Posted in food, Health, news

Superbug’s Found on Nearly 80% of Our Grocery Meat

A study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that most of our meat purchased at the supermarket contains antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System tested bacteria on meat in 2015 and found them to be resistant to one of fourteen antibiotics.  These “superbugs” were detected on:

  • 79% of Ground Turkey
  • 71% Pork Chops
  • 62% Ground Beef
  • 36% Chicken Breasts, Wings and Thighs tested.

Dr. Gail Hansen, a public health expert and veterinarian states, “Bacteria transfer their antibiotic resistance genes to other bacteria they come in contact with in the environment and in the gastrointestinal tract of people and animals, making it very difficult to effectively treat infections.”

The EWG provides a tip sheet on how to avoid superbugs in meat here.

 

What is a Superbug?

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.

_68481070_c0131441-e._coli_bacterium,_tem-spl.jpg

DRUG RESISTANT E. COLI – IMAGE FROM BBC

According to the CDC: Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.

Why are superbugs growing on our food?

One theory is we give antibiotics to farm animals to keep them healthy, avoid disease and improve their growth.  These antibiotics may be used and consumed so frequently that bacteria learn how to overcome and create new, resilient progeny.

How do we avoid getting sick?

The following is a guide on temperature goals for various meats:

food temp.png

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

Posted in Health, news, Politics

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Retiring

The long rumored and anticipated retiring of 81-year-old Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was announced Wednesday.

In a letter to President Trump he writes, “For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this court,” he wrote. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy was a swing vote on many issues and did not always rule towards the conservative side, siding with the liberal justices on issues involving banning capital punishment and limiting the powers of states to enforce tougher immigration laws.

Justice Kennedy is the second oldest justice, turning 82 in July.  The oldest is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, currently 85 years old.

His retirement, set for July 31st, allows the Trump Administration to appoint a younger judge who could help solidify the conservative edge of the Supreme Court for years to come.

USA Today reports the following may be considered to fill his seat:

Among the other judges on Trump’s list most often mentioned as potential Kennedy replacements are Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, who serves on the 6th Circuit. More intriguing are fresh faces such as newly confirmed federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana and Amul Thapar of Kentucky.

supreme court

 

This is a developing story.

Posted in Health, news

Flight Attendants at Higher Risk of Multiple Cancers

Although its been long known that flight attendants are at higher risk of breast cancer and melanoma, new research has found an increase risk in the following additional cancers:

  • non-melanoma (basal cell and squamous cell)
  • thyroid
  • cervical
  • uterine
  • gastrointestinal

Researchers from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, led by research associate, Irina Mordukhovich, surveyed over 5000 flight attendants as part of the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study (FAHS) and found a four-fold risk in non-melanoma skin cancer, a two-fold risk in melanoma, and a 51% greater risk of breast cancer, among other malignancy risks.

Those flight attendants with three or more children had even a higher risk of breast cancer.

TIME Magazine reported the following:

“Flight attendants are considered a historically understudied occupational group, so there is a lot we don’t know about their health,” says Mordukhovich. “What we do know for sure is the exposures that both pilots and flight attendants have—the main one being high radiation levels because of cosmic radiation at altitude.” That exposure may not be concerning for people taking individual flights, but for people whose jobs involve flying, that risk may have a negative effect on their health, as the study results suggest.

A 2007 study found an increase risk of heart attacks, respiratory illness, poor sleep, depression and anxiety in cabin crew.

What’s surprising is the average flight attendant does not smoke and maintains a healthy weight, hence thought to live a healthier lifestyle, decreasing heart and cancer risk.  So….

Why are flight attendants at increased risk?

Multiple factors can affect those who work high in the skies. These include:

  • cosmic ionizing radiation (radiation coming from outer space with higher levels in the upper earth’s atmosphere)
  • solar radiation from sun flares
  • disruption of their sleep cycle, circadian rhythm (long linked to cancer)
  • exposure to chemicals such as jet fuel, flame retardants and other chemicals.
  • constant exposure to pathogens and communicable diseases (link to cancer not yet determined)
  • not being able to maintain regular hydration and diet

airline.jpg

How can flight attendants protect themselves?

It’s difficult for those who staff airlines to alter their schedule, diet or uniform.  But what’s recommended is the following:

  • wear sunscreen
  • wear long sleeves and skirts/pants
  • maintain good hydration and a regular diet
  • try to ask for regular shifts that allow one to sleep regular cycles
  • if at higher genetic risk for some cancers (BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations) see your medical provider about recommended screening.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Try to reduce your time working on very long flights, flights at high latitudes, or flights which fly over the poles. These are flight conditions or locations that tend to increase the amount of cosmic radiation the crewmembers are exposed to. You can calculate your usual cosmic radiation exposures. The FAA’s CARI program website allows you to enter information to estimate your effective dose from galactic cosmic radiation (not solar particle events) for a flight.
  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is important to consider your work exposures, including cosmic radiation. If you are pregnant and aware of an ongoing solar particle event when you are scheduled to fly you may want to consider trip-trading or other rescheduling actions if possible.
    • For flight attendants, a NIOSH study found that exposure to 0.36 mSv or more of cosmic radiation in the first trimester may be linked to increased risk of miscarriage.
    • Also, although flying through a solar particle event doesn’t happen often, a NIOSH and NASA study found that a pregnant flight attendant who flies through a solar particle event can receive more radiation than is recommended during pregnancy by national and international agencies.
  • Regarding solar particle events:

Are travelers at risk?

Experts have suggested that those who are frequent fliers are still at low risk of being exposed to “too much radiation”.  Traveller.au.com writes: Overall, the amount “is really inconsequential,” said Dr Edward Dauer, director of radiology at Florida Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, adding that medical CT scans result in a much higher dose.

Read more: http://www.traveller.com.au/flight-risk-how-much-radiation-do-planes-expose-you-to-1a54m#ixzz5JV4TJzPm

Therefore medical professionals may suggest flying “in moderation” and checking in for regular check ups.

How can I check my radiation dose?

The American Nuclear Society provides a calculator, based on where one lives, how many xrays, and how many hours one flies, here.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada

 

Posted in Health, Hepatitis, news

Ohio Joins Multiple States in Declaring Hepatitis A Outbreak

Since 2017 multiple states have declared outbreaks of the Hepatitis A Virus and now the Department of Heath in Ohio (ODH) has declared one as well.

Since the start of 2018, cases in Ohio have risen to 79, double the total number recorded for 2017 in the Buckeye state.

hepatitis A

Image from Cleveland.com

 

WTOL reports: Ohio’s hepatitis A outbreak cases appear to be primarily among people who use illegal drugs, those who have been incarcerated, people who have had contact with known cases, those also infected with hepatitis C, men who have sex with men, and people experiencing homelessness.

Per the CDC, the below states have reported the following number of cases:

  • California 704  (as of April 11, 2018)
  • Indiana 148  (as of June 21, 2018)
  • Kentucky 760
  • Michigan 846
  • Missouri 125
  • Utah 109 (2018) and 147 (2017)
  • West Virginia  248
  • Arkansas 40 since February, 2018

Last year Colorado reported a doubling of Hepatitis A cases since the previous year.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes

Fever

Abdominal Pain

Fatigue

Dark Urine

Joint Pain

Clay – looking stools

Diarrhea

Nausea

Vomiting

Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

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

Posted in Health, news

Having Trouble Sleeping? Could Have Been from ONE Night of Drinking Years Ago

A study from the University of Missouri – Columbia suggests four drinks in one session may permanently affect one’s ability to sleep.

Exposing mice to alcohol levels equitable to human binge drinking, researchers found the expression of the gene, ENT1, was reduced.  Moreover they found a lack of adenosine surge, a chemical that promotes sleep.

Many believe alcohol makes one sleepy, thereby drinking, wine, beer, or scotch as a sleep aid.  But medical professionals warn against this as it can disrupt the sleep cycle.

With millions of Americans suffering from insomnia, work loss, and sleepy driving, this study makes us wonder if avoiding alcohol-fueled parties in our younger years could have such a profound effect on our future health.

Insomnia-Image_08.03.2016.jpg

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia is a disorder where one has difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep.  Many factors can cause insomnia. These include:

  • Medications (stimulants, decongestants)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Neck and back arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory conditions (asthma, COPD)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Urinary frequency
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological conditions
  • Sleep apnea

and of course environmental issues such as noise, temperature, and kitty cats.

Treatments for insomnia

Treating insomnia can be complex.  We begin by treating the underlying cause, such as any of those listed above.  Then we can try the following:

  • Lowering the room temperature to an average of 65 degrees F
  • Shut off artificial lights 1-2 hours before going to bed
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Dinner  including foods rich in tryptophan (fish, nuts, tofu, turkey, eggs and seeds)
  • Warm bath
  • Cognitive and/or behavioral therapy
  • Aromatherapy including lavender
  • Black out curtains to keep out light
  • Daily exercise

to name a few.

Sleeping pills are “worse than smoking”

Arizona State University researchers. last year, reported the chronic use of sleeping pills is worse than smoking for one’s health.

Sleep researcher, Shawn Youngstedt, told CNN, “They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.”

For years sleeping aids including antihistamines (ex. diphendyrdramine), benzodiazepines (ex. lorazepam, alprazolam), non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic (ex. Ambien) have been studied and linked to side effects including:

  • Sleep walking
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness

and more.

In 2012, a study of 10,500 people found those who used sleeping pills were 4X as likely to die in the 2.5-year study than those who didn’t use medications for sleep.

Dr. Kripke and his colleagues at Scripps also found a 35% increase risk of cancer, noting lymphoma, lung, colon and prostate cancer risk was worse than that of smoking.

Also in 2012, a study published in Thorax, found benzodiazepine use linked to the severe lung infection, pneumonia.

In 2014, a study from China Medical University in Taiwan found only four sleeping pills a year increased risk of heart attack by 20% and 60 tablets a year was linked to a 50% increase.

A separate study found an increased risk of aortic dissection with sleeping pill use.

 

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

 

Posted in Health, news

Woman Drinks Her Dog’s Urine as “Acne Treatment”…Can We Drink Urine?

WARNING:  Graphic content

Claiming her dog’s waste products contain vitamins and cancer cures, an unnamed woman videotape’s herself collecting the urine and drinking it.

In the 1 1/2 minute clip she explains, “Until I first drank my dog’s pee, I was depressed, I was sad, and I had bad acne. Dog pee also has vitamin A in it, vitamin E in it, and it has 10 grams of calcium, and it’s also proven to help cure cancer.”

 

 

What is urine?

Urine is a yellowish liquid, created by the kidneys, as a result of filtering toxins and unneeded substances from the blood.  From the kidneys, it travels through a ureter, into the bladder for storage, and then upon urination, travels through a urethra to the outside world…..to get AWAY from the body.

1-kidneys-ureter--urinary-bladder-monica-schroeder.jpg

Why is urine yellow?

Urochrome is responsible for the yellow color of urine. It’s a byproduct from the degradation of heme when red blood cells are broken down.

Why do vitamins make urine brighter?

If one takes a multivitamin or B-Complex they may notice their urine turn neon yellow as the body is trying to eliminate the excess riboflavin (Vitamin B2).

What is urine comprised of?

Urine is approximately 95% water with the remaining 5% consisting of:

  • urea
  • ammonia
  • salts such as sodium, chloride, and calcium
  • minerals
  • protein
  • creatinine
  • variety of cells
  • toxins

What causes urine to smell?

Healthy urine should hardly have an odor as its 95% water. However, dehydrated individuals may exhibit more of an ammonia smell.  Infections, food and medications can also alter the odor of urine.

Is urine a good source of vitamins?

No.  Vitamins leached out into the urine are the excess the body does not need and may  additionally be the byproducts of their original useful form.

Does drinking urine cure acne?

No, not by drinking.  Acne is caused by a multitude of factors ranging from hormones to bacteria infections, such as Propionibacterium acnes.  However, if one claims their consumption of it clears their complexion, the only thing I can fathom is hydration with water has proven beneficial for the skin….water.  This is not an approved traditional medicine treatment for acne.

Topical applications, however, have been suggested to help as some believe the urine has antibacterial properties against the P. acne bacteria….but I’d rather reach for the Clearasil.

Is it safe to drink your own urine?

This is debatable because in theory, urine is sterile and mostly composed of water.  But  realize this is in situations where one is healthy and hydrated.  If in a survival situation, chances are the urine is highly concentrated with salts and waste products, so drinking it could severely strain the kidneys and not give the hydration benefit desired.

 

Does urine cure anything?

Actually, in practice I’ve noticed that those who’ve peed in the shower, soaking their feet in the urine as it exits the drain, seemed to have the smoothest of feet.  Studies have shown, the urea in urine, applied topically, can help dry skin, feet and callouses.

Urotherapy, or the application of urine for medicinal purposes, is believed by some who practice alternative medicine, to cure cancer as it reintroduces antigens, that exited the body once, in hopes of stimulating the immune system.  In traditional medicine, however, this is not an approved cancer treatment.

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

Incredibles 2 Seizure Warning: Which Movies Can Induce Seizures?

Disney/Pixar may now include a warning for viewers that some scenes in their latest hit, Incredibles 2, may induce seizures at the request of the National Epilepsy Foundation.  Some viewers found the strobe and flashing light scenes to be potential seizure triggers.

What is a seizure?

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

HGT0066_neurons-seizure-brain_FS.jpg

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

Photosensitive epilepsy, in which visual triggers can induce a seizure, occurs in 1 in 4000 of the population.

Can Movies Cause Seizures?

In December of 1997, a Pokemon cartoon aired in Japan resulting in over 700 children to the hospital with ailments ranging from dizziness to epilepsy.  It was determined that the rapidly strobing flashes of red and blue lights induced this “Pokemon Shock”.

pokemon1

A study from Prasad et al in 2012 found no increase risk of seizures with 3D movies than conventional television. They explain why seizures are induced here:

The mechanism in which TV and cinema movies trigger seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy is related to several factors including the light intensity, the environment and the frequency of picture frames per second. Normal 2D movies have a frame rate of 24 per second, which may pose a risk for patients with photosensitive epilepsy, but the light intensity in the cinema is very low and there are relatively a few reports of seizures precipitated in cinemas. In contrast, 3D movies project images at 48 frames per second aimed, by the use of coloured or polarising filters, at different eyes and resulting in 24 frames per second per eye. The polarising effect of 3D films may reduce the light output by around fifty percent leading to a reduced risk to trigger a seizure to people with photosensitive epilepsy. Therefore, the risk of 3D movies to trigger a seizure is around fifty percent less than with conventional 2D movies. However if provocative material such as flashing light is presented the risk can be as high as that for normal 2D movies.

 

Although there is “insufficient evidence” to connect 3D movies to epilepsy, researchers agree with the need for more study.

Which makes us rely on anecdotal, or testimonial evidence such as the tweet from Veronica Lewis.

“Risky Movies”

The following have been suggested on moviehealthcommunity.tumblr.com to have strobe effects or flashing lights that may affect one’s photosensitivity risk of inducing a seizure:

  • Incredibles 2 villan weapon
  • Ocean’s 8 – fast-moving trains
  • Solo, A Star Wars Story – laser fire and sparking electrical equipment
  • Speed Racer – bright headlines, racing cars
  • Deadpool 2 – gunfire, high-speed chase scenes
  • Hostiles -flashes from the gunfire
  • 300 – lightning scenes
  • Avengers, Infinity War – fight scenes, shaking cameras, laser based weapons
  • IronMan series – strobe and flashing lights
  • Incredible Hulk, 2008 – strobe lights
  • Ready Player One – high-speed chase, shaky camera, flashing lights
  • Tomb Raider, 2018 – strobe lights, shaky cameras
  • A Wrinkle in Time – lightening storm
  • I, Tonya – fast speeds, quick camera shots
  • The Cloverfield Paradox – strobe lights

Although one of my favorite franchises, some of my listeners found the Transformer movies to have similar issues with high speed movemements and strobe lights.

Many more movies are listed but the common thread are those with high action, high-speed, strobe lighting, storms, horror, and fast-moving race or fall scenes.

More can be found at moviehealthcommunity.tumblr.com.

 

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