Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Trans fats may cause Prostate Tumors

1/17/2008 - Increased intakes of trans-fatty acids may increase the risk of non-aggressive prostate tumours by about 100 per cent, suggests new research from Harvard.
The study followed almost 15,000 men over 13 years and piles further pressure on the fatty acids after significant prostate cancer risk increases were observed for higher intakes of the trans isomers of oleic and linoleic acids.

"Blood levels of trans isomers of oleic and linoleic acids are associated with an increased risk of non-aggressive prostate tumours," wrote lead author Jorge Chavarro in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

"As this type of tumours represents a large proportion of prostate cancer detected using prostate-specific antigen screening, these findings may have implications for the prevention of prostate cancer."

For more see http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=82603

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sad thoughts

A gentleman in our town passed away the other day. He had been ill for a while with a blood disorder. We weren't close friends but we always said hello.

It's a sad thing when someone you know dies. His poor wife must feel lost without him. I'm also feeling depressed for personal reasons. I am reminded that my husband could die prematurely, since he still has prostate cancer and if that doesn't kill him, the diabetes could cause a heart attack. So the odds of my being a widow within the next 10 or 12 years are high.

I don't like thinking about his death. I don't like thinking that the threat is real. But of course it is and we need to enjoy our time together... if we can with this thing hanging over us.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Connection between Diabetes and Prostate Cancer

I came across this on Gabe Mirkin's site:

Your body produces large numbers of cancer cells, and your immunity searches out and kills these cells. Diabetes damages a person's immunity and interferes with a person's ability to kill cancer cells. That's why people with diabetes are at increased risk for certain types of cancers. People who store fat primarily in their bellies are at high risk for diabetes and also prostate cancer. Even if they are not overweight, men who have very little fat in their hips may have high blood insulin levels and are also at increased risk for diabetes and prostate cancer. If you store fat primarily in your belly, cut back of foods that contain flour, such as bakery products and pastas, and foods that have added sugar. You are at increased risk for diabetes and probably prostate cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2003 Jan 1;95(1):67-71. Insulin resistance and prostate cancer risk. Hsing AW, Gao YT, Chua S Jr, Deng J, Stanczyk FZ. A. W. Hsing, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.

Source: http://www.drmirkin.com/men/1706.html

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Weight loss surgery helps diabetics

Did you read the article "Obesity surgery helps diabetics"? Patients who had gastric banding surgery lost more weight and researchers believe it was the weight loss that helped improve their diabetic condition. 

"At the end of two years, 73 percent of the diabetics who had surgery no longer had diabetes, compared with 13 percent of those in the diet group. People who got surgery also needed far fewer diabetes medications."

Personally, I don't like unnecessary surgeries. Couldn't the patients lose weight by life-style changes reinforced by hypnosis? (I'm not going to say by dieting... blood sugar instability can make people ravenous!) But certainly this study shows the importance of losing weight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Five Places to Search for Medical Information

Sure, you can use a regular search engine, but you'll get a lot of junky information along with real stuff. Here are five sites that I like to check before I dive into the deep waters of the web.

The first three are good places to start; the last two are for scholarly research.
  1. Mayo Clinic
  2. Johns Hopkins
  3. Web MD
  4. Unbound Medicine - searches studies
  5. Google Scholar - also looks up studies but is a bit more limited than #4 above.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Anti-Aloe Rant

I get an allergic reaction when I am exposed to aloe vera. Perhaps it is not an allergy so much as salicylate intolerance, but either way, it is a pain!
  • Aloe as an ingredient in liquid supplements makes my ears ring.

  • Aloe in skin-care products makes my skin red and itchy.

  • Aloe in toilet paper - OMG! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Ironically, aloe is often touted as good for allergies. I suspect much of that is marketing hype, although salicylates (best known as the active component of aspirin) are known to relieve inflammation.

"Natural" skin-care products usually contain aloe. It is hard to find a non-toxic shampoo (free of SLS, formaldehyde and perfume) that does not contain aloe. But my biggest gripe about aloe as an ingredient is when it is used in toilet paper. You can't tell whether it is in the paper unless you have the wrapper, which is often not the case when you are visiting someone and need to use their bathroom. If you have this problem, be sure to complain to the manufacturers. THEY SHOULD IMPRINT EACH SHEET WITH THE WORD ALOE if they insist on using it as an ingredient. I have suggested this to Charmin and Cottonelle. Please do the same.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow Day!

The diabetes class was canceled today due to snow. Frankly, we were relieved. The class is important and my husband really needs the nutrition information that was on the schedule for today, but sitting in a hard chair all day is very uncomfortable. And of course, it's nice to watch the snow instead of going to school.

Last night my husband woke up screaming due to a leg cramp. Ouch! I've had those and they are really painful. Read an article about leg cramps here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wake up call?

We went to a class on diabetes today at a local hospital. My husband was enrolled in it by his doctor, and spouses were welcome so I went, partly to learn and partly to make sure my husband went. It was informative although a bit alarming. Diabetes can cause damage all over your body. It is progressive, and some people find it hard to control.

But it was definitely beneficial for my husband to go. I hope this will be the wake-up call that he needs to start exercising and to plan his food intake better.

Side effects

My husband had a severe spell of nausea a while ago. Nausea is a common side-effect of Glucophage.

See askapatient.com for patients' experiences with medications

Monday, January 14, 2008


We had three medical appointments today. My husband had one with his family doctor, who prescribed an additional medication for his diabetes, since he is not responding much to the Metformin. He has an hour-long consultation with the diabetes educator at the hospital and I went along to glean some information and to make sure my husband didn't miss anything important. He is hard-of-hearing and sometimes misunderstands things. Then this afternoon we had an appointment with a counselor because we are under so much stress dealing with the prostate cancer and diabetes at the same time.

In particular I wanted guidance on how to help with dietary changes without becoming a total nag. (My husband is not really following any version of a diabetes diet.) The counselor pretty much said to let him make his own decisions because he is an adult. Unfortunately, when I watch him eat huge amounts of carbs, I get anxious and worried. Won't I be guilty if he loses his sight as a result of eating poorly? Can I just watch him self-destruct?

On a more hopeful note, he has signed up for a class on diabetes care later this week.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waiting Room

A few days ago my husband had an appointment with a counselor at the cancer center of a local hospital. The waiting room as well-lit and spacious, but still there was a sad feeling about the place. A number of old folks were waiting patiently, along with a few middle-aged people. But it was quiet except for when a name was called for an appointment.

Is that what are lives will be filled with now? Tense but quiet times in various waiting rooms, wondering what is ahead. And the other people waiting -- will some of them die early, will spouses by left to grieve soon?

I left the waiting room before my husband's appointment ended and went out to the car to wait, away from the sadness.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Where did I get all those allergies?

The list of foods I don't tolerate is ridiculously long. And yet I had almost no allergies when I was a child. What happened?

No one really seems to know. A strong possibility is celiac disease. I've never been tested for it because the test doesn't work if you did consume gluten on a regular basis, and I've been off gluten for years. It's in wheat and a few other grains. If I eat wheat (even a single cracker), I get sleepy - so sleepy that I pretty much pass out. And the kicker with celiac is that if you have it, consuming gluten messes up your digestion, causing poor absorption of nutrients and eventually other food sensitivities.

Other possible causes of food allergy include a genetic predisposition, lack of digestive enzymes, lack of nutrients, candida, hormonal imbalance, and exposure to toxins.

Whatever causes them, I would love to find a cure. I've tried enzymes, antibiotics, probiotics, antifungals, hormones, cortisone, supplements... without success. I'd love to find a solution, but no luck so far.

My Food Allergies

Let me see if I can list all my food allergies and sensitivities.

Allergies (show up on skin tests)

Black pepper
Black (and green) tea
White beans
White fish
Yeast (baking and brewers)

Sensitivities (did not show up on skin tests but they cause unpleasant symptoms)

Milk (all cow dairy products)
Most berries
Peanut Butter

Other sensitivities (never tested for these but they cause a reaction)

Many spices
Flax oil
Rooibos Tea
Some preservatives

There are also some foods that I tolerate in small amounts but cannot get away with eating in quantity:
Egg whites
Cane Sugar
Maple Sugar

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Can Antiperspirant cause Respiratory Sensitivity?

I'm a sensitive sort of person. Some air pollutants make my eyes water and my head ache, some cosmetics make me break out, and I have a lot of food allergies. So I am sympathetic to people who have unusual sensitivities.

Here's the story of a Swiss man who became hypersensitive to common chemicals. He blames this on aluminum in antiperspirants! When he switched to a non-aluminum containing deodorant, he recovered.

This fellow has done some research and believes that since aluminum stops sweating by closing pores, it can also dry out mucous in the respiratory tract (once absorbed through the skin). This leads to abnormal functioning that in his case resulted in sensitivity to smells and reactions to chemicals. His story is in Acrobat (PDF) format.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Step towards Diabetes Care

Well, my husband has been prescribed glucophage for his diabetes. And none too soon! The night before his doctor appointment, his blood sugar went up to 600, which is dangerously high. So I'm glad he is doing something about it.

He is aware that diet and exercise are important for diabetes. However, he does not exercise. He makes token efforts toward dieting, but he is still eating hugh amounts of refined carbs.

It's frustrating for me. Sometimes I invite him to go for a walk but he rarely does.

Meanwhile, I see that the American Diabetes Association is starting to accept the value of low-carb eating.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Interesting Website: All Allergy Net

This site has a wealth of information on allergies: AllAllergy.net. I was fascinated by the Allergy Advisor Digest, which summarizes numerous studies on allergies. Some surprises:
  • Ass's milk appears to be less allergenic than goat's milk.

  • Some infants have had a severe allergic reaction to stevia.

  • Several adults have had allergic reactions to "dermatologist tested" baby wipes because of the preservative.

  • Vitamin D deficiency in mothers may lead to asthma in their babies.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Type 2 Diabetes

My husband is struggling with diabetes. He loves carbs and fast food so he has not been able to follow the dietary guidelines that the nutritionist gave us. Also he not only does not exercise, but spends hours every day in his easy chair. Naturally his blood sugar has gone up.

His physician did not seem concerned about this the last time he went in, but now that his sugar is measuring consistently high, he will go back to the doctor. I'm not sure they can help him without his making some lifestyle changes, though.