Friday, January 4, 2008

Two topics today - thyroids and lightbulbs

Two parts today:

Do you have problems with your thyroid? Do you understand what the thyroid does and what happens when it doesn’t work properly?

The FDA has just published a Question and Answer session with Mary Parks, M.D., Director of FDA's Division of Metabolic and Endocrine Drug Products: Thyroid Medications: Q & A with Mary Parks, M.D.. There is also a PDF version available for easier printing, if you want.

It’s an interesting read.

If you read the article about the newer lights causing migraines for some people, Laura over at B5media’s blog about CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) has a very interesting piece on this: The Lightbulb Theory - It`s Cracked!

News for Today:

Mom's obesity during conception phase may set the stage for offspring's obesity risk
Thyroid treatment no 'quick fix' for weight loss in children
Bright light therapy eases bipolar depression for some
Internists say they prescribe placebos on occasion

Sleep apnea: Could you lose your driver's licence?
Brisk walking regime can alleviate stress in menopausal women

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Elective surgery and cognitive changes

Elective surgeries, like joint replacements, are becoming relative common – especially among people over the age of 60 years. The damage and pain from osteoarthritis is one of the major reasons people need this type of surgery. And, this will continue to rise as the baby boomers join those ranks in larger numbers over the coming years.

So, it’s a bit disturbing to read of studies such as Older surgical patients at greater risk for developing cognitive problems. Cognitive changes in patients following surgery isn’t unusual, no matter what the age, but for the most part, younger patients return to their previous level of function within three months. However, according to this study, many over 60 don’t.

Although these surgeries are called elective, there really should be – in my opinion – a third category of surgeries: essential, elective, and elective but necessary. Although joint replacements are elective, people who need them and don’t get them can have a severely reduced quality of life, reduced mobility, social isolation, and increased risk of developing other disorders, including depression.

Now that the researchers are more aware of the issue, hopefully they will come up with some answers.

News for Today:

Older surgical patients at greater risk for developing cognitive problems
Shorter HCV treatment shows notable success
The risk of osteoarthritis and index to ring finger length ratio
The prevalence and impact of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States
Students want screening of blood donors changed

Testosterone doesn't boost cognitive function in older men, research suggests

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Restless Legs Syndrome

Have you seen the ads on television for restless legs syndrome (RLS)? Although I’m in Canada, we get several US channels, so we get to watch US commercials.

My oldest son thought that RLS was a made-up disease but, it really does exist. And it’s awful for those who have it. It’s a neurological disorder that makes it so you have to move your legs, you can’t resist the urge to move them. Doctors are finding out more about the issue as well: Restless legs syndrome doubles risk of stroke and heart disease

According to the RLS Foundation, you must meet these four criteria to be diagnosed with RLS. Copied directly from their site:

· You have a strong urge to move your legs which you may not be able to resist. The need to move is often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations. Some words used to describe these sensations include: creeping, itching, pulling, creepy-crawly, tugging, or gnawing.
· Your RLS symptoms start or become worse when you are resting. The longer you are resting, the greater the chance the symptoms will occur and the more severe they are likely to be.
· Your RLS symptoms get better when you move your legs. The relief can be complete or only partial but generally starts very soon after starting an activity. Relief persists as long as the motor activity continues.
· Your RLS symptoms are worse in the evening especially when you are lying down. Activities that bother you at night do not bother you during the day.

While it may seem somewhat comical to some, an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, it can be a horrible thing to live with. If you think you have RLS, there are some medications that may help. The RLS Foundation also offers these non-pharmaceutical therapies that may provide some relief:

Again, copied directly from their website:

· Checking to see if there is an underlying iron or vitamin deficiency and then possibly supplementing your diet with iron, vitamin B12 or folate.
· Looking at medications you may be taking which make RLS worse. These may include drugs used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions, nausea, colds, allergies and depression.
· Looking at any herbal and over-the-counter medicines you may be taking to see if they could be worsening your RLS.
· Identifying habits and activities that worsen RLS symptoms.
· Looking at your diet to assure it is healthy and balanced.
· Discussing whether or not antihistamines could be contributing to your RLS.
· Eliminating your alcohol intake.
· Looking at various activities that may help you personally deal with RLS. These could include walking, stretching, taking a hot or cold bath, massaging, acupressure, or relaxation techniques.
· Attempting to keep your mind engaged with activities like discussions, needlework or video games when you have to stay seated.
· Implementing a program of good sleep habits.
· Possibly eliminating caffeine from your diet to aid in general sleep hygiene.

News for Today:

Healing a holiday hangover: from rabbit turds to hair of the dog
Sleep disruptions may raise risk of diabetes: researchers
ER doctors give whites narcotics more often: study
Tonsillectomy significantly improves quality of life in adult and pediatric patients
A short-term dose of zolpidem is an effective treatment for insomnia
Restless legs syndrome doubles risk of stroke and heart disease

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

Not much news these days so I’ll leave my final blog post of 2007 with the few stories I did find interesting.

To my regular visitors, thank you for stopping by and reading what I have to offer. To those who stop by through search engines or by accident, I do hope you will come back again.

Please have a safe New Year’s Eve.

News for Today:

Length of sleep key in regulating kids' behaviours: study
Breast CT scan faster, more effective than mammogram: study
Men need more Botox than women