Certain Heartburn Drugs May Increase Your Risk of Heart Attack

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Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid, are severely overprescribed and misused for heartburn—a condition for which they were not designed Continue reading

Important News if You Have a Beer Belly

Beer bellies are even more dangerous than we thought.

While it’s long been known that men with excess fat around their abdomens are at elevated risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and other problems, new evidence has emerged that links the common condition to osteoporosis. Continue reading

Gum Disease Joins Hot Flashes and PMS Associated with Women’s Hormones

Women, keep those toothbrushes and dental floss handy. A comprehensive review of women’s health studies by Charlene Krejci, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has shown a link between women’s health issues and gum disease.

Across the ages, Continue reading

High Doses of ‘Load’ Slows Loss of Bone in Spinal Cord Injury

At the end of a 3-year study, participant’s thighbones that received either a low dose of load or no load had a density that was almost 40 percent lower than thighbones that received a high dose of load

Loss of bone density leads to brittle bones that fracture easily. It is a major complication of spinal cord injury (SCI), which affects about 250,000 Americans every year.

A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of “load,” or stress, to bone through programmed electrical stimulation of the muscle significantly slows the loss of bone density in patients with SCI.

The focus on quantifying the effective dose of load is one of the study’s most important aspects, says Richard Shields, P.T., Ph.D., a professor and director of the UI Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Graduate Programs. The study also is the first to carefully test the impact of different doses of load in humans with paralysis.

Previous research had suggested that stressing or loading bone through muscle contractions could slow the loss of bone density, but results from clinical trials have been mixed. Continue reading

Pale Skin Signals Need for Vitamin D

While previous research suggested that individuals with dark skin are especially in need of vitamin D supplements due to the fact that skin pigment can hinder the body’s ability to synthesize the nutrient, a new study suggests that pale people have a similar deficiency issue.

Authors of the study, which was conducted at the University of Leeds in the U.K., theorized that this is because individuals with a light complexion tend to stay out of the sun because they burn easily.

The researchers defined a deficiency has having blood levels of the vitamin that were less than 60 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Previous studies determined that a measurement of 25 nmol/L may put an individual at significant risk of bone loss.

After examining the vitamin D levels Continue reading

Medication Stealing Vital Nutrients from your Body

Often prescribed to alleviate symptoms of illness, pharmaceutical medications rarely attack the root cause and cure the illness and have the added downside of side-effects.

Aside from the litany of side-effects listed, new book “Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients” suggests the medications may be further adding to your state of illness by “stealing nutrients from your system or preventing their absorption.” Not only might this make you feel worse, but it also may cause you to develop another condition.

Author of the new book, leading U.S. pharmacist Suzy Cohen, claims, “If you run low on even one vital nutrient, you can experience a cascade of uncomfortable side effects,” Continue reading

Help Prevent Oral Cancer with Green Tea Extract

A leading cancer center reports that green tea extract may be helpful in preventing oral cancer in patients who have a pre-malignant condition called oral leukoplakia. The five-year survival rate among oral cancer patients is less than 50 percent.

Green tea extract has been the focus of many studies, with research suggesting that the natural supplement is beneficial in preventing bone loss, protecting the lungs of smokers, slowing progression of prostate cancer, and reducing the risk of dying of colon cancer or heart disease.

Approximately 35,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2008. The rate of occurrence is increasing, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, with an increase of more than 11 percent between 2007 and 2008. A person dies of oral cancer at the rate of every hour of every day. The two main risk factors for oral cancer are use of tobacco and alcohol, and exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which causes cervical cancer.

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center study was the first to investigate green tea as an agent to protect against cancer in this high-risk population of patients with oral leukoplakia. The Phase II study involved 41 patients who were randomly assigned to received either green tea extract or placebo. The patients who took the green tea for three months received one of three doses: 500 per meter squared of body mass (mg/m2); 750 mg/m2, or 1,000 mg/m2, three times daily.

The investigators collected oral tissue samples at baseline and after 12 weeks of treatment to determine whether the green tea extract was having an impact. The samples revealed that the green tea was beneficial for patients and that it has an anti-angiogenic effect. This means that green tea helps stop the production of new blood vessels in a tumor, which promotes its growth. Thus green tea extract appears to have an anti-cancer effect.

Patients who took the green tea extract benefited at all doses. At the two highest doses, 58.8 percent had a clinical response, compared with 36.4 percent in the lowest dose and 18.2 percent among the placebo group. At a follow-up with a mean of 27.5 months, 15 participants had developed oral cancer, with a median time to the development of disease of 46.4 months.

Along with showing promise as an oral cancer preventive, the green tea extract used in the study was also well tolerated. Side effects included insomnia and nervousness, which were experienced mostly in the highest dose group. The study’s authors noted that the green tea extract they used was developed exclusively as a pharmaceutical and was not available over-the-counter.

Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis Link Brings Possible Treatment

Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis Link Brings Possible Treatment

A new study indicates a startling reason that osteoporosis is a risk factor for celiac disease: The body’s immune system may attack its own bone tissue. It also holds promise for treatment.

Scientists previously speculated that the reason for the celiac-osteoporosis link was the body’s failure to absorb vitamin D and calcium, nutrients essential for healthy bones.

But researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied a protein called osteoprotegerin (OPG) in victims of celiac disease. OPG controls the rate that bone is removed and is vital in maintaining good bone health. They found that 20 percent of celiac patients produced antibodies that kept the OPG protein from working properly. The result is rapid destruction of bone and severe osteoporosis.

Although the scientists found that, even though this form of osteoporosis doesn’t respond to calcium and vitamin D supplement, it can be treated with drugs already available that prevent bone loss.

An intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, causes celiac disease, which damages and inflames the small villi that line the small intestines and help in digestion. When inflamed, the villi can’t absorb food normally, which leads to diarrhea and malnutrition.

“This is a very exciting step forward,” said lead researcher Professor Stuart Ralston from the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. “Not only have we discovered a new reason to explain why osteoporosis occurs in celiac disease, but we have also found that it responds very well to drugs that prevent bone tissue removal,” he told BBC News.

“Testing for these antibodies could make a real and important difference to the lives of people with celiac disease by alerting us to the risk of osteoporosis and helping us find the correct treatment for them.”

Bone Health Fact: Celiac Disease affects 1 in 100 people, and many of them will develop osteoporosis.