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Entries in Cold (9)

Saturday
Apr062013

Researchers Use Cold Virus to Target Advanced Brian Cancer

iStockphoto(HOUSTON) -- Dixie Fralic had advanced brain cancer. Now she doesn't.

"Dr. Lang had a smile on his face and he said, 'I'd say you're cured!'" Fralic said.

The treatment is actually a cold virus, which isn't lethal to normal cells, but it is lethal to cancer cells. The souped-up cold virus called Delta 24 was developed by a husband-wife research team at M.D. Anderson.

"I think this is a dream of researchers, that something you do on the bench moves to the patients and it has an effect. It's the best thing you can have," Delta 24 researcher Dr. Candelaria Gomez-Manzano said.

"We never dreamed about that," Delta 24 researcher Dr. Juan Fueyo said.

Dr. Fueyo and Dr. Gomez-Manzano worked on what they call their big idea for 14 years. At first, everybody was skeptical.

"We decided to design a treatment that was completely out of the box," Dr. Fueyo said.

Nobody had tried injecting a live virus directly into the brain. To make it safer, they changed the cold virus so it only kills cancer cells.

"Now we think anytime the tumor starts growing again, her immune system comes in and fights the tumor," neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Lang said.

And they did this with a single shot of a cold virus. And Fralic isn't the only one.

"The response she had is dramatic and not seen typically. And so what's interesting is we have three other people who have done similarly with this kind of treatment," Dr. Lang said.

"It's just incredibly amazing," Fralic's husband, Rusty Fralic, said.

So as the Houston scientists plan bigger studies with their cancer-killing cold virus, Fralic and her husband are planning their future.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar182013

Cold or Allergies? How to Tell

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Spring is just around the corner, but don’t be surprised to see winter weather -- and viruses -- linger a little longer.  So what’s behind your stuffy nose: Spring allergies or a cold?

The two miseries share symptoms despite their different causes.  But there are clues that can help you find the source of your spring sniffles and choose the right remedy.

“A cold can be accompanied by low-grade fever, sore throat and a cough, whereas allergies usually don’t have those things,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.  “You might have a little bit of sore throat with allergies, but it’s mostly runny nose and red, itchy eyes.”

The viruses that cause colds can also cause body aches and fatigue, symptoms you will not have from allergic reactions.

Here is a table from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to use as guidance.


If you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, Schaffner said.  And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids and take it easy, too.

If you have allergies, on the other hand, you might want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine.  And if you know the allergy trigger, try to steer clear.

Whatever you do, don’t take antibiotics.

“Antibiotics work against bacteria, and bacteria don’t cause colds or allergies,” Schaffner said.  “And the more we use them, the more resistant the bacteria are going to be so next time we really need antibiotics, they might not work.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec122012

Can a Cold One Cure Colds?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An ingredient in beer can supposedly help people get over colds, according to a new study.

But don't get too worked up -- there's a lot more to the story than that.

For one thing, the study was conducted at Sapporo Medical University in Japan.  If the name sounds familiar, it's because the school is owned by beer maker Sapporo Breweries.

Researchers at the school discovered that humulone, the key compound found in hops that gives beer that bitter flavor, also has anti-viral properties.  In the right dosage, humulone assists the body in fighting the virus responsible for the common cold.

Naturally, the catch is that it takes 30 12-ounce bottles of beer to get that right dosage, which even for the heartiest beer drinker, would probably prove lethal.

Still, humulone when it's all alone shows promise, minus the beverage that millions adore.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec042012

Winter Allergies Can Be Mistaken for Colds

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- ‘Tis the season for stuffy noses.  But what feels like a cold could actually be allergies, triggered by dusty decorations, smelly centerpieces and a host of holiday season irritants.

Although allergies can share some symptoms with the common cold, there are clues that can help you find the source of your misery and choose the right remedy.

“A cold can be accompanied by low-grade fever, sore throat and a cough, whereas allergies usually don’t have those things,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.  “You might have a little bit of sore throat with allergies, but it’s mostly runny nose and red, itchy eyes.”

The viruses that cause colds can also cause body aches and fatigue -- symptoms you will not have from allergic reactions.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gives this table as guidance.

If you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, Schaffner said.  And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids and get take it easy, too.

If you have allergies, on the other hand, you might want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine.  And if you know the allergy trigger, try to steer clear.

But whatever you do, don’t take antibiotics.

“Antibiotics work against bacteria, and bacteria don’t cause colds or allergies,” said Schaffner.  “And the more we use them, the more resistant the bacteria are going to be so next time we really need antibiotics, they might not work.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Neosporin and Neti Pots: How Celebrities Cope with Colds

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW(NEW YORK) -- If you're sniffling, sneezing and stuffy, take comfort in the fact that a lot of stars are feeling the same.

With cold and flu season upon us, ABC News asked a few celebrities how they cope with getting sick.  The good news is you don't need a Hollywood income to copy their cures.

Here's what they had to say:

Jack Black, Star of Bernie: "When I get on a plane, I heard that it's good to put a little Neosporin in each nostril, so I do that because it supposedly catches the germs before they get into you."

Famke Janssen, Former Bond Girl: "I take oregano oil.  I swear by it.  A few drops in some cranberry juice.  Knock it back, it works miracles."

Toni Trucks, Twilight Vampire: "The homeopathic medicine Boiron has something called Cold Calm.  They're two little tablets that you dissolve in your mouth every 15 minutes if you feel the tinglings of something going on."

"I also go to Whole Foods and they have something called Cold and Flu Care.  It's these drops -- it's a nightmare -- it's sort of like every grassy, garlicky situation you could imagine but in drop form.  You've just got to be strong and drop it in there.  Your nose hairs burn, your throat burns, but I feel like it attacks the illness."

"I also take my vitamins religiously every day.  I'm a bit of a hypochondriac.  There's nothing worse than being sick."

Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom Star: "A long, relaxing shower.  It just makes you feel a lot cleaner, a lot better.  It definitely makes a big impact."

Norma Kamali, Fashion Designer: "We have juices that we sell from Juice Press at my wellness cafe.  They have one that's called ginger fireball.  That will kill any little thing in you in an instant.  Also, ginger and lemon is fantastic."

"And salt is such a great cure-all.  Gargling with salt, doing a neti pot with salt -- that's what I've been doing.  It's a simple thing that doesn't cost a lot."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Tips for Staying Healthy During Holiday Travel

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Millions of people will hit the roads, rails and sky this holiday season, and tagging along with them will be hordes of germs ready to spread to the traveling masses.

Despite being surrounded by bacteria and viruses in stores, airports and other public places, there are a few simple ways to minimize the risk of catching a cold or the flu, which could zap the happy out of the holidays.

"You don't want to be a hermit, and you want to enjoy the holidays, but try to use some common sense principles to avoid getting sick," said Dr. Lisa Bernstein, associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

In an effort to help spread healthy holiday cheer, Bernstein and other doctors share the following tips for fending off germs while traveling:

Wash Your Hands

It's the number one rule that experts repeat over and over again: Wash your hands.

"You're constantly touching surfaces that people have sneezed and coughed on, and then because you're in a crowded airport or on a plane you may get hot or sweaty, you wipe your eyes, nose or mouth and can spread germs," said Dr. Michael Perskin, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Soap and water aren't always available, so alcohol-based hand sanitizers are essential travel items.

"Liberal and frequent use of alcohol hand rubs is very important," said Dr. Laurence Gardner, professor of medicine and executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  "If I were really concerned about acquiring a cold or a respiratory infection, I would apply that to my hands every 30 minutes or when I used the bathroom or touched any other surface."

Be Vigilant on Planes

Airplanes are notoriously germy places.  Studies have shown that airplane bathrooms harbor a number of different types of bacteria and viruses, and the recirculated air in planes can also contain many infectious agents.  Germs also lurk on tray tables and on seats and seat backs.

"If you're in a plane, wipe down seats, seat backs and tray tables," said Bernstein.  Travelers should also, as always, wash their hands whenever possible.

Eat Right and Exercise

Proper nutrition and physical activity are important all year round, but especially during the holidays.  People may neglect these needs because of bad weather or other obligations, but they are vital to staying healthy.

"Eat a healthy diet and exercise -- those are the best preventive activities along with not smoking," said Perskin.  "Your immune system will be healthier and that will help fight off infection."

Get a Flu Shot

"Even though it's December, it's not too late to get a flu shot.  Flu season goes through early spring," said Bernstein.

"This is the prime time for influenza," said Gardner.  "When peole are in enclosed spaces in cold environments, the passage of viruses -- especially the flu virus -- is much greater than in wide open spaces in the summer."

Perskin also suggests getting vaccinated against other diseases, such as whooping cough, or pertussis.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul122012

Study: Exercise and Meditation May Help Reduce Respiratory Infections

ULTRA F/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study suggests that regular meditation or exercise may help reduce acute respiratory infections, Health Day reports.

Researchers compared the preventative effects of moderate exercise and mindful meditation on the severity of respiratory infections, like the common cold and flu, on 149 active and sedentary adults aged 50 years and older. The study was conducted during the winter in Wisconsin.

The study found that adults who participated in a daily exercise routine had fewer cases of respiratory infections and missed fewer days of work. Researchers also found that participants who practiced meditation increased their immunity to illness.

The study was published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar132012

10 Best Foods to Fight Off Your Spring Cold and Flu

Ablestock.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You probably know that washing your hands regularly and getting enough sleep is important when it comes to warding off bugs, but did you know that what you eat can also play a key role in boosting your immunity? SELF’s nutrition director, Carin Gorrell, gave ABC News the skinny on what to munch on to stay healthy this season.

Skim Milk: About one-third of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which is found in fortified milk, yet this nutrient is key to defending against germs: If your D levels are low, your white blood cells won’t be able to react to or ward off infections effectively. Aim to get 600 international units a day. Great sources include fortified milk, orange juice and yogurt, as well as egg yolks and wild salmon.

Red Bell Pepper: You probably think of citrus fruits when it comes to getting more immune-boosting vitamin C, and it’s true they’re a good source of the nutrient. But surprise–red bell peppers have almost three times the C of an orange! In fact, just half of one pepper will deliver the recommended 75 milligrams per day for women ages 19 and up (guys, take an extra bite or two—you need 90 mg a day). Dip pepper slices in hummus for an afternoon snack or toss it in a stir-fry for dinner.

Tea: Wake up to a steaming mug of tea to ramp up your body’s defenses against infection: A study from Harvard University reveals that the immune cells of tea drinkers responded to germs five times faster than those of coffee drinkers. And green tea, specifically, contains an antioxidant compound called EGCG which works with your immune system to ease inflammation. Add a squirt of lemon to up the ante. The juice contains quercetin, which also has anti-inflammatory powers.

Yogurt: Probiotics, the healthy bacteria in yogurt, have been linked to strong immune systems and a lower risk for gum disease and even some cancers. But not all yogurts have enough of the good stuff. The National Yogurt Association’s Live & Active Cultures seal appears on some cartons that do (such as Yoplait). Add honey for a lift. It contains prebiotics, a carb that helps yogurt’s bugs thrive.

Goat cheese: This creamy spread contains copper, which helps keep your immune system humming. Plus it’s packed with flavor, so a little goes a long way without adding unwanted calories to your meal or snack (an ounce contains only 76 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat). Try swapping out mayo in favor of a smear goat cheese on a sandwich or wrap, or mix the cheese with chopped nuts and dried fruit for a filling toast topper.

Blueberries:
All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants of all commonly consumed fruit, according to research from the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. The vitamin C in blueberries also blunts the effects of stress by reducing free radicals and bolstering your immune system.

Pumpkin Seeds: This tasty snack has zinc, a mineral that jacks up the immune system by inhibiting viral replication. The seeds have also been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. But know that too much zinc can suppress your immune system, so stick with the recommended daily intake: Women ages 19 and up need 8 mg a day; men need 11 mg. For their part, pumpkin seeds have about 2 grams per ounce (142 seeds); try them on your yogurt or oatmeal for a little crunch or add them to a healthy trail mix.

Mushrooms:
You already know that eating any fruit or vegetable regularly is a good thing for your health, but when it comes to germ defense, mushrooms have an edge. Research suggests that the fungus may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Any type will do the trick, but if you’re still looking to up your intake for immunity-strengthening vitamin D, button mushrooms are a potent source.

Broccoli:
A compound in this leafy green may enhance your immune system, an animal study in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows. Chewing the veggie triggers the release of chemicals, possibly helping your body regulate infection-fighting white blood cells. Cooking reduces the dose, so it’s best to eat them raw.

Pasta: Skimping on carbs or fat? Some people on plans that severely limited carbs (think Atkins) or fat (Ornish) missed out on vital nutrients like iron and zinc that help maintain immunity and energy, research from Stanford University shows. A healthy source that supplies both: whole-grain pasta. What a perfect excuse to order Italian tonight!

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar022012

Heart Attack Risk May Increase in Cold Temperatures

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) -- Frigid temperatures can be a trigger for some coronary problems, which could explain why fatal heart attacks typically peak during winter months, according to a new study.  

Researchers at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine found that breathing cold air during physical activity can increase the body's need for oxygen. The increased need for oxygen could be troublesome for people with heart disease since the risk for cardiac arrest and death is greater, the researchers report in the study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and The American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

During the trial, researchers studied the lung and heart function of healthy adults in their 20s and 60s, while exposing them to cold temperatures. The researchers found that since their hearts were healthy, the participants were able to keep up with the changes in the demands for oxygen being supplied to the heart.  For those with heart disease, the increased demands may be too much.

Bottom line, heart disease patients may want to be more cautious during cold weather exercise.

Copyright 2012 ABC News







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