Saturday, 10 March 2007

Caveman Therapy Session and Diabetes Care

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I love the Geico commercial with the Caveman-- the one where he's in the therapist's office and his phone rings . He says, "My mother's calling. I'll put it on speaker." According to a recent study published in the medical journal Diabete s Care, researchers have found that family communication and problem-solving skills are important for helping young people with type 1 diabetes to manage the condition. Specially tailored family therapy can help teens with type 1 diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under control.

A family-based behavioral therapy program was specifically tailored to address diabetes-related family issues. The program consisted of 12 sessions offered over six months, and included training in "behavioral contracting" techniques for family members and a 1-week parental simulation of living with type 1 diabetes. For their study, the researchers randomly assigned 104 families of teens with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes to the behavioral family therapy program, standard care, or a multifamily support group that included educational elements. While levels of A1C, a measurement of long-term blood glucose control, fell in all three groups over the first six months, A1C levels climbed again in the standard-care and support-group kids, but remained low for the behavioral family therapy group up to 18 months after the program began.

Researchers concluded that the efficacy of a family-based behavioral therapy approach is more effective in improving diabetes control. There is power in numbers especially when it comes to any family affair. See mom and dad - told you so!

A Specific Fat Type Can Protect Against Weight Gain and Diabetes

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Researchers found that the type of body fat an individual has -- - white and brown-- may explain why one person gains weight easier than another.

White fat is the more familiar form of fat that accumulates in the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. Brown fat burns energy and generates heat. White fat is deposited around internal organs and as visceral fat - the most harmful form of abdominal fat. Brown fat contains small lipid droplets tucked behind tiny energy factories called mitochondria. These cells are most prevalent in cute, little chubby babies, but tend to mostly disappear by adulthood. A 2005 Joslin study discovered genes that control the creation of the precursor cells that give rise to brown fat cells. This latest study shows that brown fat may not disappear in all adult animals and that little collections of brown fat may account for why some mice are protected from obesity and diabetes and others are not.

This study compared the difference in fat metabolism between the B6 mouse and the 129 mouse. The B6 mouse is one of the most commonly used strains in metabolic research and an established model for diet-induced obesity. When placed on a high-fat diet, the B6 mouse develops severe obesity, high blood glucose and insulin resistance with extremely high insulin levels. By contrast, the 129 mouse gains 30% to 50% less weight than the B6 mouse and is resistant to dietary induced obesity and glucose intolerance.

The only difference between the B6 and 129 mice is the type of body fat. The B6 mice had a majority of white fat cells, whereas the 129 mice had over 100 times the number of brown fat cells than the B6 mice. The mice with more white fat cells had a tendency to gain weight and develop diabetes on a high-fat diet. The study showed that the 129 mice had higher basal energy expenditure than the B6 mouse, resulting in a mitigated response to dietary effects. So I guess this begs the question -- how does one turn white fat into brown fat?

'Weekend Effect' found to increase risk of fatal stroke

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Everybody loves the weekend. It's the time where we can kick back, relax, and enjoy not being consumed by the weekday grind of work and whatever else. Oddly enough, though, Saturday and Sunday are two of the worst days for hospital treatment due to 'weekend effect'; a medical phenomenon related to the increased risk of dying from cancer and other conditions based on weekend visit to the hospital. According to a Canadian study, published recently in the journal Stroke, people are also at a greater risk of dying from a stroke if it is suffered during the weekend.

Researchers reviewed the medical data of 26,676 patients admitted into 606 Canadian hospitals. Of those patients, 24.8 percent were admitted on Saturday or Sunday. After controlling for outside variable such as gender, age, pre-existing medical conditions (other than the stroke), it was revealed that stroke patients admitted on the weekend had a 14 percent higher risk of dying within seven days than those patients admitted on a weekday.

Admittance into a rural hospital, rather than an urban hospital, also seemed to increase the 'weekend effect' in stroke cases. The researchers suggested that disparities in resources, expertise and the sheer number of health care professionals working during the weekend (and also at urban hospitals versus rural hospitals) may explain the difference.

Interestingly, this study was conducted using data collected exclusively from Canadian hospitals. Being that Canada offers universal, government funded health care without any co-payments, access to insurance clearly does not play a part in the statistics.

Nevertheless, doctors urge that regardless of this 'weekend effect' phenomenon, patients suffering from a stroke should seek medical attention immediately and, if it happens to be a Saturday or Sunday, not wait until the following Monday.

Thought for the Day: On losing an hour

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For those of you living for the moment, you are about to lose 60 whole minutes come Sunday when Daylight-saving time strikes once again.

This may throw you off a bit if you are one to maximize every second, minute, and hour you are afforded in this tenuous life. And while I can't offer you any secrets for recapturing this lost time, I can share some thoughts, compliments of professional organizer Linda Richards of Organize and More, on how you might compensate for Sunday's lost hour.

Think about this:
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier and get up 15 minutes earlier starting a few days before the time change.
  • Move any important meetings to later in the week so you body isn't as tired.
  • Snack on healthy foods such as fruits and nuts to replenish energy.
  • Shorten your to-do list to your top three to five priorities.
  • Print out a copy of your calendar and appointments for March and make sure your computer has a patch to handle the earlier time change this year.

Women leading the fund raising

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While it is true that women are far outnumbered in high level management positions in top 500 fortune companies, it is the backbone of the women in this country that lead the fund raising efforts in non profits. Women last year accounted for one out of 13 clout positions as an executive vice president or higher in the 500 largest U.S. companies. This figure was up from one in 40 as recent ly as 1995. Back then only one of those companies had a female chief executive officer and today seven do.

Women account for a higher percentage of executive positions in larger, self staffed non profit organizations. In 2005, the Non-Profit Times' "Power & Influence Top 50" list named the 50 top senior level executives in the non-profit sector and 26 were women. The role of women in non profit organizations was alive and well long before the concept came to exist. In the United States, the non profit sector encompasses an enormous range of organizations engaged in education, health care, research, the arts, religion, the environment, civil rights, and human services. The historical role of women in these sectors has always been significant and has evolved as the resources of the nonprofit sector have expanded and become formalized.

Women affirm their belief in humanity by providing services to millions of people every year, day in and day out. Many of the executive directors, board members, staff, and volunteers of these human services organizations are women, and they provide the backbone support for our community services.

As the major season for fund raising kicks off to bring in funds for cancer research and awareness, my many applauds to the multitudes of women, and also the men, who take their efforts seriously and have a strong commitment to community and a better quality of life to us all.

Turning a negative to a positive

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The beloved member of our family, Spotted Calamity Jane, the oldest of our two Dalmatians had to be put down on February 17. It was the hardest decision I personally ever had to make, knowing when it was time to put her out of too much pain. The tears continue to flow and I know will for a long time. She had survived breast cancer at the age of 4 and continued to live a happy life loving her runs on the beach. 2 1/2 years ago she was diagnosed with renal failure, someth ing that is irreversible but we continued to give her a low protein diet and top notch vet care and monitoring that included some acupuncture. It came to a point where we knew the pain was outweighing the good quality of life and the end was not far away and it was time to end the suffering. For 13 years she brought us joy and laughter and unconditional love. She was the leader and companion to our other 8 year old Dalmatian Kiva, who is deaf and followed Cally everywhere watching everything that she did. Watching the two of them running and playing on the beach in the water and sand are memories I will always carry. So we decided to have Cally cremated so we could spread her ashes out on the beach that she loved so much.

Then we were faced with another heart break. Seventeen days later we were told that her ashes had been lost and it floored us. It sent me curled up in a bed crying for a whole day. Family members and friends were outraged as our hearts once again tried to overcome the loss. We were told to get an attorney and sue for compensation. In quietness I walked through the trails in the woods near our house and thought what good could come from all of this. The vet of course refunded our money and offered to buy a memorial stone or something for us. I told him we would think about things. Then I decided that her life and the joy that she brought us should go to something positive and that I did not want to go through the stress and negativity of a law suit and staring at a meaningless stone memorial would not make it any better. That wouldn't change anything. So I suggested to the vet and the cremation services company, to donate money to my favorite charity, Indie Music For Life, that works with independent singer songwriters and comedians to raise money for cancer research and educational awareness programs on the benefits of music and laughter as therapy to cancer patients. T his turned the tragedy into a positive. We have the great memories of her life with us and the knowledge that even in her death she has brought more good to the world. Cally is the beautiful dark colored Dalmatian on the left in this picture. Her spots continued to grow and grow which made her look like a black Dalmatian with white spots. We called her "our little negative" for those of you in the photography field that understand reverse imaging. She was a rare jewel and always a positive in our lives.
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Kindergartner has all the write stuff

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I'm wearing a pretty pink sticky note on my shirt. It was taped on me just recently by my six-year-old Joey who's been busy in kindergarten learning to spell words. He's in the sounding-out stage and as long as he gets his consonants right, we're happy. Joey's teacher says he doesn't need to master the vowels just yet, and with that in mind, Joey is doing a pretty impressive job of crafting real words -- although sometimes he misses.

Tonight, Joey had a hit and a miss. But the sentiment buried in his written message -- cryptic as it was -- is enough to warm my heart.

Joey always links me with breast cancer -- no surprise, since he's been a key player in my match with cancer since it began two years ago -- and so tonight, he wrote on the pink sticky note, Bube skawos. He tells me it reads, Boobie cancer. Not so sure about the cancer part. But the boobie part speaks loud and clear. And even more clear is the breast cancer ribbon he drew on the same sticky note, just before he pinned me with his powerful work of art.

Joey's smile spanned from ear to ear as he presented me with my special badge. And I'm smiling just the same as I look at the little pink piece of paper given to me by my loving little boy.
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Lung cancer screening not up to par

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It seems screening for lung cancer doesn't save lives and it doesn't prevent advanced disease. But it does lead to potentially unnecessary and harmful treatment.

This isn't the final word on the use of CT scans to screen smokers and former smokers for the disease. But right now, the hope some experts had for the special X-rays to detect tiny lung abnormalities has been diminished by a large study that is still in the works. And until conclusive evidence says the screeni ng is useful, the American Cancer Society will not endorse the test.

While CT screening did increase diagnosis and treatment -- those screened were three times more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and 10 times more likely to have lung surgery than predicted -- study co-author Dr. Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York says, "We don't see a trace of evidence that a single life was saved, that a single case of advanced cancer was avoided."

And because CT scanning led to more biopsies and surgeries, patients were put at risk for complications such as lung puncture, bleeding, and infection, according to Bach, whose work is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Getting screened for lung cancer with CT scanning is not only unproven, it's potentially a risky endeavor," he said.

Until an effective screening tool emerges -- possibly still years away -- experts say there is one surefire way to protect yourself from lung cancer. Stop smoking.

Thought for the Day: Give it up for the gut

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My gut hasn't always guided me through life's most difficult decisions and dilemmas. It wasn't until I felt a lump in my breast more than two years ago that my gut kicked into gear and told me something very important.

"It's cancer," my insides told me one week before the surgeon who did my biopsy called.

"It's cancer," the surgeon said . I didn't tell him, but I thought it: "I know."

I also knew prior to surgery that my cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes. My gut told me this too. It also told me the chemotherapy drug Taxol was not right for me -- since my cancer had not spread -- despite the urging of one oncologist that I accept this treatment. I would have gone on gut instinct alone in my rejection of this medication but another doctor weighed in and agreed with my gut, so I had solid backing on this decision.

Many have dismissed hunches like these and have written off those who believe in them as screwballs, says writer Chip Brown in the March issue of The Oprah Magazine. But as Brown shares after peering into the world of gut instinct, there are 100 million nerve cells in the gut. They run on autopilot, regulate digestion, play a critical role in the body's immune system, and control mood-altering neurotransmitters identical to those in the brain.

The gut is essentially a second brain. It was a "gut feeling" that led Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, to begin exploring the possibilities of overnight delivery and Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, to begin mass marketing coffee. Wall Street professionals make millions on their gut feelings, sportscasters make startling predictions based on gut guidance, and entrepreneurs launch thriving businesses because of the inklings that rumble in their tummies.

You may or may not be a gut thinker yourself. But I've stumbled upon a gut exercise -- thanks to psychotherapist Nancy Napier --and I'd like for you to consider it the next time you find yourself stuck at a crossroads, unsure of where to turn. You never know, the direction you seek may be swirling around in your midsection, just waiting for a call to action.

Think about this:

You are wavering between two choices. Find yourself a quiet, serene place where there will be no disruptions. N ow sit down. Take a moment to settle and focus on the issue you want to explore. Then choose one side. Think about this side and notice what happens in your gut. Do you feel a tightening and gripping or a softening and warming? Are the sensations pleasant or uncomfortable? Notice your thoughts. Are they positive or negative? Give yourself some time to feel your gut and your mind responding.

Now shift to the other side. Think about the previous questions, and try to chart what your body gut is saying.

While you may not get a gut answer at first, if you come back with the question several times, you'll likely hear just what your gut wants you to know.
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We must, we must, we must squash our bust

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This e-mail just arrived in my inbox. It's one of those chain things -- you know, the read this and forward it to 11 people or all your plumbing will blow up messages. And while I don't tend to pass on to friends and family these types of scare tactics, I realize that the words that follow are definitely worth a read.

So I've extracted all warning and threats from the message I received, and I've pared it down to a very funny piece of prose I believe will strike a chord with women everywhere who know how very important -- and how very painful and humiliating -- the dreaded mammogram can be.

And so here it is, in all it's glory. Read it, absorb it, love it, and pass it on. Or don't pass it on. I'll be OK with your decision either way. Promise.

Go Get Your Mammies Grammed

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.
So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.
After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram
"OK," I said, "let's do it."
"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine."
She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooters in a vise!
My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin.
My poor boob wa s being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.
Excruciating pain I felt,
Within it's viselike grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!
"Take a deep breath," she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.
"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)
"Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.
It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hide.
Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold.
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steam rolled.
If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"
This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And, see how THEY come out!

Author Unknown
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Life without cancer never a guarantee

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A friend of a friend was diagnosed this week with a cancerous brain tumor -- a glioma to be exact -- and the surgery to remove the mass is scheduled for Monday.

I don't know much about this woman or her cancer, but I do know doctors told her yesterday she will likely survive for only a few years. I can't help but think that if doctors had given me this same prediction at the time of my cancer diagnosis, my time would just about be up.

I can't fully grasp the magnitude of this sad and sobering news. But I can comprehend that any one of us could be on the receiving end of such an announcement at any given moment. We are all vulnerable. And so I am confronted once again with the powerful and painful reminder that each day really could be my last.
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Thursday, 8 March 2007

Arizona infant diagnosed with rare form of diabetes

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I once saw a two-headed turtle in a National Geographic magazine. Strange? You bet. Rare? Absolutely. But, when it comes to something being rare, it doesn't always have to be something that people make a face at. It doesn't always have to have two heads, either. In fact, it could be something with one, cute head, with the faces made at it being those of joy and pride. Such is the case with a very fortunate infant, recently born in Arizona, with an extremely rare form of diabetes.

Within four days of birth, Jose Luis Acia was diagnosed with diabetes. But, what makes Jose's diagnosis so rare is that he is only one of less than a dozen people in the United States who will be able to treat his diabetes with pills rather than a regimen of insulin.

This monogenetic form of diabetes is, as I did my best to illustrate with my two-headed turtle example, very rare. As of this writing, little Jose is doing very well with his unusual form of the disease -- including gaining weight without issue, something that can oftentimes be a problem for babies with diabetes. For the time being, Jose is on insulin, but he will at some point in the near future be switching to glyburide, a medication that can be taken orally.

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Children of smokers at higher risk of stroke and heart attack

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The Surgeon General's warning on the side of cigarette packs spells it out: Smoking during pregnancy is stupid (well, I'm paraphrasing here, but that's basically the gist of it). Research backs this assertion, pointing to various side-effects nicotine can have an unborn child. Now added to that list of complications is permanent vascular damage in children -- increasing their risk of stroke and heart attack.

Speaking at the Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, researchers from the Netherlands presented information on this association between smoking moms and consequential heart problems in their kids. And, not only were these problems detected in the children's early years, but they were also detected in young adulthood.

Using 732 study participants that were born between 1970-1973, the researchers checked their vascular risk measurements in 1999 and 2000. It was revealed that adult offspring of the 215 moms who smoked during pregnancy had thicker walls of the carotid arteries of the neck than those born of non-smoking mothers. How much thicker? Ultrasound measurements showed that the offspring of smoking mothers had inner walls of the neck arteries that were 13.4 micrometers thicker by adulthood than those born to mothers who didn't smoke.

When outside factors were controlled for -- such as body mass, age, gender, cholesterol levels, etc. -- the measurement was lessened to 9.4 micrometers thicker, but this figure still represented a staggering disparity.

Supplementing Evidence for Diabetic Neuropathy

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Allow me to explain my choice of photographs. I choose to spot the picturesque sunset over the Ventura Beach horizon, where I will NOT be attending the upcoming Gordon Research Conference on Oxidative Stress and Disease. For those who will be there, do me a favor and drop me a line on Section 3: Oxidative Stress and Diabetes. Here's what I've got so far...

Alpha-lipoic acid is approved in Germany as a drug for the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathies. Alpha lipoic acid shows evidence of being effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and may be useful in treating some other aspects of diabetes. It may help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and may be protective against oxidative stress. As much as I wish I could jump forward in time, I'll make a forward-looking statement about an upcoming event and come back to update it, after March 11th. Here's my forecast: the Gordon Research Conferences is holding a conference on Oxidative Stress and Disease and it just so happens that section 3 of the Monday night speakers will address topics such as: A radical explanation for diabetic complications, A role for ROS in the etiopathogenesis of insulin resistance, and Mitochondrial dysfunction and type 2 Diabetes. If you need me to drop names to lift your scientific credence in this convention - the speakers come from Harvard Medical Scool, Yale University School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

These people don't mess around! I close with a big thank you to the creator of Miracle Muffins, for taking an interest in his mother and sharing it with the rest of us battling frustrating complications of diabetes. I'll be actively checking to see how the experts diagnostically address the role of oxidative stress and what they perceive as the best resolution. Until we hear better in days to come, let's keep betting on the benefits of a little ALA in our day.

Weighing in on the side-effects of gastric bypass surgery

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Al Roker, Randy Jackson (of American Idol fame, not Michael Jackson's younger brother), Carney Wilson, and thousands of other Americans -- what do they all have in common? They have all undergone gastric bypass surgery as a last resort to losing weight. Leaving my opinion on such surgeries out of this, I'm instead going to mention a post-op side effect that most people aren't aware of. Here's a hint: Those people I mentioned might not be able to remember the side effect, even if their doctor told them about it.

Based on a study published in the March 13th issue of Neurology, weight loss surgery can lead to a vitamin B1 and thiamine deficiency which, in turn, can cause memory loss and confusion. These effects, collectively referred to as Wernicke encephalopathy, can also cause vision problems and lead to difficulty in coordinating movement.

After reviewing scientific literature related to 32 reported cases of post-weight loss surgery Wernick encephalopathy, doctors found that some patients also suffered from psychosis, seizures, deafness, and pain or numbness in the extremities. To treat all side effects, doctors treated these patients with vitamin B1, administered intravenously. Of the 32 people, 13 made a full recovery shortly after receiving treatment. But, the remaining 19 people all claimed to still have such problems related to memory, weakness, and mental and physical confusion.

Definitely something to think about before undergoing surgery of this kind.

Recipe for Healthy Living: Pomegranate dip

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Cut into a pomegranate and you will find about 3/4 cup o f seeds or 1/2 cup of juice. What can you do with these tantalizing seeds? Pop them into your mouth and enjoy or try sprinkling over salads, fruit desserts, cakes or puddings or use in marinades, glazes and for garnish. Top off your morning waffles, oatmeal, pancakes, cereal, or sundaes with this sometime sweet, sometimes tangy fruit.

Do you eat the seed inside or spit it out after enjoying the juice? Well, the truth of the matter is, it's a personal choice. But keep in mind that most of the fiber you get from eating pomegranates comes from that little seed so crunch on.

One pomegranate delivers 40 percent of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of folic acid and of antioxidants. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate are hydrolysable tannins, particularly punicalagins, which have been shown in many peer-reviewed research publications to be the antioxidant responsible for the free-r adical scavenging ability of pomegranate juice.

Research suggests that pomegranate juice may be effective against keeping cancer at bay especially prostate cancer and osteoarthritis. In several human clinical trials, the juice of the pomegranate has been found effective in reducing several heart risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and heart disease. Pomegranate has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure.

Here is an unusual dip for breads, pita, or a variety of dipping chips. I like to eat this by dipping vegetables into it, especially jicama which is mild in flavor and doesn't over power the dip.

Vicki's Pomegranate Yogurt Dip
1 large pomegranate
2 cups chilled plain yogurt
3 tablespoons of chives
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup finely chopped fr esh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pomegranate juice is easily found in most health food stores where you can find a variety of organic products. Separate seeds from the pomegranate. Letting them soak in water will allow the seeds to sink and the pulpy flesh will rise to the top. Combine the yogurt, pomegranate juice, scallions, cilantro, and salt in a mixing bowl. Gently fold in the pomegranate seeds. Chill for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld and then serve. Can be made in advance and refrigerated over night.

The first urine test to detect insulin doping in athletes

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Scientists in Germany are reporting development of a urine test that finally can identify athletes who misuse certain kinds of insulin in an illicit attemp t to enhance performance.

An article scheduled to appear in an April edition of Analytical Chemistry says it is possible to detect the misuse of insulin in a urine sample. Scientists had not attempted to develop a test in the past because of the presumption that it was impossible to detect misuses of insulin. Because insulin is rationed and used efficiently by the body, a byproduct of insulin would be theoretically undetectable. However, with the advent of the newer long-acting insulin analogues, scientists are now able to identify degradation product in the urine.

The test does not identify residue from the use of two other forms of long-duration insulin. However, the test does identify the misuse of Lantus, manufactured by Sanofi-aventis. Determination of long-acting insulin analogues in urine is especially helpful for doping control purposes. The procedure provides a fast and reliable way to identify the misuse of the long-acting insulin analogue LAN in regular doping control specimens.

Hundreds of thousands 'to die early as diabetes rockets by 60%'

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Any headline that features die is bound to grab your attention. The headline appeared in an article published by The Scotsman. What the title lacks in sensitivity it makes up for in reader feedback. Both, statistically eye-poppi ng and universally alarming, I give you extracts from the article and a few passionate responses from readers. How does it make you feel?

Research from Edinburgh University reveals the number of people diagnosed with type-2 diabetes will soar by 60% within the next ten years. This is mainly due to the obesity crisis, with current estimates showing a quarter of the population is likely to be classed as obese by 2018. Doctors say they are treating an increasing number of teenagers for type-2 diabetes, which traditionally only develops in older people. Being overweight is a strong factor in becoming a type-2 diabetic, which can lead to complications of diabetes like blindness, amputations, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. Diabetes and complications therein are estimated to costs the NHS nearly a tenth of its yearly budget. With future expectations of diagnosis -- the strain on the NHS will get worse. Andy Kerr, the health minister, admitted diabetes would prove to be a time bomb if the Executive's healthy eating initiatives failed. But he ruled out screening children for diabetes or rationing healthca re for people diagnosed with type-2 because of their unhealthy lifestyles.

And now for the comments:

Commenter #3 says I daresay the Scottish obesity/diabetes problems predates devolution.
Commenter #9 says, The statistical analysis regarding type 2 diabetes is flawed; the medical profession have been guilty in prescribing drugs and reissuing prescriptions for drugs that are only safe for short periods. One such drug has had its usage limited by the authorities within the past 3 years in Scotland and has only been reclassified in England and Wales in the past 6 months. This drug is now listed as causing type 2 diabetes, how many more are there out there? Hence the statistical analysis is being used to cover a grave error that is to be covered up.
Commenter #20 says, Perhaps we should take a closer look at why our kids are obese. They are marooned in the house for most their lives and when they actually do go out mum or dad are suckered into driving them everywhere. Tackle the fear which causes this situation and you are half way to solving the obesity problem of our youngsters.

All things considered, what if this headline was featured in the New York Times or more revealing - the 5 o'clock news? How would you react to it?

Analyze This for better Blood Sugar Control

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Remember that movie with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro, Analyze This? Well we all don't have super-risky mobster lifestyles to induce depr ession like Paul Vitti's, but according to a new study of depressed type 2 diabetics -- depression has a negative impact on blood sugar control.

Researchers treated 93 patients with type 2 diabetes and depression with the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin). They chose the drug because it is capable of reducing depression and weight simultaneously. The hypothesis behind the treatment was mood enhancement and weight reduction would, in fact, improve blood sugar control. (Always a gold star day in my book!) The results were documented in the March issue of Diabetes Care, and showed that antidepressant treatment produced benefits beyond just mood improvement. Patients also lost weight, improved self-management of their diabetes, and improved their A1c levels.

In the 6 months following the conclusion of the study, depression improvement predicted maintenance of improved blood sugar control. This confirms the research hypothesis that depression improvement can produce better blood sugar control, independent of weight loss and overall diabetes management. The importance of weight-independent physiological factors like insulin sensitivity and inflammation improve during depression relief and contribute to better long-term control of diabetes.

The moral of this story? You tell me. I spotlight the research - I like it when you guys give me answers.

Vice President Dick Cheney diagnosed with DVT

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It seems as though Vice President Dick Cheney does not read this blog. If he had, perhaps he would not have encountered his most recent heart-related issue: DVT. Also known as "Coach Class" and "Economy Class" Syndrome, DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a type of blood clot that has been known to occur in the legs of people who spend a great deal of time sitting in one place -- such as during several airplane flights.

25,000 miles and sixty-five hours in the air during nine days of traveling through parts of Asia, Australia, Afghanistan, Oman and Pakistan; that was the rock star tour the Veep was on when he suffered pain in his lower leg, prompting immediate medical attention to be taken. DVT can be fatal if not treated quickly enough, with the risk of the clot moving into the lungs, potentially causing a pulmonary embolism.

No stranger to heart-related issues, Cheney suffered his first heart attack at the young age of 38, which was also the year he was first elected to Congress. He has since suffered three other separate heart attacks, and underwent quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, and an operation to deal with the blood clots in the back of both of his knees. As for his most recent blood clot, doctors are treating Cheney with blood-thinning medication.

Anodyne Infrared Therapy

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Before experiencing wounds or diabetic ulcers, patients affected by diabetic peripheral neuropathy suffer from loss of sensation, loss of balance, chronic pain, or loss of feeling in their extremities. An infrared therapy is showing promising results for the reduction of pain from peripheral neuropathy.

Anodyne Infrared Therapy is a treatment that uses light energy to exponentially increase (up to 400%) the circulation in peripheral areas (arms, legs). Light-emitting diodes are fitted into flexible pads that can be applied directly to the skin on any affected part of the body. The light energy helps increase blood flow by delivering nutrients to the injured site. Anodyne therapy consists of 10 to 12 sessions lasting 30 minutes each. During this time, energy is penetrating your tissues increasing circulation that results in reducing pain and rapid wound healing.

Light energy helps your body release a gas called Nitric Oxide from your own red blood cells. This powerful molecule plays a critical role in the health of your arteries. Anodyne Infrared Therapy can be used to intervene at the early stages of the disease in order to prevent the more serious complications. If you suffer from any condition distinguished by pain and inflammation or a condition characterized by poor circulation, Anodyne may be a painless, non - invasive treatment option for you.

The benefits of Anodyne Therapy extend as far-reaching as: arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, temporal mandibular joint disorders ("TMJ"), slow healing wounds, and stress fractures. Let the light shed some promising results on your painful ailments. I'm curious to see how well it works. I called a local office and setup an appointment. If it works for me - you'll be the first to read about it. Stay tuned...

Curbing the Diabetes Epidemic with 6 Oat Wafter

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Yes, that's what it says: curbing the diabetic epidemic with 6 oat waters. CeaProve(R) is a new test for the early detection of pre-diabetes or im paired glucose tolerance that may help curb the diabetes epidemic. For those of you who have endured a glucose tolerance test - you'll understand the pivotal importance of this new diagnostic test. Ceapro has developed a test that identifies people at risk of type-2 diabetes as early as 5 to 10 years before the disease is diagnosed.

The simple test involves eating 6 oat-wafers and undergoing a finger prick. The test - when repeated at six month intervals - can also show if lifestyle changes are being effective or if more treatment is needed. Ceapro has tested CeaProve in the workplace of several prominent businesses in Edmonton that are interested in helping their employees monitor and preserve their health. Over 90% of tested volunteers were unaware of their risk for diabetes. Of the population studied, 60% were overweight, 56% were over the age of 40, 44 % had a family history of diabetes and over 57% had more than two risk factors for the disease. Although Ceapro is a Canadian-based company, they expect to have Ceaprove available in commercial quantities within the next 45 days. The product will likely be released through regional health initiatives and may also be available through pharmacies and medical laboratories.

Can such a simple test have such a significant impact on the future of one's health? The results tell people, years ahead of time if they are heading down the path to diabetes. With dietary modifications, regular exercise, and an overall improve in lifestyle - wouldn't it be worth it to you?

Breathing easier about blood sugar testing

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Generally speaking, the word "breathalyzer" carries a pretty negative connotation. We hear the word, and almost immediately images of drunk driving, police action, danger, recklessness and so on enter into our minds. Like I said, pretty negative stuff. But, there may be a reason why using a breath test could have a much more positive ring to it.

A graduate student and his adviser at Mississippi State University have developed a new non-invasive "breathalyzer" of sorts that may possibly be an alternative method of tracking day-to-day glucose levels. By measuring the levels of acetone in someone's breath (acetone levels rise in the lungs when blood sugar is high), the researchers were able to tell when someone may need to adjust their insulin.

The use of a breath test, in lieu of pricking one's finger and placing the blood on a traditional blood glucose testing meter, is something that could prove to be rather convenient for people with diabetes. Unfortunately, because this device is still in the infancy of its research, it may be some time before it goes beyond the clinical testing phase, let alone being made available to the general public. In the meantime, keep thinking those good thoughts.

Risk of heart disease higher in Hispanic women

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The prevailing theme in medicine has been that Hispanic people are less likely to suffer heart attack or stroke than Caucasian people. But, more recent data suggest that this may actually be completely backwards, and that Hispanic people - especially women - are at a much greater risk at a younger age than their Caucasian counterparts.

These findings were presented at the 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevented, presented by the American Heart Association. The study was held by researchers in the department of cardiology at the University of Rochester, revealing that Hispanic women who are ten years younger than Caucasian women are at equal risk of heart disease. In the study, 79 Hispanic and 91 Caucasian women were examined. The average age among the Hispanic women was 53, whereas the average age for the Caucasian women was 63. When compared, the heart disease risk for the two groups was almost the same, even though the Hispanic women were ten years younger than the Caucasian women.

What causes this disparity remains unclear. But, what is being looked at are the methods by which population census data is gathered and how accurate it truly is.

Recipe for Healthy Living: Pumpkin pancakes

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Canned pumpkin or cooked pumpkin is a super cancer food. One half cup of cooked pumpkin has over five times your quota for beta carotene vitamin A per day. According to research at Tufts University it may be used to protect against many cancers but especially colon cancer. Here is a fun way to eat pumpkin besides the traditional pumpkin pie and will start your morning off right.

Vicki's Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine first 6 Ingredients in a large bowl. Combine milk, pumpkin, egg and vegetable oil in a small bowl and mix well. Add the wet batter to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Lumps in the batter are fine. Heat your griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush lightly with vegetable oil or spray with non stick oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle and cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
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Thought for the Day: Cancer is a well-traveled disease

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I heard the statistic twice this past weekend -- once from a friend who is a drug rep for a prostate cancer drug and once from a friend with a family member struggling with prostate issues.

I had never before heard what hit my ears a few days ago, and I was quite shocked to learn this new cancer tidbit -- so shocked I did some research and discovered that what my friends told me is sadly accurate.

The good news is that the death rate for prostate cancer is going down, and the disease is being found earlier than ever before. The startling news is what I present today as my Though t for the Day.

Think about this:

Nearly 80 percent of men in their 70s develop prostate cancer.
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Chemo is tough stuff

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Chemo is tough stuff. That's what my oncologist told me the day I tracked her down on the phone and told her how awful I felt. I was weak, dizzy, pale, and as close to incoherent as I'd ever been. I was so out of sorts I was convinced I would jump out of my skin at the very moment this doctor implied all I needed was a firm grip on reality.

"Do you have enough support?" she asked. "Yep," I replied. I told her my mom lives right around the corner, my sister just a few miles away. I told her friends were delivering meals and my husband was coming home from work whenever I called for him. Help was just a phone call away, and I had plenty of it. What I didn't have was medical guidance about how my body was tolerating chemotherapy. That's why I needed her.

I hung up the phone that day having accomplished nothing. And I woke up the next morning barely able to walk. I crawled into my kitchen, grabbed a banana, sprawled out on the floor, inhaled some nutrition, and called my mom. I told her I needed to have my blood examined.

My mom transported me to my oncology clinic -- we had a genetic counseling appointment there anyway so it was convenient timing -- and before long, I was hand-delivered a mask and was swiftly escorted to my very own hospital room where I stayed for five days.

The day I was admitted to the hospital, my white blood counts were 700. My body was not tolerating chemotherapy. And I'll never know why my oncologist didn't know this, didn't call me in for an e valuation when so many signs were presenting themselves, didn't offer me more than her steadfast declaration that "chemo is tough stuff."

Yes, chemo is tough. And there are all sorts of expected side effects of the dreaded treatment that patients must endure. But there are many effects patients should not have to suck up, effects that warrant immediate medical attention and can be alleviated with the right intervention.

It took days of antibiotic treatment and a blood transfusion for my body to recover from its chemotherapy attack. I often wonder what would have happened had I toughed it out at home. I suspect the outcome could have been tragic.

If I ever have the occasion to preach about the dangers of chemotherapy, which is what I am doing here, I offer a firm warning about how difficult the treatments can be, how anyone with any string of worrisome side effects should seek medical help immediately, how any oncologist who doesn't respond to an outright cry for help should be fired.

I learned many lessons from my chemo crusade. I learned how to better help myself, and I learned to report right to the emergency room the second time my blood counts plummeted. I learned to demand the care I deserve, and I found an oncologist who is a warm and caring partner in my pursuit of health. And I learned that chemo is tougher than I ever imagined, too tough for some -- like me -- to go it alone.
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Casino worker gets cancer and gets fired

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Vincent Rennich, veteran casino worker and non-smoker, is suing the Atlantic City Tropicana Casino and Resort because he claims a quarter-century of inhaling secondhand smoke gave him lung cancer. And if that's not enough to make this man upset, getting fired seals the deal.

"They threw me under the bus," Rennich said yesterday, the day after a supervisor told him he was terminated from his job. "How can you fire a guy with lung cancer who's suing you? Maybe they don't realize the ramifications. Or maybe they're heartless. Or maybe all of the above."

Tropicana officials say that Rennich was not singled out in any way, that he was just one of many let go due to a restructuring of the company. Since last January, more than 200 people have been laid off.

Rennich, 49 and a table games supervisor, has been a vocal advocate of a total smoking ban in Altantic City's 11 casinos. He has been speaking out on behalf of everyone working on the casino floors, and for himself personally.

Rennich had a third of his right lung removed in September 2005 and sees a doctor every three months to ensure his cancer does not reappear. Now that he's been fired, his health insurance will lapse in 30 days, leaving him with a monthly payment of $800 in medical bills.

Atlantic City was slated to ban all casino smoking this past January. But fierce opposition from the casino industry, predicting an estimated revenue loss of 20 percent and job losses of more than 3,400, led to a compromise. And now, effective April 15, smoking will be restricted to no more than 25 percent of the gambling floor.

Rennich is not happy about this -- or his cancer or his termination. And while he is not sure what his next step will be, he sa ys he is definitely not backing down from his anti-smoking platform.

Young Survival Coalition offers educational materials

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The YSC produces a variety of educational materials which provide information on breast cancer in young women and the issues relevant to this population.


Changing the Face of Breast Cancer: Provides an overview of the YSC and its programs and outlines how, through Action, Advocacy and Awareness, the YSC works to change the face of breast cancer and increase the quality and quantity of life for all young women affected by breast cancer. Spanish version also available.

YSC Educational Brochure -- "What Every Young Woman Needs to Know about Breast Cancer": Offers important information on young women and breast cancer including statistics and what a young woman should do if she feels a lump. This brochure is a resource for all young women and the members of the medical community who serve them. Spanish version also available.

YSC ResourceLink Brochure -- Provides an overview of YSC's ResourceLink program, which provides peer support, information and resources to young women affected by breast cancer, their family and friends and health care professionals.

Fact Sheets:

YSC Fact Sheets provide basic and important information on young women and breast cancer and highlights some of the most critical issues affecting this population. The Fact Sheets give introductions to specific issues, answer the most common questions, and provide resources for further information.

Fact Sheet Topics:

  • Hereditary Breast Cancer
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  • Young Women and Breast Cancer


YSC DVDs/videos are appropriate for young women at any stage of diagnosis, including those who are at increased risk but who have not been diagnosed with the disease, as well as their family members and caregivers. Medical professionals will find them informative and supportive and may want to use them as a resource for your patients and colleagues as well as place them in your medical center's resource libraries.

The Beautiful 8: Learning To Live with Advanced Breast Cancer

The YSC's newest educational DVD presents an intimate discussion among eight young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Join them on this journey filled with hope, fear, laughter, anxiety and determination to live life to the fullest. To order a copy, please send your full name and address to or call 877-YSC-1011.

Fighting for Our Future

"Fighting for Our Future" is the only comprehensive survival guide for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors, and caregivers. The Lifetime Television original documentary of the same name chronicles the lives of three young women with breast cancer and how they deal with issues such as dating and sexuality; fertility and pregnancy concerns; and mortality at a young age. It also chronicles the formation of the YSC and the movement behind young women and breast cancer.

This video also has a companion book entitled Fighting For Our Future.

You Are Not Alone

The YSC's educational video is an intimate conversation with six young women diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. The companion resource guide, published in collaboration with the New York/Bronx division of the American Cancer Society, provides support, education, and hope for young women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Please note: a limited number of VHS tapes are available; contact for information.

Breast Cancer Legacy

"Breast Cancer Legacy" focuses on the role that genetics and family history play in young women affected by breast cancer. The documentary tells the story of four young women and their families while illustrating the psychological, medical, ethical and interpersonal issues these women face as they confront their family histories of cancer and make life-altering decisions about their futures.

In addition to the film, the YSC has created a fact sheet on hereditary breast cancer in conjunction with FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered,a non profit organization focused on education of risk and family history of breast cancer.


Fighting for Our Future

The companion book to the film "Fighting For Our Future" is available from the YSC and in bookstores. "Fighting for Our Future" is the only comprehensive survival guide for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors, and caregivers. The Lifetime Television original documentary of the same name chronicles the lives of young women with breast cancer and how they deal with issues such as dating and sexuality; fertility and pregnancy concerns; and mortality at a young age.

Young Perspective Newsletter

Our informative newsletter contains updates on how the YSC is carrying out its mission of improving the quality and quantity of life for young women affected by breast cancer through action, advocacy and awareness.

Treatment end looms around the corner

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My good friend Deb, a young breast cancer survivor, emailed me this morning. She told me that she just filled her last prescription for Tamoxifen today. In the email she said it was a 'weird feeling'. I myself, will be going off Tamoxifen this October and will have fulfilled my five years on the drug as well.

I asked Deb to tell me more about how she felt and what it means in her life now that she will be discontinuing Tamoxifen for her breast cancer treatment.

"I have truly mixed feelings! It is bittersweet. It can be a scary, anxiety-provoking thought just thinking about ending it. It was my protection and security after chemotherapy for so long. I know that Tamoxifen still has effects in my body for years after stopping. I have three months left and I will stop Tamoxifen in June. Part of me is glad to stop it, to not have to remember to take a pill daily and my breast cancer treatment is now complete."

"Yet there is the other part of having to trust my body again. It failed me once. It means I'll have to modify some things in my life, substitute for taking a pill to fight off cancer. It means taking exercise more seriously, exercise can cut your risk for recurrence up to fifty percent. It means I'll stick to my diet a little better. I may also decide to take a Cox 2 inhibitor, like celebrex, as an anti-inflammatory. When Vioxx was pulled from the market, these similar Cox 2 inhibitors were pulled from clinical trials, now those trials are back open and are showing benefit. I have injuries in my knees, so will be taking it for that as well."

"In a sense I'll be flying on my own again. I remember them saying five years thinking how long that would be, it actually slipped right by. I will get tested to see if I'm in menopause, but seriously doubt that I am. It would be nice to go on an AI, but I really don't want to be in menopause quite yet. So, my prescription is diet and exercise and perhaps a Cox 2 inhibitor as preventative. I will still continue to see my oncologist every six months. I will continue to celebrate life and live it to its fullest and appreciate those things and people that truly make a difference in my life"

Deb Kirkland -- Young Breast Cancer Survivor

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Lesbian and bisexual cancer survivors: Creating Safe Spaces

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Unique Issues of Lesbian and Bisexual Cancer Survivors is a panel discussion hosted by the Young Survival Coalition and The Mautner Project. It is a free national teleconference to discuss the unique and various ways a cancer diagnosis affects young lesbian and bisexual women.

Feel free to join health care professionals and survivor advocates as they address various issues faced by young lesbian and bisexual women throughout their cancer experience.

Topics will include:

  • Finding the support and resources you need
  • Coming out to health care providers
  • Tips on finding a culturally competent provider
  • How chemotherapy may affect fertility
  • Understanding fertility options for cancer survivors
  • Coping with physical changes after cancer treatment

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Time: 8:00 pm - 9:30pm ET

RSVP: or 649-257-3006

Upon registration you will receive a teleconference call-in number.

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