Monday, May 26, 2014

Recent articles on diet and health, many of which contradict each other.

  • While the authors suggested that people eat a low protein diet in middle age and switch to a high protein diet once they get older, it is not possible to say from the study whether this is what the older participants actually did, as their diets were only assessed once.
High protein diet not as bad for you as smoking

Red meat raises risk for cancer

The food we were born to eat: John McDougall at TEDxFremont

Tackling diabetes with a bold new dietary approach: Neal Barnard at TEDxFremont

"Interestingly enough, blood triglycerides do not go up with eating fat—they go up if you eat a diet high in processed grains, starches, and sugar. Unfortunately for the proponents of high-carbohydrate diets, high blood triglycerides are a major risk factor for heart disease. In addition, low fat/high carb diets lower protective "good" cholesterol and raise insulin.  These diets are implicated in the development of diabetes, which is a potent risk factor for developing heart disease."

Gary Taubles: Why We Get Fat (Suggest watching just the last 10 minutes.)

Debunking the paleo diet: Christina Warinner at TEDxOU

BTW, there are lots of people offering to sell you diets online, but these usually are either low carb/high fat or high carb/low fat diets.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fwd: Health

'In a strategy that combines two of the hottest ideas in cancer research, scientists at the National Institutes of Health said they successfully attacked a woman's disease by using her immune system to home in on genetic mutations unique to her tumors.


The findings, published Thursday by the journal Science, come from just one patient—a 45-year-old woman in Montana. But researchers said her case, in which she received billions of immune cells specially grown to target her tumors, amounts to evidence the technique may be a way to treat many common cancers now considered difficult to target with the immune system.


So-called immunotherapy has so far shown the most promise in relatively rare cancers such as melanoma and kidney cancers.


This new approach "represents the blueprint for making immunotherapy available to treat common cancers," said Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research and senior author of the study. "We've figured out a way to target what is absolutely unique on each cancer. That is the mutations that make the cancer a cancer."'


'Researchers have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation.'


World's oldest person turns 116 this week, shares her 'secrets'

Drink that will increase your sleep time

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sugar and all things nice - Livemint

... I was turning into a health food fascist.
Then this happened. I made some of these doughnut muffins for Sunday
breakfast and with one bite my resolve and new-found principles simply
evaporated. They were so good, after I had eaten the first I would
have sold my granny for another. I didn't stop until I had eaten
four—by late morning I was in a sugar coma.
I decided right then that any life that didn't contain the occasional
taste of something as outrageously sweet and delicious as muffins that
taste like doughnuts (and really, really good doughnuts at that)
wasn't the life for me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fwd: Medical price transparency

'Trying to find out the price of a medical service is a headache for consumers. When researchers called hospitals around the country to find out the cost of a hip replacement, only 10 percent were able to provide an answer. About 332,000 total hip replacements were performed in the U.S. in 2010. Shouldn't it be simple to find out the price of something that's bought and sold 900 times a day?


Three of the U.S.'s largest health insurers plan to make what they pay for medical care more transparent to consumers. Aetna (AET), Humana (HUM), and UnitedHealthcare (UNH) are joining with a nonprofit called the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to turn their databases of medical claims into a useful online tool for consumers.


When the yet-to-be-named website goes live next year, anyone will be able to type in a medical service and search for prices, says David Newman, executive director of the HCCI. The site will show the average price paid by insurers in a given Zip Code (or wider areas if not enough data are available). It will also show a range of high- and low-end prices to indicate how much variation there is for a given service. He likens the information to car-buying site'



Thursday, May 15, 2014


'Mayo Clinic researchers announced a landmark study where a massive dose of the measles vaccine, enough to inoculate 10 million people, wiped out a Minnesota woman's incurable blood cancer.


The Mayo Clinic conducted the clinical trial last year using virotherapy. The method discovered the measles virus wiped out multiple myeloma cancer calls. Researchers engineered the measles virus (MV-NIS) in a single intravenous dose, making it selectively toxic to cancer cells.


Stacy Erholtz, 49, of Pequot Lakes, was one of two patients in the study who received the dose last year, and after 10 years with multiple myeloma has been clear of the disease for over six months.


"My mindset was I didn't have any other options available, so why wouldn't I do it? I had to have failed all conventional treatment to do that trial. That actually happened last March," Erholtz told KARE. "It was the easiest treatment by far with very few side effects. I hope it's the future of treating cancer infusion."


Steven Russell, a Mayo Clinic hematologist, spearheaded the study and said the concept was previously tested in mice, but never in humans.


"It's a huge milestone in that regard," said Russell. "We have known for some time viruses act like a vaccine. If you inject a virus into a tumor you can provoke the immune system to destroy that cancer and other cancers. This is different, it puts the virus into bloodstream, it infects and destroys the cancer, debulks it, and then the immune system can come and mop up the residue."


Two multiple myeloma patients were chosen because they are immune-compromised, and can't fight off the measles before it has time to attack cancer. Both had limited previous exposure to measles, and therefore fewer antibodies to the virus, and essentially had no remaining treatment options. Of the two subjects in the study, Stacy was the only to reach full remission. The other patient's cancer returned after nine months.


Russell believes it's still a medical milestone, and he hopes his team can one day transform this research into a single shot cure.


"It's like a call to action. It's not just good for our virus. It's good for every virus everybody's developing as a cancer therapy. We know this can happen," said Russell.


Mayo researchers are also testing the measles virus's effectiveness at fighting ovarian, brain, head and neck cancers and mesothelioma. They are also developing other viruses that seem to have potential to kill cancer cells.


"I think it's just remarkable. Who would have thought?" said Erholtz, who said she returns to the Mayo in June for a check up.


The Mayo is moving immediately into a phase two clinical trial involving more patients with a goal of FDA approval within four years.'


Monday, May 5, 2014

Fried food causes more weight gain in people with the 'fat gene'


'The first patient in the U.S. infected with the mysterious MERS virus continues to improve and does not so far seem to have infected anyone else, health officials said Monday.


The patient, at Community Hospital in Muncie, Indiana, is a health care worker who had traveled from Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first seen.


"All of the tests in close contacts have been negative," Don Fesko, CEO of the hospital, told a news conference. Officials said about 50 health workers had contact with the patient before they began taking extreme measures -- wearing masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection.


    "All of the tests in close contacts have been negative."


The patient is in good spirits, has been taken off supplementary oxygen, has been walking around and is cooperating with isolation precautions, officials said. Family members have been asked to isolate themselves and to wear face masks when they go out in public, just in case they are infected and haven't begun to show any symptoms yet.


The incubation period for MERS is usually about five days but it's been known to take as long as 14 days to cause symptoms, so the doctors are taking the most cautious approach.


Middle East Respiratory Sydrome (MERS) virus was first seen in 2012 and most cases are linked to the Middle East, although it's now been seen in more than a dozen countries around the world. Many of those who are sick enough to show symptoms have had other conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or kidney disease.


It spreads from person to person, but usually only with close and prolonged contact. But Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts and state health officials are testing health care workers and other close contacts of the patients, and will continue to test them for 14 days, just to be sure.


"It appears MERS picked the wrong hospital, the wrong state, and the wrong country to take hold," said Indiana state health commissioner Dr. William VanNess.


Officials are tracking down about 100 passengers from an airplane the patient traveled on and 10 bus passengers to make sure they don't have any symptoms. But experts say MERS has not been known to pass from casual contact such as sitting next to someone on public transport.


Health officials are releasing very little information about the patient but say he lives and works in Saudi Arabia. "He was working at a hospital in Saudi Arabia," said Dr. Daniel Feikin, CDC's medical epidemiologist at the hospital.


"He does not recall directly working with a patient who had MERS although he did work in a hospital that had cases of MERS."


He came to the U.S. on April 24 and went to the emergency department at the hospital on the 28th.'