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Lipitor Lawsuits On the Rise as Cases of Type 2 Related Diabetes Increase

lipitor crop

Pfizer’s drug, Lipitor is well known for its cholesterol-lowering prowess. However, it’s quickly becoming known for a less pleasant reason – it may also cause type 2 diabetes and memory loss.

That’s what several women filing lawsuits against Pfizer are claiming, anyway. They say that the company knew about these harmful side effects, but failed to properly warn the public while encouraging them to buy Lipitor.

Two years ago, the FDA warned that Lipitor and other statins had been linked to memory loss and an increased risk of diabetes, though the risk was small. It was at that time that the first uptick in lawsuits against Pfizer was seen, primarily from women. Allegedly, women are more likely to develop diabetes after Lipitor use, and reap fewer benefits from taking the medication.

In the last five months alone, the number of lawsuits by women claiming Lipitor caused them to develop type 2 diabetes rocketed from 56 to almost 1000 cases.

Many are suggesting the recent jump in numbers in lawsuits against Pfizer is due to the decision to consolidate all lawsuits involving claims that Lipitor causes diabetes into one Federal courtroom. Those that opposed the decision warned it could cause “copycat” filings against the company.

Another contributing factor to the large number of suits brought against Pfizer and Lipitor is that Lipitor is the best-selling prescription drug ever. More than 29 million people in the United States have been prescribed Lipitor to help lower their cholesterol.

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IV Bars Are the Trendy New Way to Treat a Hangover. But Do They Work?

hangover iv therapy

If you’ve ever had too much to drink you know the next morning, a hangover can be a miserable reminder. Your tongue feels thick and furry, your head hurts and your stomach churns. People have time-tested remedies for curing the dreaded hangover including rest, water, Tylenol and even the Chinese buffet. Now, a few enterprising doctors want you to know you have another choice, IV Hydration. And, you don’t even have to go to a hospital to get it.

If you get squeamish around needles, particularly if they’re in your arm, you’ll probably just want to continue your Saturday morning tradition at the Chinese buffet, but if you don’t mind a little stick and you’re willing to shell out $119 – $150, this might be for you. During treatment, customers are hooked up to IV bags that contain saline solution, vitamins and other, “wellness” ingredients.

In Las Vegas, Florida, New York and other cities across the US, hydration bars have become the trendy go-to for curing not only the feelings of malaise and dehydration that come from a hangover, but also the common cold. The concept is so popular in Las Vegas, a bus called Hangover Heaven boasts that it’s served more than 20,000 patients since its inception.

hangover heaven bus

In New York, IV therapy is popular in many wellness spas because it promises to treat a number of ailments including sunburn, exhaustion, and poor nutrition.

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Doctors Looking at New Technology to Reduce the Effects and Cost of Treating Diabetes

The CDC’s latest figures indicate 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, are diabetic. In 2012 alone, they estimated the costs for those diagnosed with the disease surpassed $245 billion, which puts diabetes nearly $100 billion more than the cost of cancer care.

Dr. Brett Osborn, author of Get Serious: A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness, says that “More than 30% of Medicare dollars are spent on diabetics and/or related complications.”

These astounding figures have caused researchers, scientists, and tech companies to look for new and more affordable ways to reduce the costs for patients, and the effects of the disease. Here’s a look at some of the ways new technology is helping doctors and patients alike.

Smart Contact Lenses from Google

The search engine giant isn’t content with just making its Google Glass wearable heads up computer. Their latest project, dubbed Smart Contact Lenses, aims to “measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second.” With that kind of data, you won’t have to stop and prick yourself, collect your blood on a strip, and test for results.

google-smart-content-lens-for-diabetes

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Study Finds Anesthesiologists May Be Failing To Wash Hands Before Tending to Patients

anesthesia hand washing

Today in things that make you go, “Ick” is the revelation that many anesthesiologists are failing to properly wash their hands when working with patients.

A new study suggests this lack of hand hygiene may be putting patients at risk for infections. On average, anesthesiologists have 149 “hand hygiene opportunities” per hour that a patient is under anesthesia.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are five hand hygiene opportunities that help in reducing the risk of infections caused by health care. The five opportunities are: before touching a patient, after touching a patient, before a clean procedure, after touching a patient’s surroundings, and after exposure to bodily fluids.

Researchers from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center found anesthesiologists were least likely to wash their hands properly during the first and last 20 minutes of their patient being under an anesthetic. This lack of hygiene corresponds with increases in the amount of bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects in the same time period.

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New Guidelines Suggest Some Women Can Skip Invasive Annual Pelvic Exam

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For millions of teenage girls and women, the annual pelvic examination has long been considered a necessary annoyance, but now, a new study suggests that in some cases, this invasive procedure is no longer needed.

Recently, the American College of Physicians announced new guidelines that suggest non-pregnant adult women who are involved in monogamous relationships who have no prior history of disease, can skip the annual exam saying, ” A review of the exams found they rarely catch disease but are costly, uncomfortable and even embarrassing.”

As Dr. Nancy Snyderman pointed out in the video, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists remains in favor of an annual exam.

Pap smears are still important
The Pap smear test, which screens for cervical cancer, should still be completed every three to five years, unless your gynecologist instructs otherwise based on your personal medical history.

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British Study Suggests Chewing Gum May Be Beneficial For Concentration

chewing gum

Teachers who dismiss gum as a noisy, sticky classroom nuisance might want to reconsider their position. A growing number of educators believe there could be some minty value in the chewing process, and a recent study suggests chewing a stick at the right time, might actually help students concentrate.

In the past, chewing gum was considered a treat, something that was given as a reward, but certainly not considered a learning tool. Now, according to a study in the British Journal of Psychology, researchers have determined that chewing gum may help students maintain their focus for longer periods of time.

These results challenge a previously published piece in the same journal from 2012 that stated chewing gum decreased short term memory.

Educators who work with children are constantly looking for ways to help them succeed. According to Bartlesville, Oklahoma teacher, Heather Davis, the first step is realizing that every child learns in a different way. “I do allow gum because learning style research indicates that some kids need intake to learn and some need movement,” she said. “I don’t formally assess my students’ learning styles anymore, but if a kid can chew gum, make at least a 75 on the assignment, and doesn’t disturb anyone else, then they can chew it.”

Over the last few years, more and more occupational therapists, teachers, and psychologists have stepped forward to tout the benefits of chewing gum in the classroom. A few of these benefits include:

  • Increased short term memory
  • Less fidgeting
  • Heightened alertness
  • Reduces/eliminates other negative social behaviors like sucking on pencils and thumbs
  • Some children find the oral activity calming
  • Chewing helps dull background noise by activating the Eustachian tubes

Allowing children to chew gum in school, or while doing homework may be beneficial but there should be ground rules established. To avoid trading cavities for good grades, only offer up sugar-free flavors. To ensure that gum-chewing doesn’t become a concentration tool for some, but a distraction to others, tell kids they can keep chewing as long as no one else can see or hear it.

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Released Today! New Guidelines Warn About Rare Liver Disorder Associated with OTC, Herbal and Prescription Medication

medication, herbal, liver

Today, The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) released new clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and management of idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI). The article, featured in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, focuses on the rise in incidents of this rare adverse drug reaction that seems to correlate with the rise in herbal and dietary supplement use over the past 10 years.

The liver has an important job, it breaks down everything we swallow including food, drink and medication. To ensure their safety and efficacy, new drugs go through extensive testing before they’re released to the public, but in a small number of cases, the liver becomes susceptible to injury.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with monitoring and regulating new medication, but herbal supplements often fly under the radar.

“A lot of consumers have a preconceived notion that if it’s a natural product, it must be safe. But that is not necessarily the case,” said Herbert Bonkovsky, MD, FACG, co-author of the guidelines. “Most of these products are not well-regulated and have very little oversight. Traces of heavy metals and prescription drugs have even been found in some herbal and dietary supplements. We encourage patients to talk to their doctor about all medications they are taking, and herbal and dietary supplements should be no exception.”

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Bump in to Other Expecting Mommies on Preggie, a New Social Network for the iPhone

By Mike Beauchamp

As Facebook continues taking over your news feed with ads, memes, and other seemingly senseless noise from your “friends” on the Internet, it’s increasingly difficult to feel a sense of purpose in being there. As a result, we’ve seen countless new, genre-specific social networks pop up that cater to all aspects of our lives, the latest of which is ‘Preggie’ – an iPhone app / social network for mommies to be.

preggie-social-network-app-iphone1
The idea behind Preggie is simple: give moms-to-be a place to share their stories, post their questions, offer suggestions and advice based on their own experiences, and to document and share each person’s pregnancy. If it reminds you a lot of the photo sharing app Instagram, that’s almost certainly not by coincidence.

The Preggie app is currently only available for iPhone users, but the company has an Android app planned for the coming months. Once you download it, you’ll setup a username and password, enter your location, your pregnancy week, and that’s it. Your Preggie news feed is a stream of people from around the world, and I found a lot of posts from Russia and Australia when I gave it a look. continue reading »

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Bodybuilders Seeking Breast Milk – A Disturbing New Online Trend

breast milk for body builders

The “breast is best” campaign was designed to remind mothers that breast milk provides essential nutrients for their babies. Now, an odd trend is on the rise that has men seeking breast milk for its perceived health benefits for adults. Health experts are debunking this myth, and even warning that the consumption of human milk could be dangerous.

A quick Google search for “breast milk for bodybuilders” yields page after page dedicated to bringing the two together. It seems like a mutually benefiting relationship. Women sell their extra milk to men who use it as a nutritional supplement. A forum on Bodybuilding.com even declares it to be the, “Greatest supplement ever.” Unfortunately, there is no evidence to substantiate these claims.

“Body builders who believe in the power of breast milk are experiencing the placebo effect,” explains registered dietitian, Mary Hartley. “Their strength is due to their belief in the power of breast milk, not to the properties of the milk. From a nutrition standpoint, they’d be better off drinking regular dairy milk because it is nutritionally similar but it is pasteurized.”

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Your Eye Doc Sees More Than You Think – Serious Health Disorders Can Be Detected Through Routine Eye Exams

eye doctor eye exam

Even if you were blessed with 20/20 vision and you think your date with a pair of reading glasses is way off into the future, making an appointment with an experienced ophthalmologist should be part of your overall healthcare. A routine eye exam may reveal health problems you weren’t even aware of.

In the early nineties, I started having symptoms that I couldn’t quite understand. I experienced heart palpitations, insomnia, weight loss and my eyes were constantly itchy and red. When I finally took the time to go to a doctor, it was my bulgy red eyes that tipped them off to my eventual diagnosis of Graves disease and hyperactive thyroid.

My diagnosis could have been pinpointed much sooner had I been to see an eye doctor. In many cases, an examination of the retina can yield an abundance of information about how the body is functioning as a whole. In fact, there are many diseases that can be detected from a single eye exam.

Spondyloarthritis (SA) – An inflammatory rheumatic disease often associated with back pain but in 40% of SA cases, the patient has also experienced irisitis, a painful  inflammation of one or both eyes.

Diabetic Neuropathy – A routine eye exam can detect blood and other fluids seeping from vessels in the retina, which can lead to blindness.

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