Testing It Up

Trekking at Mt. Everest Increases Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Climbing Mt. Everest brings another thrill with the latest medical development that its high altitude level will likely cause Type 2 Diabetes.

climbing mount everest causes type 2 diabetesOxygen level at its peak may cause the human body to react from low oxygen intake known as hypoxia. Many studies have linked this condition to the insulin resistance of the body.

The Caudwell Xtreme Everest, in coordination with the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine), conducted a study involving experiments on 24 participants who climbed high altitudes. Half of the group climbed the peak at 8,848 meters while the rest took the 5,300-meter height. All of participants were assessed for glucose control, weight changes and inflammation biomarkers, and were re-evaluated on the sixth and eighth weeks.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, revealed that the group who reached the peak registered significant increase in insulin resistance on its biomarkers after 6-8 weeks. The study proponents attribute this to the group’s exposure to hypoxia or low oxygen levels.

Professor Mike Grocott who led this research shared via a news release that “these results have given us useful insight into the clinical problem of insulin resistance”. He further stressed that this study provides comparative analysis on their findings of hypoxia on obese individuals and healthy people who are exposed to high altitudes. These results could play a significant role in finding appropriate medical intervention for diabetic patients.

April 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm Comments (0)

New Study Suggests Breastfeeding While on Antidepressants is Okay

Although many breastfeeding mothers worry about taking any kind of medication due to the fact that it can be passed onto their babies, a new study shows that antidepressants may be beneficial for some mothers to take.breastfeeding

A University of Adelaide study shows that when new mothers who need antidepressants took them, they were more likely to continue breastfeeding, at least through the first six months of the baby’s life, when it is most recommended. The study also showed the benefits of the breastfeeding outweighed the risks associated with taking the antidepressants.

“This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression,” says NHMRC Early Career Fellow Dr. Luke Grzeskowiak from the Robinson Research Institute, a researcher on the study.

April 14, 2014 at 7:47 am Comments (0)

Electrical Stimulation: Breakthrough for Paralysis Treatment

Paralysis affects all ages regardless of sex and nationality as a result of an accident or ailment.  The dictionary defines it as a condition wherein complete loss of strength occurs in an affected limb or muscle group.  It may affect a single muscle, but the effect usually involves the entire body region.  The paralysis may be caused by brain or spinal cord nerve damage.

spineAs reported by CNN, neuroscientist Susan Harkema discovered another breakthrough for science.  At her research lab at the University of Louisville, she was doing research on a paralytic patient. The study was focused more on learning about nerve pathways rather than making her patient move.

The research study is being funded by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  Scientists were using electrical stimulation sent to the spinal cord for the purpose of recording the nerve pathways. What they discovered is that by implanting electrical stimulants directly to the spinal cord, it can bring new life to the injured muscles. According to Dr. Barth Green of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, it appears as if the spinal cord nerves have a mind of their own. With the use of technology, a spinal cord beneath layers of injury can still move.

They have used electrical stimulation in the past to make patients move but this is the first time wherein electrical stimulation was put directly to the spinal cord and earned a voluntary response.

Though the technique is another puzzle that they will further pursue, they are hoping that a device company will sponsor and help them come up with the technology to stimulate more muscles that enable movement and function.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is part of the University of Miami and is the brainchild of Green and NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti.

April 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm Comments (0)

Your Mobile Phone Might Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Are you one of those who cannot live without a mobile phone? Tech-savvy people are getting more addicted to mobile gadgets and becoming more obsessed every time new apps are available in the market. Social media and playing games are the most influential factors for the surge in mobile device usage.  It has been disclosed that mobile phone users worldwide will reach 1.75 billion in 2014.

Photo credit: Garry Knight via Flickr

Photo credit: Garry Knight via Flickr

Did you know that carrying your mobile phone 4 hours or more could cause you to have erectile dysfunction?

Scientists from Austria and Egypt are evaluating the effect of excessive usage of mobile phones in relation to the risk of getting one of the diseases most dreaded by males. This is based from their study from a group of men with twenty of them experiencing erectile dysfunction six months from the start date of the study, while ten of them were found to be sexually healthy. All participants are being evaluated to be at similar health conditions, age and height, as reported in a news release. They were also asked to answer question relative to their phone habits.

Researchers noted that there are no significant differences in any of the participants except for their cellphone exposure wherein those who suffered sexual problems spent more time with their gadgets compared to those who are sexually active.

However, medical researchers are recommending for a follow-up study relating to this issue to have a conclusive results in linking mobile phones to erectile dysfunction.

This study was published in the Central European Journal of Urology.

April 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm Comments (0)

Google Glass Helping Parkinson’s Patients Live More Independently

Whether or not the general public embraces Google Glass, one group of individuals are already benefiting from the high-tech, wearable gadget.

Photo courtesy of Taeytan on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Taeytan on Flickr

Google Glass is currently undergoing a medical trial in the United Kingdom at Newcastle University to support people living with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers want to help people with the disease live more independently by giving them cues that they can see on the Google Glass screen.

The researchers have developed custom apps to provide subtle alerts to patients to remind them to take medication and notify them of upcoming appointments. They are also prompted to speak or swallow to prevent drooling and the Glass’ motion sensors prevent patients from “freezing” by displaying cues to help unblock their brains and get them moving again.

Although the project is still in its early stages, researchers say the results they have so far are positive and they are continuing to develop a variety of apps to address patients’ specific needs.

April 9, 2014 at 6:35 am Comments (0)

Half of poison center calls involving e-cigarette liquids involved children: CDC study

Fifty-one percent of calls over the past four years to poison centers related to e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine involved children 5 years and younger, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).e-cigarette

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found the number of e-cigarette exposure calls skyrocketed from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014 while Calls involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during that period.

Poisonings from e-cigarettes are due to the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices being ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes. On the other hand, poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally a result of young children eating them.

“E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children,” CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release.

The study authors call on health care providers and others to be aware that “e-cigarettes have the potential to cause acute adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern.”

April 7, 2014 at 6:52 am Comments (0)

Air Pollution Becomes Top Environmental Health Risk

In a report from CNN, the U.N. health agency stated that air pollution posts the largest health risk related to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive disease or COPD, asthma and lung cancer. Dr. Maria Neira, with the World Health Organization’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants, said we really need to clean up the air we breathe.

air pollutionThe news report states that 7 million deaths were due to air pollution, and a large bulk can be attributed to indoor air pollution.  This is due to the fact that around 3 billion people in the world — especially in developing countries — make use of coal, firewood, and open-air fire as fuel for cooking.  The burnt fuel produces a fine particle matter as well as carbon monoxide which are both harmful when inhaled. The WHO states that women and children are mostly at risk from indoor air pollution.

As for ambient or outdoor pollution, children and infants are the biggest victims of its side effects.  They are mostly susceptible to air pollutants because of the physiology of their young lungs.  Prolonged exposure outdoors can post risks to their health and could even be fatal.

April 7, 2014 at 12:00 am Comment (1)

Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Emphasized Through Billboard Campaign

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs come next to marijuana and alcohol abuse in teens aged 14 and above in America.  These are commonly abused because of the wrong notion that it is safer than illicit drugs.

Image credit: 19 Action News

Cleveland city leaders recently launched a billboard campaign against prescription drug abuse.  The billboard aims to direct the community to an available hotline number for assistance, according to a news report.  It also plans to bring awareness to the general public through education, prevention programs, and tools to lessen and improve prescribing practices.

Most prescription pills that are abused are painkillers or opioids, depressants, morphines, stimulants and sleeping pills. Most of these drugs are in the tablet form and should be taken orally.  The abusers pound it and they either snort the substance or inject it directly to the bloodstream.

Prescription drug abuse has now become an epidemic.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is becoming a gateway to heroin addiction, which posts high risks to health issues.

The abuse may be done intentionally or unconsciously.  These are taken for reasons and amounts not allowed and intended by doctors. These have pleasurable effects and can be readily available. One can easily go doctor shopping to accumulate the pills.  It can cloud a person’s judgment and reasoning ability and may lead to unsafe sex, pregnancy, abortion, STDs and vehicular accidents.

Overdosing on painkillers now surpasses murders and car accidents in terms of death tolls.

April 6, 2014 at 8:16 pm Comments (0)

Guatemala Could be Next Country to Legalize Marijuana

Otto Perez Photo Courtesy of Surizar on Flickr

Otto Perez
Photo Courtesy of Surizar on Flickr

Guatemala president Otto Perez says his government will present a plan by the end of the year to legalize not only the production of marijuana, but also opium poppies.

A government commission has been studying the proposal with an eye toward publishing the commission’s recommendations in the fall and presenting legalization measures for marijuana production by the end of the year.

“The other thing we’re exploring … is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they’re controlled and sold for medicinal ends,” Perez said. “These two things could be steps taken on a legal basis.”

Opium poppies are used to make opium, heroin and pharmaceutical drugs such as morphine and codeine.




April 4, 2014 at 8:27 am Comments (0)

BPA Possibly Linked to Prostate Cancer

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, has been under fire in recent years, as it’s been linked to numerous health concerns, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, immunological disorders and a range of reproductive abnormalities.prostate cancer

And now there is another dire link for the product: prostate cancer.

A new study from researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, is believed to be the first study to associate BPA and prostate cancer in people.

Researchers of the study, published in PLoS One, measured urinary BPA levels in 60 urology patients—27 men with prostate cancer and 33 men without it. The researchers found that men with prostate cancer had significantly higher levels of urinary BPA.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides preliminary evidence of an association of BPA exposure with PCa [prostate cancer] in a clinical setting,” the authors wrote.

BPA  has been used widely in plastics for decades and is present in thousands of consumer and commercial products. National studies have estimated that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has measurable levels of urinary BPA.

April 3, 2014 at 6:51 am Comments (0)

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