Dr. Bray Links

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Colorectal Cancer Screening Should Begin at Age 45: Coalition

Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated its guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, and recommended that screening begin at age 45 for those at average risk for the disease. The update of the ACS guidelines was prompted by recent data showing increased rates of CRC in young and middle-aged populations.

Now a coalition of 22 public health and patient advocacy groups has joined the ACS and submitted a letter to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) asking that the task force reconsider its 2016 guidance, in which it recommends that CRC screening begin at age 50 years and continue until age 75 years. This recommendation is scheduled for review in 2021, but the coalition is asking for earlier action.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/901376

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Curcumin Reverse Methicillin Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus

Curcumin has a significant effect on the protein level of PBP2a. The TEM images of MRSA showed damage of the cell wall, disruption of the cytoplasmic contents, broken cell membrane and cell lysis after the treatment of curcumin. These data indicate a remarkable antibacterial effect of curcumin, with membrane permeability enhancers and ATPase inhibitors, and curcumin did not directly bind to PGN on the cell wall. Further, the antimicrobial action of curcumin involved in the PBP2a-mediated resistance mechanism was investigated. 

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/11/18283

STDs hit all-time highs in US for fourth straight year, CDC reports | Fox News

Sexually-transmitted diseases continue to hit all-time highs in the U.S. with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting a 10 percent spike for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2017. The federal health agency said in a report released Tuesday that the numbers, which include nearly 2.3 million new cases of the aforementioned diseases, reflect a "steep, sustained increase" in STDs since 2013.

"We're sliding backward," Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said. "It is evident the systems that identify, treat and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point."

The data, which was presented at the 2018 STD Prevention Conference, found a 67 percent increase in gonorrhea diagnoses, which officials sounded alarm over due to the growing threat of untreatable strains.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/08/28/stds-hit-all-time-highs-in-us-for-fourth-straight-year-cdc-reports.html

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why saturated fat cannot raise cholesterol levels (LDL levels) | Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

'When the US government introduced "Dietary Goals for the United States", they did not have unanimous support. The guidelines, which urged the public to cut saturated fat from their diet, were challenged by a number of scientists in a Congressional hearing. The findings were not based on sufficient evidence, they argued.

They were ignored. Dr. Robert Olson recounts an exchange he had with Senator George McGovern, in which he said: "I plead in my report and will plead again orally here for more research on the problem before we make announcements to the American public." McGovern replied: "Senators don't have the luxury that the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in.'1

Senator McGovern might as well have said. 'Listen son, we know that saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease, we don't need any damned evidence.' Of course, they didn't have any evidence at all. None. But they still managed to find saturated fat and cholesterol guilty. Some people would call this proper leadership. Make a decision and go with it.

I would call it monumental stupidity.

As you can see I am stepping back in this blog to look at saturated fat – again. Because I am going to share some thinking with you, which I have not really shared before. Some of you will know that I am a 'first principles' kind of guy. I take very little at face value, and I am certainly highly critical of accepted wisdom: I usually translate it, in my mind, into accepted stupidity.

So, I am going to try and explain to you that saturated fat cannot raise blood cholesterol levels. By which I mean low density lipoprotein levels (LDLs) as this is the substance which someone or another ended up calling 'bad' cholesterol. It is the lipoprotein that is thought to cause CVD.

However, LDL is not cholesterol, it never was. We do not have a blood cholesterol level – but we are seemingly stuck with this hopelessly inaccurate terminology for all time.


https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2018/07/03/why-saturated-fat-cannot-raise-cholesterol-levels-ldl-levels/

Warnings About Benzodiazepine Use in the Elderly Go Unheeded

Despite years of warnings about the hazards of prescribing benzodiazepines for the elderly, these drugs continue to be used at a higher rate than what is considered appropriate in older Americans — particularly older women, new data show.

A recent report released by Athena Health shows that individuals older than 65 years are prescribed benzodiazepines — including alprazolam (multiple brands), lorazepam (multiple brands), diazepam (multiple brands), and clonazepam (Klonapin, Roche) — more than other age groups are.

In 2017, 8.4% of individuals aged 65 and older were prescribed one of the drugs, a drop from 8.7% the previous year. Just over 8% of 50- to 64-year-olds were prescribed a benzodiazepine in 2017, compared to 7.5% of those aged 40 to 49 and 6.6% of those aged 30 to 39.

Ten percent of women older than 65 were prescribed a benzodiazepine, compared to just under 6% of men.

The data come from a sample of 3 million patients treated by primary care providers who are part of the Athena Health data network.

The data "are consistent with earlier research that suggests significant benzodiazepine overuse, especially among older adults," Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology, Columbia University, New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/901169

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Five-Year SCOT-HEART Update Indicates CTA Screening Reduces Heart Attack Deaths | MD Magazine

The five-year rate of heart disease death or nonfatal myocardial infarction was lower in patients initially provided CTA imaging (n= 48 [2.3%]) than in patients given standard evaluation (n= 81 [3.9%]), providing investigators a hazard ratio of 0.59 (95% CI; 0.41-0.84; P = .004).

Patients provided CTAs reported similar rates of invasive coronary angiography to standard-care patients (491 vs 502; HR 1.00; 95% CI; 0.88-1.13), as well as in coronary revascularization (279 vs 267; HR 1.07; 95% CI; 0.91-1.27). Investigators noted this difference is improved from earlier follow-up analyses, when patients provided CTAs reported notably greater rates in both procedures.

That said, preventive therapies were more frequently initiated in patients provided CTAs (OR 1.40; 95% CI; 1.19-1.65), as were antianginal therapies (OR 1.27; 95% CI; 1.05-1.54). Newby noted that there's often a "big to-do" in the idea of providing a patient preventive aspirin therapy on top of statins. He advocated against it, but noted it has its place in coronary treatment.

https://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/fiveyear-scotheart-update-indicates-cta-screening-reduces-heart-attack-deaths

Top Infectious Disease News of the Week-August 19, 2018

Health officials across the United States are investigating an increase in Cyclospora cases reported in a multistate outbreak which has been linked back to salads sold at McDonald's locations throughout the country.

The most recent case counts reveal that there have been 476 confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis related to this outbreak spanning 15 states; the majority of cases, or 246, have been reported in Illinois.
 
As of August 16, 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that all illnesses associated with the Cyclospora outbreak started on or after May 20, with the median illness onset date of June 29. The cases have been confirmed in individuals between the ages of 14 and 91; the median age of those infected is 53. Additionally, the CDC reports that 66% of those affected in the outbreak are female. There have been 21 hospitalizations, but no deaths have been reported at this time. Illnesses that began after July 5, 2018, may not be reported or confirmed yet. 

https://www.contagionlive.com/news/top-infectious-disease-news-of-the-week-august-19-2018?p=3

Aspirin disappoints for avoiding first heart attack, stroke | Fox Business

Taking a low-dose aspirin every day has long been known to cut the chances of another heart attack, stroke or other heart problem in people who already have had one, but the risks don't outweigh the benefits for most other folks, major new research finds.

Although it's been used for more than a century, aspirin's value in many situations is still unclear. The latest studies are some of the largest and longest to test this pennies-a-day blood thinner in people who don't yet have heart disease or a blood vessel-related problem.

One found that aspirin did not help prevent first strokes or heart attacks in people at moderate risk for one because they had several health threats such as smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Another tested aspirin in people with diabetes, who are more likely to develop or die from heart problems, and found that the modest benefit it gave was offset by a greater risk of serious bleeding.

Aspirin did not help prevent cancer as had been hoped.

And fish oil supplements, also tested in the study of people with diabetes, failed to help.

"There's been a lot of uncertainty among doctors around the world about prescribing aspirin" beyond those for whom it's now recommended, said one study leader, Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford in England. "If you're healthy, it's probably not worth taking it."

https://www.foxbusiness.com/healthcare/aspirin-disappoints-for-avoiding-first-heart-attack-stroke

No level of alcohol consumption is healthy, scientists say | Fox News

When it comes to drinking alcohol, the healthiest thing to do is abstain entirely, according to a large, wide-ranging report published by scientists.

Alcohol led to 2.8 million premature deaths in 2016; it was the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability in the 15 to 49 age group, accounting for 20 percent of deaths, according to the researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who carried out the study.

Globally, 27.1 percent of cancer deaths in women and 18.9 percent in men over age 50 were linked to the their drinking habits, according to the study's findings, which were published in the Lancet medical journal.

Researchers investigated the health effects of alcohol consumption in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016—using data from 694 studies to find out how common drinking was and from 592 studies to determine health risks.

The study, which received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also analyzed whether moderate levels of drinking could have health benefits—which previous studies have indicated.


http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/08/26/no-level-alcohol-consumption-is-healthy-scientists-say.html

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Eyelid dermatitis: Experience in 203 cases

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) was found more often than expected, because it is often a shampoo ingredient. However, it is now in many products including Dove soap, so adults have ample opportunity for exposure. CAPB in eye makeup remover or eye cosmetics22 or in contact lens solution23 can cause contact dermatitis of the eyelids. Apparently, it may also be hand-transferred, because it was seemingly a factor for several patients in this series who ostensibly were exposed to it in a shampoo.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962202001585?via%3Dihub

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Changes in midlife death rates across racial and ethnic groups in the United States: systematic analysis of vital statistics | The BMJ

Mortality in midlife in the US has increased across racial-ethnic populations for a variety of conditions, especially in recent years, offsetting years of progress in lowering mortality rates. This reversal carries added consequences for racial groups with high baseline mortality rates, such as for NH blacks and NH American Indians and Alaskan Natives. That death rates are increasing throughout the US population for dozens of conditions signals a systemic cause and warrants prompt action by policy makers to tackle the factors responsible for declining health in the US.

https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3096

Report Finds Traces of a Controversial Herbicide in Cheerios and Quaker Oats - The New York Times

An environmental research and advocacy group has found traces of a controversial herbicide in Cheerios, Quaker Oats and other breakfast foods that it says could increase cancer risk for children.

The report comes amid longstanding debate about the safety of the chemical glyphosate, which federal regulators maintain is not likely to cause cancer.

In its report, released Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group said that it tested 45 samples of breakfast foods made from oats grown in fields sprayed with herbicides. Then, using a strict standard the group developed, it found elevated levels of glyphosate in 31 of them.

"There are levels above what we could consider safe in very popular breakfast foods," said Alexis Temkin, the group's toxicologist who helped with the analysis in the report.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/15/health/herbicide-glyphosate-cereal-oatmeal-children.html

Full-Fat Milk Could Cut Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack, Study Says

Consuming dairy products such as milk and cheese could cut the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a study that challenged the commonly held belief that dairy is harmful. 

Marcia Otto, lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health, said in a statement: "Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults."

One fatty acid present in dairy was actually found to potentially lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke, she said.

Popular baby foods contain 'worrisome levels' of heavy metals, study finds | Fox News

Still, of the brands and samples studied, "15 of the foods would pose potential health risks to a child regularly eating just one serving or less per day."

Those 15 food items include: Earth's Best Organic Chicken & Brown Rice; Earth's Best Turkey, Red Beans and Brown Rice; Gerber Chicken & Rice; Gerber Turkey & Rice; Sprout Organic Baby Food Garden Vegetables Brown Rice with Turkey; Gerber Lil' Meals White Turkey Stew with Rice & Vegetables; Gerber Carrot, Pear & Blackberry; Gerber Carrots Peas & Corn with Lil' Bits; Plum Organics Just Sweet Potato Organic Baby Food; Beech-Nut Classics Sweet Potatoes; Earth's Best Organic Sweet Potatoes, 1st Stage; Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal; Earth's Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars, Strawberry; Happy Bab Organics Superfood Puffs, Apple & Broccoli; and Happy Baby Organics Superfood Puffs, Purple Carrot & Blueberry.

Researchers also determined baby and toddler foods labeled as "organic" did not mean these products were safer or contained less heavy metals than non-organic foods.

The effects from these heavy metals are long-term, not short-term, according to the Consumer Reports study. The long-term effects can result in serious complications, such as different types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and cognitive issues, among other potential side effects.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/08/17/popular-baby-foods-contain-worrisome-levels-heavy-metals-study-finds.html

First Biomarker Evidence Autism Is Linked to DDT

"This study provides the first evidence, using a marker of an insecticide in the blood, that a pregnant mother's exposure to this organic pollutant is related to an increased risk of autism in her offspring. Previous studies were based, for example, on proximity to sites that were contaminated with these pollutants," lead investigator Alan S. Brown, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

"The study," he said, "offers potential implications for understanding a pathway regarding how autism might develop from a prenatal exposure and could have policy implications for public health regarding testing for, and minimizing exposure to, environmental pollutants."

The study was published online August 16 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/900776

New Warning About Benzodiazepine Use and Dementia Risk

Yet another study has linked benzodiazepine use to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD).

"Even though the association between benzodiazepine use and Alzheimer's disease was small in this study, the threshold for prescribing these drugs should be high enough due to their overall adverse effect profile, including higher risk of falls and hip fractures," lead author Vesa Tapiainen, MD, PhD, a student in the School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, told Medscape Medical News.

These drugs are often used to treat sleep problems, but their efficacy for this indication diminishes over time, whereas the risks for adverse events remain, she added.

"Physicians should consider the risks and benefits, as well as appropriate duration of treatment, before prescribing these drugs," said Tapiainen.

Although other studies have linked benzodiazepines with AD risk, Tapiainen believes this one is the largest to date.

The study was published in the August issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/900813

Monday, August 13, 2018

White House called toxins contamination 'PR nightmare'

 Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.

Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.

"You all made me out to be a liar," Hagey, general water and sewer manager in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Warminster, told Environmental Protection Agency officials at a hearing last month. The meeting drew residents and officials from Horsham and other affected towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and officials from some of the other dozens of states dealing with the same contaminants.

https://apnews.com/2ca497384f01401394f4fbdd7e9aeb1d/Toxins-turning-up-in-dozens-of-public-water-systems

Monday, August 6, 2018

More Evidence for Gut-Brain Link in Alzheimer's Disease

First, lower serum concentrations of primary bile acids synthesized in the liver from cholesterol were significantly associated with worse cognitive function, decreased hippocampal volume, and decreased brain glucose metabolism.

Second, higher serum concentrations of secondary bile acids produced in the gut by bacteria were significantly associated with higher CSF phosphorylated tau and CSF total tau levels, as well as larger brain structural atrophy and decreased brain glucose metabolism.

Third, higher serum concentrations of ratios of bacterially produced secondary bile acids to primary bile acids were significantly associated with lower CSF Aβ1-42 values, larger brain structural atrophy, and decreased brain glucose metabolism.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/899956

Better Prevention and Treatment of Tick-borne Diseases Needed

The incidence of tick-borne disease in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate, officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases say. They call on public health and biomedical researchers to double down on efforts to better understand the pathogenesis of tick-borne illnesses and to develop improved strategies for prevention and management.

Citing a report released earlier this year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating that the number of tick-borne diseases reported in the United States has more than doubled in the last 13 years, Catharine I. Paules, MD, from the Office of the Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues suggest this is a conservative estimate.

"The public health burden of tickborne pathogens is considerably underestimated," the authors write in a perspective article published online July 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine. "For example, the CDC reports approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease per year but estimates that the true incidence is 10 times that number." The authors attribute this discrepancy to limitations in surveillance and reporting systems, as well as constraints imposed by diagnostics that rely heavily on serologic assays.

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/900249

Low Acetyl-L-Carnitine a New Biomarker for Major Depression?

"In rodent experiments led by Dr Nasca, both here at Rockefeller and elsewhere previously, a deficiency of acetyl-L-carnitine was associated with depression-like behavior," McEwen said in the press release.

"They also showed that [LAC] is one of the vital connecting biomarkers in developing depression as a reaction to stress," Rasgon added in speaking to Medscape Medical News.

Interestingly, LAC supplementation administered intravenously or orally to the rats who had depression-like traits led to "rapid and lasting antidepressant-like effects."

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/900130

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The classic EDCs, phthalate esters and organochlorines, in relation to abnormal sperm quality: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Nonetheless, our systematic review with meta-analysis, together with the review of possible mechanisms, provides a better explanation of the impact of classic EDCs on sperm quality. However, future research is needed to examine the following: (1) the biomarker of testis function and human fertility should be well defined in an epidemiology study, and the analysis of sperm quality parameters need to be normalized; (2) the size of adequate samples, occupational exposure to specific EDCs, longitudinal instead of cross-sectional studies, and multi-center studies need to be conducted; (3) due to potential interactions between different EDCs on sperm quality, co-exposure to mixtures of EDCs, as well as their interactions or combined effects should be investigated; (4) for a better understanding of classic EDC-induced abnormal sperm quality, mechanism studies should be focused on low-dose, long-term, and co-exposure; and (5) both human studies and animal experiments are needed on transgenerational effects (e.g. DNA methylation) of EDCs because epigenetic effects as a result of EDC exposure can subsequently change the sperm quality of future generations.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep19982

Fullerenes as Anti-Aging Antioxidants. - PubMed - NCBI

Here we review fullerenes biological effects focusing on their antioxidant and anti-ageing action. A scope of various poisonous and healing properties reported in literature for fullerene and its derivatives is analyzed. The review begins with the history of fullerenes discovery and their main properties. Then we focus on the longevity and antioxidant action, including the confrontation of available experimental data and theoretical modeling of buckminsterfullerene C60. Special attention is given to our hypothesis concerning the possibility of fullerenes to act as mitochondria protonophore and various simulations of the transport of C60 and its hydroxylated and other derivatives through lipid bilayer membranes, which can account for scavenging capacity of fullerenes for reactive oxygen species and their acting as mild mitochondrial respiration uncouplers. Extension of the theoretical modeling to the mitochondria membranes and implications on the real biological systems is analyzed. Finally, we focus on the toxicity evaluation and current therapeutic usage of fullerenes. The review contains a comprehensive discussion of both papers published by 2016 and our own research results.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27659261