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The drugs can cause joint pain anytime between one day and several years of use.

A new warning is ensued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that four diabetes drugs can lead to severe joint pain and patients should be well warned about the possible side-effects. A caution has been added to several dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, that helps with lowering the blood sugar in cases of type 2 diabetes.

According to the FDA, the drugs sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin and alogliptin cause high risk of joint pain in patients and may lead to momentary disabling due to soreness, which might further affect the lives of diabetes patients.

The four DPP-4 inhibitors are more commercially known as Januvia, produced by Merck & Co., which is one of the most popular choices on the market, rounding up at nearly 80% of the type 2 diabetes drugs prescribed. The others are Onglyza developed by AstraZeneca, Tradjenta from Eli Lilly & Co. and Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Nesina.

All four had reported cases of joint paint among patients, and it’s now being warned by the FDA that medical health professionals should carefully take the symptom into consideration, and even cease prescription if necessary.

Since it was approved in 2006, Januvia received 33 reports of type 2 diabetes patients suffering from joint pain, though the company has been quick to underline that it’s also the most popular and widely used out of all the DPP-4 inhibitors. They have claimed to be working strenuously with the FDA to properly add the warning to their labels.

Januvia also has pancreatitis on the list of serious side effects, a highly painful and potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas. However, most of the type 2 diabetes medicine comes with severe warnings about potential symptoms, and the FDA has cautioned that their recent findings should not prompt patients to abruptly stop taking them.

There were also five cases of joint pain linked to Onglyza, two with Tradjenta, and one with Nesina. Any patient taking either one has been advised to consult a specialized doctor before considering to either discontinue treatment or switch to another medication.

The analysis suggested that the symptoms could occur from one day to years after taking the DPP-4 inhibitors, which could make their side-effects difficult to catch and properly understand. However, the tests unmistakably proved that all symptoms, including joint pain, have stopped in less than a month after patients ceased taking the drugs.

All four types of medication are now plastered with the warning that they might cause severe joint pain and doctors are encouraged to alert the FDA’s MedWatch if others arise, or if the problem becomes worse than estimated.

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There’s a good side to being neurotic: you can become a creative genius.

Tell us what you dream, so we could tell if you’re a creative genius – this is the saying that could better sum up the conclusions that scientists have reached during their most recent experiment. Adam Perkins, a psychologist at the King’s College from London has strong reasons to believe that neurotic people, that is, people who worry more are more creative.

Adam Perkins has teamed up with Jonathan Smallwood, a neuroscience expert to find why some people are more creative than others. Their initiative has been praised, considering that people have always tried to understand the genius of famous people like Isaac Newton, Isaac Asimov, Winston Churchill, etc.

The new theory starts from the recent finding that Smallwood has made related to people’s daydreaming activities. He has performed a series of MRI scans on various respondents to determine the brain region that is activated when people start imagining. Based on results, the medial prefrontal cortex that is responsible for memory recollection becomes highly active during daydreaming sessions.

Some respondents were much more active during tests than others. By comparing the MRI scans and the information that Perkins has collected from participants, the two researchers have concluded that neurotic people are generally creative geniuses.

Adam has explained that neurotic people are usually much more worried than other categories of individuals. They tend to become anxious, scared, unhappy and even angry if something goes wrong.

Their emotional expressions can be more or less powerful, depending on their extrovert or introvert nature. When confronted with a problem, introvert neurotics linger as much as possible in their memories until they find the answer they were looking for. These practices make them true creative geniuses, scientists have concluded.

History has confirmed the new finding on many previous occasions. Some of humanity’s brilliant minds were neurotics in that they could not leave a problem unsolved. Isaac Newton himself stated that he could stay for days on end thinking of the possible solutions to a math problem.

There are still many questions that need to be answered and many studies that need to be conducted before scientists can all conclude that neurotic people are creative geniuses.

The current study was published in the journal of Cognitive Science.

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In an increasingly digitalized era when most of our communication happens online, doctors are still shying away from befriending their patients on Facebook, at least not for a while longer.

Public pages for professional practices are not uncommon, though. Email might also be a preferred means of communication, but this is where physicians usually draw the line. It’s only natural that your doctor wouldn’t want to share his vacation pictures with you or other personal details.

With patients trying to get their doctors to give medical advice or treatment suggestion via private chats, doctors often feel that the lines between private and professional have become way too blurry. There’s also the problem of privacy issues that might arise after in discussing specific medical concerns on the Internet.

But the times are changing, and so are these social etiquettes as illustrated by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This group of medical professionals has updated its social media guidelines, and according to the new rules, it’s up to physicians if they want to become Facebook friends with their patients or not.

But even when it comes to professional pages, using them often raises the question of privacy: Is it safe to talk about sensitive health information on these forums? Do they actually help or just complicate the doctor-patient relationship? Are there any boundaries?

From a historical point of view, the general consensus adopted by professional groups such as the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians is that communicating with patients via personal Facebook pages is advised against.

Even though social media profiles could prove useful in sharing health information, the 2010 guidelines of The American Medical Association urge doctors to keep their personal and professional online identities separate.

It’s not uncommon for patients to want to incorporate social media in their health care, as explained by James Colbert, a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. He described the trend as a “growing consumer approach to medicine,” such as the mentality that physicians should be available at all hours.

According to a recent survey published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, roughly 20 percent of respondents have tried contacting their doctors through Facebook, and nearly 40 percent through email. Doctors, however, don’t seem to be as enthusiast about the tech of it all, and for good reasons of security.

When discussing specific health concerns with patients through unencrypted social platforms, physicians could unconsciously violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the patient privacy law. But with technology and communication intertwining this much, maybe the HIPAA law deserves another look.
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Researchers have found a new and surprising application for painkillers such as aspirin, Motrin, Advil and others: reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer, one of the top three most common types of cancer.

A new study revealed that taking a daily dose of aspiring – 75 to 150 milligrams – for a longer period of time, such as five years, presented a 27 percent less chances of receiving a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The regular Bayer aspirin, for example, contains more than the recommended dose – 325 mg of aspirin, so the low-dose version would be way to go.

Researchers discovered that there are even better odds of never being diagnosed with this type of cancer is participants were administered a daily dose of NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Taking non-aspirin NSAIDs for at least five years translated in a 30 to 45 percent risk reduction when compared to those who didn’t take the painkillers. Two of the most efficient NSAIDs for this study proved to be naproxen and ibuprofen (the active ingredient in many painkillers, such as Motrin and Advil).

The theory that regular administration of aspirin or NSAIDs could be connected with protecting the body against colorectal cancer has also been the subject of previous studies. Those articles and researches, however, had a hard time identifying the ideal dose or how long would someone need to take it.

Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the results were based on data from Denmark, where more than 10,000 adults had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1994 and 2011.

This extensive study did not leave anything to chance; in order to understand how important the daily dose of painkiller was, the researchers identified 10 “controls” for each of the patients – adults of the same age and gender who lived in the same area but were free from colorectal cancer.

Low-dose aspirin turned to have an impact of reducing the risk with 27 percent, but taking more efficient or innovative NSAIDs turned out to offer even greater health benefits. The “high-intensity” doses were considered to be roughly three times over the average dose taken by other participants.

However, the study could not account for plenty of other factors that may contribute to the risk of developing colorectal cancer, such as body mass index, diet or alcohol use. The data didn’t provide any information on family history of the disease either.

Still, the researchers still have good reasons to believe in the power of aspirin and other NSAIDs to prevent colorectal cancer.
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For a long time, it was believed that spinal stenosis is greatly relieved by steroid injections, but recent research proves otherwise. The new study has analyzed both the positive and the negative effects of the treatment based on data collected from adult patients diagnosed with low back pain or spinal stenosis.

According to senior author of the study Dr. Roger Chou from Oregon Science and Health University, this recommended course of treatment isn’t as effective as previously perceived. It is true, however, that the injections offer immediate pain relief, which is why doctors were recommending them.

But for the long run, epidural steroids injections had no better effects than a placebo, as researchers have noticed, and the patient’s need for surgery was not reduced at all. Reviewing the evidence showed that the outcome was not influenced by the technique of injection or by the type of steroid administered.

The good news, however, is that the study did not find the injections to have any negative impact; apart from rare blood clots, small bleeding events, and sometimes nerve soreness, the patient’s situation did not worsen.

Dr. Chou emphasized that in spite of the immediate pain relief, the patients need to understand and weigh the short-term benefits against potential side-effects, such as nerve injury or infection. When you take the injections off the table, however, another problem arises: there are limited options for treatment, and surgery remains the patients’ only viable alternative.

Not all experts in the field agree with the new analysis, and Dr. Zack McCormick from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine thinks that the recent findings are not applicable for real cases of spinal medicine.

He explains that administering epidural steroid injections is not meant to become a long term cure, but rather offer pain relief. That way, the patient can enjoy a better sleep, and have its quality of life restored in order for the physical therapy to take effect.

Despite previous studies showing similar results, doctors keep on recommending these injections as treatment for stenosis – the narrowing of the spaces between the spine’s bones – or for low back pain.

They might not be as beneficial as physicians have thought, but they offer significant relief to 60 percent of the patients who receive them. Each year, more than a million people are administered epidural injections either with local anesthetic or steroids, and so far, their benefits are still outweighing the risks.
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The study is gathering awareness on autism and the possible variations that may derive from this disease.

Many researches have been made in an attempt to understand the behavior of people suffering from autism and the needs that they are generally associated with their affection. Recently, it has been established that autistic traits are responsible for creative thinking, new study concludes after interviewing a large group of Internet users.

Dr. Catherine Best from UK’s University of Stirling, the co-author of the study, started her scientific quest from the premise that there is no exact boundary between healthy individuals and those suffering from autistic disturbances. As a consequence, she set out to find out whether healthy people could also suffer from unidentified autistic traits, which prevented them from understanding abstract concepts.

For the purpose of her study, Catherine has gathered 312 participants, who were asked to provide possible replacements for a brick and a paper clip. Surprisingly, many of the individuals that used to be considered healthy presented autistic traits.

Participants with autistic traits were the ones that were much more creative than the rest of the respondents. The answers they have provided have been completely unusual, leading scientists into concluding that there might be a silver lining for autism, after all.

Scientists think their new study contributes to a better reputation for patients who suffer from this disease. Autistic people have a unique perspective of objects and concepts, which prevents them from interacting with other human beings. However, the new study shows that autistic patients can find distinctive solutions due to their creativity.

Pro bono organizations have always fought to support this idea, namely, that having an autistic child or relative is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. Catherine Best thinks the new study helps prove that there can be a lot of variations among both autistic and non-autistic individuals. She believes many of the myths that have been created in relation to the disease could be dismantled if more efforts are made in this direction.

Meanwhile, autism groups have rallied to protest against the causes that some organizations like Autism Speak support. In their opinion, their rights have not been properly represented by the aforementioned organization, which sustains that they are raising money to offer support to patients and their families. Yet, very few people have actually benefitted from the raised funds, according to patients’ declarations.

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Receiving support and advice on weight loss from your doctor has been proved to have a great impact on how much weight you actually lose, according to a new study. Participants whose doctors backed them up got rid of more fat compared to those whose doctors were less involved in the process.

More than 300 volunteers suffering from obesity took part in the two-year study conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. If they wanted to, the participants were allowed to get their physicians’ support.

At the end of the federal-funded study, each participant was asked to fill out questionnaires that would evaluate the patient-doctor relationship. Analyzing the data they collected, the researchers noticed that regular visits to the doctors translated in an average of 11 pounds of lost weight.

Volunteers also reported that having their doctor involved in the weight-loss process was very helpful; based on an evaluating system, the doctors whose patients lost 5 pounds of less received the lowest rating.

Co-author of the study Dr. Wendy Bennett, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, said that weight loss has the opportunity of becoming more successful if future programs would incorporate physicians as advisors and supporters.

According to Bennett, having a regular doctor-patient relationship is beneficial mostly because of the trust, empathy, collaboration, and good interaction that it promotes. All of these have the ability to improve the patient’s chances of being honest about their habits and it also increases their willingness of taking the prescribed medicine.

Previous studies also hypothesized that care providers can play important roles in the weight loss efforts of their obese patients. Published in the journal Patient Education and Counselling, the study was entitled “Satisfaction with primary care provider involvement is associated with greater loss: Results from the practice-based POWER trial.”

The researchers also pointed out that physicians who are advisors in weight loss programs – conducted by either private insurances or Medicare – are almost never financially reimbursed, and that their main drive is usually not money, but the health benefits: helping obese people lose weight.

Millions of people worldwide deal with obesity – and Americans are not the least of those. Media is filled with advertisements of diets, slimming pills, and personalized workouts, which means the condition has reached a large population. In additional to traditional support, physicians could provide help for obese people trying to lose weight.
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Women who have family cases of breast cancer should refrain from consuming any type of alcohol, medical experts have concluded.

Based on the recent findings of a study conducted by researchers at the Harvard’s School of Public Health in Boston alcohol consumption increases cancer risks among female patients. Disease-correlated risks become all the more obvious in male and female patients who also smoke, doctors have concluded.

The goal of the recent research was to determine whether cancer risks are more prominent in female and male persons who also smoke. Results show that women who moderately drink alcohol have bigger chances of developing a type of cancer, particularly breast cancer, even if they have never smoked.

No significant link has been registered between one particular type of cancer and males’ daily alcohol intake, in the case of non-smoking patients. However, reports indicate that men who drink alcohol and smoke are more likely to develop prostate, colon or esophagus cancer.

Another interesting observation that medical experts have made during the recent study is that increased risks usually appear among moderate consumers of alcohol. The same pattern has not been noticed among heavy drinkers, although other factors may be at fault, as well, such as patients’ lack of interest for medical tests.

The study has been conducted with the participation of 88,084 women and 47,881 men, whose condition has been observed from 1980 until 2010. The research data has been collected with the help of three surveys, namely the Nurses’ Health Study from 1980, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 and the current research which was started in 2010.

Moderate drinking was defined as the daily consumption of one glass of alcoholic beverage. On the other hand, researchers used a four-glass standard when referring to heavy alcohol consumption.

Other pieces of information related to patients’ condition have been taken into consideration for the current study, such as, their age, their social status, their family history and their body mass index. Based on the collected data, medical researchers advise women who have had other cases of breast cancer in their family to limit their alcohol consumption below the recommended norms or to refrain from alcohol use altogether.

The study may be accessed in the British Medical Journal.

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The high levels of PFASs chemicals have convinced medical experts that breastfeeding is not a healthy option for children.

Contrary to World Health Organization’s recommendations, exclusively breastfed children are not healthier, medical experts say, based on their new findings. The longer mothers choose to breastfeed their newborn babies, the more they expose them to highly dangerous chemicals.

There have been many researches conducted in order to determine whether women’s choice of breastfeeding their infants during their first months of life is good or not. Many debates are still made on the topic, as some doctors advise mothers to breastfeed their babies, while others strongly oppose this practice.

Medical experts from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston have conducted a new study in an attempt to help mothers choose what is best for their children. Their research has revealed that breastfed children present a higher level of perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs) in their blood making them more vulnerable to certain diseases.

PFASs chemicals are usually found on our clothes, food packages and other products. These are said to make commercial products more resistant to grease, water and stains, but they can be very noxious to our health.

Previous studies have revealed that these industrial chemicals can cause different types of cancer, they can lead to immune system impairment and various abnormalities of the reproductive system. Effects could be a lot more powerful on infants, who are much more sensitive to chemicals, doctors, have concluded.

Researchers wanted to determine whether the level of PFASs chemicals increases with each month of breastfeeding. The experiment was conducted on 81 infants from Faroe Islands, who were born in the period between 1997 and 2000.

Medical experts have compared various blood samples withdrawn from the infants and their mothers. The blood tests had been withdrawn at the children’s birth, when they were 11 months, 18 months and 5 years old. In parallel, scientists compared the PFASs levels from mothers’ blood samples that were taken at 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Results have shown that each month of breastfeeding causes a 20-30% increase of PFASs chemicals in toddlers’ blood. As a result, medical experts recommend mothers to breastfeed their children for a maximum period of three or four months and to ignore WHO’s recommendations of a two-year breastfeeding period.

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Finally some good news on the Alzheimer’s front; according to new research, the much-feared explosion of the disease has been ‘canceled’, as dementia rates seem to be stabilizing in various parts of Europe.

Leading Alzheimer’s researcher, the UK is among the statistics that give us hope; defying predictions made a decade earlier, the number of British people over 65 who struggle with dementia has dropped with more than a fifth in 2011.

But the UK is not the only one showing promising change, as plenty of other European countries seem to be on board with the trend. In Spain, for example the prevalence of dementia has fallen with 43 percent in men over 65 between 1987 and 1996, joined by similar positive reports from Sweden and the Netherlands.

According to experts, the great majority of evidence predicting a dementia “epidemic” came from an outdated study started all the way back in the 1980s. It’s important, however, to take under consideration that health care, living conditions and lifestyle have all improved, offering a welcomed alteration to the somber picture.

Senior researcher Prof Carol Brayne with the Institute of Public Health at Cambridge University explained there’s well-founded reason to believe in this suggested decrease in dementia. First of all, it’s in line with known improvements in protective factors for mental health – such as living conditions and education – and secondly, it also coincides with a general drop in risk factors over past decades, such as vascular diseases.

Ever since that study in the 1980s, high-income countries have continuously reported a significant decrease in deaths from major cardiovascular diseases due to improvements in prevention and treatment of crucial risk factors like cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is possible that we’re witnessing these changes reflected in the reduced risk of developing dementia.

Approximately 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease accounting for more than 60 percent of them. That’s why caring for the sufferers will keep on being a major challenge in the upcoming years, as pointed out by the study’s authors.

Even though she was not a part of the research, Dr. Elizabeth Coulthard, consultant senior lecturer in dementia neurology at the University of Bristol, explained that it’s very likely that previous predictions of Alzheimer’s prevalence were slightly exaggerated.

However, in spite of the stabilizing rates, dementia still has a huge effect on roughly 7 percent of people over 65 and 40 percent of those over 80. She encouraged scientists to keep on pushing for the advancement of treatments delaying progression of dementia and try to improve quality of life for those living with the disease.
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