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Kratom May Cause Liver Damage: Study

By Steven Reinberg        
       HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The popular herbal supplement kratom may cause liver damage, researchers warn.

Kratom is widely available in smoke shops and online. It’s a botanical product made from Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia. At low doses, it’s a stimulant. At high doses, it has an opioid-like effect.

Use of kratom has risen sharply since the start of the opioid epidemic, and more than 90 deaths have been linked to it, researchers say.

“There are risks associated with using kratom, and liver injury is on the list of things that are a potential consequence of using it,” said William Eggleston, a clinical assistant professor at the Binghamton University-State University of New York’s School of Pharmacy. He wasn’t involved with the study, but reviewed the findings.

There were eight cases of reported liver injury associated with kratom products in the study. Eggleston said this may not seem like a lot, but they are enough to be concerning.

“Maybe we need to re-evaluate whether or not this drug should be available as a dietary supplement,” he said.

Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements don’t need approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And though kratom is a legal herbal supplement, the FDA has warned against its use. The agency has called it “opioid-like” and cited concerns that it might pose an addiction risk.

Some patients report that they have had a good experience with kratom for treating pain, mood disorders and opioid addiction, Eggleston said.

“However, we really don’t have any evidence in the medical literature as of yet to support that,” he said. “So whenever I have the opportunity to speak with a patient who’s using kratom, even if they’re having a positive experience, I certainly caution them that there are a number of potential risks. It is relatively unregulated, and to say that it works is not something that we really know yet.”

For the study, a team led by Dr. Victor Navarro, head of gastroenterology at Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, looked at 404 cases of liver damage from dietary supplements. Eight of the cases, which occurred between 2007 and 2017, were tied to kratom.

Continued

Five patients used kratom to get high, and one used it for joint pain. All used the supplement for two to six weeks before signs of liver damage appeared.

Five patients had jaundice (a yellowing of the skin); six had itching; five had abdominal pain, and three had fever. Six patients were hospitalized, and all got better without the need for a liver transplant.

Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., said the study is a reminder that many over-the-counter supplements that people think are safe aren’t.

“People should be aware of this finding and that they have to read very carefully the labels of ingredients of anything that they put into their mouths,” said Bernstein, who had no part in the study.

Because of its dangers, kratom should be avoided, Bernstein warned. “Any over-the-counter product that contains this ingredient should be left on the counter,” he said.

Navarro is scheduled to present the findings Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, in Boston. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: William Eggleston, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor, pharmacy practice, Binghamton University-State University of New York School of Pharmacy; David Bernstein, M.D., director, Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y., and chief, hepatology, Northwell Health, Manhasset, N.Y.; Nov. 9, 2019, meeting presentation, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Boston

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Kratom May Cause Liver Damage: Study

By Steven Reinberg        
       HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The popular herbal supplement kratom may cause liver damage, researchers warn.

Kratom is widely available in smoke shops and online. It’s a botanical product made from Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia. At low doses, it’s a stimulant. At high doses, it has an opioid-like effect.

Use of kratom has risen sharply since the start of the opioid epidemic, and more than 90 deaths have been linked to it, researchers say.

“There are risks associated with using kratom, and liver injury is on the list of things that are a potential consequence of using it,” said William Eggleston, a clinical assistant professor at the Binghamton University-State University of New York’s School of Pharmacy. He wasn’t involved with the study, but reviewed the findings.

There were eight cases of reported liver injury associated with kratom products in the study. Eggleston said this may not seem like a lot, but they are enough to be concerning.

“Maybe we need to re-evaluate whether or not this drug should be available as a dietary supplement,” he said.

Unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements don’t need approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And though kratom is a legal herbal supplement, the FDA has warned against its use. The agency has called it “opioid-like” and cited concerns that it might pose an addiction risk.

Some patients report that they have had a good experience with kratom for treating pain, mood disorders and opioid addiction, Eggleston said.

“However, we really don’t have any evidence in the medical literature as of yet to support that,” he said. “So whenever I have the opportunity to speak with a patient who’s using kratom, even if they’re having a positive experience, I certainly caution them that there are a number of potential risks. It is relatively unregulated, and to say that it works is not something that we really know yet.”

For the study, a team led by Dr. Victor Navarro, head of gastroenterology at Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, looked at 404 cases of liver damage from dietary supplements. Eight of the cases, which occurred between 2007 and 2017, were tied to kratom.

Continued

Five patients used kratom to get high, and one used it for joint pain. All used the supplement for two to six weeks before signs of liver damage appeared.

Five patients had jaundice (a yellowing of the skin); six had itching; five had abdominal pain, and three had fever. Six patients were hospitalized, and all got better without the need for a liver transplant.

Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., said the study is a reminder that many over-the-counter supplements that people think are safe aren’t.

“People should be aware of this finding and that they have to read very carefully the labels of ingredients of anything that they put into their mouths,” said Bernstein, who had no part in the study.

Because of its dangers, kratom should be avoided, Bernstein warned. “Any over-the-counter product that contains this ingredient should be left on the counter,” he said.

Navarro is scheduled to present the findings Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, in Boston. Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: William Eggleston, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor, pharmacy practice, Binghamton University-State University of New York School of Pharmacy; David Bernstein, M.D., director, Sandra Atlas Bass Center for Liver Diseases, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y., and chief, hepatology, Northwell Health, Manhasset, N.Y.; Nov. 9, 2019, meeting presentation, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Boston

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

What Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Acne Breakouts?

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 — Certain eating habits, high levels of stress and exposure to pollution are among the greatest factors associated with acne, researchers say.

They studied links to acne in more than 6,700 people from six countries in Europe and the Americas. The analysis showed that many more people with acne consume dairy products each day than those without acne — 48.2% versus 38.8%.

The same was true for soda, juices or syrups (35.6% versus 31%); pastries and chocolate (37% versus 27.8%); as well as other sweets (29.7% versus 19.1%).

The study also found that 11% of acne sufferers consume whey proteins compared to 7% of those without acne. And 11.9% of acne sufferers use anabolic steroids versus 3.2% of others.

Exposure to pollution and stress was also more common among people with acne, and they were also more likely to use harsh skin care practices.

The findings reflected an association with acne, but not a cause-and-effect link. The study was scheduled to be presented Saturday at a meeting of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), in Madrid.

Lead author Dr. Brigitte Dreno, head of dermatology at University Hospital of Nantes in France, noted that acne is one of the most common reasons people see a dermatologist.

“Its severity and response to treatment may be influenced by internal and external factors, which we call the exposome,” Dreno said in a meeting news release. “For the first time, this study allows us to identify the most important exposome factors relating to acne from patient questioning prior to any treatment prescription.”

Previous research has suggested that tobacco use is an acne trigger, but this study did not link tobacco with acne.

Acne affects about 1 in 10 people worldwide, and as many as 40% of adult women.

“Understanding, identifying and reducing the impact of exposome is important for an adequate acne disease management as it may impact on the course and severity of acne as well as on treatment efficacy,” said Dreno, who is also chair of the meeting’s Scientific Programming Committee.

Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on acne.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Cause of Paralyzing Illness in Kids Remains Elusive

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There is still no clear cause for a mysterious paralytic condition that has been striking U.S. children over the past five years, government health officials report.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect that a virus of some kind is the culprit. But the specific germ causing the outbreaks remains unknown, according to the report published online Oct. 7 in the journal Pediatrics.

For several years, the CDC has been investigating the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). It’s a rare disease that attacks tissue in the spinal cord, causing muscles and reflexes to weaken.

AFM mainly affects the arms and legs but can also impair muscles needed for breathing, and some patients end up on a ventilator. At least half of AFM patients do not fully recover, the CDC has said.

Sporadic cases of AFM — sometimes linked to various viral infections, but not always — have long been recognized. The CDC began closely monitoring the condition in 2014, after an unexpected surge in cases: 120 people in 34 states over a few months.

Since then, the United States has seen AFM outbreaks in a clear pattern — every two years, between August and October, almost entirely among children. In 2018, the CDC said that 235 cases were reported; so far this year, 20 are confirmed — in line with the pattern.

Based on what’s known about all three seasonal “surges” so far, the leading hypothesis is that a virus is to blame, according to Dr. Janell Routh of the CDC’s division of viral diseases.

One virus, called enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), has been considered a prime suspect, Routh noted. It’s one of a large group of viruses that are usually harmless or cause only cold symptoms. However, in 2014, the United States saw an outbreak of more-severe respiratory illnesses caused by EV-D68, coinciding with the first AFM surge.

As of now, though, there’s no “smoking gun,” Routh said.

In the new report, she and her colleagues describe the cases of 193 U.S. children who had confirmed cases of AFM between 2015 and 2017.

Continued

Most children had samples of spinal fluid taken, but only one showed evidence of a virus — coxsackievirus A16. Blood samples from another child showed evidence of EV-D68.

The CDC researchers found more microbes when they looked at mucus and stool samples, but there was no clear single cause. Overall, 28% of those samples tested positive for an enterovirus or rhinovirus (another cause of the common cold).

Many of the respiratory samples — 69% — did turn out to be positive for EV-D68, though.

“I think it’s fair to say it’s still the leading suspect in the biennial surges we’re seeing,” said Dr. Samuel Dominguez of Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.

Dominguez wrote an editorial published with the study.

Like other viruses, EV-D68 has a season, circulating in the summer to fall. In addition, there are year-to-year shifts in the types of enteroviruses in circulation in the United States, Dominguez explained. That fits the every-other-year pattern of AFM surges.

It’s not clear why the surges began — or, at least, were first recognized — in 2014, Routh said.

Researchers are looking into other questions, too: If a viral infection is driving the AFM outbreaks, how does it cause the condition? Is it through a direct assault on nerve cells, or does the virus trigger an abnormal immune response that damages nerve cells? And what makes some children vulnerable to developing AFM, while most do not?

If EV-D68, or another virus, is pinpointed as the cause, that would raise the question of what comes next.

Dominguez said, “If you know what the pathogen is, and this (AFM) is becoming more common, would it be worth developing a vaccine?”

For now, he and Routh said that while AFM remains relatively rare, parents should be aware of the signs: sudden weakness in the arms or legs; loss of muscle tone; and, in some cases, a “droop” on one side of the face or the eyelids.

“If you notice those symptoms, see a doctor right away,” Routh said.

And, she added, it’s always wise to avoid contracting or spreading any viral infection. Some preventive steps include regular hand-washing, staying home when you’re sick, and coughing or sneezing into your arm rather than your hand.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Janell Routh, M.D., M.H.S., medical officer, division of viral diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Samuel Dominguez, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and medical director, clinical microbiology lab, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora; Oct. 7, 2019,Pediatrics, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Giving Your Child a Time-Out Won’t Cause Long-Term Damage: Study

SUNDAY, Sept. 22, 2019 — Time-outs don’t increase kids’ risk of emotional or behavioral problems, according to a new study that researchers say dispels misleading information.

The study included the children of nearly 1,400 U.S. parents. Of those parents, 28% said they used time-outs when their child was 3 years old.

From age 3 through fifth-grade, there were no differences in emotional and behavioral health between children who had time-outs and those who did not, the investigators found.

Rachel Knight, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, led the study, which was published online recentlyin the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

“No differences were found with respect to child internalizing problems, including anxiety and depression, externalizing problems, including aggression and rule-breaking behavior, or self-control,” Knight’s team reported.

The authors noted that time-out is one of the only child discipline strategies recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Even though extensive research has shown it to be effective, some online information and media reports have claimed time-outs increase the risk of behavioral problems and damage parent-child relationships, the study authors explained.

“Parents often resort to the internet and social media for guidance, but the internet provides inaccurate information for families regarding the use of time-out,” Knight and her colleagues warned.

Research findings on the topic need to be offered in a “readily accessible and easily digestible format … to assuage possible parental concerns and promote the use of this highly effective child discipline strategy,” the study authors urged.

However, as with previous research, the new study linked physical punishment to externalizing behaviors in kids.

“We hope our findings will be helpful to parents who see confusing and at times alarming claims of negative side effects of time-out,” Knight said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics explains how to give time-outs.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Will Climate Change Cause Food Sources to Dwindle?

Peter de Menocal, PhD, director, Center for Climate and Life, Columbia University.

Lewis Ziska, PhD, research plant physiologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota State University: “Too much rain?”

Nate Powell-Palm, farmer, Belgrade, MT.

Michelle Tigchelaar, PhD, climate scientist, Stanford University Center for Ocean Solutions.

Mike Rivington, PhD, James Hutton Institute, Scotland.

Donald Ort, PhD, the Robert Emerson professor of plant biology and crop sciences, University of Illinois.

Jonathan Patz, MD, director, Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nature: “Recent patterns of crop yield growth and stagnation.”

The Nature Education Knowledge Project: “Soil carbon storage.”

Rural Sociology: “Soil as Social-Ecological Feedback: Examining the ‘Ethic’ of Soil Stewardship among Corn Belt Farmers.”

Penn State University: “The Future of Food.”

The Conversation: “Climate change will make rice less nutritious.”

Environmental Health Perspectives: “Rising CO2, Climate Change, and Public Health: Exploring the Links to Plant Biology.”

The Conversation: “Together more heat and more carbon dioxide may not alter quantity or nutritional value of crops.”

Nature Communications: “Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with organic agriculture.”

Nature Communications: “Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century.”

Social Science Society of America: “How Will Climate Change Affect Agriculture?”

Purdue University: “Study: Farmers and scientists divided over climate chane.”

WebMD Health

Heart Disease is Top Cause of Death in Pregnancy

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A major medical group has issued new guidance on detecting and treating the leading cause of death in pregnant women and new mothers in the United States.

Heart disease accounts for 26.5% of pregnancy-related deaths, and rates are highest among black women and those with low incomes. On Friday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) responded with new guidelines on screening, diagnosis and management of heart disease.

“Most of these deaths are preventable, but we are missing opportunities to identify risk factors prior to pregnancy and there are often delays in recognizing symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum, particularly for black women,” ACOG President Dr. Lisa Hollier said in an organization news release.

While pre-existing conditions play a part in the death toll, acquired heart conditions can develop silently during or after pregnancy.

A heart muscle disease called peripartum cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death in expectant mothers, accounting for 23% of deaths late in pregnancy, according to ACOG.

The new practice guidelines are the work of a Hollier-led task force aimed at lowering heart disease-related deaths during and after pregnancy.

“The new guidance clearly delineates between common signs and symptoms of normal pregnancy versus those that are abnormal and indicative of underlying cardiovascular disease,” Hollier said. “As clinicians, we need to be adept at distinguishing between the two if we’re going to improve maternal outcomes.”

Common risk factors for maternal death due to heart disease include age, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and obesity.

But the leading factor is race. The risk of death from heart disease is 3.4 times higher among black women than white women.

All pregnant women and new mothers should be assessed for heart disease using a tool known as the California CVD Tool Kit algorithm, according to the guidelines.

It was developed from research in California that found about 9 in 10 pregnant women and new moms who died of heart disease would have been identified as high risk had this new screening algorithm been used. High-risk patients need further evaluation and referral.

Continued

During pregnancy, the cardiovascular system undergoes major changes to sustain “tremendous increases in blood volume,” said Dr. James Martin, chairman of ACOG’s pregnancy and heart disease task force.

“Pregnancy is a natural stress test,” he said. “That’s why it is critical to identify the risk factors beforehand, so that a woman’s care can be properly managed throughout the pregnancy and a detailed delivery plan can be developed through shared decision making between the patient and provider.”

Women with known heart disease should see a cardiologist before getting pregnant and receive pre-pregnancy counseling, the practice guidelines advise.

Patients with moderate and high-risk heart disease should be managed during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum in a medical center that can provide a higher level of care. Collaboration between health care providers — particularly ob-gyns and cardiologists — is crucial, according to the guidelines.

The increased risk of death from heart disease can last up to a year after a woman gives birth. A follow-up visit with a primary care doctor or cardiologist should occur within 10 days for women with high blood pressure disorders and within seven to 14 days for women with heart disease and related disorders.

“It is crucial for these women to have a longer-term care plan,” Hollier said. “So, we also recommend a comprehensive, cardiovascular postpartum visit at the three-month mark, at which time the clinician and patient can discuss collaborative plans for yearly follow-up and future pregnancy intentions.”

The practice guidelines were published in the May issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, news release, May 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Does Peanut Allergy Immunotherapy Cause More Risk?

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The idea behind immunotherapy for peanut allergy is appealing in its simplicity: Ask a patient to eat tiny amounts of peanut every day, and over time their immune system will become desensitized to it.

Unfortunately, this cure might be doing more harm than the allergy itself, a new evidence review suggests.

People who undergo immunotherapy for their peanut allergies wind up with a large increase in life-threatening anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions, compared to others who either avoid peanuts or are in a placebo group, researchers concluded.

Peanut immunotherapy triples a patient’s risk of anaphylaxis and doubles the chances they’ll need to use epinephrine to counter a severe allergic reaction.

“We found that patients on immunotherapy, their quality of life wasn’t any better,” said lead researcher Dr. Derek Chu, a fellow in clinical immunology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. “Outside of the clinic, they actually end up having more allergic reactions over time.”

Chu’s team discovered this troubling fact after pooling results of 12 peanut immunotherapy trials involving more than 1,000 patients.

“If you looked at each study one by one, you might not see that,” Chu said. “When you combine them all, and you analyze all 1,000 patients in unison, then you can actually see it.”

Food allergies affect more than 6 million people, including as many as 8% of children and 3% of adults, researchers said in background notes. Although most kids outgrow allergies to milk or eggs, peanut allergies are lifelong in up to 85% of cases.

Symptoms can run from runny nose, hives and itching to a tightening of the throat and shortness of breath. Severe reactions can result in anaphylactic shock, which requires immediate treatment with an epinephrine injector and a trip to the emergency room, the Mayo Clinic says.

Right now, immunotherapy is the only available treatment for severe food allergies, and it has been shown to increase a person’s tolerance, Chu said.

“There haven’t been any other options than avoidance to date, so it’s very promising we have something that partially works,” he said.

Continued

But these results show the price paid for increased tolerance might be too high.

“The therapy itself needs to be very carefully reconsidered,” Chu said. “That level of protection you get from going through the procedure is variable and often incomplete. Day-to-day, the degree of protection can change, and if you have an infection or an illness or maybe you’re just tired that day, you can have a reaction to a dose you previously tolerated.”

The 12 clinical trials occurred in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. The average age of participants was about 9 years old, and patients were typically followed for a year.

People undergoing peanut immunotherapy had a 22% risk of anaphylaxis, compared with 7% for untreated peanut allergy sufferers, researchers found.

The chance that a peanut immunotherapy patient would require an epinephrine injection is about 8%, compared to about 4% for those not receiving treatment.

Allergic reactions involving the gastrointestinal tract, skin, nose and lungs also increased.

Researchers concluded that folks might want to simply avoid peanuts rather than undergo immunotherapy if they want to prevent anaphylaxis and allergic reactions.

The new evidence review was published online April 25 in The Lancet.

While these findings are food for thought, it’s too early to completely count out immunotherapy, said Dr. Scott Sicherer, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. He wasn’t involved with the study.

“Although this is a very important paper pointing out a major issue with this particular approach, it’s not the end of the story,” Sicherer said. “It’s still a viable approach. It does change the threshold for a majority of patients. But it requires a discussion between the doctor and the patient of the risks and benefits.”

Sicherer noted that there is no immunotherapy for food approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Allergy doctors instead create their own “home brew” for patients, providing either tiny amounts of the food or capsules containing refined versions of the allergen.

Continued

That’s one problem with current immunotherapy practice, Chu said.

“Anytime we take something that’s completely natural, and we distill it and put it in a capsule, that’s a drug now,” he said. “That’s not just something as simple as an off-the-shelf product anymore.”

Sicherer’s center doesn’t offer immunotherapy as a regular clinical option, because the treatment is not FDA-approved, he said.

Assuming it ever gets approved, he envisions a conversation where he’d discuss the risks and benefits with a child’s caregivers.

“This is a therapy where there’s a two-thirds chance it’s going to increase the amount of peanut your child can eat before reaction, but going onto this therapy on average results in more anaphylaxis and allergic reactions than if you didn’t go on this therapy,” Sicherer said.

The therapy would reduce the chances of an accidental allergic reaction caused by traces of peanut winding up in a restaurant meal, but there also could be an out-of-the-blue reaction to the therapy itself, he said.

Chu and Sicherer agreed better treatments are needed.

And that might be on the way. Earlier this month, researchers announced a potential medication for peanut allergy that would halt violent reactions by blocking the immune system’s antibodies from responding to the allergen. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“There’s a lot of promise from a lot of different approaches, and I would imagine that we’re going to end up in a place, hopefully not too long from now, where we could say, there’s seven different options and looking at your situation the best is this one or that one,” Sicherer said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Derek Chu, M.D., Ph.D., fellow, clinical immunology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Scott Sicherer, M.D., director, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City;The Lancet, April 25, 2019, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Flu Shot Won’t Cause Miscarriage, Study Confirms

FRIDAY, March 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) A flu shot cannot cause a pregnant woman to miscarry, researchers say.

“This is a very definitive study for a recent, relevant time period of flu and should remove all doubts a woman might have about whether it is safe to be vaccinated during pregnancy,” said co-investigator Dr. Edward Belongia, director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, CNN reported.

The findings are based on an examination of the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 flu seasons and were presented Wednesday to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The study comes at a time when there is significant focus in the U.S. on the consequences of certain groups telling people to ignore vaccine recommendations, CNN reported.

Not only is a flu shot during pregnancy safe, it’s necessary, said lead investigator James Donahue, a senior epidemiologist at Marshfield.

“There’s lots of evidence of the severity of flu for a pregnant woman, more chance of hospitalization, more risk of death, especially as she enters the second and third trimester,” Donahue said, CNN reported.

“There are also many studies that show the mother’s vaccination will help protect the newborn baby from flu, which is critical since the baby cannot be vaccinated until 6 months of age,” he added.

CDC guidelines emphasize the importance of a flu shot during pregnancy.

“The findings provide a high level of reassurance regarding the safety of influenza vaccine in early pregnancy and through pregnancy and support the current recommendations of an influenza vaccination for all pregnant women,” Donahue said, CNN reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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WebMD Health

Daily News Bytes: ‘Steven Universe’ Creator, ‘Trump Bites’ & Trogdor Cause a Stir

daily-news-bytes-150

’Hotel Transylvania 3’ Set to Become the First Arabic-Dubbed Animation Released in Saudi Arabia
As the country gets re-acclimated to public movie theaters, Sony Pictures Animation’s latest frightful entry in the comedy franchise has launched in theaters in both English and — for the first time in Saudi — Arabic, through Sony’s exclusive Middle East theatrical distributor Empire International. The dub features the voices of TV personalities Raya Abi Rached and Qusai Kheder.

’Steven Universe’s Rebecca Sugar on How She Expresses Her Identity Through the Non-binary Crystal Gems
In a recent interview with NPR’s 1A, Sugar discussed how creating the show played a large role in her deciding to come out as a nonbinary woman: “One of the things that’s really important to me about the show is that the Gems are all non-binary women … They wouldn’t think of themselves as women, but they’re fine with being interpreted that way amongst humans. And I am also a non-binary woman which is been really great to express myself through these characters because it’s very much how I have felt throughout my life.”

Kickstarter: Trogdor!! The Board Game
Run for your thatch-roofed cottages, peasants! Icon of early 2000s Flash cartooning is starring in his very own board-a-ma-game! From The Brothers Chaps (Homestar Runner) and James Ernest, the game is a co-op puzzle/area of control game in which 2-6 players help the wingaling dragon achieve total burnination. The countryside tiles, item cards, Keepers and box art is by Chris Schweizer (Crogan Adventures). The campaign surpassed its goal in a measly three hours, so get on that preorder train. Trogdooooor!!!

NY Times Under Fire for Homophobic Animation of ‘Forbidden Romance’ Between Trump and Putin
Released just in time for the Helsinki summit, which got “Treason” trending on social media, the new Trump Bites short by Bill Plympton is being blasted for its portrayal of the two world leaders as gay lovers. Franchesca Ramsey, host of MTV’s Decoded, Tweeted: “insinuating Trump is in a sexual relationship with Putin makes homosexuality a punchline & is uncalled for. there’s SO MUCH to take Trump to task for, it’s embarrassing to see NYT stoop to ‘ha ha men kissing is yucky’” [sic]

Watch Father John Misty’s Animated “Date Night” Video
Chad VanGaalen, who was featured in the Stuttgart animation fest music programming, created the psychedellic visuals for this video which puts a bizarro spin on modern dating. The single is off the singer-songwriter’s latest LP, God’s Favorite Customer.

3D Animation Market 2018 Global Industry – Key Players, Size, Trends, Opportunities, Growth Analysis to 2025
Just some light summer reading from wiseguyreports.com.

Hotel Transylvania 3

Hotel Transylvania 3

Steven Universe

Steven Universe

Trogdor!! The Board Game

Trogdor!! The Board Game

Trump Bites

Trump Bites

Animation Magazine

Sepsis is a leading cause of hospital deaths. Now, researchers at several hospitals are trying to reproduce the success one Virginia doctor had with a combination of vitamins and steroids.

May 21, 2018 — A simple vitamin cocktail to treat sepsis has shaken up the medical world, raising hopes of a more effective treatment for one of history’s great killers. But will it stand up to tougher tests?

Researchers at several hospitals around the world are trying to reproduce the success reported by an emergency room doctor in Virginia in beating back sepsis, one of the leading causes of hospital deaths.

An ancient danger

Sepsis has been in the medical books since the time of Hippocrates. It happens when the body’s immune system responds to an infection with overwhelming force, triggering complications that can cause blood clots, inflammation, and other problems, leading to organ failure and death.

In the days before sterile instruments and antibiotics, sepsis was a frequent and deadly complication of wounds. It still hits than 1 million people in the United States every year, and between a quarter and half of them die.

Survival often depends on an immediate dose of antibiotics and intravenous fluids, along with tests to look for signs of an infection or organ failure. Estimates of how much it costs to treat sepsis approach $ 24 billion a year.

Jarone Lee, MD, medical director of the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, says finding a good treatment for sepsis would solve a lot of health care problems. ­

But it’s too early to declare victory without better data, says Lee, who is not involved in the ongoing trials.

“What I think we’re looking for is essentially hard science and great science about how this will work,” he says. “It doesn’t even have to show the amazing results like Paul did, just that we’re moving the needle forward and decreasing mortality or some other process measure that improves outcomes.”

Ambitious studies planned

Sevransky’s study plans to involve at least 500 and up to 2,000 patients at multiple hospitals for about a year and a half. The plan is to wrap up work in December 2019.

Limited risk of side effects

Marik says he’s pleased with the interest and has spoken with some of the researchers involved in the planned trials, but he’s not waiting on the results. He’s now treated more than 700 sepsis patients with the vitamin-steroid mixture, which supplements — but doesn’t replace — other drugs like antibiotics. He says his patients have not had any serious side effects.

People who take a lot of vitamin C can be more likely to get kidney stones, Sevransky says. And vitamin C can throw off measurements of blood sugar, which may be a concern for people who are getting extra glucose in the hospital. So people who are being given the therapy should use meters that aren’t likely to be thrown off by that effect, he says.

The dose being studied is about 1.5 grams intravenously, every 6 hours for 4 days — several times higher than people get from ordinary vitamin supplements or eating fruit, but less than some patients get while having chemotherapy, he said.

Lee says Massachusetts General has used Marik’s cocktail sometimes in patients that aren’t responding to conventional treatment — “But it’s not routine in any way, and I don’t think it should be routine in any way until the data is better.”

In a follow-up paper in April, Marik wrote that vitamin C lowers oxidative stress and inflammation, and it helps stop blood vessels from dilating, which helps maintain blood pressure. People who have sepsis often don’t have enough vitamins C and B1, and those vitamins appear to combine with the steroid hydrocortisone to boost the effects.

“There is in fact an enormous amount of basic science to support this,” he says. An Australian study found that if Marik’s mixture works, it could shave more than 40% off the long-term cost of treating the disease.

“The bottom line is it saves billions of dollars and millions of life-years, and at worst, if it doesn’t work, all it does is waste a little bit of money and nothing is lost,” he says.

Sevransky says previous research has suggested vitamin C can improve blood flow to tissues in the body of a sepsis patient, keeping the cells supplied with nutrients and oxygen and preventing organ failure.

And an earlier study by Donnino’s team at Harvard found that vitamin B1, or thiamine, could help prevent kidney failure in sepsis patients. Thiamine is essential to the mitochondria, your cells’ powerhouses, and patients with vitamin B and C deficiencies show some of the same symptoms as people with sepsis — including low blood pressure and an increase in blood acid levels.

“When we targeted select populations of critically ill patients, we have found that upwards of 30% may be thiamine deficient,” Harvard’s Moskowitz says.

But Sevransky says research is full of promising cures that never panned out.

“Even though the theory behind it was solid, the treatment didn’t work,” he says.

Sources

National Institute of General Medical Sciences: “Sepsis.”

Chest: “Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock.”

Jonathan Sevransky, MD, Emory University Hospital.

German Sepsis Society: “Sepsis history.”

News release, Sepsis Alliance: “New U.S. Government Report Reveals Annual Cost of Hospital Treatment of Sepsis Has Grown by $ 3.4 Billion.”

Jarone Lee, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ari Moskowitz, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Paul Marik, MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School.

National Library of Medicine, clinicaltrials.gov.

F1000Research: “Septicaemia: The impact on the health system and patients of delaying new treatments with uncertain evidence; a case study of the sepsis bundle.”

Pharmacology & Therapeutics: “Vitamin C for the treatment of sepsis: The scientific rationale.”

Subcellular Biochemistry: “Vitamin C in sepsis.”

Critical Care Medicine: “Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Thiamine as a Metabolic Resuscitator in Septic Shock: A Pilot Study.”

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

After Age 50, Yearly Eye Checks May Catch Common Cause of Vision Loss

SATURDAY, April 28, 2018 — As the U.S. population ages, vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration is likely to increase, an ophthalmologist says.

Adults over 50 should get an annual test for the condition, said Dr. Ingrid Scott, a professor of ophthalmology at Penn State College of Medicine.

Blurry or distorted vision could be symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, not just inevitable signs of growing old, she said.

“The symptoms of age-related macular degeneration develop as people get older, and many times people think the symptoms are due to a cataract or are an inevitable part of aging, so they don’t go to get a dilated eye examination,” Scott said in a school news release.

But the eye disorder is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people age 50 and older in developed countries, she said.

Along with aging, the condition is linked with long-term exposure to risk factors such as cigarette smoking, sunlight and a suboptimal diet. Genetics also play a role.

About 1.7 million Americans 40 and older have age-related macular degeneration, according to Scott.

Whites are at higher risk than blacks, and people with high blood pressure or cholesterol are also at increased risk.

You can help safeguard your vision by getting regular exercise and eating a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute.

Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, avoiding smoking and protecting your eyes from the sun may also help prevent age-related macular degeneration, Scott said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on age-related macular degeneration.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2018

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Even Organic Cotton Tampons Can Cause Toxic Shock: Study

FRIDAY, April 20, 2018 — Although still exceedingly rare, menstrual toxic shock syndrome can be dangerous and has been tied to the use of tampons.

And new research finds that the type of fibers used in manufacturing tampons doesn’t seem to matter — 100-percent cotton or synthetic-fiber varieties were each linked to toxic shock.

One alternative to tampons, the menstrual cup, was also linked with the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that helps spur the syndrome, the researchers reported.

“Our results did not support the hypothesis suggesting that tampons composed exclusively of organic cotton could be intrinsically safer than those made of mixed cotton and rayon, or viscose, or tampons composed entirely of viscose [which is used in the manufacture of rayon],” concluded study lead researcher Dr. Gerard Lina. He’s professor of microbiology at the University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France.

Toxic shock syndrome is caused by an immune system reaction to bacterial toxins such as S. aureus or the streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms include fever, rash, low blood pressure and fatigue, and the condition can quickly progress to coma and even death through multiple organ failure.

Toxic shock syndrome first gained notoriety in the 1970s, after an outbreak of severe cases were tied to the use of Procter & Gamble’s super-absorbent Rely tampon. These tampons utilized compressed beads of polyester for absorption. P&G issued a voluntary recall of Rely in 1980, but investigations showed that toxic shock could be spurred by other brands of tampons, as well.

In reaction to such cases, some women switched away from tampons with synthetic fibers, to 100-percent cotton brands.

But are these more natural-fiber tampons safer? To find out, Lina’s group tracked the growth of S. aureus, as well as the production of toxic shock syndrome toxin, in 15 currently marketed tampons under laboratory conditions.

The investigators found no differences in microbial growth or toxin production, regardless of which type of fiber the tampon was composed of. Instead, structural differences in the fiber bed seemed to matter.

Under microscopic examination, “we observed that space between the fibers that contributes to intake of air in the vagina also represents the major site of S. aureus growth and [toxin] production,” Lina explained in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology.

Menstrual cups — used by some women as an alternative to tampons — were also implicated in toxic shock. These devices encouraged greater growth of S. aureus and toxin as compared to use of the menstrual pad, Lina noted. That’s probably because the cups allowed for more “aeration,” a condition conducive to S. aureus growth, he said.

The bacterium also forms a “biofilm” in the cup, discouraging easy sterilization, Lina added.

The bottom line: “Tampon use continues to be associated with menstrual toxic shock syndrome, and a case of menstrual toxic shock syndrome has been described associated with a menstrual cup,” Lina said.

Still, toxic shock syndrome remains extremely rare, no matter what menstrual product a woman chooses to use, the researchers noted. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, incidence of the syndrome is less than one case per million people.

Two experts in women’s health stressed that women do need to be educated about the risk, however.

“Awareness of toxic shock syndrome needs to be raised for all patients who use intravaginal devices for menstruation,” said Dr. Jennifer Wu.

“Many patients erroneously think that ‘organic’ or all-cotton tampons do not have risks of toxic shock syndrome,” said Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“The use of menstrual cups has risen recently,” she added. “While many patients have heard of toxic shock with tampon use, they often have never thought of any risks associated with the menstrual cup. Frequent changes of tampons and the menstrual cup must be emphasized to patients.”

Dr. Jill Rabin helps direct women’s health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She agreed that “in order to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome, changing one’s tampon more frequently and strict attention to hygiene is indicated. If a menstrual cup is used, it should be boiled between menstrual cycles to remove any bacteria.”

Rabin advised “using the smallest possible cup size” and washing the menstrual cup with soap and water during the cycle.

“If tampons and menstrual cups are used, be sure to see your doctor at the first sign of any fever, chills or rash, and of course, remove the cup or tampon immediately,” she added.

The new study was published April 20 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

More information

The Mayo Clinic has more about toxic shock syndrome.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2018

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews