For the first time, the FDA approves a CBD-containing drug

As I have written in previous posts, CBD, or cannabidiol, an active ingredient of marijuana, kills myeloma cells, so the news I came across early this morning is of huge interest to me.

In a nutshell, for the first time ever, the FDA has approved a CBD-containing oral solution (= a strawberry-flavored syrup) for the treatment of rare but severe forms of epilepsy in children.

Note: this syrup does not contain THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people “high.”

It may not come without side effects, such as sleepiness and increased liver enzymes (like most anti-seizure drugs, it appears), as you can read in the FDA press release:

Compared to seizures, however, the potential side effects seem tolerable. Here’s a Time magazine story about a 10-year-old girl with Dravet syndrome who participated in the CBD clinical trial in 2016, for example:

Anyway, I think this is very exciting…and promising…!!!

A new commission looks into the adverse effects of blood cancer treatments

This morning I read an IMPORTANT Science Daily article on how the adverse effects, tolerability, and toxicities of conventional treatments for blood cancers (including myeloma, of course) have not been reported/disclosed as well as they should have been, to put it mildly. See:

Well, this may change soon enough: a new commission set up by The Lancet Haematology has been looking into these adverse effects and toxicities, considering in particular the long-term, chronic effects that don’t go away even after the completion of treatment, such as neuropathy, which can be crippling.

Quality of life has always been a big concern of mine, and I always look for adverse effects and toxicities whenever I read studies about patients and conventional treatments. Very rarely, however, are adverse effects mentioned…The first study that comes to mind is the Spanish SMM patient-chemo study, where there was no information on how the early treatment of SMM patients affected their daily lives. And yet their lives must have been affected, at least in some ways…

Excerpt from the SD article: “In particular, the toxicity over time and tolerability to the patient of new chronic or continuously administered therapies are not well defined, and are poorly captured by existing reporting mechanisms.

Well, the important thing is that FINALLY (about time!!!) there is a commission looking into this lesser-disclosed (to say the least) part of conventional treatments. This is very good news.

We, the patients, need to be INFORMED about any and all potential problems, both short-term and long-term…

Or, at least, that is MY opinion! As usual!!! 🙂

Food items we should avoid “like the plague”…

I just read a very interesting interview with/article about a food poisoning lawyer (imagine that…!!!) who shares his knowledge about food, potentially contaminated food. And some of it isn’t so obvious.

That is why I’m posting the link to the article, as a warning/reminder to those of us who have weakened immune systems:

I never buy prepackaged (washed? Hah!) salad, e.g., or anything that has been cut and washed by others. I never go near salad bars, no matter how clean the restaurant looks. Bacteria bacteria bacteria! Better be safe than sorry…

After my SMM diagnosis, I began growing my own sprouts, which contain lots of vitamins and minerals (even protein and so on). Until…one day I read about the risk of Salmonella and E.coli contamination, and that completely killed my sprout-growing enthusiasm. I gave my sprouter away. Just a few days ago, in fact, there was an outbreak of Salmonella in Southern Australia caused by alfalfa sprouts. Yes, okay, these were store-bought, but still…I’m not taking the risk. No sprouts in my sandwich, thank you very much!!!

Anyway, the above interview/article may surprise you. Or not!

Do you have any additions/suggestions? Thanks! Have a great Sunday! Ciao! 🙂

Researchers test curcumin in new bone-building study

After enhancing the bioavailability of curcumin using polymers, a group of Washington State University researchers proved that curcumin can increase bone growth by between 30% and 45%  in a matter of weeks: “The presence of curcumin in TCP results in enhanced bone formation after 6 weeks.” (Quoted from the abstract.)

The researchers are currently testing other natural extracts as well, namely “aloe vera, saffron, Vitamin D, garlic, oregano and ginger [… ] that might help with bone disorders, including those that encourage bone growth or that have anti-inflammatory, infection control, or anti-cancer properties.” (Quoted from Science Daily, see link below.)

The bone-forming qualities of curcumin are nothing new to us (I’ve written a number of posts on this topic), but it’s always good to learn that researchers are looking for, and apparently FINDING, new ways to make curcumin more bioavailable, especially if it has to do with our precious bones!

Note: this study was carried out on 3D-printed, ceramic bone scaffolds, not on human beings. So there is still a long way to go. Still, it is encouraging to have one more study prove the importance of curcumin for bone health and growth…

Curcumin forever!

Here’s the very interesting write-up in Science Daily (easy to read, to boot): There is a link to the study’s abstract there, for those who want to know more.

Happy reading! 🙂

“It’s just a cat…”

Last summer, when we were forced to put down our two eldest cats, Puzzola and Piccolo (Puzzola, in June; Piccolo, in September), Stefano and I were absolutely devastated…overwhelmed with grief. Losing a pet is like losing a piece of yourself. A piece that is gone forever.

Piccolo (left) and Puzzola in 2005

Plus, in addition to all this emotional (at times, physical) pain, we also had to deal with the “it’s just a cat/dog/etc.” attitude of pet-less friends/people who just don’t get it. Last summer I remember hiding my despair from some of my closest friends, the pet-less ones, which wasn’t easy AT ALL…

In time, it’s gotten easier. Life goes on…but I still think of my lost cats every day, and I cry for them now and again (like RIGHT NOW, as I write this post). I know it’s the same for Stefano…Nothing can replace Puzzola and Piccolo in our hearts and daily life, not even our two mischievous/funny/adorable sisters, Pixie and Pandora, who really keep us entertained and give us so much love (as do our other adult cats, too, of course!)…

Oh, but WHY am I going back in time today and talking about my lost cats? It’s because this morning I read an excellent, spot-on Scientific American article, titled “Why we need to take pet loss seriously”:


Spot on.

If you have ever lost a pet, you must read this article, which offers a few helpful suggestions…

Quick post

Wow, it’s been a long time since I last published a post. Everything is fine, more or less…This has just been a super busy period…

In a nutshell: our two mischievous kittens (see the awful cellphone photo on the right) were spayed a couple of weeks ago after the scare with Pandora’s heart turned out to be just that. I mean, it was just a scare, luckily!!! They are doing just fine and are as mischievous as ever.

Then Stefano and I spent four days at a cousin’s wedding in Avellino, a town near Naples, then there were a million things to do once we got back to Florence, teaching English blablabla…then Stefano came down with a cold, which developed into bronchitis, which he passed on to me this past weekend. And so I’ve been coughing up a storm since Sunday (oh how I hate THE cough!!!)…But I’ll be fine, no worries…I feel much better today. I’ve been taking antibiotics, probiotics, the usual curcumin, Reishi extract, and the most important thing: an expectorant cough syrup (yeah, gross, I know…but essential in these cases). Bronchitis in June…makes no sense. There you go.

And then…also…eh…last week a friend’s husband, who’d had myeloma for 12 years, died…He was just a few years older than I am…I’ve been in touch with his wife for years…for years…so sad.

Crappy, crappy myeloma, grrrrr!!!  👿

Anyway, lots going on, as you can see. But now I have to get off the computer, so I hope everyone is fine and dandy. Ciao for now!