Did you know that a lot of diseases plaguing humanity right now — such as the common cold, diarrhea, and halitosis (bad breath) — can be prevented with natural and effective home remedies? For example, coconut oil, a natural alternative to mouthwash, can improve your oral health and eliminate bad breath. Coconut oil can also help boost […]
Business leader Dominique Lamb is helping battle a stereotype that’s causing doctors to under-recognise and under-treat heart disease, a leading killer of women.
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Reflection Questions When someone asks you “What makes you happy?” does your answer differ from “What makes you healthy?” Do you consider your health requirements essential and your happiness needs selfish and superfluous? Or perhaps you rate health and happiness as equal and interdependent. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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Women eventually face the yearly ritual of the mammogram, usually suggested from age 50 onwards. It’s not painful, though notoriously uncomfortable, as two plates flatten the breasts, pancake-like, to get the best possible picture. The radiologist then looks at x-ray images for opaque spots that can indicate tumors.
Mammography has been used since the late 1960s and is considered the gold standard for breast cancer detection. But it’s far from perfect. The method misses about 1 in 5 cancers, and about half of women screened annually for 10 years will have a false positive result, often resulting in anxiety and unnecessary biopsies. Mammograms are also unable to distinguish slow-growing cancers from aggressive ones, which is necessary when choosing a course of treatment.
But researchers at the University of Michigan are working on a new method of breast cancer detection they hope could complement—perhaps one day even replace—the mammogram. It’s a pill—patients swallow it and it makes tumors light up when exposed to infrared light. The pill could not only detect tumors, it could also potentially distinguish how aggressive they are.
“From decades of research into cancer, we know it’s really a molecular disease,” says Greg Thurber, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering who led the research, recently published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics. “But the screening technology just looks at anatomy.”
Thurber’s team developed a pill filled with dye that “tags” a molecule common in tumors and the surrounding tissue. Once the pill has been ingested, researchers can use infrared light to penetrate the breast (the exact technology is under development). This both reveals the presence of tumors and gives information on the types of molecules present in these tumors, which can help doctors determine the nature of the cancer.
Taking the dye in pill form is potentially safer than having it injected intravenously, which can occasionally cause allergic reactions. But designing the pill was a challenge. The kind of molecule that can be easily absorbed in pill-form by the digestive tract needs to be small and “greasy,” Thurber says, while molecules that make good imaging agents are larger and bind to water.
To find the right agent, the team used a combination of lab testing and computer modeling. They eventually got lucky when they found that the pharmaceutical company Merck had a cancer drug they’d tested for safety but had proven ineffective in clinical trials. The drug turned out to be perfect for the team’s purposes, as it was capable of passing freely through the bloodstream and binding to tumor molecules. They added a molecule that lights up under infrared light, and tested the resulting combo in mice with breast tumors. Indeed, it made the tumors glow.
Thurber and his team are now focused on developing additional agents to add to the current pill that could tag different types of tumors or different aspects of tumors. This could give doctors additional information about the cancers detected.
“Every person’s tumor is different,” Thurber says. “Even within the same tumor there can be different types of cancer.”
The researchers will then need to do toxicity studies and from there move to larger animal studies. Thurber hopes they can reach the human trial phase in about five years. They’re also hoping to partner with companies to develop the infrared screening tools necessary for human use.
While the pill could theoretically tag any type of cancer, infrared light can only penetrate a short distance into the body. This is fine for breast cancer detection, as breasts can be “squished” thin for imaging, but wouldn’t work for detecting cancer in deeper organs.
The team does hope the approach could work for detecting other diseases besides cancer. Rheumatoid arthritis is one potential target, Thurber says, as it is can be effectively treated in its early stages, but is hard to distinguish from other types of arthritis until it progresses.
Reuven Gordon, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Victoria in Canada who studies the use of light in cancer detection, thinks the research is promising but cautions that it’s early days. Even if a new method of detection is useful, researchers will have to prove that it’s better than the gold standard, and work to make clinicians and patients comfortable with new technology.
“It’s not obvious to me that this is going to be a home run, but it does look promising,” he says. “They have demonstrated something nice from a scientific point of view.”
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Newswise — WINSTON–SALEM, N.C. – May 16, 2018 – They’re actors, but they don’t perform on stage or in front of cameras. And they don’t do drama or comedy. Rather, they specialize in injuries and illnesses.
“I’ve had every disease you can imagine,” said Donna Sparks, a retired teacher who, along with her husband, Jeff, has been acting sick for 10 years at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Donna and Jeff Sparks are among the role-players known as standardized patients. They are people who have been trained to accurately and consistently portray the physical signs or symptoms of medical conditions and the emotional characteristics and everyday concerns of actual patients in simulated clinical sessions with medical students, physician assistant students and others who are pursuing health care professions.
The purpose of these encounters is both simple and important: to give prospective providers the opportunity to develop both clinical skills and “bedside manner” before they begin to practice medicine for real.
“It’s definitely valuable,” said Lauren West-Livingston, a third-year student at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “We get to practice with these patients in a controlled environment so that when we go on to see real patients in the hospital or in clinic we have some experience, and some confidence.”
Standardized patients – also referred to as simulated patients or patient actors – are employed at most medical schools and teaching hospitals in the United States. The concept was introduced at the University of Southern California in 1963, more fully developed at the University of Arizona in the 1970s and widely adopted by medical schools – including Wake Forest School of Medicine – in the 1980s.
“Standardized patients are vital in helping us prepare our students for their future careers in health care,” said Mary Claire O’Brien, M.D., the Wake Forest medical school’s senior associate dean for health care education. “Our students are able not only to practice their clinical work but also to learn the importance of building relationships with their patients, empathizing with them and doing what’s best for them physically, emotionally and financially.”
Wake Forest medical students have clinical sessions with standardized patients – SPs for short – during all four of their years at the school. To give the students the most realistic experience possible, the sessions are held in specially equipped examination rooms at the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education and cover a wide variety of medical scenarios – such as conducting a routine physical examination, diagnosing a minor ailment or delivering a negative prognosis about a life-threatening disease – with all types of people.
Wake Forest School of Medicine currently has a roster of 85 patient actors, said Kendall Freeman, manager of the Standardized Patient Program, which is part of the school’s Center for Experiential and Applied Learning. These men and women range in age from 20 to 75, have body types spanning the spectrum from athletic to obese, are members of different racial and ethnic groups and come from diverse socioeconomic, educational and occupational backgrounds.
“Right now we have pretty much everybody,” Freeman said.
To maintain that mix, hiring is done on the basis of demographic need, Freeman said. Otherwise, there are no requirements for becoming a standardized patient, and acting experience is definitely not necessary. That’s because SPs are obliged to strictly stick to the script in the clinical sessions, for which the medical aspects are standardized to allow for direct comparison and consistent evaluation of the students’ clinical skills.
At Wake Forest School of Medicine, newly hired standardized patients undergo a full day of training. To prepare for sessions with students, all SPs receive, usually one or two weeks in advance, detailed instructions and, if needed, additional training for the particular medical scenario.
And while emoting and improvisation are taboo, the SPs are, in addition to presenting a specific medical condition, sometimes called on to portray patients with assorted attitudes, behaviors or issues related to or independent of their health status.
“There are patients who intentionally make it difficult for us to get the information we need,” said West-Livingston, who is pursuing a Ph.D. along with her medical degree. “The sessions also can include what are called opportunities for empathy, where they’ll say ‘I’m worried about my job’ or ‘My insurance doesn’t cover that’ and we have to take a break from the diagnostic side and focus on the human aspect.”
Faculty members evaluate the students’ performances in the simulations but the SPs also have input, submitting a written evaluation sheet after each session.
“One thing we evaluate the students on is how comfortable we feel with them,” Donna Sparks said. “Do they listen to us? Do they show empathy and concern? Do they use layman’s terms instead of medical jargon?”
Being a standardized patient is not, it must be said, a regular part-time job. The hours are not steady, the need for SPs varies throughout the year and each actor is by nature ineligible to participate in more than half of the simulated clinical sessions. (“I don’t qualify for ectopic pregnancy,” Jeff Sparks noted.) But the position does have its rewards beyond the pay, which at Wake Forest is $20 an hour.
“It’s very gratifying to see how the students progress from their first year to their fourth year,” Jeff Sparks said. “It’s quite a change.”
“For me, this is another way that I can continue teaching and keep myself busy during retirement,” Donna Sparks said. “The students are so appreciative of what we do, and we really enjoy working with them.”
That feeling extends both ways. The sessions with the standardized patients, West-Livingston said, “are most people’s favorite part of the curriculum.”
The larger the variety of microbes you have in your gut, the healthier your blood vessels are, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that people with a more diverse microbiome had lower odds of developing atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries — a condition that’s associated with heart attacks and strokes.
The study, published May 10 in the European Heart Journal, is the first to point to a direct connection between the gut microbiome and cardiovascular health. The study found only a connection between the two, however; it didn’t prove cause and effect. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]
The gut microbiome — an enormous collection of bacteria, yeast, viruses and other types of microorganisms living in people’s digestive tract — has attracted significant scientific attention in the past several years. And previous research has found that a lack of diversity in a person’s so-called “good” gut microbes could be linked to the development of various ailments, said senior study author Ana Valdes, an associate professor of medicine and health sciences at the University of Nottingham School of Medicine in England.
A number of diseases — and, in particular, inflammation-related conditions — are linked to low microbiome diversity, Valdes told Live Science. The link with “gut diseases, such as the inflammatory bowel disease, are quite obvious,” but low microbiome diversity has also been found to be connected to conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and allergies, she said.
Type 2 diabetes, obesity and weight gain also appear to be linked to a poor selection of gut bugs, Valdes said. Because these conditions are known risk factors for heart disease, Valdes and her colleagues wanted to determine whether low microbiome diversity was directly linked to poor heart health, or if it instead was linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity and weight, which, in turn, are tied to poor heart health.
To study the link, the researchers asked more than 600 middle-age female twins from the TwinsUK registry to donate stool and blood samples. In addition, the researchers measured the blood vessel stiffness of the participants, to assess the degree of atherosclerosis. (Valdes cautioned that because the study looked only at British women and included no men or representatives of other countries, it’s unclear whether the results apply to other groups.)
The stool and blood samples provided the researchers with information about each person’s microbiome diversity. These results were then compared with the blood-vessel-stiffness measurements.
“Arterial hardening can be related to diabetes, which can be correlated with low gut microbiome diversity,” Valdes said. “But in our data, we found that [blood vessel stiffness] was not due to obesity or diabetes in these people. [Instead], the gut microbiome seems to be having [a direct] effect … on arterial hardening.”
The researchers found that one family of microbes in particular was tied to blood-vessel stiffness: The less diversity in the types of microbes from this group, called Ruminococcaceae, the higher the level of blood-vessel stiffness was.
Valdes speculated that the connection between blood-vessel stiffness and low gut microbiome diversity might be via inflammation.
“It’s known from other research studies that people who have more inflammation — for example, people who have an inflammatory form of arthritis — when you give them specific drugs that reduce inflammation,” blood-vessel stiffness also goes down, Valdes said.
Val Edward-Jones, a member of the Society for Applied Microbiology who was not involved with the study, said the findings could possibly pave the way for new treatments of atherosclerosis based on dietary approaches.
The study “highlights some very interesting findings between the gut microbiome” and blood-vessel stiffness, Edward-Jones told Live Science. “If certain microorganisms are associated with arterial hardening as this study suggests,” people could potentially alter their gut bacteria with changes to their diet.
People can improve their gut microbiome diversity by getting more fiber, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids into their diets, Valdes said.
Originally published on Live Science.
- Why we love gluten
- What are the benefits of reducing or eliminating gluten from your diet
- Why gluten may be making you older than your years
- What you can and cannot eat on a gluten free diet
- Where else gluten is hiding in your world…you’ll be amazed at this one!
- How to reduce or eliminate gluten from your diet…quickly or slowly? Depends…
- 3 steps to make your kitchen gluten free
- 6 ways to avoid gluten cross contamination in your kitchen
- Must have items for a gluten free pantry
- Frugal gluten free shopping
- How to save time and money by making your own gluten free bread “kits”
In fact, I’ll teach you a method that takes you through several steps to make changes at your own speed; either all at once or over time. How quickly you decide to reduce gluten will depend on whether or not you have Celiac Disease.
If you are willing to follow my model and implement what I teach in this workshop, you’ll be able to change how you eat, lose weight, and have more energy and a more consistently upbeat mood.
We’ll talk about:
- Gluten free when away from home
- 5 tips to help you navigate restaurants
- 7 tips for family gatherings and holidays
- What to include in your own “survival kit
You’ll Develop Your Own Gluten Free Healthy Eating Program so You Have a Blue Print to Follow
This will be a hands-on workshop, and whether you’re with us for the live sessions or watching the webinar replay at a later time, you will actually start learning, creating, and putting together your own life-changing eating breakthroughs throughout each session.
So, just how productive and successful have I been when it comes to creating my own healthy eating program and the healthy eating programs of others? Well, since 2012 I have:
- Enjoyed victory over decades of my own personal struggle with chronic depression – (in my world, that’s enough!). I credit getting gluten of my plate to a great part of this victory!
- Lost 20 pounds without trying to lose any weight at all
- Helped clients improve their eating regimens
- Helped a client back off from being a pre-diabetic (he doesn’t even have to test his sugar anymore!)
- Taught a client how to eat to lower overall cholesterol, including increasing the HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lowering the LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Started writing and producing a TV show about what I’ve learned to share with others – Thin Strong Healthy
- Become a weekly health and wellness writer for an online news website
Have you ever felt stressed – to the point of having an occasional chest pain? Do you often have back and muscle pain, cramps and joint pain?How about poor sleep, chronic fatigue and anxiety? Have you wondered why pain and tension just won’t go, despite you taking pain killers and even having an occasional massage? Have you researched what chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to? If not, read on…
Transdermal Magnesium Therapy is a course about the link between our health and magnesium, why we need it, what can happen if we are deficient and how we can correct magnesium deficiency – both at home and in a therapy environment.
Transdermal Magnesium Therapy involves a complex of methods performed at home and in a therapy environment. These methods include using magnesium salts in baths, foot baths, compresses, applying magnesium oil by hand and spraying it all over the body, as well as massage.
A therapist is trained to evaluate symptoms of magnesium deficiency, suitability of a client for magnesium supplementation, when to refer a client for a medical assessment, and implementation of various methods of boosting magnesium levels both at home and at a clinic.
A combination of home and clinic applications of magnesium salts helps to maintain magnesium levels at an optimal level.
- Learning outcome # 1 – Understand the role of magnesium in maintaining good health.
- Learning outcome # 2 – Learn about transdermal application methods of magnesium salts.
- Learning outcome # 3 – Learn what health problems can benefit from transdermal magnesium therapy.
- Learning outcome # 4 – Learn about contraindications to the treatment.
- Learning outcome # 5 – Learn how to assess your clients, conduct consultation and treatments as a professional therapist.
Are you one of those people who are fed up with feeling tired and being overweight, having headaches, being unable to sleep and catching infections more often than you can bear?
Do you believe that prevention is much better (and easier) than cure? Would you agree that minimising exposure to toxins could be a solution to many health problems? Are you curious enough to try something you may never have tried before to see if it might help you with your issues?
“Healing with Minerals Recipe Book” is a practical guide on how minerals can serve us in our life – to deal with our own health issues, to help pets and farm animals, as well as deal with problems at home, at farms and in the garden. Yes, minerals are incredibly versatile!
Why Should You Get the Book?
- Salts, clays, muds and other mineral substances have been used by humans and animals since prehistoric times – to deal with common health problems and even to save lives.
- They are the most ancient natural remedies available to us.
- They are extremely rich in the minerals needed to maintain health, beauty and vitality.
- Many of our health problems are due to toxins accumulated by the body through its life.
- The aim of the book is to show you how these minerals help us deal with various issues in the most natural way, through detox and re-mineralisation.
- While minerals should not be used to replace medical treatment, they can help us strengthen our health, improve skin condition, promote weight loss and much more.
- Minerals are successfully used in spas and resorts all over the world to deal with musculo-skeletal problems, fertility issues, skin conditions, issues connected with circulation, and much more.