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Are human papilloma viruses (HPV) causing some prostate cancers? And could getting the HPV vaccine help in preventing some cases of prostate cancer? Sure sounds like it according to a recent study published by Australian researchers.

The researchers reviewed 26 studies and came to the conclusion that while prostate cancer likely has many causes, it appears to also have an infectious viral cause - specifically certain human papilloma viruses (HPVs). They point out that HPV vaccines protect against the high risk HPV types 16 and 18, which cause the majority of cervical cancers, and also appear to be implicated in some prostate cancers.

From Medical Xpress: Potential causal role of human papilloma viruses (HPVs) in prostate cancers

Human papilloma viruses (HPVs) - a common group of viruses known to cause cervical cancers—may also have a causal role in prostate cancer, according to a literature review published in the open access journal Infectious Agents and Cancer, supporting the case for universal HPV vaccination. 

James Lawson and Wendy Glenn, at the University of New South Wales, Australia reviewed results from 26 previous studies on HPVs and their links to prostate cancer. They assessed the existing evidence using a common set of nine causal criteria, including the strength and consistency with which HPVs were associated with prostate cancers and whether HPVs were detected in prostate tissues that later went on to develop cancer.  ...continue reading "Prostate Cancer and Human Papilloma Viruses"

The number of people who have Crohn's disease has been rising steadily over the years. Crohn's disease is a debilitating intestinal bowel disease (IBD) which causes severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. A number of studies have focused on gut bacteria in those with Crohn's disease and found dysbiosis (microbial community out of whack), but there is disagreement over the cause of Crohn's and the dysbiosis.

Up to this point no treatments (drugs, surgery, diet, etc.) have had long-term success, and so patients have to take medications throughout life. This is why a small study (10 patients) finding long-term remissions (3 to 23 years) with medicines no longer required is exciting.

According to the Australian researchers success was achieved by having the individuals take a variety of antibiotics over a long period (about 3 years!), and for some also a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in the form of a "crap" or "poop" pill  (freeze-dried donor fecal microbiota).

The researchers felt that Crohn's disease is caused by an infection, perhaps  Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP), and they chose courses of various antibiotics that they thought would work against MAP.

Symptoms of Crohn's disease totally cleared up, intestines (including fistulas) healed, and patients discontinued all medications and treatments. The authors called it a "prolonged remission" in the study. But they did point out that this group was special, and that others treated that same way also achieved remission, but were unable to totally go off all medications.

So we'll see. It needs to be duplicated in more people first.

Excerpts from Medical Xpress: Study: Antibiotic and 'crapsule' therapy eliminate need for further treatment of Crohn's disease

The Centre for Digestive Disease (CDD) headed by Professor Thomas Borody has cured Crohn's disease as reported today by Dr. Gaurav Agrawal in Gut Pathogens.  ...continue reading "Successful Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?"

Two big risk factors are emerging over who will develop severe COVID-19 infections that lead to hospitalizations and needing intensive care. A number of studies throughout the world are reporting that the main risk factor in persons under 60 years is being significantly overweight, especially obesity, and the other risk factor is being over 65 years of age.

What is significantly overweight? A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more is considered obese - probably 40 pounds or more overweight. For example, a 5 ft 5 inch person weighing 181 pounds or more, or a 5 ft 10 inch person 210 pounds or more. [see BMI chart]

Two studies of New York City hospital patients had similar findings. Doctors at NYU Langone Health (Lighter et al) found that overweight patients who were under age 60 were twice as likely to be hospitalized as their thinner peers, while those who were obese were three times as likely to need intensive care, the study found. And this is in patients who didn't have any other diseases or conditions - they were healthy, but overweight. The medical thinking is that this may because obesity is a state of chronic inflammation.

The scary part is that the US has a very high obesity rate - with the NYU researcher Jennifer Lighter pointing out that nearly 40% of adults in the US are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more!

A French study found that a key finding was that those with a BMI of greater than 35 had more than sevenfold increased risk of requiring mechanical ventilation (compared to those with a BMI of less than 25). Studies are also finding that disease severity increased with increasing BMI.

Interestingly, obesity wasn't a predictor of severe disease leading to hospital admission or the ICU (intensive care unit) in those over the age of 60 years. But in those younger than 60 years, it was.

Excerpts from Medscape: Obesity Link to Severe COVID-19, Especially in the Under 60s

It is becoming increasingly clear that obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease, particularly among younger patients ...continue reading "Being Overweight Is Higher Risk For Severe Coronavirus Infections"

Is male hair loss a risk factor for having a severe infection with COVID-19? An international group of researchers (in a joint letter in Dermatologic Therapy) hypothesize that the reason some people have severe infections of COVID-19 and others only mild symptoms, may be related to the male hormones (androgens) linked to hair loss.

"Male pattern baldness" is considered androgen-dependent hair loss and is known as androgenetic alopecia. Androgens increase in boys at puberty.

As support for their hypothesis of androgen involvement, the researchers point out that a greater proportion of men get severe COVID-19 and also die from it. They propose this possibility as an additional risk factor to consider besides the known ones of older age (over 60) and underlying conditions.

And of course they say that research is now needed to look into this possibility. In a nutshell, their hypothesis is "...the scientific evidence gives us reason to believe that beardy, bald men may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 than other individuals." At this point, who knows?

From Futurity: Hypothesis: Is COVID-19 Severity Tied to Hair Loss?

Researchers hypothesize that the same male hormones that cause hair loss may be linked to the vulnerability of patients to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  ...continue reading "Is There A Link Between Severe COVID-19 and Male Hair Loss?"

Infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy and worried about the pregnancy and baby? A national registry has just been established that is tracking the effects of coronavirus COVID-19 on the pregnancy and on newborns. This is because the virus is so new that we don't know what, if any, effects it has on pregnancy and on the baby. Does it harm the developing baby during the first 2 trimesters or cause problems during pregnancy? We just don't know.

Normally something like this takes a long time to set up and implement, but this has just started and already over 400 pregnant women have signed up. Women can sign up through their health care provider or on their own at the registry website. The registry is called the Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry (PRIORITY).

So far the one small study out of China that was done was reassuring, but it only looked at the last trimester of pregnancy. So please consider signing up for the national PRIORITY registry. The more women sign up, the more we will learn.

On a related note, people are pushing back at the  CDC guidelines suggesting that newborns born to women with COVID-19 infections should be removed and put into isolation. And if breastfeeding, to pump the breast milk and have a healthy caregiver feed the baby. That guideline is absolutely NOT supported by evidence. Also, the virus has not been detected in breastmilk.

An excerpt from Medscape (the medical professional site) on the CDC guidelines: "Some experts say the recommendation to separate mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from their infants after delivery is not supported by evidence and could cause lasting harm."  Absolutely.

From Medscape: COVID-19 Registry Tracks Pregnant Women, Newborns

A multidisciplinary team of researchers has created a national registry to study how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their newborns.  ...continue reading "Sign Up For Registry Tracking Effects of COVID-19 On Pregnancy and Newborns"

Good news today! I am happy to report that I (and family members) are now in our 8th year of successfully using probiotics to treat and conquer sinusitis. This includes both chronic sinusitis and regular sinus infections. Yes! This means no antibiotics or any other antibacterial has been used in more than 7 years.

We  have accomplished this by using the amazing probiotic (beneficial bacteria) Lactobacillus sakeiI started with using kimchi back in 2013 after I read interesting research. But in the last few years I've used the refrigerated product Lanto Sinus, which contains a kimchi-derived strain of Lactobacillus sakei. 

Since this blog started in 2013, I have heard from hundreds of people and the majority agree with me - Lactobacillus sakei works great as a sinusitis treatment! [See Best Probiotics For Sinusitis for details on results and products used.]

Important things I've learned about Lactobacillus sakei over the years:

  1. Only use it when needed, when there are some sinus symptoms or you're sliding towards sinusitis. Just like with antibiotics, you shouldn't take it daily and routinely.
  2. Swishing a product like Lanto Sinus in the mouth alone is a gentle and cautious way to use the product. Using it in the nostrils is a stronger way to use the product.
  3. Don't overdo it. This means don't use too damn much, such as shooting it in the nostrils in a nasal rinse (e.g., 1 gram in a bottle full of water). Using a little bit in the nostrils (as described in Sinusitis Treatment Summary methods) is sufficient. Let the little buggers travel on their own throughout the sinuses - and they do!
  4. Use for a few days and reevaluate if that was enough. Many times the sinuses keep improving even after stopping Lactoabcillus sakei. One can always use more if needed.
  5. If Lactobacillus sakei works for a person, it can feel miraculous as sinusitis symptoms disappear, frequently within a few days. On the other hand, it doesn't work for everyone and only self-experimentation determines whether it does - after all, everyone's sinus microbiome is different.
  6. Lactobacillus sakei alone is enough to treat sinusitis. Don't need fancy concoctions or fancy protocols. When I use it, it takes me under 1 minute a day!
  7. The sinus microbiome slowly improves over the years, so we are using less and less of Lanto Sinus over time. At the same time, we noticed that we are getting fewer and fewer upper respiratory infections. Amazing!

That's it. Hopefully this offers hope to those who have suffered for years with repeated sinus infections.

I also want to mention that I'm a consultant for Lanto Health, but that's because I really like the Lactobacillus sakei strain used in Lanto Sinus.

Good health!

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Have you recently lost your sense of taste or smell? Then you may be infected with the coronavirus COVID-19, even if you don't display any other symptoms.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) posted on its web-site that loss of a sense of smell (anosmia) and loss of a sense of taste (dysgeusia) are both symptoms of  COVID-19. Even if there are no other symptoms of COVID-19 - meaning it's a mild case, but it is still infectious and can be spread to others. Reports from South Korea are that about 30% of patients and from Germany that more than half of patients experience this.

It doesn't seem to matter how sick you are, or whether you are congested or not. Nothing seems to help - not nose drops or sprays.  Persons regain their sense of smell and/or taste after a few days or weeks.

It is suggested that loss of sense of smell could be used as a COVID-19 screening tool. Excerpt from the UK ENT group statement posted on the AAO-HNS web-site...continue reading "Loss Of Sense of Smell Or Taste May Indicate You Have Covid-19"

News stories about the coronavirus called COVID-19 now sweeping the globe have stressed that people over the age of 60, or people immunocompromised in some way, or with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to the virus. Which led many people to think that in persons younger than 60 getting a COVID-19 infection wasn't a big deal.

However, a report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) looking at COVID-19 cases in the United States that occurred during February 12–March 16, 2020, found that surprisingly large numbers of younger adults also require hospitalization. They reported that nearly 40% of younger adults with COVID-19 between the ages of 20 and 54 wind up being hospitalized, and that nearly half of people admitted to intensive care units were under the age of 65. And there were some deaths.

On the other hand, no ICU admissions or deaths were reported among persons aged less than 19 years. Whew...

Still, the authors wrote, “these preliminary data also demonstrate that severe illness leading to hospitalization, including I.C.U. admission and death, can occur in adults of any age with Covid-19".

Excerpt from NY Times: Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S ...continue reading "Severe Illness From COVID-19 Can Occur In Adults Of All Ages"

Is blood type important in coronavirus COVID-19? A study of 2173 patients from 3 hospitals in China found that not only is blood type important in the risk of contracting COVID-19, but also in whether one dies from it.

The study found that people with type A blood are more prone to being infected with COVID-19, and also dying from it - as compared to people with other types of blood. People with type O blood had the lowest risk of catching COVID-19 and also dying from it.

The researchers pointed out that these same blood type differences occurred in the earlier SARS outbreak (lower risk in those with type O blood, and higher risk in those with type A blood). The researchers felt that "blood type is a biomarker for differential susceptibility of COVID-19" - meaning how susceptible you are to the virus. And that perhaps it is linked to "natural anti-blood group antibodies, particularly anti-A antibody, in the blood".

The study still has to be peer-reviewed, but what an interesting finding! General article describing the research from Newsweek: RISK OF GETTING COVID-19 COULD BE LINKED TO CERTAIN BLOOD TYPES, CORONAVIRUS STUDY SUGGESTS

Original study (in preprint): Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility

Novel coronavirus COVID-19. Credit: NIAID-RML

Watching the coronavirus spread in the USA and the world (see global map), it is clear that the United States is lagging behind some other countries in testing for the coronavirus, as well as slowing down the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, our country, including the CDC, has responded terribly in many ways. So... it is with awe that I read how South Korea is testing for the coronavirus: roadside drive through testing stations, similar to fast food drive thru.

Coronavirus roadside drive through testing in South Korea. Credit: CNN

The drive through roadside testing sites are safe, easy, efficient, and a cost effective way to test people for the coronavirus. The procedure only takes a few minutes with people remaining in their cars, hundreds of people are screened at each site daily, and results are back within a few days.

Another plus is that in South Korea the coronavirus testing is paid for by the government (universal health care!), which results in people not being afraid to go for testing. Unfortunately, in the US, not only are there not enough tests available, but currently you are responsible for all your medical costs, including testing. Which is too much money for many, many people.

Can the United States do this someday soon? Look at the video, Incredible! From CNN on March 3, 2020: Free drive through coronavirus testing in South Korea.

Short story (with photos) from Business Insider:  See the drive-thru clinics South Korea is using to test patients for coronavirus