Saturday, February 28, 2009

FDA Issues Warning on Raptiva

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes red scaly patches on the skin and can affect the joints. In plaque psoriasis, there are raised areas of inflamed, scaly skin covered with silvery white, scaly skin. Psoriatic patients taking the drug, Raptiva, should be aware of the following important information.

On February 19, 2009, the FDA issued a warning to patients taking the psoriasis drug Raptive. The FDA update reported three confirmed cases and one possible case of Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients who were taking the drug Raptiva for more than three years. The patients were prescribed Raptiva for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. There were three deaths amongst these cases.

PML is a rare, serious, progressive neurologic disease caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system. It usually occurs in people with weakened immune systems. PML often leads to irreversible decline in neurologic function and death. There is no known cure.

The FDA warning to healthcare providers states the following:
* Raptiva increases the risk of PML. Longer, continuous use may further increase this risk.
* There are no known screening tests that can reliably predict PML or medical interventions that can prevent or treat this disease.
* Patients treated with Raptiva should be periodically re-evaluated to ensure that the benefit of treatment continues to outweigh the risks. Consideration should be given to use of other approved therapies to control the patients’ psoriasis.
* The effects of periodic or intermittent use of Raptiva, or the concomitant use of other immunosuppressant drugs on the risk for PML is not known.

If you have been taking Raptiva and have developed PML as a result, there is important information you should be aware of at .


Alcohol Associated with Higher Cancer Risk in Women

Middle-aged women who consume even only moderate amounts of alchohol, as little as one drink per day, increase their risk for cancer according to a report in the February 24 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The risk of any type of cancer increases with increasing alcohol consumption, as did the risk of some specific types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, rectum, and liver. The type of alcohol consumed, even red wine, did not affect the cancer risk.

"Although the magnitude of the excess absolute risk associated with one additional drink per day may appear small for some cancer sites, the high prevalence of moderate alcohol drinking among women in many populations means that the proportion of cancers attributable to alcohol is an important public health issue," the authors write.

There has been previously reported to be a cardiovascular benefit associated with moderate alcohol consumption. The question arises whether the risk of cancer outweighs that benefit for middle-aged women.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why Do My Feet Hurt?

Did you ever think about the debt we owe our feet?
Whether we are strolling through the mall or hustling to catch the bus, our feet take a pounding every day. For every step we take, the foot experiences 1.5 times your body weight per square inch. Now consider that a fit and active person will take about 10,000 to 17,0000 steps per day. Our feet work hard for us, but do we take proper care of them?

Too often, we overlook maintaining proper care of our feet. Your feet can suffer from this neglect in the form of many problems, some of which can be very painful. For instance, failure to maintain a regular pedicure routine can result in ingrown toenails which can cause pain and make it difficult to walk, or even wear shoes.

Without regular care, feet can build up calluses and corns. Many problems result from improperly fitting shoes, and often people wear the wrong shoe in the name of fashion. Shoes should have a roomy toebox in rounded shape to avoid pressure points that could cause painful conditions.

There are simple things you can do to reduce painful foot conditions, and many times they don't require a lot of effort. Do a weekly pedicure to keep feet clean and keep nails trimmed. Toenails should be cut in a straight line, not rounded. Exfoliate to remove dead skin and minimize calluses. Keep feet clean and moisturize the skin.

Of course other conditions can affect foot comfort and function. Injuries to ligaments and muscles, nail fungal infections, and other medical conditions can affect the health of the feet. Seek information to help you find the causes for your symptoms and get professional medical care when necessary.

If you are looking for information on specific foot problems or symptoms, this is a highly detailed and informative site that can answer all of your questions regarding foot care and common foot problems and conditions.

Remember, there's no reason to suffer with painful foot conditions. Make an effort to find out what is causing the problem and see a medical practitioner for problems that you cannot take care of at home.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Peanut Recall Search Tool

Peanut Corporation of America, the company responsible for the recent outbreak of salmonella due to tainted peanut products, has expanded the recall to include all products made at their plant.

Peanut Corporation of America does not market peanut butter directly to consumers, but rather produced peanut butter and paste that was sold directly to other food manufacturers, schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

More than 650 people have been made ill in more than 44 states due to salmonella from their plants in Georgia and Texas. The CDC has now linked 8 deaths to salmonella from tainted peanut butter.

I have added the tool found above for anyone who wants to check the most recent list of recalled products. This information comes directly from the FDA and CDC and is updated frequently. So far this recall, which is being called the largest in history, involves more than 2,100 products in 17 categories from 200 companies.

Be safe and check the list, then check your cupboards for tainted products. This recall checker tool will remain on the blog as long as the recall is ongoing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Exercise Best for Preventing Back Pain

What's the best method for preventing back pain? Contrary to what you might believe, buying that new ergonomic computer chair won't do it. In fact, sitting isn't going to help your back pain one bit. The most effective method to reduce episodes of low back pain is simply, exercise.

A review of the literature for high-quality scientific trials published in the February issue of The Spine Journal, found that exercise in the community and the workplace was the most effective way to prevent episodes of back problems.

Exercise was more effective than other, more passive measures such as shoe inserts, lumbar supports and ergonomic interventions.

The new review does not suggest that ergonomic interventions be discarded, as they continue to provide a more comfortable work environment.

Information on the review can be found at the University of Washington News site.

Free Radicals and Aging not linked

For years the prevailing theory regarding aging has been that it is a result of oxidative stress. All sorts of products containing antioxidants and antioxidant therapies have been marketed to those who want to stay young. Taking antioxidants such as CoQ10 and Vitamin E have been touted as ways to clear the body of free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. But the entire theory may be turned on end by new research at McGill University.

A study published in the February PLoS Genetics, puts a new perspective on the theory of oxidative stress. In experiments, the researchers found that oxidative stress did not affect life span.

In the experiment, the researchers worked with Caenorhabditis elegans worms who had had their ability to detoxify and clear free radicals suppressed through gene manipulation.

None of their mutant worms showed decreased lifespan compared with wild-type worms, even though oxidative stress was clearly raised. In fact, one variety actually displayed increased lifespan, the researchers said.

The researchers question whether oxidative stress is really the cause of aging or if perhaps, it may be the other way round and oxidative stress is a result of aging. However, they did not conclude that oxidative stress is good for you.

The researchers concluded that although oxidative stress clearly does damage to the body, it may not be responsible for aging.

Clearly, since the build-up of free radicals and oxidative stress does damage, continuing a healthy diet high in antioxidants is necessary to stay as healthy as possible. It just might not keep you from aging.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vitamin D and MS Linked

A new study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry indicates that Vitamin D may prevent the production of malignant cells such as breast and prostate cancer cells and protect against specific autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS). The article was written by Sylvia Christakos, PhD, of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

According to Christakos, MS is relatively unknown in equatorial regions and the incidence of MS is lower in areas where fish consumption is high. Christakos reports that research shows that the incidence of MS decreases as the amount of vitamin D available to the body increases, either through sunlight exposure or diet.

Christakos emphasizes the important of keeping a sufficient Vitamin D level as it has cancer-preventative properties and may inhibit the induction of MS.

"Evidence has shown that the maintenance of an adequate vitamin D level may have a protective effect in individuals predisposed to MS," Christakos said. "One device of vitamin D action may be to preserve balance in the T-cell reaction and thus avoid autoimmunity."

Christakos stated that further studies are needed to determine whether vitamin D is effective in individuals with active MS.

Olive Oil Prevents Bone Loss

If you use olive oil to cook instead of other oils, good for you, because olive oil is good for you. Olive oil is already known for being a healthier choice and that it adds flavor to your favorite foods. But there's even more good news about olive oil for women over 40.

A new study indicates that olive oil may be helpful in slowing bone loss in menopausal women. In fact, eating the basic Meditteranean diet may help preserve bone mass throughout your lifetime.

A study from the Harokopio University of Athens (Greece) determines that adherence to a dietary pattern close to the Mediterranean diet, with high consumption of fish and olive oil and low red meat intake, has a significant impact in women skeletal health.

Healthy eating habits are important at every stage of life, but as a woman enters her menopausal years. The risk of osteoporosis and loss of bone mass is just one worrisome possibility. Eating well at this time of life can reap many benefits for women who want to live well, no matter their age.