ErinPharm Gazette  October 2008
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Vitamins, supplements, blood tests
A review of October 2008. A selection of topics.
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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.

October 31, 2008        John L. Fahey           johnfahey@tds.net
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.
Read this article from Medscape
In a most interesting presentation from Dr. J. David Spence and colleagues, at the Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis receiving intensive medical therapy are at low risk of thromboembolic events and that of the half to two thirds of stenting and endarterectomy done in asymptomatic (versus symptomatic) patients 95% are unwarranted. Dr. Spence reported their findings at the 6th World Stroke Congress in Vienna. He pointed out their conclusions derive from their study of microemboli in patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis. They found that before 2003 they were finding 12.6% of patients with microemboli and thus a 15.6% risk for stroke compared to 1% risk for those without microemboli but that by 2008 patients with microemboli had declined to 3.7%. They attribute this to the rise in intensive medical therapy. They also studied 4,328 patients from their prevention clinics and found that after 2003 plaque progression stopped and, on average, began to decline in concert with declines in cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol along with increase of HDL-cholesterol. The larger population prior to 2003 showed a 14% risk of stroke within one year when microembolic were present compared to 1.2% when microemboli were not present. After introduction of intensive medical therapy one year risk has declined to 0.8% with almost no risk at the end of year two. Similarly heart attack declined from 6.5% before intensive medical therapy to 0% after two years of intensive medical therapy in these patients. The SPACE 2 trial now getting underway in Europe will provide more evidence to support these findings. In the meantime those with asymptomatic carotid stenosis now have evidence that a non-surgical approach should be the first option. These are remarkable results. A reduction in the 95% of unwarranted stenting and/or endarterectomies should surely now become a reality. 
From Medical News Today 
From Medscape 

ErinPharm Note: Read more about the benefits of statins and omega-3 fish oils with concomitant co-enzyme Q10 to achieve your intensive medical therapy in Erinpharm Central and Erinpharm Gazettes while also reading about the effects of pomegranate juice in reducing carotid artery plaque.
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Readers of ErinPharm Gazettes are among those aware, motivated, and seeking to take advantage of knowledge generated on the expanding frontiers of medical/scientific research. It is important to recognise that while we are privileged to be part of this future coming rapidly toward us we also live on a planet where the majority of our fellow human beings suffer under a burden of disease overwhelming and horrifying. One such disease is malaria. It threatens half the world's population, will strike up to half a billion people this year, at least a million will die, most of them under age 5, the vast majority living in Africa.
From National Geographic     
YOU can make a difference. YOU can take the time to care. YOU can reach out to our distant cousins in our common human lineage. YOU can click this link and become part of.....NothingButNets....YOU can join the fight against malaria.
From Nothing But Nets     
Coming on vacation from overseas? Taking out membership with the Life Extension Foundation means you can shop at the LEF Retail Store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and get blood drawn for a comprehensive test analysis the same day. No appointment for a blood draw is necessary. Just arrive before 2:00 pm.
LEF Retail Store 
*****Note******
As of March 31, 2008, Abbott Laboratories has already submitted an NDA (New Drug Application) to the US FDA for TriLipix as monotherapy and in combination with a statin.
Abbott press release
Google
America's best hospitals
US News and World Report
An advance in treating Alzheimer's disease. Disturbing news about the global incidence of herpes simplex infections. Antiretroviral drugs are enabling those with HIV infection to live with their infection. The use of statins is reducing the risk of stroke. Ginkgo biloba is shown to give protection against neurological damage in stroke. Genentech has shown that single cell stem cells from prostates can be stimulated to produce a complete prostate - in mice, though the same means of identifying the appropriate stem cells is technically feasible in humans. Those taking a statin have increased benefit of survival when hospitalized with pneumonia. Early study shows a drug superior to interferon for multiple sclerosis, even restoring some neurological function. Have you done your bit, have you sent money to buy an anti-malarial net for a family in Africa? 
Arterial health can also be damaged by hypertension (high blood pressure). It is a condition often undiagnosed or ignored in and by the general population. It is a 'silent killer' since it can exist in an individual unaware of their high blood pressure for many years insidiously and incrementally damaging the blood circulation system prior to a catastrophic cardiovascular incident. The current impetus toward having households add a home blood pressure monitor to gauge the daily blood pressure status of those with hypertension could well raise the profile of the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. ErinPharm recommends the Omron brand of blood pressure monitor as being inexpensive and easy to use. New data revealed May 2008 confirm that hypertension control in the general population appears to be better in the United States than in Europe though diabetics are ill served by the latest US guidelines and only about half of US patients achieve a blood pressure objective. This data comes from a comprehensive multi-country survey by investigators led by Dr. Y. Richard Wang, of Temple University and University of Pennysylvania, in which a total of 21,053 patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of hypertension  in six countries were evaluated. These patients had visited 1,284 primary care physicians and 291 cardiologists. With a definition of control as a blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg it was found that 53% of US patients reached that objective compared to 27% to 40% of Europeans. In Canada new guidelines for hypertension management were released to the public in January 2007 and stressed the importance of recognizing "high normal" blood pressure, i.e. 130-139/85-89 mm Hg, and the warning that more than half of such individuals will develop hypertension within four years if they do not make lifestyle changes. The point is also made that for individuals who do not follow a healthy lifestyle more than 90% will develop hypertension. Since guidelines, medications, and lifestyle changes can and will bring blood pressure to a healthy level over a time period of up to six weeks there is a need to overcome this societal inertia on the part of health care professionals and the general population to not actively seek blood pressure normalization. Yes, it does take significant effort at times, needs ongoing attention, requires a personal commitment on the part of the patient BUT it will result in a healthier way of life with a much reduced risk of heart attack or stroke. The next few years will see the launch of a number of new antihypertensive drugs and combination 'polypills'. In India a 'polypill' with two antihypertensives, aspirin, and a statin is expected to gain acceptance. The years to come will see major advances in this combined approach to arterial health.
From Medscape   
To activate Medscape hyperlinks register with Medscape. Get direct access to authors, reports, and medical information and research publications  through the links.
In the first long-term real-world study of Alzheimer's drugs, Dr. Alireza Atn and co-investigators, at Massachussets General Hospital, have shown that long-term combination therapy with memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors slows disease progression and helps patients maintain cognitive and daily living activities for a longer period of time. Dr. Atn states that combination treatment should be strongly considered as a first treatment option and benefit will appear after much longer periods of treatment than prior studies have evaluated.
From Science Daily
From Medscape  
In a disturbing estimate reported in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization we learn that globally more than a half billion people are infected with herpes simplex virus type 2, the cause of most cases of genital herpes; an infection that most people do not know they have since they have no symptoms. The infection shows a wide regional incidence with 13% among Europeans and 70% in sub-Saharan Africa. This estimate is based on published reports in 2003 for the 5-49 age group.
From the World Health Organization
From Medical News Today 
From Medscape  
It is a grim statistic and yet encouraging news that antiretroviral drugs have given us an HIV infected population of over one million people in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported October 3 that approximately 1.1 million adults and adolescents were living with HIV infection at the end of 2006. This represents an increase of 11% over 2003. It's estimated that the percentage of undiagnosed fell from 25% to 21%.
From Reuters AlertNet 
From Medscape  
An interesting report from WorldHealthNet lends support to those who believe in the benefits of a daily dose of Ginkgo biloba. Research by Dr. Sylvain Doré and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University indicates that it could help protect brain cells from damage caused by a stroke. The study, in mice, with a Ginkgo biloba extract, significantly reduced brain damage and neurological function when administered before and after stroke. The researchers suggest that a daily regimen of Ginkgo biloba for those at a high risk of stroke as a preventive measure against brain damage in the event of a stroke could be recommended.
From WorldHealthNet

ErinPharm Note: Of course those at high risk of stroke should be on intensive medical therapy as noted above and should also have a strategy to reach the nearest accredited Stroke Treatment Center in less than three hours to get the dramatic benefit of tPA treatment.
In the provocatively science fiction world of regenerative medicine a Genentech research team has discovered stem cells in the prostates of mice and have grown complete prostates from them. A total of 14 prostates were generated from 97 single cell transplants. This extends the number of adult organs in which such tissue-specific stem cells have been found including skin, brain, mammary glands and the gut. Although the marker differentiating the prostate stem cells is also found in human prostates Genentech has no current plans to produce human prostates.
From Reuters  
From Medscape  
In the accumulating evidence that statin users derive additional benefit beyond lipid lowering Dr. Reimar Thomsen and colleagues, of Aarhus University, Aalborg, Denmark, reported in the October 27, 2008, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, that statin usage was found to be associated with an improved prognosis after severe infections. Dr. Thomsen and his colleagues reviewed data on 29,900 adults hospitalized with pneumonia for the first time between 1997 and 2004 in northern Denmark. Of the 1,372 patients taking statins when admitted to hospital it was found they had a 31% lower risk of dying compared with those not taking statins with a reduction of 25% persisting through to 90 days. This benefit was seen even in patients greater than 80 years of age and those with associated bacterial infection. They suggest that clinical studies should be directed toward combination statin/antibiotic therapy to evaluate optimized combination therapies against both acute and persistent infections.
From MedicineNet  
From Medscape  
To activate Medscape hyperlinks register with Medscape. Get direct access to authors, reports, and medical information and research publications  through the links.
In a promising development from scientists at the University of Cambridge, UK, it has been found that a drug originally developed to treat leukemia has been shown to be useful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Professor Alistair Compston and colleagues conducted a three year study on 334 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with alemtuzumab and found it cut the number of attacks experienced in the patients by 74% more than that achieved by interferon-beta-1a therapy, which is the current treatment of choice. A remarkable finding was that patients receiving alemtuzumab recovered some of their lost functions, being less disabled at the end of the study than they were at the beginning, contrasting with interferon-beta-1a therapy in which they were more disabled. The researchers suggest that alemtuzumab may promote brain repair that enables the recovery of neurological function. There are side effects. One in five developed an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, and 3% developed the vulnerable bleeding condition of immune thrombocytopenic purpura. However, though both of these conditions are potentially serious early identification can easily be treated. Phase 3 trials are in progress.
From WorldHealthNet