Monday, June 29, 2015
Fireworks safety is personal to me. When I was in junior high school, one of my classmates had to have his hand amputated because he was holding a firework that exploded too soon, right in my classmate's hand. He was just 13 years old.
Earlier, when I was a little girl, I was badly burned by a sparkler. For some reason the general public commonly regards sparklers as benign, and therefore safe for children. But they can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees, which can catch clothing on fire.
Fireworks mishaps are at their peak on the Forth of July, but as well all know, people get a bit antsy and start with the fireworks before the 4th and continue for about a month. More than 600 people will be treated on the Fourth of July for fireworks-related injuries. Aside from that spike on the 4th, every day during the first three weeks of July over 200 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries.
Some of those injuries are fatal. In 2013, the most recent statistics available, there were eight deaths due to fireworks-related injuries. There were more than 11,000 injuries, which was an increase of about 3,000 over the previous year. Many of those injuries resulted in the amputation of fingers and hands. Injuries also affected the head, face, and ears as well as the torso, legs and eyes.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued these tips on how to stay safe around fireworks-related products:
1. Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before buying or using them
2. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
3. Always have an adult nearby to supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
4. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, which is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
5. Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.
6. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
8. Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
9. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
10. Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
11. Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
12. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.
Fireworks-related items can permanently damage your hearing. We should only be exposing our ears to sounds that are below 85 decibels, which is about as loud as someone shouting across a room. Anything above that can damage the inner ear and lead to hearing loss. Fireworks are far above the safe level, at 162 decibels.
The best way to protect your ears from noise damage is to separate yourself from the noise, and if that's not possible, wear personal protective equipment like noise-cancelling headphones.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at 888/ATF-BOMB (888/283-2662).
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Most of us would like to know which foods are good for us and which ones to avoid. But when you try to figure this out, do you find yourself confused and overwhelmed?
You're not alone. Dietary recommendations keep changing as we learn more how various foods affect our bodies. To make matters worse, many health professionals are still stuck in the past and haven't caught up with the latest research. The end result is conflicting advice from doctors, dieticians, and other leaders in the healthcare arena.
One of the biggest divides is whether we should eat saturated fat. Back in the 1990s saturated fat, such as the type in eggs, butter and meat, was demonized. We were told if you consumed saturated fat, such as cream, you'd keel over with a heart attack.
Now, however, we know that's not true. In fact, the latest research shows saturated fat is actually good for us, provided it's natural, meaning it's not corrupted with chemical additives. Saturated fat is the best means by which to raise your HDL cholesterol, also knows as "good" cholesterol.
You want your HDL to be as high as possible. So by all means, eat saturated fat, provided you don't have any other intolerance to it. For example, red meat can raise estrogen levels and inhibit weight loss, so for this reason, I eat it sparingly. Dairy products such as cream, cheese, and butter cause some of us problems because of the casein, which has been linked to cancer, and allergic reactions. For these reasons some folks should limit dairy consumption, but not because of the saturated fat content.
There are fantastic sources of saturated fat. Topping the list is coconut oil. This has been linked to brain health, even mitigating symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS and dementia. I take a tablespoon a day and cook with it almost exclusively. It's also a natural antimicrobial so it strengthens your immune system.
Eggs are also a fantastic source of saturated fat. Recently the U.S. goverment reversed its previous warnings to steer clear of eggs, saying now, that the cholesterol in eggs does not translate into higher blood cholesterol. So go ahead and eat eggs, even the yolk. The best eggs are ones that are pastured...not to be confused with "pasteurized." Pastured eggs are from chickens that roam around outside and eat bugs, which is what they are supposed to eat. The other kinds of eggs are from chickens that eat an unnatural diet of things like corn, which is not what chickens would eat in the wild.
Another great source of fat are the Omega-3 fats, such as fish oil. The best type of fish oil is derived from wild, cold-water fish, such as salmon. Try to eat it a couple of times a week. Albacore tuna is also good. The problem with fresh fish is you don't want to eat too much of it because of the mercury content.
So a good idea is to supplement with a fish oil. Get one that has the EPA and DHA amounts on the label. Take enough to get about 750 milligrams to one gram of DHA every day.
Polyunsaturated fats are wonderful, such as walnuts, almonds, and other nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Consume these every day if you can. I manage to do it by making a salad each day that includes walnuts and a half an avodaco, topped with salad dressing made with olive oil.
Hint: make your own salad dressing. It's easy and the ones in the store are bad, even the ones that contain olive oil because it's usually only a tiny amount of olive oil combined with other unhealthy ingredients.
On the other hand, Omega-6 oils should be avoided. These are the vegetable oils, like soybean oil, corn oil, etc. which includes margarines and mayonnaise. Technically, Omega-6 oils are not bad for us. The problem arises when we eat too many of them compared to how many Omega-3 fats.
We should be consuming just about equal amounts of Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Most Americans, however, consume 20 times more Omega-6s than Omega-3s. That imbalance causes massive inflammation. The reason we eat so many Omega-6s is because they are in many processed, packaged foods as well as fast foods. Omega-3s, on the other hand are pretty rare, and as I stated above, are usually only consumed in cold water fish.
Undoubtedly the worst fat of all, the one that should be avoided at all costs, is hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenated oil is also called trans fat. Like the name suggests, hydrogenated oil is oil that has been infused with hydrogen. This process is highly unnatural. It was invented to prolong the shelf life of packaged foods, among other things.
Shortening, such as Crisco, is a trans fat. Other than that, you will almost exclusively find trans fats in processed foods, especially baked goods, like cookies and crackers.
On a molecular level, trans fats are similar to plastic. Our bodies have no idea how to process them because they are completely foreign, as they are manufactured in a lab, not grown in nature. Trans fats have been strongly linked to heart disease and brain dysfunction.
The way to avoid them is to read the list of ingredients on any item you are thinking about eating. If you see the word "hydrogenated" you know that food contains a trans fat. Do not eat it.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
We spend a lot of time talking about preventing sunburn, and for good reason. A person's risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. More than 90 percent of melanoma cancers are due to skin cell damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. Melanoma is responsible for more than 9,000 skin cancer deaths each year. In 2011, more than 65,000 melanoma cancers were diagnosed. I was one of them.
I noticed a mole on my back always itched when I got out of the shower. So I went to the dermatologist, who took one look at that mole and said, "That's melanoma." Of course, to be certain, he performed a biopsy on that mole, and of course, it tested positive for melanoma.
I was sent to a surgeon, who cut-off the mole (and a huge chunk of skin surrounding it) and was told he THINKS he got it all. They never promise they got it all. After all, it only takes one microscopic, stray cell to migrate to the lymphatic system, at which point it can travel to any part of the body, such as the abdomen, and grow into a sizeable tumor.
As with all cancers, the survival rate for melanoma largely depends on how soon the melanoma was detected and removed. We should all see a dermatologist once a year for a full body exam. However, most melanomas are detected by the patient at home, not the doctor in the office.
Therefore, get familiar with what your body looks like. Be on the lookout for moles that could be melanoma. Look EVERYWHERE, such as between your toes and between your legs! Get someone to look in areas you can't see, or do some fancy work with your mirrors. As I mentioned, moles that itch, like mine did, should be looked at by your dermatologist, but there are many other things to consider. In a nutshell, they are called...
THE ABCs OF SKIN CANCER
A=Asymmetry (a word that means NOT symmetrical): If you draw a line through the middle of your mole and the two sides match, that means it's symmetrical, which is good. But if the two halves do not match that means it's asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma.
B=Border: You want to be on the lookout for uneven borders, which can be trouble. See a dermatologist if the edges of your mole are notched or scalloped. Non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders.
C=Color: If your mole is more than one color, it could be melanoma. Benign moles usually are just one color, and that color is usually brown. However, problem moles that should be looked at by a dermatologist have a number of different shades of brown, tan or black. Some melanomas could even be blue or red, even white.
D=Diameter: The size of mole matters. Look for ones that are larger in diameter than a pencil eraser, which is about 1/4 inch, as a warning. Smaller moles tend to be benign.
E=Evolving: Evolving means changing. Know what your moles look like and see your dermatologist if a mole doesn't look the way it used to look. That was something I noticed about the mole on my back that turned out to be melanoma. Not only did it itch, but it also was getting bigger! Be on the look out for all kinds of change, not just size, including changing shape, color, elevation, or any new symptom such as bleeding or crusting.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Many sunscreens do not offer the protection we think they do, or even what they claim to offer. Therefore, while we should definitely continue to use sunscreens, we need to avoid developing a false sense of security about their ability to protect us and our loved ones.
Such a miscalculation can lead to sunburns, which can cause deadly skin cancer....not to mention a world of hurt.
There are two types of rays: UVA and UVB. Until recently, health experts thought only the UVB rays were dangerous. For that reason, the SPF number on a sunscreen only refers to how well it protects against UVB rays.
Now we know that the UVA rays are also dangerous. That means the first thing you must do when choosing a sunscreen is make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, by choosing one that offers "broad spectrum" protection.
Secondly, choose one with an SPF of at least 30. But be careful not to be fooled by an extremely high SPF numbers, such as 50.
Consumer Reports tested 34 sunscreens and found that one-third of them failed to meet their SPF and water-resistant claims...some were way-off, up to 70 percent wrong.
Most of those failing products had an SPF of below 30. Then there were errors on the other side. Coppertone ClearlySheer for Beach and Pool SPF 50+ tested as an SPF 37 and Banana Boat Sport Performance with Powerstay Technology SPF 100 tested as an SPF 36.
Another problem Consumer Reports uncovered was that the sunscreens didn't hold up very well in water. The lesson learned from that is that we should indeed purchase waterproof sunscreens, but make sure to re-apply them after getting out of the water.
Towel-dry first so that you apply the sunscreen to dry skin. Even if you're not in the water, make sure to re-apply sunscreen at least every two hours, but more frequently if you do get wet, which includes sweat.
As any parent knows, applying sunscreen every time their child comes out of the water is nearly impossible. That's why it's best not to rely too heavily on sunscreens to protect your youngsters. We must take other precautions.
This goes not only for kids, but for all of us. In fact, research show that people who rely on sunscreen alone tend to burn more than those who stay in the shade and wear long sleeves.
Try to avoid the sun or stay in the shade when the sun is the strongest, which is from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wear a hat and clothing made from tightly woven fabric. Dark colors are better at blocking UV rays. Hold clothing up to the light. If you can see through it, the rays can get through it, too.
In order to avoid the common mistakes people tend to make when it comes to applying sunscreens, keep these tips in mind:
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside.
- Make sure you use at least one teaspoon of sunscreen on each body part. The face, head and neck counts as one body part, as does one arm. Also one leg. The chest and abdomen count as one body part. The back plus the back of the neck is another.
- Watch out for spray-on sunscreens due to the risk of inhaling toxic ingredients. In fact, Consumer Reports recommends avoiding the use of spray sunscreens on children, who are at the gratest risk of complications from inhaling them. If you absolutely must use a spray sunscreen on a child, at least spray it into your hand first, then rub it on your little one. Sprays tend to miss their mark when it's windy. Don't spray directly on your face. And since spray sunscreens are flammable, don't go near an open flame until it dries on the skin.
So when it comes to outdoor activities, make sure to wear sunscreen...shoot for one that offers "broad spectrum" protection with an SPF of 30 to 50. Choose a lotion and use lots of it, reapplying early and often.
But whatever you do, don't rely on that sunscreen as your only protection against the harmful rays of the sun. Try to avoid the harshest midday rays. And while outside, wear protective clothing and seek shade whenever possible.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
By now you've heard about the dangers of sugar, particularly added sugars. It's a genuine health crisis. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That's drastically more than our bodies are equipped to handle.
As a result, this excess sugar literally destroys our bodies in nearly every way imaginable. We're just not designed to process that much sugar.
Experts now know that heart disease is caused by inflammation, as are a whole host of other health problems. Inflammation is caused by a diet too high in sugar. Too much sugar leads to obesity, which in turn puts us at high risk for a myriad of other health problems, such as cancer, diabetes,and arthritis.
As a result of increased education about the dangers of sugar, more people are trying to steer clear of the stuff. That's good.
However, there is a certain type of sugar that is flying under the radar. People are eating it thinking it's healthy, but it's not. Far from it. In fact, it's worse than regular sugar.
It's called fructose.
Fructose is what makes fruit taste sweet. Fructose, which comes from fruit, is different from glucose, which is in table sugar. Our bodies react to fructose and glucose in different ways, and as you'll see, fructose is usually worse.
For starters, our body metabolizes fructose differently than glucose. Fructose goes straight to the liver, where it is promptly converted to stored fat, particularly belly fat, which, because of its close proximity to vital organs, is an especially dangerous type of fat, as opposed to fat in the hips and thighs.
Unlike glucose, fructose doesn't raise leptin. This is very bad because leptin is a hormone that tells us when we're full. That feeling of fullness, the feeling of satisfaction is called "satiety."
It triggers your brain that you've had enough and you don't want more. Fructose does not activate that trigger, so you just want more and more of the stuff. There's no "off" switch! Fructose does not tell your body that it's satiated.
Fructose also can lead to insulin resistance. Like leptin, insulin is a critical hormone (actually all hormones are critical!) that, when working improperly or not at all can cause chaos throughout your entire system. Insulin is necessary to lower the impact of sugar in our blood. Another drawback to fructose is that is goes through a negative process called glycation, much more than glucose. The result is advanced aging.
By now you are probably thinking, "Wait, if fructose, the sweetener from fruit, is so bad, why do all these health experts tell us to eat fruit?"
When people advise eating fruit, they are talking about fresh, whole, fruit, or fresh-frozen, whole fruit. That's the only kind of fruit we should be consuming. That's because the negative impact of the fructose in fruit is offset by the wonderful fiber in fresh fruit.
Fiber is the "meaty" part of the fruit...the pulp, if you will, that is so good for us. Fiber slows down the digestion of the ultra-sweet fructose. Fiber is absolutely necessary when consuming fructose, and that fabulous combination is found only in fresh fruit.
Also, fresh fruit contains all kinds of wonderful vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals.
Still, even with all the benefits of fresh fruits, most nutrition experts advise limiting the amount of fresh fruit we eat because of the negative impact fructose has on the body. If you are trying to lose weight, stick to no more than a cup of fresh fruit. Remember, you can still get fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients by eating vegetables.
Different fruits have different amounts of fructose. Berries and cherries contain the least amount. Therefore, when you choose to eat fruit, choose those kinds if at all possible. Fresh fruits that are high in fructose are pears, grapes, bananas, and apples.
So that's fresh fruit. It's not so terrible. But what truly is terrible is fruit in any form but whole, such as fruit juice and fruit concentrate.
These items have all the negative aspects of fresh fruit, namely fructose, without any of the added benefits of fresh fruit such as the fiber and nutrients. Fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients. And as the name suggests, not only is fruit juice stripped of everything good, it's also concentrated fructose.
So, for example, you could eat one apple and get a fair amount of fructose that is balanced by fiber and nutrients. That's not so bad. On the other hand, you could drink apple juice, which has virtually no fiber and nutrients, but the fructose of several apples. The same thing goes for fruit juice concentrate. It contains the fructose of many apples and none of the benefits.
The bottom line is, if you are eating any fruit product other than fresh, whole fruit, you are getting tons of fructose and very little if any fiber and nutrients.
As you can see, fruit by-products are very harmful to our health. However they are marketed as healthy foods. Food manufacturers know that most people do not understand the health hazards associated with fruit juice and concentrated fruit juice.
The people who make fruit juices and all the hundreds of fruit products from fruit roll-ups, to gummy fruit to breakfast bars know full-well that if you put the word, "fruit" on a product, people will mistakenly think it's healthy. Don't be fooled!
Don't fall for their other trick: "No Sugar Added." Super-sweet concentrated fructose, such as the kind in fruit juice, does not contain added sugar. But the fructose itself, in its stripped, concentrated form, is worse than sugar!
Check the list of ingredients. If you see any type of fruit syrup, fruit concentrate, or fruit juice, put it back. Parents, if you think you are doing your kids a favor by feeding them fruit leathers or fruit snacks (there are a million of them in the grocery store, all marketed like health foods) you might as well just give your kids candy. Their bodies react to them the same way.
The bottom line is this: stay away from all fruit juices and other fruit by-products. The food manufacturers try to make us think they're healthy, but the only type of healthy fruit is fresh, whole fruit or fresh-frozen whole fruit. And even then, we should eat that sparingly.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
One of the most important things anyone can do to improve their health is take a probiotic. Probiotics help restore the proper balance in one of the most crucial parts of our body…many health experts say THE most crucial part of the body: the gut.
Only recently have doctors discovered that a staggering 85 percent of our health problems originate in our gut, also known as intestines. Likewise, 70 percent of our immune system is in our intestines. Shocking!
This is actually a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is establishing good gut health is relatively easy and cheap. The bad news is that those of us who do nothing are at great risk of having some type of health problem originating from the gut.
Here’s the bottom line: we have literally trillions of bacteria in our gut. Many, many of them are essential to our overall good health. These are called "good" bacteria. The problem is, our American lifestyle has killed many of these good bacteria. When that happens, all kinds of problems can erupt. The quick fix is to put back those good bacteria.
The easiest way to do that is with a pill. A probiotic. There are lots of them on the market, such as the supplement called Acidophilus. Then there private brands from which to choose.
There are also foods that add good bacteria back into our gut, such as yogurt. The problem with yogurt is that most brands are loaded with sugar, often as much as one-and-a-half ice cream cones! So if you choose yogurt, choose the plain kind, then if you want to add sweetness, throw in some berries.
Fermented foods are great probiotics. Topping the list is the Korean favorite Kimchi, which is available at most grocery stores. There are lots of ways to prepare it, such as adding it to scrambled eggs in the morning or to soups. Some people eat it right out of the jar.
As for me, I find it just safer and easier to take a probiotic supplement so I don't have to constantly keep track of whether I've eaten probiotic foods, and whether I've had enough of them. Plus, lots of us steer clear of dairy, so that means no yogurt.
You may be wondering how we got into this mess in the first place. How is it that so many of our good, life-sustaining bacteria are being wiped-out? There are several culprits.
The main one is our SAD diet. Remember, SAD stands for Standard American Diet. In other words, processed foods kill our good bacteria…things like soda. Honestly, that stuff is poison.
Another huge good bacteria killer is antibiotics. Any time you take an antibiotic you should be aware that it is not only killing the bad bacteria for which it is intended, but it is also killing the good bacteria. These days wise doctors who prescribe antibiotics are telling their patients to also take a probiotic, such as Acidophilus for at least the entire run of the antibiotic, often longer.
A third major cause of the destruction of our good bacteria is all the antibacterial products we use, such as antibacterial soaps. Similar to antibiotics, these soaps kill not only the bad bacteria, but also the good ones. Many doctors will tell you the non-antibacterial ones are better because they still clean your hands sufficiently, while at the same time leaving your good bacteria intact.
So if you are wondering why you don’t feel as good as you should, the answer probably originates in your gut. By taking a probiotic, over time, you will restore the good bacteria you need to maintain the proper health.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The number of high school students smoking e-cigarettes tripled in just one year and the number is even worse for middle school, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
These startling statistics have alarmed health officials across the board.
"We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it's an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar," CDC Director Tom Frieden said.
The numbers look like this:
The of e-cigs by high school students shot up from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014, rising from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students.
Among middle school students, e-cigs skyrocketed from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014, an increase from approximately 120,000 to 450,000 students.
In contrast, the use of traditional cigarettes is sharply down among teenagers.
Experts say the decrease in regular cigarettes coupled with an increase in e-cigarettes is due to the fact that e-cigarettes are easier for minors to purchase, coupled with the perception that they will not harm your health.
The use of e-cigarettes is an activity known as "vaping."
In an interview with CBN News, Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said many teens are dangerously unaware of the health hazards associated with e-cigarettes.
"One of the arguments has been that when you're vaping nicotine, you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette," she said.
"The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production," Volkow explained.
While e-cigs don't contain tobacco, they do contain the addictive drug nicotine, which can have negative effects on a teenager's brain and can even lead to overdoses.
"Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use," Frieden warned.
Health experts worry the use of e-cigarettes will lead to regular cigarette use. In fact, the 2012 Surgeon General's Report found that about 90 percent of all smokers first tried cigarettes as teens, and that about three of every four teen smokers continue into adulthood.
The CDC says educational campaigns helped curb the use of regular cigarette use among teens, and plans on using the same strategy against e-cigs. Therefore, the CDC released its first anti-smoking ad featuring an e-cigarette user.
"Then I tried using e-cigarettes, but I ended up just using both," the ad says.
Traditional cigarettes are currently subject to the FDA's tobacco control authority. But the agency has not yet regulated e-cigarettes. Some states have passed laws establishing a minimum age for purchase of e-cigarettes or extending smoke-free laws to include e-cigarettes.
Although the use of e-cigarettes poses a clear danger to people, such as teens who have never smoked at all, they are proving effective as an aid to help smokers quit the habit.
Doctors are pleased with the effectiveness of e-cigarettes among their patients who are trying to stop smoking, especially when compared with the smoking cessation drug, "Chantix," which has been proven to help adults stop smoking, but comes with concerning side-effects.
Friday, April 10, 2015
A promising new weapon in the arsenal to fight cancer is emerging at a number of medical centers across America. The idea sounds radical, but it's working...not on everyone, but on enough people who previously had no hope that doctors are saying this could be the breakthrough for which they have been looking.
Right now these treatments are in their trial phase.
They're injecting viruses into the cancerous tumors and seeing them shrink, even to the point of remission. The viruses stimulate the patient's immune system so that it attacks cancer cells and leaves the rest of their body alone. Again, these stunning results are being seen in people for whom surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy proved ineffective in the long term.
The viruses are genetically modified in a laboratory so that they do not infect the patient's entire body, but rather just the cancer.
Doctors at Duke University Medical Center have witnessed remarkable success by injecting a modified polio virus into brain tumors. It's taken the Duke team years to arrive at this level of treatment, and they are still trying to perfect it, because still too many of the patients who try it do not survive.
Meanwhile, at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, doctors are using a form of the HIV virus to kill leukemia. The trials are being led by Dr. Carl June, who reports success in 70 percent of the patients. One young leukemia patient, Emily Whitehead, has been in remission for two years.
The Mayo Clinic is also reporting success in using a virus to treat cancer. Stacy Erholtz had tumors on her forehead, collarbone, and spine that went away after she was injected with a modified measles virus. She had battled multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of blood for 10 years, trying chemotherapy and two stem-cell transplants, to no avail.
The Mayo Clinic's Dr. Stephen Russell said of the treatment, "We recently have begun to think about the idea of a single shot cure for cancer. And that's our goal with this therapy."
Monday, March 30, 2015
If you suffer from allergies you are not alone. It's estimated one out of every four people suffers from either pollen from trees, which is common in the springs, grass in the summer or weed pollen in the fall. Some people, poor things, deal with all of the above!
CHECK THE FORECAST
If you tend to sneeze and wheeze, check your local weather forecast to see when the pollen is going to be the highest. Rainy days, or shortly after a rain are the times when it's the lowest, as well as days when there isn't much wind.
CLOSE THE WINDOWS
Since pollen is in the air, close your windows and use your air conditioning. It helps to cool, dry and clean the air. Same thing with your car: windows up, air conditioning on.
KEEP POLLEN OUT OF YOUR HOME
Change your clothes when you come inside, because you're likely covered in pollen, which you don't want to bring into the house. Don't forget to wash your skin and hair. Also wash your bedding frequently in hot water.
MANAGE OUTDOOR TIME
Pollen is at its worst from 5:00 to 10:00 in the morning. So if possible, wait until later to go outside. Go the extra mile if you will be outside for a long time doing an activity such as gardening or mowing the lawn, by wearing an N-95 mask for added protection. You can find these at most home improvement stores. They're especially useful if you plan on mowing the grass or gardening, although if you can afford to, it's best to pay someone to perform these tasks and save yourself the discomfort.
Believe it or not, your diet can help reduce outdoor allergy symptoms. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly fish oil, can reduce inflammation. The best fish are cold water ones, such as salmon or tuna. Fish oil supplements also do the trick.
Antioxidant foods can relieve your allergic symptoms, too. That includes a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Topping the list are broccoli and blueberries.
Also quercetin helps. This is found in foods like onions and apples and is also available in supplement form. Vitamin C, in foods or supplements, including the powdered form, is also helpful for combatting allergy symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications sometimes help allergy sufferers, although many people do not find relief from them. Claritin and Allegra are popular because they typically do not cause drowsiness the way some other allergy medications do. Be careful not to over-use nasal sprays, because they can lead to dependence on them. Those warnings are listed on the product's package.
If over-the-counter drugs don't relieve your symptoms, see your doctor. Sometimes prescription medications work.
However, the most effective treatment is immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots. The injections contain tiny, but increasing, amount of the allergen, which increases the immune system's tolerance so over time you can decrease or eliminate your symptoms altogether. Patients start off by getting a shot once a week, then taper-off to once every six weeks.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Now that the weather is turning nice, make a point to walk barefoot outside. It’s so good for you!
Most of us just call it “walking barefoot,” but the health experts have fancy names for it such as “grounding” or “earthing.” No matter what you call it, it’s simply connecting your bare skin with the earth.
It makes sense for most people to just walk barefoot, but you’ll get the same benefits by lying on the ground in a t-shirt and shorts staring at the clouds (remembering doing that as a kid?) and so forth.
Obviously, “grounding” or “earthing” is a great stress reliever, just think about how your cares melt away during a walk on the beach. We all know that stress is a major killer. But the benefits go way beyond stress relief.
Walking barefoot actually reduces inflammation, according to 30 years of research on the subject. Inflammation is now considered to be the No. 1 cause of heart disease, which kills more Americans than anything else. Inflammation is blamed for many other health problems from cancer to arthritis. Knowing that a simple walk in your bare feet can reduce inflammation sounds almost too good to be true.
Scientists say the reason “grounding” reduces damaging inflammation is because the earth contains electrons, which are negatively charged. These electrons are constantly replenished into the earth through solar radiation and lightning strikes.
We need these electrons in our body. The good news is our bodies naturally absorb these particles when we make physical contact with the ground.
The reason we need these electrons in our bodies is to neutralize all the harmful free-radicals racing around inside our bodies. These free-radicals are highly inflammatory. They come from things like trans fats and pollution. They happen to be positively charged. So the negatively charged electrons from the ground neutralize or “cancel-out” the positively-charged free radicals.
The electrons gained through grounding also helps keep your body’s innate electrical circuitry properly balanced. All of these effects of grounding are extremely beneficial to heart health.
Without a regular connection to the Earth, people can develop an electron deficiency. In turn, this can lead to imbalances in the body and potentially to significant health problems. For example, many health experts believe chronic inflammation, which is increasingly being identified as the cause of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, may be a result of a lack of connectedness.
In addition to stress relief and lowered inflammation, grounding also has been shown to thin the blood, which improves blood pressure and circulation.
If you are interested in partaking of this old, yet new, health practice, just make sure you do it long enough. Simply walking in your yard from the porch to the curb won’t cut it. You need to spend about 40 minutes a day walking in the grass, sand, or dirt. You actually don’t need to be moving…but that exercise certainly is a good thing.
Some health professionals say walking on concrete works, such as the sidewalk, but NOT wood or concrete. These are the same folks who say if you can’t get to the great outdoors a warm basement with a concrete floor will also work.
Sit there and read or just relax with your bare feet resting on the ground.