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The Consumer Health Week in Review: New Approaches to Treat Diabetes; Pushing Back on Doctor’s Orders; No Graphic Smoking Pictures in NYC; Oregano Kills Prostate Cancer Cells

New Strategies in Controlling Diabetes
Researchers are trying new approaches to treat Type 2 diabetes amid widespread uncertainty about the most effective therapies and concerns that current strategies might be doing some patients more harm than good. New treatment guidelines suggest doctors vary treatments depending on a patient’s age, general health and even personal preferences and recommend that doctors back away from pushing patients to get their blood sugar down to a standard targeted level. One approach gaining wider acceptance is the use of bariatric surgery, which results in dramatic weight loss. Though it comes with risk of serious complications, the operation has been shown in recent studies to lead to a rapid lowering of blood sugar, often enabling patients to go off most or all of their diabetes medicines. Some experts also are questioning the benefits of gradually stepping up the intensity of drug therapy, a widely accepted approach that was reaffirmed in the latest guidelines. The aim is to maintain a patient’s blood-sugar level while keeping up with the progressive nature of the disease. But some researchers argue in a recent small study that hitting the disease early and hard is better.

Patients Avoid Disagreeing With Their Doctor
Most people are unwilling to contradict their doctor in discussions on medical treatment, according to a U.S. survey showing that most want a say in treatment decisions or they may end up not following the advice. The findings, which appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine, are based on an online panel of 1,340 adults who were told to imagine they had heart disease and then asked how they wanted to be involved in their own treatment. Researchers found that close to 70 percent of patients preferred making medical decisions with their doctors, but only one in seven said they would disagree with their doctor over treatment. Researchers fear that reluctance to express disagreement in the office may correlate with poor adherence outside the office and may lead to worse patient outcomes.

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Smoking Photos Snuffed
A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a blow to New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign to curb smoking, ruling that the city can’t force stores selling tobacco to post graphic images of rotting lungs and teeth. The city Board of Health—which Mr. Bloomberg effectively controls—passed a resolution in 2009 requiring cigarette sellers to display images of a cancerous lung, a stroke-ridden brain scan or a rotting tooth, along with phone numbers for quit-smoking resources. The images were no longer required to be posted in 2010, when the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled against the city. The appeals court upheld that decision. The decision said NYC usurped federal power over warning consumers about tobacco risks. The ruling marked a rare setback for Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to use government regulation to force New Yorkers to lead healthier lives. Other attempts such as a restaurant and bar smoking ban and a prohibition on trans fats haven’t been successfully challenged in court.

Oregano Destroys Prostate Cancer Cells
A new study highlights the cancer fighting effects of one of the main components of oregano called carvacrol.  While some research has been done previously on the herb’s medicinal properties, this is the first study of its kind to study the effects of carvacrol on prostate cancer. Tests continue to be ongoing, but preliminary reports have revealed that the compound is an extremely potent anti-cancer agent – eliminating nearly all the prostate cancer cells it was tested against. Researchers were able to deduce that carvacrol stimulated apoptosis – or “cell suicide” – in the prostate cancer cells. Figuring out why carvacrol is so effective against prostate cancer could have a significant impact on the future of cancer drugs and research.  According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States, with more than 240,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed in 2012.

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Jon Siegal

Jon Siegal

Account Director (Healthcare) at MSLGROUP

With nearly 18 years of PR experience, Jon is an account director in MSLGROUP’s Boston healthcare practice.

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