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Your Good Health: Low blood pressure needs more investigation

Dear Dr. Roach: Our 37-year-old daughter has Addison’s disease. We have had some difficulty trying to regulate her electrolytes and her blood pressure, which is always low, sometimes extremely so. She has known about it for 10 years now. What can one do besides try to stay hydrated to keep the pressure up? Last evening, her blood pressure was 95/58 with a pulse of 88. She is on steroids for life.

L.M.

Addison’s disease is caused by destruction of the part of the adrenal gland that makes cortisone. This leads to a deficiency of that hormone, which is necessary for the body’s response to stress, and which also is partially involved in salt and water metabolism.

Adrenal insufficiency is most often caused by autoimmune disease, but rarely it can be caused by tuberculosis or a hemorrhage into the gland. In some cases, the adrenal gland is normal, and it is the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus in the brain that fails to send the signal that hormone is needed.

Cortisone is the steroid most often used for treatment. There are several different families of steroids. Corticosteroids are named after cortisone, which reduces inflammation, increases blood sugar and has complex effects on protein metabolism.

Cortisone also has some mineralocorticoid effects, which makes the kidney hold on to sodium and lose potassium. (These steroids are completely different from anabolic steroids, like testosterone, which promote bone and muscle growth.) Under periods of high stress — say, surgery or serious illness — people need more cortisone.

A blood pressure of 95/58 is low, but in the normal range for some people. It might have nothing to do with her adrenal insufficiency. However, the difficulty you report with her electrolytes makes me suspect that she might not be getting enough mineralocorticoid.

Although some people get enough from the cortisone they take, others need to take additional mineralocorticoid, such as fludrocortisone. Some people can do fine with just taking in some extra salt and water. She should consult with her endocrinologist, or whoever is treating her Addison’s disease.

 

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 68-year-old male. In 2004 I had an EBT heart scan, followed by a second two years later due to concerns with high cholesterol. Later I learned of the intensity of the radiation from these treatments.

Never at any point in time during the application or process or in the advertisement was the high level of radiation associated with CT scans mentioned. Should the patient be forewarned about the intensity of radiation with these scans, and shouldn’t advertisers be made to include a warning about the increased cancer risk from these intense radiation treatments?

G.W.S.

Radiation is a potential harm from any procedure using X-rays, including a CT scan. This is not true of an MRI (which uses magnetic waves) or ultrasound or sonogram (those use sound waves).

I wouldn’t describe the dose of radiation as “high”: For a calcium score heart scan, it’s about 3 mSv (millisievert, the standard unit for radiation dosage), which is equivalent to roughly 30 chest X-rays.

You get the equivalent of a chest X-ray’s radiation every 10 days from natural sources, such as cosmic rays and radioactive decay from naturally occurring building compounds.

A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis is about 20 mSv.

The risk of developing a cancer from the radiation due to imaging procedures is very small, but I can’t say it’s zero. Medical tests should be obtained only when there is a good chance of changing treatment based on results.

Men getting radiation treatment for prostate cancer might get 50,000 mSv, 2,500 times the dose of your scan.

This high dose is associated with perhaps a five per cent chance of developing a cancer due to radiation over 25 years.

 

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.

Article source: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/health/your-good-health-low-blood-pressure-needs-more-investigation-1.23097153

‘All looks good’ for Luke Donald after health scare, hospital visit

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Englishman Luke Donald withdrew from the RSM Classic on Thursday after experiencing chest pains that sent him to a local hospital for a precautionary battery of tests.

On his Instagram account, Donald wrote that he experienced chest pains Wednesday night and it worsened on Thursday morning, so instead of heading to golf course, he was admitted to Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus, where he underwent seven hours of tests on his heart.

“All looks good with my heart, thankfully,” Donald said, sending out a picture of him in his hospital bed.

Donald, 39, was scheduled to make his second start of the PGA Tour’s fall season after competing in three events in Europe this fall. The former World No. 1 was replaced in the field at Sea Island by Mark Wilson.

Well that wasn’t quite the finish to my year I had in mind!! Had some chest pain last night and into this morning it kept getting worse. After some medical advice, I had to withdraw was shipped off to the hospital to get my heart looked at. After 7 hours of tests all looks good with my heart thankfully

Article source: http://golfweek.com/2017/11/16/all-looks-good-for-luke-donald-after-health-scare-hospital-visit/

Turkey Inquires About Man Awaiting Trial In US Iran Sanctions Case

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Washington has told Ankara that jailed Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab — a gold trader who is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran — is in good medical condition.

Bozdag made the remarks on November 16, a day after Turkey announced it had sent a diplomatic note to U.S. authorities inquiring about Zarrab.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website last week listed Zarrab, 34, as having been released from prison on November 8. But U.S. prosecutors said that posting was an error and he remained in jail.

Turkish leaders have pressed repeatedly for the release of Zarrab, who has close ties to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have raised the issue directly with the White House.

Media reports last week said U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating whether Turkish officials discussed paying former national security adviser Michael Flynn $15 million to secure Zarrab’s release and to allow the deportation of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric residing in the United States who Erdogan accuses of engineering Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup.

Zarrab, taken into U.S. custody in March 2016, has hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to negotiate with U.S. authorities to try to obtain his release through political and diplomatic channels.

A spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan confirmed on November 14 that Zarrab remained in federal custody in the United States.

“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Seyda Yildirim told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper on November 15.

“He might have been moved to a different section. We haven’t been informed in five days,” Yildirim said.

Hurriyet quoted a diplomatic source as saying that Turkey, in its formal diplomatic note, had asked U.S. authorities to make clear where Zarrab was being held and to give assurances about his health and security.

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the Iran sanctions evasion charges against him and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the Turkish lender Halkbank. Their trial is due start in New York on November 27.

Erdogan has accused U.S. prosecutors of having “ulterior motives” in the case by including references to him and his wife in court papers.

Zarrab, a wealthy businessman who is married to a well-known Turkish pop singer, was linked to a corruption scandal that swirled around Erdogan and his deputies when Erdogan was Turkish prime minister in 2013.

Zarrab spent 70 days in custody in Turkey at the time, but all suspects arrested in the judicial probe were subsequently released. Erdogan at the time denounced the allegations as a plot by Gulen to bring down his government.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Article source: https://www.rferl.org/a/turkey-inquires-zarrab-turkish-iranian-businessman-awaiting-trial-us-iran-sanctions-case/28856798.html

A Stroke Can Steal Away A Person’s Ability To Move Freely. Virtual Reality Might Help Bring It Back.

The cruelest thing about a stroke is that its effects can linger well after you leave the hospital.

It can affect a person’s memory or ability to speak and even rob them of the use of their hands and arms. Suddenly, formerly simple tasks like using a phone, doing the dishes, or turning the pages of a book can become arduous.

Because of this, one of the first places a stroke patient often goes after the hospital is to rehabilitation at a clinic or medical center. However, in the future, doctors might have another option at their disposal to help people regain their dexterity. A new study suggests that virtual reality (VR) might be as effective as regular therapy when it comes to restoring hand and arm movement after a stroke.

The study comes from Dr. Iris Brunner of Aarhus University in Denmark. Brunner and her team divided 120 stroke patients into two groups. The first got conventional therapy in a medical clinic while the second got to play with a specially designed VR program that use screens and gloves to challenge the player to various dexterity games. After four weeks, Brunner compared the two groups’ progress and found them to be nearly identical.

This suggests that in the future, VR might be able to supplement or even serve as an alternative to conventional therapy, making treatment accessible to people who struggle with the cost, distance, or burden of having to travel to a medical center. Instead of having to call, pay for, and spend an hour in a taxi, people could train from the comfort of their living rooms.

Though sophisticated VR is still a relatively new technology, the medical field has been quick to experiment with it. Doctors have used VR to give trainee doctors a close-up view of complicated surgeries, teach them empathy, and even cheer up patients stuck in a hospital.

Share image via Dr. Iris Brunner, used with permission.

Article source: https://www.good.is/articles/virtual-reality-therapy-stroke-mobility

Nutrition Talk: Fiber contributes much to good health


Constance Roark / Dietitian Nutritionist

Fiber. It is the unsung hero of nutrition. While it’s technically not a nutrient, it’s an important part of good health. It’s best known for maintaining regularity, but let’s be honest, this is a topic most of us are not eager to discuss with friends and co-workers. Yet, we don’t hesitate to engage in passionate if not heated conversations about the ideal protein source or what constitutes a healthy fat. While it’s true that fiber is important to keep things “moving,” its benefits extend well beyond that and are worth talking about.

Fiber has been associated with reducing the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, lowering cholesterol levels, supporting weight management and maintaining good gut health. For optimal health, the daily recommended amount of fiber is 30-38 grams for men and 20-25 grams for women. Sadly, the average American gets only about 15 grams.

Fiber is predominantly found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds and falls into two categories, soluble and insoluble, which refers to whether or not it dissolves in water. Most foods contain a combination, but some foods tend to be higher in one form over the other and all fiber passes through our bodies without being absorbed or digested.

Soluble fiber absorbs water, creating a gel-like substance that has been associated with lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar levels, both important for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Common sources of soluble fiber include beans, oats, barley and flax seeds. Conversely, insoluble fiber, found in whole wheat, popcorn and in the skins of fruits and vegetables, doesn’t absorb water and promotes the movement of material through your digestive tract and prevents constipation.

When it comes to our guts, fiber might be a hero. In addition to keeping us regular, it is the food of choice for the healthy bacteria that live in our intestines (otherwise known as prebiotics), which are essential to maintaining good gut health. Fiber may also be important in our fight against colon cancer. This past month a study found an association between a fiber-rich diet and increased survival rates in those with non-metastatic colon cancer — meaning the cancer hadn’t spread to other parts of the body. The researchers found that for every 5 gram increase in dietary fiber the risk of dying decreased by nearly 25 percent. However, the study does not prove that increased fiber was the reason for living longer, only that there was an association.

Other studies have shown a connection between fiber-rich foods and reduced inflammation. What isn’t clear is whether it is the fiber alone or that fiber-rich foods tend to be high in other important nutrients that fight inflammation, such as antioxidants and phytonutrients, or a combination of these factors. Either way, it is compelling and one of the reasons it is recommended that we aim to get our daily fiber from food sources versus supplements.

Getting more fiber in your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Add some rolled oats to your morning smoothie, red beans to your lunchtime salad, a generous helping of veggies to your dinner and a piece of fruit and nuts for a snack. If you’ve been lacking in this area, you might want to increase your intake slowly to avoid any gastrointestinal distress, and always be sure to drink plenty of water. By giving fiber a more prominent position on your plate you’ll be doing more for your health than just maintaining regularity. And, who knows, it might even become the subject of your next water cooler conversation.

Constance Roark is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the president and founder of CMR Solutions. Visit cmrsolutionsllc.com.

Article source: http://www.fortmorgantimes.com/lifestyles/ci_31456982/nutrition-talk-fiber-contributes-much-good-health

US Tells Ankara Iran-Sanctions-Case Suspect In ‘Good Health’

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Washington has told Ankara that jailed Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab — a gold trader who is awaiting trial in the United States on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran — is in good medical condition.

Bozdag made the remarks on November 16, a day after Turkey announced it had sent a diplomatic note to U.S. authorities inquiring about Zarrab.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons website last week listed Zarrab, 34, as having been released from prison on November 8. But U.S. prosecutors said that posting was an error and he remained in jail.

Turkish leaders have pressed repeatedly for the release of Zarrab, who has close ties to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have raised the issue directly with the White House.

Media reports last week said U.S. special prosecutor Robert Mueller is investigating whether Turkish officials discussed paying former national security adviser Michael Flynn $15 million to secure Zarrab’s release and to allow the deportation of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric residing in the United States who Erdogan accuses of engineering Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup.

Zarrab, taken into U.S. custody in March 2016, has hired former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to negotiate with U.S. authorities to try to obtain his release through political and diplomatic channels.

A spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan confirmed on November 14 that Zarrab remained in federal custody in the United States.

“The information that Zarrab was released is not factual,” Zarrab’s lawyer Seyda Yildirim told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper on November 15.

“He might have been moved to a different section. We haven’t been informed in five days,” Yildirim said.

Hurriyet quoted a diplomatic source as saying that Turkey, in its formal diplomatic note, had asked U.S. authorities to make clear where Zarrab was being held and to give assurances about his health and security.

Zarrab has pleaded not guilty to the Iran sanctions evasion charges against him and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at the Turkish lender Halkbank. Their trial is due start in New York on November 27.

Erdogan has accused U.S. prosecutors of having “ulterior motives” in the case by including references to him and his wife in court papers.

Zarrab, a wealthy businessman who is married to a well-known Turkish pop singer, was linked to a corruption scandal that swirled around Erdogan and his deputies when Erdogan was Turkish prime minister in 2013.

Zarrab spent 70 days in custody in Turkey at the time, but all suspects arrested in the judicial probe were subsequently released. Erdogan at the time denounced the allegations as a plot by Gulen to bring down his government.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Article source: https://www.rferl.org/a/turkey-inquires-zarrab-turkish-iranian-businessman-awaiting-trial-us-iran-sanctions-case/28856798.html

Some pollution is good for kids’ lungs, and other beliefs held by Trump health officials

When the US government is deciding which products and pollutants to limit or ban, it doesn’t just depend on science, no matter how clearly researchers are able to demonstrate harm. In most cases, officials from various federal health-related offices decide what science to listen to, which benefits outweigh which costs, and whether (and how) to conduct testing at all. For example, the decision to regulate a toxic substance in drinking water comes down to the “sole judgement” of the person running the Environmental Protection Agency.

In other words, what the US officially considers dangerous depends in large part on who is in charge. And the people charged with protecting public health under the Trump administration hold some unorthodox views. For example: Arsenic? Not so bad. Polluted air? Kids’ lungs are the better for it. Pesticides? Children are less sensitive to them than adults. Breathing industrial particles? “People are designed to deal with dust.”

Here are a few of the new deciders:

Michael Honeycutt
Michael Honeycutt (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality)

Michael Honeycutt

Position: Head of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a body of experts that provides objective scientific advice to the agency.

Past job: Chief toxicologist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, where he led the department’s fight against Barack Obama’s stricter ozone pollution rules (Scott Pruitt’s EPA has since delayed those rules for a year). He also helped relax Texas’ state rules on pollution, particularly hexavalent chromium and arsenic, both known carcinogens.

In his own words: On ozone, Honeycutt said in 2014 “I haven’t seen the data that says lowering ozone will produce a health benefit. In fact, I’ve seen data that shows it might have a negative health benefit.” He also suggested the EPA’s ozone rules are unnecessary because “Americans likely spend at least 90% of their time indoors.” (Ozone exposure is widely regarded as a contributor to early death, asthma, heart disease, and low birth weight, among other health effects.)

On mercury, Honeycutt said the EPA is “overstating” the risks of exposure, given that the Japanese eat more fish than Americans and seem to be doing well. He wrote that “unwarranted concerns” could be preventing people from eating seafood, “which itself could lead to adverse health effects.” (Mercury is an IQ-lowering neurotoxin and a danger to developing fetuses.)

Michael Dourson
Michael Dourson (US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)

Michael Dourson

Position: (Nominated) head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. His nomination passed a Senate subcommittee and will need a full Senate vote to advance.

Past job: Ran the consulting company Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), which was hired by groups like Dow Chemical, CropLife America, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, and Koch Industries to study the effects of chemicals. He is a friend of Honeycutt, whose Texas Commission on Environmental Quality hired TERA to review the state’s chemical evaluations.

TERA’s assessments in all these casess typically failed to recognize hazards widely acknowledged by mainstream scientists who aren’t being paid by the chemical industry, the Intercept reports.

In his own words: As the Intercept notes, Dourson once argued that children aren’t more sensitive to toxic substances than adults, and might even be less sensitive. That idea is far outside of the established scientific consensus. In 2002, he authored a paper (pdf) paid for by the American Chemistry Council and CropLife America arguing that children over six months are no more sensitive to chemicals than adults, and may be less sensitive in some cases.

“Taken together, information on the relative sensitivities of children and adults… suggests that the use of additional uncertainty factors to limit environmental chemical exposures is unlikely to provide significantly greater protection to children over 6 months of age,” the paper includes.

Robert Phalen

Position: Member of EPA’s Science Advisory Board.

Past job: Professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine.

In his own words: “Modern air is a little too clean for optimum health,” he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. Clean air is “not good for the children, whose lungs need a few irritants to learn how to ward them off.”

When EE News asked Phalen about those comments after his appointment to the EPA board this month, he doubled down: “Importantly,” he said, “as particulate air pollution levels have declined in the US, asthma rates have increased.”

Phalen has suggested studies showing children raised on farms and near animals have less asthma prove his point. However, the studies he is likely referencing actually say it is children’s exposure to a more diverse set of microbes that gives them more robust immune systems and lower asthma rates, not their exposure to more particulate air pollution. (Editor’s note: In many cases, growing up on a farm farther from traffic and industrial sites probably means those kids also breathe less pollution than other children, not more.)

Phalen has also advocated for smoking. He “smokes two to four pipes a week,” according to a 2013 Orange County Register article.At the time, he told the paper that a no-smoking policy at UC Irvine was a poor choice, and “social activism.”

“Intellectuals like Einstein insisted on having their photos taken smoking a pipe,” he said.

William Wehrum
William Wehrum (US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)

William Wehrum

Position: Head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Past job: Lobbyist and lawyer for fossil-fuel firms, including the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

In his own words: Wehrum has represented clients who fought several Obama-era health rules, including one to reduce how much silica dust construction workers could legally be exposed to. As ThinkProgress reports, during oral arguments (mp3), Wehrum told the court: “People are designed to deal with dust. People are in dusty environments all the time and it doesn’t kill them.” (Under Trump, the Department of Labor has delayed the silica dust rule.)

Article source: https://qz.com/1129576/some-pollution-is-good-for-kids-lungs-and-other-beliefs-held-by-trump-health-officials/

Confusing myeloma diagnosis needs more communication | To Your …

Dear Dr. Roach • My son (early 40s) has been romantically involved with a woman (early 30s) for the past two years. She has always been underweight but seems to be in good health. She has a history of endometrial cancer and has had no recurrence since treatment. Now she has been diagnosed with myeloma. Her treatment consists of blood transfusions when needed. This is a delicate situation, and I am having difficulty learning more about this form of cancer, other than through online searches. I have questions about treatment options, lifestyle changes, prognosis, fertility, longevity — all the biggies. Your input would be greatly appreciated. — M.T.

Answer • Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer of the cells that make antibodies. Myeloma is very unusual at her age: Less than 2 percent of people are diagnosed before age 40, with half of people being over the age of 66 at diagnosis. It is unusual enough that I would be concerned about the diagnosis being a possible mistake.

Two conditions can be mistaken for multiple myeloma: smoldering myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS). These conditions often are not treated, as opposed to multiple myeloma, which needs effective treatment. Without effective treatment for someone with multiple myeloma, only half of people will live more than six months.

Treatment for a young person ideally would be an autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation. Often called a bone marrow transplant, this procedure takes the person’s own healthy cells and gives them back after high-dose chemotherapy. There are several new approaches, with more-effective and less-toxic treatments available, yet HCT remains the best chance for cure. Not everyone is a candidate for it. Pregnancy is possible, but rare, after this treatment.

I don’t understand the treatment you describe. Blood transfusions are not effective for myeloma and are not usually needed for smoldering myeloma or MGUS. I can provide some general information about myeloma, but to find out about her individual prognosis, you need to ask her or your son, who surely must have talked to her about these issues.

The combination of early endometrial cancer and early myeloma has been reported: People with a history of endometrial cancer are at higher risk for myeloma.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu or request an order form of available health newsletters at 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32803. Health newsletters may be ordered from rbmamall.com.

Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/to-your-good-health/confusing-myeloma-diagnosis-needs-more-communication/article_fe663d91-0fb4-5eb4-acdb-c7056ac7b81d.html

Here’s a toast to good health

Well, it’s November, and this is the month dedicated to men’s health. “Movember”, as some folks call it, is the time of year where we men are constantly reminded to go the doctor for a check-up and specifically have our prostate checked. It’s really a good idea, although I haven’t gone yet. I am still looking for a doctor with extremely skinny fingers.

“Movember” is also the month where men are encouraged to grow a beard. I wasn’t aware we needed any encouragement to stop shaving, but for 37 years, I have been strongly advised to shave after just two days of growing whiskers. After my surgery a while back, I got to go weeks without shaving since I wasn’t able to leave the house. According to folks who came to visit me during my lengthy recovery, my patchy beard and opioid-induced crazy eyes made me look like a middle-aged meth addict. But I kept the quasi-beard until my precious granddaughter told me she didn’t like the whiskers. I shaved that afternoon.

Last November, after some urging from co-workers, I stopped shaving. Without the wild eyes from pain pills and some trimming, I looked civilized with a beard but appeared much, much older than my actual age. The longer the whiskers grew, the more I looked like an eighty-year-old college professor. So I shaved the beard off before Thanksgiving.

Speaking of November, why did they pick this month to emphasize healthy living? It’s the one month out of the year where most men gorge themselves on turkey, sweet taters and pecan pie while sitting in a recliner with our pants unbuttoned watching 5 days worth of football. And the medical experts are urging us to get our prostates checked while our GI tract is full of volatile yams. Does this make sense to you?

Something else the health experts just divulged has my head spinning. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) reported that moderate and even slight drinking of alcohol may increase your chance of getting cancer. Well, now you tell me! I reckon I’d better start picking out my coffin because I have consumed enough beer over the past 40 years to fill an Olympic swimming pool.

Now, what’s got me bewildered is that for several years, I have been advised by my doctors, including a cardiologist, to drink a beer or two every day. They said beer or wine, in moderation, can be beneficial to my cardiovascular system, help with digestion and lower my stress level. Well, I have always followed my doctors’ orders. With their advice and occasional treatments, I am in pretty good shape for a guy my age. Okay, my spine has been surgically repaired and I can no longer twerk to Miley Cyrus songs, but I am fairly active and probably in overall good health.

So now, in November 2017, which medical professionals do I listen to? The ones who claim cold beer will put me in an early grave, or the fine physicians who advise me to pop a top every day? Oh, what a conundrum I face! Do I stop drinking to lower my risk of cancer only to suffer a stroke or heart attack? Or continue to lubricate my arteries with ice-cold brews and allow some tumor to grow in my gut? Hmm. What do I do?

Since I never met those folks with ASCO, and never had one of their doctors listen to my heart or poke my prostate, I believe I will stick to the sage advice of my personal physicians. They know me better than those researchers pouring drinks to lab rats. So, to all those doctors who have worked on me in the past 30 years, cheers!

Clint Younts likes to get paid for his columns – in cases of beer.

crowsnest78610@gmail.com

Article source: https://haysfreepress.com/2017/11/15/heres-a-toast-to-good-health/

Here’s Another Reason to Feel Good About Drinking Coffee

The news about coffee just keeps getting better. In a new analysis of one of the country’s largest and longest-running studies, drinking coffee was linked to a lower risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease. Every extra cup of coffee consumed per day reduced each of these conditions by 8%, 7% and 5%, respectively, up to at least six cups per day.

The preliminary research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California. It has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, but it’s not the first research to suggest that coffee protects the heart and arteries.

Researchers from the University of Colorado medical school analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has tracked the eating patterns and cardiovascular health of more than 15,000 people since the 1940s. They were looking for previously unidentified risk factors for heart failure and stroke. They used a method known as machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that looks for patterns in big data sets, similar to the way e-commerce websites might predict products a customer mighty like based on their previous shopping history.

“In an ideal world, we would be able to predict cardiovascular disease and stroke with 100% accuracy long before the occurrence of the event,” said first author Laura Stevens, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in an email to TIME. “The challenge here is there are so many potential risk factors, and testing each one using traditional methods would be extremely time consuming, and possibly infeasible,” she added.

Out of all the potential links to heart disease the researchers considered, one stood out after the analysis. Coffee was associated with a reduced risk for heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease. For coffee drinkers, every 8-ounce cup per day reduced these risks by 7%, 8% and 5%, respectively, compared to people who didn’t drink coffee. Almost all of the coffee drinkers in the study (97%) consumed between one and six cups of coffee a day, says Stevens, so the researchers can’t know for sure if the benefits continue at even higher consumption levels.

The researchers even determined that whether someone drank coffee or not could help predict their eventual risk of heart failure or stroke. When they added coffee-drinking to a risk assessment tool that also included other known risk factors (like age, blood pressure and cholesterol), their prediction accuracy improved by 4%.

The researchers then confirmed their findings with more traditional analyses of two additional large study groups: the Cardiovascular Heart Study and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

Because these studies simply observed people’s health and coffee consumption over time, the analyses were only able to determine a link between the two—not a cause-and-effect relationship. But based on these and other findings, experts suspect that coffee may be protective against conditions like heart failure and stroke. Previous research has suggested that coffee’s caffeine content, along with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may be responsible for its presumed health benefits.

The new research also supports the idea that machine learning may help researchers identify other unknown risk factors—or protective factors—for disease. The current risk-assessment tools used to predict whether someone might develop heart disease are very good, the authors noted in their presentation, but they’re not 100% accurate, suggesting that more risk factors could still be identified.

Stevens says her team intends to use similar analyses to determine if compounds like caffeine may explain the association with heart health observed in this study. “Ultimately, our key goals are to determine whether coffee consumption is a clinically useful part of cardiovascular disease risk assessment,” she says, “and whether changing coffee or caffeine consumption may be a way of altering that risk.”

Article source: http://time.com/5022060/coffee-health-benefits-heart/