Category: Health and Medicine

Silicone Breast Implants and the Politics of Risk

8232Silicone, not to be confused with Silicon, a chemical element that exists in nature, was first polymerized in the late 19th century. Not much was done with it until the 1930s when a chemist at Dow Corning refined it for use as a lubricant in submarines and planes. The first known medical use of silicone was during World War II as a lubricant for glass syringes.

Since then, silicone has regularly been used in electronics, cookware, the automotive industry, and especially in the medical field due to its biocompatibility. Silicone is used in liquid form as a lubricant, and in gel form as bandages, dressings, breast implants, contact lenses and more. Because silicone is extremely biocompatible, studies have shown no marked harmful effects on humans or the environment.

Despite the science, in the 1980’s several diseases were directly attributed to breast implants. Fear and panic spread as the media spun stories of breast implants causing various maladies even though existing research did not corroborate the reports.

Surgeon and historian Jack C. Fisher, author of Silicone on Trial: Breast Implants and the Politics of Risk, sits down with Dr. David Granet to discuss the controversial history of silicone medical devices – including breast implants. Though the fear surrounding their usage was unwarranted and not based in scientific fact, battles waged about their safety and government regulation followed suit. Dr. Fisher argues that regulatory policy should rely on valid science and not on the fear of risk.

Watch Silicone Breast Implants and the Politics of Risk, and browse more programs on Health Matters.

VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Learn the Facts About Sugar

8232A dangerous white powder is in the news – sugar.

We’ve heard so much about the harmful effects of sugar lately, that it may be hard to distinguish facts from fiction, and it’s left many consumers with more questions than answers. That’s a problem because, let’s face it, when we’re talking about possibly reducing something we consume (and enjoy) on a daily basis, not knowing the facts can keep us from making necessary changes in our diets.

To get the facts, health scientists at UCSF developed SugarScience.org to learn more about the latest research findings on sugar and its impact on health. Their goal? To help you make healthy choices based on clear, unbiased, scientific evidence.

So far, the evidence is clear: too much added sugar doesn’t just make us fat – it can also make us sick. Americans consume an average of 66 pounds of sugar per year. Because it’s so easily digestable, too much sugar overwhelms the liver and can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even liver disease and failure.

“The news is hard to hear,” admits Professor Laura A. Schmidt, UCSF School of Medicine. “It’s tough stuff. Just like smoking back in the 50’s, you grew up thinking everybody does this, it’s benign. Now the scientific community is in the hard position of saying something you love and think is benign is harmful to your health.”

How much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends that we don’t exceed the following guidelines for daily added sugar intake:

Women: 6 teaspoons (24 grams)

Men: 9 teaspoons (36 grams)

Kids: 3-4 teaspoons (12-16 grams)

Preteens & Teens: 5 teaspoons (20 grams)

Once you start to look for added sugar, you’ll find it everywhere. SugarScience.org has uncovered 61 different names for sugar in the products we consume. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that my favorite salad exhausted my entire recommended daily allowance of sugar.

But even small changes can make a big difference.

Perhaps the simplest change you can make is to stop drinking “liquid sugar.” Sugary drinks such as sodas, sports drinks and even fruit drinks are particularly harmful. If we could eliminate sugary drinks, we’d collectively cut out 37% of our sugar consumption. And there’s evidence that artificial sweeteners inflict the same kind of damage as real sugar.

But life can still be sweet. “Added sugars” don’t include the sugars we find in fruits, berries, and vegetables. That’s because when we eat them, we also get their natural good fiber, which makes the sugar harder to digest and keeps it from overwhelming the liver.

Learn more about sugar and SugarScience.org. Watch Learn the Facts about Sugar – How Sugar Impacts Your Health today.

VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Arthritis – From Snake Oil to Science and Success

8232Achy, stiff joints brought on by osteoarthritis have been experienced by many millions of people for a very long time. Experts have found skeletons dating to the Ice Age that show signs of osteoarthritis.

Sometimes called “wear-and-tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is a common condition that many people develop during middle age or older. In 2011, more than 28 million people in the United States were estimated to have osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Unfortunately, Osteoarthritis often gradually worsens and no cure exists. While new information and new medications may seem like magical cure-alls, it is important to take a deeper look before making treatment decisions. In this Stein Institute for Research on Aging presentation, Gregory Middleton, MD shares the symptoms and causes of OA, current treatments, and how to make informed choices about medications and disease management.

Watch Arthritis – From Snake Oil to Science and Success.

VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Women’s Health: A Critical Update Across the Lifespan

8232It seems obvious that men and women are different, biologically. But until the 20th century, serious women’s health research was largely neglected. It wasn’t until 1987 that the National Institutes of Health adopted guidelines to include women in clinical research.

Fortunately, things have changed.

In this new series from UC San Francisco’s Mini Medical School for the Public, you’ll discover the latest information about a woman’s unique health needs presented by UCSF faculty from the Women’s Health Center. Programs cover a wide spectrum of issues over the course of a woman’s life and address both comprehensive and integrative approaches to care.

Watch the following programs online now:

29273Every Patient is an Athlete: Using Exercise as Medicine
Dr. Carlin Senter is a primary care sports medicine doctor whose focus is to help patients of all ages stay active. She explores exercise and the athlete in every woman.

29274What’s New in Management of the Menopause?
Dr. Michael Policar, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF School of Medicine, explores what’s new in the management of menopause. From tips for living with hot flashes to hormone treatment, see what works and what doesn’t.

29275Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention: A Clinician’s Perspective
About one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer. Dr. Mindy Goldman, Director of the Women’s Cancer Care Program at UCSF, specializes in women’s health care and gynecology issues for breast cancer patients and those at risk for cancer. She presents a clinician’s perspective on screening and prevention of this all-too-common disease.

Stay tuned for these programs coming soon:

Outsmarting Stress One Breath at a Time

Breast Cancer in Marin: The Myths, The Facts & The Science

Not All Roads Point to Hysterectomy: Treatment Options for Fibroids

Browse all programs in Women’s Health: A Critical Update Across the Lifespan.

VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Preventing HIV By Understanding Patterns of Transmission

8232“Understanding the spread of infectious diseases in a population is the key to controlling them.”

AIDS is one of the most devastating infectious diseases in human history, and its cause, HIV, has been responsible for millions of infections. Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV. It is estimated that there are over 56,000 new cases of HIV in the U.S. each year.

Dr. Susan Little of UC San Diego School of Medicine sheds some light on this disease and the possibility of preventing its spread. Her research tracks HIV infection by rapidly obtaining genetic information from those engaged in HIV healthcare. A discussion follows on privacy protections, the risks associated with the use of these data and their potential to significantly limit HIV transmission in communities. Dr. Little is presented by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology in San Diego.

Watch Preventing HIV By Understanding Patterns of Transmission with Susan Little, MD.

Browse more programs from the Exploring Ethics Series.

VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)