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Cell Phones Increase Risk of Brain Tumor

Oct 15, 2004

Epidemiologists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden announced on Wednesday that the continued use of analog cell phones for 10 years or more increases the risk of acoustic neuroma brain tumors by 4-fold on the side where the phone is habitually used. Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous brain tumor that grows slowly and accounts for less than 10% of all brain tumors. The auditory nerve, the site of the brain tumor, is exposed to radiation during normal cell phone use.There is no evidence of increased risk with less than ten years phone use.

The Karolinska Institute is one of Europes largest medical universities, it is a clinical and biomedical research center. The institue awards the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The study is part of a 13 nation Interphone study that is coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. The study participants plan to release the information they have gathered on other brain tumors shortly including astrocytomas and meningiomas.The study is published in the November 2004 issue of the journal Epidemiology.

Women on Immune Supressing Drug have Increased Risk of Cervical Cancer

Women with systemic lupus erythematosis who are treated with the immune suppressing drug Cyclophosphamide, may have a 3-fold higher risk of developing cervical cancer. The study appears in the September 2004 Journal of Rheumatology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

The drawback with this study is that the researcher didn't account for infection by human papaloma virus, the wart virus family - certain strains increase the risk of cervical and other cancers tremendously. However, it is not a stretch to worry about a connection with supressing the immune system with medication and an increased cancer risk. This type of research should also be focused on chronic use of corticosteroid and other drugs that inhibit immune system activity. The best natural protection for cervical tissue is the cabbage family phytochemical Indole-3-Carbinol.

Weight Loss Surgery May Lead to Nerve Damage Due to Malnutrition

Weight loss surgery for morbidly obese patients (minimally 100 pounds overweight) is connected to nerve damage. In 435 obese patients who underwent obesity-surgery, 16% developed peripheral neuropathy.In contrast, only 3% of obese patients who underwent gall bladder surgery developed neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is when damage occurs to the nerves that relay information from the brain and spine to the rest of the body. The neuropathy ranged from symptoms in the hands and feet: tingling, numbness, weakness, to severe pain and damage. 31 people developed carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dr. P J Dyck, a Neurologist at the Mayo Clinic and chief author of the study feels that the neuropathy was preventable Obesity surgery limits the amount of food and calories a person can eat and absorb. If the patients are not counseled on balancing the diet and supplementation they are prone to nutritional deficiencies. Many of the patients who developed peripheral neuropathy showed signs of malnourishment. Typically they lost weight very rapidly, they suffered prolonged bouts of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They were not taking a high enough level of vitamin supplementation or calcium supplements. Dr Dycks opinion is that if they ate a good diet and supplemented with vitamins and minerals they should not develop neuropathies. He states that patients at the Mayo Clinic are counseled on supplements and diet and they do not have the risk for nerve damage. The study is published in the October 26th issue of the journal Neurology.

New Warning on Bextra (Vioxx Type Drug)

Bextra is in a class of drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs are mainly used for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Today the manufacturer of Bextra has announced that it is sending new information to healthcare professionals regarding the safety of this anti-inflammatory drug that is in the same family of drugs as the Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market this month. After releasing Bextra to the market life-threatening skin and allergic reactions were reported. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that often causes death if not treated was reported. Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a condition where your skin dies and sloughs off, is also occurring because of the drug Bextra. Also the drug is not to be used in patients with sulfa allergies. Other recent reactions include exfoliative dermatitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and erythema multiforme (a painful rash all over the body including the mouth throat, and eyes). The company has announced that it is working with regulatory authorities around the world to update the Bextra label to warn about this toxic effect.

Anaphylactic Reaction characteristics:

  • Serious and deadly allergic reaction (peanuts, penicillin, and insect venom can cause these reactions in some people)
  • Angioedema - the body swells
  • Swelling in the throat that hampers swallowing and breathing
  • Fainting from a precipitous drop in blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin like ants crawling on you
  • Shock
  • Coma
  • Death from incredibly low blood pressure or suffocation

Stevens Johnson Syndrome Characteristics (due to a drug reaction)

  • Often preceded with flu like symptoms and a high fever
  • Painful blistering of the skin
  • Painful blistering of the mucous membranes
  • As the condition progresses the skin literally sloughs off
  • Eye involvement - severe conjunctivitis, iritis, swelling of the eyeballs, blisters on the cornea, erosion of the cornea, holes in the cornea.

Note: Adverse drug reactions kill about 100,000 hospitalized patients each year and less than 1% of all drug reactions are reported to the FDA. The Public needs to know what to look for in the event of a drug reaction - Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Note - in two trials with patients who received coronary artery bypass surgery, Bextra increased the risk of heart events. Blocking the COX-2 enzyme in such a complete manner apparently causes heart attacks. Recently the drug Vioxx, a Bextra category drug, was removed from the market because it increased the risk of and actually caused heart attacks and strokes. It was causing swelling of the body, high blood pressure, and heart failure. Vioxx has caused approximately 160,000 heart attacks and strokes.