A Smart New Weapon Against Cancer

HClinicThe advent of the liquid biopsy ushers in a new era in the fight against cancer. It is hoped that this new tool will help to give cancer patients an even better chance of being cured of the disease.

Liquid biopsy is a procedure which is now being used in the treatment and monitoring of patients with cancer. Until recently it was only used in research programmes, but now the liquid biopsy is becoming increasingly useful in the diagnostic and therapeutic planning of treatment in oncology patients.

The procedure is based on the natural evolution and behaviour of malignant tumour cells. During the growth process they infiltrate neighbouring tissues, becoming detached from the tumour and leaking into the circulation. These cells are called CTCs (circulating tumour cells) and can be detected and measured through special electromagnetic procedures which help to determine their presence and detect variations in concentration (numbers per ml) in line with the state of the diagnosed tumour. Afterwards, once treatment has been given, CTC variation can be monitored, their evolution correlating with the patient's condition. Subsequently the same checks can be performed periodically, monitoring for tumour recurrence the moment it occurs.

CTCs obtained from liquid biopsy have already been useful in breast cancer, colorectal cancer and cancer of the prostate for many years, their evolution being extensively studied and validated. In prostate cancer, increased CTC count has been detected in the circulation several months preceding the increase in serum PSA levels, with increased PSA being an indicator of possible recurrence.

This CTC measurement has now been complemented by the possible measurement, not only of the number of cells present but also of DNA and RNA fragments present in the patient’s blood circulation known as ctDNA and ctRNA. This allows us to:

  • Be aware of the presence of an active tumour.
  • Be able to determine mutations presented by the tumour. 
  • Establish different treatment possibilities.
  • Know how they will affect development of the disease.

This is a significant advance in ascertaining the evolving status of different tumours. All that is required to check this is a simple blood test, taking just 5ml of blood. In the near future this procedure will be included as part of the usual management of the patient’s treatment.

Currently this investigation (Liquid Biopsy) is already being performed at HC Marbella Hospital's Oncology Unit, mainly for patients with diagnostic problems but in the future it is likely to be used for the majority of patients to monitor the progress of their condition more accurately.

In the figure attached you can see an explanatory diagram.

Dr Hernán Cortés-Funes
Head of the Oncology Unit at HC Marbella and Chief Medical Equipment

 
Run For Your Life!

matt-roberts-500-800-profile-1Matt Roberts is the UK's leading fitness trainer. He has also written several bestselling books on the subject and worked with celebrity clients such as Tom Ford, Amanda Holden, Trudi Styler, Michael McIntyre, John Galliano, Mel C  and The Saturdays. He also acts as a fitness expert for BBC Radio 2, BBC Breakfast, Sky News and frequently writes and runs seasonal promotions for The Times, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph.

Didn't we tell you that we'd help you achieve that amazing beach body in time for the summer? Our resident exercise guru, Matt Roberts has all the advice that you need if you're thinking of improving your fitness levels, dropping a kilo or two or maybe entering a marathon.

Starting out on the journey to complete a running event (or even starting to run for the first time, for fun) needn’t be daunting. Simply follow a few tips and you’ll soon start looking forward to your running and an injury-free transition.

First things first – kit! Do you have a decent, well-fitting pair of running trainers that are less than six months old? If not, now is the time to invest in a pair. Go to a running shop which has staff knowledgeable enough to match the right trainer to your gait. While there, stock up on a few basics if they are not in your collection – shorts, leggings, t-shirts and perhaps even a light waterproof jacket. Make sure that you try them on in-store as you don’t want any chafing halfway around the course.

It’s a great idea to speak to a professional trainer regarding how best to begin your running programme. The best gains in training are made when you start slowly, build up progressively, have plenty of rest days and, most importantly, be consistent. At this stage it’s a great idea to think about other forms of exercise to mix your training up a little. Just running the increasing distances that you’ll be demanding of your body can be very tough on your joints and connective tissues, so why not add in a bike ride, team sports game or swim to your weekly routine? Also, start and keep a diary of all that you’ve done so far - it’s a great motivator.

The best motivational tricks for getting out there include;

  • Keeping a plan and record of your runs on your main calendar or diary. You’ll not want to miss a session if there’s a visual cue.
  • Also, remove all the obstacles to you getting the run done, for example keep your kit by the front door so that it’s there ready to be put on before you have a chance to sit down and chill when you come back home.
  • You can attach personal mental rewards to runs: “I’m only going to watch the next episode of ‘Breaking Bad’/’Homeland’/’insert favourite mini-series’) after my next run.”

Once you're running regularly and - hopefully - enjoying the increasing levels of fitness, a big part of continuing to enjoy the process is staying free of injury. How do you do this? Pre-workout you should focus on mobilisation; this is the process of gently increasing the blood flow to your muscles, lubricating your joints and moving your body into a state where you are ready to exercise safely. It should form part of every warm-up before you get out there and start running. Movements like leg swings, spiderman steps and squat-to-stands are a good trio to start with.

Post-workout is the time to stretch, as static stretching will be more effective when the muscles are warm and malleable. Try to hold each pose for a full 30 seconds, to gain maximum benefit. Think about the period immediately after your run being the time when you have the best opportunity to prepare and recover, ready for your next run. It is very important to make the right food and drink choices at this time, to get the most out of the effort you’ve put in.

Think about these few suggestions and you'll soon start noticing results. Best of luck!

 
Effective Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

HC-Clinic

Dr. José Manuel Fernández Montero Head of Urology Unit HC Marbella Hospital International

Urinary incontinence is defined as any involuntary loss of urine that causes a social or hygiene problem. It occurs in healthy people as well as in association with other diseases and has many causes. It is fairly common and it is calculated that between 30-40% of middle aged women have some type of incontinence and this percentage increases with age. The majority of people, encouraged through the media and advertising, use pads as a method of controlling their incontinence. However, this has a high cost both economically and ecologically due to the massive use of cellulose.

It is very important to differentiate between the types of incontinence and to make an accurate diagnosis as the treatments are very different. The types are defined as follows:

1) Stress incontinence (SI): this is the involuntary loss of urine associated with physical effort that causes an increase in abdominal pressure (such as coughing, laughing, running or walking).

2) Urge incontinence (Overactive Bladder): occurs when the bladder muscle starts to contract and expel urine ahead of time, even if the bladder is still not full. These contractions can cause a sudden, intense desire to pass urine, causing the involuntary loss of urine. The main symptoms of this are: the need to urinate frequently and the need to pass urine during the night. This type of incontinence is also very frequent in patients with prostate symptoms.

3) Mixed urinary incontinence: it is calculated that 30% of women with incontinence suffer from both types previously mentioned.

4) Continuous Incontinence: the involuntary and continuous leakage of urine. This can be due to a vesico-vaginal fistula (a tract between the bladder and the vagina) that usually appears after gynaecological surgery, such as a hysterectomy.

5) Other types of incontinence: there are other types of incontinence but they are not the focus of this article.

Instead we will be focusing on the two most frequent types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence and concentrating principally on treatment that aims to improve the patient's quality of life.

Treatment should always be tailored to the individual. Whilst using one or two pads a day does not create a problem for some people, for others even a few drops (for example when exercising at the gym) can be a traumatic event.

With respect to Urinary Stress Incontinence, the emphasis is on prevention through the strengthening of the pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises and the use of Chinese balls (found in pharmacies) are highly recommended for avoiding future stress incontinence. Kegel exercises and the use of Chinese balls can also reverse incontinence in patients whose incontinence is still mild.

When we talk about incontinence following moderate or minimum effort (coughing, laughing, walking, lifting something heavy) that requires the use of protective measures such as pads, then the definitive treatment is surgical. It is a simple operation, through which a sling is positioned under the urethra, and this serves as anchorage for all the muscles of the pelvic floor. It is performed under epidural anaesthetic and the patient is in hospital for less than 24 hours. They also achieve dryness immediately.

By contrast, treatment for incontinence due to a hyperactive bladder is very different to that for stress incontinence and there are different levels of treatment for this condition.

1. Bladder re-education: there is no correct or incorrect frequency, you need to establish your own timetable. If you need to pass urine before the desired time, try to wait, even though it might only be for a short time.
2. Dietary changes
3. Micturition Diary: a record detailing your dietary routine, the amount and times of fluids taken, the time and quantity of normal daily micturition.
4. Pharmacological treatment: new drugs are available which have been demonstrated to be highly effective, with fewer side effects and which can be administered both orally and through skin patches.

There is a group of patients who do not respond to these drugs, and for these people we can offer intravesical Botox injections (these are given on an outpatient basis, with or without sedation, via cystoscopy in about 15 minutes) or percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation.

In summary, it is obvious that correctly diagnosing the type of incontinence is critical in formulating the appropriate, personal treatment plan for the patient, and therefore improving the patient's quality of life.

 
Marbella Healthstyle May 2016

MarbellaHealthstlyle

It's been another busy month here on the Coast and things are about to get even crazier, with summer being just around the corner! It's the calm before the storm, as most people who live here know that when the days become longer, the holidaymakers flood to the area for some well deserved fun and summer really feels in full flow. I love being able to catch a few more hours on the beach with the kids and my friends after the school run. Being out in the fresh air really makes me appreciate living in such a beautiful place.

1. Bardou

This month I was lucky enough to visit Bardou, the brand new, hottest salon on the Coast. Located in the port, it opened recently after much anticipation and is owned by the lovely Adee Phelan and Natalie Richardson. They were present in the salon and busy chatting to clients, which was really refreshing and great to see.

I was firstly taken back by the beautifully designed interior of the salon  - very glamorous and chic - but the friendliness of the staff is what really made me feel at ease. It has so much to offer from all aspects of hair cutting, colouring, blow-drying to facials, nails and eyebrows. I'm not really one to pamper myself in spas or salons, being more of a DIY girl, so this was a real treat. The staff made me feel welcome and relaxed and I had a lovely day there, enjoying a facial and a colour and blow-dry and, I must say, it was one of the best facials I have ever had. It was a microdermabrasion facial with oxygen therapy, which made my skin feel clean and rejuvenated and gave it a lovely glow, The oxygen facial has become really popular with many celebrities recently, as it is known to help the appearance of the skin and create a more radiant look, while also helping the circulation and complexion. Bardou is one of the only salons here in Marbella to offer this exclusive treatment. Then I had my hair coloured and styled; a new colouring treatment called Olaplex was used, which is meant to help with the effects of damage to coloured hair. Living in the sun it is always a struggle to keep my hair in a good condition and, as I’m a bit of a beach bunny, the salt and sea air really dry my hair out so it was helpful to have a conditioning treatment to help reverse these effects. If you fancy a day out with the girls or just a day to yourself, I would recommend a little trip down to Bardou. You will come out feeling relaxed, refreshed and renewed.

2. Málaga

When we lived in the UK we were quite close to London and I always enjoyed days out in the city with all its hustle and bustle, so I was totally surprised when we spent a weekend in Málaga, our closest city here on the Coast. Only 45 minutes from our house we found ourselves in the coolest, prettiest city I have visited in quite a while. Many people just think of Málaga as being the home of the international airport, but if you venture into its heart you will be surprised by how much is on offer and how much there is to see and do. It is full of amazing restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, museums, art galleries and the architecture is truly stunning. One of its other pluses is that it also has a fantastic beach, so you get the best of both worlds. The brand new port has just been completed and you can visit the daily market, which features stalls selling handmade items made locally. Of course, Málaga is probably most famous as the birth place of Pablo Picasso, so be sure to visit the Picasso Museum, which has workshops for the little ones; I always think it's good to involve the children in local history. However, I have to say that my favourite part of being in the city was just taking in the atmosphere. It has such a specific vibe, very laid back but still buzzing, so if you're looking for a bit of culture for the day do think about taking a trip to Málaga. Buses depart from Marbella frequently throughout the day and the fare only costs approximately eight euros.

3. Party Time

This is the month when the area seems to come alive with opening parties for the local beach clubs and bars. It can be quite full on but also one of the highlights of the year. I love it that a lot of my friends from the UK come over for the parties, which are always worth attending, but as I really cannot handle three-day hangovers anymore I’m going to make sure I hydrate properly. It's always good to let your hair down once in a while though - for the soul as well as the body! You can find out what is opening when and where here in Society.

4. Health Studies H2O

I have read a lot of reports recently about the effects of using plastic bottles, containers and cling film in the storage of water and food and the results have been surprising. I always keep a big bottle of water in my car but after reading the recent studies I have decided to change to a glass container. Not many people may know that as the days grow hotter, the plastic heats and releases chemicals into the water. These chemicals have the potential to be extremely damaging to the body. Wrapping or cooking your food in plastic containers can also have similar consequences. This is quite worrying, as I know many people also leave plastic bottles of water in the car, especially during the warmer months. To be on the safe side, store your water in a glass bottle, or one which contains no BPA.

5. Vino

I love to have a glass of wine now and again, so this month I am very excited to be visiting the local vineyard in Monda. I have always fancied a day out at an authentic vineyard so I was thrilled to find out that one the best vineyards in Spain is just around the corner. You can spend the day touring the beautiful vineyard and winery while sampling the different wines on offer. You can also learn about the history of wine making, from viticulture to how the grapes are harvested. I just hope there is no grape stomping involved or I'll have to get a pedicure!

6. Birthday Trip

I celebrated my 30th birthday in March and was lucky enough to be whisked off by my partner and kids to Madrid for a few days. Leading a busy life here in Spain, it was lovely to have a few days in the city, spending some family time together. We jumped on the train in Málaga and two hours later we were in the centre of Madrid! We stayed in a beautiful hotel called the Petit Palace, which had the prettiest, most romantic restaurant I think I have ever seen, built in the hotel's wine cellar. We also took a trip to the Warner Brothers theme park which was like being in a Looney Toons cartoon and the kids loved it. None of us can wait to return.

7. Safe Tanning

Everyone loves to have a bit of a tan, it just makes you feel and look better, but with the weather  heating up and having a health scare last year courtesy of a mole which had slightly changed colour, I think it's really important to remember to use sunscreen. It's lovely when the days are warmer and you can spend more time at the beach or around the pool, but with the stronger rays comes the worry of overdoing the sun and causing long lasting damage to your skin. My mum always used to tell me to look after my skin and when I was younger I would think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” but now, as I’m getting older, I think it is vital to smother on the factor 50 and this is even more true for youngsters. Skin cancers are a worry to everyone so the best way to make sure you stay protected is to keep applying that sunscreen. There are some great creams on the market nowadays that also smell good and - let's be honest - orange perma-tan is not a good look.

8. Flamenco

Living in Spain and raising my family here, I feel that it's really important to be involved in the local culture and one of my favourite things to do is to take a trip to Marbella's Casco Antiguo where there are some beautiful restaurants which offer traditional Spanish cuisine and flamenco. It is always fun to see the youngsters, and the not so young, dress up in their flamenco dresses and put on a show while you dine. You can feel the passion from the dancers, which is a refreshing treat in this modern world and it is wonderful to see them keep the tradition of their heritage going for generations to come. It always makes me feel honoured to be able to be part of it. My kids love it there just as much as I do and I think Marbella's old town is by far one of the most beautiful places to visit. The famous Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) in the centre of Marbella has to be one of my favourite places along the Coast. You feel like you have gone back in time and it is lovely to see the locals all gathered in the square, which is adorned with orange trees and pretty flower covered white townhouses eating with their families while listening to classical guitar music. It's an enchanting place which comes to life at night and definitely one not to miss.

9. Saddle Up

Exercise can, let's be honest, be boring if you are hitting the gym every day, so I like to get out and about and try new things. This month I’ve been trying my hand at a bit of horse riding. I was a keen rider when I was young but I’ve not been on a horse for years, so thought it was time to saddle up and give it another go. There are some wonderful horse riding academies in Marbella and many that offer the rider the chance to venture out into the beautiful Spanish countryside for a trek - even  beginners. My daughter has also just started her lessons and I think it's going to be a wonderful way to spend time together in the fresh air. Check out Andalusian horse riding for more information.

10. Morocco

I am really excited about taking the ferry to Tangier this month when my sister comes to visit. It is something I have been looking forward to since moving to the Coast. A journey of only around 35 minutes from Tarifa will take you to another continent and I am thrilled by the prospect of visiting the markets and tasting the food.

I will keep you posted.

Kimberley x

 
Marbella Healthstyle

MarbellaHealthstyle

01. Sierra Nevada

We decided to take a trip up to the Sierra Nevada to make the most of the snow. I still find it crazy that you can be on the on the beach in the morning and, a few hours later, in a winter wonderland. It’s only a few hours drive away, but feels like you are in another world and I feel so lucky so be able to have the best of both. It was my little girl’s first time skiing and she absolutely loved it. I took her up myself, which was a challenge to say the least, but I loved every minute and, let’s just say, the experience was one to remember. The little village has everything you could want for a weekend’s skiing - great slopes, restaurants, bars, hotels and kids’ clubs.

We stayed at the Melia which is right in the middle of the village; I made good use of the gorgeous spa (while Daddy looked after the kiddies) and it was just what I needed after a day of skiing. We are going back at the end of the month and hoping to stay at the new El Lodge, which has recently been renovated and looks a dream. Perfect!

02. Michael Campbell

I was very excited to be able to have a golf lesson with the charming Michael Campbell this month at his new new golf academy in the Villa Padierna Golf Resort. The facilities were top drawer, with a beautiful, manicured driving range, an indoor area to practise your swing (and to shelter from the sun or rain) and a perfectly formed putting green. I was a little nervous about showing my swing to a professional (a US Open champion, no less), but he put me at ease straight away and it was as if I had known him for years. He gave me some excellent advice throughout the lesson and my swing had definitely improved by the end. I can’t rate Michael highly enough; for someone who has played golf his whole life and has had such a successful career, he made me feel welcome, relaxed and, by the end, quite confident in my ability. He even said that I had some talent, which made me feel over the moon. What better compliment could anyone receive from a golfing pro? I am looking forward to my next lesson and, who knows, maybe I’ll be on the next UK ladies’ tour. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

03. Tarifa

We have been been exploring the beautiful coastline and finding new beaches along the way. There are some wonderful spots, with caves and coves and pure white sands, which I never knew existed. Nothing beats getting out in the fresh air and letting the kids go wild - it clears our minds and keeps them happy! Our favourite beach was Playa Bolonia, just north of Tarifa, about an hour’s drive past Gibraltar. It was breathtaking; unspoiled, peaceful, relaxed and cool. Tarifa is an amazing town with an authentic hippy vibe, full of surf shops and little bistros. It has a great atmosphere too - very relaxed and welcoming. We took the opportunity to take a boat out to sea for a spot of whale watching and were lucky enough to see a sperm whale which was spectacular and, given the time of year, a real treat. The kids loved it and so did we.

04.Halo

“For every Angel needs a HALO”. I’m so excited to be in the process of designing and creating a gym wear range for women to help raise awareness and money for Ciudad de Los Niños, the children’s orphanage in Málaga. They do great work, looking after many children from tots to teens who have experienced all manners of abuse, providing them with a safe haven and an education. Having young children myself, this charity really holds a special place in my heart and hopefully I can raise some funds, through positive awareness in sports and activities, to give a little back. As well as the gym wear line I’m also hoping to organise some fun fundraising days with salsa dance lessons, zumba classes on the beach and coast to coast walks. I would love everyone to come down and get involved. All the proceeds will go directly to the charity LIVE which looks after the orphanage and does such great work. Ciudad de Los Niños already has some great contributors including Costa Jump and Tivoli World, but this is my way of trying to give something back to these beautiful children of Málaga. There will be five sets in the collection, with different styles and colours and will be available {just waiting to confirm this but golden tarts said they would do it } from Golden Tarts salon in Puerto Banús from April. I chose the name HALO as it stands for Help Aid Local Orphanage and this is exactly what I hope to do. I’m a firm believer that these children (as corny as it sounds) are our future and deserve the best start in life. They need to be protected, looked after and shown that there are people out there who care. They are pure souls and truly are angels who walk this earth. I hope everyone will get behind me.

05. Kangen Water

We all know that water is good for us and I try to drink as much as I can but this month I’ve had a new Kangen water system fitted in my home. Basically it produces ionised alkaline and acidic water though electrolysis and it fits directly onto my main water supply. You may have heard of the alkaline diet? Well, this works in the same way. It has been proved that it is harder for diseases and infections to survive in an alkaline body so by drinking the Kangen water you are making your body more alkaline on the pH scale and, by so doing, increasing your chances of being healthie You can use the acid water for household cleaning (it works wonders on my windows for instance!) but there are many types of hidden toxins in bottled and tap water, which you may never know are there. By filtering it and converting it to an alkaline balance you are making it much better for you and taking away the stress of your body having to eliminate these toxins.

Dr Hiromi Shinga, who pioneered the colonoscopy, is a firm believer in Kangen water and insists that it’s the only type of water you should drink to eliminate toxins and keep your body at its optimum pH level. Now, you might think this all sounds like a load of rubbish and that by simply drinking more water in the first place is going to help you feel better. Well, all I can say is that I have been drinking it for a few weeks and I have definitely noticed a difference in the way I feel - and it tastes great. This is one fad I’m going to stick to!

06. Interior Design

Before moving to Spain I was working towards a career in interior design, which has always been a real passion of mine. I moved around a lot in the UK, due to my partner’s career and every house we moved to I completely re-designed. I found the whole process very interesting and loved creating different looks and styles. Eventually I decided to do a Kelly Hoppen course a few years back, as she has always been very influential in the way I designed my houses. I learned a tremendous amount and enjoyed it, but then, having found out I was having twins, it was put on the back burner. There are some fabulous interior design shops here on the Coast, Udesign being one of my favourites. You can design anything from sofas to beds and they can create it for you, using the highest quality materials. I designed and renovated our whole house from top to bottom; we had everything removed so it was a blank canvas. By the time we had finished, it was literally a shell. It’s not been easy but I’ve loved every minute. Well, maybe not every minute - we slept on the sofa for about three months while the bedrooms were being decorated - but its definitely something I would love to do in the future. There are already some fantastic interior design firms in Marbella, but now that the kids are nearing school - who knows?

07. Birthday Celebrations

This month I have two big birthday celebrations coming up: first my twins turn two and then I am hitting the ‘Dirty 30’. We will probably keep it simple with a barbecue for the nippers at the house with friends and family and some children’s entertainers. There are some great companies out there, like Marbella Parties, who provide everything you could need, such as face painters and magicians, so I will definitely be getting in touch to organise some fun for the kids. I have no idea what I have to look forward to, because my celebrations are being kept under wraps by the Mr. I just hope he hasn’t planned a skydive!

I’m really looking forward to having a good old pamper at the new Bardou salon in Puerto Banús; it looks amazing and has so many different treatments on offer.

It’s always great to have a few hours to yourself to make you feel refreshed and revitalised!

08.Omega 3

I’ve been trying to eat more fish as I know it is such a good source of Omega 3 and one of my favourite things is salmon teriyaki. I make it all the time, because it’s so quick and easy to prepare and cook. I just grill the salmon on my George Foreman grill for a few minutes, add some salt and pepper, dash on some teriyaki sauce and, Bob’s your uncle, it’s done. I like to have mine with some broccoli and green beans - healthy and delicious.

09. Yoga

I have been trying to find new ways to exercise this month and have really fallen for yoga. My teacher, Michelle, comes to my house or we meet on the beach and practice yoga for about an hour. It’s such a lovely way to clear your mind while toning your whole body. There are some fabulous yoga studios in and around Marbella and an amazing yoga retreat, the Shanti Som, which is located within the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park. It is a boutique hotel, spa and retreat with Oriental gardens and a beautiful swimming pool. There are yoga classes throughout the day for every level of expertise, from beginners to advanced and there are also lessons from guest teachers throughout the year. It really is a spiritual haven, beautifully designed with a calming atmosphere, a place where you can fully recharge your mind, body and soul, I am hoping to plan a girlie weekend away there very soon. Can’t wait!

10.Food for thought

“What if I fail? But, darling, what if you fly?”

This has always been one of my favourite quotations. Sometimes you have to take risks and push yourself. There might always be people, situations or reasons to hold you back, but if you believe in yourself and are true to yourself you can achieve anything. If this is the only thing I manage to teach my kids, I’ll be a happy mum

 
To Gluten or Not to Gluten?

Gluten

This is the question on everyone’s mind. Is it just the latest health trend? Or is there actual substance to the claims that gluten is just no good. For many people, avoiding gluten has become a cultural choice, as well as a dietary one. So, lets get to the bottom of this.

What is gluten?

One of the most heavily consumed proteins on earth is created when two molecules, glutenin and gliadin come into contact and form a bond. When bakers knead dough, that bond creates an elastic membrane, which is what gives bread its chewy texture and permits chefs to toss, twirl and shape their dough. Gluten also traps carbon dioxide, which, as it ferments, adds volume to baked goods.

What is celiac decease?

Celiac disease is an immune disorder in which people cannot tolerate gluten because it damages the inner lining of their small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and occasionally in some products such as soy, dressings, vinegar and more.The immune system is the body's natural defence system and normally protects the body from infection. But when a person has celiac disease, gluten causes the immune system to react in a way that can cause intestinal inflammation irritation or swelling and long-lasting damage.

What is gluten intolerance?

Identifying gluten intolerance may be more challenging if you don't have celiac disease because you may not have the characteristic digestive ailments. Instead, those with less serious gluten intolerance are more likely to feel non-digestive symptoms of celiac disease. Examples include headaches, fogginess and pain or numbness. Furthermore, the effects of gluten on the body in non-celiac gluten intolerance take longer to appear.

What has Happened?

The most obvious question is also the most difficult to answer: How could gluten, present in a staple food that has sustained humanity for thousands of years, have suddenly become so threatening? There are many theories but no clear answer. Some researchers argue that wheat genes have become toxic. Researcher, Davis, has said that bread today is nothing like the bread found on tables just fifty years ago: “What’s changed is that wheat’s adverse effects on human health have been amplified many-fold. The version of ‘wheat’ we consume today is a product of genetic research. You and I cannot, to any degree, obtain the forms of wheat that were grown fifty years ago, let alone one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand years ago. We have to restrict other carbohydrates beyond wheat, but wheat still stands apart as the worst of the worst.’’ “As many as forty percent of us can’t properly process gluten, and the remaining sixty percent could be in harm’s way.” - New York Times

Nobody can say for sure why the rise in celiac disease has been so rapid. The modern diet may be to blame, or stress levels and lifestyle. There is also growing evidence, in animal studies and in humans, that our micro biome, the many bacterial species inhabiting our gut, can have a significant impact on a range of diseases.

Regardless to whether you are giving up wheat as a lifestyle choice, dietary requirement, or maybe just following a trend, there is plenty of choice. In most places there is at least an awareness compared to even just a few years ago! Sales of gluten-free products are estimated to exceed fifteen billion dollars by 2016, twice the amount of five years earlier. So, for people like me that have a gluten intolerance, there is hope that I will still be able to have a pizza or pasta occasionally!

 
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