Sun Exposure Reduces Pancreatic Cancer Risk by Nearly 50 percent

The health benefits of vitamin D are almost becoming too numerous to count, with yet another new study presented at the recent American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nev., shedding light on the hormone’s specific anti-cancer benefits. According to the groundbreaking research, individuals exposed to natural sunlight, which is Continue reading

Cell Phones: 50 Percent Increase in Frontal and Temporal Lobe Tumors in Children

tcellsThe office of National Statistics in the United Kingdom discovered a 50 percent increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumors in children during the ten year span covering 1999 to 2009. Was this a result of cell phone radiation?

The Department of Health in the UK would appear to think so. Continue reading

The Simple Act of Breastfeeding May significantly Reduce the Risk of SIDS

The sobering statistic is that every day approximately seven babies die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Recent research suggests the simple act of breastfeeding may significantly reduce the risk of this disease and the reduction may be particularly dramatic if the breastfeeding is exclusive of formula feeding: Health Day reports. The study published in the June 13 issue of Pediatrics found a 45% reduction in SIDS risk in babies who received any amount of breast milk and a whopping 73% reduction in those who were breastfed exclusively.

Aside from lowering SIDS risk, breast feeding provides other advantages. Experts widely regard breast milk as the best type of nourishment,  Continue reading

Decrease the Side Effects of Vaccines

“My veterinarian made me do it! I love my veterinarian so much, that I do exactly what he/she tells me to do. We all listen to the alternative practitioners warning about the potential side effects and how vaccination is not a simple thing but is a true medical procedure with risks and benefits just like all medical procedures. But I’m scared because I’ve heard that it can have dangerous, life threatening consequences, not just for my pets but for my kids and me, too. I’m just so afraid not to get those booster shots, that I get the reminders for in the mail, all the time. It seems all we ever get are scare tactics thrown at us if we raise any objections to these vaccines. We’re just told about how risky and unconscionable it is to NOT vaccinate. The ultimate blow being when my vet tells me, I won’t be able to bring my pet back to the clinic unless I vaccinate and boost regularly. What if I have an emergency, then what?”

Sound familiar? What are we supposed to do in the face of such tactics? For those of us who dare to recommend caution about vaccination, especially annual boosters and/or even the appropriate time  Continue reading

Overcrowding in Emergency Rooms Increase Death Risk among Patients

Overcrowding and long waits in emergency rooms lead to more patients dying or needing further hospital treatment, researchers have found.

In an analysis of more than 14 million patients in Canada, researchers found that hospital shifts with longer average waiting times were linked to a higher risk of patients dying, or returning to the hospital for more treatment, in the following seven days.

Cutting average waiting times by one hour would have saved more than 800 lives over the course of the study, the researchers estimated.

Among the sickest patients, spending six hours or more in the ER was linked to a 79 percent higher chance of dying during the next seven days, compared with staying less than an hour. For less  Continue reading

Is Lap-Band Surgery for Weight Loss Safe?

People used to have to be very obese to qualify for LAP-BAND surgery, a weight loss operation in which an inflatable silicon ring is wrapped around the stomach to create a small pouch, drastically limiting food consumption.  Until recently, the procedure was only approved for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above, or patients with a BMI of 35 or above, plus a severe obesity-related illness, such as heart disease or diabetes. Now the FDA has expanded the criteria to include people who have a BMI of 30, along with an obesity-related disorder.

That means 37 million more Americans are  Continue reading

Health Canada Warns of Health Risks Posed by Rating Raw Bean Sprouts

OTTAWA – Cook those bean sprouts well, advises Health Canada, if you want to reduce the risk of exposure to food borne illness.

“Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to these bacteria and should not eat any raw sprouts at all,” Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Wednesday.

“They should also avoid eating cooked sprouts unless they can be sure the sprouts have been thoroughly cooked.”

The agencies note that sprouts from alfalfa and mung beans are a popular choice for Canadians as a low-calorie, healthy ingredient for many meals. Onion, radish, mustard and broccoli sprouts, not to be confused with the actual plant or vegetable, are also options.

But they may carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which can lead to serious illness.

The largest recent outbreak in Canada linked to sprouts was in the fall of 2005, when more than 648 cases of salmonella were reported in Ontario.

Healthy adults who choose to eat sprouts are urged to ensure they buy crisp ones that have been refrigerated and avoid those that appear dark or smell musty. They should also use tongs or a glove to place the sprouts in a plastic bag.

Symptoms from salmonella usually occur 12 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, while symptoms from E. coli can occur within two to 10 days.

Symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. People who experience these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately. In extreme cases, E. coli can lead to acute kidney failure or even death.

Active Elders Live Longer: Study

JERUSALEM – Older adults who exercise seem to live longer and have a lower risk of disability, says a new study.

Jochanan Stessman and colleagues at Hebrew University Medical Centre and its Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, studied 1,861 individuals born in 1920 and 1921.

Participants underwent assessments in their homes at ages 70, 78 and 85 years during which they were asked about their physical activity levels.

Those who performed less than four hours per week of physical activity were considered sedentary.

Those who exercised about four hours weekly, performed vigorous activities such as jogging or swimming at least twice weekly or who engaged in regular physical activity (walking at least an hour daily) were considered physically active.

The proportion of participants who were physically active was 53.4 percent at age 70, 76.9 percent at age 77 and 64 percent at age 85.

Compared to sedentary individuals, those who were physically active were 12 percent less likely to die between ages 70 and 78, 15 percent less likely to die between ages 78 and 85.

Seventeen percent were less likely to die between ages 85 and 88. They were more likely to remain independent and experienced fewer declines in their ability to perform daily tasks.

The benefits associated with physical activity were observed not only in those who maintained an existing level of physical activity, but also in those who began exercising between ages of 70 and 85.

“Although the mechanism of the survival benefit is most likely multifactorial, one important finding was the sustained protective effect of physical activity against functional decline,” the study authors write.

Physical activity arrested the decline by improving cardiovascular fitness, slowing loss of muscle mass, reducing fat, improving immunity and suppressing inflammation, says a Hebrew University release.

These findings appeared in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Touching Toes May Indicate Heart Risk

Touching Toes May Indicate Heart Risk

In addition to measuring flexibility, touching your toes may indicate your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Performance on sit-and-reach tests can be a sign of the risk of an early death heart attack or stroke among people 40 years old and older, according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology.

Since arterial stiffness often heralds cardiovascular disease, a test of how far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position could be a quick, easy, inexpensive indicator of how stiff your arteries are.

“Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated,” said one of the authors, Kenta Yamamoto. “This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening.”

Although it isn’t known why flexibility of the body in middle age and older would be related to arterial flexibility, the authors speculate that stretching exercises may trigger physiological reactions that slow the stiffening of arteries connected with aging.

Healthy blood vessels are elastic, and elasticity helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Arteries stiffen with age, and stiff arteries are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and death. Previous studies have shown that physical fitness can delay arterial stiffness and the authors of this study theorize that a flexible body could be a quick way to determine arterial flexibility.

The researchers divided 526 healthy, non-smoking adults ages 20 to 83 into three age groups: young (20-39), middle aged (40-59), and older (60-83), to perform a sit-and-reach test. They sat on the floor with their backs against the wall and their legs straight. They slowly bent forward and reached out with their arms. They were classified as either poor or high flexibility, depending on how far they could reach.

The study found that trunk flexibility was a good predictor of artery stiffness among middle age and older volunteers but not among the younger group. They also found that systolic blood pressure (the highest pressure that occurs when the heart contracts) was higher in poor flexibility than in high flexibility groups.

“These findings suggest a possibility that improving flexibility induced by the stretching exercise may be capable of modifying age-related arterial stiffening in middle-aged and older adults,” Yamamoto said. “We believe that flexibility exercises, such as stretching, yoga and Pilates, should be integrated as a new recommendation into the known cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise.”

However, there are other possibilities as to why bodily flexibility should be an indicator of arterial stiffness, including the possibility that the amount of collagen and elastin, which makes muscles flexible, also makes arteries flexible.