Advances in Advanced Liver Disease

As 2016 comes to a close and we ring in 2017, it’s clear that liver health continues to be better understood than ever before. Consider the following two developments that were reported at the end of last year: first, a new way to assess liver disease progression and second, new drug combinations that work for…

Moving Forward with Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma, a form of cancer affecting the bone marrow, is diagnosed in approximately 30,000 Americans each year. In this disease, malignant plasma cells (which are a type of white blood cell) start growing out of control and can create multiple tumors in the bones. The cancerous plasma cells can also crowd out other cells…

Yo-Yo Weight Changes

The initial infection with hepatitis C, the time of acute infection when some people experience flu-like symptoms, can result in weight loss due to poor appetite. For the most part, however, those infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) experience no symptoms. This lack of symptoms is why hepatitis C is known as the silent…

Let’s Screen Everyone

Too many people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) simply don’t know their disease status. As many as one in four cases of HCV infection are undiagnosed, as I pointed out in a blog earlier this year (Finding the Missing Cases), even when current federal guidelines for hepatitis C screening are closely followed. This…

Coffee: Pour Another Cup, Guilt-Free

Coffee is not only a welcome way that 54% of Americans start their day, it also offers liver benefits to coffee fans. I have shared good news about coffee and liver health in several past blogs, including last year’s The Buzz of Caffeine in which coffee’s ability to protect against liver cancer was discussed. Now…

PSA: The Prostate Cancer Screening Test

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, following skin cancer. One in every seven men will be diagnosed with this form of cancer in his lifetime; with the average age of diagnosis being age 66. In terms of fatalities, only lung cancer comes with a higher mortality rate. Prostate cancer is…

HCV Research Round-up

Hepatitis C treatment options continue to be a vibrant field full of exciting research, including the following: Genotype 3 of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has remained harder-to-treat among the six main genotypes. New research presented at the 2016 AASLD conference now offers promising news for treating genotype 3. According to results from the C-ISLE…

A Hidden Disability

Cognitive changes are a common and disheartening experience for those with multiple sclerosis (MS). Approximately half of MS sufferers report difficulty learning and remembering information, problem solving, focusing, and other high-level cognitive functions. These problems develop because the loss of myelin around nerve fibers interferes with the conveyance of memories to and from storage areas….

Priced Out of the Post-Cancer Care Market

After successful breast cancer treatment, many women are prescribed hormone therapy to reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence. This long-term medication cost can be an adherence barrier for some women and this “cost problem” appears to affect more women than previously thought. New research – based on 8,700 women with a history of breast…

Standing Up to Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer has proven to be a formidable foe. This form of cancer remains difficult to detect, particularly in the early stages, which means that women are generally diagnosed at later (and harder to treat) stages. In fact, more than four out of five women are not diagnosed until this cancer has advanced. For this…

Diving Deeper with Oral MS Medications

Over the past few years, new oral medications for multiple sclerosis have gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, giving patients treatment options beyond injectable forms of medication. With multiple sclerosis (MS) medications, one of the primary goals is to extend the time between relapses, which is why these medications are known as disease-modifying therapies….

Fungus in the Gut

Crohn’s disease – a type of inflammatory bowel disease – affects three-quarters of a million Americans. The causes underlying Crohn’s have been murky, but new research is adding some clarity to this disease. An international research team led by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine recently announced that fungus in the GI tract…

Starting Psoriasis Treatment On the Right Foot

The skin condition psoriasis affects more than 6.7 million adult men and women, leading to scaling and inflammation. The outward skin changes actually start deep within the skin, when skin cells rise too quickly to the surface of the skin which leads to them piling up on the surface in an immature state. The end…

Keytruda Ready to Help More People

Guest Blog by: Elvin Montanez, Pharm.D. Even more cancer patients might soon be benefiting from the cancer medication that helped former President Jimmy Carter. Keytruda (pembrolizumab) first started saving lives back in 2011 when a human trial led to an expedited process with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By 2014, this medication was approved…

Breaking Down Restrictions

For many years, the standard plan for treating hepatitis C infections called for excluding active drug users. Experts at the 5th International Symposium on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users who recently met in Oslo, aim to revise what is considered standard care. New research was discussed at the symposium, specifically a series of studies by…

Things are Getting Brighter

Cancer treatment and depression go hand-in-hand. In fact, this belief was previously so entrenched in the health care community that it was viewed as an unfortunate, yet unchangeable fact. Today – although depression remains a major challenge for cancer patients – there are now many effective depression treatments available to improve the quality of life…

One State at a Time

What would it take to completely eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in one state of the United States by the year 2030? Researchers from Brown University set out to answer this question by taking a deep look at hepatitis C in the state of Rhode Island. Currently, Rhode Island restricts treatment to patients with…

Zero Alcohol Policy

When it comes to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol, the answer is zero. As in: don’t drink at all, not even a little bit. It’s been long known that large amounts of alcohol could be harmful to the liver, which is why those with liver diseases are cautioned to avoid it. There is…