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Women should be aware of polycystic ovarian syndrome

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the top reasons that women may struggle to become pregnant. But, even if you’re not trying to conceive, it’s important to treat this common endocrine condition.

Irregular or infrequent periods are a common symptom. In my work as an endocrinologist who focuses on reproductive health issues, up to 85 per cent of the women who come to see me because they only get periods occasionally have PCOS. Women who get no periods at all can have PCOS, but can also have other conditions.

Losing 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight can help make your periods more regular. This degree of weight reduction can also help reduce your diabetes risk, improve your blood pressure and give you better quality of life.
Losing 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight can help make your periods more regular. This degree of weight reduction can also help reduce your diabetes risk, improve your blood pressure and give you better quality of life.  (Dreamstime / TNS)

The name is a bit of a misnomer. Most women with PCOS don’t have cysts. What appears on their ultrasounds are actually follicles. Usually, these sacs, which contain and ultimately release eggs, are tiny and hard to see in a scan. But in women with PCOS, the follicles grow larger than they would in women without the condition.

In a normal menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus builds up and sheds. But, in PCOS, if the periods are infrequent, the uterine lining can continue to build without shedding. If this happens over long periods of time, the risk of abnormalities in the uterine lining increases. In the worst-case scenario, this can contribute to endometrial cancer. This is something my colleagues and I monitor for. It’s important to have normal periods often enough to protect the uterus. We can help do this in a number of ways when needed.

Menstrual irregularities are just one sign of PCOS, which also includes male hormone-effect symptoms like acne, male pattern hair loss or growth. Although it’s easy to see these problems as being strictly cosmetic, they’re more serious than that.

Hair loss, unwanted hair and acne can be distressing enough on their own, but research also shows women with PCOS are at an increased risk of depression and some types of anxiety. The highest correlation with mood and anxiety is in women who have high body mass, infertility and the skin- and hair- related symptoms.

Among women, male-pattern hair growth or loss are also clues that someone is likely insulin resistant and her body can’t effectively respond to the insulin it produces to help manage blood sugar levels. Most women who have PCOS also have insulin resistance.

Women with PCOS are also more likely to develop other conditions associated with insulin resistance, like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. There’s a widespread misconception this is because women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight, but that’s not always the case.

When matched by their body mass index (BMI), women with PCOS have higher insulin resistance than women without the condition. Similarly, compared to people women without PCOS, people who have it are at four to five times greater risk of developing diabetes. That’s why it’s important to do routine blood sugar testing, about every three to five years.

Fortunately, some lifestyle changes can help.

It isn’t easy, but losing 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight can help make your periods more regular. This degree of weight reduction can also help reduce your diabetes risk, improve your blood pressure and give you better quality of life.

For someone who weighs 200 pounds, a 5 per cent loss is 10 pounds. I see weight loss as a long-term strategy made up of tiny little changes you can sustain over time. Even if it takes two or three years to lose those 10 or 20 pounds, research tells us it’s still worth doing.

There haven’t been huge studies into how best to lose the weight, but the small studies have shown it probably doesn’t matter how it happens (in terms of the type of diet). So, my advice is to find a plan you can stick with. If you can’t live without steak, go lower carb (although I don’t necessarily recommend ultra-low carb diets). And if you can’t live without pasta, go more low fat. Do the thing you can stick to because it will work better for you in the long run.

Regular exercise can also help increase insulin sensitivity. I’ve often seen improvements in menstrual regularity when my patients exercise — even if they don’t lose weight. To get the benefit, you need to exercise most days of the week. It doesn’t have to be intense — I like to recommend 30 minutes of walking four or five days a week. You can even split the time up — you don’t have to do the entire half-hour at once.

When I was doing my medical training in the 1990s, there wasn’t a good explanation for why some women develop PCOS. It was an area of unmet need, but a lot has changed since then. It’s a rewarding field to work in and I see my work as an opportunity not just to help treat this condition, but also to prevent others associated with it.

If you think you might have PCOS, it’s important to talk to your primary health care provider. Although PCOS is common — affecting between 5 and 10 per cent of all women — there are other conditions that may present themselves similarly and it’s important to be sure you’re getting the best treatment possible.

Dr. Sheila Laredo is an associate professor in the division of endocrinology at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. She is also chief-of-staff at Women’s College Hospital where she is also an endocrinologist. Doctors’ Notes is a weekly column by members of the U of T Faculty of Medicine.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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