Genetic Mutation Makes Some People to Rid hepatitis C

A collaborative study led by Johns Hopkins researchers has uncovered a genetic mutation that gives a person the ability to get rid of Hepatitis C without any treatment.

While some of the people with Hepatitis C suffer throughout the life and develop serious liver disease, including cancer, others are able to defeat the infection and get rid of the virus with no treatment.

“If we knew why some people got rid of the disease on their own, then maybe we could figure out ways to help other people who didn’t. Or maybe even help prevent infections entirely,” Nature quoted Dr. David Thomas as saying.

In a previous study, researchers had found a variation in a single chemical of DNA, known as a single-nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, near the IL28B gene, which while poorly understood, is thought to help the immune response to Hepatitis C viral infection.

People infected with Hepatitis C, who carried the C/C variation SNP near their IL28B gene, were found more likely to respond to hepatitis C treatment, which can rid some patients of the virus.

Thus, the researchers in the current study wondered if the C/C variation-as opposed to the C/T or T/T alternatives-also played a role in some peoples’ ability to get rid of the virus without the help of medication.

So, they assembled information from six different studies that had over many years collected DNA and Hepatitis C infection information from people all over the world.

Then, the team analysed DNA at the IL28B gene from a total of 1008 patients- 620 persistently infected and 388 who had been infected but no longer carried any virus.

DNA analysis revealed that of the 388 patients who no longer carried virus, 264 have the C/C variation.

“This is the strongest clue to date to understanding what would constitute a successful immune response. We don’t yet know the significance of this C variant, but we know we need to do more work to find out what it means and whether it might be helpful to halting the disease,” said Thomas.

The researchers also noticed an intriguing trend- the C/C variant does not appear equally in all populations.

“We wonder if this SNP also explains some of the genetic basis for the population difference of Hepatitis C clearance. It’s been reported that African-Americans are less

Medicare Expands Coverage To Help Smokers Quit

They’ve lived with the health warnings about smoking for much of their lives and doubtless seen the ill effects on friends, relatives and even themselves, yet about 4.5 million older people in the U.S. keep on lighting up. Medicare is finally catching up to most private insurers by providing counseling for anyone on the program who’s trying to kick the habit.

Dr. Barry Straube, Medicare’s chief medical officer, says it’s never too late to quit, even for lifelong smokers.

“The elderly can respond to smoking cessation counseling even if they have been smoking for 30 years or more,” says Straube. “We do know we can see a reduction in the death rate and complications from smoking-related illnesses.” Not only cancer, heart disease and lung problems, which can kill, but also gastric reflux, osteoporosis and other ailments that undermine quality of life.

Smoking-related illnesses cost Medicare tens of billions a year. Straube cites a two-decade estimate of $800 billion, from 1995 through 2015.

Medicare already covers drugs used to help smokers quit, as well as counseling for those who have developed a smoking-related illness. But starting immediately, the program will expand the benefit to cover up to eight counseling sessions a year for people who want to quit.

Next year, such counseling will be free, under a provision in President Barack Obama’s health care law that eliminates co-payments for preventive services.

Older smokers often don’t get as much attention from doctors as do younger ones. “They just figure, ‘Well, it’s too late,'” said Straube, that the damage is already done. That may start to change now.

About one in 10 seniors smoke, compared with one in five people among the U.S. population as a whole. It turns out that smokers age 65 and older present a medical paradox.

Many started when it was fashionable to light up. They are more likely than younger smokers to be seriously hooked on nicotine and less likely to attempt quitting. But research shows that their odds of success are greater if they do try to give up the habit.

Older smokers who receive counseling are significantly more likely to quit than those who only get standard medical care. One study of elderly heart attack patients found that those who got counseling to help quit smoking were more likely to be alive five years later.

It’s unclear why older people who try to quit have better luck than younger smokers.

Some experts think it’s because older smokers are more motivated, perhaps from having seen a loved one die of cancer or heart disease, or by recognizing how the cigarette habit has left its mark in their own bodies, anything from wrinklier skin to shortness of breath.

Straube has his own theory: “They’re under less stress,” he said. “They are not working anymore, and they have more time.”

Medicare’s new smoking cessation benefit will also be available to younger people who are covered by the program because of a disability. About 1 million of them are smokers.

Preventive Surgeries May Be Lifesaver for Women at High Cancer Risk

Women who carry genetic mutations that boost their odds of breast and ovarian cancer can live longer and reduce their cancer risk by having preventive surgery, a new study suggests.

The surgery in question is drastic: removal of the breasts or ovaries before any signs of cancer have arisen.

However, “what our findings show is that women who choose to have these surgeries will reduce their risk of dying of breast or ovarian cancer by about 70 to 80 percent, which is pretty profound,” said study senior author Dr. Timothy Rebbeck, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The findings are published in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The 22-center trial, one of the largest of its kind, studied nearly 2,500 women who were found to have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Women who carry these mutations have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of anywhere between 56 percent to 84 percent, according to the researchers, whereas the risk for ovarian cancer ranges from 36 percent to 63 percent for BRCA1 mutation carriers and 10 percent to 27 percent for BRCA2 mutation carriers. By contrast, the lifetime risk of breast cancer among women generally is about 12 percent, and for ovarian cancer, it’s less than 2 percent.

Roughly half of the women in the study had undergone either mastectomies (surgery to remove their breasts) or salpingo-oophorectomies (surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes) between 1974 and 2008, in order to proactively lower their risk of cancer. The women were followed for an average of about 3.5 years.

During the follow-up period, no breast cancer events occurred in the women who underwent mastectomies, while 7 percent of the women in the group who didn’t undergo surgery were diagnosed with breast cancer.

In addition, women who had their ovaries removed lowered their risk of ovarian and breast cancer, and also lived longer than women who didn’t have the surgery. For example, over 6 years of follow-up, no ovarian cancer cases were seen among BRCA2 mutation carriers who underwent salpingo-oophorectomy, compared with 3 percent of carriers who did not undergo the procedure, the researchers report.

“One of the main messages of our study is that salpingo-oophorectomy should be part of any management plan for any woman who is found to have these genetic mutations,” said Rebbeck. “There really isn’t anything else that can reduce a woman’s risk by this much.”

“These findings really emphasize how important it is for all women with a family history of early breast or ovarian cancer to undergo genetic testing,” said Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, co-author of an editorial that accompanied the study. “I see women all the time who get the genetic test only after they’re diagnosed with cancer,” said Kaklamani, who is director of translational breast cancer research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in Chicago.

Kaklamani added that she hoped the findings would encourage more women to ask their primary care physicians whether they are candidates for genetic counseling.

“This is a very important study because it gives us more information in order to counsel women at risk,” said Dr. Daniel Silver, assistant professor of medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Silver added that women who are found to carry one of these genetic mutations face “a very complex set of considerations, so the more hard facts you can give them, the better.”

According to Rebbeck, doctors usually recommend that women who test positive for the genes have their ovaries removed at around age 35, but are okay with putting it off until age 40 if they haven’t finished having children. He said the surgery today is often done in an outpatient setting, with the use of laparoscopes, which limits scarring and shortens a patient’s recovery time.

Active Lifestyle May Help Counter Obesity Genes

Exercise can reduce a person’s genetic predisposition to obesity by 40 percent, finds a new English study.

Researchers looked at 20,430 people in Norwich and focused on genetic variants known to increase the risk of obesity. Most people had inherited 10 to 13 of these variants from their parents, but some had more than 17 while others had fewer than six.

The participants also provided information about their levels of physical activity.

Overall, each additional obesity-related genetic variant was associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) equivalent to 445 grams (0.98 pounds) for a person 1.70 meters (5 feet, 6 inches) tall. BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person’s height and weight.

However, this effect was greater in sedentary people than in active people, the researchers found. For those with a physically active lifestyle the increase was 379 grams (0.84 pounds) per genetic variant. That’s 36 percent less than the increase of 592 grams (1.3 pounds) per genetic variant for inactive people.

The researchers also found that each additional obesity susceptibility variant increased the odds of obesity by 1.1-fold. But this risk was 40 percent lower for active people compared to inactive people, the findings revealed.

The study shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle can benefit people at increased genetic risk of obesity, the authors explained.

Broccoli May Curb Crohn’s Progression

Fibers from broccoli and plantain may help curb development of Crohn’s disease, researchers in Britain suggest.

Carol Roberts of the University of Liverpool and colleagues tested preparations of plant soluble fibers from leeks, apples, broccoli, plantains and the fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80 — commonly used in processed food manufacture.

The researchers found fiber foods inhibited invasion of the cells lining the bowel by bacteria — particularly a “sticky” type of Escherichia coli related to progression of Crohn’s disease.

The study, published in the journal Gut, finds 5 milligrams/milliliter of broccoli and plantains reduced invasion of E. coli by between 45 percent and 82 percent. Leek and apple fibers seem to have no impact but the emulsifier polysorbate 80 substantially encouraged the bacterial invasion process, the study says.

The results were confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients as they underwent surgery for other intestinal disorders.

“The findings suggest that supplementing the diet with broccoli/plantain fibers might prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease,” the authors say in a statement. “The results could have further implications for the treatment of Crohn’s disease as many enteral feeds — nutrition mixtures used for tube-feeding of patients — contain emulsifiers and could account for variable responses to this type of treatment.”

Smoking May Increase Depression In Teens

Teens may smoke to “self-medicate” against depression but researchers in Canada say smoking may increase depressive symptoms in some adolescents.

Lead author Michael Chaiton of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit of the University of Toronto and co-author Jennifer O’Loughlin of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre say the study involved 662 high-school teenagers who completed as many as 20 questionnaires from grades 7-11 about their use of cigarettes to affect mood.

“This observational study is one of the few to examine the perceived emotional benefits of smoking among adolescents,” Chaiton says in a statement. “Although cigarettes may appear to have self-medicating effects or to improve mood, in the long-term we found teens who started to smoke reported higher depressive symptoms.”

Study participants were divided into groups of: teens who never smoked; smokers who did not use cigarettes to self-medicate, improve mood or physical state; and smokers who used cigarettes to self-medicate.

Study participants were asked to rate on a rating scale depressive symptoms such as: felt too tired to do things; had trouble going to sleep or staying asleep; felt unhappy, sad, or depressed; felt hopeless about the future; felt nervous or tense; and worried too much about things.

“Smokers who used cigarettes as mood enhancers had higher risks of elevated depressive symptoms than teens who had never smoked,” O’Loughlin says.

Vitamin D Aids Cystic Fibrosis Patients

U.S. researchers say vitamin D may help treat and prevent allergic reaction to mold in cystic fibrosis patients.

Researchers led by Dr. Jay Kolls of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans suggest vitamin D might be used to treat and even prevent allergy to the common airborne mold — Aspergillus fumigatus.

A. fumigatus, tolerated by most people, can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma. As many as 15 percent of patients with cystic fibrosis will develop a severe allergic response — known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, finds aspergillosis patients had a heightened response by immune cells — type 2 T helper cells — that was linked to the presence of the protein OX40L.

This response was correlated with lower levels of vitamin D. Patients who did not suffer from aspergillosis had higher levels of vitamin D.

“We found that adding vitamin D substantially reduced the production of the protein driving the allergic response and also increased production of the protein that promotes tolerance,” Kolls says in a statement. “Based on our results, we have strong rationale for a clinical trial of vitamin D to determine whether it can prevent or treat allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in patients with cystic fibrosis.”

Other Butters May Replace Peanut Butter

Some U.S. schools are banning peanuts and peanut butter from school lunches but a Dallas nutrition expert says other nut butters can be used as substitutes.

Joyce Barnett, a registered clinical dietitian at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says parents don’t necessarily need to reach for the cold cuts as a source of protein if their child’s school has banned peanut butter because it can cause an allergic reaction in some children.

“Spreads made from other nuts or seeds provide a nutritious alternative to peanut butter,” Barnett says in a statement.

Alternatives to peanut butter include:

— Almond butter is high in protein and is a great source of potassium. Research has shown that almonds, which are tree nuts, can help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as total cholesterol levels.

— Soy nut butter is made from soybeans and has as much fiber as peanut butter. It’s free of peanuts and tree nuts, but children with soy allergies should avoid it.

— Sunflower seed butter is free of peanuts and tree nuts. A two-tablespoon serving provides more than one-third of a child’s daily magnesium and vitamin E requirements.

Silicone Oil May Help Treat Eye Cancer

Silicone oil applied inside the eye can block up to 55 percent of harmful radiation to prevent blindness in patients with eye cancer, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Scott Oliver, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says eye cancer, a rare but devastating disease, can strike anyone — although fair skin and sun exposure can increase risk — at any time, and treatment often requires radiation that leaves half of all patients partially blind.

Oliver focused on choroidal melanoma of the eye, or uveal cancer, the most common and dangerous form of eye disease, which affects some 2,000 people annually. It can spread quickly to the liver and lungs and often can be fatal.

For treatment, physicians often use plaque brachytherapy in which surgeons attach a gold cap containing radioactive seeds to the white part of the eye.

“Radiation injures blood vessels and nerves in the back of the eye,” Oliver says in a statement. “Half of all patients are legally blind in 3 years in the treated eye.”

Oliver tried several substances to block radiation from striking critical structures while allowing it to hit the tumor.

The study, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, finds silicone oil — already used to treat retinal detachment — could screen out a majority of harmful radiation.

Salt Is a Four-Letter Word

The average U.S. adult eats about 1.5 teaspoons of salt a day, more than twice the recommended amount, a U.S. professor of clinical nutrition says.

Dr. Jo Ann Carson of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says federal regulators have begun urging food manufacturers to cut back on the amount of sodium they add to everything from breakfast cereals to soups.

The aim is for manufacturers to reduce the amount so gradually consumers would barely notice the lower sodium levels, but the final limits have not yet been determined.

“Lowering our salt intake is important to control blood pressure,” Carson says in a statement. African-Americans, the elderly and those with diabetes are recommended to lower their salt intake because they are most often salt sensitive.

For the some 50 million Americans with high blood pressure, research finds the lower the sodium, the lower the blood pressure.

To lower salt intake: Eat fewer processed foods such as frozen dinners, packaged mixes and canned soups; replace salt with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, garlic and vinegar; replace salty snacks with unsalted pretzels or nuts mixed with raisins, graham crackers, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, plain popcorn and raw vegetables; and buy unsalted or low-salt varieties of foods and condiments.

I Am Loving and Capable

First in a series by life coach Barry Eisen:
The EXPERIMENT:
On each child in the 3rd grade class, Ann, the teacher, pinned a round, construction paper badge with the capital letters IALAC.  IALAC is an acronym for “I Am Loving And Capable.” The kids’ discussion about IALAC considered how typical daily stuff, activities and interactions, could be better with that idea remembered at times of need.

The kids enthusiastically agreed that they could do everything better if they came from a mind-place of of IALAC: They laughed at images, If I am really ‘Loving,’ I can be more patient when my dog throws up… or when my little sister grabs my stuff.  If I am really ‘Capable,’ I can master my times-tables even though they’re hard for me.”  The excitement of accessing a whole idea in a single word that could really alleviate their days’ stresses inspired even the most reticent to at least give it a go.  The best part was that IALAC didn’t need to be cleaned, brushed or packed or refolded.  Talk about Simple, Fun and Magical!

Parents were sent a note engaging their support for the game which had only 2 rules:
1.  The IALAC badge was to be worn at all times for a week.
2.  At any time that the child did not feel or behave Loving or Capable, the child was to tear a little piece of off the badge.
So, each time a child got angry, frustrated or out of control as a result of what that kid perceived someone else had done or how something had happened, regardless of who the culprit was or what inspired the feeling, the badge had to be made smaller.  A piece of the badge removed reminded of a shift away from IALAC.
That was it.

The OUTCOME:
When Ann and the class were ready for their week review, the badges told a powerful story.  Here was this recently excited group of kids now wearing safety pins with tiny, sad, tattered remnants of their original IALAC badges.  Each child was given an opportunity to share her personal tales of woe and justification for the mutilation of his once round and intact badge. Stories ranged from those who were so hard on themselves that they tore their IALAC badges as a result of guilt and even self loathing, to those finger-pointers whose sad tales identified perceived abuse and shattered entitlement.  “I was mean to Mommy.” “My brother did ‘it’ so I smacked him and then I got in trouble…  My sister wouldn’t stop.  I got angry and started screaming…  I had to go to bed too early and started crying.” Lots of stories.  Some anger. Lots of frustration. Some tears. Lots of laughter.  Given legitimate license to complain, the kids’ turns to share became a game of “Can You Bottom This?”

With the stories reported of the tragedies that had befallen the innocent and the guilty, and the emotions released, Ann astutely shifted the experience with one question for each child to answer, “Who tore up your badge?”

The LESSON:
Sure, some kids had someone who reached over and snagged a piece, but the single answer and its message were clear, “I did.”   No one does nearly as good a job of tearing-up our self-image as we do.  And the “we” is really “I.” It is I who polishes or shreds my own chosen sense of self, my loving and capability.

So aren’t we still those kids with the same choices for self in every instance?  Isn’t it easy to agree?  And are we diligently and consistently remembering, vigilantly protecting, and automatically acting out this belief that I am responsible for my decisions and protecting the power of IALAC?  Are we clear that in all our actions, just like the kids’, we have the same choices ranging from being oblivious of our own responsibility to being overly hard on ourselves as if we were somehow to be perfect at all things our first time? There is not one other soul out there who is nearly as capable of damaging our self image as we, as I, am.

The EVIDENCE:
Think about the last 3-5 events in which you were pulled from your highest self and mutilated IALAC.  They’re easy to spot: Look at your motions (acts) and emotions (feelings).   Who or what got credited or blamed for the stuff for which you are culpable?
• Did you celebrate your successes or attribute them outside yourself?
• Did you blame the stuff that happened on another, the weather, the market, the product?
Think back further to the injustices that your belief tells you were done TO you.
If you combine these experiences, just like the kids were asked to do, with IALAC, can you see where your perception of the events shifts?

From credit to culpability, we have all likely, at times, forgotten to celebrate ourselves for acts of IALAC that we judged as too small or unworthy, and certainly we all have had real wrongs and injustices perpetrated against us.  Even here, we remain responsible for the perspective we hold.  As my wife always reminds, “It’s never what happens that matters, but how we view it that empowers or disenfranchises us from out power.”  Maybe as you look at your history, you find your internal self screaming “Noooo!,” resisting onus and pointing elsewhere, “It was my dad .. my mom, my boss, colleague, that evil coach, frenemy, teacher.. or ‘Joe-Shmo’ who did it TO me..” Really?  Go ahead, point a finger and notice that as the one goes out, three are pointing back at you.

Years after the incident is over, or the people are gone, who is it carrying on that voice of disapproval and discontent?   It is the I.  Who’s really tearing up the badge?  I am.  Who’s really creating the ulcer?  Hello-o.  It’s our own inner voice doing the dirty damage.  It’s our chosen perception and inner repetition of the script that establishes certainty, a BELIEF, of the story’s meaning.  Whether that meaning is “I can’t catch a ball, I’m not a good speaker” when we deny ourselves credit, or “Johnny did it” when we absolve ourselves of guilt, the repeated lies we tell ourselves gain certainty and shape our next decisions.

The POSSIBILITIES:
Boundless. Here lies our power.
Did some of those kids think the experiment was dumb?  Good chance.

And did others get it in a way that raised their power and shifted their lives forever?  Quite likely.

So here’s the acid-test:  Whether you believe you were the kid who got it or resisted it.. who’s got your back today?  If I could show you a way that builds your IALAC mechanism from wherever you are, would you be willing to “put on the badge.”

All it takes to roll on with old stories or replace the racket with new beliefs that serve you to your highest is this: a DECISION.  Then that decision needs to be repeated just like the old limitations were.  You’re already expert at buying your own stories… so make the stories what you want.

The UNDERSTANDINGS:
•  The world is impersonal, without attitude or intention.
•  There is no stress other than what we attach to events or people.
•  There is no comfort other than what we attach to events or people.
•  We have choice.  We may go kicking and screaming or go in joy to the same event.
•  We choose our self-image.  We are neither victims nor beneficiaries except as we choose to view our world.
•  The voice in our head (the one that may have just asked “What voice?”) is our own even when we dress it in memories and voices of others.

The I Am Loving and Capable LIFESKILLS:
Practice these positive skills consistently and you enlarge your ability to attract.  Remember – your limitations were learned through emotion and repetition.  Use emotion and repetition to instill your unlimited breadth, beauty and brilliance.

1. Think IALAC when your tendency has been to say “I know that.”  What you think you know is distancing you from what you are capable of learning.  How much of what we know is attached to the yesterday’s self image?   If you’re not getting the answer you need, ask better questions.  Asking questions at all in areas where you thought “I already know” shifts everything.

2.  Think IALAC when your tendency has been to jump to conclusions. When you’re not sure why, slow down.  Breathe.  Ask questions.  Instead of approaching with “You’re wrong,” use, “I’m confused by that” and calmly state your reason.  Be interested in the now. The people, the place, the feeling may seem similar to another time but it is a different moment.  Stay open to a different result.

3.  Think IALAC when your tendency has been to hit the anger or frustration button. Take a breath and relax.

4. Think IALAC when your tendency has been to see other’s limitations.  See others as capable.  Encourage the best.  Believe others can.  If they reach and fall, they’ll be further than they would have had they not stretched.

5. Think IALAC when your tendency has been to brush off your own accomplishments as small, inconsequential or undeserving.  We build on our successes.  Daily recognizing something “small” as of value creates 365 points of new power each year. What if 5% of those upgrade your life?

6. Think IALAC when your tendency has been to brush off courtesy and respect.  Too tired for hello, please, thank you?  Consciously create the world in which you place yourself.  Your environment will mirror your behavior.

7. Think IALAC when your tendency has been to hear selectively or not at all. Pay attention and really concentrate on hearing others.  What’s really being said?

8.  Think IALAC when your tendency has been to be defensive.  Listen impartially… as if what’s being said about you is being said about someone else.  Don’t attach.  Notice if there’s a lot, a little, or none of what’s said that fits.  Even if none, be willing to say calmly, “That’s interesting.  It doesn’t feel right, but I’ll consider if there’s something in there for me.”  If others are sincere and you disagree this way, they’ll feel acknowledged.  If they are insincere, they’ll be astounded as you haven’t allowed your buttons to be pushed.

9.  Think IALAC when your tendency has been to anticipate stress, misery, failure, traffic.  Replacing the anticipation of misery with openness and curiosity may not change the traffic, but it changes the damage to your body that negative anticipation creates.   Remember that the mind doesn’t distinguish between real and imagined.  Think anxiety and your body functions in stress.

10.  Think IALAC when your tendency has been to be so serious that you miss the pleasure. Have fun.  This game of life is yours in which to perform.  Embrace the moments.

11.  Think IALAC and decide that the choices you make today will make a positive difference.  Don’t let anyone, including you, diminish your IALAC badge (your self esteem). You are loving and capable… well, soon as you choose them.

Yes, these are the same skills shared with the children.  Aren’t we, as adults, as much in need of reinforcing the good stuff?

Of course, for those of you who have learned self-hypnosis from me, see and feel yourself in a session of relaxation, coming from IALAC in each of your tasks for quick and deep learning.  If you’d like me to make a new personal CD for you with your current goals, please email or contact me personally at my office.

For everyone: please call or email me to set up a no-obligation, test drive, coaching session. (Approximately 1/2 hour on the phone.) Amazing things happen when two minds focus with combined knowledge, wisdom and experience to solve problems or create new visions. Make this fourth quarter of the year amazing.


Warmest Regards,

Barry Eisen


Do You Suffer From ED?

E.D.  Checklist

An occasional problem achieving an erection is nothing to worry about. But failure to do so more than 50% of the time at any age may indicate a condition that needs treatment. Are you at risk for erectile dysfunction (ED)? Take the following quiz and find out.

  1. Are you overweight?  Yes or No
  1. Do you have any of the following conditions?
    • Diabetes
    • High cholesterol
    • Depression
    • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries from plaque)
    • Kidney disease
  1. Do you:
    • Smoke
    • Drink alcohol
    • Use recreational drugs
  1. How often do you exercise?
    • Daily
    • Once or twice a week
    • A couple of times a month
    • I never seem to get around to it
  1. How often do you feel stressed?
    • Much of the time
    • Sometimes
    • Rarely

Answers:

  1. Overweight men are more likely to have ED
  2. Common causes of ED include nerve diseases, psychological conditions and diseases that affect blood flow. A number of prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs may also cause ED by affecting a man’s hormones, nerves or blood circulation
  3. Tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs can all damage a man’s blood vessels and/or restrict blood flow to the penis, causing ED
  4. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of ED
  5. Stress and anxiety are leading causes of temporary ED

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • Does my erectile dysfunction stem from an underlying illness?
  • Could any of my medicines be causing this problem or making it worse?
  • Could stress or a psychological problem be to blame for my erection difficulties?
  • Are there medications I can take?

Did You Know?

  • Misinformation about erectile dysfunction includes the notion that ED, also called impotence, is an unavoidable consequence of aging. ED is not considered normal at any age, nor is it normal for a man to lose erectile function completely as a result of being older.
  • Another myth is that tight underwear causes ED. While physical and psychological conditions can lead to ED, tight underwear is not to blame. Tight underwear may be a factor in producing a low sperm count.
  • ED can be treated with oral medications, sex therapy, penile injections and surgery, such as penile implants.
  • Intercavernous injection therapy is a medication injected directly into the penis to treat ED.
  • Intraurethral therapy is a suppository medication that is inserted into the urethra to treat ED.
  • Urologist is a doctor specially trained to treat problems of the male and female urinary systems, and the male sex organs.

Know Your Numbers

  • At least 20 million American men have some degree of erectile dysfunction, and about one in 10 adult males suffers from ED long-term.
  • About 40% of men in their 40s report at least occasional problems getting and maintaining erections. So do more than half (52%) of men aged 40 to 70, and about 70% of men in their 70s.
  • Failure to achieve an erection less than 20% of the time is not unusual; treatment is rarely needed.
  • Atherosclerosis alone accounts for 50% to 60% of ED cases in men 60 and older. Between 35% and 50% of men with diabetes have ED, and ED may be a predictor for other vascular problems.

Hand Disinfectant Use Helps

Businesses that supply alcohol-based hand disinfectants and urge employees to use them increase productivity by helping reduce illness, German researchers say.

Nils-Olaf Hubner of the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine and a team from Germany said the study involved 129 participants divided into one group that was supplied with hand disinfectant and instructed to use it at least five times a day, while the other group was told to maintain normal hand washing behavior.

The study, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, found hand disinfectant use can reduce on-the-job-productivity-losses, increase workplace health levels and improve overall productivity.

“Our study found that hand disinfection reduced the number of episodes of illness for the majority of the investigated symptoms,” Hubner said in a statement. “Hand disinfection can easily be introduced and maintained as part of the daily hand hygiene, acting as an interesting and cost-efficient method of improving workforce health and effectiveness

U.S. Rectal Cancer Increasing in Young

Rectal cancer rates are increasing in people age 40 and under across races and in both sexes, U.S. researchers said.

Study leader Dr. Joshua Meyer, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, analyzed trends in U.S. rectal cancer compared with colon cancer trends. Dr. Meyer worked on the study while at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Using data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry, the researchers identified 7,661 colon and rectal cancer patients age 40 and under between 1973 and 2005.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, finds overall rates of colon cancer and rectal cancer were low during the study — 1.11 cases per 100,000 for colon cancer and 0.42 cases per 100,000 for rectal cancer.

Colon cancer rates remained essentially flat in people age 40 and under in recent decades but rectal cancer rates from 1984 to 2005, rose 3.8 percent per year.

“We suggest that in young people presenting with rectal bleeding or other common signs of rectal cancer, endoscopic evaluation should be considered in order to rule out a malignancy,” Meyer said in a statement. “This is in contrast to what is frequently done, which is to attribute these findings to hemorrhoids.”

Kids Do Homework If They Plan Any College

 Children are more likely to do homework if they see themselves as engineers or teachers than if they see themselves working in sports, a U.S. researcher says.

 Daphna Oyserman of the University of Michigan says nine out of 10 students see themselves as attending at least a two-year college. However, only those students who connect future job earnings to education are likely to work hard on homework.

 Oyserman, graduate student Mesmin Destin and colleagues conducted a study that found Detroit middle-school children presented information connecting adult earnings to education were eight times more likely to do an extra credit assignment than those given a presentation about actors, musicians and sports figures.

 “Even among children with the same starting grades, expecting to be a teacher, an engineer, or a nurse when you grow up predicts that they’ll invest more time in homework,” Oyserman says in a statement. “And, not surprisingly, they will have better grades over time than children who expect to have a job in sports, entertainment, or other areas that don’t depend on having an education.”

 In one experiment 266 students were asked about jobs they see themselves having as adults. In another, 295 students were either shown jobs linked to education or jobs independent of education.