Sunday, February 27, 2011

Smoking Cessation More Effective When Treated With PTSD

People with mental health difficulties or addictions tend to smoke more than the general public.

In a study by the Veterans Administration, "combining post-traumatic stress disorder treatment with smoking cessation is the best way to help such veterans stop smoking".

Veterans who were in both treatments concurrently were twice as likely to stop smoking as the participants treated for PTSD and sent separately to a smoking cessation clinic. In a 48 months follow-up to both approaches, those who stopped smoking were 9% in the integrated group versus 4.5%.

The results of the study also invalidated the assumption that smoking is a needed "coping mechanism and that encouraging people to quit smoking is a lost cause."

Data now shows that "smokers with mental concerns are just as ready to quit smoking as smokers in the general population," according to Judith Prochaska, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco.

The "integrated-care" participants ended up attending more smoking cessation sessions and were more likely to use medications to help, such as the nicotine patch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vitamin D May Or May Not Help Older Women

Vitamin D deficiency and frailty are common with aging. Vitamin D supplementation has grown in popularity.

However, a new study has found that both low AND high levels of vitamin D are "associated with increased risk of frailty in older women (69+years."

More trials need to be completed to make definitive conclusions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Radiation Before Surgery, A Possible Deterrent to Recurrence of Rectal Cancer

Robert Preidt wrote for Medline Plus Monday, october 25, 2010, that a new Dutch study found that patients who receive short-term radiation before surgery for rectal cancer "are about 50 percent less likely to experience a return of their cancer."

After studying more than 1,800 rectal cancer patients, Dr. Corrie Marjnen suspects that "tumors in the middle rectum and stage III rectal cancer patients will most greatly benefit from receiving radiation before surgery."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Definitive Study On The Advantages Of Sunscreen

Applying sunscreen helps to protect against deadly skin cancer. Melanomas are only about 5% of skin cancers but they cause most skin-cancer deaths.

Researchers in Australia studied 1,600 white adults 25-75 for five years. Those who were vigilant in using broad spectrum SPF 16 sunscreen on the head, neck, arms and hands were 50% as likely to develop melanomas.

"Sunscreen also seemed to protect from invasive melanomas, which are harder to cure than superficial melanomas because they have already spread to deeper layers of the skin."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hope For Blood Cancer Patients

Having two cousins with multiple myeloma (one passed away) makes me pay special attention to any advances toward improving her survival.

In a study published December 4, 2010, researchers found that treating multiple myeloma patients early with a type of bisphosphonate called zoledronic acid improved survival. It also bolstered bone health and the risk of fracture and bone pain, common to the disease.

Of the 1,960 multiple myeloma participants, about half were treated with zoledronic acid in combination with either intensive or non-intensive chemotherapy. Even though chemotherapy intensity did not appear to affect fatality or survival outcomes, those taking zoledronic acid in proper dosages had notably higher survival rates.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Drug Brings Hope To Heart Patients

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) researchers have found a new drug, anacetrapid, that raised good cholesterol (HDL) by 138% and also cut bad cholesterol significantly, according to Dr. Christopher Cannon, cardiologist and senior investigator.

In a study of 1,623 participants over an 18-month period, it was determined that "up until this point there have been very few drugs available to treat low levels of good cholesterol, and this new drug is 4 to 10 times more effective in raising good cholesterol compared to current therapies".

Additionally, the drug appears to be well-tolerated by patients and is not associated with the dangerous blood pressure changes in other similar-type medications.

Finally, those in the study who took the new drug rather than the placebo were significantly less likely to need angioplasty or bypass surgery.

This drug has a long way to go but it is a welcome sign for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Radiation, Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

In a December 7, 2010, news release Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City announced that a three-nation study on localized breast cancer revealed that:

1. The drug tamoxifen greatly reduced the risk of the recurrence of localized cancer and decreased the risk of new cancer in the other breast by more than 65%;

2. Radiation after surgery greatly reduced the risk of invasive cancer in the same breast.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cataract Symptoms

If you:
1. Are seeing double
2. Are becoming more sensitive to glaring light
3. Are seeing a halo surrounding a light
4. Have vision that appears cloudy or blurry )see as if you eye is covered with a film)
5. Are having trouble seeing in the dark
6. Are not seeing colors sharply
7. Are having difficulty differentiating shapes and colors in a background,
then you should visit your eye doctor about cataracts.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Treat Menopause Before It Grabs You

If you're a woman in your forties and maybe in your late thirties, you might want to think ahead about menopause. Dr. Karen Deighan, chair of obstetrics/gynecology at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, encourages these patients to be proactive about their health by taking appropriate steps to minimize the side effects of menopause before it arrives.

She suggests:

1. Exercising to prevent the 5-10 pound weight gain.

2. Do your kegels to strengthen the pelvic floor.

3. Do weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong.

4. Exercise the brain with word puzzles.

5. Get enough sleep to be mentally alert and to keep libido high.

6. Treat vaginal dryness.

7. Get your annual check-up.

8. Protect your teeth.

9. Eat your fruit and veggies and bypass processed food.

10. Take 1,000 - 1,200 milligrams of calcium.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Measure Blood Pressure With Affordable Solar-Powered Device

Research recently published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association announced that a new, accurate, easy-to-use, solar-powered device used to measure blood pressure "may help slow the worldwide increase in cardiovascular disease by providing affordable and reliable blood pressure testing in low income countries."

The device is being tested in Uganda and Zambia, Africa. 97% of the healthcare professionals there favored the device over traditional methods, especially for testing systolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart contracts). They hope that soon the device will be equally as precise for diastolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart relaxes).