The Truth about Cancer: What You Need to Know about Cancer’s History, Treatment, and Prevention

Cancer touches more lives than you may think. According to the World Health Organization, one out of three women alive today, and one out of two men, will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

To Ty Bollinger, this isn’t just a statistic. It’s personal. After losing seven members of his family to cancer over the course of a decade, Ty set out on a global quest to learn as much as he possibly could about cancer treatments and the medical industry that surrounds the disease. He has written this book to share what he’s uncovered—some of which may shock you—and to give you new resources for coping with cancer in your life or the life of someone you love.

As Ty explains, there are many methods we can access to treat and prevent cancer that go well beyond chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery; we just don’t know about them. The Truth about Cancer delves into the history of medicine—all the way back to Hippocrates’s credo of “do no harm”—as well as cutting-edge research showing the efficacy of dozens of unconventional cancer treatments that are helping patients around the globe. You’ll read about the politics of cancer; facts and myths about its causes (a family history is only part of the picture); and the range of tools available to diagnose and treat it.

If you’re facing a cancer diagnosis right now, this book may help you and your health-care provider make choices about your next steps. If you’re already undergoing conventional treatment, it may help you support your health during the course of chemo or radiation. If you’re a health-care provider and want to learn all you can to help your patients, it will expand your horizons and inspire you with true stories of successful healing. And if you just want to see cancer in a new light, it will open your eyes.

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Sleep loss tied to changes of the gut microbiota in humans

Results from a new clinical study conducted at Uppsala University suggest that curtailing sleep alters the abundance of bacterial gut species that have previously been linked to compromised human metabolic health. The new article is published in the journal Molecular Metabolism.

Changes in the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota have been associated with diseases such as obesity and type-2 diabetes in humans. These diseases have also been linked with chronic sleep loss. However, it is not known whether sleep loss alters the gut microbiota in humans. With this in mind, Christian Benedict, associate professor of neuroscience, and Jonathan Cedernaes, M.D., Ph.D, both from Uppsala University, collaborated with researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke. In their study, the researchers sought to investigate in nine healthy normal-weight male participants whether restricting sleep to about four hours per night for two consecutive days as compared with conditions of normal sleep (about 8 hours of sleep opportunity) may alter the gut microbiota in humans.

“Overall we did not find evidence that suggests that the diversity of the gut microbiota was altered by sleep restriction. This was somewhat expected given the short-term nature of the intervention and the relatively small sample size. In more specific analyses of groups of bacteria, we did however observe microbiota changes that parallel some of the microbiota changes observed when for instance obese subjects have been compared with normal-weight subjects in other studies, such as an increased ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. Longer and larger clinical sleep interventions will be needed to investigate to what extent alterations of the gut microbiota may mediate negative health consequences attributed to sleep loss, such as weight gain and insulin resistance,” says senior author Jonathan Cedernaes.

“We also found that participants were over 20 percent less sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin following sleep loss. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone needed to bring down blood glucose levels. This decreased insulin sensitivity was however unrelated to alterations in gut microbiota following sleep loss. This suggests that changes in microbiota may not, at least in the short-term, represent a central mechanism through which one or several nights of curtailed sleep reduce insulin sensitivity in humans,” says first author Christian Benedict.

“The gut microbiota is very rich and its functional role far from completely characterized. Future studies will hopefully be able to ascertain how the composition and functional role of the gut microbiota is able to modulate at the individual level how sensitive we humans are to negative metabolic, but also cognitive, effects of sleep loss,” concludes senior author Jonathan Cedernaes.



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More than 50% of Americans now have at least one chronic health condition, mental disorder or substance-use issue

With the future of US healthcare likely to rest on the next presidency, a new study from Psychology, Health & Medicine highlights just how complex the medical needs of many Americans now are.

As the authors of the study, Elizabeth Lee Reisinger Walker and Benjamin G. Druss, observe: “The health of individuals in the U.S.A. is increasingly being defined by complexity and multimorbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions.”

Given the medical and socio-economic difficulties often faced by people with mental illness, and the lack of research into the other medical conditions they might suffer from, the authors set out to discover, using publicly available data, what proportion of US adults experience each combination of mental illness, substance abuse/dependence and chronic mental conditions. They also investigated how those combinations of conditions were related to poverty.

They found that overall, 18.4% of adults had a mental illness in the past year, and 8.6% reported substance abuse/dependence during the same time. Nearly 40% had one or more chronic medical conditions in their lifetimes, and 14.7% were living in poverty.

Compared to individuals without any condition, adults with one condition (any mental illness [AMI], substance abuse/dependence or chronic conditions) reported higher percentages of living in poverty, receiving government assistance, having less than a high-school education, being unemployed, and having no health insurance.

When looked at together, 6.4% of individuals reported AMI and chronic conditions, 2.2% reported AMI and substance abuse/dependence, 1.5% reported substance abuse/dependence and chronic medical conditions, and 1.2% – equivalent to 2.2 million people – reported all three conditions.

The association between mental illness and substance abuse is also laid bare by the study: people with AMI were over three times more likely to report substance abuse/dependence, almost 1.5 times more likely to have a chronic medical condition, and 1.2 times more likely to live in poverty.

As Elizabeth Lee Reisinger Walker commented on the research last week: “Just over half of adults in the US have one or more chronic condition, mental disorder, or dependence on substances. These conditions commonly overlap with each other and with poverty, which contributes to poor health.”

The pair conclude that improving the health of people with multimorbidities will involve increased access to and coordination between a variety of services. As they observe: “Collaborative care models are effective in treating mental illnesses in primary care and providing primary care in specialty mental health settings.”

Walker concludes: “In order to promote overall health, it is important to consider all of a person’s health conditions along with poverty and other social factors.”

But what the future holds for the 50% of Americans suffering from multiple health challenges remains to be seen.


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Exclusive: WHO cancer agency asked experts to withhold weedkiller documents

LONDON – The World Health Organization’s cancer agency – which is facing criticism over how it classifies carcinogens – advised academic experts on one of its review panels not to disclose documents they were asked to release under United States freedom of information laws.

In a letter and an email seen by Reuters, officials from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cautioned scientists who worked on a review in 2015 of the weedkiller glyphosate against releasing requested material.

The review, published in March 2015, concluded glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic”, putting IARC at odds with regulators around the world. Critics say they want the documents to find out more about how IARC reached its conclusion. “IARC is the sole owner of such materials,” IARC told the experts. “IARC requests you and your institute not to release any (such) documents”.

Asked about its actions, the agency told Reuters on Tuesday it was seeking to protect its work from external interference and defending its panels’ freedom to debate evidence openly and critically.

In recent years IARC, a semi-autonomous unit of the WHO based in Lyon, France, has caused controversy over whether such things as coffee, mobile phones, red and processed meat, and chemicals like glyphosate cause cancer.




Posted in Environmental Health: Carcinogens, Environmental Health: Pesticides, Gardening | Leave a comment

Mixing energy drinks, alcohol may affect adolescent brains like cocaine

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Drinking highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages triggers changes in the adolescent brain similar to taking cocaine, and the consequences last into adulthood as an altered ability to deal with rewarding substances, according to a Purdue University study.

Richard van Rijn, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, looked at the effects of highly caffeinated energy drinks and highly caffeinated alcohol in adolescent mice. These alcohol studies cannot be performed in adolescent humans, but changes seen in mouse brains with drugs of abuse have been shown to correlate to those in humans in many drug studies.

These energy drinks can contain as much as 10 times the caffeine as soda and are often marketed to adolescents. But little is known about the health effects of the drinks, especially when consumed with alcohol during adolescence.

Van Rijn and graduate student Meridith Robins published results in the journal Alcohol that showed adolescent mice given high-caffeine energy drinks were not more likely than a control group to drink more alcohol as adults.

But when those high levels of caffeine were mixed with alcohol and given to adolescent mice, they showed physical and neurochemical signs similar to mice given cocaine. Those results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behavior and changes the neurochemistry in their brains,” van Rijn said. “We’re clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other.”

With repeated exposure to the caffeinated alcohol, those adolescent mice became increasingly more active, much like mice given cocaine. The researchers also detected increased levels of the protein ΔFosB, which is marker of long-term changes in neurochemistry, elevated in those abusing drugs such as cocaine or morphine.

“That’s one reason why it’s so difficult for drug users to quit because of these lasting changes in the brain,” van Rijn said.

Those same mice, as adults, showed a different preference or valuation of cocaine. Robins found that mice exposed to caffeinated alcohol during adolescence were less sensitive to the pleasurable effects of cocaine. While this sounds positive, it could mean that such a mouse would use more cocaine to get the same feeling as a control mouse.

“Mice that had been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults,” van Rijn said. “Mice that were exposed to highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks later found cocaine wasn’t as pleasurable. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect.”

To test that theory, Robins investigated if mice exposed to caffeinated alcohol during adolescence would consume higher amounts of a similarly pleasurable substance – saccharine, an artificial sweetener. They predicted that if the mice exhibited a numbed sense of reward, they would consume more saccharine. They found that the caffeine/alcohol-exposed mice drank significantly more saccharine than mice exposed to water during adolescence, confirming that the caffeine/alcohol-exposed mice must have had a chemical change in the brain.

“Their brains have been changed in such a way that they are more likely to abuse natural or pleasurable substances as adults,” van Rijn said.

Van Rijn plans to continue studying the effects of legal, available psychostimulatory substances that may be harmful to adolescent brains. His next project involves investigating ethylphenidate, a drug similar to methylphenidate, the drug used for attention deficit disorder and most commonly known as Ritalin. The latter requires a prescription, while the former can be purchased without one, often online. His research group also works on finding new treatments for alcohol use disorder.


Van Rijn’s research is supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation/Foundation for Alcohol Research and the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust.


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Here’s When Powerful People Have Trouble Making a Decision

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Although powerful people often tend to decide and act quickly, they become more indecisive than others when the decisions are toughest to make, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that when people who feel powerful also feel ambivalent about a decision – torn between two equally good or bad choices – they actually have a harder time taking action than people who feel less powerful.

That’s different than when powerful people are confronted by a simpler decision in which most evidence favors a clear choice. In those cases, they are more decisive and act more quickly than others.

“We found that ambivalence made everyone slower in making a decision, but it particularly affected people who felt powerful. They took the longest to act,” said Geoff Durso, lead author of the study and doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University.

The study was published online in the journal Psychological Science.

Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State, said other research he and his colleagues have done suggests that feeling powerful gives people more confidence in their own thoughts.

That’s fine when you have a clear idea about the decision you want to make. But if you feel powerful and also ambivalent about a decision you face, that can make you feel even more conflicted than others would be, he said.

“If you think both your positive thoughts and your negative thoughts are right, you’re going to become frozen and take longer to make a decision,” Petty said.

The study involved two separate experiments that recruited college students as participants. They were told the goal of the experiments was to understand how people make decisions about employees based on limited information.

Each participant was given 10 behaviors attributed to an employee named Bob. Some were given a list of behaviors that were entirely positive or entirely negative, while others were given a list of five behaviors of Bob that were positive and five that were negative.

One of the negative behaviors was that Bob was caught stealing the mug of a co-worker when it was left in the company kitchen. A positive behavior was that Bob had met or beaten all but one of his earnings goals since he was hired.

After learning about Bob, participants were asked to write about a time in their lives when they had a lot of power or very little power over others. This writing exercise has been shown in other studies to induce momentary feelings of power or powerlessness among those who complete the task.

At this point, the researchers were able to start measuring how feelings of power interacted with feelings of ambivalence toward the employee.

Participants were asked to rate the extent to which they felt conflicted, undecided or mixed about their attitudes toward Bob – all measures of ambivalence. As expected, those who were told Bob showed a mixture of positive and negative behaviors felt much more ambivalent toward him than those who were told his behaviors were all positive or all negative.

They were then asked how likely it would be that they would delay making any decisions about Bob’s future with the company, if they were given such an opportunity.

When presented with an ambivalent profile for Bob, participants who felt powerful were more likely than others to want to delay the decision. But when the employee was presented as all-positive or all-negative, those who felt powerful were less likely than others to want to delay action.

After answering how much they wanted to delay the decision, the moment of truth came for the participants. In one study, they had to decide whether to promote Bob by clicking a key on a computer keyboard. In a second study, they decided whether to fire him the same way.

Without their knowledge, the researchers measured how long it took participants to click the key to promote or fire Bob.

Findings showed that, across the board, people took more time to decide when faced with the employee profile that mixed positive and negative behaviors. But those who were feeling powerful still took significantly longer to make their decision than did those who were feeling relatively powerless.

“Powerful people feel more confident than others in their own thoughts, they think their thoughts are more useful and more true. But that can be a problem if your thought is that you’re not really sure the best way to proceed,” Durso said.

“Meanwhile, people who feel less powerful are less sure about the validity of their thoughts anyway, so they think they might as well just make a decision.”

Durso and Petty believe this interaction between power and ambivalence can affect leaders in any role, including those in business and government.

One example is President George W. Bush, who after his election in 2004 proclaimed that he was ready to take action: “I really didn’t come here [just] to hold the office…I came here to get some things done.”

But when determining whether to withdraw or bolster American forces in Iraq, President Bush — famously self-described as “the decider” — stated that he would “not be rushed into making a decision.” He then delayed his decision twice over two months.

This study suggests that Bush’s indecision was not surprising given his power as president and the complex, ambivalent issue he faced.

“People in power are given the most difficult decisions. They have a lot of conflicting information they have to process and synthesize to make their judgment,” Durso said.

“It is ironic that their feelings of power may actually make it more difficult for them to arrive at an answer than if they felt less powerful.”

The study was also co-authored by Pablo Briñol of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. The National Science Foundation provided support for the research.


Posted in Human Behavior: Decision Making | Leave a comment

The importance of the amount of physical activity on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Two new papers published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) reveal the importance of both the amount and timing of physical activity in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), as well as aiding the management of the disease in existing T2D patients.

In the first study, Andrea Smith (Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, and Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge) and colleagues examined the results of 23 cohort studies on the relationship between physical activity (PA) and incidence of T2D. The meta-analysis included 1,245,904 non-diabetic individuals from the USA, Asia, Australia and Europe, amongst whom 82,319 incident cases of T2D arose during the studies’ follow-up periods (ranging from 3 to 23.1 years). The authors found a 26% reduction in the risk of developing T2D among participants who achieved 11.25 metabolic equivalent of task (MET) hours/week, the equivalent of 150 min/week of moderate activity, the minimum amount recommended by public health guidelines. Their results also suggest that the benefits of being physically active extend considerably for levels above those minimum recommendations.

Current public health guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 min of moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) or 75 min vigorous PA (VPA) a week, but self-reported data suggest that as many as a third of adults globally are not meeting these targets. Previous trials conducted in patients with impaired blood glucose tolerance provided some understanding of how PA may have a preventative effect on the progression to T2D in high-risk groups, but the majority of these studies included changes to both diet and PA, making it difficult or impossible to isolate the impact of PA alone.

While PA is known to reduce the risk of T2D, the shape of the dose-response relationship has been uncertain. The authors sought to examine whether significant health benefits could be realised from levels of PA considerably higher than those currently recommended.

Dr Søren Brage (MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge), joint senior author on the study says: “Providing quantitative estimates regarding the dose-response relationship is essential for approximating how changes in levels of physical activity in the general population would impact disease incidence, and would support more nuanced guidance to the public and evidence-based dialogue in clinical settings.”

He continues: “Our results suggest that the health benefits of physical activity are apparent even at levels below the recommended levels, compared to not doing any activity, but also that benefits are greater still for those who exceed the minimum recommendations, such that even when PA was as high as 60 MET hours/week benefits continued to occur, with the risk of developing T2D being more than halved in those individuals.”

Dr James Woodcock (Centre of Excellence for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge), the other joint senior author on the study, adds: “We already knew that PA has a major role to play in tackling the growing worldwide epidemic of T2D. However, policy makers rely on models that estimate how much benefit they would get from a policy that increased population levels of activity. By combining the studies together in this way provides a strong evidence base on which to build these models.”

Overall, Andrea Smith and colleagues conclude: “Our study favours a ‘some is good but more is better’ guideline, in which specific targets are mainly used for a psychological effect. There is no clear cut-off at which benefits are not achieved and health benefits increase at activity levels well beyond current recommendations. Building environments that encourages physical activity as part of everyday life may prevent substantial personal suffering and economic burden. Given the current obesity and diabetes epidemic there is a pressing need to make our towns and cities places where getting around on foot or by bike feels like the natural choice.”

In the second study, Professor Jim Mann, Dr Andrew Reynolds and colleagues from the University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, explored whether the timing of walking in relation to meals enhances its benefits. Adults with T2D were advised to perform 30 min of walking each day, either as a single block performed whenever the participant wished, or as three 10 min walks undertaken no more than 5 min after each main meal. The study found that exercising after meals delivered a greater benefit from physical activity, resulting in significantly lower blood glucose levels, and suggesting that the timing of PA may confer significant additional health benefits on top of those provided by the activity itself.

Physical activity is a cornerstone of advice to both prevent and manage T2D, having been shown to lower blood glucose levels, reduce cardiovascular risk, and help reduce body fat in the large number of diabetics who are overweight or obese. Current advice for those with T2D promotes a minimum of 150 minutes of PA per week divided into 5 days of 30 minutes each. These 30 minutes per day can be completed either as a single block, or spread throughout the day, to aid compliance. It does not, however, specify when that activity should take place, and as the authors state: “The current study is the first controlled study conducted in free-living adults with T2D that has aimed to determine whether prescribed walking taken for short periods after meals confers longer-term benefits than walking on a single occasion at any time of the day.”

A total of 41 adults (aged 18-75) participants with T2D were selected and advised not to change their diet or lifestyle habits during the 14-day study periods beyond complying with the prescribed walking regime. Fasting blood samples, weight, height and waist size were taken on days 1 and 14, and participants were provided with their PA regimen and a wearable accelerometer to record activity. On day 7, a continuous glucose-monitoring system (CGMS) was fitted to the patient, and they were given a food diary to complete over the following 7 days. After a 30-day ‘washout’ period, this was repeated with the alternative walking regime.

Postprandial glycaemia, a factor known to be an independent determinant of cardiovascular risk, was assessed from the data produced by the CGMS. Overall it was 12% lower on average during the ‘post-meal walking intervention’ part of the study than when following conventional PA advice. Most of this difference was caused by the highly significant 22% reduction in postprandial glycaemia following the evening meal.

The authors found that: “Although the prescriptions were matched in total walking time, the advice to walk after each main meal resulted in significantly greater overall activity. The improvement in overall postprandial glycaemia was largely accounted for by lower blood glucose levels after the evening meal, when carbohydrate consumption was high and participants tended to be more sedentary”

The authors note: “Postprandial physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating. An increase in insulin dose might, in turn, be associated with weight gain in patients with T2D, many of whom are already overweight or obese.”

They conclude that: “The benefits relating to physical activity following meals suggest that current guidelines should be amended to specify post-meal activity, particularly when meals contain a substantial amount of carbohydrate.”


Posted in Diabetes, Exercise: Benefits, World Health: Diabetes | Leave a comment

Focusing on pleasure of eating makes people choose smaller portions

he rapid rise in portion sizes has gone hand in hand with rising rates of obesity. To curb supersizing, governments and public health institutions have advocated portion size limits and health warnings, but they have had limited success. Consumers feel they are being infantilized and food marketers feel they’re being squeezed as they typically extract higher profits from bigger portions.

But new research has found that people can be encouraged to choose smaller, healthier portions, without compromising on enjoyment. In their article, published in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, Pierre Chandon, the L’Oréal Chaired Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Creativity at INSEAD and Yann Cornil, Assistant Professor of the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, find that people will choose smaller portions of chocolate cake when they are asked to vividly imagine the multisensory pleasure (taste, smell, texture) of similar desserts.

How can focusing on the pleasure of food make people want smaller portions? When it comes to eating, pleasure is inversely related to size. It is at its maximum in the first few bites of the food. Each additional bite becomes then less enjoyable and it is the last bite which determines the overall impression of how much we enjoyed the food. When people choose portions based on value for money, or the fear of being hungry, they end up choosing one of today’s supersized portions which are just not that enjoyable to eat toward the end.

Cornil and Chandon also show that unlike health warnings, this multisensory imagery does not reduce expected eating enjoyment or willingness to pay for the food. In fact, “focusing on the pleasure of eating, rather than value for money, health, or hunger, makes people happier to pay more for less food,” said Chandon.

Cornil and Chandon conducted five different experiments using different groups such as French schoolchildren, adult Americans and young Parisian women. In the first study, 42 French schoolchildren were asked to imagine – incorporating their five senses – the pleasure of eating familiar desserts and were then asked to choose portions of brownies. They naturally chose portions of brownies that were two sizes smaller than the portions chosen by children in a control condition.

In another experiment, Cornil and Chandon imitated high end restaurants by describing a regular chocolate cake as smelling of “roasted coffee” with “aromas of honey and vanilla” with an “aftertaste of blackberry”. This vivid description made 190 adult Americans choose a smaller portion compared to a control condition where the cake was simply described as “chocolate cake”. The study also had a third condition, in which people were told about the calorie and fat content of each cake portion. This nutrition information also led people to choose a smaller portion, but at a cost: It reduced the amount that people were willing to pay for the cake by about $1 compared to the multisensory condition.

A third study showed that people underestimated how much they will enjoy eating small portions of chocolate brownies. They expected to enjoy small portions less than larger ones, when actually both were enjoyed equally. This mistake was eliminated by multisensory imagery, which made people better forecasters of their own future eating enjoyment.

“Having more descriptive menus or product labels that encourage customers to use their senses can lead to positive outcomes for consumer satisfaction and health, but also for profits,” said Cornil. “This could make for a more sustainable food industry, which struggles to grow in the face of today’s obesity epidemic.”

The study was based on Cornil’s PhD dissertation which was conducted at INSEAD under the mentorship of Chandon who is also the director of the INSEAD Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab. This article has implications for health authorities and a wide range of food providers, from food manufacturers and restaurants to catering companies for schools and hospitals.


Posted in Mindfulness, Nutrition: Binge Eating, Nutrition: Clean Eating, Stress Eating | Leave a comment

AAP announces new safe sleep recommendations to protect against SIDS

SAN FRANCISCO — Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface — to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws on new research and serves as the first update to Academy policy since 2011.

Recommendations call for infants to share their parents’ bedroom for at least the first six months and, optimally, for the first year of life, based on the latest evidence.

The policy statement and an accompanying technical report will be released Monday, Oct. 24, at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. The report, published in the November 2016 issue of Pediatrics (online Oct. 24), includes new evidence that supports skin-to-skin care for newborn infants; addresses the use of bedside and in-bed sleepers; and adds to recommendations on how to create a safe sleep environment.

“We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, lead author of the report. “Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous.”

Experts will present the updated policies during a news conference at 10:15 a.m. PST Oct. 24 during the national conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The news conference will be video-recorded and available for viewing afterward. For more details, including a list of speakers, see the media alert.

Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ill-defined deaths; and accidental suffocation and strangulation. The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years.

AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

  • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Skin-to-skin care is recommended, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake, according to the report.

Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS. After feeding, the AAP encourages parents to move the baby to his or her separate sleeping space, preferably a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom.

“If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” said Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, FAAP, member of the Task Force on SIDS and co-author of the report.

“As soon as you wake up, be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed,” she said. “There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant’s breathing or cause overheating.”

While infants are at heightened risk for SIDS between the ages 1 and 4 months, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who are 4 months and older.

Other recommendations include:

  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.

The AAP recommends that doctors have open and nonjudgmental conversations with families about their sleep practices. Media outlets and advertisers may also play a role in educating parents by following safe sleep recommendations when presenting images and messages to the public.

“We want to share this information in a way that doesn’t scare parents but helps to explain the real risks posed by an unsafe sleep environment,” Dr. Moon said. “We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures.”

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Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections

Newswise — The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a life-threatening pathogen in hospitals. About ten percent of all nosocomial infections, in particular pneumonia, are caused by this pathogen. Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland, have now discovered that calcium induces the switch from acute to chronic infection. In Nature Microbiology the researchers have also reported why antibiotics are less effective in fighting the pathogen in its chronic state.

One of the most serious pathogens is the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which frequently causes hospital infections and is notoriously difficult to treat owing to its multi-resistance to antibiotics. Although P. aeruginosa is responsible for a range of different infections in humans, it is the leading cause of chronic lung infections in immune-compromised patients.

Calcium induces acute to chronic virulence switch

In an early, acute stage of pneumonia, the pathogen employs a wide arsenal of weapons – so-called virulence factors – to invade the host and evade its immune system. During disease progression, the bacterium adapts its strategy by switching from acute to chronic virulence. It stops the production of virulence factors, such as bacterial injection apparatus and toxins and, instead, produces a protective matrix and reduces its growth rate. The environmental signals directing this transition were so far unknown. The team led by Prof. Urs Jenal, infection biologist at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, has now identified calcium as a signal that specifically triggers the switch to chronic virulence.

“In Pseudomonas a central signaling pathway senses environmental information and ultimately determines whether the pathogen will undergo the acute to chronic virulence switch,” explains Jenal. “Although the components of this pathway are well-known, none of the external signals modulating the switch are defined.” The researchers have now discovered that a receptor located in the bacterial cell envelope monitors the calcium concentration in the environment and transmits this signal into the cell. Elevated calcium levels trigger the switch to a chronic program: The bacteria protect themselves within a biofilm structure, reduce their growth rate and by that increase their drug tolerance and persistence.

Cystic fibrosis patients harbor calcium sensitive bacteria

Finally, the researchers were able to demonstrate the clinical relevance of their findings. Patients suffering from cystic fibrosis develop lifelong chronic infections by P. aeruginosa, which permanently damage their lung tissue. “Most of the isolates from airways of CF patients have retained their calcium sensitivity,” emphasizes Jenal. “We believe that this allows these bacteria to constantly adapt their virulence in response to the often changing conditions in the airways. One of the characteristics of cystic fibrosis is deregulated calcium homeostasis. We assume that elevated calcium levels in patients promote the switch from an acute to a chronic state of infection. This is of advantage for the pathogen, as it may ensure its long-term survival in the respiratory tract. At the same time, treatment of chronically infected patients becomes more challenging.”

Original article

Ursula N. Broder, Tina Jaeger, Urs Jenal
LadS is a calcium-responsive kinase that induces acute-to-chronic virulence switch in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Nature Microbiology (2016), doi: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.184



Posted in Nutrition: Calcium | Leave a comment

Fragranced products: Risks for people and profits?

A University of Melbourne researcher has found that over one-third of Americans report health problems–from asthma attacks to migraine headaches–when exposed to common fragranced consumer products such as air fresheners, cleaning supplies, laundry products, scented candles, cologne, and personal care products.

The study also found that fragranced products may affect profits, with more than 20% of respondents entering a business, but leaving as quickly as possible if they smell air fresheners or some fragranced product. More than twice as many customers would choose hotels and airplanes without fragranced air than with fragranced air.

In the workplace, over 15% of the population lost workdays or a job due to fragranced product exposure. Over 50% of Americans surveyed would prefer fragrance-free workplaces. And over 50% would prefer that health care facilities and professionals were fragrance-free.

The research was conducted by Professor Anne Steinemann, from the University of Melbourne School of Engineering, who is a world expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects.

Professor Steinemann conducted a nationally representative population survey in the United States, using a random sample of 1,136 adults from a large web-based panel held by Survey Sampling International (SSI).

The results are published in the international journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health.

When exposed to fragranced products, 34.7% of Americans suffer adverse health effects, such as breathing difficulties, headaches, dizziness, rashes, congestion, seizures, nausea, and a range of other physical problems. For half of these individuals, effects are potentially disabling, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“This is a huge problem; it’s an epidemic,” says Professor Steinemann.

Fragranced products are pervasive in society, and over 99% of Americans are regularly exposed to fragranced products from their own use or others’ use. Reports of adverse health effects were as frequent and wide-ranging across all types of fragranced products.

“Basically, if it contained a fragrance, it posed problems for people,” Professor Steinemann said.

Professor Steinemann is especially concerned with involuntary exposure to fragranced products, or what she calls “secondhand scents.”

She found over 20% of the population suffer health problems around air fresheners or deodorizers, and over 17% can’t use public restrooms that have air fresheners. In addition, over 14% of the population wouldn’t wash their hands with soap if it was fragranced.

Over 12% of the population experience health problems from the scent of laundry products vented outdoors, over 19% from being in a room cleaned with scented products, and over 23% from being near someone wearing a fragranced product.

More generally, over 22% of Americans surveyed can’t go somewhere because exposure to a fragranced product would make them sick.

“These findings have enormous implications for businesses, workplaces, care facilities, schools, homes, and other private and public places,” said Professor Steinemann.

For instance, a growing number of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act concern involuntary and disabling exposure to fragranced products.

Professor Steinemann’s earlier research found that fragranced products–even those called green, natural, and organic–emitted hazardous air pollutants. However, fragranced consumer products sold in the US (and other countries) are not required to list all ingredients on their labels or material safety data sheets. Nearly two-thirds of the population surveyed were not aware of this lack of disclosure, and would not continue to use a fragranced product if they knew it emitted hazardous air pollutants.

Professor Steinemann’s research continues to investigate why fragranced product emissions are associated with such a range of adverse and serious health effects.

In the meantime, for solutions, Professor Steinemann suggests using products that do not contain any fragrance (including masking fragrance, which unscented products may contain). She also recommends fragrance-free policies within buildings and other places.

“It’s a relatively simple and cost-effective way to reduce risks and improve air quality and health,” she explains.

Professor Steinemann has also completed a survey of the Australian population, with results expected to be published soon. “The numbers are similarly striking,” she said.


Additional Information:

  • Fragranced consumer products included one or more of the following: (a) Air fresheners and deodorizers (e.g., sprays, solids, oils, disks); (b) Personal care products (e.g., soaps, hand sanitizer, lotions, deodorant, sunscreen, shampoos); (c) Cleaning supplies (e.g., all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, and dishwashing soap); (d) Laundry products (e.g., detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets); (e) Household products (e.g., scented candles, toilet paper, trash bags, baby products); (f) Fragrance (e.g., perfume, cologne, after-shave), and (g) Other.
  • Health effects included one or more of the following (with percentage of the population affected): (a) Migraine headaches (15.7%); (b) Asthma attacks (8.0%); (c) Neurological problems (7.2%), e.g., dizziness, seizures, head pain, fainting, loss of coordination; (d) Respiratory problems (18.6%), e.g., difficulty breathing, coughing, shortness of breath; (e) Skin problems (10.6%), e.g., rashes, hives, red skin, tingling skin, dermatitis; (f) Cognitive problems (5.8%), e.g., difficulties thinking, concentrating, or remembering; (g) Mucosal symptoms (16.2%), e.g., watery or red eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing; (h) Immune system problems (4.0%), e.g., swollen lymph glands, fever, fatigue; (i) Gastrointestinal problems (5.5%), e.g., nausea, bloating, cramping, diarrhea; (j) Cardiovascular problems (4.4%), e.g., fast or irregular heartbeat, jitteriness, chest discomfort; (k) Musculoskeletal problems (3.8%), e.g., muscle or joint pain, cramps, weakness; and (l) Other health problems (1.7%).
  • Fragranced consumer products are exempt from full disclosure of ingredients to the public. For air fresheners, cleaning supplies, laundry products, and other consumer products, labels are not required to list all ingredients, or the presence of a fragrance in the product. For personal care products and cosmetics, labels are required to list ingredients, except the general term “fragrance” may be used instead of listing the individual ingredients in the fragrance. For all products, material safety data sheets are not required to list all ingredients. Fragrance ingredients are exempt from full disclosure in any product, not only in the U.S. but also internationally.

The full article is available, free of charge

on Dr. Steinemann’s website: (top article)

or on the journal website:


Posted in Asthma, Environmental Health: Air Quality, Environmental Health: Fragrances, Environmental Health: Sustainability, Headaches: Migraines | Leave a comment

New Smart Gloves to Monitor Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Newswise — KINGSTON, R.I. — Prescribing a medication plan for a patient with Parkinson’s disease is a big challenge for doctors, but now a University of Rhode Island biomedical engineering professor and his students are making great strides in solving that problem with their groundbreaking research.

Kunal Mankodiya, director of URI’s Wearable Biosensing Laboratory, says he’s researching how to transform gloves, socks, clothing and even shoes into high-tech items that will make people healthier—and improve their lives.

“We are in the era of game-changing technology, especially in health care,” says Mankodiya. “URI’s College of Engineering is pioneering new medical devices that will change the way people receive medical care. It’s an exciting time for the University—and Rhode Islanders.”

Mankodiya’s research focuses on smart textiles—wearable items embedded with sensors, electronics and software that can collect data from patients, even though they are at home, and deliver it to doctors. The benefit is that doctors will be able to make more informed decisions remotely, and patients will be more involved with their care.

The professor and his team of students have been working on “smart wearables” for years as part of their research on the “Internet of Things,” a framework to automate human interactions with Cloud computing. One creation that made headlines last year was a wristband that monitors the tremors of Parkinson’s patients and sends that information to doctors over an Internet connection.

This year, the team is turning its attention to textiles, designing items for patients with neurological illnesses. The gloves are the latest project. They are embedded with sensors on the fingers and thumb that measure tremors and rigidity—common symptoms of Parkinson’s.

The gloves, in turn, are connected to cell phones, which process the data and deliver it to neurologists in their offices. This way, doctors can manage the treatment plan of the patient day-to-day, ensuring that medication is working properly and eliminating the need for patients to make stressful clinical visits.

“Patients with Parkinson’s face many mobility issues—driving and even walking long distances,” Mankodiya says. “The glove will give patients the option of receiving health care while remaining at home, and it also reduces the risk of falls and other accidents.”

Mankodiya is also working on high-tech socks for people who have suffered strokes. Again, sensors and software woven into the fabric relay information about a patient’s gait to doctors and physical therapists so they can tailor rehabilitation therapy to each patient.

“The socks examine the walking stride,” Mankodiya says. “They can quantify movements of the knee and ankle joints to find subtle irregularities that require therapy. The socks also monitor a patient’s progress.”

Other projects focus on developing tools to image, sense and record brain function to treat Parkinson’s, as well as other neurological diseases, like epilepsy. The projects were made possible through National Science Foundation grants, one of which involves collaboration with Walter Besio, URI professor of biomedical engineering.

In addition, Mankodiya is partnering with Lifespan Hospitals to create smartwatch technologies for patients with psychiatric illnesses and autism. Although research is still in the early stages, the watches are expected to measure the patient’s daily behavior and activities.

Nick Peltier, a senior majoring in computer science, is creating a smartwatch app that will help people with autism. He says the project is the most satisfying one he’s tackled at URI.

“I hope the watch will help these patients learn about themselves and make it easier for the parents and caregivers to know what’s going on,’’ says Peltier, of Coventry. “Let’s say a response is triggered every Tuesday, at the same time, on the patient’s smartwatch. The next step would be to determine what’s happening during that time on that day so the person can make adjustments.’’

Matt Constant, a junior computer engineering major, is also working on the smartwatch app, as well as the glove. “It’s very fulfilling,’’ says Constant of West Warwick. “I get to apply what I’m learning in classes and also help people. I’m experiencing things at URI that I would never learn otherwise. It’s exciting working on important problems like this at such a young age.’’

Born in India, Mankodiya received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Saurashtra University and his doctorate in computer science from the University of Luebeck in Germany. He did post-doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University and joined URI in 2014.

Besides running his lab, he also teaches a popular course called the “Wearable Internet of Things.’’ Some students in his class are working on a smart dog collar to scare away coyotes. Based on a coyote-resistant vest created by a Middletown 7th grader, the collar is expected to shine brightly and ring when coyotes are nearby.

How does the collar know coyotes are lurking? “Good question!” says Mankodiya. “That is the challenge the students have to answer.”

Mankodiya also is collaborating with URI’s Business Engagement Center to encourage textile manufacturing companies to partner with the University to create new high-tech products.

Mankodiya is busy off campus, too. He represents URI’s College of Engineering in Advanced Functional Fabrics of America, a federally-funded organization based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The group is a partnership between industry and academia that is sparking a manufacturing revolution by turning traditional fibers, yarns and fabrics into high-tech devices.

“URI is an energetic institution that makes it possible for professors like me to think outside the box,” says Mankodiya. “I integrate learning by doing and hands-on studies into my research and teaching. We all want to create a next generation of engineers who are highly skilled—and compassionate.”

This November, voters in Rhode Island will be asked to approve Question 4 on the ballot. If passed, the investment will pave the way to attract businesses and create the high-paying, high-skilled jobs Rhode Island needs by authorizing $45.5 million in bonds to expand URI’s highly successful College of Engineering ($25.5 million) and create a URI-affiliated innovation campus program ($20 million) that will pair cutting edge research with private sector investments to create the jobs of the future. Both projects will support the type of work Professor Mankodiya and other researchers are engaged in to move innovation forward in the state.

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Discrimination Based on Weight Doubles Health Risks

Newswise — KINGSTON, R.I. – We all know that carrying extra pounds can be bad for your health. Now a URI professor has found that how society treats overweight people makes matters worse.

Maya Vadiveloo, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences in the College of Health Sciences, and Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed weight discrimination data from the long-term national study, Midlife Development in the United States.

The researchers focused on respondents who reported regularly experiencing discrimination because of their weight. The study asked whether they were treated discourteously, called names, or made to feel inferior. Those who experienced weight discrimination over a 10-year period had twice the risk of high allostatic load, the cumulative dysfunction of bodily systems from chronic stress, they found. That stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, inflammation and other disorders, increasing risk of death.

“It is a pretty big effect,” Vadiveloo, of North Kingstown, says of the findings. “Even if we accounted for health effects attributed to being overweight, these people still experience double the risk of allostatic load because of weight discrimination.”

The findings, published in the August issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, expose flaws in society’s approach to weight control, Vadiveloo says. “The main message is to be aware that the way we treat people may have more negative effects than we realize,” she says. “Our paper highlights the importance of including sensitivity and understanding when working with individuals with obesity and when developing public health campaigns.”

People who experience weight discrimination often shun social interaction and skip doctor visits, she notes. “There is so much shaming around food and weight. We need to work together as a nation on improving public health and clinical support for individuals with obesity and targeting environmental risk factors,” she says. For example, Vadiveloo suggests developing strategies to make healthy foods affordable and creating safe places for people to be active.

Vadiveloo hopes to address the topic in the classroom and revisit data from the nearly 1,000 respondents to explore whether having more social support or positive coping strategies reduces negative health effects of weight discrimination.

Posted in Fat Shaming, Human Behavior: Bias, Human Behavior: Stress, Obesity | Leave a comment

Long-term effects of sweeteners in the blood

A recent study by investigators at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health measured how much artificial sweetener is absorbed into the blood stream by children and adults after drinking a can of diet soda. Results of this study are published in Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry.

The team measured the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame-potassium, which are found in a wide range of packaged foods and beverages. These artificial sweeteners, also including saccharin and aspartame, have received a lot of attention lately because it has been found that they are not inert chemicals with a sweet taste, but active substances that can affect the metabolism.

Despite their approval as food additives following the submission of detailed safety data to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concerns about their safety and especially about their long-term health effects remain. Artificial sweetener use is increasing worldwide because it is universally accepted that high sugar consumption promotes a variety of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. The food industry responds to the consumer demand, and increasingly replaces sugar with artificial sweeteners in order to provide tasty goods with lower sugar content. Most consumers expect that weight loss will result from switching to artificial sweeteners (because they contain no or fewer calories), but paradoxically the opposite may happen.

Given this background, the authors performed a study to extend previous investigations into plasma concentrations of sucralose and acesulfame-potassium. Artificial sweetener concentrations were measured among adults following ingestion of various doses of sucralose with or without acesulfame-potassium, both in diet soda and mixed in seltzer or plain water. Results obtained in adults were then compared with measurements obtained in children.

The study comprised 22 adults aged 18-45 and 11 children aged 6-12 with no known medical conditions and who were not using any medications, enrolled in a randomized same-subject crossover study. The protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

The results of the study demonstrate that, compared to adults, children had double the concentrations of plasma sucralose after ingestion of a single twelve ounce can diet soda. The same research team previously found that these artificial sweeteners were also present in breast milk when mothers ingested foods, drinks, medicines or other products that contained artificial sweeteners.  Since infants have less ability to clear substances from their blood stream via the kidneys (lower glomerular filtration rate up to age 2 years), the authors speculate that the infants’ artificial sweetener blood levels may be proportionately even higher.

These results are important because early life exposure to artificial sweeteners may influence a child’s future taste preferences, diet and metabolic fate. Since it is known that children generally prefer more sweetness than adults, they are especially vulnerable to the intense sweetness provided by artificial sweeteners.

The findings of this study also highlight the fact that some people absorb relatively small amounts of artificial sweeteners and some exorbitantly high amounts. Overall, this study will help others with the design and interpretation of crucial future research to better understand what artificial sweeteners do to our health.

* Read the full article online:



Posted in Nutrition: Food: Artificial Sweeteners | Leave a comment

Football Alters the Brains of Kids as Young as 8

A promising athlete, 13-year-old Zackery Lystadt’s head hit the ground as he rolled through a routine tackle in 2006. He  didn’t lose consciousness. But he did lie on the ground for a moment after the play, clutching the sides of his helmet. His coach took him out for two plays.

Then Lystadt played the rest of the game. At the closing whistle he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where he required emergency neurosurgery to relieve pressure inside his skull.

Today Lystadt is learning to walk again. The state of Washington created a new law in his name, sometimes known as the “shake it off” law, which requires players who show signs of concussion to be examined and cleared by a medical practitioner prior to re-entering a game.b

But what about damage short of a concussion? What’s happening in the brains of kids who play football and don’t show outward signs of injury?

In the journal Radiology today, an imaging study shows that players ages 8 to 13 who have had no concussion symptoms still show changes associated with traumatic brain injury.


Posted in American Football, Brain Injury, Sports Medicine: Injuries | Leave a comment

Polio vaccine makers failing to make enough doses: WHO experts

Two companies making vaccines to help the world eradicate polio are failing to produce enough, so many countries should prepare to give lower doses to make stocks last, a group of experts has advised the World Health Organization.

With polio on the brink of eradication globally, the WHO wants to see a worldwide switch from the traditional “live” oral polio vaccine, which runs the risk of spreading the disease, to an inactivated vaccine that needs to be injected.

But WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), which meets twice a year, said a severe shortage of inactivated vaccine means many countries should use a fractional dose, via an intra-dermal rather than intra-muscular injection, allowing each dose to go twice as far.

“There are only two manufacturers of the vaccine and they are having some problems with production of the vaccine, and getting enough raw material of the polio virus,” SAGE Chairman Jon Abramson told reporters on a conference call on Friday.

Polio is a contagious viral disease which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours.

“Each time we hear that there’s a further reduction in the amount that can be anticipated, we have to make further adjustments,” Abramson said


Posted in Pediatric Health: Vaccines, Vaccinations, World Health: Polio | Leave a comment

Type 1 diabetes often comes with other autoimmune diseases

(Reuters Health) – People with type 1 diabetes often develop other autoimmune disorders, such as thyroid and gastrointestinal diseases, and a recent study yields new information about this link. 

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys its insulin-producing cells. Patients often develop other immune system diseases, too. Indeed, in the current study, 27 percent of patients had at least one other autoimmune disorder.

But the new study also held some surprises about how early and late in life these added health problems might surface, said lead author Dr. Jing Hughes of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“The pattern that emerged was striking: autoimmune diseases begin early in childhood, where nearly 20 percent of those under age 6 already have additional diseases other than type 1 diabetes,” Hughes said by email.

“Another surprise finding was that, while we had expected that autoimmune diseases may peak at a certain time of life, we found instead that the autoimmune burden continues to increase as patients age, to the extent that nearly 50 percent of those over age 65 have accumulated one or more additional autoimmune disease,” Hughes added.

The findings are drawn from data on nearly 26,000 adults and children being treated for type 1 diabetes at 80 endocrinology practices in the U.S. between 2010 and 2016.


Posted in Autoimmune Disease, Diabetes: Type 1, Gastroenterology, Thyroid | Leave a comment

The antipsychotic drug ziprasidone could be helpful in treating lasting migraines

BALTIMORE — The antipsychotic drug ziprasidone could be helpful in treating lasting migraines among patients who don’t respond to other treatments, according to research presented here.

In a retrospective chart review of 43 patients who had a debilitating migraine lasting more than 72 hours who were given 10 to 40 mg of ziprasidone as a third-line agent, the drug was helpful 81% of the time and definitively led to hospital discharge in 65% of patients, said lead study author Eric Landsness, MD, PhD, a fourth-year neurology resident at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Landsness reported the findings during a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association. The work also was published in The Neurohospitalist.

The drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of schizophrenia, and acute mania and mixed states associated with bipolar disorder.

“I think this has potential for being the next atypical antipsychotic used for the treatment of status migrainous,” Landsness told MedPage Today. While the study is observational, he said this falls under one of the “three or four moments in my life where I look at something and say, ‘This really works.’ You can’t explain this away with [a] placebo [effect].”


Posted in Headaches: Migraines, Ziprasidone | Leave a comment

More American Men with Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Could Opt Out of Immediate Treatment

Newswise — A new report on Swedish men with non-aggressive prostate cancer suggests that a lot more American men could safely choose to monitor their disease instead of seeking immediate radiation treatment or surgery.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Oncology online Oct. 20, the report shows that well over half of 32,518 men in Sweden diagnosed with prostate cancers least likely to spread chose monitoring during a recent, five-year period over immediate treatment.

Led by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Perlmutter Cancer Center, an international team concluded that men are likely to choose monitoring once presented with the choice.

Called active surveillance, the monitoring option relies on regular blood tests, physical exams, and the periodic biopsy, or sampling, of prostate tissue to screen for any signs of a tumor’s growth before therapy is considered. The move to active surveillance, say the study authors, averts the risk of sexual dysfunction, as well as bowel and bladder problems that frequently accompany traditional therapies.

“The main conclusion here is that if the majority of men in Sweden have adopted this management strategy for very low- to low-risk prostate cancer, then more American men might choose this option if it were presented to them,” says lead study investigator and urologist Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc.

Among the study’s key findings was that from 2009 to 2014 the number of Swedish men with very low-risk cancer choosing active surveillance increased from 57 percent to 91 percent, and men with low-risk cancer choosing this option rose from 40 percent to 74 percent. Meanwhile, the authors report, the number of men in both groups who chose to simply wait, do no further testing, and postpone therapy unless symptoms develop — a passive practice called watchful waiting — dropped by more than half.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from Sweden’s National Prostate Cancer Register, one of the few such national databases in the world (and for which nothing comparable exists in North America).

Loeb, an assistant professor in the urology and population health departments at NYU Langone, and a member of Perlmutter, says that while increasing numbers of American men diagnosed with early-stage disease are choosing active surveillance, they still account for less than half of those for whom it is an option.

“Our findings should encourage physicians and cancer care professionals in the United States to offer such close supervision and monitoring to their patients with low-risk disease,” says Loeb. More American men opting for active surveillance, she adds, “could go a long way toward reducing the harms of screening by minimizing overtreatment of non-aggressive prostate cancer.”

Loeb says recent studies have suggested that some men with early-stage disease who opted for treatment later regretted it because of lingering problems, such as incontinence and impotence.

A large study also recently showed no difference in death rates a decade after diagnosis between those who chose active surveillance and those who chose immediate treatment, Loeb says. Meanwhile, there is a greater risk of side effects among men undergoing therapy. She cautions, however, that this pattern has not been confirmed for the Swedish men in the current study.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that 26,000 American men will die from the disease in 2016, with 181,000 getting diagnosed, most in its earliest stages.

Funding support for the study, which took two years to complete, was provided by grants from the Swedish Research Council (825-2012-5047) and the Swedish Cancer Society (130428). Additional funding support was provided by the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center and the Louis Feil Charitable Lead Trust.

Besides Loeb, another NYU Langone investigator involved in the study was Caitlin Curnyn, MPH. Other study investigators were Yasin Folkvaljon, MSc, at the Regional Cancer Center at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden; David Robinson, MD, PhD, at Ryhov County Hospital in Jonkoping, Sweden, and Umea University in Umea, Sweden; Ola Bratt, MD, PhD, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, and Lund University in Lund, Sweden; and principal investigator Pär Stattin, MD, PhD, at both Uppsala University and Umea University.

Posted in Cancer: Prostate | Leave a comment

Fast-Food Calorie Labeling Unlikely to Encourage Healthy Eating, Finds NYU Study

Newswise — Researchers from New York University show why fast-food menu calorie counts do not help consumers make healthy choices in a new study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

The researchers found that only a small fraction of fast-food eaters – as little as 8 percent – are likely to make healthy choices as a result of current calorie labeling. The study comes just six months before a federal policy goes into effect requiring calorie labeling nationwide and provides recommendations for improving labeling that could boost the odds of diners making healthy choices.

“Health policies would benefit from greater attention to what is known about effective messaging and behavior change. The success of fast-food menu labeling depends on multiple conditions being met, not just the availability of calorie information,” said study author Andrew Breck, a doctoral candidate at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Calorie labeling on fast-food restaurant menus was designed to motivate consumers to change their behavior by providing them with health information. In 2006, New York became the first city to introduce labeling requirements for fast-food chains; Philadelphia and Seattle followed shortly after. On May 5, 2017, calorie labeling will go into effect nationwide, with the Food and Drug Administration requiring all chain restaurants with at least 20 locations to post calorie information.

But despite the rapid and widespread adoption of policies to require calorie counts at restaurants, most studies of calorie labels in fast-food restaurants in places that have already adopted labeling, including New York, have found little evidence that fast-food consumers are changing their behaviors in response to the labels.

These surprising findings become less so in light of research suggesting that simply providing calorie information may not create change. A framework created by Scot Burton of the University of Arkansas and Jeremy Kees of Villanova University outlined five conditions that need to be present in order for people to be swayed by calorie labeling at fast-food chains:
1. Consumers must be aware of the labeling.
2. Consumers must be motivated to eat healthfully.
3. They must know the number of calories one should eat daily to maintain a healthy weight.
4. Labeling must provide information that differs from consumers’ expectations of how many calories foods contain.
5. Labeling must reach regular fast-food consumers.
In this study, the NYU researchers used Burton and Kees’ framework to better understand why menu calorie labeling policies have had a limited impact. The researchers used data collected in Philadelphia shortly after calorie labeling went into effect in the city in 2008. They analyzed responses from 699 consumers who completed point-of-purchase surveys at 15 fast-food restaurants throughout Philadelphia, as well as responses from 702 phone surveys of the city’s residents.

The surveys helped the researchers understand which of the conditions outlined by Burton and Kees were met. For instance, they asked if consumers noticed seeing calorie information in a fast-food restaurant and prompted them to estimate how many calories they should be consuming daily.

Based on the two surveys, the researchers found that a small minority of fast-food consumers met all conditions, and therefore would be expected to change their eating behavior as a result of menu calorie labeling. Only 8 percent of those surveyed in fast-food restaurants and 16 percent of those surveyed by phone met all five conditions: they were aware of menu labeling, were motivated to eat healthfully, could estimate their daily calorie intake, were surprised by calorie counts, and ate fast food ate least once a week.

A third of those surveyed by phone did not see calorie labels posted and nearly two thirds surveyed at point-of-purchase did not notice the calorie information. As a result, the researchers recommend that restaurants make calorie information more visible to consumers through clear signage and fonts that are large and in a noticeable color.

In addition, the researchers cited past experiments showing that people responded to calorie labeling on menus that included the average recommended daily calorie intake, or explained how much exercise would be needed to burn off different foods. While these experiments have not been used in the real world, these potential labeling improvements may hold value based on the lack of nutritional knowledge in the current study. Three-quarters of those surveyed by phone correctly estimated the number of calories they should consume daily, but this was true of less than half of those surveyed at point-of-purchase.
The researchers also note that the visibility of calorie labeling may encourage change through a different pathway: it may spur restaurants to reduce the calorie content of existing menu items and provide additional lower calorie options.

“We know that few regular fast-food eaters chose fast food because it is nutritious; they instead are motivated by cost and convenience,” said study author Beth Weitzman, professor of public health and policy at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “However, requiring restaurants to make the calorie content of their menu items highly visible could cause restaurants to add new, healthy options to their menus.”
In addition to Breck and Weitzman, study authors include Tod Mijanovich of NYU Steinhardt and Brian Elbel of NYU Langone Medical Center and NYU Wagner. The National Institutes of Health (R01HL095935) funded the study.

# # #


Posted in Nutrition: Labeling | Leave a comment

NSAIDs tied to heart failure risk

(Reuters Health) – Widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with an increased risk of heart failure – even in people without a history of cardiac issues, a recent study suggests.

Overall, the odds of a hospital admission for heart failure was 19 percent higher for people who used NSAIDs in the previous two weeks than for individuals who didn’t take these drugs, the study found.

Not all NSAIDs carry the same risk, however. The increased odds of a heart failure hospitalization were, for example, just 16 percent for naproxen but 83 percent for ketorolac. Many NSAIDs, including celecoxib (Celebrex), were tied to little or no increased risk.

“There is difference between the NSAIDs in risk of heart failure and higher dosages are associated with increased risk,” said Dr. Gunnar H. Gislason, chief scientific officer of the Danish Heart Foundation and author of an editorial accompanying the study.

“NSAIDs increase risk of heart failure independent of sex or previous heart failure status,” Gislason added by email.

“However, if you have established heart disease, heart failure or carry many cardiovascular risk factors, your risk associated with NSAID use is more pronounced – thus especially the elderly and patients with any heart condition should avoid NSAIDs,” Gislason said.



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Our sun is orbited by an as-yet-unseen planet–that is 10X the size of Earth with an orbit that is about 20X farther from the sun than Neptune

Planet Nine–the undiscovered planet at the edge of the Solar System that was predicted by the work of Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016–appears to be responsible for the unusual tilt of the sun, according to a new study.

The large and distant planet may be adding a wobble to the solar system, giving the appearance that the sun is tilted slightly.

“Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment,” says Elizabeth Bailey, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author of a study announcing the discovery.

All of the planets orbit in a flat plane with respect to the sun, roughly within a couple degrees of each other. That plane, however, rotates at a six-degree tilt with respect to the sun–giving the appearance that the sun itself is cocked off at an angle. Until now, no one had found a compelling explanation to produce such an effect. “It’s such a deep-rooted mystery and so difficult to explain that people just don’t talk about it,” says Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy.

Brown and Batygin’s discovery of evidence that the sun is orbited by an as-yet-unseen planet–that is about 10 times the size of Earth with an orbit that is about 20 times farther from the sun on average than Neptune’s–changes the physics. Planet Nine, based on their calculations, appears to orbit at about 30 degrees off from the other planets’ orbital plane–in the process, influencing the orbit of a large population of objects in the Kuiper Belt, which is how Brown and Batygin came to suspect a planet existed there in the first place.

“It continues to amaze us; every time we look carefully we continue to find that Planet Nine explains something about the solar system that had long been a mystery,” says Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science.

Their findings have been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal, and will be presented on October 18 at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences annual meeting, held in Pasadena.

The tilt of the solar system’s orbital plane has long befuddled astronomers because of the way the planets formed: as a spinning cloud slowly collapsing first into a disk and then into objects orbiting a central star.

Planet Nine’s angular momentum is having an outsized impact on the solar system based on its location and size. A planet’s angular momentum equals the mass of an object multiplied by its distance from the sun, and corresponds with the force that the planet exerts on the overall system’s spin. Because the other planets in the solar system all exist along a flat plane, their angular momentum works to keep the whole disk spinning smoothly.

Planet Nine’s unusual orbit, however, adds a multi-billion-year wobble to that system. Mathematically, given the hypothesized size and distance of Planet Nine, a six-degree tilt fits perfectly, Brown says.

The next question, then, is how did Planet Nine achieve its unusual orbit? Though that remains to be determined, Batygin suggests that the planet may have been ejected from the neighborhood of the gas giants by Jupiter, or perhaps may have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other stellar bodies in the solar system’s extreme past.

For now, Brown and Batygin continue to work with colleagues throughout the world to search the night sky for signs of Planet Nine along the path they predicted in January. That search, Brown says, may take three years or more.


Also see

Hubble sees atmosphere being stripped from Neptune-sized exoplanet

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen dispersing from a warm, Neptune-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The enormous gaseous tail of the planet is about 50 times the size of the parent … Continue reading

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The Sun-like stars that eat Earth-like planets

Some Sun-like stars are ‘earth-eaters.’ During their development they ingest large amounts of the rocky material from which ‘terrestrial’ planets like Earth, Mars and Venus are made. Trey Mack, a graduate student in astronomy at Vanderbilt University, has developed a … Continue reading

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Asteroid diversity points to a ‘snow globe’ solar system

Books about asteroids on Amazon Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the Sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed. However, the … Continue reading

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Neu5Gc in red meat and organs may pose a significant health hazard

Neu5Gc, a non-human sialic acid sugar molecule common in red meat that increases the risk of tumor formation in humans, is also prevalent in pig organs, with concentrations increasing as the organs are cooked, a study by researchers from the UC Davis School of Medicine and Xiamen University School of Medicine has found.

The research, published in Glycoconjugate Journal Sept. 9, suggests that Neu5Gc may pose a significant health hazard among those who regularly consume organ meats from pigs.

Neu5Gc is naturally found on cell surfaces in most mammals but not in humans. It gets incorporated into human cells by eating meats, organs and some dairy products.

Previous studies have shown when Neu5Gc is incorporated into human tissues, the immune system recognizes it as a foreign threat, producing antibodies to counter it. Repeated consumption of these meats then causes chronic inflammation, which has been known to increase risks of tumor formation. Neu5Gc has been linked to cancer as well as cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases, including some bacterial infections.

The UC Davis and Xiamen University study is the first to find Neu5Gc in substantially higher levels in pig organs, including the spleen, lungs, heart, kidney and liver, than in skeletal muscle, which cooking of the meat exacerbates.

“We were rather surprised that organ meats from pigs have alarmingly high levels of Neu5Gc,” said co-author Frederic A. Troy II, professor and chair emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and adjunct professor at Xiamen University School of Medicine.

“Although we do not know quantitatively what levels trigger an immune response, if you’re going to eat organ meat, you’re going to have a potentially greater risk of certain inflammatory diseases,” he said.

The risk of Neu5Gc toxicity is particularly high in China and other countries where people tend to consume large amounts of organ meat. In the U.S. and other western nations where there has been a rise in the culinary “nose-to-tail” movement in recent years, more chefs are cooking all parts of animals. Given the results from this study, the authors urge people to be cautious about the types of meats they ingest.

Troy and colleagues recently reported high levels of the free form of another sialic acid, Kdn, in breast, cervical, liver, lung, throat, ovarian and uterine cancers. They also showed that a polymeric form of Neu5Ac, a polysialic acid, is a metastatic factor when expressed on the cell surfaces of a number of human cancers.

For the current study, the researchers assessed the levels of three sialic acids ? Neu5Ac, Neu5Gc and Kdn ? located at the end of sugar chains frequently attached to glycoproteins and gangliosides in cellular membranes.

Glycoproteins, such as polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecules (NCAMs), have many functions during brain development that modulate cell-cell adhesive interactions involved in synaptogenesis, neural plasticity, myelination and neural stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Gangliosides serve as markers for cellular recognition and modulate axon-myelin interactions, axon stability, axon regeneration and modulate nerve cell excitability.

The researchers measured sialic concentrations in pig spleens, kidneys, lungs, hearts, livers and muscle at three, 38 and 180 days (adult) of age. Compared to skeletal muscle, the concentrations of Neu5Gc were high in all organs, particularly heart, spleen, kidney and lungs. Cooking increased sialic levels in most organ tissues.

Though the study was conducted in pigs, these results have ramifications for organ meat from other animals.

“The basic, fundamental biochemical pathways for synthesis and metabolism of the sialic acids are essentially identical processes common in all evolutionary species from ‘bacteria to brains,’ Troy said. “Therefore, the translational aspect of our findings to other mammalian species is essentially a given from a biochemical perspective.”

In contrast to mice and rats, neonatal pigs are genetically closer to humans, and share similar physiology and anatomical structures with human infants. Importantly, the piglet brain more closely resembles the human brain in anatomic structure and developmental growth patterns, Troy added.

The study also sheds light on the developmental biology of sialylation, as the molecular mechanisms regulating the age-related developmental expression and function of the sialic acids are poorly understood.

“Our new findings show that there are clear changes in levels of these sialic acids in young and adults pigs as a function of aging, a finding that is neither well understood nor has been previously reported,” he said.

While it’s long been known that sialic acids have higher concentrations in animal meats, no one had ever precisely measured their concentrations in specific organs. To some degree, this was a result of technology.

“This study would not have been possible if not for the high sensitivity afforded by LC mass spectrometry,” Troy noted. “This advance in structural analysis thus allows studies that could not have been done five or 10 years ago.”


The research study is entitled “Developmental changes in the level of free and conjugated sialic acids, Neu5Ac, Neu5Gc and KDN in different organs of pig: a LC-MS/MS quantitative analyses.” Other authors included Suna Ji, Fang Wang, Yue Chen, Changwei Yang, Panwang Zhang, Xuebing Zhang and Bing Wang, all from Xiamen University.

This research was funded by grants from the Xiamen University School of Medicine,


Alcohol, Processed Meat, Obesity and Stomach Cancer Risk Linked

Newswise — Fred Hutchinson cancer epidemiologist and prevention expert Dr. Anne McTiernan worked on a major scientific report that for the first time has found that drinking alcohol, eating processed meat and being overweight increase the risk of developing stomach … Continue reading

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Lower survival rates for consumers of processed meat

Differences in survival associated with processed and with nonprocessed red meat consumption 1,2,3 First published July 16, 2014, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086249 Am J Clin Nutr September 2014 ajcn.086249 Andrea Bellavia, Susanna C Larsson, Matteo Bottai, Alicja Wolk, and Nicola Orsini – … Continue reading

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Processed meat, colon cancer linked in new gene study

A common genetic variant that affects one in three people appears to significantly increase the risk of colorectal cancer from the consumption of processed meat, according to study published today in PLOS Genetics. The study of over 18,000 people from … Continue reading

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Eating red and processed meat: what do scientists say?

Oxford, March 6, 2014 — Recent reports warn about a link between eating red and processed meat and the risk of developing cancer in the gut. These reports have resulted in new nutritional recommendations that advise people to limit their … Continue reading

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Processed meat linked to premature death: BMC Medicine

In a huge study of half a million men and women, research in Biomed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine demonstrates an association between processed meat and cardiovascular disease and cancer. Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American … Continue reading

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Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men

Men who eat moderate amounts of processed red meat may have an increased risk of incidence and death from heart failure, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal. Processed meats are preserved by smoking, … Continue reading

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Pastrami linked to diabetes risk, along with other processed red meat

Processed and Unprocessed Red Meat Consumption and Incident Type 2 Diabetes Among French Women Diabetes Care published ahead of print November 18, 2011, doi:10.2337/dc11-1518 Martin Lajous, DSC1,2⇓, Laura Tondeur, MS3, Guy Fagherazzi, PHD3,4, Blandine de Lauzon-Guillain, PHD3, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruaualt, PHD3,4 … Continue reading

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Type 2 diabetes linked to processed red meat: Harvard School of Public Health

Boston, MA – A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers finds a strong association between the consumption of red meat—particularly when the meat is processed—and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also shows … Continue reading

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Shift from meat to plants urged by food company investors

A group of 40 investors managing $1.25 trillion in assets have launched a campaign to encourage 16 global food companies to change the way they source protein for their products to help to reduce environmental and health risks. The investors, … Continue reading

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Red meat: the potential health hazards

J Intern Med. 2016 Sep 6. doi: 10.1111/joim.12543. [Epub ahead of print] Potential health hazards of eating red meat. Wolk A1. Author information 1Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Abstract Red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb and mutton) … Continue reading

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Meat Consumption Contributing to Global Obesity

Newswise — That’s the question being raised by a team of researchers from the University of Adelaide, who say meat in the modern diet offers surplus energy, and is contributing to the prevalence of global obesity. Comparative anatomy and human … Continue reading

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Excess Consumption of Phosphates in Processed Foods Promotes Hypertension in Rats

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Cancer Link Offers Another Reason to Avoid Highly Processed Carbs

Newswise — San Diego (April 5, 2016) – Recent years have brought more attention to the role of carbohydrates in our diets and the differences between healthy and unhealthy carbs, most often in the context of weight control. A new … Continue reading

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‘Ultra-processed’ foods make up more than half of all calories in US diet: And contribute 90 percent of all dietary added sugar intake: BMJ

‘Ultra-processed’ foods make up more than half of all calories consumed in the US diet, and contribute nearly 90% of all added sugar intake, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open. Ultra-processed foods are formulations of several ingredients. … Continue reading

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Chicken: Not a Guilt-Free Alternative to Red Meat

Americans love chicken. On a sandwich, in a nugget, or even as a bread replacement. In the past 50 to 60 years, chicken has gone from a seasonal food usually enjoyed in the summer to an ever-present one. Its availability, … Continue reading

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California considers adding meat to cancer-alert list

California is examining new World Health Organization findings to determine whether to add red meat and foods like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to a cancer-alert list, setting the stage for a potential battle with the meat industry over warning … Continue reading

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How Meat Producers Have Influenced Nutrition Guidelines for Decades

While a doctor might advise against eating too many burgers and steak sandwiches, thanks to the exceptional lobbying skills of the American meat industry, the U.S. government probably never will. Rejecting the advice of their own expert panel, the U.S. … Continue reading

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Red meat ‘linked to breast cancer’

Eating a lot of red meat in early adult life may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a US study. Harvard researchers say replacing red meat with a combination of beans, peas and lentils, poultry, nuts, and … Continue reading

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Fire up the grill! Tomorrow’s meat will have antimicrobial edible films that inhibit pathogens

Antimicrobial agents incorporated into edible films applied to foods to seal in flavor, freshness and color can improve the microbiological safety of meats, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Using films made of pullulan — an … Continue reading

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Caution to pregnant women on red meat diabetes link

Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant can make use of the holiday season to adjust their diets and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute. The recommendation comes at … Continue reading

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Red meat, biomarkers of inflammation and glucose metabolism in women

Associations between red meat intake and biomarkers of inflammation and glucose metabolism in women 1,2,3 First published November 27, 2013, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.075663 Am J Clin Nutr February 2014 ajcn.075663 Sylvia H Ley, Qi Sun, Walter C Willett, A Heather Eliassen, … Continue reading

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Meat-eating link to colorectal cancer: new study

A newly discovered potential gene-diet interaction for colorectal cancer was reported today (Thursday, Oct. 24) at the American Society of Human Genetics 2013 meeting in Boston. The interaction may shed light on the statistically significant increased risk of colorectal cancer … Continue reading

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Low-fat deli meats marketed as healthy are not, mainly because of the preservatives

Processing of meats and cardiovascular risk: time to focus on preservatives; Renata Micha, Georgios Michas, Martin Lajous and Dariush Mozaffarian; BMC Medicine 2013, 11:136 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-136; Published: 23 May 2013 Abstract (provisional) Dietary guidelines emphasize selecting lean (low-fat) meats to reduce … Continue reading

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Yum! Ice-cream made more nutritious with meat waste protein left-overs

Most of the animal proteins found in the meat industry waste have, until now, been underutilised. The challenge is to transform such waste into food of higher functionality and added value. Thanks to the findings of the EU funded PROSPARE project, it is … Continue reading

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Red meat, cancer link depends on what kind of meat and what kind of cancer, says new study

Associations between Red Meat and Risks for Colon and Rectal Cancer Depend on the Type of Red Meat Consumed 1,2 Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us Rikke Egeberg 3,*, Anja Olsen 3, Jane Christensen 3, Jytte Halkjær … Continue reading

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Abuse of Some Prescription Drugs Can Be Risk for College Sexual Assaults, Regretted Sex

Newswise — BUFFALO, N.Y. – Numerous studies have found that heavy alcohol use — by the victim and/or perpetrator — is a factor in more than half of sexual assaults on college campuses. Now, research from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions has found the abuse of prescription drugs by college students also can play a role in negative sexual events such as sexual assault and regretted sex.

RIA Senior Research Scientist Kathleen Parks, PhD, studied the effects of nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) by college students, including opioid analgesics (such as Oxycodone), anxiolytics/sedatives (such as Xanax, Valium or Ambien) and stimulants (such as Adderall or Ritalin). NMUPD is defined as the use of a medication without a legal prescription.
The research found that among the 1,755 students studied, more than 500 reported NMUPD, and of those, a significant number experienced negative sexual events. More than 14 percent of the students who abused prescription drugs experienced regretted sex, and among the female students, 7.1 percent reported being victims of sexual assault.

Significantly, the only prescription drugs associated with regretted sex and sexual assault were anxiolytics/sedatives.

“The responsibility for rape or any sexual assault always falls squarely with the perpetrator,” Parks says. “This study shows NMUPD, particularly anxiolytics/sedatives, can have similar effects as alcohol, including slowed decision-making and physical coordination, which can decrease the ability to recognize danger or fend off a potential perpetrator.”

The study did not find that nonmedical use of opioid analgesics or stimulants was associated with negative sexual events.

“NMUPD is an increasing public health concern, particularly among emerging and young adults,” Parks said. “Given the results of this study, parents and college administrators should be concerned about the relationship we found between nonmedical use of anxiolytics/sedatives and negative sexual events, and find ways to educate students about the potential dangers.”
The study is available online and will appear in a special issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors in December. Its co-authors are Michael Frone, PhD, senior research scientist at RIA, Mark Muraven, PhD, Department of Psychology, University at Albany, and Carol Boyd, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Michigan School of Nursing.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit

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Sobering Data Drives Home Need to Expand Teen DUI Prevention Program

Newswise — In an effort to put the brakes on sobering statistics related to teenagers driving under the influence, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine will join forces with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) to reduce alcohol-impaired driving among San Diego youth ages 15 to 20.

With funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the UC San Diego Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety Program (TREDS) will contribute to SDPD’s Teen Alcohol Awareness Program (TAAP) by implementing an evaluation component and delivering sessions to parents about how to most effectively communicate with their kids about drinking and driving. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 74 percent of youth under age 18 identify their parents as the leading influence in their decisions about drinking.

“In a recent survey, one out of ten high school students admitted to driving after drinking and one in four had been a passenger with a driver who had been drinking. Parental involvement can help guide teens away from substance use while driving,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, program director of TREDS and professor of family medicine and public health at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

TAPP classes, hosted at the SDPD headquarters, educate teenagers and parents about the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence, as well as the responsibilities of social hosting and the penalties for violating current local ordinances.

To further support teens in making the right choice about drinking and driving, SDPD and Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego will collaborate with UC San Diego School of Medicine to deliver sober driving education at local high schools and implement a social media campaign focusing on prevention and intervention strategies.

“Alcohol-involved crash fatalities increased nearly 8 percent just last year and drug involved crash fatalities have increased nearly 14 percent in the past decade, according to the California DUI-MIS 2015 report,” said Nancy Gannon Hornberger, CEO of SAY San Diego. “We are honored to work collaboratively with UC San Diego TREDS and the SDPD on this new Sober Driving campaign. Together, we will involve parents and community members to reverse these trends and prevent such tragedy in the lives of young people and their families.”

“Working with TREDS will provide a broader reach for TAAP to provide expertise on substance abuse trends and related laws to our target demographics,” said Lieutenant Scott Bender of the SDPD Traffic Division.

October 16-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, an opportunity to learn more about the life-threatening issues facing youth behind the wheel and what can be done to resolve them.

TREDS also recently received funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety to extend the following programs.

Just Drive – Take Action Against Distraction

This program targets the general adult population about the dangers of distracted and drowsy driving and provides practical strategies to reduce those risks. Classes will soon be available in both English and Spanish, as well as job specific curricula to meet the needs of commercial drivers and first responders. TREDS continues to assist companies with the development of worksite cell phone policies to keep employees safe while driving — both on and off the job.

Senior Driver Safety

This program educates health professionals, law enforcement and social service providers, who all play a role in the identification and referral of older adults with impairments that affect driving. The program’s activities include both in-person and online training to promote safe driving and mobility with older roadway users. The program information is also disseminated through professional societies, conferences and publications.

To learn about TREDS, visit

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