Tag Archives: American College of Surgeons

Appendix is Also a Valuable Organ

Your appendix is a slimy sac that hangs between your small and large intestines. It has long been thought of as a worthless evolutionary artifact, good for nothing except a potentially lethal case of inflammation. But now researchers suggest that your appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant.
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Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than they had thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.

Your appendix may serve as a vital safehouse where good bacteria can lie in wait until they are needed to repopulate the gut after a case of diarrhea. Past studies have also found the appendix can help make, direct and train white blood cells.

The appendix appears in nature much more often than previously acknowledged. It appears in Australian marsupials such as the wombat and in rats, lemmings, meadow voles, and other rodents, as well as humans and certain primates.

Resources:
Live Science August 24, 2009
Journal of Evolutionary Biology August 12, 2009 [Epub Ahead of Print]

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Towering disturbance:-…....CLICK & SEE

Q: I own a flat on the third (top) floor of a building. The residents’ association has leased out the terrace to a cell phone company which has erected a tower there. I have a pacemaker and am worried about the impact of the signals from the tower on my heart. What should I do?

A: Signals from microwaves and cell phones do affect pacemakers. Irregularities in the heart rate have been noticed when a phone is held even 15cm away from the pacemaker. When you are living just under a phone tower, the signal is likely to be strong and powerful. The first symptoms of the pacemaker being affected are a feeling of faintness and irregularity in your pulse rate. You can be fitted with a 24-hour monitoring device by your cardiologist. This will document any irregularity, so you know it is real and not psychological.

If there are any changes, it may make sense to move. Your building association is unlikely to cancel a financially lucrative enterprise and get the tower relocated.

Circumcise to protect:-

Q: I read that circumcision offers protection against AIDS. I wonder if I should get my one-year-old son circumcised.

A: Circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves removal of the skin and mucosal tissue that covers the glans, the tip of the penis. Circumcision is unconditionally practised by Jews and Muslims. It is a part of their religious culture. In others it is usually performed if the foreskin gets stuck (phimosis) or infected. It does help in the prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. But it does not give 100 per cent protection.

All operations can have complications. Problems like infection or bleeding, though rare, can arise after the surgery. Unless your son’s paediatrician has advised circumcision for a particular reason, it does not make sense to put him through elective surgery. When he is older, teaching him about responsibility, sexual norms and safe sex may be a better option.

Yellow vs white:-

Q: There are natural and “artificial” eggs available in the market. The colour of the yolk in the two differs. Is there a difference in their nutritive values? Is eating eggs healthy?

A: Eggs contain easily digestible proteins, fats, vitamins and antioxidants. They are a complete food in themselves. The recommended intake is one egg a day for those with a normal lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides). If the lipids are raised, cutting down on yolks to a maximum of two per week would be fine. Egg whites do not add to the cholesterol level, and you can eat as many of these as you like.

The colour of the yolk only depends on the type of feed the hen has received. It does not affect the egg’s nutritive value. By natural eggs, I think you mean those laid by hens that roam free, and by “artificial” the ones that are laid in hatcheries. Nutrition-wise, both are the same.

Music mania:-

Q: My daughter listens to music the whole day. I don’t like it, but do not want to put a stop to it unless it is harmful.

A: If your daughter is listening to music instead of doing her homework or studying, perhaps you need to interfere. But do check her academic performance first. Listening to music does have many positive effects. It soothes, pacifies and relieves tension in children and in adults. Music during exercise provides a cognitive boost, in addition to the other benefits of regular activity. Loud music, on the other hand, can damage hearing, increase the heart rate and produce paradoxical excitement.

Unequal feet:

Q: My shoes never fit both the feet perfectly. One is always a little loose or tight.

A: A person’s feet may not be identical in shape and size. One is usually marginally larger than the other. If this difference is marked, footwear will never fit properly. It is better to buy a bigger size and wear two socks on the foot that is smaller. Otherwise, you have to buy two pairs of shoes.

Cauliflower ear:

Q: I pierced my ear in the upper part, in addition to the ear lobe. It has become red, swollen and painful. My ear now looks ugly and deformed. What should I do?

A: The condition you are describing is called “cauliflower ear”. It occurs when a blood clot develops in the cartilage of the ear as a result of injury. The accumulated blood becomes infected and this destroys the cartilage, making it shrunken and shrivelled.

As soon as there is pain and swelling owing to an injury (even piercing), it should be treated with ice packs and antibiotics. Once it becomes misshapen, cosmetic reconstruction by a plastic surgeon is the only option.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Lung cancer runs in the family

LONDON: While smoking is far and away the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, having a close relative who has been diagnosed with the disease nearly doubles your risk of developing the deadly disease…..CLICK & SEE

A new study in Chest found that people with a first-degree relative   that means mother, father or sibling’s  ”who had lung cancer had a 95% higher risk of developing the disease.

“Our long-term follow-up of a largescale, population-based cohort identified a significant increase in the risk of lung cancer associated with a family history of lung cancer in a first-degree relative in a Japanese population,”the study authors wrote.

Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology and oncology at the Ochsner Clinic Health System said this study confirms what’s already known about family history and the risk of lung cancer, and that “it’s an important thing for physicians to realise”.

“As a clinician, when I have someone with lung cancer, I ask the family members, ‘Who smokes cigarettes?’ Then I explain that they have a two- to three-fold higher risk of lung cancer because of their family history, and this is just another reason to quit smoking because they have a genetic susceptibility to the carcinogens in tobacco,”explained Brooks.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 180,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, and nearly 170,000 Americans die from the disease annually.

It’s the second leading cause of death for men and the third leading cause of death for women, according to the CDC. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health, though not everyone who gets lung cancer is a smoker or former smoker.

The study followed more than 102,000 middle-aged and older Japanese adults for as long as 13 years; there were more women (53,421) than men (48,834).

During the study period, 791 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed. The researchers found that having a first-degree relative with lung cancer nearly doubled the odds of developing lung cancer.

The association was even stronger for women. Women who had a first-degree relative with lung cancer almost had triple the risk of lung cancer, while men with a first-degree relative with lung cancer had about a 70% higher risk.

Additionally, people who had never smoked had a higher risk of developing lung cancer themselves if they had a first-degree relative with the disease than did smokers with close family members with lung cancer. Family history was also more strongly associated with a particular type of lung cancer — squamous cell carcinoma..

Brooks and Ann G. Schwartz, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal, both said it wasn’t clear why family history would confer a greater risk for women than for men.

Schwartz said one possibility is that women are more familiar with their family histories and may just be reporting family history more accurately.

Brooks also pointed out that this finding might only apply to Japanese women and not other populations.

(As published in The Times Of India)