Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Other Diseases Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Memory Loss

Separate recent articles have pointed out that several diseases increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks. Included are diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and gout. Furthermore, depression, diabetes and kidney disease can increase the risk of dementia. This is not a complete list. But if you or your relatives have any of these problems, be sure that you are also being checked for underlying heart problems and decreased circulation to the brain. Preventive measures such as lifestyle changes and perhaps chelation therapy might be lifesaving as well as improving the quality of the rest of your life. See Family Practice News (click here subscribtion required), June and July issues, 2011.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Avoid Energy Drinks, Especially in Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that energy drinks have no place in a young person’s diet. The amount of caffeine in one drink might exceed 500mg, which is equivalent to 14 cans of common caffeinated soft drinks. The amount of sugar in one serving of these drinks can be as high as 270 calories. The pH is highly acidic, which can lead to dental cavities (and might increase the risk of allergies and even malignancies—my note). Unaware of the dangers, some schools offer energy drinks in vending machines. Water should be used to hydrate children, especially while participating in athletics. See Pediatrics 2022(click here);127:1182-9.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Most Parents Worry About Vaccines

The CDC conducted a study showing that only 23% of parents had no concerns about childhood vaccinations. The authors of the study concluded that the parents did not have experience with the diseases that were being prevented and also had misconceptions about the potential side effects of vaccines. They noted that there has been a rise in the incidence of whooping cough (pertussis) and measles with increasing numbers of parents who are refusing vaccines. I believe that the CDC is underestimating the depth of concern that patients feel. Even though autism/vaccine studies have been negative, in individual cases with susceptible children, I continue to be concerned that autism might be stimulated by a vaccine or by multiple vaccines administered together. Too many parents link the onset of autism to receiving a vaccine. Using a homeopathic to prevent vaccine injury might be useful for families that proceed with vaccines. Another reasonable request is to spread the vaccines out instead of taking many at one visit. See the CDC 2010 HealthStyles Survey (click here)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Statin Drugs and Muscle Aching

Despite that cardiologists often underplay the incidence and risk of muscle aching in patients taking statin drugs, the FDA recently reduced the allowable dose of simvastatin. Higher doses of the drugs have been associated with myalgias, especially in the first 12 months of therapy, in elderly female patients and in those who are also taking a calcium channel blocking drug (especially diltiazem). In severe cases, rhabdomyolysis can occur, which can be fatal. The risk of Diabetes also rises with increased doses of statins. Red yeast is a much safer, natural alternative. A novel approach of taking the drugs only on every other day has also been suggested. See Family Practice News, July 2011, p. 30.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Concussions in Athletes Can Lead to Psychiatric Problems

Dr. Claudia Reardon of the University of Wisconsin published a review article in Sports Medicine summarizing the mental problems that can occur many years after the traumatic brain injury of a concussion. Symptoms include depression, insomnia, ADHD, irritability, apathy, eating disorders and personality changes. The National Football League is studying the effects of concussions. One emerging recommendation is that younger athletes require more time to recover from concussions before returning to play. If you have ever had a concussion, be sure your family knows, so they can be on the alert for future problems. See Sports Med. 2010;40:961-80.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Strontium Moves to First Line Treatment of Bone Density

Two grams a day of strontium was shown to reduce the fracture rate in patients with osteoporosis in a 10 year Belgium study. Combine this therapy with exercise, vitamin D, moderate dose calcium with magnesium, and perhaps natural progesterone; and you will likely get better results than using the biphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax. The latter drugs reduce bone resorption. Strontium not only reduces bone resorption but also increases bone formation by 20-25%. See Family Practice News, July 2011, p. 42, the TROPOS study in J. Clin. Endocrinol. Met. 2005 and the SOTI trial in N. Eng. J. Med. In 2004.