Dieting May Help Combat Fibroid Growth
Mar31

Dieting May Help Combat Fibroid Growth

In Nigeria, a surprising new treatment for uterine fibroids is becoming increasingly popular. Nigeria’s online news platform Pulse reports that the use of a vegetable-based diet rich in fiber is becoming increasingly attractive as fibroid patients testify of surprising changes. Fibroids are noncancerous growths that commonly develop in the uterus during a woman’s 30s and 40s, and can range in size, from as small as an apple seed to as large as a grapefruit. Though they’re typically asymptomatic, fibroids can cause such symptoms as abdominal pressure, pelvic pain, bladder issues, rectal pressure, or even prolonged menstrual bleeding heavy enough to cause anemia. Though these cases of extreme symptoms are uncommon, thousands of women undergo a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, each year. As it’s the only fully curative treatment for fibroids, the hysterectomy is the most common surgical procedure used to treat uterine fibroids. However, many patients often prefer to preserve their fertility, and instead seek out alternative procedures, such as MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery, uterine artery embolization, myolysis, or radiofrequency ablation. Some websites and consumer health books also promote untraditional uterine fibroid treatments, such as enzymes, hormone creams, or homeopathy, although there’s been no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of such techniques, according to the Mayo Clinic. The new treatment method in Nigeria uses specific dietary restrictions to combat the growth of fibroids. As Pulse reports, vegetable-based diets can help treat uterine fibroids because plant foods contain substances called phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. These substances reportedly bind themselves to the same cell receptors as estrogen, thus blocking the hormone’s ability to affect the cells. Without an excess of estrogen causing the uterus to grow, fibroids will supposedly shrink substantially in about two weeks. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include soy products, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, it’s important to avoid certain foods when on this diet. Abstaining from sugar, caffeine, and saturated fat is a big part of the diet, which means cutting back on items like...

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Top Scientists Urge Smithsonian to Cut Ties With Those Who Fund Climate Change Denial
Mar26

Top Scientists Urge Smithsonian to Cut Ties With Those Who Fund Climate Change Denial

A group of scientists released an open letter March 24 urging the Smithsonian museums of science and natural history to cut ties with corporate donors who have a history of denying climate change, in particular David Koch. “We are deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science,” the letter, signed by 54 leading scientists as of press time, reads. “We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests who obfuscate climate science, fight environmental regulation, oppose clean energy legislation, and seek to ease limits on industrial pollution.” The first few signatories include climatologist James Hansen, former head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; geochemist James Powell, former head of both the Franklin Museum of Science and the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum; and climatologist Bob Corell, head of the federal Global Energy Assessment and former assistant director for geosciences at the National Science Foundation. The letter singles out Koch as a trustee on the board of directors at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, as well as an exhibit sponsor, alleging that he has spent more than $67 million in the years since 1997 to fund groups that deny climate change. Koch’s association to the museums isn’t news; The New Yorker published an in-depth feature examining these and other ties five years ago. The letter comes just after outlets such as Think Progress have drawn attention to an exhibit funded by Koch that paints past climate change in a positive light and suggests that humans could simply evolve in order to survive further warming. “Will you have a tall, narrow body like a giraffe? Or more sweat glands?” one panel asks, telling visitors to imagine a future era in which the earth has warmed significantly. Setting aside that people probably don’t want more sweat glands (there are already 250,000 in the feet alone), critics have claimed the exhibit seeks to diminish what has been deemed a significant threat by scientific consensus. While the open letter makes no specific allegations that Koch or any other donors have pressured the museums to host unscientific exhibits, they note that such associations “undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.” “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost,” the signatories...

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New Statistics Show That Emergency Dental Visits Are on the Rise
Mar26

New Statistics Show That Emergency Dental Visits Are on the Rise

For many adults, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration isn’t complete without a trip to the dentist, and as NBC News has reported, this year’s holiday was no exception. According to data collected by Sikka Software, emergency dental visits “skyrocket” by an average of 64% between March 17th and 18th. In some states, including Delaware, Mississippi, Maryland, and Nebraska, the number of emergency dental visits jumps by at least 150% on March 18th. Oddly enough, there appears to be little correlation between March 18th emergency dental work and states with a higher population of residents of Irish descent, nor is there any connection to other demographic factors like religion or political views. The only factor that seems to play a major role in post-St. Paddy’s Day dental visits is gender, according to NBC. The average 64% increase applies mostly to men — for women, emergency dental visits nationwide are about 6% lower on March 18th than on other days. Despite being a predictable and short-lived annual trend every year, this huge increase in emergency dental visits can actually put quite a strain on healthcare clinics across the country. According to a recent study by the Health Policy Institute, the number of patients seeking dental care in hospital emergency rooms is increasing faster than the number of patients seeking other types of medical treatment. Whether patients can’t afford to make regular dentist visits, or they simply procrastinate getting treatment for dental health problems, emergency rooms have become the destination for patients with severe dental issues. Without proper preventative care, dental problems can get out of hand very quickly — so it’s no surprise that the number of Americans needing major dental work is on the rise. The number of people with dental implants, for example, is increasing by an estimated 500,000 people per year. Perhaps the St. Patrick’s Day dental spike isn’t the biggest problem faced by dentists and ER doctors today, but it certainly has brought attention to a trend that could put a lot of pressure on healthcare industry. Right now, patients seem to be more concerned with getting treatment — regardless of who provides it. “[The ER is] a 24-hour, 7-day a week, easy access place,” explained Aaron Warren, the executive director of the Health Policy Institute. “They have to see you. When you walk into the ER, the doctor has to see...

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Suspects Plead Not Guilty to Taking $1 Million in Cash During Burbank Home Invasion
Mar21

Suspects Plead Not Guilty to Taking $1 Million in Cash During Burbank Home Invasion

Police have arrested and charged two 30-year-old men who allegedly forced entry into a Burbank home and stole more than $1 million. One of the two men pleaded not guilty to felony charges in court on March 16, authorities said. According to NBC Los Angeles, Siavash Razaghi of Oak Park and Travis Kennedy of Newhall were both charged with one count each of home invasion robbery, first-degree residential burglary, identity theft and second-degree commercial robbery. In California, first-degree robbery charges typically carry a prison sentence lasting anywhere from three to nine years; second-degree robbery can lead to sentences ranging from two to five years. Kennedy pleaded not guilty to these charges, along with charges of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a controlled substance and possession for sale of methamphetamine, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office told the Burbank Leader. Razaghi also pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors and police allege that on Nov. 1, the two men knocked on the door of the Burbank home and claimed to be delivering the mail. They then forced their way into the house at gunpoint, zip-tying the hands of the housekeeper who answered the door. Razaghi and Kennedy were inside the home for about 15 minutes and made off with $1 million in cash. NBC Los Angeles reports that while it’s not known exactly why the homeowners had $1 million in cash lying around, it’s possible that they ran a money-lending business. Razaghi and Kennedy will return to court April 2, at which time a date for a hearing, to determine whether there is adequate evidence for a trial, will be scheduled. If convicted, Kennedy faces up to 24 years and four months in prison, while Razaghi’s maximum sentence would be 22 years and eight months. Both men are currently in jail as they await their next hearing. Razaghi’s bail was set at $2 million; Kennedy is jailed on $275,000...

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U.S. Doctors, Patients Still Wary of Weight-Loss Drugs
Mar19

U.S. Doctors, Patients Still Wary of Weight-Loss Drugs

Weight-loss drugs that work by suppressing appetite are still facing resistance from healthcare practitioners and consumers alike, even though the newest options on the market are safe, according to the Food and Drug Administration. “It’s going to be a challenge because of bad safety experiences with previous weight-loss medications,” Kaare Schultz, deputy chief executive of Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, told Reuters March 17 for a story on the company’s new focus on obesity drugs. The company’s Saxenda has been approved by regulators but has not yet made its way to pharmacies. The company says sales will begin by mid-year. But will doctors prescribe the drug? “Healthcare practitioners are still a little wary of weight-loss medications because of this sort of checkered past,” Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Wall Street Journal March 16. Saxenda carries a warning that it led to thyroid tumors in studies on rodents, and therefore people with a history of thyroid cancer shouldn’t be prescribed it. Past weight-loss drugs have had even more serious consequences; Wyeth (which has since been purchased by Pfizer) took a component of the fen-phen drug combo off the market in 1997 because it was linked to heart-valve damage, and Abbott Laboratories took Meridia off the shelves as recently as 2010 after a study demonstrated that it increased the risk of stroke and heart attack. Some doctors told the Journal that although they do believe weight-loss drugs have a place in combating the United States’ obesity problem — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than a third of American adults are obese — they intend to wait at least a year to prescribe new medications in case any side effects come to light. Alternatives to Weight-Loss Drugs As people are pushing back against weight-loss drugs, more conservative diet and fitness programs are gaining some traction (though that’s not to say that trendy diets are losing their appeal, either). And for people who have exhausted all other weight-loss avenues, personal training is a common choice. Of course, that’s not the only reason to seek personal training — on March 17 the Washington Post featured a gym that provides personal training to seniors to compensate for the lost strength, flexibility, endurance and balance that come with aging — but personal training is known for providing people struggling with weight loss the accountability needed to follow through. Many doctors have also cautioned that weight-loss drugs shouldn’t be used to replace such fitness regimens, but should instead be combined with regular exercise and diet plans. Dr. Sangeeta Kashyap,...

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