Saturday, 30 August 2014

Do you know UberSocial , Sherina Sinna and Mario Teguh on Twitter?

The Zone Diets,
Some people you may know on Twitter
UberSocial @UberSoc
A full-featured, customizable Twitter app just for you. For support,...
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Sherina Sinna @sherinasinna
Official Twitter of Sherina | Indonesian | Musician | Science...
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Official Twitter of Mario Teguh, MT Management - SMS Hotline...
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Connect with others on Twitter.
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Monkey Trial Supports Ebola Drug That May Have Helped 2 Stricken Americans


All 18 rhesus monkeys infected with the virus survived after getting the experimental medication, researchers report

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental Ebola drug previously given to two American aid workers successfully cured a group of monkeys infected with the deadly virus in laboratory tests, researchers report.

The drug, ZMapp, prompted recovery in all 18 monkeys who received it, even if they didn't get the medication until five days after infection.

ZMapp even cured monkeys with advanced cases of Ebola who were days or even hours away from death, said study senior author Gary Kobinger, chief of special pathogens for the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"The level of improvement was beyond my own expectations," Kobinger said, noting that the drug cleared the liver damage, excessive bleeding and horrible rashes that are the hallmarks of Ebola infection.

This study provides some scientific evidence for the effectiveness of ZMapp, which aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol both received under "compassionate use" guidelines after contracting Ebola while in Liberia fighting the current outbreak in West Africa.

Brantly and Writebol successfully fended off the virus. They were flown home for treatment in the United States, and last week were released from hospital care in Atlanta.

The results of the monkey trial were published Aug. 29 in the journal Nature.

Because Brantly and Writebol were given ZMapp outside of a clinical trial, physicians and public health officials have been reluctant to fully credit the drug with their recovery. Further clouding the picture, a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest subsequently died from Ebola despite receiving the drug.

"We hope that initial safety testing in humans will be undertaken soon, preferably within the next few months, to enable the compassionate use of ZMapp as soon as possible," the researchers concluded in their paper.

The West Africa outbreak is the largest ever for Ebola, with 3,069 infected and 1,552 dead. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 20,000 people could become infected before the end of the outbreak.

In the face of this health-care crisis, a WHO expert panel ruled earlier this month that it would be ethical to treat Ebola patients with experimental medications like ZMapp.

"Given the severity of this condition and the fact that there's nothing else available, this is as good as it gets," Dr. Ambreen Khalil, an infectious disease specialist with Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said of the results from the ZMapp monkey trial. "Our focus should be now on the people who are rapidly dying in Africa. In those patients, ZMapp should be used, based on this study."

ZMapp is a cocktail of three laboratory-produced antibodies, which have been derived from two previous antibody cocktails for Ebola, Kobinger said.

source : Monkey Trial Supports Ebola Drug That May Have Helped 2 Stricken Americans
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Biggest Ever Weekly Rise in Ebola Cases, U.N. Agency Says


About 500 new infections reported across West Africa, including first case in Senegal

WebMD News from HealthDay

By HealthDay staff

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The West African Ebola outbreak took a more deadly turn Friday with the World Health Organization announcing an estimated 500 new cases this week -- the biggest jump in infections so far.

Most of the new cases arose in Liberia, the U.N. health agency said, but cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone also rose sharply, the Associated Press reported.

"There are serious problems with case management and infection prevention and control," according to the WHO report. "The situation is worsening in Liberia and Sierra Leone."

Senegal -- a prime tourist destination in the region -- has also now recorded its first case, an infected university student from Guinea who sought treatment at a hospital in Senegal's capital city, Dakar, the AP reported.

According to Senegal's Health Minister, Awa Marie Coll Seck, the young man had had contact with Ebola patients in Guinea and has now been placed under quarantine. Tests have confirmed he is infected with Ebola virus, the AP said.

The news follows a WHO update released on Thursday that warned that the deadly Ebola outbreak hitting five West African nations could eventually infect more than 20,000 people.

Already the largest Ebola outbreak ever, the viral infection has produced 3,069 cases so far and killed 1,552 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, with Senegal now added to that list.

Nearly 40 percent of the total number of reported cases have occurred in the past three weeks, the health agency said.

"This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases," Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations, said at a news conference, the AP reported.

In the meantime, many American universities say they plan to run extra health checks on college students arriving from the affected region.

According to the AP, about 30 students from Nigeria are expected to arrive this semester at the University of Illinois. According to Dr. Robert Palinkas, director of the university's health center, the Nigerian students will be asked to undergo a temperature check for signs of fever and to have a private discussion about Ebola when they arrive at the university health center for required immunization paperwork and tuberculosis testing.

Health experts stress that the threat to U.S. college students remains very small, but Palinkas told the AP that the added precautions should reassure parents.

"Parents are comforted to know that there is a screening process, that we are alert for it, that we are prepared for it," he said, "and that we're doing everything we can without infringing on the rights of anybody to make sure their son or daughter is going to have the lowest risk possible."

source : Biggest Ever Weekly Rise in Ebola Cases, U.N. Agency Says
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Tips for Hosting Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten-Free Guests


What you need to know if your party guests have special dietary needs.

By Amy Ahlberg
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD

Having a dinner party? Whether it's a special occasion or a casual get-together, you can serve delicious dishes that everyone will enjoy.

Before you plan your menu, check in with your guests. Is anyone avoiding salt because they have high blood pressure, or watching their fat because of high cholesterol? How about gluten or carbs? 

From allergies to preferences, there are a lot of reasons some foods don't work for some people. And there are great-tasting items you can serve for all of them.

Who Eats What

Vegetarians don't eat meat, poultry, or fish, but may eat dairy products and eggs. Variations on vegetarianism include:

Lacto-vegetarians don't eat meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, but do eat dairy.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians don't eat meat, poultry, or fish, but do eat eggs and dairy.

Pescatarians don't eat meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy, but do eat fish.

Vegans do not eat any animal products -- including meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and even honey, for some people. Whole grains, beans, lentils, and tofu are all popular vegan foods that you can easily include in main dishes.

Gluten-free diets completely avoid gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. There is no gluten in rice, potatoes, corn, or certain whole grains, including quinoa. There's much more than bread to watch out for, and you won't always see "gluten" on the ingredients list. For instance, malt (which is made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (which often contains wheat) are common ingredients in many grocery store items. Soy sauce contains wheat, as do many vinegars.

These are most of the foods that are off-limits for gluten-free diets: wheat, barley, rye, spelt, millet, pasta, bread, crackers, breaded or processed meat or fish, cake, cookies, beer, white vinegar, commercial salad dressing, instant coffee, malted milk, canned stock or soup, curry powders, dry seasoning blends, some gravy mixes, and canned tuna (except tuna containing only water and salt).

On the Side

Think mix and match. Offer a lot of side dishes, so people can pick and choose what they want.

Keep bread away from other foods, and don't use it in stuffings or soups, Los Angeles dietitian Rachel Beller, RD, says.

Take it easy on salt when you're cooking.  Your guests can add their own salt and pepper at the table, if they want to.

Leave the nuts out, too. Ansel agrees that it's easy to adapt dishes by serving specific ingredients on the side. "For vegetarians or vegans, you can make a meat-free pasta sauce for a spaghetti dinner and serve meatballs on the side," dietitian Karen Ansel says.

Everyone will have something that works for them, and that makes you a great host.

source : Tips for Hosting Vegan, Vegetarian, or Gluten-Free Guests
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Fish for Thanksgiving? How to Make It

WebMD Magazine - Feature

Bryan Caswell is chef and owner of Reef in Houston. Food & Wine magazine named him one of the top 10 best new chefs in 2009, and he has twice been nominated for a James Beard Award. Bon Appetit named Reef the best seafood restaurant in the 2008.

At Reef, fried mac and cheese and braised collards share the menu with kimchi and sweet and sour chard. His shrimp salad recipe blends some of his favorite flavors and, he says, it would fit right in on any holiday table. 'It's a perfect starter salad, light and crisp," Caswell says.

His favorite food: "Simply grilled fish just off the boat, with a little lemon and a little salad -- that's perfect."

Where he gets his best recipe ideas: "On the last mile of a run, something will often pop into my head. But inspiration can come from anywhere; you just have to be open to it."

The one lesson he thinks every home cook should learn: "Don't overcook your seafood. It only needs a little heat to be done, just to the point where it's slightly opaque."

Steamed Shrimp and Haricot Vert Salad

Makes 4 servings


  • 16 large shrimp, butterflied
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral flavored vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon hazelnut oil
  • 2 cups haricots verts, cooked, or green beans, cooked and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 Fresno or jalapeno chili, julienned
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1/4 cup pea shoots or other medium sprout
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecan halves


1. Season shrimp with kosher salt and pepper.

2. Butter a small baking dish and add vinegar and water. Add shrimp in a single layer and steam uncovered in a 250-degree oven until done, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Reserve cooking liquid, warm, and set aside.

4. To make dressing, mix soy sauce and vinegar together; slowly whisk in the oils until combined.

5. Toss salad ingredients in 3-4 tablespoons of dressing, then mound in center of four plates. Add a few pecans to each.

6. Place shrimp around the outside and drizzle some of the cooking liquid on them.

Per serving: 175 calories, 8 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 54 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 430 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 65%.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of

source : Fish for Thanksgiving? How to Make It
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5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools for Cooks

WebMD Magazine - Feature

Some of the best kitchen gifts are workhorses you will use all the time. Good tools make cooking faster, simpler, and more pleasurable.

Here are five must-have tools for every cook:

  1. One great knife (6 to 8 inches). Yes, just one. A good sharp knife will cut your prep time down.
  2. Hand-squeeze juicer. This is the quickest and easiest way to get great flavor on salads, fish, meat, and veggies. Place half a lemon or lime in the cup, clamp down, and you get fresh juice with no seeds, no electrical cords, and no big mess.
  3. Large wood or bamboo cutting board. A postcard-sized cutting board won't motivate you to chop up a bunch of fresh kale. A large board costs only about $15. Place it over your kitchen sink, and your counter space expands by almost 2 feet.
  4. Rimmed baking sheet. The rim keeps food from rolling off but doesn't create steam, so food caramelizes and develops a rich flavor quickly. Use it to roast asparagus, Swiss chard, or chicken breasts.
  5. Microplane grater. Use the super-sharp grater to zest lemons and limes or grate Parmesan cheese.

You can put many of those tools to use with this delicious veggie dish.

Sesame and Soy-Roasted Vegetables

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated or chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 sweet potato or garnet yam, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip or turnip, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, cut into eighths
  • Twist of fresh cracked pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and olive oil in a small bowl.

3. Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and coat with sesame and soy mix.

4. Spread vegetables on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper. Roast 20 minutes.

5. Stir vegetables on the tray with a spatula or wooden spoon and roast another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Per serving: 202 calories, 3 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 4 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 202 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 50%.

source : 5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools for Cooks
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No Idea What's for Dinner? Start Here

WebMD Magazine - Feature

Keep your freezer and pantry stocked with a few basics so you're always ready for a quick dinner you can make in 30 minutes or less. It helps to keep these items on hand:

Chicken breasts. Pound boneless, skinless breasts until they're thin, then freeze them. They thaw in under 30 minutes. Or throw them, still frozen, onto a hot grill pan, where (depending on thickness) they can cook in about 10 minutes. Add a big salad and rice, and you've got a full meal.

Pasta. Keep several whole-grain or vegetable-based (like spinach) varieties on hand, including spaghetti, penne, and egg noodles. For a super-nutritious quick meal, add sautéed or roasted veggies (think asparagus, zucchini, green beans, or broccoli), olive oil, and some grated cheese.

Canned beans. They're inexpensive, tasty, and packed with protein and fiber, and they're key to many last-minute dishes. Rinse them well to remove salt (or buy the no-salt variety). Try adding a bit of chopped garlic and tomato to white or cannellini beans for a delicious side dish with lamb, chicken, or beef. Simmer garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) with Indian spices (like garlic, coriander, and cumin), sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro, and serve with rice. Red kidney or black beans are a classic base for chili, burritos, or tacos.

Spices and other flavors. Flavoring is the trick to quick meals that taste like something you cooked for hours. Red chili flakes, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon, and garlic can spice up a last-minute dinner.

Recipe: Italian Beans

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, sage, or combination, finely chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 15-ounce cans Italian white (cannellini) beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1/4 cup canned tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Dash of salt


  1. Drizzle bottom of heavy-bottomed pot with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Stir in onion, herbs, and chili flakes. Cook until onions are soft, about 5 minutes, then add garlic.
  3. Sauté 2 more minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth.
  4. Cook 5 minutes. Serve with chopped parsley, pepper to taste, and a dash of salt.

source : No Idea What's for Dinner? Start Here
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Friday, 29 August 2014

Is Any Amount of Alcohol Good for Us?

WebMD Health News

Aug. 29, 2014 -- To drink or not to drink? It's a question not easily answered, at least when it comes to our health.

Although we’ve heard for years that moderate drinking is good for our hearts, several recent studies have questioned that long-held belief. And earlier this year, the World Health Organization issued a dire warning about cancer and alcohol. No amount of alcohol is safe, the report said.

So, if any alcohol raises our cancer risk, and if it might not offer a real benefit to our hearts, should we be drinking at all?

Cardiologist Michael Shapiro, DO, is not convinced that any amount of alcohol is good for us.

“It’s a common perception that alcohol, and red wine in particular, is helpful for the heart, but that perception is not based on any particularly good evidence,” Shapiro says. “If there is any benefit from alcohol -- and that’s not entirely clear -- it’s probably modest.”

Shapiro, who practices at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, says that much of the research touting alcohol’s heart health benefits doesn't show cause and effect. Does alcohol itself protect against heart attacks, or does the lower risk stem from some other factor or combination of factors? It’s not known.

“People who drink moderately also may have certain socio-economic factors and behavior patterns that promote health, and we’ve never been able to tease that out,” he says.

A recent BMJ review of more than 50 studies on alcohol and heart health supports Shapiro’s view. Researchers found that people with a form of a gene tied to lower levels of drinking had healthier hearts. That suggests that cutting down on drinking -- even for light or moderate drinkers -- benefits the heart.

Another recent study found that people who have as little as one or two drinks of wine or liquor may raise their odds of atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous form of irregular heartbeat.

Bright Side to 'Healthy' Drinking?

Like Shapiro, geriatrician Alison Moore, MD, MPH, is skeptical of studies about light to moderate drinking that tout health benefits but don't show cause and effect. But she says research has shown that this amount of drinking may play a positive role in numerous conditions, from heart health to diabetes to dementia.

Recent studies continue to support alcohol’s benefits. In June, the authors of a study in the journal Circulation reported that men and women who have four to six alcoholic drinks (i.e. 5-ounce glasses of wine or 1.5-ounce cocktails) per week were, respectively, 20% and 44% less likely to develop a potentially fatal ballooning of the aorta.  

And in April, early findings presented at a meeting of the National Kidney Foundation suggested that a little wine a day lowers the risk of chronic kidney disease. People who drank less than one glass of wine per day had a 37% lower risk than those who drank no wine at all.

“The data is convincing that truly moderate alcohol [drinking] does offer many health benefits,” says Moore, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. She researches alcohol’s effects on older groups of people. “For your average healthy person, it is not a bad thing.”

source : Is Any Amount of Alcohol Good for Us?
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Many Foods' 'Trans-Fat-Free' Claims False: Study


WebMD News from HealthDay

Aug. 29, 2014 -- Many processed foods contain more trans-fats than you might suspect, according to a New York City health department study.

That's because many of the products that claim to be trans-fat-free actually contain some of the unhealthy fats. The researchers examined 4,340 top-selling packaged foods and found that nine percent had trans-fats, NBC News reported.

Of the foods found to have trans-fats, 84 percent said they had 0 grams of the artery-clogging substance, according to the study in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

"This labeling is cause for concern because consumers, seeing the 0 g trans-fat on the Nutrition Facts label, are probably unaware that they are consuming trans-fat," wrote Jenifer Clapp, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and colleagues, NBC News reported.

source : Many Foods' 'Trans-Fat-Free' Claims False: Study
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'Doctor-Shopping' for Painkillers Common After Broken-Bone Surgery, Study Finds


1 in 5 patients sought narcotics from multiple physicians

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About one in five patients operated on for broken bones or other orthopedic trauma shops around for additional painkillers after surgery, a new study finds.

Less-educated patients and patients who had used narcotic painkillers previously were several times more likely to be "doctor shoppers," said study lead author Dr. Brent Morris, a shoulder and neck surgeon in Lexington, Ky. Overall, he said, the study suggests that doctors aren't talking to one another about the painkiller needs of their patients.

"There needs to be coordination if additional pain medications are needed," he said. "Patients should not be receiving multiple narcotic pain medication prescriptions from multiple providers without coordinating with their treating surgeon."

Use of narcotic painkillers for nonmedical purposes is a serious concern in the United States. Unintentional overdose deaths increased 124 percent from 1999 to 2007 largely because of prescription narcotics, according to background information in the study.

Doctor shoppers go to multiple physicians in search of prescription medications, often narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, or medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), said Julie Worley, an assistant professor of nursing at Rush University in Chicago, who has studied the trend.

Patients who doctor-shop are often addicted to painkillers or looking to get drugs they can sell, Worley said. Most states track prescriptions of narcotic painkillers to prevent abuse, but the systems "have many issues and aren't foolproof," she said. In addition, she said, physicians are often wary of confronting their patients.

In the new study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, researchers examined the medical and pharmacy records of 130 patients ages 18 to 64 who sought treatment at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2011.

They looked at painkiller prescriptions for three months before admission and six months after discharge. All of the patients suffered from single orthopedic injuries such as broken legs, ankles and arms.

"The surgeon that performed the operation is typically responsible for pain control immediately after surgery," Morris said. "Pain control after this type of surgery often requires narcotic pain medications for the first several weeks."

Overall, 21 percent of the patients tried to get narcotic painkillers from more than just the surgeon who treated them. Patients who weren't college-educated were 3.2 times more likely to try to get the drugs from more than one doctor, and those who had used narcotic painkillers before were 4.5 times more likely.

The doctor shoppers -- who were mostly white males -- used narcotics for about 3.5 months after surgery whereas single-provider painkiller users took them for four weeks on average, the study found. Many obtained seven or more narcotic prescriptions compared to two prescriptions for single-provider patients.

source : 'Doctor-Shopping' for Painkillers Common After Broken-Bone Surgery, Study Finds
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Could Too Much Salt Harm MS Patients?


Researchers find a link but say it's too soon to recommend reducing sodium intake

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Too much salt in the diet may worsen symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study from Argentina suggests.

"Many environmental factors affect MS, such as vitamin D, smoking and Epstein Barr virus infection. Our study shows that high salt intake may be another environmental factor affecting MS patients," said lead researcher Dr. Mauricio Farez, of the Raul Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system that causes weakness, visual disturbances, trouble with balance, numbness and thinking and memory problems. The most common form is called relapsing-remitting MS, meaning symptoms subside and then become worsen.

Earlier research found that salt may alter autoimmune response, which is involved in the development of MS.

Farez cautioned that this study does not show that salt causes MS to worsen, but there does seem to be an association.

"This is a small observational study showing a relationship between salt intake and MS disease activity, and these data need to be further validated in larger studies, including different populations," he said.

For the study, Farez's team measured the levels of sodium (the main component of salt), creatinine and vitamin D in the blood and urine of 70 patients with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. Creatinine is a marker of inflammation, and low levels of vitamin D have been associated with MS.

Sodium intake was divided into three levels: less than 2 grams daily, between 2 and 4.8 grams a day, and more than 4.8 grams daily. Current guidelines for heart disease prevention recommend a maximum sodium intake of 1.5 grams to 2.4 grams per day. At the upper end, that's just under half a teaspoon of table salt a day.

Farez's group found that people with daily sodium intake of between 2 and 4.8 grams and those who consume more than 4.8 grams -- a little less than a teaspoon of salt -- were up to four times more likely to have more episodes of worsening MS symptoms as those who consumed the least salt.

To check the progression of the disease in patients' brains, the researchers analyzed X-rays and scans. They found that patients who had the highest salt intake were about 3.4 times more likely to have their disease worsen, compared with those with the lowest salt intake.

Similar results were found in a second group of 52 MS patients, the researchers added.

"It is too soon to say that MS patients should cut their salt intake," Farez said. "Our findings could serve as a basis for clinical trials with salt restriction in MS patients," he said.

The report was published Aug. 28 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

source : Could Too Much Salt Harm MS Patients?
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Most U.S. Babies Get Their Vaccines: CDC


But booster shots and second doses lag for 2-year-olds, report finds

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The vast majority of American babies are getting the vaccines they need to protect them from serious illnesses, federal health officials said Thursday.

More than 90 percent of children are getting the vaccines that prevent measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); polio; hepatitis B and chickenpox (varicella), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Nationally, vaccination among children 19 to 35 months of age remains stable or has increased for all of the recommended vaccines, and that's really good news," said Dr. Melinda Wharton, acting director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"There is still room for improvement," she added. "Coverage is not as high as we would like it to be for doses of vaccines and boosters given in the second year of life."

Wharton suggested one way to improve vaccine coverage could be with electronic medical records to help doctors keep track of when vaccinations are needed.

While some parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated, or don't believe in vaccines at all, Wharton doesn't see this as a major problem. "The number of children who do not get any vaccine remains low and stable at less than 1 percent," she said.

Vaccines are essential in preventing sickness and death, the CDC said. "Among children born during 1994-2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths during their lifetimes," the CDC report stated.

The new findings were published in the Aug. 29 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report also found that:

  • the vaccination rate for rotavirus -- which causes gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting -- increased slightly from nearly 69 percent in 2012 to about 73 percent in 2013;
  • the vaccination rate for one or more doses of the hepatitis A vaccine rose from just under 82 percent in 2012 to 83 percent in 2013. And the rate for hepatitis B vaccines rose from nearly 72 percent to 74 percent for the same time period.

While initial vaccination rates are high, getting second doses and booster shots that are needed when children are 2 years old remains a challenge, Wharton said.

These vaccines include the DTaP vaccine, which prevents diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough); Hib, which protects against haemophilus influenzae type b, which can cause severe diseases like meningitis -- an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord; and the PCV vaccine, which prevents pneumococcal disease, which can trigger ear infections and meningitis.

Poor children are less likely to get booster shots, and the full series of polio, rotavirus and hepatitis B vaccines, according to the report.

source : Most U.S. Babies Get Their Vaccines: CDC
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How do I work out on a trampoline?


By Jodi Helmer
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD

Get ready to jump! You can torch 160 calories in half an hour of jumping on your mini-trampoline, and it's low-impact, too.

"You get an amazing workout and it’s so much fun," says Basheerah Ahmad, founder of the fitness consulting firm 360 Transformation. She encourages celebrity clients like Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, and Vivica A. Fox to use a mini trampoline in their exercise routines.

Fit these moves into your fitness regimen at least three times per week. For best results, repeat the sequence of three moves at least three times.

Basic Trampoline Bounce

The basic bounce "seems simple, but it burns a lot of calories," Ahmad says. It also tones your quads, glutes, and calf muscles.

1. Stand on the mini trampoline with your feet about 6 inches apart.

2. Bend your arms, keeping your elbows at your sides.

3. With a slight bend in your knees, lightly bounce up and down. Your feet should come about 6 inches off the trampoline.

4. Repeat 30 times.

Trampoline Prances

"This move will get your heart rate up and give you a great workout," Ahmad says.

1. Stand on the mini trampoline with your feet 6 inches apart.

2. With your hands on your hips and knees slightly bent, bounce on the balls of your feet, and alternate raising your right and left knees to hip level (mimicking the "knees up" running-in-place exercise from gym class).

3. Repeat 60 times (30 lifts per leg).

Trampoline Squats

"You have to engage your core muscles to perform this move on an unstable surface," Ahmad says.

1. Stand on the mini trampoline with your feet together and arms at your sides.

2. Jump up, spread your feet just wider than shoulder width, and land in a squat position with your knees bent and thighs parallel to the ground -- as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Your arms should be straight out in front of you.

3. Lightly bounce back to your starting position and repeat 20 times.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD Magazine."

source : How do I work out on a trampoline?
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Electrical Pulses to Scalp May Boost Memory: Study


But years of research remain before this therapy could treat brain disorders, experts say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have found that sending electrical currents through the scalp to a specific network of brain structures can enhance people's memories, for up to a day.

In a small study of healthy young adults, researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to fire up certain networks involved in memory. That, in turn, boosted participants' performance on memory tests -- an improvement apparent 24 hours after the brain stimulation.

During TMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp to create electrical currents that stimulate brain cells. In the United States, the procedure is approved for hard-to-treat cases of depression that don't improve with standard treatments.

Experts stressed, however, that no one should seek out TMS to get better grades or to treat memory loss.

"This study is really a proof-of-concept," said senior researcher Joel Voss, an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"It will take a lot more development before this could be used therapeutically," Voss said.

The study, which appears in the Aug. 29 issue of Science, included 16 healthy adults aged 21 to 40. All underwent MRI scans to pinpoint a network of brain cells right below the skull that are well connected with the hippocampus -- a structure deep in the brain that is key in memory.

The researchers hoped that by stimulating those superficial brain structures with TMS, they could rev up the hippocampus and improve people's memories.

To test that idea, Voss's team had the study participants take a test of associative memory, where they had to learn and remember a set of arbitrary associations between faces and words. The men and women then received 20 minutes of TMS every day for five consecutive days.

After three days, the researchers found, test performance started to improve. The gains were still there when the participants took the test 24 hours after the final TMS session.

It wasn't just a matter of the test-takers getting better over time, according to the researchers. On a separate week, study participants all had "placebo" TMS -- with no real brain stimulation -- and their test performance did not improve.

"This is a really interesting study," said Mary Sano, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

According to Sano, the results help identify the "pathways of memory consolidation" in the healthy brain. "That kind of basic knowledge is very important to understanding what goes wrong in disease," she said.

But she agreed that years of research remain before TMS could potentially be used to either treat memory problems -- from Alzheimer's disease, stroke or other brain disorders -- or to give healthy people a memory boost.

source : Electrical Pulses to Scalp May Boost Memory: Study
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Your Family's Germs May Move With You


Study found that bacteria followed people into their new home

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Your family carries its own unique population of bacteria that accompany you when you move to a new home, a new study finds.

Over the course of six weeks, seven families -- with a total of 18 people, three dogs and one cat -- swabbed their hands, feet and noses every day to collect samples of bacteria living in and on them. The participants also collected samples from household surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops and floors.

The samples underwent DNA testing to identify the different species of bacteria they contained.

"We wanted to know how much people affected the microbial community on a house's surfaces and on each other," study leader Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, said in a government news release.

The results showed that people have a major impact on the bacterial populations in their homes. For example, when three of the families moved, it took less than a day for their new homes to have the same bacteria populations as their old homes.

The researchers also found that regular physical contact between people had a strong effect. For example, in a home where there was a couple and another person, the couple shared many more bacteria. Married couples and their young children also shared many of the same bacteria.

Within homes, people's hands were most likely to have similar bacteria, while there was more variation in the types of bacteria in their noses. Homes with indoor-outdoor dogs or cats had more plant and soil bacteria, according to the study published Aug. 28 in the journal Science.

The findings suggest that by analyzing bacteria in a home, it would be possible to "predict whether a person has lived in this location, and how recently, with very good accuracy," Gilbert said.

In one case, the researchers tracked a potentially harmful strain of bacteria called Enterobacter. It first appeared on one person's hands, then the kitchen counter, and then another person's hands.

"This doesn't mean that the countertop was definitely the mode of transmission between the two humans, but it's certainly a smoking gun," Gilbert said. "It's also quite possible that we are routinely exposed to harmful bacteria -- living on us and in our environment -- but it only causes disease when our immune systems are otherwise disrupted."

The study provides new insight into the interaction between people and the bacteria that live in and on them, and play a role in their health.

"We know that certain bacteria can make it easier for mice to put on weight, for example, and that others influence brain development in young mice," Gilbert said.

"We want to know where these bacteria come from, and as people spend more and more time indoors, we wanted to map out the microbes that live in our homes and the likelihood that they will settle on us," he explained.

Learning more about bacteria is "essential for us to understand our health in the 21st century," Gilbert concluded.

source : Your Family's Germs May Move With You
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How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age


By Christina Boufis
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD

Do you need to change what and how you eat in your 50s, 60s, and beyond? Yes, though maybe not in ways you might think.

You need fewer calories every decade, says Connie Bales, PhD, RD, associate director of the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at Durham VA Medical Center. "We move around less, we have less muscle, and our metabolic rate goes down."

The challenge while eating less overall is to eat more nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, low-fat dairy products, and lean cuts of meat. 

As you age, your body needs the same amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals and, in some instances, even more nutrients.

Take vitamin B-12, for example. After age 50, your body's ability to absorb the vitamin often fades because you don't have as much stomach acid, which is needed to break B-12 down from food sources.

The same holds true for vitamin D. Aging skin is less able than younger skin to change sunlight to the vitamin. That, in turn, affects the body's ability to absorb calcium.

You need both vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone loss. Ask your doctor if you are getting enough of those must-have nutrients, and if you aren't, what foods you should eat and whether you need a supplement. If your doctor isn't sure, ask for a referral to a dietitian.

Also, make sure you drink water. That's important at any age, but in your later years, you may be less likely to notice your thirst, Bales says.

Perhaps the biggest myth about nutrition and aging? That older people are set in their ways. "That really is not true," Bales says. "I've found that most are really motivated about their health, and many of them are quite willing to try to change."

source : How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age
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Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People, U.N. Says


World Health Organization unveils $489 million plan to combat the outbreak in West Africa

WebMD News from HealthDay

By HealthDay staff

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deadly Ebola outbreak hitting four West African nations could eventually infect more than 20,000 people, the World Health Organization announced Thursday.

Already the largest Ebola outbreak ever, the viral infection has produced 3,069 cases so far and killed 1,552 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Nearly 40 percent of the total number of reported cases have occurred in the past three weeks, the health agency said.

"This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases," Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations, said at a news conference, the Associated Press reported.

Part of the problem, he said, is that the outbreak is occurring in large cities and broad sections of the affected countries.

"What we are seeing today, in contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks: multiple hotspots within these countries -- not a single, remote forested area, the kind of environments that have been tackled in the past. And then not multiple hotspots within one country, but international disease," Aylward said.

In response to the crisis, the U.N. health agency unveiled a battle plan Thursday that calls for stopping Ebola transmissions within six to nine months, while "rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread," the WHO said in a news release.

The plan calls for spending $489 million over the next nine months and enlisting 750 international workers and 12,000 national workers, the AP reported.

Also Thursday, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) said it would begin testing an experimental Ebola vaccine in humans next week. It will be tested in 20 healthy adults in Maryland to see if it's safe and able to produce an appropriate immune system response.

The vaccine was developed by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. It will also be tested on healthy volunteers in Great Britain and the West African nations of Gambia and Mali, the NIH said.

Earlier this week, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visited Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where he acknowledged that the virus currently has the "upper hand" in the outbreak.

"Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening," Frieden said during a meeting in Liberia, the AP reported. "But the virus still has the upper hand."

"Ebola doesn't spread by mysterious means, we know how it spreads," he said. "So we have the means to stop it from spreading, but it requires tremendous attention to every detail."

Unlike diseases such as tuberculosis or flu, Ebola isn't spread by breathing air from an infected person. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, according to the WHO.

source : Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People, U.N. Says
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Concussion Recovery Can Reverse After Return to Activity, Study Shows


Expert and researcher say the findings highlight need for slow return to playing field

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Athletes who seem to have recovered from a concussion may actually show a subtle worsening in a particular mental ability after they return to exercise, a small study suggests.

The findings come from a study of 19 high school athletes who suffered a concussion and then got medical clearance to return to physical activity -- most often football, although a few were on soccer, wrestling or volleyball teams.

Researchers found that for 12 of those athletes, a particular mental ability that had been improving post-concussion reversed course once they were up and moving again.

Specifically, the athletes' ability to simultaneously walk and do simple mental tasks "regressed," the researchers report in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

In real-life terms, that means walking down the street while talking to a friend would be a bit harder, explained Li-Shan Chou, one of the researchers on the study.

The shift would be too subtle for a person to actually notice, said Chou, a professor of human physiology at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

But he and his colleagues were able to detect the regression in lab tests where the athletes walked while performing basic mental tasks -- like listening to a spoken word, then saying whether it was a high or low pitch.

What does it all mean? That's not clear, said Kenneth Podell, a concussion expert who was not involved in the study.

For one, since the study group was so small, the findings need to be replicated in larger studies to know whether they are "real," according to Podell, co-director of the Houston Methodist Concussion Center in Texas.

He also questioned how the athletes could show an improvement in their test performance early on, when they were "most concussed," but then worsen after all their other signs and symptoms had improved.

Chou agreed that the implications of his findings are unclear. For now, he said the study highlights the importance of giving concussions time to heal.

"Have patience, and give the brain time to recover," Chou added.

According to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), more than 1 million athletes in the United States suffer a concussion each year.

Concussion symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears, fatigue and confusion -- though these problems may not become noticeable until hours after the jolt to the head. And contrary to popular belief, concussions usually do not cause unconsciousness.

When athletes are recovering from a concussion, the "standard of care" is to gradually return them to physical activity before they can get back on the field, Podell said.

In fact, all 50 states and the District of Columbia now have some kind of law on youth concussions, protecting athletes from returning to the playing fields too soon.

source : Concussion Recovery Can Reverse After Return to Activity, Study Shows
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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Can't Do Yoga? Think Again


If you've ruled out yoga for physical reasons, it might be time to reconsider.

WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD

If you think you're not the yoga type, think again. Just about anyone can do it, and it's not about bending yourself into a pretzel.

For men and women of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, yoga builds strength and balance. It's also a great way to ease stress.

"In a gym, you're really pushing yourself to go further when you're working out. In yoga, it's the opposite. The poses encourage all the range of motion that the body is designed to do," says Megan Dunne Krouse, a yoga instructor in Chicago.

yoga class


Doing Yoga When You're Overweight

When Megan Garcia signed up for yoga at Smith College, she felt intimidated because she was the only overweight person in the class. She stuck with it, though, and noticed she started  gaining strength, plus feeling and sleeping better, too.

Now she is a plus-sized model and Kripalu-certified yoga instructor who teaches in New York and specializes in teaching yoga to people of all shapes and sizes.

Garcia found that yoga changed her in unexpected ways.

"Before I started doing yoga, I really lived life from the neck up," she says. "After yoga, I began to really feel at home in my skin. If I didn't have yoga, I can't imagine feeling so good in my body. Yoga has made it comfortable for me to sit on the floor, to twist, to bend. It grounds me in my body."

RaeAnn Banker, who owns River Yoga in Lahaska, PA, started taking yoga classes on her 42nd birthday as a present to herself.

"I was overweight, and since my mother was morbidly obese, I knew I better do something or I was going to end up just like her," Banker says.

"It took several months of driving by the yoga center before I got up the courage to go in. But once I started, I loved the classes. I was the weakest student in the class, but I kept going," Banker says. "I ended up losing 35 pounds over the next 2 years and becoming a yoga teacher. Yoga literally changed my life."

Yoga With Paralysis

Matthew Sanford, who has been paralyzed from the chest down since a car accident at age 13, says yoga has helped him "live more vibrantly."

"I was hooked right away," says Sanford, who is now a yoga instructor in Minnetonka, Minn., and the author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence.

Sanford recalls his first yoga class: "I got out of my wheelchair and took my legs wide into a V. It was really, really emotional. Tears were coming down my face. I didn't understand how I could feel so much."

Sanford knows some people may question why he tried it. "The answer is it's your birthright. And that's true, whether you're disabled or not," he says.

"Yoga doesn't discriminate," he says. "Yoga will make you feel good. Yoga, at its root, is about bringing more awareness to action and to movement. The more you get in your body, the more connected you are to the world."

source : Can't Do Yoga? Think Again
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Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa Pilaf, and Cauliflower and Broccoli Au Gratin

WebMD Expert Column

Traditional green bean casserole or sweet potatoes are classic side dishes at Thanksgiving. This year, why not add one or two new seasonal sides?

Choose from Brussels sprouts and bacon, quinoa pilaf with cranberries and pecans, or cauliflower gratin.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon


8 cups trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts (quartered, if large), about 2 pounds

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped shallot (about 2 large shallots)

5 slices turkey bacon, finely chopped (6 slices center-cut bacon can be substituted, but then delete the olive oil)

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme can be substituted)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put Brussels sprouts in a large microwave-safe dish. Cover the Brussels sprouts with cold water, and then use a lid to drain most of the water out of the dish. Cover the dish and microwave on high until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high. Stir in the shallot and bacon pieces over medium-high heat until onion is golden and bacon is browned and crisp (about 3 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in Brussels sprouts, thyme, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for a minute or 2 to blend flavors and allow flat edges of Brussels sprouts to brown.

Yield: Makes about 8 servings

Per serving: 135 calories, 8 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fat, 1.3 grams saturated fat, 3.2 grams monounsaturated fat, 1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 6 grams fiber, 250 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 40%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.2 grams, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.1

Quinoa Pilaf With Cranberries and Pecans

Quinoa Pilaf Ingredients:

2 cups dry whole-grain quinoa

4 cups water

2/3 cup dried cranberries

4 to 6 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 cup finely chopped celery

2/3 cup toasted pecan pieces

Citrus Vinaigrette Ingredients:

4 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Add quinoa and water to rice cooker, and cook until quinoa is soft and water has been absorbed. Add quinoa to large serving bowl and let cool about 15 minutes. If you don’t have a rice cooker, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in 4-quart saucepan. Add quinoa and bring back to boil. Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the water.
  2. Stir dried cranberries, red onion, celery, and pecans into quinoa.
  3. In a small bowl, combine citrus vinaigrette ingredients with a whisk. Drizzle over quinoa mixture and toss to blend ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate pilaf until ready to serve.

Yield: Makes about 12 side servings

Per serving: 227 calories, 5 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fat, 1.1 grams saturated fat, 7 grams monounsaturated fat, 2.9 grams polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.3 grams fiber, 58 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 43%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.2 grams, Omega-6 fatty acids = 2.7 grams.

source : Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa Pilaf, and Cauliflower and Broccoli Au Gratin
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Polyp Removal Doesn't Always Signal Raised Colon Cancer Risk, Study Says


Findings suggest doctors may repeat colonoscopies unnecessarily

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors may be performing too many repeat colonoscopies on people who've had pre-cancerous polyps removed during an earlier colon cancer screening, a new Norwegian study suggests.

Many of these patients have no greater risk of dying from colon cancer than the general public, the researchers determined.

People who have a single low-risk polyp removed have a much lower risk of colon cancer, compared to both the general public and patients who have multiple polyps or aggressive polyps removed, said lead author Dr. Magnus Loberg, a lecturer in health management and health economics at the University of Oslo.

These low-risk patients likely don't need the aggressive follow-up called for under current guidelines, Loberg said.

"These findings support more intense surveillance of the high-risk group, but should maybe lead to reconsideration of the guidelines regarding the low-risk group," he said. The study is published in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Current guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society call for repeat colonoscopy at 5 to 10 years for patients who have one or two small, non-aggressive polyps removed, based on risk factors such as family history and prior health problems. People with large or aggressive polyps are encouraged to receive repeat colonoscopy every 3 years.

About one-quarter of all colonoscopies performed in the United States are done as increased cancer surveillance for patients who had polyps removed during earlier colonoscopies, said Dr. David Lieberman, chief of gastroenterology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore.

"That's a lot of colonoscopy, and if we don't need to do as many, that potentially would free up more resources and enable more screening exams to be done on new patients," Lieberman said.

"These data would suggest a 10-year follow-up would be fine for most patients with low-risk polyps," he added.

The study involved nearly 41,000 patients in Norway who had colorectal polyps removed during a colonoscopy between 1993 and 2007.

Researchers sorted the patients as low-risk or high-risk based on the size of the removed polyp, and whether they had more than one polyp removed. They then tracked how many died from colon cancer through 2011.

Patients in Norway who had a single polyp smaller than 1 centimeter removed during an earlier colonoscopy had a 25 percent reduced chance of death from colon cancer, compared to the general population, researchers found.

At the same time, patients who had multiple polyps or larger polyps removed ran a 16 percent increased risk of colon cancer death.

"As expected, the high-risk group had increased risk of colorectal cancer death compared with the general population, while the low-risk group had a stronger risk reduction," Loberg said. "This really questions the recommendations that are given now" for low-risk patients.

Lieberman noted that since the study took place in Norway, it might not correspond perfectly to America.

For example, Norway had no colon screening program set up during the study period, so the people who underwent colonoscopy likely had symptoms that led doctors to suspect some sort of health problem.

Also, Norway is less ethnically diverse than the United States, which could make a difference, he said.

"It would be important to try to get this kind of information in the United States, to better inform our screening policies," said Lieberman, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

source : Polyp Removal Doesn't Always Signal Raised Colon Cancer Risk, Study Says
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MERS Virus Doesn't Seem to Spread Easily, Study Finds


5 percent chance of getting it, while experts cite a 25 percent chance of catching flu

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus are unlikely to pass it to others in their household, a new study suggests.

Mostly confined to countries in the Middle East so far, the virus has infected 837 people and killed at least 291, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"A lot of speculations have been made that MERS spreads significantly among family members and household contacts of active cases," said study lead researcher Dr. Ziad Memish, Saudi Arabia's assistant deputy minister of health for preventive medicine.

Memish's team studied 26 patients with MERS and their 280 household contacts. The researchers found that 12 people among the 280 household contacts came down with MERS.

According to Memish, that puts the odds of getting MERS from another person at about 5 percent.

"It's reassuring that very low transmission takes place at home among family contacts, and the majority of transmission occurs at health-care facilities," Memish said.

In fact, 25 percent of all MERS cases have been among health-care workers, according to WHO.

The new study's findings were published in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, agreed with the findings, saying, "MERS is not very contagious."

By comparison, the odds of catching the flu from a close contact are 25 percent, Siegel said. "If someone in your household has flu, there's a one in four chance you're going to get it," he said.

With measles, the chances of getting the disease from an infected person in your household are even higher, hitting 90 percent, Siegel said.

"This study shows that the chances of MERS becoming widespread is small," he said.

Siegel added that this low transmission rate has kept the virus largely confined to the Middle East, and the cases seen outside the region have been among people who traveled or worked in that area.

MERS can start with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is a common complication. Diarrhea has also been reported by some patients, the WHO said.

Severe cases of MERS can cause respiratory failure requiring breathing support in an intensive care unit. Some patients suffer kidney failure or septic shock.

The virus causes more severe disease in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with such chronic diseases as diabetes, cancer and lung disease, the agency said.

source : MERS Virus Doesn't Seem to Spread Easily, Study Finds
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Light Therapy a Good Option for Pre-Cancerous Skin Lesions, Study Says


But it's more painful, time consuming than common treatment, dermatologist notes

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Treating pre-cancerous skin spots with a type of light therapy may be more effective than the usual therapy -- freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen, a new study suggests.

Rough, scaly spots, called actinic keratoses, are often found on the scalp and face of people with fair complexions who've had a lot of sun exposure.

This review of prior research found that people who underwent the light treatment -- called photodynamic therapy -- were 14 percent more likely to have the lesion completely cleared three months later than those who had the freezing treatment known as cryotherapy.

Photodynamic therapy "is associated with better outcomes," said Dr. Daniel Eisen, the study's lead author. "It's a relatively new treatment. Freezing has been done for decades."

Eisen, director of aesthetic dermatology at the University of California, Davis Health System, said photodynamic therapy involves placing a light-sensitive liquid medication on a patient's skin. The doctor shines a special light on the area, which activates the drug, killing the cells of the lesion.

He doesn't think that photodynamic therapy will replace other treatments, however. "It's going to be an additional option," he said.

The treatment might be a good alternative for people who have 20 or 30 lesions, he said, since photodynamic therapy can treat them all at once, while cryotherapy deals with each lesion individually.

The report was published online Aug. 27 in JAMA Dermatology.

Dr. Harvey Lui, a Canadian dermatologist, is less of a fan of photodynamic therapy, which is also known as PDT.

"There are economic barriers, barriers related to the tolerability of the treatment, and barriers because the treatment is time consuming," said Lui, head of dermatology and skin science at the University of British Columbia and co-author of an accompanying journal editorial.

Insurance coverage for photodynamic therapy is spotty, with some insurers covering it and others not, he explained. Photodynamic therapy is, however, covered by Medicare, the publicly funded insurance program for the elderly in the United States.

Photodynamic therapy also takes hours longer than cryotherapy, Lui said. "You have to apply the medication, have the patient wait and then shine the light on the skin. You stack that up against cryotherapy where I dispense liquid nitrogen on the lesion and I'm finished," he said.

Also, photodynamic therapy "hurts when we activate the medication," he said. "It seems for many patients, the pain is much more than what they experience with cryotherapy."

Lui thinks a better, less expensive and less painful way of using the treatment is to apply the medication and let patients expose themselves to sunlight, which will activate the drug.

"We can use sunlight to treat a disease that was caused by sun exposure," Lui said.

source : Light Therapy a Good Option for Pre-Cancerous Skin Lesions, Study Says
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