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75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart  - web md

75 or Older? Statins Can Still Benefit Your Heart

People 75 and older who were free of heart disease and prescribed a statin wound up with a 25% lower risk of death from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers reported July 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
web md - 8 hours ago
Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage  - web md

Court: Employers Can Refuse Birth Control Coverage

More than 70,000 U.S. women could be left without cost-free birth control after the Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration policy change that permits some employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage on religious or moral grounds.
web md - 15 hours ago
As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?  - web md

As Cases Jump, Are We Better Prepared for COVID?

There are record numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with several states in the South and West driving the resurgence. Texas has closed its bars, California has closed its restaurants in some counties, and some beaches in Florida are closed.
web md - 6 days ago
MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments  - web md

MS Patients Turn to Marijuana, Other Alternative Treatments

A majority of just over 1,000 respondents said they used some type of alternative therapy, including marijuana, vitamins, herbs and minerals, plus mind-body therapies like exercise, mindfulness, massage and various diets.
web md - 6 days ago
Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus  - web md

Air Travel a Puzzle in Age of Coronavirus

United and American airlines, along with Southwest and Delta, require all passengers to wear cloth face masks or any high-tech masks while on the plane. American goes further by saying passengers must bring their own face masks and must comply with airport rules about wearing a mask.
web md - 1 week ago
An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?  - web md

An HIV Drug You Only Take Twice a Year?

A single injection of the experimental drug, called lenacapavir, was able to lower blood levels of HIV in a small group of patients. And it was capable of maintaining active levels in the blood for more than six months.
web md - 1 week ago
Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study  - web md

Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: Study

Black Americans who endure life-altering instances of discrimination are a third to a half more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who haven't been similarly traumatized, researchers report in the July 1 issue of the journal Hypertension.
web md - 1 week ago
Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges  - web md

Contact Tracer Teams Growing Amid New Challenges

Contact tracing, along with strategic testing, rapid isolation, and supportive quarantine, is an vital way of slowing the spread of the virus, which has been diagnosed in 2.6 million people nationwide and likely has infected millions more, say public health experts.
web md - 1 week ago
NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19  - web md

NBA to Use High-Tech Rings to Help Detect COVID-19

The NBA released its safety protocol this month with details for the upcoming return of the season, which gives a glimpse into what life will be like in the “bubble” -- an enclosed environment in Orlando, FL, where players will stay largely protected from potential infection.
web md - 1 week ago
Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad  - web md

Behind the Intermittent Fasting Fad

In addition to promoting weight loss, so-called intermittent fasting may deliver a host of other surprising health benefits, from improved heart and brain health, to a lower risk of diabetes, and even a longer life, recent research shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
COVID Surges Among Young Adults  - web md

COVID Surges Among Young Adults

The spike among those age 20-39 could be explained by a combination of increased testing, rejection of social distancing and the use of masks and continued misconception among young people that they’re not as likely to becoming infected or become seriously ill.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps - harvard

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body generates an immune response against itself. Some people with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, develop an autoimmune lung disease. Marked by lung inflammation and possible scarring, it's easier to treat if detected early. The post Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 - positive sharing

Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken workplaces in so many ways. Remote work, social distancing, and staying home is the new normal. Companies are affected, and many of them switched to “survival mode”, trying to keep their business afloat. In the video above I talk to to visionary CEOs about how they handled the COVID-19 crisis … Continue reading Video: How to keep your workplace happy despite COVID-19 →
Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown  - web md

Despite Predictions, Loneliness Not Rising for Americans Under Lockdown

Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts have worried that social distancing and stay-at-home orders would lead to a surge in loneliness. But a new U.S. study suggests it has not played out that way.
web md - 2 weeks ago
C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk  - web md

C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk

Hospitalized patients infected with the dangerous diarrhea bug Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) face more than twice the risk of dying than hospitalized patients without the infection, a Dutch study shows.
web md - 2 weeks ago
How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain  - web md

How COVID is Affecting U.S. Food Supply Chain

During the pandemic, meat processing businesses appeared to be the weakest link throughout the food supply chain. Meat processing plants have been virus hot spots as workers have fallen ill with COVID-19, some of them dying.
web md - 2 weeks ago
People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives  - web md

People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives

HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults -- even if they're treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? - harvard

Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?

Coconut oil has been championed as having many benefits to health, but evidence to support these assertions remains sparse. However, there is far more evidence to support the benefits of olive oil, even in the context of typical American diets. The post Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? - harvard

Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what?

For many teens, summer activities like jobs, internships, and camps are probably on hold this year, and a sense of uncertainty hovers over nearly everything. How can parents guide teens and help them flourish while also keeping them safe? The post Summer’s here, teens and parents — now what? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop - harvard

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop

“It’s a beautiful day outside,” you say, smiling. Your son replies, “It’s supposed to rain later.” You share, “That game was fun!” Your daughter adds, “I messed up one of my turns.” If you find that your child tends to channel Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh and has difficulty seeing some of the bright moments in a […] The post 4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

harvard - 5 months ago

Cutaneous melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, is the type of skin cancer that is most likely to spread to other parts of the body. Though melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers, it is responsible for more than 90% of skin cancer-related deaths.

But thanks to developments in skin cancer treatment (mostly in the last decade), patients with melanoma have much better chances of living longer.

What is a melanoma?

Melanoma involves the uncontrolled growth of a type of cell known as a melanocyte. One of the most important functions of a normal melanocyte is to protect your skin from the suns damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. It does this by producing melanin pigment. (Though we usually refer to melanoma of the skin, melanomas can also develop from melanocytes in other parts of the body, such as the retina or gastrointestinal tract.)

There are many factors that may result in the development of melanomas. These include environmental factors such as sun damage or use of tanning beds; immune suppression; genetic causes, such as inheritance of a gene that makes you more susceptible to melanomas; and spontaneous gene mutations.

Treatment options: The old and the new

Until several years ago, treatment options for people with advanced metastatic disease (melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body) were quite limited. Surgical removal of the cancer, chemotherapy, and less targeted immunotherapy and interferon therapy (to reduce tumor proliferation) were possible treatment options. But only about one in 10 patients with advanced metastatic disease survived for five years, and median survival was less than one year.

Thanks to significant developments in genetic research, including findings from the Human Genome Project, patients with widespread disease now have a much better chance of survival. For example, research showing that some melanomas have mutations that abnormally activate certain signaling pathways, which contribute to uncontrolled tumor growth, has led to advances in targeted immunotherapy.

Newer therapies targeting these pathways, and immune checkpoint inhibitors that block specific targets in tumor production pathways, are now available to treat advanced melanoma. These include kinase inhibitors such as dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and vemurafenib (Zelboraf), and immune checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab (Opdivo), pembrolizumab (Keytruda), and ipilimumab (Yervoy).

A study examining one of these newer therapies showed that at three years after treatment, the survival rate for people who were treated with the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab along with the older chemotherapy drug dacarbazine was 21%, compared to 12% for those who were treated with only dacarbazine.

Another potential therapy receiving more attention now includes cancer vaccines. In addition, some companies have introduced enhanced testing of biopsy samples, which may allow for more accurate assessment of a persons risk of the cancer spreading and recurring, which in turn can influence treatment decisions. Many more possibilities are also on the horizon.

Prevention still worth more than the cure

Although there are now more effective therapies available to treat melanoma, advanced melanoma still carries a poor prognosis. And even the newer therapies come with significant side effects, including the risk of developing other types of skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Therefore, it is paramount to protect ourselves from getting melanoma in the first place.

Simple healthy behaviors can help. These include routinely wearing (and re-applying) sunscreen, avoiding the sun during hours of peak sunlight (around 10 am to 2 pm), and making sure your doctor conducts routine skin checks.

Its also important to know your own skin. Examine your own skin every month or so, and have a partner examine the areas of skin you cant see. Look out for the ugly duckling (a mole that looks different from the others). The so-called ABCDEs of melanoma have their limitations (they dont catch all melanomas), but can also help when conducting skin checks on yourself or a loved one. That means being on the lookout for

A: Asymmetry (one side looks different from another)

B: irregular Borders

C: Color differences

D: Diameter (often greater than 6 millimeters)

E: Evolution (a mole that appears to be changing over time).

If you notice anything unusual, seek advice from your doctor. In general, the earlier you catch a skin cancer, the better your prognosis.

The post Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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