Times are a little tough right now for all of us. I know I've had to tighten my financial belt somewhat with higher gas prices, grocery prices, my electric bill and so on. That's why we work hard every day, gathering, preparing and delivering what we hope are stories that help you in your everyday life. If we happen to be missing items that are important to you, please send me an email. Let me know what you think of the Morning Rush. I'd love to hear from you!
Americans are still making unhealthy choices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent in Atlanta issued a report this week.
That report says the overall health of Americans isn't improving very much, with about six in ten people either overweight or obese and large numbers engaging in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking or not exercising.
The report found that we continue to make many of the life3style choices that have led to soaring rates of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses including the following:
The one bright spot came in the area of sleep behavior. About seven in ten adults meet the federal objective for sufficient sleep.
This one seems like a no-brainer to me - probably because of personal experience. There was a time when I was extremely overweight, I suffered from regular bouts of heartburn. Then when I lost the weight, those bouts didn't just reduce, they disappeared. It was obvious to me that being overweight had a lot to do with heartburn. Now a new study apparently confirms my thoughts.
It says obese men and women who suffer from heartburn often report relief when they lose weight. The researchers tracked the effects of weight loss over a year in patients who had a persistent form of heartburn known as gastroesophageal reflux or GERD.
Heartburn or acid indigestion is very common, with more than 60 million Americans having it every month. Stomach acid flows back into the esphophagus and the burn begins.
GERD, the most frequent, chronic form of heartburn, can lead to complications if left untreated, including a narrowing of the esophagus or precancerous changes in the esophageal lining.
At the beginning of the study, 38% had heartburn scores severe enough to be classified as GERD. They weighed an average of 220 pounds at the time. After six months, the patients' average weight fell to 183 pounds and only 16% still had GERD.
During the weight loss portion of the study, participants were also asked to get a moderate amount of exercise. So researchers still aren't sure what played the major role in the decrease of GERD...weight loss or exercise.
Some exciting news in the war on cancer. A new study shows an experimental drug that taps into the power of the body's immune system to fight cancer, is shrinking tumors in patients for whom other treatments had failed.
The drug binds to a protein called PD-L1 that sits on the surface of cancer cells and makes them invisible to the immune system, almost like a cloaking device.
That protein allows the tumor cell to grow unchecked and cause harm to the patient. But with the protein blocked, the immune system can see and destroy cancer cells.
21% of patients initially saw significant tumor shrinkage after at least three months on the medication. One patient saw tumors disappear completely.
The drug also seems to work on a wide range of cancers including those toughest to treat. They include non small cell lung cancer, melanoma, colo-rectal, kidney and stomach cancer.
One researcher says this has all the characteristics of a really amazing drug. He says he can count on one hand the number of times he's seen response rates like this.
At least five companies are involved in backing this research and on scientist says he doesn't think in the history of cancer therapy we've had five or more companies working to develop antibodies targeted at the same pathway.