This recommendation comes on the heels of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which found a 30 percent increase in whooping cough cases (17,325) from January to mid-August this year as compared with the same period last year.
Continue reading Whooping cough vaccine recommended for pregnant women amid spike in cases,
Loyola University Health System News, 9 September 2014.
Long-term use of pills for anxiety and sleep problems may be linked to Alzheimer’s, case-control study / research suggests
To investigate the relation between the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and exposure to benzodiazepines started at least five years before, considering both the dose-response relation and prodromes (anxiety, depression, insomnia) possibly linked with treatment.
The Quebec health insurance program database (RAMQ).
1796 people with a first diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and followed up for at least six years before were matched with 7184 controls on sex, age group, and duration of follow-up. Both groups were randomly sampled from older people (age >66) living in the community in 2000-09.
Main outcome measure
The association between Alzheimer’s disease and benzodiazepine use started at least five years before diagnosis was assessed by using multivariable conditional logistic regression. Ever exposure to benzodiazepines was first considered and then categorised according to the cumulative dose expressed as prescribed daily doses (1-90, 91-180, >180) and the drug elimination half life.
Benzodiazepine ever use was associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (adjusted odds ratio 1.51, 95% confidence interval 1.36 to 1.69; further adjustment on anxiety, depression, and insomnia did not markedly alter this result: 1.43, 1.28 to 1.60). No association was found for a cumulative dose 180 prescribed daily doses) and with the drug half life (1.43 (1.27 to 1.61) for short acting drugs and 1.70 (1.46 to 1.98) for long acting ones).
Benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The stronger association observed for long term exposures reinforces the suspicion of a possible direct association, even if benzodiazepine use might also be an early marker of a condition associated with an increased risk of dementia. Unwarranted long term use of these drugs should be considered as a public health concern.
Sources and More Information:
Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study, BMJ 2014;349:g5205, 09 September 2014.
Anxiety and sleeping pills ‘linked to dementia’, BBC News Health, health-29127726, 10 September 2014.
Sleeping pills taken by millions linked to Alzheimer’s, The Daily Telegraph Health, healthnews/11083674, 10 Sep 2014.
Prescription sleeping pills taken by more than one million Britons ‘can raise chance of developing Alzheimer’s by 50%’, Daily Mail, health/article-2750042, 10 September 2014.
Prescription sleeping pills linked to Alzheimer’s risk, NHS Choices, Neurology, September 10, 2014.
Cancer, perhaps the biggest stymie to modern medicine, is also preventable in most cases. This is good news depending on how you look at it…
” Cholera, diarrhea, tuberculosis – some of the most deadly diseases to plague the human race throughout history are all preventable in some way. Cancer, perhaps the biggest stymie to modern medicine, is also preventable in most cases. This is good news depending on how you look at it.” …
… continue reading The Good News about Cancer
by Erich Scholl, dailyinfographic, MARCH 19, 2014.
Autism treatment at the earliest age when symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear – sometimes in infants as young as 6 months old – significantly reduces symptoms so that, by age 3, most who received the therapy had neither ASD nor developmental delay, a UC Davis MIND Institute research study has found.
Read Intervention in 6-month-olds with autism ameliorates symptoms, alleviates developmental delay, University of California – Davis Health System, NEWS, September 8, 2014.
” There is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency sweeping across our modern world, and it’s an epidemic of such depth and seriousness that it makes the H1N1 swine flu epidemic look like a case of the sniffles by comparison. Vitamin D deficiency is not only alarmingly widespread, it’s also a root cause of many other serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.
NHS cancer services in England are at a “tipping point” in the wake of years of efficiency savings and the recent NHS reforms
NHS cancer services in England are at tipping point as staff fight a brave ‘rear-guard action’ to keep the services viable for cancer patients, according to a new report commissioned by Cancer Research UK and conducted by experts at the University of Birmingham and the company ICF CHK Consulting.
The research highlights a number of concerns and key challenges facing the NHS:
A rising demand for services and a lack of capacity to respond to this demand;
Due to the removal of the National Cancer Action Team and cancer networks, there has been a loss of leadership capacity at national and local level;
A fragmentation of commissioning across the patient pathway;
Wide variation in the roles and responsibilities of new NHS organisations and the need to rebuild relationships and regain expertise.
More than 1.4 million patients in England were referred by their GPs with suspected cancer in 2013-14 – a 50% increase from 2009-10. But there is no longer the capacity to respond to this demand, according to the report…
Sources and More Information:
Measuring up? The health of NHS cancer services, Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham and ICF GHK Consulting, (full 66 pages report), September 2014.
NHS cancer services need increased investment or ‘cracks will begin to show’, Cancer Research UK press release, 8 September 2014.
NHS cancer services struggling, says charity, BBC News, health-29107762, 8 September 2014.
Pesticide risk assessments seen as biased, experts advise
A September 2014 press release revealed that a team of ecotoxicologists from AIBS examined how the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency’s) carried out their evaluations on pesticide safety. The group argued that the agency’s current practices are inadequate and biased, which could potentially jeopardize the environment and the health of both humans and animals…
Pesticide use results in the widespread distribution of chemical contaminants, which necessites regulatory agencies to assess the risks to environmental and human health. However, risk assessment is compromised when relatively few studies are used to determine impacts, particularly if most of the data used in an assessment are produced by a pesticide’s manufacturer, which constitutes a conflict of interest. Here, we present the shortcomings of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide risk assessment process, using the recent reassessment of atrazine’s impacts on amphibians as an example. We then offer solutions to improve the risk assessment process, which would reduce the potential for and perception of bias in a process that is crucial for environmental and human health.
Sources and More Information:
Pesticide Regulation amid the Influence of Industry, BioScience, doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu138, September 3, 2014
Pesticide risk assessments seen as biased, experts advise, ScienDaily, 140903121850, 3 September 2014.
Does EPA favors industry when assessing chemical dangers?, NewsWeek, 03 Sep 2014.
Report Calls out the EPA’s Pesticide Evaluation Practices, Counsel&Heal, 11158/20140903, Sep 03, 2014.
Exposure to DES also results in an increased risk of breast cancer in the offspring
The use of diethylstilbestrol (DES) for high risk pregnancy has exposed millions of mothers to an increased risk of breast cancer, and also resulted in a generation of women with genital tract abnormalities, such as vaginal adenosis. It is still too early to say that exposure to DES will also result in an increased risk of breast cancer in the offspring, though there is some preliminary evidence to support this. The employment of optimal hormonal therapy (for breast cancer) in this special population may be hampered by the fact that agents with oestrogen agonistic activity (such as tamoxifen) may be contraindicated. Though some of the newer hormonal agents, such as the pure anti-oestrogen Fulvestrant and the aromatase inhibitors, could be considered interesting alternatives for postmenopausal patients, their safety in this population has never been evaluated. Finally, the prevalence prenatal exposure to DES may have been underestimated patients diagnosed with breast cancer, though this information might have major implications in their management. We report on the interesting example of a young woman with a history of vaginal adenosis, who was also diagnosed with early breast cancer.
Management of breast cancer in patients prenatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol: are we prepared? NCBI, PMID: PubMed 16216745, Oct 2005.