Dr. Bray Links

Monday, February 29, 2016

Microbiome Medicine Summit

Our 33 experts will present ground-breaking information and a whole new perspective that could help you improve your emotional and physical wellbeing!

The Microbiome Medicine Summit is online and FREE from February 29 - March 7, 2016

Did you know that your body is mostly bacteria? According to research we are 50% bacteria! These trillions of organisms (known collectively as the microbiome) live all over our bodies and have a profound influence on our health. But what do you know about your microbiome? Understanding your microbiome is vitally important to understanding how to live a healthy life! This is especially true for people suffering from chronic diseases of the heart and digestive system, autoimmune disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders and more.

Did you know? The bacteria in your microbiome influence your health by:

  • Strengthening your immune system
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Impacting genetic expression
  • Improving metabolism
  • Controlling caloric absorption
  • Guiding your brain
  • And more!

Mammogram-Induced Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality

Assuming there are 80 million women over the age of 40 in the United States, the current use of annual mammograms causes approximately 100,000 to 200,000 cases of breast cancer (due to the ionizing radiation), while saving the lives of 774,400 women. Getting a screening mammogram every 2 years (rather than annually) reduces the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer 5-fold. A regular clinical breast exam is still advised since many breast cancers can be silent on mammogram.

"Annual screening of 100 000 women aged 40 to 74 years was projected to induce 125 breast cancer cases (95% CI, 88 to 178) leading to 16 deaths (CI, 11 to 23), relative to 968 breast cancer deaths averted by early detection from screening. Women exposed at the 95th percentile were projected to develop 246 cases of radiation-induced breast cancer leading to 32 deaths per 100 000 women. Women with large breasts requiring extra views for complete examination (8% of population) were projected to have greater radiation-induced breast cancer risk (266 cancer cases and 35 deaths per 100 000 women) than other women (113 cancer cases and 15 deaths per 100 000 women). Biennial screening starting at age 50 years reduced risk for radiation-induced cancer 5-fold."

Ann Intern Med. 2016 Feb 16;164(4):205-14. doi: 10.7326/M15-1241. Epub 2016 Jan 12.
Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality From Digital Mammography Screening: A Modeling Study.
Miglioretti DL, Lange J, van den Broek JJ, Lee CI, van Ravesteyn NT, Ritley D, Kerlikowske K, Fenton JJ, Melnikow J, de Koning HJ, Hubbard RA.

Exposure to ionizing radiation from repeated mammography examinations may increase breast cancer risk (1, 2). Radiation-induced breast cancer incidence and mortality associated with recommended screening strategies are suggested to be low relative to breast cancer deaths prevented (3–5). However, prior projected population risks were based on exposure from screening only and assumed only 4 standard views per screening examination at the mean radiation dose. Evaluations of screening programs should consider full episodes of care, including diagnostic work-up prompted by an abnormal screening result (6). False-positive recalls, breast biopsies, and short-interval follow-up examinations are relatively common in the United States and add radiation exposure from diagnostic mammography (7). Some subgroups of women, such as obese women and those with dense breasts, are more likely to have additional evaluations (7–9), which may increase their risk for radiation-induced cancer.

When risk for radiation-induced breast cancer is being evaluated, it may also be important to consider variation in radiation dose from a single examination. Examinations vary in the number of views performed and dose per view; therefore, some women receive more than the mean dose. The American College of Radiology Imaging Network DMIST (Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial) found an average radiation dose of 1.86 mGy to the breast from a single digital mammography screening view (10), but dose per view varied from 0.15 to 13.4 mGy (Supplement), and 21% of digital screening examinations used more than 4 views (10). Radiation dose is strongly correlated with compressed breast thickness; thus, women with large breasts tend to receive greater doses per view and may require more than 4 views for complete examination (10, 11). Women with breast augmentation receive implant-displacement views in addition to standard screening views, which doubles their radiation dose (12). Women may have repeated views because of movement artifacts or improper breast positioning.

We estimated the distribution of cumulative radiation dose and associated breast cancer risk from full screening episodes to identify subgroups of women who may have a greater risk for radiation-induced cancer because they have factors contributing to greater doses per examination or frequent false-positive screening results that lead to additional radiation exposure from subsequent diagnostic work-up. Using population-based data from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) (13), we estimated the probability of a false-positive screening result followed by additional imaging evaluation, short-interval follow-up, or biopsy. We used data from the BCSC, DMIST, and other sources in 2 simulation models to estimate radiation exposure and radiation-induced breast cancer incidence and mortality associated with 8 potential screening strategies with different starting ages (40, 45, or 50 years) and screening intervals (annual, biennial, or a hybrid strategy).


Biennial strategies were consistently the most efficient for average-risk women. Biennial screening from age 50 to 74 years avoided a median of 7 breast cancer deaths versus no screening; annual screening from age 40 to 74 years avoided an additional 3 deaths, but yielded 1988 more false-positive results and 11 more overdiagnoses per 1000 women screened. Annual screening from age 50 to 74 years was inefficient (similar benefits, but more harms than other strategies). For groups with a 2- to 4-fold increased risk, annual screening from age 40 years had similar harms and benefits as screening average-risk women biennially from 50 to 74 years. For groups with moderate or severe comorbidity, screening could stop at age 66 to 68 years.


Recommendations: The USPSTF recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years. (B recommendation)The decision to start screening mammography in women prior to age 50 years should be an individual one. Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin biennial screening between the ages of 40 and 49 years. (C recommendation)The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening mammography in women aged 75 years or older. (I statement)The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) as a primary screening method for breast cancer. (I statement)The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of adjunctive screening for breast cancer using breast ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative screening mammogram. (I statement)



Screening Test
Physician Breast Exam
Self Breast Exam
Mammography – average breasts
Mammography – dense breasts
Breast MRI

Sensitivity = If a person has breast cancer, how often will the test be positive (true positive rate)?

Specificity = If a person does not have breast cancer how often will the test be negative (true negative rate)?


CONCLUSIONS: Whereas the majority of patients had image-detected breast cancer, a significant number of image-screened patients presented with palpable disease, which were more aggressive cancers. Until imaging techniques are refined, self breast exam (SBE) and clinical breast exam (CBE) remain important for breast cancer diagnosis.


CONCLUSION: Based on the results of this study involving 1008 subjects for screening of breast cancer, thermography turns out to be a very useful tool for screening. Because it is non-contact, pain-free, radiation free and comparatively portable it can be used in as a proactive technique for detection of breast carcinoma.


Phthalates Linked to Testosterone Reductions in Both Genders

Increased urinary levels of endocrine-disrupting phthalates, found in flexible plastic and some personal-care products, are associated with significant declines in testosterone levels not just in men, but in women and children as well, according to research published online August 14 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"We found associations between markers of phthalate exposure and testosterone levels among multiple age groups and in both sexes, including children — 6- to 12-year-old boys and girls, and girls ages 12 to 20," lead author John D. Meeker, ScD, CIH, told Medscape Medical News.


"The novel findings presented here for reduced testosterone among women may be of high public-health significance, because androgen deficiency among women may impair sexual function, libido, energy, cognitive functions, bone density, cardiovascular function, and overall well-being," they write.

Dr. Meeker said it is not easy to fully understand the clinical implications of the work, however. "Because our study was conducted on the population level, it is difficult to interpret how our findings might affect the individual, and some individuals may be more susceptible than others," he said.

"Things are also complicated by the fact that most products that contain phthalates aren't labeled as such, making it very difficult for clinicians to be able to make sound recommendations for patients to avoid or reduce exposure."



Where Are Phthalates?
1. Packaging
2. Cosmetic Products
3. Household Products
4. Medical and Personal-Care Products

5 Ways to Avoid Phthalate Exposure
1. Avoid Foods Stored in Plastic
2. Use Homemade Hair and Skin Care Products
3. Use Glass Containers
4. Look for DEP-Free Products
5. Cleanse Your Body

Testosterone deficiency in women?

While there is substantial evidence of the importance of endogenous and exogenous estrogen in reproductive health and chronic disease, there is little consideration of androgens in women's health. In the Michigan Bone Health Study (1992–1995), the authors examined the correlates of testosterone concentrations in pre- and perimenopausal women (i.e., age, menopausal status, body composition, and lifestyle behaviors) in a population-based longitudinal study including three annual examinations among 611 women aged 25–50 years identified through a census in a midwestern community. Current smokers had the highest testosterone concentrations with decreasing values in former and nonsmokers (p = 0.0001). Body composition measures (body mass index, body fat (%), weight (kg), lean body mass (kg), and fat mass (kg)) were significantly and positively associated with total testosterone concentrations in a dose-response manner. Hysterectomy with oophorectomy was associated with significantly lower testosterone concentrations. Alcohol consumption, physical activity, and dietary macronutrient intake were not associated with testosterone concentrations. This is one of the first studies to examine correlates of serum testosterone concentrations in anticipation of the growing interest in the role of androgens in women's health. The greater circulating levels of testosterone in obese women and smokers suggest that testosterone concentrations should be considered in the natural history of disease conditions where obesity and smoking are risk factors, including cardiovascular disease.


Who may be affected?
Most of the current clinical experience with androgens and androgen deficiency has been in post-menopausal women who complain of decreased sexual desire after cessation of menses, and are not helped by estrogen replacement therapy alone. The question of androgen deficiency has largely been ignored in pre-menopausal women. Testosterone levels have usually been measured in this population only when looking for excess production in women complaining of facial hair, loss of scalp hair, infertility, or acne. A recent presentation at the 2000 Female Sexual Function Forum meeting in Boston revealed that 36 premenopausal and 38 postmenopausal women complaining of decreased libido also had decreased total and free plasma testosterone levels as well as decreased levels of DHEA-S.

Guidelines for assessing androgen deficiency
Assays for plasma total testosterone have been available for over 40 years, and the levels are shown to decrease with age in women, as they do in men. The relatively newer free testosterone assay has been in use for a decade, and whether by equilibrium dialysis or by direct radioimmunoassay, it is felt to be more accurate because it measures the amount of testosterone available for activity in the tissues.

However, very little data are available on normal ranges for these assays. Even the known data, using total testosterone, suffer from the general flaw that none of the women used for the normal ranges were screened for any type of sexual problems, including decreased sexual desire. Until better data exist, a plasma total testosterone level of <25 ng/dL in women under 50 years old, and <20 ng/dL in women aged 50 or older, is indicative of androgen deficiency. For the free testosterone assay by direct radioimmunoassay, the guide is used that in women under the age of 50, a level of <1.5 pg/mL, and in women over the age of 50, a level of <1.0 pg/mL, is indicative of androgen deficiency. If the values are even slightly above the levels mentioned, it should be considered borderline, and a clinical trial of androgen may be in order if the symptoms are suggestive. More accurate and consistent data are available for the measurement of DHEA-S. This hormone also decreases with age. A recent analysis has suggested two age-related curves, one for lean and one for obese women. According to a clinic’s experience, in women under the age of 50 with DHEA-S levels of <150 ng/dL a diagnosis of decreased adrenal DHEA production is appropriate. Similarly, the diagnosis of adrenal DHEA production should be considered in women aged 50 or older whose DHEA-S levels are <100 ng/dL.

There are no clear guidelines for evaluating women who might have androgen deficiency. Only recently has there been acknowledgement of the need for clear guidelines for measuring decreased androgen levels. In reality, women may develop symptoms of androgen deficiency at any age, from their teen years through late adulthood. The chief symptom is often a decrease in sexual interest, which is not often acknowledged. Another common symptom is fatigue, a symptom associated with many clinical conditions and therefore not likely to increase your suspicion of androgen deficiency. Ask female patients about decreased sexual desire and sexual fantasies, as many are reluctant to mention these problems. In many instances physicians have been quick to ascribe sexual problems to anxiety, depression, premenstrual syndrome, or lack of sleep-especially during the child-rearing years. Peri-menopausal women may complain of decreased sexual desire at the onset of their life cycle changes, attributing it to these changes. This may be the time to test for androgen deficiency. Also, in the postmenopausal woman, test the testosterone levels if decreased sexual desire does not improve after 6 months of estrogen replacement or if she declines such therapy.


Autoimmune hypothyroidism causes more than just thyroid troubles

Hypothyroidism affects about 5% of the US population. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.  It is characterized by elevated thyroid autoantibodies. It turns out that other associated autoantibodies may also be causing problems. Antibodies to alpha-enolase are associated with abnormalities in cellular energy and brain function.


Hashimoto's encephalopathy (HE) is a rare not well understood, progressive and relapsing multiform disease, characterized by seizures, movement disorders, subacute cognitive dysfunction, psychiatric symptoms and responsiveness to steroid therapy. The disorder is generally associated with thyroid diseases and the most common feature is the presence of anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOAb). Patients are usually euthyroid or mildly hypothyroid at presentation. All age groups can be affected. The pathophysiology is still unclear, especially the link between elevated serum TPOAb and the encephalopathy. Most reported cases occurred in women and girls. Unspecific symptoms, non-pathognomonic laboratory neurophysiology and neuroimaging features make its diagnosis a real challenge for clinicians. The case of a 16year old boy, with a clinical picture of HE associated with hypothyroidism, demonstrating an excellent response to high dose steroids is presented together with a systematic review of the literature.


A 67-year-old man receiving antithrombotic therapy developed rapidly progressive amnesia. T2-weighted images of brain MRI revealed hyperintense lesions in the bilateral thalami accompanied by microbleeds. Antithyroglobulin antibodies and autoantibodies against the N-terminal of α-enolase (NAE) were identified in the patient's serum; therefore, Hashimoto's encephalopathy (HE) was suspected. Although the patient's radiological findings improved following steroid therapy, his symptoms did not improve, possibly due to increased thalamic microbleeds. Because anti-NAE antibodies are possibly associated with vasculitis, HE accompanied by anti-NAE antibodies may be exacerbated by microbleeds in patients receiving antithrombotic therapy.


Consistent with this hypothesis, autoantibodies to alpha-enolase have been found to be associated with Hashimoto's encephalopathy.[5] Since enolase is the penultimate step in glycolysis, if it were inhibited (for example by being bound by autoantibodies) one would expect decreased energy production by each cell, leading to resulting atrophy of the affected organ.

This would occur most likely through each cell shrinking in size in response to the energy deficit (and/or in extreme situations from some cells dying via either apoptosis or necrosis, depending on location).[6] This may occur as a result of there not being enough ATP to maintain cellular functions: notably failure of the Na/K ATPase, resulting in a loss of the gradient to drive the Na/Ca antiporter which normally keeps Ca2+ out of cells so that it does not build to toxic levels that will rupture cell lysosomes leading to apoptosis. An additional feature of a low energy state is failure to maintain axonal transport via Dynein/Kinesin ATPases, which in many diseases results in neuronal injury to both the brain and/or periphery).[7]


New era for ME/CFS research as top cytokine study attracts media headlines

The immune systems of patients who have recently developed ME/CFS look markedly different from those who have been ill for much longer, according to a major new study from Drs. Ian Lipkin and Mady Hornig at Columbia University. This shift in immune profile hadn’t been seen before.

“Perhaps the most significant evidence yet that chronic fatigue syndrome has a biological basis”, said the Wall Street Journal. The immune signature discovered might eventually be the “basis of the first diagnostic test for the illness”, said The New York Times. The prestigious New Yorker magazine mentions the study too.

This feels like a new era of ME/CFS research: big, rigorous studies by top researchers and clinicians, with media interest to match. Many more such studies are in the pipeline, including Dr. Montoya’s related immune profiling work, the large Open Medicine Institute immune gene sequencing project, and the huge CDC multi-clinic studies.

If other researchers can confirm the finding that there is an important difference between short and long duration patients — an important qualification — this work could change how we understand, study and look for treatments in ME/CFS.


“It appears that ME/CFS patients are flush with cytokines until around the three-year mark, at which point the immune system shows evidence of exhaustion and cytokine levels drop … This shows there are distinct stages to the disease.” — Dr. Mady Hornig



‘Super lice’ outbreak hits 25 states

A strain of so-called ‘super lice’ has hit a reported 25 states, causing concern and frustration among parents because the bugs can’t be killed with most over-the-counter treatments. The treatments, known as pyrethroids, had a 100 percent success rate in 2000 against lice but now only work in 25 percent of cases, KSDK.com reported.

A new FDA-approved treatment called AirAlle, which was developed by Lice Clinics of America, has been found to be effective against the super lice, with treatments costing about $170.

“We use heated air, and we dehydrate the lice and the eggs in a single treatment,” Claire Roberts, CEO of Lice Clinics America, told KSDK.com. “It takes about an hour, and we guarantee it.”

While some insurance companies will cover the cost of treatment, experts say the likely best medicine in this situation is prevention. Parents should teach their children about the repercussions of sharing hats, hairbrushes and contact with another’s hair, KDSK.com reported.

For those parents whose children do come home with lice, experts caution not to panic and to stick to what they know. Old-fashioned nit-picking will help but may take longer than usual. Experts instruct parents to vacuum where hair has fallen, wash bedding in hot water, and throw stuff animals and clothing in a hot dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.

A graphic from the American Chemical Society, an advocacy group for the chemical enterprise, illustrates which states have reported outbreaks, which span from the West to the Northeast and the South.


Pap smears prevent cancer ... do HPV vaccines?

All drugs are associated with some risks of adverse reactions. Because vaccines represent a special category of drugs, generally given to healthy individuals, uncertain benefits mean that only a small level of risk for adverse reactions is acceptable. Furthermore, medical ethics demand that vaccination should be carried out with the participant's full and informed consent. This necessitates an objective disclosure of the known or foreseeable vaccination benefits and risks. The way in which HPV vaccines are often promoted to women indicates that such disclosure is not always given from the basis of the best available knowledge. For example, while the world's leading medical authorities state that HPV vaccines are an important cervical cancer prevention tool, clinical trials show no evidence that HPV vaccination can protect against cervical cancer. Similarly, contrary to claims that cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, existing data show that this only applies to developing countries. In the Western world cervical cancer is a rare disease with mortality rates that are several times lower than the rate of reported serious adverse reactions (including deaths) from HPV vaccination. Future vaccination policies should adhere more rigorously to evidence-based medicine and ethical guidelines for informed consent.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (Cerverix) vitamins, amino acids, lipids, mineral salts, aluminum hydroxide, sodium dihydrogen phosphate dehydrate, 3-O-desacyl-4’ Monophosphoryl lipid A, insect cell, bacterial, and viral protein

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (Gardasil) yeast protein, vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts, carbohydrates, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (Gardasil 9) yeast protein, vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts, carbohydrates, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate


Washington, D.C.—January 16, 2016– [Globe Newswire] –Dr. Sin Hang Lee, MD, Director, Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, has submitted an official, open-letter complaint to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, alleging gross misconduct, malfeasance and what potentially amounts to criminal behavior to mislead the global public regarding the safety of HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.

Dr. Lee has submitted a lengthy letter detailing communications between health officials from the US, Canada, Japan, and the WHO, which demonstrate that these officials knew that HPV vaccines cause an inflammatory reaction greater than other vaccines, yet reassured the public in official hearings and statements that the vaccines were safe.

Specifically, certain chemicals contained in the HPV vaccines have been demonstrated to trigger the release of cytokines or proteins called tumor necrosis factors (TNF) in the body. TNF cytokines can cause cell death. The release of TNF can also result in a wide range of reactions such as tumor regression, septic shock (serious whole-body inflammatory response that can result in dangerously low blood pressure and death), and cachexia (a wasting syndrome where the body loses weight, becomes fatigued, and muscles atrophy). Administration of TNF has been proven to cause death in humans and animals.


Johnson & Johnson hit with $72m damages over failing to warn about the association of talc and ovarian cancer

A jury in the US state of Missouri has ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay $72m (£51m) to the family of a woman who claimed her death was linked to use of the company's Baby Powder talc.

Jackie Fox from Birmingham, Alabama died of ovarian cancer last year, aged 62, having used the talc for decades.

Her family argued that the firm knew of talc risks and failed to warn users.

J&J denied the claim and is said to be considering an appeal. Researchers say links with ovarian cancer are unproven.

A company spokeswoman said: "We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial.

"We sympathise with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence."

Other cases pending
The verdict at the end of the three-week trial was the first time damages have been awarded by a US jury over talc claims.

More than 1,000 similar cases are pending nationwide and lawyers said thousands more could now be filed.

Is talc safe?
There have been concerns for years that using talcum powder, particularly on the genitals, may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

But the evidence is not conclusive. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies talc used on the genitals as "possibly carcinogenic" because of the mixed evidence.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

What's in a flu vaccine in 2016?

Influenza (Afluria) beta-propiolactone, thimerosol (multi-dose vials only), monobasic sodium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, monobasic potassium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, sodium taurodeoxycholate, neomycin sulfate, polymyxin B, egg protein, sucrose

Influenza (Agriflu) egg proteins, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, neomycin sulfate, kanamycin, barium

Influenza (Fluarix) Trivalent and Quadrivalent octoxynol-10 (Triton X-100), alpha-tocopheryl hydrogen succinate, polysorbate 80 (Tween 80), hydrocortisone, gentamicin sulfate, ovalbumin, formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, sucrose, phosphate buffer

Influenza (Flublok) monobasic sodium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, polysorbate 20, baculovirus and host cell proteins, baculovirus and cellular DNA, Triton X-100, lipids, vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts

Influenza (Flucelvax) Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell protein, MDCK cell DNA, polysorbate 80, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, beta-propiolactone, phosphate buffer

Influenza (Fluvirin) nonylphenol ethoxylate, thimerosal (multidose vial–trace only in prefilled syringe), polymyxin, neomycin, beta-propiolactone, egg proteins, phosphate buffer

Influenza (Flulaval) Trivalent and Quadrivalent thimerosal, formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, egg proteins, phosphate buffer

Influenza (Fluzone: Standard (Trivalent and Quadrivalent), High-Dose, & Intradermal) formaldehyde, octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton X-100), gelatin (standard trivalent formulation only), thimerosal (multi-dose vial only) , egg protein, phosphate buffers, sucrose

Influenza (FluMist) Quadrivalent ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed porcine gelatin, arginine, sucrose, dibasic potassium phosphate, monobasic potassium phosphate, gentamicin sulfate, egg protein

Nonylphenols are a family of closely related organic compounds called alkylphenols. They are used in manufacturing antioxidants, lubricating oil additives, laundry and dish detergents, emulsifiers, and solubilizers.[2] These compounds are also precursors to the commercially important non-ionic surfactants alkylphenol ethoxylates and nonylphenol ethoxylates, which are used in detergents, paints, pesticides, personal care products, and plastics. Nonylphenol has attracted attention due to its prevalence in the environment and its potential role as an endocrine disruptor and xenoestrogen, due to its ability to act with estrogen-like activity.[3] Nonylphenol has been found to act as an agonist of the GPER (GPR30).[4]

Thiomersal (INN), commonly known in the U.S. as thimerosal, is an organomercury compound. This compound is a well established antiseptic and antifungal agent. The pharmaceutical corporation Eli Lilly and Company gave thiomersal the trade name Merthiolate. It has been used as a preservative in vaccines, immunoglobulin preparations, skin test antigens, antivenins, ophthalmic and nasal products, and tattoo inks.[3] Its use as a vaccine preservative was controversial, and it was phased out from routine childhood vaccines in the European Union, and a few other countries in response to popular fears.[4]

MSG is one of several forms of glutamic acid found in foods, in large part because glutamic acid (an amino acid) is pervasive in nature. Glutamic acid and its salts may be present in a variety of other additives, including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate, which must be specifically labeled. Since 1998, MSG cannot be included in the term "spices and flavorings". The ribonucleotide food additives disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate are usually used with monosodium glutamate-containing ingredients. However, the term "natural flavor" is used by the food industry for glutamic acid (chemically similar to MSG, lacking only the sodium ion). The Food and Drug Administration does not require disclosure of components and amounts of "natural flavor."[Gov. 10]


Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government.

The government is expected to receive a bill of approximately £60 million, with each of the 60 victims expected to receive about £1 million each.

Peter Todd, a lawyer who represented many of the claimants, told the Sunday Times: "There has never been a case like this before. The victims of this vaccine have an incurable and lifelong condition and will require extensive medication."

Following the swine flu outbreak of 2009, about 60 million people, most of them children, received the vaccine.

It was subsequently revealed that the vaccine, Pandemrix, can cause narcolepsy and cataplexy in about one in 16,000 people, and many more are expected to come forward with the symptoms.

Across Europe, more than 800 children are so far known to have been made ill by the vaccine.


Carbohydrate density ... the modern diet versus the ancestral diet

A novel hypothesis of obesity is suggested by consideration of diet-related inflammation and evolutionary medicine. The obese homeostatically guard their elevated weight. In rodent models of high-fat diet-induced obesity, leptin resistance is seen initially at vagal afferents, blunting the actions of satiety mediators, then centrally, with gastrointestinal bacterial-triggered SOCS3 signaling implicated. In humans, dietary fat and fructose elevate systemic lipopolysaccharide, while dietary glucose also strongly activates SOCS3 signaling. Crucially however, in humans, low-carbohydrate diets spontaneously decrease weight in a way that low-fat diets do not. Furthermore, nutrition transition patterns and the health of those still eating diverse ancestral diets with abundant food suggest that neither glycemic index, altered fat, nor carbohydrate intake can be intrinsic causes of obesity, and that human energy homeostasis functions well without Westernized foods containing flours, sugar, and refined fats. Due to being made up of cells, virtually all "ancestral foods" have markedly lower carbohydrate densities than flour- and sugar-containing foods, a property quite independent of glycemic index. Thus the "forgotten organ" of the gastrointestinal microbiota is a prime candidate to be influenced by evolutionarily unprecedented postprandial luminal carbohydrate concentrations. The present hypothesis suggests that in parallel with the bacterial effects of sugars on dental and periodontal health, acellular flours, sugars, and processed foods produce an inflammatory microbiota via the upper gastrointestinal tract, with fat able to effect a "double hit" by increasing systemic absorption of lipopolysaccharide. This model is consistent with a broad spectrum of reported dietary phenomena. A diet of grain-free whole foods with carbohydrate from cellular tubers, leaves, and fruits may produce a gastrointestinal microbiota consistent with our evolutionary condition, potentially explaining the exceptional macronutrient-independent metabolic health of non-Westernized populations, and the apparent efficacy of the modern "Paleolithic" diet on satiety and metabolism.

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:175-89. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S33473. Epub 2012 Jul 6.
Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity.
Spreadbury I1.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Residents Spend 5 Hours on Electronic Charts per Day

Internal medicine residents spend at least 5 hours per day entering patients' data into electronic health records (EHRs), researchers say.

The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that computers gobble a huge proportion of healthcare providers' time.

"[T]o address resident satisfaction and thus improve motivation to provide patient-centered quality care, reducing the time residents spend on clinical documentation should be a priority," write Lu Chen, a medical student at the Department of Medicine, New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, and colleagues.

Their study appeared in an article published in the February issue of the Journal of Graduate Medical Education.

Whereas some evidence suggests EHRs can improve the quality of care, the amount of time physicians spend on the records is emerging as an important issue. For example, switching from paper charts to electronic ones reduced productivity among residents by 30% at a hospital in Moreno Valley, California, researchers reported previously.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Seven Tips to Raising Healthy Boys | Meg Meeker, M.D.

  1. Know how to encourage your son. One fault is babying and spoiling him. But another is being so harsh that you lose communication with your son and destroy his sense of self-worth. We'll look at how to strike the right balance.
  2. Understand what your boys need. Guess what? It's not another computer game; it's you. We'll look at how to get the most of your time with your son.
  3. Recognize that boys were made for the outdoors. Boys love being outside. A healthy boy needs that sense of adventure—and the reality check that the outdoors gives him.
  4. Remember that boys need rules. Boys instinctively have a boy code. If you ­don't set rules, however, they feel lost.
  5. Acknowledge that virtue is not just for girls. Boys should, indeed, be boys—but boys who drink, take drugs, and have sex outside of marriage ­aren't "normal" teenagers, they have been abnormally socialized by our unfortunately toxic culture. Today, my practice as a pediatrician has to deal with an epidemic of serious, even life-threatening, problems—physical and psychological—that were of comparatively minor concern only forty years ago. A healthy boy strives after virtues like integrity and self-control. In fact, it is virtues like these that make a boy's transition to manhood possible. They are necessary virtues, and he needs your help to acquire them. I'll show you how.
  6. Learn how to teach your son about the big questions in life. Many parents shy away from this, either because they are uncomfortable with these questions themselves, or want to dismiss them as unimportant or even pernicious, or because they ­don't want to "impose" their views on their children. But whatever one's personal view, your son wants to know—and needs to know—why he's here, what his purpose in life is, why he is important. Boys who ­don't have a well-grounded understanding on these big questions are the most vulnerable to being led astray into self-destructive behaviors.
  7. Remember, always, that the most important person in your son's life is you. Being a parent can often seem a daunting task. But I'm here to tell you that almost every parent has what it takes to raise healthy sons. You have the intuition, the heart, and, yes, the responsibility to change the life of your son for the better.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Healthy Home Tips: School Lunches

Here are some examples of school lunches our staff put together for their own kids:

Almond butter and jam on whole wheat
Organic cherry tomatoes
Organic watermelon wedges and blueberries
Fruit leather -- look for natural brands or make your own

Brown rice and bean chili in a thermos
Organic sliced carrots
Tortilla chips and fresh tomato salsa
Organic Apple slices

Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat
Handful of cashews
Organic sweet corn
Organic peach

Tomato soup in a thermos
Small chicken or turkey wrap or sliced cooked chicken
Organic cucumber slices with lime and salt
Organic grapes mixed with carrot slices



Your Healthy Home Checklist

Ready to create an eco-healthy home?

We created this Healthy Home Checklist for you to use as you walk through your home -- and open your bathroom cabinet, look under your sink, and check those laundry supplies. It's an easy, hands-on way to create a less toxic environment for your family. When you're done, you'll breathe easier (literally!) knowing that you've tackled the toxics that matter most in your home.

  • Do you cook with non-stick cookware? Replace with cast-iron, stainless steel, or glass when possible. Stuck with it? Take care not to overheat it, which releases toxic fumes. Learn more.
  • Do you use plastic food containers? We recommend glass over plastic. Never microwave food in plastic containers. For baby, use glass or BPA-free plastic bottles. Learn more.
  • Do you filter your tap water? Check EWG's online tap water quality database for local contaminants and a filter that removes them, if needed. Look up your water.
  • Do you drink bottled water? Kick the habit. For water on-the-go, get a reusable water bottle, like stainless steel (not plastic or aluminum lined with plastic). Learn more.
  • Any canned food in the pantry? Cook with fresh or frozen whenever possible; most food cans (including liquid infant formula) are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA), a toxic chemical that leaches into the food. Learn more.
  • Do you eat conventionally grown produce? Check EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce to be sure you buy organic when pesticide residues are highest.
  • Do you use iodized salt? You should. Iodine is necessary to maintain healthy thyroid function. Learn more in our video.
  • Do you eat high-mercury fish? Ask before eating and head for the lower-mercury types (especially for pregnant women and young children). Get the safe fish list.

  • Do you use air fresheners? Don't! Most contain a number of toxic chemicals that contaminate the air you breathe.
  • Is there fragrance in your personal care products? We don't know what's in "fragrance," so it's safer to choose all fragrance-free personal care products. Always check ingredient lists to be sure. Learn more.
  • What kind of toothpaste do you use? Choose fluoride-free for kids younger than 2 and teach older kids to rinse and spit; fluoride is toxic if swallowed. Also, pick a paste without triclosan -- you'll see it on the ingredient list. Learn more about fluoride and triclosan.
  • Do you use liquid hand soap? If so, avoid anti-bacterials -- the American Medical Association recommends against using them at home. Learn more.
  • What material is your shower curtain? Avoid vinyl shower curtains. If you get a new curtain (whatever the material), leave it outside for several days before using.
  • Do you have extra products? Less is more. Skipping cosmetics like hair spray and detangler, body sprays and powder is less toxic -- and cheaper! Learn more at EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

  • Are your cleaners green? It's hard to know without a full ingredient list, which most products don't have. Find greener cleaners at EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
  • Do your product labels list all ingredients? Most don't, but they should. Support companies that disclose all ingredients by buying their products -- you have a right to know. Learn more about labeling.
  • Do you need all those products? Most homes can be safely cleaned with a few non-toxic ingredients: vinegar (it's anti-bacterial), baking soda, water, a HEPA vacuum, microfiber mops and cloths -- and some elbow grease! Skip laundry products you don't need, like dryer sheets, fabric softener, and chlorine bleach. Learn more.

  • Was your home built before 1978? If so, it probably contains lead paint. When repainting, use a wet sanding technique to reduce dust, choose low VOC paints and always paint with the windows open for good ventilation. Keep kids away from rehab dust and loose chips. Learn more.
  • Got foam furniture? Foam products (like stuffed furniture and mattresses) are often treated with toxic fire retardants, so keep them well-covered. Ask whether a product is treated before you buy and choose naturally fire-resistant materials, like cotton and wool, when possible. Don't "protect" your fabrics and carpets with sprayed-on chemical coatings -- simply clean spills quickly. Learn more.
  • Do you use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)? They contain mercury and should be handled and disposed of with care. Use them where there's no danger of breaking near children; clean up broken bulbs quickly and safely. Learn more.
  • Do you use pesticides or insecticides? Try non-toxic alternatives first; pesticides are a last resort. If you choose to use them, store them out of reach of children. Organic gardening is healthier for kids and pets, since they live closer to the ground.
  • Do you have a wood deck, picnic table or playground set? Those made before 2005 likely contain arsenic. Test to confirm and either replace with safer wood or reduce your exposure by sealing it, replacing high-use areas and washing hands after touching, especially before eating. Learn more.
  • What materials are your kids' toys made from? Top contaminants to avoid are: lead paint, play make-up, cadmium and lead in play jewelry, and phthalates in soft plastics (like teethers and rubber duckies). Choosing non-toxic toys for young kids is especially important because so many end up in their mouths.



More Healthy Home Tips:


Are You a Toxic Waste Disposal Site?

Nicholas Kristof Nicholas Kristof FEB. 13, 2016

EVEN if you’re not in Flint, Mich., there are toxic chemicals in your home. For that matter, in you.

Scientists have identified more than 200 industrial chemicals — from pesticides, flame retardants, jet fuel — as well as neurotoxins like lead in the blood or breast milk of Americans, indeed, in people all over our planet.

These have been linked to cancer, genital deformities, lower sperm count, obesity and diminished I.Q. Medical organizations from the President’s Cancer Panel to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics have demanded tougher regulations or warned people to avoid them, and the cancer panel has warned that “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’”

They have all been drowned out by chemical industry lobbyists.

So we have a remarkable state of affairs:

  • Politicians are (belatedly!) condemning the catastrophe of lead poisoning in Flint. But few acknowledge that lead poisoning in many places in America is even worse than in Flint. Kids are more likely to suffer lead poisoning in Pennsylvania or Illinois or even most of New York State than in Flint. More on that later.
  • Americans are panicking about the mosquito-borne Zika virus and the prospect that widespread infection may reach the United States. That’s a legitimate concern, but public health experts say that toxic substances around us seem to pose an even greater threat.

“I cannot imagine that Zika virus will damage any more than a small fraction of the total number of children who are damaged by lead in deteriorated, poor housing in the United States,” says Dr. Philip Landrigan, a prominent pediatrician and the dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“Lead, mercury, PCBs, flame retardants and pesticides cause prenatal brain damage to tens of thousands of children in this country every year,” he noted.

Yet one measure of our broken political system is that chemical companies, by spending vast sums on lobbying — $100,000 per member of Congress last year — block serious oversight. Almost none of the chemicals in products we use daily have been tested for safety.

Maybe, just maybe, the crisis in Flint can be used to galvanize a public health revolution.

In 1854, a British doctor named John Snow started such a revolution. Thousands were dying of cholera at the time, but doctors were resigned to the idea that all they could do was treat sick patients. Then Snow figured out that a water pump on Broad Street in London was the source of the cholera. The water company furiously rejected that conclusion, but Snow blocked use of the water pump, and the cholera outbreak pretty much ended.

This revelation led to the germ theory of disease and to investments in sanitation and clean water. Millions of lives were saved.

Now we need a similar public health revolution focusing on the early roots of many pathologies.

For example, it’s scandalous that 535,000 American children ages 1 to 5 still suffer lead poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The poisoning is mostly a result of chipped lead paint in old houses or of lead-contaminated soil being tracked into homes, although some areas like Flint also have tainted tap water.

While the data sets are weak, many parts of America have even higher rates of child lead poisoning than Flint, where 4.9 percent of children tested have had elevated lead levels in their blood. In New York State outside New York City, it’s 6.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent. In part of Detroit, it’s 20 percent. The victims are often poor or black.

Infants who absorb lead are more likely to grow up with shrunken brains and diminished I.Q. They are more likely as young adults to engage in risky sexual behavior, to disrupt school and to commit violent crimes. Many researchers believe that the worldwide decline in violent crime beginning in the 1990s is partly a result of lead being taken out of gasoline in the late 1970s. The stakes are enormous, for individual opportunity and for social cohesion.

Fortunately, we have some new Dr. Snows for the 21st century.

A group of scholars, led by David L. Shern of Mental Health America, argue that the world today needs a new public health revolution focused on young children, parallel to the one mounted for sanitation after Snow’s revelations about cholera in 1854. Once again, we have information about how to prevent pathologies, not just treat them — if we will act.

The reason for a new effort is a vast amount of recent research showing that brain development at the beginning of life affects physical and mental health decades later. That means protecting the developing brain from dangerous substances and also from “toxic stress” — often a byproduct of poverty — to prevent high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which impairs brain development.

A starting point of this public health revolution should be to protect infants and fetuses from toxic substances, which means taking on the companies that buy lawmakers to prevent regulation. Just as water companies tried to obstruct the 19th-century efforts, industry has tried to block recent progress.

Back in 1786, Benjamin Franklin commented extensively on the perils of lead poisoning, but industry ignored the dangers and marketed lead aggressively. In the 1920s, an advertisement for the National Lead Company declared, “Lead helps to guard your health,” praising the use of lead pipes for plumbing and lead paint for homes. And what the lead companies did for decades, and the tobacco companies did, too, the chemical companies do today.

Lead poisoning is just “the tip of the iceberg,” says Tracey Woodruff, an environmental health specialist at the University of California at San Francisco. Flame-retardant chemicals have very similar effects, she says, and they’re in the couches we sit on.

The challenge is that the casualties aren’t obvious, as they are with cholera, but stealthy and long term. These are silent epidemics, so they don’t generate as much public alarm as they should.

“Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain” have been linked to conditions like autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, noted The Lancet Neurology, a peer-reviewed medical journal. Yet we still don’t have a clear enough sense of what is safe, because many industrial chemicals aren’t safety tested before they are put on the market. Meanwhile, Congress has dragged out efforts to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act and test more chemicals for safety.

The President’s Cancer Panel recommended that people eat organic if possible, filter water and avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. All good advice, but that’s like telling people to avoid cholera without providing clean water.

And that’s why we need another public health revolution in the 21st century.


  • Eat real, organic food. This means avoiding chemical additives in processed and refined foods, pesticides in conventional produce, and antibiotic residue in conventionally raised animal products.
  • Use natural personal care products. What we put on our skin may be even more important than what we put in our mouth when it comes to toxins.
  • Reduce exposure to toxins in your home. The Environmental Working Group has a great “Healthy Home” checklist, which includes suggestions like storing food in glass or stainless steel instead of plastic, using natural laundry detergent, and avoiding vinyl shower curtains. I’ve also written about the importance of testing for mold in your home if you suspect you may be exposed.

Omega-3 In Plants

While the essential (which means humans require this in their diet) fat omega-3 is found in high levels in certain fish, most seafood that Americans eat on a regular basis like our white fish and shrimp are not very high in omega-3. Additionally, there are growing concerns about contaminants in fish and concentrated fish oil including mercury and PCBs. Finally, there are also increasing concerns about the rancidity and oxidation of over-the-counter omega-3 supplements changing a once healthy oil into a harmful one. With all of these concerns, it is good to consider other natural and fresh sources of omega-3.

It is interesting that fish high in omega-3 also require omega-3 in their own diet. In the case of these fish, they get their omega-3 from sea vegetables and blue-green algae.

Now, when the topic of plant-based omega-3 is raised, it is important to introduce the complicating fact that there are a whole family of omega-3 fats with varied biologic properties. The omega-3 family of fats contains differently size molecules and differently structured molecules. Most of us have heard about the health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in animal (including grass-fed beef), fish, or cod-liver oils. Most pregnant women know that breast milk is high in DHA and supports brain development of their child. However, most plant-based omega-3 sources do not contain much DHA / EPA. Most plant-based omega-3 sources are high in Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is another type of omega-3. ALA is found in plant sources like flax, chia, hemp, walnuts, and vegetables. ALA is inefficiently converted into DHA and EPA in humans through multiple energy-dependent enzymatic steps.

Other common plant sources of omega-3:
  • Sea vegetables
  • Blue-green algae
  • Microalgae oil
  • Ground Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil
  • Chia Seeds and Chia Oil
  • Hemp Seeds and Hemp Oil
  • Walnuts and Walnut Oil
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Winter Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Collard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Grape Leaves
  • Wild Berries

Our grocery store has a very limited diversity of the edible plants from our environment. Many plants that are deemed "weeds" and eradicated from landscapes are indeed very nutritious and can be produced cheaply, without pesticides, and eaten much fresher than salad from our local store. Purslane is one example.



Purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) deserves special attention from agriculturalists as well as nutritionists. Purslane is a common weed in turfgrass areas as well as in field crops [1, 2]. Many varieties of purslane under many names grow in a wide range of climates and regions. Purslane has wide acceptability as a potherb in Central Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean region. It is an important component of green salad and its soft stem and leaves are used raw, alone, or with other greens. Purslane is also used for cooking or used as a pickle. Its medicinal value is evident from its use for treatment of burns, headache, and diseases related to the intestine, liver, stomach, cough, shortness of breath, and arthritis. Its use as a purgative, cardiac tonic, emollient, muscle relaxant, and anti-inflammatory and diuretic treatment makes it important in herbal medicine. Purslane has also been used in the treatment of osteoporosis and psoriasis.

Recent research demonstrates that purslane has better nutritional quality than the major cultivated vegetables, with higher beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid [3]. Additionally, purslane has been described as a power food because of its high nutritive and antioxidant properties [4]. Different varieties, harvesting times, and environmental conditions can contribute to purslane's nutritional composition and benefits [5].

Purslane is popular as a traditional medicine in China for the treatment of hypotension and diabetes. Scientifically, it is not proven to have antidiabetic effects, but still people use it for this purpose. An experiment has been carried out for the extraction of crude polysaccharide(s) from purslane to investigate the hypoglycemic effects of these constituents with animal tests for the use of this plant in the treatment of diabetes [6].

Purslane is a very good source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic is an omega-3 fatty acid which plays an important role in human growth and development and in preventing diseases. Purslane has been shown to contain five times higher omega-3 fatty acids than spinach. Omega-3 fatty acids belong to a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids essential for human growth, development, prevention of numerous cardiovascular diseases, and maintenance of a healthy immune system [7]. Our bodies do not synthesise omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore omega-3 fatty acids must be consumed from a dietary source. Omega-3 fatty acids contain 18 to 24 carbon atoms and have three or more double bonds within its fatty acid chain [8]. Fish is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. Health authorities highly recommend that we consume fish regularly to meet our bodies' requirements of omega-3 fatty acids, as other sources are limited and do not supply nearly as much omega-3 fatty acids [9]. Purslane has recently been identified as the richest vegetable source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid [10]. The lack of dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids has resulted in a growing level of interest to introduce purslane as a new cultivated vegetable [11, 12]. Purslane flourishes in numerous biogeographical locations worldwide and is highly adaptable to many adverse conditions such as drought, saline, and nutrient deficient conditions [13].


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saliva Test for Lung Cancer

A new "liquid biopsy" that can detect biomarkers of lung cancer in saliva is moving closer to becoming a reality.

This noninvasive method is able to detect circulating tumor DNA in saliva and has the potential to dramatically cut waiting time for biopsy results, as well as reduce cost and inconvenience to patients.

In a presentation given at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), David T. W. Wong, DMD, DMSc, Felix and Mildred Yip Endowed Professor and associate dean of research, School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, discussed a new prototype of the device, called electric field–induced release and measurement (EFIRM), that is able to detect biomarkers in saliva for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The device has a high degree of accuracy in comparison with current sequencing technology, according to Dr Wong, and can assist with clinical treatment decisions involving tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in patients with NSCLC.

It is able to detect actionable EGFR mutations in NSCLC patients with 100% concordance with biopsy-based genotyping, Dr Wong said, and it can detect the most common EGFR gene mutations that are treatable with TKIs, such as gefitinib (Iressa, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP) or erlotinib (Tarceva, Genentech/Roche).

"The first indication for the new test will be lung cancer," Dr Wong told Medscape Medical News. "The majority of lung cancers are non–small cell lung carcinomas, in which 20% have actionable mutations in the EGFR gene that can be effectively treated with gefitinib to prolong survival of patients by 1 to 1.5 years."

Testing will not be restricted to NSCLC. "After lung cancer, any type of human cancer can be detected, as circulating tumor DNA is universal," he said. "Our finding that the ctDNA comes into saliva and that EFIRM is the technology that can detect the ctDNA with near perfect sensitivity is the perfect platform."


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Advancing Research and Clinical Education

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 1 pm ET

We may know chronic fatigue syndrome by several other names, myalgic encephalomyelitis and systemic exertion intolerance disease among them. Doctors and scientists have not yet found what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. Infections and other medical and biological events are among the many possible triggers, but with no certain cause this disease is difficult to diagnose. A systematic approach to evaluating people with persistent symptoms combined with new diagnostic criteria offers hope for more accurate and faster diagnosis.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a devastating disorder. There is a lot about this disease that we don't know, but what we know for sure is that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are suffering. Patients experience not only extreme fatigue, but often many other symptoms such as impaired thinking and insomnia. This condition can persist for years, and those with chronic fatigue syndrome are often unable to work, participate in daily activities, or attend school. Over the past several years, research has shined new light on this complex condition. The Institute of Medicine is encouraging healthcare providers to look at chronic fatigue syndrome in new ways.

In this session of Public Health Grand Rounds, our expert panel of clinicians, epidemiologists, and researchers will discuss how they approach diagnosis and treatment in their own practices, how the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome have changed over the years, and how the public health community can continue to improve knowledge and understanding of this complex disorder.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Exercise, Meditation a Double Threat for Major Depression

A combination of aerobic exercise and focused-attention meditation performed twice weekly significantly improves symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) after just 8 weeks, new research shows.

"[We found that] combining these two important behaviors into people's lives might be particularly beneficial," lead author Brandon Alderman, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, told Medscape Medical News.

"The data show meaningful improvements in cognitive function and symptoms of depression," he added.

Meditation and exercise are both commonly recommended for the treatment of depression. However, there have been no studies of the benefits of the two measures combined as a structured intervention, the authors report.

The study was published online February 2 in Translational Psychiatry.

Significant Symptom Reduction

For the study, the investigators enrolled 52 participants in Rutgers' counseling and psychiatric services clinic, including 22 with a diagnosis of nonpsychotic MDD (5 men, 17 women) and 30 healthy control participants (10 men, 20 women) who had no diagnosis of MDD and no previous or current history of neuropsychiatric disorders or head injuries.

All participants received the intervention, dubbed mental and physical (MAP) training. The regimen consisted of two sessions per week, beginning with 30 minutes of the focused-attention mediation followed by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.

After the 8-week intervention, patients with MDD were found to have a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, as assessed on the basis of self-reported measures on the Beck Depression Inventory–II (BDI-II), as well improvement in overall rumination measures, compared with baseline and with healthy control particpants (both P < .001).


Whole Foods makes long-awaited splash in Gainesville market

Whole Foods makes long-awaited splash in Gainesville market
By Anthony Clark

Whole Foods is bringing one of its new smaller, lower-cost grocery stores to Gainesville.

The organic and natural foods supermarket chain announced in its quarterly earnings report Wednesday that Gainesville is one of five cities where it recently signed leases to open its 365 by Whole Foods Market stores, making Gainesville one of the first 13 cities to receive the 30,000-square-foot average sized store.

The first 365 is scheduled to open in May in Los Angeles, one year after Whole Foods announced the new format designed to appeal to younger shoppers.

The website 365bywfm.com says the new store will be at Butler Town Center.

A Butler Enterprises spokeswoman said she couldn't confirm new leases until tenants sign off on news releases.

Butler Town Center is planned for smaller shops around a walkable main street configuration in the eastern part of the plaza closest to Southwest 34th Street that will be demolished once Wal-Mart relocates to the Butler North expansion later this year. Lowe’s was the first store to move to Butler North from Butler East.

Whole Foods is the largest and best known natural and organic foods supermarket in the U.S. with 435 stores and 91,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. Fortune magazine named Whole Foods to its 100 Best Companies to Work For list 18 years running.

In addition to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, Butler Enterprises has announced that Butler North will house a relocated Sam’s Club and Gainesville’s first Dick’s Sporting Goods. The city has also received permit applications for an Aldi supermarket, Orangetheory Fitness, Jimmy John’s and Jersey Mike’s Subs.

Another Aldi is in the works for Northwest 13th Street and 39th Avenue. Lucky’s Market and Earth Fare opened organic grocery stores in Gainesville last year. Butler Plaza also has a Trader Joe’s grocery store and two Publix supermarkets.