Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mold in your coffee can make you sick?

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That first cup of coffee is pure bliss for those people needing their morning caffeine fix, whether it is prepared with milk, sugar or simply black. But how about a splash of mycotoxins? A new study confirms the presence of these toxic metabolites produced by fungi in commercial coffee samples, leading to concerns about potential public health risks.

Coffee with a splash of mycotoxins? The new study reveals levels that exceed those legally allowed in Spanish samples of coffee.
The study - led by Dr. Emilia Ferrer of the University of Valencia in Spain - is published in the journal Food Control.
She and her colleagues explain that mycotoxins are compounds produced by filamentous fungi - such as Aspergillus or Fusarium - that cause disease and health issues. These compounds can be carcinogenic and may affect the hormonal and immune systems.
Mycotoxicoses is the toxic effect of mycotoxins on animal and human health. Exposure to these compounds is typically by ingestion, but it can also occur through the skin or by inhalation.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), general interest in mycotoxins came about in 1960, when turkey X disease - a form of mycotoxicosis that was related to animal feed - arose in farm animals in England.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

With Mammography overdiagnosis is real

Years ago I wrote for the New York Times, "Why I Never Got a Mammogram," where I looked at mortality data for women who got mammograms versus those who didn't (spoiler alert--they are exceedingly similar).

Now the New England Journal says the overdiagnosis of breast cancer via mammography is larger than generally recognized. Definitely something to consider.

"I think the main message [of the study] is that screening has both benefits and harms. There is no single 'right answer' ― values matter. Screening is a choice, not a public health imperative," Dr Welch told Medscape Medical News.
Overdiagnosis is considered one of the harms of screening, but it is not easily evaluated using clinical trial data because of the need for long-term patient follow-up, the study authors say.

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