Category Archives: HEALTH

LEGALIZATION COULD BE NATURE’S CLEVER WAY OF CLEANING THE GENE POOL

Mysterious illness tied to marijuana use on the rise in states with legal weed
www.cbsnews.com

NEW YORK — For more than two years, Lance Crowder was having severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and no local doctor could figure out why. Finally, an emergency room physician in Indianapolis had an idea.
Lance Crowder

CBS News
“The first question he asked was if I was taking hot showers to find relief. When he asked me that question, I basically fell into tears because I knew he had an answer,” Crowder said.

The answer was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. It’s caused by heavy, long-term use of various forms of marijuana. For unclear reasons, the nausea and vomiting are relieved by hot showers or baths.

“They’ll often present to the emergency department three, four, five different times before we can sort this out,” said Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room physician in Aurora, Colorado.
Dr. Kennon Heard

He co-authored a study showing that since 2009, when medical marijuana became widely available, emergency room visits diagnoses for CHS in two Colorado hospitals nearly doubled. In 2012, the state legalized recreational marijuana.

“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Heard said. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”

Outside of Colorado, when patients do end up in an emergency room, the diagnosis is often missed. Partly because doctors don’t know about CHS, and partly because patients don’t want to admit to using a substance that’s illegal.

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CHS can lead to dehydration and kidney failure, but usually resolves within days of stopping drug use. That’s what happened with Crowder, who has been off all forms of marijuana for seven months.

“Now all kinds of ambition has come back. I desire so much more in life and, at 37 years old, it’s a little late to do it, but better now than never,”he said.

CHS has only been recognized for about the past decade, and nobody knows exactly how many people suffer from it. But as more states move towards the legalization of marijuana, emergency room physicians like Dr. Heard are eager to make sure both doctors and patients have CHS on their radar.

PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS – NOT NECESSARY

Protein hype: shoppers flushing money down the toilet, say experts
www.theguardian.com
Consumers fuelling demand for high-protein products unlikely to see any benefits as people already eat more protein than they need, say dietitians

Young woman drinks protein shake. Photograph: PeopleImages/Getty Images
The UK’s rocketing demand for high-protein products is being fuelled by consumers buying foods unlikely to deliver the benefits they are seeking, experts have said.

Weetabix, Shreddies, Mars, Snickers and Batchelors Cup a Soup were among the brands that launched enhanced protein versions this year as the trend hit the mainstream.

Many supermarkets have introduced dedicated sections for higher-protein products and, according to Euromonitor, the market for sports protein products alone – which excludes most of the mainstream brands – is expected to hit £413m this year and almost £750m (in today’s money) in five years’ time.

But experts have warned that consumers, particularly gym-goers, are falling victim to clever marketing.

Meat, fish and eggs. Experts say most people get enough protein through food. Photograph: grinvalds/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Anna Daniels, a dietitian and British Dietetic Association spokeswoman, said: “People have a misconception they do need more protein whereas actually the majority of us are getting adequate protein – our requirements are quite low. If you’re an athlete you will have higher requirements but you can still get it from eggs, yoghurt, meat. The majority of us who go to the gym for an hour a couple of times a week, there’s no need to be having additional protein we [already] get from a balanced healthy diet.”

Public Health England (PHE) guidelines suggest a protein intake for 19- to 64-year-olds of 55.5g for men and 45g for women, although experts say this will vary according to weight (the US Institute of Medicine stipulates a minimum of 0.8g per kg of body weight per day).

The PHE guidelines equate to getting approximately 11% of the recommended number of calories from protein, whereas according to the National Diet and Nutrition survey, the actual figure for adults is 17% to 18%.

Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE chief nutritionist, said: “The majority of people are consuming much more than the recommended daily allowance of protein through their everyday diet. So even if you hit the gym regularly, spending money on protein supplements is unlikely to bring any additional benefit.”

According to the Euromonitor figures, which cover ready-to-drink beverages, protein powders and protein bars with a minimum of 20g of protein, the sports nutrition market has grown by about 160% since 2011. Another market analyst, Nielsen, said there was a 63% rise in sales of protein bars in 2015, compared with the previous 12 months, while Mintel figures, published in August, said there had been 40% more launches of high-protein products this year compared with 2015.

Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said people were being taken in by “nutri-babble”. “There’s been a lot of hype in gyms pushing high-protein shakes, there’s also a need to get rid of a waste product from the dairy industry, which is whey protein,” he said. “It’s a lot of crap, a way of selling a cheap product at a high price.”

Danny Commane, a lecturer in nutritional science at the University of Reading, said while there was some evidence suggesting that eating more protein could help increase muscle mass, the fact that people were already eating so much more than they needed made supplements unnecessary. He has worked with the successful GB rowing team, some of whom he said do not take protein supplements despite consuming 6,000 calories a day.

“It’s clever marketing,” said Commane. “Unless you’re doing extreme exercise or pursuing extreme lifestyle goals, you don’t need extra protein.”

As excess protein is excreted through urine, people who are consuming too much are effectively flushing their money down the toilet, according to the experts.

This also makes it unlikely that they are doing themselves harm – unless they already have kidney disease – but it could be problematic if high protein consumption replaces other foods important for good health such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, they said. “A lot of the products are high in sugar, low in fibre, they’re not healthy choices for consumers,” said Daniels.

Darren Beale – founder of musclefood.com, which specialises in lean meats but also sells high-protein pizzas, chocolate and even beer – said gym-goers increasingly want to control what they put in their body.

“Are people eating too much protein? Depends on their health or fitness goal,” he said. “There’s research showing that a diet high in protein can help build muscle mass, but there has to be a macro balance with carbs and fat. Our entire aim is to provide products which make it easier for customers to stick to their healthy eating plan.”

None of the manufacturers of products mentioned in the article addressed the issue of the high amount of protein already in UK diets when contacted by the Guardian.

A Food and Drink Federation spokesman said: “Food manufacturers are responding to an increasing demand from consumers for high-protein food and drinks, which can be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle. There is also some evidence that foods high in proteins can help us feel full for longer – increasing satiety and aiding appetite control – and this may be helpful for people trying to balance their energy intake. Protein content will always be clearly labelled, usually alongside how much of an adult’s recommended intake this represents, to help consumers make informed choices.”

A Mars spokeswoman said its bars were designed to be “a post-workout treat, to be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet”. Weetabix said protein at breakfast “helps regulate appetite and daily food intake”.

COMMENTS

NUTS! Are good for you

Eat nuts to live longer: Doctors say nuts ‘should be prescribed to fight killer diseases’
www.express.co.uk

Just a 1oz portion is enough to slash the risk of heart disease, cancer and even obesity.

Analysis suggests even a small daily serving cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by 30 per cent, cancer by 15 per cent and premature death by 22 per cent.

It can also halve the risk of respiratory disease and reduces diabetes by nearly 40 per cent.

Nuts are thought to possess such health-boosting properties some experts think they should be widely prescribed on the NHS.

Study co-author Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College, London, said: “We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes.

“It’s quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food.”

Nuts are considered a superfood because they posses anti-inflammatory qualities and are also high in protein and fibre.

Researchers analysed 29 global studies involving 819,000 people, including 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer and 85,000 deaths, to assess the link between nuts and improved health.

In research published in the journal BMC Medicine today experts from Imperial and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found eating them was associated with a reduction in disease risk.

Mr Aune said: “In nutritional studies so far much of the research has been on the big killers such as heart disease, stroke and cancer, but now we’re starting to see data for other diseases.

“Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts, are also high in antioxidants which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk.

“Even though nuts are quite high in fat they are also high in fibre and protein and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time.”

There was little evidence more than 1oz of nuts a day provided significant health benefits.

Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said: “This analysis adds further value to scores of clinical studies that reveal the positive health impact of regular nut consumption.

“Their mechanism of benefit appears to be through anti-inflammatory properties. It’s time doctors started prescribing nuts to patients which will not only help prevent heart attacks and deaths within a short space of time but combined with other lifestyle interventions would save the NHS billions.”

The findings come after a separate study showed walnuts helped stave off heart disease by reducing levels of bad cholesterol.

Comment – I stopped eating nuts daily because my  nutritionist suggested that nuts are high fat. I noticed more joint pain amd swelling recently after avoiding seeds and nuts for 4 months. I think I shall follow my own instincts and medical training.  

PROSTATE CANCER CURE: TESTOSTERONE

Man ‘cured’ of prostate cancer after doctors shock tumour to death with testosterone
www.telegraph.co.uk

A man with advanced prostate cancer is believed to be cured after doctors ‘shocked’ his tumour to death with huge amounts of testosterone.

The result has been described as ‘unexpected’ and ‘exciting’ because most prostate cancer therapies work by depriving tumours of testosterone, because cancer uses it as a fuel.

Other seriously ill men taking part in the same trial showed responses that astounded scientists, with tumours shrinking and the progress of their disease halted.

Levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), a blood marker used to monitor prostate cancer, also fell in the majority of the 47 participants.

One individual whose PSA levels dropped to zero after three months and shows no remaining trace of the disease after 22 cycles of treatment appears to be cured, said the researchers.

Professor Sam Denmeade, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US, who led the study, said: “”Our goal is to shock the cancer cells by exposing them rapidly to very high followed by very low levels of testosterone in the blood. The results are unexpected and exciting.

“We are still in the early stages of figuring out how this works and how to incorporate it into the treatment paradigm for prostate cancer.

“Many of the men have stable disease that has not progressed for more than 12 months.

“I think we may have cured one man whose PSA dropped to zero after three months and has remained so now for 22 cycles. His disease has all disappeared.”

The facts | Prostate cancer
All of the patients had spreading cancer that was resistant to treatment with two of the latest hormone therapy drugs, abiraterone and enzalutamide.

The trial involved three cycles of “bipolar androgen therapy” (BAT) which involves alternately flooding and starving the body of the male hormone testosterone.

The treatment is revolutionary because testosterone is generally assumed to fuel prostate cancer. For decades men with advanced and spreading prostate cancer have been treated by cutting off the supply of testosterone or blocking its effects.

In contrast upping testosterone in a man with prostate cancer is generally considered similar to pouring petrol on a fire.

Yet laboratory experiments had hinted that blasting tumours with high levels of the hormone might suppress or even kill prostate cancer cells.

The men received high dose injections of testosterone once every 28 days. At the same time, they were given a drug that stopped testosterone being produced naturally by the testicles.

Prof Denmeade said it was still not clear how the treatment worked, but it appeared to involve cell signalling and part of the process of cell division. Large doses of testosterone also seemed to cause prostate cancer cells to make breaks in their DNA.

Cancer cells stopped dividing and turned “senescent”, meaning they “become like old men who sit around and tell stories but don’t make much trouble”, said the professor.

The harrowing impact of prostate cancer on families 
Each year around 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK and 11,000 die from the disease.

Dr Matt Hobbs, deputy director of research at the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Drugs that reduce the levels of testosterone (androgen deprivation therapy) are an effective treatment for thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer.

“However, at some point the cancer evolves and those drugs stop working. This research is intriguing because it offers a hint that – somewhat unexpectedly – for some men whose cancers have reached that ‘hormone-resistant’ stage it may be possible to kill or stop growth of the cancer cells by actually overloading them with testosterone.

“Many exciting new lines of attack against prostate cancer are emerging of which this is one.

“However, this is early stage research and further studies are needed in order to understand exactly how intriguing developments like this work and to test the findings more robustly in large clinical trials.”

The early findings from the on-going study were presented at at symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Munich, Germany.