Doctors cure end-stage breast cancer in the US

Posted on June 18, 2021  in Medical news

With immunotherapy

In the United States, for the first time, doctors have been able to completely cure end-stage breast cancer with the help of immunotherapy – this is described in a publication in the journal Nature. Judy Perkins was diagnosed in 2003; She underwent a mastectomy (surgery to remove the mammary glands), but after a few years the tumor returned in an aggressive form and metastases began to spread to the liver. Perkins underwent seven types of chemotherapy, but nothing worked, and doctors predicted that she had only a few months to live.

Nevertheless, the woman took part in a clinical study, and she was helped by an experimental method of treatment in which doctors took a sample of the tumor for research to determine which T cells are capable of recognizing cancer. After that, they “grew” 82 billion of the same cells and reintroduced them to the patient, “charging” her body to fight the disease. A year later, there was a complete regression of the tumor – for two years the patient has not been showing any signs of cancer, and she leads an active lifestyle; she is now 52 years old.

“After two weeks [after starting therapy], I felt the swelling in my chest begin to shrink and I felt better,” she recalls. “The experts may call it a long-term remission, but I believe I am cured.”

Instagram diets: should you listen to celebrities about food 

Posted on June 14, 2021  in Medical news

INSTAGRAMS AND OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS OF CELEBRITIES provide an opportunity to look into their lives, learn about the latest news, and some follow the stars in order to unravel the secret of their “flawless” appearance. Celebrities, on the other hand, do not miss the opportunity to share “intimate” information, including about their nutrition – needless to say that it is not always possible to follow their advice. We analyze popular Instagram diets and explain why they are harmful.

Slim bitch club

The SlimBitchClub community appeared in March last year, and its first members were Ksenia Sobchak, Polina Kitsenko, Nika Belotserkovskaya and Matilda Shnurova. At the presentation, friends said that they had put together a healthy menu, dishes from which you can try in one of the Moscow health and beauty centers. Club members share tips on losing weight and a “healthy” lifestyle that help them personally, and on Instagram they publish recipes for “healthy” dishes, videos from workouts and advertisements for beauty salons they go to themselves.

Nutritional advice consists mainly of intimidation by the dire effects of excess calories and overeating (“Nut is a good waist sin!”). The club’s instagram publishes lists of “acidic” and “alkaline” products according to the unscientific classification used by adherents of separate nutrition. We have already said that separate nutrition is a pseudo-diet, and the ideas behind it have nothing to do with biochemical processes in the body. But other posts dedicated to the nutrition of club members do not contain links to scientific evidence or studies confirming the effectiveness or usefulness of certain dietary changes. But they are replete with myths – for example, the authors of Instagram explain the usefulness of goji berries by the fact that they are “superfood” and suggest drinking dietary supplements instead of “chemical vitamins”.

In fairness, Slim Bitch Club calls for an active lifestyle – in this the WHO fully supports the participants, recommending medium-intensity aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes per week or at least 75 minutes of high intensity, as well as strength exercises at least twice a week. But the recipes offered by the club are more suitable for a light snack rather than a regular way of eating, and they certainly do not bring special benefits.

Many posts talk about the “benefits” of avoiding certain foods – from milk to spinach to broccoli – although in reality, such restrictions will only make your diet less varied and make you anxious, and in the long run can lead to a lack of certain nutrients. The main thing in a healthy diet is not individual foods or their components, but how a person eats for a long time. To improve eating habits, it is better to turn to evidence-based nutrition, even if its principles are set out in a popular science and even play form (like the British Eatwell plate ).

Slimming teas and blends

The hit of Instagram – including the Russian-speaking one – is various powders and liquids for weight loss with names like FitTea, BooTea or TeaTox. In fact, these funds really help to easily lose a couple of kilograms – but not due to real weight loss, but due to laxative and diuretic effects. Most often, senna is a herbal laxative that is sometimes prescribed for constipation. Overuse of these mixtures can lead to dehydration and bowel problems.

Many celebrities are promoting these funds, including Kylie Jenner , Nicki Minaj , Britney Spears , Hilary Duff . A simple idea (usually a set includes two teas, a morning “for weight loss” and an evening “for detoxification”) and not an exorbitant cost made the market for such teas huge – now they are produced by hundreds of companies around the world, which, according to some sources , pay royalties to the stars before 250 thousand dollars for advertising. Since teas are not officially registered as medicines, but as food additives, their composition is not subject to rigorous checks, and there is no place to obtain unbiased safety information. Moreover, even the composition is not always revealed, and unknown substances can lead to real health problems.

Detox diets

The myth that the body can be cleansed of certain “toxins” with the help of “detox” seems to be impossible to get rid of: advertisements for detox juices, smoothies and food supplements are not decreasing. Usually, detox means taking a product that should “remove” all harmful substances “accumulated” in the body, or partial or complete starvation. Compilers of liquid (juices or smoothies) diets also rest on unloading the digestive system, which “rests” without solid food – but in fact, a healthy person does not need such breaks . As for the freshly squeezed juices themselves, they contain a large amount of readily available sugar and can harm the teeth, and over time, increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Detox smoothies are popular among celebrities: they are followed, for example, by Jessica Alba and Kourtney Kardashian (the latter generously shares with readers the recipes for smoothies “for weight loss after childbirth”). Recall that the liver and kidneys are primarily responsible for the constant cleaning of our body , which filter about 180 liters of blood daily. In addition, all tissues have systems that help get rid of harmful and foreign substances, and the work of the immune system is aimed at this . We can confidently say that only a balanced diet and an active lifestyle, but not a small bottle of juice, will contribute to a high-quality “detox”.

Fashion for diets

The star diets are in a tight rotation. Ostromodnye becomes the Atkins diet (it ketogenic), which adhere to, e.g., Halle Berry and Courtney Kardashyan then paleodieta among fans that Megan Fox and Jessica Bil . Separate nutrition in general is still popular among Russian stars (the diet of Katya Lel, Larisa Dolina and Anita Tsoi), but the passion for the “blood type” diet, fashionable in the 90s and 2000s, seems to have gradually faded away.

Relatively new directions – fruitorianism (rejection of everything except fruit) and intermittent fasting . The former can be considered an extreme vegan diet, promoted mainly by bloggers not known for anything else. The second is gaining more and more popularity in Silicon Valley; it is practiced by biohackers . All these options have one thing in common – the lack of scientific evidence that they are effective and safe, or at least something better than a balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet .

Why is it harmful

The stars give advice on nutrition and diet with the same ease with which they advertise cosmetics or clothing, without thinking that blindly following these recommendations can harm people’s health. In addition to pseudoscientific terms like “detox” and “superfoods”, you can often see the demonization of certain groups of products (flour, sweet or fatty), and also such posts contain a huge amount of advertising – hidden or direct.

At the same time, both Instagram celebrities and their subscribers forget that weight loss, nutrition and lifestyle are as complex topics as, for example, the health of the reproductive system and the control of chronic diseases. Nutrition and eating habits are unique for each person, and if you want to change or improve them, you should first of all listen to specialists. In other words, each person’s diet and needs require an individual and professional approach.

If we are talking about losing weight, it is also better to determine its necessity with a doctor: on the one hand, those who do not really need to lose weight often find “excess” weight in themselves . On the other hand , if the weight is really higher than the medical norm or obesity has developed, then the matter may be not only in the imbalance of consumed and consumed calories: metabolic disorders, hormonal changes and mental spectrum disorders are possible . Although in social networks we are offered to get rid of a few centimeters in the waist in a short time without leaving a trace, we must understand that the harm of such interventions can greatly outweigh their benefits.

Stars often recommend strict, low-calorie diets that allow you to lose a few pounds in a few days, for example, for an event. There is no scientific basis for these diets, and if you follow them often, problems will arise – both physical and mental. Cutting out whole food groups upsets the nutrient balance, and severe restrictions affect dietary habits and disrupt the perception of hunger and satiety cues. Research shows that frequent short-term diets have a profound effect on morale – leading to eating disorders, decreased life satisfaction and other disorders. There is also a link between short diets and the incidence of a number of diseases (up to all-cause mortality and mortality due to coronary heart disease), although the underlying cause remains to be determined.

How to recognize a catch

When faced with nutritional advice from celebrities, it is worth considering why the person is talking about it – perhaps they are just trying to sell you something. It is important to remember that there are no magic foods that can help you lose weight or solve health problems. “Unique ingredients”, including “natural ingredients”, can be dangerous if not studied in clinical trials. In addition, side effects are usually not talked about on Instagram, and you can’t be sure that a celebrity follows his own advice. If you have never heard of the advertised product, it is best to consult with your doctor or dietitian.

It is necessary to check the sources. If, talking about the diet, the author refers solely to personal experience (for example, gives advice on losing weight after childbirth), then it is better to be skeptical about this. After all, many people use social media in much the same way – showing pretty pictures; we do not see what the diet and lifestyle of the account owner actually looks like. Finally, advice about a “healthy lifestyle” is often aimed not at improving health, but at correcting appearance, and it is impossible to equate these concepts. Short-term diets and laxative teas can really help you get into your favorite dress quickly – but this has nothing to do with maintaining health.

“Most addicted people usually have some kind of childhood trauma. Addiction for them is an attempt at self-treatment, ”says Anna Sarang 

Posted on June 10, 2021  in Medical news

“Addiction would be more correctly viewed as compulsive behavior,” continues Anna Sarang . – Drug addiction in European countries has long been studied by addiction, along with, for example, gambling addiction. And if even ten years ago the medical community was looking for biomedical solutions to the problem, now psychotherapeutic methods are increasingly being used. “

Gabor Mate, a Canadian addictologist who has worked with the most severe forms of drug addiction for many years, argues about the nature of the phenomenon, declares that he does not see a fundamental difference between different types of addictions: “Drugs by themselves do not lead to addiction – this is a myth. Because most people who try drugs do not become addicted. The question is why some people are vulnerable to addiction. Food is not addictive, but some people become psychologically addicted to food. Shopping and television are not addictive, but for some they are addictive. “

As an example, Mate cites his own psychological trauma and the addictions that he developed in adulthood, from work and collecting CDs with classical music recordings: “Why did I become a workaholic? Because [my family] does not love me, I will at least become irreplaceable, become an important doctor and be able to compensate for my feeling of being unnecessary. This leads to the fact that I work all the time, and when not working, I am absorbed in the process of buying music. What signal are my children getting? The same – that they do not need me. And so we unknowingly pass on trauma from one generation to the next. “

“Addiction would be more correctly viewed as compulsive behavior. Drug addiction in European countries has long been studied by addiction, along with, for example, gambling addiction “

A similar thought is expressed in an interview with Wonderzine I., a woman who has suffered from addiction for many years: “Addiction is a complex and chronic disease. Addiction can manifest itself in any area of ​​life. This is not necessarily the use of substances – this is gambling addiction and dependence on feelings. In general, there are a huge number of types of addictive behavior. You can only overcome active addiction, stop using substances or stop playing, but addiction will manifest itself in another area of ​​life. For example, a person becomes a workaholic or fanatically begins to play sports. Dependence is one, but its manifestations and forms are different. The dependent person does not know the norm in anything. A drug addict who stops using drugs very often becomes addicted to food, feelings, emotions or work. “

Addiction as a stigma

Without justifying the harm that addictive behavior causes, and without removing personal (including criminal) responsibility from addicts, it is worth getting rid of common misconceptions regarding addiction itself. The psychological approach to addiction partly solves this problem.

It is customary to treat addicted people as weak-willed puppets. This stereotype continues to live, despite the fact that in reality an addict can be a very collected and purposeful person. “People think that junkies and alcoholics are neglected people who lack motivation. They are not – they are incredibly organized. They might sneak away for a shot of whiskey without you even noticing their absence. This is a kind of micromanagement, ” says Simon Pegg, who has struggled with alcohol addiction for many years. At the same time, his example refutes another misconception: an addicted person can perfectly read his own addictive behavior and understand its destructive effects (the actor compares this state with the appearance of a second head, which can think of only one thing).

It is customary to treat addicted people
as weak-willed puppets, although in reality an addict can be a very collected and purposeful person.

Which brings us to an important question: does a person cease to be addicted after getting rid of biochemical addiction – or, to use Pegg’s metaphor, does this “second head” disappear? “People do not use substances not because of the protection of the subconscious. A person dependent on substances has a program of self-destruction at the subconscious level. Addictive behavior is self-destructive behavior. People may not use substances for years, but they do not cease to be addicted, – says I. – In my experience, people who work with their addiction according to twelve-step programs remain sober for 10-15 years , but the disease “addiction” is very strong, and therefore make efforts to stay sober, you need it every day. “

Understanding addiction as a serious illness, the treatment of which can take years, will bring us closer to understanding those who, for whatever reason, have become hostages of it. For example, to the realization of why Philip Seymour Hoffman, who remained a teetotaler for twenty-three years, died of a hard drug overdose. Or the understanding of the recent breakdown of Demi Lovato, who, judging by the song “Sober” released shortly before him, was well aware of the dangers of relapse. The marginalization of the disease is certainly not conducive to its cure.

” If you don’t want to, you won’t get hooked”: Why addiction is a disease, not a personal choice 

Posted on June 6, 2021  in Medical news

THE ATTITUDE OF THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE to destructive addictions is still based on the belief that their formation is an exclusively personal choice of a person. ” If you don’t want to, you won’t get hooked.” Or, alternatively, “you can get rid of any addiction, you just want to.” This is the difference between addiction to most diseases. There are hardly many people who are sincerely convinced that, for example, peptic ulcer disease appears only in those who themselves wanted it. And it seems clear that a person suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder should not be advised to “just be less nervous”. However, when it comes to addiction, these rules seem to cease to apply, which leaves an imprint not only on the public image.  addicted people (they are considered to be weak and vicious), but also on approaches to treatment for addiction.

This attitude is beginning to change, especially in the light of sociological and medical research: they indicate that addiction and any addiction in general (hereinafter, addiction means dependence on the intake of any chemicals permitted or prohibited by law; addiction means a psychological disorder , leading to addictive behavior, but not necessarily caused by addiction to a particular substance) is not always a consequence of a lack of will. There are both a predisposition to addiction and social factors that push a person to form it. Does this give an undeniable right to say that addicts are not to blame for their addiction – just as a diabetic is not guilty of their diabetes? Is it true that a predisposed person is doomed sooner or later to get hooked, no matter what? And what is the real reason for addiction?

Addiction as a genetic malfunction

Studying the question of whether a person can be programmed from birth to any addiction, the National Center for Biotechnology Information came to the conclusion that genetics is at least half responsible for the predisposition to one or another addiction. Another study cites similar figures – 40-60%. However, these findings only indicate a potential vulnerability. By themselves, they do not confirm or deny that addiction is something that a person brings on himself. A predisposition does not mean neither the disease itself, nor a tendency to a particular addiction.

Addiction as a social phenomenon

While statements like “society made me this (that)” are more often perceived as an excuse to remove personal responsibility, in the case of addiction as a “social illness” they are partly true. There are many historical examples of how poverty, unemployment and social depression have proven to be ideal environments for the spread of hard drugs. Whether it’s the crack epidemic in the US in the 1980s, the heroin plague in the withering industrial cities of Thatcher’s Britain, or the sharp rise in opioid use in Russia since the early 1990s. From a more recent one, the global economic crisis of 2008 can be distinguished, which entailed progressive unemployment in European countries, followed by an increase in the use of cannabinoids and so-called new substances among people aged 15 to 24 years.

However, sociological calculations unambiguously speak only about the connection between addiction and social depression: poverty contributes to an increase in the number of addictions – but growth, in turn, leads to impoverishment . To determine what was the cause and what was the effect, it is necessary to consider the case of each person individually and in detail – sociologists often do not have the resources for this. The second nuance, which is also worth considering: social disorder can encourage the development of addiction and accelerate self-destruction, but not be the cause. If a person was born and raised in a dysfunctional environment, this does not mean that he will certainly become dependent.

Addiction as a protective psychological reaction

Anna Sarang, President of the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Social Justice. Andrey Rylkov (included in the register of foreign agents), insists that drug addiction should be considered together with other addictions, focusing on its psychological aspect: “In Russia, drug addiction is usually separated from other addictions and compulsive disorders and is considered as a set of reactions and behaviors that caused by this or that substance. It seems to me that this is a dead-end path. The study of the genetic nature of addiction also does not seem to me a promising direction.

In my experience, most addicted people usually have some sort of childhood trauma. Addiction for them is an attempt at self-medication. And it’s worth focusing on identifying this injury. This is not necessarily a childhood trauma – it can be a social trauma, disorder associated with the organization of modern society and the economy, the inability to find a job, to realize oneself, to find a relationship that suits him. A person cannot cope with it – and not because he is weak or bad, but because life is difficult. Often, addiction is a response to external circumstances. “

How does social media affect health? 

Posted on June 2, 2021  in Medical news

Have you ever wondered what happens to our body when the Internet slows down? It turns out nothing good. This is the conclusion reached by Swedish scientists, who found that slow video loading causes stress as much as watching a horror movie or solving a complex mathematical problem. By itself, slow internet speeds up your heart rate by 40% and increases your blood pressure noticeably. An assessment of the physical and mental health of active Facebook users, carried out by Californian scientists, showed that the more likes users put, the worse their health was, and the more often they refreshed the page, the more likely they were diagnosed with mental disorders.

But what happens to the lives of people who do not use social networks and use gadgets minimally? A little research on the topic allowed us to say that such people spend more time with friends, receive relevant information from them and, as a rule, begin to feel better. And yet we must not forget that communication affects our health in the same way as exercise – and the reality is that today it is social networks that provide it, giving amazing opportunities to overcome isolation.

Why do we check the pages of the former in social networks?

It seems that everyone does this – sometimes on purpose, and sometimes, as if by accident, finding themselves on the page of someone who-cannot-be-named. Some consider this a form of masochism, others do not see anything terrible – and both points of view, of course, have a right to exist. But still: why do people do this?

No, not at all because they dream of reuniting with an ex-partner. Psychologists think that the natural and often subconscious desire of each person to increase their self-esteem is to blame. Former partners, especially if the relationship has been long, become a part of us, so sometimes we want to return to this part, which, although left in the past, is still available on the Internet. The second likely reason for this behavior (which, however, does not exclude the first) may be that regularly returning back – if the separation was painful – allows us to accept the situation, let it go and move on.

Question to an expert: Is it true that you need to sleep on a hard

Posted on May 29, 2021  in Medical news

We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ASKED US . In the new series of materials, we ask just such questions: burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in various fields.

“Orthopedic” pillows, mattresses, sandals and insoles have flooded the market, special pharmacies have appeared for their sale, but it is not clear whether everyone needs them in such a way. Is it true that orthopedic insoles prevent spinal diseases – or do they just make shoes more comfortable? Should you sleep on a firm mattress or on a pillow with a notch so that your back and neck don’t hurt? We asked these questions to an expert.

Vera Kachurina

doctor – traumatologist-orthopedist of the Rassvet clinic

In Greek, ortos means “correct, direct”; everything related to orthopedics or called orthopedic is often perceived as correct, useful and even necessary for everyone. In fact, this is a rather narrow term that refers to the treatment of orthopedic diseases or deformities. It is difficult to imagine that products sold in the mass market without a doctor’s prescription can cure or correct deformation. In fact, “orthopedic” in relation to mattresses, pillows or shoes for healthy people is not quite the correct definition. Something like “ergonomic” would be much better.

There is a strong belief that sleeping on a soft one is harmful, and on a hard one – it is useful, that for the prevention of back pain, a special “orthopedic” mattress is absolutely necessary, and in case of scoliosis or injury, you should generally sleep on boards. All these are, of course, myths. If we turn to the history of the issue, it turns out that humanity has not slept on (and continues to sleep): on stoves, beds and chests, mats and thin futon mattresses, on high sloping beds with a million pillows at the head, on soft goose feather beds, cots and squeezed sofas, or even hammocks. And it cannot be argued that at the same time all the polls suffer from lack of sleep, back pain or have spinal deformities.

The rationale is that during sleep the most natural position of the spine should be maintained with minimal muscle tension. Sleeping on too soft, theoretically, can contribute to muscle overstrain due to the fact that the spine “collapses” and the muscles try to “hold” it. Sleeping on a hard surface leads to discomfort due to excessive pressure on the bony protrusions, especially in thin people. Thus, best of all is the golden mean, that is, a semi-hard mattress.

To support this theory, a randomized clinical trial was conducted in Europe comparing the effects of semi-hard and hard mattresses on lower back pain. It turned out that in patients who slept on semi-hard mattresses, the pain syndrome decreased. However, the study used a European hardness scale, which is not generally accepted, and only spring mattresses. The concept of “semi-rigid” can hardly be universal at all – if only because people differ from each other in weight.

There is little evidence that water beds or special foam mattresses that follow the physiological curves of the body can improve sleep quality compared to rigid mattresses, but the level of evidence is still poor. In general, if a person does not have diseases of the spine, and in the morning he gets up vigorous and rested, it means that the existing mattress performs its function. If there are any problems, it is advisable to discuss them with a doctor, and, perhaps, a properly selected semi-rigid mattress can improve the situation – and the criterion for success will be an improvement in subjective feelings.

The situation is similar with orthopedic pillows. No serious research has been carried out on this topic, there is no evidence base. Interestingly, the habit of putting something under your head (for example, a hand or a stand) is historically associated with the need to free the other ear – this helps to hear the danger signal. None of the clinical guidelines for the treatment of neck pain provide guidance on the use of special orthopedic pillows – so common sense and individual comfort considerations should be used.

Pillows with a bolster under the neck and a notch under the head seem to be a logical way to keep the cervical spine in line with the chest (although this is completely meaningless for those who sleep on their stomach or wake up, hugging a pillow, not in the position in which they lay down) … In orthopedic salons, they suggest measuring the distance from the shoulder to the ear with a centimeter and, focusing on this value, choose the height of the pillow – however, this approach, alas, does not always give the desired results in terms of sleep quality. Since there are no uniform recommendations, the pillow should be selected based on your own feelings – specifically, the one that allows you to get up in the morning with good health is suitable for you. Height, filler, stiffness, price and manufacturer do not matter. Only one thing can be said for sure: children under two years of age definitely do not need a pillow, because they have not yet formed physiological lordosis of the cervical spine.


Orthopedic insoles are a useful purchase not only for people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, but also for completely healthy ones.

But orthopedic insoles are a very useful purchase not only for people with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, but also for those who are completely healthy. We all mainly walk on a hard surface (asphalt) and when choosing shoes we focus more on its appearance. As a result, the feet are forced to work in not the most favorable conditions, and a properly selected orthopedic insole helps to reduce the load on the feet and leg joints, correct the biomechanics of gait, compensate for the negative consequences of wearing the wrong shoes and prevent the development of problems in the future.

The use of soft, shock-absorbing insoles when playing sports reduces the likelihood of injury. Of course, if a person already has a deformity of the feet, one should not count on miraculous healing. The task of orthopedic insoles is not to correct the structure, but to improve the function. There are studies that support the effectiveness of insoles for pain in the feet. True, such an effect can hardly be obtained from gel insoles sold in underground passages, or even ready-made insoles made according to universal templates from orthopedic salons.

The insoles must be made individually after examination by an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist (foot health specialist). First of all, it should be comfortable with insoles. Pain, discomfort, calluses when wearing an insole indicates that it has been fitted or made incorrectly. Frame, rigid insoles are a thing of the past and, according to modern orthopedic concepts, are not effective; now they are made from softer materials like polyurethane, which in the process of use finally adapt to the shape of the foot.

White Poison” or Not: Should I Eat Less Salt? 

Posted on May 25, 2021  in Medical news

SALT IS DECLARED “WHITE DEATH” alternately with sugar – and a complete rejection of it sometimes begins to seem like a simple solution to all health problems at once. On the other hand, the amount of salt in the diet, on the contrary, is often overlooked when discussing proteins, fats, carbohydrates and calories. The solution, as usual, is somewhere in between: Variety, moderation and balance are important in a healthy diet. We understand why an excess of salt is dangerous, how its deficiency threatens, and whether there is the best and most useful salt.

What is edible salt

Edible salt – sodium chloride – consists of 40% sodium and 60% of chlorine, and the amount of sodium entering the body matters for health (or problems with it). But we get most of the sodium in the form of table salt, and mainly from industrial products: sausages, canned food, pickles, snacks, sauces, bread, cheese, carbonated drinks, fast food, and so on.

The general recommendation given by the World Health Organization is to consume no more than five grams of salt per day, which is about a teaspoon. On average, people eat different amounts of salt per day: from 0.5 grams for the Yanomami Indians in Brazil to 25 grams in Northern Japan, and in Europe, according to the same WHO, this is an average of 9-12 grams (that is, the notorious pound of salt eaten in less than five years). Moreover, such indicators can be achieved without touching the salt shaker.

What is its danger

Clinical studies have shown that there is a statistically significant, direct, progressive relationship between salt intake and blood pressure Simply put, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure: the effect is dose-dependent. The best scientific evidence suggests that lowering sodium in the diet is especially important for middle-aged and older people and all hypertensive patients. The recommendations of the international cardiological associations are being updated, and the figures for the optimal pressure are getting smaller, so it is quite a reasonable measure to reduce salt intake for the prevention of arterial hypertension.

At the same time, people have different sensitivity to salt. Sodium has a stronger effect on blood pressure in some – while others, presumably, can be generally resistant, that is, resistant to such an effect. Even in observational studies it is difficult to correctly measure your blood pressure, because of the large number of factors , affecting it. Sodium sensitivity can be affected by age, ethnicity, gender, weight, and certain conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Less salt is not only a possible prevention of myocardial infarction and stroke associated with high blood pressure. Too much salt increases the risk of stomach cancer; a large amount of sodium leads to the fact that calcium is more actively excreted in the urine – and this is a risk factor for urolithiasis and osteoporosis. In general, it is not for nothing that the favorite word of nutritionists is moderation.

Few is also bad

Sodium is necessary for the body – it plays a role in maintaining the water-salt balance and the transmission of nerve impulses. However, hyponatremia, that is, a decrease in the concentration of sodium ions in the blood, can develop not only due to serious diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver or heart failure. In people without chronic conditions, it can happen, “water intoxication”: if you drink several liters of water for a few hours, the sodium concentration to fall, which in turn may threaten the problems with the heart, kidneys and most dangerous complication – swelling of the brain. Hyponatremia can also occur during sports, when a person loses fluid and sodium for a long time with sweat, and only replenishes water . This effect can also occur in those who drink a lot of beer – so calling it an isotonic drink, by the way, is incorrect.

Why are we drawn to salty

Salt is a seasoning that makes everything taste better, if, of course, you add it in reasonable amounts. Forget to put a pinch of salt in bread dough or even sweet pie – and the taste will be less expressive. Before refrigerators came along, canning with salt helped preserve food, and it was literally worth its weight in gold. However, today, when seasoning is cheap, and you can buy it everywhere, we suffer from excess rather than deficiency of salt.

In addition to the dining room, there are many other types of salt – for example, sea salt, which often costs much more than ordinary salt. Salt can be an extraordinary gastronomic attraction and even a luxury item: Himalayan pink salt, fleur de sel from Brittany or Mallorca, black Hawaiian salt, wet Gerande salt, smoked and kosher salt and many others.

Sea salt and table salt vary in texture, taste, and processing. Sea water is obtained by evaporation from, of course, sea water, and stone is mined in deposits – salt deposits on the site of ancient reservoirs that have turned into salt lakes. Both sea salt and table salt are similar in composition and completely equal in terms of sodium content. You can give preference to one or another brand of salt because of its taste and texture, but you should not consider expensive salt with admixtures of other minerals more useful than regular salt. Trace amounts of potassium, iron, magnesium in salt do not affect anything except taste – and these trace elements are easy to obtain from other foods.

Salt as a source of iodine

Since salt is an affordable and cheap everyday product, it was invented almost a hundred years ago to enrich it with iodine so that everyone can get a vital trace element. Iodine is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and if there is little of it in food and water, the thyroid gland grows and forms a goiter – so it tries to “capture” more of the necessary substance. With a moderate lack of iodine, which is called a latent deficiency, there will be no external manifestations, because the thyroid gland adapts to this state, but not completely. The most dangerous situation occurs when a woman lacks iodine during pregnancy and breastfeeding – this can lead to a delay in the cognitive development of the child.

To avoid iodine deficiency in children and adults, in many countries (but not in Russia) continuous salt iodization has been introduced . There iodized salt is not only sold in stores – it is prepared with it in restaurants and cafes, it is used in food production. If a person eats the recommended 5 grams of such salt per day, then even taking into account the loss of iodine during storage and cooking, 100-200 micrograms of iodine enter the body – just a physiological norm.

There is a myth that iodized salt reacts with foods, but this is not the case. Nowadays, potassium iodate is used to iodize salt: it is stable during storage and heating, so that modern enriched salt can be used even in baking. Additional sources of iodine are seaweed and fish, but there is not much of it in sea salt, because it is lost during evaporation and drying.

What to do

As a rule, most people should take a closer look at the amount of salt that enters their body with food – in order, if possible, to bring it to the recommended five grams. Adjusting the diet can help along this path: for example, reducing the volume of industrial food, which is always high in sodium, in it. To make homemade food tastier, salt can be replaced with spices, herbs, lemon juice, onions and garlic; if you buy salt for cooking, then it must be iodized. By the way, a person gets used to less salty food quickly: two to three weeks are enough for the taste buds to adapt . Among other things, there are salt substitutes with a high potassium content – however, it is worth consulting your doctor before using them .

Ask an expert: Is frequent washing harmful to the skin?

Posted on May 17, 2021  in Medical news

We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ASKED US . In the new series of materials, we ask just such questions: burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in various fields.

Water treatments that were once a luxury are now available to many, as are a huge selection of cleansers. A shower in the morning, another after a workout and a relaxing bath in the evening (and then a moisturizer for the whole body) have become commonplace. But can there be too much washing? Isn’t it the frequent hygiene that leads to a constant need for hydration? Do water and soap dry the skin and are antibacterial handwashes needed? We asked these questions to an expert.

Vera Voronina

doctor of the highest category, candidate of medical sciences, dermatologist at the Rassvet clinic

There is a clear link between improving overall cleanliness and improving health. Personal hygiene (first of all, hand washing) is important for the prevention of many diseases, which are called hygiene-related diseases. These are intestinal infections, dental caries, parasitic infestations, fungal infections of the skin, scabies, lice, trachoma (an infectious eye disease). At the same time, it is difficult to accurately assess the contribution of personal hygiene to the reduction of infectious diseases – other factors have changed, including nutrition and water treatment, and the level of knowledge about prevention has increased. The causal link between dirty hands and infection transmission is one of the most well-documented facts in medicine. Recently, however, evidence has emerged that forces us to look at skin hygiene in a new way.

For many years, it was believed that the superficial layer of the skin (stratum corneum) creates a mechanical barrier like a film that prevents drying and protects against adverse external factors and the penetration of infection. But now the understanding of the processes occurring in the skin has radically changed. It is now known that the cells of the stratum corneum and the substances between them create a semi-permeable structure in which biochemical processes are actively taking place. This whole system was combined into the concept of “epidermal barrier”. The stratum corneum consists of about fifteen layers of cells held together by various substances – among them ceramides, sphingosine and components of a natural moisturizing factor are considered especially important.

Every day, a fresh layer of cells is formed deep in the skin, and the superficial layer is separated, that is, there is a constant renewal and cleansing of the skin. The surface of human skin is inhabited by a huge number of microorganisms that form a stable community – the microbiome – and prevent pathogenic microbes from multiplying. Skin microflora varies from person to person, but it is surprisingly stable for each person. Even without washing for many days, the composition and number of skin microorganisms remains unchanged .

Washing, especially with soap, violates the epidermal barrier – water loss increases, the acidity of the skin surface decreases, lipids are washed out

By cleansing the skin, we strive to get rid of dead cells and pathogenic microorganisms. But washing does not go unnoticed for the components of the epidermal barrier and the normal microbiome. The studies point out that the washing, especially with soap breaks the epidermal barrier – enhanced water loss, reduces the acidity of the skin surface lipids are washed out. This damage leads to dryness, redness and cracking of the skin. This is especially true for those who often have to wash their hands due to the nature of their work: in surveys among nurses and other medical personnel, at least 25% of participants reported injuries to the skin of their hands . In experiments, redness, a decrease in acidity and other damage occurred even after a single wash and persisted for several days – even after seventeen days of observation, the skin often did not completely recover .

Another important aspect is the state of microorganisms that inhabit the surface of the skin. Cosmetics, emollients, soaps and other hygiene products potentially contribute to changes in microflora – however, the effect of these products has not yet been clearly determined, because such studies have not been carried out. Damage to the epidermal barrier as a result of frequent washing can also contribute to a change in the microbiome and an increase in the number of bacteria on the skin .

When it comes to antibacterial soaps, there is no evidence from the FDA that antibacterial soaps are better than regular soaps with water in terms of preventing infections. Moreover, the frequent use of antibacterial hygiene products can be dangerous if it leads to the emergence of resistant strains of microorganisms. There is evidence of the possible effect of some antibacterial substances on the endocrine system.

So, handwashing advice is still one of the most important steps you can take to avoid infectious diseases and prevent germs from spreading. You can wash your hands with regular soap and water. There are no standard recommendations for cleansing the skin of the body for everyone, but it is worth remembering that it is better to protect the epidermal barrier. The water should be warm, not hot; you should not stay in it for too long. Instead of liquid soap or shower gel, it is better to use oils or syndets ( synthetic detergents with a pH optimal for the skin. – Ed.) . It is better not to rub the skin with a towel, but to blot gently, and if it is dry, use moisturizers and emollients.

Premature Aging: How Diagnosis Affects Life 

Posted on May 13, 2021  in Medical news

TIME CHANGES OUR BODY AND BODY – this is a natural given. We learn to accept external age-related changes , not considering them as shortcomings – and, if desired, we correct them. But the main difficulty of aging is not related to appearance – with age, genetic mutations and adverse effects of the environment accumulate, diseases appear that reduce the quality of life and well-being. Today, people live long lives, and scientific advice on healthy living helps to stay active. But it happens that the body – from the outside and from the inside – is aging at an accelerated rate. This happens in Progeria, a rare genetic disorder, and some other conditions not well understood. We spoke to a geneticist, plastic surgeon and journalist who is facing accelerated skin aging.

What is Progeria

Progeria are characteristic changes in the skin and internal organs due to the accelerated aging of the body. This is an extremely rare genetic disorder that can be divided into two forms: childhood ( Hutchinson-Guildford syndrome ) and adult ( Werner syndrome ). The childhood form is associated with a mutation in the LMNA gene, which arose at the stage of intrauterine development. The LMNA gene encodes the protein lamin A, which plays an important role in the formation of the structure of the cell nucleus. In progeria, the protein does not perform its function, which ultimately leads to premature cell death. The methods of treatment of Progeria, based on the discovery of its genetic basis, are now being actively studied .

The incidence of childhood progeria is estimated at one case in four million newborns, around one hundred and thirty cases have been described worldwide. At the same time, a sharp growth retardation becomes noticeable in a child by the age of one year, tissues and organs develop incorrectly, and puberty does not occur. One of the main manifestations of the disease is severe atherosclerosis, which sharply increases the risk of developing heart and vascular diseases. Complications include myocardial infarction and stroke at a young age. In the adult form of the disease (Werner’s syndrome), the mutation does not occur for the first time, but is inherited. It is an autosomal recessive disorder, which means that the child must inherit one copy of the defective RECQL2 gene from each parent. This form is more common than children – about one person in two hundred thousand.

With progeria in adults, the body usually develops before the onset of puberty, in which there is no growth spurt , and the child remains short. After twenty years, there are such changes as gray hair, hair loss, the voice becomes hoarse, the skin becomes thinner – in medical textbooks you can find the term “bird’s face”. The progression of the disease is accompanied by the appearance of cataracts, type 2 diabetes mellitus, ulcerative skin lesions, osteoporosis and severe atherosclerosis. Patients with this form of the disease often develop multiple tumors, including rare ones. People with Werner’s syndrome usually live to be forty to fifty years old, the leading causes of death are complications of atherosclerosis and cancer.

According to the geneticist of the Atlas Medical Center Alexander Reznik, it is impossible to predict the childhood form of the disease. Since an adult is transmitted from parents – healthy carriers of the mutation – theoretically, its risk in an unborn child can be identified even at the stage of pregnancy planning. For this, genetic testing of both parents for mutations in the RECQL2 gene is carried out.

Collagen deficiency

With age , collagen synthesis decreases in the skin , it becomes less elastic, wrinkles and sagging appear. Mutations in different genes can lead to impaired collagen synthesis from birth – these conditions are found even in animals and can manifest themselves in different ways. With failure of different types of collagen are associated, e.g., osteogenesis imperfecta and Ehlers syndrome – Danlos . If it is the collagen of the skin that suffers, then the manifestations will affect primarily the appearance. Flaccid skin syndrome (aka elastolysis, or cutis laxa in Latin) occurs in about one in two million children. According to the Cutis Laxa Internationale association, 385 patients with this syndrome are known in the world – however, given that the map on the site does not reflect a single case in Russia, there are actually more of them.

There are many different types of elastolysis caused by genetic mutations, and the acquired form, the causes of which are unknown . Low elasticity of the skin can be isolated, or it can be accompanied by problems with ligaments, joints, heart or blood vessels. Plastic surgeon, doctor of medical sciences, professor Alexander Teplyashin says that an accurate diagnosis cannot always be established – and since we are talking about rare syndromes, there are times when a person comes with a unique set of manifestations. You also need to understand that the effect of aesthetic surgeries is not always sufficiently pronounced or stable: tissues with collagen deficiency are poorly held in place. New therapies are needed to stop or reverse the process leading to cutis laxa; for this, they begin to use, for example, stem cells, but so far in an experimental manner.

Journalist Victoria Askero-Dubovik said that not a single doctor made a final diagnosis. According to the results of many examinations, it turned out that all organ systems work in accordance with age, and the skin seems to be ahead of the rest of the body by tens of years: “ I began to notice changes in my appearance at school, the skin of my face and body looked much older than my years. There were deep wrinkles on the forehead and neck, and the skin sagged. But the doctors’ appointments were as usual, the test results were age-appropriate and age-appropriate, and the doctors were not worried about the appearance of the doctors.

I had an experience when I was invited to a program dedicated to the topic of premature aging syndrome. I agreed to participate only in the hope of finding out my exact diagnosis. People came to the program with real progeria, and I realized that this was not my case. My body works as usual: all my organs function in accordance with age. Doctors say that my case is unique – most likely, it is some kind of “anomaly in the development of the skin in the prenatal period.” I did a circular facelift and neck lift to bring the appearance more or less in line with real age, changed the bite and put veneers. At twenty I could have been given forty-five or fifty, now, at twenty-six, I look thirty. Everything went well, the effect remains. “

As a child, they were teased by an old woman “

According to Victoria, she did not face bullying about her appearance and never perceived it as a reason for upset: “My mother was raised by deaf and dumb parents, and I think this is a much more amazing story. Of course, it happened that someone shouted nasty things after me – but these are isolated cases that did not lead to complexes. Many of my friends are beautiful girls who have model looks. It happens that they begin to tell me about their complexes, about the “imperfect” body, about the fact that they cannot find a match for themselves – this sincerely amazes me. I have never encountered such problems. I accepted and loved myself for who I am. And I tried to change what I was not particularly happy with ”.

Unfortunately, not everyone who is faced with accelerated aging is easy to accept themselves, and society does not contribute to this: people with Progeria regularly fall into the ratings of the “ugliest in the world” for some reason, and stories about the successful use of new types of therapy come out with headlines like “Doctors saved an old girl ”. Frenchwoman Tiefenne says that the most difficult thing in this disease is the views of others and the fact that you, in fact, do not have childhood and adolescence, you inadvertently find yourself in the world of adults. “As a child, I was teased by an old woman, a grandmother, a witch … With age, the jokes became thinner, but did not cease to be offensive. I’m not sure people understand how painful they can be with their questions. “

Because premature aging syndromes are rare, healthcare professionals are also poorly aware of them. According to the same Tiefenn, all her childhood she was sent from one doctor to another, but they could not say anything definite. On the website of the Cutis Laxa Internationale Association, many say that their children could not be diagnosed for a long time, and they did not even suspect the existence of other people with this condition. The association has created a closed support group for people with elastosis. The study of this disease is actively pursued at the University of Pittsburgh – understanding the mutations that can cause it, will help develop diagnostic methods and potentially treatment.

As of March 31, 2019, there were 157 children with Progeria in the world . The Progeria Research Foundation is the main organization working on this issue. The foundation was founded in 1999 by the parents of a boy named Sam, who faced a complete lack of information on the topic. In the foundation’s brochure for parents and caregivers with this condition, a separate chapter is devoted to how to behave with a child and deal with other people’s views, questions and comments – as one parent notes, “from the very beginning we were no longer worried the medical side of the issue, but the psychological and emotional comfort of our child. ” In addition to the many technical recommendations for the care of the eyes, skin, oral cavity, the emphasis is on the fact that the intelligence of children with Progeria is age appropriate, and the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immunity are working normally.

In Europe, patients and their families are supported by the Progeria Family Circle . In 2011, a book was published by Hayley Oakins, a girl with progeria, who at that time was thirteen years old. On the TED website, you can find a talk by Sam , the very boy whose parents founded the Progeria Research Foundation, recorded in October 2013, three months before his death.

Toxic atmosphere: How life in a metropolis affects health 

Posted on May 9, 2021  in Medical news

IN TALK ABOUT THE HARMFUL OF SMOKING OR PROCESSED RED MEAT, there is bound to be an argument that living in a city as a whole is harmful – and to some extent it is. Science is not just talking about the benefits of being in the fresh air for the heart and blood vessels, the quality of sleep and the state of the psyche. Progressive doctors prescribe trips to nature, as if hinting that from time to time we should run into the forest from cars and people. But the question of how harmful life is in the city is difficult to answer unequivocally. Various factors play a role, which no one considered in the aggregate. Let’s try to separate myths from facts and figure out whether it is worth selling my grandmother’s house in the village or is it better to wait anyway.

How air pollution became an epidemic

In 2015, scientists made a frightening statement: more than 3 million people worldwide die each year from air pollution (small particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs) – more than the number of deaths from malaria and HIV / AIDS combined. If humanity does not draw the right conclusions, this figure will reach 6 million by 2050.

The maximum risk, apparently, are children and young people – they have a permanent effect of gases and particulate matter in the air can cause mental health problems. For everyone else, polluted city air threatens dry eye syndrome , an increased risk of diabetes and lung disease . However, the danger may persist even when air pollution remains at a safe level, according to WHO and EPA.

From noise and light to sleep disturbances

Noise outside the window can be very annoying, whether we are talking about a busy highway, a showdown near a stall or an outgoing neighbor’s dog. First of all, it disrupts the structure and subjective quality of sleep, provoking daytime sleepiness and, in the long term, endocrine and metabolic problems. Research also shows that long-term noise pollution is associated with a doubling of the risk of anxiety and depression and blood vessel damage from cortisol exposure. And the World Health Organization notes that noise above a certain level (85 dB) or permanent noise can lead to hearing loss and cognitive impairment. And although the WHO claims that the car makes an average of 70 dB, and the plane takes off by about 120 dB, the figures may be higher – for example, in some parts of the London Underground, the sound reaches 105 dB.

In an effort to draw public attention to the problem, Mimi Hearing Technologies analyzed the levels of noise pollution in fifty cities around the world. Data analysis showed that Guangzhou has the highest noise index, followed by Cairo, Paris, Beijing and Delhi, and the lowest in Zurich. The average hearing level of residents of noisy cities at the time of the study was equivalent to the hearing rate for people ten to twenty years older.

In terms of light, statistics show that people living in illuminated areas with lots of neon signs are more likely to report sleep disturbances. Although a causal relationship has not yet been established, its discovery remains a matter of time, given that urban dwellers are exposed to light 3-6 times more than villagers. On the other hand, overly lit nights cannot be considered the root of all problems. People in cities may sleep poorly for many reasons, including stressful overload, which interferes with normal sleep-wake cycles and increases the risk of inflammation in the body.

Subway survival

If in the morning, cuddling against the glass in a crowded carriage, you think that this is how you can get to death, you are not so far from the truth. A study by the University of Washington found that people who travel significant distances to work are at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Moreover, if we are talking about the distance between cities, then the risks are likely to increase further.

But even this is sometimes not as scary as trying to imagine the number of microbes living in the subway. There are indeed many of them, and each subway line has its own flora , and during the day the bacteria exchange data to develop antibiotic resistance. Luckily for us, we don’t have to worry too much about this. For safety reasons, it is sufficient to keep your hands away from mucous membranes until they are washed or, if the nose is suddenly impossible to comb back, use a hand sanitizer. There is a so-called hygiene hypothesis – it is that exposure to microbes at an early age teaches the immune system to be more effective. True, it was confirmed only for rural areas: children who grew up on a farm are less likely to suffer from allergies and asthma. Recently, scientists are increasingly saying that the hygienic hypothesis is generally not entirely correct.

City and stress

The available data allow us to conclude that the level of mental problems in cities is slightly higher. A Dutch study on the topic, for example, found that urban dwellers had a 21% higher risk of anxiety disorders and a 39% higher risk of mood disorders. The risk of schizophrenia in people who have grown up in cities, almost two times higher than those who grew up in the country. Experts believe that this is associated with a higher level of stress – but they do not exclude that in rural areas people are simply less likely to report their problems to doctors or do not consider them significant enough. This is indirectly confirmed by the suicide rate: men in rural areas are 54% more likely to commit suicide.

Another reason for the decline in mental health in urban environments may be that the brains of urban dwellers become more susceptible to stress over time . Chronic stress also accelerates the aging process of cells, providing townspeople with more pronounced age-related pigmentation and deeper wrinkles than villagers. The good news is that even small green islands in a bustling city can improve our condition, especially if we include physical activity in the form of a bicycle or skateboard.

How rent affects us

It turns out that renting an apartment can also negatively affect health. To find out, a group of scientists from the Universities of Essex and Bristol decided to look at objective indicators – the level of C-reactive protein associated with infections and inflammation. It turned out that the level of C-reactive protein in the body of apartment owners is lower than that of tenants, and for those who live in separate buildings, in turn, it is lower than that of residents of apartment buildings. Another curious fact: renters who spend a significant portion of their income on rent have lower C-reactive protein levels than renters in general. Perhaps this is somehow connected with a more comfortable location and high quality housing, since you have to pay so much for it.

Real threat: injuries, accidents and icicles

Cities may seem like much more dangerous places than villages, but this is not always the case. City dwellers are 20% less likely to die from an accident, such as falling from a roof or, surprisingly, a car accident. Scientists think it is a matter of the time it takes for emergency services to get to remote areas, and, possibly, more risky behavior of drivers outside the city. As for the magic brick, which can fall on your head at any moment, there is no reason to be afraid of it. Although this sometimes happens , the reported cases are so few that the likelihood is minimal (the risks increase if you work on a construction site). And if it’s worth worrying about some falling objects, it’s about icicles that kill dozens of people in winter .

In some ways, the city may even be useful. Thus, urban dwellers are less likely to exceed the medical norm of weight due to the high standard of living and the quality of nutrition. Old age in the city will also turn out to be more pleasant, since there is no social isolation characteristic of the countryside. Also, urban dwellers may have a better functioning digestive system. Some evolutionists think that the once-excellent lactose tolerance was a beneficial mutation that helped people to leave the nomadic lifestyle and move to cities where farming was the main occupation and dairy products were the main source of food. Finally, there is evidence that residents of large cities are more resistant to tuberculosis and leprosy.

Who is really in danger

While there are risks for all of us living in the city, vulnerable populations suffer the most. We are primarily talking about people living on the street – almost 40% of them have chronic health problems. Although the opinion has grown in society that the homeless are themselves to blame for their situation, in reality the situation is much more complicated and dire. According to Nochlezhka for 2017, the main causes of homelessness are family problems (36%), labor migration (22%) and fraud in real estate transactions (17%). At the same time, 12% of the homeless have a higher education, and 44% have a secondary education. With regard to alcohol abuse, most people start drinking after they are on the street.

In Russia, about five million people are considered homeless , a million of whom are children and 50 thousand of whom live in Moscow. It is especially hard for them in the cold season: in St. Petersburg alone in the winter of 2012-2013, 1,042 people died on the streets . This is a global problem – homelessness is also faced by the “happiest countries in the world,” such as Norway and Denmark . All over the world, according to a UN report , about one hundred million people are homeless.