Thursday, July 24, 2008

British woman receives $1,600,000 payout for brain injury caused by fad "detox" diet

People just don't know how dangerous water intoxication can be. People die from it. It is PARTICULARLY dangerous if it is not accompanied by enough salt

A mother of two has won more than $1,600,000 at the High Court after she claimed that a radical detox diet left her brain-damaged and epileptic. Dawn Page, 52, said that she was told to drink four extra pints of water a day and reduce her salt intake to prevent fluid retention and reduce weight. Within days of going on "The Amazing Hydration Diet" she began vomiting and, less than a week after starting the diet, suffered a massive epileptic fit. She was taken to intensive care but doctors were unable to prevent permanent brain injury.

Mrs Page now suffers from epilepsy and a "cognitive deficit" that affects her memory, concentration and her ability to speak normally. She was forced to quit her job as a conference organiser, suffers from frequent mood swings and relies on her husband, Geoff, for help around the house. Mrs Page secured an $1,620,000 payout last week from Barbara Nash, the nutritionist who devised the diet, after more than six years of legal battle. Mrs Nash, who calls herself a "nutritional therapist and life coach", denies any fault and the settlement was concluded without admission of liability. Mrs Nash's insurance company will pay the damages.

In September 2001 Mrs Page paid Mrs Nash $100 for an initial consultation. She said that she was advised to drink four pints of mineral water per day as well as the tea and other fluids that she normally drank. After a few days she started vomiting but was allegedly assured by Mrs Nash that it was "all part of the detoxification process". Mrs Page, who weighed 12 stone (76kg), was even urged to increase her water intake to six pints a day and cut her salt intake further.

Mr Page said yesterday that the settlement reflected the seriousness of his wife's injuries. He said of his wife: "She was not obese or even mildly obese but, like a lot of women, Dawn liked to look after her weight and was not having much success with the normal ways of doing that. "Her life has been seriously affected, perhaps ruined, by this fad-type way of losing weight," he added. Mrs Page relies on written notes to remember basic instructions and finds it hard to recall simple information.

Mr Page, the project manager for a packaging company, covers all the bills as his wife cannot work. He said: "She can't drive and takes medication every day. And she will do so for life." Mr Page, who brought the legal action against Mrs Nash in 2001, said that the fight had been worth it. Mrs Nash, who is based in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, and has a diploma in natural nutrition, was unavailable to comment last night.

Plexus Law, the firm representing Mrs Nash, released a statement that read: "On behalf of our client, we wish to make it clear that all allegations of substandard practice made on behalf of Mrs Page in the litigation have always been, and continue to remain, firmly denied. Equally, the information contained in the medical records suggesting that Mrs Page appeared to have drunk five litres of water on the day that she was admitted to hospital, and therefore disregarded advice given by our client, were also denied by Mrs Page. "In our view, as a recognition of this, the settlement amount agreed to be paid was less than half of the total amount claimed and the compromise that was offered and accepted was on the basis of no admission of liability."


New prostate drug might not leave you prostrate

Looks good so far

Thousands of men with aggressive and incurable prostate cancer could gain years of life with a ground-breaking new drug, British researchers say. Eight out of ten patients with advanced prostate cancer - which kills 10,000 men a year - may see their tumours shrink and be relieved of pain simply by taking a daily pill even if their disease has spread around the body, the study suggests. Some men taking abiraterone have survived for more than twice as long as expected when all other treatments failed, suggesting that the most common cancer in men may in future become a manageable chronic disease. Scientists are also starting trials of the drug for sufferers of breast cancer to see if it has similar benefits.

Survival rates for common cancers such as breast and colon cancer have more than doubled in 60 years, and experts predict that, with this new drug, prostate cancer has the potential to join this list. About 35,000 Britons have prostate cancer diagnosed each year. Many of the cancers do not spread and can be managed by surgery or monitoring. Nearly all fatal cases are aggressive forms that are resistant to current treatments and are fuelled by testoster-one, the "male" sex hormone. After chemotherapy and radiotherapy have failed, the typical survival period is just one year or 18 months.

Johann de Bono, who led the study at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said that 250 men worldwide with advanced cases had so far taken the new drug - some for as long as 32 months, indicating that it could even tually boost survival by many years. The study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found benefits for 21 patients with advanced prostate cancer. Trials are continuing.

Dr de Bono said he hoped that the new drug could be licensed and available for treatment of advanced disease within three years. He suggested that it could eventually make chemotherapy obsolete. "This is potentially a major step forward," he said. "These men have very aggressive prostate cancer, which is exceptionally difficult to treat and almost always fatal. We hope that abiraterone will eventually offer them real hope of an effective way of managing their condition and prolonging their lives."

Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist, described the study as a "significant piece of work". He said: "We now can make people live with cancer. It's not curable but we can keep people alive to the extent that they will die of something else. Most people affected by cancer are over 60, so if we can give them an extra 10 to 15 years that is as good as can be. We have to take into account the variability of some forms of hormone-driven cancer - this is not 100 per cent effective - but to be able to treat some of the worst cases, and grant them extra years of life, is a very positive thing."

Advanced prostate cancer is typically treated with a form of chemical or surgical castration to block production of the male hormones. Abiraterone blocks the generation of these hormones in the testes and elsewhere in the body, including the generation of hormones in the cancer itself.

The pill decreased the size of tumours in 70 to 80 per cent of men with advanced prostate cancer, the researchers said. Patients also recorded large falls in prostate specific antigen levels in the blood - a key indicator of prostate cancer.

"Current treatments can be horrible, and carry side-effects such as loss of libido, but in some cases the cancer seems immune to therapy and carries on accelerating," Dr de Bono said. "We believe that the cancer cells can make their own hormone `fuel' to grow and survive. We believe we now have a drug that can block the ability of the cancer to make that fuel."

An international study aims to recruit 1,200 men with advanced prostate cancer. The drug is also being used to treat breast cancer in women through a preliminary trial funded by Cancer Research UK.

Dr de Bono said: "It was able to help patients whose cancer had spread to the bones, liver, even lung. A number of patients were able to stop taking morphine for the relief of bone pain, and they got their quality of life back. In the wider context we eventually aim to make chemotherapy obsolete."

Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research's prostate cancer expert, said that the results were exciting but the studies were small and it was too early to say what role the drug might have in treating those with earlier stages of cancer.


No comments: