Posts tagged with "Cancer"

Researchers say wireless earphones could be a source of carcinogenic radiation

March 15, 2019

While most of us have worried at one time or another that our use of smartphones could endanger our health, it turns out that the earphones—specifically, wireless earbuds—could pose a much greater danger, News-Medical.net reports.

Specifically, medical researchers are worried about wireless earbuds, such as the AirPods introduced by Apple in 2016. These wireless earpieces transmit data using a type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiowave via Bluetooth technology. The proximity of this radiation to the brains of the users is cause for concern, they say.

In fact, News-Medical.net notes, a group of 250 experts and researchers have signed a petition to the United Nations and World Health Organization to stop the use of these and other wireless devices.

The petition reads, “Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices.”

It goes on to say that the risk of cancer, neurological disorders, and DNA damage that have been associated with EMF exposure cannot be ignored.

Jerry Phillips, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs agrees with the medical alert. He told the news outlet, “My concern for AirPods,” he says, “is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation.” Phillips is one of the many scientists who have called for a restriction on use of such devices.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently confirmed that these EMF waves could be “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. These waves are similar to UV rays or x-rays—but are not as powerful. They can cause burns at high concentration but are generally of less impact. The debate about whether they are carcinogenic is still ongoing.

The World Health Organization developed guidelines that regulate the amount of EMF the devices are allowed to emit. The petition adds, “The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF. By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfill its role as the preeminent international public health agency.”

The guidelines insist that phones should be kept away from the body when not in use. Sleeping with the phone is not a good practice and usage of headsets or headphones to conduct phone calls is suggested as a good option.

Research contact @AzoNetwork

Clinical iPhone app takes selfies of toddlers—for early detection of vision disorders

January 31, 2019

In our selfie-centric society, almost nothing is less threatening—or more familiar—to a preschool child than having an iPhone pointed at his or her face. Enter GoCheck Kids—a startup product developed by Scottsdale, Arizona-based Gobiquity Mobile Health (formerly iCheck Health Connection) that screens young children for correctable vision impairments with a simple photo.

Used to date by roughly 4,000 pediatricians, working in 55 health systems, to screen about 9 million children nationwide, GoCheck Kids is an uploadable iPhone app that catches vision problems  in children ages six months to six years before they become disabling—and without the use of expensive and unwieldy equipment.

In the United States, the most prevalent disabling childhood conditions are vision disorders including amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), and significant refractive errors (which cause blurred vision). Early detection increases the likelihood of effective treatment; however, until now, fewer than 15% of all preschool children received an eye exam, and fewer than 22% of preschool children received some type of vision screening.

“Vision disorders are the number one most prevalent disabling conditions among U.S. children. That’s also true for many other countries, and a lot of the reason why prevalence is so high is that most of the vision disorders are actually invisible to parents, physicians, and teachers,” Kevon Saber, CEO of Gobiquity, said in a recent interview with MobiHealthNews.

“Kids are not getting caught early enough for the issues to be treated. These are issues that keep kids from seeing well in the classroom; issues that lead to blindness, … and then there are even fatal retinal cancers,” Saber added, noting,. “Fortunately those are really rare, but [for] the first two groups of issues you really want to catch these kids by five years old, because after five the efficacy of treatment declines rapidly.”

After integrating with the provider’s electronic health records (EHR) system, users select the patient’s profile in the GoCheck Kids app and take a single photo of the patient’s eyes. Afterward, the app automatically sends the image to a patient’s EHR, and generates a sharable report with the patient’s results. Saber noted that the cloud-based service also allows providers to view the images and results remotely, if need be.

GoCheck Kids has been validated in three separate clinical trials. The latest of these, published in the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, examined the app’s performance in 6,310 in-office screenings and found a positive predictive rate of 68%, which the authors wrote is “comparable with other commercial objective screeners.”

Following a 40-day free trial at a pediatric practice, Gobiquity offers the app as a subscription service with unlimited uses. The price ranges from $80 to $129 monthly,  based on whether a customer prefers to purchase the service as a downloadable app or as a dedicated device. Outside of the larger providers who may already be subscribing to multiple app-based services, Saber said that most of the company’s customer’s opt for the more expensive option.

“We usually ship them an iPhone because they don’t want to usually deal with all the HIPAA implications themselves, they’d rather just trust that we’re doing that,” Saber said. “The phone arrives, and they do a quick training they can do on their own time at their own pace by going to our training website, or if they want to talk to us we can walk them through it live and answer questions. Then they start screening and submit the screens to the insurance of the respective children.”

Research contact: @GoCheckKids

Can intermittent fasting improve your health?

November 23, 2018

According to research by the Calorie Control Council, a typical Thanksgiving dinner can carry a load of 3,000 calories. That’s about 500 more calories than most Americans eat in a whole day—and also about 500 more than it takes to gain one pound.

And that’s also why, on the day after the holiday, many of us might be wondering about the pros and cons of intermittent fasting—one of the buzziest diets out there right now. After all, why diet diligently all week when you can drop the excess weight by skipping food entirely just two or three days out of seven?

Fans of this form of dieting say they have lost as much as 8% of their body weight within eight weeks by cutting calories by 20% every other day. They also say they are healthier and have less inflammation.

WebMD theorizes that the possible secret behind the diet’s health benefits is that fasting puts mild stress on your body’s cells. Scientists think that the process of responding to this stress can strengthen the cells’ ability to fight off some diseases—even disorders as serious as heart disease and cancer.

But are these claims legit? Honestly, researchers say, not enough is known yet to confirm whether fasting is advisable or not.

As Liz Weinandy, a staff dietitian at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, admitted to Men’s Health magazine in a recent interview, ““I don’t think anybody knows.This is all preliminary.”

In fact, the magazine says, most of the press coverage of intermittent fasting and its purported immune system benefits has focused on just one study: In 2014, Valter Longo— a professor of Gerontology and the director of the USC Longevity Institute—found that cycles of a four-day low-calorie diet that mimicked fasting (FMD) cut visceral belly fat and elevated the number of progenitor and stem cells in several organs of older mice—including the brain, where it boosted neural regeneration and improved learning and memory.

The test was part of a three-tiered study on periodic fasting’s effects—involving yeast, mice, and humans— o be published by the journal Cell Metabolism in June 2015.

Longo and his team had both mice and human cancer patients fast for four days. During the fast, both the mice and the cancer patients discarded old blood cells; once the fast was broken, their bodies produced shiny, new cells to take the place of discarded ones, thus effectively regenerating their immune systems.

In fact, Longo found, in the pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects.

Results of of the study led the USC team to conclude that prolonged periods of fasting could reduce the harsh side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients—in fact, some patients are already trying this on their own, based on a story posted this year by U.S. News & World Report)—or even boost immunity for healthy people.

A 2015 study by Yale Medical School went one further, finding that hat a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Convinced and ready to start? First, read a few cautions from Men’s Health.

First, most intermittent fasting plans recommend not eating between 16 to 24 hours— a much shorter period of time than the four-day fast in Longo’s study. For this reason, Longo says it’s unlikely that his study has any long-term implications about the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Your body won’t eliminate old cells “until two, three, or four days into the fasting,” he told the magazine. “It takes even longer for the system to start really breaking down muscle, breaking down immune cells, breaking down different tissues.”

Indeed, the report says, future studies will require a broader sample size than Longo’s, so we can determine how fasting affects different groups of people —for instance, the elderly, or diabetes patients, or those with low-functioning immune systems.

What’s more, if you have an active lifestyle, cut back on exercising because fasting could potentially drain your stores of sodium and potassium—two electrolytes that are essential for kidney, heart, and muscle function.

And finally, don’t forget to drink. Water is always a great choice, all day, every day. Sparkling water is fine—but don’t use artificial sweeteners. They will wreak havoc on your insulin levels and defeat your end purposes entirely.

Research contact: melissa.matthews@hearst.com