Doctors Accused of Undertreating Overweight Cancer Sufferers – New Guidelines Issued

Doctors Accused of Undertreating Overweight Cancer Sufferers – New Guidelines IssuedOverweight cancer sufferers are known to have a much higher mortality rate, which has long been attributed to a generally poorer state of overall health. However, reports have come to light suggesting that doctors are routinely and dangerously undertreating obese people with cancer and thus reducing their chances of survival.

Doctors face the accusation of administering smaller and less effective doses of chemotherapy to overweight patients by basing the dose on their weight, as opposed to their size. The reason is said to be the way in which doctors limit how much chemo they give to obese cancer sufferers due to the fear of negative effects on their already poor health, attributed to their excess weight.

It has however been made clear on numerous occasions that larger people are usually able to tolerate larger doses of chemo than those of a smaller side. As such, the apparent best interest of the doctors may have been yielding the polar opposite result.

According to the latest study carried out on the issue, cancer patients with weight problems are being given at least 15% lower doses of chemo than those classified as of a healthy size. The suspicion is us that this could have led to thousands of early and in some cases entirely preventable deaths as to short-change a patient may be a death sentence in its own right.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology has weighed into the debate and insisted that new guidelines be immediately followed when it comes to administering chemo based on size, rather than weight.

Duke University oncologist Gary Lyman spoke of his concerns.

“There’s little doubt that some degree of undertreatment is contributing to the higher mortality and recurrence rates in obese patients,” he warned.

Experts fear the problem could become even worse unless nipped in the bud right now, for the simple reason that obesity is hardly a rare condition in the US. In a country where one in three adults is considered obese and a massive 60% are overweight, it is simply unacceptable to risk short-changing thousands of cancer sufferers and robbing them of their chances of survival, the report argues.

In some instances when a person suffers from heart disease, diabetes or other conditions associated with obesity it is of course prudent to administer lower doses for the sake of their health. The problem however appears to have become the way in which all overweight individuals are being automatically labelled and unfit for full chemo doses, when in reality they could perhaps handle even more of the life-saving treatment than a person of a ‘healthier’ weight.

Smoothies Declared a Danger to Health – Scientists Warn of Worrying Sugar Content

Smoothies Declared a Danger to Health – Scientists Warn of Worrying Sugar ContentReaching for a smoothie rather than a soft drink has long been the kind of conscious choice that makes us all feel a little bit better inside. According to scientists however, those of us doing so could have being doing ourselves a pretty big disservice due to the hidden dangers in these seemingly innocent wonder-drinks.

It all comes down to the amount of sugar our everyday drinks contain and the detrimental habit of thinking that all-fruit means all-healthy, which it doesn’t. The dangers of excessive smoothie consumption has been highlighted by the very same individuals that brought to the world’s attention the risks associated with high fructose corn syrup quite some time ago – this time they have every other kind od sugar in their crosshairs.

As far as George Bray and Barry Popkin are concerned, now that the major soft drink brands have got their hands on smoothie companies it’s all becoming a bit of a blur in terms of what is and isn’t a wise choice for the consumer.

“Smoothies and fruit juice are the new danger,” the pair told reporters from British newspaper The Guardian.

“It’s kind of the next step in the evolution of the battle. And it’s a really big part of it because in every country they’ve been replacing soft drinks with fruit juice and smoothies as the new healthy beverage,”

“So you will find that Coke and Pepsi have bought dozens of fruit juice companies around the globe.”

Their concern is that the average buyer is to some extend being duped into thinking that these often premium-prices fruit drinks are 100% beneficial to their health and represent massively better alternatives to standard sodas. They market the drinks as ideal ways to take in the recommended daily quota of fruits and vegetables, while failing to clearly highlight the downside.

“Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled,” the scientists said.

“Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat. The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large coke. It is deceiving.”

His intention is to bring to light the fact that it isn’t just a single type of the sugar that the world should be declaring its enemy, but rather any and every sugar that’s ingested in heavy volumes.

“The most important issue about added sugar is that everybody thinks it’s cane sugar or maybe beet sugar or HFC syrup or all the other syrups but globally the cheapest thing on the market almost is fruit juice concentrate coming out of China,”

“It has created an overwhelming supply of apple juice concentrate. It is being used everywhere and it also gets around the sugar quotas that lots of countries have,”

“But all the long term studies on fruit juice in anything show the same kind of effect whether it’s a smoothie or natural juice and whether it’s a diabetes or weight gain effect.”

Electronic Cigarettes Top Nicotine Patches as Cessation Aids

Electronic Cigarettes Top Nicotine Patches as Cessation AidsThe first study to pit electronic cigarettes against conventional nicotine patches has revealed some interesting data to say the least. For those with a genuine desire to cut down or quite altogether, the high-tech modern approach to cessation seems to have the edge on the patches US smokers have counted on for so long.

Electronic cigarettes have quickly grown from relative obscurity into a multi-billion dollar global industry, though it appears the convenience of the things represents just the tip of the iceberg.

More than a quitting aid, electronic cigarettes are marketed largely as cigarette substitutes to get around bans on tobacco use in public places. They offer the smoker the hit of nicotine needed to ward off cravings, but without producing the potentially deadly smoke shared between the smoker and anyone that happens to be in the vicinity. The smoke is recreated visually, though has little to no odor, disappears in seconds and is harmless to those around.

The removal of the conventional burning of tobacco from the equation immediately brings an array of distinct health benefits for smokers, but at the same time these e-cigarettes are proving of huge benefit for those looking to cut down or quit.

Over the course of six months, a team of researchers looked into the smoking habits of a group of smokers – half of which were issued with nicotine patches and the other half e-cigarettes. At the end of the study, it came to light that while those using the patches had on average cut down the number of cigarettes they smoked by nearly 40%, electronic cigarettes had motivated a drop in tobacco use of over 50%.

Both groups hit an average of one in every 20 smokers quitting altogether, but those issued with the e-cigarettes were said to be considerably more enthusiastic about quitting and dedicated to doing so after the trial. Smokers of e-cigarettes were also the more likely parties to encourage their peers to use the same smoking cessation methods.

“Given the increasing popularity of these devices in many countries, and the accompanying regulatory uncertainty and inconsistency, larger, longer-term trials are urgently needed to establish whether these devices might be able to fulfil their potential as effective and popular smoking cessation aids,” the study’s researches summarized.

A Quarter of Heart Disease Deaths 100% Preventable – CDC Urges Proactivity

A Quarter of Heart Disease Deaths 100% Preventable – CDC Urges ProactivityUp to 25% of all heart disease related deaths in the United States could be easily prevented if the public was to make just a few minor lifestyle changes, the CDC has reported. Upward of 800,000 people every year across the country lose their lived to various forms of coronary heart disease, which continues to be the single biggest killer in America today.

As far as the DCD is confirmed, an astonishing 200,000 of these deaths need not happen and the number of lives that can be saved with simple proactivity is enormous. From taking regular walks to cutting back on alcohol intake to limiting tobacco smoking and so many more, the examples are all fundamentally easy and within the capabilities of pretty much anyone that holds their family’s health and wellbeing in high regard.

The good news is that deaths attributed to heart disease have been falling over recent years, but the CDC warns that numbers are still unacceptably high. Even in today’s America where awareness is near total and education on health matters never higher, lack of effort and late detection add up to heart disease accounting for more than a third of all deaths across the US.

“These findings are really striking because we are talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths that don’t have to happen when they happen,” wrote Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.

Perhaps even more worrying than the nationwide figures along was the fact that the data collected illustrated a distinct regional divide. For reasons yet to be made clear, the preventable deaths originating from heart disease seemed to be considerable more common in states closer to the south.

“It’s unfortunate that your longevity may be influenced more by your “ZIP code” than “genetic code,” the director said.

Guidelines from the CDC suggest that each and every citizen accepts the role they must play in looking after their own health and wellbeing, in order to help fend off this often preventable killer. From simple lifestyle changes to regular consultations with professionals for those most at risk, the future picture could be an infinitely more promising one for the country as a whole were the ongoing and undeniably simple advice to be heeded.

America’s Growing Insomnia Epidemic – Millions Pop Pills to Catch Zs

America’s Growing Insomnia Epidemic – Millions Pop Pills to Catch ZsAmerican seems to be gripped by a growing insomnia epidemic, though health officials still have no official explanation as to why. Up to nine million US citizens are now known to be turning to pills and other medication to on a regular basis to help them get some sleep, which has the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention extremely worried.

To put the figure in a different context, the data suggests that at least 4% of the country is popping pills to doze-off at night and that’s only taking into account the those being prescribed the necessary meds by doctors.

Were those taking non-prescription pills and over-the-counter remedies to be included, the figure would most likely be extraordinary.

The CDC carried out a study on approximately 17,000 people from a variety of backgrounds for a five-year period. After regularly consulting with the participants, it became strikingly obvious that sleep disorders and full-blown insomnia are growing as problems across the US.

What remained entirely unclear on the other hand is the reason or reasons why.

It’s been suspected for some time that the advent of modern consumer technology has had an adverse effect on people’s sleeping patterns. An uber-connected society could be finding it difficult to log-off in more ways than what, with its collective brains constantly mulling over its social, domestic and professional obligation.

And then of course there’s also the possibility that a generally poor state of overall health could be the root cause, or perhaps the growing financial and economic concerns generally plaguing the average American household.

Health officials are once again reissuing prior warnings on just how dangerous it can be to turn to sleep medications on a regular basis, rather than tapping into the root cause of the problem and looking for safer treatment methods. Nevertheless, these warning have been issued several times before and yet the problem continues to grow.

It is hoped that doctors and medical professionals will take a more active role in diagnosing and treating the causes of sleep problems, rather than handing over sleep-aids as quick-fix solutions that offer little benefit over the longer term.

Large-scale research has already highlighted the worrying fact that individuals who take sleep medication on a regular basis are not only more prone to developing serious physical and mental health problems, but are also known to live shorter lives on average.

FDA Warns of Highly-Flammable Sunscreens, Advises Extreme Caution

FDA Warns of Highly-Flammable Sunscreens, Advises Extreme CautionSun-worshippers across the US have been issued with a stark warning from the FDA, after a string of reports concerning sunscreen sprays bursting into flames and causing serious burns. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, each and every sunscreen spray on the market should be seen by its users as a potential danger and therefore used with the utmost care – never when around naked flames or heat sources.

A total of five incidents have so far been reported to the FDA, where hospital treatment has been given to those suffering serious burns after their sunscreen set alight while they were using it. Each of the sunscreen products used by those affected were immediately removed form sale, though as most manufacturers use the same ingredients and propellants it is suspected that many others could be just as dangerous.

The incidents have prompted the FDA to once again advise the American public to be aware of the potentially dangerous properties of the products they use. Despite being skin-safe by basic definition, so many products from insect-repellants to cosmetics can easily burst into lethal fireballs if used close to open sources of heat.

“Based on this information, we recommend that after you have applied a sunscreen spray labeled as flammable, you consider avoiding being near an open flame, sparks or an ignition source,” the new warning from the FDA reads.

Most products that carry a risk of fire present clear advice not to use them anywhere near naked flames or sources of extreme heat. Alarmingly however, some of the reported incidents the FDA is speaking of concern individuals who had already applied the sunscreen which subsequently burst into flames while on their skin.

The heat sources responsible for the combustion included welding torches, cigarette lighters, barbecues and candles.

According to the FDA, anyone using a spray sunscreen of any sort should never underestimating the importance of ensuring it has dried before going near a heat source – even then being aware that they are still at risk of burn injuries.

Shocking Links Drawn Between Soda Consumption and Ill Health

Shocking Links Drawn Between Soda Consumption and Ill HealthIt’s not exactly a secret that drinking too much soda won’t do a get deal for your health – most of us are taught this lesson by our kindergarten years. However, today brings another rather stark reminder of why excess is never a good idea when it comes to readily available carbonated goodies.

A 31-year-old woman from  Monaco found herself being whisked to the ER after suffering what seemed to be a heart attack. It was only when the doctors began examining and questioning the woman that she revealed her drink of choice – she hadn’t had a drink of anything else but soda for nearly 20 years.

As it turned out, she had suffered a bout of arrhythmia caused by long QT syndrome.

Requesting that her identity be kept under wraps, the woman told the doctors that nobody in her family tree had any kind of heart problems and she herself had no known defects. It was all rather puzzling to the docs, but she’d then go on to inform them that since the age of 15 she hadn’t drank a single glass of water to her memory and instead downed at least two liters of cola per day.

Tests revealed that the patient’s potassium levels were at rock-bottom and needed to be raised urgently. Potassium is known to be a key contributor to a healthy heart and a strong, stable hear rhythm. As such, she was prescribed supplements, told to lay off the fizzy drinks for a while and found herself back in the prime of health after just a week.

So the case can be added to a growing list of cautionary tales warning the world of the dangers of soda-binging over the long term. Quite recently, one Natasha Harrison from New Zealand died at the age of 30 from health complications apparently caused by a diet that included cola by the gallon on a daily basis.

There’s also the case of Jakki Ballan, a 42-year-old from the UK who has developed what seems to be a medical dependency on Coke. She has ended up having to drink a can of the soda every single hour or be struck down by incapacitating headaches.

National Smoking Levels Down Again – If Only We Knew Why…

National Smoking Levels Down Again - If Only We Knew Why…Good news for non-smokers across the US that value their fresh air in public – the average smoking level has once again taken a dive. According to the 2012 figures, the number of adults smoking across America has seen its first notable step down since 2005, which has been welcomed as wonderful news by heath campaigners and government figures alike.

Curiously however, nobody seems to know exactly why the national smoking average is going down – even those that study such habits in depth aren’t such why it’s happening.

The number of smokers lighting up in the US has been on the decline for quite a few years to say the least – decades in fact. Credit is attributed largely to the way in which near-universal understanding of the dangers of smoking has left very few blind to the ills of tobacco, but since 2006 it all seemed to go a bit flat. The number of smokers didn’t get any higher, but the average of around 21% stuck in place for several years with little explanation as to why.

It just seemed as though the minimum average had been reached and that was that.

Not so it would appear as with the official smoking average for 2012 coming out at 18%, things once again seem to be moving in the right direction. A promising sign of progress it may be, but public health groups are still keen to stress that the national problem with tobacco and tobacco related deaths is still rife and must be addressed.

When it comes to deaths and illnesses that are completely preventable, there’s no bigger cause in the US today than smoking. The statistic are simply mind-blowing – no less than one in every five deaths recorded in the US every day is attributed to smoking, while upward of $73 billion is spent each year on treating and combatting illnesses and diseases caused by smoking.

According to the CDC, lung cancer and heart disease deaths in America could be reduced by over 80% if tobacco was no longer in circulation.

It is thought that the lower smoking rates have been encouraged by ongoing restrictions as to where smokers can and cannot light up, along with the way in which advertising of tobacco products is now more heavily regulated than ever before.

The aim is now to pinpoint exactly what it is that’s working and reinforce efforts to reduce the national smoking average even further.

Obesity Reclassified as Disease – Doctors Now Obliged to Recognize and Treat Accordingly

Obesity Reclassified as Disease – Doctors Now Obliged to Recognize and Treat AccordinglyMillions of American men, women and children are this morning waking up with a disease they didn’t have at this time yesterday. With immediate effect, the American Medical Association has reclassified obesity as a disease, after this Tuesday’s vote was passed. As a result, more than 78 million adults and a further 12 million children across the United States are now considered to be suffering from a medical problem that calls for urgent and decisive treatment.

Following an extensive debate on the positive and negative implications of reclassifying obesity as a disease, the nation’s most senior medical professionals passed the vote by a significant margin. While advocates have stated that the move will ensure obesity is tackled more aggressively as the danger it really is, others argue it will do nothing but potentially make things even worse for the country.

On the whole though it was concluded that there were far less negatives than positives factored in, so after the downside had been discussed and considered at length, the decision was made – one that resulted in over a third am American adults now being considered disease sufferers.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the American Medical Community tackles this complex issue that affects one in three Americans,” said Dr. Patrice Harris speaking on behalf of the AMA.

With obesity now being considered a disease, physicians and doctors across the country will now be legally obliged to address any such problems facing their patients as they would any other dangerous disease. They will no longer be able to skirt around the issue which is known to happen in thousands of instances due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Doctors are commonly known to ignore, sidestep or play down the severity of their patients’ obesity in order to avoid offense.

Studies have generate evidence that most obese individuals across the US have never had their problems discussed by their physicians and in many cases are completely unaware of how extensive their problems are. It is hoped that the change in classification will prompt proactivity from both sides.

As far as critics are concerned though, the move will do nothing but encourage millions of Americans to demand medication and surgery to combat their obesity problems rather than trying to deal with them via conventional exercise and dietary methods.

Autism Linked to Air Quality – Babies Born in Polluted Areas at Twice the Risk

Autism Linked to Air Quality – Babies Born in Polluted Areas at Twice the RiskScientist have once again drawn links between air quality and autism, in this instance suggesting that the chances of having an autistic baby double for those living in area with severe levels of air pollution. The warning comes from the Harvard School of Public Health, where a study directly looking at the connection between air pollution and autism has brought to light some startling evidence.

The research looked at 22,000 women with non-autistic children and 325 women whose children had been diagnosed with autism. Scientists took note of the air quality at the time and in the place of the birth of each child, referring to the pollution level averages as reported by the EPA to assess the places the mothers resided and spent time while pregnant.

A variety of other influential factors were addressed and recorded by the study, which included wealth, education, general levels of health an d the smoking and drinking habits of the parents.

The results were startling and deeply worrying.

According to the data gathered, the women that lived in the 20% of the country most heavily affected by air pollution were twice as likely to have a child with autism as the mothers in the 20% of the country with the cleanest air. The study was looking with particular focus at diesel and mercury as the key air pollutants under investigation.

But it wasn’t just these pollutants that posed a danger at high levels. The data also showed that others like lead, methylene chloride and manganese could increase the likelihood of having an autistic child by 50%.

One of the most interesting though inconclusive findings from the study was, according to the scientists, the way in which baby boys seemed to show considerably higher sensitivity to the pollutants studies than girls. This resulted in the risk of autism in boys coming out higher than that of the girls, but the team conducting the study insisted that further research was needed before this finding could be considered a conclusive fact.