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Archive for January, 2016

ASTHMA STORIES THAT HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE SUFFERER

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

inhalers for asthmatics image www.newcures (1)inhalers for asthmatics image www.newcures (3)

Two Lead Stories lately (the “asthma stories”) were by far the most-suggested stories by readers recently. I think every one of them just suggested one or the other, and they probably didn’t know about the other. The two stories, which happened about a week apart, and about 165 miles apart, are pretty amazing together.

But let’s not just point at Texas: it happens all over. And I’m certainly not being overly dramatic by saying this can be a life or death situation. Ryan Gibbons, 12, of Straffordville, Ont., Canada (you know ZT is international, right?) died October 9, 2012, because his school wouldn’t let him carry his inhaler with him. They literally took it away from him.

Ryan’s mother campaigned for a new law to force schools to allow kids to have their inhalers with them. It took three years, but Ontario passed it — and apparently Ontario is still the only Canadian province to have such a law. It’s called “Ryan’s Law”. Yet “There are still school boards all across this country and schools within those boards that don’t allow children to carry their puffers,” said Rob Oliphant, president of the Asthma Society of Canada. “It’s usually part of a blanket understanding of medications, so they say medications are unsafe, they have that idea in their head, so they lock them up in the principal’s office.”

Bryant Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa., did not allow Laporshia Massey, 12, to have her inhaler. Worse, students there are not allowed to take medications without a school nurse present. You guessed it: there was no nurse on duty on September 25, 2013, when Massey had an asthma attack. Rather than call 911, the school took the girl home, where she died. Her parents sued the school.

Those are just two cases I found in a quick search: there are more. “Certainly as a doctor we think about controlled substances like narcotics or illegal or illicit drugs like marijuana and they are nowhere near the same category,” says Dr. Gary Weinstein, director of the Asthma Management Program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, commenting on the Garland case. Yet schools freak out because inhalers are “drugs” and we must “Just Say No!” to “drugs” because that’s the zero tolerance way. Meth and cocaine are not the same as albuterol inhalers, which “have little potential for abuse,” Weinstein says. Yet after all these years — and death after death — schools can’t seem to grasp the difference. A drug is a drug is a drug.

The nurse at Volusia County (Fla.) School watched as Michael Rudi, 17, collapsed on the floor from an asthma attack. He had made it to the office in time, but the nurse wouldn’t give him his inhaler because she didn’t find a medical release form signed by a parent. His inhaler was there, in its original packaging with Michael’s name on it (and his doctor’s!), yet without that form they wouldn’t give it to him. They called his mother, but she was not allowed to give permission over the phone; she had to come to the school and sign the form. “As soon as we opened up the door, we saw my son collapsing against the wall on the floor of the nurse’s office while she was standing in the window of the locked door looking down at my son, who was in full-blown asthma attack,” Sue Rudi says. She barely got there in time: her son lived. “I believe that when I closed my eyes I wasn’t going to wake up,” the boy said later. He was sure he was going to die.

Cheryl Selesky, the district’s Director of Student Health Services, insisted it was Michael’s parents’ fault for not being sure a new signed form was on file — none of the forms they had signed for the previous school years were good enough. Following her rule was more important than Michael’s life. The school couldn’t even be bothered to call 911. And that’s with a trained nurse present!

Kids need to be part of their own healthcare: they know when they need life-saving medications, and teachers and school administrators have no business butting in and taking those medications away. Having them locked up in the school office is no substitute even when there is a nurse on duty. Kids with medical problems have enough problems with bullies among their fellow students. To institutionalize the bullying by making kids gasping for breath walk or be carried to the office to beg for life-saving medications, because they’re “controlled substances” not differentiated from marijuana, is absurd, and not in the best interest of the kids, society, or the taxpayers who have to foot the bill when the schools are sued over their gross negligence, allowing — even forcing — the deaths of the pupils in their care. It’s downright sadistic.

U.S. News and World Report magazine reported in 2012 that “all 50 states have laws that allow children with asthma to carry inhalers at school and 48 states have laws that let youngsters carry epinephrine pens for serious allergies,” yet “experts say that some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day.” Obviously, in 2016 that’s still the case.

When school officials get in the middle of the care between a child and their doctors, those school officials need to be personally liable for their decisions: no hiding behind “policy” or “zero tolerance” whether there’s a law or not. They need to be sued and lose their jobs and homes, and local authorities should consider criminal charges — and prosecutors should press for prison time. Hell, that happens all the time when people treat animals that way, so why don’t we press charges when school administrators treat children this way? This crap needs to stop, and right now: there is no reason for these children to suffer, even die, when help is so easily available.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

Concerns lung cancer screening for smokers may do more harm than good

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

In current smokers, Dr Fraser Brims said about half would have an abnormality detected on a CT scan, but for 95 per cent of those people, that abnormality would not be cancer image www.newcures.info

In current smokers, Dr Fraser Brims said about half would have an abnormality detected on a CT scan, but for 95 per cent of those people, that abnormality would not be cancer.

Photo: The New England Journal of Medicine

Lung cancer screening tests aimed at smokers with few symptoms of the disease may be causing more harm than good while experts try to assess the merits of a co-ordinated screening program in Australia, doctors warn.

Some Australian radiology clinics are offering smokers CT scans of their lungs to see if they have cancer, which is easier to treat if detected early.

While early detection through scans may improve someone’s chance of survival, experts say smokers are more likely to get a false positive result that leads to potentially harmful biopsies and surgery.

In rare cases, those investigations can be fatal because of an infection or bleeding, for example.

There is also a significant risk that somebody will be “over-diagnosed” with a cancer that is not going to cause any clinically significant harm during their lifetime. The trouble is, doctors cannot always differentiate between the cancers that will and won’t cause harm.

Dr Fraser Brims, a physician at Sir Charles Gairdner​ Hospital in Perth, said more research was required to assess the pros and cons of co-ordinated lung cancer screening for people at high risk, such as those aged over 50 who had smoked a pack a day, on average, for 30 years.

In current smokers, he said about half would have an abnormality detected on a CT scan of their lungs, but for 95 per cent of those people, that abnormality would not be cancer.

“We don’t want people with abnormalities to have high [radiation] dose scans, biopsies and surgery when they might not need it,” he said.

Dr Brims said screening smokers with CT scans had been shown to reduce deaths by about 20 per cent in the US, where authorities were implementing screening for some high-risk people.

However, he said Australia needed to do more research on whether those findings applied here.

In the Medical Journal of Australia, he and two colleagues wrote: “The challenge facing Australia is the translation of international results into sustainable, cost-effective clinical practice, ensuring that the desired benefit outweighs the known harms, at the same time as enhancing tobacco control policies.”

Last year, the Australian government’s standing committee on screening said it did not support lung cancer screening for either the general population or high-risk people and would continue to evaluate emerging research.

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

Home Remedies for Psoriasis

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

1…Lay It on Thick

woman_applying_lotion_image www.newcures.info

Looking for a way to ditch the itch? A heavy cream can be the answer. Try petroleum jelly or another thick moisturizer. It locks water into your skin to help it heal and reduce the redness.

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2…Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Scalp >> www.handyhomehints.com

apple_cider_vinegar_in_bottle_image www.newcures.info

It’s more than just a salad dressing. Put some on your head a few times a week — either full strength or mixed with water. It’s a recipe for relief when your scalp calls out “scratch me.”Rinse it off after it dries so you won’t get an irritation. And don’t use this stuff if your scalp is bleeding or cracked. The vinegar will make it feel like it’s burning.

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3…Get a Little Sun

african_american_woman_in_sun_image www.newcures.info

Spend some time in the great outdoors. The sun’s ultraviolet B rays can help fight your psoriasis.

But don’t overdo it! Stick to 5 or 10 minutes a day and use sunscreen on spots without psoriasis. Too much sun can raise your risk of skin cancer.

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4…”Season” Your Bath

scoop_of_epsom_salts-image www.newcures.info

Want to shed some scales and soothe your skin? Put Dead Sea or Epsom salts into a tub with warm water. Soak for about 15 minutes, and use a moisturizer when you’re done to seal the water in.

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4…Capsaicin  >> www.foodpassions.net

red_chilli_peppers_image www.newcures.info

It’s the ingredient that makes chili peppers hot, and it’s got a place in your bag of tricks.  Researchers say it can cut pain, inflammation, and redness. You’ll find it in over-the-counter creams.

But a note of caution: Some people say it gives them a burning feeling when they put it on their skin.

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5…Turmeric

turmeric_powder_capsules_images www.newcures.info

You might know it as the yellow herb that shows up in foods with a curry sauce. Studies show it may cut down your psoriasis flare-ups. You can try it as an ingredient in your meals or as a supplement.

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6…Tea Tree Oil

australian_tea_tree_leaves_image www.newcures.info

It comes from a plant that’s native to Australia, but you don’t have to go that far to get relief. Shampoos made with this oil may help with psoriasis on your scalp, though more research is needed.

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7…Soak in Oats

scoops_of_oats_in_spa_bath_image www.newcures.info

It’s a natural way to soothe your skin. Put some ground-up oats in your bath, sit back, and relax. Just make sure the water is warm, not hot, so you don’t irritate your skin.

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8…Meditation and Yoga

women_in_yoga_class_image www.newcures.info

Cut down your stress to shake off your symptoms. Meditation can help you take your psoriasis in stride.

Yoga is especially helpful if you have psoriatic arthritis, because it eases joint pain and increases your range of motion.

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9…Wrap It Up! >> www.handyhomehints.com

woman_wrapping_arm_in_clingwrap_image newcures.info

Put cream on your skin at bedtime and cover the area with plastic wrap. Then add a layer of tight clothing — like gloves or socks.The idea is to seal the moisturizer in overnight and let your skin absorb it.

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10…Omega-3 Fatty Acids  >> www.foodpassions.net

salmon_on_salad_image www.newcures.info

They fight inflammation, and you can find them in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. You can also buy fish oil supplements

But just how much they help with psoriasis isn’t so clear. Studies have mixed results, so get your doctor’s advice.

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11…Oregon Grape >> www.pythonjungle.com

oregon_grape_leaves-image www.newcures.info

The name’s a little misleading. It’s an evergreen plant, not really a grape. It’s shown some promise in studies.

The plant’s formal name is Mahonia aquifolium. Look for creams in which it’s 10% of the ingredients.

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12…Mediterranean Diet  >> www.foodpassions.net

mediterranean_salad_with_fish_image www.newcures.info

This eating plan puts the focus on fish, fruits and veggies, and whole grains. A small study shows it might make your symptoms less severe.

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13…Aloe Vera  >> www.sunblestproducts.com

aloe_vera_and_skin_cream_image www.newcures.infp

Studies suggest this plant can improve psoriasis. Get gel or cream with 0.5% aloe vera in it and put it on your skin.

But steer clear of tablets. There’s no evidence that they help.

WHY SETTLE FOR LESS THAN 100% PURE

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GET 100% PURE ORGANIC ALOE VERA LEAF DIRECT HERE FROM AUSTRALIA

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Henry Sapiecha

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DO THESE THINGS CAUSE CANCERS?

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

1…Artificial Sweeteners

sugar_and_artificial_sweeteners_in_bowl_image www.newcures.info

Despite all the talk — and chain emails — there’s no proof that these sugar stand-ins raise your risk of cancer. Saccharine did cause cancer in rats, but their bodies react to it differently than ours, researchers say. There hasn’t been a cancer warning label on it since 2000. A study of aspartame in people found no link either.

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2…X-rays

dental_xrays_front_image www.newcures.info

Your dentist covers you in a lead blanket for a reason. Even low doses of X-rays raise your chances of getting cancer, but only by a small amount. In general, the higher the dose of radiation, the more the risk. But there’s no amount of this kind of radiation that’s totally safe. That’s why the EPA limits how much you can get.

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3…Cell Phones  >>> www.freephonelink.net

businessman_using_hands_free_cell_phone_image www.newcures.info

This gadget, which you keep near all the time, gives off the same type of energy as microwave ovens. So far, it hasn’t been linked to cancer, but more research is needed. Just to be safe:

  • Save it for short chats or when there’s no landline.
  • Use a hands-free device.

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3…Meat  >>> www.foodpassions.net

sausages_on_a_grill_image www.newcures.info

Whether it’s processed or red, you need less of it in your life. Just one hot dog a day could boost your chances of getting colon cancer.  Luncheon meats, cold cuts, and hot dogs all have preservatives called nitrites, which cause cancer. Smoking meats or cooking them at a high temperature creates compounds called PAHs. Studies are under way to see how they affect people.

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4…Bottled Water  >> www.h2o-water.com

asian_woman_drinking_bottled_water_outdoors_image www.newcures.info

If your bottle is clear plastic, it probably has bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical is used in food and drink containers, dental sealants, and other products. Does it cause cancer? The FDA says no, BPA is safe at current levels found in foods. If you’re concerned, avoid canned foods and store chow and drinks in clear plastic. For hot food, use glass or steel instead.

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5…Sex >>> www.club-libido.com & >>>> www.clublibido.com.au

man_opening_condom_wrapper_image www.newcures.info

It’s true. Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection, can cause cervical and other cancers. Most adults who have sex will get this virus at some point. But they won’t all get cancer. Most of the time, HPV goes away by itself. To lower your risk:

  • Get vaccinated if you’re a female aged 11-26 or a male aged 11-21.
  • Use condoms during sex.
  • Have sex with only one partner.

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6…Dental Fillings >> www.perfectwhiteteeth.net

amalgam_filling_in_tooth_image www.newcures.info

Don’t call the dentist to have your metal filings removed and replaced. Experts say your current ones are safe. Studies have found no link between fillings with mercury and cancer — or any other disease.

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7…Coffee >> www.foodpassions.net

asian_woman_drinking_coffee_image www.newcures.info

If you feel your day doesn’t really start until you’ve had a shot of caffeine, you’ll love this. New research shows that drinking moderate amounts of coffee (around four cups daily) lessens the risk of some types of cancer, among them skin, liver, and colon.

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8…Deodorant and Antiperspirant

woman_applying_deodorant_image www.newcures.info

Scientists say more research is needed to know for sure if these products boost the odds of breast cancer. They have different jobs — deodorant blocks the smell and antiperspirant stops sweat. Many use chemicals that act like the hormone estrogen, which causes cancer cells to grow. These include benzylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

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9…Fluoride  >> www.h2o-water.com    >> www.perfectwhiteteeth.net

closeup_of_green_mouthwash_image www.newcures.info

This compound is found in water and other drinks and in food, toothpastes, and mouth rinses. Though many studies have looked for links between it and cancer, most researchers says there’s no strong tie. If you’re worried about it, you can ask the Environmental Protection Agency how much is in your drinking water. If it’s high, switch to bottled spring water, which usually has the least.

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10…Household Products  >> www.handyhomehints.com

colorful_paint_can_lids_and_roller_image www.newcures.info

Many pesticides, paints, varnishes, and waxes give off gases known as volatile organic compounds  (VOCs). So do some cleaning, cosmetic, automotive, and hobby products. These gases have been linked to cancer in humans and animals. To cut your risk choose products labeled low-VOC and biodegradable when possible. Avoid items labeled as:

  • Danger/Poison
  • Corrosive
  • Severely Irritating
  • Highly Flammable
  • Highly Combustible
  • Strong Sensitizer

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11..Power Lines >> www.energy-options.info

power_lines_image www.newcures.info

Anything that makes, sends, or uses electricity gives off extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation. There’s no proof that it causes cancer. Still, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says there’s cause for “limited concern.” To be safe, stay at least an arm’s length away from electrical devices. If you live close to a power line and you’re worried, get a gizmo called a gaussmeter. You can use it to measure the ELF fields near you.

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12…Pollution

shanghai_skyline_smog_image www.newcures.info

Air pollution causes over 220,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide a year (most of them in Asia). There’s also a link between dirty air and a higher risk of bladder cancer. But the odds for any one person are low. To cut your chances, listen to local smog alerts. Try to stay inside on days when the air quality is poor.

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ooo

Henry Sapiecha

Dealing With Cold Sores #16 points

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

1…What You Need to Know

woman_touching_lip_image www.newcures.info

Cold sores are proof that life can be unfair: Some people get them, others don’t. Besides being itchy and painful, cold sores (also called fever blisters) make you feel self-conscious. Some treatments can cut short the symptoms when used at the first sign of an outbreak. Other treatments can relieve symptoms. Use this pictorial guide to learn how to recognize, prevent, and treat cold sores.

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2…Don’t Blame Your Cold

cold_sore_blisters_image www.newcures.info

Cold sores aren’t caused by the common cold. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), passed on through contact with infected skin or body fluids. There are two types of HSV, type 1 and type 2. Cold sores are usually caused by type 1. HSV-1 damages the skin as it reproduces, creating cold sores that last about a week. Between outbreaks, HSV-1 hides inside nerve cells, so it’s never completely cured.

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3…Who Gets Cold Sores and Why

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More than half of us have been infected with the HSV-1 virus, usually from well-meaning kisses from relatives or romantic partners. So why do only an unlucky few get cold sores? The answer may be in your genes. One study identified six genes that many cold sore sufferers share. Three of those genes may relate to how HSV-1 reactivates itself, causing outbreaks.

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4…Stress Can Trigger a Cold Sore

man_driving_image www.newcures.info

HSV-1 spends most of its time inactive, hiding in nerves. Many people have familiar triggers that tend to bring HSV-1 out of seclusion, causing cold sores. Sunlight, fever, stress, and menstruation are common triggers. Some people get cold sores twice a year; for others, it’s a frustrating, stressful, monthly ritual.

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5…Canker Sores Aren’t the Same

herpes_with_canker_sore_inset_image www.newcures.info

Cold sores usually appear on the lip; canker sores affect the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren’t caused by the herpes virus and aren’t contagious. No one knows what causes them. Cold sores generally start with red, irritated skin. Blisters form, break open, and crust over before healing.

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6…When You’re Contagious

oozing_cold_sore_image www.newcures.info

A cold sore is caused by skin damage as the herpes virus reproduces inside infected cells. From the time skin turns itchy or red, HSV-1 is likely present and can be spread. Cold sores are most contagious when blisters are present and just after they break open, until the skin is completely healed and looks normal again. But some people can transmit the virus through their saliva at any time, even if they never get cold sores.

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7…How Is the Cold Sore Virus Spread?

intimate_kiss_couple_image www.newcures.info

HSV spreads through body fluids. The cold sore virus is usually present on an infected person’s lip, even if there’s no obvious sore. Kisssing is the main way it is transmitted. Because HSV-1 can also live in saliva, sharing kitchen utensils or drinking glasses can also spread it. Oral sex can lead to HSV-1 infection of the partner’s genitals.

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8…How to Avoid Spreading the Virus

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Use caution while you have a cold sore: no kissing; no sharing of toothbrushes, silverware, or glasses; and no oral sex. That will reduce most of the spread of HSV-1.

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9…Easing Cold Sore Pain

woman_hand_on_mouth_in_pain_image www.newcures.info

While the first outbreak can last up to 2 weeks, recurrent outbreaks usually last about 1 week. Some people may find relief with hot or cold compresses. There is no cure for cold sores, but some over-the-counter creams and gels can help with burning and pain.

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10…Antiviral Creams

woman_applying_herpes_medication_image www.newcures.info

Antiviral creams can reduce the time it takes a cold sore to heal if applied at the first sign of a cold sore. Docosanol cream (Abreva) is available over the counter. Acyclovir (Zovirax) cream and penciclovir (Denavir) cream are available by prescription.

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11…Prescription Cold Sore Medications

pharmacist_holding_jar_image www.newcures.info

Oral antiviral prescription medications can also reduce the amount of healing time when taken at the first sign of a cold sore — red or itchy skin, for example. Acyclovir is begun before cold sores fully flare and taken 5 times daily. Another one, a single-dose acyclovir tablet (Sitavig), is put directly on your gums and releases medicine as it dissolves. Valacyclovir (Valtrex) is taken at the first sign of a cold sore and then 12 hours later. Famciclovir (Famvir) is taken as a single dose.

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12…Is This a Cold Sore?

herpes_sore_under_nose_image www.newcures.info

What about a cold sore that’s not on your lip? They are not as common, but cold sores can appear anywhere on the face, including on the cheek, chin, or nose. Most people’s cold sores reappear in the same area each time.

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13…Can You Spread It on Your Body?

woman_crossing_arms_and_legs_image www.newcures.info

It’s possible, though rare, to spread the cold sore virus from one part of the body to another. It can happen by touching a cold sore, then touching an area of broken skin or a mucous membrane, the moist protective lining of skin found in areas like the eyes or vagina. That can lead to a herpes skin infection. You can prevent this self-spread — or autoinoculation — by washing your hands and not touching the cold sore.

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14…When Herpes Infects the Eye

herpes_eye_infection-image www.newcures.info

Other areas the cold sore virus can infect are the finger (herpetic whitlow) and the eye (ocular herpes). Ocular herpes most often happens on the cornea. It is the most common infectious cause of corneal blindness in the U.S. Quick treatment is needed to prevent eye damage. Herpetic whitlow is painful. When kids get herpetic whitlow, it’s usually because they’ve spread the virus from a cold sore by finger- or thumb-sucking.

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15…Preventing Outbreaks

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It can be tough to prevent cold sores, but reducing your triggers can help. Stay out of the sun or use sunscreen and UV-blocking lip balm. Learn and practice stress management strategies that work for you. Keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of sleep and daily exercise.

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16…When to See a Doctor

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If you have severe or frequent cold sore outbreaks, see your doctor.

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ooo

Henry Sapiecha

People’s Brain Chemistry May Reveal the Hour of Their Death

Monday, January 4th, 2016
The tiny biological clocks ticking away inside the body stop when life ends, leaving a timestamp of sorts

brain man head display image www.newcures.info

Human bodies know what time it is, even without the aid of a wristwatch. Every cell and every organ ticks and burbles according to our circadian rhythms. Recently, when researchers decided to look at the brain’s internal clock they discovered that all that biological activity stops at the moment of death, leaving a timestamp that may tell us the hour of a person’s passing.

People who died in the morning have a different mix of active genes and proteins in their brain cells than people who died in the evening or at night, reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times. The discovery is more than just a morbid oddity. Researchers are trying to understand exactly how internal clocks dictate brain biology and chemistry. Figuring that out could help scientists treat sleep disorders, dementia, depression and more.

“Sleep and activity cycles are a very big part of psychiatric illnesses,” says Huda Akil, a neuroscientist based at the University of Michigan.

Akil and her colleagues have hunted through brains kept preserved at the University of California, Irvine, to find the signature that betrays the organs’ owners’ time of death. The team looked at the brains of 55 people who died suddenly, such as in a car crash, and analyzed the genes that were “turned on” at the time of death in six different brain regions involved in learning, memory, emotion and biological regulation.

They found more than 100 genes that ramp up their activity during certain times of the day. The genes include those that dictate metabolism, lipid synthesis and wakefulness. The researchers could even guess when the person died within an hour of their actual time of death.

Another study by a group at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, inspired by Akil’s work, looked at 146 brains in their university collection. “Lo and behold, we got very nice rhythms,” Colleen A. McClung, the leader of the effort, tells the Times. “It really seems like a snapshot of where the brain was at the moment of death.”

McClung and her colleagues also looked at the patterns of genes turned on or off in the brains of young people and old people. They discovered that some of the genes with strong cycle patterns in young people had more subdued patterns in people older than 60. But other genes seem to became more active as people age. They reported their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week.

Akil thinks that those changing patterns might mean that one clock winds down as we age and another might start up to compensate. How well the brain is able to keep time might determine whether a person experiences age-related neurodegeneration.

If that idea turns out to true, it will be more evidence that it might be a good idea not to mess with the natural rhythms of the circadian clock as much as modern humans tend to do.

ooo

Henry Sapiecha

THE SCIENCE OF MUSCLE GROWTH & WHAT YOU CAN DO VIDEO

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

SIX SICKNESS REMEDIES THAT ACTUALLY WORK-SEE VIDEO

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

Gonorrhea may soon be un-treatable due to antibiotic resistance, British medical chief warns

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Superbug warning to drug giants

Pharmaceutical companies are being told they must invest more in new antibiotics or risk being blamed for an increase in deaths from drug-resistant superbugs.

Concerns that gonorrhea may become “untreatable” due to growing antibiotic-resistance has led Dame Sally Davies, Britain’s chief medical officer, to reportedly write to doctors and pharmacies across Britain to sound the alarm.

The sexually transmitted infection (STI) is increasingly caused by strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae that resist antibiotic treatment.

“Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance,” Davies wrote. The Guardian reports that a recent outbreak of a superbug strain of the disease – one that doesn’t respond to the antibiotic azithromycin – has put Britain on high alert.

pills assortment image www.newcures.info

Resistance to some antibiotics to treat gonorrhea is growing.

Davies urged doctors to use proper treatment protocols. A recent study found that many doctors in Britain still prescribe ciprofloxacin, which hasn’t been recommended for a decade now.

Things aren’t much better in the United States: In 2013, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention gave it the centres’ highest ranking for antibiotic resistance, classifying gonorrhea as an “urgent threat.” At that time, the CDC reported that around a third of cases were resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common STI in Australia, with the rate of diagnosis rising by 67 per cent between 2008 and 2013.

In the United States, there were just over 350,000 cases in 2014; Britain had about 35,000.

Doctors in the United States are now told to use ciprofloxacin in combination with a second antibiotic. For a while, this strategy seemed to be working: A recent study found that resistance to ciprofloxacin had dropped from 1.4 per cent of gonorrhea cases in 2011 to just .4 percent in 2013. But in 2014, the resistance doubled.

Why does this happen? When researchers look for new antibiotics, they obviously look for ones that are incredibly effective against pathogenic bacteria. But as soon as these antibiotics are released for use by the public, they start to lose their effectiveness.

Bacteria are fast-evolving creatures, and individual bacterium are skilled at sharing genes that allow them to survive particular antibiotics. Bacteria can even copy resistance genes from microbes of different strains and species through a process called horizontal gene transfer.

Historically, humans haven’t done much to slow this process. Whenever you take antibiotics you don’t need, you’re introducing bacteria in your body and your environment to the drug, giving those microbes an opportunity to learn resistance to it.

Whenever you don’t finish an entire prescription of antibiotics, you’re leaving behind bacteria that showed some resistance to the first few days of treatment, and allowing them to reproduce.

When farmers treat healthy livestock with antibiotics in order to promote growth, they’re breeding resistance in our meat and in our soil. Now that we know how dangerous this process is, it may be too late to stop it.

It’s possible that scientists will develop new classes of antibiotics that are less likely to fall into this cycle. But for the most part, this is just how bacteria work – so it’s our use of antibiotics that really has to evolve.

Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea has an especially creepy ring to it. Sexually transmitted infections are highly stigmatised, so the idea of one you can’t get rid of with standard treatment is understandably scary.

But as scary as it is, gonorrhea is hardly the biggest of our worries when it comes to antibiotic resistance. This problem isn’t going to go away.

The Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha