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Updated: 27 min 55 sec ago

Validation of a vitamin D replacement strategy in vitamin D-insufficient CLL patients...

27 February 2017
Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to poor prognosis in patients with malignancy, particularly lymphoid malignancies.
Currently, from the Mayo study..
Patients should be counseled that vitamin D replacement appears to be safe; however, whether it actually alters cancer prognosis remains to be determined.
Letter to the Editor...

Drugs don?t cure everything ? doctors can be helped to prescribe other options. Meet HANDI

25 February 2017
Not CLL related, but for those of us that prefer to avoid drugs, the Handbook of Non-Drug Interventions (HANDI), outlines treatments that don?t require medications or surgery. Its 54 treatments, which have been evaluated and reported to work after being tested in the same type of clinical trials as drugs, range from splints for hand pain in osteoarthritis to internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for depression and anxiety.'

Ben Ewald, Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle:...

Health Check: are naps good for us?

24 February 2017
When to nap, how long to nap, one nap or two, what's best for us?
'Insufficient sleep not only affects our overall performance, but can affect some physiological functions such as changes to hormones, metabolic factors and immunity.
Naps may also offer longer lasting improvements in cognitive performance and reduced sleepiness than other commonly used countermeasures of sleepiness such as caffeine.

Sleep inertia is also characterised by a decrease in...

Vitamin D protects against colds and flu, finds major global study

24 February 2017
New Scientist reports that according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London. If everyone took vitamin D supplements, more than 3 million fewer people in the UK would have respiratory infections like colds or flu every year. That?s according to a new analysis of data from nearly 11,000 people.

Vitamin D is known to be important for bone and muscle health. Last year, Public Health England stated that people are not generally getting the recommended 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day...

Ibrutinib resistance mutations often arise early, suggesting potential as a cue for alternative therapy

23 February 2017
Mutations in two genes often occurred months before relapse of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treated with ibrutinib (Imbruvica), suggesting potential as a cue for alternative therapy, according to a retrospective review of four clinical trials.

Among patients who had CLL relapse, acquired mutations in BTK and PLCG2 occurred in 85% of cases. The mutations arose a median of 9.3 months prior to overt disease relapse, reported Jennifer A. Woyach, MD, of Ohio State University in Columbus,...

Reporting medical news is too important to mess up

22 February 2017
'News stories regarding the latest in the world of medicine are often popular. After all, most people are interested in their own health and that of their family and friends.

But sometimes reports can be confusing. For example, one minute coffee seems good for you, and the next it?s bad for your health.'

Patrizia Furlan, Program Director, Journalism and Professional Writing, University of South Australia, explains the common problems in medical reporting and how the true meaning of...

Why sitting is not the ?new smoking?

22 February 2017
'Sitting has been branded the ?new smoking? for its supposed public health risks, especially for people with sit-down office jobs.

Over the past 15 years or so sitting has been linked with cancer, heart disease and diabetes and even depression. This has led to a surge in media stories on the risks of sitting, even for people who do a lot of exercise.

Then there?s the rise in the popularity of standing desks to encourage people to get off their chairs to improve their health.

But is...

Daytime Sleepiness Improved by Weight Loss Interventions

05 February 2017
Having trouble staying awake during the day and blaming CLL? If you are overweight, a review of 42 studies "suggests that weight loss interventions improve daytime sleepiness, with a clear dose-response relationship" and "For overweight or obese adults, intentional weight loss is associated with improvement in daytime sleepiness, according to a review published in Obesity Reviews":...

Curbing Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Tied to Britain's Drop in C.Diff

27 January 2017
We've had previous warning posts about the worrying risk of severe side effects from Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics as well as posts about how difficult it is to eradicate a Clostridium difficile infection. So I was interested to read of the tie between the two!

Restricting the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics was more effective than measures such as "deep cleans" of hospitals in reducing the incidence of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) in Oxfordshire and Leeds, England, researchers...

Deep learning algorithm diagnoses skin cancer as well as seasoned dermatologists

26 January 2017
There's been an encouraging development with Artificial Intelligence detection of skin cancers. The Google neural net is 'helping catch skin cancer now, thanks to some scientists at Stanford who trained it up and then loosed it on a huge set of high-quality diagnostic images. During recent tests, the algorithm performed just as well as almost two dozen veteran dermatologists in deciding whether a lesion needed further medical attention.

?Advances in computer-aided classification of...

Targeted therapy can restore bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics

23 January 2017
A new targeted therapy drug, which neutralises the enzyme used by bacteria to provide resistance to antibotics, should be ready for human testing in about three years. By targeting a resistance mechanism that's shared by a whole bunch of pathogens, the new drug can make previously antibiotic-resistant bacteria vulnerable to existing drugs again.

Some of the most devastating bacteria get their antibiotic resistance by producing an enzyme known as New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1)....

Natural does not mean safer. Red Yeast Rice, sold as Statin alternative, has similar risks!

23 January 2017
...the common perception that natural is safer didn't pan out in the study of the Italian Surveillance System of Natural Health Products, similar to the findings of a prior French government analysis of adverse event reports it received on red yeast rice.
Red yeast rice supplements, popular for lipid lowering, may have liver and muscle risks "highly similar to that of synthetic statins," according to analysis of an Italian surveillance program for natural health remedies --...

Dental implant coatings fight infection with three-pronged attack

30 December 2016
According to researchers at the University of the Basque Country, about 10 percent of dental implants end up having to be removed due to bacterial infections or the implant not integrating with the patient's jawbone properly. To combat this, the team has developed new coatings for dental implants that not only anchor to the surrounding bone better, but could fight bacterial infection in three ways.
Given our increased...

"Blinded" superbugs can't infect what they can't see - an alternative to antibiotics for burns infections

23 December 2016
"Antibiotics are amazing drugs, and they have saved countless lives since their discovery more than 80 years ago," says Dr. Anne-Marie Krachler, from the University of Texas Health Science Center and senior author on the new study. "But there is a challenge ? the challenge of antibiotic resistance that has made many antibiotics ineffective. A material that targets virulence instead of killing bacteria could be a way to treat infections that are resistant to antibiotics."


After Ibrutinib failure, lymphocytes up again. Maybe another trial with Idealisib

22 December 2016
Now 8 months since I had to stop the FLAIR trial of Ibrutinib and Rituximab due to side effects (severe and debilitating muscle and joint pain) I have been pretty well with bloods within normal limits. Now, sigh, the lymphocyte count is up again and the concern is how quickly this will increase.
It has been suggested I might be able to do Unity trial of Idealisib combined with Ublituximab (I think this is the right name) but this would require initial treatment and monthly transfusions...

For life-saving blood purification, magnets may trump antibiotics

22 December 2016
'Although over half of all cases of blood poisoning prove fatal, the condition can be cured if caught early. That's why doctors typically start administering antibiotics as soon as they even suspect that harmful bacteria are present in the bloodstream. Using these medications too often, however, can lead to antibiotic resistance. With that in mind, an international team of scientists is developing an alternative method of blood purification ? it involves drawing the bacteria out with...

Virus DNA in sewers may keep people from getting sick

22 December 2016
'When a virus such as the flu is going around, the earlier it's detected, the better prepared that health agencies can be. It's with this in mind that scientists at Stanford University are pursuing an idea. They're proposing doing analyses of communities' wastewater to detect rises in the amount of viruses passed by residents, identifying the microbes based on their DNA.'
I know from my employment in a water corporation that sewers are...

How HIV?s evasion tactics could help fight the flu

14 December 2016
'There is now an intense effort to find unique antibodies that can overcome the evasion techniques of influenza, malaria, dengue and hepatitis C. To do this, researchers screen thousands of individual immune cells to find the most potent antibody that simultaneously disables multiple variations of each pathogen.'
In an interesting article that provides interesting insights into how our immune system works and how some tricky viruses evade it, Kim Jacobson, Senior Research Fellow,...

Jeff Sharman - ASH 2016 with Patient Power

08 December 2016
'Just back from ASH 2016. Plenty of interesting things to discuss. I did a sit down visit with Andrew Schorr of PatientPower where we filmed this 45 minute discussion of relevant topics in CLL. We were joined by some great docs from MD Anderson and Cambridge Hospital in England.'
Jeff Sharman's blog and video are available here:

Photo: Conestick plant - more unusual Australian flora

Health Check: do home remedies for common warts really work?

06 December 2016
Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Dermatology, University of Melbourne and William Cranwell, Doctor, Melbourne Health look at the evidence:
Note particularly (and these warnings are for healthy people!):
'Never try to remove the wart yourself as this carries a high risk of infection, bleeding and scarring. Self-surgery also increases the risk of the wart spreading. Avoid scratching and picking the wart...