Sunday, February 3, 2008

Moles indicating skin cancer look different

This recent article on Medscape (originally in Arch Dermatol. 2008; 144:58-64) is interesting. Moles that may suggest malignant melanomas (a dangerous form of skin cancer) have these distinct features:

A. Be asymmetric.
B. Have border irregularities.
C. Have variations in color.
D. Be large in diameter — often bigger than the size of the eraser of a pencil.


Obesity: 99% bad, 1% good

Here's what I saved in my latest reading:

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Obesity May Protect Against Joint Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis

This apparent protective effect of obesity is observed only in patients positive for rheumatoid factor, however, suggesting that different autoimmune conditions affect biochemical processes in the arthritic joint.

Dr. Westhoff's group speculates that the effect of adipose tissue may be mediated by secretion of anti-inflammatory proteins.

Arthritis Rheum 2007;56:3575-3582.
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When it comes to science, we should be cautious about good vs bad judgement, including health science. Obesity is bad. Everybody knows that. But we should not cover up any finding that points to its positive side. This is by no means an excuse for fat people to stay fat, because there're too many risk factors associated with it. Instead, these studies serve as a reminder that we sometimes use when considering overall health of a person. Have you heard of smoking associated with reduced Parkinson's disease risk (Neurology 2007;68:764-768)? The same reasoning applies.