Friday, August 28, 2020

Colon cancer: African Americans are at higher risk

Photo showing colon cancer

Recently colon cancer claimed the life of Chadwick Boseman (black panther star) after a batle (surgery and chemotherapy) for 4years, up to date the precise causes of the disease remain as a mystery to physicians and scientists. Boseman was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 (but he kept his condition out of a public eye) which later develop into stage four.  let's dig deeper with the colon cancer
Overview
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine (colon). The colon is the final part of the digestive tract.

Colon cancer typically affects older adults, though it can happen at any age. It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers.


Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they turn into cancer.

If colon cancer develops, many treatments are available to help control it, including surgery, radiation therapy and drug treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Colon cancer is sometimes called colorectal cancer, which is a term that combines colon cancer and rectal cancer, which begins in the rectum.

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
Weakness or fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they'll likely vary, depending on the cancer's size and location in your large intestine.

When to see a doctor
If you notice any persistent symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.

Talk with your doctor about when to begin colon cancer screening. Guidelines generally recommend that colon cancer screenings begin around 50. Your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.

Doctors aren't certain what causes most colon cancers.

In general, colon cancer begins when healthy cells in the colon develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell's DNA contains a set of instructions that tell a cell what to do.

Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep your body functioning normally. But when a cell's DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide — even when new cells aren't needed. As the cells accumulate, they form a tumor.

With time, the cancer cells can grow to invade and destroy normal tissue nearby. And cancerous cells can travel to other parts of the body to form deposits there (metastasis).

Risk factors
Factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:

Older age. Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but a majority of people with colon cancer are older than 50. The rates of colon cancer in people younger than 50 have been increasing, but doctors aren't sure why.
African-American race. African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races.
A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps. If you've already had colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps, you have a greater risk of colon cancer in the future.
Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk. Some gene mutations passed through generations of your family can increase your risk of colon cancer significantly. Only a small percentage of colon cancers are linked to inherited genes. The most common inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, which is also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
Family history of colon cancer. You're more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a blood relative who has had the disease. If more than one family member has colon cancer or rectal cancer, your risk is even greater.
Low-fiber, high-fat diet. Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a typical Western diet, which is low in fiber and high in fat and calories. Research in this area has had mixed results. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who eat diets high in red meat and processed meat.
A sedentary lifestyle. People who are inactive are more likely to develop colon cancer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Diabetes. People with diabetes or insulin resistance have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Obesity. People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered normal weight.
Smoking. People who smoke may have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer.
Radiation therapy for cancer. Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of colon cancer.
Prevention
Screening colon cancer
Doctors recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer consider colon cancer screening around age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.

Several screening options exist — each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Talk about your options with your doctor, and together you can decide which tests are appropriate for you.

Lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of colon cancer
You can take steps to reduce your risk of colon cancer by making changes in your everyday life. Take steps to:

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
Exercise most days of the week. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you've been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.
Colon cancer prevention for people with a high risk
Some medications have been found to reduce the risk of precancerous polyps or colon cancer. For instance, some evidence links a reduced risk of polyps and colon cancer to regular use of aspirin or aspirin-like drugs. But it's not clear what dose and what length of time would be needed to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Taking aspirin daily has some risks, including gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

These options are generally reserved for people with a high risk of colon cancer. There isn't enough evidence to recommend these medications to people who have an average risk of colon cancer.

If you have an increased risk of colon cancer, discuss your risk factors with your doctor to determine whether preventive medications are safe for you.
R.I.P Boseman, you made King 👑 Tchala known to the world

Plant-based diet could help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.


diabetes

That link between plant-based eating habits and type 2 diabetes is even more beneficial when only healthy plant-based foods -- such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts -- are included in your daily diet, as opposed to refined grains, starches and sugars, according to the study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"We found that eating plant-based diets was associated with, on average, 23% reduction in diabetes risk," said Dr. Qi Sun, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and senior author of the paper.
"We further showed that individuals who consumed a healthy version of the plant-based diet by emphasizing the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and minimizing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and refined carbohydrates, had a further 30% reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes," he said. "I would describe these risk reductions as being quite significant."
bad food for diabetes

Doctors have long known that a healthy diet -- along with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking -- are among the ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.


"Indeed, a vegetarian or other plant-based diets that are high in free sugars and refined carbohydrates is likely to increase risk of type 2 diabetes especially when associated with low levels of physical activity," Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London noted in a written statement distributed by the Science Media Centre in the UK. He was not involved in the new paper.
Globally, diabetes is on the rise -- the number of people with diabetes has climbed from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, according to the World Health Organization.
The new paper involved reviewing nine previously published studies on plant-based eating habits and type 2 diabetes among adults. Those studies included a total of 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes.
After reviewing the data in those studies, the researchers found that a higher adherence to a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes -- and that was consistent across all age groups and despite a person's body mass index.
Body mass index, or BMI, is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters, and the measurement is used to screen for obesity. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.
There were some limitations in the new paper, including that the dietary data in the studies were based on people self-reporting their eating habits, which poses a risk of bias. Also only an association between plant-based diets and lower diabetes risk was found. More research is needed to determine if a causal relationship indeed exists.
"The paper does support what has been reported before, that diets with high fibre content are associated with reduced risk of cardio-vascular and metabolic diseases," Alexandra Johnstone, a senior research fellow at the University of Aberdeen's Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health in Scotland, said in a written statement distributed by the Science Media Centre in the UK. She was not involved in the new paper.
"Future research needs to focus on what components of a plant-based diet are linked to preventative health effects," she said in the statement.
The new paper relied on those previously published studies to define "plant-based diet" but in general, "there are many types of diets that can be regarded as a plant-based diet, ranging from the strict vegan diet, the vegetarian diets, to diets that emphasize the intake of plant-based foods but do not completely exclude animal product intake," Harvard's Sun said.
The paper showed that eating a primarily plant-based diet that included some animal products, such as meat, can still be beneficial, Sun said. "Keep in mind that many healthy eating patterns, such as Mediterranean diet or DASH diet, are also largely plant-based. For people who already practice these diets, I think they are on the right path."
good food for dibetes

In 2018, the top spot for best overall diet was a tie between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or high blood pressure. This year, DASH came in second.
When it came to diabetes diets in particular, the Mediterranean diet still held the No. 1 spot in the rankings.
Four diets tied for second place in the US News and World Report ranking: the DASH diet, the flexitarian diet, the Volumetrics diet and the Mayo Clinic diet, which says it provides personalized meal plans, weight and fitness trackers and the expertise of nearly a dozen experts.


"The foods in the Mediterranean diet are really high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are all key components for reducing the risk for chronic disease," Atlanta registered dietitian Rahaf Al Bochi, who teaches the Mediterranean diet to her clients and is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said in January.
"It's more than a diet, it's a lifestyle," she said. "It also encourages eating with friends and family, socializing over meals, mindfully eating your favorite foods, as well as mindful movement and exercise for a complete healthy lifestyle."

Friday, August 21, 2020

Nasal vaccine against COVID-19 prevents infection in mice

 Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a vaccine that targets the SARS-CoV-2 virus, can be given in one dose via the nose and is effective in preventing infection in mice susceptible to the novel coronavirus. The investigators next plan to test the vaccine in nonhuman primates and humans to see if it is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.

The study is available online in the journal Cell.

Unlike other COVID-19 vaccines in development, this one is delivered via the , often the initial site of infection. In the new study, the researchers found that the nasal delivery route created a strong immune response throughout the body, but it was particularly effective in the nose and , preventing the infection from taking hold in the body.

"We were happily surprised to see a strong immune response in the cells of the inner lining of the nose and upper airway—and a profound protection from infection with this virus," said senior author Michael S. Diamond, MD, Ph.D., the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine and a professor of molecular microbiology, and of pathology and immunology. "These mice were well protected from disease. And in some of the mice, we saw evidence of sterilizing immunity, where there is no sign of infection whatsoever after the mouse is challenged with the virus."Nasal vaccine against COVID-19 prevents infection in mice

To develop the , the researchers inserted the virus' spike protein, which  uses to invade cells, inside another virus—called an adenovirus—that causes the common cold. But the scientists tweaked the adenovirus, rendering it unable to cause illness. The harmless adenovirus carries the spike protein into the nose, enabling the body to mount an immune defense against the SARS-CoV-2 virus without becoming sick. In another innovation beyond nasal delivery, the new vaccine incorporates two mutations into the spike protein that stabilize it in a specific shape that is most conducive to forming antibodies against it.

"Adenoviruses are the basis for many investigational vaccines for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as Ebola virus and tuberculosis, and they have good safety and efficacy records, but not much research has been done with nasal delivery of these vaccines," said co-senior author David T. Curiel, MD, Ph.D., the Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology. "All of the other adenovirus vaccines in development for COVID-19 are delivered by injection into the arm or thigh muscle. The nose is a novel route, so our results are surprising and promising. It's also important that a single dose produced such a robust immune response. Vaccines that require two doses for full protection are less effective because some people, for various reasons, never receive the second dose."

Although there is an  called FluMist that is delivered through the nose, it uses a weakened form of the live influenza virus and can't be administered to certain groups, including those whose immune systems are compromised by illnesses such as cancer, HIV and diabetes. In contrast, the new COVID-19 intranasal vaccine in this study does not use a live virus capable of replication, presumably making it safer.

The researchers compared this vaccine administered to the mice in two ways—in the nose and through intramuscular injection. While the injection induced an immune response that prevented pneumonia, it did not prevent infection in the nose and lungs. Such a vaccine might reduce the severity of COVID-19, but it would not totally block infection or prevent infected individuals from spreading the virus. In contrast, the nasal delivery route prevented infection in both the upper and lower respiratory tract—the nose and lungs—suggesting that vaccinated individuals would not spread the virus or develop infections elsewhere in the body.

The researchers said the study is promising but cautioned that the vaccine so far has only been studied in mice.

"We will soon begin a study to test this intranasal vaccine in  with a plan to move into human clinical trials as quickly as we can," Diamond said. "We're optimistic, but this needs to continue going through the proper evaluation pipelines. In these mouse models, the vaccine is highly protective. We're looking forward to beginning the next round of studies and ultimately testing it in people to see if we can induce the type of protective immunity that we think not only will prevent  but also curb pandemic transmission of this ."

Sunday, August 16, 2020

what causes of anger and mood swings during menopause?

Most women go through menopause without developing a significant mood disorder. Menopause is a time of change, however, and emotional reactions are part of that.
Marking the end of one's childbearing years can be bittersweet for many, and painful for others. Noting changes in the body can prompt concerns about attractiveness and body image, while contemplating midlife, in general, can lead to bigger questions about one's place and purpose in life. It can also be a time of gaining wisdom and confidence.
While they can be challenging, these feelings are part of the rollercoaster nature of lived experience. For some, though, the process is a bit more jagged.

Overview

[older woman looking pensive]
Nearly a quarter of women experience mood swings before, during, or after menopause.
There are many steps along the way to menopause, while each phase of the process has characteristics and symptoms.
Perimenopause describes the period when estrogen levels in the body start to drop. Some women start noticing symptoms such as menopausal mood swings and hot flashes at this time.
Menopause takes place, technically, after a woman has not had a period for 12 months. After this, she is considered postmenopausal, and many women see differences in their emotional symptoms. From start to finish, the process can take 2-10 years.
According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), close to 23 percent of women go through mood swings before, during, or after menopause.For some women, especially women who are taking hormones or have had their uterus removed, mood swings are their first indication that they are beginning to transition into menopause.
The emotional aspects of perimenopause and menopause are significant. For some, they can be as disturbing as the physical elements of this transition.
Some of the more widespread aspects of menopause mood swings include:
  • Irritability: Up to 70 percent of women describe irritability as their main emotional problem during the early stages of the menopausal transition. They find themselves less tolerant and more easily annoyed at things that did not bother them before.
  • Depression: Depression is a more common and serious emotional side effect of menopause. It affects up to 1 out of every 5 women as they progress through menopause.
  • Anxiety: Many women experience tension, nervousness, worry, and panic attacks during menopause. Some may find their anxiety getting worse while others may develop it for the first time.
  • Crying episodes and feeling weepy: This tendency can become more pronounced in menopausal women, as they find themselves weeping over incidents that might not have mattered much before. However, tears can reduce stress as they allow people to release pent-up feelings.
  • Insomnia: Insomnia can contribute to mood swings, as it interferes with day-to-day functioning. It is common during menopause, affecting 40-50 percent of women.

How might menopause lead to mood swings?

During the transition to menopause, levels of the hormone estrogen drop, causing wide-ranging changes throughout the body. Many of these changes have direct connections to menopausal mood swings.
[tired woman at work resting head on hand]
The drop in estrogen can cause fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
For example, the drop in estrogen is thought to affect the way the body manages serotonin and norepinephrine, two substances that have been linked to depression. Lower levels of estrogen have been linked to irritability, fatigue, stress, forgetfulness, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
The impact of these changing hormone levels may not be limited to a direct cause-and-effect relationship with depression, anger, and anxiety. Hormone shifts may also intensify these feelings.
Also, researchers have found higher levels of a brain protein known as monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which is linked to depression, in women entering perimenopause.
Sometimes, reactions build on each other, such as with night sweats. These are hot flashes that take place when someone is asleep.
Night sweats can be so intense that a woman is woken and sleep is disrupted. Several nights of disrupted sleep can result in foggy thinking, irritability, and other characteristics associated with menopausal mood swings.

Risk factors

Two of the most important risk factors for difficult menopausal mood swings are a history of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and prior episodes of depression or other significant mental healthproblems.
Women may also have a greater risk of emotional problems during menopause if they have any of the following situations:
  • unsatisfactory relationships with loved ones
  • a great deal of stress in their lives
  • a difficult living situation

Symptoms

Women going through menopause may find themselves reacting with unexpected emotion to everyday events, moved to tears by pop songs, or enraged by rude drivers.
Others may find it hard to hold onto a train of thought, recall someone's name, or wonder what they were looking for when they went into a room.
These responses can be funny, upsetting, or deeply troubling, and they are not rare.

Complications

To cope with the changing landscape of their lives and menopausal mood swings, some women may decide to "self-medicate" with alcohol or other drugs.
Unfortunately, these choices make it more difficult to face and work through their concerns. It may also add substance abuse to the issues they need to address.

Other mental symptoms of menopause

Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating are problems reported by some menopausal women. One study found a measurable decline in cognitive ability of others. However, these problems usually reverse when women are post-menopausal.

Treatment and lifestyle changes

Emotional problems may not be as easy to see as a broken leg, or as directly diagnosed as heart disease, but they are no less painful, limiting, and potentially devastating.
Fortunately, help is available through counseling, medication, or a combination of treatments.
If menopause mood swings or emotional upheavals are interfering with a person's enjoyment of life, they should see a mental health counselor, or seek a referral from a general practitioner.

Medication and therapy

[woman being comforted by a doctor]
A counselor can help women deal with emotional changes caused by menopause and perimenopause.
Hormone therapy was once a widely recommended treatment for the symptoms of menopause, but it was later found to increase some health risks. While it is still prescribed today, it is used cautiously, and doctors are exploring other treatment options, including lifestyle changes.
Bioidentical hormones are also used to address menopausal mood swings and symptoms. They are made from plants by pharmacists based on instructions from a doctor and are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for quality, purity, or dosage.
They appear to have the same risks and benefits as conventional hormone therapy.
Some types of antidepressants may be helpful for women who have trouble with hot flashes, in addition to depression.
Many women find that counseling helps them deal with the changes of menopause as well, along with other underlying problems that come to the surface at this time.

Lifestyle changes

Experts have found that exercise, diet, getting enough sleep, and pursuing supportive friendships can all help women with the emotional aspects of the transition into menopause.
Regular exercise is a great way to promote both mental and physical health. Being active helps relieve stress, improves mood, and makes it easier to put problems in perspective.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 2.5 hours a week of moderately intense aerobic exercise, such as a fast walk, plus 2 days a week of muscle strengthening.
Diet can also help individuals reduce menopausal mood swings, especially one rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Some people have also found that practices such as tai chi, yoga, and meditation can help them feel more grounded and make it easier to manage stress, irritability, and other symptoms of menopause.