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Half a million cases of children with ADHD linked to lead exposure and environmental tobacco smoke PDF Print E-mail
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Saturday, 24 March 2007 00:00

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is one of the most common childhood disorders. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 4.4 million children between the ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare professional, and as of 2003, 2.5 million children ages 4-17 are currently receiving medication for the disorder. In 2003, 7.8% of school-aged children were reported to have an ADHD diagnosis by their parents. 

A large number of studies have found an association between prenatal environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure and ADHD. In case controlled studies, researchers have found a 2 to 4-fold increased risk of ADHD associated with prenatal ETS exposure. 

Lead is a heavy metal that serves no purpose in the body and can result in toxic effects. The nervous system is the most sensitive to lead exposure. Fetuses and young children are particularly vulnerable to neurologic damage from lead exposure because their brains are still developing and their brain-blood barrier is incomplete. According to the CDC, “There may be no lower threshold for some of the adverse neurologic effects of lead in children; some of these effects have been documented at exposure levels once thought to cause no harmful effects.” 

Children can suffer neurologic effects at low levels of lead exposure. There is a large body of evidence that links a decrease in IQ and other neuropsychologic defects with lead exposure. Numerous studies have found an association between lead levels measured in the blood or teeth to higher rates of inattention and impulsivity.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:00
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Diet high in animal protein and intestinal bacteria key in colon cancer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 05 February 2007 00:00

Colorectal cancer is the most common gastrointestinal cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In fact, the National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2007 there will be approximately 150,000 new colorectal cancer cases with over 50,000 deaths. 

African Americans have a high rate of colon cancer, occurring at a rate of 65 per 100,000. However, native African’s rate of colon cancer is far lower, occurring at less than 1 case per 100,000. Because African Americans have a rate 65 times higher of getting colon cancer than native Africans strongly suggests that differences in environment influence this disease. 

Previous studies have shown that over 90% of gastrointestinal cancers are due to environmental influences such as diet. Strong epidemiologic and experimental evidence indicates that a diet high in red meat and animal fat is associated with an increased colon cancer risk. 

Over 88,000 women aged 34 to 59 from the Nurses Health Study were examined to determine the link between diet and colon cancer. The analysis showed that those who frequently ate beef, pork, and lamb were 2.5 times more likely to develop the disease. Those who ate processed meats and liver were also at an increased risk, while those eating fish and skinless chicken were at a decreased risk.


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Beta-Agonists may cause thousands of asthma-related deaths each year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Tuesday, 02 January 2007 00:00

Long-acting beta-agonists are part of a group of medications call bronchodilators which act to open up constricted airways. Long-acting beta-agonists, such as salmeterol (Serevent) and formoterol (Foradil) are used to control moderate to severe asthma and prevent nighttime symptoms. Salmeterol is one of the most widely prescribed medications in the world, with an estimated 3.5 million adults treated in the United States in 2004. 

Advair is the brand name drug combining fluticasone (a steroid) and salmeterol to prevent wheezing, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties caused by asthma. Made by GlaxoSmithKline Advair contains salmeterol that is found alone in Serevent. In 2004, Advair's U.S. sales reached $2.4 billion, and its worldwide sales of more than $4.5 billion made it the third best selling drug in the world. 

But just how safe are these products in treating asthma? 

In May 2005, the FDA requested manufacturers of these medications (Advair Diskus, Foradil Aerolizer, and Serevent Diskus) to update their product warning labels that these products “increase the chance of severe asthma episodes, and death when those episodes occur.”


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:00
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Paroxetine (Paxil or Paxil CR) can more than triple major cardiac birth defects PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 29 December 2006 00:00

Paroxetine, known by the brand names Paxil or Paxil CR in the United States, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, antidepressant. Paroxetine was introduced in 1992 by GlaxoSmithKline and has become one of the most prescribed antidepressants on the market. In fact, paroxetine is the third most prescribed antidepressant in the United States and the most prescribed antidepressant in Canada. 

In late 2005 the FDA and Health Canada issued two warnings regarding first trimester exposure to paroxetine and the increased risk of cardiac malformation in newborns. A study in Reproductive Toxicology published in April 2006 showed a two-fold increased risk of cardiac malformations in women taken paroxetine during the first trimester. This conclusion agreed with earlier unpublished reports performed in 2005 by GlaxoSmithKline also showing a doubled risk of cardiac malformations. 

A new study published in Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology, examined in greater detail the association between exclusive first trimester exposure to paroxetine and the occurrence of any major congenital malformation, and more specifically, major cardiac malformations. The authors used a number of medical databases examining all pregnancies that occurred in Quebec between January 1997 and July 2003. 

Adjusting for a number of variables, as well as for second and third trimester exposure to antidepressants, paroxetine exposure during the first trimester or pregnancy compared with the use of other SSRI and non-SSRI antidepressants did not significantly raise the risk of congenital malformations. Although this showed no difference in birth defects it must be taken with the information found in a recent population-based cohort study that found the use of any SSRI antidepressant in the first trimester of pregnancy resulted in a 40% increase in birth defects and more specifically a 60% increased risk in cardiac abnormalities.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:01
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NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Vioxx, etc.) increases risk of death from ulcers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 18 December 2006 00:00

A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine. According to the CDC one out of ten Americans will suffer from a peptic ulcer during their lifetime. Ulcers cause an estimated 1 million hospitalizations and approximately 6,500 deaths each year. In the United States, annual health care costs of peptic ulcer disease have been estimated at nearly $6 billion: $3 billion in hospitalization costs, $2 billion in physician office visits, and $1 billion in decreased productivity and days lost from work. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, are commonly used as a treatment for common pain and conditions such as arthritis. Although this class of medication has been shown to be only have a modest symptomatic benefit over placebo, these medicines constitute one of the most widely used class of drugs, with more than 70 million prescriptions and more than 30 billion over-the-counter tablets sold annually in the United States alone. 

Newer NSAIDs known as COX-2 were developed to limit the adverse gastrointestinal effects seen with chronic NSAID therapy. COX-2 NSAIDs include the brands Vioxx and Celebrex. 

A 1998 study determined that over 16,000 NSAID-related deaths occur each year in the United States from gastrointestinal bleeding in the treatment of arthritis. While there is strong evidence that NSAID use increases the risk of peptic ulcer complications there is little data on the outcome to NSAID users in the peptic ulcer perforation. A peptic ulcer perforation is a hole that occurs in the stomach or duodenum. A new study in the journal American Journal of Gastroenterology examines the risk of death from this peptic ulcer perforation in users of NSAIDs.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:01
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Fish oil tackles arthritis and heart disease PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 11 December 2006 00:00

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, stiffness, swelling and deformities. Approximately 2 million people in the United States are believed to have rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a doubled risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a doubled risk of sudden death. 

NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are a class of medication that are often used to help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing tissue inflammation, pain, and swelling. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Medipren, Motrin), naproxen, and etodolac (Lodine) are examples of NSAIDs that are used to treat this condition. 

Although considered effective in treating symptoms NSAIDs are associated with serious upper gastrointestinal complications resulting in over 16,000 deaths and over 100,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States in treating arthritis alone. In addition, NSAIDs are now considered to be involved in increasing the risk of serious risk of cardiovascular (CV) problems. For example, Vioxx has been shown to be involved in tens of thousands of deaths from heart attacks and sudden cardiac death before being removed from the market. 

Fish oil has been well established as a treatment to reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike NSAIDs, fish oil has not been associated with any gastrointestinal problems and has also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:01
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Oral contraceptives increase breast cancer risk PDF Print E-mail
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 00:00

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women worldwide. In the United States breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women aged 20 to 59 years old. Approximately 2 in 15 women in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and each year nearly 40,000 women die from the disease. Over the last 40 years breast cancer rates have steadily increased worldwide and has increased even faster in developed countries with the rate fastest increase occurring in younger women. 

Oral contraceptive (OC) pills have been commonly used by millions of women in the United States for over 40 years. Oral contraceptives, also commonly known as “The Pill” are a combination of progestin and a synthetic estrogen. This medication that is taken by healthy women to prevent pregnancy and is generally considered by most to be safe and effective. 

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified both hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives as “group 1 carcinogens”. A group 1 carcinogen means that the substance is carcinogenic to humans, whereas group 2A means the substance is probably carcinogenic to humans and group 2B means the substance is possibly carcinogenic to humans.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:01
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Commentary: I want an apology for... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 03 November 2006 00:00

A recent speech by Democratic Senator John Kerry has erupted into a firestorm. Senator Kerry describes the comment as a “botched joke” that was actually aimed at President Bush. President Bush has called for an apology to what he considered an insult to the troops serving in Iraq. Radio and television talk show hosts, newspapers, and the Internet are all abuzz with this story. 

President Bush’s political operatives are attempting to create a giant controversy over this remark in the hopes of gaining political traction. But stepping back from the story it’s clearly nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. This single sentence from a single speech didn’t kill anyone, it didn’t cost anyone money, and it really didn’t effect anyone’s life in any amount. But this controversy did make me think of all the horrifying tragedies that deserve an apology. 

I want an apology for the more than 2,800 Americans soldiers that have died in less than four years in the Iraq War. – Associated Press, November 2, 2006 

I want an apology for the 655,000 Iraqis that have died as a result of the invasion of Iraq. – The Lancet, October


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:01
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Fruit and vegetable concentrate boosts immunity and decreases DNA damage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 00:00

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to be extremely important in maintaining health. Fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce heart disease risk, decrease the risk for certain cancers, improve life expectancy, and lower body mass index (BMI). 

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) now recommends more than five fruits and vegetables each day to improve health and reduce disease. Unfortunately, studies show that the recommended consumption of fruits and vegetables is not being met. For example, a recent study of over 2,300 girls published in Preventative Medicine showed that a requirement of two fruits and three vegetables per day was only met by 10% of girls. 

Fruit and vegetable concentrates could be one way to help reduce this gap. Some of the components of fruits and vegetables, such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are effective in maintaining health and immune function. Encapsulated concentrates have been shown to improve immunity and reduce DNA damage. These also have also been shown to increase blood levels of vitamin C and other nutrients, and also decrease the amount of oxidative damage in the body. 

A new study in The Journal of Nutrition, examined the effect of a fruit and vegetable concentrate over an 11-week period on 59 healthy students. The students were assigned, in a double-blind fashion, to either a placebo or the fruit and vegetable concentrate. They were instructed to take 4 capsules a day, but were instructed to otherwise not alter their diet. The fruit and vegetable concentrate consisted of powder derived from acerola cherry, apple, beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cranberry, kale, orange, peach, papaya, parsley, pineapple, spinach, and tomato.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:02
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Vitamin C supplements help reverse male infertility PDF Print E-mail
(1 vote, average 1.00 out of 5)
Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Thursday, 05 October 2006 00:00

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects over 6 million people in the United States. Male infertility accounts for 40% of infertility problems, which affects approximately 15% of couples. 

A number of nutritional approaches have been shown to improve sperm counts and sperm motility, such as zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, carnitine, and arginine. Also, numerous antioxidant nutrients have also proven beneficial in treating male infertility, such as glutathione, coenzyme Q10, and vitamins A and E. 

A new small study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food examined the effect of supplementing with vitamin C on men with infertility. The study consisted of 13 men aged 25 to 35 who supplemented with 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice daily for 2 months. 

Vitamin C protects sperm from oxidative damage and has been shown to improve sperm quality in smokers. One gram of vitamin C daily has also been found to be effective in agglutination, a condition that causes sperm to clump together. The study authors notes “men who lack vitamin C are also more likely to pass on genetically damaged sperm that can cause birth defects.” Several studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin C shows a significant improvement in sperm quality.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 02:02
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