E. Coli Linked To Kidney Problems, Heart Disease And High Blood Pressure

(MedicalNewsToday.com) — People who become infected with E. Coli have a higher risk of later on developing hypertension, heart disease and kidney problems, Canadian researchers wrote in an article published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal). The authors say their study underscores how important it is to have clean water and food, as well as monitoring infected people carefully. E. coli is the same as Escherichia coli.

Health authorities in America believe that approximately 120,000 people each year develop gastro-enteric illnesses from E. coli 0157:H7 infections. About 2,000 are admitted to hospital 60 sixty die each year.

However, very little is known about the long-term outlook for people with E. coli infection, the researchers explained.

William F. Clark, MD, professor of nephrology at Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada, and team set out to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney problems and hypertension within eight years of becoming infected with E. coli as a result of consuming contaminated water.

They gathered data from the Walkerton Health Study, which evaluated the long-term health of 1,977 individuals who had developed gastroenteritis from a tainted municipal water system in May 2000. The water had been infected with Campylobacter and E. Coli 0157:H7 bacteria. 1,067 of them became ill with acute gastroenteritis, and 378 went to see a doctor about it.

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Fructose Not So Sweet for Blood Pressure, Kidneys

(EmaxHealth.com) — Fructose, including high fructose corn syrup, has been implicated in a number of health problems, including obesity and gout. Now researchers at the University of Colorado are highlighting the role of the sugar, noting evidence that it may play a role in high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fructose is not so sweet when it comes to your health

People get fructose mainly in added dietary sugars, honey, and fruit, and from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is a mixture of fructose and glucose, typically in a 55-to-45 percent proportion. High fructose corn syrup is found in many processed and refined foods typical of a Western diet.

At the University of Colorado, scientists recently conducted an overview of clinical and experimental studies to identify the possible role of fructose in diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and chronic kidney disease. They concluded that along with increasing support of a link between excessive intake of fructose and metabolic syndrome, they also found growing evidence that fructose may have a role in high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University, noted that “excessive fructose intake could be viewed as an increasingly risky food and beverage additive.” He and his co-author on the study, Takahiko Nakagawa, MD, are concerned that doctors may not be advising patients who have chronic kidney disease to restrict added sugars containing fructose when offering them dietary advice.


Vitamin D shortage appears to increase diabetes, hypertension risks

Longtime Mobile cardiologist Dr. Clara Massey recently revised her screening processes for new patients. She’s added checks to see if they’re deficient in vitamin D.

Widely used sun-block creams and lotions may shield the skin from dangerous rays, but also keep it from being able to create the vitamin that’s vital to good health.

“In an effort to protect the skin from skin cancer, we’ve actually prevented the body from making vitamin D from sunlight,” Massey said.

Vitamin D is widely known for its importance to strong bones. What’s new is that scientists are finding that a shortage of vitamin D can increase the risks of diabetes and hypertension, and can lead to a blood-vessel inflammation that can result in acute heart attacks.

Some research also suggests that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, cancer and several autoimmune diseases, according to information presented by the Mayo Clinic.


Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – now for humans

Harvard scientists were surprised that they saw a dramatic reversal, not just a slowing down, of the ageing in mice. Now they believe they might be able to regenerate human organs

Image: Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Ian Sample

Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies.

The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process.

Sex May Prolong Life

Sex May Prolong Life

When it comes to medical research on sex, most of the attention is on sexually transmitted disease and sexual disfunction - Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, impotence and frigidity. From this point of view, having sex is a grim and risky business.

Yet sex is probably one of the most common, and certainly most pleasurable activities we humans experience - indeed essential for the survival of the species. Yet only a handful of studies exist to help us understand and enhance the health benefits:

  • A study on aging from Duke in the 1970s found that for men the frequency of sexual intercourse was associated with lower death rates. For women the enjoyment of intercourse was associated with longer life.
  • A Swedish study found increased risk of death in men who gave up sexual intercourse.
  • A study published in 1976 found that sexual dissatisfaction was a risk factor for heart attacks in women. Now a new study published in the esteemed British Medical Journal offers more good news. The findings suggest that men who have frequent sex are less likely to die at an early age.
  • An intrepid group of researchers from Great Britain included a question about sexual activity in a long-term study of health. The authors studied nearly 1000 men aged 45 to 59 and living in or near Caerphilly, Wales. The men were asked about the frequency of sexual intercourse. They were divided into three groups: those who had sex twice or more a week, an intermediate group, and those who reported having sex less than monthly.
  • A decade later, researchers found that the death rate from all causes for the least sexually active men was twice as high as that of the most active. The death rate in the intermediate group was 1.6 times greater than for the active group. A similar pattern of longevity and frequency of orgasm was found for all causes of death, coronary heart disease, and other causes.

Of course many questions arise with this type of study. Does the frequency of orgasm cause the improved health? Does poor health cause lower sexual activity? Or does some other factor such as physical activity, alcohol, depressed mood, or "vital exhaustion" cause both poor health and less sexual activity? The researchers did find that strength of the results persisted even after adjusting for differences in age, social class, smoking, blood pressure, and evidence of existing coronary heart disease at the initial interview. This suggests a more likely protective role of sexual activity.

To quote the researchers:
"The association between frequency of orgasm and mortality in the present study is at least-if not more-convincing on epidemiological and biological grounds than many of the associations reported in other studies and deserves further investigation to the same extent. Interventions programs could also be considered, perhaps based on the exciting, 'At least five a day' campaign aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption - although the numerical imperative may have to be adjusted."

More research is needed. Any volunteers?

Since the overall death rate was reduced 36% for an increase of 100 orgasm per year, one could easily imagine a new prescription for health:
Rx: Sexual Intercourse At least 2 x per week
Such a prescription might have few side effects and would be far more pleasurable than many other regimens often prescribed. And even if sex doesn't prove to add years to life, it may add life to years.

For More Information:
Davey Smith G, Frankel S, Yarnell J: Sex and death: Are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study. British Medical Journal 1997;315(7123):1641-44.

Classic Thanksgiving Dessert A Turn-On for Men Sexually, Study Says

The secret to better sex could be in a classic Thanksgiving dessert"Throw away the perfume and go get some pumpkin pie," said Dr. Alan Hirsch, Director of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center.In a study of men ages 18 to 64, 40 aromas were tested to determine which arouses men the most. The smell of pumpkin pie topped ladies' fragrances."The number one odor that enhanced penile blood flow was a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie," said Hirsch.Hirsch said tha combination increased penile blood flow by an average of 40 percent in participants.Pumpkin pie was the single strongest stimulant."Maybe the odors acted to reduce anxiety. By reducing anxiety, it acted to remove inhibitions," said Hirsch.However, eating part of the pumpkin usually discarded when making pie could offer even greater sexual health benefits for men. "The most important element of the pumpkin are the seeds themselves," said Palm Beach Gardens Alternative medicine expert Dr. Ralph Monserrat. He often recommends patients with erectile dysfunction eat pumpkin seeds."Pumpkin seeds are very rich in zinc. That, in itself, is very valuable in individuals who have prostate enlargement...because they are very rich in zinc, there will be an increase in testosterone and that increase will also increase the sexual desire," said Monserrat.Pumpkin pie isn't the only Thanksgiving favorite that arouses a man. The same study showed that older men showed a strong response to vanilla.If your partner enjoys sex on a regular basis, allow him to pull the strawberry-rhubarb pie out of the oven. Men with the most satisfying sex lives responded strongly to strawberry."Every odor we tested aroused the participants," said Hirsch.However, not all of them created strong responses. Therefore, you may want to keep your man away from the cranberry sauce. The aroma of cranberry offered the smallest increase in blood flow, only two percent.There is some good news, Hirsch said: "Nothing turns a man off."This Thanksgiving, if you want a little something extra to be thankful for, you may be able to create a big change in the bedroom by making a little change in the kitchen.
Dr. Hirsch: Medical Aspects Of Human Sexuality

PTSD Increases Heart Risk in Vets

U.S. military veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder -- a condition marked by severe anxiety, sleep disruptions, hyperarousal, and impaired concentration -- have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, researchers said on Wednesday.

Study results, presented at the scientific sessions of the American Heart Association meeting held in Chicago this week, suggest that doctors should provide early and aggressive evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with the disorder.

"This study for the first time appears to point to the mechanism for the cardiovascular part of that excess mortality risk: accelerated atherosclerosis," said Dr. Naser Ahmadi, a researcher at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center.


Obsession with killing microorganisms is dangerous for humans and planet, scientist warns

S.L. Baker
Natural News

Using products with antimicrobial chemicals must be a great way to protect your health. After all, you're killing loads of germs while you wash your body and clean your house -- and that's a good thing, right? Not according to biologist and engineer Rolf Halden of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. In fact, he's sounding the alarm these commonly used chemicals aren't safe for human health and the environment. What's more, they don't even work better than plain soap and water.

The two most popular antimicrobial compounds, triclosan and triclocarban, are now a billion dollar a year industry and are found in a host of personal care products. Triclosan is added to plastic containers, toys and even clothing, too. First patented in l964 to kill germs before surgical procedures, the compound was pushed on consumers in the l980s when antimicrobials were hyped through massive marketing campaigns for "anti-germ" hand soaps. By 2001, a whopping 76 percent of all liquid soaps contained the chemical.

Read Full Article

4 Simple Ways to Minimize Household Chemicals

Educated families increasingly refusing vaccinations

Dees Illustration
Ethan A. Huff
Natural News

Educated Americans with private insurance plans are becoming increasingly less prone to vaccinate their children, according to this year's annual State of Health Care Quality report released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The report states that there was a four percentage point drop in vaccination rates among middle- and upper-class families between 2008 and 2009.

"This was the first time we'd seen a drop -- and it was a pretty big drop," Sarah Thomas, vice president of public policy and communication at NCQA, is quoted as saying to HealthDay. "We didn't really explore the reasons [for the trend], but one leading hypothesis is that parents have decided not to get their children vaccinated because of concerns about the potential for side effects and even autism."

Fat tax ‘is the best way to cut obesity’: Treat junk food like cigarettes, argues the OECD

Source: UK Daily Mail

A ‘fat tax’ on unhealthy foods, restrictions on junk food advertising and better labelling are the most cost-effective ways to cut obesity, a study suggests.

It says the measures would give England’s 52million population an extra 270,000 years of good health between them.

Some studies suggest a fat tax alone would encourage the shift to a healthier diet and reduce deaths from heart disease and other illnesses by 3,200 a year.

Government measures to change diet are supported in the study by experts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organisation.

A key proposal suggests treating foods high in fat, salt and sugar in the same way as tobacco, where advertising is restricted and price has been pushed up to discourage use.

Full article here

Drugs linked to brain damage 30 years ago

Secret documents reveal that government-funded experts were warned nearly 30 years ago that tranquillisers that were later prescribed to millions of people could cause brain damage.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) agreed in 1982 that there should be large-scale studies to examine the long-term impact of benzodiazepines after research by a leading psychiatrist showed brain shrinkage in some patients similar to the effects of long-term alcohol abuse.

However, no such work was ever carried out into the effects of drugs such as Valium, Mogadon and Librium – and doctors went on prescribing them to patients for anxiety, stress, insomnia and muscle spasms. MORE

URINE LUCK: New app lets you take STD test by 'peeing into your phone'...

British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD.

Seriously, we could not make this stuff up if we tried.

According to The Guardian, £4 million have been invested in the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, which is creating a smartphone app that will allow users, "to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes."

MORE > App Tells You When Your Spouse Is Cheating

The techno-savvy approached is aimed at young brits, who apparently are too embarrased to visit the doctor face to face and have been experiencing rising rates of STDs (or STIs if you prefer.)

"Your mobile phone can be your mobile doctor. It diagnoses whether you've got one of a range of STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea and tells you where to go next to get treatment," Dr Tariq Sadiq, a senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George's, University of London, who is leading the project, told The Guardian.

If it's really that simple, why wait till after the deed is done? Wouldn't it make more sense for prospective partners to swap fluids before hand, get a reading on their cell phones, and then decide whether or not to "finish the download"?


MORE > Cheating Lover? There's an App for That.

Look out, your medicine is watching you

(Reuters) - Novartis AG plans to seek regulatory approval within 18 months for a pioneering tablet containing an embedded microchip, bringing the concept of "smart-pill" technology a step closer.

The initial program will use one of the Swiss firm's established drugs taken by transplant patients to avoid organ rejection. But Trevor Mundel, global head of development, believes the concept can be applied to many other pills.

"We are taking forward this transplant drug with a chip and we hope within the next 18 months to have something that we will be able to submit to the regulators, at least in Europe," Mundel told the Reuters Health Summit in New York.

"I see the promise as going much beyond that," he added.

Novartis agreed in January to spend $24 million to secure access to chip-in-a-pill technology developed by privately owned Proteus Biomedical of Redwood City, California, putting it ahead of rivals.

The biotech start-up's ingestible chips are activated by stomach acid and send information to a small patch worn on the patient's skin, which can transmit data to a smartphone or send it over the Internet to a doctor.

Mundel said the initial project was focused on ensuring that patients took drugs at the right time and got the dose they needed -- a key issue for people after kidney and other transplant operations, when treatment frequently needs adjustment.

Longer-term, he hopes to expand the "smart pill" concept to other types of medicine and use the wealth of biometric information the Proteus chip can collect, from heart rate and temperature to body movement, to check that drugs are working properly.

Because the tiny chips are added to existing drugs, Novartis does not expect to have to conduct full-scale clinical trials to prove the new products work. Instead, it aims to do so-called bioequivalence tests to show they are the same as the original.

A bigger issue may be what checks should be put in place to protect patients' personal medical data as it is transmitted from inside their bodies by wireless and Bluetooth.

"The regulators all like the concept and have been very encouraging. But ... they want to understand how we are going to solve the data privacy issues," Mundel said.

A technology that ensures a patient takes his or her medicine and checks that it is working properly should deliver better outcomes and justify a higher price tag.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Robert MacMillan)


Don't look now, coffee is good for you

Dr. Julian Whitaker
© 2010

Patients coming to the Whitaker Wellness Institute sometimes express surprise that we serve coffee. Doesn't it increase the body's acidity? Aren't health-conscious people supposed to drink tea instead? Isn't caffeine bad for you?

If coffee were dangerous, then every morning emergency rooms around the world would be choked with people suffering the ill effects of our favorite breakfast beverage. Of course, this isn't the case.

Coffee is not harmful. On the contrary, I consider it to be a health food, and hundreds of studies bear this out.

A cupful of health benefits

Coffee can stop migraine headaches, curb appetite, prevent tooth decay and increase the effectiveness of aspirin and other analgesics (Anacin and Excedrin both contain caffeine). Here are some other benefits researchers have discovered.

  • Protects against neurodegenerative disorders: Research reveals that drinking coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson's disease by as much as 80 percent. Caffeine has also been shown to reduce amyloid plaques in the brains of animals, suggesting it protects against other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's. And a 21-year-long Scandinavian study found that people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 65-percent reduced risk of dementia, compared to people who drank two or fewer cups.

  • Reduces risk of diabetes: Coffee increases insulin sensitivity, and a high intake – at least six cups a day – lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 54 percent in men and 30 percent in women.

  • Boosts concentration and mood: Studies have demonstrated that coffee improves concentration and alertness, boosts mood and decreases suicide risk. Just the smell of coffee relieves stress in animals.

  • Supports the liver and gallbladder: Compared to people who avoid coffee, those who drink at least two cups a day are 80 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver (even if they drink a lot of alcohol) and half as likely to have gallstones.

  • Lowers cancer risk: Coffee is also protective against cancer of the liver and kidneys, and people who drink it are 25 percent less apt to get colon cancer. Although it's long been suspected of increasing risk of breast cancer, a recent study spanning 22 years and involving nearly 86,000 women found a weak inverse association between the two in postmenopausal females.

  • Alleviates asthma: This popular drink also controls asthma and can even halt a full-blown attack in its tracks.

  • Enhances exercise: Drinking coffee before work outs improves endurance and lessens exercise-induced muscle pain.

  • Increases longevity: A large 2008 study found that drinking up to six cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee daily is associated with a slightly lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer and other causes.