ErinPharm Gazette December 2007
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For older men news of rapid progress in methods of management and control of prostate cancer. Make sure you get a regular PSA (prostate specific antigen) test.
For older people who are overweight there is encoouraging news that even a moderate amount of walking can make a significant protection against mortality. Make sure you get your flu shot and add vitamin D3 to your regimen whether from foodstuffs or supplements. Read about the contentious issues arising between those who favor surgery and stenting for stable angina and those who favor medical therapy management. Significant progress is being made in producing pluripotent stem cells from skin (fibroblast) tissue while production of human bone and cartilage from precursor cells derived from embryonic stem cells can be specifically directed by using appropriate matrix material. Particularly in this Gazette take seriously the finding that a large proportion of the American population are deficient in vitamin D3, which predisposes them to a variety of diseases.
A review of December 2007. A selection of topics.
This web page is one of a number of ErinPharm web pages designed by me as a synopsis of topics that interest me as well as being a quick reference page for my newsletter subscribers and myself. I have no affiliation of any kind to any pharmaceutical company or medical group. The opinions expressed are my own. I welcome communication and debate. I am an optimist. I look forward to the future with wonder.
The Life Extension Foundation
Keep up to date with advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer.
Know about the latest treatment guidelines for addiction.
Patients should know everything there is to know about Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Advances in lung cancer therapies are moving ahead. Keep up to date.
University of Kansas research scientist, Dr. Ann Manzardo, is exploring the link between thiamine deficiency and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
The first comprehensive map of Genomic copy number variations has been developed. Such copy numbers influence genetic diversity and susceptibility to disease.
The American Cancer Society is your main source of information in the ongoing battle against cancer.
Are you trying to lose weight and have been misled by the multi-billion dollar industry selling pills, potions, and 'magic cures'? You are not alone. A survey backed by a commercial drug company reports that approximately 70% of American dieters have tried scientifically unproven methods to lose weight. That's an astounding number of people who have tried dietary supplements in the form of pills and powders. About half of survey respondents incorrectly think supplements are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, while about two-thirds believe such products must carry warning labels for side effects. All that happens is maybe temporary loss of weight and the emptying of your pocket. Resist the temptation to believe in those seductive commercials. The only way you can lose weight and keep it off is by a commitment to a change in lifestyle. I recommend lifestyle changes.
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A diagnosis of prostate cancer is a chilling thought for many men despite the rapid progress in methods of control and management. This link from Medscape reviews current areas of controversy and development in the field of transrectal untrasound guided permament prostate seed implantation brachytherapy (PPI) coupled with external beam radiation therapy. Evidence is accumulating that these techniques provide results comparable to radical prostatectomy. With further studies the expectation is that a focus on early detection then PPI when considered necessary will take the chill and fear away and radical surgery become an option that is taken for only the most extreme cases.
A very strong and positive encouragement to older people who are overweight comes from exercise expert Steven Blair at the University of South Carolina. He and his colleagues tracked about 2,600 people 60 and over, examining how physical fitness and body fat affected their death rate over 12 years. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that being overweight and fit provided a much greater protection against death than weighing less and not being fit. The study showed that even a modest amount of walking, three ten minute walks five days a week, even though it would not cause much loss of weight, would give this benefit. As Steven Blair commented: "You're still going to be heavy but you are going to be much healthier if you do that." Surely a reason to add daily walking to your lifestyle.
There is a very good reason to get protection against flu with a 'flu shot'. According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, Professor Tom Meade and his colleagues, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have found that flu and other respiratory infections double the risk of heart attack and stroke in the week after infection. This correlation was found by examination of a database of 2 million patients. This confirms prior data showing a link between inflammation and heart attack. Since those on a statin and/or omega-3 fish oils have a lower level of inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein levels it further gives reason to have a C-reactive protein level done as part of regular blood tests. For Americans it does not require a visit to a physician since a 'flu shot', and a 'pneumonia shot', can readily and inexpensively be obtained at many pharmacies. Time to get your shots?
Stable angina in the past has been managed with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stenting and that has followed national guidelines. However, in this video editorial by Dr. Raymond Gibbons of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, commenting on the results of the COURAGE multi-center clinical trial, it now appears that optimal medical therapy with patient compliance challenges the current surgical management approach. Dr Gibbons points out that there is tension with those who favor the surgical approach but states that optimal medical therapy with treatment for the plaque by lowering LDL-cholesterol and taking aspirin is clearly the best way to go. This is illustrative of a divide in the medical community between those who favor surgery and those who believe non-surgical management is best. This is a contentious issue that will likely continue for some time not least because of the economic benefit accruing to the surgeons who follow the surgical approach.
Vitamin D deficiency in the general population is very common. Dr. Michael Hollick, Boston University Schoool of Medicine, a leading vitamin D researcher, found that among a healthy group of physicians and residents about a third were vitamin D deficient. New research by Dr. Ioannis Karakis, Boston University School of Medicine, presented at the American Epilepsy Society 61st Annual meeting, has shown that almost half of all patients with epilepsy are vitamin D deficient. Since vitamin D deficiency puts a person at potential increased risk for a wide variety of conditions including cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and autoimmune disease there is an urgent need to encourage all in the general population to add vitamin D to balanced nutrition. The vitamin D that is required is vitamin D3, available as a very inexpensive supplement. Discussion ongoing in the medical community centers on the amount of supplementation needed, with estimates of 1,000 IU to 5,000 IU the range considered. Recent provocative research that people with high levels of vitamin D3 in their blood have a slower aging of blood leucocytes further stimulates this discussion.
Evidence presented by Dr. Todd Jusko, University of Washington in Seattle, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, make it clear that even very small elevations in blood levels of lead below the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) current standard of 10 microgram/dL are linked to reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in children. This persistent neurotoxin causing brain damage must be taken seriously by all parents.
ErinPharm note: EDTA chelation is FDA approved therapy to deplete lead in blood.
Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, at Tokyo University, has made another step forward in generating pluripotent stem cells from human dermal fibroblasts and other human somatic cells which, under appropriate culture conditions, differentiated into all three germ layers, neural cells, and cardiac cells.
Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff and colleagues presented work at the American Society of Cell Biology 47th Annual Meeting showing that they have generated bone tissue and cartilage from mesenchymal precursor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Using different biomaterials they were able to direct bone growth along the pathway to skull, jaw and clavicle as well as direct growth toward 'long bones' and initiation of cartilage formation. Bone and cartilage repair has already been done by them in mice. They have shown that the bone forming mechanisms can be strictly regulated by scaffold mediated microenvironments.
In an announcement December 3, 2007, the British Government has made a commitment to improve the standard of care for cancer patients with the aim of bringing it to 'world-class' levels by 2012. This is a very welcome step for residents of the United Kingdom since recent surveys have placed the United Kingdom far below the United States and neighboring European countries.
High bloood pressure (hypertension) is no longer viewed as a simple matter of taking numbers, can vary widely at different times and under different conditions, and needs to be handled as only one factor in behavioural lifestyle changes. This video editorial by Dr. Suzanne Oparil presents the various factors involved and the need to connect it to other things that may indicate a poor prognosis. It's not just the numbers!