Posted in Health, news

Could Dementia and CTE be Prevented with Oxygen Therapy?

When brains get deprived of oxygen, during sleep apnea or trauma, dementia and/or neurological sequelae may ensue.

For years I suggested giving oxygen at night to those athletes at risk of CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and those at high risk for dementia and Alzheimers.  Oxygen at high concentrations have been found to help wounds heal, and why should a vulnerable organ fight for oxygen.  Give the brain what it needs.

Now we learn a two year old near-drowning victim, who was submerged for nearly 15 minutes and sustained brain damaged, surpisingly has “minimal” deficits after given extensive oxygen therapy.

In February 2016, Eden Carlson climbed through a baby gate while her mother was showering and fell into the family pool. Her mother performed CPR and medical personnel worked to revive her for hours. They succeeded, but she had suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage. Upon discharge from the hospital 48 days later, Eden had difficulty speaking, walking and responding to her family.

Her medical team then tried oxygen treatments twice a day in 45 minute sessions.  These were “normobaric” oxygen treatments, or oxygen at the concentration of one atmosphere (sea level). Then three weeks later she was moved to New Orleans for “hyperbaric” oxygen treatments, or breathing 100% oxygen in a chamber greater than atmospheric pressure.

After ten sessions her mother reported “near normal” activity with doctors finding only “minimal damage” on her MRI scan.

An MRI scan 162 days after the incident showed that the child still has mild residual brain injury but the cortical and white matter atrophy she suffered was nearly completely reversed.

An MRI scan 162 days after the incident showed that the child still has mild residual brain injury but the cortical and white matter atrophy she suffered was nearly completely reversed.   (MEDICAL GAS RESEARCH)

According to NYDailyNews, the cortical and white matter atrophy (thinning) almost completely reversed.

This raises the question, should oxygen therapy, either normobaric or hyperbaric, be instituted immediately after injury (near drowning, concussion, infection, etc.) and chronically for those at higher risk of dementia (diabetics; those with heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol; and stroke victims)?

Athletes who sustain multiple concussions are at high risk of developing CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  This progressive, degenerative disease of the brain is also found in veterans and those who sustained repeated head trauma.  Symptoms include mood disorders, paranoia, impulse control issues, aggression, and memory loss to name a few.

Many victims of CTE aren’t diagnosed until after they die, upon autopsy and evaluation of brain tissue, hence it may be worth researching early oxygen intervention to those at high risk before symptoms surface.

Now oxygen therapy is not without its risks, as those with COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, could lose their respiratory drive, and oxygen toxicity could cause bleeding and seizures.  But controlled trials could allow us to investigate if one of the simplest of treatments can help battle some of the most difficult of diseases.

 

                                                                                                         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 food, Health, news

Ice Served at Fast Food Chains Found to Contain Poop Bacteria

Ice used for soft drinks at leading fast food chains in the UK were found to contain bacteria usually seen in fecal matter.  This comes weeks after the same BBC investigation found similar contaminated ice at Starbuck’s, Caffe Nero, and Costa Coffee.

On the TV Show Watchdog, BBC reported more than half the samples tested at food chains including Burger King, McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) contained coliform bacteria, or bacteria that colonize intestines.  Harmful bacteria, such E. coli, however was NOT found according to a spokesperson for McDonalds.

So even though the bacteria discovered would not harm humans if ingested, the potential for a dangerous pathogen exposure is there.

 

coliform_bacteria.jpg

Image from Clean Water Store

 

Samples were taken from 10 random store locations for each of the fast food chains.

Of the samples tested on McDonald’s ice machines, 3 out of 10 samples were contaminated.  At Burger King, 6 out of 10 samples tested positive for coliform bacteria and at KFC, 7 out of 10 tested positive.

One theory is the cleaning of the machines and/or handling of the ice is done with direct human hand contact which could have fecal contamination from poor hand washing after bathroom use.

The contamination issues hopefully prompted chains in other countries, such as the US, to reevaluate their procedures on ice and cup handling.

 

                                                                                                         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

Senator John McCain Diagnosed with Brain Tumor

Last week, when we were told Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was being treated for a blood clot above his left eye, we suspected a tumor could have been involved, as he was a cancer survivor and tumors are thrombogenic, meaning clot forming.

Unfortunately, the 80 year old melanoma cancer survivor has been diagnosed with primary glioblastoma.  However, its been reported that the whole tumor was removed when the doctors performed a craniotomy (opening of the skull) to remove the blood clot.  A statement from his office reports Senator McCain is home and recovering “amazingly well”.

What is Primary Glioblastoma?

Primary Glioblastoma Multiforme is a type of brain tumor that arises in the brain and spinal cord and is very aggressive in nature.  “Primary” suggests the tumor is not secondary to another cancer, such as the melanoma Senator McCain successfully battled.

In 1993, 2000 and 2002, McCain had three malignant melonama lesions removed, and the 2000 lesion was close to his left temple.

Those diagnosed with a glioblastoma may have a poorer prognosis  compared to other cancers as the 5-year survival rate is only 10%.  Its median survival is less than 15 months.  However, with his lesion removed, and chemotherapy and radation set to begin once his incision has healed, many medical teams are optimisitc.

According to his daughter, Meghan McCain, her father is “confident” and “calm”.  CNN reports that when the Senator awoke from surgery he was “cracking jokes” and ready to go home and get to work.

This is a developing story.

                                                                                                         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

Close to Half of all Americans are Diabetic or PreDiabetic

As the obesity epidemic rises, so have diabetes cases with the CDC now reporting half of all Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. The new report looked at cases in 2015 and found 30.3 million individuals had diabetes and close to three times that number were pre-diabetic.

A variety of factors have contributed to this.  Less people smoking and substituting food, junk food becoming a main staple in our diet, high-fructose corn syrup in many of our food products, genetics, and of course, less exercise and activity.

What is diabetes/prediabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn’t utilize and metabolize sugar properly.  When we consume food, its broken down into proteins, nutrients, fats, water, and sugar. These components are necessary for cell growth and function.  They get absorbed in the small intestine and make it to the blood stream.   In order for a cell to utilize sugar, it needs the hormone insulin to help guide it in.  Its similar to a key that fits in the keyhole of the “door” of the cell, opening it up so sugar can enter.  Insulin is produced in the pancreas, an organ that receives signals when one eats to release insulin in preparation of the sugar load coming down the pike.

As discussed below, one has diabetes if his fasting blood sugar is greater than 126 mg/dl.  A non fasting blood sugar greater than 200 mg/dl will also define one as being diabetic.

Prediabetes is assessed if one’s blood sugar is between 100-126 mg/dl. (See Chart Below)

Diabetes explained

So I imagine our mouth like a waiting room, the blood stream like a hallway, and the cells of the body the rooms along the hallway.  Insulin is the key to open the cells’ “doors” allowing sugar to enter.  If the sugar does not get in, it stays in the bloodstream “hallway” and doesn’t feed the cell.  Weight loss occurs, and individuals may become more thirsty as the sugar in the blood makes it fairly osmotic, something the body wants to neutralize, by bringing in more water. The kidneys are going to want to dump the excess sugar, so to do so, one would urinate more, again causing thirst.  So when a diabetic loses weight, urinates more frequently and becomes thirsty, the body is fighting the hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Complications of Diabetes

Cardiovascular disease – Sugar is sticky, so it can easily add to atherosclerotic plaques.

Blindness – high sugar content draws in water to neutralize and small blood vessels in the eye can only take so much fluid before they burst.  Moreover, high blood sugar weakens blood vessels.

Kidney disease – the kidneys work overtime to eliminate the excess sugar. Moreover, sugar-laden blood isn’t the healthiest when kidneys, themselves, need nourishment.

Infections – pathogens love sugar. Its food for them.  Moreover blood laden with sugar doesn’t allow immune cells to work in the most opportune environment.

Neuropathy – nerves don’t receive adequate blood supply due to the diabetes-damaged blood flow and vessels, hence they become dull or hypersensitive causing diabetics to have numbness or pain.

Dementia – as with the heart and other organs, the brain needs healthy blood and flow.  Diabetes has been found to increase risk of Alzheimer’s as well.

Type I vs. Type II Diabetes

Type I Diabetes, previously called Insulin Dependent or Juvenile Diabetes, occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, possibly from the immune system destroying the cells that produce the hormone. When this occurs there is rapid weight loss and death could occur if the cells don’t get the sugar they need.  Insulin has to be administered regularly.

Type II Diabetes, previously called Non-Insulin Dependent or Adult-Onset Diabetes,  occurs in those who began with a fully functioning pancreas but as they age the pancreas produces less insulin, called insulin deficiency, or the insulin produced meets resistance.  This is the fastest growing type of diabetes in both children and adults.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance, if using our hallway and door analogy, is as if someone is pushing against the door the insulin is trying to unlock. As we know, those with obesity are at higher risk for diabetes, hence fat can increase insulin resistance.  Its also been associated with an increase in heart disease.

Blood sugar numbers

If your fasting blood sugar (glucose) is greater than 126 mg/dl, or your non fasting blood sugar is greater than 200 mg/dl, you may be considered diabetic.  Pre-diabetes occurs when the fasting blood sugar is between 100 and 125 mg/dl.  If ignored, and the sugar rises, pre-diabetics may go on to develop diabetes.

 

dmp-blood-sugar-levels-chart

Source Diabetesmealplans.com

Preventing/Controlling Diabetes

Experts predict 1/3 of US Adults will be full on diabetic by the year 2050.  Although genetics plays a big role, decreasing one’s sugar intake and maintaining an active lifestyle can help ward off diabetes.

Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates increase one’s risk, so a diet rich in vegetables and lean meats is preferred.

For more information, visit http://www.diabetes.org/.

 

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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

Always Itchy? Could be Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria

Whether its a rash, allergy or hives, we itch and it can become very comfortable and annoying.  But the need to scratch usually goes away and we can go about our day.

Yet some don’t get the relief that most of us do and hives plague them almost daily.  This may be chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU).

CIU is known as hives (urticaria) that occur almost daily without a known cause (idiopathic).  Hives are a reaction caused by an allergy- triggered histamine release, which in turn causes blood vessels to leak resulting in swelling and the need to scratch.

Sporadic hives affect 20% of the population, but less than 1% may have CIU. Women appear to be more affected than men, and the average age of onset is between 20-40.

Many with CIU have an underlying autoimmune thyroid disorder and some may suffer from a rheumatological illness such as lupes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Since CIU is idiopathic, we do not know the cause. Allergy and Immunology specialists evaulate patients for triggers such as mold, pet dander, pollen, food and latex.  However, frequently, hives may be caused by the following:

Tight fitting clothing, such as slimming underwear

Cold weather

Heat

Alcohol

Sunlight

Exercise

Food preservatives

Aritifical coloring

Medications

Stress

Chronic infection including gum disease

CIU may affect a patient for years.  However avoidance of triggers and antihistamine/allergy medications may provide some relief.

Emmy® Award-winning actress and comedienne Vicki Lawrence suffers from CIU.  On CIUandYou.com, she states, “My allergist tested me for everything but we still couldn’t figure out a cause for the hives. It was so frustrating to keep searching for a cause. And as much as I was seeking answers, I wasn’t getting any, and wasn’t getting any relief either. Weeks passed, but the hives didn’t. Friends and family offered suggestions and their own explanations but they didn’t understand what I was going through.”

vicki lawrence.jpg

She shares her story on the Dr. Daliah Show this week.

For more information on CIUandYou, please visit here.

 

                                                                                                       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, weather

Thunderstorm Asthma Risks Rise During Monsoon Season

While monsoon season brings shifts in temperatures, it also brings heavy winds and thunderstorms.

Yet for an asthmatic this can be exceptionally dangerous.

“Thunderstorm Asthma” is a term used when a very windy storm can induce an asthmatic attack.

Last year, nine people died in Melbourne, Australia after a thunderstorm precipitated respiratory difficulties.

The storm, its believed, caused pollen particles to swell and rupture into much smaller particles, which were dispersed by wind.  The theory is that the immediate propulsion of much smaller (and more numerous) particles into one’s lungs was the recipe for asthma disaster.

We first learned of “thunderstorm asthma” in the 1980’s when epidemics occurred in parts of Europe, Australia and Iran. Environmental conditions change and asthma allergens meet the unsuspecting lungs.

Asthma is a respiratory condition in which inflammation causes the airways to narrow, restricting air flow and causing wheezing, shortness of breath and cough.  This bronchoconstriction can be deadly if the patient doesn’t receive enough oxygen. Bronchodilators, such as albuterol are used to dilate the airways and steroids are commonly given to decrease the inflammation.

If someone has baseline asthma, a storm forecast should warrant preparatory measures, including ensuring one has plenty of inhalers, and seeing their provider to determine if they are vulnerable to “tipping over”.  Many feel a false sense of security with rain as they believe it will wash away the dust.  As Melbourne witnessed, a thunderstorm can be just as deadly.

 

A variety of factors can cause asthma attacks including:

Pollen

Smoke

Alcohol

Cold air

Dust mites

Mold

Pet dander

Exercise

Laughing

Stress

Acid reflux/heartburn

Aspirin

Air fresheners, perfume, scents

Traffic and pollution

and more.

 

As we see, asthma is not solely caused by a Spring time flower particle. A variety of issues can trigger an attack.  If its sudden, unexpected, stressful and carries a concentrated variety of particles, this combination can be deadly.  Hence “thunderstorm asthma” can be a lung’s perfect storm…….

 

                                                                                                       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

Alleged Plane Evacuation Due to Fart: Can Farts Cause Illness?

On Sunday, a report surfaced stating an American Airlines jet evacuated all their passengers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport when a passenger “passed gas”, making other passengers sick.  Airline officials however refuted it saying the plane was not evacuated and a medical call came in because of an “odor” on a plane.

Many passengers complained of nausea and headaches, which brings up the question: If someone did pass gas, can farts make you sick?

What’s in a fart?

Flatus, or flatulence, is commonly called a “fart”.  Flatus is made up of multiple gases obtained from swallowing and produced by the microbes lining the intestine. These include hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and methane.

Flatus odor, however, is caused from minor sulfur gas components including hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide and others.

flatus.jpg

Image from Physics Stack Exchange

Can farts make you sick?

Studies have found that bacteria passed from flatus will grow on a petrie dish but that clothes provide a filter.  Reports of pink eye being obtained from a pillow case soiled in flatus are anecdotal.

However, nausea and headaches can happen.  The hydrogen sulfide, depending on the dose, can cause headaches, nausea, skin and eye irritation.  In toxic doses, hydrogen sulfide (which has the characteristic rotten egg odor) can cause convulsions, delirium and death.  But hydrogen sulfide comprises such a minute amount in flatus that no one would become that ill by smelling it.

Can farts be beneficial?

For the farter, yes.  It assists in movement of the stool and passing it can help prevent bloating and constipation.  However for the recipient of the smell, it may be beneficial too.

In 2014, a study from Exeter University, found the hydrogen sulfide in gas to HELP cells recover from mitochondrial damage, allowing their energy powerhouses to continue working. Researchers believe this could help repair the damage in heart disease, stroke, dementia and many other diseases.

Yet before you ask your buddy to do you a solid, wait for more research. And if you need to exit a plane due to fart smell, breathe into your shirt and wait until the plane lands before disembarking.    I think many of us can admit to loads of experience 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