Posts Tagged Conditions and Diseases

Vitals – Dental X-rays can double brain tumor risk, study finds

CNS Germinoma, MRI saggital with contrast. Als...

CNS Germinoma, MRI saggital with contrast. Also see 50px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vitals – Dental X-rays can double brain tumor risk, study finds.

In a bizarre twist, the researchers who discovered the risk increase back pedaled even as they announced their findings.  They talked about “recall bias” of patients who do have tumors (they are more likely to have thought back to all those dental x-rays and thought…mmmm….I wonder?)and don’t want people to panic.

They also went out of their way to say that this particular brain cancer isn’t actually that bad.  (Compared to what?  A puppy?  Or a grizzly bear?)

Here’s a tip from the rest of us.  If you don’t want us to panic, don’t tell us that dental x-rays double our risk of brain cancer.

But of course they do.  Radiation increases cancer risk.  All radiation.  So when you get your head irradiated every year, your chances of getting cancer go from .000001 to .00001 percent.  It’s still small, but it’s significant over time.


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Regaining Sight After Drinking Enough Methanol To Go Blind. Sheer Luck, Or Cosmic Unfairness?

English: display of betel and nut (Areca catec...

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Anyone who has ever been tempted to swig wood alcohol might take a moment to reflect that 10 ml (that’s less than a teaspoon) can make you go blind.  The stuff converts to formaldehyde and then on to formic acid.  It still ranks as one of the dumbest highs ever (bath salts might give it a run for the title).

So they add it to industrial ethanol to avoid people drinking without paying taxes on it.

But some clever, clever souls (sarcasm dripping here) just want to bypass the tax man and get the straight stuff.  So we get this amazing anecdote about a man who decided methanol was just his ticket out on the town.  (Complete abstract below).

It was a slow high, and he had 36 hours to come off it before he went blind.  Mind you, he drank 100 ml of methanol, which should have outright killed him. The only way it didn’t was that he was probably pretty well pickled already.

But, miraculously over time his sight gradually returned.  First, he should have been dead.  Second, the methanol permanently destroys the optic nerve.  There is no way he should have regained his sight.

The miracle drug?  Betel nut.  It’s actually the areca nut, chewed commonly with the betel leaf.  Chewing both can cause lots of cancer everywhere.  But in this lovely fellow, the betel nut combination gradually helped him regain his sight.

There you have it folks.  If you’re going to drink methanol, at least go whole hog and chew carcinogens as well.  You might just end up doing yourself some good.  And for all you health nuts out there?  There is no justice.

Med J Aust. 1982 Nov 13;2(10):481-3.

Delayed recovery of vision after blindness caused by methanol poisoning.


Total blindness developed in an adult Melanesian man 36 hours after he drank 100 mL of 100% methanol. On admission to hospital, he had a blood methanol level of 0.5 g/L and severe acidosis. Peritoneal dialysis was carried out, and he was treated with sodium bicarbonate and ethanol for one week. After 12 days of blindness, he regained some light perception. Progressive improvement in vision occurred. Twelve weeks after the methanol poisoning, his visual acuity was: right eye, able to see hand movements at one metre; left eye, 6/12. However, a right central scotoma persisted, and bilateral optic atrophy was present. No reason for the exceptional delay before recovery and degree of recovery could be deduced, although throughout his convalescence he frequently chewed betel nut. We recommend further studies to determine if any of the constituents of betel nut diminish the toxic effects of methanol on the eye.

PMID: 7155031


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Garlic Does More Than Keep The Ill Away. RCT Lessens Flu.

English: A basket of garlic (allium sativum) o...

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I’m always fascinated by the rejection of garlic for cold and flu symptoms.  For the simple, stinky fact that when you’ve eaten your body weight in garlic even people with colds can smell you.  You get a better cough-to-face radius, and may even send people out of the room.

So garlic is effective for that reason alone.  But it also does really wonderful things to bacteria and viruses in test tubes.  That lovely tangy nastiness is like a mini-flamethrower on the microscopic set.  Perhaps they can smell it too and just curl up and die.

But wait, there’s more!

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, aged garlic takers had half the number of days lost from colds and flus.  They still caught the bug, but it didn’t stay around very long and didn’t bother them very much.

So let’s stink it up, people.

Here’s the study:

Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention.


Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Box 110370, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.



Earlier studies show that dietary bioactive compounds can modify proliferation of γδ-T cells. Garlic contains numerous compounds that have this potential and, in addition, has been shown to influence NK cell function. Our primary aim was to demonstrate that aged garlic extract could modify these immune cells.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel intervention study recruited 120 healthy subjects (60 per group) to determine the effect of aged garlic extract supplementation (2.56 g/d) on immune cell proliferation and cold and flu symptoms.


After 45 d of consuming an encapsulated aged garlic extract, γδ-T cells (p = 0.039, n = 56) and NK cells (p = 0.043, n = 56) were shown to proliferate better compared to placebo. After 90 d of supplementation, illness diary entries showed that the incidence of colds and flu, a secondary outcome, were not statistically different; however, the group consuming the aged garlic extract appeared to have reduced severity as noted by a reduction in the number of symptoms reported (21% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test of proportions), a reduction in the number of days (61% fewer, p < 0.001, z-test) and incidences (58% fewer p < 0.001, z-test) where the subjects functioned sub-optimally and the number of work/school days missed due to illness (58% fewer, p = 0.035, z-test).


These results suggest that supplementation of the diet with aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.

PMID:  22280901


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Bath Salts Add Flesh Eating to Their Side Effects

English: Computed tomography images of necroti...

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In a turn for the downright macabre, a female bath salts use was partially eaten after her indulgence in injecting bath salts generated necrotizing fasciitis (that’s bacteria eating you alive).

Above is true, below is humor.

Trying to exploit the trend, drug manufacturers are advertising the “piranha soak,” where patients indulge in bath salts while being eaten by actual piranha.  “Man, such a high!” said one recently created amputee.  “It’s like all that adrenaline from being eaten just mixes with the whole crazy paranoia and gibbering that the salts gives me.  It even beats the high I got getting hit by that semi a month ago.”

Medical personnel were vaguely supportive of the new trend.  “Currently it takes eight people to restrain a bath assaulter.  Two for each limb.  Fewer limbs means fewer personnel required per assaulter.”  Other assaulters had this to say:  “the devil man, the devil is in my head!”

Why anyone would want to inject or use this synthetic mix of amphetamines is beyond me.

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