Archive for October, 2014

36 Foods That Help Detox and Cleanse Your Entire Body

Practiced for thousands of years by cultures around the world –detoxification is about resting, cleansing and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health. These foods will assist in boosting your metabolism, optimizing digestion, while allowing you to lose weight and fortify your immune system.


Artichokes help the liver function at its best, which in turn will help your body purge itself of toxins and other things it doesn’t need to survive. It ups the liver’s production of bile, and since bile helps break down foods which helps your body use the nutrients inside them, an increase in bile production is typically a good thing.


Apples are full of wonderful nutrients. You get fibre, vitamins, minerals and many beneficial phytochemicals such as D-Glucarate, flavonoids and terpenoids. All of these substances are used in the detox process. One flavonoid, Phlorizidin (phlorizin), is thought to help stimulate bile production which helps with detox as the liver gets rid of some toxins through the bile. Apples are also a good source of the soluble fibre pectin, which can help detox metals and food additives from your body. It’s best to eat only organic apples as the non-organic varieties are among the top 12 foods that have been found to contain the most pesticide residues. Organically produced apples also have a 15 percent higher antioxidant capacity than conventionally produced apples.


Almonds are the best nut source of Vitamin E. In fact, just one ounce contains 7.3 mg of “alpha-tocopherol” vitamin E, the form of the vitamin the body prefers. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and useable protein that helps stabilize blood sugar and remove impurities from the bowels.


Not only does asparagus help to detoxify the body, it can help you wage the anti-aging battle, protect you from getting cancer, help your heart to stay healthy, and is a general anti-inflammatory food. It’s also known to help with liver drainage, which might sound like a bad thing, but since the liver is responsible for filtering out the toxic materials in the food and drinks we consume, anything that backs up its drainage is not doing you any favors. Asparagus also helps reduce risk of death from breast cancer and increase the odds of survival.


This wonder fruit is packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and dilates the blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and less likely to suffer from arthritis. Consuming avocados is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher “good cholesterol” levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk.

  1. BASIL

Basil has anti-bacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants to protect the liver. The active ingredients are terpenoids. It is also wonderful for digestion and detoxification, too. It supports the functioning of the kidneys and also acts as a diuretic to help the body expel unwanted toxins. Basil has been known to have anti-ulcer qualities as well as antimicrobial effects that guard against bacteria, yeast, fungi and mold. Basil seed can also help with constipation. The anticancer properties of basil may also relate to its ability to influence viral infections.

  1. BEETS

A single serving of beets can do more for your health than most foods in the produce isle. Not only can they boost your energy and lower your blood pressure, but eating beets in the long-term can help you fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost your brain as well as help you lose weight. Beets contain a unique mixture of natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) and minerals that make them superb fighters of infection, blood purifiers, and liver cleansers. They also help boost the body’s cellular intake of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers. When you’re detoxing, beets will help by making sure that the toxins you’re getting out actually make it out of your body. Many detox cleanses go wrong when toxins are reintroduced to the body because they don’t make it all the way out.


Blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Just 300 grams of blueberries protects against DNA damage. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They have antiviral properties and are loaded with super-detoxifying phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins.


These tasty treats are packed with selenium, which is key to flushing mercury out of your body. The body uses selenium to make ‘selenoproteins’, which work like antioxidants preventing damage to cells and there is growing body of evidence to show it has a key role in our health. The consumption of brazil nuts has been found to be inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer.


Broccoli specifically works with the enzymes in your liver to turn toxins into something your body can eliminate easily. If you’re stuck for ways on how to make broccoli taste better try dehydrating or consider eating it raw. But don’t microwave it as this destroys both the nutritional and detox potential. Broccoli contains a very powerful anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-microbial called sulforaphane which helps prevent cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and allergies.


Broccoli sprouts can actually provide more benefit than regular broccoli as they contain 20 times more sulfurophane. They contain important phytochemicals that are released when they’re chopped, chewed, fermented, or digested. The substances are released then break down into sulfurophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate, which all have a specific effect on detoxification. Add these to your salads and get creative with them in your meals. Researchers have found that an oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts trigger an increase in inflammation-fighting enzymes in the upper airways.


In addition to cleansing your liver, cabbage will also aid in helping you go to the bathroom, which in turn helps you expel the toxins, getting them out of your system so you can start fresh. It contains sulfur, which is essential when it comes to breaking down chemicals and removing them from your body. Along with other cole crops, cabbage is a source ofindole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.


Cilantro, also known as coriander, Chinese parsley or dhania, contains anabundance of antioxidants. Cilantro helps mobilize mercury and other metals out of the tissue so it can attach to it other compounds and allow it to be excreted from the body. It also contains an antibacterial compound called dodecenal, which laboratory tests showed is twice as effective as the commonly used antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing Salmonella.


The oils from cinnamon contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood cells. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. It has one of the highest antioxidant values of all foodsand its use in medicine treats everything from nausea to menstruation and energy to diabetes.


While they are more popular as fruits that help prevent urinary tract infections, cranberries are antibacterial and are known to remove many different toxins from your body. Cranberries feature a rich profile of anti-inflammatory nutrients, provide immune and cardiovascular support, as well as promote digestive health. Consuming cranberry products has beenassociated with prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) for over 100 years.


Dandelions are considered a powerhouse food full of nutrients that are essential for anyone regularly eating processed foods. Dandelion root (taraxacum officinale) is known to act on the liver and pancreas bystraining and filtering toxins & wastes from the bloodstream and its beneficial effects on liver complaints have been well documented by both Asian practitioners and American physicians. They’re a rich source of minerals and provide a variety of phytonutrients. They’re super antioxidants that support cleansing of the digestive tract. Try adding dandelion leaves to your salad.


The fennel bulb is high in fiber may also be useful in preventing colon cancer. In addition to its fiber, fennel is a very good source of folate, a B vitamin that is necessary for the conversion of a dangerous molecule called homocysteine into other, benign molecules. The vitamin C found in fennel bulb is directly antimicrobial and is also needed for the proper function of the immune system.


When detoxifying your body, it’s essential to ensure toxins are eliminated properly. Ground flaxseeds provide a wonderful source of fibre that helps to bind and flush toxins from the intestinal tract. They’re also a great source of health promoting omega 3 oils. Try consuming two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in lemon water every morning. University of Copenhagen researchers report that flax fiber suppresses appetite and helps support weight loss. Men should be cautious when consuming flax as the lignans are similar to the female hormone estrogen as can cause problems for some men.


Many detox diets list garlic as a crucial piece of the puzzle. The reason is that garlic boosts the immune system as well as helping out the liver. One good thing about garlic is that you can up your intake without having to worry if your body is going to get used to it or build up a resistance.Sulfur is found in high quantities in garlic — which makes it a good detox food and its antibiotic properties heal your body. Garlic is proven to be 100 times more effective than antibiotics and working in a fraction of the time.


Along side turmeric, ginger is one of the world’s most potent disease-fighting spices. Ginger spikes your metabolism, flushes out waste, is thought to help liver function, and has some astringent properties. Some detox diets ask you to chew on ginger root. You may also find that adding it to hot water makes the water taste better. Basically any way you can think of it get it into your system is going to be beneficial, especially if you’re suffering from a fatty liver caused by too much alcohol, or too many toxic foods and drinks.


Replace raisins with nutrient-dense Goji berries to boost your vitamin C and beta-carotene intake. Gram for gram, goji berries pack more vitamin C than oranges and more beta-carotene than carrots. Vitamin C can help remove waste from your body, while beta-carotene improves liver performance.


Grapefruits can prevent weight gain, treat diabetes, lower cholesterol, fight cancer, heal stomach ulcers, reduce gum disease and even keep stroke and metabolic syndrome at bay. Grapefruits can treat disease as well as pharmaceuticals without the side effects. The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells. The big takeaway on grapefruit is that it gets your liver fired up and ready for action, while infusing the rest of your organs with nutrient-laden fruit juice.


Green tea is often thought of as a great addition to any detox program because of its high antioxidant value. It is the least processed tea and thus provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea. According to 17 clinical trials, green tea is linked with significantly lower blood sugar.

  1. HEMP

Hemp might just be one of nature’s most perfect foods since it is full of antioxidants like Vitamins E and C, as well as chlorophyll which is wonderful for cleansing the body from toxins of all kinds, including heavy metals. The soluble and insoluble fiber in hemp can also keep the digestive tract clean and therefore, reduce the toxic burden on other internal organs. Hemp could free us from oil, prevent deforestation, cure cancer and it’s environmentally friendly.

  1. KALE

Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level. This vegetable is so good for you that it is often recommended to patients that are following a doctor recommended diet when fighting kidney disease. It’s packed with so many antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties as well, not to mention all of the vitamins and minerals it contains. Leafy greens are likely the number one food you can eat to regularly help improve your health. They’re filled with fiber along with crucial vitamins, minerals, and plant-based phytochemicals that may help protect you from almost every disease known.


This is an herb that is used in Thailand and other parts of the world as a natural way to cleanse several organs at once. It not only helps the liver but also the kidneys, the bladder, and the entire digestive tract. Benefits of using it in your cooking, or drinking it as a tea include a better complexion, better circulation, and better digestion. It is most often used as a tea in the world of detoxing, and there are several recipes you can try until you find one that suits your tastes best.


This wonderful fruit stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make glutathione. Glutathione helps ensure that phase 2 liver detoxification keeps pace with phase 1, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental chemicals. Drinking lemon water, which is alkaline-forming, first thing in the morning will help to balance out the acidity of foods we’ve consumed. They also have an incredible effect in detoxing the liver. Fresh lemon juice contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH levels. Here are 45 uses for lemons that will blow your socks off.


Some liver cleanses out there call for olive oil mixed with fruit juice in order to trigger your liver to expunge its gallstones. But aside from that olive oil should be your go-to oil when you’re trying to detox the body. That’s because it has a lot of healthy properties, and makes for a better choice of fat than most of your other options. Just be sure not to cook with it at high heat. Use it as a salad dress to help things like dark leafy greens go down. Your best choice is always ice-pressed olive oil, but if you can find a very high quality cold-pressed olive oil, although not as nutritious, it will suffice provided the quality is high and not adulterated.


This ubiquitous kitchen staple is as healthy as it is tasty. It’s brimming with sulfur-containing amino acids, which efficiently detox the liver. Raw onions deliver the most health benefits. Even a small amount of “overpeeling” can result in unwanted loss of flavonoids. For example, a red onion can lose about 20% of its quercetin and almost 75% of its anthocyanins if it is “overpeeled”. Onions will soak up arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and tin in contaminated foods. The total polyphenol content of onion is not only higher than its fellow allium vegetables, garlic and leeks, but also higher than tomatoes, carrots, and red bell pepper. Onions have been shown to inhibit the activity of macrophages, specialized white blood cells that play a key role in our body’s immune defense system, and one of their defense activities involves the triggering of large-scale inflammatory responses.


Those pretty green leaves don’t just make your plate look great. Parsley boasts plenty of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and K to protect your kidneys and bladder. Diuretic herbs such as parsley prevent problems such as kidney stones and bladder infections and keep our body’s plumbing running smoothly by causing it to produce more urine. They also relieve bloating during menstruation. The flavonoids in parsley–especially luteolin–have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.


This tropical delight contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps cleanse your colon and improve digestion. Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by bromelain. Two molecules isolated from an extract of crushed pineapple stems have even shown promise in fighting cancer growth.


Seaweed may be the most underrated vegetable in the Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace minerals. Seaweed extracts can help you lose weight, mostly body fat.


Sesame seeds’ phytosterols have beneficial effects which are so dramatic that they have been extracted from many foods and added to processed foods, such as “butter”-replacement spreads, which are then touted as cholesterol-lowering “foods.” But why settle for an imitation “butter” when Mother Nature’s nuts and seeds are a naturally rich source of phytosterols–and cardio-protective fiber, minerals and healthy fats as well? Sesame seeds contain minerals important in a number of antiinflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems. Sesame representsone of the top 10 healthiest seeds on Earth.


Curcumin is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which gives it its yellow color. The rate at which your detox pathways function depends on your genes, your age, lifestyle and a good supply of nutrients involved in the detox process. Curcumin is used a lot in Ayurvedic Medicine to treat liver and digestive disorders. Turmeric has specifically been studied in relation to the positive effect that it has on the liver. As a high antioxidant spice, turmeric protects the body and prevents disease more effectively than drug based treatments and without the side effects.


Give your liver a big boost with cleansing action of watercress. If you’re into making smoothies for your detoxing this is a great one to blend up and drink down. This helps to release enzymes in the liver that clean it out and help rid it of toxic buildup. Eating watercress every day helps prevent breast cancer.


Wheatgrass restores alkalinity to the blood. The juice’s abundance of alkaline minerals helps reduce over-acidity in the blood and thus also Is a powerful detoxifier, and liver protector. It increases red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure. It also cleanses the organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris. Wheatgrass stimulates the metabolism and the body’s enzyme systems by enriching the blood. It also aids in reducing blood pressure by dilating the blood pathways throughout the body. Pound for pound, wheatgrass is more than twenty times denser in nutrients than other choice vegetables. Nutritionally, wheatgrass is a complete food that contains 98 of the 102 earth elements.



American children given wrong medication every 8 minutes: report

Every eight minutes in the United states, a child is given the wrong dose of medication, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked a decade of data from 50 U.S. poison control centers and found that between  2002 and 2012, caregivers incorrectly gave medication to an average of 63,358 children under the age of six.

“Initially as clinicians, we noticed that we were seeing more of these in our own center and in our own practice,” study author Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told “We pulled the national data to see how large of a problem this is.”

About 82 percent of the errors involved liquid formula, followed by tablets, capsules and caplets, which accounted for about 15 percent of the mistakes. Medication included ibuprofen, Tylenol, cough and cold medicine, asthma medications, as well as drugs for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

Errors were most common among children younger than a year old.

Parents with children among that age group typically aren’t familiar with the medications they’re administering, and, regardless of whether they’re new parents or have added another child to the family, they’re hurried and easily distracted when administering the medicine, Spiller said.

More than 25 percent of errors were due to what Spiller called “double-dosing.”

“What typically happens is, the mother goes in and gives the children a dose, then cares for another kid or makes dinner. The father comes in and wants to help and gives the child a dose. And then they talk, and they found they double-dosed their child,” Spiller explained.

Researchers encouraged medication scheduling and communication among caregivers to remedy that mistake.

Other times, caregivers credited poor package labeling or difficulty reading measurements on pre-provided cups for liquid medication.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other professionals and academics in the industry, are working to reduce these types of errors. Their recommendations include standardizing measurements for liquid medication to millimeters rather than teaspoons or tablespoons, and placing zeroes before decimal points on dosage labels.

“The science on how to label and package and dispense and administer medicines— it’s not that sophisticated, it’s not that fancy,” study author Marcel Casavant, medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and the chief of toxicology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told “It’s disappointing to see that these errors are still happening. The measurements are still confusing; it’s hard to read these. It shows there’s still an awful lot of room for manufacturers to make an improvement.”

The study did note a decrease of about 66 percent of errors involving cough and cold medicine from 2005 to 2012. Researchers attributed that improvement to manufacturers’ educational campaigns, as well as recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not to give young children cough and cold medicine.

But over the full course of the study, data show about a 43 percent increase in mistakes made among pain relievers and allergy medications.

Poison control centers didn’t follow about 73 percent of the cases after the initial call, which implies that those cases did not require further medical care. About 20 percent of the cases resulted in no clinical effects, while about 0.7 percent, or 4,549 cases, resulted in serious medical outcomes. Twenty-five cases resulted in the death of a child.

More serious issues, like cardiac problems, arose when a stimulant, such as an ADHD drug, was administered to the wrong child, Spiller pointed out.

Michael Beuhler, medical director of the Carolinas Poison Center in North Carolina, who was not involved in the Pediatrics study, said he wasn’t surprised by these findings but that they point to the importance of reporting medication errors.

Poison centers are independent of government agencies, so barring situations where a child may be endangered, parents who call to report a medication mistake should not be concerned about law enforcement intervening, Beuhler told The centers are also bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects callers’ private information.

Beuhler also advised caregivers against Googling remedies in lieu of calling a poison center after making a medication mistake.

“We’ve had some close misses where people have found the wrong information on the Internet,” Beuhler said. “These are relatively rare, but they are happening.”

“The well-intended caller has nothing to worry about,” Beuhler added. “Only good will come.”


Source: Fox News

6-year-old Arizona boy’s death latest suspected casualty of enterovirus D68

A 6-year-old Arizona boy’s death is the latest suspected casualty of a virus that’s sickened nearly 700 others in 46 U.S. states and is responsible for the deaths of at least two children.

Starting Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began using a new yes/no check test, which will allow them to process four to five times more specimens per day than it had been. The CDC has been seeing about 30 new enterovirus D68 cases per day, but it expects the number to jump to 90 or more a day with the enhanced test.

The latest suspected death of enterovirus is that of a 6-year-old boy in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb was confirmed Wednesday. Health officials said that the boy had a severe respiratory illness that had worsened over the weekend. His test results will be available in a week. The virus is the suspected cause for at least six other deaths, but only confirmed for two.

Meanwhile, hundreds of parents at the boy’s 1,100-student school are reportedly pulling their children out of class as a precaution.

“Parents have a lot of questions. Unfortunately, we don’t have a diagnosis to tell them right now,” said Erin Dunsey, a spokeswoman for the Peoria Unified School District.

The school has disinfected the classrooms, wiping desks and other surface areas. Teachers are also urging hand washing, a practice that experts have encouraged all parents to enforce among their children to avoid infection.

Enterovirus D68 is just one strain of 100 known non-polio enteroviruses in the world, according to Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, a practicing internist.

Enteroviruses cause upwards of 15 million infections annually, ranging from the common cold to meningitis. They are harbored in the GI tract, and symptoms vary depending on the strain.

Researchers first identified enterovirus D68, the current enterovirus strain, in California in the 1960s. Since then, a small number of cases have been reported each year, but many likely have gone unreported as doctors don’t regularly test for the virus.

Experts aren’t sure why this wave of enterovirus D68 has been more pronounced than in previous years.

Health officials first took notice of this year’s wave in August, when hospitals in Kansas City and Chicago saw severe breathing illnesses in kids in numbers they never see at that time of year.

One of the most troubling features of this enterovirus strain is its attack on children. Youth with asthma are particularly at risk, Siegel said. The virus is transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contact with surfaces that have been touched by an infected person.

“Many of us will have EV-D68,” Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, said in a statement earlier this month. Fine had been addressing the death of a young Rhode Island girl who had enterovirus D68 and a rare infection with staph bacteria.

“Most of us will have very mild symptoms, and all but very few will recover quickly and completely,” Fine added. “The vast majority of children exposed to EV-D68 recover completely.”

Enterovirus D68 can be asymptomatic in some people but can prove devastating in others, Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told LiveScience.

Visible symptoms of the virus include a runny nose, a low-grade fever and sneezing. But more severe effects are paralysis and muscle weakness. In Denver, Colorado, officials are examining nine cases of people with enterovirus D68 who have developed paralysis-like symptoms.

There is currently no vaccine for enterovirus D68. In addition to hand washing, the CDC recommends that children avoid touching their faces and that parents pay close attention to children with asthma.


Source: Fox News

DNA may protect Hispanic women from breast cancer

A genetic trait protects many women of Latin American descent from breast cancer, researchers probing the ethnic biology of cancer said Monday.

If confirmed, the finding may lead to more effective genetic testing for women at risk, by helping to determine who most needs to take preventative measures. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer among women.

Generally, fewer Hispanic women develop breast cancer and fewer of them die from it, compared with women of European or African-American ancestry, medical statistics show. On Monday, an international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, said they now know why.

A single difference in just one of the three billion letters of biochemical DNA code in the human genome makes Latinas who inherit it about 40 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, medical geneticist Laura Fejerman and her colleagues reported Monday in Nature Communications.

If women have inherited the variation from both sides of their family, they are 80 percent less likely to get breast cancer.

“It is strongly protective,” said cancer specialist Elad Ziv at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, who helped conduct the study funded by the National Cancer Institute. “We really need to do more experiments to nail it down and understand what it is doing.”


Source: Fox News

Parkinson’s drugs linked to sex and gambling addictions

Pathological gambling, hypersexuality and compulsive shopping are some of the abnormal behaviors that are linked to the use of certain drugs commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

The findings are important because they mean that doctors and patients should be wary of the drugs’ side effects, according to the study authors. But they also give researchers a better understanding of how abnormal behaviors develop in general, and how such behaviors may be related to the brain receptor that is targeted by the drug, the authors said.

“In our view, these medications should be used less frequently and with great caution, paying close attention to possible untoward effects on behavior and impulse control,” said Dr. Howard D. Weiss of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and Dr. Gregory M. Pontone of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, writing in an editorial about the new study.

In the study, the researchers examined 1,580 reports of people in the United States and 21 other countries experiencing pathological gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive shopping or other abnormal behaviors after taking medication between 2003 and 2012. They found that 710 of the cases occurred in people taking drugs called dopamine receptor agonists, which are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, whereas the other 870 cases occurred in people taking all of the other types of drugs combined.

The researchers determined that the proportion of such reports was 277.6 times higher for people taking dopamine agonist receptor drugs than those taking other drugs. [7 Bizarre Drug Side Effects]

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that normally helps regulate movement, emotions and the feelings of pleasure. In people with Parkinson’s disease, the brain cells that make dopamine die over time. Dopamine receptor agonists are used to mimic the function of the neurotransmitter.

The important step to take after the new findings is to introduce warnings about the potential side effects of those drugs so that doctors who prescribe them are aware of them, said study author Thomas J. Moore, a senior scientist at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in Alexandria, Virginia.

“They [doctors and caregivers of Parkinson’s patients] need to be on the lookout for this kind of behavior” and understand it may be linked to the use of medication, Moore told Live Science.

Of all the cases of abnormal behavior that were observed in the people taking the drugs for Parkinson’s disease, the majority (410 cases) occurred in those who had been taking a dopamine receptor agonist drug called pramipexole, which affects a receptor called dopamine D3 receptor. And the drug that was second-most commonly linked to such behaviors was ropinirole, which also has a significant effect on the D3 receptor, according to the study, published today (Oct. 20) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

The researchers noted that in some cases, the people taking these drugs had restless leg syndrome (not Parkinson’s disease).

The new research may allow researchers to better understand how abnormal behaviors develop, and how they may be related to the D3 receptor, Moore said. The D3 receptor has also been investigated as a possible target for treatments for people with addictions, the researchers wrote in the study.

In another study, published in July 2011 in the journal Physiology & Behavior, other researchers also found a link between behaviors such as hypersexuality or excessive gambling and the use of the two drugs that Moore found to be the most closely related to abnormal behaviors in the new study.

Drugs for Parkinson’s have been down this road before. In the 1960s, the introduction of the Parkinson’s drug levodopa enabled Parkinson’s patients to regain function and return to the mainstream of life,” Weiss and Pontone wrote.

Levodopa gets converted into dopamine in the brain, said Weiss and Pontone, who were not involved with the new research.

However, enthusiasm for that treatment was tempered when patients taking it developed involuntary muscle movements, similar to tics, and in rare cases also developing abnormal behaviors such as hypersexuality, they wrote.

The newer class of Parkinson’s drugs the dopamine receptor agonist drugs act differently in the brain, Weiss and Pontone wrote. Levodopa gets converted into dopamine in the brain, the dopamine receptor agonist drugs just mimic the neurotransmitter’s effects.

It was known that the dopamine receptor agonist drugs caused side effects such as hallucinations, psychosis and excessive daytime sleepiness. But despite these effects, the drugs remain widely used, and it is only recently that doctors started recognizing a link between the use of those drugs and the occurrence of impulse control disorders with symptoms such as pathological gambling, hypersexuality and uncontrollable spending, Weiss and Pontone wrote.

It is not surprising that it took a while for doctors to start recognizing the link between the two, they wrote, as they did not routinely inquire about the potentially behavior-altering effects of the drugs.

“During an office visit, a patient is unlikely to spontaneously mention, ‘By the way, doctor, I lost $250,000 in casinos last year, and I purchase $500 of lottery tickets every week’ or ‘I spend all night on Internet pornography sites and am soliciting prostitutes,'” Weiss and Pontone noted.

“In summary, physicians have overestimated the benefit and underestimated the risks associated with the use of dopamine receptor agonist drugs in patients with Parkinson disease,” they wrote.