Posted in Health, news

Disinfectants and Sanitizers linked to thyroid cancer

A study from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. has found those who work with disinfectants, santiziers, sterilizers and deodorizers on a regular basis may be at higher risk of thyroid cancer.

Occupational exposure to biocides were linked to a 65% higher risk of thyroid cancer.  Biocides are chemicals used to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi…. pathogens that could harm humans.  In hospitals, biocides are found in a variety of products for equipment, surfaces and hand washing.  Although antibiotics and pesticides are also considered “biocides”, this study found pesticides to not have a link to thyroid cancer.

 

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Source: Ramblingsaboutdisinfection

 

According to study author Dr. Yawei Zhang, “Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.”

Women appeared to be more affected than men.

Why thyroid cells would become malignant is unclear. However Triclosan, a common ingredient in hand sanitizers, has been suggested to affect thyroid hormone levels.

 

                                                                                                       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

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Posted in Health, news

National Blood Donation Day and Week in its planning stages now

September 4th – 10th is National Blood Donation Week.  September 8th this year will be National Blood Donation Day.

In efforts to help replenish this country’s blood bank supply, we created this campaign to help United Blood Services, American Red Cross and blood banks throughout the country meet their local needs.

Last year, Governors from over 33 states made individual state Blood Donation Days and some such as Arizona made Blood Donation Week and Alaska created a Blood Donation Month!

This awareness provides opportunities for people and their coworkers and neighbors to help donate something that’s free and lifesaving!!!

Those willing to donate blood or those wishing to host a blood drive are urged to contact us here under Comments or at http://www.doctordaliah.com/national-blood-donation-day-.html.

One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives! Imagine what the whole country could do!

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For more on last year’s NBDW see:  https://doctordaliah.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/blood-shortage-crisis-multiple-states-unite/

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Heart Tissue Made using Spinach

The race is on for scientists to create new organs in the lab.  Anatomical, structural “dry” body parts have been successfully created and used in patients such as tracheae (windpipes) and outer ears.  However for a researcher to replicate a “juicy” organ created so masterfully from nature has been difficult.  Looks like scientists are now turning TO nature to make this happen.

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(Image Credit: IrKiev/Depositphotos)

Researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro in their attempt to create an artificial heart, found a way to circumvent the difficult process of creating a circulatory network by using SPINACH.  Plants have “vascular bundles” that transport water and nutrients throughout the plant using their xylem (unidirectional) and phloem (bidirectional).

According to WPI:  In a series of experiments, the team cultured beating human heart cells on spinach leaves that were stripped of plant cells. They flowed fluids and microbeads similar in size to human blood cells through the spinach vasculature, and they seeded the spinach veins with human cells that line blood vessels.

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The authors stated, “The development of decellularized plants for scaffolding opens up the potential for a new branch of science that investigates the mimicry between plant and animal.”

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It was able to be perfused with a blood product.  The end result looked like this:

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This new “tissue” can make layers of “heart tissue” that can be used to replace damaged heart tissue from a heart attack.

This is just the beginning. Using nature to scaffold vascular networks that we can seed and recreate will allow us to make artificial “juicy” organs that need to sustain blood flow and transmit blood, nutrients and chemicals to the body in which they’re transplanted.  Scientists “cool factor” just went up a few notches with this one…..

                                                                                                       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, Politics

American Health Care Act fails to move forward. Does the US win or lose?

Half the country is rejoicing at the GOP defeat, while the other half is shaking their head in disbelief.  Obamacare is still the law of the land.

The American Health Act was controversial from the start.  Democrats disliked it because it repealed key elements of Obamacare, defunded Planned Parenthood, and started to scale back Medicaid spending and coverage.  Conservatives disliked it because it maintained many Affordable Care Act provisions and did not convince many that it would lower insurance premiums, ensure young individuals to put money into the market and fix our healthcare system.

On Friday, March 24th, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill before the final vote, and conceded saying, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

President Donald Trump stated, “We had no Democratic support,” and added “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we could do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. It’s exploding right now.”

So while Democratic and Republican opponents of the bill celebrate, Americans are wondering what’s next?  Let’s walk through this.

  1.  The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land.

    The penalties, individual and employer mandates, or “taxes” are still in play.  Although Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health care law, and the IRS eased up on rejecting tax filings if line 61 was not completed (attesting one purchased health coverage)  this part of the law has not been officially repealed.

  2. Federally funded Medicaid expansion stays put.

    Those still on Medicaid, for the time being, will still receive coverage.

  3. Insurance premiums are rising even faster than before.

    According to the Kaiser Family Foundation: Health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces (also called exchanges) are expected to increase faster in 2017 than in previous years.

  4. Less insurance companies will be on the exchanges for the upcoming enrollment period.

    With large insurance companies such as Aetna and United HealthCare scaling back, less consumer choices add to the skyrocketing costs.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:  Marketplace insurer participation in states using Healthcare.gov in 2017 ranges from 1 company in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming, to 15 companies in Wisconsin.

  5. Obamacare’s “death spiral” may not come as quickly as anticipated. 

    If the Affordable Health Care Act continues to receive federal funding and sputters long enough to hit the midterm elections, House majority could switch to the Democrats, allowing them to pass new provisions to maintain its life support.

Unfortunately, we as Americans are in limbo.  President Trump with a Republican held House and Senate was expected to successfully repeal and replace Obamacare.  However, the American Health Care Act didn’t do that.  It provided a life boat for a sinking ship, and many felt it couldn’t provide longevity or attain popularity needed to make it successful.

The Affordable Care Act was designed such that anyone tries to repeal it, the healthcare system implodes.  For the GOP to approach this as one would attempt to diffuse a bomb, may be an impossible feat.

However, there may be hope.  As both Democrats and some Republicans opposed the replacement for Obamacare, many on both sides dislike the current state of affairs.  Our healthcare system is broken and bipartisanly there is much we can agree on.    President Trump believes it will take Obamacare exploding before the Democrats come to the negotiating table. Let’s hope this happens before then.

 

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

Posted in Health, news

Breast implants linked to 359 cancer cases, 9 deaths

Image above from Bernhard Oppenheim /Getty Images

According to the FDA, 9 women have died from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) possibly associated with their breast implant use.  The FDA received 359 reports of BIA-ALCL,  a rare type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, 9 of whom died as of February 1, 2017.

Lymphomas make up the most common of the blood cancers.  The cancer begins in the lymphocytes, cells crucial for maintaining one’s immune system. Two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s and Non Hodgkins.  Non Hodgkins is more common, and anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a subset if it.

 

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Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma/pathpedia.com

 

This is not the first time a link has been suggested.  6 years ago the World Health Organization suggested a link.  Then in 2011, the FDA identified a possible association between the two.  In 2016, the  Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration reported 46 confirmed cases with 3 deaths relating to breast implants.

Now the texture of the breast implant may also affect the cancer growth. According to the FDA, 231 of the 359 reports provided information on implant type.   203 were reported to be textured implants and 28 reported to be smooth implants. When it came to silicone vs. saline implants, the FDA said 312 of the 359 reports provided these specifics and of those 186 reported implants filled with silicone gel and 126 reported implants filled with saline.

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So neither implant type appeared immune to the risk of BIA-ALCL but it appears the silicone, textured implants carried the most risk.

Now the cancer occurred within the breast and the FDA advises physicians to consider the possibility of BIA-ALCL if there appears to be a seroma (fluid filled cavity around the implant) or a contracture (pulling of the skin and tissue) near the implant.

In most cases the cancer is treatable, with removal of the implant and the surrounding tissue curative.  In some cases however, radiation of the area or chemotherapy is required.

Although 50,000 cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma occurs annually in the US, it is unknown how many cases of BIA-ALCL occur each year.  Moreover, many countries may not have avid reporting systems of breast implant related cancers as we do.  According to the American College of Plastic Surgeons, close to 300,000 women receive breast implants each year, some of which for breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer.

The FDA reminds us that BIA-ALCL is rare and prophylactic breast implant removal is NOT recommended. However we need to be aware and evaluate if one develops swelling, pain, new lumps or asymmetry in the breasts….just as we do for those without implants.

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

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

Posted in Health, news

Your earlobe crease and link to heart disease

In the early 2000’s, one of my medical students taught me about the “Frank’s sign”.  Her father was a cardiologist and she said “if you see a crease, it may mean heart disease.” Now I look for it in every one I meet.  My father had one.  He died of a massive coronary thrombus.

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Is it definitive?  No.  But many clinicians swear by it.

Frank’s sign could be a very simple predictor of heart disease.  The diagonal crease in one’s earlobe may hint to underlying atherosclerosis.

The more extensive the crease, the higher the “grade” of the crease where a small wrinkling (Grade 1) is less ominous than a deep crease along the whole earlobe (Grade 3). The image above appears to have both a Grade 1 and Grade 3.

In 1973, Dr. Sanders T. Frank first described it in patients with coronary artery disease.

Subsequent studies found a relationship as well to diagonal earlobe crease (DELC) and heart disease.  One study even utilized CT angiography to document the relationship, (Shmilovich, et al. .Relation of diagonal ear lobe crease to the presence, extent, and severity of coronary artery disease determined by coronary computed tomography angiography. Am J Cardiol).

Multiple theories suggest why the earlobe creases if one has heart disease.

  1.  Those with atherosclerois may have poor vascularization (blood flow), so distal body parts such as earlobes may crease when they don’t have the hydration and vascularization as other ears do.
  2. Collagen and elastic fibers may lose their elasticity from poor vascularization.
  3. Many times the body expresses  a sign dermatologically when pathological processes are beneath the skin.  Frank’s sign could be one of the many dermatological manifestations of internal disease like acanthosis nigracans.

Again, the diagonal earlobe crease does not necessarily mean one has heart disease.  However it may not hurt to be evaluated for cardiac risk factors such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes etc. as many studies hint to its cardiac relationship.

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

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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

49er legend Dwight Clark diagnosed with ALS

The legendary wide receiver for the San Francisco 49er’s, Dwight Clark, reveals that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The 60 year old first noticed weakness in his left hand in September 2015.

In a blog post, Clark suspects his diagnosis was caused by his 9 years in the NFL.  The two-time all-pro and Super Bowl champion stated, “I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did.”  He continued, “And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma.”

He wrote that he couldn’t run, play golf or walk any distances, and that lifting anything greater than 30lbs was a “chore”.

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was first discovered in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.  Known as “the Father of Neurology”, he and is colleagues discovered that spinal cord lesions, depending on where they occurred, would present differently in a patient as his paralysis progressed. Even though it was named ALS by the 1870’s, many still refer to it as “Charcot’s disease”.

In 1939, baseball Yankee legend, Lou Gherig was diagnosed with ALS.  Two weeks later he retired, giving his famous farewell speech.  It began with “Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” For most of the nation this was the first time they heard of the disease, and Lou Gherig died two years later.  Today people still refer to the disease as “Lou Gherig’s Disease”.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes the death of neurons responsible for innervating muscles.  When the muscles do not receive nerve signals, they eventually weaken, twitch, and then atrophy.  Muscle atrophy leaves a patient unable to move and eventually the patient cannot speak, eat and breathe. Most people affected with ALS die of respiratory failure.

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Image from Reactive Training Systems

Could head trauma cause ALS?

As Dwight Clark alluded to, head trauma has been suspected in some cases of ALS.  In 2010 a study out of Boston University discussed the abnormal protein called TDP-43. Dr. Ann McKee, associate professor of Neurology and Pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine found high levels of this protein in the brain and spinal cord of two former professional football players and a former boxer who sustained repeated head trauma and all developed ALS.

Another study in 2007 found an 11 X increased risk of ALS among Italian soccer players who had suffered multiple head injuries when compared to those who never sustained head trauma.

An additional study found that those who served in the military were at higher risk of ALS.  Genetics and smoking may also play roles. Another theory is glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, which appears high in those with ALS, could be affecting the nerve cells as well.

Approximately 15,000 Americans have ALS. There is currently no cure.  The “Ice Bucket Challenge” fortunately raised over $115 million for research of the devastating disease.

 

                                                                                                         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