New Hope for Curing Type 1 Diabetes

By Brooke Strickland

 Diabetes is a life-altering disease.  If you’re one that suffers from it, you don’t have to feel like it needs to overtake your life.  A new experiment showed that it’s possible to reverse Type 1 diabetes using an inexpensive vaccine that stops the immune system from attacking cells in the pancreas. People with low doses of the vaccine in their system showed increases in insulin production. [1]

If you’re battling diabetes and if the daily management of the disease has got you down, take heart and don’t burn out.  You’re not alone in the fight.  We’ve compiled some tips to keep you hopeful and healthy.

·         Celebrate your victories:  Keep a journal of things that you’re doing right.  This will keep you encouraged on days that you’re feeling frustrated and will help keep your spirits up.  Things to include might be that you ate a plethora of healthy snacks instead of junk food, or you remembered to check your blood sugar on time.

 

·         Cut caloric intake:  You don’t have to sacrifice good food.  Just eat in moderation.  Eat 1 serving instead of 2 and skip high-fat convenience foods and treats and increase your intake of fiber.  They’re not healthy for anyone.

 

·         Find a friend:  Support is always helpful when going through health challenges, especially with one such as diabetes.  Reach out to a support group or confide in a friend who is also struggling with the disease.  There’s no reason to go through this alone. 

If you’re feeling the aggravation of managing your diabetes and nothing seems to be helping lift your spirits, it might be time to talk your doctor.  There may be ways to support your efforts, new therapies to try, or other advice that your medical profession can give you to put you back on the path of hope.  

 

·         Keep exercise manageable:  It’s true that exercise has to be part of your diabetes management routine, but you don’t need to start training for the next half marathon in your city.  It simply means you need to exercise regularly, so if you’re feeling out of energy, try breaking your exercising into bits.  Walk briskly for 10 minutes a day, 3-6 times.  As long as you get that 30-60 minute time frame completed during the day, you’re good to go.   



[1] Maugh, Thomas. “Research shows promise in reversing Type 1 diabetes.” Los Angeles Times. June 25, 2011. 

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/25/health/la-he-bcg-diabetes-20110625.  Accessed January 3, 2012.

New Cancer Treatment Gives Patients Hope

By Brooke Strickland

Cancer has touched thousands of lives; its effects are far-reaching and devastating.  For years, medical researchers have been trying to find a way to cure cancer.  The fight continues and with time, new strategies emerge. 

A new study offers hope.

Scientists have found a way to target cancer cells by using cells from a patient’s own immune system.  In the study, researchers worked with patients suffering from a specific blood cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).  The only known cure for this type of cancer is through a bone marrow transplant, which is only effective in about half of patients.  In the study, scientists worked with three patients, extracting their own white blood cells.  They then reprogrammed them to attack the leukemia cells and injected them back into the patient. [1]  The results were astonishing:  in six months, two of the patients had no cancer cells left.  A year later, all three of the patients are doing well after treatment.

This gives hope to individuals suffering from all kinds of cancers.  The goal now is to continue developing this method of treatment.  Putting white blood cells to work with the hopes of targeting cancer cells that cause breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer may be part of the key to curing this destructive and devastating disease.



[1] LaPook, Jonathan. “New Cancer Treatment Reprograms Immune System.” CBSNews.com. August 10, 2011.  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/10/eveningnews/main20090911.shtml  Accessed January 3, 2012.

Trying to get pregnant?

Trying to get pregnant?

 By Brooke Strickland

Starting your family is a huge decision and one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly.  You’ve likely thought about how many kids you want and once you finally decide to make that leap into trying to get pregnant, it’s scary and exciting at the same time.  But if you’ve been trying for month after month with no positive pregnancy tests, your hopes are likely dwindling and you’re probably feeling sad, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless. But take heart – hope isn’t lost.   We’ve compiled some tips and answers that will hopefully help you in your journey to parenthood.

What can you do to increase your chances in getting pregnant?

1)      Keeping healthy is the most important.  If you’re fighting excess weight, start an exercise routine and stick to it.  Shedding those extra pounds is not only good for your overall health, but can also help you get pregnant more easily.  Being overweight also increases your risk of miscarriage and other complications during pregnancy.   

2)      Knowing when you ovulate is the next step.  For some women, they can tell when they’re ovulating.  For others, it’s impossible to know.  Ovulation predictor kits can help and so can taking your temperature every morning, as your basal body temperature will likely decline as you get closer to ovulation.   Having sex every other day around the time of ovulation is recommended to increase your chances of conception.

Is stress a factor in getting pregnant?   
Stress may or may not play a part in getting pregnant.  If you’re severely stressed, there’s a chance ovulation could be affected, but the key here is to stay relaxed, maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat well, and have fun with the process. 


How long should you try to get pregnant before consulting a fertility specialist?   
Doctors generally don’t worry about infertility until you’ve been having consistent, unprotected intercourse for a year or more with no results.  If you’re over 35, however, doctors will investigate infertility after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.   There are many fertility specialists out there that can help you through the process, with many alternative methods that may be right for you.   

When you want to have a family, waiting is the hardest part.  It’s hard to be patient when you’ve finally decided that you want a family.  But remember to keep it fun – enjoy the love that you and your partner have for each other and remember that when parenthood happens – whether it be through pregnancy, adoption, or another means, parenthood will be the most rewarding journey you’ll ever embark on.

 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

Keeping Heart Attacks Away

By Brooke Strickland

 

A new test has recently surfaced that will help doctors make a quicker diagnosis for individuals more prone to heart attacks.  This test can detect troponin, a protein in the muscle tissue of the heart.  Individuals that have high levels of troponin are said to have a higher risk of heart attack.  This test could help doctors monitor patients that complain of chest pains but have no other heart attack symptoms. [1] 

Heart attacks are scary.  They cause damage to the heart and kill thousands of people each day in the United States.   However, changes to lifestyle and medication (if you’ve been diagnosed by your doctor to be more prone to heart attacks) can be key to preventing life-altering heart attacks. 

First of all, let’s go over what the symptoms are of heart attacks.  Most heart attacks start with subtle symptoms.   If you are experiencing any of these, it’s important to get to the hospital quickly.  “Toughing it out” is not a good idea – a heart attack can be fatal and it’s important to seek medical attention fast.

·         Chest discomfort or pain:  This can include tight aches, pressure, or feeling fullness or squeezing in the chest

·         Upper body pain:  Pain that can spread to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, or jaw

·         Stomach pain: including pain that extends into your abdominal area such as heartburn

·         Shortness of breath

·         Lightheadedness and sweating

·         Nausea and vomiting

Heart attack prevention may be easier than you think.   A list of easy lifestyle changes you can make to keep your heart healthy include:

·         Not smoking:  tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors in developing heart diseases

·         Staying physically fit: even if it’s housekeeping or taking your dog for a 10 minute walk around the block, staying active is key

·         Maintaining a healthy weight: being overweight causes your heart to work harder

·         Reducing stress in your life: managing and reducing stress in your life is good for your heart as well as your body and mind as a whole

·         Eating healthy: eat fruits and vegetables, and follow a plan of eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium)

·         Controlling other medical conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure

You’ve only got one heart.   Keep it beating strong. 

New clues in treating inflammatory diseases

By Brooke Strickland

In a recent study published by the journal Science, experiments on naked mole-rats showed new clues into treating inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.  These mammals, native to sub-Saharan Africa, have insensitivities to acid-induced pain.

“Exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide in turn would evoke acidosis, but the naked mole-rat has evolved in a way to manage this acid load and to be able to live in acidic environments, which for most other rodents in the world would be uninhabitable,” said neuroscientist Ewan St. John Smith, the lead author of the study.
[1]  When humans are exposed to acid, special channels at the tips of sensory neurons are stimulated, which activate signals to the spinal cord.  However, when the naked mole-rats were exposed to these same triggers, their neurons contain proteins with genetic mutations that prevent neurons from giving off signals of pain to the body. 

Smith went on to say, “If a drug could now be developed with acts on these particular proteins on the sensory neurons, you could limit the ability of acid to cause pain in patients with arthritis or other inflammatory disorders.”

If you suffer from arthritis, you’ve likely searched for ways to ease the pain.  We’ve compiled a couple of natural tips for minimizing the pain in your arthritic joints. 

Exercise:  Being active is essential to helping you lose weight (which can also ease arthritis) but keeping physically fit is also important in helping your arthritis pain.  It’s important to integrate aerobic activities such as swimming, biking, and walking to build stronger muscles around the joints that are affected. 

Acupuncture:  This can be a helpful to relieve pain and disability due to arthritis.  

Eat and drink well:  Cut out salty and sugary foods and dairy products, as these things can often inflame joints more.  Add in lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as nuts, legumes, and garlic. In addition, some herbs can help ease arthritis pain.  Drinking a glass of pineapple juice daily can also help, as it contains bromelain which can help relieve arthritis.  [2]

 

 

 



[1] “Study: Naked mole-rates reveal clues to treating arthritis.” CNN.Com. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/16/study-naked-mole-rats-reveal-clues-to-treating-arthritis/?hpt=he_c2 Accessed December 19, 2011.

[2] How to Ease Arthritis pain naturally.  Accessed December 19, 2011. http://www.ehow.com/how_4500417_ease-arthritis-symptoms-naturally.html