Leukemia, brain cancer most common type of childhood cancers

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Keeping Kids Healthy

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 10,000children 15 and younger in the United States are diagnosed with various kinds of cancer each year.

Last week, we discussed what cancer is and how it begins when microscopic cells that make up a normal body part start growing out of control. This week, we discuss some of the different types of childhood cancer.

Leukemias are the most common, accounting for about one-third of all childhood cancers. Leukemia is a type of cancer that originates from white blood cells, which normally help fight infection.

Leukemia generally begins in the bone marrow where blood cells are formed, but eventually the cancerous cells are released out into the bloodstream so there is no distinct tumor. Continue reading

Hypnotics and sleep: Medicines that can help you

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

When you hear the word “hypnotize,” perhaps you think of a psychotherapy technique or even a stage act where someone is induced to bark like a dog while in a trance.

There is also a class of medications called hypnotics. The hypnotic drugs are very commonly prescribed for sleep disorders. They are heavily advertised as well.

I would like to educate you about some concerns that have been raised regarding the chronic use of these medicines, sold under trade names such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata.

Insomnia affects approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population and is a troubling condition for many people. Though sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep nightly, American adults average only 6.9. Acute sleep deprivation for just a few days can cause mental, behavioral, metabolic, autonomic problems, and even a decrease in immune function leading to increased risk of infection. Continue reading

A top 10 list to die for

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Medical Discovery News

How are you going to die?

The Centers for Disease Control would answer that life expectancy depends greatly on where someone lives. Life expectancy in the United States ranks 40th in the world with 77.97 years. That addresses when someone might die but what about how? Most likely, it will be from one of these top 10 causes, based on how many Americans they kill each year.

10) Suicide – 38,285. Many factors are now known to influence suicide: mental illnesses, genetics, certain pharmaceuticals, traumatic brain injuries, drug and alcohol abuse and chemical or hormonal imbalances. To decrease these rates, education about the signs preceding suicide and accessible treatment is necessary.

9) Kidney Disorders – 45,731. Although dialysis can help people survive a little longer without a kidney, it is no cure. Kidney damage can occur from infection, high blood pressure, or toxic reactions to drugs, leading to chronic kidney disease that affects more than 26 million Americans. Continue reading

Keeping Kids Healthy – Childhood cancer often is a random mistake in DNA instructions

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Keeping Kids Healthy

The word “cancer” certainly strikes a scary and emotional note in our hearts, and when attached to the word “childhood,” it can be especially frightening.

However, as with many things we fear, we can be empowered by understanding. This week, we explain just exactly what cancer really is.

Every part of the body (the brain, liver, heart, bones, fingernails, muscles and so on) is made up of hundreds of millions of microscopic cells that are specialized for that particular organ.

These cells follow a very complex and highly organized instruction set from their DNA to multiply, grow and eventually die and become replaced throughout our entire lifetimes. Continue reading

Breast is best when it comes to early childhood nutrition

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

You just had a healthy baby. Congratulations! In these days when many women struggle with infertility and challenges getting pregnant, a baby is a truly wonderful gift, as it always has been.

By the way, check out Dr. Steve Pratt’s latest book “SuperFoods Rx for Pregnancy” to prepare for and have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Now that labor is done, the work really begins.

By now, you and everyone else likely know about the benefits of breast-feeding.

The human breast, like that of all mammals, was perfectly designed to create optimal nutrition for the vulnerable newborn.

Breast milk has everything in it needed for a new baby to grow and thrive. This includes calories derived from healthy fats and essential proteins, minerals and vitamins needed to grow a healthy brain, body and immune system in your baby. Continue reading

Sponging up toxins

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Medical Discovery News

People reach for sponges for soaking up messes, washing the dishes, and cleaning appliances. But sponges can also clean up toxins — inside the body, no less.

For years, scientists have worked to develop methods to remove toxins that destroy cells and tissues. This has been a challenge due the variety of infectious agents and poisons that produce toxins.

Recently, a significant advance using nanosponges could lead to the removal of many life-threatening toxins from the bloodstream.

Nanosponges, developed by bioengineers at the University of California-San Diego, work much like their name implies — they are designed to absorb specific substances. These nanoparticles can remove toxins produced by bacteria such as the common skin infection Staphylococcus aureus, even the antibiotic-resistant MRSA strain. Continue reading

Your health’s best friend

Dr. Tristi Muir

Dr. Tristi Muir

Last year, David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This neurodegenerative disease not only made David’s movements rigid and tremulous, it has robbed him of his independence and his freedom.

He had been a very independent man for 83 years when suddenly, he found himself living with his physician daughter Robyn and her busy family (including David’s 1-year old grandson).

Recognizing that this must be a very traumatic change of life for her father, Robyn asked, “Dad, is there anything we can do for you?” David immediately answered, “Get me a dog!”

Together, they saw every dog at the Galveston Island Humane Society. After spending time with David, one of the humane society workers knew that the Chihuahua in the back of the facility would be the perfect dog for David. It was love at first sight. Continue reading

Uncovering the mystery of children’s immunizations

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly

Keeping Kids Healthy

With the start of school fast approaching, there’s frequently a feeling of a need to get organized.

Living in a family is complicated with schedules and many conflicting needs. Children come with their own entire subset of things to keep up with — their school work, their activities, their chores. And then, there’s that one thing about your children that you have to keep up with that’s sort of mystical: Their immunizations.

You know you have to keep up with their shots, and you know it’s ultimately good for them, their health and safety, and that of the rest of your family. Thankfully, we’re moving away from a long era of immunization misinformation based on faulty and fabricated research. That makes the fearful part much easier for parents, but keeping them in order can be a little confusing and overwhelming at times.

Does MMR come before the hepatitis B? Or does the rotavirus vaccine come before the influenza shot? And, what the heck is MMR, anyway? Here are some answers and resources we think will help. Continue reading

Taking an antacid trip

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

If I were to talk to the average person about a proton pump, images of Buck Rogers or Star Trek might come to mind. It is some kind of ray gun or starship drive?

The fact is that each of us has a proton pump in our stomach. It is a cellular mechanism that creates the very high acidity needed for digestion and absorption.

To show how powerful this pump is, the acid-base balance of the bloodstream and other tissues is about 7.4, while that in the stomach is a pH of around 2, many thousands of times more acidic.

The other cells in the body would die at that level of acid, yet the proton pump and stomach lining keeps it all up to facilitate our good health and digestion.

Proton pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs), such as omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and others, are widely used antacids that shut down this important physiological process. Continue reading

Shadowy side of patent medicines

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel

Medical Discovery News

It’s hard to believe that people used to drink snake oil as a “universal remedy,” or rely on a patent medicine called Mugwumps to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Yet, from colonial times to the 1900s, people would unquestionably turn to such “cures.” Patent medicines were sold directly to a patient from the manufacturer without a prescription through mail order, in shops and in traveling medicine shows. They were trademarked (which is not the same as today’s patenting) by the seller, yet untested and unregulated, and as such, rarely worked as advertised. Eventually, people even used the term “snake oil salesman” as a synonym for a fraudster.

Among the early patent medicines to arrive in America were Daffy’s Elixir Salutis for “colic and griping,” Dr. Bateman’s Pectoral Drops and John Hooper’s Female Pills. These and many other remedies were available for just about any ailment and often made outlandish claims for their effectiveness. Continue reading