Friday, December 25, 2009


At this time of the year, with pain in my heart and tears in my eyes at the loss of my best friend and soul companion, I reach out across the miles to greet all my blog readers. I promise to return in the new year with a vigor and the passion I once had. Now I wish to thank you for your support. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALL WELL.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moms-to-be can pass on asthma to baby

MONTREAL (UPI) -- Expectant mothers, who have asthma but are not treated during pregnancy, heighten the risk of their babies having asthma, Canadian researchers said. Lead author Dr. Lucie Blais, a professor at the Universite de Montreal and researcher at the Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal and colleagues at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center examined a decade of health records for 8,226 children -- from birth to age 10 -- born to asthmatic mothers. Parents of these children were also mailed questionnaires requesting additional facts concerning familial medical history, lifestyle habits and environment. The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, found 32.6 percent of children born to mothers who neglected to treat their asthma during pregnancy developed the respiratory illness themselves. "Uncontrolled maternal asthma during pregnancy could trigger a transient yet important reaction in the fetus that affects lung development and could subsequently increase the likelihood of a baby developing asthma in later childhood," Blais said in a statement. "It is of great importance for physicians to adequately treat asthmatic mothers during pregnancy, not only for the favorable outcome of pregnancy but also for the benefit of the child."
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flexibility test may indicate heart risk

DENTON, Texas (UPI) -- Whether someone can reach his or her toes from a sitting position on the floor may be an indicator of heart risk, U.S. and Japanese researchers said. Among people age 40 and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease and the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke, researchers said. Study author Kenta Yamamoto, of the University of North Texas and the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan, and colleagues in Japan said it is not known why arterial flexibility would be related to the flexibility of the body in middle age and older people. However, the study authors said that one possibility is that stretching exercises may set into motion physiological reactions that slow down age-related arterial stiffening. "Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated," Yamamoto said in a statement. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening." The findings are published in the American Journal of Physiology.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, October 16, 2009

CDC director stresses H1N1 vaccine safety

ATLANTA (UPI) -- The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news briefing in Atlanta Tuesday, said the H1N1 flu vaccine is safe and effective. "The (H1N1) flu vaccine is made as flu vaccine is made each year. By the same companies. In the same production facilities. With the same procedures. With the same safety, safeguards," Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters during a telephone briefing. "We have had literally hundreds of millions of people vaccinated against flu with flu vaccine made in this way. That enables us to have a high degree of confidence in the safety of the vaccine. It has an excellent safety record," he said. Frieden said the CDC "wished we had the vaccine earlier" but current science doesn't allow for production of the vaccine in much less than six months "It would have been great to have had it back in April or May," he said. He acknowledged that people have concerns about vaccinations and said that was "understandable" but he said the flu vaccine is "tried and true ... very effective." Vaccine problems that could occur would likely occur at a very low rate -- 1 per 100,000, Frieden said. "It would take some time to know there was a problem," he said. "On the other hand, there's no reason to think there would be more problem with this vaccine than with the vaccine each year."
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ethnic background, diabetes risk linked

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (UPI) -- Fat and muscle mass -- potentially determined by a person's ethnic background -- may contribute to diabetes risk, Canadian researchers said. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, involving 828 men and women of four ethnic groups -- Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian origin. It found South Asians had higher fat mass, lower muscle mass and greater insulin levels, placing them at increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes. "We know certain ethnic backgrounds show significant differences in amounts of body fat and lean mass," lead author Scott Lear of the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver said in a statement. "What we didn't know, until now, is if these differences are related to insulin levels and insulin resistance, and therefore lead to an increased risk for diabetes. Our findings indicate they are." In populations at increased risk for diabetes, interventions that reduce fat mass and increase muscle mass, such as caloric restriction and regular exercise, should be investigated, Lear said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Diabetic herbal remedies need more study

SYDNEY (UPI) -- There is positive evidence Chinese herbal medicines may prevent diabetes in those at high risk, an Australian review says, but more study is needed. The Cochrane review of 16 studies finds combining herbal medicines with lifestyle changes is twice as effective as lifestyle changes alone at normalizing patients' blood sugar levels. However, the researchers concluded there was not enough hard scientific evidence to recommend their use. "Our results suggest that some Chinese herbal medicines can help to prevent diabetes, but we really need more research before we can confidently say that these treatments work," lead researcher Suzanne Grant of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, says in a statement. "The real value of the study is as guidance for further trials. We need to see more trials that make comparisons with placebos and other types of drugs, and better reporting on the outcomes of these trials." The clinical trials included 1,391 people who received 15 different herbal formulations. Those given the herbal formulations were less likely to develop full blown diabetes during the study period. Trials lasted from one month to two years and no adverse effects were reported. The finding is published in the Cochrane Library.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lifelong Health: Study Finds Bad Habits Early in Life Curtail Longevity

For many of my baby boomer friends and contemporaries, midlife brings an increased attention on health. Sandwiched between aging parents and grown-up children, most of us are acutely aware of the value of preventing disease and staving off chronic illness, which can often lead to major lifestyle changes such as finally quitting smoking, beginning an exercise routine or following a heart-healthy diet. Unfortunately, for those age-50-plus adults with particularly unhealthy habits, new research indicates that changing high-risk behaviors later in life offers little benefit. In an important study recently released in the British Medical Journal, researchers evaluated death rates in more than 19,000 middle-aged men who were followed for four decades. The researchers found that those who smoked, had high blood pressure and an elevated cholesterol at age 50 died an average of 10 to 15 years earlier than those without these risk factors. A high risk of heart disease also means an increased incidence of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, it was not surprising that risk of death from causes other than heart disease was two to three times higher in the high-risk population. Of greater interest, perhaps, was that a large fraction of the age-50-plus population ultimately stopped smoking, lowered their cholesterol and treated high blood pressure, and yet their life expectancy was not improved. In other words, the die is cast at age 50. The message is clear: Good health habits must begin early. Unfortunately, most young adults feel invincible, unable to grasp the long-term impact of unhealthy habits. By the time a medical problem arises, it may be too late. Consider the case of heart disease as a window into our future health challenges. In the last 50 years, educational campaigns against high-risk factors such as smoking, saturated fat and high salt intake contributed to a gradual decrease in the total incidence of heart attack and vascular disease. Unfortunately, recent evidence indicates this trend appears to be reversing. Even worse, the situation seems to be dire in the population under age 50. There are some important reversible factors that lead to heart attacks: cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, significant obesity and diabetes. In a paper just published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the incidence of smoking still appears to be decreasing, but the percentage of the population with hypertension, diabetes and obesity is steadily increasing. Between 1971 and 1974, 4.4 percent of adults had none of the preventable risk factors for heart disease. From 1976 to 1980, this number increased to 5.7 percent, and rose to 10.5 percent between the years 1988 and 1994. Sadly, between 1999 and 2004, the positive trend reversed and only 7.5 percent of the population had no risk factors for heart disease. Although the most current statistics for American health risks are not yet available, the situation appears to be worsening. It is very likely that the prevalence of heart attacks and vascular disease will only increase in the future. This is truly a turning point for the American population. Our health care system must include a far greater focus on prevention. Waiting until midlife to make the important lifestyle changes necessary for long-term health is simply irresponsible. What's more, ignoring the health of our children and grandchildren is a prescription for disaster. All of this information clearly shows that Americans need to change the way we approach health. Good nutrition and increased physical activity must begin in childhood and remain a lifelong commitment. Efforts for health promotion must be addressed at every age and stage in life. From age 20 onward, measure your blood pressure at least twice a year. And at age 30 have a cholesterol screening for the first time. If any problems are identified, take them seriously and assure appropriate treatment. Finally, every American at any age should quit smoking. On the surface, the future seems so bright. We remain the wealthiest and most pampered nation in the world, and yet our collective health is dwindling. The huge advances made in life expectancy throughout the 20th century may not continue into the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is your responsibility to do everything possible to promote health and prevent disease. Do not wait until it's too late.

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Your Health: Dietary Supplement May Stall Progression of Parkinson's Disease

An over-the-counter dietary supplement may help slow the progression of Parkinson's Disease, a degenerative neurological disorder marked by tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, impaired balance and coordination, and slowing of movements. The supplement, called coenzyme Q10, is a vitamin-like compound with powerful antioxidant properties that is vital for the proper function of virtually every cell in the human body. Although it is produced naturally by the body, levels typically dwindle with age. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that low levels of coenzyme Q10 play an important role in many age-related diseases. The results of several recent studies show that individuals with Parkinson's have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to those without the disorder. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can help boost levels in the body and protect the specific area of the brain damaged by the disease. In a 16-month clinical trial, researchers evaluated the effects of coenzyme Q10 in 80 individuals with early-stage Parkinson's disease. Reporting in the medical journal Archives of Neurology, the scientists noted the supplement was safe and well tolerated in daily doses ranging from 300 mg to 1,200 mg. At doses of 1,200 mg per day, individuals with Parkinson's experienced significantly less functional decline and were better able to carry out activities of daily life, such as feeding and dressing themselves, compared to those treated with a placebo pill. These findings are particularly important, since few treatment options are available and, to date, no prescription drugs have been found effective in slowing the natural course of the disease. Coenzyme Q10 may benefit individuals with other neurological disorders. In preliminary trials, the dietary supplement was found to slow the progression of dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease. In individuals with migraines, coenzyme Q10 has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, especially when taken daily for a period of at least three months. In a study published in the medical journal Cephalgia, researchers found that daily doses of 150 mg coenzyme Q10 reduced migraine symptoms by half in more than 60 percent of individuals treated. Coenzyme Q10 appears to be just as beneficial for the cardiovascular system as it is for the brain. The supplement is often recommended for individuals who have suffered a heart attack and for those diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The results of several clinical trials have demonstrated that daily doses of 100 mg to 200 mg can improve cardiac function and reduce the risk of future heart attacks in these patients. For individuals who suffer from heart-related chest pain known as angina pectoris, supplementation appears to improve exercise tolerance and to protect the heart from further damage. Numerous studies have proven coenzyme Q10 beneficial in the treatment of hypertension. Daily doses of the supplement have been found to produce measurable reductions in blood pressure, similar to the reductions achieved with some prescription medications. Interest in coenzyme Q10 as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer arose after scientists discovered low blood levels of the substance in individuals suffering from cancers of the breast, lung and pancreas. Preliminary research indicates the supplement may be beneficial in the treatment of these cancers, especially when combined with other therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation. Use of the supplement also has been found beneficial in the treatment of gum disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, male infertility and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. While aging and poor nutrition are believed to be the most common cause of low blood levels of coenzyme Q10, there is evidence that certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, interfere with the body's ability to produce the substance. More research is needed to determine whether coenzyme Q10 supplementation should be routinely recommended for individuals taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs. It is possible to modestly boost your intake -- and your blood levels -- of coenzyme Q10 without taking a handful of pills. Good food sources of the substance include meat, poultry and fish, as well as nuts and canola oil. To obtain a therapeutic dose of coenzyme Q10, you'll probably need a dietary supplement, which you can get without a prescription at pharmacies and health food stores. Although most adults can safely take the nutritional supplement, it's wise to consult your doctor first. Taking coenzyme Q10 won't keep you from aging, but it may help protect you from many age-related diseases.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Website is She has also created, which features the advice of mommy MDs from top-notch hospitals, medical centers and universities around the country. To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Los gobiernos de México, Estados Unidos y Canadá acordaron fortalecer la colaboración para responder a la propagación del virus de influenza A(H1N1).Según un comunicado, las administraciones de los respectivos países coincidieron en mejorar la coordinación intersectorial, como un paso definitivo para construir una solución continental al problema de la epidemia.También resaltaron que el diálogo y la transparencia son el camino para responder a los retos de salud generados por el virus, minimizando al mismo tiempo el impacto negativo de la enfermedad en la seguridad y prosperidad de los tres países.La Secretaría de Gobernación indicó que los objetivos de la reunión se centraron en un recuento de los esfuerzos realizados por los tres países hasta la fecha.Compartieron así las lecciones aprendidas durante el segundo trimestre del año y discutieron las estrategias para la inminente segunda ola del virus A(H1N1) y otras enfermedades.

Monday, October 5, 2009


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Your Health: Natural Remedies Quell Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, cramping and bloating are part of daily life.

As the most frequently diagnosed gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S., IBS affects as many as one in five Americans. The condition is more common in women than in men and typically strikes in late adolescence or early adulthood.

In addition to abdominal pain and bloating, most IBS sufferers experience either chronic constipation or diarrhea, and some unfortunate individuals alternate between the two extremes. Regardless of the nature of the symptoms, IBS almost always has a negative impact on the quality and enjoyment of life.

While the exact cause of the condition remains unknown, food allergies or intolerances may be at the root of the problem. Wheat and dairy products are frequently implicated, and consumption of alcohol, caffeine and chocolate often triggers flare-ups.

Researchers at Imperial College London recently reported that compared to folks without the condition, IBS sufferers tend to have higher numbers of a specific type of pain receptor known as TRPV1, the same receptor responsible for creating the burning sensation that occurs after eating chili peppers. This may explain why IBS symptoms typically worsen following consumption of spicy foods.

Even when IBS sufferers are careful to avoid foods that trigger their symptoms, they may continue to experience gastrointestinal distress. In many cases, emotional and physical stress can lead to flare-ups of the condition.

As if the intestinal discomfort isn't enough, IBS is often accompanied by other maladies. In a recent study of nearly 130,000 people, scientists at Boston University found that individuals who reported symptoms of IBS were 40 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 60 percent more likely to suffer from migraine headaches than individuals in a control group.

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that individuals with hay fever are more than twice as likely to develop IBS compared to those who are unaffected by seasonal allergies. In folks with allergic skin conditions, the likelihood of having IBS is nearly four times greater.

Because the precise cause of IBS remains a mystery, the condition can be challenging to treat. Due to a limited number of FDA-approved drugs, many experts advocate the use of complementary and alternative treatments for symptom relief.

In a study published last year in the British Medical Journal, researchers reported that soluble fiber and peppermint oil are safe and effective natural therapies for IBS and should be considered first-line treatments.

The researchers analyzed 12 studies, involving nearly 600 individuals, that compared treatment with fiber to placebo or no treatment. While insoluble fiber was found to be relatively ineffective, water-soluble fiber significantly reduced IBS symptoms.

Sources of insoluble fiber include whole grain foods, wheat and corn bran, nuts, seeds and vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower and celery. Soluble fiber is found in legumes, oats, apples and the flesh of root vegetables, including potatoes, carrots and onions.

One type of soluble fiber, guar gum, has been shown to be particularly effective in alleviating the symptoms of IBS. In clinical trials, daily consumption of 5 grams partially hydrolyzed guar gum was found to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of abdominal pain, cramping and flatulence, as well as symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.

Derived from the guar bean, the gum helps normalize the moisture content of the stool, absorbing excess liquid in diarrhea and softening the stool in constipation. It also appears to nourish probiotic organisms, the beneficial bacteria in the gut that promote proper digestion and enhance immunity.

As a bonus, guar gum has been found to help lower cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. Since excessive doses of the gum can lead to gastrointestinal blockage, individuals with IBS should take it as directed and only with a physician's supervision.

In addition to water-soluble fiber, peppermint oil may help alleviate IBS symptoms. After reviewing the results of four clinical trials involving nearly 400 patients, researchers found that IBS sufferers who took peppermint oil in enteric-coated gelatin capsules two or three times daily experienced significantly fewer severe symptoms and more symptom-free days.

Peppermint oil is known to help relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and to reduce the formation of intestinal gas. In animal studies, the oil has been shown to have numbing and pain-relieving effects.

Although there's no known cure for irritable bowel syndrome, careful management of the condition can help most IBS sufferers enjoy long-term symptom relief and a greater quality of life.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bariatric laparoscopic surgery an option

DALLAS (UPI) -- Single-incision laparoscopic surgery is an option for people considering bariatric procedures for weight loss, a U.S. researcher said. Dr. Edward Livingston, professor and chief of gastrointestinal and endocrine surgery at the University of Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said having just a single entry point means less scarring than in traditional laparoscopic surgery, in which five or more incisions are required. "The promise of fewer scars really appeals to patients, evidenced by the growing demand," Livingston said in a statement. "Not everyone has heard about it, but the enthusiasm is striking once they find it's a possibility." Single-incision surgery can help reduce post-operative pain, speed healing and reduce risk of infection, studies in the emerging field indicate. Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, is performed for the purpose of losing weight on the stomach and intestine of people who are dangerously obese. The two most common procedures are the Roux-en-Y, a form of gastric bypass surgery which closes off a portion of the stomach and bypasses part of the intestine, and gastric banding, which places a restrictive band around the stomach.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheap test as good as MRI to detect stroke

BALTIMORE (UPI) -- A simple, one-minute eye movement exam worked better than magnetic resonance imaging to distinguish new strokes, U.S. researchers said. Dr. David E. Newman-Toker of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Illinois in Peoria, said people experiencing a stroke have eye-movement alterations that correlate with stroke-damage to various brain areas -- and these are distinct from eye-movement alterations seen with benign ear diseases. Some patients, for example, can't immediately adjust their eye position if their heads are quickly turned to the side, or they experience jerky eye movements as they try to focus on a doctor's finger when looking to either side. The findings, published in the journal Stroke, found the quick, extremely low-cost exam caught more strokes than the current gold standard of MRI. "The idea that a bedside exam could outperform a modern neuroimaging test such as MRI is something that most people had given up for dead, but we've shown it's possible," Newman-Toker says in a statement. Dizziness is the cause of some 2.6 million U.S. emergency room visits annually and the vast majority of these complaints are caused by benign inner-ear balance problems. But 4 percent are signals of stroke or transient ischemic attack -- a condition that often warns of impending stroke in the coming days or weeks.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maximum Weight Limit easier than BMI

RENO, Nev. (UPI) -- A statistician has developed a "speed limit" for weight, a Maximum Weight Limit, for those who find body mass index complicated, U.S. researchers say. George Fernandez, director of the Center for Research Design and Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno, says he wanted to give people a simpler way of calculating their healthy weight that didn't involve charts or online calculators. "It's a very simple calculation that most of us can do in our heads. For men and women, there is a baseline height and weight. For men, the baseline is 5-feet, 9-inches tall and a Maximum Weight Limit of 175 pounds, meaning that a 5-foot, 9-inch tall man should weigh no more than 175 pounds," Fernandez says. "For women, the baseline is 5-feet tall and a Maximum Weight Limit of 125 pounds." From the baseline, calculate how much taller or shorter in inches -- for a man, add or subtract 5 pounds for every inch taller or shorter than 5 feet 9 inches. If a man is 5 feet 11 inches tall, 2 inches taller than the baseline, add 5 pounds for each of those 2 inches for a Maximum Weight Limit of 175. For women add or subtract 4.5 pounds for each inch differing from the baseline height of 5 feet.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Breast cancer drugs raise blood clot risk

PORTLAND, Ore. (UPI) -- Drugs used to lower the risk of breast cancer in women have the side effect of increasing the likelihood of blood clots, researchers in Oregon say. The study, published in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, examined the effects of tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by 30 percent to 68 percent. But it also found tamoxifen and raloxifene increase the chance of blood clots by 60 percent to 90 percent, and that tiboline, which is not on the U.S. market, is associated with strokes in women over 70. "They did differ on the harm side. That's important to know," said Dr. Heidi D. Nelson, a research professor at Oregon Health & Science University who was the lead author. Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, September 21, 2009


Today, the independent nation of Belize is 28. Yes, we are a young nation. We are proud of this land we call home and we are certain with the struggle we battle each day that we will build a better Belize, one day at a time.
To all Belizeans all over the world, I take this time to wish you all a Happy Independence Day.
Three cheers for Belize. Hip Hip Hooray. Hip Hip Hooray!!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Less chocolate, more veggies may help acne

OSLO, Norway (UPI) -- Researchers in Norway have made associations between acne, high intake of chocolate and chips and low intake of vegetables. Jon Anders Halvorsen of the University of Oslo and colleagues in Tibet and the United States studied 3,775 adolescents to explore the possible causes of acne. The 18- and 19-year olds were given questionnaires to monitor their diets, lifestyle variables and mental conditions. Study participants reported on their own acne. The researchers acquired the sociodemographic status of the young people from Statistics Norway. The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, found in girls, there was a significant link between acne and a diet low in raw and fresh vegetables. "Our study shows a possible link between diet and acne. However, when we introduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in our statistical model, the role of diet became less clear," Halvorsen said in a statement. "On the other hand the association between acne and mental health problems was still strong when diet was introduced." It is too early to give evidence based diet advice to teenagers with acne, further studies are needed, Halvorsen said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Your Health: Feet Hurt? It Could Be Plantar Fasciitis

If you're like most Americans, you spend more than four hours a day on your feet and take around 5,000 steps daily. That's quite a pounding for your poor pups, so it's no wonder they whimper at the end of a long day. But if your feet hurt as soon as they hit the floor each morning, you could have a condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band of tissue that runs under the arch of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes. With each step you take, your heel strikes the ground, flattening your arch and stretching your plantar fascia. When this tissue gets stretched too often or too far, it can become irritated and inflamed, leading to plantar fasciitis. The condition can affect one foot or both. Symptoms can strike folks who are sedentary or active, and those with high arches or flat feet. Flare-ups may occur after walking or standing on any surface that your feet are unaccustomed to, whether it's deep sand, the rung of a ladder or rock-hard concrete. The condition may also be triggered by wearing different types of shoes. Women who trade their customary high heels for a new pair of flats are especially vulnerable. Weekend warriors and super jocks can develop plantar fasciitis when they push themselves too hard. Even weight gain can lead to the condition. Regardless of the cause, the end result is rather predictable. If you're unfortunate enough to develop plantar fasciitis, you'll likely experience discomfort along the arch of your foot and at the inner part of your heel. The pain typically strikes in the morning with your first step of the day. After a few minutes spent hopping and hobbling about in agony, the pain may subside, only to return with a vengeance later in the day. Getting plantar fasciitis is easy, but getting rid of it is another story. If you're lucky, the condition -- and the associated pain -- will resolve in a matter of days. But in some cases, it lingers on for weeks or months. The sooner you start treating plantar fasciitis, the better off you'll be. You can begin your treatment at home with a few do-it-yourself remedies. Since inflammation is at the root of the problem, taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine is a good place to start. This helps reduce the swelling in your feet, as well as the pain. Rubbing your aching arches with ice cubes several times a day can also ease your suffering. If your significant other owes you a big favor, you might be able to negotiate a therapeutic foot massage. But if you strike out, rolling a golf ball or a can of corn beneath your arches is the next best thing. If your dogs are still barking in spite of your best efforts, you might want to walk them directly to your doctor's office. Depending on your level of pain and desperation, you might agree to a steroid shot, which your physician will inject into the heel of your foot. Most people who've had this type of treatment agree the week of relief it provides is well worth the 30 seconds of agony it causes. Your doctor may also advise you to treat your feet to a pair of support devices called orthotics. These shoe inserts can help shore up weak arches and stabilize your feet. You might get some relief with over-the-counter arch supports, but those of the custom-made variety are generally far superior. They're also far more expensive -- a good pair can set you back several hundred dollars. If you've never had plantar fasciitis, you'll probably want to keep it that way. Well-made shoes are your best protection, since they give your hardworking feet the support they deserve. Proper arch support and flexible soles are basic requirements, but even the best shoes won't help if they don't fit your feet. Since feet and toes tend to expand and change shape with age, it's entirely possible that the shoes you wore to your high school prom may not fit properly today. It's a good idea to have your feet measured at least every two years, and adjust your shoe size and style accordingly. If your feet are your major mode of transportation, you'll definitely want to take care of them. You've still got a lot of ground to cover.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Your Health: Bladder Control Problems Are Treatable

Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
A few things haven't changed since kindergarten, like the rules and regulations regarding potty breaks. If you've ever lost control of your bladder as an adult, you may have felt just as embarrassed as you did when you were a preschooler. Although it may be unsettling, involuntary loss of urine isn't uncommon. Urinary incontinence, the official name for involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder, currently affects more than 12 million American adults. Urinary incontinence is more prevalent in older individuals, but young people aren't immune to the condition. Women are more likely to be affected than men for several reasons. Childbirth can weaken or injure the nerves and muscles of the pelvis, especially in women who deliver big babies or those who require forceps deliveries. Nearly a third of U.S. women experience long-term bladder leakage following childbirth. Among men, those with enlarged prostate glands are at increased risk for bladder control problems. Temporary urinary incontinence is relatively common following surgical procedures involving the bladder or prostate, and in some cases, the condition may be permanent. The involuntary loss of urine from the bladder may be due to one of several types of urinary incontinence -- each with different causes, symptoms and treatments. Stress incontinence is a condition in which involuntary loss of urine occurs during activities involving the muscles of the abdomen and pelvis, including sneezing, laughing or coughing. Stress incontinence may occur during running, jumping and other types of exercise, since these activities create physical forces that push down on the bladder and force urine out of the body. Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is caused by urinary muscle spasms that lead to the uncontrolled loss of urine. In many cases, individuals who suffer from an overactive bladder experience strong, unexpected urges to void, especially after drinking liquids or hearing the sound of running water. Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder stays perpetually full. As additional urine is manufactured by the kidneys and delivered to the bladder, the excess liquid dribbles from the body. If you experience problems with bladder control, you may be a little embarrassed, but you shouldn't let it prevent you from seeking medical attention. In some cases, urinary incontinence is completely reversible, especially if the condition is the result of a medication side effect or caused by a smoldering urinary tract infection. Even if the condition isn't easily reversible, you're not doomed to a lifetime of dampness. Fortunately, a number of effective treatment options are available. Surgery can return a dropped bladder to its proper position, enlarge a small bladder or tighten weakened pelvic muscles. In many cases, a more conservative approach to treatment can correct the cause of urinary incontinence and put a stop to bladder-control problems. A cure might be as simple as treating an infection with antibiotics or taking a daily dose of medication that prevents problematic bladder contractions. If the condition doesn't respond to drug therapy, specific exercises may be helpful. Your doctor may instruct you to begin urinating at frequent, regular intervals, starting with once every hour and then progressively lengthening the interval. This practice, known as bladder training, significantly reduces symptoms in three-quarters of affected individuals and completely eliminates the problem in nearly 15 percent of those with urinary incontinence. If you have mild symptoms of urinary incontinence, you may be able to improve bladder control with pelvic floor exercises. Also known as Kegels, these exercises have been shown to improve bladder control in about 80 percent of incontinent adults. Kegels are easy to perform, and you can do them anywhere without anyone being the wiser. To execute the perfect Kegel, simply contract the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urination. It may require a little experimentation, but once you've mastered the maneuver, simply hold the contraction for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per session, and try to squeeze in three sessions per day. Kegel exercises can be very effective, but only when they're done regularly. The more you exercise your pelvic floor muscles, the more likely you are to see significant improvements in bladder control. In addition to performing Kegels, losing excess weight can significantly improve symptoms of urinary incontinence. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine may also be helpful. If exercises and dietary changes don't seem to help, it's time to see your doctor. With proper treatment, there's an excellent chance you can overcome urinary incontinence for good.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Women more sensitive to looks rejection

BUFFALO, N.Y. (UPI) -- Women are more sensitive than men to appearance rejection, U.S. researchers say. Lora Park, assistant professor of psychology, graduate student Ann Marie DiRaddo of the University at Buffalo, and Rachel Calogero of the University of Kent in England said the study also finds men and women who had internalized media ideals of attractiveness had higher levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity than did their peers. The study, published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, says no relationship was found between parents' perceptions of attractiveness and study participants' increased sensitivity to appearance-based rejection. Therefore, peer and media influences, rather than parental influence, play a key role in appearance-based rejection sensitivity, the researchers say. "There is a lot of research to suggest that physically attractive people are less stigmatized by others in this society, and have significant advantages in many areas of life than those who are viewed as physically unattractive," Park says in a statement. The study observed 220 of U.S. college students ages 18-33 -- 106 women and 114 men. The subjects completed a series of questionnaires, including scales that assessed the perceived influence of peers and parents on sensitivity to appearance-based rejection, and an assessment of dimensions of media influence related to body image and appearance. Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, August 29, 2009

ERs may not use lung blood clot guidelines

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (UPI) -- Emergency room physicians may not be following clinical guidelines for diagnosing patients with possible lung blood clots, U.S. researchers say. Researchers at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I., said current accepted clinical practice indicates patients with a low clinical suspicion for pulmonary emboli should undergo a blood test for D-dimer, a protein fragment present in the blood after a clot is degraded, then multi-detector row computed tomography, if positive. The study, involving 5,344 patients, found, however, that 42 percent of patients had a positive D-dimer exam but did not have a CT scan. "Current protocols suggest that those patients should have had a scan," Dr. Michael T. Corwin, the lead author, said in a statement. "Multi-detector row CT was performed in 7 percent of patients with negative D-dimer results, and the same protocols suggest that those patients should not have undergone a scan. "Anytime a patient gets a CT scan there is a radiation dose. The evaluation of patients with suspected PE should include D-dimer and CT testing in a more standardized fashion so that we can save patients from having unnecessary CT scans. " The D-dimer test should only be used in patients with a relatively low suspicion of having a pulmonary embolus, but if the D-dimer test is positive, then patients should have the CT. If the test is negative then no scanning is needed, Corwin explained. The finding is published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, August 28, 2009

Toronto H1N1 flu-related death probed

TORONTO (UPI) -- A 44-year-old Toronto man with undisclosed pre-existing medical conditions who died tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus, medical officials said. Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, told a news conference autopsy results would be needed to determine if the virus originally named swine flu played a role in the man's death, the Toronto Sun reported Tuesday. Williams said the east-end man's condition took a sudden bad turn at his home Saturday, and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him. His was the second H1N1-related death in Canada since April, when a northern Alberta woman, also with pre-existing medical problems, died. Her autopsy results couldn't conclude whether the flu virus killed her, the Sun said. The World Health Organization said after this death that Canada is second only to Mexico in reporting new cases of the flu. More than 11,000 people in 46 countries have contracted the virus.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Level of response to alcohol, risk factor

SAN DIEGO (UPI) -- A U.S. doctor says teens who report they "drink others under the table" may be at higher risk of alcoholism. Dr. Marc Schuckit of the Alcohol Research Center at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California, San Diego, says a low level of reaction to alcohol has been found to be a unique risk factor for alcohol use disorders across adulthood and not simply a reflection of a broader range of risk factors. Schuckit, the corresponding author of a study, looked at alcoholism risk factors such as family history in 297 men. The men -- participants in the San Diego Prospective Study -- were tested on their level of response when recruited between the ages of 18 to 25. They were also evaluated at 10-, 15-, 20- and 25-year follow-ups. "We showed that a low level of reaction at age 20 predicts later heavy drinking and alcoholism even if you control for all these other predictors of alcohol problems at age 20," Schuckit says in a statement. A person with low level of reaction may tend to drink more each time they imbibe, he says, but identifying the risk early in life may allow ways to decrease the risk. The study does not mean not having a low level of reaction means not developing alcoholism, Schuckit added. The findings are scheduled to be published in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Race may have impact on teachers

ITHACA, N.Y. (UPI) -- A U.S. study found high-quality teachers may tend to leave schools that experience inflows of black students, researchers said. Study author C. Kirabo Jackson of Cornell University said the study suggests a school's racial makeup may have a direct impact on the quality of its teachers. "It's well established that schools with large minority populations tend to have lower quality teachers," Jackson said in a statement. "But it is unclear whether these schools are merely located in areas with a paucity of quality teachers, whether quality teachers avoid these schools because of the neighborhood or economic factors surrounding a school, or whether there is a direct relationship between student characteristics and teacher quality." Jackson said the findings suggest it's not neighborhoods keeping high-quality teachers away. "This is particularly sobering because it implies that, all else equal, black students will systematically receive lower quality instruction," Jackson said. The study of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in North Carolina ended its race-based busing program in 2002 and some schools had a large and sudden inflow of black students -- but the racial makeup of the neighborhood and economic factors were the same. The study, published in the Journal of Labor Economics, found the black teachers were slightly more likely than white teachers to stay in the schools that experienced a black inflow. However, those black teachers who did leave black schools tended to be the highest qualified.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sweden reports nationwide blood shortage

UPPSALA, Sweden (UPI) -- Sweden's hospitals are suffering a shortage of blood due to increasingly advanced healthcare techniques, a top hospital doctor said. The blood shortage forced Uppsala University Hospital to suspend operations until more blood is found, Johan Ronnelid, the hospital's chief physician, said Monday. "We have searched the country and will receive supplies by taxi during the day from some remote locations," he said. "There is a shortage of blood in the whole country." The shortage is most acute in blood groups O and B, Ronnelid said, explaining that increasingly sophisticated medical techniques require larger quantities of blood. Blood shortages in Sweden sometimes occur during the summer months, but rarely as early as May, the Swedish news agency TT reported Tuesday.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

'Dex' ups high altitude exercise capacity

ZURICH, Switzerland (UPI) -- Taking dexamethasone, used in the treatment of high altitude cerebral edema, may improve exercise capacity in some mountaineers, Swiss researchers said. Lead authors Dr. Manuel Fischler of the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, and Hans-Peter Brunner-La Rocca, of the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, recruited 23 mountaineers with a history of high altitude pulmonary edema and administered baseline cardiopulmonary exercise tests a low elevation at 1607 feet. All participants were randomized to take either dexamethasone, tadalifil -- used to treat erectile dysfunction and approved for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension -- or placebo. Subjects were tested for oxygen uptake kinetics by pedaling a stationary bike at a constant rate for six minutes, and then for exercise capacity by pedaling at 50 percent of their predicted maximum workload for one minute, and then increasing output by 25 percent each additional minute until exhaustion, usually after 8 to 12 minutes. The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found the climbers taking dexamethasone improved exercise capacity, oxygen uptake kinetics and decreased the anaerobic threshold. "Overall, this means that those climbers who took dex felt better, were able to do more, and probably experienced fewer altitude-related discomforts than both other groups," Fischler said in a statement.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More injuries during kickoff, punting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) -- A greater proportion of severe injuries in high school football occur during kickoffs and punt plays, U.S. researchers find. The study, published in Research in Sports Medicine, finds 33 percent of high school football injuries occurring during kickoffs and punts are severe -- and 20 percent are concussions. The study finds injuries sustained at the beginning or middle of a game are more severe compared to injuries sustained during the end or in overtime. "Not only does the time in competition affect injuries but also the phase of play," study author Dawn Comstock of the Center for Injury Research and Policy in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says in a statement. "Overall, severe injuries accounted for 20 percent of all injuries, with 44 percent of severe injuries being fractures." Data for the study were collected from the 2005-2006 National High School Sports Injury Surveillance Study.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, August 17, 2009

Binge drinking may affect working memory

GALICIA, Spain (UPI) -- Students desiring to excel at school or work may wish to forego binge drinking, research by Spanish scientists suggests. The study, published online ahead of print in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, finds binge drinkers expend more attentional effort to completing a given task, and have problems differentiating between relevant and irrelevant information. The study looked at 95 first-year male and female university students. Of these, 42 were binge drinkers -- defined as males who drink five or more standard alcohol drinks or females who drink four or more within a two-hour period. The researchers find binge drinkers showed anomalies during the execution of a task involving visual working memory not shown by the 53 non-binge drinkers. "One of the most relevant and worrying aspects of the high prevalence of intense consumption of alcohol in young people is the effect this drinking pattern probably has on the structure and function of the still developing brain, and that these consequences may persist in the long-term," study corresponding author Alberto Crego, a doctoral student at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, says in a statement. "Some neuromaturation processes continue until approximately 25 years of age; this means that late developing regions are probably even more vulnerable targets."
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canning not just for grandma anymore

SEATTLE (UPI) -- Home canning, fueled by movements to eat more fruits and vegetables, save money and eat locally is gaining favor among younger people, a Seattle Web site says. A survey of its community by, a food Web site that receives 300 million hits annually, indicates the demographic of canners is shifting from baby boomers to Generations X and Y -- and nearly half of canners are age 40 or younger. Moreover, almost half of canners live in suburban areas, signaling that canning is no longer reserved to rural communities -- or grandma, the Web site says. As the recession progresses and food prices continue to rise, 61 percent of canners say their greatest motivation is saving money. Canning has traditionally been a family tradition passed down by generations, but younger people are looking for canning advice on the Internet. says its canning page views increased by 109 percent since last year. is supporting the national "Canvolution" by partnering with Canning Across America, a grassroots canning movement started by food writers, bloggers, cooks, gardeners and food lovers to revitalize the popularity of canning as a way to make it easier to "strive for five," serving of fruits and vegetables. No survey details were provided.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lifelong Health: Swine Flu Threat Continues in U.S., Throughout World

Though this once-terrifying virus has long since lost its media allure, the swine flu is still causing trouble throughout the country. With each passing day, more individuals are in a panic; do they have swine flu? While the swine flu is not often fatal, any stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, headache or gastrointestinal distress raises concerns. The initial panic over swine flu was likely overblown and the risks of death overstated. However, there is still cause for concern. Worldwide, the number of proven cases now exceeds 1 million. As of July 24, a total of 43,771 cases have been diagnosed in the U.S., leading to 302 deaths. Even after the public scare died down, the World Health Organization formally declared a swine flu pandemic. So, what is so new about this virus, how concerned should we be and what should we do about it? The virus was initially thought to have started in pigs in Mexico because the first reported cases in humans were centered in that area -- an analysis of viral cultures found that it had many similarities to strains commonly found in pigs. Further studies now show that this virus is very different from that found in North American pigs, but instead has features of influenza viruses that occur in pigs, birds and humans. Although the virus is new, there is no immunity to it and (as of now) no vaccine to protect against it. This virus appears to be no different from any of the other influenza viruses. It is transmitted from human to human by coughing, sneezing and blowing the virus in small airborne droplets. Once the virus is inhaled, it multiplies in the body and leads to an infection. Clinically, the features of the illness are very similar to that of any other influenza infection. After an incubation period of one to seven days (during which time the asymptomatic person can spread the virus to all around him), the patient becomes ill, typically complaining of a severe headache, a fever often greater than 101 degrees, cough, sore throat and runny nose. Occasionally, a patient may suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the severity of the infection can range from a mild respiratory infection to a severe illness with pneumonia, encephalitis, heart infection (myocarditis) and severe muscle pain (myopathy). Like all other influenza infections, swine flu is particularly serious in "at risk" individuals. These individuals include: infants and children less than 5 years old, those older than 65 but particularly the very old (over 85), nursing home residents and individuals with chronic illness and an impaired ability to fight infections. Here complications including pneumonia, dehydration, septicemia or viral infections of the heart and brain can prove fatal. Based on this information, the presence of any symptoms suggesting influenza should be taken very seriously, especially in those who are at high risk of developing complications. If symptoms are mild and the patient is healthy, it is adequate to stay in bed, drink plenty of liquids and take acetaminophen for headache and fever. Physicians can easily and rapidly diagnose the disease by taking a nasal swab of the patient. If present, therapy with an antiviral can decrease the severity of the symptoms and shorten the time to recovery. The two drugs commonly used are either Tamiflu or Relenza, although their effectiveness in swine flu is not proven and some evidence indicates that the virus may be resistant. The virus does not appear to be more virulent than any other influenza virus, but the lack of immunity or a vaccine raises the specter that multitudes worldwide could become infected. While deaths may be no greater than expected, the sheer number of those diagnosed raises concern that deaths could be in the millions. Because of the involvement of the WHO and global cooperation, a vaccine is on the fast track and expected to be available before the next flu season hits this winter. At-risk individuals, as well as those caring for them, should be vaccinated. Hopefully, vaccination will stave off a worldwide disaster. In this case, the old adage holds true: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Peste neumónica se cobra una tercera vida en China

Un tercer afectado murió por el brote de peste neumónica que afecta a la provincia noroccidental china de Qinghai, donde hay otros nueve enfermos por esta bacteria y las autoridades mantienen en cuarentena a miles de habitantes.
El último fallecido es un hombre llamado Danzhi, de 64 años y de la ciudad de Ziketan, en la prefectura tibetana de Hainan, cuyos 10.000 habitantes fueron puestos en cuarentena el fin de semana pasado, aunque se desconoce el número que permanece aislado.
Ziketan tiene una superficie de unos 3 mil kilómetros cuadrados habitados por pastores tibetanos.
"Se trata de una zona de pastores nómadas muy pobre y poco poblada. Los pastores viven muy distantes unos de otros" , explicó un portavoz de Sanidad de Qinghai apellidado Yang.
El actual brote no supone peligro para los viajeros estivales, ya que la zona cercana más turística, el lago Qinghai, se encuentra a 100 kilómetros de Ziketan, dijo Yang, aunque recomendó a todos aquellos que hayan estado en la zona desde el 16 de julio y que padezcan fiebre o tos que acudan de inmediato a un hospital.
Para prevenir el contagio, las autoridades están llevando a cabo tareas de desinfección y han bloqueado los accesos por carretera a la localidad, informó Yang, donde casi no hay actividad debido a la cuarentena, aunque tampoco pánico, ya que la peste no es nueva para sus pobladores.
Agregó que esta zona del altiplano tibetano registra cada verano brotes de peste, en concreto el área de Ziketan ha sufrido dos en la última década, aunque el actual es de una especial virulencia, por tratarse de un tipo de bacteria más letal.
"Tenemos experiencia en este tipo de brotes, por lo que hemos podido tomar medidas de forma inmediata" , aseguró el funcionario.
Las autoridades sanitarias indican que, hasta hoy, no han detectado ninguna nueva infección.El brote, que se inició el 20 de julio, ha acabado con la vida de otras dos personas desde el sábado, un pastor de 32 años y su vecino de 37, mientras que otras nueve personas están hospitalizadas en el Hospital Tibetano del distrito de Xinghai.
La bacteria neumónica, la "Yersinia pestis" , es la más peligrosa de las tres que producen la peste, una variable de la septicémica y la bubónica, esta última conocida en Europa por las plagas que mataron a millones en la Edad Media.
Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) , la neumónica puede causar la muerte en 24 horas si no se trata a tiempo con antibióticos, y recomienda la cuarentena para aislar el contagio, que se produce a través del aire entre humanos o animales.
La bacteria está presente en roedores salvajes, como ratas, ratones y marmotas, y en sus parásitos, como pulgas o garrapatas.
"Generalmente, las medidas que se toman en este tipo de brotes consisten en identificar la amenaza y controlar su propagación. Una vez identificados los casos, hay que tratar a los pacientes con antibióticos a la mayor brevedad posible" , señaló Vivian Tan, portavoz de la OMS en Pekín.
Tan aclaró que la OMS ha recibido directamente del Ministerio de Sanidad datos actualizados de la epidemia desde el sábado pasado.
"La peste neumónica es la menos común de las tres pestes, pero puede matar a entre un 30 y un 60 por ciento de los contagiados" , agregó Tan.
De los nueve pacientes infectados en Ziketan -la mayoría familiares de la primera víctima-, uno se encuentra en condición grave, y otro ha desarrollado síntomas de tos y dolor torácico.
La peste neumónica ataca a los pulmones y se desarrolla en un máximo de tres días, por lo que, con el fin de reducir las posibilidades de fallecimiento, debe ser tratada en las primeras 24 horas de la aparición de síntomas como fiebre, dolor de cabeza, problemas respiratorios, debilidad y tos con sangre o esputo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Study: Patients don't discuss hospice care

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (UPI) -- A U.S. study of lung cancer patients found that half of them did not discuss hospice care with their doctors. The study by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that blacks and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely to discuss a hospice with their physician within four to seven months after diagnosis than were whites and Asians. "Many terminally ill patients who might benefit from hospice aren't discussing it with their physicians and may not be aware of the services hospice could offer," said Haiden Huskamp, the study's lead author. For the study, Harvard researchers surveyed 1,517 patients diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. The study's findings were published in the May 25 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kidney stones being seen in children

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (UPI) -- A U.S. urologist reports seeing an increase in young children with kidney stones -- something more often seen in middle-aged men. Dr. Gary Faerber of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor says modern diet and lifestyle are probably at fault. "I am seeing more and more children who have kidney stones," Faerber says in a statement. "It's a real phenomenon." Family history of kidney stones is a significant risk factor, but Faerber says consuming sugar-filled drinks and fast-food high in sodium may play a role. Sodium is a known risk factor in the formation of kidney stones, he says. "The sedentary lifestyle we're starting to see in the younger age group and the pediatric group is also a risk factor because we know that obesity increases the risk of forming kidney stones," he adds. A diet high in oxalates can also play a role. Oxalates are found in leafy greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, peanut butter and nuts. However the most common reason people have kidney stones, says Faerber, is that the urine becomes super saturated and it doesn't take much for a small crystal to form. This is why it's really important for kidney stone patients to keep their urine really diluted by drinking lots of water, Faerber says.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, July 6, 2009


WASHINGTON (UPI) -- This year's swine flu outbreak refuted many of the predictions about how the next large-scale flu pandemic would originate and spread, experts say. The world's medical community had based much of their pandemic planning on the 2004 H5N1 "bird flu" outbreak in Southeast Asia, which proved to be a poor model for predicting how the latest novel flu strain, H1N1, would play out, The Washington Post reported Sunday. In planning to cope with future pandemics, experts after 2004 wrongly assumed it would be an avian flu strain. They also assumed that, like H5N1, it would be deadly in 60 percent of those who caught it, instead of the less than 1 percent mortality rate of the H1N1 virus. "Everyone was thinking about H5N1 and the possibility that we would be in for partial global population collapse," influenza expert David Fedson told the newspaper. "We never addressed severity, because we knew it would be severe. And now we have this funny virus coming out of pigs." The consequences were that the world was largely unprepared for the swine flu virus that emerged despite five years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on getting ready, the Post said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press InternationalWhat to do if mower sev

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lifelong Health: Putting Primary Care First Is a Way To Fix Health Care

Recent research reports have shown that despite the enthusiasm around health care reform, every measure of our health is worsening. In the past few years, the prevalence of obesity has increased by 8 percent; the number of people who do the recommended amount of daily exercise has decreased by 10 percent; consumption of fruits and vegetables has decreased by 16 percent; smoking rates remain unchanged; and moderate alcohol intake has increased by 11 percent. The percentage of the population adhering to all "recommended lifestyle measures" has decreased by 15 percent. Particularly alarming is the observation that those who have had heart attacks, have high blood pressure or have diabetes are no more likely to commit to lifestyle changes than the general population is. We are in trouble. In those older than 20, 30 percent have high blood pressure; 30 percent are obese; 6.5 percent have diabetes; and more than 40 percent are totally sedentary. The problem is most severe in minorities, the poor and those without insurance. All of these statistics reveal people's complete lack of commitment to lead healthy lifestyles. It's no surprise that this lack of interest in health greatly increases risk factors for heart disease and stroke, which in turn account for the very high prevalence of preventable deaths. In 2002, more than 500,000 people died from coronary artery disease. Of those, 47 percent died before emergency services arrived or they were transported to hospitals. Had those people made it to hospitals, their risk of death would have been less than 10 percent. These alarming statistics are occurring despite vigorous efforts to make our population more aware of risk factors for disease and to encourage healthy lifestyles in our children, in ourselves and in the oldest of the old. Clearly, we are failing. Most alarmingly, it seems this is a uniquely American condition. Other developed countries around the world are making great progress in health outcomes despite spending much less on health care than the United States does. From my perspective, the difference is clear. Compared with other developed countries, the United States places a much lower priority on primary care and medically supervised prevention of disease. American physicians conduct more tests and more procedures in the evaluations of illnesses and tend to prescribe the most expensive medications. We are also more likely to deliver care that is of no proven benefit. Rather than a focus on primary care, our health care system is characterized by care that is delivered almost exclusively by specialists. The primary care physician is not valued, is reimbursed very little for his services, and must see so many patients a day that all he can do is triage and refer complex patients to specialists for further work-up and care. All of this greatly affects quality health outcomes and widens the gap between the U.S. health system and every other developed country's system. While some of the players in health care reform have voiced their commitment to primary care, I fear that the big business of medicine will overwhelm the real problems of American health care and lead to solutions that focus on more tangible areas of cost cutting. Most notably, a proposal already has been offered to cut physician reimbursement by 22 percent. Simply put, that would be a tragedy. Rather than fix the root problems of misallocated money and inappropriate focus on acute care, this sort of bottom-line policy would only result in more unnecessary tests and procedures while physicians struggle to make ends meet. Amid this gloom lies a glimmer of hope. Many leaders of the insurance industry have expressed a commitment to supporting "home physicians," who are primary care physicians who have the time and resources to comprehensively deliver quality care to patients. The home physician functions as a primary care specialist rather than as a triage physician, who refers any serious issue to a subspecialist. In concert with a team of nurses, physician assistants, dietitians, social workers and exercise physiologists, the home physician can either prevent illnesses or identify and treat them early. Hospitalizations would be reduced, and outcomes would improve. By allowing the home physician to provide individualized, hands-on education to his patients, the chances of significant lifestyle changes certainly would increase. In the fight for health care reform, remember the primary care physicians; they are the key to better health. ======== Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at
Copyright 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vitamin D in fish makes it 'brain food'

WARSAW, England (UPI) -- Mothers used to call fish "brain food," but researchers in Britain say fish and sunshine really do help cerebral cognitive function. University of Manchester scientists, in collaboration with colleagues from other European facilities, compared the cognitive performance of more than 3,000 men ages 40-79 years at eight centers in Europe. Dr. David Lee of Manchester's School of Translational Medicine found that men with higher levels of vitamin D -- synthesized in the skin following sun exposure but also found in certain foods such as oily fish -- performed consistently better in a simple and sensitive neuropsychological test that assesses an individual's attention and speed of information processing. "Previous studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and cognitive performance in adults have produced inconsistent findings but we observed a significant, independent association between a slower information processing speed and lower levels of vitamin D," Lee said in a statement. "The main strengths of our study are that it is based on a large population sample and took into account potential interfering factors, such as depression, season and levels of physical activity." The association between increased vitamin D and faster information processing was more significant in men age 60 and older although the biological reasons for this remain unclear, Lee said. The findings are published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Early Alzheimer's diagnosis reduces costs

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) -- The way to fight Alzheimer's disease is to intervene decades before someone demonstrates symptoms, U.S. researchers suggest. "The future of this disease is to intervene decades before someone becomes symptomatic. This analysis says you can save literally billions of dollars in long-term care costs if you can intervene at an earlier stage," study co-author David Weimer of the La Follette School of Public Affairs said in a statement. "What you don't know costs a lot of money when it comes to this disease." The researchers analyzed two types of interventions following diagnosis -- patient drug treatment and caregiver-support programs. The study, published in the Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, found each intervention provides positive net savings, with the greatest benefits achieved using a combination of both. Currently, Medicare does not support caregiver-intervention programs and even accounting for implementation costs, the analysis suggests it would result in net savings to governments by reducing the care burden on medical systems. The Wisconsin Medicaid program spends almost $500 million each year on nursing home care for 11,000 dementia patients -- a tiny fraction of the estimated 160,000 affected people in the state, but caregiver support is sparse, Mark Sager of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- Rats given a cancer-fighting drug spontaneously consume less alcohol, U.S. researchers say. However, the rat's taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- is unaffected. The researchers say erlotinib -- a drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer -- makes fruit flies and rats more sensitive to alcohol. "This is a very powerful example of how simple model organisms -- and the little fruit fly in particular -- can be used to move quickly from an unknown gene to a potential therapy for drug addiction," study leader Ulrike Heberlein of the University of California, San Francisco, says in a statement. She explains screening mutant flies for those less sensitive to ethanol led them to the gene they call happyhour. The gene affects Epidermal Growth Factor pathway being studied by cancer researchers. Heberlein and colleagues are trying to determine how alcohol influences the EGF pathway and if new gene candidates -- discovered in the fly screens -- may be tied to the pathway as well. "It's not yet clear how it all fits together," Heberlein said. "But the fact that we've come, in an unbiased way, to molecules in the same pathway is telling us this is really, really important." The findings are published in the journal Cell Press.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


SAN DIEGO (UPI) -- If you need aspirin to work fast, a U.S. researcher says chewable aspirin shows greater and more rapid absorption. Dr. Sean Nordt of the University of California in San Diego gave three types of aspirin to a group of volunteer research subjects: regular aspirin swallowed whole, regular aspirin chewed and swallowed and chewable aspirin chewed and swallowed. Nordt, the study leader, tested blood levels of aspirin to see which route led to the highest aspirin levels in the body. The chewable aspirin consistently showed greater and more rapid absorption than the regular aspirin -- whether swallowed whole or chewed. This seemingly quite simple finding could lead to improvements in the care of heart attack patients, Nordt says. Nordt presented the finding at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vitamin D or sunshine may help treat MS
NEW ORLEANS (UPI) -- Giving multiple sclerosis sufferers vitamin D pills or encouraging them to spend more time in the sun might help treatment, U.S. researchers said. In a review for F1000 Medicine Reports, Bridget Bagert of Louisiana State University School of Medicine and Dennis Bourdette of the Oregon Health and Science University highlight recent advances in potential MS treatments. MS results from a failure of the body to recognize itself and the immune system attacks and destroys the sheath that protects nerve fibers, as if it were a foreign body or infection, the researchers said. Vitamin D, which is produced in the skin in response to natural sunlight, is an immune system regulator. This might explain why MS is less common in sunnier countries, the review said. Bagert and Bourdette said oral vitamin D therapy is now in phase II clinical trials, to see how well it works and how much would be needed. "The arrival of effective oral agents will give MS patients more therapeutic options and will be a major advance in the global effort to alter the natural history of this chronic disease," the researchers said in a statement.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, June 6, 2009


CDC: 1 in 8 women drink while pregnant
ATLANTA (UPI) -- About 1 in 8 U.S. women drank some amount of alcohol during their pregnancy, federal health officials said. A 15-year-study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of women who drink alcohol while pregnant is not decreasing and that 1 out of 50 pregnant women engaged in binge drinking. Pregnant women drinking has persisted despite repeated warnings from surgeons general about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant, the report said. "The surgeons general have told pregnant women, and women who may become pregnant to abstain from alcohol consumption in order to eliminate the chance of giving birth to a baby with alcohol-related birth defects," said the report, published in the CDC′s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study found that pregnant women most likely to report any alcohol use were ages 35-44 -- 17.7 percent, college graduates --14.4 percent, employed -- 13.7 percent and unmarried 13.4 percent. Pregnant women who binge drink were more likely to be employed and unmarried, the study said. The researchers used data from 533,506 women age 18-44, of whom 22,027 reported being pregnant at the time of the interview.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, June 5, 2009


Study links female infection to vitamin D
PITTSBURGH (UPI) -- Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say they have linked a common female infection, bacterial vaginosis, to vitamin D deficiency. The study found that black women are more likely to become infected because they are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Saturday. Researchers tested 469 pregnant women for vitamin D levels. They found women with low levels of the vitamin were more likely to be infected. About one-third of women in their child-bearing years are infected with bacterial vaginosis, said Lisa Bodnar, an assistant professor of epidemiology, gynecology and obstetrics. The disease is associated with premature delivery. For many women, bacterial vaginosis is just a nuisance. But the infection can make women more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in blacks because they absorb less from sunlight and are more likely to be lactose intolerant.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, June 4, 2009


1 in 4 black women refuse cancer therapy
ATLANTA (UPI) -- Nearly 1 in 4 African-American women in the United States with late stage breast cancer refused chemotherapy and radiation therapy, researchers said. Study leader Dr. Monica Rizzo of the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory University's Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at Grady and colleagues reviewed stage III breast cancer data from 2000- 2006 from an inner city hospital in Atlanta that serves a large African-American population. The investigators identified 107 cases of stage III breast cancers diagnosed and/or treated at this hospital over the six years of study. Approximately 87 percent of these cases were in African-American women. Chemotherapy and radiation are recommended therapies for patients with stage III breast cancer; however, many women in this study decided to forgo these treatments. The study, published online ahead of print of the July 1 issue of the journal Cancer, found 20.5 percent of patients with stage III breast cancer refused chemotherapy and 26.3 percent who should have received chest radiation refused. The authors said the reasons why African-American women with advanced breast cancer often refuse necessary care are unclear.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, May 14, 2009





Sunday, May 3, 2009

Healthy food options lead to poor choices

NEW YORK (UPI) -- Consumers may want to see healthier food items available but that does not mean they will choose them, U.S. researchers said. Study authors Keith Wilcox of City University of New York, Beth Vallen of Loyola College, Lauren Block of City University of New York and Gavan J. Fitzsimons of Duke University said more restaurants and vending machines offer healthy choices, yet American waistlines continue to expand. In a series of four studies, the researchers examined how consumers' food choices differed when a healthy item was included in a set compared to when it was not available. The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, showed that the mere presence of a healthy item vicariously fulfills health-related eating goals, drives attention to the least-healthy choice and provides people with license to indulge in tempting foods. The study also demonstrated that these effects were more pronounced in people with relatively high levels of self-control. Given the choice of fries, chicken nuggets or a baked potato, people high in self-control rarely chose the fries -- considered the least-healthy option. However, add the salad and high self-control individuals were significantly more likely to choose the French fries, the researchers said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, May 1, 2009


Police say fingernails gave away robber
CHELSEA, Mass. (UPI) -- Police in Chelsea, Mass., say a bank robbery suspect was apprehended after being identified by her orange fingernail polish. A witness said the woman who made off with $450 in cash from the Sovereign Bank Wednesday had nails coated with a bright burnt orange fingernail polish, The Boston Globe reported. The robber presented a note demanding money to a teller and left the scene after the bank employee complied, police said. Thanks to another witness who wrote down the license plate number of the fleeing robber's vehicle, police quickly located their suspect. After tracing the license plate and locating the accompanying vehicle, police found their suspect, Margaret Christie, and her flashy fingernails, the Globe said. Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Your Health: Trans Fat a Major Health Hazard in American Diet Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.

Like it or not, New York City restaurant patrons soon will be eating less trans fat when they dine out. On Dec. 5, 2006, New York City's Board of Health adopted a resolution to restrict the service of food products containing artificial trans fat at New York City restaurants. While the political and economic implications of the resolution have been hotly debated, there's little doubt that consumption of trans fat has negative health consequences. In clinical studies, trans fats have been shown to elevate total blood cholesterol and levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Even worse, they tend to reduce levels of heart-healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. No other known dietary component has both of these adverse effects, each of which contributes to the development of heart disease, a condition shared by more than 12 million Americans. Each year, heart disease claims the lives of more than 500,000 people in the United States. There's also evidence to suggest that consumption of trans fat can trigger insulin resistance, boosting the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the body, trans fat may interfere with the normal metabolism of essential fatty acids, leading to disruptions in the production of various hormones and blood clotting factors. Most of the trans fat in the typical American diet is artificially created in a process known as hydrogenation, in which plant oils are exposed to hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst at high temperatures. The process changes the structure of the chemical bonds in fat, transforming them from a liquid to solid state. With their revised chemical structure, hydrogenated oils don't break down or become rancid as quickly as naturally occurring oils and fats. This property comes in handy in the preparation of fried foods, including chicken, donuts, and French fries. It also helps retard spoilage and prolong the shelf-life of commercially prepared baked goods, including cakes, pies, cookies, and crackers. Not all trans fat in the U.S. diet is artificially engineered: Small amounts occur naturally in grazing animals used in food production. While trans fat may contribute as much as half of the total fat content in commercially prepared foods, it typically comprises just 2 to 6 percent of the total fat content of beef and dairy products. The chemical structure of trans fat in animal products is different than the structure of artificially produced trans fat. At this point, it isn't entirely clear if this difference makes them less of a hazard to human health. Regardless of the source, health and nutrition experts agree that Americans consume too much of the bad fat. According to data published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the average daily intake among adults is about 5.8 grams. Guidelines issued by the American Heart Association recommend that trans fat consumption be kept below one percent of total energy intake. The Institutes of Medicine concluded that because trans fat confers no known health benefit and contributes to heart disease, intake should be as low as possible. One way to reduce your consumption of trans fat is to avoid eating commercially prepared fried foods. Choosing a bagel instead of a donut for breakfast will eliminate about 5 grams of trans fat from your diet, and foregoing the French fries at lunch will cut out another 8 grams. While you're reducing your consumption of fried fare, you can also choose pre-packaged foods that are free of trans fat. Since January 2006, the FDA has required food manufacturers to list trans fat content on the Nutrition Facts panels of all food items and many nutritional supplements. When you're preparing food at home, it's a good idea to use ingredients that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Unlike trans fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do not elevate blood cholesterol levels, and both offer a number of health benefits when consumed in moderation. Polyunsaturated fats are found in plant oils, including sunflower, safflower, and sesame seed oil, as well as in some varieties of fish, including tuna and salmon. Canola oil and olive oil contain monounsaturated fats. To reduce your consumption of trans fat in animal products, choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean meats, including baked poultry without the skin, and the leanest cuts of beef and pork. It's not practical to completely eliminate all trans fat from your diet, but lowering your intake will go a long way toward reducing your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health.

Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., is a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., and author of "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Web site is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc

Monday, April 6, 2009

Indigenous children in several nations at risk

OTTAWA (UPI) -- Indigenous children are more likely to get sick, hurt or die than other children in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, researchers say. Study leader Dr. Smylie at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health, part of the Keenan Research Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital found indigenous children suffered from infant mortality rates up to four times the national average, higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome, child injury, suicide and accidental death. Indigenous children also experience a disproportionate level of ear infections, respiratory illnesses and dental problems. "Until now, there has been no comprehensive data source on indigenous child health in Canada -- the data is flawed and incomplete," Smylie said in a statement. "It is our hope that the health information from this report will be used to help develop strong policies and programs to improve Indigenous children's health. We would like to see this research help to create positive change and start the discussion on how to make the future better for all indigenous children." The Children's Health Report: Health Assessment in Action is an international research project that summarizes health data on indigenous children from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Some with eczema allergic to fragrance
GOTHENBURG, Sweden (UPI) -- About 5 percent of those with eczema were allergic to the air oxidized form of a popular shampoo and soap fragrance, a researcher in Sweden said. Dermatologist Johanna Brared Christensson said considerably more people than previously believed are allergic to the most common fragrance ingredient -- linalool -- used in shampoos, conditioners and soap. "I would suspect that about 2 percent of the complete population of Sweden are allergic to air oxidized linalool. That may not sound like very much but it is serious since linalool is so widely used as a fragrance ingredient," Christensson said in a statement. "Linalool is found in 60 percent to 80 percent of the perfumed hygiene products, washing up liquids and household cleaning agents that can be bought in the nearest supermarket and it can be difficult for people who are allergic to avoid these products." About 1-in-5 people in Sweden has some form of contact allergy, nickel is by far the most common substance that causes eczema, but the thesis shows that oxidized linalool occupies third place in the list, after nickel and cobalt, Christensson said. In the study, oxidized linalool was added at patch testing for more than 3,000 patients who wanted to find out what was causing their eczema and 5 percent to 7 percent proved to be allergic to the oxidized form of the fragrance ingredient. The thesis was presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International