Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER      

Hepatitis C

If you are tired, feel sick and have muscle and joint pains, part of your evaluation should include a blood test for hepatitis C, even if all liver function tests are normal.

Colon Cancer, Gut Bacteria and Diet

A diet that is high in either red meat or sugar, or both, increases the growth in the colon of bacteria called Fusobacterium nucleatum that appears to suppress a person's immunity to increase the growth of cancer cells in the colon.

Gut Bacteria to Help Treat and Prevent Cancers

To function properly, your immunity depends on the tens of trillions of bacteria in your intestines. New cancer treatments rely on gut bacteria to help stimulate the immune system to kill cancers such as lymphomas in the blood and melanomas in the skin. If you give antibiotics that kill gut bacteria before you give these cancer drugs, the cancer drugs do not work at all

Routine CT Scans Can Increase Cancer Risk

A single CT scan routinely used to evaluate patients for heart disease emits more than 150 times the amount of radiation that comes from a single chest X-ray. Radiation can damage the DNA genetic material in cells, kill some cells, and cause increased expression of genes involved in the repair or death of cells...

Bunions (Hallux Valgus)

A bunion is a bony prominence on the side of the foot, at the base of the big toe joint. This enlargement of the joint, spurring, bump or lump can be aggravated by sports or tight shoes. There is progressive movement of the big toe toward the other toes.

Restless Legs Syndrome is Very Common

One in 20 people over 60 suffers from restless legs syndrome, a common cause of insomnia. Without any warning during sleep. their legs start to tingle, and walk off the bed.

Triclosan Banned by the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will ban triclosan and 18 other antibacterial chemicals in soaps and liquid hand or body wash products because they are ineffective and potentially harmful. The banned chemicals are also found in hand sanitizers, detergents, deodorants, antiperspirants, lotions, creams, toothpastes, dishwashing liquids, shampoos, mouth washes, shaving cream, after-shave lotions, hair conditioners, foot odor products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, trash bags and even baby pacifiers, but the FDA ban does not affect these products.

Alzheimer’s Disease May Come From an Infection

Nearly fifty percent of people over 85 suffer from symptoms of dementia of which Alzheimer's disease, a progressive loss of brain cells, is the most common form. The second most common type of dementia comes from repeated strokes. This month researchers offer strong evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be started by an infection.

No Way to Grow Taller After Puberty

Bones do not grow throughout their length. They grow from growth centers, called the epiphysis, near their ends. When a person reaches puberty, growth centers close one after the other until all the growth centers are closed forever and a person's bones can never grow again. After that, a person can grow wider, but not taller.

Trouble Sleeping? Check Your Diet

A study from Columbia Medical School shows that a high fiber diet that is low in sugar and saturated fat can help you to fall sleep faster and sleep deeper at night. A single day of increased sugar and fat and decreased fiber intake can interfere with your sleep that night.

More Links Between Cancers and Sugar

The evidence is getting stronger that taking in too much sugar increases your risk for cancers as well as for heart attacks, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. A study from M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston shows how sugar may cause cancers to start and then to spread to other parts of the body (Cancer Research, Jan. 1, 2016).

Gout

If you have recurrent pain and swelling behind your big toe or in your ear, you may have gout. Gout occurs when uric acid crystals precipitate out from your joint fluid to cause pain, swelling and heat.

Corns and Calluses

Skin responds to friction and pressure by thickening. This is helpful until the skin becomes so thick it actually hurts. Skin that thickens without a core is called callus. They usually form under the foot. Corns are thick spots of skin with a deep, central core. They usually form on the toes.

Breakthrough Research from Winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine

2019 Nobel Prize honors the discovery of how your body responds when you can't meet your needs for oxygen. Their groundbreaking research is now being used to treat certain cancers, strokes, infections, anemia, heart attack risks, and some eye diseases that can cause blindness.

PPIs May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Researchers at Stanford reviewed the medical records of nearly three million people and found that those who took a type of ulcer medication called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) were almost 20 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those not taking these drugs (PLoS ONE. June 10, 2015). PPIs reduce excess stomach acidity...

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

A study from Brown University Medical School showed that Alzheimer’s disease may be another form of diabetes, and all the recommendations for avoiding diabetes may also protect your memory.

How Exercise Helps to Prevent Some Cancers

A review of 170 animal and human studies shows that regular exercise is associated with reduced cancer risk, particularly for the types of cancers that are associated with unhealthful lifestyles, such as those of the breast, colon, prostate, lung and endometrium. Exercise helps to prevent cancer by reducing causes of inflammation.

Total Body Scans

CAT scans of the body are high-speed, highly sensitive X-rays that can find tiny tumors, weak spots on blood vessels that make them bulge out like balloons, and calcified areas that may be indicative of heart disease.

Helicobacter and Stomach Ulcers

If you belch or have burning in your stomach or chest, particularly when your stomach is empty, you probably have either an infection, a tumor, or a condition called GERD (reflux or regurgitation). Infection with bacteria such as helicobacter pylori is by far the most common cause.

Depression or Tiredness: Low Thyroid Function?

More than nine million North Americans suffer from low thyroid function, but many people are not diagnosed or treated because they have never been tested. One million people take thyroid replacement pills, but some are not being treated properly because they are taking only one thyroid hormone when they need two to really feel better.

Deaths from Liver Cancer Increasing

Deaths from cancer of the liver are increasing every year. Each year, more than 35,000 North Americans develop liver cancer and 25,000 die from it. Less than 20 percent of liver cancer patients are alive five years after being diagnosed. If the cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to surrounding tissues, the five-year survival rate drops to 11 percent.

Excess Weight Raises Cancer Risk

The American Association for Cancer Research reports that being overweight is linked to 25 percent of cancers, and adding lack of exercise and eating pro-inflammatory foods raises the risk to 33 percent of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the U.S.

Chronic Constipation

Debilitating constipation affects 16 percent of North Americans and 33 percent of those older than 60. This epidemic of constipation is largely caused by a food industry that produces mostly ultra-processed foods that contain little or no fiber. People keep looking for constipation cures in a pill, but it is usually curable just with simple lifestyle changes.

Parkinson’s Disease vs Benign (Essential) Tremors

If you have developed shaking of your hands, you could have Parkinson's disease which is difficult to treat, or Benign Tremors which is usually easy to treat. You are more likely to have the more serious Parkinson's disease if you have the tremor at rest, a slow heart beat, rigid firm muscles, slowness to remember facts, difficulty speaking normally, depression or sleep disturbances.

Reduce Inflammation to Help Prevent Cancer

Certain dietary habits are associated with increased risk for breast and prostate cancer. Of 3184 adults followed for more than 20 years, 565 were diagnosed with cancer. Those who drank sugary drinks had three times as much prostate cancer as those who took in less. Men who ate processed lunch foods (pizza, deli meats and burgers) four or more times a week had double the risk for prostate cancer. Women who ate vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes were 67 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with women who favored refined carbohydrates.

How to Avoid Skin Cancer

Almost all skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by cumulative exposure to sunlight over a lifetime, so every time you expose any part of your skin to direct sunlight, you are adding to the damage that you have received from previous exposures.

Heart Disease and Cancers Share Many Risk Factors

The risk factors for a heart attack are also risk factors for many cancers. People who are at 20 percent increased risk for suffering a heart attack in 10 years are three times more likely to develop cancer in 10 years, while those who develop a heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation are seven times more likely to develop a cancer.

Sunlight May Help to Prevent Auto-Immune Diseases by Altering Gut Bacteria

Lack of vitamin D may change the colon bacteria to an overabundance of harmful bacteria to cause inflammation that increases risk for autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus and some types of arthritis.

Brahms Had Sleep Apnea

An article in the medical journal, Chest, reports that composer Johannes Brahms was overweight, stored fat primarily in his upper body, and made horrible sounds when he slept. These are signs of sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for more than 30 seconds many times each night. Brahms once remarked:...

Cold Hands – Raynaud’s Phenomenon

If your fingers turn white and start to hurt when you are out in the cold, you may have a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon. When your body temperature starts to drop, your brain sends signals along nerves to shut blood flow to your hands and the skin turns white.