Friday, January 18, 2008

Sickle Cell Anemia

Earlier this week, I posted on my Help My Hurt blog about sickle cell anemia. If you'd like to read more about it, you can find the post here: Sickle Cell Anemia. It's not a well-known illness as are many illnesses that are often restricted to certain ethnic populations.

Sickle cell disease affects mostly people of African-American or Mediterranean descent, although it can affect - and does affect - others. It's a very painful disorder. For a good, brief overview of sickle cell, I found this video on Medical News Today: Sickle cell and pain.

The short video features someone who has sickle cell anemia and an interview with Wally, R. Smith, MD, the lead author of a recent study Daily Assessment of Pain in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, January 15th issue.

News for Today:

Depression: Strategies for dealing with a depressed loved one

Health Tip: Dealing With a Canker Sore

Relatives who decline organ donations face conflict and guilt

Increased risk of heart attack or stroke for patients who are resistant to aspirin

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday musings

I don't have much to post today. The "s" button on my laptop is not registering every time I press on it, so writing is a bit annoying. Not only that, I only found two news stories that I felt were worth sharing.

Let me know if there are any particular topics you would like me to cover and I'll see what I can do.

News for Today:

Older women who take calcium at increased risk of heart attack: study

Gastric cancer survivors should be aware of osteoporosis

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New drugs not always new

Many "new" drugs offered by drug companies are not new at all. For example, this press release from the FDA: FDA Approves Tysabri to Treat Moderate-to-Severe Crohn's Disease is really about a drug that is already used for relapsing multiple sclerosis.

This cross-over of medications isn't unusual at all. Often, doctors will prescribe a medication off-label, meaning that the medical community knows that a certain medication will work for your problem, but it isn't officially approved for that use.

Off-label use worries many people because of the unknowns. Clinical studies haven't been done as to how the drugs will affect the new target group. However, off-label use doesn't happen just because a doctor decides he or she wants to try a drug to see what will happen.

What usually happens is a medication is given for its usual use but someone notices that it also helped with other symptoms or illnesses. As more doctors notice this, news spreads and articles are written. Often, off-label use is a last resort because the usual medications haven't been any use or have been used until they can't be used any more.

News for Today:

FDA Approves Tysabri to Treat Moderate-to-Severe Crohn's Disease

Cancer study finds adolescents don't get same access to latest treatments as younger patients

Lack of training for children's medicines prescribing may increase risk of error

Popular osteoporosis drugs triple risk of bone necrosis

Mothers' stress may increase children's asthma

Fish oil may not be helpful for some heart patients: study

Hot spots warn of diabetic foot ulcers

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A wealth of health news today

Wow, yesterday I was hard pressed to find anything and today, the cup is overflowing. I'm sure you can find something in the list of stories, no matter what you're interested in.

Worried about osteoporosis? Apparently a carrot my help (A carrot a day could keep bone loss at bay: study) and if your male, your testosterone level may play a role in fracture risk: Low testosterone levels associated with risk of fracture in men over 60.

There's also news about a bigger push for the need to learn CPR (Unified national effort needed to save lives by increasing use of CPR), the importance of good nutrition (Undernourished stroke patients may have more complications, worse outcomes, Diets high in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E associated with decreased risk of cataracts). Happy reading!

News for Today:

A carrot a day could keep bone loss at bay: study

Gay men vulnerable to highly infectious bacteria

Unified national effort needed to save lives by increasing use of CPR

Smoking related to long-term risk and progression of age-related eye disease

Diets high in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E associated with decreased risk of cataracts

Undernourished stroke patients may have more complications, worse outcomes

Low testosterone levels associated with risk of fracture in men over 60

Minor leg injuries associated with risk of blood clots

Vitamin D2 supplements may help prevent falls among high-risk older women

Sickle cell disease pain can occur daily and is much more severe than previously thought

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cold and flu season - although it does seem to be all year sometimes

What do you do to prevent colds and flu in your neck of the woods? There is, of course, the old "wash your hands properly" way. I wrote a post on hand washing last August; you can read that post here: Handwashing.

For influenza, my regular readers know that I'm pro-vaccine, but if you have influenza as you're reading this; it's obviously too late. Many people wonder why we can't come up with a vaccine for colds too. The problem with that is there are so many cold viruses, that it's not an easy task. I wonder if it ever will be viable.

In our house, I discovered Airborne, the supplement put together by a teacher who was fed up with getting sick all the time. I bought it the first time when I was in California in 2006. I looked for it specifically, because we don't have it here in Montreal. I bought it and fell in love with my new cold prevention method.

I had tried Cold FX, which some people swear by, but I found that it just made my colds worse. It held off my cold for a while but then when I stopped taking it, I'd get one of the worst colds ever. So, I tried the Airborne. I haven't had a cold since. Once home, I could only find the generic kind, so I tried that. It worked for me too. So, now I'm convinced that it works for me.

Placebo effect, maybe? I don't know and to tell you the truth, even if it is, that's ok with me!

News for Today: (not much to pick from!)

Tips for boosting your immune system

HPV infections common in women with one partner

Ruling loosens regulations for medical marijuana (Canada)