Friday, July 31, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Oral contraceptives (OCs) affect the concentrations of steroid metabolites by eliciting a decrease in the adrenal and ovarian androgen synthesis and an increase in the hepatic production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (for review see Zimmerman et al. ). Thus, information of OC use is vital in interpreting data on circulating steroid metabolites in females.
We found that OC users had significantly lower concentrations of all steroid metabolites as well as of fT and FAI. The markedly lower levels observed for fT and FAI are most likely caused by high SHGB concentrations in OC users compared to controls. OCs decrease ovarian steroidogenesis by inhibition of gonadotropins. In addition, the marked effects in the present study of OCs on DHEA, DHEAS, 17-OHP, Adione and T suggest direct effects of OCs on adrenal steroid production. This is in line with previous studies: significantly lower circulating concentrations of 17-OHP, T and Adione were reported in women with polycystic ovarian disease-related hyperandrogenism after treatment with OCs containing ethinyl estradiol (EE) and the anti-androgen cyproterone acetate as compared to baseline values . Likewise, OCs containing 17β-estradiol in combination with the anti-androgen nomegestrol were reported to cause significant reductions in circulating levels of DHEAS, Adione, T and fT and were found to increase SHBG concentrations in healthy women . OCs containing EE in combination with gestodene or levonorgestrel (both having relatively neutral androgenic effects) were also found to significantly lower circulating concentrations of DHEAS, Adione and T and to increase SHBG in healthy women  and , whereas EE in combination with the anti-androgen drospirone was found to significantly reduce circulating concentrations of T and fT, but not of DHEAS, Adione and 17-OHP in women with polycystic ovary syndrome . In this latter study significant effects of OCs on 17,20-lyase activity were reported, which is in accordance with finding in the current study (data not shown). More specific studies are needed to further elucidate the potential effects of OCs on enzymatic activity. We do not have detailed information on the type of OCs used by our participants and therefore cannot further evaluate the effects of different gestagens on adrenal androgen secretion based on our data. None of the studies of OCs referred to above used mass spectrometry-based methods for the analysis of the steroid metabolites. With low levels of steroid metabolites in women – and typically even lower concentrations after treatment with OCs – the use of mass spectrometry-based methods for future studies on this subject must be highly recommended.
In conclusion, we have established serum reference ranges from 3 months to 25 and 20 years of age for males and females, respectively, for selected steroid metabolites, the ratios between them, fT and FAI. The steroid levels were strongly associated with sex, age and pubertal development. Furthermore, the LC–MS/MS-based method allows for quantitative information about ratios between the steroid metabolites, which may assist in the diagnosis of specific disorders of steroid biosynthesis. Finally, use of oral contraceptives strongly influences adrenal steroidogenesis and should be considered when diagnosing and monitoring treatment of patients with DSD.
Another related study ...
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved a new nonsurgical weapon in the fight against obesity — a pair of connected saline-filled balloons that are temporarily implanted in the stomach to trigger a feeling of fullness and jump-start weight loss.
The device, called the ReShape Dual Balloon (ReShape Medical), is inserted endoscopically through the mouth and then filled with saline solution. The outpatient procedure takes less than 30 minutes while the patient is mildly sedated.
The FDA said that the satiety-inducing ReShape Dual Balloon does not alter the stomach's natural anatomy. The intragastric device, which should be removed after 6 months, is meant to accompany a medically supervised diet and exercise program. It is indicated specifically for obese adults with a body mass index of 30 to 40 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related conditions such as diabetes who have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise alone.
"For those with obesity, significant weight loss and maintenance of that weight loss often requires a combination of solutions including efforts to improve diet and exercise habits," said William Maisel, MD, MPH, acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a news release. "This new balloon device provides doctors and patients with a new non-surgical option that can be quickly implanted, is non-permanent, and can be easily removed."
Monday, July 27, 2015
The researchers concluded that the steroid had a connection with the appearance of cataracts ‒ or the lack thereof. They then created an eye drop that contains lanosterol, which they first tested on rabbits that had cataracts. To test the drops, the scientists isolated the cloudy lenses from the animals and placed them in a lanosterol solution for six days.
The rabbits' lenses became clearer and the severity of the cataracts were reduced after treatment, Zhang's team found. The lanosterol solution had an effect on 11 of the 13 animals.
Scientists create eye drop that dissolves cataracts with naturally occurring chemical
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Sunday, July 19, 2015
"These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet," An said. "In fact, you may be at higher risk of overeating in a full-service restaurant than when eating fast-food. My advice to those hoping to consume a healthy diet and not overeat is that it is healthier to prepare your own foods, and to avoid eating outside the home whenever possible."
Interestingly, we have already had the technology for this testing for years, but getting insurance to cover the cost is a big challenge.
The CDC Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) study was a prospective, multi-center, population-based study that used chest x-rays and extensive diagnostic methods to determine the incidence and etiology of community-acquired pneumonia hospitalizations among U.S. adults. Participants in the study were enrolled from January 2010 through June 2012 in three hospitals in Chicago and two in Nashville. Study participants provided specimens that were tested for viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens.
During the study, the EPIC team enrolled 2,488 eligible adults, of which 2,320 (93 percent) had radiographically confirmed pneumonia. The median age of study participants was 57 years.
The researchers detected viruses in 27 percent of patients and bacteria in 14 percent of patients. Human rhinovirus (HRV) was the most commonly detected virus among pneumonia patients.
Influenza (flu) was the second most common viral pathogen detected, and there were twice as many pneumonia hospitalizations due to influenza than any other viral pathogen (except HRV) in adults 80 years or older, underscoring the need for improvements in flu vaccine uptake and effectiveness.
Together, human metapneumovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, and adenovirus were detected in 13 percent of patients.
Of bacterial pathogens, Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most commonly detected bacterium, causing an estimated five times more pneumonia hospitalizations in adults 65 years and older than in younger adults. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae combined were detected in 4 percent of patients. Overall, Staphylococcus aureus was detected in 2 percent of patients and was found less frequently than S. pneumoniae or viruses.
S. pneumoniae, S. aureus, and Enterobacteriaceae were significantly more common among severely ill patients, accounting for 16 percent of detections among intensive care unit (ICU) patients compared with 6 percent among non-ICU patients.
"The frequency with which respiratory viruses were detected in adults hospitalized with pneumonia was higher than previously documented. This may be due to improved molecular diagnostics for viruses and also to the benefits of bacterial vaccines," said Dr. Seema Jain, lead author of the paper and medical epidemiologist in CDC's Influenza Division. "However, what's most remarkable is that despite how hard we looked for pathogens, no discernible pathogen was detected in 62 percent of adults hospitalized with pneumonia in the EPIC study. This illustrates the need for more sensitive diagnostic methods that can both help guide treatment at the individual level as well as inform public health policy for adult pneumonia at a population level."
When he came to Texas Tech in November last year, he brought along both the project and the grant for continued research.
The story began some years ago when Dhurandhar noticed during his research on rodents that human adenovirus 36, which causes obesity in humans and animals, reduces blood sugar at the same time. "It's a little paradoxical because you have an agent that is making an animal fatter, so you would expect their glucose levels to deteriorate," he said.
Adenovirus is any of a group of DNA-containing viruses that cause conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract infections in humans. The idea about a possible drug germinated then. He isolated a protein from adenovirus 36 responsible for reducing blood sugar and tested it on both diabetic cells and animals. Both experiments showed the protein improved diabetes, and other researchers doing similar experiments confirmed Dhurandhar's results.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Dr. Mark Pimentel’s Protocol
Dr. Mark Pimentel is the pioneering researcher and gastroenterologist who discovered the link between bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He is director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and author of the book A New IBS Solution Bacteria – The Missing Link in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
His treatment protocol is three-fold:
First he prescribes a short course of antibiotics to eradicate bacterial overgrowth. If a patient has high levels of hydrogen they take rifaximin (Xifaxan), and if they have high levels of methane they take rifaximin and neomycin. These antibiotics are particularly effective because they are not broad based, and they remain inside the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Pimental is the Director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai (http://giving.cedars-sinai.edu/page.aspx?pid=2423)
After finishing the antibiotics a breath test is repeated. If gas levels are still abnormally high he prescribes another round of antibiotics. If bacterial overgrowth remains resistant after several rounds of antibiotics, he recommends that patients follow a two week elemental diet where they drink only water and replace meals with a formula (brand name Vivonex Plus) containing protein from free amino acids, carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin, fat as various oils, vitamins, and minerals.
Second, Pimentel places his patients on a diet of foods that are easily digested, so that most of the food can be absorbed higher up in the intestine–away from the problem bacteria. This means eliminating high fiber foods such as beans, peas, whole grains, nuts, and soy. The diet also avoids all kinds of sugars that feed the bacteria, including lactose found in dairy products.
Third, he places his patients on a prokinetic drug for at least three months to increase small intestine motility with a corresponding decrease in the duration of migrating motor complex cycles. The most effective prokinetic drug is tegaserod (Zelnorm), but it was withdrawn from the US market in 2007 due to FDA concerns about possible adverse cardiovascular effects. Alternative prokinetic drugs are low dose naltrexone (LDN) and low dose erythromycin. The body produces the most cleansing wave activity when a person is not eating, which is why the drugs are prescribed to be taken at bedtime. For this same reason Pimentel advises to limit food intake to three meals a day, and to avoid snacking and consume nothing except water between meals.
Connection According to Pimentel, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine causes an autoimmune response that damages the nerves that control the migrating motor complex. Eradicating the bacteria alone is not enough to completely heal from SIBO. Patients who take antibiotics and do not follow up with diet recommendations and a prokinetic drug often relapse.
Increased Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients
Dr. Pimental believes low levels of stomach acid in ME/CFS patients increases their risk of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Pimentel thinks that food poisoning may initially cause cleaning wave inhibition, setting the scene for SIBO in many patients with IBS. Patients with ME/CFS or FM are particularly susceptible to SIBO because they typically have low levels of stomach acid that reduce bacteria at the onset of digestion, and they have low levels of endorphins that regulate contractions in the intestinal walls.
Pimentel did two studies linking SIBO and FM. In the second study, published in 2004, he found that FM patients had hydrogen levels significantly higher than non-fibromyalgia IBS patients and healthy control patients.  These high levels of gas produce exceedingly large amounts of bacterial toxins or endotoxins, which could explain some of the symptomology of FM. Furthermore, he reports a case history of a woman who was diagnosed with FM whose symptoms resolved after completing Pimentel’s treatment.
SIBO Center for Digestive Health
A group of naturopathic physicians associated with the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon founded a SIBO specialty called the SIBO Center for Digestive Health.
Their treatments are based on the research of Dr. Pimentel, but they also include herbal antibiotics and various diets. The SIBO Center for Digestive Health has information on SIBO and SIBO testing
Dr. Allison Siebecker, a founder of the center, has an educational website with information about SIBO including overviews of treatments, diets, studies and resources. Included on the website are lectures that can be downloaded for a fee from leading clinicians and researchers at the SIBO Symposium that took place in Portland in January of 2014. The physicians at the SIBO Center have found that herbal antibiotics are often as effective as pharmaceutical antibiotics, although the course of treatment is typically longer.
See Cheaper, Safer, Better: the Herbal Approach To Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
The herbal treatment of choice is Allimed, a high potency, concentrated form of allicin extracted from garlic.
The SIBO Center recommended diets include the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) described in Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the Vicious Cycle; the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), an expanded SCD diet and protocol created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBridge; the Low Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols Diet (FODMAPS), a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates that has been shown to be effective in persons with IBS; the Cedars-Sinai Diet (Dr. Pimentel’s diet); and some combination of these diets.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
In the phase I/II pilot study described here, we tested a novel hypothesis, that muscle pain and chronic fatigue, primary symptoms in women with fibromyalgia, are caused by testosterone deficiency, and that testosterone therapy can be safely delivered and it can significantly dampen chronic pain without the well known side effects of opioids, anti-depressants, NSAIDS or benzodiazepines, all of which have been prescribed for fibromyalgia.
The American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia were used as a set of parameters for tracking the efficacy of testosterone replacement therapy in dampening pain in these patients. Fibromyalgia patients treated transdermally with a testosterone gel formulation once a day (8:00 AM) for 28 days responded well with respect to raising both free testosterone and total testosterone serum levels significantly and safely above baseline. In addition, clinical symptoms of muscle pain, stiffness and fatigue were significantly decreased, libido was significantly increased, and symptoms not tightly associated with fibromyalgia failed to show a response.
Discussion and conclusions
Overview of findings
In the prospective study here, the hypothesis that testosterone therapy can decrease pain responses is supported by the clinical data: 28 days of once-a-day therapy with 0.75 g 1% (w/w) testosterone gel 1) raised serum concentrations of total and, most importantly, free testosterone in fibromyalgia patients from baseline to high-normal concentrations for premenopausal women, and 2) significantly reduced the pain and fatigue symptoms of fibromyalgia patients without any evidence of short term risk as determined by blood tests for cardiovascular, hepatic, kidney or hematologic function, by patient logs and by physical exam. Our findings of increased levels of testosterone taken together with improvements observed for clinical symptoms, including muscle pain, stiffness, fatigue and libido, support our hypothesis that testosterone therapy given to chronic pain patients can reduce pain, down-modulate an inflamed nociceptive nervous system (as discussed in the related Commentary in this issue) and help restore feelings of well-being.
Please contact me if you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and have NOT received some kind of hormonal birth control previously. I am interested in the negative effects of birth control on long-term hormones.
By Jill Carnahan, MD
Exposure to mold and mold components is well known to trigger inflammation, allergies and asthma, oxidative stress, and immune dysfunction in both human and animal studies.
Mold spores, fungal fragments, and mycotoxins can be measured in the indoor environments of moldy buildings and in humans who are exposed to these environments.
Most of the time, we are exposed to molds like Stachybotrys via skin contact, through ingestion, and by inhalation. Sites of exposure typically include water-damaged and poorly ventilated homes, schools, office buildings, court houses, hospitals, and hotels. It is estimated that as many as 25% of buildings in the US have had some sort of water damage.
Molds have the ability to trigger a wide range of symptoms, such as skin rashes, respiratory distress, various types of inflammation, cognitive issues, neurological symptoms, and immune system suppression. In day-to-day clinical practice, the most common symptoms associated with mold exposure that we’re likely to see are allergic rhinitis and new onset asthma.
When in Doubt, Ask
I believe we need to raise our index of suspicion about mold exposure among our patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, especially when those conditions do not resolve with typically effective treatments.
I start to think about mold exposure whenever I see patients with the following:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Headache, light sensitivity
- Poor memory, difficulty finding words
- Difficulty concentration
- Morning stiffness, joint pain
- Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
- Shortness of breath, sinus congestion, or chronic cough
- Appetite swings, body temperature dysregulation
- Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
- Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
- Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
- Static shocks
- Vertigo, feeling lightheaded
To be sure, there are many conditions that can lead to each of these symptom patterns, and mycotoxin exposure may not be the sole explanation for any of them. Yet many clinicians do not even consider the possibility, though given the prevalence of water damaged homes in many parts of the country, we certainly should.
Whenever I suspect that mold exposure may play a role in the underlying causes of someone’s symptoms, I like to ask the following questions from a checklist developed by the Environmental Health Center-Dallas (EHCD).
- Do musty odors bother you?
- Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents or ceiling tiles were discolored?
- Have you noticed water damage or discoloration elsewhere?
- Has your home been flooded?
- Have you had leaks in the roof?
- Do you experience unusual shortness of breath?
- Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
- Do you experience recurring respiratory infections and coughing?
- Do you have frequent flu-like symptoms?
- Do your symptoms worsen on rainy days?
- Do you have frequent headaches?
- Are you fatigued and have skin rashes?
A few “yes” answers to these questions, should prompt you and your patient to get serious about looking for—and eliminating—household or worksite molds, and doing whatever else is necessary to minimize exposure.
Five-day 'fasting' diet miraculously slows aging, can prevent death from heart disease, cancer and diabetes
Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a diet that creates the same health effects as long-term calorie restrictions such as fasts if followed for just five days a month.
Hand sanitizer causes the skin to absorb 100 times more of the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA), according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri and published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
"Dr. Volkow, through her extraordinary work...showed that the reason why people who have addiction continue with their addiction has very little to do with the pleasure or reward they're getting out of it; it has to do with the pain and the angst of withdrawal, and they don't want that," Dr. Peeke says.
"In the normal brain's PET scan of the reward center, you see a beautiful red-orange because it's all lit up where the dopamine is bonding with the D2 receptors. You show them a sunset or something pleasurable, and you can see beautiful binding going on. What do you see in the addictive brain? Not a whole lot; almost no orange there. For that matter, those D2 receptors are so low in number that these people are in angst. They crave more and more and more of whatever that fix is.
What Dr. Volkow's study was able to show was: 1) food addiction is real and 2) that the changes that take place in the brain's reward center are identical across the board for all addiction. It doesn't matter what the addiction is so long as it's truly an addiction and it meets criteria. This is huge. She also showed that 3) the reward center is just one brain center that is affected. The other one is the frontal cortex, right behind the forehead.
That means you have an impairment of the 'CEO of the brain' in its ability to rein in impulsivity, irritability, impatience, and all of the things associated with withdrawal and addiction. You can't stay vigilant. It's hard to pay attention. You can't be mindful. You can't plan, organize, or strategize. Basically, you're out of control. Now, you have an out-of-control CEO of the brain and you've got a hijacked reward center. What you have, is a full-on addiction."
- Eat real food. Avoid as many processed foods in boxes and cans as you can. You, your spouse, or someone you employ needs to spend time in the kitchen to prepare your own food. Avoid eating foods from industrial kitchens that can put any one of tens of thousands of chemicals into your food.
- Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.
- Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
- Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high potency and high-quality probiotic supplement.
- Increase consumption of all healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3. Healthy fats your brain needs for optimal function include organically-raised grass-fed meats, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, and butter made from raw grass-fed milk. High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are also helpful for preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.
- Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast. Ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the inulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s. To learn more, please see this previous article.
- Improve your magnesium levels. Preliminary research strongly suggests a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.
- Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.
- Exercise regularly. It's been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer's. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer's have less PGC-1alpha in their brains and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer's. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer's.
- Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
- Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body: Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”
- Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain both mercury and aluminum, well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agents.
- Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2, and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.
- Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Monday, July 13, 2015
If you and your family still drink water right out of the tap, you might want to reconsider in light of a new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For the past several years, we've been warning our readers that pharmaceutical drug residues persist in unfiltered tap water, and the USGS has now confirmed that birth control drugs are among those present, threatening a possible widespread infertility epidemic in the coming years.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the USGS study looked at the effects of the synthetic hormone 17a-ethinylestradiol, or EE2, a common additive in most contraceptive pills, on Japanese medaka fish exposed to it through drinking water during their first week of development. Although the exposed fish and their immediate offspring appeared to be unaffected by the drugs, the second generation was affected.
According to the National Catholic Register, the second generation of exposed medaka fish experienced difficulty fertilizing their eggs, suffering an astounding 30 percent reduction in reproduction capacity. Their embryos were also much less likely than those of their parents to survive. Those that did survive, representing the third generation of fish, also suffered the effects of exposure to 17a-ethinylestradiol, showing a 20 percent impairment in fertility and survival rates.
"This study shows that even though endocrine disruptors may not affect the life of the exposed fish, it may negatively affect future generations," explained lead author Ramji Bhandari, a USGS visiting scientist and assistant research professor from the University of Missouri. "If similar trends were observed in subsequent generations, a severe decline in overall population numbers might be expected by the F4 generation."
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in public water and tainted food are destroying the male species
The paper also looked at the effects of exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), a prolific endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) that is still used in the manufacture of plastics, thermal receipt paper and food can linings. Just like 17a-ethinylestradiol, BPA was found to disrupt the normal reproductive cycles of the medaka fish, impairing their ability to produce offspring and maintain survival in subsequent generations.
If this can happen to fish, it most certainly can happen to humans as well, say scientists. All sorts of EDCs, chemical byproducts and industrial waste products are present in American sewers, and existing water purification systems are unable to capture all of them. This means that people who drink the water from an average city tap are also downing trace amounts of contraceptives, antidepressants, statins, SSRIs and more.
You might recall the Associated Press (AP) report we covered back in 2008 that found that the drinking water consumed by some 41 million Americans is contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs. AP researchers who took water samples from 50 of the largest cities in the U.S., as well as from 52 smaller communities, found that nearly all of them contained traces of painkillers, hormone drugs, antibiotics and more.
A USGS survey conducted between 1999 and 2000 made similar findings, concluding that at least 80 percent of water samples collected from 139 American rivers and streams in 30 states were contaminated with a range of pharmaceuticals ranging from antibiotics and antidepressants to hormone replacement pills and contraceptives.
"...male reproductive organs are sensitive to estrogens, which interfere with normal function," says Frederick vom Saal, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, another one of the study's authors. "[E]strogens have a contraceptive effect in males," he added, with the National Catholic Review noting that EE2 has been linked to causing testicular tumors.
"EE2 can cause effects in human tissues at concentrations in blood below one part per trillion, so this is an extremely potent drug."
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
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Thursday, July 9, 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The History of the Search for Cause and Cure
With no known cure for the more than 100 types of arthritis, treating and coping with the painful symptoms have become the core of concern for patients and physicians.
In the 1930's, a bacterial cause for rheumatoid arthritis was investigated but the research was short-lived except for distinct cases of acute infectious or septic arthritis. In 1939, the first real lead regarding an infectious cause for rheumatoid arthritis arose when mycoplasma, an atypical viral-like bacteria, was isolated from the exudate and tissue of rheumatic patients.
Investigators had already shown that mycoplasmas cause arthritis in mice, rats, chickens, goats, and cows. They had found mycoplasmas in the genitourinary tracts of humans too, especially females.
In 1949 at the International Congress on Rheumatic Diseases the possible relationship between mycoplasmas and joint disease was reported. After obtaining one of the first National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants in 1950, Thomas McPherson Brown, M.D. and colleagues at the arthritis research unit reported the following year that the rheumatoid disease mechanism was more of an immunologic reaction of antigen and antibody (with mycoplasma as the suspected antigen) rather than the infectious and transmissible type.
In 1955, the research unit reported that mycoplasmas, unlike bacteria and viruses could live in tissue cell cultures without destroying the tissue cells. To further support mycoplasmas as a causative agent/antigen, in 1964 a high incidence of mycoplasma antibodies in the blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients was found, indicating current or previous infection.
Also recognized was a 4:1 higher incidence of mycoplasma antibodies in females suggesting a correlation with the higher incidences of rheumatoid arthritis in females.
Efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of tetracycline therapy were initiated and first reported over 40 years ago by Thomas McPherson Brown, M.D. Two weeks after Brown's death in 1989, NIH requested grant applications for the controlled clinical trials of tetracycline therapy for rheumatoid arthritis which he had been seeking. The preliminary results of the clinical trials, known now as MIRA or Minocycline in Rheumatoid Arthritis, were promising and the NIH requested grant applications for studies of mycoplasma and other infectious agents as causes for rheumatoid diseases in 1993, and a pilot study for intravenous antibiotics for rheumatoid arthritis in 1994.
The result of the MIRA clinical trial stated, "Patients who suffer from mild to moderate RA now have the choice of another therapeutic agent. Not only did the antibiotic significantly reduce symptoms, but side effects were minimal and less severe than observed for most other common rheumatoid treatments".
Throughout the years, the theories that focus on mycoplasma as the responsible infectious agent and on tetracycline as the antibiotic treatment of choice have been hampered by lack of adequate funding for more research and from politics. "Why Arthritis?" by Harold W. Clark, Ph.D., one of Brown's colleagues, assesses the rheumatoid diseases, decades of research, the search for a cure, and the frustration of researchers whose case for anti-mycoplasma therapy was overlooked for 40 years by the government and various arthritis organizations. Clark believes efforts were impeded because a safe, simple treatment threatens the medical establishment since patients would then require less medical intervention.
Many physicians remain skeptical and still do not suggest antibiotic treatment to their patients. The Arthritis Foundation was seemingly unimpressed even after antibiotic therapy was deemed as safe and effective. The foundation's medical director reportedly said he did not view the treatment as a breakthrough and more study of dosages and long-term use of minocycline is needed.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, "Minocycline is prescribed for patients with symptoms of mild rheumatoid arthritis. It is sometimes combined with other medications to treat patients with persistent symptoms of this form of arthritis."
Monday, July 6, 2015
Screening mammograms don't prevent breast cancer deaths, study finds
By KAREN KAPLAN contact the reporter Medical Research Breast Cancer
The increased use of mammograms to screen for breast cancer has subjected more women to invasive medical treatments but has not saved lives, a new study says.
After reviewing cancer registry records from 547 counties across the United States, researchers concluded that the screening tests aren’t working as hoped. Instead of preventing deaths by uncovering breast tumors at an early, more curable stage, screening mammograms have mainly found small tumors that would have been harmless if left alone.
“The clearest result of mammography screening is the diagnosis of additional small cancers,” researchers reported Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. “These findings suggest widespread overdiagnosis.”
The researchers, from Harvard and Dartmouth, examined data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry. Counties were included in the study if they reported the percentage of women ages 40 and above who had a screening mammogram between 1998 and 2000.
Among the more than 16 million women who lived in these counties, 53,207 were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and then tracked for the next 10 years. During that time, about 15% of them died of breast cancer and an additional 20% died of other causes.
The researchers found that the extent of screening in the 547 counties ranged from 39% to 78%. Ideally, the counties with more widespread screening would see a payoff in the form of lower rates of breast cancer deaths.
Instead, the researchers found “no evident correlation between the extent of screening and 10-year breast cancer mortality,” they wrote.
For every 10-percentage-point increase in screening rates, the incidence of breast cancer rose by 16%, according to the study. That worked out to an extra 35 to 49 breast cancer cases for every 100,000 women.
Most of those tumors were considered small, measuring less than 2 centimeters across. But there was no corresponding decrease in larger tumors the result that would have been expected if mammograms were catching cancers before they grew to a more threatening size.
The researchers also examined breast cancers according to their stage at diagnosis, a marker of a tumor’s aggressiveness. More screening was associated with a higher incidence of early-stage breast cancers but no change for later-stage tumors, according to the study.
How can this be?
“The simplest explanation is widespread overdiagnosis, which increases the incidence of small cancers without changing mortality,” the study authors wrote. “Even where there are 1.8 times as many cancers being diagnosed, mortality is the same.”
The study did not consider cases where mammograms were used to find breast cancers in women who had symptoms of the disease, such as a suspicious lump.
The results are sure to be troubling to those who have faith in the idea that if mammograms are good, more mammograms must be better. If that were the case, the researchers should have found lower breast cancer mortality rates in counties where screening was more widespread, according to a commentary that accompanied the study.
Critics are sure to point out that the researchers can’t tell whether the women who got screening mammograms were the ones diagnosed with the extra cases of small breast cancers, the commentary authors wrote. The study design also leaves open the possibility that a higher incidence of small breast cancers in some counties prompted more women there to get screened, instead of the reverse.
The researchers agreed that people should “be wary” of studies like theirs that examine populations instead of individuals. “However, decisions must be made based on the evidence that is available,” they wrote, and “overdiagnosis is currently not observable in individuals, only in populations.”
The commentary authors, from the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, also noted that this type of study helped link smoking to lung cancer and Pap tests to reduced rates of cervical cancer.
The new study adds to earlier evidence that overdiagnosis is a real problem with screening mammography, though the magnitude of that problem remains unclear. Some studies have estimated that more than half of breast cancers diagnosed as a result of screening mammograms are overdiagnosed, while others put the figure below 10%, according to the commentary.
“Sadly, we are left in a conundrum,” the commentary authors wrote. “Women will increasingly approach their physicians with questions and concerns about overdiagnosis, and we have no clear answers to provide.”
Despite this uncertainty, the study authors endorsed mammograms as a valuable tool to screen women for breast cancer.
“We do not believe that the right rate of screening mammography is zero,” they wrote.
BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Tim Plunkett, of Woodland Hills, takes turmeric to reduce inflammation, but a recent report on what else might be in the bottle turned his stomach.
"The sample that they found, I believe there was like 90 fragments. Of those, whole cigarette beetle larvae and some rodent hair," Plunkett said.
Yes, lurking amidst powdered turmeric was larvae and animal hair.
"We found insect parts in every one of the spices we tested, both organic products as well as regular spices that are on the market. (We) found anywhere from just a few insect parts per two-teaspoon serving to up to 195 insect parts in that same serving size," said Tod Cooperman, president of Consumer Lab.
Consumer Lab has been testing products independently for the last 15 years.
For their turmeric test, they purchased five different brands, organic and standard, looking for heavy metals and filth contamination.
None had high levels of heavy metals, but insect parts ranged from seven to 195 fragments in a two-teaspoon serving.
"People probably don't want to see larvae in their turmeric," Cooperman said.
Plunkett was stunned at the findings.
"Not something I was hoping to supplement with," Plunkett said.
Experts say this may be more of a gross factor than a health risk. The FDA does not set a limit for substances like rodent hairs when it comes to turmeric.
The FDA does set limits for curry powder, which contains turmeric.
That same two-teaspoon serving may contain up to 40 insect fragments or two rodent hairs.
If turmeric was held to that same standard, only one of the five products would have been approved.
Many spices offer health benefits, but a little consumer knowledge and moderate consumption may make a big difference.