Category: Health

Womb Transplants Give New Hope for Childless Couples

Posted on Sep 12, 2014 by No Comments

There have been all kinds of advances in organ transplants since the first heart transplant was done in the 1960s. Since then lungs, kidneys, and even faces have been successfully replaced by those of a donor.

Now there may be hope of pregnancy for the nearly one in 5,000 women who are born with out a uterus, as well as the millions of women that lose the organ due to disease or damage.

Derya Sert was born without a womb and became the first to successfully receive a uterus in 2011. In April of last year, specialists placed an embryo inside Sert’s womb in the hopes that she would become the first woman with a transplanted uterus to complete a pregnancy and give birth. Although she did get pregnant, doctors announced that there was no heartbeat at the eight week examination.

It’s sad for Ms. Sert but in another way this procedure should give hope to other women in the same predicament. Who could have imagined that doctors would be able to implant a uterus? How amazing is it that they would then be able to create a pregnancy that lasted even for a few weeks?

I have a love-hate relationship with the medical community. On the one hand, I am always amazed by the possibilities, but at the same time I get frustrated when I feel like doctors overstep their humanity and begin to play God. Cloning in particular bothers me to the very center of my being.

At the same time, the possibilities of transplanted organs are exciting. Have you heard of this type of transplant before?

source: Reuters

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

Remove the Chocolate for Healthier S’mores! Really?

Posted on Sep 10, 2014 by No Comments

We just had a get together yesterday that included a campfire in the backyard fire pit following dinner. The teens and tweens couldn’t wait to make S’mores. We had graham crackers, caramel, chocolate, or regular marshmallows, and Hershey’s candy bars.

The sweet treats aren’t something we have very often because they’re just that…a treat. The definition of treat is “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.”

If you don’t know what a S’mores is, I’d be surprised. But just in case you don’t, let me be clear. It’s a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate smooshed between two graham crackers. It is a great American classic.

Now the Obama administration is trying to modify the S’more. Their modification is to leave out the chocolate. When I first heard this, I thought it was a joke, but apparently it’s not.

The reasoning behind it is that they are trying to make this occasional treat healthier. It leads me to ask, why did they pick on the chocolate? After all, what about the marshmallow? That’s like pure sugar and gelatin, while dark chocolate at least offers antioxidants and has been proven to be good for you in small amounts.

Not only do I wonder what made them decide to pick on S’mores, but it also makes me wonder what’s next? Maybe all the sugary cereals will disappear from the store shelves, especially if they happen to be chocolate!

And how about cookies, those are treats. Does that mean chocolate cookies could be eliminated? After all, I think people eat cookies a lot more often than S’mores, or what about chocolate candy bars.

Instead of trying to make rules on what to eat or should I say not eat, how about we teach kids and ourselves moderation when it comes to treats. The food itself isn’t “bad” it’s the over indulgence.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Daily Aspirin Use May Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Posted on Sep 5, 2014 by No Comments

According to a recent study by research scientists from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, women who take aspirin every day may reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by up to 20 percent.

Aspirin regimens, where patients are instructed to take a low dose of aspirin every day, have been recommended to guard against heart attack for years. Now researchers say that it could protect women from this very dangerous form of cancer.

The study consisted of data pooled from twelve different epidemiological studies on 8,000 women with ovarian cancer and 12,000 who did not have it. They studied the women’s use of aspirin, non-aspirin NSAIDS, and acetaminophen and compared the groups. Eighteen percent of the women reported using aspirin, 24 percent used non-aspirin NSAIDS, and 16 percent used acetaminophen.

The participants that reported taking a daily dose of aspirin had a 20 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who used it less than once a week. The participants that took a daily dose of NSAIDS had a 10 percent lower risk, and those who took acetaminophen on a daily basis did not lower their risk at all.

It is an interesting possibility, and one that will continue to be studied.

That doesn’t mean you need to start popping aspirin. Keep in mind that the dose is low, your doctor may even recommend a baby aspirin when you are taking it daily.

If you aren’t on an aspirin regimen already, don’t begin one without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much aspirin can cause serious problems with your stomach lining!

source : University Herald

photo credit: Schjelderup via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Delicious Snacks, Slow Cooker Tacos, a Backyard Playground, and More

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has delicious snacks, some slow cooker tacos, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make homemade Clif bars.

Choosing Raw taught us how to make caramel mocha bars.

About a Mom taught us how to make cute cereal box notebooks.

link ru backyard playground

Kenarry showed us how to build a backyard playground.

Belle of the Kitchen shared a recipe for slow cooker salsa chicken tacos.

The Michigan Mom shared tips for changing your mindset.

A Simple Pantry shared a recipe for a pumpkin spice latte with marshmallows.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

Emoticons Are Rewiring Our Brains

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 by No Comments

Researches are convinced that emoticons, those smiley faces that find their way into emails, social media posts, and even eBooks, are rewiring our brains.

Australian researchers claim that the use of punctuation faces actually changes the way that our brain works. The brain ceases to see the emoticon as punctuation marks but actually triggers the part of the brain which is reserved for looking are real faces.

Dr. Owen Churches, school of psychology, Flinders University, calls them a new form of language that has produced a new pattern of brain activity in order to decode it.

The research team showed twenty people pictures of real people, emoticons made with punctuation, and a random string of characters.

By using electrophysiology they found that the pattern of electrical activity in the brain was the same when looking at emoticons as it was when the participants viewed real faces. The random string of characters did not use a similar pattern. They realized that we respond to emoticons the same way that we do to people’s faces.

According to Churches, this neural response is not inborn in us. It is culturally created, a neural response that illustrates the adaptability of the human brain. It makes me wonder what other culturally created adaptations are affecting the way we think, the way we see, and the way we respond.

It does give some credibility to the idea that watching violence for entertainment could cause you to be more violent than your would normally be. Do you agree?

Source: Daily Mail UK

photo credit: schoschie via photopin cc

Smoking May Cause Early Menopause

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 by No Comments

Smoking may speed up menopause by as much as nine years according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

I have to admit that when I read this article I had a brief moment where I considered taking up smoking again, even though I have not touched a cigarette since 1987. Being 54 and still getting once a month breakouts just stinks.

Not as much as smoking does, though.

The researchers involved in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study kept records on  400 or so women between the ages of 35 and 47. Some of the women carried variations of a gene called CYP3A4*1B.

Of these women, the ones that did not smoke entered menopause roughly 14 years after beginning the study. The women who carried the gene variation and smoked entered menopause significantly earlier. Light smokers hit menopause about 11 years after entering the study and heavy smokers 5 years after entering the study.

It is interesting to note that it seems to be only Caucasian women who carry the variant gene. On its own the gene doesn’t bring on early menopause (prior to age 50) but when coupled with smoking it does.

It doesn’t seem significant really. After all,  menopause symptoms like anxiety, hot flashes, and weight gain are mostly just uncomfortable and irritating, right?

Well yes but there are health problems that increase after menopause such as coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, and other health issues. The earlier women go into menopause the more risk they have of developing a health problem.

Hmmm. Maybe being 54 and still peri-menopausal isn’t so bad after all?

Source: Medical News Today

photo credit: Photos by Mavis via photopin cc

Monitoring Your Risk of Stroke Is Very Important for Women

Posted on Sep 1, 2014 by No Comments

A new set of stroke prevention guidelines was recently released by the American Heart Association and it has big news for women.

In the past there wasn’t much difference in the guidelines for men and women. Stroke risk was measured in the same way, as well as treated in a similar way.

The new guidelines warn that women of all ages should pay more attention to their stroke risk than the average man. It is especially important to watch blood pressure and make sure it is within a healthy range before getting pregnant or going on birth control pills.

Women have a higher chance of having the risk factors that are associated with stroke.

These include:

  • Abnormal Heart Rhythms
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Migraine
  • Post-menopausal

Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women. Heart disease and cancer have the first and second places.

Not only do women have the same risks for stroke as men, they have additional risks caused by pregnancy complications, hormone use (birth control, hormone replacement therapy), and other ways that the hormones can become unbalanced.

Symptoms of a Stroke

A stroke happens when either a blood vessel in the brain ruptures or the blood supply to the brain is blocked somehow. When blood can’t get to brain tissue the cells begin to die off.

The symptoms of stroke are similar in both men and women but there are some differences, too.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Drooping of the face
  • Numbness or weakness in arm
  • Trouble understanding

Symptoms in women tend to be more difficult to see. It may be that they really are more subtle or it may be that women have a tendency to try to push through pain and discomfort.

One of the most frequent signs of a stroke in a woman is her sudden inability to communicate. I bet the male doctors laughed when they read that; what do you think?

Stroke Prevention

  • You should be screened for high blood pressure before taking birth control pills. The combination of the two increases the risk of stroke.
  • If you have high blood pressure and are planning on getting pregnant, ask your doctor about low dose aspirin therapy to lower preeclampsia risks.
  • Since women who have had preeclampsia during pregnancy have twice the risk of stroke and four times the risk of high blood pressure later on in their lives.

If you have migraines where you see moving dots or blinking lights, pay close attention to your blood pressure. Obviously quit smoking if you are a smoker — it raises the risks considerably.

As always, the best way to prevent stroke or heart attacks is to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, cut back on your saturated fats, drink lots of water, and take a walk everyday. That’s not so difficult to say but with our busy lifestyles it can be really hard to do.

I work at home and you’d think it would be easy to take a break at lunch and go for a walk, right? The truth is that I rarely eat lunch and when I do it’s usually right at my computer — one of the main reasons I constantly battle with sticky keys!

Make a promise to yourself to make time in your day for your health. It’s important.

photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

Why Are You Hungry?

Posted on Aug 29, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re like many people, including me, one of your goals is to drop some weight. I stayed on target for January, but then a couple of birthdays, and other special occasions kind of derailed my efforts—not totally, but enough to bring my weight loss to a standstill.

My biggest problem is when I revert to snacking in addition to my meals. For some reason when I start snacking I often can’t find the shut off. I eat more than I should. Then because I’ve “blown it” I tend to throw in the towel for the entire day and eat more!

The purpose for eating is nourishment but that’s not what sends us looking for something to eat. It’s hunger or perceived hunger. It’s that perceived hunger that gets us into trouble. A new study has started to untangle why we eat when we aren’t really hungry.

Over the past 20 years, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) neuroendocrinologist Bradford Lowell, MD, PhD, has been looking at the complicated jumble of neurocircuits in the brain that underlie hunger.

Key among his findings has been the discovery that “Agouti-peptide (AgRP) expressing neurons – a group of nerve cells in the brain’s hypothalamus – are activated by caloric deficiency, and when either naturally or artificially stimulated in animal models, will cause mice to eat voraciously after conducting a relentless search for food.”

The study was published on-line in the journal Nature. The lab using a chemogenetic technique known as DREADDs discovered hunger-inducing neurons in a region of the brain which “has long been thought to have the opposite effect – causing satiety.”

When I read this, of course I wanted to claim it as the problem I face. The study was done using mice. Mice that had already consumed their daily meal and showed no interest in food were exposed to DREADD stimulation. It resulted in a voracious search for something to eat. Sounds like me going through the refrigerator after dinner!

On the other side of the spectrum, mice that had been fasting did not react that way. While they should have been hungry and ready to eat, they ate very little when the neurons were turned off.

This new information is painting a clearer picture of what drives appetite. It’s the hunger-inducing neurons found in the paraventricular nucleus.

According to the study’s author, further study is needed in how the brain controls hunger. ”

“Abnormal hunger can lead to obesity and eating disorders, but in order to understand what might be wrong – and how to treat it – you first need to know how it works. Otherwise, it’s like trying to fix a car without knowing how the engine operates.” (Newswise)

Photo credits: Janet Hudson

Link Round-up: Therapy, Cinnamon Rolls, Gifts, and More

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has tips for getting help for depression and anxiety online, cinnamon roll twists, a gift idea, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make a delicious vegetarian chili.

One Good Thing by Jillee talks about finding a counselor you can visit via Skype.

A Beautiful Mess shared a fabulous gift idea for sisters.

link ru cinnamon roll twists

Annie’s Noms shared a recipe for cinnamon roll twists.

Kenarry shared an amazing mountain home makeover.

Create Craft Love taught us how to make a foam head Halloween candy bowl.

You Brew My Tea shared a DIY upcycled t-shirt scarf craft.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Annie’s Noms