February 2012

Is Apple Cider Vinegar A Miracle Cure?

The internet is crazy about it - but I'm not so sure
The internet has a lot of peculiar fascinations. Among these is apple cider vinegar, which is touted as a cure for just about anything that ails you. 
I used to spend a lot of time on a forum devoted to raising chickens (I have three pet chickens) where it was a common enough recommendation that it was always referred to as "ACV." You were supposed to put a tablespoon in every gallon of your chickens' water in order to prevent worms, and for your chickens' overall health. I never did it - I always felt bad about the idea of making my chickens drink vinegar water - but I always wondered if these health claims were true.
For people, the internet touts apple cider vinegar for weight loss, arthritis, chronic fatigue, yeast infections, blood pressure - you name it!

Can Yoga Help with Arrhythmias?

You've heard about yoga. If you have heart conditions like arrhythmias, you may be thinking a bit more about this form of exercise. Yoga is a method of improving flexibility and overall health by doing poses of various forms. You will break a sweat but what you may also do is to replace some or all of the risk factors associated with arrhythmias, which are a type of condition in which the rate or the rhythm of a person's heartbeat is not regular.

How Can Yoga Help?

According to Cardiology Today, there's new evidence that performing yoga could help to improve atrial fibrillation in some patients. Those who practice yoga are likely to be less anxious overall and less depressed. They often live a high quality of life, too. One of the speakers at the 17th Annual Boston Atrial Fibrllation Symposium made these statements. The speaker, Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, provided information from a previously unpublished study. According to the study, there was a 35 to 40 percent reduction in the number of episodes occurring in those who practice yoga.

What Should You Do?

Where is the Flu?

Flu Season May Just Be Starting

In many parts of the country, we've had by most accounts a mild winter. That has resulted in a mild cold and flu season. Normally, by now, millions of Americans are sneezing, coughing, aching, have a fever. In other words, they feel awful. But doctor's offices and hospitals across the country have been eerily quiet so far this winter.

Typically, February is the peak of the flu season in the United States, but here it is February 25th, and the month's almost over -- without a sign of a flu peak. But this year, the flu season is now just beginning, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD).

Apparently, this is the latest beginning for the flu season in almost 30 years. How does the CDC declare the start of the flu season? The answer is when the number of positive tests for respiratory specimens increases above 10 percent. This usually happens in the latter part of December, but sometimes it can occur as early as October.

This year, this figure didn't come about until early February.

Segmented Sleep

Biology is not destiny
The BBC News has an article on the topic of "segmented sleep," which has fascinated me for many years. As counter-intuitive as it may sound to us today, for the bulk of human history, people have slept in two four-hour shifts separated by a period of wakefulness that may last an hour or more, depending on the circumstances. 
Many sources call the two periods "first sleep" and "second sleep." During the break between sleeps, people might have lain in bed with their partners and chatted or had sex, gotten up to fix a meal, read a book, done some light chores, or even gone out to visit with neighbors. 

Wirelessly Controlled Microchip Eases Drug Delivery

New implant could medicate autonomously
When managing a chronic condition with medication, it's often important to make sure you time your doses correctly to keep everything under control and working as it should. For some people, taking pills or injecting medicine at the proper time can pose a challenge. Let's say you work long hours or have to take care of your kids for most of the day. It's easy enough to lose track of time or get caught up in an activity and miss a dosage, thereby endangering your health. The theoretical solution to the timed dosage problem would be to develop a kind of medicine that administers itself. That's exactly what scientists at MicroCHIPS Inc. have been working on developing. 

Infant Tylenol Grape-Flavored Medicine Recall

The recall is for Infants' Tylenol Oral Suspension 1 oz. Grape

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson is recalling some versions of infant Tylenol, according to a press release published today.

The recall is on roughly 574,000 bottles of infant grape-flavored liquid medicine. The recall stems from mechanical problems associated with the device that measures the medicine's dosage. The recall is being made voluntarily by McNeil as a precaution, since the company received a small number of consumer complaints reporting that they were having dosing measurement difficulties with the product.

Breakthrough at Case Western Reserve - Alzheimer's Treatment May Reverse Condition


Hearing about cures to conditions like cancer and Alzheimer's is invigorating and that is exactly what is happening this week out of Case Western Reserve University. The school announced its latest findings that a new treatment may rapidly help to reduce the plaque buildup that occurs in the brain during the early stages of Alzheimer's. The study could mean that for those who have this condition, it is possible to reverse the effects of this plaque.

Cancer-Fighting Microcrabs

Tiny robots will slay your tumors


I get excited whenever someone develops a new method for battling cancer, because cancer is really one of the biggest jerks around and deserves to be beaten down by all methods possible. But I get especially excited when people develop a method for fighting cancer that involves piloting a tiny robotic crab down to the site of the disease and hacking away at it full-on. It's almost exactly like the general in Avatar with his robot's giant machete, except with tumors on the receiving end of the pointy thing instead of pretty blue aliens. 

Diabetic Complications Part I

Diabetes is a serious condition in which medical specialists such take care when treating. Not all diabetic patients are compliant with treatment. This can make the situation worse when it is prescribed for them. As a result, they do not realize how serious their condition has gotten until it is too late.

Pfizer Recalling Birth Control Pills

A very small percentage of the one million packages were recalled.

When taking properly, birth control pills are thought to be almost 100 percent effective. But if there is a mix-up in the drug sequences and combination of active and inactive drugs, well then, you might not have this nearly 100 percent effective rate.

The globe's largest drug maker, Pfizer, is recalling approximately one million packages of its Lo/Ovral-28 oral contraceptive, including its generic equivalent. But users can feel "a little" bit better knowing the company estimates that only a very small percentage of the one million packages were recalled. Pfizer estimates that just about 30 packets may be fraught with problems. Some pills were thought to have two many of the active variety of tablets, while other packages were believed to have too few of the active variety of tablets. Either way, the incorrect pill packages up the risk of pregnancy.

Intravenous (IV) Acetaminophen

"The very first study that was examined by the FDA for IV acetaminophen was used on patients who had just undergone knee and hip replacement surgery."

What many people might not be aware of is the the approval of an intravenous form of acetaminophen. Most people are only aware of the over the counter form of this drug. This drug was given approval by the FDA in 2010 to be administered for the relief of pain and to treat fever. It is a drug that is for post-surgical patients. 


The drug was created by Cadence Pharmaceuticals and instead of the generic name acetaminophen, it will have the trade name of Ofirmev. At the moment Cadence Pharmaceuticals has bragging rights, because there are no other drugs in the non-NSAID,   non-opoid class of pain killers which is administered as an intravenous drug for pain or fever.