Monday, April 28, 2008

Syphilis Rates On the Rise After Years of Decline

Syphilis is one of those diseases that has been around for centuries, but had been brought under control recently, with rates declining in the U.S. A recent article on Medscape notes that infection rates in America have been on the rise in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

While HIV/AIDS usually gets most of the coverage when the press covers sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis is a potentially deadly disease that can have many devastating effects on the sufferer. Not helping matters is the fact that the signs of syphilis mimic those of many other skin disorders.

And speaking of HIV/AIDS, when that illness co-occurs with syphilis the symptoms and treatment can become even more complex. You can find out a lot more about syphilis at Medline's Web site.

Patients who have had syphilis for many years may develop neurosyphilis if their condition is untreated or is improperly or inadequately treated. Neurosyphilis is a life-threatening infection of the brain or spinal cord. Because neurosyphilis is characterized by an infection of the cerebrospinal fluid, diagnosis may be made by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

See Medline's article on neurosyphilis for more information on this disorder.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gastric Bypass Surgery Helps Cure Diabetes

Many people have had gastric bypass surgery to overcome obesity, but scientists have discovered that the operation can have another, unexpected benefit: obese patients who had diabetes no longer have the disease soon after they have the surgery. In some cases, the diabetes goes into remission immediately.

And as a report on the April 20th "60 Minutes" details, gastric bypass surgery, or bariatric surgery, can have a positive effect on obesity-related cancers, too.

Scientists interviewed in the report said that the diabetes remission might be due to the fact that part of the small intestine is removed during gastric bypass surgery, and that portion of the intestine may play a role in causing diabetes.

You can find out more information at the Web sites of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and the Diabetes Surgery Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DASH Diet Can Cut Strokes, Cardiovascular Disease

Eating a low-fat diet full of fruits and vegetables is not only good for the heart and for high blood pressure, it can also decrease women's likelihood of having a heart attack and stroke.

As reported by WebMD and other sources, women following the DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease than women not on the diet. The study showing these results was in the April 14th issues of Archives of Internal Medicine.

The DASH diet is not really a diet per se, but rather a method of eating that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, along with reducing intake of fats and sodium.

The DASH diet has been recommended by the American Heart Association. The book The DASH Diet for Hypertension, first published in 2001, outlines the basics of the DASH diet and offers recipes and menu plans for following the diet.