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Battling VIDEO

Holistic Health Tips

Categories: VIDEO | March 22nd, 2011 | by HART 1-800-HART | 25 comments

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=Ki1w_fwnVwI%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Natural Approaches to Eating Healing and Living

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

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Battling ADDICTION,BRAIN

Love as painkiller?

Categories: ADDICTION, BRAIN | February 14th, 2011 | by Raquel | no comments

Happy Valentines’ Day, everyone!

Love eases all pain. Sounds like a really cliché even on this day of hearts. But surprise, surprise. There is actually science behind this. No less than researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine who tell us – love can be a strong painkiller. Even as strong cocaine!

According to Dr. Sean Mackey, chief of the Division of Pain Management:

“When people are in this passionate, all-consuming phase of love, there are significant alterations in their mood that are impacting their experience of pain. We’re beginning to tease apart some of these reward systems in the brain and how they influence pain. These are very deep, old systems in our brain that involve dopamine — a primary neurotransmitter that influences mood, reward and motivation.”

The research was actually a collaboration between 2 scientists with seemingly contrasting fields of study. One specializes in pain, the other one.

The researchers had the perfect place for conducting their research. The university setting is full of undergraduates who are “in that first phase of intense love”. In other words, there was no shortage of willing and eligible volunteers. The prerequisite: the subject must be in the first 9 months of a romance.

“It was clearly the easiest study the pain center at Stanford has ever recruited for” said Dr. Mackey.”When you’re in love you want to tell everybody about it.”

The study entailed that each subject should take photos of their beloved person as well as photos of attractive acquaintances. The subjects were shown the photos while attached to a thermal stimulator that simulated mild pain. At the same time, an MRI took a photo of the brains of the subjects.

The results indicate that feelings of love when looking at photos of a loved one significantly reduces pain. The part of the brain in question was the “nucleus accumbens, a key reward addiction center for opioids, cocaine and other drugs of abuse. The region tells the brain that you really need to keep doing this.”

Which relates to another cliché – that love is like an addiction. Indeed, the areas of the brain activated by passionate love are the same areas targeted by analgesic drugs to reduce pain and feel good.

“When thinking about your beloved, there is intense activation in the reward area of the brain — the same area that lights up when you take cocaine, the same area that lights up when you win a lot of money.”

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Battling VIDEO

YouTips4U – Herbal Health Tips for When You’re Sick to Help You Get Well Fast – Flu Season Herbs

Categories: VIDEO | January 15th, 2011 | by HART 1-800-HART | 25 comments

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=Z_ucILAwkQ4%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

To purchase a YouTips4U Custom Designed T-Shirt, please click here: cgi.ebay.com For more helpful tips, or if you have any questions, please visit www.youtips4u.blogspot.com Hi, in the video I share with you what I do to get well quicker when I am sick with a cold or flu. I am a big believer in herbal teas to help relieve symptoms, boost my immunity and speed my recovery. I share with you three products that I use that I think you will find very helpful next time you are feeling ill with a cold or flu. I believe in the healing effects of herbal teas, tinctures, liquids and capsules. Herbs have been around for centuries and many of the over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceuticals we use have not. I always take the natural approach whenever I can. Use them when you need them only so you don’t overdue it. Please SUBSCRIBE because I have lots more helpful videos to come including more herbal tip videos. Thanks so much for viewing and I always love your comments

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

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Battling HEALTHCARE

Drug news, 30 October

Categories: HEALTHCARE | October 30th, 2010 | by Raquel | no comments

New drugs, old drugs, tainted drugs, approved and disapprove drugs. Check out drug news round up this weekend.

FDA approves combination contraceptive containing a folate
A new contraceptive has been approved by the FDA in the American market. Beyaz, in tablet form, is a combi contraceptive containing estrogen/progestin that also contains a folate (levomefolate calcium 0.451 mg). Beyaz is indicated for:

Obesity drug lorcaserin rejected by FDA
On the other hand, the anti-obesity drug lorcaserin has been turned down by the US drug regulatory body. The FDA is demanding more data on the drug’s efficacy and safety. One preclinical study in rats also cause concern as it showed an increase in breast tumors. How this observation compares to the drug’s effects in humans needs to be clarified before the drug can be approved.

Aspirin paradox investigated in TIMI database
Does aspiring prevent or increase the risk for cardiac events? The role of aspirin in the management of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) was further investigated in order the clarify the so-called “aspirin paradox” which “despite the proven benefits of aspirin in the primary prevention, secondary prevention, and treatment of ACS, some studies have suggested that those already on aspirin before suffering an ACS have worse outcomes than those not having taken aspirin before the event.”

Data from the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) trials were used with results showing that bad outcomes may present in 5% of cases, probably due to aspiring resistance.

GlaxoSmithKline settles bad drug case for $750M
Some more bad news for the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. It recently agreed to settle at a price of $750 million allegations related to the manufacture and marketing of contaminated drugs produce in their plant in Puerto Rico. The said plant violated good manufacturing practices, resulting in adulterated drugs, including Bactroban, Kytril and Paxil. Part of the settlement will go to a whistle blower, the company’s former global quality assurance manager who reported the violations to the US FDA. The manager repeated warned GSK of the violations but was fired instead.

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Battling ADDICTION

Love, obsession, and addiction: it’s all neurochemistry

Categories: ADDICTION | August 24th, 2010 | by Raquel | no comments

Everything may be explained by chemistry nowadays. Stress is due to cortisol. Intense spiritual experience is linked to low serotonin. Benevolence is linked to oxytocin. What about love? Researchers at the University of Toronto report that neurochemicals, too, are involved in emotions like attraction, love, and lovesickness. Professor Jose Lanca of the Department of Pharmacology explains:

“When we talk about love, there are different concepts involved, for example, romantic love versus maternal love. These are two completely different situations even from a biochemical point of view. However, there is something absolutely in common in both these situations. When someone is very much attached to another person, their feelings trigger motivation and positive feedback. All of this relates to the limbic system – the area of the brain that mediates our reward mechanisms. This system plays a key role in the mechanisms responsible for the survival of the individual – meaning the ‘fight or flight’ response – and preservation of the species – specifically reproduction. Its actions result from the interplay among various neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and neuropeptides such as oxytocin and opioids.”

In fact, love has some similarities to drug addiction. Addictive drugs also target dopamine but instead of releasing the neurochemical within normal levels, drugs overstimulate the limbic system leading to dopamine being released beyond normal limits. The result is dependences and addiction. In the same way, love can become addictive and turn into an unhealthy obsession. Obsession with somebody results in overstimulation, too much dopamine and ultimate dependence on that person. The film “Fatal Attraction” brings this to mind.

But how does love develop into obsession? Prof Lanca continues to explain:

“In science we have very good questions but not enough good answers. What we do know is that in the case of obsession there is a decrease in serotonin. This neurotransmitter can be regulated using medications, such as anti-depressants. However, overuse of anti-depressants can lead to higher tolerance and consequently the need for an increased dosage. If this becomes the case, anti-depressants can very easily become drugs of addiction.
In humans the complexity of love goes well beyond the simple limbic activity and involves cognitive and intense emotional behaviours. The diagnostic might be easy, but the treatment is ineffective. To quote one of my favourite poet songwriters, Leonard Cohen, “There is no cure for love.”

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Battling CANCER

Cancer in the headlines: cancer drug updates, June 11

Categories: CANCER | June 11th, 2010 | by Raquel | no comments

Popular cancer drug can cause kidney damage
The drug bevacizumab is an anti-VEGF agent widely used in tumor treatments. Recent data however reveals that the cancer drug causes proteinuria (loss of protein from the kidney) and kidney damage. Patients on bevacizumab have an almost five-fold increased likelihood of having severe proteinuria and an almost eight-fold increased risk for nephritic syndrome. It is recommended that patients should be closely monitored for kidney-related side effects.

Combining Two Competing Cancer Drugs, Study Finds Rare 100% Response Rate
The new trend in pharmacologic cancer treatments are the so-called “boutique” treatments which target a small portion of a patients but so effective is the target that an almost 100% efficacy can be achieved. An example is a drug being developed by Pfizer which targets only 4% of lung cancer cases but with very high response rates. Another trend is to combine two drugs from competing companies to form a highly effect cocktail. An example is the joint venture of Takeda and Celgene.

Cetuximab less effective in simple tumors
The cancer drug cetuximab is approved for the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. However, the drug seems to be less effective in simpler tumors in less advanced stage. This is according to study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic. The findings are puzzling and warrant further research. According to trial leader Dr. Steven Alberts, oncologist at the Mayo Clinic:

“It is difficult to understand how an agent that helps patients with metastatic cancer is not beneficial to those with less advanced disease. At this point we are focusing our efforts on identifying a biological explanation for these findings.”

Inhaled drug may prevent lung cancer
Iloprost is a drug indicated for pulmonary hypertension, scleroderma, and Raynaud’s phenomenon. It is administered through inhalation. Researchers at the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center tested whether the drug in oral form can prevent smoking-related lung cancer. TH early results look very promising. According to the study authors:

“Oral iloprost showed promise for preventing lung cancer in former, but not current, smokers in a phase II clinical trial.”

Compound enhances cancer-killing properties of agent in trials
An experimental drug called ARC is currently being tested for cancer treatment. Researchers report that adding a second agent called ABT-737 can increase the efficacy of the two drugs. The two drugs seem to work in synergy so that lower concentrations are necessary to achieve optimal efficacy. Lower doses, in turn, result in fewer side effects.

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Battling ADDICTION

Alcohol, drugs and fights

Categories: ADDICTION | April 29th, 2010 | by Raquel | one comments

Drugs and alcohol are associated with high-risk behaviour especially among adolescents. Let us take a look at the manifestations of these high-risk behaviours.

Physical fights

Every now and then, young people are engaged in physical fights. It is sad, however, when these fights can lead to more serious consequences such as death, disability, arrest, and criminality. Involvement in physical fights is a sign of risky behaviour. Most of these fights are associated with drug abuse or excessive alcohol consumption.

Here are some statistics from 2001 on fighting among high school students:

Girls fight, too

Can you imagine girls in a fight club? It is not only boys who can hit or kick. Girls get into fights, too. Serious physical fights that intent to hurt and do physical damage. Data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that although 43% of those who engaged in fighting were male, a large number of teen girls age (24%) 12 to 17 years get into fights, and these fights, too, are associated with binge drinking or drug use.

Other risky behaviours

Unfortunately, physical fights are just half of the story. Other risky behaviours also come with fighting, including:

Fights with weapons

Fights can turn deadly especially when weapons are involved. Those are intoxicated or stoned are most likely to use weapons when fighting, thus causing serious injuries and even death. Statistics showed that when drugs or alcohol is involved, 51% of those engaged in fights use weapon and 61% sustain serious or even fatal injuries. Without substance involvement, serious injuries have been reported in only 18% of fights.

Once the causes of high-risk behaviour have been identified, steps can be taken to help the young. Rehabilitation starts with addressing possible addiction plus other psychosocial factors involved. There are also programs on conflict resolution and anger management and even peer-mediation programs.

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Battling DIABETES

Diabetes updates: what ups or lowers your risk

Categories: DIABETES | December 3rd, 2009 | by Raquel | no comments

blood_glucose_measure_diabetes_check2Today, I am bring some diabetes updates on what increases or decreases our chances to develop diabetes.

Heading off diabetes
Researcher David Nathan of Massachusetts General Hospital Believes people can prevent getting diabetes even if they are at high risk. And he has 10 years’ worth of data to prove it at the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. Here are Dr. Nathan’s trips to head off diabetes:

  • A brisk 30-minute walk once a day or equivalent
  • Proper eating,
  • Kept off a crucial 5 pounds over those 10 years

The results: lower your risk by a third!

“We can actually push back, delay or prevent the development of diabetes in a substantial fraction of people over a long period of time. That means almost certainly that they will be healthier”, say Dr. Nathan.

Statin Drugs Might Slightly Boost Diabetes Risk
Statins do not lower diabetes risk. In fact, it can actually elevate the risks, albeit modestly. This is the result of a latest study by researchers at the Einstein College of Medicine, New York. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs that are commonly used in patients with cardiovascular conditions. However, its role in diabetes prevention has always been an issue of controversy. According to lead study investigator Dr. Swapnil

“Contrary to our expectation, we did not find any benefit of statins on diabetes risk. In fact, there is a suggestion that statins may be associated with increased risk — which needs to be explored further.”

Fish vs Shell fish in diabetes risk study
There is fish and there is fish. Some types can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes; some have the opposite effect. A British study reports that incorporating more white and oily fish in the diet lowers type 2 diabetes risk by 25%. However, one should take care about eating shellfish – e.g. mussels, oysters, crabs, and prawn. These seafoods actually elevate your diabetes risk by a whopping 36%! But is it really the shellfish? The researchers do not rule out that cooking and preparation methods can play a role in making these seafoods unhealthy. In the UK, for example, shellfish is usually fried in oil and served with sauces which are high in cholesterol. Fish that is good for the health should be eaten steamed, baked, of broiled with low fat sauces. Example of these fishes are:

  • White fish: cod, haddock, sole, and halibut
  • Oily fish: mackerel, kippers, tuna, and salmon,

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Battling ADDICTION

Propofol: the doctors’ drug

Categories: ADDICTION | September 2nd, 2009 | by Raquel | no comments

syringeIs your doctor a junkie?

Everybody is suddenly talking about propofol. It’s the drug that killed Michael Jackson, right? The truth it, several substances have been found in Jackson’s system during the autopsy but propofol seems to be the most likely culprit. Just another unfortunate overdose story? Not really.

For one thing, there is more to this drug than just meet the eye.  Propofol is a commonly used anesthetic agent, used to initiate unconsciousness during surgeries. It is supposed to be fast-acting and safe. But medical professionals know better.

It is common knowledge among the medical circles that propofol  is addictive. It is also common knowledge that medical professionals, especially anesthesiologists are misusing and abusing propofol as a recreation drug.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? The very people who are supposed to prescribe and administer drugs are the ones who are most likely to abuse it. In an article in Men’s Health  last year, the question arose whether there is “a junkie in the OR.” And the answer was most likely yes. Anesthesiologists are especially prone to dependence on the drugs they handle. During surgery, these doctors are exposed to sedatives, anesthetics and other drugs, and propofol is just one of them.  One survey of 133 teaching hospitals revealed that ” faculty anesthesiologists and their anesthesiology residents were four times more likely to have had substance-abuse problems than other physicians.” It seems that drug exposure and abuse are an occupational hazard among anesthesiologists.

But here comes the most shocking of all: aside from “pilfering” and “stealing”, the hospital junkies are not really committing a crime when they shoot up propofol. You see, propofol is not a controlled drug, not considered to be a narcotic or addictive substance according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) current list of regulated drugs. While drugs as valium and codeine (found in cough syrups) are controlled and are place under certain “drug schedules”, propofol is not. Strange, isn’t it?

Controlled drugs are regulated in a lot of ways: distribution, storage, prescription, and inventory follow strict guidelines. Only certain medical professionals with special licenses are allowed to prescribe them. It is illegal to transport or carry these drugs across borders unless you have a special license. In other words, these are drugs that you just don’t leave lying around or carry in your pocket. In the case of propofol, no restrictions are in place. It is easily available and accessible to anybody working in a hospital or clinic. Really perfect for a recreation drug, isn’t it?

Michael  Jackson used propofol  as a sedative to go to sleep. Medical professional junkies just use it at subanesthetic levels to get “high” – described as a feeling of elation and sensitation. There have been previous cases of lethal overdose of propofol, including a murder case. A male nurse was found guilty of  murdering his girlfriend with propofol in 2008.

So what are the health authorities doing about this? The DEA is now under pressure and is considering to include propofol in the list of controlled drugs. It takes a lot of publicity, such as in the case of Jackson’s death, to change things for the better.

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Battling CANCER

How safe is our tap water?

Categories: CANCER | February 9th, 2009 | by Raquel | one comments

Have you ever wondered how safe is your tap water?

Researchers at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds between 2006 and 2007. Their comprehensive survey revealed that a large number of pharmacological agents can be found in tap water and some of these are hormonally active. The 11 most frequently detected compounds, albeit at very low concentrations (source: New Scientist) are:

The use of pharmacological agents has increased in recent years and most of these compounds are excreted by the body through the urine and end up in our waste water. However, current techniques in waste water treatment seem to be not effective in taking out all the pharmacological agents from the water.

Researchers at the University of Montreal have recently detected the following drugs in the St. Lawrence River:

  • bezafibrate, an anti-cholesterol drug
  • enalapril, an anti-hypertensive drug
  • methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug
  • cyclophosphamide, also a chemotherapy drug

The waste water treatment plant in Montreal was able to take out the chemotherapeutic agents but not the cardiovascular drugs.

Increased contamination or improved detection?

The Nevada researchers are quick to point out that the concentrations of the 11 pharmaceuticals were very low, “millions of times lower than in a medical dose, and…that they pose no public health threat.” The concentrations were way below the set federal limits, at least for those with set limits. However, as in most pollution studies, it always ends up with the question whether the presence of these chemicals are due to increased contamination or improved detection. Or both.

Effect on the environment

The Canadian researchers are concerned about the effect of the compounds they detected on the flora and fauna of the St. Lawrence River. Hormonally active compounds can cause endocrine disruptions and have been observed to induce gender anomalies in fish and other aquatic organisms.

Effect on our health

Finally, we also have to ask as to what the long-terms effects of these pharmaceuticals are in our health. Are these compounds carcinogenic? Mutagenic? No data is available so far. Is it worthwhile to take all these chemicals out of the tap water?

According to Nevada researcher Shane Snyder

“the costs of “extreme purification” – far beyond what is needed for safety alone – are huge in terms of increased energy usage and carbon footprint. Ultra-pure water might not even be safe.”

According to a spokesperson from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

neither this nor other recent water assessments give cause for health concern. “But several point to the potential for risk – especially for the fetus and those with severely compromised health.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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Battling HEART AND STROKE

Heart drugs found in the waters of St. Lawrence River

Categories: HEART AND STROKE | January 27th, 2009 | by Raquel | no comments

The use of pharmacological agents has increased rapidly during the last decades. Cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the most prevalent chronic conditions in developed countries. Large amounts of chemotherapeutic drugs and medications to manage high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels are being used to treat patients everyday. These drugs make us feel better and keep ailments at bay but have we ever wondered where do they end up after being excreted from the body? Although drugs are taken up and metabolized by the human body, a large amount of these are excreted through the urine and the feces.And they eventually end up in our waste water that goes to the water treatment plants.

So far so good. However, how efficient is our water treatment system in filtering out these chemicals?

This was the question that researchers from the University of Montreal wanted to answer. The researchers sampled water in the St. Lawrence River downstream and upstream of the wastewater treatment plant of the city of Montreal. They checked for the presence of chemotherapy products and certain hypertension and cholesterol medications using the “rapid detection method On-line SPE-LC-MS/MS (On-line solid-phase extraction liquid chromatography coupled to polarity-switching electrospray tandem mass spectometry).” The compounds they specifically check for were

  • Bezafibrate, a cholesterol-lowering rug
  • Enalapril, a drug against hypertension
  • Methotrexate, a chemotherapy agent
  • Cyclophosphamide, also a chemotherapy agent

These four drugs are routinely prescribed in large amounts by doctors in the area.

The results of the study show that all four drugs were detected in the untreated waters upstream of the water treatment plant. However, only bezafibrate and enalapril were detected downstream in the treated waters leaving the plant. The results indicate the following:

  • Large amounts of pharmacological products enter the St. Lawrence River.
  • The water treatment system is efficient enough to get rid of the chemotherapy drugs but not the anti-cholesterol or anti-hypertension drugs.

The researchers, however, think that it is too early to conclude about the efficiency of water treatment in taking out chemotherapeutic compounds. It is possible that they might still be there but in very minute amounts undetectable by the current analytical methods used.

According the university press release

This study was conducted due to the sharp rise in drug consumption over the past few years. In 1999, according to a study by IMS Health Global Services, world drug consumption amounted to $342 billion. In 2006 that figure doubled to $643 billion.”

The next questions to be answered are:

  • How do these chemicals affect the aquatic environment and the plants and animals living in it?
  • How much of these chemicals are present in our drinking water?

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Battling HEART AND STROKE

Knowing your heart and stroke drugs: statins

Categories: HEART AND STROKE | November 17th, 2008 | by Raquel | no comments

Resource post for November

Background

Statin drugs or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors play a very important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. They are the first line treatment against high cholesterol levels. Statins have anti-inflammatory properties and interfere with the production of cholesterol thus slowing down the formation of plaques on the arterial walls.

According to the US FDA, statin medications

Statins are also said to be the bestselling drugs of all times, raking in billions of dollar in sales every year. Currently available statin drugs are:

  • Lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev)
  • Pravastatin (Pravachol)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

Research studies

Recent studies indicate that statins may play a major role in therapeutic areas outside cardiovascular medicine, thus may earn the title of “the aspirin of the 21st century“. Some of these studies are summarized below.

Statins associated with lower risk of death from pneumonia

Pneumonia is a major cause of mortality worldwide, even in developed countries. It has been reported that the incidence of pneumonia is increasing and hospitalization rates in the US and Europe have increased by 20 to 50% during the last 10 years. About 10 to 15% of pneumonia cases result in death.

Does statin use lower mortality rates due to pneumonia? Danish researchers report in the October 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine that “individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins before being hospitalized with pneumonia appear less likely to die within 90 days afterward.

The researchers studied data from 29,900 patients hospitalized with pneumonia between 1997 and 2004. 4.6% of these patients (1,371) were taking statins before and during hospitalization as anticholesterol treatment.

Death rates within 30 days among statin users were much lower (10.3%) were much lower than non-statin users (15.7%). The same trend was observed after 90 days, with 16.8% mortality rates among statin users compared to 22.4% among non-users.

The mechanism behind this effect of statins is not clear but the authors theorize that

“Statins change the immune response, beneficially affect processes associated with blood clotting and inflammation and inhibit dysfunction in blood vessels. These effects may especially benefit patients with sepsis and bacteremia, which are associated with early death from pneumonia.”

Statins block 1 cause of pregnancy loss in mice

What does statin have to do with pregnancy? Researchers at Cornell University observed that statins can actually prevent antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), an inflammatory condition that causes serious complications in pregnancy ranging from spontaneous abortion, fetal growth problems and even fetal death. The researchers demonstrated this beneficial effect of statins in laboratory mice.

Statins may protect against memory loss

Statins seem to also have protective properties against dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. This is according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The researchers observed that “if a person takes statins over a course of about 5-7 years, it reduces the risk of dementia by half.” The study studied tracked 1674 older Mexican-Americans did not have dementia for 5 years. Within the follow up period, 130 study participants developed some form of dementia or cognitive impairment. The incidence of dementia was lower among the 452 participants who took statins at some point in the study. This is an interesting development in view of stories about the popular statin drug Lipitor causing memory losses.

Statins lower blood marker for prostate cancer

Men who are taking statins to lower their cholesterol levels have lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a known biomarker for cancer risk. The PSA reduction seems to be related to statin use in a dose-dependent manner. The study followed up 1214 men who were on statins between 1990 and 2006 and monitored their PSA levels. Whether the effect of statins on the PSA levels translates into anticancer properties is not yet clear.

Are statins beneficial or harmful in multiple sclerosis?

A previous study in animals has shown that some statins may be beneficial against multiple sclerosis when combined with other drugs. This was demonstrated by University of California researchers in mice. In another study, Phoenix researchers showed that simvastatin may have some anti-inflammatory effect that counteracts inflammatory components of multiple sclerosis. However, another study indicates that certain doses of stains combined with beta interferon may actually increase the clinical disease activity in patients with multiple sclerosis. “Caution is [therefore] suggested in administering this combination.” The latter study was based on data of 26 study participants.

Statins lower risk of clots in cancer patients

Researchers at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia observed that cancer patients taking statins have lower incidence of blood clots than non-users. Thus, statins “may have a future in preventing blood clots in patients with breast, lung, colon and other solid-organ cancers.”

Caveat

The abovementioned studies show that there are other potential uses of statins aside from lowering cholesterol levels. However, all these results are preliminary. Further and larger studies are needed to further explore these beneficial effects as well as the risks that may be involved. Many people will claim that most of the positive reports about statins are propaganda from the pharmaceutical companies. Conspiracy theories abound. However, if statins can provide health benefits beyond cardiovascular medicine, who are we to say no?

We also have to be aware that like all drugs, statins come with side effects. Most side effects are mild but some can be serious. Myopathy is a potential fatal denegerative disease of the muscles possibly linked to statin use.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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Battling HEART AND STROKE

CVD News Watch November 7

Categories: HEART AND STROKE | November 7th, 2008 | by Raquel | no comments

CVD conference watch

AHA!
The best experts of the heart will be gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana this weekend. The 2008 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association run from November 8 to 12. Next week, I will try to bring you a review of the latest heart news from the conference.

CVD exercise watch

President-elect’s workout has predecessors gasping
He is not your typical American – at least as far as the Europeans are concerned. He’s black and he’s skinny. And he works out. Barack Obama is the first African-American to be elected US president. And the Obama fitness workout will probably become a legend.
“The main reason I do it is just to clear my head and relieve me of stress… My blood pressure is pretty low and I tend to be a healthy eater,” the UK Guardian quotes president-elect Obama.

CVD gender watch

Brown Named CEO of the American Heart Association
No, it’s not that kind of gender issue. Nancy Brown will be the next Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association, starting January 1, 2009. She will be the first woman to hold the position.

CVD drug watch

Sanofi-Aventis scraps ongoing rimonabant research
It was thought to be the next blockbuster – a drug that can be used to treat obesity as well as cardiovascular disorders. Unfortunately, rimonabant (Acomplia) fell short of these expectations and dealt a big blow to the big pharma Sanofi-Aventis, which announced that it is halting all clinical development programs associated with rimonabant. The downfall of the potential wonder drug is due to safety issues. In one trial, 5 suicides were reported in the rimonabant treatment group compared to 1 suicide in the placebo group. Two weeks ago, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) announced that “it had asked the company to suspend marketing of the drug, on the grounds that its benefits no longer seemed to outweigh its risks.

CVD obesity watch

Can Nintendo Wii Tackle Child Obesity?
Nintendo Wii, a program which simulates sports on the computer, is very popular among children and young people. The question is – is it effective against child obesity? This is the question that researchers at the University of Derby (UK) is tackling.
This study aims to see if young children can lose weight or improve their health by using the Nintendo Wii. There is a lot of discussion that video games are bad for your health and we hope this research will determine if playing on this equipment could actually have physical benefits for children,” according to researcher Dr Michael Duncan.

CVD patient watch

Health of Ted Rogers stabilizes
Ted Rogers, head and founder of the Canadian company Rogers Communications was hospitalized Friday last week for an existing heart condition. The company announced that his condition has stabilized.

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Battling HEART AND STROKE

Know your medications: anti-cholesterol drugs

Categories: HEART AND STROKE | September 25th, 2008 | by Raquel | one comments

It’s Cholesterol Awareness Month.

So I think it’s only right that I tackle the topic of drugs used in controlling our cholesterol levels. For a review of the basics of cholesterol and what out cholesterol numbers mean, check out this resource post. In the same post, I have tackled lifestyle changes strategies that can help lower and control cholesterol levels. In today’s post, let us take a look at the pharmacological therapies for high cholesterol levels.

The main types of cholesterol-lowering drugs are summarized below.

Statins 

Statins also known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, are the most popular of currently available anti-cholesterol drugs. They act on the enzyme that regulates the rate at which our body produces cholesterol. They are known to be most effective in lowering LDL levels (20 to 55%) and triglycerides to a lesser extent.

Statins currently available in the U.S.include:

Statins are also available in combination with other classes of drugs, namely Advicor® (lovastatin + niacin), Caduet® (atorvastatin + amlodipine), and VytorinTM (simvastatin + ezetimibe).

Ezetimibe

Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestine. Ezetimibe (Zetia®) is the first inhibitor to be approved. It has been shown to lower LDL levels by about 18 to 25%., moderately lowers triglycerides, and increases HDL levels.

Resins

Resins (also known as sequestrant or bile acid-binding drugs) bind with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and facilitate their elimination in the stool. These class of drugs can lower LDL levels by about 15 to 30%.

Resins currently available in the U.S. include:

Niacin

Nicotinic acid also known as niacin is actually a water-soluble B vitamin that can lower LDL levels (5 to 15%) and triglycerides and increase HDL levels. However, its positive effect on out lipid profiles is only achieved in doses higher than when taken as just vitamin supplement. For cholesterol control, niacin should only be taken upon doctor’s orders.

Fibrates

Fibrates or fibric acid derivatives are mostly effective in lowering triglycerides and moderately increase HDL levels. However, they don’t effectively lower LDL levels.

Fibrates currently available in the U.S.include:

[Sources: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); American Heart Association (AHA)]

As with almost all medications, these drugs should only be taken after discussion with your doctor. Currently, there are no avalaible OTC drugs to control cholesterol levels. There may be drugs sold over the Internet but these offers should be approached with extreme caution (see previous post on this). However, aside from taking medications, lifestyle changes are also necessary in the fight against cholesterol and heart disease.

Coming soon: alternative products and supplements against cholesterol.

Photo credit: drugs by sarej at stock.xchng

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Battling SCHIZOPHRENIA

Older Schizophrenia Drugs Better Than New

Categories: SCHIZOPHRENIA | February 5th, 2007 | by HART 1-800-HART | no comments

By Ray Stone

Recent research has evidence that reveals that a newer class of anti-psychotic drugs may not be as effective in treating patients suffering from the mental condition called Schizophrenia, as older class drugs in treating the illness.

It was hoped that the newer class of drug would result in the patient experiencing less side-effects than those experienced using the older class of drugs. However, with research in this area being scarce, a recent trial has discovered quite the opposite. Claims that the newer class of drug would be more effective than the older class has never been backed up by evidence.

A recent trial involving 227 patients over a 52 week period did not find the newer class of drug to be more effective in reducing the side-effects and improving quality of life. The results showed that patients taking the different drugs showed similar results on a 52 week trial, measuring quality of life and side-effects at exactly the same points in time. It has been found that better quality of life and relief from symptoms from those who took the older class of drug was experienced than those who were taking the new class of drug. Another observation from the trial was that patients showed no preference for one class of drug over the other. There is also no meaningful difference in price between the older class of drug and the new ones.

With such clear evidence suggesting that the newer class of drugs are not as effective as the older class of drug, it would be difficult to see the benefit in prescribing the newer class of drug over the older class drugs. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., from Columbia University in New York’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, states that newer anti-psychotic medications are “not the great breakthrough in therapeutics they were once thought to be.”

About the Author: R. Stone canada online pharmacy (c) 2006, PerfectDrugRx. All rights in all media reserved. Reprints must include byline, contact information and copyright.

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Battling ADDICTION

Drug Use Among Teens

Categories: ADDICTION | April 12th, 2006 | by SonjaHelga | one comments

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – Drug use among teens has dipped nationally in the United States but underage drinking persists, with jumps in California and Wisconsin, according to a study released Thursday.The report by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, based on interviews of 135,500 people, is the first to document state-by-state drug and alcohol use from 2002 to 2004. Continue Reading »

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LAST FIVE POSTS

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: ADDICTION

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: ALHEIMER's DISEASE

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: CANCER

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: DEPRESSION

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: DIABETES

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: HEARING LOSS

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: HEART and STROKE

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: OBESITY

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: STRESS

  • BATTLING THE MONSTER: VISION