Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

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Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410

 

 

 

Common signs you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder

Article Source: https://www.metro.us/body-and-mind/health/thyroid-disorder-symptoms

 

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Here’s how to know if you have a thyroid problem and how to get treatment

 

Here’s how to know if something might be out of whack with your thyroid. Photo: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but it’s less likely that you know what it is or how it actually functions in the body. The two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck just below the adam’s apple, secretes hormones that help regulate important systems in the body, including temperature, metabolism, heart rate, weight and menstruation.

When too much or too little of these hormones are produced, several bodily functions can get out of whack. For National Thyroid Awareness Month, we asked endocrinologist Dr. Byan McIver to talk us through common thyroid disorders and signs that you might be suffering from them.

Who is likely to develop a thyroid disorder? 

 According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, although women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from it than men. Typically, it affects women in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties who have a family history of thyroid problems — although the disorder isn’t strictly genetic. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid

McIver likens the thyroid to a “conductor” for the body’s symptoms.

“When there’s too much thyroid hormone, it’s like that conductor has gone a little crazy and gone too fast, and the whole music goes into dissonance,” he explains, describing the condition of hypothyroidism. This can cause rapid heartbeat, restlessness and anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory and focus, hot flashes, an overactive bowel — symptoms akin to how you feel if you’ve had too much coffee, according to McIver. Over time, it can lead to hair loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and in severe cases, injuries to internal organs.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid

The most common thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. This can cause patients to feel tired and low energy or depressed, have a slower heart rate, be more susceptible to the cold, experience constipation and rapid weight gain. It can also interfere with the menstrual cycle, which can lead to issues with infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might consider getting your thyroid tested to see if that’s the culprit, says McIver.

Nodular thyroid disease 

Talk about a lump in your throat. Nodules are a swelling on or inside the thyroid, and they’re actually very common — you’ll find them in half of women over the age of 50, McIver explains. Depending on the size of the nodule, you can feel it or even see it protruding from your neck. As it grows, it can lead you to develop a raspy voice or have difficulty swallowing. Luckily, the majority are benign, but on occasion they are cancerous.

How do you diagnose and treat thyroid conditions? 

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid, or if you suspect you might have a nodule, let your doctor know, McIver recommends. They can refer you to an endocrinologist who can diagnose the condition by testing the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) through a simple blood test.

In the case of hypothyroidism, the endocrinologist can treat it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If it’s hyperthyroidism, there are medications to help slow down the thyroid, or removal of the thyroid through radioactive iodine or surgery.

In the case of a potential nodule, a doctor can confirm it with an ultrasound and then biopsy it, or use genetic testing to determine the cancer. Thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, McIver explains.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

 

Foods That Help Fight Cervical Cancer

Article Source: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/foods-that-help-fight-cervical-cancer.html

 

Cervical cancer (cancer of the female cervix) is the second most common type of cancer in women, behind only breast cancer. Its most common cause is contraction of high-risk forms of the human papilloma virus – more commonly known as HPV.

Most women will contract some form of HPV at least once in their lives. The body’s immune system typically takes care of the virus before it evolves any further. However, sometimes the infection does not go away. If the virus stays active in the body for a significant period of time the risk of cervical cancer increases.

 

Cervical Cancer

How to Protect Yourself from HPV

Most doctors recommend that women protect their bodies from HPV in these three ways:

  1. Get screened with a Pap test periodically.
  2. Get an HPV test periodically (age 30 or older).
  3. Get the HPV vaccine (ages 9-26).

Lifestyle Changes That Support HPV/Cervical Cancer Prevention

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from cervical cancer is to get regular screenings like those listed above. However, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk altogether. One of which involves your diet.

Foods That Fight Cervical Cancer

Low levels of folic acid (a type of vitamin B) in the body can increase your likelihood of developing HPV; so, it is very important to eat a nourishing, vitamin-rich diet. Folic acid is crucial to the development of healthy DNA and can protect against precancerous changes in the cervix. In fact, dosages of 5 to 10 milligrams of folic acid daily can actually reverse mildly abnormal Pap smears.

Folic acid is most commonly found in dark, leafy greens like spinach and asparagus, citrus fruits, lentils and beans. Most researchers recommend developing a diet that is rich in B vitamins: particularly folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B12.

Here are some foods that do this best!

Foods That Fight Cervical Cancer (1)

Cruciferous vegetables like:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

Antioxidant-rich fruits and teas like:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Papaya
  • Green tea

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds

Here are some foods that you should avoid.

Animal products that cause inflammation:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products

Refined sugars and highly-processed carbohydrates.

  • Processed grains
  • Pre-made boxed foods
  • Bleached flour

Many of these cancer-preventing nutrients found in the list of foods above can also be found in the form of dietary supplements. Do not substitute real foods for supplements as too much of a good thing may become toxic in your body.

Eat well, stay healthy!

Health Notes: Cervical Cancer Awareness

Article Source: http://www.laduenews.com/business/columns/health-notes-cervical-cancer-awareness/article_16981bdf-def0-52d5-97fe-2dc26e88e0cb.html

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With Cervical Health Awareness Month upon us come January, the topic is important, especially in light of the sobering statistics.

“Incidence of cervical cancer has not changed in the last 10 years, with 12,820 new cases estimated in 2017, accounting for 4,210 deaths,” says Dr. Lindsay Kuroki, a Washington University gynecologic oncologist, quoting figures from the American Cancer Society.

Ladue News spoke with Kuroki about cervical health, preventive steps and treatments.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer every three years in women ages 21 to 29 years, and either Pap test screening every three years alone or every five years with human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in women ages 30 to 65 years. Yet many women still have a Pap test every year as part of an annual well-woman exam. What are your thoughts and recommendations regarding Pap test frequency?

The fundamental goal of cervical cancer screening is to prevent morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer. Most Pap abnormalities are related to HPV infections that go away when recognized by women’s immune systems. There’s no benefit to identifying these. Only persistent infections cause cancer. The HPV test is better at detecting these changes so it doesn’t need to be done as often.

Many women and providers want to be safe, so they screen too often. Over-screening leads to harms, such as anxiety, cervical injury and disrupted relationships after diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection. The USPSTF recommendations are a good balance between benefits and harms.

There continues to be controversy surrounding the HPV vaccine, and some parents who are concerned about side effects decline this vaccine for their adolescent children. What would you advise these parents regarding the benefits versus risks of the vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have reviewed the safety information for the prophylactic HPV vaccines and have determined that they are safe and nearly 99 percent effective if administered before first sex, since almost everyone contracts HPV. Serious side effects are rare and similar to other vaccines. Commonly reported symptoms include injection-site reactions such as brief soreness, redness or swelling, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and headache.

Like all vaccines, the HPV vaccine is monitored on an ongoing basis to make sure it remains safe and effective. As a gynecologic oncologist, I advise parents that the HPV vaccine is a rare opportunity to protect their child against HPV-related cancers. HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women, and the HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers – about 28,000 – from occurring.

For women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer, new treatments have been introduced. What are the most effective new treatments, and how much have they affected cervical cancer survival?

New treatments are exciting, but prevention through vaccination and screening remains the best strategy. The first targeted biologic agent, bevacizumab, plus chemotherapy, helps women with advanced cervical cancer live four months longer. However, considerations of adverse effects, cost and duration of therapy are important to discuss. More recently, immunotherapy research holds promise as a new cervical cancer therapy option.

Are there signs of cervical cancer that women should recognize and see a physician about?

Unfortunately, women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers typically have no symptoms, which is why adherence to cervical cancer screening is so important. However, those who present with more advanced disease may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, odor, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, or difficulty urinating or having bowel movements.

What’s the most important thing you think our readers should know about cervical cancer?

There are things you can do to minimize your risk of cervical cancer.

Obtain the HPV vaccination at the appropriate age, ideally before exposure to HPV. In 2016, Missouri ranked near the bottom for adolescent HPV vaccination. Only 51.6 percent of adolescents age 13 to 17 years in Missouri received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, and 35.8 percent were up-to-date with the recommended vaccination series of three shots.

Also, avoid cigarette smoking, which is a risk factor for cervical cancer, keep up to date with your Pap tests and don’t ignore abnormal Pap results.

 

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

About 79 million Americans currently have HPV. Many people with HPV are unaware that they are infected. And each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

Most deaths from cervical cancer could be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal (changed) cells early, before they turn into cancer.

Take the time to learn more about HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. 

Here are several helpful links to learn more about HPV and cervical cancer prevention.

Cervical Cancer: What to Know.

HPV Vaccination & Cancer Prevention

 

Keep up with Plasma MedResearch through our facebook page. 

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10 Crohn’s Friendly Recipes

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

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While what you eat isn’t a surefire way to cause, or cure, Crohn’s disease, certain foods may trigger a flare or make your symptoms worse. Eating a healthy diet can help you manage your nutrition intake, which is especially important during a flare-up. However, knowing which foods to eat or avoid isn’t always easy. Crohn’s disease affects everyone differently, and you’ll need to figure out what works — or doesn’t work — for you. Some common food triggers include spicy, fatty, and gas-producing foods, and many people with Crohn’s need to limit dairy products and high-fiber foods such as whole grains and beans. But that doesn’t mean your diet needs to be bland. Try the following recipes to spice up your meals. If any of the ingredients are known problem foods for you, you can get creative with substitutions.

Click the link below to be transfered to the Everyday Health recipes!

https://www.everydayhealth.com/crohns-disease/diet/crohns-friendly-recipes/#01

5 new life-saving cancer developments New studies are paving the way for faster diagnosis, better treatment — and more lives saved.

Article Source: https://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/new-life-saving-cancer-developments
Cancer researcer

Cancer is complex, but researchers are breaking new ground in understanding the many types of the disease. (Photo: science photo/Shutterstock)

Cancer. We’re all touched by it in one way or another, whether we are survivors ourselves, or our friends or loved ones have been affected by the disease. But while the statistics are sometimes grim — the number of new cancer cases is projected to rise to 22 million within the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization— there are also rays of light in cancer research that offers hope for better options when it comes to diagnosis, treatment and a cure.

Here’s a snapshot of four breakthroughs happening right now in cancer research that are certain to save lives in the near future.

1. New tools to fight childhood cancer

Childhood cancerBy creating maps of childhood cancer tumors and sharing them with the world, researchers have opened the door for new breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment. (Photo: frantab/Shutterstock)

Cancer is complex, as each type causes a unique reaction within the body and reacts differently to treatment. Now, thanks to a team of U.S. scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), researchers around the world will have models of 12 common types of childhood cancer that they can use to better understand these complex reactions and test how various treatments will affect different cancer cells.

The team grew cells from patient tumors in mice and created nearly 100 models of 12 types of pediatric cancer, HHMI said in a statement. They’re making the samples available for free to the scientific community by publishing their data in the journal Nature. This new wealth of information is predicted to break open many areas of childhood cancer research.

The 12 cancers they modeled are:

  • Neuroblastoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Wilms tumours
  • Ewing sarcomas
  • High-grade sarcoma
  • Malignant rhabdoid tumour
  • Synovial sarcoma
  • Renal medullary carcinoma
  • Desmoplastic small round cell tumor
  • Epithelioid sarcoma

2. Breakthroughs in immunotherapy treatment

T cells attacking cancer cellIn this illustration, T-cells (gray) can be seen attacking a cancer cell (hot pink). (Photo: royaltystockphoto.com/Shutterstock)

Current treatment options for cancer include chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy, which means using the body’s own immune system to fend off the disease. Of the three, immunotherapy is the least devastating to the body as a whole because it relies on targeted cancer destruction rather than attacking all of the cells in the general area of the cancer. So a breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy treatment is a big deal. Recently, there have been two.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of a new cell-based gene therapy to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is a cancer of blood and bone marrow and the most common childhood cancer in the U.S. The treatment involved removing cells from a patient’s own immune system, genetically modifying them to kill cancer cells, and then sending them back into the patient to wipe out the disease.

The drug is called Kymriah, or CAR-T-cell therapy, and it is changing the outcome for patients with this type of cancer. In a clinical study, 63 ALL patients were given the treatment after their cancer failed to respond to other treatment methods. After three months, 83 percent of those patients were in remission.

In another immunotherapy research breakthrough, a team of scientists lead by researchers at the National Cancer Institute have identified the specific genes that can help improve success with the treatment. In the past, doctors have been baffled when certain tumors don’t respond to immunotherapy treatment. This study identified 100 genes that play a role in the immunotherapy process. With this information, doctors can more easily identify issues that could hinder treatment, such as a malfunction in one of the identified genes.

Researchers are hoping this study will serve as a blueprint to help cancer scientists better understand immunotherapy and develop new treatments to circumvent resistant tumors.

3. Advances in melanoma diagnoses

Dermatologist inspecting a new moleNew mole? It’s more likely to be melanoma than a mole you’ve had for a long time. (Photo: Pop Paul-Catalin/Shutterstock)

Check those moles and stay on top of what your skin looks like. A team of Italian and Greek researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that says new moles are more likely to pop up as the result of melanoma. The team also found that when melanoma does develop from an existing mole, it’s likely to be thinner than those that come from new moles, suggesting a better possible outcome for the patient. Armed with this new knowledge, doctors can make better and more immediate recommendations for their skin cancer patients.

4. A link between breast cancer and heart health

Woman with breast cancer ribbonCould cholesterol medications be a new option for breast cancer prevention? (Photo: Dolores Giraldez Alonso/Shutterstock)

What’s the link between breast cancer and heart health? Researchers recently presented a study at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona that found women with a history of high cholesterol tend to have lower rates of breast cancer, suggesting that statin drugs — often prescribed to treat high cholesterol — may also offer protective benefits when it comes to breast cancer.

In a review that included more than 32,000 women — half with high cholesterol and half without — researchers found that women who were taking statin medications to control their high cholesterol were 33 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those whose cholesterol levels were normal. And the women with high cholesterol who did develop breast cancer were 40 percent less likely to die over the 14-year study period than women who had developed breast cancer but did not have high cholesterol.

The study’s authors don’t know for sure why women with high cholesterol would have a lower incidence and a higher survival rate for breast cancer, but they think it might have something to do with the statin drugs, which not only reduce cholesterol but also have been shown to reduce overall inflammation in the body. This finding could help improve treatment options for women battling the disease.

5. A pen that detects cancer during surgery

This last development in cancer research isn’t as far along as some of the others on this list, but a handheld device called the MasSpec Pen is so revolutionary that it warranted an honorable mention, so to speak.

The pen-shaped device is designed to help surgeons determine if tissue is cancerous, which means they’re able to remove more of a cancerous tumor during a surgery with less risk of leaving any cancerous tissue behind. It takes a small sample of molecules from the tissue through a drop of water at the tip of the pen, then passes them through a mass spectrometer. About 10 seconds later, it tells doctors whether the tissue is cancerous or not, and what kind of cancer it is.

“If you talk to cancer patients after surgery, one of the first things many will say is ‘I hope the surgeon got all the cancer out,’” Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, who designed the study and led the team, said in a press release. “It’s just heartbreaking when that’s not the case. But our technology could vastly improve the odds that surgeons really do remove every last trace of cancer during surgery.”

This new invention is much faster than the current process, which UT Austin explains:

The current state-of-the-art method for diagnosing cancers and determining the boundary between cancer and normal tissue during surgery, called Frozen Section Analysis, is slow and sometimes inaccurate. Each sample can take 30 minutes or more to prepare and interpret by a pathologist, which increases the risk to the patient of infection and negative effects of anesthesia. And for some types of cancers, frozen section interpretation can be difficult, yielding unreliable results in as many as 10 to 20 percent of cases.

Though the pen has not yet gone through clinical trials, early tests suggest the pen is accurate about 96 percent of the time.