Posted in Health, news, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to predict Conference Championship winners

The concussions listed hurt the Packers and Steelers so this week it will be

Patriots

Falcons close though but Packers deserve a spanking after last week’s Dallas game

We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to rounding out a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Cervical Cancer Awareness: Why get a Pap Smear?

Let’s face it… Pap Smears aren’t fun.  The only test to sample tissue for cervical cancer just happens to be one of the most embarrassing and awkward.  But it can be one of the most life saving and simple.  So what is it and how does it work?  Here’s your questions answered.

What is the cervix and what is cervical cancer?

The uterus looks similar to a light bulb.  The larger top portion being where the fetus develops, and the bottom, narrower area, the cervix.  The cervix thins and dilates during childbirth, as you’ve heard in the movies “she’s only 7 cm!” and then after childbirth becomes narrow again.  It affects nearly 12,000 and kills 4,000 women each year.  It can affect women of any age but is more common between 20 and 50.

375x321_cervix

http://www.webmd.com/women

 

What causes cervical cancer?

The most common cause is HPV (Human Papillomavirus), especially HPV-16 and HPV-18.  This is acquired through unprotected sex, so condom use is encouraged. Thus its one of the most preventable causes of cancer.  Additionally, there are 3 vaccines for HPV currently approved by the FDA, Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix.

 

What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

Early cervical cancer may not be symptomatic but as it develops it may cause an odor, pain with urination, pelvic pain and bleeding. This bleeding may occur after sex, a pelvic exam, or intermittent bleeding not associated with a menstrual cycle.

 

Is cervical cancer treatable?

Yes.  Early detection is key and can be done by a Pap Smear, explained below.  Multiple treatments are available including surgery, chemotherapy,  radiation therapy, and targeted therapy such as Bevacizumab (Avastin®which prevents new blood vessel growth that can feed a tumor.

 

Who should get screened for Cervical Cancer?

The USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) recommends the following:

Screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with cytology (Pap smear) every 3 years or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.

What is a Pap Smear?

It is the cytology (cell analysis) of the cervix.  Years ago, a cytobrush would collect the cells and the medical provider would “smear” it onto a slide, place fixative, and then send it to the laboratory for the pathologist to analyze it.  Now ThinPrep® Pap tests are used more commonly as the cells from the brush are placed into a container with fixative, and this vial is sent to the pathologist to spin down and analyze.

cervical-smear-test-equipment-97358274-575db1493df78c98dc633c53

TEK IMAGE/SPL / Getty Images

In order to obtain the cells from the cervix, the medical provider needs to use a speculum to open the vaginal canal and allow access to the uterus.  A woman may be in the lithotomy position…lying on one’s back on the exam table with her feet in stirrups and knees bent. During the speculum exam, the medical provider may take cultures to test for common vaginal infections such as yeast, bacteria vaginosis, or sexually transmitted illnesses such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.  After the speculum exam, the provider may perform a pelvic exam with her gloved hand to examine the uterus and ovaries, evaluating for tenderness, shape, size and masses.

How is an HPV test done?

An HPV test can be done with the cells obtained during the Pap Smear.  The laboratory evaluates the cells to see if the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer is present.

In summary the thousands of deaths that occur each year to cervical cancer can be prevented with simple testing, such as the Pap Smear.  Discuss with your medical provider when cervical cancer screening is best for you.

 

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Vince Neil raises over $750K for Lou Ruvo Center

This year’s Celebrity Apprentice includes Motley Crue’s Vince Neil.  On Celebrity Apprentice, celebrities compete to raise dollars for their favorite charity.  The rock icon chose the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and this week he won the challenge, collecting both team’s winnings of over 350K each totaling close to $770,000.

The disease Neil hoped to raise money for was MSA, Multiple System Atrophy.    MSA is a rapidly progressive neurological disorder that affects vital organs and interferes with their ability to work including heart, lungs, digestion and balance.  The loss of Kerry Simon, “Rock n’ Roll Chef” in 2015 inspired him to support the charity .  The Motley Crue frontman said, “Here was a guy who didn’t drink, no drugs, he worked out every day, and I saw that, and [I thought], ‘we have to find a cure for that.'”

Both teams had to compete by making a new “Celebrity” chocolate for See’s candy and seeing who could sell the most.  Moreover, Warren Buffet, was to taste each team’s creation and choose the winner adding additional $25,000 to the winnings.  Vince Neil’s team, won on both fronts bringing him to tears.

The Keep Memory Alive foundation raises money specifically for the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.  Per the Cleveland Clinic website,  Keep Memory Alive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was created to increase awareness and raise funds exclusively for the research, management, and treatment of brain disorders that include Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as frontotemporal dementia, multiple sclerosis and multiple system atrophy for Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.  

With medical facilities in Las Vegas, Cleveland and Lakewood, Ohio and Weston, Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s treatment programs are designed to provide excellent care and to respect the dignity of patients and their families. Research helps to advance Cleveland Clinic’s groundbreaking clinical trials and offers hope for improving brain health.

As we witnessed with the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising over $115 million for ALS,  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, celebrity and national attention to a rare, progressive and fatal disorder is life saving.  Congratulations to Vince Neil and thank you for your amazing work!!!

 

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Caffeine consumption found to lower heart attack risk

Your morning cup of coffee may be just what the doctor ordered.  Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine found caffeine to lower inflammation which has long been associated with heart disease.  Previous studies have reported coffee drinkers tend to live longer than non coffee drinkers and this may explain why.

To begin, scientists looked at a protein called, IL-1-beta.  In study participants who had higher levels of this inflammatory agent, they found an increased risk of high blood pressure and stiff arteries compared to those who had lower levels of IL – 1- beta.

Then researchers injected mice with IL-1-beta to see what it could do, and found blood pressure to rise as well as inflammation.

The scientists then looked at the genes that encode IL-1-beta and found less activation of these genes in those who drank caffeinated drinks.

Then the researchers took human cells in a laboratory setting and used agents to trigger inflammation, finding them to produce more IL-1-beta.  They then tested to see if caffeine subdued the inflammation and it did.

Therefore they confirmed the IL-1-beta protein was inflammatory, those who drank coffee activated the genes less, and caffeine reduced inflammation.

The lead researcher was Dr. David Furman and the study was published online Jan. 16 in Nature Medicine.

Now the next question is:  If caffeine is healthy for the heart, does this mean caffeine drinks and caffeinated foods are healthy?  Unfortunately this study does not dive into the foods or food products that offer high caffeine alternatives.  We’ve seen previous research discussing caffeinated coffee to have health benefits but decaf, or soda with caffeine does not.

And energy drinks have long been associated with increase heart attack risk, especially abnormal heart rhythms.  Last year a 19 year old died after drinking three and a half cans of Monster Energy Drink within 24 hours of having a heart attack.

One explanation for why energy drinks may not offer the same caffeinated health benefits is the drink is imbibed quickly rather than a slow sip from a hot cup of coffee.  Another reason could be there are ingredients in the caffeine drink that negates its beneficial effects.

For now, we can take this promising news, consider maintaining our daily cup of Joe and await more research to tell us why coffee seems to be the only drink getting all the glory.  Soda pop and energy drinks may till need to stay on the shelves.

 

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Eating Spicy Food Found to Help You Live Longer

Eating red hot chili peppers found to reduce death by 13%.

 

Researchers from the University of Vermont looked at data of over 16,000 Americans and found a 13% lower mortality in those who ate red hot chili peppers, especially when it came to heart disease and stroke.  This study was published in the medical journal PLoS ONE.

This is not the first time hot and spicy food has been found to decrease mortality.  In December, researchers from Germany found Capsaicin, which gives food their fiery kick, was found to inhibit tumor growth, specifically breast cancer.

In 2015 a study published in the British Medical Journal found those who ate spicy food more than 1 -2 times a week were 14% less likely to die than those who ate spicy food less than once a week.

Both teams of researchers have been looking at how Capsaicin affects Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, that mediate how we perceive taste, pressure and vision.

In this study, they found that those who ate a diet high in red hot chili peppers were “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats … had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education.”  Lower HDL and smoking could increase one’s heart disease risk so the fact that they had lower mortality due to this dietary addition was significant.

Now diets high in spicy food could worsen one’s heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease and concerns have been raised with spicy food and colon cancer.  But more evidence appears to surface that it lowers cancer risk.

But if capsaicin continues to show researchers that it improves cardiovascular health, obesity, and cancer risk, hot chili peppers may become our new superfood.

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

Posted in Health, news

Superbugs: if Antibiotics Won’t Work, What Will?

In 2016, a woman in Reno, Nevada died of a bacterial infection that was “incurable”.  She had sustained a femur fracture in her leg while living in India and subsequently developed an infection.  Last August she was seen in a hospital in Reno.  Public health officials stated her Klebsiella pneumonia infection was apart of the CRE — carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. The CDC has been monitoring these superbugs, named by director Dr. Tom Frieden, “nightmare bacteria”, due to their dangerous drug resistance, but this particular case in this woman who is unidentified and in her 70’s was pan-resistant to every antibiotic tested.  Subsequently she died in September.  India has been battling many drug resistant superbugs and the CDC has been tracking cases as they surface in the US.  This case, albeit rare, reminds us of how powerless we are to these bacteria that outsmart our fanciest of antibiotics.

 

How can we fight superbugs?

Well to begin, let’s understand what we’re dealing with.  A superbug is a pathogen, most commonly bacteria, that can survive antibiotics that most species would buckle under.  It’s resistance could be caused by a variety of factors.  Maybe it has a mutation that makes it stronger.  Maybe its genetic material shields it from the toxic medicine.  Maybe it’s luck.  So shortly after it celebrates surviving the antibiotic assault, it divides to reproduce, making more bacteria.  If this progeny bacteria maintain the same genetic material as its parent, or if included, mutation, they can be now be resistant to the antibiotics as well.

Since the birth of antibiotics in 1928 with Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, we’ve aimed to make them stronger and shrewder than the bacteria.  However, nature always wins, and some bacteria have outsmarted our fanciest of antibiotics, as we’ve seen with CRE.  The more antibiotics we make and use, the stronger the bacteria become.  Fueling this fire may not be the way to go.  The key to fighting superbugs may not lie in the antibiotic arsenal.  So thinking ahead may require us to look back.

 

alexander-fleming-penicillin-631-jpg__800x600_q85_crop

Sir Alexander Fleming  (Corbis)

 

Silver

During the Roman empire and Middle Ages, Silver had been used as healing agent.  During the Civil War, silver nitrate was used to cure Gonorrhea, another bacteria currently becoming drug resistant.  The silver nitrate was eventually replaced by a colloidal silver. But in 2013 researchers at Boston University discovered why silver was so antibacterial.  Its properties interfered with the cell metabolism of the pathogen as well as  disrupted its wall.  This mimics what antibiotics have been designed to do.  Silver may be able to be used as an agent by itself, in a non toxic form of course, or used in conjunction with current antibiotics who cannot break into the bacteria wall by themselves.

 

Silver-nanoparticle-movement-to-the-layer-surface.jpg

 

Viruses

Yep, the enemy of your enemy is your friend.  Discovered in 1915 by Frederick Twort in great Britain, bacteriophages, viruses that attack bacteria, have been found to target certain strains including superbugs.  Current research done at Yale University has found success in treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria known to have resistant forms to some of the fanciest of antibiotics.

 

bacteriophage

 

Wasp Venom

At the end of 2018 MIT researchers found that the venom from the Brazilian Polybia paulista wasp was effective at killing antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria known to cause many types of infections, including those contracted during a hospital stay.  This MP1 toxin may also be effective in combating cancer cells.

 

bee.jpg

 

Mammal Milk

In 2016, researchers from Sydney University found a protein in Tasmanian Devil milk that allowed the immunologically immature young baby devils to withstand the superbug that was killing their parents.  They found the milk to successfully kill most superbugs. The milk contains antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins, which were found to kill the superbugs MRSA and Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.    This looks promising.

taz.jpeg

 

Dyes

In 2008, researchers at University College London, found a laser activated dye to kill a wide variety of bacteria.  Kind of a  Da Vinci meets Star Wars sort of treatment…..

 

Red Berry Extract from the Brazilian Peppertree

This staple of Brazilian traditional medicine has treated skin lesions and wounds with its leaves and bark. But the fruit has been found to have an extract that can weaken superbugs such as MRSA so the body’s defenses can fight the bacteria more successfully.

 

imrs.jpeg

(Photo: Emory University)

Vaccination

Heading off the infection at the pass by boosting our immune system has played a huge role in protecting us against pneumonia, meningitis, tetanus to name a few.  Superbug vaccines may be difficult because of the mutative nature of these bacteria but generic immune boosters may be the strategy here.

This is just the beginning of what researchers have been testing.  Last fall, scientists created the Multivalent Adhesion Molecule 7, or MAM7, that essentially “blinded” the bacteria, preventing it from sticking to the host and spreading.

Although we need to continue to develop stronger antibiotics, our efforts should also focus on non-antibiotic bacteria busters.  The answer to solving our superbug problem could be right under our noses…..

 

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in Health, news, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to predict Playoff winners

The long awaited Divisional playoffs are here!!!!  The injury report however as of 20:00 1/13/17 is not complete.  So working with what we have here are this week’s picks.

Patriots

Steelers

I don’t care about the groin injury reported on the Cowboys.  I can’t choose the Packers sorry.

Falcons

 

We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to rounding out a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician