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9 September 2008

Why Mammography is NOT an Effective Breast Cancer Screen

The most devastating loss of life from breast cancer occurs between the ages of 30 to 50. Fortunately, you have more options available to you today to help detect breast cancer than in the past decades.

Unfortunately, education and awareness of these options and their effectiveness in detecting breast cancer at different stages in life are woefully deficient.

Beyond Mammography

In the first part of the in-depth article linked below, Beyond Mammography, Dr. Len Saputo explores the latest findings on the effectiveness and shortcomings of various detection methods used by the mainstream medical community, including mammography, clinical breast exams, ultrasound, and to a lesser extent, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and PET scans.

The second part goes beyond mammography, exploring a highly advanced but much maligned detection tool for breast cancer -- breast thermography.

Breast thermography, which involves using a heat-sensing scanner to detect variations in the temperature of breast tissue, has been around since the 1960s. However, early infrared scanners were not very sensitive, and were insufficiently tested before being put into clinical practice, resulting in misdiagnosed cases.

Modern-day breast thermography boasts vastly improved technology and more extensive scientific clinical research.

In fact, the article references data from major peer review journals and research on more than 300,000 women who have been tested using the technology. Combined with the successes in detecting breast cancer with greater accuracy than other methods, the technology is slowly gaining ground among more progressive practitioners.

About the Author

Dr. Len Saputo, MD, is a graduate of Duke University Medical School, and is the Founder and Director of the Health Medicine Forum, which has hosted and moderated over 350 events. He's also the Co-founder and Medical Director of the Health Medicine Institute and Health Medicine Center, and runs a private practice in Internal Medicine and Health Medicine.


* Beyond Mammography (pdf)

U.S. Government Warns About Baby Bottle Chemical

A U.S. government report has found that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make plastic for baby bottles and to line soda cans, may harm fetuses and children, and that it needs further study before it is deemed safe.

Tests in animals have showed harmful effects from the chemical.

“The possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed,” said John Bucher of the National Toxicology Program, which is part of the Health and Human Services Department. “We see developmental changes occurring in some animal studies at BPA exposure levels similar to those experienced by humans.”

In April of this year, Canada became the first country to label bisphenol A as “toxic,” and it is considering a ban on its use in baby bottles.


* September 3, 2008

Organic Produce Will Soon Be Cheaper Than Conventional Produce

A study suggests that the rising price of oil could soon make cereal crops grown with chemical fertilizers more expensive than those produced more naturally.

Industrial farming relies on fertilizers made from fossil fuels. These fertilizes are used to replace nutrients in the soil. Organic farming, however, improves soil fertility through crop rotations, and is therefore less affected by oil prices.

With oil predicted to reach $200 a barrel within five to 10 years, the profit margin on organic wheat, barley and oil seed rape could soon be significantly higher than for the same crops produced by non-organic methods.


* Daily Telegraph September 2, 2008

Arthritis Drugs Cause Fatal Fungal Infections

The U.S. FDA has ordered stronger warnings on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment provides relief from swollen and painful joints. But the drugs also lower the body's defenses against various kinds of infections.

The FDA became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a particular kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis. The infection is prevalent in much of the middle part of the country, and it can have grave consequences if it isn't caught early and spreads beyond the respiratory system to other organs of the body.


* USA Today September 4, 2008

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Depression

Rates of depression are high among people with inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

Scientists assessed rates of anxiety and mood disorders in more than 350 patients with clearly established IBD, compared with nearly 800 similar people surveyed in the same region, and with general populations in the United States and New Zealand. Compared with the general populations, IBD patients had higher rates of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depression.

However, IBD patients were less likely to have social anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder than the general population.


* Reuters September 4, 2008

Could Acupuncture Improve Your Fertility?

When Rebecca Killmeyer experienced a miscarriage during her second pregnancy, she wasn't sure if she would ever have another baby. But then she decided to enter a study testing the impact of acupuncture on women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

"To our great surprise we were blessed with a third pregnancy during the PCOS study," said Killmeyer. "I'm absolutely certain the acupuncture treatments helped me ovulate regularly, which allowed me to become pregnant."

PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance that interferes with ovulation and fertility. Acupuncture could be an important alternative, non-drug therapy for women with this disorder.


* Science Daily September 3, 2008

Obesity Makes Asthma Worse

Obese people with asthma are nearly five times more likely than their non-obese peers to be hospitalized for the ailment.

The findings come from a study of more than 1,000 members of a healthcare organization. Compared with normal weight subjects, obese individuals were 2.7 times more likely to have poor asthma control, and 4.6 times more likely to have a history of asthma-related hospitalization.

The take-home message of this study, said study co-author Dr. Michael Schatz, "is that obese people with asthma need to be followed more carefully because it's harder to control their asthma, so they are more likely to end up in the hospital."


* Reuters September 4, 2008