Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Treating wrinkles with Acupuncture

Wrinkles are a visible reminder of one’s age. Most men and women will do just about anything to erase fine lines and wrinkles on the face. While Botox injections and cosmetic procedures are known to make wrinkles disappear, they are temporary and may produce certain side effects in course of time. But there’s a Zen way to smoothen wrinkles and acupuncture claims to be it. Apart from ridding your face from those ugly wrinkles, acupressure also promotes overall health of your body. Not only does your face look youthful, you feel youthful too.
Facial acupuncture acupuncture uses fine needles that are needled at specific spots on the face. These needles stimulate the production of collagen and elastin the body, which fill fine lines and level out wrinkles. A series of 10 acupuncture treatments should solve your wrinkle problem. The number of treatment sessions varies across different patients. With each passing session, the wrinkle count on your face reduces and won completion of all the sessions, you will discover a much younger and a charming you.
While the results with facial acupuncture are same as Botox treatment, the advantages of acupuncture are many. With acupuncture, there is no risk of scarring and no pain is involved. The wrinkles are simply ironed out . Acupressure not only improves the way your face looks, but can benefit your overall health too. While all cosmetic surgery options promise to retrieve physical symptoms of youth, acupuncture is probably the only way you can feel youthful too. All this at just a fraction of the cost that you would spend on Botox or a cosmetic procedure.
Changing your appearance is not something that can be taken lightly. All cosmetic procedures use synthetic products that can worsen your appearance. Acupuncture is the true anti aging medicine. It helps your own body put back a more youthful appearance and energize you inside out.

Complications less likely in C-sections performed after 39 weeks

Elective Caesarean section is very common these days for a wide variety of reasons. Doctors recommend this procedure for women with pregnancy complications. Many women opt for this procedure as it is generally believed to reduce the risk of incontinence. Recent studies conducted in this area has found that elective C-sections performed a week or two before the due date increases the likelihood of complications in the baby post-delivery.
The study recommends elective C-section only after 39 weeks of gestation. Ideally, C-section should be performed in the 40th week to reduce the risks associated with the delivery.
Breathing problems, increased risk of infections and decreased blood sugar levels were some of the problems associated with C-section births at or before 37 weeks. The risk of encountering such complications was four times greater in C-sections births prior to 37 weeks. The risks decreased dramatically to just 8% in C-sections births after 39 weeks. Another important factor that came to light was that the risk of complications increased in C-section births beyond 40 weeks.
In 2006, the percentage of C-sections. in US was 31.1%. And the number of C-sections is increasing over the years. Many women opt for elective C-section because of a fear of vaginal delivery, convenience and to avoid pelvic damage. The procedure has its own advantages and disadvantages. Recent advances in medicine pertaining to Caesarean births, better anesthesia standards have made elective Caesarean births more attractive to women. However, it is important to opt for an elective C-section within the seven days prior to the due date in order to minimize the risk of complications to the baby.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cancer Risk Increased by Intake of Fertility Drugs 

When diagnosed with something as deadly as cancer, fertility may not be the immediate concern. However, once cancer is cured and life goes on, the harmful effects of the treatment undergone may show up in the form of impaired fertility.
Ironically, fertility enhancing treatments also seem to have the same effect on cancer, by increasing the risk of cancer in women who undergo fertility treatment.
Treatment for infertility almost always involves intake of fertility drugs, but it appears by improving fertility and the chances of a woman to conceive, the fertility drugs may simultaneously be increasing the risk of cancer. The risk of uterine cancer in particular is seen to increase. 
Ovulation-inducing drugs are common in treatment of infertility. The effects of these drugs on the health of the women who use them have not been verified yet.  
The studies conducted on the topic come out with contradictory findings on the direct relationship between medication intake and ovarian or breast Cancer. Certain constraints on the research such as the short duration of study or inclusion of women with a higher propensity for cancer due to other reasons are cited as reasons for lack of absolute clarity in the findings. 
A recently conducted study on 15,000 Israeli women 30 years after they gave birth was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Out of this large group, 567 had used ovulation-inducing drugs. 362 women also took the fertility drug clomiphene. The study revealed that the subjects developed cancer at a higher rate than the other drug-free women; they were also at a higher risk for developing other forms of cancer. 
A study conducted at the Stanford University also says that the correlation between ovarian cancer and fertility drugs was more predominant in those women who took fertility drugs, but never became pregnant. This could suggest the cancer risk to be associated with the type of infertility rather than the treatment drug use itself.
Besides breast cancer, increased risk of developing other forms of cancer, like skin cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were also noted. Still, in spite of the large sample used in the study, scientists say it is not easy to draw reliable conclusions because a detailed history of fertility drug use for all the women were not available. Also, only a very small percentage of women developed uterine cancer. 
The findings are nonetheless significant. Medication that blocks the brain’s estrogen receptors are found to increase the risk of uterine cancer. 

Find out if you are at risk for heart disease

Each year, heart disease is taking toll of millions of people across the globe. While scientists are on a constant attempt to introduce advance methods in treating ailments of the heart, attempts are also being made to identify indications in the body that tell you whether you are at a risk for heart disease or not. Those found to be at a risk for heart disease can take precautions to avoid heart diseases.
The first step in preventing heart disease is to identify whether you are at risk for heart disease or not. Many theories have been put forward and many methods have been listed to identify whether you are at risk for heart disease. Some methods include a series of simple steps and others are so complicated that a thorough investigation of your DNA mapping needs to be done. While some methods are used to measure the risk are just vague and seem like guess work, some researchers take it up seriously and device appropriate strategies to determine certain traits in a person that call for action to prevent heart diseases.
Most studies consider BMI (Body Mass Index) as an indicator for heart disease risks. But, a study conducted by the American College of Cardiology suggests that BMI alone is not enough to judge a person’s risk for heart disease. Researches involved with this study opine that the waist to hip ratio is the best indicator for general health and heart disease. So, even though your BMI falls in the healthy range, your waist-hip ratio can tell whether you have a healthy heart or not. Conversely, though your BMI tells that you are at risk for heart disease, your waist-hip ratio may actually have some good news for you about your heart health.
Most studies relate body weight to heart health. But every person who is overweight on the BMI scale need not have the risk for heart attack. Through the findings got from the study, researchers state that BMI does not identify patients who have fat deposits around the waist. They can merely determine the fat percentage of the entire body. This calculation is not enough to determine risk of heart disease in the person.
This study is a good reference for people who want to know if they have a risk for heart disease. Don’t let the BMI score mislead you in deciding that you are at risk for heart ailments in future. Make other tests in order to confirm your risk for heart disease before running into a panic.

Why does Breast Cancer Spread?

Breast cancer can spread to any part of your body through the blood and lymphatic system. The metastasis of breast cancer cells is what makes the disease very dangerous. Metastatis means the cancer cells have traveled from the place of origin, i.e. the breast, to other parts of the body.

When the cancer cells travel from the breast to the underarm lymph nodes, it is still considered to be early stages of breast cancer and it has a high potential to be completely cured. With surgery and treatment there is a very high chance that all the disease can be completely eradicated from the body.

When the cancer cells travel beyond the lymph nodes to other distant parts of the body, the patient is said to have distant metastasis. The bones, lungs and liver are the most commonly affected places in the body that breast Cancer cells spread to. Though treatment is available for breast cancer and for metastasic breast cancer, once the cancer has traveled beyond the breast and underarm lymph nodules, it can no longer be totally cured.

Scientists have recently discovered a molecule that could be the main reason behind the spreading of breast cancer cells to different parts of the body. The molecule known as Brk is found in almost 60% of breast cancers and they accelerate the growth of the tumor cells, encouraging metastasis to other parts of the body.

The study was conducted on breast cancer patients who had extremely poor responses to the treatments. The Brk molecule was found in very high concentration in these patients, which means that not only does it cause the cancer to grow more aggressively; it also encourages its rapid spread to other parts of the body.

The study also came out with another crucial finding. The tumor cells died when the Brk molecule was inhibited, but the cancer cells re-emerged when the molecule was introduced again. This points to a significant level of involvement that the Brk molecule has in encouraging the breast cancer cells to survive, grow and spread.
Scientists are currently studying how exactly the Brk molecule promotes the growth of breast cancer cells so that they can develop ways to prevent that from happening. The findings are quote encouraging and shed new light on the age old battle of mankind against cancer.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Gene Testing for Breast Cancer Reliable?

For a woman, being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the most traumatic experiences in life. Once the disease is detected the uphill climb of physical exhaustion due to medical treatment and the emotional trauma of going through the side effects of treatment begins.
The earlier breast cancer is detected the better the chances are for complete cure. Therefore, there is constant emphasis on getting routine mammograms and other screening for breast cancer for all women, especially those above the age of 40 and those who have a history of breast cancer in the family.
Breast and ovarian cancer are thought to have strong genetic links. There are also several tests to detect the genes that are linked to both types of cancer. But now these tests have been reported to miss many cases, some of which even on women who have a family history of breast cancer and have developed the disease earlier.
If new research is any indication, breast cancer gene testing is not as reliable as it was initially thought to be. The genes that are linked to breast cancer are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – Breast Cancer 1 and Breast Cancer 2 genes. The tests for these abnormal genes proved to be negative in some cases where the patient was diagnosed with breast cancer. Questions are being asked whether the test is a reliable indicator. Perhaps it could be that only the particular tests that showed negative, when in fact the patient had breast cancer, were in error.
Some women may carry mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which may result in a false negative test result. These mutations may not be detected by the normal gene testing methods.
The test that is available today for detecting breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, is patented by Myriad Genetics. The test is known to miss several alterations or mutations in the genes. Almost twelve percent of the population with a family history of breast cancer may test normal or false negative. If the test comes back normal, but you suspect a high probability of genetic link what is the ideal course of action?
Healthcare professionals advise that if a strong genetic link is suspected, women are to act as though the test is positive even if they tested normal. Regularly follow up with CAT scans and MRI’s, and it may be possible to detect breast cancer in the initial stages. “Better safe than sorry” seems to be the guiding principle that must be adopted in the ongoing battle against breast cancer.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Estrogen Usage May Not be Harmful for Some Women

Symptoms associated with menopause are often treated by estrogen therapy. It helps reduce hot flashes, dryness, and itching or burning around the vagina. It also reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis with age.
There were studies conducted on the negative side effects of estrogen therapy and the findings included higher susceptibility of developing cancer of the uterus and breast. These findings had scared millions of women away from hormone replacement therapy for fear of health.
But now there is new evidence to suggest that estrogen intake during and after menopause may not be that bad after all. If a woman had her uterus removed, hormone replacement therapy using estrogen will not raise the risk of breast cancer. So at least some women may be able to continue enjoying the benefits of estrogen therapy without suffering from serious side effects such as developing breast or uterine cancer.
Perhaps a decade ago, initiating hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women was not such a tough decision to make. But since then, there have been much research conducted and the findings are not very encouraging when it comes to the negative side effects that long term estrogen usage can have on women.
There was a landmark study that published findings on increased risk of stroke in women treated with estrogen alone and increased risk of breast cancer in women who have been treated with a combination of estrogen and progesterone. But the latest research findings indicate otherwise. No significant increase in risk was noted in women who are treated with estrogen. In fact breast cancer risk was seen to come down a bit.
The decrease in breast cancer risk was not significant; therefore estrogen is not to be considered as a means of decreasing the chances of developing breast cancer. But the results serve to provide some relief to patients who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy to improve their life.
The studies conducted have so far focused on the effects of estrogen on white women, there needs to be more studies to look into how black women are affected.
The message for women is that they have to decide for themselves whether they want to opt for hormone replacement therapy. While the therapy definitely improves the quality of life, women also need to be aware of the side effects and the different stances taken by different research papers through the years. It is up to the individual woman to decide whether she wants to take the risk to see if she can get some respite from the symptoms of menopause and feel better.