva sample to identify an abnormal inherited KRAS gene, which may contribute to ovarian cancer independent of the BRCA mutations known to be linked to this disease. BRCA-negative women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer who have the KRAS mutation are six times as likely to develop ovarian cancer as the general female population. Learn more at miradx.com.

In development

For Colon Cancer Exact Sciences, a Madison, Wisconsin, diagnostics company, has teamed with the Mayo Clinic to develop an effective noninvasive way to screen for colon cancer. Early studies show that the DNA stool test, which identifies abnormal cells that have been shed from the colon, will be able to detect more than 85 percent of ­colon-cancer cells and at least 50 percent of precancerous polyps and may have to be administered only once every three years—a much better track record than annual stool blood tests, which do not detect cancer cells, and miss most precancerous polyps. If you receive positive results from the DNA test, which may be available by 2013, a colonoscopy would be your next step.

Next: Health News You Need to Know

Medical Minute: Michael Douglas Throat Cancer Battle via [sandrarosenews]

By now you’ve heard the sad news that Oscar winner Michael Douglas, 65, was diagnosed with throat cancer. Other celebrities such as Sammie Davis, Jr., have succumbed to throat cancer.

via [abcnews]

Do you experience a dry, ’sticking’ feeling in your throat when you swallow that feels like a lump in your throat? Do you have difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat that never seems to go away? Or hoarseness that doesn’t clear when you cough? If so, read on…


her he’s pictures with his wife Catherine ZetaJones

who is repotedly ‘furious’ about Michael’s late cancer diagnosis

Your throat (pharynx) includes the esophagus (the tube that forms a passage from your throat to your stomach), tonsils and adenoids, the larynx (holds voice box; vocal cords) and epiglottis (the membrane flap that keeps food from going into your lungs when you swallow).

All of these organs are susceptible to cancer. Throat cancer usually develops in men and women over 50 and is 10 times more likely to affect males over 50.

Cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably and rapidly. The accumulation of cells sticking together forms a tumor that inhibits the growth of healthy cells. Smokers (including weed smoking), alcoholics and people who chew tobacco are at higher risk for throat cancer than the general population.

*Signs and Symptoms of throat cancer include:

  • Chronic cough (that doesn’t go away)
  • Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Neck pain
  • Painful or painless lumps or swelling in your neck
  • A sore throat
  • Wheezing sound in your throat
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth breathing
  • Coughing up blood

*Remember that ‘Signs’ are what you see and ‘Symptoms’ are what you feel.

Contact your doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms for more than a week (except for the coughing up blood, which is an emergency). 90% of throat cancers can be cured if diagnosed early.

This has been your Medical Minute.

As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.

More Info on the Web

Oral and Throat Cancers – Mayo Clinic
Throat Cancer – Cancer.gov
Cancer: throat or larynx – MedLine Plus
Throat Cancer – Wikipedia

Related posts:

  1. Medical Minute: Stomach Cancer
  2. Medical Minute: Ovarian Cancer
  3. Medical Minute: Tonsil Stones (Tonsilolith)
  4. Medical Minute: Swine Flu
  5. Medical Minute: TIA – How To Recognize If You’ve Had One

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Fete Accompli : LSN Charity Ball in San Francisco


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LSN board member, Pamela Joyner with designer, B. Michael

For more information on how you can help visit www.landminesurvivors.org

Couple, Pamela Joyner with husband and LSN board co-chair, Fred Giuffrida

Power couple, Pamela Joyner and her husband Fred Giuffrida hosted a masked ball benefiting the Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) at their gorgeous home in San Francisco. Along with 300 guests, Pamela and Fred raised an impressive $200,000 for the globally recognized charity, which helps ensure that survivors of violent conflict have the medical care needed to regain and maintain their health by providing direct service, information and outreach counseling and support. Enabling survivors to reclaim their lives. I love Pamela’s million dollar smile, it just lights up a room.

For more information on how you can help visit www.landminesurvivors.org

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Please Don’t Break These Beds…They are waaayy too EXPENSIVE$$$. via [Quality Junkyard and Luxist]


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Top High Tech Luxury Beds

Multimedia beds have succeeded in turning more than a few heads in the past. No doubt, these high-tech luxury beds will ask you for some huge bucks in exchange for a blissful sleep, but can you really put a price tag on a good night’s sleep? Multimedia beds have evolved into one of the most important pieces of furniture in any home and are here to stay as people are getting increasingly personal and fussy about their choices. Here, I have compiled a list of Top 10 high-tech luxury beds for geeks, like me, who think that living through the day with all the assistance from the gadgets is not just enough. Check out the fabulous beds after the jump.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Magnetic Floating Bed

The magnetically levitating bed by Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars is an upshot of six long years research work. The bed faces gravitation with magnets and it can support up to 900 kilos and is supported by four steel cables. The scale model of the bed was presented at the Millionaire Fair in June 2006 and the floating bed is estimated to be priced around 115,000 Euros for the scale model and for complete model expect to lay down around 1.2 million Euros.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Starry Night Sleep Technology Bed

The from Leggett & Platt is a spellbinding combination of technology and bedding that makes use of diagnostic tools to moderate temperature, monitor body movements and alleviate snoring. At $50,000, it’s not just another run-of-the-mill luxury bed. It touts anti-snore technology to reduce snoring in mild to moderate cases by elevating your upper body a few degrees. Its dual programmable temperature control from 68 to 117 degrees Fahrenheit adjusts the temperature to your liking. The Sleep Diagnostic Center monitors body movement and breathing pattern throughout the night. If you are the one who can’t live without music, the bed comes with an iPod docking station and 2500-watt surround sound system with four 8-inch subwoofers. Other salient specs include Internet connectivity, wireless RF remote that connects to a 1.5TB media server with four gigs of RAM, and a 1080p projector.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Hollandia Platimun - Luxe Elite   Sleep

I bet you would never want to get out of the . It boasts loads of other luxury options besides a retractable 32-inch Sony Bravia HDTV integrated into the bed’s footboard. The TV sits 80 inches from the headboard, slightly exceeding the normal 1:3 ratio of screen size to viewer distance, and the brightness dynamically adjusts to the ambient light, to reduce eye strain. The Elite is also equipped with a Sony Bravia theater system that includes a five DVD/CD changer, a five speaker surround sound system, a subwoofer beneath the bed for a complete hi-end experience, and an iPod docking station. Last but not the least; the bed gently adjusts to a comfortable reclining position. And, the the most useful feature is the integrated massage system that features four powerful motors with a micro-computer that provides 12 individual massage programs, and a 30-minute automatic shutdown. It also has a 13-inch retractable back-sliding system and Hollandia’s telescopic head support. All the features are beautifully engineered into the bed, there are no unsightly wires visible in the room. The bed looks gorgeous design-wise too. The base is covered in Italian-designed fabric, which is a new, 100 percent synthetic fiber that protects the frame from pets. The Elite is available in white or gray to complement any bedroom decor.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Multimedia Bed with RUF Cinema

This magnificent multimedia bed looks like it is specially designed for a Hollywood movie. The bed has a home cinema rack fitted between the two-upholstered headboard bolsters with enough space for DVD player and game consoles. The RUF Cinema’s foot section has an aluminum cover that conceals the screen which can be easily assembled using the radio remote control. So, all it needs to make the screen stand-up and hide-out is a button on the remote control. Moreover, the padding on the headboards can be easily adjusted to suit your comfort.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Gravity Zero Groove Bed

Hollandia International is quite known for producing extraordinary line of luxury sleep systems, mattresses, daybeds and bedding. The Gravity Zero Groove sleep system from the company comes with a 150-watt sound system to get your groove on. The two powerful sleep system motors and two massage systems with 12 massage programs make sure you never feel exhausted in the bed. The rhythmic lines and hip styling of this unique bed and mattress touts four-joint adjustability, back-sliding system, and a flexible shoulder comfort zone. The mattress is actually made from ventilated Talalay latex, which offers full comfort and support. No doubt, the Gravity Zero Groove sleep system will ask you for some huge bucks in exchange for a musical, blissful sleep.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Ultimate TV Bed

Another cool entry onto the list is the , the super-luxury bed with a single press of the wireless remote. The end of the bed opens silently to glide out a 22-inch flatscreen TV. The bed is delivered with in-built, electronic leveling. The price-tag is a complete knock-out for $32,375.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Historie Do Be Swivel

The Histoire Do Be is a rotating swivel bed run by remote control from Mobelform. The bed comes with built-in cabinetry with TV stand and orthopedic mattress. The bed is available in different color, sizes and wooden assortments. So folks! Give your bed-room a nice make-over with this gorgeous looking round-shaped remote-control bed.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Gustarle TV Bed

The Gustarle TV-Bed comes complete with Samsung flatscreen LCD TV with built in DVD player. This impressive waterbed comes with the latest top of the range Samsung 26-inch LCD TV and the Sony high definition DVD player. Several wood finishes are available for the bed, headboard and footboard, together with a superb choice of real leather fabrics for the inset panels on the headboard and each side of the footboard. This gorgeous TV Bed is also available with Visco Elastic memory foam mattress upon request. Available in various sizes, the 200cm model will set you back £6,950 (US $13,577).


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Indestructible Bed

The Quantum Sleeper Unit is a high-level security system designed for maximum protection in various hostile environments. The high-tech bed folds up into a fire-resistant coffin-like box to keep you safe from any uneventful event. The bed is fitted with a high-level security system that protects you from destructive forces of nature, bio-chemical terrorist attack and kidnappers. Besides, the bed is not just about protection, it is also the ultimate in entertainment and communications as it also comes with a built-in CD player, DVD Screen with PC hookup, microwave and refrigerator along with cellular phones and radios to keep you connected to the outside world! The bed is designed to enable the person(s) inside the unit to see out and prevent those outside from seeing in. The bed, though not in production, costs an estimated $135,000.


Top 10 High Tech Luxury Beds - Sonic Bed by Kaffe Matthews

Behold the big bed! The Sonic bed is a gigantic bed with 12-channel surround sound. It may resemble a wooden tank from the outside, but it touts enough speakers inside to make a perfect home theater set up. Designed by Kaffe Matthews as a museum exhibit, the bed runs on 220 volts of electricity and covers every inch of your body in sound. All you need to do is hook up a TV and you will never feel like leaving your bed.

11. The Rocking Bed

Private Cloud by Herzlich Willkommen
Found at : Luxist

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