Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Breast Cancer Prevention: Single is Better Than Double Mastectomy

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breast cancer

In spite of the recent trend of undergoing double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer in women, a new study suggests that single mastectomy may already be enough for early-stage cancer.

This was confirmed by a team of researchers led by Dr. Nicolas Ajkay of the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. In the study presented during the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, the research team looked into the benefits and disadvantages of single (or unilateral) mastectomy and double mastectomy for non-hereditary breast cancer in its early stage. The study focused on cases wherein the cancer cells were found on only one breast. Data from earlier studies on mastectomy were cross-referenced with the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), a parameter that measures the quality of life of a person.

Results revealed that in a span of 20 years, patients who underwent single mastectomy were found to have 0.21 more QALYs than those who had both of their breasts removed. The QALY figure is equivalent to an additional 3 months of healthy life. Dr. Ajkay attributed the lower QALYs in double mastectomy patients to “struggling with surgical complications of reconstruction, lost work productivity and significant emotional hardship,” as reported in a news item.

In terms of costs (including regular screenings for 20 years), the average overall costs for single mastectomy was $13,525. In contrast, double mastectomy procedures cost $18,577 over a 20-year period. “Even under worst-case scenarios, we found that costs and quality of life were superior with unilateral mastectomy. With our study results, I can counsel patients that they may incur a higher cost over their lifetime with a lower quality of life for several months if they choose (double mastectomy),” Dr. Ajkay said.


Health & Wellness

Is Green Tea The Solution For Obesity?

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green tea

The world is constantly on the lookout for quickfire solutions to the most common health problems, and one of the issues that need to be addressed urgently is obesity. Recently, a study funded by Schizophrenia Research Institute in Australia discovered one possible treatment: green tea.

Dr. Yinghua Yu conducted the research on animals to determine whether teasaponin — a naturally occurring compound found in tea seeds — can prevent neurodegeneration, as well as minimize cognitive malfunction linked to obesity. Schizophrenia, for instance, has been linked to a high likelihood of obesity. Because of this, Dr. Yu and his colleagues tested the effect of the tea compound on mental disorders, according to a news release.

Results of the study showed that teasponin improved brain functioning, particularly in terms of the hormone leptin. This hormone is responsible for memory and learning, and at the same time it also triggers the brain to stop the sensation of hunger after having eaten. The compound was also effective in improving the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which allow for growth of new brain neurons to facilitate better cognitive functioning.

The study by Dr. Yu was focused on test animals and has not yet conducted human trials. The amount of teasponin used in the animal tests was significantly greater than that of the average person’s tea drinking.


Health & Wellness

Study: Height May Predict Risk of Cancer

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tall crowd people

If you’re among the taller people in your community, you have a higher risk of developing cancer.

This was revealed by a study conducted by Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and University of Stockholm, after investigating 5.5 million people in Sweden from 1958 until 2011. The team believes that this is the first research of this magnitude to establish a link between a person’s height and the likelihood of getting cancer, as reported in a news item.

The study proponents used data from the Swedish Medical Birth, the Swedish Passport Registers, and the Swedish Conscription (for heights), as well as the Swedish Cancer Register. Results showed that for every 10 centimeters added to a person’s height, the cancer risk increased by 11 percent for men and 18 percent for women. On more specific types of cancer, the same increase in height was linked to 20 percent greater breast cancer risk in women, and 30 percent for melanoma in both genders.

According to study lead author Dr. Emelie Benyi, the research team did not confirm that the link was a direct causality. In fact, they inferred several possibilities behind the link between cancer risk and height. Some of the possible reasons include the person’s diet, childhood infection, hormone levels, and number of cancer-causing mutated stem cells. “It should be emphasized that our results reflect cancer incidence on a population level. As the cause of cancer is multifactorial, it is difficult to predict what impact our results have on cancer risk at the individual level,” Benyi said.

[Image source: Al Jazeera English ]


Health & Wellness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 5 Things To Do

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pink ribbon breast cancer

October is celebrated worldwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just like in the previous years, bringing breast cancer issues into the forefront of public awareness is given emphasis during this month.

If you are a supporter of this cause, here are some of the activities that you can do in line with breast cancer awareness:

1. Learn

Although breast cancer is one of the most recognized and carefully studied diseases in the world, the medical industry continues to develop novel treatments and preventive measures. If you think that chemotherapy is the only way to cure breast cancer, you probably need to learn more about the disease.

October is the perfect time to visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website, and learn more about the disease. You may also do a quick online search, or ask your doctor about it.

2. Promote

If you have a website or social media account, you may share information about breast cancer so that your followers will also be able to learn something new. U.K.’s Breast Cancer Care has prepared a Press Pack, which contains information about events, real life stories, and pink products to promote the awareness month.

3. Wear pink

Even if you don’t have a press pack, you can start promoting breast cancer awareness by wearing pink. The color has long been linked with breast cancer awareness programs.

4. Join a fundraising run

October is going to be an exciting time not only to learn about the disease but also to be in the company of fellow supporters. Breast cancer advocacy organization Susan G. Komen hosts several Race for the Cure events in different states. Check the schedules here.

5. Create your own fundraiser or awareness campaign

Go ahead and be creative! You can raise awareness by making your own campaigns or organize a breast cancer fundraising event in your community.


Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility Substance Abuse

Smoking While Pregnant Increases Asthma Risk of Grandchildren

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grandmother smoking while pregnant

Previous studies have emphasized the adverse effects of smoking while pregnant on the health of children, but a new study goes further — by two generations.

A Swedish study discovered that a woman who smokes while she is pregnant may increase the risk of asthma on her grandchildren (i.e. the child of her child). This study is the first of its kind to investigate the effects of smoking two generations after. “We found that smoking in previous generations can influence the risk of asthma in subsequent generations,” said study co-author Dr. Caroline Lodge in a news release.

The researchers conducted a survey on close to 45,000 grandmothers whose names are listed in the Swedish Registry between 1982 and 1986. Meanwhile, the study also checked for use of asthma treatment and medication in more than 66,000 grandchildren. Results showed that kids had up to 22 percent higher risk of developing asthma if their grandmothers smoked during pregnancy. The data was applicable even though the children’s respective mothers did not engage in cigarette smoking.

The study proponents believe that smoking changes the genetic makeup of offspring, which may be carried over to subsequent generations.

The number of asthma cases has escalated quickly in the last 50 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affecting 6.8 million children in the U.S. alone.



Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility Real Drug Stories

Use of HIV Drug by Pregnant Women Linked to Lower Bone Mass in Newborns

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pregnant diet

A drug used to reduce the transmission of HIV between a mother and fetus may have caused babies to develop lower bone mineral content than babies whose mothers used different drugs to treat their HIV and prevent it from transferring to their unborn children, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

After testing 143 babies, researchers found that pregnant women who received the drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate in their third trimester of pregnancy gave birth to babies whose bone mineral content was 12% lower than that of babies who were not exposed to the drug in the uterus.

This is significant because proper mineral content helps strengthen normal bones.

“At this point, we can say that those who care for pregnant women with HIV and their children should be aware that prescribing tenofovir to pregnant women could be a concern for their infants’ bones,” said George K. Siberry, M.D., the first author of the study and medical officer with NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Although the study authors described the results as concerning, they did not recommend drastic changes for pregnant women using tenofovir, as the drug has proved successful as part of drug regimens that treat HIV in pregnant women, and often is used to prevent HIV transmission to babies. The researchers say their is a need for additional studies to understand bone health and development among children born to women who took tenofovir during their pregnancies.

“Families should keep in close touch with their physicians to monitor their child’s bone development,” Siberry added.

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Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

Research on South Asians Reveal Diabetes Risk As Early As Birth

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baby diabetes

According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, people of South Asian descent are already at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes starting from the time they were born.

The findings form part of the South Asian Birth Cohort study (START), which was conducted by a team of researchers on pregnant Canadian women. The study showed that gestational diabetes and uncontrolled weight gain in pregnant women exposed babies to a high likelihood of developing diabetes, but race and ethnicity may have an additional risk factor. “South Asian pregnant women should be considered high risk for gestational diabetes and routinely screened in pregnancy,” said principal study investigator Sonia Anand in a news item. Anand works at McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

The cohort study looked into about 800 pregnant women in Canada — more particularly in Hamilton and Peel Region. Some of the women were of South Asian descent, while the rest were Caucasian.

Babies born of South Asian mothers were found to be smaller than Caucasians, but their average waist circumference was bigger. “The increase we observed in fat tissue is clearly influenced by South Asian ethnicity, the mother’s body fat and high blood sugar levels,” Anand said.

The researchers believe that by minimizing factors related to gestational diabetes and weight gain, mothers can help prevent development of diabetes in their children.


Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Angelina Jolie’s Preventive Mastectomy Increased Public Awareness, Says Study

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angelina jolie

Breast cancer has been a well-documented and properly investigated disease, especially with millions of women around the world developing the disorder. Despite this, many women in past years were not able to receive sufficient advice about the issues surrounding breast cancer, including the idea of reconstructive surgery and preventive measures. It wasn’t until Angelina Jolie announced her preventive double mastectomy that the world took notice.

This was discovered by a recent study published in the journal Cancer. According to study lead author Dr. David B. Lumenta, “This is the first prospective report to prove the media’s effect on the health care-related issue of breast cancer among the general public,” said Lumenta in a news article.

The study conducted a survey on 1,000 women who were asked about reconstructive breast surgery. The first batch was asked one month before Jolie released her statement, and the other batch surveyed a month after the announcement. Results of the survey are as follows:

  • An increase by 4 percent was observed in women’s awareness on the possibility of reconstructive surgery.
  • Awareness on using a patient’s own tissue as the source of breast reconstructive surgery increased by 11 percent.
  • A 19-percent boost in awareness on breast reconstruction during double mastectomy was observed.

Jolie’s announcement in 2013 catapulted the term “BRCA1 gene mutation” into public awareness. The gene abnormality was discovered to be a potential risk factor for cancer development.

[ Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia Creative Commons ]


Health & Wellness

CDC Report: Some Women Drink Alcohol While Pregnant

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alcohol glass

A recent report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed a troubling statistic: 10 percent of women who are pregnant continue to drink alcoholic beverages. The findings were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, based on a survey conducted by the CDC as part of its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

On top of this finding, the study also discovered that roughly 3.1 percent of pregnant females engage in binge drinking. In terms of frequency, expectant moms experience about 4.6 binge drinking episodes in a month, which is higher than the 3.1 episodes for women who are not pregnant.

Study lead author Cheryl Tan emphasized the importance of the team’s discovery. “Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy. All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer, and liquor,” Tan said in a news release.

Several studies in the past have confirmed that alcohol consumption by pregnant women increases the health risks on the fetus. Some of the risks include birth and developmental complications, premature delivery, and miscarriage. All of these health complications are summarized into one category called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.


Health & Wellness Pet Health

10 Most Interesting Dog Health Products of 2015 Part 2

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dogs playing - freeparking

We all love our dogs and want the best for the little fur babies in our lives. That’s why we preen and pamper them and try to give them the best lives possible.

To do that, though, a dog owner needs the right products, ones that will ensure the lives of their dogs are as comfortable, fun and healthy as possible. With that in mind, we look at 10 New Dog Health Products of 2015 in this two part series. These are great products to buy if you’re a pet owner or sell if you are in the pet product industry.

Here are the second five in no particular order.

  1. PetConfirm  Dog DNA Test

    PetConfirm Dog DNA Test

    Dog Breed Identification Kits

To identify the breeds of a mixed-breed dog or to authenticate the breeds in a dog, the PetConfirm Dog Breed DNA Identification Test uses a sample of your dog’s saliva to identify the breeds it consists of. It comes with a self-addressed postage paid envelope and the saliva is sent to a certified veterinary laboratory for analysis. This helps dog owners better understand the specific needs of their mixed breed dogs.


  1. Insect Shield ShirtInsect Shield Shirts and Bandanas for Dogs

Insect Shield is a technology that has been around for decades. It infuses bug repellant into fabric and the technology is now being used in a line of dog shirts and bandanas from Doggles to protect pets from fleas and ticks and other insects.


  1. Woof Pouf

    Woof Pouf

    Loofahs for Dogs

The Woof Pouf is a loofah that has shampoo beads embedded in it for bathing dogs. The ShowSheen Woof Pouf has beads that help eliminate odors, including skunk, and the UltraShield Green Woof Pouf has soap beads made from natural herbal extracts that repel fleas and ticks.


  1. FitPaws USA Bed with Stretching Poster

    FitPaws USA Bed with Stretching Poster

    Exercise Mat for Dogs

The FitPaws USA Bed with Stretching Poster is a handy bed to have if you’re out and about and don’t want your dog to have to lay on the ground. In addition to the bed, you get a poster that shows several stretches you can do with your dog to keep it healthy.


  1. RuffWear Lunker floating toy

    RuffWear Lunker floating toy

    Lunker Interactive Floating Toy

This brightly colored and durable RuffWear dog toy floats and comes with a rope so you can wind up and really huck it while playing fetch with your water loving dog. It’s made from recycled materials and is also recyclable itself.


Any retailers looking for new dog products to sell will find these products to be hot sellers. Or, any dog owners who want the best for their pooch’s long life will find these products to be extremely useful in providing a long, happy and healthy life for Fido and Fluffy.

[Photo courtesy of freeparking :-| on Flickr]