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5/11/04 - Echinacea does little to prevent colds, Alison McCook (Reuters Health)
Stocking your medicine cabinet with Echinacea may be a waste of time, as a new study shows the herbal medicine does not help prevent colds.
After exposing 48 healthy adults to a virus that causes the common cold, U.S. investigators found that people who took Echinacea were no less likely to develop colds than people who took an inactive placebo pill.
Consequently, people may be better off leaving Echinacea off of their grocery list, study author Dr. Steven Sperber of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey told Reuters Health. "Echinacea did not prevent infection with the cold virus," he said.
The research was funded by the German company ... which sells the Echinacea product used in the current study.
However, recent research has also cast doubt on whether the herbal preparation can treat colds. A study published last year found that children who took Echinacea as soon as they developed a cold showed no difference in the severity or duration of cold symptoms than children who took a placebo pill.
To test the benefits of Echinacea in preventing colds, Sperber and his team asked 48 adults to inhale a strain of rhinovirus, a group of viruses that causes approximately 40 percent of colds in adults. As described in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, half the participants took Echinacea pills for 7 days before being exposed to the virus and for 7 days after, while the others took a placebo pill over the same time period. More than 90 percent of participants became infected with the virus. Although slightly fewer people taking Echinacea developed colds, statistical calculations showed that the difference could have been due to chance.
Similarly, although people taking Echinacea appeared to have fewer symptoms than the placebo group, those differences were also too small to rule out the effect of chance, the authors report. Sperber noted that although Echinacea may not help prevent or treat colds, none of the people who took it reported any side effects linked to the medication. However, he added that people who take herbal products should be aware that they can interact with prescription medications.
Sperber added that additional experiments that include larger numbers of participants are likely needed to establish whether Echinacea can at least help reduce cold symptoms.
5/9/04 Recognize stroke, be a hero, reprinted from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 7, 2004
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Few Americans know the major warning signs of stroke, new survey findings indicate, and few would call 911 immediately if they thought someone was having a stroke.
"A lot of people are afraid to do that," Dr. Janet Croft told Reuters Health in an interview. "They don't feel they have the medical knowledge."
She encouraged everyone to learn the signs of stroke and to be willing to call 911 if they think someone is having a stroke. "This is an opportunity for every person in the U.S. to be a hero," said Croft, a senior epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
There is no time to waste when someone is having a stroke, Croft said. The CDC researcher noted that 50 percent of stroke deaths occur before an ambulance arrives. While stroke symptoms sometimes begin suddenly, some people may die because their symptoms were not recognized soon enough, Croft said.
Croft noted that one type of treatment for the most common type of stroke, an ischecmic stroke, is most effective when given within 3 hours of the first symptoms.
An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or blocked artery cuts off blood flowing to the brain. Stroke may also occur when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.
According to the CDC, the five major warning signs for stroke are sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding; sudden numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body; sudden vision trouble; dizziness or trouble walking; and sudden severe headache with no apparent cause.
Croft and her colleagues at the CDC tested the stroke knowledge of more than 61,000 adults in 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Although most people could recognize some warning signs of stroke, only 17 percent knew all warning signs and said that they would call 911 if they thought someone was having a heart attack or stroke.
The results of the study appear in this week's issue of the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. May is National Stroke Awareness Month.
"The fact that only 17 percent of those surveyed both recognized all five of the major warning signs and indicated they would first call 911 shows that we still have a long way to go in educating the public about stroke," Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, the chairman of the American Stroke Association's advisory committee, said in a press release.
"People must then call for emergency assistance when stroke symptoms occur. Time lost is brain lost," said Goldstein, who is at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
To prevent stroke deaths and damage, people have to be willing to call 911 as soon as they think someone is having a stroke, according to Croft. She encouraged people to put themselves in the shoes of a stroke victim.
"You are not able to call for help. You may be paralyzed. You may be losing your sight. You may not be able to hold a telephone in your hand," she said. "You would want someone to call 911 for you if you were in that situation," she said.
Croft noted that a person may not experience all five major stroke symptoms, so it is important to call 911 even if someone has just one symptom.
5/8/04 How to get a good sleep - reprinted from the 5/17/04 issue of U. S. News and World Report.
The cruelly precise digital clock says it's 318 a.m., and the alarm is set to go off in less than four hours. You try to will yourself back to sleep, but you peek at the clock again and it's 337, then 406. At 448, you know the next day is going to be a real grind.
Insomnia is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking far too early, and 58 percent of American adults experience it a few nights a week or more.
Some sleep tips are virtual no-brainers, says Meir Kryger, who is on the board of the National Sleep Foundation ( sleepfoundation.org ), but people need reminders, so he listed some of his favorites in his book A Woman's Guide to Sleep Disorders.
Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only. If you can't sleep, get out of bed. "Do something that's boring, not something that will jazz you up," he says. Avoid anything that will arouse your brain late at night "No arguments, no discussions about money." Don't eat spicy foods or nap during the day. Exercise, but at least two or three hours before bedtime. Develop relaxing bedtime rituals such as a bath. Don't smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine before bed. And get a good mattress and pillow.
Drugs? Prescription medicines, called hypnotics, can provide relief. Two of the most common sleeping pills are Ambien and Sonata. "The newer hypnotics are much safer than the ones we used to use," says Kryger. But all sleeping pills should be taken as a doctor prescribes--usually for a couple of weeks, or intermittently if longer. An article in Sleep Medicine Reviews in 2000 by Daniel Kripke found that two thirds of hypnotic prescriptions go to chronic users who have taken the drugs for five years or more. Overuse of the drugs, he writes, presents a mortality hazard similar to smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day.
The pharmaceutical industry has several new sleeping pills in the works. David Dinges, chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, says "The holy grail now is to produce normal, natural sleep and keep you asleep."
Oh, and about that alarm clock. Turn it toward the wall. "People keep peeking at it, asking 'Am I asleep yet?' " says Kryger. "Nothing good comes from looking at an alarm clock in the middle of the night." -Susan Brink
5/5/04 Measles problem for adults in Mexico - from local radio
As interpreted a by local Mexican man, the radio has been repeatedly referring to a measles problem (for all adults) that is rampant in all of Mexico, but especially in Guanajuato.
Locally, vaccinations are being given at Hospital General on Relox as well as at Centro de Salud, in Colonia Le Jona, and perhaps at other places.
More information can be obtained at the places where vaccinations are being given. The vaccination may be obligatory, but we were not able to ascertain that for sure.
5/4/04 - Users of laboratory services beware. by Gabby M on coollist
My brother has a health problem that requires monitoring his blood every other day to check for the therapeutic level. Too high, too bad. He has gone to both de la fe and a lab in centro. Today he went to Queretaro, at a specialist's urging, and found that his blood level results from the downtown SMA lab were INCREDIBLY OFF. Not by 1. but by much more. If you want the name of the lab just email me. Otherwise, just be careful. firstname.lastname@example.org
4/29/04 Double Check your Prescriptions before ingesting by Pat Marzulli
A number of years ago I had an arrhythmia attack and Dr. Alvarez of the Hospital De La Fe gave me a prescription to take so as to control the problem. Another attack put me in the hospital E.R. once again.
Then again a couple of months later another attack and another visit to the E.R.
Dr. Alvarez checked my medication and informed me that it was NOT the medication he had prescribed for me. It was the same name "Angiotrofin" but the wrong dosage. Since changing to the correct dosage I have had no more visits to the E.R.
What had happened was that an inexperienced clerk at the drug counter at Gigante had not sold me the correct medication but had just picked up a box with the name "Angiotrofin'' on it and I had been taking the wrong medication for nearly a year which caused me unnecessary trips to the E.R. and the subsequent expenses.
So it would be wise to put your faith in no one and to always double check your prescriptions and verify that it is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.
3/16/04 The annual raffle for Hospital De La Fe, drawing, was held at La Puertecita Hotel.
Two prizes were given this year. Barbara and Bill Porter donated a week at their beach home in Manzanillo, Mexico, won by Lorna Fuller. Diane and Bill Largman won the trip to Ireland and Britain for 16 days. 300 raffle tickets were sold with gross earnings of $30,000.
The Patronato Board wishes to thank those that bought or sold tickets. La Puertecita Hotel for annually hosting plus donating the cocktail party and Lloyd's for annually providing part of the advertising.
Your generosity will help foreign residents and Mexican citizens, with medical problems, to receive a higher standard of care resulting in a better quality of life. Your interest and donations stimulate the hospital's growth and capabilities making it more attractive to physicians who are interested in setting up a practice at Hospital De La Fe. This attraction has also brought us doctors that have studied at the finest medical schools in Mexico as well as Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the Mayo Clinic.
Hospital de La Fe is now certified as a BlueCross BlueShield World Wide Hospital and able to accept that insurance for payment. Other insurance companies that are accepted are AARP Health, and Tricare Military Insurance. Hospital De La Fe offers a discount card that enables the patient to receive 20% off on all services. We are able to provide quality health care, every day, to the citizens of San Miguel thanks to you.
Copied with permission from The San Miguel Chronicles, Ines Roberts, editor
March 26 2004 The Tooth Demon by Reggie King (re tooth fillings contain Mercury)
We all know the Tooth Fairy. We all know that to eat fish or seafood that has earlier dined on the element Mercury is harmful to our bodies.
Do we all know about the Tooth Demon?
Probably not. The Tooth Demon is that tooth (or even those teeth) in your mouth that is/are filled with a gray-looking substance. That gray-looking substance has Mercury in it, and the Mercury can gradually leak into your mouth and your entire body.
And that can make you sick. In my case, it raised my blood pressure. For over thirty years, I have been aware of this problem. I read some long time ago about the relationship between Mercury tooth fillings and high blood pressure and I had a lot of molars filled with the stuff. Finally, I did something about it.
I got rid of the Tooth Demons. Old gray fillings out, new tooth-colored fillings in. With the first four refillings, the blood pressure went down to almost normal. The last two, which required porcelain crowns, have done the trick. My blood pressure is normal I have been checking it daily. The readings vary from 120/70 to 130/80, all in the delightfully normal, healthy range.
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