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Eat Well, Age Well

SUNDAY, Nov. 5, 2017 (HealthDay News) — A healthy diet may translate into a healthier old age, researchers report. The scientists followed close to 1,000 men and women in England, who were born in March 1946, throughout their adulthood. Those who ate more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain cereals — and fewer highly processed foods — throughout adulthood did better on three tests of physical function in their early 60s than those with less healthy eating habits. The study also found that those whose eating habits improved during adulthood did better on two of the tests, chair rise speed and standing balance time. The third test was timed up-and-go speeds. "Improving the quality of your diet can have a beneficial effect on health, whatever your age," said study author Sian Robinson, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Southampton. "However, this study suggests that making good dietary choices throughout adulthood — by cutting down on highly processed foods and incorporating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains into your diet — can have a significant beneficial effect on strength and physical performance later in life, helping to ensure a much healthier old age," Robinson said in a university news release. The study was published recently in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. While the study didn't prove cause and effect, Cyrus Cooper, director of the university's Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, said, "The link between dietary patterns and frailty in older people will open the door to effective interventions against the age-related decline in musculoskeletal function, which is such a growing cause of disability in aging populations worldwide." More information The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers healthy living resources. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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People Tend to Overestimate Pain From Surgery

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many patients overestimate the amount of pain they'll experience after surgery, resulting in needless anxiety, a new study reports. "We believe providers need to do a better job of counseling patients on realistic pain expectations," said study co-author Dr. Jaime Baratta, director of regional anesthesia at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. The research included 223 patients. Their average age was 61. All had orthopedic, neurological or general surgery. Of these, 96 received some form of regional anesthesia (spinal, epidural or peripheral nerve block). The remaining 127 patients received only general anesthesia. Before their surgery, the patients estimated what level of postoperative pain they expected on a 0-10 scale (10 being the most painful). After surgery, they were asked about their level of pain in the post-anesthesia care unit one hour following surgery and again on the first day after surgery. The patients' average expected pain rating immediately after surgery was 4.7, while their actual pain rating was 2.6. The average expected pain rating on the first day after surgery was 5.5, compared to an actual pain rating of 4.3. Patients who had regional anesthesia had an average expected pain rating immediately after surgery of 4.6, while their actual pain rating was less than 1. The average expected pain rating for these patients on the first day after surgery was 5.5, compared to an actual pain rating of 3.5. Patients receiving regional anesthesia "may not fully understand the benefits of nerve blocks and other regional anesthesia procedures aimed at preventing postoperative pain," Baratta said. The study was presented Saturday at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting, in Boston. Study co-author Dr. Amir Dayan is an anesthesiologist who's also from Jefferson University Hospital. "With advancements in regional anesthesia, great strides have been made in preventing postoperative pain. Given the clear benefit of patient education and anxiety alleviation on postoperative pain, providers must find ways to effectively manage patient expectations to help improve outcomes," he said in a meeting news release. Findings presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information The American College of Surgeons has more on pain management. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Coffee May Be Kind to Your Kidneys

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Can caffeine help people with chronic kidney disease live longer? That's the suggestion of a new study that found that among more than 2,300 Americans with chronic kidney disease, those who drank the most caffeinated drinks reduced their risk of premature death by 24 percent. "Our study showed a dose-dependent protective effect of caffeine consumption on all-cause mortality among patients with chronic kidney disease," said lead researcher Dr. Miguel Bigotte Vieira, from the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte, in Lisbon, Portugal. "However, our observational study cannot prove that caffeine reduces the risk of death, but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect," he said. Moreover, the reasons that caffeine might be protective aren't clear, and how much caffeine is too little and how much might be too much also isn't known, Bigotte Vieira added. The findings also need to be replicated in a trial that compares caffeine consumption with no caffeine consumption before patients are counseled to drink more coffee or other caffeinated drinks, he noted. In the study, the research team found that: those who consumed the least amount of caffeine saw no reduction in death risk, those who had the second higher amount reduced their risk by 12 percent, those who had the third higher amount reduced their risk by 22 percent, and those who consumed the most caffeine reduced their risk by 24 percent. The association between caffeine and a reduced risk of premature death was independent of factors such as age, gender, race, family income, education, creatinine levels (a marker of kidney troubles), high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, body weight, previous cardiovascular problems and diet, Bigotte Vieira said. The findings were to be presented Friday at the American Society of Nephrology annual meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. Leslie Spry, from the Lincoln Nephrology & Hypertension, Dialysis Center in Nebraska, said, "I hope this is the case, as I sit here and drink my morning coffee." Spry is also a spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation. "As you know, there are studies of coffee being harmful, beneficial and having no effect on health," he said. This is yet another observational study, Spry noted, where only an association was found, not cause and effect. Given the relatively small size of the study, and the small reduction in death risk, Spry said he's not willing to tell kidney patients that the more caffeine they drink, the longer they'll live. "I would rather say that compared to little or no caffeine intake, those people with the highest intake of caffeine as estimated by dietary recall, may have a lower mortality, but the reason for this lower mortality is not proven by this association research," he said. More information Visit the National Kidney Foundation for more on kidney disease. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Social Media Can Help Boost Weight Loss Success

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Struggling to lose weight? Maybe posting that selfie on social media can help, researchers say. Their study included 33 people in two weight-loss groups — surgical and nonsurgical — who regularly blogged or posted online about their weight-loss experiences and were followed for four years. Sharing their successes and setbacks on social media helped the participants stay committed to setting and achieving their weight-loss goals, according to the study results. "The sharing of intimate information and photos about weight-loss goals in virtual space is a key factor in motivating behaviors that fulfill that new thinner identity and thus helps people reach their goals," said study co-author Sonya Grier, a professor of marketing at American University in Washington, D.C. She said this approach allows for relative anonymity, accessibility, availability and flexibility for people to create a community that can help keep them motivated and accountable. "Not everyone can get the support they need from the people they interact with in person on a daily basis," Grier said in a university news release. "It is helpful that technology can support community building and goal achievement in virtual spaces." The findings were published in the November 2017 issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on healthy weight loss. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Cord Blood Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Shows Promise

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For a child with spastic cerebral palsy, simply grasping a toy may be impossible. But infusions of their own umbilical cord blood might make basic movements like this easier, researchers say. Children with spastic cerebral palsy have stiff muscles that can make it hard to move. The condition is usually caused by brain damage before or at birth. "We are encouraged by the results of this study, which shows that appropriately dosed infusions of cord blood cells can help lessen symptoms in children with cerebral palsy," said senior author Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg. She directs Duke University's pediatric blood and marrow transplant program, in Durham, N.C. The gains were subtle in some cases. But even a seemingly small improvement is significant, the researchers said in a university news release. "For example, a child's ability to turn their hand from facing down to facing up can change their ability to hold or grasp something, which can make a big difference in their everyday life," said lead author Dr. Jessica Sun. She's a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Duke. The study included 63 children with various types and degrees of spastic cerebral palsy. The researchers found that those who received one intravenous dose of cord blood with at least 25 million stem cells per kilogram of body weight had improvements in motor function a year later. The improvements were greater than for those who received a lower dose of stem cells or a placebo. They were also greater than what's typically seen in children of similar age and condition, according to the study authors. Kurtzberg said there's still much to learn about this therapy so that it can be accessible to more children with cerebral palsy. "Now that we have identified a dosing threshold, we are planning additional studies testing the benefits of multiple doses of cells, as well as the use of donor cells for patients whose own cord blood was not banked," she said. Previous research has indicated that it's safe for children with cerebral palsy to receive an infusion of their own cord blood, Kurtzberg said. The study was the second of three required for approval of a therapy in the United States. Results were published Oct. 28 in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on cerebral palsy. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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About Half of Americans Get Health Care in ER

FRIDAY, Nov. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — When Americans need medical care, almost one in two people choose the emergency room, a new study reveals. "I was stunned by the results. This really helps us better understand health care in this country," said Dr. David Marcozzi. He is an associate professor in the University of Maryland's department of emergency medicine. "This research underscores the fact that emergency departments are critical to our nation's health care delivery system," Marcozzi said in a university news release. "Patients seek care in emergency departments for many reasons. The data might suggest that emergency care provides the type of care that individuals actually want or need, 24 hours a day," he added. The analysis of data from several national sources showed that there were more than 3.5 billion emergency department visits, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions during the 1996 to 2010 study period. U.S. emergency department visits increased by nearly 44 percent over the 14-year period, the findings showed. Outpatient cases accounted for nearly 38 percent of visits, and inpatient care accounted for almost 15 percent of visits. In 2010, there were nearly 130 million emergency department visits, compared with almost 101 million outpatient visits and nearly 39 million inpatient visits, according to the report. Black Americans were much more likely to seek emergency department care than other racial/ethnic groups. In 2010, black people used the emergency department almost 54 percent of the time. The rate was even higher for black people in cities, at 59 percent, the researchers said. The study also found that Medicare and Medicaid patients were more likely to use the emergency department. Certain areas of the country also appeared to have a fondness for the emergency room. Rates of emergency department use were much higher in the South and West — 54 percent and 56 percent, respectively — than in the Northeast (39 percent). The findings suggest that increasing use of emergency departments by vulnerable groups may be due to inequality in access to health care, the study authors noted in the news release. The study was published online recently in the International Journal of Health Services. More information The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains when to go to the ER. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Common Heartburn Meds Show Ties to Kidney Trouble

SATURDAY, Nov. 4, 2017 (HealthDay News) — If you're one of the millions of Americans who takes one of a class of anti-reflux meds such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, take heed: These drugs have been linked to higher odds of kidney trouble. The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect — it's possible that folks who need these heartburn medicines are simply more prone to kidney disease for other reasons. But the review of data did show a link. The medicines in question are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They reduce stomach acid production and are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. According to a team led by Dr. Charat Thongprayoon, of Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., recent research has suggested an increased risk of kidney problems for people who take the drugs, but those findings were inconsistent. Probing deeper, the researchers reviewed data from five studies that included a total of nearly 537,000 people. They found that people who took a PPI were a third more likely to develop chronic kidney disease or kidney failure than those who didn't take the drugs. The findings were to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), in New Orleans. "This study demonstrates a significant association between the use of PPIs and increased risks of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure," Thongprayoon said in an ASN news release. He stressed that cause-and-effect wasn't confirmed. However, Thongprayoon believes that doctors "should consider whether PPI therapy is indicated for patients. Chronic use of PPIs should be avoided if not really indicated." Two kidney specialists said the new research does have value. "It is important to always evaluate potential side effects — not only of medications but of treatments and procedures in general," said Dr. Ernesto Molmenti. He directs adult and pediatric kidney transplantation at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y. Dr. Maria DeVita helps direct kidney care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She noted that PPIs — some of which have gained over-the-counter status in recent years — "are one of the most commonly ingested medications worldwide." Also, DeVita said, "PPIs were originally used for a limited time, but now, people may continue to use them for years." While it remains to be proven that the drugs cause kidney trouble, "we should reconsider our prolonged use of PPIs from time to time to make sure that the benefits outweigh potential risks," she said. Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. More information The American Gastroenterological Association has more on proton pump inhibitors. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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Monsanto accused of ignoring relevant scientific data on glyphosate

Lawyers in a high-profile lawsuit in California say U.S. agri-giant Monsanto asked the court to ignore relevant scientific data and discounted reliable studies as a way of covering up the health effects associated with glyphosate, the main ingredient in its flagship herbicide. The accusations against Monsanto were filed to Judge Vince Chhabria of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as he reviews all of the scientific evidence in a lawsuit brought by farmers who say Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup gave them cancer. Chhabria’s decision on whether there is enough scientific evidence to find a link between cancer and glyphosate will determine whether the case warrants a full trial, potentially opening Monsanto up to having to pay millions of dollars in compensation. “There is overwhelming evidence — whether it be the epidemiology, toxicology or mechanistic data — that exposure to glyphosate-based formulations causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” plaintiff lawyers told the court in a response to claims from Monsanto they had failed to prove any link between glyphosate and cancer. “Monsanto has alternatively disparaged or praised the study, depending on how it affects the viability of its products” — Plaintiff lawyers Developments in the case are being watched carefully in Europe, where experts are due to gather November 9 in Brussels to vote on a new European Commission proposal to renew glyphosate’s license for use in the EU for five years. France argues that glyphosate should be phased out, while Germany pitched extending glyphosate’s license for as little as three years despite numerous regulatory bodies saying the substance is safe. Using guidance from eight scientific experts — including Christopher Portier, who contributed to a critical opinion from an arm of the World Health Organization on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate — the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the California case said Monsanto unjustly asked the court to “ignore dozens of positive findings” linking glyphosate to cancer. They also argue that Monsanto relies way too heavily on one study “that was flawed from its inception,” according to a copy of the response filed with the court on October 27 and obtained by POLITICO. That study — the Agricultural Health Study — looked at the effects of multiple pesticides, including glyphosate, on 89,000 farmers and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. It found that exposure to glyphosate was not associated with increased cancer incidence. Plaintiffs told the judge, however, that the study’s value is “limited due to numerous design flaws.” The lawyers added: “Monsanto has alternatively disparaged or praised the study, depending on how it affects the viability of its products.” A letter sent Tuesday to the Commission, the European Parliament and governments in the EU from Michael Baum, one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, also points out that Beate Ritz, chair of the epidemiology department at the University of California, found that out of 32 epidemiology studies looking at the link between glyphosate and cancer, 28 showed a higher risk for people exposed to the substance. Farmers are alleging that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup gave them cancer | Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images A spokesperson for Monsanto, in response to questions about the accusations, said the company would respond to the plaintiffs before all sides go to court on December 11. The spokesperson also pointed to the company’s original brief to the court, in which Monsanto argued the plaintiffs’ lawyers have failed to prove general causation between glyphosate and cancer. That document, seen by POLITICO, says the Agricultural Health Study report criticized by plaintiff lawyers included data from the most highly exposed populations in the agriculture sector. Although a decision in the case on whether there is enough scientific evidence to prove causality between glyphosate and cancer is not due until early next year, noise from the drama has attracted ample attention in Brussels. Court documents from the suit, which have become known as the Monsanto Papers, show a 2015 email from William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, in which he is cited telling other Monsanto officials to “ghostwrite” research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers actually written by Monsanto. Although Monsanto has said its scientists did not ghostwrite the paper in question, lawmakers in the socialist group in the Parliament have asked for an official EU inquiry into the influence Monsanto has exerted over the regulatory process for pesticides in the EU. Original Article [contf] [contfnew] [hhm]Politico[hhmc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Italian police seize €50M opiates bound for ISIS fighters

Italian police on Friday seized more than 24 million tablets of the painkiller Tramadol that they said were bound for Islamic State fighters in North Africa and the Middle East, according to media reports. The batch of drugs was caught in the Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro with the help of agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the head of a southern Italian court said on Friday, Reuters reported. Italian police suspect the haul is part of a narcotics trafficking ring destined to be sold by ISIS to its fighters for about €2 a pill, according to the Guardian, making the total quantity worth close to €50 million. The port is said to be a well known site for discoveries of huge quantities of drugs, the Guardian reported. “Everything passes through Gioia Tauro, so it comes as no surprise to find a trafficked substance of this kind there,” Gaetano Paci, a prosecutor for the anti-mafia district directorate in Calabria, told La Repubblica. Tramadol is a synthetic opiate, used by Isis fighters to suppress pain and boost resilience, the Guardian said. Similar shipments of Tramadol were previously intercepted in the northern port of Genoa in May and in Greece last year. Original Article [contf] [contfnew] [hhm]Politico[hhmc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

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Sex Headaches Are a Real Thing. Here’s What You Need to Know

Do you get a headache after a romp in the sheets? Health's resident medical expert explains why this can happen. Q: Help! Sex gives me a headache. What can I do? Sex headaches are real: They can feel like an achiness in the head and neck during sexual activity, or they may come on suddenly and severely right before or during orgasm. It’s not totally clear why sex can cause head pain, but in some cases it may have to do with your blood vessels dilating and your blood pressure increasing during intercourse. Or the headache may be connected to the muscle contractions in the head and neck that can happen before an orgasm. Are you prone to migraines? If so, you may be at a higher risk of sex headaches. While most sex headaches last only a few minutes, some people might experience them for hours or a couple of days. Some people get only one in their life, but others have them sporadically over the course of about six months. Sex headaches are typically nothing to worry about. But if you get them often, your doctor can prescribe a beta-blocker or other migraine medication, which you can take regularly or before sex to prevent head pain. Or you can take an over-the-counter painkiller. Important: If you get a sex headache that comes on suddenly, particularly if it’s the first you’ve ever had, bring it up with your doctor, who can make sure there isn’t an underlying condition causing your headache, such as an aneurysm. Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. Let's block ads! (Why?) Original Article

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