There are many causes of pancreatitis, both acute and chronic. The most common is gallstones, which develop in the liver and move down the common duct the liver shares with the pancreas; when that happens, bile can run into the pancreas and cause inflammation there. The other is chronic alcoholism. The digestive enzymes of the pancreas spill into the tissues, causing damage and inflammation.
It is often diagnosed quite late, as it can grow for a while without symptoms; and as we’ll see, the later a cancer is diagnosed, the worse it usually is. Also, for reasons we don’t fully understand, most of our cancer drugs work only poorly in pancreatic cancer. Finally, it is difficult to treat with radiation, as the pancreas is deep in the abdominal cavity and other tissues may get damaged during treatment.
Strokes are caused either by blockage of an artery that supplies the brain with blood, or by the rupture of one of these arteries; the first is called “ischemic” (iss-key’-mick) and the second, hemorrhagic. The most frequent site is the middle cerebral artery, so you can look up in an atlas what structures that blood vessel supplies.
Epilepsy is due to an abnormal focus of electrical activity in the brain. The nerve cells (neurons) “talk” to each other by releasing chemical compounds that excite other neurons, so messages pass from the body to the brain, are processed there, and other messages are then sent to the body. All of this is perfectly coordinated. If activity starts in some area where it should not, and can’t stop, that may result in epilepsy. One common cause is brain injury, which may not have been apparent to the patient when it happened; that produced a scar, and the scar, perhaps by pulling on neurons, fires them abnormally, resulting in various symptoms. Drugs can control milder cases; sometime surgery is very effective at removing the scarred tissue.
I think you may mean the situation in diabetes, where high blood sugar (glucose) results in some of the glucose being coupled to various proteins of the blood, which normally doesn’t happen to any large degree. Those are called “glycation products.” Measuring them can tell us how well a diabetic is controlling his or her blood sugar: the hemoglobin A1c or glycosylated hemoglobin reflects average glucoses over the preceding 2–3 months.
Every artery has muscle cells, and there are tiny nerve fibers there, sending messages to the brain about how open or closed the vessel s are; and receiving messages to contract or relax. So does the heart. So you can sit quietly and think of something scary or upsetting and your heart rate and blood pressure will rise; try it! Or you can see something that upsets you; your brain tells your heart to slow down and your blood vessels to dilate (so your blood pressure falls) and boom! You are out cold on the floor.
No. A seizure is due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain, as caused by epilepsy, or rarely a tumor pressing on normal brain cells, or in the very young, by fever. The usual symptom is uncontrollable muscle jerking. A stroke is caused by interruption of blood flow to a part of the brain, which then loses its function; therefore its symptoms might include weakness on one side, or inability to talk, or understand.
Our favorite question of the week! Myostatin in a muscle growth inhibitor that the body makes to help control growth and balance. In animals, if it is reduced, muscle mass can become significantly larger. Blockers of myostatin have been suggested as possible treatments for muscular dystrophy, but no successful drugs have yet been developed. Of course, some athletes and bodybuilders want myostatin blockers to make themselves super strong, so there are many bogus drugs available in the Internet. Don’t take them! Some work suggests creatine supplements decrease myostatin levels if combined with hard exercise, but hard exercise alone does that, too.
It depends on what parts of the liver are affected. If the ducts that take bile into the intestine become blocked, severe liver inflammation can result. Bleeding can happen if the blood vessels are invaded and damaged. And if enough of the liver cells are replaced, the liver cannot do its job, resulting in liver failure.
Mostly, chronic illness. There are certain factors involved in inflammation, for example, that do not allow the body to build up its tissues, so the energy balance shifts from growth (anabolic) to tissue loss (catabolic), even if nutrition seems to be adequate.
Interesting. It is curious, isn’t it, that we can force our bodies to accept things the body would prefer to think of as toxic. Cigarettes, for example. There are also maturation changes in tastes; very little kids may eat anything (Dr. Cohen once treated an infant who had eaten an ashtray-full of cigarette butts), while tastes for other things come later: typically, broccoli, olives, beer, liquor. The changes may be in the brain, rather than in the taste buds.
Probably the easiest way is by knowing the ingredients’ calorie count, and the weight that went into the recipe. Thus if you make something that uses a stick of butter, that’s 4 ounces or about 110 grams of fat, at 9 Kcal/gram, so right away your recipe has 990 Kcal. Do that for each ingredient (online you can find average calories for most ingredients), get the total, divide by the number of servings, and there you are: pretty close to the actual value.
I’d have to know which disease. Some make the thyroid work too hard, causing hyperthyroidism (nervousness, tremors, sweating, sometime bulging eyes); other, the thyroid doesn’t work hard enough (hypothyroidism, with fatigue, feeling poorly, and sometimes weakness). Each has a variety of causes and treatments.
I can find nothing that supports that view, especially for the newer low-dose oral contraceptives.
As we age, bodies change, and in women, the production of estrogens declines as menstruation stops. This makes many women feel the various symptoms of menopause. It can be considered normal, but it is also very unpleasant, so there is the possibility of supplementing those levels of hormone with replacement therapy. It’s controversial since it isn’t the way the body normally ages, and some worry that the hormones will make certain tissues grow that shouldn’t be growing, resulting in an increased risk of cancer. Some studies support that conclusion, some don’t, as the supplements get more refined and we learn more about them.
I just drank a big mouthful of icy Coke, and felt all chilly in my tummy in about 1.6 seconds. You try it!
Dr. French will be all over that topic in the Pharmacology lecture, so we won’t ruin it for him now!
Well, if it killed you, that would by definition be too much. Seriously, I think it actually could. These Thai chilies are pretty hot (not the hottest in the world—they just lost the Guiness Book of Records title—but about 500 times hotter than Tabasco!) and they do contain a lot of capsaicin, which if painted on the skin would cause it to blister. But the body is usually smart enough to make you throw up before you got too toxic. Suggestion: Let’s not do the experiment, OK?
About 25% of kids 2-19 years old are overweight (body mass index 25.0 to 29.9) and 17% are obese (BMI 30 or more). [There are many BMI calculators on the internet.] Yes, they can get fatty livers, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and inflammatory diseases just like older adults.
There are a variety of tests hospitals do if someone comes into the emergency room with symptoms that may be early stroke. These range from careful physical exams, to blood tests, to x-rays and other scans. And there are treatments that can be given, depending on the test results.
Amazingly well. The liver still makes bile that trickles into the intestine to help digestion. The gall bladder isn’t essential; some think it’s mostly an overflow reservoir.