ErinPharm Gazette September 2007
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Four years ago excitement began in the medical community that clinical trial results showed some reversal of atherosclerotic plaque with aggressive statin (lipitor) treatment. Those results were published the following April in 2004. To be sure physicians up until then had fully appreciated the importance of lowering cholesterol levels but the widespread opinion was that plaque build-up in the arteries was an inevitable consequence of aging that could not be reversed. In the last four years a dramatic shift in opinion has taken place in which atherosclerotic plaque reversal is the focus, major pharmaceutical companies are in a race to be the first to have a safe HDL-cholesterol raising medication that coupled to a statin would accelerate plaque clearance, one company (Cytograft) has already produced autologous blood vessels (made from your own tissue), and serious discussion is taking place on the future prospect of eliminating cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. These ErinPharm Gazettes are intended to stimulate your thinking about the frontiers of medical research and the propects for a healthy optimal longevity emerging from clinical trials, with new data and results occurring every month. There is, however, an excruciating sadness for many scientists and physicans that these new results can only be taken advantage of by those in the developed world who are aware, financially able, and active in their search for optimal healthy longevity. The majority of humankind is battling malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, poverty, and lack of the opportunity for advancement. Think of that also. Visit the Hunger Site. With two clicks you can daily, at no cost to you, send 1.1 cup of cereal to an impoverished child. The Hunger Site.
A review of September 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
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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.
In this video editorial Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., Preventive Medicine Consultant at the Cleveland Clinic, give cogent advice on plant-based nutrition. Her work builds on epidemiological evidence in plant-based cultures in rural China, the Papua Highlanders, and the Tarahumara Indians, where the inhabitants are virtually free of coronary disease, that coronary heart disease can be prevented and even reversed, even after bypasses and angioplasties for those willing to adhere to plant-based nutrition and in doing so avoid the risk and expense of drugs, stents, and bypasses. In more than 21 years of study she set the goal for patients of a total cholesterol less than 150 mg/dL, and an LDL-cholesterol of less than 80 mg/dL.
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. Attend to your vascular health before you begin to develop the clinical symptoms of atherosclerosis. As engineers know well, flow of a fluid through a pipe (like an artery or vein) can continue unhindered as the diameter of the pipe narrows (accumulation of plaque) to a small fraction of the original diameter before turbulent flow (plaque disruption and subsequent thrombus formation) occurs. Read the information on cholesterol and at ErinPharm Central thoroughly, plan strategies for reversal of atherosclerosis, write down how to get to the nearest certified Primary Stroke Center within the critical first few hours to take advantage of the latest tPA treatments, change your lifestyle, plan to avoid being in the situation of being on an operating table with surgeons working on valiant and heroic attempts to save your life. Read these case histories to see where neglecting your vascular health can take you. Avoid heart attack and stroke.
Locate your nearest certified Primary Stroke Center and have plans to reach there within the first couple of hours, the critical period within which you can recover with minimal brain damage. Have written plans for yourself and family at home, and for your colleagues in the workplace using this link.
The revolution in diabetes management - continuous glucose monitoring.
A video editorial. Read, learn, and listen.
In a long-term study of 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, the finding that heavy TV viewing by both girls and boys resulted in a roughly 40% increase in attention problems later in adolescence will not suprise many parents. That the effect is so profound and long lasting should be of concern.
In a small study of 37 people at Leipzig University in Germany, Dr. Robert Hollriegel found that people with serious heart failure who rode a bike for up to 30 minutes a day for four months produced new stem cells in their bones, and had more small vessels in their muscles. Dr. Freek Verheugl, a cardiologist at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, is quoted as saying - "this study shows that exercise can work to produce new blood vessels, even in patients with serious heart disease". Since no drugs exist to stimulate the production of stem cells, exercise may be the only way for some patients to rebuild their hearts.
It is now well established that a program of regular exercise has many benefits for the older adult. However, given the very wide range of physical disabilities found in this population, an older adult needs guidance on how to go about a proper exercise program appropriate to their disability. In this link there is guidance from a panel of scientists with expertise in public health, behavioral science, epidemiology, exercise science, medicine, and gerontology who have published a comprehensive Updated Recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA). It also contains numerous references to the health benefits an older adult can obtain from following the recommendations.
To Err is Human, published by the Institute of Medicines's (IOM) report eight years ago, revealed that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors, with total costs of medical errors resulting in injury estimated to be between $17 billion and $29 billion, with healthcare costs comprising over 50%. That chilling conclusion has led to the report Crossing the Quality Chasm in which aims for improvement in healthcare form a basis for healthcare professionals to establish frameworks for evaluating the quality of care. To Err is Human has received much attention since it was issued. More needs to be done. Future retrospectives must delineate a decline in these shocking statistics, particularly since healthcare in the United States lags behind other industies with respect to attention to ensuring safety.
In a very interesting paper published in the August 15th issue of Cancer, the senior investigator, Dr. Thomas J. Polascik, and his colleagues, at Duke University Medical Center, have suggested that, based on pathology findings, focal ablative therapy for prostate cancer in a 'lumpectomy' approach could become an effective and less invasive approach for a considerable minority of patients with clinically localized cancer. The basis for their suggestion is that they found about 1 in 5 organ-confined prostate cancers have unilateral cancer on one side of the prostate thus ablation could spare the contralateral side, better preserving erectile and sexual function.
The attention of the mainstream media beyond just lowering cholesterol to vascular health and the risk of low HDL-cholesterol levels is bringing the topic of vascular health into public conversation and enabling healthcare professionals to continue to urge their patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle and adjustment of LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL-cholesterol in order to prevent atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the arteries, stop progression if it has started, and even reverse it with the right combination of nutrition, exercise, and medications/supplements. It is commendable that television news networks are bringing this to the forefront in their contribution toward eliminating heart attack and stroke.
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