Healthy Living

Beware the hype on breast thermography

December 15th, 2010 - By Nara Schoenberg, Chicago Tribune (MCT)

If the Internet buzz about a pain-free, radiation-free alternative to mammography sounds too good to be true, there’s a reason for that.

Breast thermography—recently touted as the “best breast test” by Oprah favorite Dr. Christiane Northrup, writing in the Huffington Post—has never been proven effective for routine breast cancer screening in a large-scale, randomized study, experts say. The FDA has never approved it for that purpose and in 2009 issued a warning letter accusing an Idaho health care provider of marketing thermography as a mammogram replacement.

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Crown Point native writes book about surviving breast cancer

December 13th, 2010 - By Jane Ammeson

Sarah Demmon conquered her fear of water by joining Indy Survivoars, a group of breast cancer survivors that race dragon boats. The group's mission is to provide breast cancer survivors with a strong message of hope. (Photograph provided.)

Sarah Demmon conquered her fear of water by joining Indy Survivoars, a group of breast cancer survivors that race dragon boats. The group's mission is to provide breast cancer survivors with a strong message of hope. (Photograph provided.)

For Sarah Demmon, the toughest time during her bout with breast cancer was the interim period between the initial diagnosis and getting the test results back which would tell her how far the cancer had spread.

“It’s very emotional,” says Demmon, a 1988 graduate of Crown Point High School who works as senior research scientist at a pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis. “You don’t know what to do and what to expect.”

As a breast cancer survivor, Demmon decided she wanted to help other women who were diagnosed with the disease. “My whole intent is to help in a very frank and honest way,” says Demmon, who has written Thanks for the Mammaries: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story (Strategic Publishing 2010; $11). “I have a dry sense of humor and can be sarcastic.”

Aspirin may cut cancer deaths, but caution urged

December 11th, 2010 - By Associated Press

Pill

A new report from British scientists suggests that long-term, low-dose aspirin use may modestly reduce the risk of dying of certain cancers, though experts warn the study isn’t strong enough to recommend healthy people start taking a pill that can cause bleeding and other problems.

In a new observational analysis published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet, Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford and colleagues looked at eight studies that included more than 25,000 patients and estimated that aspirin use cut the risk of death from certain cancers by 20 percent.

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Keep bedbugs at bay

December 7th, 2010 - By Katy Moeller, McClatchy Newspapers

If you itch just thinking about bedbugs, here’s something to help you sleep at night: These blood-suckers—which don’t carry disease as mosquitoes and ticks do—can’t fly or jump onto your head or clothes.

They crawl. So, if you’re paying attention, you will see them coming. And if you’re vigilant when you return home from out-of-town trips, you won’t accidentally import them into your house.

“They don’t move real fast, but they are relentless,” said Jeffrey Weier, an entomologist who has been in pest control for nearly 40 years.

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Study says even being a bit overweight is risky

December 5th, 2010 - By The Associated Press

obesityrate

Lugging around a few extra pounds? One of the largest studies to look at health and weight finds that you don’t have to be obese to raise your risk of premature death. Merely being overweight carries some risk, too.

Obesity increases the risk of death from heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. But whether being merely overweight contributes to an early death as well has been uncertain and controversial. Some research has suggested being a little pudgy has little effect or can even be a good thing.

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How to behave after a sleepless night

December 2nd, 2010 - By Alison Johnson, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (MCT)

Yawning

After a night of tossing and turning, the next day is exhausting—and seemingly endless. Sleep specialists say you can feel a bit better, and improve your odds of a good sleep the next night, with these steps:

Don’t hit the caffeine hard. In fact, cut off all caffeine after 2 p.m. “Caffeine may increase irritability, make falling asleep at night difficult or cause frequent waking during the night,” says Dr. Martha Boulos, a neurologist at the Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton, Va. “Then you can fall into a bad cycle and mess up your whole week of sleep.”

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Munster teen takes cancer to task

November 30th, 2010 - By Carmen McCollum

Narayan

Munster High School senior Santhosh Narayan is a few steps closer to winning a big scholarship.

On November 20, he won the regional title in the prestigious Siemens Competition in math, science and technology. Narayan, who is working with a pair of students from New York, won the team category and shared in a $6,000 scholarship for their materials science/nanoscience project. The trio now advances to the finals December 3 through 6 in Washington, D.C. where the winning team will share in a $100,000 scholarship.

Narayan is thrilled to be part of the competition. Narayan said his desire to conduct cancer research was awakened when the illness affected a high school coach whom he knows well. In April, Narayan applied to and was accepted into the Garcia Summer Scholars research program at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York.

He began his research, which is titled Engineering Nanoscale Biosensors with Thermoreversible Hydrogels for a Dual Therapy of Cancer Detection and Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery.

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Why no sleek testing devices for diabetics?

November 28th, 2010 - By Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune (MCT)

The week Apple sold its 100 millionth iPod, Amy Tenderich sat down and wrote an open letter to the company’s chief executive, Steve Jobs.

Tenderich, then 37 and a newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic, was frustrated that medical devices weren’t as subtle and slick as portable music players. “Most of (our) devices are clunky, make weird alarm sounds, are hard to use and burn quickly through batteries,” she wrote on her blog, diabetesmine.com. “Their design doesn’t hold a candle to the iPod.”

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Study suggests mammograms under 50 if family risk

November 25th, 2010 - By Associated Press

Women in their 40s with a moderate family risk of breast cancer should get yearly mammograms, a new study suggests.

Though such testing is standard procedure in the U.S., women in Europe who have an intermediate family risk are not always offered screening if they are under 50.

British researchers followed 6,710 women under 50 who had a moderate breast cancer risk—meaning women who meet criteria such as having one close female relative who had breast cancer in her 40s or younger. Such woman have double to triple the risk of having breast cancer as the average woman.

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How to avoid childhood allergies

November 22nd, 2010 - By Alison Johnson, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (MCT)

Many cases of food allergies and eczema—a skin condition marked by itchy rashes—are unavoidable. But dermatologists say these steps may help reduce your child’s risks:

Consider your pregnancy diet. Babies whose mothers eat peanuts are more likely to test positive for peanut allergies, and the same may be true for eggs and egg allergies, according to a recently published article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. However, previous studies have had conflicting results. Talk to your doctor.

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