Good Stuff To Know – April 2017

Alzheimer’s drug prescribed off-label could pose risk for some

Donepezil, a medication that is approved to treat people with Alzheimer’s disease, should not be prescribed for people with mild cognitive impairment without a genetic test. * * *

Sugar’s ‘tipping point’ link to Alzheimer’s disease revealed

For the first time a molecular ‘tipping point’ has been demonstrated in Alzheimer’s, linking high blood sugar with this debilitating disease. * * *

Concern over high US prescribing levels of common drug linked to dementia

A new analysis raises concern over high prescription rates in the USA of a common drug used to treat overactive bladder. The drug, oxybutynin, when taken orally, is consistently linked with cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly. The analysis shows that oxybutynin, is prescribed in more than a quarter of cases of overactive bladder (27.3%), even though other more suitable drugs are available. * **

Antibiotics used to treat cystic fibrosis increases risk of permanent hearing loss

A powerful class of antibiotics provides life-saving relief for people with cystic fibrosis; however, a new study for the first time reveals the levels at which high cumulative dosages over time significantly increases the risk of permanent hearing loss in these patients. The study suggests physicians who treat patients with cystic fibrosis may be able to consider alternative strategies for treating the symptoms of respiratory infections associated with CF. * * *

Antibiotic resistance: A burgeoning problem for kids too

New national study suggests communities are growing source of infection. In a new, first-of-its-kind study, researchers have found a 700-percent surge in infections caused by bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family resistant to multiple kinds of antibiotics among children in the US. These antibiotic resistant infections are in turn linked to longer hospital stays and potentially greater risk of death. * * *

Eating up to ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day may prevent 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide

A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefit in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. * * *

Many stroke patients do not receive life-saving therapy

Many ischemic stroke patients do not get tPA, which can decrease their chances for recovery. Blacks, Hispanics, women and ‘Stroke Belters’ are less likely to get tPA. Patients treated in large, urban hospitals, stroke-certified hospitals and hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines® — Stroke program are more likely to get tPA. Patients with private insurance were more likely to receive tPA than those with Medicare. * * *

Doctors should discuss herbal medication use with heart disease patients

Physicians should be well-versed in the herbal medications heart disease patients may take to be able to effectively discuss their clinical implications, potential benefits and side effects—despite a lack of scientific evidence to support their use, according to a review paper. * * *

Given the choice, patients will reach for cannabis over prescribed opioids

Chronic pain sufferers and those taking mental health meds would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication, according to new research. * * *

Marijuana use associated with increased risk of stroke, heart failure

As marijuana legalization spreads, better understanding of side effects is needed. Using marijuana raises the risk of stroke and heart failure even after accounting for demographic factors, other health conditions and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and alcohol use, according to new research. * * *

Link between microbiome in the gut, Parkinson’s discovered

There is growing evidence showing a connection between Parkinson’s disease — a neurodegenerative condition — and the composition of the microbiome of the gut. A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that Parkinson’s disease, and medications to treat Parkinson’s, have distinct effects on the composition of the trillions of bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. * * *

Unequal distribution of power in young adult relationships more harmful to women

Power imbalances in heterosexual relationships are common, but having less power takes a greater toll on young women than young men, according to a recently published University at Buffalo study. * * *

Two-thirds of Americans see docs who got paid by drug companies

A majority of Americans visited doctors in the past year who had been paid or given gifts by pharmaceutical or medical device companies, but very few patients knew about it, outlines new research. * * *

Caffeine boosts enzyme that could protect against dementia

Researchers have identified 24 compounds — including caffeine — with the potential to boost an enzyme in the brain shown to protect against dementia. * * *

Americans are having sex less often, new study shows

Couples married or living together reported the largest decline in sexual frequency. While the topic of sex is less taboo than it was a generation ago, that doesn’t necessarily mean people are having more of it. According to a new study, Americans who were married or living together had sex 16 fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 2000-2004. The survey also found that overall, Americans had sex about nine fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 1995-1999. * * *

Blueberry concentrate improves brain function in older people

Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to new research.* * *

Low carbohydrate diets should be considered for diabetes management

Following a reduced carbohydrate diet can help to lower blood glucose levels, providing a safe and effective strategy for managing diabetes, new research suggests. * * *

Cancer-causing benzene found in e-cigarette vapors operated at high power

Significant levels of cancer-causing benzene in e-cigarette vapors can form when the devices are operated at high power, scientists have found. * * *

Vitamin C effective in targeting cancer stem cells

Researchers have measured the impact on cancer stem cell metabolism of three natural substances, three experimental pharmaceuticals and one clinical drug. * * *

Nonsurgical treatment for enlarged prostate remains effective for years

Prostate artery embolization relieves urinary symptoms of BPH without causing major side effects. A minimally invasive treatment that reduces urinary tract symptoms for men with enlarged prostates maintains its effectiveness for at least three years after patients undergo the therapy, according to new research. This study of 1,000 men is the largest of its kind to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of prostate artery embolization (PAE). * * *

Sound waves boost older adults’ memory, deep sleep

Pink noise synced to brain waves deepens sleep and triples memory scores in older adults. Gentle sound stimulation — such as the rush of a waterfall — synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves significantly enhanced deep sleep in older adults and tripled their ability to recall words, reports a new study. The goal is to make the new technology available for home use. * * *

Unhealthy diets linked to more than 400,000 cardiovascular deaths

Eating a diet lacking in healthy foods and/or high in unhealthy foods was estimated to contribute to more than 400,000 deaths from heart and blood vessel diseases in the United States in 2015. Eating more nuts, vegetables, and whole grains, and less salt and trans fats, could save tens of thousands of lives in the US each year. * * *

Flame retardant chemicals may affect social behavior in young children

Some chemicals added to furniture, electronics and numerous other goods to prevent fires may have unintended developmental consequences for young children, according to a pilot study. * * *

Impotence medicine associated with reduced long-term risk of death after heart attack

Common impotence drugs such as Viagra may have a life-prolonging effect on patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction, a new study suggests. The finding calls for the need of prospective studies of impotence drugs in heart attack patients others than only those who suffer from impotence – including women. * * *

Benefits of long-term use of ADHD medications questioned

In a study that followed more than 500 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood, extended use of stimulant medication was linked with suppressed adult height but not with reduced symptoms of ADHD. * * *

Topical curcumin gel effective in treating burns and scalds

What is the effect of Topical Curcumin Gel for treating burns and scalds? In a recent research paper, investigators stress that use of topical curcumin gel for treating skin problems, like burns and scalds, is very different and appears to work more effectively, when compared to taking curcumin tablets by mouth for other conditions. * * *

Experts find strong case for over-the-counter oral contraceptives for adults and teens

Public health and other experts add to evidence for switching ‘the pill’ from prescription to over-the-counter sales.

A team of pediatric, adolescent and women’s health experts concludes that regulatory, behavioral and scientific evidence supports switching oral contraceptives from prescription-only status to over-the-counter (OTC) availability. * * *

Newer contraceptive pills linked to higher clot risks, study confirms

New evidence to confirm the link between newer contraceptive pills and higher risk of serious blood clots (known as venous thromboembolism or VTE) has been provided by a new study. About 9% of women of reproductive age worldwide use oral contraceptives, rising to 18% of women in developed countries and 28% of women in the UK. * * *

Hormonal contraceptives and hair dyes increase breast cancer risk

Age is the most important risk factor of breast cancer but current study suggests that the use of hormonal intrauterine device increases the breast cancer risk significantly. * * *

Older women taking statins face higher risk of diabetes

Women over 75 faced a 33 percent higher chance of developing diabetes if they were taking statins, new Australian research shows. The risk increased to 51 percent for those on high doses. Clinicians are urged to be aware of the risks when prescribing and carefully monitor elderly female patients. * * *

Dietary anti-cancer compound may work by influence on cellular genetics

Sulforaphane, a dietary compound from broccoli that’s known to help prevent prostate cancer, may work through its influence on long, non-coding RNAs, report scientists. This is another step forward in a compelling new area of study on the underlying genetics of cancer development and progression. * * *

Repeated eye injections for age-related macular degeneration associated with increased risk for glaucoma

Patients with age-related macular degeneration who received seven or more eye injections of the drug bevacizumab annually had a higher risk of having glaucoma surgery, according to a study. * * *

A prescription for touch: Early experiences shape preterm babies’ brains

Newborn babies experience the world through touch. Now, researchers who have measured the brain responses of 125 infants — including babies who were born prematurely and others who went full-term — show that a baby’s earliest experiences of touch have lasting effects on the way their young brains respond to gentle touch when they go home. * * *

‘No fat’ or ‘no sugar’ label equals no guarantee of nutritional quality

Purchases featuring low- or no-nutrients claims do not necessarily offer the better overall nutrition implied by the claim. Terms such as no-fat or no-sugar, low-fat or reduced-salt on food packaging may give consumers a sense of confidence before they purchase, but these claims rarely reflect the actual nutritional quality of the food, according to a new study. * * *

Stem cells shown to restore erection capability in men with erectile dysfunction

New clinical trial results show that stem cells can restore sufficient erectile function to allow previously impotent men to have spontaneous intercourse. This is the first time stem cell therapy has produced patients who have recovered sufficient erectile function to enable intercourse. This is an early trial, which was primarily addressing safety and dosage (a Phase 1 trial), so the results need to be interpreted accordingly. * * *

Vitamin D decreases risk of cancer, new study suggests

Low vitamin D status may increase the risk of cancer, suggests new research. The study is a randomized clinical trial of the effects of vitamin D supplementation on all types of cancer combined. * * *

Early use of marijuana can increase its negative health impacts A study cautions of risks for young consumers

The need for age guidelines for marijuana use is the focus of a new study. The findings show that young users report the most impact to their physical and mental health. * * *

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