Search This Blog

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chemotherapy Care Packages

Now that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, it's not uncommon to know someone going through chemotherapy.

Chemo targets fast-growing cells like cancer cells, but it also affects normal cells that grow quickly like hair follicles, blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, and cells in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and reproductive system. Chemotherapeutic drugs can also affect cells in the lungs, heart, nervous system, kidneys and bladder.

When healthy cells get damaged, side effects occur. People experience chemotherapy differently and some have more side effects than others. While each drug can cause specific symptoms, many kinds of chemotherapy have some side effects in common. These include hair loss, mouth sores, changes in skin and nails, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anemia, constipation or diarrhea, weight gain, bruising or bleeding, increased risk of infection, and problems with nerves, muscles, kidneys or the bladder.

During chemotherapy, patients need all the support that they can get. If you know someone going through cancer treatment, put together a care package for him or her. Here are some things to include:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Statins Aren't the Answer to Heart Disease and What Matters Most

The American Heart Association's new set of guidelines for the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent heart disease makes millions of healthy people the targets of statin medications that they don't need, for reasons that are not evident.

There have been lots of statin studies, but not a lot of good studies on statins. Many have been tainted by unreliable and ethically questionable research methods including "selective reporting of outcomes, failure to report adverse events and inclusion of people with cardiovascular disease" in studies meant to exclude such people.

If we look at randomized, placebo-controlled trials, which are the gold standard when it comes to scientific research, statins have zero effect on overall mortality.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stopping Smoking Has Suprising Benefits on Life Expectancy

There is some very good news for smokers: it's never too late to quit. A recent study showed that quitting smoking at any age, regardless of how long you've been smoking, can have dramatic effects on life expectancy.

Researchers at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto studied 113,752 women and 88,496 men between 25 and 79 years of age. They found that compared to people who never smoked, current smokers had a three times higher risk of dying from any cause and their life expectancy was 10 years shorter.

They also found that people who quit smoking between the ages of 25 and 34 gained back all 10 years of life expectancy they would have lost if they had

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Read This Before You Get a Flu Shot

Cold and flu season is upon us and everyone older than 6 months is being encouraged to get a flu shot even though flu shots are not effective in kids under the age of two and last year the flu shot was only 56% effective overall, only 27% effective in adults 65 years and older, and only 9% effective against the worst flu virus (type A H3N2) in seniors.

Even the CDC admits that: