• Melatonin Is More Than a Sleeping Aid

    Melatonin Is More Than a Sleeping Aid

    Notably, the January 2021 issue of the Life Extension magazine informs you that melatonin is more than a sleeping aid. It contains an interview between Dr. Roman Rozencwaig and a Life Extension (LE) magazine reporter. It must be remembered that Dr. Rozencwaig dedicated much of his career to the healing effects of … [Read More...]

  • Hormones Play an Important Role in Survival from Covid-19

    Hormones Play an Important Role in Survival from Covid-19

    I am describing here that hormones play an important role in survival from Covid-19. There are two publications that illustrate that point. Estrogens protect women against Covid-19 A study from Dec. 4, 2020 covering 17 countries and involving nearly 70,000 women discovered these principal findings. Women … [Read More...]

  • The Use of Biologics for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

    The Use of Biologics for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

    Notably, the use of biologics for treatment of autoimmune diseases is one of the newer achievements of medicine. In particular, a recent review summarized the use of biologics. For instance, chronic inflammatory conditions like skin eczema and asthma are some of the diseases where physicians use … [Read More...]

  • New Mobile Resuscitation Team Succeeded in Restoring Heartbeats

    New Mobile Resuscitation Team Succeeded in Restoring Heartbeats

    At the University of Minnesota, a new mobile resuscitation team succeeded in restoring heartbeats. This pilot project was 100% successful to restore heart circulation in cardiac arrest victims through a new mobile service carrying sophisticated equipment. To demonstrate, with a cardiac arrest the heart beat stops, … [Read More...]

  • Mother’s Lifestyle Predicts Heart Attack Risk for Offsprings

    Mother’s Lifestyle Predicts Heart Attack Risk for Offsprings

    A European Society of Cardiology study found that mother’s lifestyle predicts heart attack risk for offsprings. This study was published in the Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology. It was also summarized in Science Daily. The study author Dr. James Muchira of Vanderbilt … [Read More...]

  • Mental Illness and Covid-19

    Mental Illness and Covid-19

    A topic less discussed is mental illness and Covid-19. Covid-19 has been noticeably around us since March of 2020. With the various social distancing and quarantining methods people become more or less isolated emotionally. Social gatherings are outlawed depending on where you live. This helps to interrupt the … [Read More...]

    Aug
    01
    2004

    Birth Control Pill Increases Strokes And Heart Attacks

    At the recent 86th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society in New Orleans/Louisiana a Canadian delegation presented data from a meta-analysis of 14 trials regarding side effects of the birth control pill (BCP) when taken on a prolonged basis. The researchers were interested to know the risk of heart attacks or strokes that would be associated with the prolonged use of the low dose estrogen BCP. All of the studies between 1980 and October of 2002 were examined and 14 independent studies qualified for the meta-analysis. The strength of such a meta-analysis lies in the pooling of data and the fact that the data is derived from a much larger patient population, which generally makes the results more reliable. Dr. J. Baillargeon from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Sherbrooke, Quebec/Canada, stated that they found a 1.85-fold risk for developing heart attacks with longterm use of the BCP and at the same time there was a risk of 2.54-fold of hemorrhagic strokes with longterm use of the low-dose BCP.

    I have depicted these findings below in graph form where the risk is readily seen when compared to women who did not use any birth control pills. In discussions following this presentation the authors explained that with short-term use of the BCP using the modern low dose formulations heart attacks and strokes would likely not be noticeable.

    Birth Control Pill Increases Strokes And Heart Attacks

    Birth Control Pill Increases Strokes And Heart Attacks

    But women should know that long-term use does have this risk. These decisions of whether to take the BCP and for how long needs to be discussed with the treating physician also in the view that other risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes or the metabolic syndrome would be added risks where heart attacks and strokes can occur more frequently. In these conditions the BCP likely should be avoided.

    Risk of Developing Heart Attack or Stroke after Longterm Use of The Birth Control Pill
     Birth Control Pill Increases Strokes And Heart Attacks1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Dr. Ricardo Azziz, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, California, stated that these findings from this meta-analysis would be very important because it was based on such a large data base and was measuring the effect of the BCP over a long period of time. He stressed that the benefits of any medication must always be weighed against the risks by the treating physician. In diabetic patients on the BCP, for instance, the benefits likely outweigh the risks as the metabolism is stabilized through an improved insulin sensitivity, improved managability of the diabetes and avoidance of the high risk pregnancies in diabetics.

    More info on:

    Heart attacks: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/heart-attack-myocardial-infarction-or-mi/

    Strokes: http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/stroke-and-brain-aneurysm/

    Reference: The Medical Post, Vol.40, July 20, 2004, page 20

    Comments on Nov. 6, 2012: What was not discussed by these experts is the fact that the BCP contains a mix of two artificial hormones (estrogen and progesterone equivalents) that the body’s estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors cannot recognize. Bio-identical estrogen and progesterone creams on the other hand would be recognized by these receptors, but nobody has researched their use for BCP purposes, only for post-menopausal hormone replacement.

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014

    Aug
    01
    2004

    Too Much Fat Fuels Metabolic Syndrome

    In a review article for physicians from the St. Michael’s Hospital of the University of Toronto (see reference below) Dr. Monge outlined some of the newer human research where links were found between the lining of the blood vessels and the hormones produced by fat cells that lead to the complications of the metabolic syndrome. In obese people there is a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, lipid abnormalities and high insulin levels, which is known as “metabolic syndrome”. Another name that was used for this condition in the 1990’s was “syndrome of insulin resistance”.

    Dr. Monge pointed out that blood vessel health depends on the fine balance between two opposing forces. On the one hand there is a system that leads to blood vessel spasm, blood clotting, growth promoting, inflammation causing and oxidizing. On the other hand there is a system that is responsible for blood vessel relaxation, growth inhibition, blood clot dissolving, inhibiting inflammation and antioxidant activity. Complex changes occur in our metabolism when we put on pounds and accumulate too much fat. It is important to realize that fat is not just sitting there, but is composed of highly active fat cells that respond to insulin and growth factors and in turn produce a number of hormones and factors that affect the cells that are lining the blood vessels. Inflammatory cytokines are produced by fat cells that attack the blood vessels by producing atheromatous plaques, causing them to accumulate fat again and help in the processes that lead to rupture of the plaques.

    Too Much Fat Fuels Metabolic Syndrome

    Too Much Fat Fuels Metabolic Syndrome

    The end result is that the deadly interplay between the fat cells and the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels tips the balance between the two systems mentioned above to the point where heart attacks and strokes suddenly occur.

    There are two complex pathways that are involved in this process and that are linked to what was stated above. One crucial aspect of this involves nitric oxide, a small molecule that is normally produced by the endothelial lining cells and that is needed for normal circulation of the heart muscle, skeletal muscles and internal organs. This protective system is where much of the derangement of normal metabolism occurs with regard to the metabolic syndrome.

    Dr. Monge pointed out that with these newer insights into the complex metabolic changes associated with the metabolic syndrome in obese people, there will be very practical results in the near future. Anti-inflammatory medications are already being utilized and some of the anti-diabetic medications have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks. It is hoped that sensitive tests will be developed to measure the hidden endothelial dysfunction at a time when preventative steps are still effective or early intervention can be done.

    More info on the metabolic syndrome: http://nethealthbook.com/hormones/metabolic-syndrome/

    Reference: Metabolic Syndrome Rounds (April 2004): J.C. Monge “Endothelial Dysfunction and the metabolic syndrome”

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014

    Aug
    01
    2004

    Citrus Fruit Peel Lowering Cholesterol

    New research from London/Ontario in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculature has shown that in hamsters cholesterol can be reduced by about 35% through a diet that contains compounds derived from orange peel.

    A development company (KGH Syndergize, London/Ont.) under the lead researcher, Dr. Elzbieta Kurowska (PhD), has identified the active compounds in the peels of oranges or tangerines that are having cholesterol lowering properties. They are a group of substances known under the name of “polymethoxylated flavones” (PMFs) and have the advantage that they have no side-effects. They are naturally occuring and have been part of the food chain that our bodies are used to.

    The research results were recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society.

    The animal and cell line experiments showed that the liver cell metabolism of cholesterol is changed so that bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) is lowered, but the good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) is unaffected. When hamsters were fed a diet with 1% PMFs their LDL blood levels were lowered by 32% to 40%.

    Citrus Fruit Peel Lowering Cholesterol

    Citrus Fruit Peel Lowering Cholesterol

    The experiments were so successful that there is now a human trial on the way where the longterm effects of PMFs on LDL levels is being followed. Dr. Kurowska cautioned that drinking orange or tangerine juice would be having many beneficial health effects. But in order to get the cholesterol lowering effect that you can achieve with the citrus peel PMF supplement you would have to consume about 20 cups of orange or tangerine juice every day.

    Reference: The Medical Post, Vpl. 40 (June 22, 2004): page 18

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Aug
    01
    2004

    Electronic Nose Smells Sickness

    Sniffing out disease has become a reality with a new device called Cyranose 320.
    This electronic “nose” is able to recognize bacteria by sampling a patient’s breath.
    The device has been tested and found to be quite accurate, as it was able to successfully diagnose 92 % of pneumonia cases in 25 patients.

    This hand-held little invention costs about $8,000, and has been fitted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania with a smart chip, which is capable of learning chemical “smellprints” of different bacteria. A further study showed that the Cyranose was also able to diagnose sinusitis- the most common respiratory complaint in US outpatient clinics.
    This electronic nose will show its value for early detection of pneumonia in the intensive care unit, where patients on ventilators can be safely and quickly tested. About 25 % of these patients on the average develop pneumonia, and the lead researcher of the first study, Dr. William Hanson III, emphasizes that early recognition of pneumonia and avoiding wrong diagnoses is crucial for the swift treatment of pneumonia, which can be life saving.

    Electronic Nose Smells Sickness

    Electronic Nose Smells Sickness

    Reference: National Review of Medicine (Canada), June 30, 2004, page 5

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Jul
    01
    2004

    Gene Therapy Can Repair Blood Vessels

    When the first attempt of gene therapy were made, a concoction of LDL- receptor genes was infused into the portal vein of patients with a family trait of high cholesterol levels. This was back in 1989, and the results at that point were not encouraging.
    In the meantime advances have been made in genetic research. Dr. Duncan Stewart of the cardiology department of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto who is considered by many as the guru of cardiac gene therapy, reports that we are now “at a crucial stage of the field”. He cautions, that having the gene on hand is only part of the answer. For good results it is also important to understand how the delivery system to the diseased organ works.

    Gene therapy stands out from other treatment options, because instead of drugs, DNA is provided. DNA itself is not the therapeutic agent. It penetrates the cells where it sets up shop and produces proteins, which are needed for therapy. In the case of heart disease, where heart vessels are blocked or have been damaged, the idea is to send specific DNA sequences to the heart cells and stimulate the production of growth factors. These growth factors would trigger new heart vessels to grow and take over for damaged or blocked vessels. This is not just a dream of a research team: a gene therapy trial – the only one of its kind in Canada – is on its way under the leadership of Dr. Stewart. This ambitious project was launched in 2002. In seven sites across Canada 110 patients with heart disease are receiving the vascular endothelial growth factor gene (VEGF for short). The gene is being directly injected into the areas of the heart where blood vessels have become diseased or blocked. The placement is measured with a mapping system known as NOGA. At the end of the year the study enrolment will be finished. Patients will be followed up for results 6 months later. This therapy promises long lasting effects, but it  still has a long way to go.

    Gene Therapy Can Repair Blood Vessels

    Gene Therapy Can Repair Blood Vessels

    Dr. Robert Hegele from the Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetic Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario is credited with uncovering eight genes for human disease (four of them are related to cardiovascular illness) and 80 mutations in other genes that are contributing to premature heart disease and diabetes. Dr. Hegel’s interest is to discover the villains that predispose people to illness, but at the same time he cautions that genes are not everything. Being genetically susceptible does not necessarily foretell one’s destiny when it comes to developing heart disease. Dr. Hegele emphasizes that the longer he works in the genetic field, the more he respects environment and lifestyle and finds that most people can even overturn genetic susceptibility and he leaves us with the final remark: “Tell your patients to stay away from tobacco, eat wisely and get that needed exercise.”

    More info on arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries): http://nethealthbook.com/cardiovascular-disease/heart-disease/atherosclerosis-the-missing-link-between-strokes-and-heart-attacks/

    Reference: The Medical Post June 29, 2004 (Vol. 40, No.26): page 35

    Comment (July 9, 2012): Note that this trial failed to show effectiveness as indicated in the paper below. So, eat wisely, exercise and don’t smoke.

    VEGF gene therapy fails to improve perfusion of ischemic myocardium in patients with advanced coronary disease: results of the NORTHERN trial. Stewart DJ, Kutryk MJ, Fitchett D, Freeman M, Camack N, Su Y, Della Siega A, Bilodeau L, Burton JR, Proulx G, Radhakrishnan S; NORTHERN Trial Investigators. Mol Ther. 2009 Jun;17(6):1109-15. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014

    Jul
    01
    2004

    Beer A Red Flag For Gout

    For centuries gout has been known as the affliction of the affluent. The Greek physician Hippocrates first described it as “the disease of the kings”. In the meantime the illness has jumped social boundaries, as the over consumption of meats and alcohol will occur in all population groups.

    In its April 17 issue the British medical paper”The Lancet” shows the first publication on the link between alcohol and gout. Dr. Hyon Choi of the rheumatology unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, headed a study that showed that moderate amounts of wine did not pose a risk for gout. It was the beer drinkers that were headed for trouble! Those who drank more than two 350 ml cans or bottles of beer per day had a 2.5 times higher risk of developing gout than nondrinkers. People who had 2 shots of liquor a day ran a risk that was 1.6 times higher than those who did not drink. Moderate wine drinkers had the same risk of developing gout as nondrinkers, as long as they did not overindulge: 1 to 2 glasses of wine per day were the limit! It is not clear at this point, which would be the noxious substance in beer and spirits that is responsible for attacks of gout, and moderation is still in order for all wine lovers!

    Beer A Red Flag For Gout

    Beer A Red Flag For Gout

    More info about gout: http://nethealthbook.com/arthritis/gout/

    Reference: National Review Of Medicine, May 15,2004, pg.10

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014

    Jul
    01
    2004

    New Asthma Drug Works Slowly But Surely

    Patients with severe asthma will have a new treatment option. A new medication under the name omalizumab has been studied in clinical trials by Dr. Jean Bousquet of Arnaud de Villeneuve Hospital in Montpellier, France.

    In the study it was also determined which patients would benefit most of the new drug. The results are very encouraging: those patients who had the least success with other asthma medications had the best response. However, it is not an instant response. 67 % of the patients showed a good response after 4 weeks of treatment. 87 % of patients showed a response only after having been on the medication for 12 weeks. As a result of this trial it was determined, that patients with asthma should be treated with omalizumab for at least 12 weeks. FDA approval for difficult to manage cases of allergic asthma came in June of 2003 (trade name Xolair, manufacturer: Genentech, Inc). On the other hand, patience is also of essence: if the medication is only administered for a month, a lot of patients with difficult to treat asthma will miss out on the beneficial effects, as opposed to those who persist and reap significant improvement after 12 weeks. One of the downsides of the medicine is the possibility of anaphylactic reactions.

    Reference: National Review of Medicine, May 15, 2004, pg. 27

    New Asthma Drug Works Slowly But Surely

    New Asthma Drug Works Slowly But Surely

    More information about asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

    Here is a NEJM article (case study involving omalizumab)

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014

    Jul
    01
    2004

    Insomnia Sufferers Will Get Help

    People with chronic insomnia not only have difficulties to get a good rest at night. If they reach for the currently available sleeping medications, their days start with a drug-induced mild “hangover”: they feel drowsy for a few hours, and once they discontinue the medication, withdrawal can be a problem.

    A new medication by the name of indiplon to treat chronic insomnia will be a safer, more effective form of medicine for patients with sleep disorders, reports Dr. James Walsh (PhD). He is an executive director and senior scientist at St. Luke’s Hospital and the Unity Sleep Medicine Center in St. Louis. Dr. Walsh reports that the new medication has a very short half-life, meaning, that it is out of the body, by the time the patient wakes up in the morning. A 35-day trial showed that it is not only safe and effective, but also suitable to treat patients who have trouble falling asleep and those who have trouble sleeping through the night.
    More studies are needed, before the medication will be available in the U.S. (conditional approved in 2007 in the US, see link above) and in Canada. Here is a more extensive review regarding this complex new sleeping pill.

    Reference: The Medical Post, May 25, 2004, pg. 16

    Insomnia Sufferers Will Get Help

    Insomnia Sufferers Will Get Help

    Comment on Nov. 5, 2012: It appears that there are problems with long-term safety studies that were never completed. I would suggest to stick to over-the-counter melatonine proparations in the 1 mg to 3 mg range. Melatonine is safe as it is a body hormone. Prescription hypnotics (as sleeping pills are called) are problematic as they do not fit into the body chemistry receptor-wise. No problems there with melatonine.

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Jul
    01
    2004

    Flu Shots For Young Children And Pregnant Moms

    It may be summer, but next winter will be there and along with it the threat of flus.
    Flu shots are offered in fall, and especially people with health problems (like asthma or diabetes, just to name a few) and seniors have been the primary target groups for public vaccination programs. U.S. health authorities now have also added young children under 2 to the program.

    This step has been taken, as babies and young children are at a substantially increased risk for influenza-related hospitalizations.
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has just release a new recommendation, that all women who are pregnant during the influenza season should get flu shots. Pregnant women who contract influenza frequently have an increased rate of complications, including pneumonia, tachycardia (rapid heart beat), and contractions.
    Even though most pregnant women are young and healthy, their hospital admission rate during the flu season is similar to what you see in the elderly.
    Statistics show that generally only 12% of women with uncomplicated pregnancies get vaccinated. With the threat of a severe strain of influenza A, which showed its aggressive and widespread activity last winter, it can be expected that there will be an increased demand for flu shots this year.

    Flu Shots For Young Children And Pregnant Moms

    Flu Shots For Young Children And Pregnant Moms

    References: The Medical Post, May 18, 2004, pg. 8 and 9

    Last edited December 8, 2012

    Jun
    01
    2004

    Eczema – More Than Skin Deep

    Dermatologists have seen more than a threefold increase of eczema in the last thirty years. The condition is common especially in childhood. Skin irritants can play a role. Dr. Harvey Lui, Professor for Dermatology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, also observed, that eczema is much more common in the Asian population. Patients who came from the warmer climate of Southeast Asia and are exposed to a harsher, colder climate will get into trouble more easily, as dryness of the skin will aggravate the skin condition.

    Dr. Lui also stresses, that patient education about sensible skin care is of great importance. Fighting fire with fire – like taking a hot shower to combat itchy and dry skin- will make things worse in the long run. Inflamed skin needs to be kept cool. Dr. Lui also stresses that skin has to be kept from drying out. These simple measures for which no prescription is needed are often neglected.

    In severe cases the traditional steroid cream has been replaced by preparations, which have an effect on the immune response. Dr. Lui explains that eczema is partially an exaggerated response of the immune system to whatever is noxious or irritating in the environment. The medication tacrolimus (Prograf) is a naturally derived compound that makes the immune cells (T-cells) less active, as they are responsible for the overactive response. It is called an “immunomodulator”.

    Eczema - More Than Skin Deep

    Eczema – More Than Skin Deep

    Due to this knowledge more treatment options are available than in the past. Atopic eczema is very often combined with asthma and allergies and tends to run in families. As the immune system gets strengthened during childhood, eczema tends to be worse in the young person, and time can be the greatest ally in the healing process.

    More info on skin rashes: http://nethealthbook.com/dermatology-skin-disease/skin-rash/

    Reference: 1. The Medical Post, March 2, 2004 (p.2 and 65) 2. “Guidelines of care for atopic dermatitis”
    Hanifin J – J Am Acad Dermatol – 2004 Mar; 50(3), p.391

    Last edited Oct. 26, 2014