Health and Healing

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Liviah’s New Liver: A Family Grapples With a Girl’s Puzzling Hepatitis

Post by kmaherali »

A 4-year-old in Ohio is one of hundreds of children worldwide who have developed unexplained liver problems in recent months.

It was three days before Christmas, and Elizabeth Widders was perched in her upstairs bathroom, fastening red and green bows in the hair of her 4-year-old daughter, Liviah. But as Liviah stood in the morning light, her mother noticed that the whites of her eyes had turned yellow.

She hustled Liviah downstairs to ask her husband, Jack, for a second opinion. He saw the yellow tint, too.

Liviah and her two siblings all had jaundice as babies, and their parents, from Mason, Ohio, were familiar with the telltale signs. “I knew: This is liver stuff,” Mrs. Widders recalled.

They took Liviah to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with acute hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. Less than two weeks later, doctors removed her failing liver and replaced it with a new one.

Over the past eight months, hundreds of other families have been caught in similar whirlwinds, as their otherwise healthy children developed hepatitis, seemingly out of the blue. Six hundred and fifty probable cases have been reported in 33 countries, according the World Health Organization. At least 38 children have required liver transplants, and nine have died.

The cases have stumped experts, who are investigating a variety of potential causes. One leading hypothesis is that an adenovirus, a family of common viruses that typically cause flu- or cold-like symptoms, may be responsible, but many questions remain.

The revelation that Liviah’s case might be part of a larger phenomenon has galvanized her parents, who have started sharing their story in hopes of educating others about the key warning signs.

The cases are exceedingly rare, experts emphasize, and even then, most do not require transplants. “The odds of something like this happening are extremely small,” said Jack Widders, Liviah’s father.

But without a solid explanation, it feels like lightning that could strike any family.

More... ... 778d3e6de3
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Blood Tests That Detect Cancers Create Risks for Those Who Use Them

Post by kmaherali »

The tests screen for cancers that often go undetected, but they are expensive and some experts worry they could lead to unnecessary treatments without saving patients’ lives.

By Gina Kolata

June 10, 2022
Jim Ford considers himself a lucky man: An experimental blood test found his pancreatic cancer when it was at an early stage. It is among the deadliest of all common cancers and is too often found too late.

After scans, a biopsy and surgery, then chemotherapy and radiation, Mr. Ford, 77, who lives in Sacramento, has no detectable cancer.

“As my doctor said, I hit the lottery,” he said.

Tests like the one that diagnosed him have won praise from President Biden, who made them a priority of his Cancer Moonshot program. A bill in Congress with 254 cosponsors would authorize Medicare to pay for the tests as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approved them.

But companies are not waiting for a nod from regulators. One, GRAIL, is selling its annual test, with a list price of $949, in advance of approval, and another company, Exact Sciences, expects to follow suit, using a provision known as laboratory developed tests.

The tests, which look for minuscule shards of cancer DNA or proteins, are a new frontier in screening. Companies developing them say they can find dozens of cancers. While standard screening tests are commonly used to detect cancer of the breast, colon, cervix and prostate, 73 percent of people who die of cancer had cancers that are not detected by standard tests.

Supporters say the tests can slash cancer death rates by finding tumors when they are still small and curable. But a definitive study to determine whether the tests prevent cancer deaths would have to involve more than a million healthy adults randomly assigned to have an annual blood test for cancer or not. Results would take a decade or longer.

“We’re at a point now where the blood tests are in their early days,” said Dr. Tomasz Beer, a cancer researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, who is directing a GRAIL-sponsored study of the test that found Mr. Ford’s cancer. “Some people in an informed manner can choose to be early adapters.”

The companies would like to get the tests approved with studies less rigorous than the F.D.A. typically requires, and they stand to make huge profits if that happens.

“GRAIL proposes to test every Medicare beneficiary every year, making it the screening test that could bankrupt Medicare,” said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a senior investigator in the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

With 44 million Medicare beneficiaries and an annual test costing about $1,000 a year plus expensive scans and biopsies for those whose tests are positive, the price tag could be substantial.

He and other critics warn that the risks of unleashing the tests are substantial. Paradoxical as it may sound, finding cancers earlier could mean just as many deaths, with the same timing as without early diagnosis. That is because — at least with current treatments — cancers destined to kill are not necessarily cured if found early.

And there are other risks. For example, some will have a positive test, but doctors will be unable to locate the cancer. Others will be treated aggressively with surgery or chemotherapy for cancers that, if left alone, would not have grown and spread and may even have gone away.

Dr. Beer acknowledges that a cancer blood test “doesn’t come without risks or costs, and it is not going to detect every cancer.”

But, he said, “I think there’s promise for a real impact.”

Other experts are worried.

Dr. Barnett Kramer, a member of the Lisa Schwartz Foundation for Truth in Medicine and former director of the Division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute, fears that the tests will come into widespread use without ever showing they are beneficial. Once that happens, he said, “it is difficult to unring the bell.”

“I hope we are not halfway through a nightmare,” Dr. Kramer said.

The Damocles Syndrome

When Susan Iorio Bell, 73, a nurse who lives in Forty Fort, Pa., saw an ad on Facebook recruiting women her age for a study of a cancer blood test, she immediately signed up. It fit with her advocacy for preventive medicine and her belief in clinical trials.

The study was of a test, now owned by Exact Sciences, that involved women who are patients with Geisinger, a large health care network. The test looks for proteins and DNA shed by tumors.

Ms. Bell’s result was troubling: Alpha-fetoprotein turned up in her blood, which can signal liver or ovarian cancer.

She was worried — her father had had colon cancer and her mother had breast cancer.

Ms. Bell had seen what happened when patients get a dire prognosis. “All of a sudden, your life can be changed overnight,” she said.

But a PET scan and abdominal M.R.I. failed to find a tumor. Is the test result a false positive, or does she have a tumor too small to be seen? For now, it is impossible to know. All Ms. Bell can do is have regular cancer screenings and monitoring of her liver function.

“I just go day by day,” she said. “I am a faith-based person and believe God has a plan for me. Good or bad, it’s his will.”

Some cancer experts say Ms. Bell’s experience exemplifies a concern with the blood tests. The situation may involve only a small percentage of people because most who are tested will be told their test did not find cancer. Among those whose tests detect cancer, scans or biopsies can often locate it.

But Dr. Susan Domchek, a breast cancer researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, warned that when large numbers of people get tested, false positives become “a real problem,” adding, “we need to know what to do with those results and what they mean.”

Dr. Daniel Hayes, a breast cancer researcher at the University of Michigan, refers to the situation as a Damocles syndrome: “You’ve got this thing hanging over your head, but you don’t know what to do about it.”

How Good Are the Tests?

So far, the Geisinger study is the only published one asking whether the blood tests find early, undetected cancers.

In addition to Ms. Bell, the study involved 10,000 women aged 65 to 75 who had the blood test and were encouraged to also have routine cancer screening.

The blood test found 26 patients who had cancers: two lymphomas, one thyroid cancer, one breast cancer, nine lung cancers, one kidney cancer, two colorectal cancers, one cancer of the appendix, two cancers of the uterus, six ovarian cancers and one unknown case in which there were cancer cells in the woman’s body but it was not clear where the cancer started.

Seventeen of these women, or 65 percent, had early stage disease.

Conventional screening found an additional 24 cancers that the blood tests missed.

Dr. Bert Vogelstein, a cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine who helped to develop the test, said the study was not designed to show risks and benefits. That will require much larger and more detailed studies.

GRAIL’s study, led by Dr. Beer, involved 6,629 participants. Its interim data, presented at a professional meeting last year, showed the test found cancer signals in 92 participants. After these subjects had additional tests like CT and PET scans and biopsies, the researchers concluded that 29 had cancer. Among those cancers, 23 were new cancers and nine were early stage. The rest were recurrences in people who had already had cancer.

A 12-month follow-up is forthcoming, Dr. Beer said.

“We are particularly interested in the false positive question,” he said. “We will find out what happens when folks get a test result that is suggestive of cancer but no cancer was found. Is there a cancer that comes up clinically in the next six months?”

“The goal here is to reduce the morbidity and mortality from cancer,” Dr. Beer said. “That is a noble and important effort.”

Testing Into Overtreatment?

When GRAIL was first formed, its leaders invited Donald Berry, a statistician at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, to be on its scientific advisory board.

“They said they needed a skeptic,” Dr. Berry said. “I told them I was a skeptic and I was quite negative. I told them there was this real hurdle — they will have to run very large clinical trials and the endpoint must be survival. They have to show that detecting cancer early is more than just detecting cancer early. It has to mean something.”

A few years later, the company restructured its scientific advisory board to include many new experts, and Dr. Berry is no longer a member. He is not sure why.

“Being generous, I’d say they no longer needed my expertise,” Dr. Berry said. “Being realistic, they got tired of hearing my complaints that finding cancer early was not enough.”

Yet difficult questions from him and other critics remain.

One is overdiagnosis: finding small tumors that would never have been noticed and may not have caused any harm. Some cancers simply fail to grow or are destroyed by the body’s immune system. But without knowing if the cancer is dangerous, it will be treated as though it is, subjecting people to therapies that are often difficult or debilitating and may be unnecessary.

Dr. Kramer said this also happens with standard screening tests, which can result in the removal of thyroid glands, breasts or prostates for small tumors that are actually harmless.

There are a few sobering examples, like a screening test for babies once widely used in Japan for neuroblastoma, a cancer of the adrenal glands, that found harmless tumors but missed the deadly ones.

But, Dr. Kramer added, with blood tests looking for dozens of cancers, “it’s going to be even worse.”

“We will dip more and more deeply into the iceberg of disease,” Dr. Kramer said, finding “lesions that look like a cancer to the pathologist but may not have the same natural history at all.”

It may not even be possible to find the most aggressive cancers early enough for a cure, Dr. Kramer added. The tumors that shed the most DNA and proteins into the blood are the largest tumors.

“There is a real cost to adopting things before we know if they work,” said Dr. David Ransohoff, a cancer researcher at the University of North Carolina.

What Evidence Will Suffice?

Dr. Vogelstein agrees that what is really needed is a randomized clinical trial. But, he says, it does not have to take 20 years. It would have to be large but, he said, “you don’t have to wait to show it reduces mortality.” Intermediate endpoints could suffice, he says, and Exact Sciences, the company that owns the test he worked on, is discussing proper test design with the F.D.A.

Dr. Joshua Ofman, president and chief medical officer at GRAIL, said the company has begun a study working with institutions in Britain that should have results within a few years. It will enroll 140,000 people there who will be randomized to have the GRAIL test along with standard cancer screening tests or to have the standard tests alone. The goal is to see a reduction in metastatic cancers in those who take the GRAIL test.

“We are absolutely expecting to find it,” he said of the reduction.

Dr. Berry, though, is not assuaged and fears that the public’s faith in early detection which, he says, “is like a religion,” will rule the day, even without good evidence.

“Everybody loves early detection, but it comes with harms,” Dr. Berry said.

“The harms, we know,” he added. “The benefits are very uncertain.” ... 778d3e6de3
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Distress of the soul: 5 ways to fight anxiety and depression

Post by kmaherali »

The series starts on June 28th, but the healing starts TODAY because you can download a free ebook that outlines 5 fast ways to start improving your anxiety and depression.
https://www.anxietyanddepressionseries. ... 34&afid=70

The crippling pain of anxiety and depression has GOT to STOP. No more waiting!

The daily torment you’re feeling can be put to rest.

There’s just no sense letting it hold you back any longer. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

>> Click this link to download your ebook by Dr. Vincent Pedre. https://www.anxietyanddepressionseries. ... 34&afid=70

And, while you’re there, you can sign up to watch the series… which is full of hope, help, and new ways to fight the “silent epidemic” that’s affecting us all.
Posts: 24342
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

How this 98-year-old has been disease-free for decades

Post by kmaherali »

But if a 98-year-old man from a poor Eastern-European country doesn’t remember the last time he was sick...

Don’t you think that you, in the West, can have the SAME destiny?

That’s what you’ll discover in this new docuseries.

Bu, ut unless you register NOW for the series that premieres to the world this Tuesday… ... CC20220702

Complimentary access to "Immune for Life" will be closed FOREVER.

The only way you’ll be able to watch it after that is if you pay $297.

(Which is still a steal compared to taking medical drugs, honestly.)

But RIGHT NOW you can register to watch it at no cost and discover the latest breakthroughs from the world’s top 35 health experts...

Like Dr. David Perlmutter, Ocean Robbins, Brian Vaszily and Dr. Joel Fuhrman...

Whom you might’ve seen on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and the Today Show.

In "Immune for Life", you’ll witness the dispelling of many commonly-accepted myths...

And the docuseries will uncover prevention protocols, innovative treatments, and natural methods for healing modern-day diseases such as autoimmune conditions, cancer, neurocognitive decline, obesity and diabetes and MANY others.

You’ll also discover the secret of the 98-year-old man from Eastern Europe...

Who has been disease-free for decades!

So don’t wait any longer.

Register now to watch the entire series while you still can! ... CC20220702

See you there,

The Cancer Answers team
Posts: 24342
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

From Neuron to Neighborhood - The Brain and Mind Institute

Post by kmaherali »


Ismaili Health Care Providers from Canada and the USA are invited to join Dr. Zul Merali, founder of the Brain and Mind Institute at the Aga Khan University, on Wednesday, July 13 as he discusses the the role the institute plays in the areas of mental health and neuroscience. Dr. Merali will discuss the research, education, innovation/implementation, and partnership goals of the institute along with ways Ismaili Health Care providers can get involved.

For more information, please visit Neuron to Neighbourhood ... %20vUS.pdf . ... -institute
Posts: 24342
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Your Brain Will Love This

Post by kmaherali »

Hi Karim,

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like if your brain stopped working? If you started forgetting names, places, people - everything that you hold dear?

When it comes to your brain, there is an A-word that strikes fear into many of our hearts - Alzheimer's.

Over 6 million people - in the United States alone - suffer from Alzheimer's disease... And for decades we've been told that there is very little we can do about it.

But there is now concrete evidence that Alzheimer's disease IS preventable. And regardless of your genetics, you can protect your brain.

Meet my friend Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist (and NY Times bestselling author) who knows the best preventative practices against Alzheimer's and wants to share them with the world...

He gives us the entire scoop in a FREE 12-part documentary series called Alzheimer's - The Science of Prevention.

It airs in a few days and I highly recommend checking it out!

Click here to watch the trailer ... 55b0fddb67

Dr. Perlmutter teamed up with 20 other leading brain health experts for this powerful online event. In it, they will reveal:

- What Alzheimer's is, and what is happening in the brain
- The one thing that is at the root of Alzheimer's disease and all chronic degenerative diseases
- The early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease
- How to dramatically reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
- Exercises that promote brain strength
- The best and worst foods for your brain
- Supplements that can optimize brain health

And much more!

All Dr. Perlmutter's recommendations are simple dietary and lifestyle practices - no prescriptions necessary. And all of it is backed by science.

Plus, this pioneering documentary series is not just about the prevention of brain disease. It's about enhancing your brain so it's sharper than it has ever been before.

You can do this. You can prevent dementia, Alzheimer's and brain decline.

Click here to sign up for this free groundbreaking event now ... 55b0fddb67

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science
Posts: 24342
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 3:01 pm

The 8 TOP SECRETS of the World's Longest-Lived People

Post by kmaherali »

Hi Karim, hope you are doing well.

Today you're getting EIGHT excellent health reports free from veteran health researcher and founder of The Human Longevity Project, Jason Prall, in support of his fortcoming Ultimate Holistic Health Summit.

This includes the clear, concise, and fascinating report, The Top 8 Secrets of the World's Healthiest, Longest-Lived Populations...

Head here right now to get this report and 7 others completely FREE ... n=07252022

(NOTE Karim: When you scroll down the page above about halfway, you'll see what each of the 8 reports you're getting today are about.

In addition, take a look at the "World-Renowned Authorities" in the free Ultimate Holistic Health Summit and what they'll each be sharing with you!)

Now, regarding "The Top 8 Secrets of the World's Healthiest, Longest-Lived Populations," Jason traveled and researched cultures worldwide where people lived the longest...

And in the report, he concisely reveals the 8 lifestyle habits they share that are the prime contributors to living long and well.

Obviously this is "golden knowledge" worth knowing!

Another of the 8 reports you're getting free that is well worth your while is Liver Detoxification Remedies by Dr. Ameet Aggaral.

In this Liver Detoxification report you'll discover 8 top herbal detox teas... 4 homeopathic remedies for a health liver... important insights on how to properly breathe for healthy liver and more.

Click here now to see all 8 reports Jason is giving you free today ... n=07252022

Next, as for Jason's new event called the "Ultimate Holistic Health Summit" that you're also getting free access to, well...

If you’re ready to tap into your full healing potential, you’re going to want to pay very close attention to this online event!

Because in it, 35 world-renowned doctors, experts, and healers are coming together to teach YOU the latest and most effective holistic health secrets to boost your energy, eliminate pain, and live long and well.

(Again, when you scroll down the page, take a look at the "World-Renowned Authorities" to see what they'll each be presenting on... worthwhile knowledge you don't often see elsewhere!) ... n=07252022

Learn more about the Ultimate Holistic Health Summit and get your 8 FREE reports here (including "Liver Detoxification Remedies" and "Top 8 Secrets of the World's Healthiest, Longest-Lived Populations.")

FINALLY, because smiles and laughter are always good medicine...

I simply must share a delifghtful "dad joke" my little boy actually shared with me the other day:

What is the scariest tree?



Enjoy the important learning in the 8 free health reports you're getting right here and in the Ultimate Holistic Health Summit, and enjoy your Monday.

To Living Long and Living Well,

Brian Vaszily
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: Health and Healing

Post by swamidada »

Afra Rafeeq: India teen who died but raised millions to save her brother

Meryl Sebastian - BBC News, Cochin
Thu, August 4, 2022 at 7:05 AM
An Indian teenager who died this week was a social media star whose video appeal had helped raise millions of rupees for her baby brother's treatment.

Afra Rafeeq, 16, had spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic condition that causes muscle weakness and affects movement and breathing.

She died on Monday at a hospital in the southern state of Kerala after developing complications related to the disease.

"She got every possible joy out of life," her father, PK Rafeeq, says.

Afra's family and neighbours remember her as a bright and talented young girl who loved to sing and study even as she battled excruciating pain.

But it was a viral video in 2021 that won her fans across the country.

Before that, her father says, Afra didn't step out much from her house in Kerala's Kannur district. She had been diagnosed with SMA when she was four, and only left home to go to school or the hospital.

"We were quite private and concentrated our efforts on getting her the necessary treatment," he says.

But then, her younger brother Muhammed was also diagnosed with SMA.

The family was "devastated", Mr Rafeeq says, "because we knew the pain our daughter had already gone through".

SMA is a potentially fatal condition that is likely to occur in one in 6,000-10,000 children. The condition affects the motor neurons - cells in the spinal cord - and gets progressively worse as a child ages.

Children with SMA struggle to achieve key developmental milestones such as holding up their neck, sitting, standing and walking.

Afra, her father says, was desperate to ensure that Muhammed would get the right medical treatment.

This included accessing Zolgensma, a fairly new drug for gene therapy that was approved by the US FDA in 2019. The drug - one of the world's most expensive medicines - contains a replica of the gene missing in children with SMA and is given as a one-time dose to those younger than two years.

Muhammed was already one-and-a-half years old, so his family had very little time left. But "the medicine's cost was unthinkable", Mr Rafeeq says.

One dose of Zolgensma cost 180m rupees ($2.2m, £1.8m) and had to be imported from the US.

'Gene therapy is a game changer for our son'

NHS approves 'most expensive' drug for genetic disease

Since Zolgensma's approval, several Indians have turned to crowdfunding to access the drug, with some succeeding after their appeals went viral. India's health ministry has allowed voluntary crowdfunding for some rare diseases such as SMA.

Afra's family tapped many sources, including online crowdfunding. Their local village council also formed a treatment committee to collect money. But they could only raise a few hundred thousand rupees.

That is when Afra shot a video with her cousin's help.

"I don't want my brother to suffer the pain I have," she said in the video, which was uploaded online.

It quickly went viral on social media and started getting media coverage.

"Suddenly, money was flowing in from everywhere," says YL Ibrahim, a member of the village council.

In three days, the fund for Muhammed's treatment received 467.8m rupees. Afra had to make another public appeal, asking people to stop sending money.

"We tried so many things but it was her video and what she said that struck a chord with people," Mr Ibrahim says.

After Muhammad received his dose, the committee used the extra funds to help two other children with SMA and gave the rest of the money to the Kerala government.

Afra, Mr Rafeeq says, "saved" the family.

An "overjoyed" Afra started a YouTube channel to update people on her brother's progress. In less than a year, she had 259,000 subscribers. The videos there showed her visiting the hospital, spending time with her brother and sister at home and celebrating birthdays and festivals.

She would also keenly discuss Muhammed's medical treatment and physiotherapy in her videos.

Muhammed, now two-years-old, is able to crawl by himself and stand with support.

"He can't stand or walk on his own just yet. But there is some strength in his legs now," Mr Rafeeq says.

Afra's condition, however, kept worsening. In the last few days of her life, she would grit her teeth in pain and could barely lift her hands, her parents say.

Her last video showed the family visiting a hospital in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. After the news of her death, thousands of people have left condolence messages under the video.

Mr Rafeeq believes Afra's videos raised awareness about SMA in India.

"I think that was her life's purpose," he says. "So many people understood what SMA is and what it does because of her."

Afra was due to write school exams later this month and had been preparing hard. She was determined to get top marks in every subject, her father says.

A day after her death, he says, he teared up when he saw a Post-it note stuck on the wall behind her study table with an encouraging message to herself - "You can do!".

"It reminded me just how much of her is in every part of this house." ... 51449.html
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