The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued guidelines on how to limit radiation from cell phone use which may cause cancer.
For years we’ve contemplated over cell phones causing cancer, specifically brain cancer. Each year a study debunks this theory, but months later a report surfaces that reignite the debate. And no matter how many studies disprove a cancer link, we worry because we are 24/7 glued to our phones, or the phones are glued to us. Many of us don’t even own a landline anymore as we find it financially obtuse to pay monthly fees for a wall jack we don’t use. We take our phones with us to school, work, the dinner table, and even the toilet. If it wasn’t for the lack of waterproofing, many of us would take our phones with us into the shower. We are geographically closer to our phones than own children. Something’s got to bite us in the butt……
Earlier this year a Superior Court Judge in California ordered the state to release papers discussing the risk of long-term cell phone use. According to sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com, “The documents were written by the state’s Environmental Health Investigations branch and are believed to contain cell phone radiation warnings and recommendations for public use. But the state refused to hand them over when requested by a director at University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.” Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D in turn sued the state saying this data should be public record and won. He’s been researching the subject and cited an increased brain cancer risk with cell phone use over 10 years.
Children are the most susceptible with their developing brains. The following recommendations were recommended for both adults and children:
Keeping the phone away from the body
Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
Removing headsets when not on a call
Avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy. These products may actually increase your exposure.
Cell phones emit radio waves. These are a form of non-ionizing radiation that provides an energy source through radio frequency. Ionizing radiation is emitted by x rays, cosmic rays, and radon, and have been linked to cancer as it is a high frequency, high energy form of electromagnetic radiation. Non-ionizing radiation include radio waves, microwaves, visible light, UV light, infrared, and lasers. Although UV radiation may cause skin cancer, the other sources are deemed less dangerous than their ionizing radiation counterparts.
One of the more recent studies unveiled in May of 2016 reported cell phone radiation caused brain tumors in mice. Rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation for 7-9 hours a day, seven days a week, were more prone to develop the malignant gliomas as well has tumors in the heart. This study was not intended to be translated to human risk, but of course it made headlines and scared us silly.
Prior to this, in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cell phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
However, multiple studies have been done, as descriptively outlined by the National Cancer Institute, and are assuring us that there is no imminent danger by our daily use of cell phones. The NCI also provides recommendations from the CDC, FDA, and FCC stating not enough evidence exists to establish a link between cell phones and cancer.
Although arguments continue over cell phone radiation causing cancer, it has been proven that heat is given off. Many people complain their ear gets hot after lengthy cell phone use and studies have yet to determine if cell phone heat can cause oncogenic changes in cells. They’ve studied if the radiation affects metabolic activity, and a team led by Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found visible brain activity changes on the side the cell phone was being used. They recommended after this study keeping the cell phone away from the body and using a lower radiation emitting phone.
We wait and see. My suggestion is to not overdo it with our phones. Use the speaker setting when practical so as to not consistently hug the phone to your skull. Take breaks in between lengthy calls. Text when appropriate to minimize exposure as well.
Or do what I do when I talk to my mother, hold the phone 3 feet away from my head. I can still hear her…..just fine……
The work holiday party is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Free food, free drink and for 4-6 hours you can be in the same room as your boss without any risk of being told “you’re fired”. But…..many of us make mistakes, HUGE mistakes, while tipsy and letting our guard down could be the biggest career buster ever. Plus, there are some missed opportunities the office Holiday party offers to make your overall work life better. So let’s get right down to it.
Your superior in any office setting should be the last one you try to cuddle up to. Good management knows there is ALWAYS someone watching and, these days, recording on their phone, so they do not want to be seen in an uncomfortable situation, appearing to be flirting with you. You can complement them, sure, but hands off!
This gets us all into trouble. Yes the alcohol is usually free and a flow’n but this will lead to your downfall. Your guard is down, you become flirty, you blurt out secrets, those that the whole team knows but would be never caught dead saying……and sometimes the clothes come off on the dance floor. Please drink in moderation.
Never, never, never plan on driving that night if you plan to drink. Car Service, Uber, Taxi, designated drivers are a must.
The next morning will be full of regret as it is, no need to cement it in infamy.
Holiday season is swarming with good parties. And chances are there are two other parties calling your name that same night. Make sure you hit the office party FIRST. You can get too distracted or drunk at the other parties such that you never make it across town, safely. Again, don’t drive if you plan to drink.
This is where I take a fall (as you can see above). A microphone is sitting up on the stage, waiting, just waiting for someone to grab it and spout out some one liners. I fear getting close to it until the head boss makes opening remarks. Then I feel the need to interrupt him and “take over from here”. Let your boss have the mic. He/She’s the head honcho, let them have their glory. They’re paying for the party……
Never, never use this opportunity to gossip. That’s what the staff lounge is for. It’s a positive night. Don’t bring negativity.
You may feel protected with all your work peeps surrounding you but one day he/she will get you alone and ….payback. Instead wishing them some holiday cheer…..may bring out the good in the jerk.
Everyone is watching you so your hopes of secretly hooking up is already circulating social media. If you want to begin a relationship that’s fine, but hoping it's on the down low will never happen. People at parties pretend to be distracted, but someone is always watching.
Never, never, never discuss work at the office Holiday party. And please don’t ask for a raise!!! Will never happen. Even if your boss is drunk, he will forget about it by the New Year.
Being antisocial is not the way to go either. Mix, mingle and look like you’re having a good time. Even if you’re not. If you have to leave early due to boredom, blame it on diarrhea. This may be the only party you EVER get invited to.
Even though they may roll their eyes at you as you compliment them (since anyone volunteering for a planning committee in the first place probably isn’t your best bud at work), they secretly enjoy the complement.
This is the only time your boss and team will see your other talents. Sans beer bonging, show off your talents….dance moves, pipes, even fashion sense…. if you’re good.
Don’t kiss up, but as you thank him, let him know you love your job. This will be a take home message that can go a long way.
This is a no brainer.
It’s the holidays! Let’s celebrate!! Truly the most wonderful time of the year!!!
As the California Wildfires roar into a second week, those residents lucky enough to escape the flames worry what consequences could result in inhaling the smoke.
According to the EPA, smoke emanating from forest and community fires may include any of the following:
Carbon monoxide, which competes with oxygen in the blood
Carbon dioxide, a respiratory byproduct
Acrolein – used as a pesticide
Plastics, and those byproducts after incineration
and thousands of different respiratory irritants.
According to the EPA,
Smoke is composed primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and other organic chemicals, nitrogen oxides, trace minerals and several thousand other compounds. The actual composition of smok depends on the fuel type, the temperature of the fire, and the wind conditions. Different types of wood and vegetation are composed of varying amounts of cellulose, lignin, tannins and other polyphenolics, oils, fats, resins, waxes and starches, which produce different compounds when burned.
Some may have no idea they are breathing in harmful compounds that could affect their lungs and heart. However, many may experience:
Racing Heart (palpitations)
Exacerbation of their lung disease including COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis
Exacerbation of heart conditions such as angina, heart attack, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Increased susceptibility to new lung infections as well as flu
PM2.5 are particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that are present in pollution and wildfire smoke that can penetrate deeply into the lung linings. Larger, coarse particles 10 micrometers in diameter are called PM10. Both impair lung function as they inflame the lungs and interfere with the work of alveoli that need to oxygenate the blood. Moreover the small particles can use this pathway to enter the bloodstream. Although the direct health impacts of the fine particulate matter is not clearly defined it is believed that increased PM2.5 levels increase the risk of lung and heart disease as discussed above.
Symptoms may begin at levels greater than 55 µg/m3 .
Infants and Children
Those with chronic lung disease, including asthma and emphysema
Those at risk for heart disease and stroke
Those with diabetes
Those with chronic allergies
Avoiding the area of wildfires is paramount. Additionally, the following may be considered:
Avoid outdoors until air quality reports improve. Do not rely on how “clear” the air looks.
Take heed of wind and air quality advisories.
Recirculate the air in your home and car.
Keep windows closed.
Consult with your medical provider to monitor blood pressure, heart rhythm, lung function and refill any medications you may need BEFORE you feel symptoms.
Be wary of facemasks sold as PM2.5 safe as many do not protect against the very small particles. Respirator masks labelled N95 or N100 may provide SOME protection against particulates but not against the toxic fumes such as formaldehyde and acrolein.
A new study suggests intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) may fight off the virus that causes cervical cancer.
Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine found the small T-shaped device may stimulate an immune response against the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) virus which causes cervical cancer.
IUDs are a favorite among women as they do not involve taking a daily hormone pill and can provide contraceptive protection for years. There are two main types:
The ParaGard IUD is a non hormonal implant made of copper. The copper wards of sperm allowing contraception up to 12 years.
Hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena, release progestin, a hormone similar to progesterone, to the local environment, thickening the cervical mucous to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Hormonal IUDs may also prevent ovulation. Additionally, IUDs can alter the lining of the uterus such that if a fertilized egg does occur, it may not be able to nest in the uterus without proper lining.
But both IUDs can stimulate an immune response that is both a deterrent to sperm and now suggested to viruses such as HPV.
Vaccines against the HPV virus exist and are given to 11-12 year old girls with the maximum age at which one could receive the vaccine, 26 years old.
If more research confirms this is the case, then those women who have not been vaccinated or are too old to receive the vaccine against cervical cancer may benefit from using an IUD.
The uterus looks similar to a light bulb. The larger top portion being where the fetus develops, and the bottom, narrower area, the cervix. The cervix thins and dilates during childbirth, as you’ve heard in the movies “she’s only 7 cm!” and then after childbirth becomes narrow again. It affects nearly 12,000 and kills 4,000 women each year. It can affect women of any age but is more common between 20 and 50.
The most common cause is HPV (Human Papillomavirus), especially HPV-16 and HPV-18. This is acquired through unprotected sex, so condom use is encouraged. Thus its one of the most preventable causes of cancer. Additionally, there are 3 vaccines for HPV currently approved by the FDA, Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix.
Early cervical cancer may not be symptomatic but as it develops it may cause an odor, pain with urination, pelvic pain and bleeding. This bleeding may occur after sex, a pelvic exam, or intermittent bleeding not associated with a menstrual cycle.
Yes. Early detection is key and can be done by a Pap Smear, explained below. Multiple treatments are available including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy such as Bevacizumab (Avastin®) which prevents new blood vessel growth that can feed a tumor.
Who should get screened for Cervical Cancer?
The USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) recommends the following:
Screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with cytology (Pap smear) every 3 years or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.
It is the cytology (cell analysis) of the cervix. Years ago, a cytobrush would collect the cells and the medical provider would “smear” it onto a slide, place fixative, and then send it to the laboratory for the pathologist to analyze it. Now ThinPrep® Pap tests are used more commonly as the cells from the brush are placed into a container with fixative, and this vial is sent to the pathologist to spin down and analyze.
In order to obtain the cells from the cervix, the medical provider needs to use a speculum to open the vaginal canal and allow access to the uterus. A woman may be in the lithotomy position…lying on one’s back on the exam table with her feet in stirrups and knees bent. During the speculum exam, the medical provider may take cultures to test for common vaginal infections such as yeast, bacteria vaginosis, or sexually transmitted illnesses such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. After the speculum exam, the provider may perform a pelvic exam with her gloved hand to examine the uterus and ovaries, evaluating for tenderness, shape, size and masses.
An HPV test can be done with the cells obtained during the Pap Smear. The laboratory evaluates the cells to see if the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer is present.
In summary the thousands of deaths that occur each year to cervical cancer can be prevented with simple testing, such as the Pap Smear. Discuss with your medical provider when cervical cancer screening is best for you.
A new study out of India suggests both premature balding and graying are linked to heart disease.
Researchers from the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology in Gujarat, India evaluated 2000 men (1200 healthy and 790 with heart disease) and found those who began to lose their hair and hair color before the age of 40 had the following risk elevation when it came to heart disease:
Premature balding 5.6 X risk
Premature graying 5.3 X risk
To put this into perspective, obesity was associated with a 4.1 greater risk. So alopecia (hair loss) and canities (graying/whitening of the hair) appeared to be more of a culprit than one of the most infamous risk factors there is.
This study therefore suggests those before age 40, showing early receding hair lines and gray hair, may want to be evaluated for cardiac risk factors.
In April, a study was presented at the EuroPrevent 2017 conference of the European Society of Cardiology suggested a link between how much a man grays or whitens when he ages and plaque buildup within the coronary arteries, the main arteries that supply the heart muscle.
Those researchers looked at 545 men and evaluated them by the degree of hair whitening where a 1 was given to those with all black hair, up to a 3 with equal amounts of black and gray/white hair, to a 5 where they had all gray/white hair. Computed tomography coronary angiography was used to evaluate the amount of atherosclerosis (plaque build up) in the coronary arteries.
Those men who scored 3 or more appeared to have higher risk of plaque build up. These findings were independent of cardiac risk factors such as age, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and family history of heart disease.
According to lead author in this earlier study, Dr. Irini Samuel, a cardiologist at Cairo University in Egypt stated,
“Atherosclerosis and hair graying occur through similar biological pathways and the incidence of both increases with age. Our findings suggest that, irrespective of chronological age, hair graying indicates biological age and could be a warning sign of increased cardiovascular risk.
More research is needed on cutaneous signs of risk that would enable us to intervene earlier in the cardiovascular disease process.”
She continued, “If our findings are confirmed, standardization of the scoring system for evaluation of hair graying could be used as a predictor for coronary artery disease.”
Our hair color is determined by our melanin production, a combination of pigments (eumelanin and pheomelanin) that can vary, with less eumelanin giving rise to blond hair, more giving rise to brunette hair and pheomelanin responsible for the red, auburn hues.
Melanocytes inject their pigment into the keratin cells that produce hair. As we age these may slow down. Another cause of “going gray” is hydrogen peroxide builds up in the hair follicle, causing oxidative stress, which in turn prevents rich colors from being displayed. The lack of pigment will cause hair to appear white.
Many of us begin to see gray hair in our 30’s. Some in our 20’s. Different ethnicities gray at different ages. If one is gray by age 20 that would be considered very premature.
We’ve heard about stress, hormones, and nutritional deficiencies being linked to loss of hair color, but studies have not been able to prove this definitively.
Researchers are still trying to determine why one would gray faster and what significance it has on our health.
Now one might say “If everyone grays then everyone is at risk for heart disease.” Heart disease is common and the number one killer and graying is almost ubiquitous in the older population. But this study starts to make one wonder if the amount, accelerating of….even the pattern of graying are significant, then this could clue us in on who is at risk for early, preventable, heart disease.
Hair is made in follicles within the skin and grows for about three years until it sheds and new hair grows. Hair loss (alopecia) occurs when hair follicles shrink and smaller, thinner hairs grow, lasting shorter and shorter times.
Genetics play a huge factor, with the most influential genes coming from mother’s X chromosome, which came from her father. So maternal and paternal genes can both be responsible for baldness.
Sex hormones, androgens, can cause male pattern baldness. Medications (such as anabolic steroids), illness such as low thyroid and diabetes, and cancer can cause hair loss as well. A recent study found Prostaglandin D2 protein may block hair growth in those who suffer male pattern baldness. It’s believed 80% of men under 70 will have some receding hairline.
Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:
Family history of heart disease
Personal history of heart disease
High Blood Pressure
Males over 40
Females who are post menopausal
and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.
As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.
Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.
Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:
Maintain a normal blood pressure
Maintain normal blood sugar
Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels
Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
Maintain a healthy weight.
A study finds many Vietnam veterans may have contracted liver flukes decades ago that could now cause pancreatitis, liver disease and/or bile duct cancer.
The Department of Veterans Affairs commissioned a study that looked at bile duct cancer and liver flukes that may have been ingested by veterans while on tour in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
This was in response to a story reported by the Associated Press in which 700 cases, of cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer, were seen in VA facilities over the last 15 years.
The current small study looked at 50 blood samples, finding 20% of which to be positive for liver flukes. Most participants were not aware they were infected. If infection did later lead to cancer, symptoms would come late in the diagnosis.
Tropical medicine specialist, Sung-Tae Hong, from Seoul National University in South Korea, stated he was “surprised” by the results and admits to more research needing to be done.
Cholangiocarcinoma is still rare, however if Vietnam veterans are at increased risk due to their fish consumption while on duty, they need to be followed closely by their medical provider. Stool tests could be done to look for parasite eggs, and blood tests may look for antibodies fighting the infection.
Liver flukes are parasites that infect the liver and bile duct. There are multiple species. The disease Fasciola hepatica and Fasciola gigantica cause is called fascioliasis. Symptoms may range from none to severe liver disease. But the liver flukes associated with bile duct cancer include Opisthorchis viverrini, O. felineus, and Clonorchis sinensis. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs:
The irritation and scarring caused by liver fluke infection can lead to bile duct cancer.
Two parasites are commonly involved. One is Opisthorchis verrini, which is found in Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The other is Clonorchis sinensis, which is common in rural areas of Korea and China.
Eating raw or undercooked fish infected with these parasites introduces the pathogen into the GI system where it can hide out in the liver and bile ducts for decades.
In 2007, Sripa et al discussed how close to 600 million people were at risk of being infected with liver flukes.
In 2011, Lim et al wrote, “More than 35 million people worldwide are infected. The exceptionally high incidence of cholangiocarcinoma in Thailand and Korea is attributed to the high prevalence of liver fluke infection in these areas.”
In addition to ingesting undercooked contaminated fish, liver flukes can infect multiple mammals, such that eating infected cattle or sheep liver (if undercooked) could transmit the parasite. Ingesting vegetables washed with contaminated water could introduce the fluke into a person as well.
Medical News Today recommends boiling all untreated water and to avoid water from a stream near where cattle and sheep live.
Although some people with liver flukes may exhibit no symptoms at all, some may incur:
Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes
According to cancer.net, the 5 year survival, meaning living 5 years past diagnosis, is 30%, assuming the cancer stays locally. If the cancer spreads to regional lymph nodes prognosis for 5 year survival drops to 24%. Distant spread of the cancer reduces the 5 year survival rate to 2%.
Anti-Parasitic medications, such as triclabendazole, have proven effective against Fasciola. Praziquantel has been effective in fighting Opisthorchis infections.
Thanksgiving (and the in-laws) has come and gone. And now we have lots of leftovers. And lots of pets. Can pets eat Thanksgiving table scraps and leftovers?
Let’s look at what they can and cannot eat.
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can eat the following (in moderate amounts):
Turkey, Chicken, Beef (remove all bones so they don’t get swallowed and perforate the gut)
Bread (without raisins)
May be toxic; cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; kidney damage; pancreatitis due to high fat content, or intestinal obstruction.
In addition to my dog Apollo, I have 4 cats. So they’re begging for Thanksgiving leftovers as well.
Fluffy can eat – but again only in moderation:
Vegetables (though many stick their nose up at it)
Raw fish and eggs
Coffee, tea and energy drinks
Yes, even Nemo can join in for Thanksgiving leftovers.
It appears fish can eat many types of meat and vegetables and even cooked rice but be careful of toxins and cooking oils.
I don’t have any of these and if I did, I doubt I’d share my turkey with it. But according to pethelpful.com, many fruits, vegetables, breads and nuts (chopped up without shell) can be eaten by birdie.
I hope everyone had a healthy and wonderful Thanksgiving!!!
Thanksgiving is here!! Good food, no school, no work, and most of all….. family!!
For many this is one of the best holidays ever!!
For some…..the most dreaded all year.
This is your very rare and valuable time off, and you have to spend all of it with people who don’t like you and you’re not particularly fond of. Four days of staying with family, (especially if they don’t let you stay a hotel and insist you stay with them), can be more than many can bear.
So here are some steps you can take to make the holidays easier.
Usually your spouse wants to avoid controversy just as much as you do. Before the encounter, huddle up and create a strategy for:
a. How to deal with insults
b. How to take a break – take the car to go grab some last-minute Thanksgiving necessities
c. Where you get to sit at the table
d. Potential arguments regarding the children and their upbringing
This gives you the much-needed reprieve at the end of the day. However, if the family insists you stay with them and 4 nights at Hotel Hell are just too much to bear, plan a “sneak away” for an evening with your wife and tell the Grandparents they will host the kid’s slumber party. Remember to thank them for the huge favor they are doing allowing you and the wife a much needed night away “from the kids” …wink…wink…..
Thank Heavens the Cowboys are playing this Thanksgiving. Usually there is someone else in the family just as sane as you are when it comes to football, so you can immediately partner with him to get the television on and the game playing. Although this may only give you a 15 minute “out” of the family festivities, it’s 15 minutes of pure euphoria.
The most difficult part of Thanksgiving/Christmas is sitting at a table for hours and usually trapped, physically, because the chairs are pushed together so tight that you can’t push out the chair. If you ever, ever, ever had an issue with your back, knee, leg, muscle, or even pinky toe, use this as an excuse to heave the table forward so you can get up and stretch your legs. Slowly limp over to the living room where hopefully you left the football game on……
No in-law can or wants to take on your boss. So during the 7 day stent, politely excuse yourself if you need to go onto a computer, make a phone call, or drive 60 miles away for “work”. Make sure your spouse is on board with this one……
You get to leave the room and no one wants to be near you. You just gained escaping 3-5 times/hour since you need to “run” to the bathroom.
Don’t jinx yourself but this gets you out of hugs, and sloppy lipstick kisses…..
Ok this gives you a well-coordinated exit plan but what happens if they are on to you? How do you deal with the remaining, 3 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes?
When the insults and digs come, don’t feel like these personal attacks need to stick. You have enough people in your life telling you your shortcomings. The in-laws are either being redundant or telling you something that doesn’t hold true.
Millions of adults are in the exact same position as you at the same moment in time. You’re not alone. Just sneak a peek on facebook and you’ll scroll through hundreds of “Ugh!!!!”s………..
Bet your wife or coworker that you will get the most insults over the holiday than they will and write down or note every time it happens. The more it occurs, you win. Compare notes or use it as a “get out jail free card” with your spouse.
Negotiate with your spouse prior to the holiday a “free day” or “free weekend” that you will earn upon completion of a 7 day holiday with the in-laws. Plan and fantasize about this reward throughout your tour of duty to make the path easier
Since you are usually outnumbered during these family events, why not have non humans come to your aid. Dogs need to be walked, cats need to be chased, so this gives you an out and gives you a much-needed buddy during the hard times.
Look, it’s not easy, but remember why you’re there. For YOUR family. Your spouse and kids need to spend the holidays with you so grin and bear it. And remember you may be luckier than the average guy. He could be spending the WHOLE WEEK! Ahhh, you DO have something to be thankful for.
Civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, revealed Friday that he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The 76-year-old two-time Democratic presidential candidate stated he and his family noticed changes three years ago and, “after a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.”
His father, Noah L. Robinson, died in 1997 at the age of 88 of a heart attack and complications of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, next to Alzheimer’s, and the most common movement disorder that affects 1% of the world’s population over 60 years old. In the US, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. It affects several areas of the brain, primarily the substantia nigra, altering balance and movement by affecting dopamine producing cells.
It was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson as a “shaking palsy.”
Common symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
Stiffness and rigidity
Tremor at rest, especially a pill-rolling tremor
Inability to move
Shuffling steps, gait
and patients may later develop…
Decrease ability to smell
Fractures from falling
Most cases are idiopathic, meaning the disease arises with no specific cause. However some cases are genetic and multiple genes have been identified that are associated with the disease.
The average age of onset is 60, but some cases may occur as “early onset”, before the age of 50, and if before the age of 20, it is known as juvenile-onset Parkinson’s.
Men appear to be more affected than women at twice the rate.
Risk may be enhanced with a history of head trauma.
Exposure to herbicides and pesticides has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s as well.
Average progression rates can last years to decades, however, earlier onset disease may manifest much quicker.
The stages of Parkinson’s are illustrated below:
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, symptoms can be treated by a variety of measures.
Levodopa – converts to dopamine in the brain, helping replace the deficient hormone.
Carbidopa (Sinemet) – if given with levodopa prevents the latter from being broken down before it reaches the brain.
Dopamine agonists – mimic dopamine
MAO-B inhibitors – helps block the enzyme MAO-B, which breaks down natural dopamine
Other medications including COMT inhibitors, amantadine and anticholinergics
Medications to treat anxiety and depression
Deep brain stimulation – a surgeon implants electrodes into the brain, allowing stimulation of parts that help regulate movement.
Stem cell therapy – being investigated as a means to create dopamine-producing cells
Physical and occupational therapy
Famous People Diagnosed with Parkinson’s
Michael J. Fox
Pope John Paul II
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz
It’s been postulated Adolf Hitler suffered from Parkinson’s as well.
High blood pressure has now been redefined as being greater than 130/80 mmHg, down from 140/90 mmHg. This will mean close to 103 million more Americans will fall under the “hypertensive” category.
Multiple agencies, including the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, redefined the guidelines, in practice for the last 14 years, to lower the threshold for high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80.
Under the old guidelines, 1/3 of US Americans were considered to have high blood pressure. Now 42% of Americans will be “hypertensive.”
In lowering the guidelines, task force members hope to reduce complications associated with high blood pressure and start treatment earlier in those who have not been treated.
The top number, or systolic pressure, is the pressure the heart exudes during a beat or pumping of the blood.
Diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries between beats while the heart is “filling.” Both numbers are equally important as elevation of either can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Chronic high blood pressure can be dangerous. It may cause:
Eye damage – vision loss
Erectile dysfunction…to name a few.
The stages of blood pressure are defined in the chart above. At the elevated or early stages of high blood pressure the following lifestyle changes will be recommended:
Low salt diet
Low fat diet
Good sleep habits
Avoiding tobacco products
Limiting alcohol consumption
As a family physician I would also screen for diabetes, high cholesterol, low thyroid, kidney disease and sleep apnea.
If blood pressure cannot be controlled and continues to rise, medications may be prescribed to decrease blood volume, or lower the heart rate, or relax the blood vessels.
Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD, FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.