You may have seen the social media posts over the past few months — cancer patients “cured of the disease” and a drug trial with “100 percent success.”
But is it true? Yes and no.
A small trial for an immunotherapy drug called dostarlimab yielded astonishing results for cancer researchers at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Eighteen bowel cancer patients were treated with an immunotherapy drug called dostarlimab with no additional surgery or chemotherapy. All of the patients had tumors with a specific genetic feature known as mismatch repair-deficient (MMRd). After six months, all 18 patients went into remission, according to Prevention.
A 100 percent remission rate is unheard of in the world of cancer research, but social media users should be aware that remission isn’t the same as a cure. According to the National Cancer Institute, remission only means the reduction or elimination of the signs and symptoms of cancer. Cancer is only considered cured when no traces of cancer remain, and it will never come back.
More time is needed before researchers can determine if the cancer is truly gone, says oncologist Tom George, M.D., in an interview with WCNC Charlotte. But he remains cautiously optimistic about treating bowel cancer patients without surgery in the future with immunotherapy and other newer medications.
Immunotherapy drugs like dostarlimab are called immune checkpoint inhibitors, which don’t attack cancer directly and instead marshal the immune system to act against cancer cells, according to National Public Radio. For years, immune checkpoint inhibitors have been used to treat some other cancers, including melanoma.
According to WCNC, MSKCC researchers are studying whether immunotherapy can be used to treat other cancers with MMRd tumors.
10 ways to combat seasonal affective disorder
Many people go through short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. People may start to feel “down” when the days get shorter in the fall and winter (also called “winter blues”) and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.
In some cases, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior whenever the seasons change, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.
In most cases, SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression. Some people may experience depressive episodes during the spring and summer months; this is called summer-pattern SAD or summer depression and is less common.
1. Move your body
Countless studies demonstrate that regular physical activity can help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and improve your mental health. Moving your body several times a week can also reduce stress and ease symptoms of depression. Join a group class or get a gym membership to improve your flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular capacity.
2. Stay entertained
A great way to counteract SAD symptoms and lift your spirits is to seek out fun diversions. Browse the entertainment offerings in your area and select performances that interest you. Choose dates that fit your schedule and bring along friends or family members. Surrounding yourself with good company and keeping busy are excellent ways to get through a long winter.
3. Redecorate a room
You may be able to reduce the symptoms of SAD by setting a manageable goal. This winter, consider revitalizing the decor in your bedroom or living room. On top of a fresh coat of paint, accessories like picture frames, vases, and mirrors can completely renew the look of your space. This type of project can help motivate you and provide a sense of satisfaction once completed.
4. Give yourself a new look
SAD causes feelings of despair and distress similar to those experienced during a breakup. Sometimes, refreshing your appearance can help you get out of a slump. Schedule an appointment at a salon to change your hairstyle. This may boost your self-esteem and make you smile.
5. Renew your wardrobe
SAD can impact your inclination to go out and do things. Regain your desire to leave the house by purchasing new outfits and fashionable accessories that will make you look and feel your best. You’ll likely find yourself looking for occasions to wear your new clothes.
6. Try light therapy
As the days become shorter and darker, your body produces less melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. Fortunately, light therapy can be used to treat SAD. Purchase a lamp that mimics sunlight and expose yourself to it every morning for a boost of energy.
7. Escape reality
Though taking a trip is a great way to get away from it all, venturing abroad can be expensive and difficult to fit into your schedule. However, reading and playing board games are fun and inexpensive ways to take your mind off things. Talk to an employee at your local bookshop or game store for recommendations.
8. Enjoy a good meal
To look and feel your best, you need an assortment of nutrients. Therefore, you should make sure you eat well-balanced meals that’ll give you the energy you require to get through the day. If you don’t want to cook, turn to local restaurants and food delivery services for healthy dishes that will satisfy your needs.
9. Clear your mind
Regular meditation or yoga practice can positively affect your body and mind. These activities may help combat stress, reduce feelings of depression and restore your energy. If you’ve never tried yoga or meditation, consider signing up for a class near you to clear your mind and improve your sense of well-being.
10. Make sleep a priority
Getting adequate rest allows your body and mind to recuperate so you can easily take on daily tasks. You can improve your sleep hygiene by adopting an evening routine and limiting your exposure to blue light from screens before bed. In addition, if your mattress or pillow is worn out or uncomfortable, consider investing in a replacement.
Men’s razors: manual vs. electric
Given the vast selection of men’s razors available in stores, choosing one may not be easy. Whether you want to try a new model or your teenager needs to step up his shaving routine, here’s what you should know about manual and electric razors.
Blade models are the best option if you’re looking for a razor that’ll provide a high-precision shave. You must use them on damp skin and apply shaving cream to prevent skin irritation. The manual method allows you to shave hair close to your face, giving you extra-smooth skin. This option also allows you to space out your shaves more, as the hair will grow back slower than it would if you used an electric razor.
In addition, manual shaving is ideal for targeting awkward contours, and it’s a good choice if you want to shape a beard or sideburn.
An electric razor can be used on both dry and wet skin. Much faster to use than a manual razor, it reduces skin irritation and helps you avoid getting nicks and cuts. However, because it doesn’t provide as close a shave as a manual razor, you must make several passes over the same area of skin to achieve a satisfyingly close trim. Some waterproof models can be used in the shower.
Men’s razors are constantly evolving. To find the right one for you, be sure to compare features before selecting a model.
Dysphagia is a health condition that affects many seniors. Here’s what you should know about it.
People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing. This may lead to:
• Choking when trying to swallow
• Feeling like something is stuck in the throat
• Excessive salivation
The symptoms of dysphagia can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, make swallowing virtually impossible. The inability to eat can also have significant implications, including unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. Breathing problems may also arise.
Dysphagia can be caused by various health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), and lung or throat cancer. Difficulty swallowing may also occur temporarily in people who suffer from pharyngitis.
There are products available that can make mealtimes safer for people with dysphagia. In particular, some companies offer foods that are a suitable consistency for easy swallowing. Plus, specialized glasses, spoons, and straws can be purchased to assist with swallowing.
Various exercises and medications may also be prescribed to treat dysphagia.
If you’re having trouble swallowing, consult your doctor to identify the cause of the problem and find a solution.
How to overcome fall fatigue
Do you experience an annual drop in energy when autumn rolls around? If you’re wondering why you tend to feel tired at this time of year and want to fight it, here are a few things you should know.
Different people have varying reactions to the change in seasons. You may experience fall fatigue due to the following:
• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition is classified as a subset of depression. It can lead to mental health issues that may affect your ability to get out of bed.
• Reduction in sunlight. The number of daylight hours diminishes in the fall, which may reduce your intake of vitamin D. This shift can impact your body’s circadian rhythms and trigger increased melatonin production, causing fatigue and disrupting your sleep cycle.
• Daylight saving time. The body must recalibrate to the shifting of the clocks, which requires a period of adaptation for most people.
Regular physical activity can help counter fall fatigue. Here are a couple of other strategies to explore:
• Light therapy. When exposure to the sun isn’t possible, such as when you’re at work, use a lamp designed to treat SAD to reduce daytime sleepiness.
• Sleep hygiene. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evenings. Find ways to signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep, such as dimming the brightness on your screens or taking a moment to relax.
If you often wake up feeling exhausted, you may have a more serious health problem. In this case, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.
What is endometriosis?
During a standard menstrual cycle, hormones help the endometrium, a membrane in the uterus, thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If no fertilization occurs, a portion of this mucus is eliminated through menstruation. In about five to 10 percent of women, however, this process becomes complicated by a disorder known as endometriosis.
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue develops outside the uterus rather than inside. It attaches to the abdominal walls and nearby organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bladder. If it’s located outside the uterus, endometrial tissue cannot be expelled through the vagina and becomes trapped within the body.
Indications of endometriosis vary significantly among women, and some don’t experience any symptoms at all. Fertility problems occur in about 40 percent of affected women. Severe menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, and painful intercourse are common signs of this disorder.
Treatment of endometriosis may involve a combination of drugs and surgery. Medication counteracts pain and restores hormone levels in many cases. However, surgical intervention may be needed to relieve pain and completely lessen the adhesions’ extent. Lifestyle changes, such as an alteration in diet or physical activity, may also mitigate symptoms.
If you have painful periods, be sure to talk to your doctor.
7 tips to help Alzheimer’s caregivers combat depression
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and it’s a time to raise public understanding of this brain disorder as well as show support for the six million Americans living with the disease. It’s also an occasion to acknowledge the 16 million family caregivers who look after loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
Caring for someone with this disease takes an emotional toll, and depression is a common consequence. Here are seven tips for managing symptoms of depression.
1. Calm your mind
Meditation and mindfulness exercises such as yoga and tai chi can clear your head, still your emotions, and change your perspective.
Mental and physical health go hand in hand. Consequently, exercising can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can improve self-esteem and cognitive functioning.
3. Schedule “me” time
It’s important to take regular breaks. Make time to read a book, get a massage, or go for a walk. Paying attention to your own needs is key.
4. Consider respite care
Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be exhausting. Fortunately, many organizations can provide respite care so that you can get relief for a few hours or a few days. Getting this type of help will enable you to make time for self-care.
5. Keep a journal
Facing your feelings is an essential part of mental well-being. Consider writing about your emotions in a journal, exploring both the highs and lows of caregiving.
6. Get adequate rest
A good night’s sleep can make you feel refreshed and alert. Talk to your doctor if you’re having difficulty sleeping.
7. Eat well
Having a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains can help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Finally, if you’re struggling to manage your depression, it’s essential to reach out to a mental health professional.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America predicts that by 2060, more than 13 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.