Gastric Bypass or Lap Band Surgery?

If you're one of the millions of overweight Americans and has been considering weight-loss surgery, the results of a new study comparing the safety and effectiveness of gastric bypass surgery and lap-band surgery may interest you. The study, titled "Better Weight Loss, Resolution of Diabetes, and Quality of Life for Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass vs. Banding," written by Guilherme M. Campos, M.D., et al. appeared in the February publication "Archives of Surgery."

The study's design was to match 100 pairs of people, one of whom had undergone the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and the other the laparoscopic gastric banding surgery. The pairs were carefully matched so various criteria such as age, weight, sex, presence of Type 2 diabetes and body mass index were close to identical for the two people chosen for each pair.

This study measured outcomes during and after the surgical procedure, including a one-year period post-surgery. The measured outcomes included weight loss, quality of life and Type 2 diabetes resolution. Although many experts expected the outcomes to be more positive for those people who had had the gastric bandings performed, this study's conclusions demonstrated that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass had a similar rate of overall complications as did the gastric banding, but fewer re-operations were needed with the gastric bypass.

Those people who had undergone gastric bypass surgery lost more weight in the year following surgery and showed a 76 percent resolution rate of Type 2 diabetes versus a 50 percent resolution rate in those who had gastric banding.


Breast-Feeding May Cut Obesity Risk in Kids of Diabetic Moms

Infants whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk for childhood obesity, but breast-feeding lowers that risk, a new study suggests.

Among babies exposed to diabetes in utero, those who were breast-fed for six months or more were no more likely to put on extra weight when they were 6 to 13 years old than children whose mothers did not have diabetes during pregnancy, the investigators found.

The findings were the same across all ethnicities. However, this protective effect was not seen in babies who were breast-fed for less than six months.

The study is published in the February issue of the journal Diabetes Care.


Oral sex now main cause of oral cancer: Who faces biggest risk?

CBS) What's the leading cause of oral cancer? Smoking? Heavy drinking?

Actually, it's oral sex.

Scientists say that 64 percent of cancers of the oral cavity, head, and neck in the U.S. are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is commonly spread via oral sex, NPR reported. The more oral sex you have - and the more oral sex partners you have - the greater the risk of developing these potentially deadly cancers.

"An individual who has six or more lifetime partners - on whom they've performed oral sex - has an eightfold increase in risk compared to someone who has never performed oral sex, Ohio University's Dr. Maura Gillison, said at a recent scientific meeting, according to NPR.


The Threatening Scent of Fertile Women

The 21-year-old woman was carefully trained not to flirt with anyone who came into the laboratory over the course of several months. She kept eye contact and conversation to a minimum. She never used makeup or perfume, kept her hair in a simple ponytail, and always wore jeans and a plain T-shirt. Each of the young men thought she was simply a fellow student at Florida State University participating in the experiment, which ostensibly consisted of her and the man assembling a puzzle of Lego blocks. But the real experiment came later, when each man rated her attractiveness. Previous research had shown that a woman at the fertile stage of her menstrual cycle seems more attractive, and that same effect was observed here — but only when this woman was rated by a man who wasn’t already involved with someone else.

The other guys, the ones in romantic relationships, rated her as significantly less attractive when she was at the peak stage of fertility, presumably because at some level they sensed she then posed the greatest threat to their long-term relationships. To avoid being enticed to stray, they apparently told themselves she wasn’t all that hot anyway.


Prescription for Longevity: Eat More Fiber

Eat more fiber and you just may live longer.

That's the message from the largest study of its kind to find a link between high-fiber diets and lower risks of death not only from heart disease, but from infectious and respiratory illnesses as well.

The government study also ties fiber with a lower risk of cancer deaths in men, but not women, possibly because men are more likely to die from cancers related to diet, like cancers of the esophagus. And it finds the overall benefit to be strongest for diets high in fiber from grains.

Most Americans aren't getting enough roughage in their diets. The average American eats only about 15 grams of fiber each day, much less than the current daily recommendation of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men, or 14 grams per 1,000 calories. For example, a slice of whole wheat bread contains 2 to 4 grams of fiber.

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?


The following originally appeared on

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." -- Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa. Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop, alfalfa; guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.

In exchange for allowing Monsanto's premeditated pollution of the alfalfa gene pool, WFM wants "compensation." In exchange for a new assault on farmworkers and rural communities (a recent large-scale Swedish study found that spraying Roundup doubles farm workers' and rural residents' risk of getting cancer), WFM expects the pro-biotech USDA to begin to regulate rather than cheerlead for Monsanto. In payment for a new broad spectrum attack on the soil's crucial ability to provide nutrition for food crops and to sequester dangerous greenhouse gases (recent studies show that Roundup devastates essential soil microorganisms that provide plant nutrition and sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases), WFM wants the Biotech Bully of St. Louis to agree to pay "compensation" (i.e. hush money) to farmers "for any losses related to the contamination of his crop."

In its email of Jan. 21, 2011 WFM calls for "public oversight by the USDA rather than reliance on the biotechnology industry," even though WFM knows full well that federal regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) do not require pre-market safety testing, nor labeling; and that even federal judges have repeatedly ruled that so-called government "oversight" of Frankencrops such as Monsanto's sugar beets and alfalfa is basically a farce. At the end of its email, WFM admits that its surrender to Monsanto is permanent: "The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well True coexistence is a must."

Why Is Organic Inc. Surrendering?

According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack's previous electoral campaigns. Vilsack was hailed as "Governor of the Year" in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail. Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.'s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores. The Organic Inc. CEOs are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it's time to reach for the consolation prize. The consolation prize they seek is a so-called "coexistence" between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto's unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

WFM and most of the largest organic companies have deliberately separated themselves from anti-GMO efforts and cut off all funding to campaigns working to label or ban GMOs. The so-called Non-GMO Project, funded by Whole Foods and giant wholesaler United Natural Foods (UNFI) is basically a greenwashing effort (although the 100% organic companies involved in this project seem to be operating in good faith) to show that certified organic foods are basically free from GMOs (we already know this since GMOs are banned in organic production), while failing to focus on so-called "natural" foods, which constitute most of WFM and UNFI's sales and are routinely contaminated with GMOs.

From their "business as usual" perspective, successful lawsuits against GMOs filed by public interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety; or noisy attacks on Monsanto by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, create bad publicity, rattle their big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Costco, Supervalu, Publix and Safeway; and remind consumers that organic crops and foods such as corn, soybeans, and canola are slowly but surely becoming contaminated by Monsanto's GMOs.

Whole Food's Dirty Little Secret: Most of the So-Called "Natural" Processed Foods and Animal Products They Sell Are Contaminated with GMOs

Is LASIK Eye Surgery Safe? FDA Scientist Regrets Saying 'Yes'


In Washington, D.C., a culture that embraces regulatory oversight and rule-making and where bureaucracies are everywhere, no federal agency is more warren-like than the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the safety and efficacy of food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and medical devices.

The health and well-being of every American depends on the FDA's rigorous collecting, sifting and interpreting of data to approve products ranging from those that cure nail fungus to devices that electronically zap the brain to relieve anxiety. FDA regulators are scientist bureaucrats who tirelessly navigate the tedious but essential world between reports and medicine in a poorly lit building with very narrow hallways. They do important work, but FDA scientists don't always get it right.

This is a story about one scientist haunted by what, he fears, was a bad decision. Between 1996 and 2000, the scientist, Dr. Morris Waxler, was chief of the FDA's Diagnostic and Surgical Devices Branch and in charge of approving the LASIK medical device to restore visual acuity. And now, Waxler thinks that the FDA's standards were not tough enough. In 2008, an FDA advisory panel was urged by unhappy patients to re-evaluate the long-term effects of LASIK surgery and around the same time, patients began contacting him personally to report bad outcomes, including blurred and double vision.

The FDA authorization process for medical devices in the United States requires several levels of review before a product is approved. The rigorous process is centered in Waxler's old Diagnosic and Surgical Devices branch, a part of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health that regulates manufacture, packaging, labeling and import of medical equipment as well as radiation-emitting electronic products such as lasers, x-ray systems, ultrasound equipment, microwave ovens and color televisions.

In the early 1990s, the LASIK equipment fell under FDA review. For sufferers of myopia, corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses had long been a remedy for their impaired vision, but this new apparatus and method used laser beams to remodel the eyeball in a way that purportedly allowed patients to "throw away their glasses." The heat and precision of the laser device made the short outpatient procedure relatively painless and assured such a short recuperative period that patients barely had to miss a day of work.

LASIK -- which is neither a trademark name nor a franchise, but the acronym of a surgical method, "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis" -- seemed miraculously easy, even though it involved a scary-sounding and delicate procedure. (It entails slicing a thin, hinged flap on the front surface of the cornea, a surgeon lifts the tissue up and, using ultraviolet excimer laser beams, reshapes the eye before folding the flap back over the cornea). Well-heeled professionals then turning 40ish, (an age in which human sight weakens), were drawn to what seemed like a medical miracle of rejuvenation. Laser eye surgery, when done correctly on appropriate candidates, painlessly turned terrible vision to nearly perfect.

In 1995, the FDA approved the first laser-assisted system for refracted surgery and by 1998, the FDA had approved mass manufacture of the laser devices. LASIK centers opened up as prices, originally several thousand dollars per eye, came down. Although health insurance claims departments typically disallow the procedure as "elective," medical providers found diagnosis codes to coax claim compliance. Shopping centers sprouted LASIK clinic chain stores and baby boomers lined up. For the ophthalmic profession, LASIK correction surgery was like a gold rush. By 2008, 12 million patients had undergone the procedure in the United States at an average cost of $1,500 to $2,100 per eye. Over 700,000 people have the surgery every year.

The device had, after all, been vetted as safe and effective by Waxler's team back in 1995. The government scientists had relied on information provided by the laser device manufacturers and ophthalmologists assuring them that the radial keratotomy procedure was safe and effective. The FDA rules required LASIK to undergo several phases of medical trials (7,830 patients participated in clinical trials from 1993 to 2005) to ensure it did not harm patients and indeed worked as hoped for.

When an item is finally approved and marketed to consumers, there are often reports of "adverse events." (Adverse can mean everything from a rash to a death.) This happens even if the medical technology company provided complete and accurate information in its approval application. When too many adverse events happen, however, the FDA will often order a recall.

But in the months and years after LASIK became ubiquitous at 25-year class reunions, stories of eye damage and subsequent depression, even suicides, surfaced. The surgery can, it turns out, induce dry eyes, halos, light sensitivity, night blindness, ghost images, keratectasia (corneal thinning and bulging) and many other serious damaging effects.

In the nearly 10 years since he left the agency, Waxler, (now a regulatory consultant who has stayed involved in FDA product approvals) has come to particularly regret the LASIK decision. Unusual for a former regulator, particularly for someone with business before the agency, in 2010 Waxler went public with criticism about FDA's approval standards. A year ago he went on "Good Morning America" and told correspondent Lisa Stark, "I did the best we could ... but in hindsight it wasn't good enough." He heard more stories that suggested when people complained to their eye doctors, their adverse effects were not reported to the FDA. The FDA issued a statement to ABC News that it considered "LASIK lasers to be reasonably safe and effective when used as intended," but has launched a two-year study to take a closer look at side effects.

Last May, Waxler became more persistent. He considered LASIK eye surgery complications "already a major public health problem" and he said so in a letter to the ophthalmic organization, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. He told the organization's president the group was presenting data for a safety study in an "unethical" manner. The association president responded in September that the former regulator's letter was "misinformed, unsupported by evidence, and lacking in balance and perspective."

Waxler again appeared on ABC News in September claiming "half of LASIK patients experience side effects." A committee of well-regarded LASIK experts (R. Doyle Stulting, M.D., P.h.D.; George O Waring III, M.D.; James J. Salz, M.D.; James McCulley, M.D.; Douglas Koch, M.D.; Jayne Weiss, M.D.; and Marian Macsai, M.D.,) responded to Waxler's claim: "We believe he has no reputable basis for such a claim since he did not produce the scientific evidence."

Finally last month, Waxler filed a formal citizen's petition to his former government employer requesting the FDA withdraw approval for all LASIK devices and to issue a public health advisory for recalling the equipment. The industry is working on newer models and newer methods so nearsighted consumers will still be able to get their vision remodeled (insurance companies still won't pay for it, probably). Since it was filed, the petition has been reposted on the Internet by numerous supporters.

In his petition, Waxler says manufacturers and also "clinics, refractive surgeons, and agents withheld and distorted safety and effectiveness data" and, he alleges, "in a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse," the "collaborators" routinely hide reports of LASIK injuries from FDA by settling lawsuits out of court. He also claims that equipment makers have "cherry-picked, withheld, and hid data from FDA" that he believes show LASIK with "excessive adverse event" rates of 22 percent. Waxler also submitted "confidential information" on the matter to FDA's criminal investigation arm.

The FDA has not yet commented publicly about Waxler's petition but an FDA spokeswoman told Politics Daily "it is a citizen's petition and we will review it." Waxler told Politics Daily that the LASIK experts have not commented either.

Spice drug fights stroke damage

Turmeric Turmeric is a widely used spice

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A drug derived from the curry spice turmeric may be able to help the body repair some of the damage caused in the immediate aftermath of a stroke.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are preparing to embark on human trials after promising results in rabbits.

Their drug reached brain cells and reduced muscle and movement problems.

The Stroke Association said it was the "first significant research" suggesting that the compound could aid stroke patients.

Turmeric has been used for centuries as part of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, and many laboratory studies suggest one of its components, curcumin, might have various beneficial properties.

However, curcumin cannot pass the "blood brain barrier" which protects the brain from potentially toxic molecules.

The US researchers, who reported their results to a stroke conference, modified curcumin to come up with a new version, CNB-001, which could pass the blood brain barrier.

The laboratory tests on rabbits suggested it might be effective up to three hours after a stroke in humans - about the same time window available for current "clot-busting" drugs

Benefits of Smoking???

Nicotine's protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders

While the health risks of tobacco are well known, several studies have shown that people with a history of cigarette smoking have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. However, the explanations for nicotine's neuroprotective effects continue to be debated.

Now a team of neuroscientists at the University of South Florida College of Medicine presents new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain by which nicotine may protect against nerve cell death. Their study was published today in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Face cream 'made from breast milk could cure teenage acne', study claims

By Andrew Hough
Published: 8:00AM BST 17 Apr 2010
Face cream 'made from breast milk could cure teenage acne', study claims
Researchers hope to begin trials on humans that could tackle the problem that hits millions of teenagers every year. Photo: PHOTOSHOT

American scientists found that a component of mother's milk, called lauric acid, which also is found in coconut oil, had acne-fighting qualities.

They found the new treatment has no side effects because it comes from natural products unlike current available treatments which can cause redness and burning.

Researchers behind the project hope to begin human trials on a new face cream soon that could tackle the problem that hits millions of teenagers every year.

They have been able to avoid some of the more arduous restrictions to get approval for testing because the product will be created from natural or already approved ingredients.

Dissaya Pornpattananangkul, a bioengineering postgraduate student from the University of California made the discovery that lauric acid could save face for millions of teenagers around the world.

She described the findings as exciting which could give hope to millions of teenagers.

"It's a good feeling to know that I have a chance to develop a drug that could help people with acne," she said

"Common acne afflicts more than 85 per cent of teenagers and over 40 million people in the United States; and current treatments have undesirable side effects including redness and burning.

"Lauric-acid-based treatments could avoid these side effects."

Miss Pornpattananangkul also developed a sophisticated "smart delivery system" for the lauric acid to be effective.

She was able to bind the acid with "gold nanoparticles" which stops the lauric acid from joining together while in cream form and then allows it to separate quickly when applied to the skin.

"The new smart delivery system includes gold nanoparticles attached to surfaces of lauric-acid-filled nano-bombs," she said.

"The gold nanoparticles keep the nano-bombs or liposomes from fusing together.

"The gold nanoparticles also help the liposomes locate acne-causing bacteria based on the skin microenvironment, including pH."

Professor Liangfang Zhang, from the university's Jacobs School of Engineering, who also helped with the research, said the new methods targeted acne, reducing the risk of side effects.

"Precisely controlled nanoscale delivery of drugs that are applied topically to the skin could significantly improve the treatment of skin bacterial infections," he said.

"By delivering drugs directly to the bacteria of interest, we hope to boost antimicrobial efficacy and minimise off-target adverse effects.

"All building blocks of the nano-bombs are either natural products or have been approved for clinical use, which means these nano-bombs are likely to be tested on humans in the near future."

Ms Pornpattananangkul, originally from Thailand, said that it's just a coincidence that her research involves a natural product produced by coconuts a staple of Thai cuisine.

She presented her work on this experimental acne-drug-delivery system at Research Expo, the annual research conference of the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering on April 15.


Honey Kills Bacteria That Cause Sinusitis

Honey is very effective in killing bacteria in all its forms, especially the drug-resistant biofilms that make treating chronic rhinosinusitis difficult, according to research presented during the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in Chicago, IL.

The study, authored by Canadian researchers at the University of Ottawa, found that in eleven isolates of three separate biofilms (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and methicicillin-resistant and -suseptible Staphylococcus aureus), honey was significantly more effective in killing both planktonic and biofilm-grown forms of the bacteria, compared with the rate of bactericide by antibiotics commonly used against the bacteria.

Given the historical uses of honey in some cultures as a homeopathic treatment for bad wound infections, the authors conclude that their findings may hold important clinical implications in the treatment of refractory chronic rhinosinusitis, with topical treatment a possibility.

Chronic rhinosinusitis affects approximately 31 million people each year in the United States alone, costing over $4 billion in direct health expenditures and lost workplace productivity. It is among the three most common chronic diseases in all of North America.

Female circumcision migrating to West: IOM

GENEVA (AFP) – Female genital mutilation has established itself in Western countries in recent years because of growing migration flows, the head of an international migration agency said on Friday.

"With the growth in migration in recent years, the phenomenon has unfortunately reached Europe (and) the United States," said William Lacy Swing, head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

In an event to mark the international day of "zero tolerance" to female genital mutilation, Swing highlighted European Parliament estimates of 500,000 circumcised women living in Europe.

The IOM estimates that 100-140 million women and girls have suffered from the traditional practice.

Most of the victims are in Africa, with a few cases in Indonesia and Malaysia, according to the Inter Parliamentary Union, an association of world parliaments.

Nonetheless, it is on the wane in "many African countries" including Burkina Faso, Ghana and Ethiopia, according to African anti-circumcision campaign group CIAF.

"It's torture. Knives are used to cut the most sensitive part of the body," said CIAF head Berhane Ras-Work.

Nineteen African and 12 European countries, as well Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, have adopted laws outlawing female genital mutilation.

'Fat cancers' also hitting developing nations

ATLANTA – "Fat cancers" usually associated with wealthy countries are becoming more common in the developing world, too, according to new reports.

Obese people are thought to be at higher risk for many so-called "fat cancers," including breast and colon cancer. A separate report out Friday shows obesity rates worldwide have doubled in the last three decades, especially in the West but also nearly everywhere else.

"Sadly, changing ways of life, such as reduced physical activity, are making people unhealthier and in turn prone to such diseases as cancer," Dr. Eduardo Cazap, president of the Union for International Cancer Control, said in a statement released by the World Health Organization.


A New Solution That Stops Snoring and Lets You Sleep

If you’re like most Americans you probably don’t get eight hours sleep each night.

But, if you also constantly feel exhausted, experience headaches for no obvious reason or have high blood pressure, you could have a more serious problem.

That’s because these can all be the result of snoring—which is, in turn, the most common symptom of a potentially serious health problem—obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

While most people think of snoring as a minor annoyance, research shows it can be hazardous to your health. That’s because for over 18 million Americans it’s related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who suffer from OSA repeatedly and unknowingly stop breathing during the night due to a complete or partial obstruction of their airway. It occurs when the jaw, throat, and tongue muscles relax, blocking the airway used to breathe. The resulting lack of oxygen can last for a minute or longer, and occur hundreds of times each night.

Thankfully, most people wake when a complete or partial obstruction occurs, but it can leave you feeling completely exhausted. OSA has also been linked to a host of health problems including: