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Jun 24, 2010

Link between Cancer and Sunscreen

Recently the FDA has raised concern over products used in sunscreens. In particular, one of the products making the rounds of public awareness is an ingredient called retinyl palmitate. This is a synthetic form of vitamin A used in products for its anti-aging effects. Retinyl palmitate is converted in the body to its natural form, retinol, which is used by the cells. The study on this compound was actually published in 2005. In the study they used retinyl palmitate on cells and exposed them to high levels of UV radiation. It was found that cells covered in retinyl palmitate when exposed to UV light showed an increase in tumor growth. Natural retinoids are known for their cancer protective elements. In general, retinoids are applied at night due to their sun sensitizing effects; therefore there really is no reason for them to be included in sunscreens that are worn during the day. There is much study that needs to be done in this area.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Why Skin Cancer IS on the Rise

As more people pursue a perpetual summer-style tan through the use of tanning beds, there has been an alarming increase in the rate of skin cancer, especially among young women. Most specifically, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has risen among women ages 25-29, especially among chronic tanning salon customers. In a recent study by the University of Michigan, frequent tanning bed users proved three times more likely to develop melanoma than non-users. The darker pigment the skin develops as a result of exposure is actually the body’s response to damage and it’s inherit need to protect itself. The study also showed that tanning beds can actually become addictive by producing endorphins that tanners become accustomed to. Fortunately, skin cancer is a highly preventable disease when measures are taken to protect oneself from high levels of UV exposure. Unfortunately there are millions of young people exposing themselves daily to increased risks of developing this very deadly cancer.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jun 11, 2010

Pain Relievers Connected to Heart Deaths

Research from a Danish study was recently published in a journal of the American Heart Association, stating that pain medications are associated with higher risks of heart-related deaths in healthy people. The study looked at the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). They found that ibuprofen; the main ingredient in Advil and Motrin, was associated with a 29 % greater risk of fatal or nonfatal stroke. Rofecoxib, sold as Vioxx before it was recalled in the United States, was associated with a 66% greater risk of cardiovascular death. Naproxen, commonly known as Aleve, was not associated with heart problems. All prescription NSAIDS carry the same cardiovascular warning and may cause increase of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. The American Heart Association advised in 2007 that NSAIDS, except aspirin, for chronic pain upped the risks for heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

EPA Moves to Ban DDT Cousin Endosulfan

Endosulfan, a commonly used pesticide and cousin to DDT, is being targeted to be banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. It has been registered in the United States since 1954. Already banned in Europe and many other countries, it is used on vegetables and fruits (including: cherries, apples, peaches, potatoes, grapes), oats, wheat, tobacco, cotton, ornamental shrubs, trees, and vines. The environmental agency said it is moving toward the ban following recent data suggesting the risks of the compound are greater than previously known. There are unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farm workers and wildlife. It is an endocrine disrupter associated with birth defects. Endosulfan is persistent in the environment, and accumulates in the tissues of fish and mammals, including people. Like DDT, the chemical is also airborne and has been detected thousands of miles from where it is used.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jun 8, 2010

Probiotics Prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Studies suggest that probiotics prevent the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious and potentially fatal illness in pre-term infants. Infants treated with probiotics were significantly less likely to develop the illness. While these studies show significant correlation between use and outcome there is still debate whether it should be implemented as standard of care amongst pre-term infants or not, and what the dosage should be in these situations. The implications of this study are far reaching in terms of the use of probiotics for a vast number of illnesses.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Low Levels Vitamin D makes Asthma Worse

In an article published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers from National Jewish Health, have associated low levels of Vitamin D with more severe asthma. The study measured patients’ levels of hyper-responsiveness, which measures the air passages’ tendency to constrict, leading to breathing difficulty. Hyper-responsiveness was twice as high in people with low vitamin D levels. Also in patients with levels below 30, lung function was worse and they had less response to steroid therapy.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson