Most of us squirt one pump of hand sanitizer, slap it together in our palms and then dry the rest off on our pants.  But researchers say there is a protocol and choreography that must be performed in order to prevent the spread of millions of pathogens that could be lurking on our hands.

The World Health Organization recommends the following steps to be taken when using hand sanitizer:

  1. Fill entire palm with hand sanitizer
  2. Rub both palms together
  3. Put right hand over left and interlace fingers
  4. Put left hand over right and interlace fingers
  5. Interlock fingers to get under the nails
  6. Rotation rubbing to clean the thumb
  7. Hands are clean once alcohol has dried

 

fig02

 

The process takes about 30 seconds.  However, in a study released this week, researchers from the University Hospital Basel found that if all steps were taken but performed in 15 seconds, the same results will be obtained.  However, if fewer steps were taken, more bacteria/viruses/pathogens will remain on the hands.

For those who have eczema or sensitive skin, they may not tolerate the alcohol based hand sanitizers and should use soap and water instead.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health

Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's wildly popular Game of Thrones, revealed in an essay published by the The New Yorker she suffered two potentially fatal attacks while filming the popular series.

In 2011, she reports that while she was exercising, she felt a severe headache and then began vomiting violently. An ambulance took her to the hospital and her MRI showed she had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).  She describes the ordeal:

"...Then my trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain—shooting, stabbing, constricting pain—was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged..." 

Clarke had to undergo surgery and recovered but then suffered another one in 2013, that was found on repeat brain scan.

She in detail describes the painful recovery but fortunately survived and was able to film one the most successful series in TV history and become one of the most beloved characters on the show.

cerebral_aneurysm.jpg

IMAGE FROM JOHN HOPKINS MEDICINE

 

What is a brain aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a “ballooning” or swelling of an artery.  Theses may occur where the artery junction weakens.  High blood pressure can contribute to aneurysm formation as can smoking.  Some aneurysms may have no symptoms at all but others could rupture, causing a hemorrhage in the brain, stroke.  Elevated blood pressure, heaving lifting, and trauma could cause these to rupture.

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, 15% of people with a ruptured brain aneurysm die before they reach the hospital. 40% can be fatal.

Surgery or endovascular coiling is done to prevent further blood flow to the aneurysm.

 

clip.jpgClipping and coiling                                         coiling.jpg

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health
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Allergy season is stronger than ever

While we’re still grappling with harsh weather, winter colds and an extended flu season, allergy season is now in full force.

Sneezing, itchy eyes, coughing, asthma flare ups, are just a few of the symptoms that can severely impede our work day and sleep.

Each year the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of  America publish their list of the hardest hit cities in terms of allergies. They base these rankings on “seasonal (Spring) pollen score, medication use (allergy) and number of allergy specialists.”

  1. McAllen, TX
  2. Jackson, MS
  3. Providence, RI
  4. Memphis, TN
  5. Springfield, MA
  6. Louisville, KY
  7. New Orleans, LA
  8. Scranton, PA
  9. Baton Rouge, LA
  10. Richmond, VA
  11. Toledo, OH
  12. Syracuse, NY
  13. Dayton, OH
  14. San Antonio, TX
  15. Little Rock, AR
  16. Buffalo, NY
  17. El Paso, TX
  18. Oklahoma City, OK
  19. Columbia, SC
  20. Knoxville, TN
  21. New York, NY
  22. Hartford, CT
  23. New Haven, CT
  24. Greenville, SC
  25. Philadelphia, PA
  26. Detroit, MI
  27. Akron, OH
  28. Wichita, KS
  29. Albany, NY
  30. Charleston, SC
  31. Fresno, CA
  32. Cleveland, OH
  33. Birmingham, AL
  34. Las Vegas, NV
  35. Greensboro, NC
  36. Winston-Salem, NC
  37. Miami, FL
  38. Augusta, GA
  39. Modesto, CA
  40. Bridgeport, CT
  41. Pittsburgh, PA
  42. Charlotte, NC
  43. Chattanooga, TN
  44. Grand Rapids, MI
  45. Dallas, TX
  46. Columbus, OH
  47. Allentown, PA
  48. Jacksonville, FL
  49. Cape Coral, FL
  50. Virginia Beach, VA
  51. St. Louis, MO
  52. Riverside, CA
  53. Tulsa, OK
  54. Orlando, FL
  55. Albuquerque, NM
  56. Houston, TX
  57. Lakeland, FL
  58. Durham, NC
  59. Tampa, FL
  60. Madison, WI
  61. Tucson, AZ
  62. Los Angeles, CA
  63. Nashville, TN
  64. Worcester, MA
  65. Stockton, CA
  66. Omaha, NE
  67. Atlanta, GA
  68. Bakersfield, CA
  69. Austin, TX
  70. Cincinnati, OH
  71. Baltimore, MD
  72. Chicago, IL
  73. Boston, MA
  74. Oxnard, CA
  75. Rochester, NY
  76. Indianapolis, IN
  77. Minneapolis, MN
  78. Harrisburg, PA
  79. Phoenix, AZ
  80. Sacramento, CA
  81. Washington, DC
  82. Palm Bay, FL
  83. Kansas City, MO
  84. Daytona Beach, FL
  85. Milwaukee, WI
  86. Sarasota, FL
  87. Des Moines, IA
  88. San Diego, CA
  89. Spokane, WA
  90. San Francisco, CA
  91. Raleigh, NC
  92. San Jose, CA
  93. Seattle, WA
  94. Portland, OR
  95. Colorado Springs, CO
  96. Salt Lake City, UT
  97. Ogden, UT
  98. Boise, ID
  99. Provo, UT
  100. Denver, CO

Strong winds, a wet winter and early bloom can accelerate a severe allergy season as well as illnesses that result from excessive allergies.

Allergies: Your Questions Answered

Allergy season usually begins with the start of Spring in March.  Yet many may start their symptoms as early as February if they are allergic to what’s blooming.

Tree pollens start first in January and then taper off in April.  Grass pollen starts to rise in February and March.   Finally weed pollens join the party by the Spring and extend through the Summer and Fall.

Here are your questions answered:

What are allergies?

Allergies are the result of the immune response to a foreign particulate that our body senses.  One could be allergic to pollen, dust, dander, food, insects, mold, metals, transfused blood, grafts, medicine and anything the body senses as a foreign intruder.  Even though these may be individually harmless, a hypersensitivity reaction occurs as a result of their intrusion into the body.  IgE antibodies find the allergen (intruder) and activate mast cells in the tissue and basophils in the blood.  When these cells get activated, they release substances to help protect the body, including histamines, leukotrienes, and cytokines. These help the body attempt to sneeze and cough the allergen out, wall off the antigen, signal more antibodies, or produce tears and nasal secretions to flush it out.

What are symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Symptoms of allergies could include any or a combination of the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye watering
  • Red Eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Rash
  • Itchy throat
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion….. to name a few.

How do they differ from a cold?

Colds may have very similar symptoms to allergies.  However they are different.

The common cold is caused by a virus.  When one gets infected by the virus they may feel malaise, fever, and achy.  This does not occur with allergies.

Moreover, nasal secretions from allergies are usually clear.  In a cold, the mucous could be thicker and with color.

The same holds true with sputum.  During an allergy the cough may have little to no mucous and if so, be light-colored.  Thick mucus could be a sign of an infection.

An allergic sore throat will seem more dry and scratchy.  A sore throat from a cold is more uncomfortable and less easy to soothe.

Allergies may persist or be cyclical.  Cold symptoms will usually subside after a few days and rarely persist longer than 10 days.

Can allergies lead to a cold?

Yes and no.  Allergies should not in and of themselves cause an infection. However they may make one more vulnerable for a virus or bacteria to take over.    Hence a bronchitis, sinus infection, or pneumonia could uncommonly follow an asthma attack.

Are seasonal allergies dangerous?

As stated previously, if one is susceptible to colds, an allergic attack could make them vulnerable. Moreover if one suffers from asthma, an allergy attack could incite an asthma attack.  Very rarely would we see a life threatening anaphylaxis to an allergen such as pollen.

Allergy season is here: What are the worst offenders?

How can we prevent and treat allergies?

Avoiding, or decreasing exposure to the allergen is key.   We suggest the following:

  1. Be aware of your local weather and pollen counts.  If the weather begins to warm and regional vegetation is blooming, allergy season may be upon you sooner than you know.
  2. Avoid outside pollen from coming into your house.  Avoid the urge to open all the windows during Springtime as wind will bring the pollen in.
  3. Clean your air filters.  Replace air filters frequently and consider using HEPA Filters
  4. Wash off pollen from your hair and clothes before you sit on the couch or jump into bed.
  5. Close your car windows when you park.
  6. “Recirculate” the air in your car
  7. Discuss with your medical provider if you are a candidate for medications such as antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids or leukotriene antagonists.  
  8. If you suffer from respiratory illnesses or a chronic medical condition, discuss with your medical provider if you need to start your allergy medication before allergy season hits. Some of these medications may take a couple of weeks to reach therapeutic levels.

How can I find my local pollen counts?

Local tree, ragweed and grass pollen counts can be obtained here.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health
%PM, %10 %968 %2019 %22:%Apr

Who, exactly, is your doctor?

People used to know who their doctor was. His name and phone number were on the wall or the refrigerator next to the telephone. He was there for you and could manage most of your problems.

When I was about 13, my mom took me to our pediatrician for belly pain. He was on his way out the door, but he stopped to take care of me. He diagnosed appendicitis based on history and physical examination. He called his favorite surgeon (“Billy,” a Tucson legend), who came from the golf course to meet me in the emergency room. Within hours, my red-hot appendix was in a jar. My parents paid the hospital bill ($150—10 days’ pay for a construction laborer) as I was discharged a few days later.

Today, the patient with abdominal pain could wait for hours to see the ER provider—possibly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who had never seen a case of acute appendicitis. She’ll probably get a CT scan, after another wait. Eventually, Dr. On-call may take her to the operating room, hopefully before the appendix ruptures. And the bill will be beyond the means of ordinary people.

I used to be able to direct-admit patients from my office and send them with a set of orders to the hospital admitting office. For years, this has been impossible. The hospital is decidedly unfriendly to independent doctors. There’s now a gatekeeper in the emergency room, and most patients are under the control of a hospitalist.

This hospital, still Catholic at least in name, is now owned by a huge national conglomerate. Recently, it thwarted all efforts to keep it from dehydrating a patient to death despite lack of an advance directive or permission from next of kin. The patient’s mother disputed the diagnosis of brain death. The gastroenterologist of her choice was willing and able to place a feeding tube, needed in order to transfer the patient to a skilled nursing facility, but the hospital would not permit it. An outside physician whom the mother had called on was removed from the patient’s room by security, when she was merely praying with the mother. The mother could not get a phone call returned from an attending physician. Who was the doctor? Apparently, the hospital system.

Recently, a physician called me about her mother, who was seemingly a captive in a world-renowned hospital. She was concerned about her mother’s nutritional status and falling oxygen level. She could not speak to the attending physician. “They play musical doctors.”

Largely driven by government policy, the System is increasingly in control. A new level of intrusion is being proposed in California in a bill (SB 276) that would outlaw all medical exemptions for vaccines, unless a public health officer approves each one, based on the very narrow list of contraindications accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Doctors traditionally swore an oath not to harm patients, and are liable if they do. But government officials are immune from liability, even if they overrule a physician’s judgment that a particular patient faces an unacceptable risk of harm from a vaccine.

If you disagree with your private doctor, you can fire him or simply decline to follow his advice. But what if the government is your doctor?

In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office. The main concern seemed to be that the child was not vaccinated.

Americans need to defend their right to have an independent physician, to choose their physician and type of care, and to give or withhold informed consent to medical treatments. Otherwise, their “doctor” will be a protocol in a system staffed by interchangeable automatons. Treatments will be inaccessible or required, tailored to meet the needs and beliefs of the system.

If the government is the ultimate authority on your “health care,” remember that its tools for checking whether a child has a life-threatening disease such as meningitis include battering rams and assault rifles.

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions, if expressed, are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN.  Her column can often be found here at www.pennypressnv.com. Her column has been reprinted in full, with permission.

Published in Health
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Superbug fungus on the rise

Multiple states are reporting cases of a super fungus resistant to the strongest of antifungal medications.

The CDC is now reporting 587 confirmed clinical cases of the fungal infection, Candida auris (C. auris), that unfortunately is resistant to multiple types of antifungal drugs. Moreover another 1056 cases are being monitored who were in contact with those infected.  This spike is very worrisome.

States reporting cases include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Virginia

The majority of the cases are in New York, Illinois, and New Jersey.  It was first seen in 2016 in Illinois ad 60% of those infected that year had died but they had other comorbid conditions, which could have also contributed to their becoming infected with C. auris to begin with.

Please note that this fungus is different from  the species, Candida albicans, which causes common yeast infections.

When investigators analyzed the facilities, they found C. auris had colonized mattresses, beds, chairs, counter surfaces, infusion pumps, and window sills.  By this, the superbug demonstrates its resilience outside a human host.

The super fungus still has some vulnerability to antifungal medication but its resistance is increasing.

  1. auris can cause a variety of infections involving the skin and ear, but most concerning, is sepsis (infection of the bloodstream).  C.  auris was first identified in Japan back in 2009, but upon retrospective review, the CDC states the earliest known strain dates back to 1996. Since then it has been reported in multiple countries including the UK, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain,  and Venezuela.

Most hospital disinfectants are currently designed to be antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral.  The CDC has urged healthcare facilities to be diligent in their cleaning practices and to be aware of this “super fungus.”

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health
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Most people apply sunscreen incorrectly

A new study has found the majority of people miss the most vulnerable parts of their face when applying sunscreen.

Published in PLOS One, researchers from the University of Liverpool looked at the sunscreen application habits of 84 men and women with the majority avoiding areas of the face around the eyes.

However, study authors cite the skin around the eyes is the most vulnerable to sun damage and skin cancer.  SPF containing moisturizers were used even less around the eyes.

The Sun reports:

AUSTIN MCCORMICK, STUDY AUTHOR AND CONSULTANT OPHTHALMIC AND OCULOPLASTIC SURGEON, FROM AINTREE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL TRUST, SAID: “THE EYELID SKIN IS VERY THIN AND THIS PUTS IT AT RISK OF UV DAMAGE.
“THE AREA AROUND THE EYELASHES AND BETWEEN THE EYELIDS AND THE NOSE IS LEAST LIKELY TO BE COVERED.”
MR MCCORMICK SAID THAT EYELID CANCERS ACCOUNTED FOR 10 PER CENT OF ALL BASAL CELL CARCINOMAS IN THE UK – THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF SKIN CANCER.
HE ADDED THAT MOISTURISER MAY BE USED MORE SPARINGLY BECAUSE IT IS OFTEN EXPENSIVE AND SOLD IN SMALLER AMOUNTS.

My theory:  We’ve been told since we were kids to keep things away from our eyes, especially lotions.

How do sunscreens work?

Sunscreens use chemicals to disperse or absorb UV rays.  Inorganic compounds in sunscreen such a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide attempt to scatter the UV rays.  Organic compounds such as PABA and oxybenzone attempt to absorb UV rays so they can’t damage the skin.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB radiation?

UVA rays penetrate deeply into both the epidermis and dermis.  They can cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, and skin cancer.

UVB rays are shorter and primarily affect the epidermis. They are responsible for causing sunburns as well as skin cancer.

8ce0498bca5aac49d757b683088b7d4a.jpg

 

What is SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.  The higher the SPF, the less sun photons enter the skin and cause damage.  SPF primarily measures the protection against UVB rays. We multiply the SPF factor by how long it takes one’s skin to burn by the SPF number to determine the protection factor.

In theory, an SPF of 30 suggests your skin, if it burns within 10 minutes without protection, will not burn until 300 minutes has lapsed (30 times 10).  However, we find this isn’t always the case.  People sweat or swim and the sunscreen dissipates.  Moreover many don’t put on the proper amounts (see below.)

So instead we use SPF as a grade to how much protection the product can offer.

An SPF of 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays

An SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays

An SPF of 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays

As we see, the relationship is not linear, however the higher the SPF, the more protection we have against UV rays..

what-is-spf-sunsreen-sun-protection-factor.JPG

IMAGE FROM BADGERBALM

Although the SPF alludes to protection against burning, hence UVB rays, a sunscreen may still protect against both UVA rays and UVB rays if it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen.

 

image-4@1-5.jpg.d3f15e8b9561ed8c3b2dd3679e8e79cb.jpg

 

How to apply sunscreen

Most people apply sunscreen incorrectly or unevenly.   Lotion needs to be applied at an amount of 2mg/cm2 of skin or 1 teaspoon per body part (chest, arm, leg, face and neck).  It should be applied 15 minutes prior to going out into the sun and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.

CRM_Page_41_Important_Sunscreen_Spots_07-15 (1)

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health

A teacher from Australia claims his 5-6 can a day habit of Energy Drinks blistered and peeled his tongue.

Dan Royals shared a picture of it on Facebook warning others to get off the caffeinated drink habit.

NINTCHDBPICT000479049513

He wrote, “Found out it’s the chemicals in these drinks that are causing it… it literally eats away at your tongue.”

To me it appears he has “geographic tongue” a response to stress, acidity, spicy foods, or no cause at all.  The tongue condition itself is benign but could signify other serious health issues.

Energy drink health risks (as explained below) can include:

  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • teeth loss
  • diabetes
  • tremors
  • mood disorders
  • miscarriages
  • and more…..

Energy Drinks Can Rot Your Teeth

A 21-year-old student in England dropped out of school when his dentist found a mouth full of rotten teeth due to his energy drink habit.

Vinnie Pyner of Margate, England, told SWNS that he would drink 6 cans of Monster Energy drinks a day to get through school.  Eventually his teeth cracked and when he finally showed his mom, she rushed him to the dentist who said it was the worst case of tooth decay she had ever seen.

FOX News reported he had 24 filings and dentures to repair his front teeth and will soon return to college.

Teeth can rot easily when exposed to energy drinks due to their acidity and sugar content.  The protective enamel gets eroded and is irreplacible.  Moreover people may choose these drinks over healthier options such as water or milk, putting them at higher risk of dental disease.

Years ago, Demi Moore confessed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she lost two of her teeth. The 56 year-old actress cited stress as the reason.

demi-moore-2.jpg

Stress could be a factor, however, that would mean all of us would lose our teeth before senior year high school.

What came to mind was a previous report on Moore’s diet.

In 2012, the actress was hospitalized and multiple rumors surfaced as to what caused her collapse.  Some reported an energy drink addiction, some cited anorexia, some said it occurred after inhaling the gas from a whip cream canister.  Witnesses reported seizure like activity.  According to Daily Mail,

A source told Radar: “She collapsed after having an epileptic seizure… she has not taken care of her health at all lately and has lost a ton of weight.”  “Demi is in getting treated for anorexia, as well as other issues that caused her seizure.”

After she recovered, it was revealed that her diet included: “Red Bull for breakfast. Red Bull for lunch. Red Bull for dinner, with a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon yes a tablespoon of tuna fish thrown in… That’s it.” as reported by Light987.com.

 

According to Medical Daily, Moore had been drinking energy drinks for over 10 years.

Three energy drinks a day in the company of a poor diet could wreck havoc on one’s health. But what about teeth?

In 2012 a study from the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine found the acidity of energy drinks to damage tooth enamel, thereby increasing risk of cavities.

Earlier this year, a 28 year old man from New Zealand, who allegedly drank three cans of energy drinks a day, lost multiple teeth and suffered from severe gum disease.

1492118992631 (1).jpg                  1492118992631.jpg

JOSH MCKEE AND HIS XRAY DEMONSTRATING MULTIPLE TEETH LOST/MARION VAN DIJK

Energy drinks provide little in the type of nutrition gums and teeth require.  Our jaws, gums and teeth were designed to chew, face a variety of forces, and then get washed down with water and our own saliva to avoid damage from non-neutral pH compounds.  A balanced diet, with food we need to chew, low on sugar and acidity is just what the human mouth needs.

Other causes of teeth loss (edentulism) include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Heart Disease

So not only is it important to brush, floss, water pick and see one’s dentist regularly, but taking care of one’s non-dental health can be just as crucial to keeping our pearly whites.

Energy Drinks Can Increase Risk of Heart Attack Within 90 Minutes

 

A study from the University of Texas finds the consumption of energy drinks to have negative effects on the cardiovascular system by narrowing blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood as soon as 90 minutes.

Vessels that supply the heart, which may already be narrowed due to atherosclerosis, could narrow even more.

hdlcholesteroltreatments

Moreover the restriction of blood flow to vital organs implies the brain may not receive the optimal circulation it needs.

How dangerous are energy drinks?

The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.

The study was conducted by scientists who looked at the endothelial lining of blood vessels in 44 healthy non-smoking students and found within 90 minutes of drinking a 24 oz energy drink the vessel dilation dropped from 5.1% in diameter to 2.8% in diameter.

Now energy drinks contain various levels of caffeine, as explained below.  But they also contain taurine, sugar, vitamins and other ingredients. This study did not look specifically at caffeine but energy drinks, so the authors can’t specify what’s the culprit.

Demi Moore – Maybe Energy Drinks Caused her Tooth Loss

Last year, however, a South Carolina high school student collapsed in class and later died from allegedly consuming an energy drink.  The coroner’s report, revealed cited caffeine as the cause.  The caffeine induced a cardiac arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythm,  and 16-year old Davis Allen Cripe tragically died within an hour.

What’s shocking is the amount of caffeine he ingested was not very high.  According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Cripe drank, within a two-hour period, a large Mountain Dew, an energy drink, and a cafe latte from McDonalds. The teen had no medical problems or family history of heart issues.

A large Mountain Dew contains 54 mg per 12 fluid oz.  So a 20 oz drink would be close to 100 mg caffeine.

Energy drinks, depending on the brand, contain approximately 80 mg of caffeine per can.

A cafe latte from McDonalds, medium size, contains 142 mg of caffeine.

This in total would equal approximately 320 mg of caffeine ingested within a two-hour period.

The lethal dose of caffeine in adults range from 150-200 mg/ kg body weight.  So a 70 kg adult could consume a toxic level of caffeine at 10 grams (10,000 mg).

So 320 mg of caffeine is well below the toxic level.  But what caffeine could do could be the more dangerous part.

Caffeine has been known to induce arrhythmias.  It’s a stimulant, hence it can affect the heart’s electrical conductivity that manages the organ’s pumping  action.  Once the electricity is disrupted, the heart muscle fails to have a predictable, rhythmic stimulation, hence cannot pump effectively.

Caffeine also causes vasoconstriction, so blood flow to the heart could be compromised, potentially inducing a heart attack.

In 2014, researchers from Barcelona found energy drinks to be linked to rare cases of heart attack and arrhythmia.

A cup of coffee averages 95mg of caffeine whereas an energy drink contains 80mg.  But the latter is consumed much quicker than a hot cup of Joe that needs to be sipped, hence the consumer takes in a larger load of caffeine in a shorter amount of time.  This could be too much too fast for the heart.

The following is a chart of average caffeine content in common drinks:

image.jpg

IMAGE FROM BUSINESS INSIDER

IN 2016 we learned that a 50-year old man with hepatitis C went into acute liver failure after drinking 4-5 energy drinks a day for a period of a three weeks. The culprit appeared to be the Niacin content in each energy drink (200%RDA) that accumulated over the days and became toxic to the liver.  Although this is the first time we’ve heard of this severe a hepatic side effect, energy drinks are not foreign to being hazardous to one’s health.

So what’s in an energy drink?

Depending on the brand, ingredients can include the following:

Carbonated water

Sugars such as sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup

Caffeine

Guarana extract- an energy supplement also high in caffeine

Taurine – an amino acid that has health benefits but could strain the kidney

Vitamins B 2, 3, 6 and 12 (and Vitamin A and C in some brands)

Sodium

and multiple other ingredients and additives (Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, etc. depending on the brand)

Why are energy drinks dangerous?

Energy drinks have been known to cause a variety of issues:  anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, caffeine withdrawal, a rise in blood sugar…. to name a few.

However the focus of energy drink risks has been on the heart.  One study from the Mayo Clinic found blood pressure and adrenaline to rise after drinking an energy drink.  In 2011 a case report looked at two teenage boys who went into atrial fibrillation, a deadly heart rhythm. In 2015, doctors blamed energy drinks for a 25 year old man’s heart attack.

We’ve learned that caffeine, though innocent-appearing in coffee and tea, can be deadly not only as a result of quantity but the administration of it.  A cup of coffee may have the same amount of caffeine as an energy drink (assuming the Guarana extract isn’t adding more to the total caffeine dose). But a hot cup of coffee is sipped slowly, whereas an energy drink served cold or at room temperature is usually chugged.  The huge bolus of caffeine may be too quick-too-much for the body to digest and distribute slowly.

The high sugar content of energy drinks could put one at risk of diabetes.  And with the recent case of acute liver failure, we are reminded that ingredients of energy drinks could at high doses cause hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

Additionally, this week we learned that mixing alcohol with energy drinks, a popular party ritual, caused brain changes in mice similar to those caused by cocaine.

I can’t convince everyone to reach for a piece of broccoli rather than an energy drink when in need of a boost, but at the very least we should deter use by children and teens, and educate those with vulnerable hearts, blood pressure, diabetes, kidney and liver issues that an energy drink may not be the wisest beverage choice.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

 

 

Published in Health
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How to Uber and ride share safely

As kids we were taught to never approach a stranger, and to NEVER get in the car of a stranger.  Yet with ride sharing services exploding over the last few years we’ve let our guard down.  And the kidnapping and murder of a 21-year-old college student who jumped into the back seat of a car, whom she thought was an Uber diver, shed light on how we as a society need to remind ourselves of stranger danger. So here are some safety tips when considering ride sharing…

 

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  1. Always travel in groups. Single riders are more at risk of kidnapping, so avoid being at risk of being outnumbered by having more of your friends with you.
  2. Reconfirm your ride before you enter the car. Make sure its the exact car the ride sharing firm stated was coming your way.
  3. Wait for your ride indoors or next to people you know. Some Uber drivers may run late and you don’t want to be vulnerable standing alone outdoors.
  4. Backseat is preferable as assaults can happen the front seat,

    but be aware that the driver could have control of child safety locks preventing you from leaving the vehicle.

  5.  Review the driver’s ratings before entering the vehicle as bad reviews could be a red flag.
  6. Don’t give the driver your credit card or any personal information as ride sharing services handle the transaction for you in an encrypted manner.
  7. Allow your friends and family to track your ride. This is a feature offered by many ride shares.
  8. Track your own ride using GPS. If the driver goes off the beaten path to get to your destination that could be a red flag.
  9. When in doubt, stay out. If something doesn’t see right, don’t get in the car.
  10. Call 911 the second you think something is wrong.

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

 

Published in Health

A synthetic alcohol, named Alcarelle, or “Alcosynth,” has been shown to give one the same effects of alcohol without the nasty hangover the next day.

Dr. Professor Nutt, apparently has been working on this for decades, as a PhD student since the early 1980’s.  The synthetic alcohol is slated to hit the market in 5 years.

He told the Guardian:

We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine.

“The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Alcohol stimulates GABA, a neurotransmitter that can reduce activity of nerve cells making one sluggish.  Alcohol also inhibits glutamate which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. But the euphoric feeling one gets may be caused by alcohol’s stimulation of dopamine.

Hence if a drink that acts as ethanol, isn’t actually alcohol, side effects such as drowsiness, stomach upset and liver disease could potentially be bypassed.

Professor Nutt has not revealed the ingredients of his concoction but some resources cite it may be a benzodiazepine derivative, although last year he denied the rumors of using the Valium-like chemicals.

What is a hangover?

It’s a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.

They could be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Dehydration – alcohol isn’t the best choice to replace lost fluids during a night of dancing, plus it causes increase in urination
  • Low blood sugar – caused by lack of good nutrition over the last 12 hours and enhanced by drinking alcohol
  • Poor sleep – let me guess, you didn’t get a good nice, cuddly, deep sleep for 9 hours once you came home
  • Irritated stomach lining – alcohol tends to do that and ticks off the pancreas as well
  • Acetaldehyde – a chemical converted from alcohol that has been postulated to make you feel nauseous and achy, either during its breakdown in the liver or after its metabolism
  • Cytokine production and release – seen in inflammatory states and can make you achy

Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawal from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).

So how can you cure your hangover?

Water

Hydrate people, hydrate.  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more and lose valuable fluid and salts. Water is the easiest, most tolerable, cheapest way to hydrate. Take it slow so you don’t vomit.  And not scotch and water.  Just water….

Eat something

An empty stomach is an irritable one.  While most sources say eat a “greasy breakfast,” I would recommend balanced breakfast with protein. Give the stomach acid something to chew on but make it easily digestible.  Remember the alcohol irritated your gut so you need to go easy on it. Baby steps, but healthy baby steps

Exercise

Take a short, brisk walk.  The adrenaline gets the blood pumping and can help with the headache.  The cool air outside will feel good when you inhale and some endorphins will release. This may help with your headache.

Drink some Sprite/Sports Drinks

Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure and even though we don’t have many other studies to back it up, the sweet and bubbly it provides makes your head and tummy feel better.

Sports Drinks add the salts you lost from alcohol’s diuretic features. Though many of us don’t like the taste, those who do find it a nice way to hydrate.

What is “hair of the dog?”

Originally it was a treatment to ward off rabies.  One would, after being bit by a dog, put a piece of dog hair on the wound.  A treating fire-with-fire strategy. It later was used for hangovers.  Treating a hangover with a chaser of alcohol was supposed to elevate moods and lessen the withdrawal.  To date there is not enough scientific support to recommend hair of the dog.

For next time, how do you avoid the dreaded hangover?

Want to avoid a hangover?  Here’s how:

Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk.  Set your limits and stick to it.

Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.

Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz.” Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.

Avoid popping anti-inflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse. But if any of the above “cures” don’t help, you may need to use these as a last resort.

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health

WSB radio reports hundreds of experts have signed a UN and WHO petition to warn against the cancer risks and medical dangers of AppleAirPods.

The EMF (electromagnetic frequency) radio waves emitted from the Bluetooth technology has been proven to cause health effects in “living organisms.”

And with its close proximity to the human skull, scientists are nervous.

WSB reports:

NOT ONLY DID THE PETITION MENTION CANCER, IT ALSO SAID NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS AND DNA DAMAGE HAVE BEEN LINKED TO EMF EXPOSURE AS WELL.ALTHOUGH HIGH LEVELS OF EMF CAN GENERATE HEAT, CAUSE BURNS AND AFFECT CELL GROWTH IN HUMANS, SCIENTISTS HAVE NOT DETERMINED THE IMPACT OF LARGE AMOUNTS OF RELATIVELY LOW-LEVEL EMF EXPOSURE, PRODUCED BY DEVICES LIKE THE AIRPODS.
ALTHOUGH HIGH LEVELS OF EMF CAN GENERATE HEAT, CAUSE BURNS AND AFFECT CELL GROWTH IN HUMANS, SCIENTISTS HAVE NOT DETERMINED THE IMPACT OF LARGE AMOUNTS OF RELATIVELY LOW-LEVEL EMF EXPOSURE, PRODUCED BY DEVICES LIKE THE AIRPODS.
AND DESPITE THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION’S (WHO) GUIDELINES FOR THE LEVELS OF EMF THAT DEVICES ARE ALLOWED TO EXPOSE, THE SUPPORTERS OF THE PETITION DO NOT THINK THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

Study Finds Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer

A study from the National Institutes of Health last year reported “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation may be connected to cancer of the adrenal glands and brain.

Tests were performed on mice and rats, using much higher levels of radiation than humans are exposed to. However, only the male rats demonstrated increase risk of brain tumors.

The study performed by Dr. John Bucher and colleagues at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in North Carolina tested radio frequency radiation (RFR) used in 2G and 3G cell phones. The minimum amount of radiation given to the mice would be considered the maximum amount of radiation federal regulators allow on humans. The maximum amount of radiation given to the mice was 4X higher than the maximum allowed in humans.

Hence this was a study that looked at extreme conditions that the average human is not exposed to. However, they cite “clear evidence” that the radiation incited tumors in the rats.

For more on the study see here.

Now in August of 2018, a large study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, however, found no clear evidence of brain tumor risk with cell phone use.

Researchers in this study looked at 9000 people from seven different countries, having a range of occupations, and interviewed them on their occupational electromagnetic frequency (EMF) use. Sciencealert.com reports 4000 of these patients had brain tumors (glioma and meningioma) and were compared to the other 5000 who didn’t.

The good news is they did not find a correlation between those who sustained a brain tumor and those with high EMF exposure. However the bad news is they found only a small percentage of those studied actually would be deemed to have “High EMF” exposure hence leaving us still questioning if too much cell phone exposure is still risky.

Study author Javier Villa states, “Although we did not find a positive association, the fact that we observed indication of an increased risk in the group with most recent radiofrequency exposure deserves further investigation,” and suggests, “we shouldn’t worry for now, but we do need to focus future efforts on making sharper tools to analyse any hypothetical risk.”

What do cell phones emit?

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 xrays, 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.

Can cell phone use cause cancer?

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.

Can cell phone radiation injure our body’s cells?

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.

So now what?

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.

The following has been recommended for both children and adults:

  • 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.

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……

 

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Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news, her views and opinions, medical or otherwise, if expressed, are her own. 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.

Published in Health
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