Just 1 percent of women know of this common ovarian cancer symptom, study says

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 8:51 AM

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. However, many are unaware of the red flags, according to a new report.

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Target Ovarian Cancer, a cancer charity in Europe, recently conducted an experiment to determine how the disease has affected women in recent years. 

To do so, they interviewed nearly 1,400 women of the general population in the United Kingdom to measure awareness of ovarian cancer. They then surveyed about 500 practicing general practitioners across the U.K. to measure awareness and their experience with ovarian cancer.

Lastly, they handed out questionnaires to about 400 U.K. women with ovarian cancer. It focused on their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

>> Related: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that ovarian cancer affects about 7,300 women in the U.K., and 11 women die every day from the disease.

Despite the statistics, not many know about the warnings signs. 

Just 1 percent know that “increased urinary urgency” is one of the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer, and only 21 percent are able to name bloating as a symptom.

Furthermore, 30 percent of women incorrectly believe cervical screenings also detect ovarian cancer.

>> Related: Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

As for doctors, 45 percent of them wrongly think symptoms are only present in the later stages of the disease, and about 43 percent of women visit their general practitioner three times or more before being referred for a diagnostic tests. 

“The findings ... show what is working when it comes to diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer in England, but they also show where more remains to be done,” the authors concluded in the study

To heighten awareness, researchers recommend general practitioners complete accredited training on ovarian cancer. They also hope to highlight the Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to educate women on the symptoms and the importance of visiting the doctor. 

Want to learn more about the results? Take a look at the full report here

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Study: Marijuana addiction in adults related to anxiety disorder

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 2:30 PM

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Five Fast Facts: Marijuana(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

New research from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, suggests anxiety may be a major risk factor of problematic marijuana use in early adulthood.

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The research, published last month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, involved 1,229 participants enrolled in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a 20-year cohort study that followed participants between 1993 and 2015.

The Great Smoky Mountain Study is part of a collaborative effort between Duke University and the North Carolina State Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

One of its primary goals is to estimate the number of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders and the persistence of those disorders over time, according to the study website.

>> Related: Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

To study risk factors for problematic cannabis use, researchers examined the Great Smoky Mountains participants annually from ages 9 and 16 years and then again at ages 19, 21, 26 and 30 years and logged patterns of problematic cannabis use.

Problematic cannabis use refers to the daily consumption of marijuana or a habit that meets diagnostic guidelines for addiction, meaning cannabis use disorder.

The researchers split the participants’ cannabis use into the patterns described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5.

Patterns of problematic use, according to the DSM-5:

  • Non-problematic use in adolescence (19-21) and early adulthood (26-30)
  • Limited problematic use in late adolescence only and persistent problematic use in late adolescence and early adulthood
  • Delayed problematic use in early adulthood only

Using pairwise associations to identify risk profiles associated with patterns of problematic cannabis use in early adulthood, the researchers also examined multiple risk factors, such as psychiatric disorders; other substance use; education’ challenging social factors, such as low socioeconomic status and family issues; and additional demographics.

What the researchers found

More than three quarters, 76.3 percent, of the participants in the study did not develop problematic use of cannabis during their late adolescence or early adulthood.

>> Related: Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

But one quarter of the participants did develop problematic use of cannabis, and researchers found they had distinctive risk profiles. 

This group was divided into the three pattern categories: persistent problematic cannabis use, limited problematic cannabis use and delayed problematic cannabis use.

Persistent problematic use

For persistent users -- those with the most problematic use of marijuana, sometimes beginning as early as age 9 -- the problems continued into early adulthood.

>> Related: Northern Michigan University offers marijuana studies degree

What’s most important, Sherika Hill — adjunct faculty associate at Duke University School of Medicine and lead author of the study — told Medical News Today, is that 27 percent of persistent users reported anxiety disorders as children and 23 percent reported anxiety disorders as older teens or during college years, up to age 21.

This group also had the highest levels of psychiatric disorders.

“This suggests,” Hill said, “that a focus on mental health and well-being could go a long way to prevent the most problematic use.”

Limited problematic use

The group with limited problematic use surprisingly reported the most childhood family instability and dysfunction of the three -- factors usually linked with a higher level of drug use, the researchers found.

>> Related: Need relief from chronic pain? Marijuana may not help after all, studies say

But limited users tended to have more cannabis use issues as preteens, teens and early adolescents and fell off the habit as they got older.

Delayed problematic use

And lastly, most of the participants in the group of delayed users with little to no cannabis use in adolescence and early adulthood but problematic use between age 26 and 30 experienced bullying and mistreatment as children.

Why did childhood bullying and mistreatment not lead to earlier problematic cannabis use? The researchers don’t really know. 

Hill told Medical News Today about the motivation behind the new study is that most of the current policies and interventions on cannabis use are aimed at early adolescents.

Five Fast Facts: Marijuana

“We have to start thinking about how we are going to address problematic use that may arise in a growing population of older users. Given that more states may be moving towards legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, this study raises attention about what we anticipate will be the fastest growing demographic of users — adults.”

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Startup offering to preserve brain with '100 percent fatal' procedure for $10,000

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 4:57 PM

Startup Offering “100% Fatal' Way to Preserve Brain

Need a way to hold on to your memories forever? One startup is offering a special, but fatal, procedure to help you keep your brain active.

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Researchers at Nectome, a medical company founded by MIT graduates, have discovered a way to maintain brain functionality after death with high-tech embalming, a process used to prevent a body from decay. 

“Our mission is to preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact: from that great chapter of your favorite book to the feeling of cold winter air, baking an apple pie, or having dinner with your friends and family,” co-founders Robert McIntyre and Michael McCanna wrote on the business’ website.

 >> On AJC.com: If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain could start eating itself

They will target patients suffering from terminal illnesses. The individuals will be sedated, connected to heart and lung machines, and injected with the embalming chemicals while they are alive. 

The procedure is “100 percent fatal,” the founders warned, but the solution “can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass.”

The analysts believe their investigations will help future scientists “recreate consciousness” and retrieve information from the brain’s molecular details. 

>> Related: A few glasses of wine a day can keep your brain ‘clean,’ study says

“You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details,” McIntyre told MIT Technology Review.

“If the brain is dead, it’s like your computer is off, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t there,” added Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist and president of the Brain Preservation Foundation -- the organization that awarded McIntyre for his recent work on preserving the pig brain.

>> Related: Scientists worry brain-wasting 'zombie deer' disease could spread to humans

The surgery is not yet available to the public as they are still unsure if the memories will be found in the dead tissues. However, they are inviting prospective customers to join a wait list for a $10,000 deposit, which is fully refundable. So far, 25 people have signed up. 

“When a generation of people die, we lose all their collective wisdom. You can transmit knowledge to the next generation, but it’s harder to transmit wisdom, which is learned,” McIntyre said. “That was fine for a while, but we get more powerful every generation. The sheer immense potential of what we can do increases, but the wisdom does not.”


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NASA: 2 asteroids pass near Earth this week

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 2:24 PM

Asteroid Fast Facts

A small, newly discovered asteroid passed near Earth earlier his week and a second one is expected to follow suit Friday, according to scientists with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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The asteroids were spotted Sunday by researchers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.

The first, dubbed 2018 CC, passed within about 114,000 miles of Earth around 3:10 p.m. EST Tuesday, according to NASA. Scientists estimated the asteroid was 50-100 feet in diameter.

The second asteroid, called 2018 CB, will pass near Earth around 5:30 p.m. EST Friday at distance of about 39,000 miles, less than one-fifth of the distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA. It’s slightly larger than the first asteroid, between 50 and 130 feet in diameter.

>> Related: Asteroid passes inside Earth’s satellite ring, ’20 times closer than moon’

"Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a news release. 

>> Related: NASA finds 'lost' lunar spacecraft orbiting moon nearly a decade after it disappeared

In February 2013, a fireball lit the skies above Chelyabinsk as a small asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere. The asteroid was estimated to be 55-65 feet in diameter.

"Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet -- maybe only once or twice a year," Chodas said.

Most Iconic NASA Moments

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'Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:08 AM

Massive Asteroid Flying Close to Earth

monster space rock classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" is headed toward Earth.

Asteroid 2002 AJ129 – which at 0.7 miles is wider than the tallest building in the U.S. (New York's One World Trade Center) stacked on top of itself – is predicted to miss our planet, according to Metro. However, it will pass relatively close in terms of outer space.

>> On AJC.com: NASA: Asteroid could destroy Earth in 22nd century

NASA classifies any space object surpassing 459 feet wide and passing within 4,660,000 miles of Earth as "hazardous," according to a 2013 report on the space agency's website. There are about 1,000 such known space objects monitored by NASA.

This asteroid is more than eight times wider than the minimum (3,696 feet) and will pass within just over half the minimum distance (2,615,128 miles) to our planet.

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For a reference point, the moon orbits Earth at a distance of about 238,855 miles.

The giant asteroid is expected to "narrowly" miss our planet on Feb. 4, whizzing past us at a whopping 67,000 miles per hour. It will be the biggest and fastest space object to fly near Earth this year, according to The Daily Star.

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