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THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) — Five cases of  antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea found in San Diego County between August  and October 2009 show the need for continued surveillance for such cases,  according to a new report from public health officials.

The researchers noted that antibiotic treatment can successfully cure  gonorrhea, but drug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted disease  have been found worldwide.

Each year in the United States, more than 700,000 people get new  gonorrheal infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention. Treatment with two drugs (dual therapy) is recommended to  treat the infection and prevent the development of antibiotic  resistance.

The five cases documented in the report involved patients with  gonorrhea that was resistant to azithromycin, one of the antibiotics in  the recommended dual therapy. The patients were all men who had sex with  men and who had no known connections to each other….. See more

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Due to the magic and wonder of food dyes in the
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to the grocery store. Unknown to that consumer though, many seemingly common
staples we purchase repetitively are “dressed up” to awaken the senses of the
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Some examples of this, oranges are not
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Tomatoes, when picked, can be a cross between
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is often washed on with food dyes…..Read more

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) — Obese patients taking a high dose of an investigational weight-loss pill called Qnexa lost an average of 22 pounds over a year, while also lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, a new study has found.

Qnexa is a combination of two medications: phentermine, the most widely used weight-loss drug in the United States, currently available under a variety of brand names as well as a generic; and topiramate (Topamax), best known as a drug used to ease epilepsy and migraine.

Qnexa was recently turned down as a weight-loss aid by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, because there was not enough data on the risk of birth defects and heart problems related to the drug. Topiramate has been linked to an increased risk for cleft lip/palate in babies born to women who took the drug.

The results of the new study, which was funded by Vivus, Qnexa’s maker, suggest that “the combination of topiramate and phentermine when administered with some lifestyle counseling could be a valuable treatment for obesity,” said lead researcher Dr. Kishore Gadde, an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the obesity clinical trials program at Duke University Medical Center.

One reason for the significant weight-loss is that these drugs work by different mechanisms, Gadde said. “In a treatment, [with] the more mechanisms you have there is a greater likelihood of achieving the kind of weight loss we are hoping for, in a large proportion of patients,” he said.

In addition, the combination of drugs may alter the side effect profile for each drug, he speculated. “The thinking behind the combination of the drugs is that some of the side effects could actually cancel out,” Gadde said. “Topiramate causes fatigue, and phentermine is a stimulant, so they could be negating the side effects of each other.”

Topiramate can also cause mood changes, while phentermine is more uplifting, he added.

The report is published in the April 11 online edition of The Lancet.

In this multicenter trial, called CONQUER, Gadde’s team randomly assigned almost 2,500 overweight and obese men and women to diet and exercise counseling alone or to counseling alongside once-daily low- or high-dose Qnexa in pill form. Low-dose Qnexa contained 7.5 milligrams (mg) of phentermine and 46 mg topiramate, while the high-dose pill contained 15 mg of phentermine and 92 mg of topiramate.

After 56 weeks, patients on either dose of Qnexa had lost significantly more weight than those who only took part in the counseling program, the researchers found.

Those not taking the combo drug had an average weight-loss of 3 pounds, compared with 18 pounds for those on low-dose Qnexa and 22 pounds for those on the high-dose Qnexa.

Moreover, while 21 percent of those in the counseling program alone lost at least 5 percent of their weight, that number rose to 62 percent of those on low-dose Qnexa and 70 percent for those on the high-dose regimen.

In addition, people taking Qnexa saw reductions in their blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, triglycerides (a blood fat) and blood sugar levels, Gadde’s group found.

The ideal candidates for this treatment are obese and overweight people whose weight is affecting their health, Gadde said.

“When you are looking for weight-loss in patients, it shouldn’t be for cosmetic reasons,” he said. “An ideal candidate for weight-loss is someone that has obesity-related [health] risks.”

Gadde noted that the weight-loss seen in the first year of the trial was maintained in the second year of the trial.

Side effects did occur in some patients, and were especially common at the higher dose. In those taking high-dose Qnexa, the most common side effects were dry mouth (21 percent), paresthesia, or a feeling of “pins and needles” (21 percent), constipation (17 percent), insomnia, dizziness and distorted taste (10 percent each).

Paresthesia is a common side effect of phentermine, Gadde noted, while the other side effects are most likely associated with topiramate.

An increased risk of depression and anxiety was also noted in those taking the drugs, seeming to increase as the dosage given rose. About twice the number of people in the high-dose drug groups dropped out of the trial compared to people receiving counseling alone, the researchers noted.

“If you see side effects like depression and anxiety, you need to be more careful,” Gadde said. “You don’t give these drugs to someone who is clinically depressed,” he added.

According to Gadde, there were no birth defects among any of the babies born to the 34 women who became pregnant while taking Qnexa in this trial.

Ashley Buford, a spokeswoman for Vivus, said the company is hoping to resubmit its application for approval of Qnexa to the FDA by the end of the year.

Commenting on the study, obesity expert Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that “this study shows what we had cause to believe before: that Qnexa facilitates weight loss beyond office-based counseling alone, as long as people are taking the drug.”

However, the weight loss may be unlikely to persist if use of the drug stops, he said.

“In addition, we don’t yet know if Qnexa is safe for long-term, or even lifelong use, and thus cannot yet say whether it is safe and useful for long-term weight control,” Katz said. “Other drugs that have facilitated weight loss in the short term have failed to translate to safe and effective long-term use. This is the bar a truly useful weight-loss drug will need to clear,” he said.

More information

For more on obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Kishore Gadde, M.D., assistant professor, psychiatry, director, obesity clinical trials program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; April 10, 2011, The Lancet, online

When acid reflux persists

By Karen Pallarito

Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, curb stomach acid production, keeping gastric juice from backing up into the esophagus and causing heartburn.

But they don’t always work—sometimes because heartburn has been misdiagnosed. Even when PPIs do work, up to 40% of people can still have breakthrough symptoms from time to time.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent and minimize breakthrough symptoms.

Make sure you’re taking medication correctly

If you don’t know how and when to take your meds, call your doctor for specific instructions.

“Typically, the proton pump inhibitors are given 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast,” says David A. Johnson, MD, a professor of medicine and the chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, in Norfolk, Va., and past president of the American College of Gastroenterology.

However, some people do better taking two doses a day to stave off nighttime symptoms, he adds.

Don’t hit the sack on a full belly

Lying down within three to four hours of consuming a large meal, particularly a late-evening feast, could spell trouble.

“My big push is to keep the patients away from late eating, large meals, and recumbency,” says Dr. Johnson. Such a triple threat may pose too large of an insult on the body, one that even PPIs—the gold standard in GERD treatment—can’t handle.

For nighttime symptoms, Dr. Johnson suggests elevating the head of the bed with blocks or using a bed wedge to elevate the upper torso.

Shed a few pounds

A 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that overweight and obese women were two to three times as likely as thinner women to have frequent reflux symptoms.

Moderate weight gain, even in normal-weight people, may exacerbate reflux symptoms, according to the survey of more than 10,500 people.

“A reduction of even 2.5 pounds may be enough for some patients to decrease or eliminate their reflux symptoms,” Dr. Johnson points out.

Try an over-the-counter drug

Drugs like Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC, Axid AR, and Zantac 75 are very effective in knocking out acid, says Joel Richter, MD, the chair of the department of medicine at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

The paradox is they’re not very effective when taken daily, because people develop a tolerance to the drug, he adds.

“What I suggest to my patients is that they take an over-the-counter H2 blocker when they have their breakthrough symptoms,” he says. “That seems to give them better control.”

Know your triggers

If jalapeños or onions always get you, consider skipping them. If you’re going to eat spicy food, taking an H2 blocker an hour or so before may help stop symptoms.

But if you make changes and still have heartburn, get help.

“If people are having residual symptoms several times per week, and certainly if they’re having residual symptoms to the point that it’s interfering with their ability to sleep…or function on a day-to-day basis, they should definitely talk to their physician about it,” says William D. Chey, MD, director of the gastrointestinal physiology laboratory at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor.

Health is the level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person in mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to being free from illness, injury or pain (as in “good health” or “healthy”). The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Although this definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as having a lack of operational value and the problem created by use of the word “complete”, it remains the most enduring. Classification systems such as the WHO Family of International Classifications, which is composed of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), are commonly used to define and measure the components of health.

The maintenance and promotion of health is achieved through a combination of physical, mental, and social well-being, together sometimes referred to as the “health triangle”.The WHO’s 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion furthered that health is not just a state, but also “a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”

Systematic activities to prevent or cure health problems and promote good health in humans are delivered by health care providers. Applications with regard to animal health are covered by the veterinary sciences. The term “healthy” is also widely used in the context of many types of non-living organizations and their impacts for the benefit of humans, such as in the sense of healthy communities, healthy cities or healthy environments. In addition to health care interventions and a person’s surroundings, a number of other factors are known to influence the health status of individuals, including their background, lifestyle, and economic and social conditions; these are referred to as “determinants of health”.

Wikipedia

Moments after my first attempt to get pregnant, I totally freaked out. I wasn’t nervous about the idea of being knocked up (whee!). Instead, I was worried because my home suddenly seemed overwhelmingly toxic, filled with chemicals that might harm my growing baby, her father, and me. Peeling paint above us. Bleach-scrub residue on our counters, sink, and tub. The plastic in my water bottle. The water in my water bottle. Roach bait. I spun around and around. How had I not noticed this before?

Google didn’t ease my anxiety—there I learned that less than 5 percent of the more than 80,000 chemicals introduced in the United States since World War II have been tested for their effects on human health and development—but a close friend did. She suggested that I take baby steps to make what’s inside my home as pure as the organic apples and pears in my fruit bowl. My anxiety ebbed as I swapped my most toxic home products for more natural versions. Pretty soon I’d replaced everything from my vinyl shower curtain to my bedding, and I’d written a book—The Complete Organic Pregnancy—with that friend, Deirdre Dolan. Since then, I’ve been guiding families (including my own, which now includes an organic 2-year-old), friends, and total strangers through similar transformations.

To give you the same advantage, here’s a cheat sheet to the most toxic zones around your home and how to detox them. If you feel overwhelmed, start small, says David O. Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, State University of New York:

“It’s only reasonable to do what you can to reduce exposure without compromising your whole standard of life.”

Here are some of the most toxic areas in your home:

  1. Your Lush Lawn
  2. Under the Kitchen Sink
  3. Your Child’s Toy Box
  4. Your Closet
  5. That Half-renovated Rec Room
  6. Your Bed
  7. Your Cat’s Litter Box
  8. Your Home Office
Alexandra Zissu with additional reporting by Brittani Tingle

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Think About Health is for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment.