Archive for the ‘MEDITATION’ Category

Medical tests & treatments you should ask questions about

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

questions-multi-colours image

People & their doctors are wasting money on potentially harmful tests and treatments, these are for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, coeliac disease & sexually transmitted infections, a new study says.

As more experts recognise people are receiving far too much medicine, 4 groups that specialise in genetics, sexual health, radiology and gastroenterology have produced advisement to curb wasteful and sometimes damaging medical practices as part of the “Choosing Wisely” regimen.

medical-drugs-in-process image

Choosing wisely programme aims to reduce tests that are not required

On the list are colonoscopies, because of fears they’re being done too often, and genetic tests for markers associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, coeliac disease, and blood clots.

Blood tests for sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea are also being questioned, along with certain cancer treatments and proton pump inhibitor drugs used to treat heartburn and reflux.

While many of these tests and treatments are effective in certain aspects, there are concerns they’re being used in inappropriate situations where their negatives will outweigh their benefits.

According to NPS MedicineWise, which is co-ordinating the campaign, the drivers of what it calls “inappropriate use” can include marketing and financial incentives for those who will profit; patient demand and doctors not wanting to refuse tests; and doctors not being aware of the latest evidence about best practice in medical literature.

Professor Anne Duggan from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia said medical practitioners  were being urged to check the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for colonoscopies, because patients may be having them done unnecessarily for surveillance, putting them at risk of bleeding, tears, inflammation and infection.

Her group has also called for less genetic testing for coeliac disease.

Professor Duggan said because the coeliac gene can be found in one third of the population and a positive result does not make coeliac disease a certainty, doctors should instead be using blood tests when people are consuming an appropriate amount of gluten.

If the blood test is positive, a biopsy is required to confirm the result.

Professor Jack Goldblatt from the Human Genetics Society of Australasia said he was concerned about the rise of genetic testing too, and particularly “direct to consumer” tests because they can lead to unnecessary investigations, worry, and ethical, social and legal issues such as insurance problems.

He said tests for APOE and MTHFR genes were sometimes being done without good reason.

“APOE is considered a risk or susceptibility factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but having a test only shows a probability, so people undertaking a test for APOE can also risk being falsely reassured,” he said.

MTHFR is an enzyme that converts folate which has previously been linked to venous thromboembolism (blood clots), heart disease and recurrent pregnancy loss.

But Professor Goldblatt said testing for a variant in the gene was not useful because variants are very common and having a variant doesn’t generally cause health problems.

President of the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine Dr Graham Neilsen said his group was trying to reduce testing for herpes when people do not have symptoms because the tests can be inaccurate and do not specify the timing or site of a previous infection.

This can lead to a false impression that somebody has had contagious genital herpes when they might have had a cold sore caused by the herpes virus during their childhood.

“That’s potential dynamite in a relationship,” he said.

“The conclusion may be that a partner has been unfaithful or from a patient’s point of view, they might believe their sex life is over because they’re terrified they will transmit it to their partner or their baby if they get pregnant, and all that could be completely and utterly wrong.”


Henry Sapiecha

HPV Vaccine in Men Would Save Costs of Treating Throat Cancer

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

A new study shows that giving men Gardasil is cost-effective and prevents throat cancer.

Gardasil is cost-effective and prevents throat cancer.image

Controversy over the HPV vaccine has centered on its risks to girls and the idea that protecting them against cervical cancer could also lead them to experiment with sex at a younger age. But a new study underscores the effect of HPV on men, and points out that vaccinating men against the virus could prevent throat cancer as well.
About 9,300 men in the U.S. each year are affected by HPV-caused cancers, among them oropharyngeal cancer that occurs in the middle part of the throat behind the mouth and can develop around the tonsils and the back of the tongue. That number is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years.

“It is projected that by 2020, HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer will become the most common HPV-related cancer in the U.S., surpassing cervical cancer,” Dr. Donna Graham, a medical oncologist who led a new study on vaccination in men, said in a statement.

THROAT OPERATION PATIENT image www.newcures (1)

The virus can be transmitted through oral sex, but the cases of throat cancer are four times more common in men than women. Men can also carry the virus in the genitals without knowing it, partly because researchers still have not figured out how to test men for the virus to detect early cancer cells. The new study in which Graham was involved shows that administering the vaccine to more boys could prevent them from getting cancer much later in life.

“People who are exposed to the virus may or may not get infected,” says Dr. Lillian Sui, another author of the study who is also staff medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a professor at the University of Toronto.

[RELATED: The Future of Male Birth Control]

The study, released online Monday in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, indicates that vaccinating 12-year-old boys against HPV is a cost-effective strategy for preventing throat cancer.

Researchers applied a statistical model to 192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012, and found that vaccination could save $6 million to $22 million, depending on the cost of the vaccine, its effectiveness, the cost of cancer treatment and the survival rate of patients who get cancer.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show vaccination rates for males climbed from 20.8 percent in 2012 to 34.6 percent in 2013. Sui says that if more boys were vaccinated, then the vaccine would prevent throat cancer as effectively as it prevents cervical cancer.

For women, the vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix protect against 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts cases. They work in the body for at least a decade without becoming less effective and have not been associated with any long-term health problems. Gardasil is the vaccine typically given to men.

Still, rates of vaccination even for women are not as high as they are for other vaccines, and a November 2014 CDC report showed millions of U.S. women are not getting screened for cervical cancer. “Herd immunity,” which occurs when large numbers of people become immune to a virus, requires 80-90 percent of people to be vaccinated in order to be effective. Vaccinating more men would help protect women who are not vaccinated as well as protecting men who have sex with unvaccinated men.

Concerns linger over what administering the vaccine could mean to young people, partially because it is recommended by the CDC at such a young age. For boys and girls, the agency has recommended since 2011 that children receive the three-part vaccine at ages 11 or 12. The agency has said that doing so would allow the immune system to build before teens become sexually active.

The most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., HPV infects 14 million people a year. It has more than 100 strains, most of which are not harmful and go away within two years. About 30 types, however, can put women at risk for cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer. Other types cause warts in men and women. Even people who have no symptoms can spread the virus, and cancer can take years to develop after a person becomes infected.

[READ: Parents Still Seek Natural Exposure to Viruses]

The CDC says that not having sex is the only sure way to avoid HPV entirely – though condoms can reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Sui isn’t a pediatrician, so she points out that she doesn’t have conversations about the vaccine with young people – but she does see patients down the line who have developed cancer. The vaccines may seem irrelevant at such a young age but parents, doctors and young people should discuss it, she says.

For men, throat cancer develops anywhere from 40-60 years of age, and a test can determine whether HPV is the cause. Women can have Pap smears or HPV tests for early screening efforts, but these types of screening methods do not exist for men. Sui says the incidences of throat cancer found to be related to HPV range from 70-80 percent in North America.

Smoking also can increase the risk of developing HPV-related throat cancer, while the virus can also lead to cancers of the anus and penis. Men are likely to have a better outcome if cancer of the throat is found to be linked with HPV rather than with smoking, Sui says. They are likely to live longer, and this type is less likely to recur, according to the American Cancer Society.


Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Mother get flu shots and babies reap benefits

Posted 2010/10/04 at 7:22 pm EDT

CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2010 (Reuters) — Newborn babies whose mothers got a flu shot while pregnant are less likely to get the flu or to be admitted to the hospital with a respiratory illness in the first six months of life, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

During most flu seasons, babies under six months tend to have fewer cases of flu-like illnesses than those who are 6 to 12 months old, most likely because they are protected by their mothers’ natural antibodies.

But in severe flu seasons, such as the 2009 swine flu pandemic, these youngest children, who are too young to get flu shots themselves, are more likely to be hospitalized and die from flu than older babies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for years recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated against seasonal flu, but the study adds to other research showing that newborn babies benefit, too.

Researcher Angelia Eick, formerly of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and now of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, wanted to see if giving pregnant women flu shots could increase protection for babies under 6 months old.

Eick and colleagues studied children on Navajo and White Mountain Apache Indian reservations. In these communities, children are more prone to severe respiratory infections than those in the general population.

The team studied 1,160 mother-infant pairs over three flu seasons. The mothers and babies gave blood samples before and after the flu season and they were monitored for flu symptoms.

In the flu season following the child’s birth, babies whose mother had been vaccinated were 41 percent less likely to have a lab-confirmed flu infection and 39 percent less likely to be hospitalized for a flu-like illness.

They also found babies whose mothers had been vaccinated had higher levels of flu antibodies at birth and at 2 to 3 months of age compared with babies whose mothers did not get a flu shot.

“Although influenza vaccination is recommended for pregnant women to reduce their risk of influenza complications, these findings provide support for the added benefit of protecting infants from influenza virus infection up to six months,” Eick and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The findings are particularly relevant with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, which hit pregnant women and young babies especially hard, the team wrote.

Current flu vaccines protect against the H1N1 virus as well as two other strains of the flu.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Nature’s Best Painkiller
By Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D.


If creaky knees and back pain aren’t bad enough, the pain pills designed to blunt the hurt can carry nasty side effects and/or require monthly trips to the pharmacy. So try this no-cost way to decrease the pain: Take a deep breath and say “Om.” Or “Chocolate” or “breathe.” Any word that focuses you works.

People who practice Zen meditation have been shown to be far less sensitive to pain than nonmeditators, and they are better at coping with it. Meditating really isn’t that much harder than medicating. The goal isn’t to suppress emotions, but to identify how they arise and how they influence you. In the Zen study, when a “heat source,” was applied to volunteers’ calves, meditators simply noticed what they were feeling and observed it without judging it. They tolerated higher temps and did not find the pain as unpleasant or as intense as nonmeditators did.

Meditation may help in a few ways: It may distract your mind so you react less to that idiot who almost cut you off or other hot buttons. It also may help you tolerate pain by helping you bypass a blame-and-stress cycle in your brain. This bypass helps decrease stress hormones and increase pain-squelching ones.
You don’t have to go to a monastery to get started. Simply close your eyes and help clear your mind by repeating a simple word to yourself. When your mind wanders, focus on the word again. Try to squirrel away 5 minutes to do this every day. The bathroom works well — few people will disturb you there.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 8th Oct 2009