Glucose, a simple sugar, is the fuel that powers most mammals, humans included. All foods that we consume are broken down in the digestive tract by digestive enzymes to simple nutrients including glucose. At approximately eight to 12 hours after the last food intake, assuming there is no oral intake after that, the body has used all the available glucose from that meal, so it must find glucose from another source. The body then begins a process in the liver called gluconeogenesis, which breaks down fatty acids to make glucose. This process creates ketone bodies, which can be found in the urine of a fasting person. In a starvation scenario, after the body runs out of fatty acids, it breaks down proteins, including muscle proteins, to make

Last week I discussed the fast development of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Unfortunately, it is now becoming more and more apparent that early predictions about the elimination of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus by way of vaccination to achieve herd immunity were highly inaccurate. After a period of falling COVID-19 illness rates, the reemergence and spread of the delta variant necessitated a reexamination of some previous assumptions.

A more likely picture of our future with this virus comes into

In industrialized countries, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in adults older than 60 years of age. The estimated global prevalence of AMD is 8.7%, and in 2020, it was estimated that more than 190 million persons worldwide and more than 11 million persons here in the U.S. had AMD. Increasing age is the strongest risk factor, and given the exponential growth of the aging population, it is estimated that the global prevalence of AMD will increase to 288

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory, multisystemic disease of unknown cause with a wide range of clinical manifestations. It can affect virtually any organ in the body, but predominantly affects the lungs, lymphatic system, skin, eyes, or a combination of these sites. The hallmark sign of sarcoidosis is the formation of granulomas which, if in the lungs, can be seen on X rays. A granuloma is a small area of inflammation which is usually noncancerous. They seem to be a defensive mechanism that

One of the most common complaints heard from those who are COVID-19 vaccine hesitant is that the vaccines were created in less than a year, so how could they be safe? Well, making vaccines has often been described as a thankless task. To quote Dr. Bill Foege, one of the world’s greatest public health physicians, “Nobody ever thanks you for saving them from the disease they didn’t know they were going to get.” However, public health physicians consider vaccines to be an excellent return on

Over 60,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are anticipated in the U.S. in 2021. The incidence is rising at a rate of 0.5% to 1% per year, and pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. by 2030. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) accounts for about 90% of pancreatic tumors. Most patients with pancreatic cancer present with nonspecific symptoms at an advanced stage with disease that is not amenable to curative surgery. No effective screening

Prediabetes and diabetes type 2 are common, estimated to affect about 34% and 13% of all U.S. adults in 2018, respectively. Prevalence of diabetes increases with age and was higher among American Indian/Native Alaskan, Hispanic, non-Hispanic Asian, and non-Hispanic Black persons than among non-Hispanic White persons. Diabetes was estimated to be the third leading cause of years lived with disability in 2016 and the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017, accounting for more than

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