Tuesday, 26 August 2008


Cary G Dean.


Cancer Vaccine Linked to Pancreatitis

Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine, which is being advised for all young women, may be causing pancreatitis, a painful, debilitating disease that can be fatal.

Australian sources reported that three women developed pancreatitis shortly after receiving the vaccine.

Gardasil supposedly protects women from strains of the HPV (human papillomavirus) that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancer.

But numerous cases of young women being stricken with various potentially deadly complications have arisen all over the world.

Eighteen deaths have been reported as well as 8,000 adverse reactions which include paralysis and seizures.

Australia alone reported over 1,000 suspected reactions to the vaccine, although most were not life-threatening and included headaches, dizziness and vomiting.

Acute pancreatitis is characterized by sudden, severe abdominal pain.

Pancreatic enzymes burn and irritate the pancreas, then leak out into the abdominal cavity.

Complications can include heart, respiratory or kidney failure, all of which can be fatal.

Dr. Amitabha Das, writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, said, “We suggest that pancreatitis be considered in cases of abdominal pain following HPV vaccination.”


Depression Drug Eases Chronic Low Back Pain

Eli Lilly and Co's Cymbalta depression treatment significantly reduced chronic low back pain in a relatively small clinical trial, the company said on Monday.

Data from the 236-patient trial, which lasted 13 weeks and compared the effectiveness of Cymbalta with placebos, were presented at the annual congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Madrid.

Lilly said 31 percent of patients taking Cymbalta experienced a 50 percent reduction in pain, as measured by a standard pain scale, compared with 19 percent of placebo-treated patients.

But significantly more patients taking Cymbalta dropped out of the trial because of side effects, which included nausea, dry mouth, fatigue, diarrhea, excessive sweating, dizziness and constipation.

Lilly said side effects were similar to those seen in previous trials of Cymbalta for other conditions.

The drug works by maximizing the presence of two messenger chemicals in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine.


Burning Incense Linked to Respiratory Cancers

Burning incense may create a sweet scent, but regularly inhaling the smoke could put people at risk of cancers of the respiratory tract, researchers reported Monday.

In a study of more than 61,000 ethnic Chinese living in Singapore who were followed for up to 12 years, the investigators found a link between heavy incense use and various respiratory cancers.

The findings are published in the medical journal Cancer.

Incense has been used for millennia in many cultures' religious and spiritual ceremonies.

In Asia, people commonly burn incense in their homes, a practice that is becoming more popular in Western countries as well.

Incense is usually derived from fragrant plant materials, like tree bark, resins, roots, flowers and essential oils.

Past research has found that burning these materials can produce potentially cancer-causing substances, including benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

However, no studies until now had linked the practice of burning incense to an increased cancer risk over time, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Jeppe T. Friborg of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.

The researchers found that incense use was associated with a statistically significant higher risk of cancers of the upper respiratory tract, with the exception of nasopharyngeal cancer.

However, they observed no overall effect on lung cancer risk.

Those who used incense heavily also had higher rates of a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which refers to tumors that arise in the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the body.

The risk was seen in smokers and nonsmokers.

Study participants who used incense in their homes all day or throughout the day and night were 80 percent more likely than non-users to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the entire respiratory tract.

The link between incense use and increased cancer risk held when the researchers weighed other factors, including cigarette smoking, diet and drinking habits.

"This association is consistent with a large number of studies identifying carcinogens in incense smoke," Friborg's team writes, "and given the widespread and sometimes involuntary exposure to smoke from burning incense, these findings carry significant public health implications."

They say further studies are needed to see whether different types of incense are associated with different degrees of cancer risk.

In Singapore, the researchers note, most people burn long sticks or coils of incense that burn slowly over an extended period.


Caesarean Babies More Likely to Develop Diabetes

Babies delivered by Caesarean section have a 20 per cent higher risk than normal deliveries of developing the most common type of diabetes in childhood, according to a study led by Queen's University Belfast.

The team, led by Dr Chris Cardwell and Dr Chris Patterson, examined 20 published studies from 16 countries including around 10,000 children with Type 1 diabetes and over a million control children.

They found a 20 per cent increase in the risk of children born by Caesarean section developing the disease.

The increase could not be explained by factors such as birth weight, the age of the mother, order of birth, gestational diabetes and whether the baby was breast-fed or not, all factors associated with childhood diabetes in previous studies.

Dr Cardwell, from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, said:

"This study revealed a consistent 20 per cent increase in the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

It is important to stress that the reason for this is still not understood.

It is possible that children born by Caesarean section differ from other children with respect to some unknown characteristic which consequently increases their risk of diabetes, but it is also possible that Caesarean section itself is responsible.

"Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, and one theory suggests that being born by Caesarean section may affect the development of the immune system because babies are first exposed to bacteria originating from the hospital environment rather than to maternal bacteria."

Iain Foster, Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said:

"Not all women have the choice of whether to have a Caesarean section or not, but those who do may wish to take this risk into consideration before choosing to give birth this way.

"We already know that genetics and childhood infections play a vital role in the development of Type 1 diabetes in children, but the findings of this study indicate that the way a baby is delivered could affect how likely it is to develop this condition later in life.

Diabetes UK Northern Ireland would welcome more research in this area."


Kids Follow Parent’s Lead on Eating Fruits and Veggies

Parents who want their preschoolers to eat their fruits and vegetables should probably practice what they preach, a new study suggests.

In a study of more than 1,300 families, researchers found that when parents boosted their own consumption of fruits and vegetables, so did their young children.

The findings, reported in the journal Preventive Medicine, point to the importance of parents "modeling" a healthy diet for their preschoolers.

They also suggest that educating parents on nutrition early on could help address the problem of childhood obesity, the researchers say.

About half of parents in the study were randomly assigned to receive home visits where they learned about nutrition and tactics for getting their children to eat fruits and vegetables.

On average, these parents increased their fruit and vegetable intake, and in turn so did their children.

"We know that parents have a tremendous influence over how many fruits and vegetables their children eat," lead researcher Dr. Debra Haire-Joshu, of Saint Louis University School of Public Health in St. Louis, commented in a written statement.

"When parents eat more fruits and vegetables, so do their children," she added.

"When parents eat and give their children high fat snacks or soft drinks, children learn these eating patterns instead."

The one exception was children who were already overweight, who generally did not grow fonder of fruits and vegetables.

"Overweight children," Haire-Joshu said, "have already been exposed to salty, sweet foods and learned to like them.

To keep a child from becoming overweight, parents need to expose them early to a variety of health foods and offer the foods many times."

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