Posted in Health, Hepatitis, news

Is Friday the 13th Risky For Your Health?

When Friday the 13th comes around tales of its unluckiness pervade the workplace, school, home and anywhere someone feels like warning others that doom is pending.

But as a doctor, I have yet to find scientific evidence that a certain day of the week landing on the number “13” would incite Armageddon.

Its roots have been hypothesized to come from Jesus’ last supper, in which he had 12 apostles at his dinner table, with Judas being the 13th member to arrive.  And when Jesus was crucified on a Friday, both “Friday” and “13” have since inspired negative emotions.

The “fear” aspect to “Friday the 13th” might have originated centuries ago but most notoriously was dramatized by the movies starring Jason, a mass murderer.  Hence today we have the notion that Friday the 13th will bring bad luck in any way, shape or form.

So the question lies, is this day attributed to health risks?

Well in 1993, Scanlon et al looked at car accidents in the UK that occurred on Friday the 6th vs Friday the 13th and found despite less cars on the road, hospital admissions for accidents were significantly higher on the latter day. They concluded: Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended.

Funny-Car-Accident-On-Tree-In-India.jpg

Then a study done in Finland in 2002 found women to be more at risk than men on Friday the 13th when it came to traffic accidents.  They state:

An estimated 38% of traffic deaths involving women on this day were attributable to Friday the 13th itself.
CONCLUSIONS:
Friday the 13th may be a dangerous day for women, largely because of anxiety from superstition. The risk of traffic deaths on this date could be reduced by one-third, although the absolute gain would remain very small: only one death per 5 million person-days.

However Dr. Bruce Lo from Eastern Virginia Medical School and colleagues looked to dispel the myth of Friday the 13th health risks and found the date did not make a difference when it came to multiple different medical conditions, with the one exception of “penetrating trauma.”

So my opinion…..superstition breeds anxiety and anxiety breeds accidents.  Chilling when it comes to the odd number Friday would probably be what this doctor orders.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Posted in cancer, Entertainment, Health, news

Eddie Money Dies at Age 70 After Battling Esophageal Cancer

70 year-old music legend, Edward Mahoney “Eddie Money”, who last month revealed in a video released by his realty TV series “Real Money” that he had stage 4 esophageal cancer, has sadly passed.

Per Variety: A statement provided by his family reads: “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.”

 

He recently underwent heart valve surgery and reports say he also battled pneumonia.

Despite the cancer having had spread to his liver, lymph nodes and stomach, he appeared optimistic in a recent interview saying cancer has come a long way since the 1950’s and 60’s and “everyday above ground is a good day.”

What is esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along the gullet/food pipe.  There are different types such as adenocarcinoma (lower portion near the stomach), more commonly seen in Caucasians, and squamous cell carcinoma (middle to upper esophagus) more commonly seen in African Americans.  It’s the 6th common cause of cancer death worldwide and comprises 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the US.

According to the American Cancer Society, estimates for 2019 include:

  • ABOUT 17,650 NEW ESOPHAGEAL CANCER CASES DIAGNOSED (13,750 IN MEN AND 3,900 IN WOMEN)
  • ABOUT 16,080 DEATHS FROM ESOPHAGEAL CANCER (13,020 IN MEN AND 3,060 IN WOMEN)

a-medical-illustration-of-esophageal-cancer-original.jpg

 

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Early esophageal cancer may not exhibit any signs. However if it progresses, symptoms may include any of the following:

  • abdominal pain
  • heartburn
  • feeling full despite not eating
  • nausea
  • vomiting blood
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • chest pain
  • cough

 

What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?

Although esophageal cancer appears to afflict men more than women, risk factors  include:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Frequent imbibing of hot liquids
  • Obesity
  • Chronic GERD or heartburn that may have led to esophagus lining changes such as Barrett’s Esophagus disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Drinking liquids that contain lye, an alkaline  chemical present in many soaps
  • Prior radiation to the chest

 

What is the prognosis of esophageal cancer?

If caught early and localized, the 5-year survival rate is over 45%. However, if it has spread, the 5 year survival rate can range any where from 5-20%.

 

How is esophageal cancer treated?

There are a variety of treatments for esophageal cancer including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

 

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

Posted in cancer, Health, news, Sports

Golden Knights Shea Theodore Reveals He Has Testicular Cancer

The 24 year old defenseman for the Golden Knights is recovering from surgery after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Shea Theodore in a story in the Player’s Tribune stated that during routine screening an hCG hormone test came up positive which commonly is seen in pregnant women, but could also be a sign of testicular cancer. This triggered his doctors to look for an abnormality.  A testicular ultrasound confirmed a 5mm X 5 mm lump, half the size of a pencil eraser and was set up for surgery.

He writes:

After the surgery, when the doctors were able to do a biopsy on the mass in my testicle, they found that it was a mixed germ cell tumor: embryonal and seminoma, stage I. While the embryonal component can be very aggressive and spread to abdominal lymph nodes, mine was caught early because of the comprehensive blood testing they conduct at the Worlds. 

Stage I testicular cancer (not spread beyond the testicles), found early has a 99% survival rate after 5 years.

This is a developing story…..

 

Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect young men, aged 15-44.

Yet the USPSTF has reviewed the evidence for screening for testicular cancer and has recommended AGAINST routine screening.

However, many medical providers still urge young men to do self testicular checks monthly.

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include any of the following:

  • Testicular lump
  • Testicular pain or heaviness
  • Testicular swelling
  • Numbness or tingling in the area of the testicle
  • Breast swelling
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal or groin pain
  • and more

 

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The earlier testicular cancer is found, the higher the survival rate.  This year, cancer.net predicts 9,310 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in the US.

 

 

 

 

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

Posted in Health, news, vaping

Vitamin E Acetate Linked to Vaping Illness

The CDC is currently investigating close to 450 cases of vaping related illness and 5 reported deaths.  A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found evidence of a lipoid pneumonia in a case where a 21 year old became sick after vaping nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) daily.

Macrophages, which are scavengers that rid the body of pathogens and other harmful substances in the body, were found to be “lipid-laden”, or full of a fatty substance. They suspect this fatty substance to be caused by inhalation of Vitamin E acetate that was only present in marijuana vaping products and not the average nicotine e-cig.  Vitamin E is commonly used in hand creams, moisturizers and as a supplement due to its oily nature, but is not to be inhaled.

Since the lungs are designed to oxygenate the lungs and exchange out carbon dioxide, oily substances can clog the works.

Experts say the Vitamin E acetate is not believed to be apart of regular e-cigarettes that do not vape THC, the psychoactive component to marijuana.

This is a developing story….

____________________________________________

 

Vaping linked to seizures

The FDA is investigating 127 reports of seizures in e-cigarette users (up from 35 this Spring).

Many were teenagers and young adults.

Since 2010 the agency has received multiple reports but is unclear if e-cigarettes actually caused the seizures or if there were underlying medical conditions predisposing the neurological disorder.

The 92 additional cases since this April is concerning and the FDA is working to determine if vaping contributes contributes directly to serious neurological conditions.

In April FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb tweeted:

While we’re still learning about the long-term potential benefits and health risks of e-cigs, existing scientific research offers some clear evidence that several of the dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke are also present in the aerosol of some e-cig products.

Dr. Ned Sharpless, current acting FDA Commissioner, is encouraging people to report adverse events as, “Additional reports or more detailed information about these incidents are vital to help inform our analysis and may help us identify common risk factors and determine whether any specific e-cigarette product attributes, such as nicotine content or formulation, may be more likely to contribute to seizures,” (Reported by CNBC).

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

 

Nicotine toxicity has been linked to seizures.  E-cigs sometimes contain more nicotine than cigarettes alone.

 

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A study published by the American Heart Association found nine different E-cig flavors  to impair blood vessel function, which can impair heart health.

Endothelial cells, which delicately line blood and lymph vessels, were found to become inflamed at low concentrations of some vapor flavors.  And at high concentrations of others, exibited cell death.  Nitric oxide production, necessary for vessel dilation to improve blood flow, was impaired as well. These are often the same changes seen in early heart disease.

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The 9 flavors (and the chemicals within) cited in the report to cause the endothelial inflammation and/or damage were:

  • Mint (menthol)
  • Vanilla (vanillin)
  • Clove (eugenol)
  • Cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde)
  • Strawberry (dimethylpyrazine)
  • Banana (isoamyl acetate)
  • Butter (diacetyl)
  • Eucalyptus/spicy cooling (eucalyptol)
  • Burnt flavor (acetylpyridine)

Strawberry flavoring appeared to have the most adverse effect on the cells.

Now many other flavors were not included in this study, so its unknown how safe they may be.

For more on the study, read here.

An alternate study published last November looked at vaping flavors and their effects on heart muscle cells.

For more on this study, read here.

The moral?  Just because we love the taste of something, doesn’t mean its safe to inhale.

___________________________________________________________________

Vaping Linked to Heart Disease and Cancer

 

A study from New York University found the nicotine in electronic cigarettes to cause DNA damage similar to cigarette smoking.

Dr. Moon-shong Tang and his colleagues exposed mice to e-cig smoke during a three-month period, 5 days a week for three hours a day.  They found these mice, compared to those breathing filtered air, to have DNA damage to cells in their bladders, lungs and hearts. The amount of nicotine inhaled was approximately 10mg/ml.   That dose would be commonly consumed by many humans who vape.

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They then looked at human bladder and lung cells and found tumor cells were able to grow more easily once exposed to nicotine and vaping chemicals.

Last May, researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville found e-cig smoke to increase one’s risk of bladder cancer.

In 2015, the University of Minnesota identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:

  • Formaldehyde (human carcinogen)
  • Acetaldehyde (carcinogen related to alcohol drinking)
  • Acrolein (highly irritating and toxic)
  • Toluene (toxic) NNN, NNK (tobacco carcinogens related to nicotine)
  • Metals (possible carcinogens and toxins)

Although electronic cigarette “juice” may appear safe, it could produce harmful chemicals once heated to become a vapor.

A lethal dose of nicotine for an adult ranges from 30-60 mg and varied for children (0.5-1.0 mg/kg can be a lethal dosage for adults, and 0.1 mg/kg for children).  E-cigs, depending on their strengths (0 – 5.4%) could contain up to 54 mg of nicotine per cartridge (a 1.8% e -cig would contain 18mg/ml).

The topic of nicotine increasing one’s vulnerability to cancer is nothing new as decades ago researchers found nicotine to affect the cilia (brush border) along the respiratory tree, preventing mucous production and a sweeping out of carcinogens trying to make their way down to the lungs.

More research needs to be performed but this recent report reminds us that exposing our delicate lung tissue and immune system to vaping chemicals may not be as safe as we think.

For more on the study read here.

Toxic metals found in vaping liquid

Last week, experts warned that many chemicals in vaping liquid may change to toxic substances (once heated) that can irritate the lungs.

Last year one study reported that toxic levels of lead and other metals may leak from the heating coil element into the vapor inhaled during e-cig use.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found these metals to include:

  • lead
  • nickel
  • manganese
  • chromium
  • arsenic

We’ve known for some time that vaping fluid could contain chemicals that turn toxic once heated, but this study shed light on e-cig metal components causing metal leakage to the vapor making contact with delicate respiratory epithelium (lining).

Reported by Forbes, Rich Able, a medical device marketing consultant, stated the following, “the FDA does not currently test any of the most popular vaping and e-cigarette instruments being manufactured at unregulated factories in Asia that source  low-grade parts, batteries, and materials for the production of these devices,” suggesting that “the metal and parts composition of these devices must be stringently tested for toxic analytes and corrosive compounds.”

These chemicals may act as neurotoxins, affecting our nervous system, cause tissue necrosis (cell death) and even multi-organ failure.  Moreover they can affect how our immune system reacts to other chemicals as well as foreign pathogens, affecting our ability to fight other diseases.

Although studies have suggested e-cig vapor to be safer than tobacco smoke, not enough research has been done, in the relatively few years vaping has been around, looking at how heat-transformed chemicals and leaked metals affect our breathing, lungs and other organs once absorbed into the body.

 

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

Posted in football, Health, news, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to Pick this Week’s Winners

The NFL Injury Report tells us all we need to know to make our picks.

For years I’ve been dissecting the NFL Injury Report and predicting who would win during the playoffs and Superbowl. When you’re a doctor who loves football, it’s not that difficult.

So my success has prompted me to make the risky move of posting my strategy and results.  There are varying levels of theory, just like layers of the epidermis.  And each deeper layer of prediction should confirm the simpler ones.  But if I can’t scientifically deduce the winner, I wing it.

Method 1 – Number game

Let’s take for example Thursday night’s game between the Packers and the Bears.  According the NFL injury report, there were 3 injuries reported for both teams, but an additional 3 Packers had limited or participation in practice. If specific injuries are not listed, we can sometimes count how many did not participate in practice.  A novice may just say 3 is less than 6 so the Bears will win.  But as a physician, this is not good enough.  We need to also look at the types of injuries.

Method 2 – Anatomy counts

According to the NFL Injury report, with Game 1 of the season, the Packers sustained injuries to the chest, hamstring and neck.  The Bears, however sustained injuries to the  groin, elbow and knee.  Yes, Lawrence Burton’s groin injury is very telling. Why?

Think about when you were playing football.  If you hurt a finger you still played.  If you sprained your knee, you toughed it out. But what happened when you sustained a groin injury.  You were leveled.  Probably couldn’t even get up.  So any injury involving the groin is physically devastating for a player, and from a psychological standpoint, the whole team.

If a groin injury specifically is not incurred and reported by the NFL injury report, then you look at the injuries closest to the groin.  A head injury is also very concerning so that will come after groin.  Hence the scale from most devastating to least in terms of injured body parts listed is:

Groin < head/concussion < hip< < glute < quad < hamstring  < eye < abdomen < chest < knee < shoulder < calf < arm < ankle < foot < wrist < hand < finger < toe.  

The Bear’s groin injury, according to our scale, was the most significant, so the team unfortunately wasn’t looking very good for Thursday night’s game.

 

Method 3 – Colors 

In case of a tie….meaning both teams sustained equal numbers of groin injuries or subsequent proximal body parts, we look to the main colors of the Jersey.  Black, Blue, Green and Yellow will fare worse than White and Red, Brown. In medicine, Black may happen with necrosis, Blue is associated with hypoxia, Green- mucous, Yellow – gonorrhea.  White and Red are fairly routine and healthy colors in medicine (bones and blood).  Silver and Purple are colors that are fairly neutral as we usually don’t see those colors on a routine basis in medicine unless with hair.

Therefore, the color scale from most problematic to least is:

Black < Blue < Yellow < Green < Orange < Purple < Silver < White < Red.

Again this is only used if predictions cannot be made due to an anatomical tie.  Again I must stress we do not use the color method unless we are unable to predict using the NFL injury report.

With Thursday night’s game, the Packers wore white and the Bears wore blue.   So based on jersey color, the Bears were again at a disadvantage.

Hence we saw the Packers start their season with a victory.

So what will happen this Sunday?  Let’s use what we learned to predict the winners!!

Football Fans May Be More Successful Lovers

 

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Rams vs. Panthers

Panther’s are reporting a concussion injury

Prediction:  Rams

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Titans vs Browns

Titan’s double knee injury compared to a Brown’s hamstring…..

Prediction:  Too close to call

********************************

Chiefs vs. Jaguars

The Jags’ multiple injuries make them no match

Prediction:  Chiefs

********************************

Ravens vs. Dolphins

The Dolphins have injured everything but their dorsal fins…

Prediction:  Ravens

********************************

Falcons vs Vikings

Stefon Diggs’ hamstring injury puts the Vikings at a huge disadvantage

Prediction:  Falcons

********************************

Bills vs Jets

Too many injuries close to Jets’ groins

Prediction:  Bills

********************************

Redskins vs Eagles

Concussions may sink the Skins

Prediction: Eagles

********************************

Colt’s vs Chargers

Groin injury vs losing your quarterback…..

Prediction:  Too Close Too Call

********************************

Bengal’s vs Seahawks

Concussion listed for the Bengals

Prediction: Seahawks

********************************

Lions Vs Cardinals

Even number of joints on this one…

Prediction:  Too Close To Call

********************************

Giant’s vs Cowboys

Hamstrings are too close to the groin for comfort

Prediction:  Cowboys

********************************

49’ers and Buccaneers

Not sure what to make of Evan’s illness, but I’ll assume its a cold

Prediction:  Bucks

********************************

Steelers vs Patriots

Patriots just signed Antonio Brown…..they’re going to the Superbowl

Prediction: Patriots

______________________________________________________________________________________

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

 

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

Joe Biden’s Eye Turns “Bloody” During Townhall: Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Explained

Reports of former Vice President Joe Biden’s eye turning “bloody” surfaced this week.  He was speaking at a CNN hosted town hall on climate change when reporters noticed his left eye turned blood red.

 

Biden-Eye-640x335.jpg

The condition however is called a “subconjunctival hemorrhage” and is harmless, but needs some explanation.

What is a subconjunctival hemorrhage?

The conjunctival is a vascular membrane that lines the eye and lids.  When a blood vessel breaks, hemorrhages, it appears dark beefy red over a portion of the white part of the eye.

conjunc.jpg

Sometimes these hemorrhages occur when one incurs trauma to the eye or rubs it aggressively, but most often it occurs spontaneously within a week or two as the blood gets cleared by body mechanisms.

However, of note, a subconjunctival hemorrhage could happen when blood pressure rises, such as during a sneeze, laugh, strain when stooling, or cough.  It could also happen if one has a bleeding disorder, or inability to clot.

Although the subconjunctival hemorrhage is benign, those who incur one might consider having their blood pressure checked and labs to ensure they have strong clotting abilities.

 

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

Posted in children, food, Health, news

Child Goes “Blind” From Junk Food Diet: The Growing Malnourishment Epidemic

A case report in Annals of Internal Medicine describes a teen who went “blind” from a junk food diet.

A 14 year-old boy described as a “fussy eater” presented to his doctor with fatigue after years of eating meals rich in fries, white bread, chips and processed meat.  He was told to take supplements when they found him to be iron and B12 deficient but progressively over the next 3 years he began to suffer from vision loss.  Upon lab testing he was found to be deficient in iron, copper, selenium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B 12. And upon further testing was found to suffer from optic neuropathy.

He was further treated with supplements and now is under the care of specialists including nutritionists and eating disorder specialists.

His condition stabilized but reportedly he still has deficits such as blind spots  in the middle of his vision (central scotomata), rendering him “legally blind.”

This wasn’t the first case of nutritional optic neuropathy.

optic neuropathy.jpg

Above is a picture of the fundi of a 28 year-old male who suffered from central vision loss as a result of his diet which consisted of heavy alcohol use.  The progression of his disease has stabilized with intervention but he too has had to learn to adapt to his central scotomata.

Our eyes need vitamins such as A, a variety of B’s, C, E, and omega-3 fatty acids to name a few.  Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and for protection against diabetes and cancer.

Most fast food is rich in carbohydrates, fats, salt and preservatives, and lacking in rich nutrients and amino acids.

So comes the question, are the majority of our youth “malnourished?”

Unless our children are eating diets rich is fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy and health fats, they could be at risk of not receiving vital nutrition.

vitamins.png

Vitamin supplementation helps but may not satisfy all the nutritional needs of a growing child.  Hence in addition to the millions of children who suffer from malnourishment due to poverty, millions more are expected to suffer similarly as a result of poor diet choices.

This is a developing story.

 

 

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Great Gift!!!

The Ultimate Medical Student HandBook

 

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