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Everything posted by justashell

  1. Thanks for posting the link Robin! I hope you all had a good talk---I hope he knows about the article too! Have a great weekend! Thank goodness for Dr. F.!
  2. The thyroid gland in your neck controls your metabolism. And if it's sluggish, you could be one of the millions of Americans with hypothyroidism---and not even know you have it. About half of all people with this common disease are untreated, risking serious medical consequences. Thanks to updated guidelines, medical science is better able to interpret lab values and identify people with a mild form of this condition. But treatment remains tricky---and controversial. "One sixe does not fit al," says endocrinologist Theodore C. F., co-author of The Everything Health Guide to Thyroid Disease. "You really have to individualize the treatment to the person." Diagnosis and treatment depend on a mix of symptoms, risk factors and the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. If you recognize early symptoms (including cold intolerance, constipation, depression, fatigue, brittle fingernails, and weight gain), then ask your doctor to consider doing a blood test that will mearsure your T4 and TSH. Treat your hypothyroidism and you also might avoid pregnancy complications and high cholesterol. ---Susan T. Lennon
  3. Bottom line: It's all your fault. Don't come crying to us 'cause you don't have the will power we have to make good healthy choices, etc., etc... I just called the reporter---she was very nice---and said Cushings might be a good topic for a story.
  4. Thanks for the report! There was another report that suggested that children who experienced a lot of stress and trauma were more likely to not have an accurate dex suppression test---'cause they were constantly suppressing cortisol and that it screwed up things. Makes sense doesn't it?
  5. http://www.news-medical.net/?id=18220 Published: Thursday, 1-Jun.-2006 A recent Finnish study identifies a low-penetrance gene defect which predisposes carriers to intracranial tumors called pituitary adenomas. In particular individuals carrying the gene defect are susceptible to such tumors which secrete growth hormone. Excess of growth hormone results in conditions called acromegaly and gigantism. Identification of this gene defect using DNA-chip technologies is an example how genetic research can tackle more and more demanding tasks, such as identification of predisposition genes conferring a low absolute but high relative risk. The results are published in the journal Science. The research group, lead by professor Lauri Aaltonen (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Dr Outi Vierimaa (Oulu University Hospital, Finland) providing the initial observations leading to the investigations, aimed at unravelling the genetic basis of susceptibility to pituitary adenomas. Pituitary adenomas are common benign neoplasms, accounting for approximately 15 % of intracranial tumors. Most common hormone-secreting pituitary tumor types oversecrete prolactin or growth hormone (GH), which together with local compressive effects account for their substantial morbidity. Oversecretion of GH causes acromegaly or gigantism. Acromegaly is characterized by coarse facial features, protruding jaw, and enlarged extremities. The potentially severe symptoms of untreated acromegaly, develop slowly and the condition is difficult to diagnose early. Gigantism refers to excessive linear growth occurring due to GH oversecretion when epiphyseal growth plates are still open, in childhood and adolescence. Genetic predisposition to pituitary tumors has been believed to be rare. The researchers detected three clusters of familial pituitary adenoma in Northern Finland. Genealogy data reaching back to 1700's was available. Two first clusters could be linked by genealogy. The researchers hypothesized that a previously uncharacterized form of low-penetrance pituitary adenoma predisposition (PAP) would contribute to the disease burden in the region. The researchers had previously characterized a population based cohort diagnosed with GH secreting pituitary adenoma (somatotropinoma) in Oulu University Hospital (OUH). These data were linked to the pedigree information, to identify additional affected distant relatives. The PAP phenotype - very low penetrance susceptibility to somatotropinoma and prolactinoma - did not fit well to any of the known familial pituitary adenoma syndromes. These syndromes are defined by familial occurrence of the disease, and the low penetrance of PAP appeared unique. Low penetrance means hereditary predisposition which relatively rarely leads to actual disease - but which may cause much more effect on population level than high-penetrance disease susceptibility which typically is very uncommon. Utilizing modern chip-based technologies the research group identified mutations in the AIP gene as the underlying cause. Further work on the functional role of this gene should prove informative in revealing key cellular processes involved in genesis of pituitary adenomas, including potential drug targets. It has not been previously realized that genetic predisposition to pituitary adenoma, in particular GH oversecreting type, can account for a significant proportion of cases. The study not only reveals this aspect of the disease, but also provides molecular tools for efficient identification of predisposed individuals. Without pre-existing risk awareness, the patients are typically diagnosed after years of delay, leading to significant morbidity. Simple tools for efficient clinical follow-up of predisposed individuals are available, such as monitoring GH in blood samples. In a general sense, the results suggest that inherited tumor susceptibility may be more common than previously thought. The identification of the PAP gene indicates that with the new DNA-chip based technologies it is possible to identify the causative genetic defects in the low-penetrance conditions even in the absence of a strong family history.
  6. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5183290/ Is there a doctor ? or dog ? in the house? Canine sense of smell could help diagnose disease By Molly Masland MSNBC Updated: 9:56 a.m. MT Nov 17, 2004 Molly Masland The next time your dog decides to dive belly first into a pile of rotting fish or writhe in ecstasy in another dog?s feces, keep in mind that this seemingly horrifying urge could one day help save your life. Dogs have long been used to sniff out explosives and drugs, track criminals and find missing children. Now, researchers are attempting to harness the olfactory powers of canines for use in the field of medicine. Scientists are training dogs in the hopes that they may one day be able to reliably diagnose certain forms of cancer by smell, and help doctors catch these diseases earlier than conventional diagnostic tools currently allow. Already dogs are used to warn of epileptic seizures, low blood sugar and heart attacks, although whether they are detecting changes in smell or physical behavior is still unknown. And, while they may not be able to perform CPR or operate a cardiac defibrillator (at least not yet), some canines do know how to call 911. 'This isn't anything magic' Much of the research in this area is based on the theory that disease causes subtle chemical changes in the body or alterations in metabolism, which in turn releases a different smell, or chemical marker. ?This isn?t anything magic,? says Dr. Larry Myers, associate professor at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Ala., who has personally tested the olfactory capabilities of more than 4,000 dogs over the last two decades. ?Physicians have always used their own senses to determine the presence or absence of disease.? For instance, diabetes was once diagnosed by the smell or taste of a patient?s urine. Certain infections in burn victims can be detected by the smell of a patient?s skin, and bad breath is often a sign of gum disease. Recent small-scale studies of dogs? ability to detect the chemical markers of cancer, specifically melanoma, have shown promising results. The phenomenon was first briefly reported in 1989 in the British journal The Lancet and, since then, preliminary evidence has slowly been accumulating that suggests dogs may indeed be able to differentiate between healthy skin cells and cancerous ones. A sophisticated sense of smell Work is also under way to determine whether dogs can accurately diagnose prostate cancer. If the thought of a dog sniffing your private parts sounds just a little too, well, weird, have no fear: The dogs don?t actually smell men?s genitalia directly, they sniff urine samples instead. Part of what makes a dog's sense of smell so sophisticated is its ability to smell multiple layers of chemicals, says Myers. Dogs don't detect a single chemical but a combination of them. "If (they were identifying) just a single chemical, medicine might have picked up on it. The dog may be doing something a little better," says Myers. Surprisingly enough, no breed has a monopoly in the olfactory department; most studies have involved a number of different kinds of dogs. ?There?s this mythology behind the bloodhound, but I?ve tested a miniature poodle that had a sense of smell that was as good as the bloodhound?s,? says Myers. ?There?s enormous variability within the breed and on an individual level.? The biggest challenge for scientists lies in designing experiments that can accurately determine dogs? success rate in detecting disease and whether or not they perform better than existing diagnostic methods. Implementing rigorous controls has been a major obstacle, as has been finding adequate numbers of willing patients and doctors. Correctly training the dogs themselves has also posed a difficulty for researchers. ?You?re asking the dog to discriminate something by smell without knowing what the smell is,? says Dr. Jim Walker, director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, whose research on training dogs to detect melanoma will be published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. While it?s unlikely a canine will be joining the cast of ER anytime soon, researchers say if dogs do turn out to possess an ability to accurately detect disease, they could make a significant contribution to public health. ?It?s going to be very useful for large-scale screening of populations,? says Myers. ?And it?s certainly going to be effective in third-world countries that don?t have the resources to do sophisticated (laboratory) tests.? 'He's given me my life' Dogs that diagnose cancer may be a ways away, but some medical pooches are already on the job, warning their owners of epileptic seizures, high blood pressure, heart attacks, migraines and low blood sugar. Leigh Meyer, of Huntersville, N.C., has suffered from severe epilepsy since she was 17. Now 35, Meyer credits her ability to live independently and take care of her four daughters to her seizure alert dog Cyrano. ?He?s given me my life,? says Meyer. ?He?s offered me a chance to have a little bit of normalcy.? A giant schnauzer who spends most of his time as a docile couch potato, Cyrano?s mood changes abruptly about 30 minutes before the onset of Meyer's seizures. Suddenly he becomes nervous and antsy, and begins pawing at Meyer and leaning on her. This signal gives her time to stop whatever she?s doing, move away from her children and prepare. Once the seizure starts, Cyrano stands next to her until the episode is over, usually from two to four minutes. Because Meyer?s seizures are often very violent ? she has broken several fingers, both collar bones and her feet during convulsions ? she relies on Cyrano to keep her children out of the way. And, if a seizure occurs in a public location, she has taught him to herd the children to prevent them from wandering off. Little research has been done to unravel the mystery behind dogs' ability to warn of a seizure or other medical crisis, but most observers believe it is based on canines' keen observational skills, sense of smell, or a combination of both. "There would have to be some type of chemical change or physiological change in the body," says Sharon Hermansen, executive director of Canine Seizure Assist Society of North Carolina, and Cyrano's trainer. "People can't tell when (a seizure) is coming on, so there's something the dogs are doing that we can't figure out." Each pooch chooses its own signals Whether a dog has been trained to predict seizures, heart attacks or low blood sugar in diabetics, each animal develops its own set of signals to warn its owner. Some will walk in front of a person and refuse to move, others will knock their owner into a chair, while some will simply freeze and stare. And yes, dogs have even been trained to call 911 on their own in the event of a medical emergency. Given that most telephones aren't made for use by large furry paws, trainers have had to use more dog-friendly devices, such as step lights and pull cords, says Joan Bussard, founder of Amazing Tails Inc., a service and alert dog training program based in Oxford, Pa. The most difficult part of training alert dogs is not teaching them to warn of a medical crisis ? they can either do this on their own or they can't ? but training owners to recognize their pet's signals, says Bussard. "Sometimes it's very clear and other times it's very subtle. You have to play a guessing game," says Bussard. "When they learn to talk, we'll be in good shape."
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6132856.stm Google 'aids doctors' diagnoses' Using internet search engine Google can help doctors diagnose tricky cases, researchers have said. A team of Australian doctors Googled the symptoms of 26 cases for a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. In 15 cases, the web search came up with the right diagnosis, the paper published on the British Medical Journal website reports. The authors say Google can be a "useful aid", but UK experts said the internet was "no replacement" for doctors. The internet is in no way a replacement for doctors Professor Mayur Lakhani, Royal College of General Practitioners Google is the most popular search engine on the web, with access to more than three billion medical articles - and searching for health information is one of the most common uses of the web. And while doctors carry a huge amount of medical information in their heads, they may need to seek further help if they come up against an unusual case. 'Unique symptoms' In each of the 26 cases studied, researchers based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane selected three to five search terms from each case and did a Google search without knowing the correct diagnoses. They then recorded the three diagnoses that were ranked most prominently and selected the one which seemed most relevant to the signs. The doctors then compared the results with the correct diagnoses as published in the journal. Google searches found the correct diagnosis in just over half of the cases. These included (CJD) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the hormonal condition Cushing's syndrome and the auto-immune disorder Churg-Strauss syndrome. The team led by Dr Hangwi Tang, a respiratory and sleep physician, said Google could be a "useful aid" diagnosing for conditions with unique symptoms and signs that can easily be used as search terms. 'Support' But they said a successful search needed a "human expert" user, and therefore patients would have less success trying to diagnose themselves on the internet. They added: "Computers connected to the internet are now ubiquitous in outpatient clinics and hospital wards. "Useful information on even the rarest medical syndromes can now be found and digested within a matter of minutes. "Our study suggests that in difficult diagnostic cases, it is often useful to google for a diagnosis. "Web-based search engines such as Google are becoming the latest tools in clinical medicine, and doctors in training need to become proficient in their use." But Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "The internet is in no way a replacement for doctors - their clinical judgement and expertise will always be necessary to make sense of the information. "Rather, it should be seen as a way of supporting doctors and their patients." A spokeswoman for the Patients Association said: "Doctors have a very wide knowledge when it comes to diagnosing conditions. "But we would be concerned if they were using websites to diagnose people, what would happen if they gave the patient the wrong information? "Also, a lot of sites are not credible. There are lots of good sites out there, but we also know that there are many that are not credible."
  8. I could pass for a human pig right now---but yeah, I wonder too? It'll be interesting to see what comes of this. Something else---why are these guys interested in such a rare disease----I don't think these guys would start looking for a solution, unless they knew there was a problem. Conspiracy theory...oh, heck no---the doctors and drug makers just don't want to alarm us that some of the meds. we take might cause other problems.
  9. * Files New Patent Application for SP-6300 Making Use of SP-01A's Phase II Study Data * Drug SP-01A (HIV), SP-6300 (Cushing's) Demonstrates a Statistically Significant Ability to Normalize High Cortisol in Humans * High Cortisol Cushing's is Caused by a Long-Term Use of Corticosteroid Medications (Normally Administered to Lupus, Asthma, and Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients) Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMEX:LIV - News) a developer of innovative drugs, announced today its drug candidate SP-6300 has shown the ability to modulate excessive cortisol levels by lowering the hormone-stimulated corticosteroid formation in adrenal cells, and as a result could be a potentially new treatment for Cushing's Syndrome. Cushing's Syndrome is a disorder of the adrenal glands leading to excess cortisol secretion. This means that there is too much cortisol hormone in the blood. Cushing's Syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol. It is sometimes called "hypercortisolism,'' and an estimated 10 to 15 of every million people are affected each year. Long-term (chronic) use of corticosteroid medications, for the treatment of conditions such as lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common cause of Cushing's Syndrome. Patients who develop Cushing's exhibit a variety of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and osteoporosis. If left untreated, Cushing's Syndrome can lead to death. Dr. Greeson, CEO of Samaritan Pharmaceuticals stated, "There is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic agents, with a new and different mechanism of action, for Cushing's. It is commonly held that the cause of Cushing's is related to patients taking too much corticosteroid medications. We believe the addition of SP-6300 to normally prescribed medications might allow doctors to prescribe smaller doses of corticosteroid medications; to possibly decrease corticosteroid side effects, and increase their efficacy, at the same time." *** Samaritan Pharmaceuticals: ``We LIV...to Save Lives.'' Samaritan is a small-cap Biotech, driven to discover, develop and commercialize innovative therapeutics for AIDS, Alzheimer's, Cancer and Heart disease patients. Look at http://www.samaritanpharma.com. Please register on Website so we can notify you of upcoming conference calls, news and events. *** The company disclaims any information that is created by an outside party and endorses only information that is communicated by its press releases, filings and Website. This news release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management's current beliefs about the potential for its drug candidates, science and technology. However, as with any biopharmaceutical under development, there are significant risks and uncertainties in the process of development and regulatory review. There are no guarantees that products will prove to be commercially successful. For additional information about the factors that affect the company's business, please read the company's latest Form 10-K/A filed November 2, 2006. The company undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements. Contact: Samaritan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Richard Brown (702) 735-7001 ******************************************************************************** ************************** Someone on the unofficial chatroom had a blurb about this. Thought you'd be interested.
  10. Hi Jo--- I read too much. The first thing I do each morning is let our dog out to get the paper, then I run the bath, then I read the paper in the bathtub. I have no life.
  11. Thanks! It's so important for us to learn about this stuff!
  12. Robin---Thanks for having a link to the story---sorry girls, it was just a little tiny "blurb" in our paper---but it does make you wonder doesn't it?
  13. Lavender and tea tree oils found in some shampoos, soaps and lotions can temporarily leave boys with enlarged breasts in rare cases, apparently by disrupting their hormonal balance, a preliminary study suggests. While advising parents to consider the possible risk, several hormone experts emphasized the problem appears to happen infrequently and clears up when the oils are no longer used. None of those interviewed called for a ban on sales. The study reported on the condition, gynecomastia, in three boys, ages 4, 7 and 10. Hmmmm...if tree oils can do this---I hope they consider some of the other stuff they put in common products. This story appeared in our newspaper, The Idaho Statesman, Thursday, February 1, 2007.
  14. I have had times when I was more active at night---but kind of thought it was the effects of all the diet coke I drank throughout the day. Having Hashimoto's has really caused lots of confusion for me and the doctors. It's great to know that there may be some other, less obvious reason, why there are days I'm up until late and other times when I'm on a more normal sleep-wake schedule.
  15. Equine Cushings Disease (ECD) is also called "Old Horse Disease"----that's exactly how I feel---like an old horse.
  16. Corporations are adopting a different paradigm---instead of having a management style that works from the top down, they are structuring things so that everyone contributes. My husband works for a university and he is active in a program they call "Shared Leadership". Maybe in my quest for a new pcp, I should be looking for someone younger, who is open to new ideas and willing to listen to the patient.
  17. DR. Robin, et al.--- Well, well, well...let's see---doctors are looking to sources outside themselves to diagnose "rare" diseases? Wow. Did they have a medical convention in some tropical paradise to learn this "new and complicated" technique? Or did they go home and find their kids googling for information about some weird disease like porphyria, so they could shock and impress their 7th grade English teacher? The internet is an incredible tool for all of us to use. If someone gives me grief about using the internet, I remind them that I can read---I may not know all the chemistry and molecular biology and other stuff that doctors have to know, but I can read and comprehend medical abstracts.
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