Did You Know, Poultry is a Cause? Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.

Dr. Lee Riley of the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections. “We’ve suspected maybe some of these U.T.I. cases may be food-borne,” he said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

For generations, urinary tract infections, one of the world’s most common ailments, have been easily and quickly cured with a simple course of antibiotics. But there is growing evidence that the infections, which afflict millions of Americans a year, mostly women, are increasingly resistant to these medicines, turning a once-routine diagnosis into one that is leading to more hospitalizations, graver illnesses and prolonged discomfort from the excruciating burning sensation that the infection brings.

The New York City Department of Health has become so concerned about drug-resistant U.T.I.s, as they are widely known, that it introduced a new mobile phone app this month that gives doctors and nurses access to a list of strains of urinary tract infections and which drugs they are resistant to. The department’s research found that a third of uncomplicated urinary tract infections caused by E. coli — the most common type now — were resistant to Bactrim, one of the most widely used drugs, and at least one fifth of them were resistant to five other common treatments. “This is crazy. This is shocking,” said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, who was not involved in the research. 

The drug ampicillin, once a mainstay for treating the infections, has been abandoned as a gold standard because multiple strains of U.T.I.s are resistant to it. Some urinary tract infections now require treatment with heavy-duty intravenous antibiotics. Researchers last year reported in a study that a third of all U.T.I.s in Britain are resistant to “key antibiotics.” Certainly, the day-to-day experience of having a U.T.I. is growing less routine for many women. Carolina Barcelos, 38, a postdoctoral researcher in Berkeley, Calif., said she had several U.T.I.s as a teenager, all successfully treated with Bactrim. When she got one in February, her doctor also prescribed Bactrim, but this time it didn’t work.

Four days later, she returned and got a new prescription, for a drug called nitrofurantoin. It didn’t work either. Her pain worsened, and several days later, there was blood in her urine. Her doctor prescribed a third drug, ciproflaxacin, the last of the three major front-line medicines, and cultured her urine. The culture showed her infection was susceptible to the new drug, but not the other two. “Next time,” Dr. Barcelos said, “I’m going to ask them to do a culture right away. For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me.” Usually, it is people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions who are most vulnerable to drug-resistant infections, but U.T.I.s have a dubious distinction: They are the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.

Resistance to antibiotics has become one of the world’s most pressing health issues. Overuse of the drugs in humans and livestock has caused germs to develop defenses to survive, rendering a growing number of medicines ineffective in treating a wide range of illnesses — a phenomenon that is playing out worldwide with U.T.I.s.

The World Health Organization, while noting that data on urinary tract infections and drug resistance is “scarce,” said the fact the infections were so common strongly suggested that increasing resistance would lead to more severe illnesses and fatalities. The solution, researchers and clinicians say, includes a continued push for more judicious use of antibiotics worldwide. But more immediately, a partial solution would be the development of quick, cheap diagnostic tools that would allow an instant urine culture so that a doctor could prescribe the right drug for U.T.I.s.

Carolina Barcelos had a urinary tract infection earlier this year. Neither of the first two drugs she took helped. “For eight days I was taking antibiotics that weren’t working for me,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

But whether to wait the several days it usually takes to get lab results before prescribing presents a tough dilemma for doctors and patients, who frequently are desperate for relief. Plus, depending on a person’s insurance, getting a culture can be expensive. Generally doctors still do not order a urine culture before prescribing an antibiotic.

“In the old days, the list of antibiotic options was short but by and large they would all work,” said Dr. James Johnson, an infectious disease professor and leading researcher on urinary tract infections at the University of Minnesota. Some women have U.T.I.s that the body fights off on its own without using antibiotics, while other women may have a different low-level ailment that feels like a U.T.I., but isn’t. The safest course is to see a doctor and make an informed decision that includes a judicious determination of whether antibiotics are warranted. The science does not support the efficacy of some popular remedies like cranberry juice or cranberry pills.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that U.T.I.s acquired by otherwise healthy people were a growing concern and one poorly studied. They are not tracked nationally. In older people, urinary tract infections can be deadly, but tracking in the United States is so weak that there are no reliable estimates on the numbers of deaths related to the infections. The C.D.C. published an estimate of 13,000 per year, but that figure comes from a paper looking at 2002 data and refers only to U.T.I.s acquired in hospitals. Dr. Clifford McDonald, associate director for science in the division of health care quality promotion at the C.D.C., said the government planned to expand its research.

“If we don’t do something soon,” Dr. McDonald said, “it’s going to push all our treatments to more advanced antibiotics that finally put a lot of pressure on the last-line treatments.”

What makes these infections so dangerous, and commonplace, is human anatomy. In women, the urethra — the gateway to the urinary tract — is in proximity to the rectum. This can lead to easy transfer of bacteria in fecal residue that otherwise resides harmlessly in the gut. 

In reproductive years, women are 50 times for likely than men to have a urinary tract infection; later in life, the ratio drops to 2 to 1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection.

There are multiple germs that cause U.T.I.s, and their resistance levels to drugs vary both by strain and by where a patient lives. By far the most common cause of U.T.I.s today is E. coli, and, in general, those infections have seen sharp rises in resistance to gold standard treatments over the past decade and a half.

Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician at San Francisco General Hospital, said one of her patients returned to the emergency room after a drug-resistant U.T.I. spread to her kidney. “It makes me wonder what the world looked like for women before antibiotics, and wonder if we’re going to see that now,” she said. Credit Brian L. Frank for The New York Times

New research shows that one crucial path of transfer of germs that cause U.T.I.s is food, most often poultry. The consumed poultry winds up in a person’s gut and can get transferred through fecal residue to the urethra.

A study published last year by the American Society of Microbiology, funded partly by the C.D.C., found 12 strains of E. coli in poultry that matched widely circulating urinary tract infection strains. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Riley, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the University of California, Berkeley, said he was working on a C.D.C.-funded project to determine whether the urinary tract infection needs to be classified and reported as a food-borne illness.

Dr. Brad Frazee, an emergency room doctor at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., has been a co-author of research that adds another troubling wrinkle: Increasingly, E. coli is proving resistant not just to individual antibiotics, but also to a broad group of drugs known as beta-lactam antibiotics. These drugs share a way of attacking infection, and when a germ develops resistance to this method of attack, it eliminates several key treatment options all at once.

Recently, a woman carrying such resistance showed up at Dr. Frazee’s hospital, he said. She wound up with pyelonephritis, an infection in the kidney, and had to be treated in the hospital intravenously with a drug called ertapenem that can cost $1,000 a dose. A study found that around 5 percent of U.T.I.s at the hospital carried this resistance. 

Doctors are now confronting cases of resistant urinary tract infections in their practices. Dr. Eva Raphael, a primary care physician in San Francisco, recently received notice that one of her patients, a healthy woman in her mid-30s, was back in the emergency room with another U.T.I. that was resistant to multiple antibiotics.

One of her prior U.T.I.s had failed to respond to two commonly used treatments and had spread to her kidney, requiring hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. This time Dr. Raphael consulted with infectious disease specialists. “It can be quite dangerous in this age where there is more and more resistance,” she said, noting that without effective treatment the infection can get into the blood. “It can be fatal.”

Urinary Tract Infections Affect Millions. The Cures Are Faltering.
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.amp.html

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Commonly prescribed drugs are tied to nearly 50% higher dementia risk in older adults

(CNN) – Scientists have long found a possible link between anticholinergic drugs and an increased risk of dementia.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday suggests that the link is strongest for certain classes of anticholinergic drugs — particularly antidepressants such as paroxetine or amitriptyline, bladder antimuscarinics such as oxybutynin or tolterodine, antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine or olanzapine and antiepileptic drugs such as oxcarbazepine or carbamazepine.

Researchers wrote in the study that “there was nearly a 50% increased odds of dementia” associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period, which is equivalent to an older adult taking a strong anticholinergic medication daily for at least three years, compared with no exposure.

“The study is important because it strengthens a growing body of evidence showing that strong anticholinergic drugs have long term associations with dementia risk,” said Carol Coupland, professor of medical statistics in primary care at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and first author of the study.

“It also highlights which types of anticholinergic drugs have the strongest associations. This is important information for physicians to know when considering whether to prescribe these drugs,” she said, adding “this is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about whether these anticholinergic drugs cause dementia.”

She said that people taking these medications are advised not to stop them without consulting with their doctor first, as that could be harmful. The study involved analyzing data on 284,343 adults in the United Kingdom, aged 55 and older, between 2004 and 2016. The data came from QResearch, a large database of anonymized health records.

The researchers identified each adult’s anticholinergic exposure based on details of their prescriptions. The researchers found the most frequently prescribed anticholinergic drugs were antidepressants, drugs to treat vertigo, motion sickness or vomiting and bladder antimuscarinic drugs, such as to treat overactive bladder. The researchers also took a close look at who was diagnosed with dementia and found that 58,769 of the patients had a dementia diagnosis.

The researchers found no significant increases in dementia risk associated with antihistamines, skeletal muscle relaxants, gastrointestinal antispasmodics, antiarrhythmics, or antimuscarinic bronchodilators, according to the data, but associations were found among other classes of anticholinergic drugs. The researchers found that the odds of dementia increased from 1.06 among those with the lowest anticholinergic exposure to 1.49 among those with the highest exposure, compared with having no prescriptions for anticholinergic drugs.

The study had some limitations, including that some patients may not have taken their prescribed medication as directed, so anticholinergic exposure levels could have been misclassified. The researchers found only an association between anticholinergic drugs and dementia risk, not a causal relationship.

“However, if this association is causal, the population-attributable fractions indicate that around 10% of dementia diagnoses are attributable to anticholinergic drug exposure, which would equate, for example, to around 20,000 of the 209,600 new cases of dementia per year in the United Kingdom,” the researchers wrote in the study.Since the study shows only an association, more research is needed to “clarify whether anticholinergic medications truly represent a reversible risk factor” for dementia, wrote experts Noll Campbell, Richard Holden and Dr. Malaz Boustani in an editorial that published alongside the new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Additionally, deprescribing trials can evaluate potential harms of stopping anticholinergic medications, such as worsening symptoms of depression, incontinence, or pain, as well as the potential unintended increase in acute health care utilization,” Campbell, Holden and Boustani wrote in the editorial.”With little evidence of causation, the next steps for research on anticholinergic medications in older adults must improve knowledge of the effect of deprescribing interventions on cognitive outcomes and important safety outcomes such as symptom control, quality of life, and health care utilization,” they wrote. “We propose deprescribing research as a high priority.”

It has been well known that anticholinergic agents and confusion or memory issues are linked, but the new study investigated this association over a long period of time, said Dr. Douglas Scharre, director of the division of cognitive neurology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, who was not involved in the study.

He encouraged any patients who might have questions about this association to talk to their physicians. “I spend a lot of my time in the memory disorder clinic seeing geriatric patients and taking people off medications, mostly ones that have anticholinergic properties, and many times there can be another drug out there that has less anticholinergic impact or is non-anticholinergic that may work,” Scharre said.

“Some of the medications that they list in the study may be quite critical and important and are well worth the person taking for their seizures or their psychosis, and so it’s a risk-benefit discussion,” he added. “So have a conversation with your doctor.”

Strong Bones Or Osteoporosis – Well Being Journal

In “Strong Bones or Osteoporosis” you will learn about the herbs, teas, and other nutrients that will reverse osteoporosis, keep your bones strong, and give you all the absorbable calcium you need—no matter your age! You might think you need lots of calcium or wonder about the best kind! In the first of this series by Earl Staelin you will learn about that and how hormones and light play a role, and why people who consume the highest amounts of calcium experience higher rates of osteoporosis and fractures than those who consume lower amounts.

Resource: Strong Bones Or Osteoporosis – Well Being Journal
— Read on www.wellbeingjournal.com/strong-bones-or-osteoporosis/

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said on Wednesday.

— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/health/shutdown-fda-food-inspections.amp.html

Cranberries for Urinary and Prostate Health

Did you know that urinary tract infections or diseases affect both women and men? UTI’s can put men at risk for prostate illness as well. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study where research followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. They found that the men also had elevated PSA and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

The researchers tracked the men for six months while they took either a powdered cranberry supplement of 1,500 mg a day or a placebo, and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates urination, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. The men taking cranberry showed significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group. It makes common sense that if cranberries help wipe out UTI’s, it’s responsible that they would also help your prostate as well. Also, the men who took the cranberry supplement experienced lower PSA levels. It is likely that one will have to take 1,500 mg of dried cranberry powder in order to have effective results as did the men in this study, a dose that is easily obtainable both in health stores and online.

There are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet. It’s not just an American traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries can be added at any time throughout the year. Dried cranberries especially are delicious in salads and baked goods. Swap out your usual raisins for cranberries. Another way to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet is by adding them to smoothies. Frozen cranberries are available all year round. both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also worth noting that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin E, two pivotal antioxidant nutrients. And in addition, they are a very good source of the mineral manganese, which is needed for proper function of some forms of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

How do you incorporate cranberries in your diet? Please share…

Source: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

The simple walnut offers a wide list of benefits. For starters, a new study shows that eating whole walnuts or walnut oil can slow prostate cancer growth.  But if you need more reasons than this, maybe the following reasons may persuade you to add these delicious nuts into your diet.

A large study at Harvard found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause in a thirty-year period.

• English walnuts decrease cardiovascular risk by decreasing LDL and total cholesterol.

• Walnuts help control weight.

• They help control insulin in diabetics.

• Eating walnuts increases male fertility.

• Walnuts enhance cognitive function and improve thinking ability.

• Eating walnuts has been shown to suppress breast cancer tumors, perhaps from their omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

• They have also been shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer by decreasing angiogenesis.

• Walnuts are a source of highly potent, high-quality antioxidants.

• Ellagic acid, a major polyphenol found in walnuts, has remarkable bone-building activity at the cellular level.

• Eating walnuts and walnut oil can reduce the stress response and lower the resulting blood pressure.

Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fats as well as providing copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. It’s better to buy walnuts raw and organic to avoid those that are irradiated and pasteurized.

—Adapted from “13 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Walnuts” by Margie King, at http://greenmedinfo.com

A New Way to Detect Breast Cancer

Not long before Mihir Shah was to be married in 2007, his soon-to-be mother-in-law got a diagnosis of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and survived, wearing a wig to the wedding. But while the women in Mr. Shah’s family — in both India and the United States — were able to get breast cancer screening, it made him think of the millions who weren’t as fortunate.

More than 90 percent of women in the developing world don’t have access to early detection of breast cancer. One reason is that mammograms, the gold-standard screening technique, are rarely used because of their high cost and a lack of trained radiologists. India has one radiologist for every 100,000 people; the United States has 12.

Then there are logistical challenges like a lack of electricity and poor roads. Many people are not aware of cancer, and the disease still carries a stigma.

Read on – nyti.ms/2BT0ap3

Is It Better to Drink a Little Alcohol than None at All?

Find out if the light to moderate alcohol drinkers prevail at the end of the video. My husband and I have heated discussions about this. We both were very much surprised at the end. Yes, alcohol causes cancer and many other complications. Certain studies like the famous J-shaped curve one, where yes, excessive drinking is bad, but light drinkers appear to actually have lower mortality than abstainers?

Click the video link below to listen for the answer.

— Read on nutritionfacts.org/video/is-it-better-to-drink-little-alcohol-than-none-at-all/

New Guidelines: Early Exposure to Peanuts May Decrease Allergies 


     A new study published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, suggest giving infants peanut power within the first 6 months of their lives.  This early exposure can possibly prevent peanut allergy through introduction of peanut-containing foods beginning in infancy.  Recorded data from 1999, peanut allergy was estimated to affect 0.4% of children and 0.7% of adults in the United States, and by 2010, peanut allergy prevalence had increased to approximately 2% among children in a national survey, with similar results reported in a regional cohort. 

     Peanut allergy is the leading cause of death related to food-induced anaphylaxis in the United States, and although overall mortality is low, the fear of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions contributes significantly to the medical and psychosocial burden of this disease.  Many families who have a love one with a peanut allergy knows this onus personally.  Simple family activities can be stressful, like eating out at a restaurant or going to a friends birthday party. As a parent you have to be extra careful at home and more importantly, in public.  I’m so blessed none of my three children have food allergies. I know many families that endure a lot of heartache dealing with children with serious food allergies, and it can be extremely daunting. 

To continue reading more about this study click here. 

Resources:  Addendum guidelines for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States: Report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases–sponsored expert panel

Peanut Allergy Overview 

Beet This Fact


     Beets are incredibly delicious, easy to grow, and extremely healthy for you.  Did you know that beet roots has cancer fighting properties?   Beets have long been know as a healthy source of nutrients, but scientific evidence also validates their significance as a defense against cancer. Some research even shows cases of remission in cancer patients who were given high concentrations of beet root. I grew my own this year.  There’s nothing better than picking fresh beets and preparing them as you like. 


     This root vegetable is a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur  magnesium, iodine, and a number of trace minerals. However, it is the synergy between certain elements found only in specific combinations and concentrations within the beet that give it its cancer-fighting power.  The leaves are also eatable and holds valuable nutrients. While other foods contain iron, the human body is able to assimilate it from the beet root more readily than from almost any other food.  Researchers suspect that there is a catalyst in the beet root that helps the body more easily use the available iron. 

     Beet juice powder is one of the most concentrated forms of the root, with a typical serving size being a teaspoon or two added to 8 ounces of water plus 8 ounces of fresh vegetable juice. Larger dosages may be necessary for those with a cancer diagnosis.  I’ve always enjoyed juicing, eating and cooking with all varieties of beets.  After researching beet powder, I am interested in trying it out. The benefits outweighs the taste, especially if you’re looking for healthy alternatives. I grew up seeing my mother with this red vegetable that made a huge mess. I loved handeling it, but I was one of the haters as a young child.  In my family, there were no excuses, I had to eat it.  Now I’m a mom and I’ve included beets in our diets of course, just more creatively. Beets have an earthy taste. Some people like it or hate it. My advise for the non-likers, smoothies and fresh juices are the best ways to consume vegetables. I juice it and blend it in smoothies for my children. Knowing how to combine the different vegetables to off-set the tastes helps tremendously. 

Here are my favorite beet juice recipes. 

Beet Juice – Granny Dearest 

  • 1 Green Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Inch piece peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 Medium Carrots 
  • 1 Large beet, peeled
  • 1 Medium orange peeled 

 Beet Juice – Energizer 

  • 1 Large beetroot
  • 1 Medium Gala Apple 
  • 1/2 Piece fresh ginger
  • 2 Cucumbers 
  • 1 bunch of parsley 

Smoothie – Beet Powerhouse 

  • 1 Large beetroot (Juiced) 
  • 2 Ripe bananas 
  • 1 Cup strawberries 
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh/frozen kale
  • 1 Cup ice
  • 1 Cup of coconut milk 
  • 1 tsp of raw honey

I hope you enjoy my recipes, and try to come up with your own combinations. Be adventurous and don’t be intimidated to try new things. 

Resources:  Adapted from “Benefits of beets documented to defeat cancer,” by Johnathan Landsman, at http://naturalhealth365.com