Sunday, January 29, 2012

Odds and Ends

Oral Cancer - To continue on an issue of concern... HPV is the virus associated with cervical cancer, but it is also linked to oral cancer (more so than smoking or smokeless tobacco).  This week researchers who published in the Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA, found that 7% of us (US Adults and Teens) carried the HPV in our oral tissue (mouth).  Transmission of HPV is through sexual contact, i.e. the genital area including the anus . It is believed that the virus is transmitted through all types of sex; oral, anal and vaginal - but not through kissing.  Still, the finding of the virus in the mouth can help to explain the increase in oral cancer cases that we are seeing.  Once the virus enters the body, the cells that it tends to attack are of the cervix and oral cavity - with regard to cancer.
Grief - There is an effort underway to have grief added to the diagnostic manual that psychiatrists use.  If this were included in the manual,  one can be said to be suffering from grief in the manner of a psychiatric disorder.  Everyone will, at one time or another, lose a loved one (human or pet) and experience grief. Who would benefit from identifying this normal and inevitable part of life as a disease?  Well, as I have said, name it - treat it - medicate it.  I am 100% against this initiative.  You can hear a podcast about the debate at this link from Australia's national radio.
Tablets - I am passing on some advice I heard somewhere this week - probably the NBC nightly news.  People who have tablets, notepads - basically your IPAD, who read from them in laps or on the table - without using the little legs that let you tilt the screen, are having painful cases of neck strain.  The advice is - don't do that.
Heart Disease - The biggest for last today.  In a study that is being published in the NEJM, scientists looked at certain risk factors for heart disease in persons at various ages and tracked the outcomes up to age 80.  In other words, they looked at people who had or did not have the risks at age 45, 55, 65 and 75. The risks that they considered were related to blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. The ideal profile is to be normal for all levels and to not smoke.  The researchers compared the normal profile to persons who had two or more of the risk factors.  The results were staggering.  A 55 year old person with two or more factors was much more likely to have a heart attack and die, have a heart attack and not die, have a stroke and have fatal heart disease - any and all of those things before age 80.  The difference between people with no risk factors compared to those with two or more - in regards to percent of adverse outcomes was approx. 6% and 30% . In other words, I might have a 6% of having a heart attack and a person with high blood pressure who smokes might have a 30% chance of having one.  A further point of the research is that it didn't matter at what age the risk factors were present, the risk of death or other bad consequence was much higher among the group that had only two of the factors (i.e. high cholesterol and high blood pressure) than those with none.The full article was not available this week but I expect that there are increased risk differences based on age of onset of the 'factor.'  I hope to review the full article soon.


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Deirdre Dingman, MPH, CTTS, CHES, PAPHS said...

thank you