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A Cancer Cure

I’m going to guess you missed it. Or, if you didn’t, you didn’t think much about it. I’m talking about a media report released in mid-June of this year that covered a research study done at Memorial Sloane Kettering (MSK). As usual, the media release occurred before the study’s publication, which occurred on June 23, 2022 (in the New England Journal of Medicine). The study involved a new treatment stratagem for patients with advanced colorectal cancers. In this small study involving a new treatment modality, all 12 patients were cured. Yes, I said cured. Not in remission. The cancers were not...

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Our Incredible Skin

 Among the various organs of the human body, the skin is one of the more interesting and diverse ones. The skin is much more than just a barrier. It is strong yet supple, fixes or regenerates itself when damaged, and it can change color to adapt to the climate. It is more active than many people realize; it synthesizes a number of compounds including immunoglobulin A, which is important to our immune defense system. The skin plays diverse roles in the body – it helps to regulate the body temperature and it initializes the process of vitamin D production in response to sun exposure. It has absorptive...

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Screening for CRC: Important

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is cancer that affects the lower intestine and/or the rectum. Overall, the incidence of CRC has been declining in the U.S., however it still ranks third as a cause of cancer-related death. A closer look at the statistics reveals that the incidence of CRC has been declining in persons 55 years or older, but since the mid-1990s the incidence has risen annually by 0.5 to 1.3 percent in adults aged 40 to 54. The reason for the rising rate in younger people has not been found so far, but the fact that it is rising in younger people has caused experts to rethink recommendations...

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Breast Cancer

Surgery for breast cancer prevention is the removal of healthy breasts to reduce the risk of breast cancer. This is known as preventative mastectomy, risk-reducing mastectomy, or prophylactic mastectomy. Women with a high risk of breast cancer may consider this option to avoid getting the disease. However, because it is impossible to remove 100% of the breast tissue, a small risk of developing breast cancer may still exist. The average woman has about a 12% risk of developing breast cancer over her lifetime. However, some women have genetic mutations, most of them inherited, that are associated...

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Keep An Eye On Lenses

As many as 45 million people in the U.S, wear contact lenses, and while wearing contact lenses is generally safe, complications can arise. Many of these complications stem from two factors. The first factor is that the lenses lie in direct contact with the cornea, the outermost layer of the eye. The second factor, really a corollary of the first factor, is that because the lenses have direct contact with the eye, contact lenes must be kept free of contamination as it is a frequent cause of eye problems associated with them. Here are a few basic recommendations regarding the use and care of contact...

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High Blood Pressure: Screen Test

In previous columns I have discussed recommendations made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). This is a quasi-governmental group of medical professionals that looks at the value of screening tests to detect many diseases and conditions. They consider both benefits and harms from testing and screening methods, including both the amount of false positive and false negative results, and the resultant harms or benefits to the health outcomes of individuals. Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of the USPSTF recommendations for screening...

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Real World Interaction Needed

I am a train nut. Some of my earliest and fondest childhood memories include model trains. I was about six years old when my parents (or Santa) gave me a train layout for Christmas. It wasn’t a Lionel set, but a set of cheaper knock-off, Marx trains. My uncle, my mother’s brother, who lived in a big house in Cedarhurst (222 Rockaway Turnpike, built in 1840, which the town foolishly razed), had a huge Lionel layout in his attic. It was my dream to one day own a layout like it but, alas, after he lost interest, his son, my cousin, sold it all for pennies on the dollar (it would be worth many tens...

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Nursing Homes Need RX

Across our country, hundreds of thousands of people live in nursing homes, known as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), not because they need specialized care or want to, but because Medicaid payment rules make that the only housing they can afford that gives them the daily living care that they need. Unfortunately, many of these residents died from COVID-19 at rates far in excess of the general population due to pandemic rules dictated by uncaring politicians.        Nursing homes serve two very different populations. One requires short-term, post-acute rehabilitation services following surgical...

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Vaccine Success Has Long History

In September 2008, a group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania modified messenger RNA (mRNA) in a way that stabilized the molecule and made mRNA a promising tool for both gene replacement and vaccination. This relatively new technology was used in 2020 to rapidly develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents the latest in a series of breakthroughs in the realm of viral vaccines, each building on the last and each with a compelling record of disease prevention. The first major vaccine-related advance occurred in 1796 when Edward Jenner, a physician who had a laboratory...

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