Thursday, February 22, 2018

Watch for Clarithromycin if you have heart disease

The FDA said it does not know how clarithromycin might cause heart problems or death, but it’s been warning about the problem since 2005. But a review of data 10 years later shows heart patients still have a higher risk of dying if they took the antibiotic for two weeks.

The FDA is advising caution before prescribing the antibiotic clarithromycin (Biaxin) to patients with heart disease because of a potential increased risk of heart problems or death that can occur years later,” the FDA said in a statement.

 Healthcare professionals should be aware of these significant risks and weigh the benefits and risks of clarithromycin before prescribing it to any patient, particularly in patients with heart disease and even for short periods, and consider using other available antibiotics,” it added. Advise patients with heart disease of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular problems, regardless of the medical condition for which you are treating them with clarithromycin.

Clarithromycin can be prescribed to treat infections of the skin, ears, sinuses and lungs. It’s also favored for treating Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection, a type of lung infection that often affects people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Therapy successfully reverses Alzheimer's in mice

Brain plaques believed to contribute to Alzheimer's disease melt away in mice when robbed of a key enzyme, researchers report.
And the rodents' intellectual function actually improved as their amyloid plaques dissolved from lack of beta-secretase (BACE1), an enzyme critical in the formation of the plaques, said senior researcher Riqiang Yan. He is vice chair of neuroscience with the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.
The investigators had expected that blocking BACE1 would slow or halt the formation of amyloid plaques, but were surprised to find that it also caused existing plaques to fade away, Yan said.
"When we looked at the mice later -- at six months old and 10 months old -- all those pre-existing plaques were gone," Yan said. "Sequential deletion of beta-secretase actually can reverse existing plaques."
These results are good news for companies developing BACE1-inhibitor drugs as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease, Yan said. He noted that five such drugs are being tested in clinical trials.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Vitamin D3 could prevent and repair cardiovascular damage

A new study by researchers at Ohio University found that vitamin D3 – a vitamin that is naturally produced when skin is exposed to sunlight – could prevent and restore damage caused by several cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
They found that vitamin D3 is a powerful stimulator of nitric oxide (NO); a signaling molecule involved in the prevention of blood clots in the cardiovascular system and the regulation of blood flow. Furthermore, vitamin D3 could significantly reduce the level of oxidative stress in the circulatory system.

The study also showed that treatments involving vitamin D3 could significantly restore damage to the circulatory system caused by various diseases, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, and hypertension, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.
The studies were performed on cells from Caucasian Americans and African Americans and showed obtained similar outcomes for both ethnic groups.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

High-Cholesterol Diets Can Speed Up Tumour Growth 100-Fold

Diets high in cholesterol can ramp up the speed of cancer tumour growth by up to 100 times, a new study has revealed – but as scary as that is, the findings could also lead to better treatments to stop this from happening.  The research began as a way of studying a correlation between high-cholesterol diets and an increased risk of colon cancer. That link has already been identifiedbut scientists still don't understand much about its cause.

According to the team of researchers, stem cells could be the key: these cells can be turned into almost any kind of cell in the body, and it appears the extra cholesterol is increasing the rate at which these stem cells multiply, and then the rate at which tumours grow.
"We were excited to find that cholesterol influences the growth of stem cells in the intestines, which in turn accelerates the rate of tumour formation by more than 100-fold," says one of the team, Peter Tontonoz from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
"While the connection between dietary cholesterol and colon cancer is well established, no one has previously explained the mechanism behind it."

Monday, January 1, 2018



An ER nurse says this is the best description of a woman having a heart attack that she has ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and SHARE..........
I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever read.
Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have ... you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in movies. Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.
I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, 'A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.
A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you've been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you've swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn't have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation--the only trouble was that I hadn't taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.
After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).
This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. 'AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening -- we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven't we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I'm having a heart attack!
I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn't be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else... but, on the other hand, if I don't, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.
I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics... I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn't feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.
I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don't remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like 'Have you taken any medications?') but I couldn't make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.
I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.
1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men's symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn't know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they'll feel better in the morning when they wake up... which doesn't happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you've not felt before. It is better to have a 'false alarm' visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!
2. Note that I said 'Call the Paramedics.' And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER - you are a hazard to others on the road.
Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what's happening with you instead of the road.
Do NOT call your doctor -- he doesn't know where you live and if it's at night you won't reach him anyway, and if it's daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn't carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.
3. Don't assume it couldn't be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it's unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let's be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.
A cardiologist says if everyone who sees this post would Share or re-post, you can be sure that we'll save at least one life.
*Please be a true friend and SHARE this article to all your friends, women & men too. Most men have female loved ones and could greatly benefit from know this information too!
.`•.¸¸.•´•• Thanks for visiting my Page daily and for passing my posts around!
F♡llow me for more Great Stuff

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Type 2 diabetes may be reversible with weight loss

The team found that diabetes remission was closely linked with weight loss, with almost nine out of 10 people (86 per cent) who lost 15kg or more putting their type 2 diabetes into remission.
Over half (57 per cent) of those who lost 10 to 15kg also achieved remission, along with a third (34 per cent) of those who lost five to 10kg.
In comparison, only 4 per cent of the control group, who received standard care, achieved remission.
Prof. Taylor commented on the first year results saying, "These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes is treated."
"The study builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively. Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we're seeing from DiRECT is that losing weight isn't just linked to better management of type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission."
Type 2 diabetes is a life-changing condition which progresses over time with potentially devastating consequences.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Scar Tissue

Scar tissue. Adhesion. Fibrosis. The words are different, but the concepts are the same. This dense, fibrous tissue affects us all and is an underlying factor in many injuries. Scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. Tension on tendons causes tendinosis. Nerves can become trapped. All these problems can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain as well as tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Scar tissue forms two different ways. First, if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn or crushed, the body creates scar tissue to ‘glue’ the torn pieces together. This is a necessary part of the healing process. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tendinopathy: Why the Difference Between Tendinitis and Tendinosis Matters

The most important reason to distinguish between tendinitis and tendinosis is the differing treatment goals and timelines. The most prominent treatment goal for tendinitis is to reduce inflammation, a condition that isn’t present in tendinosis. In fact, some treatments to reduce inflammation are contraindicated with tendinosis. Ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, is associated with inhibited collagen repair(). Corticosteroid injections inhibited collagen repair in one study, and were found to be a predictor of later tendon tears(,,).
The healing time for tendinitis is several days to 6 weeks, depending on whether treatment starts with early presentation or chronic presentation(). Khan et al.() state that treatment for tendinosis recognized at an early stage can be as brief as 6–10 weeks; however, treatment once the tendinosis has become chronic can take 3–6 months. It is suggested by Rattray and Ludwig() that effective treatment might take up to 9 months once the tendinosis is chronic. Knowing these timelines is part of creating an effective treatment plan. Khan() reportedly suggests that tendons “require over 100 days to make new collagen.” Given this claim, treating chronic tendinosis for a matter of weeks would provide little benefit to the long-term repair of the tendon.
It is a matter of coincidence that some of the separate treatment goals for tendinitis and tendinosis result in overlapping beneficial treatment methods. For example, deep-friction treatments are beneficial for both conditions, but for very different reasons. In the case of tendinitis, deep friction serves to reduce adhesions and create functional scar tissue once inflammation has subsided. In the case of tendinosis, deep-friction treatments serve to stimulate fibroblast activity and collagen production(). Lucky concurrence of treatment recommendations is not to be substituted for a thorough understanding of which condition is being treated. Accurate assessment techniques and knowledge of the relevant condition will result in the most appropriate application of treatment.
The primary treatment goals for tendinosis are to: break the cycle of injury; reduce ground substance, pathologic vascularization, and subsequent tendon thickening; and optimize collagen production and maturation so that the tendon regains normal tensile strength().

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Finasteride and Tendonitis - from FDA reports

Tendonitis is found among people who take Finasteride, especially for people who are male, 60+ old , have been taking the drug for 1 month, also take medication Propecia, and have Sinusitis.
This review analyzes which people have Tendonitis with Finasteride. It is created by eHealthMe based on reports of 14,473 people who have side effects when taking Finasteride from FDA , and is updated regularly.

There are interesting presentations of reactions by different groups.
92 percent of people 60 years or older had tendonitis as a result of finasteride. Tendonitis in my fingers stopped when I stopped finasteride.

If you are prescribed Finasteride, understand the drug and why it was prescribed. Understand alternative treatments and explore this with your provider. 


Monday, November 13, 2017

There may be a way to reverse type 2 diabetes

The secret to reversing the effects of type 2 diabetes may lie in calorie intake. The link between a very low-calorie diet and the illness was discovered by a team of researchers from Yale University. For their study, the scientists used rats that had the disease and put them on a calorie-restricted diet where they ate about 25% of their normal food intake.
The study, published in Cell Metabolism, was inspired by the fact that many people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission after undergoing weight-loss surgery — which significantly reduces calorie intake before and after the procedure.
About one in three Americans will have type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using this approach to comprehensively interrogate liver carbohydrate and fat metabolism, we showed that it is a combination of three mechanisms that is responsible for the rapid reversal of hyperglycemia following a very low calorie diet,” lead author Gerald I. Shulman said in a statement.
In only three days, the rats had significantly lower blood glucose levels, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The new diet decreased the amount of lactose and amino acids in the rats' bodies that became glucose and reduced the rate of liver glycogen-to-glucose. It also helped the rats livers respond to insulin more efficiently through a loss of body fat.
The Yale News said that the next step will be to apply these findings in a human study. “These results,” Shulman said, “if confirmed in humans, will provide us with novel drug targets to more effectively treat patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Do I have Alzheimer’s? My journey with a disease that is complex to diagnose

By Michael Ellenbogen, Special to The Washington Post
Twenty years ago, at age 39, I began having memory and cognitive problems. My primary-care doctor and my neurologists said I was stressed and depressed. I also was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. Ten years later, I received another diagnosis. Well, really two. One doctor said I had Alzheimer’s disease, and another thought it was semantic dementia.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating chronic neurodegenerative disease. It is a progressive mental deterioration that advances to affect bodily functions such as walking and swallowing, and always leads to death. Semantic dementia leads to losses of vocabulary, fluency of speech and meanings of familiar words. It also is progressive.
After another year of testing, physicians decided that I had Alzheimer’s.
While it was a relief to finally get a diagnosis, I realized that I had been given a death sentence. There is no prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s, and no survivors. Overwhelmed, I decided to help the search for a cure by advocating for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
I got involved with clinical trials and advocacy. My huge network on LinkedIn allowed me to connect with advocates and information. It gave me access to many tests, including gene tests, free. Two contacts, both health-care professionals, even read my medical records and scans and gave me their opinions.

Friday, October 27, 2017

This Doctor Diagnosed His Own Cancer with an iPhone Ultrasound

Every marketer wants the perfect story to tell. But if you’re in medicine, you don’t want it to be about yourself.
Earlier this year, vascular surgeon John Martin was testing a pocket-sized ultrasound device developed by Butterfly Network, a startup based in Guilford, Connecticut, that he’d just joined as chief medical officer.
He’d been having an uncomfortable feeling of thickness on his throat. So he oozed out some gel and ran the probe, which is the size and shape of an electric razor, along his neck.
On his smartphone, to which the device is connected, black-and gray images quickly appeared. Martin is not a cancer specialist. But he knew that the dark, three-centimeter mass he saw did not belong there. “I was enough of a doctor to know I was in trouble,” he says. It was squamous-cell cancer.
The device he used, called the Butterfly IQ, is the first solid-state ultrasound machine to reach the market in the U.S. Ultrasound works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes. Usually, the sound waves are generated by a vibrating crystal. But Butterfly’s machine instead uses 9,000 tiny drums etched onto a semiconductor chip.

Sugar and cancer: Is there a link?

Does sugar, which makes all things delicious, lead to cancer?
A biologic mechanism in yeast cells may explain the relationship between sugar and malignant tumors, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications.
The nine-year research project may even influence personal medicine and diets for cancer patients, the authors concluded. The study begins by looking closely at cancer cells' appetite for sugar.
    Scientists understand that cancer cells support their rapid reproduction by rewiring their metabolisms to take glucose, ferment it and produce lactate.

    Conversely, healthy cells continue with normal respiration, a process in which they take glucose and break it down into carbon dioxide and water.
    This "switch of cancer cells from respiration to fermentation is something that was discovered by Otto Warburg, a German biochemist, about 70 or 80 years ago," said microbiologist Johan M. Thevelein, senior author of the study and a professor at KU Leuven in Belgium. It is known as "the Warburg effect."
    Fermentation of sugar to lactic acid produces about 15 times less energy than respiration of sugar, Thevelein noted. Yet cancer cells "grow much more rapidly than normal cells, and yeast actually grows the fastest when they ferment," he noted.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2017

    Can You Reverse Diabetes?

    Can you change your diabetes fate?

    It's key to understand that type 2 diabetes is a progressive illness often preceded by years of elevated blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) levels high enough to be diagnosed as prediabetes. When most people with type 2 diabetes are finally diagnosed, experts believe they've been on this path for five to 10 years and have lost more than half of their natural insulin-making capability in the beta cells of their pancreas.
    While you cannot undo your lifestyle habits of the last decade or more, you can take steps to put your diabetes in remission. Don't despair and don't give up.
    Research shows that losing weight and keeping it off can help delay the onset of prediabetes, delay progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, or slow the progression of type 2. The keys to diabetes prevention and preventing diabetes complications include: Eat healthfully, exercise often, seek out knowledge and support, and create an environment that fosters healthful living.
    Losing even just a few pounds early on when glucose begins to rise can dramatically improve your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure, and more.
    "People should get to their ideal weight if they have prediabetes or type 2," says Robert Huizenga, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and doctor for The Biggest Loser, where he is known as Dr. H. "People should have no excess fat and be athletically fit. Ninety minutes of exercise six days a week and a steady diet of healthy eating is the best prescription to manage type 2 diabetes without medications."
    That's easier said than done for most people, who have to adopt a healthier lifestyle outside the bubble of the ranch where The Biggest Loser is filmed or the jump-start of a stomach-shrinking surgery. Commitment, perseverance, and a positive attitude can help you achieve a healthy weight. Set small, achievable goals first; experience success of meeting those goals; and then add new goals. Over time, all your small successes will add up right before your eyes.
    Many research studies suggest setting a goal of losing 5-7 percent of your starting weight to lower blood sugar and improve health, with the imperative to keep the pounds off.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    How Diabetes Drives Atherosclerosis

    March 17, 2008
    University of Rochester Medical Center
    Researchers have discovered how diabetes, by driving inflammation and slowing blood flow, dramatically accelerates atherosclerosis. Experts once believed that atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, developed when too much cholesterol clogged arteries with fatty deposits called plaques. When blood vessels became completely blocked, heart attacks and strokes occurred. Today most agree that the reaction of the body's immune system to fatty build-up, more than the build-up itself, creates heart attack risk.

    Researchers have discovered how diabetes, by driving inflammation and slowing blood flow, dramatically accelerates atherosclerosis, according to research to be published in the March 14 edition of the journal Circulation Research.
    Experts once believed that atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, developed when too much cholesterol clogged arteries with fatty deposits called plaques. When blood vessels became completely blocked, heart attacks and strokes occurred. Today most agree that the reaction of the body's immune system to fatty build-up, more than the build-up itself, creates heart attack risk. Immune cells traveling with the blood mistake fatty deposits for intruders, akin to bacteria, home in on them, and attack. This causes inflammation that makes plaques more likely to swell, rupture and cut off blood flow.
    Making matters worse, nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a disease where patients' cells cannot efficiently take in dietary sugar, causing it to build up in the blood. In part because diabetes increases atherosclerosis-related inflammation, diabetic patients are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
    Past work has shown that high blood sugar has two effects on cells lining blood vessels as part of atheroslerosis. First, it increases the production of free radicals, highly reactive molecules that tear about sensitive cell components like DNA, causing premature cell death (apoptosis). This process also reduces the availability of nitric oxide (NO), which would otherwise enable blood vessels to relax and blood flow to increase.
    In contrast to diabetes, exercise and good diet bring about faster blood flow through blood vessels. The force created by fast, steady blood flow as it drags along blood vessel walls has been shown by recent studies to protect arteries from atherosclerosis. Physical force has emerged recently as a key player in bodily function, capable of kicking off biochemical processes (e.g. weightlifting thickens bone).
    "Inflammation in blood vessels is one of the main drivers of atherosclerosis, and diabetes makes it much worse," said Jun-ichi Abe, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor with the Aab Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a study author. "Our study argues that a pathway surrounding a key signaling enzyme both protects the heart in normal cases, and is sabotaged by the chemicals produced in diabetes. We believe we have found a new therapeutic target for the treatment of diabetes-related damage to blood vessels."


    Sunday, September 24, 2017

    Low Brain Cholesterol—Separating Fact from Fiction

    Where do you find the highest concentration of cholesterol in your whole body? In your BRAIN. The brain is cholesterol-rich on purpose—because it needs large amounts of cholesterol to function properly. So, what does that mean for the growing number of people choosing naturally cholesterol-free plant-based diets? And what about the 15 million Americans who take statin medications like Lipitor to lower their cholesterol levels? People who are trying to lower their cholesterol levels are worried about heart health. But how does lowering cholesterol affect mental health?
    What is cholesterol?
    Poor cholesterol—so misunderstood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally embedded in our membranes, the flexible packaging surrounding every cell in our bodies. Cholesterol contributes structural firmness to membranes and keeps them from falling apart. Membranes are not simply protective cell wrappers; they are dynamic, highly intelligent structures that participate in cellular signaling and the transport of substances into and out of cells. Cholesterol is also an essential ingredient in vitamin D and many other hormones in the body, including estrogen and testosterone. All animal foods (meat, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs) contain cholesterol because all animal cells need cholesterol. 

    Why does the brain need cholesterol?

    Although the brain represents only 2% of total body weight, it contains 20% of the body’s cholesterol. What is all that cholesterol doing up there? Synapses— the magical areas where communication between brain cells takes place—are lined by cholesterol-rich membranes responsible for passing neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine back and forth. Myelin, the white matter that insulates brain circuits, is made from tightly-wound membranes containing 75% of the brain’s cholesterol. Cholesterol also helps guide developing nerve endings to their destinations on “lipid rafts”. If the brain is too low in cholesterol, its membranes, synapses, myelin and lipid rafts can’t form or function properly, bringing all brain activity—including mood regulation, learning, and memory— to a screeching halt.

    Do people who take statin drugs need to worry about low brain cholesterol? 

    YES. “Statins” are drugs designed to lower your level of LDL cholesterol—the so-called “bad cholesterol.” They work by turning down the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme our cells use to build new cholesterol molecules. Unfortunately, statins do cross the blood-brain barrier and enter brain cells, where they reduce the brain’s natural ability to make the beautiful cholesterol molecules the brain needs to do its important work.
    We used to think that only certain statin drugs could cross into the brain, but it turns out that they ALL do; it’s just that some reach higher levels inside the brain than others. But don’t let that lull you into a sense of false security—even Pravastatin (Pravachol), which has the hardest time making the journey, penetrates the brain enough to interfere with its cholesterol factory. 
    There haven’t been many human experiments testing the effects of statins on brain function, but the few that have been done suggest there is a real risk of cognitiveproblems in some people:
    “RCTs [randomized controlled trials] on effect of statins and cognitive function have shown debatable and controversial results with three RCTs reporting poorer performance scores in a minority of cognitive tests among statin users. Hence, we conclude that there is a need for more randomized control trials and until then benefits of statins must be weighed against the risks of cognitive decline on an individual basis.” [Chatterjee S et al 2015 Curr Cardiol Rep 17:4]
    All statin manufacturer package inserts include the same warning:
    “There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).” 
    Nonserious? Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want any of those side effects. They say they are rare, but “post-marketing” reports tend to be rare, because most people don’t report side effects directly to the manufacturer. If you feel fuzzy-headed on a statin, trust your experience over the fine print. Stop the statin and see for yourself if the fog lifts. 

    Statins and Heart Disease

    Stop the statin?! What about high cholesterol and heart disease? Won’t millions of arteries across the country slam shut?
    Statins are a bad idea —not just because they can gum up your brain, slow your hormone production, reduce your coenzyme Q10 levels, cause muscle pain, and put you at risk for other potential side effects, but also because they may not even reduce your risk for heart attacks. Prominent cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra agrees: heart disease is NOT about cholesterol or saturated fat.
    Heart disease is about insulin resistance (aka pre-diabetes) and inflammation within your blood vessels. Diets high in refined carbohydrates (like sugar, flour, cereals and fruit juice) can lead to abnormally high insulin levels. It just so happens that insulin boosts the activity of your cholesterol-building enzyme, HMG-CoA-reductase—the very same enzyme that statin drugs suppress! [Nelson DL, Cox MM. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 5th ed. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman; 2008:842.]


    Monday, September 18, 2017

    Surgical Castration Instead of Drugs in Prostate Cancer

    For some men with metastatic prostate cancer, surgical castration to remove the testicles (orchiectomy) could be a better option than "chemical castration" achieved by long-term use of prostate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist products, as it may carry less risk for adverse events, suggests a new study published online December 23 in JAMA Oncology.
    "The paradigms of treatment for advanced prostate cancer are ever changing, but there remains a group of men who require permanent castration. For those men, orchiectomy is a reasonable alternative that is associated, according to our study, with lower risks of fractures, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiac-related complications than GnRH agonists," commented lead author Quoc-Dien Trinh, MD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
    "Unfortunately, for a multitude of reasons, most of which are unjustified, urologists and medical oncologists no longer offer the option of orchiectomy," he continued. "This is in spite of guidelines continuing to recommend orchiectomy as a first-line treatment for men presenting with metastatic prostate cancer."

    For the last 50 years, androgen-deprivation therapy has been the cornerstone of treatment of metastatic prostate cancer, the authors write.
    However, achieving androgen deprivation by bilateral orchiectomy has basically been eliminated from clinical practice, mainly because of aesthetic and psychological issues, but also because medical therapy is reversible and easy to administer, the authors write.
    The current standard of care is long-term use of GnRH agonist products such as goserelin (Zoladex, AstraZeneca) and leuprolide (Lupron, AbbVie).
    However, there is mounting evidence that androgen-deprivation therapy is linked to significant adverse effects, such as cardiovascular events, diabetes, acute kidney injury, and bone loss, the authors write. The US Food and Drug Administration requires that GnRH agonist product labeling include a warning about the increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
    Past research looking at adverse cardiac events associated with GnRH agonist products has suggested there is a lower cardiac risk in patients with orchiectomies. That led to the hypothesis that cardiac adverse effects may be related to GnRH agonist products, rather than androgen deprivation per se.

    Saturday, September 9, 2017

    Muscle Growth and Estrogen

    Estrogen is often called a “female hormone,” which is a misnomer, as this steroid hormone is also produced in the male body. It’s also true that women produce far greater amounts of estrogen than men, just as men produce about 10 times more testosterone than women.
    Men’s greater testosterone levels are often cited as the reason that they are able to build more muscle than women. Recent studies, however, show that despite the negligible amounts of testosterone they produce while weight training, women are able to make similar muscle gains to men’s. That relates more to the fact that anabolic hormones produced during exercise don’t have as great an effect on muscle growth as was previously realized. Think about that the next time you read an article about the best ways to boost anabolic hormones during training.
    If men’s bodies produce estrogen, what is the purpose? After all, nature is not known to be profligate in its actions; everything it does, it does for a reason. Although the precise functions of estrogen in men aren’t entirely clear, it appears to play a role in the maturation and development of sperm, which means that estrogen may effect male fertility.
    Estrogen is vital to bone development in women, and a lack of it in older women often results in osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease. Some scientists suggest that estrogen may play a similar role in men. Men deficient in testosterone are also subject to osteoporosis, although it’s not as common in men as in women, and when it does occur, it usually strikes in the spine.
    Men are often advised not to take supplements or drugs that lower estrogen for extended times because of possible adverse affects on the cardiovascular system. That’s based on the established cardiovascular protection offered by estrogen to women. Younger women rarely suffer from heart attacks or strokes, and the reason is attributed to their higher estrogen levels. Estrogen offers cardiovascular protection in several ways. For one thing, it aides the synthesis and release of nitric oxide.


    Sunday, July 2, 2017

    Secrets to Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's Disease: Dr. Paul Alan Cox at TEDxJacksonHole

    Published on Oct 31, 2012
    Paul Alan Cox is a Harvard Ph.D. who has searched for new medicines from plants used by traditional healers in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. For these efforts TIME magazine named him one of 11 "Heroes of Medicine." His efforts in preserving island rain forests were recognized with the Goldman Environmental Prize.

    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

    Unconventional But Effective Therapy for Alzheimer's Treatment: Dr. Mary T. Newport at TEDxUSF

    When Dr. Newport's husband Steven was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, as a Doctor herself, she explored routine treatment options. But when his symptoms became so severe that he was not able to participate in clinical trials, her scientific deductions led to coconut oil, which has led to amazing results.

    Mary T. Newport, M.D. grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was educated at Xavier University and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology, training at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, and Medical University Hospital in Charleston, SC. She is founding director of the newborn intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital, practicing full-time through All Children's Specialty Physicians and volunteer clinical faculty at University of South Florida. She was also founding director of the neonatal intensive Care unit at Mease Hospital Dunedin.

    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Extra virgin olive oil staves off Alzheimer's, preserves memory

    Temple University research shows extra-virgin olive oil protects against memory loss, preserves the ability to learn and reduces conditions associated with Alzheimer's disease.

    Researchers at the college's Lewis Katz School of Medicine found mice with EVOO-enriched diets had better memories and learning abilities compared to the rodents who didn't eat the oil.

    The real effect of EVOO appeared in the inner-workings of the mice's brains. Neuron connections in the brain were better preserved in those on an EVOO diet.

    Also, olive oil reduces brain inflammation and activates the autophagy process, whereby intracellular debris and toxins are removed. Such debris and toxins are firm markers of Alzheimer's disease. A reduction in autophagy, researchers claim, is suspected to be the beginning of Alzheimer's disease.

    Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which is praised for its various health benefits. This study, which was published Wednesday in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, adds to that previous research.

    "The thinking is that extra-virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone," said senior investigator Domenico Pratico, a professor at the Lewis Klein School of Medicine. "As a monounsaturated vegetable fat, it is healthier than saturated animal fats."

    The two groups of mice didn't differ in appearance after months on their respective diets. The mice were tested at 9 and 12 months with those on an EVOO diet testing better on working and spatial memory and learning abilities.

    Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the United States and affects a person's thought, memory and language. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the disease typically starts after age 60 with mild memory loss. There is no cure.

    Alzheimer's cases are on the rise. In 2013, 5 million Americans had the disease. That number is expected to triple to 14 million by 2050.

    Pratico said the "exciting" finding sets researchers up for another experiment. The next step is to introduce EVOO later in the aging process.

    "Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer's disease were significantly reduced," Pratico said. "We want to know whether olive oil added at a later time point in the diet can stop or reverse the disease."