Daily Archives: October 4, 2010

The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 14 – Day of Life 228

Anastasha is yet-to-be born, yet she has already blessed many of us who have been following the lessons she is teaching her parents and siblings. Here’s the latest update from her daddy, family physician Craig DeLisi:

Dearest ones.

This week, some local friends will be having a prayer time for Tonya and I in honor of Anastasha. This is in leui of a baby shower, since we obviously don’t need diapers and onesies. But what we do need is for the Body of Christ to lift our weary arms.

Even though most of you who are reading this live hundreds of miles away, would you consider joining us by praying for us during that time as well? You are our most loved “family,” both by blood and through Christ.

Tonya will be 34 weeks gestation this week. Contractions are picking up quite a bit already. Last night she was having them every 3-5 minutes for a while. While this is “normal” for her pregnacies, we really aren’t ready for Anastasha to come yet, neither emotionally nor practically speaking.

In the last email that I sent out, I mentioned that we felt like we are at the end of a marathon and don’t have the strength to make it to the finish line. One of my friends, John Wall, told me that in the only marathon that he ever ran, he almost quit at mile 23 (of 26). He walked the final few miles … with one exception. When people in the crowd in those final few miles were cheering him on (his name was on the back of his shirt), he would find strength to run again.

Much like John, we are in desparate need to be “cheered” to the finish line by the Body of Christ. You are those who have loved us and supported us most in our lives and especially now.

So would you please join those who will be praying for us here and the great “company of Heaven” to help us press on and RUN the race to the end, and do it in a way that brings the Lord tremendous glory.

We feel the gravity of the coming moments and days and don’t want to “waste” this opportunity to praise Him and advance His kingdom during them.

We know that it is not your “cheering” will carry us to and beyond the finish line, but it is the love of our faithful Abba that will. But we value the prayers of the saints and have numerous times in our lives experienced the increased grace that the Lord imparts because of them.

Specifically, you can pray:

  • against fear and anxiety as her birth/death approaches,
  • for physical rest and wisdom when to “stop doing” and go to bed (we’ve gone to bed at 2AM or later because of house construction for over a week straight)
  • peace for Tonya
  • that we would have a few more weeks before Anastasha is born,
  • that the details and timing for her birth/death/funeral would come together – LOTS of variables that are almost overwhelming (coordinating the kids, who is coming to visit, funeral plans, etc.),
  • physical comfort and safety for Tonya,
  • that we could hold Anastasha in our arms while she is still alive,
  • that the kids’ hearts will be prepared for what lies ahead

We love you and bless you all.

Craig and Tonya

Here’s the entire series of amazing stories:

Loud Music Causing More Teens to Lose Hearing, Experts Say

A new study is highlighting the need for teens to turn down the volume that goes into their ear buds. Here are the details from ABC News:

Brooklyn Miller is a 13-year-old who has a lot in common with other girls her age. She enjoys socializing with her friends and likes to dance.

She also wears hearing aids because of a mild to moderate hearing loss her mother says was caused by chronic ear infections when she was an infant.

That hearing loss is something she has in common with an increasing number of children her age across the country.

Researchers used data from a national heath and nutrition survey done between 1988 and 1994. They compared the number of children ages 12 to 19 with hearing loss in those years to the number of children with a hearing loss in 2005 and 2006. They found that in 2005 and 2006, 1 in 5 children had hearing problems. That represents more than a 30 percent increase since the first survey.

The most common kind of loss was high-frequency hearing loss, though researchers did not determine the reasons why these children lost their hearing.

“This study has put in data what we’ve suspected all along,” said Tommie L. Robinson, president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

While they don’t know for sure, hearing experts have a theory about why more and more teenagers are suffering from hearing loss.

“The high-frequency hearing loss is most consistent with noise exposure,” said Dr. John W. House, president of the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. “I think we’re seeing that trend now because of iPods and other personal listening devices that teenagers listen to at high volumes for long periods of time.”

Brooklyn Miller didn’t suffer from the effects of loud music. But her mother, Susan Miller, worries that her three other children will damage their hearing because of their iPods.

“I keep telling them to turn down their earphones because they’re going to suffer from a hearing loss,” said Susan. “But they don’t relate it to the headphones. To them, it’s because Brooklyn has a problem.”

Teen Hearing Loss Rises 30 Percent in Survey

That’s a message hearing experts want to get out to teenagers and anyone else who uses personal listening devices or is regularly exposed to loud noise.

“We need to change some behavioral things that we’re seeing,” said Robinson. “We’ve got to get people to do three things — turn down the volume, take listening breaks and use ear protection when they’re in an environment wth loud noises for extended periods of time, such as concerts or doing yard work.”

“Listening devices are fine as long as the volume is at a reasonable level, and they’re not listening to them for extended periods of time,” said House.

House said the volume of music players can sometimes exceed 110 decibels. According to standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, exposure to noise levels of 110 decibels for more than 30 minutes requires noise protection in workplaces.

A good guideline, experts say, is to figure out whether the person next to you can hear your music.

“If someone is standing next to you and they can hear your music, it’s too loud,” said Robinson.

Hearing Loss Can Be Debilitating

As Brooklyn Miller knows, a hearing loss can make life very difficult. Before her loss was diagnosed, she had trouble in school, and one teacher thought she had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. At one point her school suggested she had a low IQ.

“She went through a lot of educational testing,” Susan said. “She was a bright kid, but she was struggling somewhere, but we didn’t know where.”

Last year, she got hearing aids, and they’ve made a tremendous difference in her life.

“She can finally hear noises, like traffic, that we take for granted,” said Susan.

That’s why experts say they really want to get teenagers to protect their ears. Their hearing is getting progressively worse.

“Once you lose your hearing, you cannot get it back. It’s gone for good,” said Robinson.

Problems Persist With Ginseng Supplements

Long-time readers know of my fondness for ConsumerLab.com. Their independent testing of natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) guides my teaching and my prescribing. Now, a review by ConsumerLab.com finds 45% of ginseng products don’t provide the full amount of the ingredient indicated on the label, or worse, are contaminated.

ConsumerLab.com is now reporting that five out of eleven of the most popular ginseng supplements in the U.S. were selected for testing and contained less ginseng than expected from their labels or were contaminated with lead and/or pesticides.

Problems with the quality of ginseng supplements have been reported by ConsumerLab.com since 2000. Ginseng is a popular herb with U.S. sales last year of $83 million according to Nutrition Business Journal.

“Consumers need to be wary of the quality of ginseng supplements” said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com.

“People should also recognize that there is enormous variation in the amount of ginsenosides — key ginseng compounds — in marketed supplements. We found most products to provide approximately 10 to 40 mg of ginsenosides per day, but some yielded much higher amounts, including one that delivered a whopping 304 mg.  We are not aware of human studies with the higher amounts. The effects might certainly differ from one product to another.”

Ginseng has often been promoted for increasing vitality. While there is not much clinical evidence to support an energy boosting effect, studies indicate that that certain preparations may help prevent colds and flus or keep blood sugar levels down in people with diabetes. A range of other uses have been suggested but lack strong evidence.

The new Product Review of Ginseng Supplements provides test results for fifteen supplements – eleven selected by ConsumerLab.com and four tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors that passed the same testing through CL’s Voluntary Certification Program.

Also listed are two products similar to one that passed testing but sold under different brand names.

Brands included are Action Labs, Bluebonnet, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Imperial (GINCO), Nature Made, Nature’s Bounty, Nature’s Plus, NSI (Vitacost), Pharmanex, Puritan’s Pride, Solgar, Spring Valley (Walmart), TruNature, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, and Whole Foods.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York.

Of importance, it has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

Common acne treatments linked to bowel problems

Acne is a difficult enough burden for a young person to bear. Now there’s evidence that antibiotics commonly prescribed to help control severe breakouts may, in a very small number of patients, lead to inflammatory bowel disease. Here are some details from Reuters Health:

Bowel disorders linked to acne treatment are “a rare outcome,” cautioned Dr. David Margolis, a dermatologist and lead author of a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, in an interview with Reuters Health.

Nonetheless, previous studies have suggested that the acne drug isotretinoin, known commonly by the brand name Accutane, might be the cause of inflammatory bowel disease in a small number of patients being treated for severe acne.

Noting that most people given isotretinoin have already been taking antibiotics for months, if not years, Margolis and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania wanted to know if antibiotics might play a role in triggering the bowel condition.

Up to 90 percent of teenagers and young adults battle acne at some point. Drugs from the tetracycline family are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for the treatment of severe acne.

“They limit scarring and the outbreak of pimples. They’re exceedingly effective and have been used for years,” Margolis said.

The researchers looked at the medical records of more than 94,000 British teenagers and young adults diagnosed with acne between 1998 and 2006.

They found that long-term use of antibiotics appeared to double the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease in these subjects. Of the 207 cases of inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed among the 94,487 patients in the study, 152 (0.26 percent of all subjects) were taking one of three commonly prescribed tetracycline-based antibiotics and 55 (0.14 percent) were not.

Patients taking one of the three drugs, doxycycline, appeared to be at a slightly higher risk (0.21 percent) of developing an inflammatory bowel disease compared to patients taking minocycline (0.17 percent risk) or tetracycline (0.20 percent risk).

“The association was probably most pronounced in terms of Crohn’s disease, a subgroup,” Margolis said.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and malnutrition. It affects an estimated 400,000 people in the U.S. Some 600,000 Americans suffer another inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis. Both are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and some complications of the conditions can require surgery.

“This potential risk should be considered when prescribing this medication,” the authors write, while also urging more study of the connection between acne drugs and bowel disorders. It is possible, for instance, that the risk of inflammatory bowel disease is related to the biology of severe acne itself and not to treatments for it, they note.

“This is a rare outcome, rare enough you need to be careful about making decisions to change clinical practice,” Margolis said.

Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can be life-altering conditions that restrict social interactions and increase depression.

Severe acne is also a “bad disease,” Margolis said. “These people have lots of concerns about their health, their appearance and how they function in society, and they are at an increased risk of depression,” Margolis pointed out.

Margolis was prompted to conduct the study after being asked to review records by lawyers representing a generic manufacturer of isotretinoin. The legal case is still in the discovery phase.

“I’m not sure if isotretinoin (Accutane) is on or off the hook all by itself,” he said. “I think this research indicates that in a careful study one should probably consider antibiotic use,” as well, he added.