Can dust mite allergy be treated with a pill?

February 15, 2021 Adiantku 0

It’s something people don’t like to think about, but it’s a fact that dust mites are all around us. These mites are microscopic relatives of spiders and ticks who live off of skin cells that we shed. It is almost impossible to eradicate them, and even the cleanest home has dust mites. Though dust mites do not bite us or cause rashes, they are a common cause of year-round allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. People with dust mite allergy have a persistently itchy nose even when not physically around dusty objects.

A recent study has shown that a new way of treating dust mite allergy is effective and safe. What do you need to know about this treatment, called sublingual immunotherapy?

Dust mite allergy and management

The first-line management of dust mite allergy is always to manage the environment. Beyond cleaning (wiping surfaces, washing linens), … Read the rest

Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?

February 14, 2021 Adiantku 0

Chocolates and flowers are great gifts for Valentine’s Day. But what if the gifts we give this year could be truly life-changing? A gift that could save someone’s life, or free them from dialysis?

You can do this. For people in need of organ, tissue, or blood donation, a donor can give them a gift that exceeds the value of anything that you can buy. That’s why February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day — it’s also National Donor Day, a time when health organizations nationwide sponsor blood drives and sign-ups for organ and tissue donation. Read on if you’ve ever wondered what can be donated, had reservations about donating your organs or tissues after death, or had concerns about the risks of becoming a live donor.

The enormous impact of organ, tissue, or cell donation

It’s hard to overstate the impact donors can make in the lives of … Read the rest

5 myths about endometriosis

February 13, 2021 Adiantku 0

While endometriosis is a common condition, affecting as many as one in every 10 American women, it is complex and often misunderstood. Endometriosis occurs when tissue much like the tissue that normally lines the uterus — called the endometrium — starts to grow elsewhere in the body. These growths may cause pain, scarring, and, in some instances, infertility.

One study shows it can take up to seven years for a woman to get a diagnosis of endometriosis because symptoms may mimic other common conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory disease. And misconceptions about the disease, including the five myths below, may keep some women from seeking help. Talk to your health care team if you’re concerned about painful periods or other possible symptoms of endometriosis, such as long-lasting pain in your lower back or pelvis.

5 myths — and the facts — about endometriosis

Myth 1: Read the rest

5 myths about endometriosis

February 12, 2021 Adiantku 0

While endometriosis is a common condition, affecting as many as one in every 10 American women, it is complex and often misunderstood. Endometriosis occurs when tissue much like the tissue that normally lines the uterus — called the endometrium — starts to grow elsewhere in the body. These growths may cause pain, scarring, and, in some instances, infertility.

One study shows it can take up to seven years for a woman to get a diagnosis of endometriosis because symptoms may mimic other common conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory disease. And misconceptions about the disease, including the five myths below, may keep some women from seeking help. Talk to your health care team if you’re concerned about painful periods or other possible symptoms of endometriosis, such as long-lasting pain in your lower back or pelvis.

5 myths — and the facts — about endometriosis

Myth 1: Read the rest

Need to revisit screen time?

February 11, 2021 Adiantku 0

Just about every single one of us is spending too much time in front of a screen these days. Many, if not most, of us are spending most of our days on one — including, unfortunately, our children.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course. When the pandemic began a year ago, we had no way of knowing it would last so long. Suddenly, school became remote, daycare ended. Many parents started working remotely, and those who remained in the workplace had less oversight at home. At the same time sports, playdates, and other non-screen activities literally disappeared. We naturally went into survival mode and turned on the screens. We let our kids spend hours more than they used to on entertainment media, figuring that it wouldn’t be for long. We turned a blind eye to the violent online games, figuring that at least our children were interacting with their friends.

But … Read the rest

COVID-19 vaccines: Safety, side effects –– and coincidence

February 9, 2021 Adiantku 0

As the pandemic rages on, it’s increasingly clear that widespread vaccination is essential to help contain it. Physical distancing, universal face coverings, and frequent handwashing are effective, but not foolproof. And of course, these measures don’t work if they are not followed.

So, the rapid development of mRNA vaccines and other vaccines to prevent COVID-19 is welcome — some say miraculous — news. But while many people are scrambling to get a vaccine, others are hesitating.

Start here: Are these vaccines safe and effective?

It’s natural to wonder if brand new vaccines against a novel coronavirus, developed at unprecedented speed, are effective and safe to take. Let’s review some of what we know.

Overall effectiveness has been reported in the range of 70% to 95%. That’s well above the average effectiveness of the flu vaccine, for example.

Read the rest

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Can an arthritis drug help you become a morning person?

February 8, 2021 Adiantku 0

Perhaps this is obvious, but drug ads are not intended to inform you about the best way to treat a condition you may have. Their primary purpose is to sell a product, as explained in an earlier blog on direct-to-consumer drug ads. And the newest drugs tend to be the most expensive, even though some aren’t much better than older drugs.

So the ads you see for medications are usually not promoting the latest and greatest as much as they are promoting the newest and most expensive. And these ads vary widely in how much accurate, useful information is included and what information is left out. A recent ad for Xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a good example.

The ad: A focus on the morning

A woman is awakened by her son, who is carrying a toy dinosaur. She gives him breakfast, he straps on his dinosaur backpack, and they happily … Read the rest

Improving PET scans are good news for doctors and patients alike

February 7, 2021 Adiantku 0

A recent blog post discussed a newly approved imaging agent with an unwieldy name: gallium-68 PMA-11. Delivered in small amounts by injection, this minimally radioactive tracer sticks to prostate cancer cells, which subsequently glow and reveal themselves on a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Offered to men with rising PSA levels after initial prostate cancer treatment (a condition called biochemical recurrence), this sort of imaging can allow doctors to find and treat new tumors that they might otherwise miss. With currently available imaging technology, such tumors could potentially escape detection until they were larger and more dangerous.

But while gallium-68 PMA-11 is the latest PET tracer to win FDA approval, not everyone can get it. In the United States, it’s currently available only to patients treated at the University of California, Los Angeles, or the University of California, San Francisco, where the tracer is manufactured. However, two other PET tracers … Read the rest

Midlife ADHD? Coping strategies that can help

February 6, 2021 Adiantku 0

Trouble staying focused and paying attention are two familiar symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common health issue among children and teens. When ADHD persists through early adulthood and on into middle age, it presents many of the same challenges it does in childhood: it’s hard to stay organized, start projects, stay on task, and meet deadlines. But now life is busier, and expectations from work and family often are even higher. Fortunately, there are lots of strategies that can help you navigate this time in your life.

Staying organized

Organizational tools are a must for people with adult ADHD. They’ll help you prioritize and track activities for each day or the coming weeks.

Tools can include a pen and paper to make lists, or computer or smartphone apps to set appointment reminders, highlight important days on the calendar, mark deadlines, and keep lists and other information handy.… Read the rest

Newborn jaundice: What parents need to know

February 5, 2021 Adiantku 0

Most newborn babies turn at least a little bit yellow. Known as jaundice, this condition is a very common and usually normal part of the newborn period. But in some very rare cases it can lead to (or be a sign of) a more serious problem. That’s why parents need to know about it.

What causes jaundice?

The yellow color of newborn jaundice is caused by high levels of a substance called bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin mostly comes from the breakdown of red blood cells. It gets processed in the liver to make it easier for the body to get rid of through the urine and stool.

Newborn livers need some time to get up and running when it comes to getting rid of bilirubin. Newborns also have more red cells than older children and adults, and those brand-new red cells don’t last as long as the ones that … Read the rest