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Junk Food Raises Cancer Risk

Results from the huge EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) confirm that eating a lot of junk food increases risk for many cancers. Researchers in Paris followed 471,495 adults in 10 European countries for an average of 15.3 years, and the participants developed 49,794 cancers. The participants' diets were scored using the British Food Standards Agency's Nutrient Profiling System (FSAm-NPS), which ranks foods according to their healthful and harmful components. Those who ate more of the harmful and less of the healthful food components were at significantly greater risk for developing cancers, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate, colon-rectum, mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, lung and liver.

Sleeping with Lights on and Not Getting Enough Sleep Both Increase Risk for Diabetes

Sleeping with the lights on or a television set on for just one night raises blood sugar, heart rate and insulin resistance, all risk factors for diabetes. Five to ten percent of the light can actually get through a closed eyelid. An elevated nightly blood sugar, called the "dawn phenomenon," increases risk for heart disease and diabetes

Frequent Urination at Night

Several papers show that having to urinate frequently at night is often caused by low levels of antidiuretic hormone (1,2) and that taking that hormone can control this condition.

The Latest on COVID-19

I am following the latest Bivalent Booster Protects Against the Most Recent COVID-19 Viruses: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that is available today helps protect against infection by the omicron variant XBB and its subvariant XBB.1.5 that dominate infections today. The present bivalent booster was made specifically against both the initial SARS-CoV-2 virus and the BA.4/BA.5 variants. However, BA.5 and its subvariants account for just about two percent of cases now, and BA.4 and the original virus are essentially gone.developments on COVID-19.

FDA Warns Not to Use Sunscreen Pills

There are no pills or capsules that you can take to prevent the sun from damaging your skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to several companies illegally marketing and selling pills claiming to prevent skin damage from sunlight.

Stable Plaques: Why Exercisers Have Fewer Heart Attacks?

A study of 21,758 men, average age 51.7 years, followed for an average 10.4 years, showed that men who exercised the most have more plaques in their arteries, but do not suffer more heart attacks or deaths than those with less heart artery calcification.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

One in ten Americans suffers from mitral valve prolapse and the vast majority have no symptoms and will never know that they have it. Valves are located in your heart to keep blood from backing up. With aging, some of these valves can stretch and fail to close completely, so they allow a small...

Guidelines for COVID-19 Fully Vaccinated People

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations for fully vaccinated people who are two weeks past their second injection of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or have had the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. As of March 8, 2021, more than 31 million people (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) had completed these vaccines.

Overdiagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease

Older people may be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease because of their results on a routine blood test called eGFR (Estimated Glomular Filtration Rate) that is used to screen for kidney damage. This test is important because patients with kidney disease often have no symptoms until just before the kidneys fail. However, it is normal for people to lose some kidney function with aging.

Low Vitamin D Can Increase Risk for and Severity of COVID-19

Vitamin D deficiency increases risk for becoming infected with COVID-19, and for complications and death from the disease. A study of 500 patients showed that those who had low blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D were twice as likely as those with normal levels to develop COVID-19.

Colorectal Cancer Remission with Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Drugs

Fourteen patients with “mismatched-repair” colorectal cancers were given a drug called dostarlimab every three weeks for six months, and follow-up after two years found that none of the patients had any remaining evidence of cancer. This is an incredible result because all patients had complete remission and none suffered serious reactions to the drug.

Getting Frequent Infections Can Precede Cancer Diagnosis

People who develop frequent infections are at increased risk for developing cancer later on. Japanese researchers checked 2,354 patients suffering from malignant cancers and found that compared to those who did not develop cancer, cancer sufferers were at significantly increased risk for suffering infections such as influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis, or gastroenteritis in the six years before they were diagnosed with cancer

Head Injuries Increase Risk for Impotence

A study of more than 3,400 former National Football League players, average age 52, found that those who had had a concussion were at increased risk for low testosterone and erectile dysfunction, regardless how young or old they were.

How Diet Can Lower High Blood Pressure

Changes in diet should be the first strategy for anyone with high blood pressure, but most people will need to make drastic changes in their eating habits to succeed. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have shown why the DASH diet lowers high blood pressure to normal in more than 80 percent of...

Partial Knee Replacement

Until recently, the only effective treatment has been to cut out the ends of the bones of the knee and replace the entire knee joint. Now for some people, a simpler procedure may be effective: partial knee replacement, called unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.

High Blood Sugar After Meals Predicts Heart Attacks

A review of 129 studies found that tests for a high rise in blood sugar after meals were better than tests of fasting blood sugar levels as a predictor of coronary heart disease, strokes, or death from any cause.

High-Plant Diet Lowers Blood Pressure

More than 90 percent of North Americans will develop high blood pressure. A new study shows that a diet high in potassium appears to protect teenagers from high blood pressure in adulthood, while a low-salt diet has no effect (JAMA Pediatr, June 2015;169(6):560-568). A high-potassium and low-salt diet is achieved by eating mostly plants,...

New Drug May Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease

A study of 856 patients with a mild, early form of Alzheimer’s disease, found that a new drug called BAN2401 may reduce the amount of amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The drug reduced the amount of Beta-amyloid in sticky plaques that form around nerves in the brain to prevent messages being sent from one nerve to another.

Synvisc Injections Equal Cortisone for Knee Pain

A study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons showed that Synvisc injections are as effective as steroid (cortisone) injections in controlling the pain of damaged cartilage in the knee. Synvisc costs about $5000, compared to five dollars for cortisone.

Breast Cancer and Diet

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and its incidence has increased by more than 20 percent worldwide since 2008. A study from Spain shows that women on a high-vegetable Mediterranean-type diet had close to one third the rate of breast cancer when compared to a control group that was only given advice to reduce fat intake.

Jim Allison’s Nobel Prize: Toward a Cure for Cancer

In August 2015, the world learned that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s melanoma skin cancer had spread to his liver and his brain. Patients with melanoma that had spread through their bodies were expected to die from their disease, but doctors radiated Carter's tumors and then gave him Keytruda, a check point inhibitor. Three months later, there was no evidence of cancer in his 91-year old body.

Treatment of Insulin Resistance

Most people who develop diabetes in later life can be controlled so that they are not at increased risk for the many complications of diabetes such as heart attacks, strokes, blindness, deafness, amputations, kidney failure, burning foot syndrome, venous insufficiency with ulceration and stasis dermatitis.

COVID-19 Precautions May Affect Other Respiratory Infections in the Future

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that we may need to continue social distancing and hand washing for years to come. The significant reduction in non-COVID-19 respiratory infections this year could decrease the number of people who are immune to other respiratory viruses, and increase the frequency and severity of other respiratory infections in the future.

Exercise for Arthritis

When you have arthritis, your joints hurt every time you move. When you wake up, your muscles and tendons are so stiff that you can barely get out of bed, but you force yourself to get up and as you keep on moving, the pain lessens and you can move a little faster. Is your...

Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Can Be Delayed if Necessary

Many people are worried that they may not receive their second dose of the vaccine on schedule because of delayed deliveries of the vaccine, or because of suggestions that the scheduled second doses of the vaccines should be given as a first dose to others so that more people can be immunized.

What is the best way to treat recurrent bladder infections?

When I was in medical school more than 45 years ago, I learned that E. Coli, a common intestinal bacteria, causes recurrent urinary tract infections in women; and that women with these infections should be given 100 ampicillin pills and be told to take one pill four times a day for three days, whenever...

Prostate Biopsy Not So Benign

Doctors do not need to biopsy every man with a high PSA screening blood test for prostate cancer. Most patients become infected from the procedure, 20 percent suffer severe pain, 10 percent require strong pain medicines, and 15 percent of previously potent patients report that they can't get an erection one month later.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

University of Cambridge researchers analyzed genetic, lifestyle and health data on more than 500,000 adults, 40-69 years old, and found that those people who were later diagnosed with dementia had tested poorly up to nine years before on measures of problem solving, memorizing, reaction times and grip strength. The study authors believe that this information could lead to earlier diagnosis to start preventive treatments that target known risk factors for dementia.

Healthful Lifestyle Reduces Risk of Dying from Prostate Cancer

Almost all North American men will develop prostate cancer if they live long enough. However, fewer than five percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from that disease and the 15-year survival rate is 96 percent.

The Hidden Cause of Many Heart Attacks

More than 40 percent of people who have had heart attacks are diabetic and these patients are the ones who are most likely to die from their heart attacks (Lancet, 2002; 359: 2140-44). Three tests are commonly used to diagnose diabetes: fasting blood sugar, blood sugar level two hours after eating, and HbA1c, a measurement of how much sugar is attached to cells.