Search This Blog


Medical Research Updates

Search BREAST CANCER, on this site, for around the world cutting - edge research and treatment findings as they are published

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Salt and Your Health

   While it is common knowledge that excessive salt is bad for you many do not understand the physiology of it . We have distilled some very relevant information here that we hope is helpful for you.

We can note that salt and sodium are not the same.   Salt is made up of sodium and chlorine (chemical name: "sodium chloride"). But there are other forms of sodium in food, including baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, and sodium benzoate. Any form of sodium adds to your intake, but salt makes up about 90% of the sodium you get.

Second..  sodium isn't all bad. It is used to bind and stabilize ingredients and as a preservative, flavor enhancer, and color enhancer.
  The human body needs some sodium to work right. Sodium helps control your blood pressure, blood volume, and the balance of other fluids in your body. It also helps with your nerves and muscles.
 But your body needs only 180 mg to 500 mg a day. That's less than the amount in 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

In an average diet only about 6% of our daily sodium comes from salt added at the table. About 5% comes from salt added during cooking. Only 12% is from foods with natural sources of sodium while up to an estimated 75% comes from processed or restaurant foods. The easiest way to cut down on sodium is to eat more home-cooked meals made from fresh ingredients.

 By far, the biggest health problem caused by a high-salt diet is high blood pressure. On average, the more salt you get, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure raises your risk for stroke, kidney problems, heart failure, blindness, and heart attacks.

You can help counter the bad effects of a high-salt diet with physical activity. Studies show that the more active you are, the less your blood pressure rises from a high-salt diet. So if you are not active, you need to be even more careful about eating less salt.
Too much salt can have bad effects on the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. According to the CDC, too much sodium can raise your risk of having heart attack or a stroke.

The American Heart Association says adults should limit their sodium to less than 1,500 mg per day. That's equal to about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt. On average, Americans get more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day, or the amount in about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Certain people are more prone to high blood pressure or at risk from its effects. For these groups -- including people 51 or older, African-Americans, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease --1,500 mg per day is the recommended maximum amount of sodium. Some people may need to get even less.

Men eat more sodium than women, mainly because they eat more food. On average,  men eat between 3,100 mg and 4,700 mg of sodium per day; women eat between 2,300 mg and 3,100 mg. Dietary guidelines also recommend 2,300 mg for healthy people age 2 to 50.
It can take a while to adjust to a low-salt diet. Salt is an acquired taste, but most of us acquired it as children. As adults, after years of eating overly salted foods, we have to make a big effort to changing our tastes. Experts say it takes about 8 to 12 weeks.

Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt are all the same thing: sodium chloride. And they all have the same sodium content (40%). The differences are primarily in texture and taste.
 Table salt is made from rock salt harvested from inland deposits (with iodine sometimes added as an extra nutrient). Kosher salt is made from similar sources, but it's usually additive-free and has a coarser texture. Sea salt, as its name suggests, is harvested from evaporated seawater. Consequently, it has a slightly different flavor. In the end, though, they all contribute equally to your total sodium consumption.

Food labeling rules allow up to 5 mg per serving in a product labeled "sodium-free." Products labeled "very low-sodium” are allowed to have up to 35 mg per serving. "Low-sodium" means 140 mg or less. "Reduced sodium" means the usual sodium level has been cut by at least 25%. "Unsalted," "without added salt," and “no salt added” mean that it contains no extra salt beyond the amount that occurs naturally in the food..

Adjust your salt intake to improve your overall health… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
C. Gilman Jones

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Connection Between Sleep Difficulties and GERD for Seniors

Could Acid Reflux Result in Sleep Apnea?

       Gastroesophageal reflux and sleep problems go hand in hand. Millions of affected people who have been diagnosed with GERD report worse symptoms at night, and three in four say they routinely wake up from sleep because of them. GERD affects more than many people with  heartburn symptoms.

This association between GERD and sleep disorders make sense because when you're awake, gravity helps keep acids needed to digest food down where they belongs -- in the stomach. But when you're lying down, these acids can leak back into the esophagus, damaging its lining and significantly boosting the risk of esophageal cancer.

Here in Philippines there are tropical fruits that will help controlling the symptoms of GERD. Another advantage is that you may actually sleep better as well

While pineapple should be considered one of the most acidic fruits on the planet, it is actually very good for your acid reflux. The reason for this is that it contains bromelain, which is excellent to help your digestion, reduce your acid reflex, and calm your stomach down.

Fresh Papaya is readily available here and this tropical fruit is highly recommended by doctors, as it contains papain.

This enzyme found in papayas improves your digestion and helps to handle the absorption of protein in your body. It can help to reduce your acid reflux, improve your digestion, and bring peace to your stomach.

Some researchers believe that obstructive sleep apnea results in airway pressure changes that can cause reflux to occur, yet other researchers believe that the reflux of acids may result in spasms of the vocal cords that can then lead to sleep apnea.

With sleep apnea, people tend to breathe harder because their breathing has stopped, and that could induce reflux to flow into the esophagus
But so far, it's largely a chicken-and-egg question: Does sleep apnea cause acid reflux, or does this reflux cause sleep apnea by pooling in the esophagus and making it harder to breathe?

News for millions of people with GERD, which is most common after middle age, when the valve at the bottom of the esophagus weakens making acid more likely to flow upward, is that the risks for GERD are similar to those for obstructive sleep apnea, and obesity, which is controllable, is one reason people develop GERD.

Obstructive sleep apnea is also more common after middle age, especially in obese people. It is caused by relaxation of tissues in the neck, resulting in a temporary obstruction of the air passages. A person with sleep apnea may have as many as 50 or more episodes of breathing stoppage in a single night, raising their risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.

Preliminary study results do show what researchers have long suspected: reflux does cause people to wake up from sleep. Yet it may be a reflux of other back-flowing liquids and not just stomach acids.

Remember, many people with obstructive sleep apnea have no symptoms of heartburn.. What we will be doing, as physicians, is to evaluate whether these patients are having more esophageal injuries than are expected. It may turn out that if you have obstructive sleep apnea, you need to be examined for reflux -- even if you have no symptoms of GERD. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and your doctor does not associate it with GERD then ask him/her for an evaluation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Psoriatic Disease and the Autoimmune Connection

What is an autoimmune disease?

Researchers agree that psoriatic disease is an autoimmune disease. That means that psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are actually caused by an overactive immune system. But how can your immune system—which is built to keep you healthy—actually cause an illness? The explanation can be found in the word itself. Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system automatically launches an inflammatory response against your own body.

When the immune system functions properly, it protects the body against any “invaders” that might make you sick, such as bacteria, viruses or other pathogens. But in people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the immune system goes into action even without these invaders. Instead, the immune system fights the body’s own tissues. In psoriatic disease, this battle is waged in the skin and joints.

Researchers who study psoriatic disease are still working to identify the substances inside the body that the immune response mistakes for antigens. One possibility could be certain kinds of bacteria. For example, in some cases, streptococcal infection (known as strep throat) can trigger a case of guttate psoriasis. Another possible antigen could be antimicrobial peptides, molecules that are a part of the immune system and work as the body’s own antibiotics. Research funded by the National Psoriasis Foundation found that a particular antimicrobial peptide can cause an autoimmune reaction in many people with moderate to severe psoriasis.

The role of inflammation

Inflammation is one of the weapons used by the immune system to fight an invader. For example, when you catch a virus or develop a bacterial infection, a type of immune cell called a T cell springs into action. When T cells recognize something as an invader – also called an antigen—T cells begin an inflammatory attack against the invader.

This attack is carried out by cytokines, which are proteins that help control the immune system’s inflammatory response. Cytokines trigger inflammation, causing the blood vessels to expand and send more immune cells to different parts of the body. In psoriasis, this inflammation happens in the skin, leading to the red, itchy and scaly patches known as plaques. In psoriatic arthritis, this inflammation happens inside the body, leading to swollen and painful joints and tendons.

Treating the immune system

The immune system is not only the key to what causes psoriatic disease—it may be the key to treating it, too. In 1979, researchers discovered on accident that a drug called cyclosporine that suppresses the immune system also clears psoriasis. This offered one of the first clues that psoriasis was actually an autoimmune disease. Since then, many effective treatments directed toward the immune system have been developed for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Methotrexate, another systemic drug that suppresses the immune system, is often used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Newer drugs called biologics affect certain parts of the immune system to treat psoriatic disease.

What's next?

Scientists are continuing to study the complex relationship between the immune system and psoriatic disease. Researchers are working to identify the antigens that trigger the autoimmune response in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, to better understand the role played by different kinds of immune cells in psoriatic disease, and develop new therapies that target cytokines or other parts of the immune system.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Under The Filipino Sun ~ An Expat's Need For Hydration..

Physiologically  western bodies will never be the same as our Asian counterparts.
 Paying special attention to a climate adjustment is a wise thing 
especially maintaining adequate hydration. 

Stay Slimmer With Water

For those of you battling with a bit of a weight problem , surprisingly , water can help.  Water revs up metabolism and helps you feel full. This can actually help you loose weight. 
Replace calorie-filled beverages with water, and drink a glass before meals to help you feel fuller.
Drinking more water helps amp up metabolism - especially if your glass is icy cold. Your body must work to warm the water up, burning a few extra calories in the process.

Water Boosts Your Energy

If you're feeling drained and depleted, get a pick-me-up with water. Dehydration makes you feel tired.
The right amount of water will help your heart pump your blood more effectively.
And water can help your blood transport oxygen and other essential nutrients to your cells

Lower Stress With Water

About 70% to 80% of your brain tissue is water. If you're dehydrated, your body and your mind are stressed.
If you're feeling thirsty, you're already a little dehydrated.
To keep stress levels down, keep a glass of water at your desk or carry a sports bottle and sip regularly.

Build Muscle Tone With Water

Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates joints in the body.
When you're well hydrated, you can engage in your daily activities easier because you will feel  stronger .

Nourish Your Skin

Fine lines and wrinkles are deeper when you're dehydrated. Water is nature's own beauty cream.
Drinking water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger.
It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, helping your skin glow.

Stay Regular With Water

Along with fiber, water is important for good digestion.
Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract.
If you're dehydrated, your body absorbs all the water, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste.
Water Reduces Kidney Stones
The rate of painful kidney stones is rising. One of the reasons could be because people -- including children -- aren't drinking enough water.
Water dilutes the salts and minerals in your urine that form the solid crystals known as kidney stones.
Kidney stones can't form in diluted urine, so reduce your risk with plenty of water!

Dehydration and loss of  electrolytes

When you sweat your body loses both fluid and electrolytes. If you don’t stay properly hydrated, especially in a tropical climate like the Philippines .  Staying properly hydrated, particularly during periods of activity, is of particular importance.

Dehydration will impact your performance in several negative ways . Perhaps you’ve even experienced extreme consequences such as muscle cramps and fatigue dizziness etc. But even if you don’t feel a difference, as little as 2% dehydration can result in a decrease in performance, even if it is only light gardening. 

Remember that the sun in the Philippines is very strong which means that expats from cooler climates will tend to sweat more and become dehydrated faster than normal. Thirst is the #1 indicator that you may be dehydrated so be sure that you drink especially when you are thirsty..

Good ways to replenish electrolytes are via quality sports drinks which will help to replenish your mineral losses; but electrolytes also help make the most of your water, which is the key to proper hydration. Sports drinks high in sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help retain fluids, and proper fluid balance contributes to an optimal, healthy state of hydration.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Medicial Break-through with Auto-immune disorders

Aggressor cells, which have the potential to cause autoimmunity, are targeted by treatment, causing conversion of these cells to protector cells. Gene expression changes gradually at each stage of treatment, as illustrated by the color changes in this series of heat maps.

 Scientists have made an important breakthrough in the fight against debilitating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis by revealing how to stop cells attacking healthy body tissue.
Rather than the body's immune system destroying its own tissue by mistake, researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered how cells convert from being aggressive to actually protecting against disease.
The study, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is published in Nature Communications.
It's hoped this latest insight will lead to the widespread use of antigen-specific immunotherapy as a treatment for many autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

MS alone affects around 100,000 people in the UK and 2.5 million people worldwide.
Scientists were able to selectively target the cells that cause autoimmune disease by dampening down their aggression against the body's own tissues while converting them into cells capable of protecting against disease.
This type of conversion has been previously applied to allergies, known as 'allergic desensitisation', but its application to autoimmune diseases has only been appreciated recently.

The Bristol group has now revealed how the administration of fragments of the proteins that are normally the target for attack leads to correction of the autoimmune response.
Most importantly, their work reveals that effective treatment is achieved by gradually increasing the dose of antigenic fragment injected.
In order to figure out how this type of immunotherapy works, the scientists delved inside the immune cells themselves to see which genes and proteins were turned on or off by the treatment.

They found changes in gene expression that help explain how effective treatment leads to conversion of aggressor into protector cells. The outcome is to reinstate self-tolerance whereby an individual's immune system ignores its own tissues while remaining fully armed to protect against infection.
By specifically targeting the cells at fault, this immunotherapeutic approach avoids the need for the immune suppressive drugs associated with unacceptable side effects such as infections, development of tumours and disruption of natural regulatory mechanisms.

Professor David Wraith, who led the research, said: "Insight into the molecular basis of antigen-specific immunotherapy opens up exciting new opportunities to enhance the selectivity of the approach while providing valuable markers with which to measure effective treatment. These findings have important implications for the many patients suffering from autoimmune conditions that are currently difficult to treat."

This treatment approach, which could improve the lives of millions of people worldwide, is currently undergoing clinical development through biotechnology company Apitope, a spin-out from the University of Bristol.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
Bronwen R. Burton, Graham J. Britton, Hai Fang, Johan Verhagen, Ben Smithers, Catherine A. Sabatos-Peyton, Laura J. Carney, Julian Gough, Stephan Strobel, David C. Wraith. Sequential transcriptional changes dictate safe and effective antigen-specific immunotherapy. Nature Communications..

Friday, January 29, 2016

ZIKA What you MUST do to stay safe

The World Health Organization announced Thursday that it will convene an emergency meeting to try to find ways to stop the transmission of the Zika virus  which officials said is "spreading explosively" across the Americas. Health officials said 24 known countries and territories are affected by mosquitoes that are transmitting Zika locally.

How stay safe since we have no vaccine yet

IMPORTANTYou MUST use spray repellents to protect yourself against mosquitoes.
Sika rarely causes serious symptoms. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

According to the CDC, only about 1 in 5 people infected with the virus actually become sick with symptoms such as fever, rash, joint or muscle pain, headache and red eyes. The symptoms are usually mild and last just a week or less. This is dangerous because it can be spread easily at this stage..

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the United States has 31 confirmed cases in 11 states and the District of Columbia. All are travel-related, said Lyle Petersen, director of CDC’s vector-borne disease division, and "this number is increasing rapidly." At least one involves a pregnant woman, New York City officials said Thursday. There also are 20 additional cases because of local transmission in U.S. territories — 19 in Puerto Rico and one in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"The level of alarm is extremely high, as is the level of uncertainty. We need to get some answers quickly, " Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, said in Geneva during a briefing for member countries.

The WHO said the pathogen, which was virtually unheard of in the region a year ago, is spreading so fast that it could infect as many as 3 million to 4 million people within 12 months. Chan said those numbers and the severity of the possible complications being reported -- from a brain abnormality called microcephaly in children to paralysis in adults -- make the situation dramatically different than what epidemiologists have seen with past outbreaks of the virus.

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Prevention" of Blood Clots is the Best Cure of All ~

Prevention of Blood Clots 

Stay Alert in the Air 

On a long flight, skip the alcohol and sleeping pills. You need to stay awake enough to keep your muscles moving for good blood circulation. Get up and walk around every hour or two. When you're sitting, change your position often.
Don't cross your legs, since that can weaken blood flow Prep for Travel Wear light, loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Avoid anything that could restrict your circulation. Drink lots of water, too. Ask your doctor if you need to take any extra medication -- or a different medication -- during your trip.
Foot Pumps Whenever you're stuck in your seat, try to regularly move your feet and calf muscles. For example: Put your feet flat on the floor. Raise your toes in the air while keeping your heels on the ground. Hold for 3 seconds. Then reverse -- plant your toes, raise your heels, and hold for 3 seconds.

Take Your Ankles for a Spin
Another easy exercise to do when you're sitting, perhaps in a waiting room or at the movies? Lift your foot off the floor and make circles in the air with your toes. Go for 15 seconds in one direction, then reverse. Do the same thing with the other foot. Or do both feet at the same time!

Schedule Breaks
Don't spend the day at your desk.
 Set the reminder on your computer or phone for 1 to 2 hours. When it goes off, get up and walk for a few minutes. Then reset the alarm. You can use the timer to remind you to stretch your legs and feet, and move them around while you sit, too.

Try Compression Stockings Your doctor may recommend these to help prevent clots. The stockings put gentle pressure on your feet and legs to improve blood flow. If you don't like a particular pair, don't give up. Talk to your doctor first. A different brand may help. Make sure you have the right size and the right amount of pressure. Compression socks might be more comfortable for you, so ask if that's an option.

Get Moving
Regular physical activity is a great way to avoid getting another deep-vein clot. It gets your blood moving and prevents swelling. And exercise can help you stay at a healthy weight, which also lowers your risk. Working out can improve your lung function too, which is key if you've had a pulmonary embolism. Check with your doctor before you go gung-ho on a new routine. Lots of people start slowly with gentle exercises like walking and swimming.

Stop Smoking 
If you light up, now's the time to quit. Smoking restricts your blood flow and makes clots more likely. Talk to your doctor about ways to make quitting easier, like nicotine gum or patches, or prescription medicine. Seize the moment: Use your DVT as a wake-up call and an opportunity to make lasting changes to your lifestyle.

Be Wary of Bleeding Blood thinner medicines can be essential after a DVT, but they can also make nicks and cuts bleed more. Instead of shaving with a blade, switch to an electric razor. Be careful when using nail clippers, scissors, knives, and sharp tools. Also, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and waxed floss, because they're less likely to injure your mouth. Ask your doctor about what else you should -- and shouldn't -- do.

Relax Life after DVT can be stressful. Try not to worry about having another blood clot. Many people who get deep vein thrombosis don't get it again, especially if they follow their treatment plan. Your risk goes down over time, too. The longer you stay healthy, the lower your chances of having another one are. Use mindfulness, deep breathing, or other forms of meditation to help you ease your mind. Download an audiobook on your phone or tablet to learn new techniques.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions You Will Want To Keep..

7 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Want to Keep

1. Eat more chocolate
Research touts the health benefits of chocolate, including everything from increasing the blood flow in your brain to decreasing the impact of heart disease. In some cases, chocolate even has an antidepressant effect. Eat in moderation, though, to avoid extra calories. One study found benefits from 6.7 grams of chocolate per day, or roughly a small square of chocolate two or three times a week.

2. Dance, dance, dance
You can do this exercise anywhere: in a ballroom, in a class or in the comfort of your own home. Dancing burns calories, reduces stress, improves strength and flexibility, and can improve relationships. So whether you’re grabbing a partner or dancing with yourself, shake a leg — along with the rest of your body.

3. Do something uncomfortable
Stimulate your brain by moving out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Learn phrases in a foreign language, attempt a challenging puzzle, take a new route for your daily commute or take a class in something new that interests you. Your brain needs exercise, too.

4. Take a mental break
We all take sick days when physical illness strikes, but unchecked stress and depression also can have negative effects on your health, including heart disease and anxiety. Use a vacation or personal day when you really need it and do something you find relaxing. Even if you can’t take a full day off, a five-minute break for focused breathing or yoga can work wonders and keep you focused.

5. Drink coffee
Research has shown that about three cups of coffee each day may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine appears to have a beneficial effect on neurotransmitters. As with chocolate, though, keep your intake moderate. Coffee is a stimulant, so too much coffee late in the day might disrupt your sleep, in addition to triggering acid reflux in some people.
6. Go shoe shopping
Feet take a beating, particularly in women’s shoes designed for fashion rather than comfort. Replace those high heels with shoes in which your feet can feel happy. Choose shoes that fit your feet, rather than forcing your feet to fit the shoes. Look for a heel no higher than 2 1/4 inches, and choose square-toed shoes over pointy-toed shoes. To be sure of a good fit, try shoes on at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest.

7. Have a laugh

Research is not definitive on whether laughter is the best medicine, but studies have shown laughter’s positive effects on blood flow and sleep, among other things. Whether these health results come from a more positive outlook in general or from the act of laughing itself is debatable, but a little more humor in your life can’t hurt