Medical News Today: Frequent ejaculation and prostate cancer: What’s the link?

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Medical News Today: Carcinoma in situ: What is it and how is it treated?

Carcinoma in situ is a cancer designation where a person has abnormal cells that have not spread beyond where they first formed. The words “in situ” translate to “in its original place.”

These in situ cells have the potential to become cancerous cells and spread to other nearby locations. Other names for carcinoma in situ are stage 0 disease, non-invasive cancer, or pre-invasive cancer.

This article will focus on some of the more common areas where doctors diagnose carcinoma in situ and the treatment approaches that can follow a diagnosis.

Where does carcinoma in situ occur?

Some of the most common types of carcinoma in situ are listed below:

Carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder

Bladder cancer
Carcinoma in situ commonly occurs in the bladder.

The bladder is a common location where doctors detect carcinoma in situ. According to the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Care Network, an estimated 3 percent of all first-time bladder cancers are carcinoma in situ.

Carcinoma in situ of the bladder is very common in those who have a history of bladder cancer that was previously in remission. Nearly 90 percent of people with bladder cancer see a recurrence.

This cancer type is most commonly detected among male smokers who are between the ages of 60 to 70 years old.

Cervical carcinoma in situ

Doctors may identify cervical carcinoma in situ as pre-cancerous cells that rest on the surface layer of the cervix.

Doctors can treat this pre-cervical cancer type, but the cancer can sometimes recur. For this reason, doctors recommend continued Pap smear tests to check for any further pre-cancerous cells.

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Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

Doctors also call this type of carcinoma in situ intraductal carcinoma. It is one of the most common types of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Ductal means that cells are growing in the milk ducts of the breasts. According to, an estimated 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed annually in the United States are DCIS, equivalent to about 60,000 cases.

Squamous cell carcinoma in situ or Bowen disease

This skin cancer type is one of the earliest-known forms of squamous cell skin cancers. Again, according to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 2 out of 10 skin cancers are squamous cell skin cancers.

The cells in this type of carcinoma in situ most commonly appear on areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as face, ears, and neck. They are more likely to grow deeper into the skin, as well as spread to other areas of the body.

The disease types listed above are just a few examples of the different areas where carcinoma in situ can occur. 

How is carcinoma in situ treated most effectively?

Some of the common treatments for each type of carcinoma in situ include:

Carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder

surgeons at work in surgery
Surgery is recommend in the majority of cases for carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder.

Almost all people with carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder will undergo surgery to remove the pre-cancerous cells.

Examples of surgical procedures include transurethral resection or biopsy with electrical or laser cautery.

If doctors still detect cancerous cells after these procedures, they may recommend radical cystectomy or surgical removal of the bladder.

However, because older individuals are the most likely to present with this condition, doctors may recommend watchful waiting, as the time it could take for the cancer to progress may be longer than a person’s life expectancy.

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Cervical carcinoma in situ

In this type, doctors will often recommend removal of the precancerous cells to prevent them from turning cancerous and to reduce the likelihood of them spreading.

A doctor can remove the cells using cryosurgery, laser surgery, cold knife conization, or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP/LEETZ).

If a woman is no longer in her childbearing years, a doctor may recommend a hysterectomy.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

With cases of DCIS, a doctor will discuss treatment options with a woman, depending upon where in the breast the cancerous cells are.

One option is breast-conserving surgery (BCS), where the surgeon removes the cancerous cells, as well as a portion of normal breast tissue surrounding the tumor.

In some instances, a doctor may remove lymph nodes as well. A doctor may also recommend follow-up radiation therapy, to reduce the risk pre-cancerous cells could come back in the breast.

If the area of DCIS is large, a doctor may recommend a mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast.

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Squamous cell carcinoma in situ or Bowen disease

Doctors will usually recommend removing the pre-cancerous cells in this type of carcinoma in situ. In some instances, a doctor may also recommend radiation to reduce the risk for cancer cell recurrence.

Choosing the right treatments

People should always discuss their treatment options carefully with their doctor.

Questions to ask include:

  1. “What are the chances this treatment will be successful?”

  2. “What are the side effects of this treatment?”

  3. “What happens if cancerous cells are still present afterward?”

Carefully weighing all options can help a person determine what is best for their individual health.

Outlook for carcinoma in situ

While a diagnosis of carcinoma in situ does not always mean the cells will become cancerous, the chances are usually so high the cells will one day be malignant that doctors recommend treatment.

By treating the cells before they become cancerous and can spread, a person will ideally have the greatest likelihood of being cancer-free.

The medical capabilities of identifying carcinoma in situ underlie the importance of a person engaging in preventive visits, such as women getting Pap smear tests and people going to a dermatologist for annual skin checks.

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Medical News Today: Enzyme may prevent rebound after weight loss

woman weighing herself
Scientists are looking into the possibility of using one enzyme to halt the overproduction of ghrelin, which “tells” us when to feel hungry. 
New research has investigated ways of preventing the “hunger hormone” ghrelin from driving people who have lost weight into a rebound. An enzyme with a metabolic function was found to reduce ghrelin’s influence, which may point to a new way of managing weight gain.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36.5 percent of adults and around 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States live with obesity.

The main approach to obesity management and prevention is adopting a more healthful lifestyle, including a more balanced diet and more physical exercise.

However, studies have shown that many individuals who shed weight after dieting have a tendency to rebound and regain the extra kilos that they worked so hard to eliminate.

This, researchers explain, is due to a rise in ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is the so-called hunger hormone, which tells our bodies when to feel hungry and when they have had enough to eat. This increase is due to our bodies’ adaptive response to the often drastic dietary changes that lead to weight loss.

Now, researchers from the Mayo Clinic – which is based in Rochester, MN – are aiming to develop a new approach to prevent weight regain in the aftermath of a diet. Dr. Stephen Brimijoin and his colleagues tested the effects of an enzyme with the potential of blocking or limiting ghrelin production on mice.

The researchers reported their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Enzyme regulates hunger hormone

Dr. Brimijoin and his team used mice in a context simulating the situation of people who have shed excess weight through dieting, but who are then are liable to regain it due to the increase in ghrelin levels.

The scientists wondered whether or not using butyrylcholinesterase might help to regulate the overproduction of ghrelin after weight loss. 

Butyrylcholinesterase is an enzyme naturally produced in the liver that plays a role in eliminating certain poisonous substances from the system, as well as metabolizing certain quantities of drugs such as cocaine.

The encoded enzyme was inserted into a neutralized virus, which was then administered to the mice with the aim of targeting ghrelin production.

It was found that boosting butyrylcholinesterase levels both correlated with a significant drop in the levels of the hunger hormone and moderated its activity. As a result, the animals adopted more balanced eating habits and did not gain any extra weight.

This happened after only one exposure to the enzyme-boosting procedure and had long-term outcomes, allowing the mice to avoid weight gain for the rest of their lives.

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‘A highly successful strategy’?

Dr. Brimijoin and his colleagues hope that these findings might lead not only to a more effective approach to obesity management, but also to preventive treatments for other metabolic diseases.

These include diabetes, metabolic syndrome (characterized by a combination of risk factors that could lead to coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular problems), and fatty liver disease (characterized by excess fat accumulating in the liver).

The scientists are pleased with the success of their research so far, but they emphasize the need to replicate these results in human participants before confirming the effectiveness of this approach.

We think this approach – combined reduction of calories and hormone – may be a highly successful strategy for long-term weight control. Given the growing obesity crisis worldwide, we are working hard to validate our findings for medical intervention.”

Dr. Stephen Brimijoin

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Medical News Today: Stopping aspirin treatment raises cardiovascular risk by over a third

bottle of aspirin
Discontinuing aspirin treatment may pose a serious threat to health, a new study shows.
New research published in the journal Circulation suggests that interrupting long-term, low-dose aspirin treatment may increase the likelihood of a second stroke or heart attack.

Researchers led by Johan Sundström, a professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University in Sweden, set out to examine the effect of stopping low-dose aspirin treatment on the odds of having a second heart attack or stroke.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that people at risk of having a heart attack take low-dose aspirin preventively. Aspirin is also recommended by the AHA to heart attack and stroke survivors, in order to avoid recurrence.

That being said, previous research – referenced by the authors in their new study – shows that 10 to 20 percent of the patients advised to continue taking aspirin preventively choose to ignore the advice.

These patients discontinue their treatment during the first 1 to 3 years after the initial cardiovascular event. But what is the effect of stopping treatment? The new research investigates.

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Quitting aspirin raises risk by 37 percent

Prof. Sundström and his colleagues examined the medical records of 601,527 people aged 40 and above who did not have a history of cancer and took aspirin in low doses to prevent either a first or a second heart attack or stroke between 2005 and 2009.

The treatment adherence among this population sample was 80 percent in the first year.

Cardiovascular events were defined as myocardial infarction, which is more commonly known as a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death. Over the follow-up period, 62,690 cardiovascular events were recorded.

Those who stopped the aspirin treatment were 37 percent more likely to have an adverse cardiovascular event than those who continued the therapy. This is equivalent to 1 in every 74 patients who quit aspirin having a heart attack, a stroke, or dying as a result of a cardiovascular event.

On the clinical implications of these results, the study authors say, “Adherence to low-dose aspirin treatment in the absence of major surgery or bleeding is likely an important treatment goal.”

As this is an observational study, it cannot explain causality. However, the team has considered the possibility that stopping aspirin may cause a so-called rebound effect.

This refers to the possibility that stopping aspirin, which has blood-thinning properties, may have blood-clotting effects after discontinuation. Some experimental studies have supported this theory.

“The clinical importance of a rebound effect may be substantial because of the large number of aspirin patients and the high discontinuation rates,” write the authors.

Low-dose aspirin therapy is a simple and inexpensive treatment […] As long as there’s no bleeding or any major surgery scheduled, our research shows the significant public health benefits that can be gained when patients stay on aspirin therapy.”

Prof. Johan Sundström

“We hope,” he adds, “our research may help physicians, healthcare providers, and patients make informed decisions on whether or not to stop aspirin use.”

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Strengths and limitations of the study

The study investigated a large national population sample, which totaled more than 60,000 cardiovascular events.

Researchers had access to all of the Swedish patients who took low-dose aspirin in the long run, as they did to “high-precision” medical registers that helped them to determine long-term outcomes of discontinuing the treatment.

But the study authors also note some limitations. They did not have access to any socioeconomic data on their patients, which might have confounded the results. Blood pressure, lipids, and smoking status were not accounted for, either.

The researchers also note the risk of reverse causation – that is, the possibility that patients who discontinued the treatment may already have been predisposed to premature death.

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Medical News Today: Suprapubic catheters: Uses, care, and what to expect

A urinary catheter is a device that empties urine from the bladder. It usually includes a flexible tube that drains the urine and a place for the urine to empty into, such as a bag. A person may need a catheter if they cannot urinate on their own.

There are several different types of catheters. The one most frequently used is known as a urethral catheter. It is inserted directly into the urethra, where urine naturally comes out of the body.

A suprapubic catheter empties the bladder through an incision in the belly instead of a tube in the urethra.

A suprapubic catheter may be an option for people who cannot have or do not want a urethral catheter. This type of catheter has some advantages over a urethral catheter, but it also needs special care to avoid infections and other problems.

Find out how this catheter works, when it is a good option, and how to care for it.

When are suprapubic catheters used?

Close up of a catheter with urine bag and syringe.
Suprapubic catheters are not used as often as urethral catheters, but may be recommended if long-term use is expected.

A suprapubic catheter offers an alternative to the frequently used urethral catheter.

Suprapubic catheters may be used:

  • when the urethra is damaged or injured

  • if the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, causing a urethral catheter to fall out

  • after surgeries that involve the bladder, uterus, prostate, or nearby organs

  • if the person is sexually active and needs a catheter for a longer period of time

  • for long-term use, as it may be more comfortable and easier to change than a urethral catheter

Long-term use of suprapubic catheters is sometimes needed when the person:

  • has a bladder blockage that cannot be corrected with surgery or other treatments

  • has incontinence that is causing skin rashes and irritation or making them worse

  • is terminally ill or severely impaired, making bed changes difficult or painful

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How does a suprapubic catheter work?

Inserting a suprapubic catheter requires a minor surgical procedure.

People are given numbing medicine, or anesthetic, to manage any pain from the procedure. A surgeon makes a small cut in the abdomen, usually a few inches below the belly button.

A suprapubic catheter does not come into contact with the urethra or genital area.

The catheter has a small balloon at the end, and once the catheter is in place in the bladder, the doctor inflates the balloon. This balloon helps prevent the tube from falling out.

Risks and benefits of suprapubic catheters

Male doctor sitting on black couch with female patient, explaining kidney problem using an anatomical model.
There are various risks that a suprapubic catheter may pose. Any concerns should be discussed with a medical professional.

Both suprapubic and urethral catheters have some risks.

If bacteria get into the catheter and travel to the bladder, they can cause an infection. The infection can affect the urinary tract and bladder and can spread to the kidneys.

This type of infection is known as CAUTI or catheter-associated urinary tract infection. CAUTIs can become serious, especially in those with weakened immune systems and other health conditions.

A person’s chances of developing an infection increase the longer the catheter is in place.

An article in American Family Physician cautions against the long-term use of catheters unless absolutely necessary. Complications of long-term catheter use include:

A report in Translational Andrology and Urology states that infections and complication rates are about the same for suprapubic and urinary catheters.

But, the authors note, suprapubic catheters are often considered to be more comfortable and that people prefer them. This is because:

  • Suprapubic catheters may be easier for a person to change and clean for long-term use.

  • A cut in the belly may be more comfortable than having a catheter placed in the urethra, especially if the person is in a wheelchair.

  • A person may feel more confident with a belly incision instead of a device placed in the genital area.

Another study also found that people prefer the suprapubic catheter over a urethral one overall. However, the authors state, they found a “significant mortality rate” associated with the insertion procedure in high-risk people.

People at high-risk may have other medical conditions or previous surgeries that make them more likely to develop complications. “The procedure may be simple but some patients and their conditions are not,” the authors state.

For this reason, the study authors recommend:

  • careful screening of people before inserting a suprapubic catheter

  • good medical care after the procedure

  • giving antibiotics through a vein during the procedure to help prevent bacterial infection

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Caring for a suprapubic catheter

Suprapubic catheters can often be managed at home, either by the individual or a caregiver. Caring for a suprapubic catheter takes some time and requires careful attention to cleanliness.

Following a few steps from the beginning will help people get off to a good start with the catheter and minimize the risk of infection.

Get instructions and ask questions

Nurse wearing disposable gloves and holding a catheter tube.
Receiving professional instruction on how to care for a catheter is important. A doctor should provide clear direction, and be able to answer any questions.

Before going home with a suprapubic catheter, it is crucial for people to understand how to care for it to help avoid problems if they or a family member will be caring for it.

People should talk with their doctor and get any questions answered. Get handouts or have someone write down each step that is needed.

This early learning is key to success, according to a report published in Home Healthcare Nurse.

Questions that may be helpful to ask include:

  • How can the catheter be kept clean? Thorough hand-washing before and after touching the catheter is vital.

  • How often should the catheter be changed? This will vary based on the person’s medical condition and how long they need the catheter.

  • What are the steps necessary to changing the catheter? Steps such as using lubricant on the tube, emptying or draining the device, and attaching a new bag may need to be reviewed.

  • What kind of care is needed for the insertion site? People often go home with a wound dressing that may need to be kept in place until the wound has healed.

  • When can the person take a shower or bath? Showers are usually recommended with gentle cleansing and soap, but baths and hot tubs are often not advised.

  • How much fluid should the person drink? The user may benefit from drinking extra water to keep the bladder and kidneys flushed out, which can lower the risk of a urinary tract infection.

Get necessary supplies

If a person needs a suprapubic catheter long-term, they will need certain supplies. Discuss what these supplies might be with the doctor or nurse before going home.

The person may get a prescription for some of the extra catheter supplies and can purchase them at a medical supply store or pharmacy.

Supplies may include:

  • extra catheter tubes and bags

  • sterile cleaning solution

  • disposable gloves

  • sterile lubricating gel that helps to insert the catheter

  • prescribed medications

Know the signs of infection

The signs of a catheter infection include:

  • redness or tenderness around the cut in the belly

  • feeling an urgent need to urinate

  • pain while urinating

  • cloudy or discolored urine

  • fever greater than 104°F

The risk of infection can be significantly reduced by washing hands with soap and water for 30 seconds before and after changing, emptying, or handling the catheter.

Signs of an infection require medical care. If any appear, one should call a doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.


Overall, many people prefer suprapubic catheters over urethral catheters. Suprapubic catheters still require careful use and attention to cleanliness, however.

Using a catheter, especially in the long-term, should be discussed with a doctor to determine the benefits and risks.

Suprapubic catheters may offer a more comfortable alternative to the standard urethral catheter and may offer people a way to manage incontinence and other issues better.

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Medical News Today: Can you live without a pancreas? What you need to know

While it is possible to live without a pancreas, doctors only recommend removing a pancreas when a person has a serious medical condition such as severe recurrent pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

In most cases, medical treatments can take the place of the pancreas, but people living without a pancreas require diligent monitoring and medical care. Removal of the pancreas also means a person will have to make a variety of lifestyle changes that can be tough to adjust to.

Can you live without a pancreas?

Diagram of the pancreas
The pancreas is located between the spine and stomach.

The pancreas is a gland that secretes hormones that a person needs to survive, including insulin. Decades ago, serious problems with the pancreas were almost always fatal. Now, it is possible for people to live without a pancreas.

Surgery to remove the pancreas is called pancreatectomy. The surgery can be partial, removing only the diseased portion of the pancreas, or a surgeon may remove the entire pancreas.

A complete pancreatectomy that removes the entire pancreas also requires the removal of parts of the stomach, a portion of the small intestine called the duodenum, and the end of the bile duct. The gallbladder and the spleen may be removed as well.

This extensive surgery can be dangerous and life-changing. After a pancreatectomy, a person will develop diabetes. They need to change their diet and lifestyle and will have to take insulin for the rest of their lives.

People who cannot produce enough insulin develop diabetes, which is why removing the pancreas automatically triggers the condition.

Removing the pancreas can also reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Without artificial insulin injections and digestive enzymes, a person without a pancreas cannot survive.

One 2016 study found that about three-quarters of people without cancer survived at least 7 years following pancreas removal. Among those with cancer, 7-year survival rates ranged from 30-64 percent, depending on the type of cancer they had and the degree to which it had spread.

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What does the pancreas do?

syringe of insulin
When the body does not create insulin, it cannot use glucose from food and blood sugar levels increase.

Located deep in the abdomen between the stomach and spine, the pancreas is a flat, leaf-shaped gland. Glands are organs that secrete chemicals the body needs to function.

The pancreas is divided into three parts: a wide end called the head, a thin end called the tail, and a middle portion called the body.

The pancreas makes insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. When the body does not produce insulin, blood sugar levels (blood glucose) can become dangerously high.

Without insulin to help the body absorb blood glucose, the body cannot use glucose from food. This can result in malnutrition and other serious health problems.

The pancreas also produces digestive juices that help the body to break down and absorb food. The portion of the pancreas that makes digestive juices is called the exocrine pancreas, while the part of the pancreas responsible for making insulin is called the endocrine pancreas.

These hormones flow through a tube called the pancreatic duct into a portion of the small intestine called the duodenum. The liver and gallbladder also release digestive juices and other chemicals into the duodenum, allowing these organs to act together to help the body absorb food.

Why would the pancreas be removed?

Doctors may remove the pancreas for several reasons, including:

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Just 7 percent of people with this type of cancer live longer than 5 years following their diagnosis. This is primarily because pancreatic cancer is hard to detect in its early stages, which allows it to spread to other organs.

There are two types of surgery for pancreatic cancer:

  • Curative surgery, which is used to remove all cancer, potentially curing the person. This type of surgery must take place before the disease has spread.

  • Palliative surgery, which is used to prolong the life of the person and reduce the severity of some symptoms.

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is an infection or inflammation of the pancreas that recurs, or keeps coming back. Some forms of chronic pancreatitis are hereditary.

Pancreatitis can be extremely painful, and even fatal. When other treatments fail, or when the pancreas is severely damaged, a doctor may recommend a full or partial removal of the pancreas.

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) are precancerous tumors that grow in the ducts of the pancreas. They can develop into cancer if left untreated. A doctor may sometimes recommend removing all or a portion of the pancreas to prevent the tumors from becoming cancerous

Removing the pancreas is not the only treatment for any of these conditions. A doctor will evaluate the risks and benefits of surgery with the person, and consider their overall health when deciding the best treatment option.

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Recovery and lifestyle changes

lady saying no sugar
Following surgery to remove a pancreas, eating a low-sugar diabetes diet is essential.

A person will remain in the hospital for several days to several weeks after surgery, depending on their condition. In the days following surgery, the person will be on a liquid diet, with solid foods slowly added in over time.

It is normal to feel pain in the days following surgery, and it can take several months to fully regain strength. The person will be unable to drive for 2-3 weeks following surgery.

It is possible to live a healthy life without a pancreas, but doing so requires on-going medical care. Pancreas removal causes diabetes, and can change the body’s ability to digest food. This requires lifelong diabetes treatment, including eating a low-sugar, low-carbohydrate diabetes diet.

The doctor may recommend eating several smaller meals each day to avoid blood sugar spikes. Avoiding drugs and alcohol can help maintain long-term health.

The person will need regular insulin injections. In some cases, these injections might be replaced by an insulin pump. It may be necessary to take digestive enzymes with each meal to ensure the food is properly absorbed.


The outlook for people without a pancreas depends on why the pancreas was removed. People with pancreatic cancer may still require cancer treatments if it has spread to other areas of the body. For other people, removing the pancreas fully cures their condition.

With proper medical care, lifestyle and diet changes, and a commitment to taking insulin as needed, it is possible to lead a relatively normal and healthy life.

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Medical News Today: Marijuana and ‘spice’ could trigger seizures, study says

marijuana and the human brain
Researchers suggest that the use of potent cannabinoids have the potential to trigger seizures.
While a number of studies have suggested that marijuana may be effective for reducing seizures, new research cautions that potent and synthetic forms of the drug have the opposite effect.

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that natural tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive chemical in marijuana – and the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 caused seizures in mice.

Study leader Olga Malyshevskaya and colleagues say that their findings – which are published in the journal Scientific Reports – should serve as a “public alert” to the potential harms caused by high-potency and synthetic marijuana.

While marijuana remains that “most commonly used illicit drug” in the United States, it is becoming increasingly legalized in individual states for medicinal purposes, recreational purposes, or both.

There has been increasing research for the use of marijuana – particularly a cannabinoid in the drug called cannabidiol (CBD) – in the treatment of seizures in patients with epilepsy, though a debate surrounding its efficacy continues.

The new study from Malyshevskaya and team suggests that general use of high-potency marijuana – that is, marijuana that contains high amounts of THC – may actually trigger seizures.

The research also found that seizures could be prompted by JWH-018, which is a manmade cannabinoid that is the primary component of the synthetic marijuana known as “spice.”

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Seizure frequency higher with JWH-018

The researchers came to their findings by analyzing the brain activity of male mice after they received THC or JWH-018.

THC was given to the rodents in doses of 10 milligrams per kilogram (the equivalent to around 0.8 milligrams per kilogram in humans) and JWH-018 was administered in doses of 2.5 milligrams per kilogram (the equivalent to around 0.2 milligrams per kilograms in humans).

The team implanted electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyogram electrodes into the brains of the mice, which allowed them to monitor any seizure-related electrical activity in response to the drug compounds.


The movement and behavior of the rodents was also monitored through video recording.

The study revealed that the mice experienced seizures shortly after administration with both THC and JWH-018, though seizure frequency was significantly higher with JWH-018.

Seizure-related brain activity persisted for 4 hours after the administration of each drug, the team reports, but brain activity had returned to normal by the next day.

Interestingly, the researchers found that pre-treating the mice with AM-251 – which is a compound that binds to the cannabinoid-1-receptor – prevented seizures in response to THC and JWH-018.

As such, the team suggests that cannabinoid receptor antagonists could be useful for preventing seizures in the case of marijuana overdose.

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Study warns of possible dangers

According to the researchers, their results “provide strong evidence” that both plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to trigger seizures.

“On the other hand,” the authors note, “a substantial body of literature on cannabinoids in animal models shows mostly anticonvulsive effects.”

“However,” they add, “few of these used EEG recordings to assess epileptic events and many of them induced seizures either electrically or pharmacologically, changing signaling pathways and brain states prior to cannabinoid application.”

The team cautions that the doses of THC and JWH-018 used in their study were high and may not represent the doses normally seen with medicinal or recreational use in humans.

“It would be interesting in the future to also test lower doses, typically used medicinally or recreationally to determine whether the effect is lost or diminished,” they add.

Still, they believe that their findings should be viewed as a warning of the potential dangers of cannabinoids, particularly synthetic marijuana.

Our study is quite important because unaware of the particularly severe effect by those cannabinoids, people see marijuana as a soft drug, without dangerous health effects.”

Olga Malyshevskaya

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Medical News Today: Fat necrosis: Causes and treatment

Fat necrosis is a condition that occurs when a person experiences an injury to an area of fatty tissue. This can result in the fat being replaced with the oily contents of fat cells.

The term “necrosis” means the cells have died. Potential causes of fat necrosis include blunt trauma, surgeries, or radiation to a particular area of the body.

Areas of fat necrosis can feel like small, hard tumors but they are not cancerous tissue.

What is fat necrosis?

The appearance of fat necrosis can cause a person significant concern until a doctor examines the lesion.

While fat necrosis can occur anywhere on the body where there is fatty tissue, the most common location for it to appear is the breast.

What causes fat necrosis?

Woman strapping in her seatbelt across her chest.
One of the most common causes of fat necrosis is injury or damage to fatty tissue. In particular, this can occur in car accidents, when the seatbelt restrains the person wearing it.

Typically, when a person experiences damage to the breast tissue, the damaged cells die, and the body replaces them with scar tissue. However, sometimes the fat cells die, and they release their oily contents. As a result, a lump can form. Doctors call this lump an oil cyst.

The most common causes of fat necrosis are:

  • physical trauma, often to the breast area in a car accident when a person is restrained by a seatbelt

  • history of radiation to a particular area of tissue

  • history of surgery to a particular area

  • history of removal of breast implants

Women who are obese and have very large breasts are more likely to have fat necrosis of the breast.

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What are the symptoms of fat necrosis?

Sometimes the lumps may be painful although this is not always the case. Other characteristics of an area or areas of fat necrosis include:

  • lumps with a red area around them

  • lumps that appear bruised around them

  • skin around the lump that appears thicker than the unaffected area

  • nipple retraction due to fat necrosis in the breast

Areas of fat necrosis may appear red or bruised because the destruction of the fat cells causes the release of inflammatory compounds. According to the journal Radiology Research and Practice, the average time it takes for a fat necrosis lump to present after an injury is about 68.5 weeks.

While doctors usually associate fat necrosis with the breasts, the masses can occur anywhere a person has fat tissue. Examples could include the abdomen, buttocks and thighs.

What is the connection between fat necrosis and breast cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, areas of fat necrosis in the breast do not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. However, fat necrosis areas in the breast can closely resemble breast cancer tumors, and they can cause changes to the breast that are similar to cancer-related inflammation.

As a result, the appearance of fat necrosis can be very frightening for a woman who is unfamiliar with fat necrosis.

According to the same 2015 article in the journal Radiology Research and Practice, an estimated 2.75 percent of all breast lesions are due to fat necrosis. The average age a woman might experience fat necrosis is at 50 years.

How do doctors diagnose fat necrosis?

Doctor talking to a patient on MRI machine about to have an MRI scan.
Fat necrosis may be diagnosed using an MRI machine.

If a person feels a lump that is suspected of being fat necrosis, a doctor will usually recommend an imaging scan. This will identify if the lump could be cancerous or due to another underlying cause.

A doctor will probably take a health history also, and perform a physical examination. If someone has a history of trauma or radiation to the body, it could help a doctor identify that the area of concern may be fat necrosis.

Examples of the imaging tools a doctor may use include:

  • X-ray: X-rays, such as mammography, can be used to visualize areas of fat necrosis. Sometimes, oil content can have a distinctive appearance that makes fat necrosis easy for a doctor to identify. However, some people may have a degree of scarring or other unusual appearance, and a doctor may recommend other imaging studies.

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to re-create an image of the underlying tissues. Ultrasound can be especially helpful in identifying cysts that are not fully solid and may have oily contents.

  • MRI: MRI uses a powerful magnet to generate magnetic waves that recreate images inside the body. Sometimes, a doctor will recommend using intravenous contrast to make areas of fat necrosis show up more easily.

Fat necrosis can have a variety of different appearances when imaging is done. In some instances, a doctor may not be able to definitively say an area or areas of fat necrosis are not cancerous.

When this is the case, a doctor may recommend a biopsy, which involves taking tissue samples from the affected area and testing the cells for the presence of cancer.

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What are the treatments for fat necrosis?

Surgeons in operating theater performing surgery on a patient.
Surgery may be required to remove larger lumps of fat necrosis, although in many cases invasive procedures are uneccessary.

An area of fat necrosis can go away without any treatment. Massaging the area firmly can help resolve some of the firmness. 

However, if an area or areas of fat necrosis are particularly bothersome to a person, a doctor can perform several removal options:

  • Needle aspiration: This procedure involves inserting a thin, hollow needle into the area of fat necrosis to drain the oily contents. This will usually cause the lump to disappear.

  • Surgical removal: If the lump is larger or in a difficult place to access with a needle aspiration procedure, a doctor may recommend removing the lump surgically.

What is the outlook for fat necrosis?

Fat necrosis is a benign yet sometimes bothersome occurrence in the breasts and, less commonly, in other areas of the body.

Because fat necrosis can closely resemble the symptoms of breast cancer, it can be cause for concern.

Although fat necrosis areas can change over time, they also can go away with time, as well. If a person is very bothered by fat necrosis lumps, they should talk to their doctor about options for surgical removal.

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Medical News Today: Too much manganese may lower children’s IQ

manganese symbol in periodic table
Manganese is an essential mineral, but too much of it may have neurotoxic effects.
New research recently published in the journal NeuroToxicology suggests that excessive exposure to air manganese might have adverse neurodevelopmental effects; children exposed to the metal were found to have lower IQ scores.

The new study – which was led by Dr. Erin Haynes, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio – was carried out among the residents of East Liverpool, OH.

East Liverpool is a city whose levels of air manganese have been exceeding those recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for “over a decade.” In fact, a 2010 report from the EPA confirmed that “airborne manganese concentrations consistently exceeded” their guideline values “at all monitoring locations.”

Manganese is an essential mineral, key to brain development and growth. But the EPA warn that it can be toxic “at excessive exposure levels.”

Manganese is often used to make steel and other alloys, batteries, fertilizers, and ceramics, among other things.

The EPA refer to studies that have found that chronic exposure to air manganese correlated with Parkinson’s-like neurological changes, and living in areas with excessive levels of the metal has been linked to neurological deficits – especially in men over 50 years old.

Children and young adults are also at risk, the EPA caution, as excessive manganese may impact learning and behavior.

The residents of East Liverpool may be particularly vulnerable to the risks posed by manganese, given that the city is home to a waste incinerator and a manganese processor. For this reason, research into the potential effects of manganese exposure on the population was long overdue.

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Excessive manganese linked to low IQ

Dr. Haynes and team analyzed blood and hair samples from 106 children aged between 7 and 9, all of whom were enrolled in the Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study (CARES) between March 2013 and June 2014.

CARES is a larger research project that started in 2008. A previous CARES study overseen by Dr. Haynes suggested that both excessive and insufficient levels of manganese may inhibit neurodevelopment.

For this study, the scientists tested the blood and hair for manganese and lead. They also analyzed serum for cotinine. The study participants received questionnaires that the researchers used to perform cognitive assessments.

To calculate potential associations between the biological measures of manganese levels and scores on IQ tests, Dr. Haynes and colleagues used linear regression models.

After they had adjusted for potential confounders, the researchers found that hair manganese levels correlated negatively with full-scale IQ scores, as well as with processing speed and working memory.

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Weighing in on the significance of the findings, Dr. Haynes says, “There are socioeconomic issues at play. [But] they are also compounded by potentially significant environmental exposures.”

Children may be particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of ambient [manganese] exposure, as their brains are undergoing a dynamic process of growth and development.”

Dr. Erin Haynes

However, the authors also note some limitations to their research. Firstly, the study examined a small number of children, and secondly, the association found may be due to historic exposure to manganese rather than exposure to chronic levels of the metal.

“[Manganese] exposure in this community should be further evaluated in comparison to other pediatric [manganese] cohorts,” the authors say.

“Environmental justice issues such as psychosocial stressors should be included in these analyses as they may play a role in neurotoxicity,” they add.

Dr. Haynes says that in future, she plans to include neuroimaging data in her and her team’s studies, “as [they] continue to advance [their] understanding of the impact of manganese on neurodevelopment [and] define the lines between essential benefit and toxicological harm.”

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Medical News Today: Why is my nose red?

Most people have experienced a red nose after a cold, flu, or an allergic reaction. In these cases, the redness is usually due to the dry skin that results from persistent wiping.

The nose can also turn red due to skin and blood vessel issues, chronic inflammation, allergies, and a few other conditions. Although a red nose can be bothersome, it is rarely cause for serious concern.

Common causes of a red nose

A person’s nose can turn red because of changes in the surface of the skin or the blood vessels.

When the skin is irritated or inflamed, the nose can look temporarily red. Blood vessels in the nose can also swell or break open, creating a red or swollen appearance.

The most common causes of a red nose include:


Rosacea on the face <br>Image credit: M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf, V. Paech, P. Altmeyer, F. G. Bechara, Head & face medicine., 2010</br>
Rosacea may make the skin look irritated and red.
Image credit: M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf, V. Paech, P. Altmeyer, F. G. Bechara, Head & face medicine., 2010

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes the skin to look red and irritated. In some people, rosacea begins as a tendency to blush easily.

The redness typically begins on the cheeks, spreading to the nose, ears, chin, and other areas of the face or body.

Rosacea is not well understood. Some doctors believe that it occurs when a person’s blood vessels easily dilate and expand, making the skin look red.

In some people, specific triggers cause a rosacea flare-up, including eating spicy food.

Four types of rosacea can cause the nose to turn red:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, which causes flushing, redness, and noticeable blood vessels.

  • Ocular rosacea, which irritates the eyes and eyelids but does not typically affect the nose. However, people with this form of rosacea may develop other types of rosacea.

  • Phymatous rosacea, which causes the skin to thicken and develop a bumpy texture.

  • Papulopustular rosacea, which causes acne, redness, and swelling.

Rosacea is treatable, but some people with rosacea develop permanent redness on their skin.


Rhinophyma is a side effect of untreated rosacea that causes the oil-producing glands of the nose to thicken. This response can change the shape of the nose, making it look bumpy and hard.

People with rhinophyma may develop visible blood vessels that are either thin and red or thick and purple.

Rhinophyma is much more common in men than in women. This may be due to the influence of male hormones, including testosterone.

Once rhinophyma develops, it is usually permanent. Some cosmetic surgeries may improve the appearance of the nose.

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Dry Skin

Very dry skin can make the nose look red and irritated. Some people develop this dryness and irritation from frequently wiping their nose.

Dry skin conditions, such as eczema, can also make the nose look red, scaly, or irritated. The redness is normally temporary, but the underlying condition may cause frequent flare-ups.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack healthy cells. Many people with lupus develop a butterfly-shaped rash on their nose and cheeks. This rash, called a malar rash, can make the nose to look red and bumpy.

Lupus medications may help reduce the frequency and severity of lupus-related skin problems, including nose reddening.


Allergies can cause the nose to look red in several ways. Hay fever, dust allergies, and pet allergies may cause sneezing and a runny nose.

Frequent nose-wiping can irritate the skin, creating a reddened appearance. Allergies may also cause blood vessels in and around the nose to swell or burst under the skin, making the nose look swollen and red.

Allergies to skin care and cosmetic products may irritate the surface of the skin, leaving it dry, red, flaky, or itchy.

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Injuries to the nose can rupture blood vessels under the skin, making the nose look swollen and red. Recent surgery to the nose, being hit on the nose, cystic acne, and skin injuries can all cause redness.

Other potential causes

Some other factors can cause temporary redness. The change is short-lived, and the nose returns to its normal color within a few minutes or hours.

Alcohol, temperature changes, eating spicy food, and blushing cause some people’s noses to temporarily redden. People with thin or pale skin and visible blood vessels are more likely to notice their noses briefly reddening in response to these factors.


Treatment for a red nose depends on the cause of the redness. It is important to understand whether the issue is with the skin or with the blood vessels. If the problem is with the blood vessels or caused by a chronic illness, creams and topical medications applied to the skin will not work.

Treating rosacea and rhinophyma

sun cream
To prevent rosacea from getting worse, using sun screen may be recommended.

Treating rosacea begins by identifying lifestyle factors that contribute to outbreaks of the condition. Some people develop rosacea in response to stress, certain foods, or skin creams. Eliminating these triggers can reduce the severity and frequency of redness.

Using sunscreen can prevent rosacea from getting worse but will not treat the underlying cause.

Drugs containing sulfur and some antibiotics can control symptoms of rosacea. When rosacea makes blood vessels more visible, some cardiovascular medications can help.

Rhinophyma cannot be reversed with traditional treatments, but treating the underlying rosacea can prevent it from getting worse. Cosmetic surgeries may help.

Surgical treatment options include:

  • Cryotherapy, which freezes and removes affected skin.

  • Dermabrasion, which scrapes the skin’s surface to even its appearance.

  • Dermaplaning, which removes affected skin.

  • Laser resurfacing, which uses a laser to reshape the skin.

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Treating allergies

Avoiding cosmetics and skin products that cause allergic reactions can prevent a reddened nose. People with seasonal or respiratory allergies may benefit from allergy medications or from regularly cleaning the nose with a saline spray.

Gently blotting the nose with a soft cloth can help prevent irritation and redness. Moisturizing creams can also help, especially if the skin looks scaly and dry.

Addressing dry skin

male using cream on his face
Treatments for dry skin may include oatmeal products, steroid creams, and eczema moisturizers such as E45.

Dry skin requires additional moisture, so using a thick moisturizing cream may help. People with eczema may need to experiment with various remedies, as some people find that foods, allergens, or stress can trigger eczema flare-ups.

Other treatments that may work include:

  • steroid creams, especially if the nose is red and itchy

  • oatmeal products to soothe the skin

  • phototherapy, using light to treat eczema

  • special eczema moisturizers, such as E45

  • medications to treat the eczema cause, including inflammation or an overactive immune system

Managing lupus

Treating the symptoms of lupus can prevent lupus from attacking the skin. Some treatments that may reduce the effects lupus has on the skin include:

  • lifestyle changes, such as managing stress and avoiding sun

  • creams applied directly to the skin, including steroids, retinoids, antibiotics, and some others

  • systemic medications to control the symptoms

Preventing temporary redness

Sometimes a red nose is just a temporary annoyance. When alcohol, spicy foods, or other environmental irritants leave the nose red, some simple strategies can help.

Alternating cold and hot packs may reduce swelling and irritation. This can also help reduce the swelling and redness of an injury.

Avoiding triggers for nose reddening, such as alcohol and spicy foods, can also help.

If a person has allergies or a frequently runny nose, they can use soft tissues and moisturize their skin often to avoid dryness and irritation.


A red nose is not a medical condition but can be a symptom of another problem.

When the nose is frequently red for no clear reason, a person should consult a doctor. Treatment is often relatively simple. Even when it is not, early treatment of lupus and other illnesses can prevent symptoms from worsening.

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