What is Alzheimer's Disease?
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. The actual cause of AD is unknown. AD slowly damages, and then destroys, a person’s memory, judgment, reasoning skills, personality, autonomy, and bodily functions.
The disease specifically affects several components of the brain. These include:
- a gradual loss of brain cells, called neurons
- damage to neurons so they no longer function properly
- the loss of neural connections—called synapses— where messages are passed from neuron to neuron
Do TV Commercials Tell the Truth About Drugs
It's no secret that advertisers stretch the truth when they make trendy ads to get you to buy their products. That's why pictures of scrumptious pasta dishes and juicy steaks look better on TV than when you visit a local food chain for dinner.
My concern in this area is more basic. Namely, there is a big difference between stretching the truth for foods (or other items) vs. medication. Whenever parents see ads for a cold medicine, they are being duped into believing these products work. In reality, cold medicines have little upside in children.
Causes of Secondary Hypertension
In about 10% of people, high blood pressure is caused by another disease (this is called secondary hypertension). In such cases, when the root cause is treated, blood pressure usually returns to normal or is significantly lowered.
Eleven Steps to Take If Abnormal Prostate Cancer Test
By Dr. Robin Wulfson
In recent years much controversy has arisen for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test that screens for prostate cancer. Last August, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reported that they had finalized their decision that the prostate specific antigen (PSA) cancer screening test did more harm than good. The announcement sparked a prompt rebuttal from the American Urological Association (AUA). Many healthcare professionals, me included, feel that older men should have the test and if it comes back abnormal to fully consider the options with a physician knowledgeable about prostate disease. One such expert is Jay Cohen, M.D. I consulted with Dr. Cohen on the topic and he provided me with a wealth of information.
Dr. Cohen notes that in the last few years there has been a quantum leap in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. The problem is, many patients are unaware of these advances—and so too are their doctors.
Understanding the Affordable Healthcare Act
In April, at the Sankofa Health Forum held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we were visited by Ken Munson, Region V Director of Health and Human Services. Mr. Munson laid out the critical points of the Affordable Care Act, touching on those things that we ordinary people need to know about the voluminous national healthcare law.
Forget that the measure is a massive document – people always comment about the 900 or more pages that make up the law – but instead, focus on those things that apply to you as a consumer. It is in your best interest to try to understand those basic elements that could impact your life.
Forget what you may have heard, here’s the skinny on this fat document:
Battling the Not So Common Cold
Is it a cold or allergies?
By James M. Steckelberg, M.D.;
If you tend to get "colds" that develop suddenly and occur at the same time every year, it's possible that you actually have seasonal allergies. Although colds and seasonal allergies may share some of the same symptoms, they are very different diseases.
Common colds are caused by viruses, while seasonal allergies are immune system responses triggered by exposure to an allergen. Treatment of a common cold may include rest, pain relievers and over-the-counter cold remedies, such as decongestants. Treatment of seasonal allergies may include over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays and decongestants, and avoidance of exposure to allergens where possible.
Coping with Chronic Illnesses and Depression
For millions of people, chronic illnesses and depression are facts of life. A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely, although some illnesses can be controlled through diet, exercise, and certain medications. Examples of chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Many people with chronic illness experience depression. In fact, depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness. It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression.
African Americans Experience Longer Delays
African American men on average wait a week longer than their Caucasian counterparts between the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer and treatment, according to University of North Carolina researchers.
The study was published online March 28 in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, by a team led by Ronald Chen, MD, MPH, assistant professor with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The study is the first published population-based examination of racial disparities in prostate cancer treatment delay.
Anxiety, Depression May Triple Heart Patients' Death Risk
By Steven Reinberg
Anxiety and depression coupled with heart disease triples the risk of death compared to cardiac trouble alone, researchers have found.
Among heart patients, anxiety can double the risk of dying from any cause, the study authors noted, and depression further raises those odds.
"Patients with heart disease who experience high anxiety during the stressors of everyday life may benefit from treatments designed to reduce anxiety, such as medications targeting anxiety or stress management," said lead researcher Lana Watkins, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Obama Budget Includes $235 Million For Mental Health Care
President Obama is asking for $235 million as part of his new budget proposal to fund mental health initiatives. Of the funds, $130 million will be used to train teachers and others to identify signs of mental illness in students and provide them with access to treatment.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a blog on her agency's website that the funds include $205 million to help identify mental health problems, improve access to mental health services and support safer school environments. The plan would affect at least 8,000 schools according to Sebelius.
Twelve School Football Players Die Each Year
By Genevra Pittman
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Each year in the U.S. an average of a dozen high school and college football players die during practices and games, according to a new study that finds heart conditions, heat and other non-traumatic causes of death are twice as common as injury-related ones.
Researchers reviewed data from the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research and found 243 football deaths recorded between July 1990 and June 2010.
One hundred of the fatalities resulted from an underlying heart condition, 62 were due to a brain injury - typically a subdural hematoma - and 38 were from heat-related causes, according to findings published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.