Health News: February 2012

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Colonoscopy can save lives. Most people dread cleansing their colons in preparation for a colonoscopy in which a physician visually examines the colon for polyps or other signs of cancer. A new study in The New England Journal of Medicine... (Read More)
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Diet soda may be linked with a higher risk of heart attacks or strokes. Researchers studied more than 2,500 senior citizens in New York City and found that those who regularly drank diet soda were 44 percent more likely to... (Read More)

Cancer Drug Shortages

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Shortages of two essential cancer drugs have the FDA scrambling to find alternate sources. Supplies of methotrexate to treat childhood leukemia were critically low due to manufacturing problems in the U.S. The FDA has quickly given a German company the... (Read More)
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Fructose has taken a lot of blame for the obesity epidemic. High fructose corn syrup is widespread in soft drinks, baked goods, ketchup and other processed foods. Some experts have postulated that fructose is metabolized differently from other carbohydrates and... (Read More)
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If you search for the classic symptoms of a heart attack you will find: pressure or pain in the chest shooting down the left arm. References also mention a feeling of discomfort radiating to the back, jaw or throat. About... (Read More)
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Caffeine is Americas favorite drug. Millions of us couldn't start the morning without a cup or two of coffee while others depend upon caffeinated soft drinks to stay alert throughout the day. The problem with coffee, however, is that it... (Read More)
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Hundreds of lipstick brands tested positive for small amounts of lead. That's the word from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Lead has been detected in lipstick for years. The most recent round of testing comes from the Food and Drug... (Read More)
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The drug shortage in the United States is now endangering the lives of children with cancer. The FDA has announced that supplies of preservative-free methotrexate for injection are in dangerously short supply. This medicine is crucial for treating children with... (Read More)
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The FDA has a potentially life-threatening problem with a cancer drug. Avastin is used to treat colo-rectal cancer as well as tumors of the brain, kidney and lungs. It works by cutting off the blood supply to tumors by blocking... (Read More)
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People with sinusitis are frequently prescribed antibiotics in the hope of clearing up the infection behind the inflammation. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the antibiotic amoxicillin made no difference in curing... (Read More)
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B-vitamins and fish oil do not appear to offer protection against cancer. A study of more than 2,500 French people compared the supplements to placebo for five years. The investigators found that the mixture of vitamin B6, folic acid and... (Read More)
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The Mediterranean diet appears to help protect against cancer as well as heart disease. Now evidence suggests it may also protect the brain. Senior citizens who ate a Mediterranean-type diet were less likely to show damage to blood vessels on... (Read More)
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Green tea may help senior citizens stay active and healthy. A study of 14,000 Japanese elders over 65 years old found that those who drank five cups or more a day were much more likely to maintain their activities of... (Read More)
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Americans have been urged to cut the amount of sodium in their diets. But to do that, according to the CDC, people will have to eat a lot less bread and rolls. It seems counter-intuitive, but these seemingly bland staples... (Read More)
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Long-distance travelers can take heart in new guidelines issued by the American College of Chest Physicians. The expert panel suggests that "traveling in economy class does not increase your risk for developing a blood clot." Blood clots deep in the... (Read More)
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We've all been warned about the risks of high cholesterol, but investigators now say that a different type of blood fat is the strongest risk factor for strokes in older women. Women with the highest levels of triglycerides were almost... (Read More)
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People with Parkinson's disease are more prone to falls and other complications from poor balance. A new study shows that practicing tai chi, a martial art that requires good balance, can help patients with mild to moderate disease improve their... (Read More)
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Athletes appreciate the relaxation provided by a good massage. A study from McMaster University in Canada has demonstrated that people suffering with chronic inflammation can also benefit greatly. A 10 minute massage sends biochemical messages to muscle cells that help... (Read More)
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Measuring blood pressure in both arms may reveal unexpected cardiovascular risks. Usually, the cuff is put on just one arm or the other in the doctor's office, and the result of that reading is used to determine if the patient... (Read More)
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People with type 2 diabetes usually take oral medications to help keep their blood sugar under control. One widely available inexpensive generic drug, metformin, appears to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Although this kind of cancer is relatively rare,... (Read More)
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Black raspberries may offer a surprising solution for preventing oral cancers. This form of malignancy kills over 7,000 people annually. The usual treatment involves surgery to remove abnormal cellular growth before it turns into life-threatening cancer. Even with such surgical... (Read More)
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Eating fish at least three times a week may reduce the risk of a common digestive tract cancer. Scientists at Vanderbilt compared cases of people who had colonoscopies. The individuals in the study answered food-frequency questionnaires. Women who ate more... (Read More)

Solving the PSA Puzzle

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The larger a man's prostate, the higher his PSA might be. That could easily lead to a biopsy and diagnosis of prostate cancer. A new study suggests that a larger prostate may be associated with less severe prostate cancer. The... (Read More)
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People often assume that older people are not interested in sex. A new survey from Southern California suggests that is not true. 800 women between the ages 40 and 82 answered questions about their sexual activity and satisfaction. Roughly half... (Read More)