Thursday, May 29, 2014

Does Treating Low Testosterone Increase the Risk of Heart Attacks?

Possibly.  The FDA has not yet reached a conclusion, but it is reviewing a couple of recent studies that have said, yes, it does, at least for men greater than 65 y.o. and in younger men with a history of heart problems.  The studies tested synthetic testosterone in patients who had low blood levels of testosterone.  Currently, such treatment is approved only when the low testosterone levels are associated with a medical condition.  There is no doubt that many men feel better if their testosterone levels are improved.  It is probable, in my opinion, that the risk might be lower if the bio-identical hormones were prescribed, but that has not been tested.  As usual, the benefits should outweigh the risks if testosterone is used.


See Family Practice News, Feb. 15, 2014, p. 12-13.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The New Cholesterol Guidelines Leave the Choice Up to You

The new American Heart Association guidelines for preventing cardiovascular events mandate that the doctor estimates your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.  If that risk is greater than 7.5%, you are considered eligible for taking a statin drug.  A problem is that the risk calculators in common use, such as the Framingham Risk Calculator, consider only a few factors (age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL, and blood pressure).  According to researchers at Duke University, for men 60 years or older, 87% are now statin eligible, whereas only 30% were eligible under the old guidelines.  The good news is that doctors are now required to have a discussion with their patients explaining their overall cardiac risk, which might include other risk factors, such as obesity, stress, inactivity, and in my opinion, toxic metals.  Then the patient is supposed to decide whether he or she wants to take the drug or not.  The doctor is then required to accept the choice made by the patient.  This is a big change in guideline history.  Just say “no”; the choice is up to you.

See the Toledo Blade, March 20, 2014 issue, section A, page 4.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Multiple Shots Increase the Risk of Fever

One of the bits of advice I routinely give to parents of young children who are concerned about immunizations is to avoid getting more than one shot per day.  Too often multiple shots are given at once.  A study published online in JAMA pediatrics in the March 24, 2014 issue determined that the incidence of fever after a flu shot was in toddlers was 7.5%, with a pneumococcal shot was 9.5%, and with both at the same visit was 37.6%.  One has to assume that the risk of other complications is similarly increased with multiple shots at the same visit.

Reported in the Toledo Blade, March 31, 2014 edition, section D, page 1.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Prevent Tooth Decay with Xylitol

Xylitol is a natural sugar that is produced naturally in tiny amounts in the body.  It is also found in the food supply.  Remarkably, taking xylitol as a nutritional supplement has been shown to be a powerful, safe preventative for tooth decay.  Xylitol is much more effective much safer than fluoride treatments.  Chewing gum with xylitol in it restores a healthy balance of good bacteria that protects against cavities.  This is another little known treatment featured in Jonathan Wright’s Nutrition and Healing newsletter, May issue, 2012.  I highly recommend this excellent publication.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hunger Leads to Anger

Ohio State University researchers have documented that when people are hungry, they are more likely to be irritable and angry, often linked to low blood sugar.  If you want to have a rational discussion with your spouse, it would be advisable to do it over a meal.  Even couples who insisted they had a good relationship were more likely to be grouchy when they were hungry.
See Brad Bushman’s report in the April 15, 2014 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported in the Toledo Blade, April 15, 2014, section B, page 3.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Top 10 Over-used Tests and What Should be Done Instead

1.      Nuclear stress tests after heart surgery, yearly EKG’s or exercise tests.  Much better to do non-invasive functional or anatomical tests like Calcium score CT scans (once), CardioRisk, Max pulse, ICD, Heart Rate variability tests.

2.      PSA for prostate screening and annual pap tests.  The former is no better than a digital rectal exam, and pap tests every 3 years is fine for most women, unless they are taking hormones.

3.      PET scan for Alzheimer’s. Asking a few questions is certainly cheaper and probably more accurate.

4.      Any Xray or MRI for low back pain unless the problem is severe, related to an injury or persistent over months.

5.      Bone density in women under 65 or men under 70.  At that age, by all means, before that, a vitamin D3 blood test will suffice.

6.      Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts, unless of course symptoms change.

7.      Colonoscopy after age 75—no, but before that, yes.

8.      Yearly physical exams are out, but targeted check-ups are helpful.


Read more in The Treatment Trap by Rosemary Gibson

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Statin Drugs Increase the Tendency for a Deadly Diet

An article published in JAMA on-line showed that patients who take statin drugs to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease tend to eat more food, more calories, and more junk food.  This caused them to gain weight and increase their incidence of hypertension and diabetes.  Apparently, a significant number of patients felt that taking the drugs allowed them to have looser lifestyle habits.  In fact, the lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet, is a much bigger factor than lowering the cholesterol or LDL numbers.

 See JAMA on line for Internal Medicine for April 17, 2014, cited in the Toledo Blade, April 25, 2014, section A, page 10.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prevention of Breast Cancer

Commonly recognized risk factors for breast cancer include excessive radiation, first-degree relatives with diagnosed breast cancer, synthetic hormone replacement, early menarche or late menopause, no births, and no breast-feeding.  Other important factors are underwire bras, wearing bras for 12 hours or more in a day, excessive caffeine, and toxic metals, including aluminum found in deodorants.  Thermography can identify vascular patterns in which breast cancers are more likely to grow.  Abnormal thermograms can often be improved with a few nutritional supplements.

 See Dressed to Kill by Sydney Singer. Celebration of Health Association website