Posts Tagged ‘ Health ’

Exercise and Common Problems in Pregnancy

March 26, 2014
Exercise and Common Problems in Pregnancy

Exercise and Common Problems in Pregnancy








During the months of pregnancy, women experience common ailments due to the their body changes. Understanding these problems can help you educate your patient. Many doctors today feel that exercise is not harmful during pregnancy, as long as it is consulted with a physician prior to engaging in the exercise.

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Physical Examination Week 4

March 23, 2014

Physical Examination Week 4








We will continue our discussion on the patient interview, history taking, and documentation. First we will have a few words about accuracy of laboratory tests. The importance of maintaining accurate and well written documents.

Medical Terminology Decoded: Understanding The Language of Medicine

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Gynecologic and Obstetrics Week 2 Lecture

March 13, 2014

Female Gyne pic 1




Before we can understand the process of performing a gynecological and obstetric exam, we will review some female anatomy. Below this post you will find a copy of the lecture in PDF format. Please bear in mind that it is not my intention to embarrass or offend anyone in class, but sometimes it is imperative to show pictures that some people in class may find embarrassing to look at. Remember we are all professionals here and the pictures we use are for educational purposes only. Thank you!

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Medical Terminology for Physical Therapy Students

March 3, 2013


Medical Terminology for Physical Therapy Students

Welcome everyone to the new semester at our academic university, My name is Dr Anthony Bendik and I will be your instructor for this course. I hope everyone had a wonderful and exciting winter break. On the first day of class, I will only take up a little of your time to give you a layout of the details of this course. If after this brief introduction, you have questions you would like to ask me personally or in private, I will be here after class at my office down the hall in room 510. The title of this course is Medical Terminology, and the textbook we will be using this semester is called “Medical Terminology Decoded”.

I am the author of the book and I wrote it primarily for students who have no medical background whatsoever. You will find that my lecture presentations follow the sequence of pages in the textbook, although the textbook is primarily filled with text, my presentations will have plenty of images to help you grasp the concept of what we are talking about. The textbook was also written so that the student can minimize notetaking and dedicate their attention to understanding the concepts being discussed in class.

This is your first year as a physical therapy student, and this class will prepare you for courses that you are required to take before graduation. Attendance is mandatory.  The textbook is available online at the following link:


in the meantime, while we are waiting for your books to arrive, I will make available handouts so we can begin with the material of Chapter 1. For your convenience my lectures will be posted immediately after each class on my website at


Dr. Anthony Bendik

Medical Terminology Decoded: Understanding The Language of Medicine

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Medical Terminology Decoded is Now on

October 6, 2012

“Medical Terminology Decoded” is the first edition designed for anyone wanting a better understanding of medical words that are used everywhere in the healthcare industry. I wrote this edition specifically for the medical terminology course that I teach at the university level. My main concern was that I wanted to make it as easy enough for the reader who had no background in science, but still be interesting enough for those who already have some scientific background.


I am hoping that schools, colleges, and other medical establishments throughout the world will find some benefit with this book. There is no question that medical terminology can be very complex, but this book can help you step-by-step to understand with a simplistic approach.


On many of the pages you will be required to write in the answer to a particular question or statement. Chapter 1 is very important because it introduces the concept of prefixes, suffixes, and root words that are the basis for medical language to be understood. The preceding chapters introduce topics related to the human body and are follow with examples of medical terms related to that specific topic.


Chapter 9 will take you through 500 questions or statements related to medical terminology. If you do decide to enter the health field, I hope that this book serves as a springboard to a new and exciting career. I have been fortunate to have been taught by excellent professors and challenged by students in my classroom. I hope that this book can foster an enthusiasm for learning medical words as it has for my own students.


I am grateful to all my friends, colleagues, students, my father, my mother, my son and entire family for their unwavering support, patience, and belief in me.


Pass it on,


Dr. Anthony Bendik


Medical Terminology Decoded

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Assessment of Vital Signs

September 21, 2012

This week’s lecture covered the subject of vital signs. So what are vital signs? The body’s most basic functions can be either measured or monitor if the patient is hospitalized. Traditionally there are four vital signs that are of concern to the healthcare professional. These four vital signs are pulse rate, respiration rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. The reason why these four vital signs are so important is that it gives us an idea of the general status of an individual’s health. It is also vital in the assessment of an patient’s overall health.

Vital Signs for Nurses: An Introduction to Clinical Observations

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Blood pressure check with a sphygmomanometer

September 14, 2012

If you are a health care provider or student in training at a medical facility, then you have or will be introduced to blood pressure or vital sign procedures. The initial step in measuring a body’s function is to assess and individuals body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respirations. If done correctly, one can rule out or discover an underlying medical problem. So it is extremely important that all students become highly proficient in recording basic vital signs. Body temperature is normally between 97.8 Fahrenheit to 99 Fahrenheit, converting to Celsius, it would be between 36.5 C- 37.2 C. for adults, most common method for measuring body temperature would be orally with a digital thermometer or with an ear thermometer.

The pulse rate for a healthy individual runs between 60 to 100 beats per minute. But many athletes can have much lower pulse rates because of body conditioning and is considered normal under such circumstances. A common place to check the pulse rate is at the radial artery or by placing two fingers over the lateral side of the wrist (same side of the thumb).

Another important vital sign is respiration rate, the average respiration rate for an adult is between 15 to 20 breaths per minute. Respiration rates below or above the normal range would indicate an abnormal condition.

Blood pressure can be recorded using either a sphygmomanometer or any number of digital blood pressure units available in today’s marketplace. The videos above offer a great visual presentation on how to take a blood pressure reading and an explanation on vital signs. Always remember to record all your findings on paper, proper documentation of a patient’s vital signs or history is essential to health management.

Pass it on,

Dr. Anthony Bendik

Mosby’s Guide to Physical Examination, 7e

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Textbook of Physical Diagnosis with DVD: History and Examination With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access

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Physical Examination of the Spine and Extremities

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Two Wonderful books for Mothers to Be

May 28, 2012

Okay it’s official and you’re having a baby! All kinds of things are running through your mind, you need a bigger place and tons of other things that need to be done before the arrival of the baby. You don’t know what to do first and you’re frustrated because he can’t think straight and you begin to have a panic attack. The most important being right now is your health and we can be confident that if you eat properly and I mean healthy meals, you’ll be able to have the energy to do all the things before the arrival of your baby and all the preparations that need to be done before.
There are two wonderful books you should consider reading. First is the title” Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today’s Mothers-to-Be”. The two authors, one being a trained chef and the other a registered dietitian have collaborated together to put out an excellent book for mothers to be. The book is filled with recipes, suggestions, advice and information for every woman planning childbirth.Eating for Pregnancy

Second book is called “Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide”.  The author of this book is also a registered dietitian and addresses topics as the munchies or cravings, sex while pregnant, what to expect the next nine months, and plenty of interest being recipes to include in your diet.
I hope this short review has been of some help and if you would like to leave a comment please do so, I am always happy to hear from my readers.Feed the Belly

That’s my comment, pass it on.
Dr. Anthony

Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook for Today’s Mothers-to-Be

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Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide

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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

May 25, 2012

This video is the property of Vidant Health and was posted initially on and what follows below is the description of the video. I would like to thank Vidant Health for making this video available for distribution.

That’s my comment…Pass it on..

Dr Anthony 

Your doctor has recommended that you have surgery to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm. But what does that actually mean?
The aorta is the main blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the organs in your body.
An aneurysm is a bulge or swelling in a blood vessel.
This type of bulge occurs when a blood clot … or blood clots develop in the aorta, causing to expand.
In your case, your doctor has determined that a portion of the aorta passing through your abdomen – the area between your legs and your chest – has developed a blood clot. In most cases these clots are caused by fatty deposits that build up inside the arteries.
Aneurysms are dangerous because the blood clot weakens the blood vessel and can cause it to burst.
The surgery your doctor has recommended will remove the blood clot …
… and reinforce the weakened wall of the aorta.

So make sure that you ask your doctor to carefully explain the reasons behind this recommendation.

Migraines: they are all in the head

May 20, 2012

migraine woman

Migraines are a serious headaches for many people who are afflicted with this disorder. When a diagnosis of migraine has been established, then begins the taunting task of finding the proper management to lessem the severity and frequency of headaches. For some individuals, they are able to link the headaches to environmental factors and others can find certain foods that exacerbate symptoms. In other cases, the culprit behind the migraine eludes doctors and reseachers.  If you suffer from frequent headaches or know of someone that does, please talk to your physician about them.

That’s my comment…pass it on..

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Migraines: they are all in the head” was written by Eva Wiseman, for The Observer on Saturday 19th May 2012 23.05 UTC

The first time it happened I was in bed with a book, aged maybe 10. And I remember going over the same line again and again, with rising levels of panic, as I realised I had forgotten how to read. I didn’t think it was something you could just forget. Something that, having picked up, you could then one day drop again. I see now it was my first migraine.

Today migraines are in the news and they’re in my head, tightening around my crown like an alice band. The NHS is considering offering Botox to patients with chronic migraines. They don’t know quite how it helps, but they’ve decided it does. The blocking of muscle contraction, which is what the botulinum toxin does to those stunning their wrinkles, hasn’t been proved to relieve headaches, but two clinical trials did conclude that it led to a 10% reduction in the number of patients’ headachey days. In addition, I imagine, to a laboratory paved with clingfilmed foreheads.

I’m writing now through day four of this month’s headache, one that began (as do many) with a flickering blind spot in the centre of my vision. It starts small, a spinning black penny in the middle of a page. I slump in my seat as it spreads darkly over my sight like jam, and I can’t see, or think, or entirely understand speech. It’s the film melting in my projector – it’s a bit like falling. Smells slay me. Noise, fine, but smells – Angel perfume in a lift, for instance, or that dirty spitting rain you get in cities, the kind that smells of apocalypse – will make me retch. And minutes later the headache comes.

The author Siri Hustvedt wrote about a migraine aura phenomenon called Alice in Wonderland syndrome – the migraineur feels parts of their body ballooning or shrinking. For me it’s often my hand. I’ll lie in bed and under my cheek it’ll swell to the size of a football, or a room, or shrink until it’s dust. These episodes when my reality wobbles are not entirely unpleasant.

I half-enjoy the days preceding a migraine when everything feels like déjà vu. When walking home, a series of sights – a smoking schoolgirl, a chained-up bike – are overwhelming in their impact. Everything I see reminds me of something else, but something just out of reach. It reminds me that it’s reminding me, but not what it’s reminding me of. In its un-graspableness, this feeling is similar to one of the factors that brings these migraines on – the reflections from the Regent’s Canal that play on the ceiling above my desk. Ripples of light lead to ripples in my reality, this warm tightness behind my eyes, a grim ache in my jaw.

The pain is sometimes awful, but more often it’s medicated and so simply… saddening. I take these lovely painkillers, so it’s rare I’ll feel the blinding sharpness. Rather than being slammed into a wall, it feels as if my head is stuck in a closing door. It’s the dull agony of a deadline looming, of a nagging phobia, of going up in a lift as your vertigo builds. But I miss stuff. Parties, dinners, often meanings – I’ll be interviewing somebody in a brightly lit room and will find myself two thoughts behind, my eyes scrunched in concentration, praising Olympus for the reliability of its dictaphones.

I realise, though, that it’s these vibrations on the drum skin of my life that make me me. I see the world through a smoky, migrainous filter. And like somebody teetering on the edge of a depressive episode, not yet fallen, I’m able to stand outside it and look around, curiously. Medicating with Botox seems like an apt metaphor – in ironing out the migraineur’s wrinkles, the doctor smooths their reality. No more hands the size of houses. No more fainting as an effect of sunlight spearing through dark trees. So I’ve learned to embrace this gentle madness. In succumbing to a migraine, I get to test what’s real. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Dangers of chiropractic treatments under-reported, study finds

May 16, 2012

A woman having a therapeutic massage

This article is totally flawed and may I also add that professor Ernst should be ashame of putting out false statements about a professoion that has helped so many people overcome pain. Professor Ernst isn’t the first and definitely not the last to “sucker punch” the chiropractic profession simply to satisfy their academic journal requirement to the university. My advise to professor Ernst and others who attempt to falsely suggest that chiropractic is dangerous, stay out of  areas you have no business or knowlwdge of writing and focus on your defense when the BCA or ACA decide to make an example of you!

That’s my comment …pass it on…

Dr Anthony      

Powered by article titled “Dangers of chiropractic treatments under-reported, study finds” was written by Alok Jha, for The Guardian on Sunday 13th May 2012 23.05 UTC

Chiropractic treatments might appear safer than they actually are because their adverse effects are under-reported in medical trials, a study has found.

Improper reporting of the adverse effects of a medical intervention was unethical, said Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the Peninsula medical school, University of Exeter, who led the latest analysis. This had allowed chiropractors to create a falsely positive picture about the safety of their treatments, he said.

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to treat ailments of the muscles and joints. Some practitioners claim the treatments can be used to treat more general health problems such as colic, asthma and prolonged crying in babies.

In his latest analysis, Ernst’s team collated data from 60 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of chiropractic carried out from January 2000 to July 2011. They found that 29 of the studies failed to mention any adverse effects of the treatment and, of the 31 trials where adverse effects were reported, 16 reported that none had occurred during the study. The results are published in the April 2012 edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Guidelines for publishing clinical trials require that all adverse outcomes of a medical intervention should be published. If an intervention is totally safe and, therefore has no adverse effects, the researchers should report that there were no adverse effects.

“Imagine you have a drug where mild adverse effects are documented and hopefully rare adverse effects are being reported in case reports,” said Ernst. “Then somebody does a trial on this drug and doesn’t even mention adverse effects. That, in anybody’s book, must be unethical.

“I feel that chiropractors do have a strange attitude towards the safety of their interventions. When you read the literature, you see proclamations that spinal manipulation, according to chiropractors, is 100% safe.”

This is despite hundreds of case studies that have documented problems with the treatment. “About 50% of patients seeing a chiropractor have adverse effects, which is staggering,” said Ernst. “In addition to these fairly mild adverse effects, which basically are pain at the site of manipulation and referred pain sometimes, which only lasts one or two days, we have about 500-700 cases of severe complications being reported.”

With extreme chiropractic movement of the neck, an artery can disintegrate and lead to a stroke, an outcome that is well-documented in medical literature. “We only see what is being published and that can only be the tip of the iceberg,” said Ernst. “Some neurologist sees a stroke and he finds out that this was associated with chiropractic – in 99.9% of cases he won’t publish that.”

Ernst said the under-reporting of adverse effects meant decisions about the best course of treatment for a patient would be made difficult. “Therapeutic decisions ought to be taken not on considering the effectiveness alone but also you have to have effectiveness as a balance with the potential for harm. You have to do a risk-benefit analysis. When you under-report risk, this cannot possibly be done robustly.”

The British Chiropractic Association was approached for a response to the study but a spokesperson said it was unable to comment in time for publication. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Fat is a prejudice issue

May 4, 2012

Are you fat! It’s a shame that our societies treat people that are over-weight with such disrespect.  This attitude to alienate individuals who are obese continues to linger despite  organizations attempt to educate the ignorant. Isn’t it time we bury discrimination in sand?

thats my comment …pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Fat is a prejudice issue” was written by Susie Orbach, for on Thursday 3rd May 2012 14.10 UTC

A new study shows significant levels of discrimination towards fat people at work. No surprise, perhaps, when we live in a fat-phobic world. Today fat has become not a description of size but a moral category tainted with criticism and contempt.

Fat shaming is a new and vicious sport. Fat youngsters in Georgia have their photos pasted on billboards like mug shots. Children and their parents are being shamed for looking different than the thousands of Photoshopped pictures we see weekly on our screens, phone, computers, laptops and magazines. No wonder society has a thing about fat. Fat people are so rarely included in visual culture that fat is perceived as a blot on the landscape of sleek and slim.

Today our idea of fat is imbued with disease, indulgence, poverty, disregard for personal dignity and sloppiness. In recent characterisations, fat is a signal of determined self-abuse and the cause of preventable diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

But is it true? Part of what drives this prejudice is a denial of the evidence that demonstrates that it is not fat per se that is a health problem. Indeed, a 2005 study led by Katherine Flegal of the Centres for Disease Control in the US found that people in the “overweight” category of 25-30 BMI (where Brad Pitt and George Clooney sit) demonstrate a lower death rate than their peers who are of “normal” weight.

Thin isn’t good and fat bad. Stable weight, for example, causes far less stress to the heart than going up and down the scales in weight. Thin people with health issues don’t get demonised for their size. Thank goodness. But then neither should fat people.

When it comes to looking for a job, there is, as this study shows, serious discrimination. Our idea of a healthy body is so destabilised that insecure people have come to bolster their own bodies by deeming others – those with fat bodies – less worthy, less capable and less employable.

Fat people are regarded as less successful at restraint. The paradox of consumer culture is that we should and must consume – our economy depends on it – but we should at the same time do so discreetly and expensively. Fat challenges this idea. Fat dares to show. Fat is disdained because it is read as greed and an inability to choose or say no.

Of course fat doesn’t really say or imply such things, but surrounded by images of perfected bodies, invitingly displaying the hugely expensive and lavishly marketed goodies that we are roused to desire, fat becomes the vehicle on to which we project all the ugly aspects of our over-consumption and hunger for objects. Consumer society tantalises us. We then try within ourselves to control the needs that are being constantly stimulated. We value holding back and then assign to fat people the contempt we can feel for our own longings. It’s not unlike other forms of discrimination. Things we don’t like or discipline in ourselves we choose to see in others, and in another group. In this case, people who have nothing in common except for their size.

Fat looks on the surface as though it is about a failure of restraint. It isn’t actually any more an issue of restraint than it is for many thin or medium-sized people. Most eating problems don’t show. Fat, which may or may not mean an eating problem, does. That doesn’t make it immoral or contemptible. It doesn’t mean the fat individual has faulty judgment or inferior leadership skills. It certainly doesn’t sanction discrimination. What it does demonstrate is that cruelty and stupidity arises when we are pressed to make our bodies into uniform shapes. This creates widespread body anxiety, and makes us search for a scapegoat to feel secure. We know from other forms of discrimination what a fruitless and lousy deal that is. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Prostate cancer patients given hope by new ‘triple-whammy’ drug

April 1, 2012

blood tests

Good news for prostate cancer patients…especially for those not responding to present day treatments…research has uncovered another potential drug that can be useful in breathing new life in the battle against cancer. With every ground-breaking news …comes hope of a another day to see the sun-rise…keep fighting and never surrender…

That’s my comment…pass it on..

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Prostate cancer patients given hope by new ‘triple-whammy’ drug” was written by Robin McKie, science editor, for The Observer on Saturday 31st March 2012 23.06 UTC

A new drug that tackles advanced prostate cancer in three different ways has passed its first hurdle towards being approved.

Scientists reported promising early trial results using galeterone, which is designed to treat cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy. However, researchers counselled caution as tests on the “triple whammy” drug have been carried out on only a small number of patients.

In their tests, scientists based at Harvard University reported that galeterone reduced levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a prostate cancer blood marker, by 30% or more in about half of patients. Eleven patients had PSA reductions of 50% or more, and in some there was significant shrinkage in tumour size.

A total of 49 patients took part in the phase one study, which primarily looked at safety and dosing levels. All had “refractory” or “castration resistant” cancer that had ceased to respond to hormone therapy. Currently there is little doctors can do to help prostate cancer patients who progress to this stage.

Galeterone works in three ways: by blocking “receptor” proteins that respond to testosterone; by reducing the number of receptors in tumours; and by targeting an enzyme that is linked to hormone pathways involved in the cancer. Trial leader Dr Mary-Ellen Taplin described the galeterone study as “exciting for those of us in the medical community treating this life-threatening cancer”.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago. A larger phase two trial, focusing on the drug’s effectiveness, is planned later this year.

The results were welcomed by Dr Kate Holmes, head of research at the Prostate Cancer Charity. “This very early stage research, conducted among a small group of men, indicates that galeterone shows potential as a new treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer.

“This new drug is in its infancy and full results have yet to be published, meaning that it is simply too soon to tell whether or not this drug is capable of living up to its early promise.

“Men in the final stages of prostate cancer have very few options available to them and we desperately need to increase the number of effective treatments,” she said.

“The researchers have plans to test the drug in a further trial, to fully investigate the full side-effects and safety of treatment. We look forward to reading the full publication of this study in due course, and await with anticipation the results of further trials.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Takeaway pizzas twice as salty as those from supermarkets, study finds

March 30, 2012


What? You got to be kidding…right..? The fresher made pizza has more salt! You sit down at your favorite pizza shop and you order a super size pizza for the entire family…and the only thought going through my head is….well at least they are using fresh ingredients….right…I would never imagine that it could have 3 times the amount of salt as supermarket pizza…really? I still don’t believe it!!!   

That’s my comment…pass it on.. 

Dr Anthony 

Powered by article titled “Takeaway pizzas twice as salty as those from supermarkets, study finds” was written by Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent, for The Guardian on Monday 26th March 2012 06.00 UTC

Takeaway pizzas from chains and fast-food restaurants typically contain up to two and a half times more salt than the equivalent from supermarkets, research from health groups reveals.

Campaigners said consumers were being let down by the absence of clear labelling and information about high levels of salt – which is a major health risk – in takeaway foods.

Half of all the takeaway pizzas surveyed contained the entire maximum daily recommendation of salt – six grams (o.2 oz).

The survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health and the Association of London Environmental Health Managers is released at the start of the annual Salt Awareness Week.

It analysed 199 margherita and pepperoni fresh and frozen pizzas from takeaways, pizza chains and supermarkets across the UK. They found that takeaway pizzas were found to contain up to two and a half times more salt than the average supermarket pizza (2.73g of salt per 100g compared with 1.08g salt/100g).

A pepperoni pizza from the Adam & Eve restaurant in Mill Hill, London, contained 10.57g of salt. At 2.73g of salt per 100g, it means the food is saltier than Atlantic seawater, which is 2.5g of salt per 100g. The restaurant said it has now changed its recipe to make its pizza less salty.

The Department of Health’s target for salt content in pizza by the end of 2012 is a maximum of 1.25g of salt per 100g. But less than a fifth (16%) of the takeaway pizzas tested met this target compared with three-quarters (72%) of supermarket pizzas.

Prof Graham MacGregor, chairman of Cash and professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine said: “The government is not taking enough action to reduce the amount of salt in the takeaway sector. Salt puts up our blood pressure – the highest risk factor for stroke. Reducing our intake would save thousands of people suffering and dying from a stroke.”

In supermarkets, more than eight in 10 pizzas (85%) provided some form of front of pack nutrition information. A Pizza Express supermarket pizza had almost half the salt of the takeaway equivalent and less than one in five supermarket pizzas are high in salt although two in three are high in saturated fat.

The saltiest supermarket pizza was Tesco’s Full-on-flavour Simply Pepperoni thin stone-baked pizza which had 1.8g (4.77g per 265g pizza). Tesco said: “We have been cutting levels of salt across our ranges since 2005 and continually look at how we can improve products further. We are in the process of reducing salt in this particular pizza and in just a few weeks it will have 10% less salt.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Dr Dillner’s health dilemmas: is it safe to take sleeping pills?

March 11, 2012

Sleeping tablets

Certain medications are essential for some of us to achieve optimal health…for example glucobay and glucophage are medications recommended in controling diabetes. Sleeping pills have all too often been over-prescribed to patients, there are other options in achieving the necessary sleep…changes in eating,exercise,social,and even work can help bring about the rest we need…

That’s my comment…pass it on..

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Dr Dillner’s health dilemmas: is it safe to take sleeping pills?” was written by Luisa Dillner, for The Guardian on Sunday 4th March 2012 21.00 UTC

You have been lying awake for hours, or at least it feels like it. You are desperate for sleep, but it just won’t come. In the medicine cabinet are some sleeping tablets your doctor gave you, but the media has been full of warnings that they aren’t safe. A paper published last week in the journal BMJ Open looked at 10,500 people who had taken sleeping tablets and compared them to similar people who had not taken medication. It found that people who took pills twice a month or more are nearly four times as likely to die early as those who don’t. So should you bin the sleeping pills or take a couple to break the cycle of insomnia? After all, being sleep deprived makes you miserable, knackered and liable to crash the car.

The solution

The research paper showed an association with an increased risk of dying early even for people taking small numbers of sleeping tablets (fewer than 18 pills a year). Taking more than 132 pills a year was associated with increased risks of lymphoma, lung, colon and prostate cancer. However, an association only means that there may be a link – the paper doesn’t prove that sleeping tablets are the cause of people dying earlier. But sleeping pills do have side-effects, such as causing day-time sleepiness and affecting short-term memory.

Even so, some doctors will suggest that you try these medicines to help you break a cycle of insomnia. Taking them for three to five days is usually enough to get back into a habit of sleeping normally. You should not use them routinely because of the risk of addiction. There is also evidence that melatonin (a hormone that controls your body clock) helps you get to sleep and sleep longer, but you will need a prescription for it.

It is easy to get worked up about not sleeping, but often your body will sort it out over a few days. It can be normal to take up to 20 minutes to doze off, so you should be realistic and not get anxious if you don’t drop off immediately. Practice what doctors call “sleep hygiene”, which means avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol in the late evening, or looking at a computer screen before you go to sleep. You should start winding down in the hour before bed and make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable.

There is some evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which involves thinking positively instead of fretting about not going to sleep, is effective. There is no good evidence that herbal remedies such as valerian work. Although acupuncture may improve the quality of sleep, it doesn’t help you to nod off. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Autism: how computers can help

February 28, 2012

Gary McKinnon with his mother, Janis Sharp. What role does his Asperger's syndrome play

A lot of the articles on autism is pretty much on the disadvantages and problems faced by those who are diagnosed with it. But there is some good news for those who have mild autism, especially individuals with skills that fall into the IT industry. New research suggests that the traits of autism can be found more frequently in people involved with computers.  So I am left comtemplating whether or not I possess the traits of autism myself?

That’s my comment…pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Autism: how computers can help” was written by Giulia Rhodes, for The Guardian on Sunday 26th February 2012 20.00 UTC

In 2001, the technology magazine Wired coined the phrase “geek syndrome” to describe the threefold increase in autism diagnoses in California’s Silicon Valley over the space of a decade.

The rumour that Bill Gates himself, founder of Microsoft and figurehead of the world IT industry, displays the traits of Asperger’s syndrome, the high-functioning form of autism, spread like wildfire, across – appropriately – the internet.

More than a decade later Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre is now running a study investigating the previously established link between parents working in hi-tech, scientific and mathematical industries and an increased incidence of children on the autism spectrum. The National Autistic Society reports in its latest member’s magazine that the number of software packages and apps designed specifically for people with autism is rocketing. IT companies in the UK and beyond are actively recruiting an autistic workforce for its highly technical and concentration skills.

The relationship between computers and autism is undisputed – and double-edged. Many autism experts agree with Temple Grandin, an author and professor at Colorado State University, herself autistic, who believes that without “the gifts of autism” there would probably be no Nasa or IT industry. Yet the high-profile cases of Gary McKinnon and Ryan Cleary, both of whom have Asperger’s syndrome, are just two examples of how that relationship can go wrong.

Last November a conference organised by Research Autism considered this apparent contradiction, asking are computers a blessing or a curse for people with autism? Richard Mills, director of research at the charity and chair of the conference, believes the answer is complicated: “The computer age totally changes the world of autism. Things are instant, and they are unregulated. We see tremendous advantages to this if it is properly managed – and huge pitfalls if it isn’t.”

The risks are not just for the small proportion who hit the headlines though. “We have so many parents concerned about their children’s computer use, and about the explosion of packages designed to help people with autism to communicate, which have not been properly evaluated. We must proceed with rather more caution and try to think through problems before they actually happen.”

The potential of computers to help a group that struggles to communicate and form relationships in real life is obvious. Professor Simon Baron Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre believes they outweigh the possible risks: “We can use computers to teach emotion recognition and to simplify communication by stripping out facial and vocal emotional expressions and slowing it down using email instead of face-to-face real-time modes.”

Research at Nottingham University and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has found that people with autism value the increased control over their interactions that is afforded by the filter of a computer screen. They can observe interactions, choose when to be sociable and make contact with other people who have autism.

Presenting information visually in the precise and predictable computer format suits the autistic mind, says Baron Cohen, and can provide “a tool or platform for developing further skills”.

He also identifies the role of computers in making geeks fashionable: “The new technology is chic, so people who are talented at using technology acquire a certain kudos, thereby further reducing any stigma that is often associated with disability.”

One risk though is that the computer can itself become an obsession which, in extreme cases, leads the user into serious problems. The reports of Essex teenager Ryan Cleary, charged with a cyber-attack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency, leaving his computer only to use the bathroom, may be extreme but they are far from unique, says Mills: “We do need to think about the tendency in autism to become fixated on narrow activities. They may have the skills to use computers but not to know when to stop.”

In March it will be 10 years since Gary McKinnon’s arrest for allegedly hacking into a number of US military computers. High court judges last month set a July deadline for the home secretary to decide whether McKinnon will be extradited to face trial and a possible 60-year sentence. His mother, Janis Sharpe, is well aware of the dichotomy of computer use and autism. “When Gary was nine, we bought a primitive Atari,” she says. “He would beg me not to send him out to play so he could use it. We wanted him to mix more but we didn’t want to deny him the information, pleasure and security computers gave him. They were an outlet for him to be himself, and that boosted his self-esteem.”

She recalls accompanying her by-then-adult son to a Christmas party at the family home of a girlfriend. “Gary got his computer out. I told him he couldn’t use it at a party but he couldn’t understand.”

The relationship foundered, and McKinnon retreated further into his virtual world. “People with autism need space, and computers can offer that,” says Sharpe. “But we have to make sure they don’t take over and make other relationships, already difficult for people with autism, even harder.”

She advises parents to keep computers in communal spaces, limit their use and to help children learn to question what they read, guidelines which Mills supports. “This virtual world has to help people access the real world, not isolate them further. They must control it, not be controlled by it,” he says. “We have to reinforce the positives.”

For further information see and © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Why plain packaging will not stop youths smoking

February 18, 2012

Cigarettes on display at an English tobacconists.

Kids want to cool and smoking allows them to go against society rules…I like to call be the James Dean Syndrome . When there’s an opportunity to break the rules and get away with it…this is a source of excitement for youths. So the consequences of their actions does not come into play at the moment, unless they are caught and may aware of their lack of judgement. So as parents we must keep an ever-lasting watch on them.

That’s my comment…pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Why plain packaging will not stop youths smoking” was written by Richard White, for The Guardian on Tuesday 20th September 2011 15.00 UTC

Australia’s health minister Nicola Roxon is aiming for the country to be the first to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. In what she calls a “courageous” move against the tobacco industry, legislation is expected to come into force on 1 July 2012 that will make all packets a uniform olive green with the name of the brand in small type. The World Medical Association has called on other governments to follow Australia’s example.

Here in the UK, health secretary Andrew Lansley says he wants to look at the idea of introducing plain packaging so that brightly-coloured cigarette packets do not lure youths into smoking. The coalition government will launch an official consultation by the end of the year to discuss introducing plain packaging in England as part of its tobacco control plan. It is unlikely to happen soon, however, as ministers and the Department of Health have stated that they want to judge the effectiveness of the measure in Australia before making a firm decision.

The immediate rhetoric in favour of plain packaging is the protection of children: that by having dull, plain packages, minors, and indeed non-smokers, will not be tempted to buy a packet on impulse, having been enticed by the shiny packet. The measure is an extension of the ban on tobacco companies advertising their products.

No evidence exists, however, to suggest that anyone “impulsively” buys cigarettes, nor is there evidence that the policy would make any difference to smoking rates as no country has yet implemented it. Just as a teetotaller would not be persuaded to take up drinking just because WKD is colourful, there is nothing to suggest that non-smokers start smoking because the packet has fancy emblems. In fact, with large text warnings on the front and graphic pictures on the back taking up a large portion of the packaging, there is little left of the manufacturers’ own designs.

A display ban in England has already been agreed on, which will come into effect from next year for large stores and 2015 for smaller shops such as newsagents, and if tobacco is being hidden then no one, child or adult, will be able to see the packets whether they are plain or decorated with flashing lights.

Behind the counter

We already have measures to stop children smoking. Cigarettes are always, without exception, kept behind the counter so neither child nor adult has any access to buying tobacco without the cashier physically handing it to them. Even if we accept the rationale that people impulsively want to smoke because the packet lures them in like fish to a worm on a hook, minors are still faced with the problem of needing to be in possession of identification proving they are over 18. Unlike alcohol, cigarettes cannot be pinched off the shelf and placed into a minor’s pocket as they hurry out the door and around the back to spark up.

Indeed, if anything, alcohol is a far bigger concern because children can simply pick up a bottle of spirits, place it in their rucksack and walk out. Within minutes, they could suffer alcohol poisoning which could lead to death. There are other dangerous things in a shop that minors can impulsively take, such as paracetamol, but tobacco is not one of them.

As for existing smokers, people still buy alcohol with plain labels so it is unlikely smokers will be deterred by plain packaging. Rather, we may just see an increase in cigarette cases, which would allow minors to be as creative as possible, thus potentially encouraging them to take up the habit.

The NHS Information Centre report, Statistics on Smoking: England, 2011 noted that last year over a quarter of children aged 11–15 had tried smoking while 5% confessed to being regular smokers.

Undoubtedly, plain packaging will fail in reducing youth smoking rates because counterfeit cigarettes are far cheaper and the criminals selling them will not require identification proving the buyer to be over 18 – rates might even increase.

The real danger lies in the smuggling trade. With cigarettes now the most widely smuggled legal product and about 85% of cheap cigarettes sold on London streets being counterfeit, introducing a policy that would only make it easier for criminal outfits to mimic a packet should be cause for grave concern.

• Richard White is the author of Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco and writes about the latest policies on tobacco control. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Childhood abuse may stunt growth of part of brain involved in emotions

February 15, 2012

Depressed man with his head on his arms

The hippocampus is the part of the brain involved in memory and organization.  The hippocampus is shaped like a horse-shoe structure, with one half located in the left brain and the other half in the right hemisphere. The hippocampus is associated with emotional response. Coupled with memory and emotional response, we can see where an abusive childhood memories are stored and eventually acted on later in life. Future studies could unravel more effective means of treatment directed into the hippocampus and thus erasing memories of abuse. 

That’s my comment…pass it on

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Childhood abuse may stunt growth of part of brain involved in emotions” was written by Alok Jha, science correspondent, for The Guardian on Monday 13th February 2012 20.00 UTC

Being sexually or emotionally abused as a child can affect the development of a part of the brain that controls memory and the regulation of emotions, a study suggests.

The results add to the growing body of evidence that childhood maltreatment or abuse raises the risk of mental illnesses such as depression, personality disorders and anxiety well into adulthood.

Martin Teicher of the department of psychiatry at Harvard University scanned the brains of almost 200 people who had been questioned about any instances of abuse or stress during childhood. He found that the volumes of three important areas of the hippocampus were reduced by up to 6.5% in people exposed to several instances of maltreatment – such as physical or verbal abuse from parents – in their early years.

“The exquisite vulnerability of the hippocampus to the ravages of stress is one of the key translational neuroscience discoveries of the 20th century,” wrote Teicher on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Early clues of the relationship came when scientists found that raising stress hormones for extended periods in rats reduced the number of neurons in the hippocampal areas, a result that has since been replicated in many non-human primates.

Other work has shown that people with a history of abuse or maltreatment during childhood are twice as likely to have recurrent episodes of depression in adulthood. These individuals are also less likely to respond well to psychological or drug-based treatments.

In the new study, Teicher’s team scanned the brains of 73 men and 120 women aged between 18 and 25. The volunteers filled in a standard questionnaire used by psychiatrists to assess the number of “adverse childhood experiences”.

Overall, 46% of the group reported no exposure to childhood adversity and 16% reported three or more forms of maltreatment, the most common being physical and verbal abuse from parents. Other factors included corporal punishment, sexual abuse and witnessing domestic violence.

The sample did not include people on psychiatric medication or anyone who had been exposed to other stressful events such as near-drownings or car accidents.

Andrea Danese, a clinical lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, who was not involved in the study, said Teicher’s results took scientists a step closer to understanding the complex relationship between childhood maltreatment and brain development. “The large sample size allows for reliable detection of even comparatively small effects of maltreatment on the brain, whereas the recruitment from the general population allows for a less biased interpretation of the study, which builds on previous research often carried out in psychiatric patients.”

The high-resolution brain imaging analysis allowed Teicher to home in on minute areas of the hippocampus and explore the association between maltreatment and this brain region in finer detail than ever before. “This is important because not all areas in the hippocampus are equally sensitive to the effect of stress mediators, such as cortisol and inflammatory biomarkers,” said Danese. “Thus, the authors took advantage of this gradient to indirectly test the mechanisms through which childhood maltreatment could affect the brain.”

One limitation of the study might be that it required the volunteers to recall their childhood experiences, added Danese. “The findings are based on the perceptions and memories that participants have of their childhood rather than on objective events. This may be problematic because some groups of individuals could be more or less prone than others to report experiences of maltreatment. This ‘recall’ bias has been described in individuals with a history of depression, who may be more likely to report abuse.”

However, Teicher’s team was able to test whether a history of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder might explain his observed effects of childhood maltreatment on the hippocampus, and showed that the results were independent of these factors.

Danese said future studies would need to clarify further the direction of the effect. “Although the authors report that childhood maltreatment is associated with smaller hippocampus regions, it is possible that these abnormalities pre-dated and possibly facilitated maltreatment exposure. Longitudinal and twin studies will help to clarify this issue.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Sugar: it’s time to get real and regulate

February 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Cubes

We all love it…sugar…with it we can make all sorts of delicious treats…cookies,cakes,frostings,pudding,candy,syrup for our pancakes,ice cream,and many other dishes and recipes right out of the pages of betty crocker…but after years of  spooning  sugar down our gullets, our bodies begin rejecting the very thing that has given us so much pleasure. Our inner metabolism begin experiencing adverse reactions from our sugar coated life styles. New cases of diabetes and diabetic related diseases are on the rise in every country.  Take charge of your health today and start cutting back on sugar and calories…live longer..stick to a plan…make the commitment..

That’s my comment…pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Sugar: it’s time to get real and regulate” was written by Jacqueline Windh, for on Monday 13th February 2012 16.30 UTC

Last week, a trio of American scientists led by Robert Lustig, professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, published an article in the journal Nature, outlining the toxic effects that sugar has on humans and arguing for governmental controls on its sale and distribution. While the authors come short of labelling sugar a “poison” outright, in a 2007 interview with ABC Radio about excess sugar consumption, Lustig said: “We’re being poisoned to death. That’s a very strong statement, but I think we can back it up with very clear scientific evidence.”

That evidence has been growing – particularly in the western world, where consumption of sugar is increasing rapidly. Globally, sugar consumption has tripled in the past 50 years. But, it turns out, the greatest threat to human health is one type of sugar in particular: fructose.

In the US, per-capita consumption of fructose, a common food additive there – mainly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup – has increased more than 100-fold since 1970. Although fructose is not a common added sweetener in the UK and other countries, sucrose is; sucrose contains 50% fructose. Lustig and his co-authors note that last year, the United Nations announced that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had, for the first time, overtaken infectious diseases in terms of the global health burden. Non-communicable diseases now account for 63% of all deaths, and that total is expected to increase by a further 17% over the next decade.

The scientists cite growing evidence that our increasing consumption of sugar is partly responsible for the growth of NCDs: diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and the suite of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome. And they argue that, as for substances known to cause NCDs such as tobacco and alcohol, sales and distribution of sugar should be controlled, and products with added sugar should be taxed.

I used to be a sugar addict. And yes, for those who haven’t found out first-hand, sugar is addictive; perhaps not to the same degree as alcohol and tobacco, but a recent study has shown that sugary foods, or even just the expectation of eating sweets, can trick the brain into wanting more. When I decided to cut my sugar consumption 12 or so years ago, I had no idea of the serious health concerns that excess sugar consumption brings. I only wanted to avoid the so-called “empty calories” that sugar provides. I had noticed that eating cookies and desserts was making me feel lethargic.

Sugar, and in particular fructose, affects metabolism. Unlike glucose, fructose can only be metabolised in the liver. Some of its effects on the human body include increasing levels of uric acid, which raise blood pressure; increased fat deposition in the liver; and interference with the insulin receptor in the liver. This inhibits ability of the brain to detect the hormone leptin, which regulates appetite. So beyond the empty calories that fructose provides, eating it makes you want to eat more.

When I started reducing my sugar intake, I had no intention of cutting it out completely. Reducing my consumption was a gradual process, over many years. Sugar had been used as a reward when I was a child, and sweets were still a comfort food for me. But I found that the less of it I ate, the less I craved it. Today, I barely eat sweetened foods at all. If I were to eat what to most North Americans or Europeans is an “average” dessert serving, I would feel sick. Avoiding sugar is no longer an exercise in willpower; I have developed a revulsion for it. I feel that I have brought my body back to its original state. Sugar, in anything other than small quantities, feels like a poison to me.

Illnesses related to dietary choices do not affect only the individuals who become sick; they affect us all, as a society. The US alone spends $150bn on healthcare resources for illness related to metabolic syndrome. Of course, I would like to think that governmental regulation of a food-item such as sugar is not necessary. I do place value on an individual’s right to choose, and on personal responsibility. But in the case of sugar, it’s time to get real. The incidence of preventable diseases such as Type 2 diabetes is increasing and many health authorities have expressed concern that our current youth may be the first generation that does not live as long as their parents.

Most of us have known for some time that excess sugar is not good for us, but education and knowledge are clearly not enough. Regulation is required. This is no longer an issue of personal responsibility, but one of public expenditure and public health.

• Follow Comment is free on Twitter @commentisfree © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Why I’m off for some vitamin D – until the sun comes out

February 7, 2012


There’s has always been discussion on the pros and cons of vitamin supplementation in our diets. I see no harm in taking vitamin D and other supplements as long one stays within the normal dosage recommedated by physicians and FDA guidelines. Usually common sense dictates following the instructions listed on the bottle or physician’s orders. Never decide to begin ingesting supplements until your have discussed doing so with your family doctor first.  Vitamin D is an important vitamin from strong bones,growth, and for many chemical reactions that occur within our bodies. Moderation is the key to absorbing sufficient Vitamin D. As for sunshine….be careful not be burn ..wear sunscreen protection…

That’s my comment…pass it on…

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Why I’m off for some vitamin D – until the sun comes out” was written by Ann Robinson, for on Thursday 26th January 2012 18.14 UTC

Vitamin D is in the news again, and while the experts squabble over it, I’m off to buy myself some supplements. The chief medical officer for England has told GPs like me to advise those at risk to take supplements. And since half the adult population of the UK is lacking vitamin D in the winter months and deficiency is being linked to a growing list of health problems, I can’t see a good reason not to take a small multivitamin a day – at least until the sun comes out. I’ll stick to the recommended daily amount as you can have too much of a good thing, even vitamins.

Vitamin D is essential for bone growth and health, and deficiency can cause rickets in the young and a condition called chondromalacia in adults. You wouldn’t think rickets still existed in the UK but it probably never went away and is increasingly recognised as a cause of fractures in susceptible children.

Recently two parents, Rohan Wray and Chana al-Alas, were accused of murdering their four-month-old baby who died two years ago from sudden infant death syndrome (Sids, also known as cot death). The baby, Jayden, was found to have multiple injuries and the parents were accused of shaking the baby to death. But pathologist Dr Irene Scheimberg, based at Royal London Hospital, found evidence of rickets in Jayden at postmortem and the judge directed the jury to acquit.

Since that tragic case, Scheimberg says she has discovered vitamin D deficiency in eight further cases of Sids and in 30 cases of children who have died of various causes and had postmortems. A colleague of hers, Dr Marta Cohen, working in Yorkshire has also found vitamin D deficiency in 18 out of 24 cases of Sids and in 45 babies under the age of one, who died of other causes. Both doctors are calling for further investigation into the implications of vitamin D deficiency and highlighting the need to be aware of rickets in cases of Sids, which can be mistaken for non-accidental injury.

This adds weight to those calling for widespread vitamin D supplementation in the UK. Advice from the chief medical officer for England, Sally Davies, was for at-risk groups – which includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five years old, people aged 65 or over, people who are not exposed to much sun (the housebound, those who cover up their skin for cultural reasons and people who have darker skin, whose bodies are unable to produce vitamin D as easily) – to take vitamin D. But there have been calls to introduce supplements for all the population in Scotland, because of high levels of multiple sclerosis which may be linked to vitamin D deficiency. Ryan McLaughlin, 13, launched a campaign, Shine on Scotland, in response to his mother’s diagnosis of MS, while Professor George Ebers of the Nuffield department of clinical neurosciences at Oxford University believes the evidence is now good enough to justify dosing the entire population with vitamin D. Professor George Ebers of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University is quoted, saying that he believes the evidence is now good enough to justify dosing the entire population with vitamin D. Last month, his team published evidence of a link between MS and an inherited tendency that leads to vitamin D deficiency.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, however, Sir Harry Burns, says in the same article he thinks there needs to be “broader scientific consensus” before change is considered. He warns that dietary supplements can cause harm and that we need to wait for good randomised studies in large populations. He wants to wait for the conclusions of a review of the evidence by the UK government’s scientific advisory committee on nutrition in 2014.

But Ebers says that is too long. He reflects that there was evidence to support recommending folic acid supplementation for all pregnant women to prevent problems like spina bifida, many years before the public health authorities backed it.

Bruce Hollis, professor of paediatrics and biochemistry at the Medical University of South Carolina, agrees, insisting there’s no point waiting for a large randomised trial because it’s unlikely to ever happen. He says it would be hard to attract funding for an expensive, large scale trial as drug companies would be unlikely to make a profit on cheap vitamin supplements.

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight on the skin. Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods (oily fish, eggs, cheese and meat) but it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone. In the UK, all margarines and infant formula milks are already fortified with vitamin D and it is also added, in small amounts, to other foods such as breakfast cereals, soya and some dairy products,. Breastfeeding mothers need adequate vitamin D levels of their own to ensure their babies get enough.

You can buy single vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Pregnant women who take vitamin D as part of a multivitamin should avoid supplements containing vitamin A (retinol), which can be harmful in pregnancy.

While the experts continue to debate, we may all be well advised to take a daily vitamin D supplement and expose our skin to whatever weak winter sunshine we can. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Patients should have online access to medical records, says report

December 23, 2011

Woman filing medical records

Patients having access to their medical sounds like a good idea…as long as they attempt to use it to educate themselves and generate questions to ask their doctors. I support this idea 100 percent and look forward to it’s inception. This could facilitate patients take a more active role in supporting their health decisions.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Patients should have online access to medical records, says report” was written by Denis Campbell, health correspondent, for The Guardian on Friday 23rd December 2011 01.27 UTC

NHS patients will be allowed to see and edit their medical records under proposals in a government-commissioned report.

The plan is contained in a report that an expert advisory group, headed by Professor Steve Field, the coalition’s NHS troubleshooter, is finalising before handing it to the Department of Health.

The changes would enable patients to view their whole medical history, study the result of diagnostic tests and see what drugs they have been prescribed before. They would also be able to check on their next appointment and order a repeat prescription.

The NHS Future Forum will outline the significant extension of patients’ rights in a report on how greater availability of information in the health service can improve treatment and make users of NHS services feel more involved and empowered.

The plan will help the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, finally realise his longstanding goal of an “information revolution” intended to help put patients more in control of their own care.

The scheme could be operational in England inside three years, the forum believes.

One forum member said that in an age when citizens could access their bank account details from their home computer, it was “unsustainable” for existing restrictions on patients’ access to their medical records to continue.

Currently, patients’ right to see their records is protected under the NHS Constitution but they have to apply for access and explain why they want to see them.

Although the recommendations are not binding on the government, Lord Howe, the health minister in the House of Lords, has already welcomed that plan. “We fully support patients having online access to their personal GP records. Our vision for a modern NHS is to give patients more information and control over their health,” he told today’s Times.

Patient groups are also likely to back the plan. “Many patients phone our helpline saying that they are having difficulty accessing their medical records from their GP, even though the NHS Constitution states that they have a legal right to do this,” said Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association.

But, in a sign that not everyone involved may welcome the change, Murphy added that patient confidentiality was crucial.

“Health records are among the most personal and sensitive information kept about patients and they must be protected. There must be a guarantee that all patient data will be protected and that it will not be possible to trace back information to an individual”, she said.

Family doctors’ attitudes to the plan will be vital. GPs may not back the idea of patients having such access, which could see them allowed to suggest corrections. But the forum’s report will highlight the positive effect on doctor-patient relations of introducing such a scheme.. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The incredible shrinking laboratory or ‘lab-on-a-chip’

December 2, 2011

Blood samples are pictured at the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analysis in Epalinges near Lausanne.

As technology races ever so quickly into the future, it does so by making daily activities in the laboratory much more easier to perform tests. It’s amazing how much information can be retrieved from just one drop of human blood. The benefits of such tests being done more quickly and inexpensive is that we can now do them more frequently. By adopting a more active role in our health and performing frequent blood tests , we can detect an underlaying disease before it progresses too far…and perhaps save our own lives..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony   

Powered by article titled “The incredible shrinking laboratory or ‘lab-on-a-chip'” was written by Alok Jha, science correspondent, for on Monday 28th November 2011 15.27 UTC

When a doctor wants to carry out a test, she will probably prick you with a needle, fill up several test tubes of your blood, label, package and send them to some centralised hospital laboratory. Technicians will then take the contents, perform the various biochemical analyses needed, write up the results and send back the documentation in a few weeks, perhaps longer if there’s a backlog.

The process is slow and labour-intensive. What if you could reduce the whole business to a few minutes? What if, for the majority of ailments or questions, the doctor only needed a drop of your blood and could test you for viruses or cancers while you wait in her surgery? With a lab-on-a-chip, that is already possible.

Quick tests are not a new idea – pregnancy tests can be done at home and diabetics can quickly and easily measure their blood sugar levels using only a drop of blood – but complex diagnoses still need labs and technicians.

“With a lab-on-a-chip you can do a quick diagnostic test and get information right there, which is very useful when somebody’s got a disease that’s got a very short timeline to be treated,” says Mark Morrison, CEO of the Institute of Nanotechnology in Stirling, UK. “What it effectively does is miniaturises and compacts all the different processes that a researcher or a technician in the diagnostic lab uses.”

The lab-on-a-chip shrinks the pipettes, beakers and test tubes of a modern chemistry lab onto a microchip-sized wafer of glass or plastic. Perhaps you want to know which viruses are in a sample of blood? Or, on the battlefield, which biological warfare agent is present in a soldier’s bloodstream? Put in a drop of blood at one end and the carefully carved channels take its constituent molecules past a circuit of nanometre-sized chemical and physical tests that poke, prod and characterise them to answer your question, however complicated. A chip developed by the University of Alberta, for example, can screen for chromosome mutations that cause a range of cancers.

The platform blurs nanotechnology, biotechnology and micro-electronics. And it is not specific to medicine – it is being developed for environmental monitoring of pollutants and, increasingly, in basic scientific research to speed up the once-tedious aspects of examining genes or testing the properties of new materials.

Prof Tom Duke at the London Centre for Nantechnology has been working on a chip that can detect whether a blood sample contains HIV. Current tests require testing in large laboratories staffed by skilled clinicians, which is a hindrance if you want to test people in resource-poor countries where the disease is rife.

Duke’s chip simplifies that process using a sensor that only requires a drop of blood at one end. The blood is separated into its parts by an array of nanometre-sized silicon pillars in the sensor and the biggest bits – such as blood cells and large proteins – are trapped. Any virus particles pass between the pilars to the other end of the sensor, where they are attracted to a series of tiny cantilevers coated with antibodies. These are, in essence, mini diving boards that bend when something lands on them, and that deflection can be measured by bouncing a laser off them. The more the diving boards are deflected, the more virus is present. “This platform can be used for pretty much any viral or bacterial disease,” says Duke.

There are several advantages to the lab-on-a-chip approach, beyond the convenience of being able to test in the field. The test sample required is much smaller because of the sensitivity of the chip, which is useful if you need to measure trace gases in the atmosphere or the very earliest stages of a disease when the chemical markers in the blood are low in number and would probably be missed by standard tests.

“Potentially you can detect the presence of, for example, cancer or diabetes at a much earlier stage and then treat it more effectively,” says Morrison. “If you treat the disease earlier on, you have a much greater chance of success.”

The Simbas chip, designed by a team of researchers led by Ivan Dimov at the University of California, Berkeley, can detect a biological component in blood at a concentration of around 1 part per 40 billion. “That can be roughly thought of as finding a fine grain of sand in a 1,700-gallon sand pile,” says Dimov. The self-contained chip can get results from a drop of blood in 10 minutes, without the need for any external pumps, tubes or power supply.

Researchers interested in basic physiology are also finding a use for these sophisticated mini laboratories. Scientists at Harvard University have created a lung on a chip that contains several types of tissue and can be used in experiments to understand basic function. They can simulate flowing blood, introduce pollutants and toxins to see how the “lung” reacts and even stretch and contract the cells to simulate breathing.

The technology will no doubt get faster, cheaper and more abundant. But there are some ethical questions coming along the pipeline, along with the technical ones. Most important, while it is still in its infancy and still relatively expensive, who gets access to it? And, since many of the devices will be used to test for an individual’s susceptibility to specific genetic diseases, another question is who should be able to access to that information? “As a scientist I’d say screen everybody for every disease because then you know who is going to get something and you can treat them early on,” says Morrison. “But that’s maybe looking at it from a utopian point of view.”

The dystopian alternative is a precautionary note rather than an inevitability and, in any case, debates around future access to genetic and medical data are already under way, thanks to a rapidly improving arsenal of medical and environmental sensors. Miniature laboratories on silicon and glass chips are another, invaluable tool in that arsenal.

The Guardian is working in association with the European Union’s NanoChannels project to create a portal for information on the technical and ethical challenges associated with nanotechnology © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Genital warts vaccination to be offered to schoolgirls

November 25, 2011

Gardasil vaccine

Genital vaccination for school girls? That’s right the world continues to change…for the better or worst…it’s all depends on your point of view…can you pass the warts please or not..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony 

Powered by article titled “Genital warts vaccination to be offered to schoolgirls” was written by Denis Campbell, health correspondent, for The Guardian on Thursday 24th November 2011 20.38 UTC

Schoolgirls across the UK will be offered immunisation against genital warts, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, in a move welcomed by doctors.

It will expand the existing vaccination against cervical cancer for 12- and 13-year-olds.

The change will take place at the start of the next school year in August and September 2012. All 12- and 13-year-old schoolgirls will be offered a vaccine called Gardasil, which protects against the two strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that cause 70% of cervical cancers and also two other strains that produce 90% of genital warts.

It will replace Cervarix, which has been used since immunisation began in 2008 but only offers protection against cervical cancer.

The drive against HPV has been successful. Latest official figures show that 77% of 12- and 13-year-olds, and 84% of 14- and 15-year-olds, have voluntarily received the full course of three HPV jabs, either at school or at their GP’s surgery – the highest uptake in the world.

Ministers have decided to make the switch after advice from their independent advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and studying evidence collated by the Health Protection Agency.

About 75,000 people a year in England are diagnosed for the first time with genital warts, but the total number of those developing it annually in the UK is around 161,000 people, once those who find that it has recurred despite treatment are included.

Professor David Salisbury, the government’s director of immunisation, said the switch had been made after examining new evidence from Australia where Gardasil had greatly reduced cases of genital warts among both girls and boys while preventing the same number of deaths a year from cervical cancer as Cervarix, estimated at 400.

“We looked at the science and we looked at the price. We have reflected the changes in scientific knowledge that has become available since last time. They are not huge changes – we still prioritise the prevention of cancer – but based on all these things the winner is Gardasil,” said Salisbury.

Dr Peter Greenhouse of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said the organisation was delighted by the news. He said that if 70% of girls continued to be immunised against HPV, “we should expect to see genital wart infections start to reduce in teenage girls within five years, and slightly later in boys.

“If we continue to vaccinate just 70% of 12- to-13 year-old girls, we can predict that genital warts should be eradicated in heterosexual women and men within 20 years, through the herd immunity effect,” he added.

Greenhouse said Gardasil should be made available to young gay men on their first visit to a sexual health clinic in order to protect them against anal and oral cancers as well as genital warts.

The Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust also welcomed the decision because “it makes sense in terms of improving women’s health and will also save the NHS millions.”

But the charity called on ministers to offer the vaccine to all boys to protect them against some male cancers.

A British Medical Association spokeswomen said: “The latest evidence shows that Gardasil has superior public health benefits and is more cost effective.:

Dr Tony Falconer, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “The quadrivalent vaccine will also protect against the strains of HPV that cause genital warts, which are unpleasant and the cause of much psychological distress for sufferers.”

The Health Protection Agency said: “Warts are a common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, and as a result of this decision we expect to see a reduction in the number of diagnoses over time.”

“We understand that the choice of the quadrivalent vaccine [Gardasil] in the UK followed a competitive tender. This tender was informed by a detailed scientific study comparing the two available vaccines against a range of criteria, including scientific qualities and cost effectiveness.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The Brain is Wider Than the Sky by Bryan Appleyard – review

November 18, 2011


Perhaps IT technology can never replace the power of our minds …but one day it can come very close. I believe  there is a fear that IT technology will take away much of what is accomplished by us and could further obselete more people from current responsiblities. I am an optimist, and whatever advances we make in any field, one thing is constant…the human brain will always be required to control and maintain all technology…now and into the future. How widw is your brain?

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony   

Powered by article titled “The Brain is Wider Than the Sky by Bryan Appleyard – review” was written by Simon Ings, for The Observer on Thursday 17th November 2011 11.00 UTC

In 1610 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei published Starry Messenger, a book of telescopic observations of the night sky, and opened the heavens to busy and ambitious imaginations. Johannes Kepler imagined a manned voyage to the moon in The Dream (1634). Galileo gave us much to look forward to. But the world never turns out to be what we expected.

Award-winning feature writer Bryan Appleyard reckons today’s neuroscientists are like Galileo. The images they pull from their fMRI scanners, tracing blood-flow in the living brain, are the equivalent of Galileo’s drawings of moon mountains. They are magnificent achievements – but they are the beginning of the story, not its end.

The Brain is Wider Than the Sky is not about the sciences of the mind. It’s about how ideas from those sciences are playing out in the culture at large. Appleyard is scientifically literate, rigorous and intelligent. He is also very good at tracing that perilously faint line where the science of consciousness leaves off and the moonshine begins. Not all moonshine is bad for us. Kepler’s Dream was and is a delight. But a culture cannot live on moonshine alone, and Appleyard reckons we’re consuming more of it than is good for us.

The human brain is the most complex object we know. To describe it, thinkers and writers quite understandably reach for the most complicated thing they can imagine. Four centuries ago the brain was considered a particularly fiendish plumbing problem; later it turned into a steam engine; then a telegraph office. Now it’s “like the internet”. The brain is no more a computer network than it is a heating system. Proper neuroscientists know this. The baseless assumption that the brain is some sort of meat computer has combined oddly with the IT revolution, giving many otherwise rational people the idea that our computers will someday soon acquire consciousness. If mere computational power were enough, of course, then any complex system would be conscious. The weather would be conscious. The oceans would think as they turned.

A new and powerful religion holds sway: a belief in the wisdom of the digital collective. To be saved, we must plug in. Plugging in leads, inevitably, to disenchantment. As humourist Alice Kahn has it: “For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” Call trees are the least of it. Appleyard gives a voice to the victims, from the tearful teenager drowning in the flood of his own social media, to Cheryl Cole, whose every action is so thoroughly mediated and syndicated, she spends her life patiently explaining to journalists that she is actually a human being.

Appleyard’s central point is that, in our desire to think great things about our IT “cloud”, we’re deliberately oversimplifying ourselves. We’re hammering ourselves into ridiculously reductive boxes. In our desire to be part of something greater, we’re making ourselves small.

Appleyard is not alone, but, philosophically, this book is not quite on the same level as last year’s You Are Not a Gadget, a work of staggering apostasy by one of cyberspace’s founding fathers, Jaron Lanier. A couple of things make Appleyard’s work a valuable companion to the debate, rather than a latecomer to the party. First, his breadth of reference. He’s interviewed actors in his time, and celebrities, as well as geeks and gurus and scientists, and he treats all his subjects with a critical sympathy that looks easy but takes a career to acquire.

Second, he manages to distinguish between the work of individual scientists and the broader philosophical questions science raises. An early highlight is a vivid, concise, down-to-earth description of the workings of an fMRI scanner – a machine that can create maps of the functioning brain. Not many pages later, Appleyard turns philosopher, and offers an excellent explanation of what reductionism is, and why a science that simply anatomises phenomena into smaller and smaller parts misses a vast portion of scientifically explorable reality.

Poor thinking around digital technology is certainly damaging what is human in us, but not completely, and not for ever. Appleyard has a refreshing belief in a culture’s ability to laugh off its absurdities, eventually. He reminds us of one of the finer jokes in US sitcom Friends. Chandler shows off his new laptop, crowing about its staggering speed, immense processing power and gigantic memory. When asked what he’s going to do with it, he sheepishly admits that he might play a few games.

If only we were less gullible, this excellent joke would have lost its currency years ago, and this book need not have been written. As it is, Appleyard’s meditation is essential reading. We’re all Chandler now. And the joke – that a holy Father-figure may be lurking somewhere in the iCloud – is wearing very thin indeed.

Simon Ings’s new novel is Dead Water (Corvus) © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Resveratrol pills may mimic effects of exercise and low-calorie diet

November 4, 2011


Resveratol has been known for some time to be of benefits to a healthy life-style. Recent studies have uncovered additional qualities that may encourage more persons to add resveratrol to their diets. Reducing blood sugar is a wonderful metabolic side effect that can benefit the millions of people diagnosed with diabetes. So perhaps resveratrol deserves a closer look at…..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Resveratrol pills may mimic effects of exercise and low-calorie diet” was written by Nic Fleming, for The Guardian on Tuesday 1st November 2011 16.08 UTC

Taking supplements of a substance found in grape skin can lower sugar and fat levels in the blood and reduce blood pressure, according to a small study.

Scientists who gave tablets containing purified resveratrol to obese men found it had some metabolic effects similar to those from exercise and calorie restriction, including lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Research in animals over the past decade has suggested the compound can slow the development of age-related diseases and increase lifespan. However, these studies have attracted growing criticism and have yet to be replicated in humans.

“The effects of resveratrol were modest but they consistently point towards beneficial metabolic adaptions,” said Prof Patrick Schrauwen of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who led the new study. Although the chemical is found naturally in grape skin and red wine, there is no suggestion that it would be possible to ingest enough of it from these sources to gain the beneficial effect.

Prof Schrauwen and colleagues gave 11 obese men either a daily 150mg resveratrol supplement or a placebo for 30 days. Four weeks later, the two groups swapped over so that those who took the supplements first time around were given placebos and vice versa.

Regular measurements showed resveratrol lowered blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity, as well as cutting triglycerides – fats found in the blood that can increase heart disease risk. Resveratrol also reduced both sleeping and resting metabolic rate and cut blood pressure.

Previous research has shown that calorie restriction can extend lifespan in laboratory animals. Some studies suggest it also offers protection from diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, though this remains controversial.

Calorie restriction works in a similar way to resveratrol, by triggering the production of a protein called SIRT1 which improves metabolic function and keeps cells healthy in the face of stress.

Muscle biopsies carried out by Prof Schrauwen’s team confirmed that participants taking resveratrol saw increased SIRT1 levels. They also strongly suggested the beneficial effects on metabolism were associated with improved functioning of mitochondria, the energy factories within cells.

“Healthy people are good at switching efficiently from using fat as an energy source to glucose in the blood when it becomes available,” said Prof Schrauwen. “The results of our pilot study tended to suggest that might be part of the link to the beneficial health effects of resveratrol, but that needs further study.”

The results are published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Prof Schrauwen, acknowledging that his sample size was small, said he was seeking funding for a larger and longer trial. “This is small, proof of principle study, but the results are so promising that I think it is important that we conduct a bigger study,” he said. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Aspirin cuts cancer risk in people with an inherited susceptibility

October 30, 2011


Taking aspirin seems to be getting more popular these days…that is good news for the pharmaceutical companies..but can also be good news for the rest of us…perhaps taking aspirin is not only good to take to lower the risk of an heart attack by thinning out the blood, but it may help us lower the risk of developing some types of cancers…only time will tell if this idea has any merit.. consult your physician before taking or adding any medication to your diet.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony 


Some people with a family history of cancer could halve their risk of developing the disease by taking daily doses of aspirin, according to the results of a 10-year trial of the treatment.

The study shows that regularly taking the medicine cuts the risk of bowel cancer by more than 60% in those with a particular genetic predisposition to get the disease – as well as reducing the risk of other hereditary cancers.

Scientists who led the study said people with several family members with cancers other than breast, blood and prostate might be advised to start taking aspirin daily from the age of 45.

They said those without a family history of the disease might also consider doing so, but that they should make a personal assessment of the risks and benefits and get medical advice. Anyone thinking of taking the drug regularly should consult their doctor first.

Doctors already prescribe low, daily doses of aspirin to people at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, and evidence has been growing of anti-cancer properties for 20 years. However, this is the first long-term, randomised controlled trial to show such an effect.

The trial involved people with Lynch syndrome, a genetic abnormality that predisposes carriers to develop bowel cancer and other solid organ cancers including endometrial, ovarian, stomach, kidney, oesophageal, brain and skin tumours.

The condition affects at least one in 1,000 people. Carriers are around 10 times as likely to develop cancer and often do so at a young age.

Professor John Burn of Newcastle University, who led the study, estimated that if all 30,000 or so people with Lynch syndrome in the UK were to start taking two aspirin tablets a day then some 10,000 cancers would be prevented over the next 30 years, saving about a thousand lives. The downside of the treatment is that around an extra thousand people would develop stomach ulcers as a side-effect.

“People with a genetic susceptibility are a model system,” said Burn, whose work is published on Friday in the Lancet online. “They are more sensitive to the environmental triggers to cancer.

“If we can do something to change cancer progression in people at high genetic risk, then that’s telling us what we might all benefit. But we are not making a recommendation for the general population. Everyone can take this evidence and make their own choice.

“In between you have the people who have a family history [of cancer]. Those individuals may well decide to put themselves on aspirin and that would be a reasonable conclusion from the data currently available.”

Between 1999 and 2005, about half of a group of 861 Lynch syndrome carriers were given two aspirins (600mg) a day, while the rest took placebos.

By 2010 those who had taken aspirin for at least two years were 63% less likely to have developed bowel cancer.

Looking at all forms of the disease, almost 30% of those in the placebo group developed a Lynch syndrome-related cancer, compared with 15% for those given aspirin.

The most common side effects associated with taking aspirin are gastrointestinal ulcers and stomach bleeding. There is also an very small increased risk of haemorrhagic stroke, in which a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

There was no difference in the proportions of the study groups suffering such side-effects.

Burn added that he takes low-dose aspirin tablets as a preventative measure. “That was a balanced judgment based on weighing risks and benefits. I know I might get an ulcer or a cerebral bleed but I’d rather not have a heart attack, stroke or cancer. That’s my choice.”

Aspirin is a synthetic version of the active component of willow bark, salicylic acid, which has been used as a medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties for hundreds of years. Salicylates also trigger programmed cell death to help diseased plants contain the spread of infection.

“It’s not a huge stretch to think that if salicylate induces programmed cell death in plants to kill infected cells, maybe it’s doing similar things in the animal kingdom to enhance the death of aberrant cells causing cancer,” said Prof Burn.

“This adds to the growing body of evidence showing the importance of aspirin, and aspirin-like drugs, in the fight against cancer and emphasises how critical it is to carry out long-term international research,” said Prof Chris Paraskeva, a bowel cancer expert at the University of Bristol.

On Friday the researchers will launch a website to recruit 3,000 people with Lynch syndrome worldwide to take part in a five-year trial to determine the best dose of aspirin to take. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Breast screening is no longer a no-brainer

October 27, 2011

Breast cancer screening

When we speak about breast cancer our thought wonder to a female member or friend who have lost or won their battle. But it must be made clear that men as well, although rare, can develop breast cancer. One thing is clear is that rountine checks with your family can be life saving. So what are you waiting for? Make your appointment today and win the fight!

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony    

Powered by article titled “Breast screening is no longer a no-brainer” was written by Sarah Boseley, for on Wednesday 26th October 2011 15.00 UTC

It may seem like a no-brainer to turn up at the breast-screening clinic when the summons falls through the letterbox. Most of us are scared of cancer. Most of us have heard that if you catch it early, there is more chance of a cure.

But for some years now, there has been a growing volume of dissent to this orthodoxy – and it hasn’t come from anti-medical campaigners, suspicious of toxic drugs. It has come from within the scientific community. Those who are asking the big question – is breast screening always a good thing? – are from a group with one of the best-respected scientific pedigrees. This is the Cochrane Collaboration, set up to weigh the totality of scientific evidence and tell us what really works and what does not.

They have been publishing their findings in top medical journals, such as the Lancet and the British Medical Journal, and news organisations have run stories – but every time we have asked the NHS screening programme for a comment, the Cochrane findings have been summarily dismissed. Most scientists, we have been told, do not agree with the Cochrane researchers. Studies are cited that show screening saves lives.

I have felt for some time that there has been an element in all this of “don’t frighten the horses” and, personally, I think it underestimates – nay, insults – the intelligence of women. Screening is not like vaccination. We are not going to infect anybody else if we don’t go for breast screening. If a cancer is missed, it is an individual who suffers, not the population as a whole. But the information we are given in NHS screening leaflets, echoing the official rebuttal of the Cochrane studies, barely mentions any possible downsides to going along.

And, yes, there are downsides. Nobody disputes now that there is some “over-diagnosis” and “over-treatment”. What the X-rays show is often not much more than a tiny spot on a screen. Once upon a time, cancer doctors believed every one of those would, if left, turn into an aggressive cancer with the potential to kill. A couple of decades ago, the approach to breast cancer treatment was root and branch – a “Halsted” mastectomy, named after the surgeon who excised as much of the chest as he could in the belief that he was saving lives. That doesn’t happen any more – now surgery is conservative and as limited as possible. Doctors try to deliver the smallest, most effective, amount of surgery, drugs and radiotherapy because of the long-term damage they can cause.

But just as surgeons have backtracked on radical mastectomy, so now it may be time to backtrack on radical diagnosis. According to the Nordic Cochrane collaboration, not every spot on the X-ray will turn into aggressive cancer. Their statistical evidence – looking at the numbers of women screened in a big Swedish trial in the 1980s compared with those who were not – is that less cancers were found in those not screened. That is because, they believe, some early-stage cancers regress – they disappear again without causing any harm. Others, we know, grow so slowly that women will die at a ripe old age of something else.

Breast cancer treatment these days is very much better than when screening began. Survival rates are high. Urgent treatment of an invisible clump of mutant cells may not be necessary. Screening will always be important and should be available for those who want it – especially for women whose family history or other factors put them at high risk. But women should be told of the potential harms as well as benefits so they can make an informed choice – and where the X-ray picks something up, perhaps she can sometimes be given a waiting and watching option, as in men’s prostate cancer.

But whatever the outcome of the review announced by the government’s cancer director, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the most important thing is that it will have happened. Serious issues will be seriously discussed and women, many of them for the first time, will know that breast screening is not, in fact, just a no-brainer and that there are choices that can be made. Hopefully that will not be frightening, but empowering. Thank you, Sir Mike, for that. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Chemotherapy breakthrough could could dramatically reduce side-effects

September 13, 2011

Kim Cattrall has chemotherapy in Sex and the City

Progress is being made in cancer research…side effects experienced by patients during chemotherapy can be reduced or even eliminated in the near future…a better delivery system of introducing anti-cancer therapy can also leave healthy cells intact…the “smart bomb” is here…

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony



Powered by article titled “Chemotherapy breakthrough could could dramatically reduce side-effects” was written by Alok Jha, science correspondent, for The Guardian on Sunday 11th September 2011 23.01 UTC

Cancer researchers have developed a “smart bomb” treatment that can target tumours with drugs while leaving healthy body cells intact. The technique means that patients will suffer fewer side-effects from the toxic drugs used in chemotherapy.

The side-effects of cancer therapy – including hair loss, nausea and suppression of the immune system – can be debilitating. In many cases, the effects of the drugs can contribute to the ultimate cause of death.

In experiments on mice, Laurence Patterson of the University of Bradford found that he could localise a cancer drug to the site of tumours and thereby limit its toxic impact in the body. All the animals, which had been implanted with human cancer cells responded to the targeted treatment and saw their tumours shrink. In half the animals, the tumours disappeared altogether. Professor Patterson will present his work at the British Science Festival in Bradford on Monday.

“We’ve got a sort of smart bomb that will only be active in the tumour and will not cause damage to normal tissue,” he said. “It’s a new cancer treatment that could be effective against pretty much all types of tumour – we’ve looked at colon, prostate, breast, lung and sarcoma so far, and all have responded very well to this treatment.”

The drug is based on a modified version of an existing cancer drug called coltrazine. In normal situations, this drug is delivered as part of a patient’s chemotherapy regime and, in addition to attacking cancer cells, it can kill healthy cells, too. “There are many agents currently used in the clinic for the treatment of cancer that are essentially poisons,” said Patterson.

“Normal chemotherapy can often be the cause of death of the patient as opposed to dying from the tumour growth itself. Any treatment that is a poison that can be retained and is only active in the tumour is clearly very attractive.” Patterson’s team has designed a way to make the coltrazine active only when it comes into contact with a tumour. They did this by attaching a string of specific amino acids to the coltrazine, which made the drug inert. In this state, it can wander through the body freely and will not kill any cells it comes into contact with. But when the drug reaches the site of a solid tumour, the chain of amino acids is removed by an enzyme present on the surface of the cancer, called MMP-1. At this point, the coltrazine becomes active and can do its work in killing nearby cells.

MMP1 is used by tumours to break down the cellular environment around itself and to enable the tumour to dig a path through normal tissue. It also gives the tumour access to nutrients and oxygen by encouraging the normal blood supply of a person to grow towards it. “If you can starve that tumour of that blood supply, then you shut off its ability to grow and move around the body,” said Patterson.

In the experiments, he said, all the mice responded to the treatment. “Sometimes, the treatment is so effective, you remove the ability of that tumour to grow – you appear to cure the mouse. In some studies, we were able to cure half the mice: these animals no longer had any tumour growing in them and they appeared healthy for the 60 or so days of the trial.”

An important use of the technique is that it can reach tumours that have spread throughout the body.

Paul Workman, head of cancer therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “This is an interesting new approach to targeting tumour blood vessels that solid cancers need for their growth. The project is still at quite an early stage, but the results so far look promising in the laboratory models that have been studied. If confirmed in more extensive laboratory studies, drugs based on this approach could be very useful as part of combination treatments for various cancers.”

The Bradford scientists hope that, with adequate funding, their drug delivery system could enter phase 1 clinical trials on people within 18 months. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Is Your Heart on Schedule?

July 27, 2011

Let’s face it our professional jobs or responsibilities at home do not lend any benefits to cardiovascular system. So it is up to us to monitor it. Your heart is a muscle and requires maintenance in the form of physical activity that increases our heart rate way above the resting level. Keep in mind that whatever exercise program or routine you adopt, it should be one that is flexible.

Exercise Your Heart

I have four different exercising routines that I can choose from because my daily schedules change drastically from week to the next.  This will help you maintain some sort of exercise program no matter what surprising changes that may occur in your schedule. There is no excuse for not doing some exercise every day. Let’s talk about my leg routine that doesn’t require me to be in the gym. Let’s say I have no time to go to the gym and I will be stuck in the office for most of the day. I simply fall back into my most simplistic leg workout.

Here’s a Good Heart routine

I can simply do squats in my office, even while talking on the phone with a client. I will do a half squat or simply  use my chair as a guide. Begin in a standing position with your chair behind you,  lower yourself as if you were going to sit down. As soon as your buttocks touches the chair, return to a standing position. You have just completed one repetition of a squat. Now I normally do 20 repetitions per squat set. But if you are just starting, I recommend that you keep your repetitions to a maximum of 10 repetitions per set. Of course in a busy office one cannot take the time out to do several sets, but doing a set here and there throughout the day and you will be surprised of how many sets you can do at work. You will be surprised also that many people in your office will begin mimicking your routine. This is a great way to increase circulation throughout your entire body and maintaining a high level of alertness because you are delivering oxygenated blood to your brain.

A Good Heart is essential for a long life

A good heart can be only maintain by a proper exercise and diet program. So if you want to reap the rewards of a long life you will need to make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle. If you smoke …quit ..smoking has been liked to cancer and heart disease. Eat a lot of green leafy vegetables and plenty of water.  

Do you have a simple routine you would like to share with us? If so I would like to hear about it and share it with our readers here. If you would like to submit your own article on our website please submit it to the following e-mail :, this is Dr. Anthony from Your Educational Podcast and Video. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your primary physician.   

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Yepod is quite addicting

July 2, 2011 is a unique website that caters to millions of Internet users in over 120 countries. Yepod creator Dr. Anthony, a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, developed Yepod as unique experience that offers a wide-variety of articles in several categories.

People around the world will always find something of interest. Yepod was designed originally to help people cultivate their English reading and speaking skills. It has grown to become a popular favorite of people fluent in English as well. Yepod has a very strong following because it offers a mix of educational pod-casts, videos and articles that focus on a wide-variety of topics.

Topics include but not limited to health, news, entertainment and much more. Yepod is not your typical boring health-related news website that focuses on  any one topic, but a website that is filled with carefully selected news stories and topics that are of interest to millions of people around the world.

Everyone who visits Yepod learns something they did not know before they visited. That is what makes Yepod stand out as being one of the top informational websites. Yepod is quite addicting, users who scroll through all the sensational articles can’t stop once they start. Yepod truly appeals to a diverse group of Internet users with wide variety of interests.

Dr. Anthony strives to keep the content fresh and filled with content that is informational and interesting to read. In some of Dr. Anthony’s recent posts, he goes from discussing the final hours of Federico Garcia Lorca‘s life, a recent Hollywood’s icon death, then goes on to discuss the epidemic of people suffering with diabetes, or into a short discussion on the implications of older people taking more than one medication at a time.

Dr. Anthony’s main passion is to keep people updated on all the hot-breaking news while offering some helpful tips and information on ways to stay healthy as well. Not too many websites offer the mix of information and content that Yepod offers.

That is what truly has Internet users coming back for more. People want to read articles but they do not want to be bored to tears. Yepod’s goal is to make reading breaking news and articles enjoyable. Dr. Anthony knows how to appeal to a massive audience . He strives to make sure people take as much away from the website as possible. By offering

the perfect blend of news, entertainment and health-related articles, Yepod has become an over-night sensation around the world.

Internet users enjoy the fact that no registration is required and Yepod is completely free to use. Internet users have the choice of selecting articles by category or scrolling content page-by-page. Some Internet users prefer to select from categories such as art, business,cooking, education, English and more, but others like the mystery of scrolling through all the contents page-by-page.

What is great about Yepod is that users never know what’s to come and it is that type of guessing that them coming back to for more each and every day.

For anyone who is looking for a change, is a great website that has lots to offer. Perfect for those who are fluent in English and those who are learning to read and write English. is one website that every user should keep an eye on.




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