Monday, March 23, 2009

Obesity 'causing rise in kidney stone operations'

This is just speculation dressed up as science

The number of patients requiring operations for painful kidney stones has risen by one third in five years, driven in part by the growing obesity crisis [How do they know that?], experts have warned. More and more patients are having to undergo invasive surgery and other procedures to remove the stones, which can cause excruciating pain and dangerous complications.

Official figures from the NHS Information Centre show that 18,964 of these procedures were carried out in 2006/07, an increase of a third on 2002/03, when the number was just 14,306. Although operations were most common on those in middle age or older the statistics also revealed that 203 were carried out on under-18s in 2006/07, up from 189 five years earlier.

Almost one in four British adults is now classed as obese, and doctors predict that the figure will rise in coming decades.

Daron Smith, urology consultant at University College London Hospital, said: "One of the major causes of kidney stones can be diet and lifestyle and the growing obesity problem is related [to them]. "Eating too much protein and high levels of salt is not good for the build up of chemicals in the urine which can cause stones. "This can be exacerbated by a condition called metabolic syndrome, which is also one of the links between obesity and Type II diabetes." He said that his clinic had noticed an increase both in the number of patients and in the size of the stones that required treatment in recent years.

Caused mainly by a build up of calcium or uric acid in the urine, stones are usually small enough that patients will "pass" them over time without the need for surgery. However, large stones can migrate from the kidneys into other parts of the body, where they can become stuck, cause infection, or lead to permanent kidney damage. Symptoms can include severe pain in the stomach or back, a frequent urge to urinate, as well as a fever.

Procedures to remove the stones include using an X-ray to locate where they are in the body, and then passing an electric current through the area to break them up so that they are small enough to be passed in urine, as well as invasive surgery on the kidney.


Prince Charles' Duchy Originals ordered to remove 'misleading' herbal remedy claims

Prince Charles' Duchy Originals brand has been ordered to remove claims about the effectiveness of its herbal remedies from its website, after regulators ruled they were "misleading". The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has upheld a complaint over the online advertising of two remedies, Duchy Herbals Echina-Relief Tincture and Duchy Herbals Hyperi-Lift Tincture, which are sold for 10 pounds for 50ml in selected Boots and Waitrose stores.

Although the MHRA has given the company a license to sell the remedies it does not allow them to make any claims about their effects, merely to stress their "traditional use". Since the ruling, made at the end of January but only made public, Duchy Originals has since amended its website and agreed not to make similar claims in any future advertising.

The remedies have been available in stores and through the company's website since the end of January and the MHRA made its ruling after a complaint from a member of the public. The move comes just a week after a leading scientist accused the Prince of "exploiting the gullible" with the Duchy Originals' tinctures.

Prof Edzard Ernst, from the Peninsula Medical School, dismissed one of the remedies, the company's Detox Artichoke and Dandelion Tincture, as "quackery" and dubbed the brand "Dodgy Originals". The Duchy Herbals brand is also being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over claims made about its Detox Tincture product.

According to the amended website Duchy Herbals Hyperi-Lift Tincture is a “traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety, based on traditional use only.” Similarly Duchy Herbals Echina-Relief Tincture is a “traditional herbal medicinal product used to relive the symptoms of the common cold and influenza type infections.”

A spokesman for Duchy Originals said: “Duchy Herbals Detox Tincture is an excellent and safe product, traded as a food supplement and compliant with all of the relevant sections of both UK and European food laws. It is a natural aid to digestion and supports the body’s natural elimination processes. It is not – and has never been described as – a medicine, remedy or cure for any disease. “There is no “quackery”, no “make believe” and no “superstition” in any of the Duchy Originals herbal tinctures. We find it unfortunate that Professor Ernst should chase sensationalist headlines in this way rather than concentrating on accuracy and objectivity.”


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