Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Vaccine and antibiotics stabilized (with silk proteins) so refrigeration is not needed — NIH study

English: Woman receiving rubella vaccination, ...

English: Woman receiving rubella vaccination, School of Public Health of the State of Minas Gerais (ESP-MG), Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 10 July 2012 EurekAlert

Could pave way for development of enhanced delivery and storage in third world, save billions in cost

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new silk-based stabilizer that, in the laboratory, kept some vaccines and antibiotics stable up to temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides a new avenue toward eliminating the need to keep some vaccines and antibiotics refrigerated, which could save billions of dollars every year and increase accessibility to third world populations.

Vaccines and antibiotics often need to be refrigerated to prevent alteration of their chemical structures; such alteration can result in less potent or ineffective medications. By immobilizing their bioactive molecules using silk protein matrices, researchers were able to protect and stabilize both live vaccines and antibiotics when stored at higher than recommended temperatures for periods far longer than recommended….

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Community health centers compare well with private practices, Stanford researcher finds

Community Health Center of Burlington

Community Health Center of Burlington (Photo credit: origamidon)

From the 10 July 2012 article at EurekAlert

STANFORD, Calif. — Government-funded community health centers, which serve low-income and uninsured patients, provide better care than do private practices, a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has found.

Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and colleagues at University of California, San Francisco looked at the actions physicians took when patients visited private practices versus the actions that were taken at community health centers, also referred to as Federally Qualified Health Centers and FQHC Look-Alikes, both of which receive government support.

Their study is to be published online July 10 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Stafford is the senior author.

The results of the study are particularly encouraging given that the Affordable Care Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld June 28, depends on community health centers to provide services to previously uninsured patients.

“If community health centers are going to be taking up some of the new demand, we can be confident that they’re giving relatively good care,” Stafford said.

July 10, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee- some cons

While I am a coffee lover, presently the indulgence is only 2 cups a day.

Came across 2 items recently that have reinforced why I limit my intake.
In my humble opinion, it really is scientifically challenging to say if coffee is good or bad  because there are so many chemicals in coffee, each with associated side effects…

The items…

10 Reasons to Quit Your Coffee! (by Mark Hyman, MD at HuffPost Healthy Living, 7/1/12)
 
(via Amy Croan, MPH who I follow on Twitter. She authors the blog To Your Health..).

Excerpts

While there are many controversies about coffee’s role in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease to breast cancer, I’m mostly interested in the conversation relating to its effect on blood sugar metabolism. If you have read my latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution, then you already know how insulin resistance and inflammation are at the core of modern-day chronic diseases….

Here are 10 reasons why:

    1. The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation, and this makes you feel lousy.
    2. Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
    3. Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels.
    4. The helpful chlorogenic acids that may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels — an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which tends to be elevated in diabesity.
    5. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).
    6. Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy. Ask any coffee drinker about how it feels to withdraw from coffee, and you will mistake their story for that of a drug addict’s…
    7. Associative addictions trend with coffee — who doesn’t immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a drink! That morning latte is the epitome of food lacking nutrition density yet packing energy!
    8. 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. We all know someone who tends to be tired, wired and over-caffeinated!
    9. Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.
    10.  Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.

As long as news keeps cranking coffee benefit stories, we’ll keep commenting on them (HealthNewsReview.org*** 7/2/2012)

Excerpts

CAFFEINE LINKED TO LOWER SKIN CANCER RISK – ABC NEWS

CAFFEINE IN COFFEE MAY HELP LOWER RISK OF SKIN CANCER – Fox News

Addendum on July 4: 

Good news, java junkies: Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you may be protecting yourself against skin cancer. – CNN.com

None of these stories mentioned anything about:

  • this was an observational study
  • it showed a statistical association – not cause-and-effect

And the Fox and CNN stories didn’t have any independent perspective – only the researcher/author touting the study’s importance.

But the sun shines on HealthDay today because it included this simple and effective reminder:

“While the study uncovered an association between greater caffeine consumption and reduced risk of basal cell cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.”

As always, we remind journalists and news consumers of our primer: Does The Language Fit The Evidence? – Association Versus Causation

Here are just some of our past blog posts about news coverage of supposed health benefits of coffee:

**HealthNewsReview.org provides independent reviews of health stories which are based on high journalism standards of accuracy, completeness and balance. (See their toolkit for tips on how to understand studies, evaluate claims, analyze news coverage, and more)

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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