Weekly health news roundup March 2016: influenza, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and kidney stones

In this weekly health news roundup, we deliver the latest stories on influenza update 2016, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and kidney stones. As the influenza virus continues to spread, health officials suggest it has yet to reach its peak. Moreover, we uncovered additional health risks in endometriosis and the common genetic link shared between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraine and tension headaches.

So in case you missed what was going on in the world of health this week, here are those top stories summed up for you.

Influenza update 2016Influenza update 2016: Flu season has yet to reach its peak


As the flu season continues in 2016, researchers still stress that it has yet to hit its peak and the 2016 flu season has been the mildest seen in the U.S. in the past three years. Researchers do note that flu cases are on the incline in some areas of the U.S. and that the flu season is still far from being over.

In prior flu seasons, peaks of the flu typically occurred in February or early March, but in the past weak flu cases have been found to be increasing and the peak of the season is still in sight.
Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza division, said, “Flu activity is still going up, it’s going to be a later peak.” Continue reading…

endometrial cancer riskEndometriosis raises endometrial cancer risk and is also a possible risk factor for ovarian cancer

Endometriosis raises endometrial cancer risk and is also a possible risk factor for ovarian cancer. There are currently no screening programs available for ovarian or endometrial cancers, and one reason for this is due to their low incidences. Current testing isn’t very specific, but researchers suggest for combatting the problem, it’s important to use risk factors in order to define subpopulations of higher incidences.

Researchers utilized a hospital-based case-control analysis, which represented patients with endometrial or ovarian cancer who participated in studies to assess the risk of either disease. Control women were aged 40 to 85, and the study consisted of 289 patients and 1,016 controls.

Endometriosis was reported in 2.1 percent of the controls and 4.8 percent of the cases. The researchers found that endometriosis was a relevant predictor for case-control status in addition to other predictive factors. Continue reading…

Migraines, tension headachesMigraines, tension headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome share common genetic links, says study

Migraines, tension headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have been found to share a common genetic link. Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects nearly 45 million people in the U.S. The exact cause of IBS is still unknown and many patients can go undiagnosed for years. Symptoms of IBS include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain.

Study author Dr. Derya Uluduz said, “Since headache and irritable bowel syndrome are such common conditions, and causes for both are unknown, discovering a possible link that could shed light on shared genetics of the conditions is encouraging.”

The study involved 107 individuals with episodic migraines, 53 tension-type headaches, 107 people with IBS, and 53 healthy individuals as controls. Migraine and tension headache patients were examined for IBS, and IBS patients were asked about headaches. Continue reading…

Kidney stones caused by excess zinKidney stones caused by excess zinc level toxicity in the body

Kidney stones can be caused by excess zinc level toxicity in the body. Findings from a study reveal that zinc levels may be at the core of kidney stone formation. The study was conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco outlining new approaches to kidney stones. Their findings were published in PLOS ONE.

Lead author Thomas Chi said, “The ultimate goal of our research team is to prevent kidney stones from happening in the first place and to understand the mechanisms by which they form a part of that effort.”

The study was conducted on fruit flies as fruit flies produce stones similar to humans. The researchers looked at humans and fruit flies to uncover the role of zinc levels in kidney stone formation. Chi explained, “The idea made sense, because our most recent research demonstrates that zinc is important for the mineralization and calcification processes that lead to urinary stones.” Continue reading…

hepatomegalyEnlarged liver (hepatomegaly) from fatty liver disease or inflammation leads to swelling, fatigue, and weakness


Research suggests that up to 25 percent of Americans suffer from fatty liver disease, which causes an enlarged liver or, as it is known in medical terms, hepatomegaly. Essentially, it means that the liver is swollen beyond normal size. Since the liver has more than one important function, getting treatment for hepatomegaly is vital.

Our liver helps clean our blood by removing harmful chemicals that our bodies make. It creates liquid bile, which helps break down fat in food. It also stores sugar, also referred to as glucose. Glucose gives us energy whenever we need it. When a person has an enlarged liver and doesn’t get treated properly, long-term damage can occur.

Some enlarged liver causes are more common than others. For example, alcoholic liver disease is a frequent cause for enlarged liver symptoms. Viral hepatitis, which includes hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E can lead to an enlarged liver, too. Cancer can also be a factor. It can spread to the liver from a different organ. Continue reading…