Is alcohol good for breast cancer patients?

images

Breast cancer is a type of cancer in the tissues of the breast. The cells of the tissue in the breast uncontrollably grow due to mutations in the gene forming a tumor in the breast’s tissue. A tumor can be benign if it is not dangerous to health. Benign tumors grow slowly and do not invade other tissues. However, malignant tumors are cancerous. Malignant tumors have the potential to spread to other tissues of the body causing severe health problems. So the term breast cancer is referred to those cancer types that are malignant.

Breast cancer is among the top causing cancers in women. According to World Cancer Report, breast cancer accounts for 22.9% of all cancers in women. The Breast Cancer Organization reports that 1 in every 8 women will develop a malignant breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2008, breast cancer caused approximately 460,000 deaths worldwide and is expected to increase.

111018012923-mammogram-breast-cancer-x-ray-story-top

Due to the severity of breast cancers, many researches were done to discover new effective treatments. The Journal of Clinical Oncology published a research article about breast cancer correlation with alcohol. While trying to find the associated risk of alcohol on causing breast cancer, Polly Newcomb, the director of cancer prevention program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found that moderate consumption of alcohol helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and the overall survival of breast cancer patients.

The research was conducted by assessing the alcohol intake of 22,890 women with malignant breast cancer for 11 years. During the follow-up of the patients, 7,780 patients died and from them, 3,484 deaths were from breast cancer. After all the research, the results showed that there were no adverse relationship between drinking patterns and breast cancer survivals. In fact, Polly Newcomb states that ” [they] actually found that relative to non-drinker [patients], there were modestly improved survival rates for moderate alcohol intake [patients].” There is 15% more chance of surviving from breast cancer for moderate alcohol consumers than non-consumers.

080307073045-large

Another benefit that the researchers found from this research was that moderate alcohol intake reduces that risk of cardiovascular disease in breast cancer patients. It had been considered that one of the largest contributors to the mortality of breast cancer is cardiovascular diseases. Newcomb found through her research that moderate alcohol drinkers were 25% less likely to develop heart diseases.

Therefore, this new information about the possible correlation between moderate alcohol intake and breast cancer survivals is a good news for all the breast cancer patients because it enlarges the choices that patients can take after their diagnosis of the cancer. What people have to remember is that only moderate amount of alcohol intake is important to show improvements in cancer treatment.

 

Reference:

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2013/04/08/JCO.2012.46.5765.abstract

http://globocan.iarc.fr/factsheets/populations/factsheet.asp?uno=900

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/what_is_bc

 

Advertisements

ADHD

adhd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental and behavioral disorder commonly caused in children. It is characterized by the difficulty staying focus and paying attention, impulsive behaviors, and hyperactivity. The Centers of Disease Control reported that about 9.5%of children from ages 4 to 17 were diagnosed of having ADHD in 2007. The main problems of ADHD in children are seen in their academics and social life. As children gets easily distracted and have hard time paying attention, their grades are negatively affected. In addition, the hyperactive and impulsive behaviors of children with ADHD lead them to have trouble getting along with peers.

causes-of-adhd-400x400

Although this disorder had been considered something that children overcomes as they grow, current research indicates that children can carry ADHD as they grow. Adults with ADHD are more prone to life issues. Dr. Russell Barkley, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, states that “as [children with ADHD] grow up, [they] may be underemployed and are more inclined to have problems and accidents on the job.” A CNN article describes a study done to 230 people born between 1976 and 1982 who were diagnosed of having ADHD as children.Their progress were monitored until they were about 30 years to find possible effects of ADHD in adults. One of the results they found was that the adults who had ADHD had five times higher suicide rates than those who did not.

adhd-symptoms

Because of these problems, early diagnosis and treatment is necessary to treat ADHD children; as Dr. Nerissa Bauer, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of medicine, says: “the earlier we can identify these children (with ADHD), the more we can optimize their outcomes.” According to this new article, children exposed to parental violence and depression early in their life are at greater risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If a parent, especially the mother, experiences depression, the child will not receive care such as sleep and nutrition appropriately, which could affect their focus and concentration. Therefore, the article gives a general recommendation to pediatricians. If a pediatrician notices that there is violence or depression at a child’s home, he or she must look for signs of ADHD and monitor the behavior of the child over several visits. By this way, preventive treatments for ADHD may be applied to the child so that it will not develop anymore in the adulthood.

 

Reference:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/04/adhd-reaches-beyond-childhood/

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/03/violence-in-the-home-and-adhd-may-be-linked/

Allergy Treatment

allergy_385x261

In wednesday March 27th, 2013, CNN Health News published an article about an alternative way of treating allergies. An allergy is an unusual reaction of the immune system caused by objects that are usually harmless to people. The substance that causes an allergy is called an allergen and common allergens include pollens, dusts, spores, milks, sea foods, soy, etc. When a person is exposed to an allergen, the body reacts by forming antibodies called IgE, which later causes to produce a chemical called Histamine. Histamine is the main chemical that causes most of the symptoms. Common symptoms of allergic reactions include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • runny nose
  • Rashes
  • Feeling tired or ill
  • Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
  • Anaphylaxis (life-threatning reaction)

According to the article mentioned above, a common way of treating people with allergic reactions is the allergy shots. This type of immunotherapy treats people by injecting tiny amount of allergen to trigger a person’s immune system but not enough to cause symptoms. By this, a person may become tolerant to the allergens and subsequently the symptoms will diminish. Although allergy shots might be efficient, the down-side to it is that a person has to get the shot at least once a week by a physician.

getty_rf_photo_of_woman_getting_allergy_injection

Therefore, an alternative treatment is being used in Europe. This treatment is called sublingual immunotherapy. This treatment works by placing tiny drops of purified allergens under the tongue. Basically it works the same way as the allergy shots; allergy drops increases the tolerance, decreasing the severity of the symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy is more convenient than allergy shots because it can be done quickly and easily at home.

130327104648-liquid-drops-allergies-story-top

Currently, sublingual immunotherapy is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S because it has not been experimented thoroughly. Nevertheless, research is being done to support the practice of sublingual immunotherapy in the U.S. As a person who has allergic reactions, I hope this treatment will soon be available in the U.S. market.

 

Reference:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/27/liquid-drops-could-replace-allergy-shots/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/allergies/DS01118

 

 

 

Heroin

In the present, heroin is commonly known as a drug that is illegal. Heroin is an analgesic drug that that provides relaxation and induces euphoria. Euphoria is a medical term used to describe the mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement and joy. Because of these effects that heroin provides, people use it as a recreational drug. The effects of heroin are so powerful in humans that it creates high tolerance and physical dependency. Tolerance develops rather quickly and so more heroin is needed to reach the same effects. Heroin addiction is so common that brings many problems in societies. Heroin is linked to violent crimes, HIV transfer among its users, as well as other social issues. Hence, heroin was declared illegal by law.

However, this was not the case back in late 19 century and early 20 century. After the discovery of heroin, the famous Bayer company sold this popular drug to thousands of doctors. According to this article, Bayer was producing tons of heroin each year and exporting it to other countries. Physicians started to use heroin in treatments for acute pain such as sever physical trauma, myocardial infarction, post-surgical pain, and chronic pain including cancer and other terminal illnesses. Since heroin was a powerful drug, this drug was also used for treatments in other addictions such as marijuana or cocaine. In was recorded that its usage was effective in fact. Nevertheless, the problem was that people became addicted to heroin instead of marijuana or cocaine.

Despite this effective usages, heroin has become illegal in the United States. Although it is illegal, people still consume it as a recreational drug because of its euphoric effects. There are various ways that become can get heroin into their body. These are the common methods:

  • oral

methadone

  • injections

Syringe, spoon and heroin

  • smoking

Smoking-Heroin-Image

  • insufflation

cocaine

 

Although heroin addiction is common, one of the ways to cure it is by abstinence. The usage of other drugs might create another addition just like heroin did in the past. Therefore, I hope chemists would create a drug that is just as powerful as heroin that is not as addictive as heroin.

 

Reference:

http://www.disinfo.com/2010/03/the-bayer-company-made-heroin/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4647018.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin#Adverse_effects

 

 

 

Job-shadowing project

It is not always easy to understand the real aspects of a job inside a classroom. A person needs a real-life job experience such as an internship or a job shadow to better recognize the features of a job. Working on real job duties as an intern or observing a professional do his or her work in a job shadow benefits us to learn directly from our experiences. Hence, in this job shadow project, I had the opportunity to meet with someone who already had the career path experience that I want to take, which led me to form new goals to improve myself.

The desired career that I want to take is the pharmacy career. A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who practices pharmacy by providing prescription medications to patients and instructing them on their safe use. Typical duties of a pharmacist involve filling prescriptions, verifying instructions of physicians, checking drug interactions in patients, advising patients, and completing insurance forms (“Bureau Labor”, 2012). Among the many fields in pharmacy, the three types of pharmacy field that I am considering are the retail/community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, and pharmaceutical pharmacy. Pharmacists who work in pharmaceutical companies are involved in researching and testing medications and drugs. Hospital pharmacists are mainly involved in counseling patients on how to take medications and retail/community pharmacists are mainly involved in dispensing prescription medications.

Among these types of pharmacists, I had the opportunity to interview and observe someone who works in a retail/community pharmacy. Although he is not an actual pharmacist yet, he will soon become one. His name is Brian Hyungmin Lee and he is currently finishing his first year in the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Brian is currently working at Pitt Student Health Service Pharmacy as a Student Pharmacy Intern. The Student Health Service Pharmacy is located near the university campus and is available to Pitt students, faculty, staff, as well as their dependents and even the general public. The pharmacy is licensed by the Pennsylvania Board of Pharmacy and provides services such as filling prescriptions from any practitioner, ordering items that are not in stock, transferring prescriptions to and from other pharmacies, and counseling services (“Pharmacy,” n.d.).

Since I saw myself in his position in few years, this job-shadowing project allowed me to familiarize in advance with the responsibilities and requirements of a pharmacist intern. There is this requirement to know beyond the pharmaceutical theories. One must be able to create a good relationship with the patients, which I learned that it was part of the treatment process. Therefore, I will start to form new plans and strategies to build up these social traits. Furthermore, Brian recommended me to work on real pharmacies. Hence, I will start to look for any internship available or other related jobs such as a pharmacy technician.

After this project, I am more excited to become a pharmacist. I am eager to work in any pharmacy related job and gain the most I can before becoming an actual pharmacist. I recommend job-shadowing someone in your related field; it will be a great encouragement.

 

Reference:

University of Pittsburgh. (n.d.). Pharmacy. Retrieved from

http://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/shspharmacy

 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2012). Pharmacists : Occupational

outlook handbook . Retrieved from website: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Pharmacists.htm

Acupunture

acupuncture

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine that was originated in ancient china. It is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting needles into so called “acupuncture points” in the skin. These points are locations on the body that are found along the meridians, which are connection points on the human anatomy that affect a specific organ or other part of the body. In the traditional Chinese medicine, the meridians where considered to be a path through which the life-energy known as “qi” flows. So the basic methodology of acupuncture is to stimulate these points to correct the imbalances of the “qi.”

how-does-acupuncture-work

There are two different perspectives of this alternative medicine. Some scientists view acupuncture as effective in the relief of certain types of pain. They view this practice as safe and effective when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles. Others view that these positive treatments happen in too few cases to be considered as a reliable form of treatment and of clinical relevance. This opposition side view acupuncture as a direct outcome of the placebo effect.

A recent article on CNN suggests that acupunctures can relieve allergic reactions such as sneezing and itching eyes. An experiment was done where researchers examined 422 participants who had pollen allergies with runny nose. The participants were divided into three groups: a group receiving 12 acupuncture treatments and antihistamines, a second group receiving 12 fake acupuncture treatments and antihistamines, and a third group taking only antihistamines. After two months, the participants reported how much medication they use for their allergic reactions. The participants who received real acupuncture treatments had the best improvements in their allergy symptoms compared to other groups. However, the group who received the fake acupuncture also showed some improvement in their allergy symptoms, which conveys the possibility of a placebo effect taking place.

550px-Get-Rid-of-a-Runny-Nose-Step-11

Nevertheless, there may be infrequent side effects of acupuncture, as one of the Huffingtonpost article suggests. The possible side effects are:

  • Worse symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Soreness
  • Bruising
  • Muscle twitching
  • Lightheadedness
  • Emotional release

With all these potential effects of acupuncture, whether bad or good, patients doubt about its credibility. Yet, as a person who have experience acupuncture treatment, I recommend trying it if you are not satisfied with the conventional medical treatment, just as a second medical alternative.

Reference:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/19/health/acpuncture-allergies/index.html?hpt=hp_bn13

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-calabro/acupuncture-side-effects_b_2719101.html

 

Serum Therapy

Today’s post is about an experiment done by a famous physician and a nobel prize winner Emil Adolf von Behring and his coworker Kitasato Shibadaburo. They are known for the development of a serum therapy against diphtheria and tetanus.

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nose and throat and causes a bad sore throat, swollen glands, fever and chills. But if it is not properly diagnosed and treated, it produces a poison in the body that can cause serious complications such as heart failure or paralysis.

diphtheria2

Likewise, tetanus is a bacterial infection in the nervous system characterized by a prolonged contraction of the skeletal muscle fibers.

images

In Von Behring’s and Kitasato’s “The mechanism of immunity in animals, the main biological question they were addressing was what explains the immunity of rats and guinea pigs from diphtheria. Von Behring and Kitasato went through many experiments to discover what gave the rats and guinea pigs their immunity against diphtheria. It was the ability of blood of immune animals to neutralize the toxin. They applied their finding to tetanus to achieve conclusive result.

In experiment performed by Von Behring and Kitasato, rabbits are immunized against tetanus and these rabbits survived against injection of a tetanus dose 20 times more than what lethal dose would be. This was done with both living tetanus bacilli and tetanus toxin. From these immune rabbits, Von Behring and Kitasato drew carotid blood.

With immune rabbits’ carotid blood, they injected the blood into the abdominal cavity of mice, 0.2 cc and 0.5 cc. After 24 hours of injection, these mice and two control mice were inoculated with virulent tetanus bacilli. Both rabbit blood treated mice remained healthy whereas control mice died after 36 hours.

Most of the blood from the immunized rabbits had coagulated and the serum had formed. This serum was injected into six mice in the abdominal cavity. The infection of tetanus had no effect on these mice but control mice died from tetanus after 48 hours.

Another experiment was carried to show how the serum destroy toxin. Von Behring and Kitasato mixed 5 cc of serum from rabbits with 1 cc of 10 day old tetanus toxin culture and allowed the serum to act on the toxin for 24 hours. Then they injected 0.2 cc of the mixture into four mice. The dose is more than 300 times the lethal dose for mice. The control mice died 36 hours after the injection whereas the four mice remained perfectly healthy. Repeated injection at a later time with virulent tetanus bacilli did not cause any illness to these mice.

This experiment done by Behring and Kitasato became the major contribution for the development of a serum therapy. Since then, serum therapy has become one of the major prevention treatments for bacterial infection.

Reference:

http://202.114.65.51/fzjx/wsw/newindex/wswfzjs/pdf/1890p138.pdf