ErinPharm Gazette  October 2006
Heart disease is the most likely cause of death and yet most people avoid thinking about it even though 70 million Americans live with it every day, ranging from high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and death. More than 910,000 die each year in the United States. The good news is that at last medical research is at the point of conquering this disease. Read what medical experts are saying, look forward to healthy longevity, start to replan your future.
Heart disease is the most common cause of death
Reported by CNN

Torcetrapib results show that HDL-cholesterol can be dramatically increased. Medical reports are beginning to appear. Top cardiologists are talking about the eradication of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
One of the first publications: dramatic HDL-cholesterol increase
From Medscape

Torcetrapib trials have been terminated due to unacceptable cardiovascular events and mortality. Since the conceptual logic of raising HDL-levels is intact, the race among other pharmaceutical companies to develop a safe molecular candidate to raise HDL levels is now even more vigorous.
Torcetrapib trials terminated.
From Pfizer

Compelling evidence that detecting early stage lung cancer using CT scans can result in survival. The results, in the October 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, pointed out that 85% of the lung cancers detected by this technique were at stage one, such cancers having an 88% survival rate at ten years. There is currently tremendous criticism of such CT scans because they are so detailed that small non-growing tumors could panic individuals into seeking invasive treatment when such a course of action would not be prudent.
The position of ErinPharm is that an initial CT scan should be used only as a baseline precautionary scan for those otherwise healthy. Subsequent scans each year could then be used to look for stage one, and easily treatable, lung cancer.
Lung cancer and CT scans
From Medscape

Yet another beneficial role for statins in those with severe carotid artery disease, in reducing the risk of another stroke, is reported by HeartWire.
Statins and carotid arterial disease.
Reported by HeartWire

In an animal model Apo A-1 Milano is instrumental in rapidly reducing atherosclerotic plaque. This parallel route of scientific investigation is further evidence that the approach of Pfizer to reduce plaque with the failed frontier studies-trialling torcetrapib-lipitor is on the right track.
Rapid reduction of plaque in animal model
Reported by Heartwire

An alarming report from VascularWeb states that 87% of Americans are unaware of the importance in checking and modulating blood triglycerides in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This is disturbing, particularly since it is known that omega-3 fish oil supplements are very effective in lowering high blood triglyceride levels as well as lowering C-reactive protein levels, another marker for cardiac risk.
Triglyceride levels and cardiac risk
Reported by VascularWeb 

Sudden cardiac death is not as sudden as the term implies. In many cases the patient experiences other bodily disturbances for one to two hours before the actual precipitating event. Knowing of such symptoms, the average patient should plan for a stategy to reach medical intervention as quickly as possible.
Knowing when you are about to have a heart attack
From Medscape

Dr. Bryan McNally, in a video editorial, reveals the shocking statistics on the odds of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest depend on the city you live in, with ten times the chance of surviving in one city rather than another. This is a call up for immediate improvement in cities at the bottom of the list.
Dr. Bryan McNally speaks
From Medscape

A very informative video editorial by Dr. Arthur Kellermann, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory University, examines the state of emergency medicine in the United States, and points out it has declined to perilous coverage for the general population. He details the critical condition it has reached and proposes plans for recovery and what must be done.
The crisis in emergency room medicine
From Medscape

Debate has begun on the importance of starting statin treatment for patients who have had a stroke or TIA.
Statins after stroke?
From Medscape

For the physician, as well as the patient, risk factors for cardiovascular disease can become apparent long before an actual cardiac event. All individuals need to recognise this, educate themselves, and take the appropriate action to reduce such a serious decline in health.
Obesity, diabetes risk factors for cardiovascular disease
From Medscape

July 10, 2006 is a date worth noting. Because now a group of eminent cardiologists have proposed that CT scanning has reached a technology where plaque could be directly measured and so therefore the entire adult population, men over 45, women over 55, should get CT scanning and ultrasound to detect even small amounts of plaque in the asymptomatic. Based on such evidence individuals could take action, if necessary, to reverse plaque and avoid cardiovascular disease and heart attack. The founder and president of this association of our best cardiologists, Morteza Naghavi, MD, is promoting a dramatic change in health care as are others in the Association for Eradication of Heart Attack (AEHA) while the group's task force has completed a proposal to do so with 'Screening for Heart Attack Eradication and Education', (SHAPE). With the success of the statins, healthier lifestyles, exercise, omega-3 fish oils, pomegranate juice, the concept of raising HDL while lowering LDL make the vision of this group, eradicating heart disease and heart attack, a practical reality in the relatively near future. Public awareness, participation, and education will be paramount as this dramatic change sweeps across the population of the United States and other countries. It is a drama in development.
Eradication of Heart Attack
Reported by WebMD

The next five or six years will be a drama indeed with critics carping at the changes taking place, purists of clinical trialling, arguing against the change, as the collective instincts and wisdom of the american population will stimulate progress toward the aims of AEHA.
Critics debate aims of AEHA
Reported by WebMD

But also time for all to be aware that statins are very powerful medications that do have the potential to cause harm. Any side effect should cause immediate discontinuation of the statin followed by physician consultation.
Statins can provoke underlying neuromuscular disease.
From Medscape via Reuters

Prompt treatment with a statin within hours of a patient first experiencing an acute coronary event and continuation of that statin significantly reduces the possibility of death. This adds to the accumulation of studies showing statin users have a reduced incidence of mortality from cardiac disease.
Acute coronary event and immediate treatment with a statin
From Medscape

While ongoing studies of HDL and LDL lipid components indicate that sub-component analysis needs further investigation.
More study continuing
XIVth Annual Symposium on Atherogenesis

Dr. George Lundberg, editor of MedGenMed, supports the objectives of SHAPE, points out it is a challenge to the cardiology establishment, and suggests the possibility that CT screening be added to the current methods used to detect and treat cardiovascular disease - in a video presentation.
Dr. George Lundberg speaks, supports SHAPE
From Medscape

Inflammation as a cardiovascular risk factor is clearly defined in a publication by the American Heart Association and further emphasises the need to reduce C-reactive protein in those at risk, particularly in those with stable angina pectoris or in recovery from a heart attack.
Inflammation and cardiovascular mortality
From the American Heart Association

Statins, especially Zocor by up to 72%, are found to reduce the incidence of  the most common form of age related cataract, nuclear cataract, in a Wisconsin study of patients taking a statin over a period of time.
Zocor reduces nuclear cataract by up to 72%
Reported by WebMD

Leading researcher says it is now time to incorporate ankle-brachial blood pressure measurements into common clinical practice to detect early signs of peripheral vacular disease and hence cardiovascular disease in individuals who show no obvious signs of disease and are asymptomatic.
Ankle-brachial BP measurements detect early vascular disease
From Medscape

Join LEF and support research. $75 annual member cost.
This web page documents major events in medical research that will lead to the eradication of heart disease as a cause of death. Since similar discoveries in cancer research will not be far behind, it raises interesting conclusions. Studies on the oldest old have shown genetic protection against these diseases. Therefore conquest of heart disease and cancer means that a door is opening for the average person to plan for a lifespan of 100 -120 years. Sadly, the means of doing so will be available only to those educated, aware, motivated, financially able, and living in the developed nations of the world. For the large majority of humankind death from these diseases will continue. By 2050 will we look back at a huge divide between us? Or will we have done everything we can to conquer disease, war, and poverty on a global scale? For the 9 billion of humankind expected then. We do have decisions to make beyond a personal healthy longevity.
A review of June to October 2006
designed with Homestead
Folic acid intake is still well below projected targets established by the FDA in 1998 when it mandated addition of folic acid to enriched grain products.
This is particularly important for pregnant women and the elderly. Supplementation should be considered.
Folic acid intake below target
From Medscape
Prevention strategies for women with migraines at different stages of life are reviewed in this Medscape article. Since fewer than 5% of women seek advice from a physician this is an important alert to women that many different approaches to migraine, with particular strategies, need to be tried before relief can be obtained.
Migraine prevention strategies for women
From Medscape
An interesting article from Medscape reports that consumption of tart cherry juice significantly decreased the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage. This is a study limited in scope but nonetheless again illustrates the multiple benefits of adding high anti-oxidant polyphenolic fruit juice to a regular diet. Can studies on the even more potent pomegranate juice be far behind?
Tart cherry juice and exercise
From Medscape
Gene therapy has been shown to halt skin cancer by gene-engineering white blood cells from the patients. Two patients are now disease free. This innovative approach to shrink tumors is now being tried with breast and lung cancers.
Gene-engineering white blood cells
From Medscape

The Medscape Resource Center for treatment of lung cancer is continuously updated with the latest advances, data, and articles.
Lung cancer treatment
From Medscape

The Medscape Resource Center for treatment of breast cancer is continuously updated with the latest advances, data, and articles.
Breast cancer treatment
From Medscape
Highlights of the International Stroke Conference 2006 brought advances in treatment and current management into perspective.
International Stroke Conference 2006
From Medscape
Low risk prostate cancer is often overtreated with radiation or surgery. The anxious male newly diagnosed could well make a decision not supported by the data to get radical treatment.
Prostate cancer - to treat or wait?
Reported by Reuters
Potent drug therapies can now reduce HIV levels to virtually undetectable even in those for in which earlier therapies were not effective.
Undetectable levels of HIV
From WebMD
A comprehensive data review concludes that exercise has significant neuroprotective effects, with positive effects on brain structure and function, even if just walking 30-45 minutes three days a week.
Walking and neuroprotective effects
From Medscape

Marking a new era for the management of lung cancer, researchers have found that non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), causing 80% of lung cancer deaths, can be evaluated using genetic tests and a 'lung metagene predictor' can be used to predict recurrence with up to 90% accuracy. This was a small study and a much larger study is planned.
Predicting recurrence of lung cancer
Reported by the NIH
After radiation or surgical treatment for prostate cancer a small study at UCLA showed that PSA (prostate specific antigen) doubling times went from 14 months to 26 months for patients with Gleason scores below 7 when the patients drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day. While more studies are under way this remarkable fruit once again shows its powerful anti-oxidant properties.
Prostate cancer and pomegranate juice
As reported by WebMD

Routine vaccination with Gardasil as protection against cervical cancer is being urged by leading authorities. Protection of up to 80% for cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers found in the USA population is projected.
Vaccine protects against cervical cancer
Mayo Clinic report
The FDA has approved a vaccine to protect against shingles in the elderly. Initial studies show up to 50% protection. Since the majority of the population have had chicken pox or vaccination for chicken pox the possibility of shingles with ageing increases. Vaccination with this vaccine, Zostavax, is a reasonable precaution as we age.
FDA approves Zostavax for shingles protection
From the FDA


High dose flu shots could increase protection of older people during the seasonal flu season. Doses of 60-microgram shots, four times a regular injection, are indicated and under study.
Increase seasonal flu shots for the elderly
Reported by MedicineNet


It's important to protect our young people with bipolar (manic depressive) disorder from misreading the expressions on other peoples faces.
Bipolar Youth May Misread Faces
ScienceDaily release
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.

                             John L. Fahey           johnfahey@tds.net
Read and replan your future
The Life Extension Foundation
Torcetrapib update added December 3, 2006.
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