• Not Exercising Is More Risky For You Than Smoking

    Not Exercising Is More Risky For You Than Smoking

    A new study showed that not exercising is more risky for you than smoking. We all know that smoking puts you at risk to get a heart attack or a stroke. It can also cause lung cancer and other cancers. So, hearing that not exercising is even more risky than smoking comes as a shocker. The study Dr. Wael Jaber, a … [Read More...]

  • Gut Bacteria Crucial To Healthy Aging

    Gut Bacteria Crucial To Healthy Aging

    New research presented at the London Microbiome Meeting asked the question “are gut bacteria crucial to healthy aging?” Marina Ezcurra, is a Ph.D. is a researcher working at the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom. She uses a nematode (round worm) model to investigate various aspects of aging. … [Read More...]

  • Intermittent Fasting May Benefit Health

    Intermittent Fasting May Benefit Health

    There is a lot of discussion about the fact that intermittent fasting may benefit health. But there are a confusing variety of intermittent fasting schedules. This makes it difficult to compare notes regarding the specific effect of an intermittent fasting diet. Generally speaking when there is some form of calorie … [Read More...]

  • Consumption Of Organic Food Reduces Cancer Risk

    Consumption Of Organic Food Reduces Cancer Risk

    There are fewer carcinogens in organic food, which is likely why consumption of organic food reduces cancer risk. In an extensive study from France a large number of patients received questionnaires about their organic food intake. The study was also reviewed by CNN using more popular language to describe the … [Read More...]

  • When you are sleepless

    When you are sleepless

    You are not alone when you are sleepless. Insomnia is a widespread problem in society. Previous review of the topic of insomnia I have reviewed the topic of insomnia before in a blog. Briefly I pointed out that in some people there is a mutation of the gene that controls the circadian sleep rhythm. It is called … [Read More...]

  • Four Diseases Cause Most Of The Deaths

    Four Diseases Cause Most Of The Deaths

    Four diseases cause most of the deaths around the world: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. This story is the news right now. 50% of the 193 UN member states that signed a treaty in 2015 are falling short of their promise. They wanted to reduce premature deaths from these … [Read More...]

    Jan
    01
    2003

    Deliveries Of Male Infants Mean More Complications

    A recent article in the British Journal of Medicine on Jan. 18, 2003 (BMJ 2003;326:137) is about a retrospective risk analysis of two groups of full-term delivered newborns that were delivered at a Dublin (Ireland) University Hospital. The delivery records of 4070 male and 4005 female newborns between 1997 and 2000 were analyzed. Dr. Maeve A. Eogan said that the team noted significantly more Cesarean section rates due to more frequent fetal distress in males. There were more forceps deliveries with males and drugs to induce labor had to be used more often in males as well.

    One known factor is the that males have a higher birth weight as well as larger heads compared to their female counterparts. But the investigators are looking for further explanations of why males seem to be more prone to distress during deliveries than females. There may be a genetic component that may also play a role, but more investigations are needed to find out why this would be so. In the meantime doctors have to play it safe and watch both mother and the baby about to be born and make sure that there is a good outcome.

    Deliveries Of Male Infants Mean More Complications

    Deliveries Of Male Infants Mean More Complications

    This means monitoring the fetal heart rate to check on the baby and monitoring the mother with regard to progress of labor. In case of problems  it usually means a Cesarean section or induced labor, both of which are procedures that are associated with potentail complications.

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Jan
    01
    2003

    Vertebroplasty And Kyphoplasty: Are These Procedures Safe?

    These two orthopedic spinal reconstruction pocedures have become popular in the past few years. “Vertebroplasty” means doing a repair job on a damaged vertebral bone (spinal column bone). Originally this was developed for end stage cancer patients who had a single bone metastasis that led to a collapse of this vertebral bone. The difference in a good outcome of this procedure can mean the difference between being bedridden until death or walking and being active.

    In a recent review of THE BACK LETTER (Vol.12, 12, Dec. 2002, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins), which critically reviews the literature regarding back pain and treatments, this procedure, even if successful, has not been researched long enough to be considered “standard therapy”. Many investigators report a success rate of 95% for compression fractures in patients with osteoporosis. But the FDA has warned that the bone cement that it used in this type of spinal surgery has never been properly investigaed for this application in non-cancer patients.

    Nevertheless the technique of vertebroplasty has been clinically so impressive that those with severe kyphosis in the spine also wanted surgery. Kyphosis is a roundback in the mid spine area (thoracic spine) that can significantly interfere with normal posture, breathing action and cardiovascular functioning. Kyphoplasty is the procedure of repairing the curvature of the kyphosis, which consists usually of a series of several vertebral bodies with wedge shaped compression fractures in the thoracic spine. Often these patients are older and have osteoporosis.

    Vertebroplasty And Kyphoplasty...Are These Procedures Safe...

    Vertebroplasty And Kyphoplasty…Are These Procedures Safe…

    THE BACK LETTER warns that the verdict on longterm follow-ups is not out. It may take a long time, even 10 to 15 years before this will become available as proper controlled studies have never been done. As the FDA link show, there can be serious life threatening complications from the procedure itself (spinal cord compression, respiratory arrest and death etc.). However, the longterm complications have not been reported properly as there is no longterm trial going on where the investigators would specifically concentrate on finding complications and untoward side-effects.

    A well-designed multicenter trial regarding vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty is badly needed to answer these safety questions. Apparently efforts are on their way to attempt to do this.

    Here is a link to my nethealthbook.com chapter on osteoporosis:

    http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/rheumatologicaldisease_osteoporosis.php

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Jan
    01
    2003

    The Liverpool Eye Study…How Often The Eye Sight Of Patients With Diabetes Should Be Examined

    In the January 18, 2003 issue of the Lancet (Lancet 2003; 361:195-200) Dr. Dr. Naveed Younis and his collegues published a study from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, U.K. where diabetic patients underwent thorough eye examinations in regular intervals for 5 years. The question of this study was whether it mattered at what interval patients would be examined with regard to their eye-sight, so that perhaps blindness could be postponed or avoided through early interventions.

    At the baseline of the study a special eye-photography method (three-field mydriatic photography) was used to document the blood vessel changes in the back of the eye. This helps the physician to assess whether or not there is a degree of retinopathy (blood vessel damage from diabetes) of the eyes or not. The investigators defined three groups:

    For group one (no eye damage in the beginning of the study) there was a retinopathy rate of 0.3% at the end of the first year. Group two (moderate retinopathy in the beginning) showed a worsening of the retinopathy at the end of the first year of 5% (threatening blindness). Group three (significant retinopathy in the beginning) showed a rate of 15% of worsening retinopathy (threatening blindness) at the end of one year.

    The Liverpool Eye Study...How Often The Eye Sight Of Patients With Diabetes Should Be Examined

    The Liverpool Eye Study…How Often The Eye Sight Of Patients With Diabetes Should Be Examined

    This shows that not every person with diabetes is equal with respect of having the threat of blindness. The medical investigators found that about 70% of patients fell into the group that did not have serious diabetic retinopathy. However, the other 30% would not do well with simply yearly eye examinations as it is recommended now. Instead the authors of the Liverpool study were able to make practical recommendations as follows:

    After a baseline eye examination those who belong into group one would get an eye examination every 3 years. Those with prior moderate retinopathy (group2) on the initial baseline examination would get examinations at yearly intervals (until the degree of retinopathy worsens). Group 3 with significant retinopathy at the beginning would, however, be examined every 4 months (new recommendation) so that blindness hopefully could be avoided or significantly postponed through interventional therapies.

    The following link is telling you about hardening of the artieries (arteriosclerosis) and how diabetes accelerates this process:

    The following site is about the metabolic effects of diabetes on the body and in particular also about the danger of diabetic retinopathy:

    Diabetes: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/hormonalproblems_diabetesmellitus.php

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Dec
    02
    2002

    Obesity (Excessive Weight) A Predictor Of High Risk For Stroke

    In the Dec.9th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine an important follow-up from the US Physicians’ Health Study was published. It examined the effect of obesity on the development of stroke later in life. 21,414 male physicians of the US have been followed now for 12.5 years in this study. At present there were 747 strokes (631 ischemic, 104 hemorrhagic, 12 others).

    They found that the rates of strokes were in direct relation to the amount of excessive weight, in other words the higher the weight, the higher the risk to develop a stroke. It did not matter what kind of stroke it was (ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke), a body mass index above 30 was always associated with a 1.9-fold risk to develop a stroke when compared to normal weight controls (body mass index less than 25). This risk of obesity was independent from other risk factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Dr. Kurth from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, said that this finding is very significant in view of the fact that many young adults in the US are either overweight or obese and they will be exposed to this risk for a longer period of time inreasing the risk to develop strokes even further. He hopes that physicians will concentrate on treating obesity more aggressively preventing a stroke. In industrial countries strokes are the main cause of disability and are on the third place on the list of causes of death.

    Obesity (Excessive Weight) A Predictor Of High Risk For Stroke

    Obesity (Excessive Weight) A Predictor Of High Risk For Stroke

    (This info based on: Arch Intern Med 2002;162:2557-2562.)

    Other information about strokes can be found through this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_strokeandcerebralaneurysm.php

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Dec
    01
    2002

    What Goes Around Comes Around With Blood Pressure Medications

    A large clinical study with 42,418 men and women 55 years and older has been published in the American Medical Association Journal recently(JAMA 2002:288:2981-2997,3039). The thiazide type water pill chlorthalidone(12.5 mg to 25 mg/day) is the clear winner in this trial, called the ALLHAT trial. It stands for “Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial” and is the largest hypertension trial that was ever performed going over a period of 5 years.

    In this trial a calcium channel blocker(amlodipine) and an ACE (=angiotensin converting enzyme)inhibitor(lisinopril) were tested as the initial medication and compared to chlorthalidone.There was a 15% higher risk to develop a stroke with lisinopril and a
    38% increased risk with amlodipine to develop congestive heart failure when compared to the chlorthalidone group. The interesting conclusion from this study is that the least expensive therapy for high blood pressure turns out to be the safest. Another ineresting finding was that black patients responded much better to water pills than to ACE inhibitors, which had been noted before by other authors. When more than one medication is required to control high blood pressure, the dosage of the second medication can often be kept lower with a combined therapy thus reducing the likelihood of side-effects and complications.

    What Goes Around Comes Around With Blood Pressure Medications

    What Goes Around Comes Around With Blood Pressure Medications

    Comments: Several decades ago the teaching was that the doctor would start a new high blood pressure patient with a water pill first, and combine this with a second or even third pill of a different medication class, if the water pill would not be effective enough on its own (it was called the “step care therapy”). For decades the side effects of the water pill consisting of low potassium blood levels brought the water pill treatment in disrepute. The original trials,however, were done with chlorthalidone doses of 50 and 100 mg per day, much higher than would now be recommended. It appears that with this study medicine has gone a full circle back to the old stand-by water pill, but at a much safer, lower dosage.

    Here is a useful link (regarding hypertension): http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_hypertension.php

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Dec
    01
    2002

    Bone Growth Can Be Stimulated Even In Desperate Cases

    In the past bone fractures that did not heal (called “non-union of a fracture” in medical terms) could not be treated other than with an electrical device, called bone stimulator. But now a large international team of 66 researchers from the US and South Africa have published a well controlled randomized study in the American Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (84:2123-2134;2002). Dr.S.Govender et al. used a newly developed protein substance (rhBMP-2, from the Wyeth Laboratories) to treat 450 comparable open shin bone fractures.

    The patients were either treated conventionally or with the additional help of this bone growth substance and data on wound healing, infection rates and delayed unions were collected. At 6 weeks 83% of the experimental group showed complete wound healing of the soft tissue compared to 65% of the control group. There were also significantly lower hardware failures, wound infections and need for postoperative visits by the doctor.

    At the 12 month follow-up point there were 44% less non-unions when the two groups were compared with a lot less invasive secondary surgeries being needed.The authors of the two scientific collaborative teams concluded that this new bone producing protein will raise the standard of treating complex fractures that are difficult to heal.

    See this news of the FDA approval

    Bone Growth Can Be Stimulated Even In Desperate Cases

    Bone Growth Can Be Stimulated Even In Desperate Cases

    Last edited October 14, 2014

    Dec
    01
    2002

    Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain and Spine In The Unborn Child

    In 1998 the Canadian government approved the mandatory addition of folic acid in cereal products as studies in the past had shown that pregnant women did not always take their prenatal folic acid supplements to prevent neural tube defects (abnormalities in brain and spine formation).

    A total of 336,963 children of women who were either pregnant before or after the 1998 folic acid fortification program was institued, were screened for open neural tube defects. The result was that prior to the legislation there were 113 cases per 100,000 pregnancies. After 1998 there were only 58 per 100,000 pregnancies found.

    Dr. Joel G. Ray from the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Center in Toronto who was the lead researcher stated that a food fortification program with folic acid in addition to the regular prenatal folic acid tablet supplementation is essential. To a large extent this will prevent these devastating congenital malformations that cause disabilities or death.

    Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain In The Unborn Child

    Folic Acid In Cereal Reduces Abnormalities Of The Brain In The Unborn Child

    Based on: Lancet 2002;360:2047-2048.

    Comments: It is also important for women to know that folic acid tablets need to be taken already before, around and after conception to be most effective with regard to preventing brain and spinal malformations. The nervous tissue is one of the fastest growing tissues in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Any deficiency of cell differentiation, for which folic acid is an essential ingredient, has devastating longterm consequences for the child.

    Last edited December 10, 2012

    Dec
    01
    2002

    Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

    A study shows echinacea not effective for the common cold. 148 college students participated in this experiment at the University of Wisconsin. The researchers wanted to see whether Echinacea was more effective than placebo (“fake pills” with no herb in it). The Annals of Internal Medicine (Ann Intern Med 2002;
    137:939-946,1001-1002) published this study recently.

    How they did the experiment

    The students were given 1 Gram capsules of a mixture of Echinacea herbs that can he bought in health food stores. With the onset of the common cold the students were given 1 capsule 6 times daily for the first day and three times daily from the second to the 10th day. The researchers examined all the students in the placebo group and the Echinacea group for symptoms, duration of the cold and the severity of the cold. The mean duration for both groups was 6 days. None of the criteria in measuring the severity of the cold symptoms were different in both groups. Dr. Barrett, the lead investigator concluded that there was no measurable difference between the two groups, but added that the findings of this trial should not be “the last word” on Echinacea. More studies need to investigate this matter.

    Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

    Study Shows Echinacea Not Effective For The Common Cold

    Conclusion

    Here is the problems with the study.  The investigators assumed that a placebo pill would not have an effect. However, countless other studies have shown that a placebo often has a 15% to 20% effect. On the other hand it is difficult to have another control for this by not taking any pill. It would be obvious to the subject in the trial that they are the negative control. A negative placebo effect would kick in. So, don’t stop taking Echinacea yet, if you have been taking this normally to treat a common cold. But those of you never took it in the past, you may want to wait first. See what other studies will say in future regarding Echinacea.

    Last edited September 16, 2018

    Nov
    01
    2002

    WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

    Dr. David D. Waters of the University of California at San Francisco reported in Chicago at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Session 2002 about the WAVE trial. This stands for “Women’s Angiographic Vitamin and Estrogen” trial.

    The results of this study were simultaneously published in the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA 2002;288:2432-2440). It was a “carefully designed randomized study” where 423 women with established blood vessel damage to their hearts (established by angiography) were put on a therapy and then followed for an average of 2.8 years. Essentially the question was whether or not estrogen (Premarine) and vitamins (Vit.E and C) would have a protective effect on the blood vessels. Surprisingly the worst outcome was in the group with estrogen replacement and vitamins. The placebo group (=no estrogen, only vitamins) had the lowest death rate. The authors felt that the beneficial effect of estrogen (speak “Premarine”) on heart vessels could not been verified in this study. The take home message to the physicians at the conference was that they should concentrate on lowering the known risk factors: weight reduction, blood pressure control, cholesterol lowering and increasing exercise. Estrogen should be given in low doses (Premarine 0.625mg per day) only to those women who are symptomatic with hot flashes, but not to every postmenopausal woman.

    WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

    WAVE Trial Failed To Show Benefits Of Estrogen (Premarine) And Vitamins

    NOTE : This group of postmenopausal women is a selection of women more likely suffering from hyperinsulinism with a higher rate of cardiovascular disease (and also arthritis and possibly a higher risk for cancer as well). The most logical therapy for these women is to work on weight loss, to increase exercise and to change their diet to a zone diet as this is known to lower cholesterol. Hoping to cure these women with estrogen or vitamin manipulation alone does not make “medical common sense” to me. Also, those women who had not had a hysterectomy were not dealt with as a separate group, although they were put on medroxyprogesterone acetate (Prempro). This is called a “confounding bias” and should have been openly discussed, which it was not. This means the WAVE trial made waves, but it was not a properly designed randomized study.

    You may want to read these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: For links to arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes see this link: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-the-missing-link-between-strokes-and-heart-attacks/
    For a link to hyperinsulinism follow this link:
    http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/hormonalproblems_diabetesmellitus.php

    Last edited October 25, 2014

    Nov
    01
    2002

    Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

    An old blood test that has been popular in assessing how aggressive rheumatic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are, is now considered as the newest test to assess the risk of heart attacks. Up to now subfractions of cholesterol, in particular the LDL cholesterol level, has been used to assess the risk for a heart attack, but this according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 14, 2002) by Dr. Paul Ridker should be supplemented by a blood test checking for the C-reactive protein. What is interesting about the C-reactive protein is that it originates from certain lining cells in blood vessels of liver tissue when inflammatory substances circulate in the body. Other research has shown in the past that arteriosclerosis is in part due to an inflammatory process in the lining of the blood vessels that leads to the production of the C-reactive protein. Unfortunately other chronic illnesses and infections also lead to an elevation of the C-reactive protein as does the common cold or the flu. However, when 28,000 women of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study were followed for 8 years it turned out that the C-reactive protein was a more reliable predictor for who would eventually suffer from a stroke or a heart attack than the traditional LDL cholesterol. The investigators felt that the LDL cholesterol is predictive for who is more likely to develop fatty deposits (atheromatous plaques). On the other hand the C-reactive protein appears to be more predictive for who is at a high risk for rupture of these atheromatous plaques. The bottom line is prevention by eating a diet with less fatty meats, by eating more fruit and vegetables and by engaging in an exercise program.

    Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

    Heart Attack And Stroke Risk Measured With C-Reactive Protein

    Some patients need their cholesterol reduced with medication such as the statins. You may want to browse through these useful related links to chapters of my free Internet based Nethealthbook: For more details regarding the use of the C-reative protein test in rheumatoid arthritis see this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/rheumatologicaldisease_rheumatoidarthritis.php Regarding arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes follow this link: http://www.nethealthbook.com/articles/cardiovasculardisease_heartdisease.php

    Last edited December 10, 2012