Drug Updates

Diabetes Drug Linked to Cardiovascular Disease/Stroke (Webmd alert)

June 28, 2010 — Older patients who take Avandia have a higher risk of death, heart failure, and stroke than patients taking Actos, a similar diabetes drug, a new study finds.

It’s far from the first study to address Avandia safety, but it’s by far the largest to date, says FDA researcher and study leader David J. Graham, MD, MPH.

The study analyzes Medicare records for 227,571 patients who started treatment with Avandia or Actos between July 2006 and June 2009. The average age of patients in the study was 74.4.

“Our study shows very clearly that Avandia is much less safe than Actos in things that really matter — things that will put you in the hospital or land you in the cemetery,” Graham tells WebMD. “If you are a doctor, there is no earthly reason why you should continue to prescribe Avandia. There are safer alternatives.”

New Diabetes Drug Touted to Aid Weight Loss, yet Untested Side Effects still Risk (Webmd)

Dapagliflozin works by inhibiting a molecule called SGLT2,- the sodium-glucose co-transporter. This molecule, found mainly in tubules of the kidney, makes the body reabsorb sugar that would otherwise be excreted in urine.

And because the drug changes the way the body excretes fluid, there may be as-yet-unseen long-term consequences, suggests Luigi F. Meneghini, MD, MBA, director of the University of Miami’s diabetes treatment center. Meneghini was not involved in the Bailey study.

“If you have more sugar in your urinary tract, you have more risk of infection. This probably has to do with people with diabetes and high blood sugar having more fungal infections,” Meneghini tells WebMD. “That said, if your doctor is careful in monitoring for you infections and treating them when they occur, this is still a drug with a relatively low side-effect profile. But we need to see data on lots more people exposed to the drug for a longer time.”

Summary: This pill will make you excrete more sugar, but won’t address the underlying cause. I would question long term effects on liver, immunity, and insulin.

Prolia Approved for Osteoporosis (webmd)

Prolia is a so-called monoclonal antibody — a fully human, lab-produced antibody that inactivates the body’s bone-breakdown mechanism. It’s the first “biologic therapy” to be approved for osteoporosis treatment. Prolia is approved only for specific types of patients:

Another possible downside to Prolia is that its target, the RANK ligand, plays several roles in the immune system. In clinical trials, women taking Prolia had a higher risk of serious infections leading to hospitalization, including heart infections. Skin reactions such as dermatitis, rashes, and eczema also were reported. The most common side effects seen in patients taking Prolia are back pain, pain in the extremities, muscle and bone pain, high cholesterol levels, and urinary bladder infections. The drug also appears to lower calcium levels. Patients with low-blood calcium levels should not take Prolia until the condition is corrected.

Pfizer Pulls AML Drug After Increased Death Rates (Rueters)

Pfizer said it was voluntarily withdrawing the drug after a study showed adding Mylotarg to chemotherapy did not extend survival for patients with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive bone marrow cancer.

Summary: The study actually showed increased death rates with Mylotarg.

Progesterone Drug For Hot flashes (webmd)

The women taking Prometrium had a 48% decline in the number of symptoms; women taking the placebo had a 22% decline.

None of the women reported any serious adverse events, Prior says.

Exactly how progesterone relieves the symptoms isn’t clear, Prior tells WebMD. “We know progesterone does lots of calming things in the brain. It may compensate for something estrogen does [to reduce the hot flashes].”

Prior agrees more study is needed but suspects the micronized progesterone will not adversely affect bone health, pointing to previous research suggesting that estrogen and progesterone when given together improve bone health more than estrogen alone.

The micronized progesterone alone regimen may actually decrease cancer risk, she says, although that’s not proven. She points to research showing that estrogen is involved in cell growth (including cancer cells) and progesterone is involved in cell maturation and differentiation. “That would be expected to decrease cancer risk,” she says.

FDA Studying Approval of Day After Pill (Dr. Northrup)

EllaOne is comprised of ulipristal acetate, an antiprogesterone drug that prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. Though ulipristal acetate has similarities in chemical action to mifepristone—aka RU 486—it is not intended for use as contraception or as a method of terminating an ongoing pregnancy. Clinical trials of both Plan B and Ella, published recently in the Lancet,1showed that Ella prevented twice as many unwanted pregnancies as Plan B.

Despite advances in birth control since The Pill came on the scene in the 1960’s, the fact is that 50 percent of pregnancies are still unplanned. And contraceptive failures happen even in ideal users.

New Combination Blood Pressure Medicine (Webmd)

Novartis’s AHU377 is a new kind of blood pressure drug called a vasopeptidase inhibitor. A previous drug in this class, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s omipatrilat, showed great promise but failed because of a dangerous side effect.

AHU377 does not appear to have this side effect. But it’s not a very powerful drug all by itself. However, a new study suggests that it significantly boosts the effects of Novartis’s Diovan, a different kind of blood pressure drug called an angiotensin II receptor blocker.

The combination of the two types of drug creates a new molecule: an ARNI or “dual-acting angiotensin II-receptor and neprilysin inhibitor,” suggest Luis Miguel Ruilope, MD, of Hospital 12 October in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues.

Ruilope and colleagues tested the new drug, code-named LCZ696, in 1,328 adults ages 18 to 75 in 18 nations. Study participants had only mild-to-moderate high blood pressure: on average, 156/100 (normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less).

Across all dosages tested, LCZ696 boosted the blood-pressure lowering effect of Diovan.

At the dosage chosen for further clinical trials, 200 milligrams, LCZ696 dropped systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 11 points and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 6.14 points. An equivalent dose of Diovan alone decreased systolic blood pressure by 5.69 points and diastolic blood pressure by 3.17 points.

By comparison:

  • Reducing your weight cuts systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 points per 22 pounds lost.
  • Regular physical activity cuts systolic blood pressure by 4 to 9 points.
  • The low-fat, high-vegetable/fruit DASH diet cuts systolic blood pressure by 8 to 14 points.
  • Cutting back drinking to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women cuts systolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 points.

Actual Statin NNTs (British Medical Journal 2010)

Based on the 20% threshold for cardiovascular risk, for women the NNT with any statin to prevent one case of cardiovascular disease over five years was 37 (95% confidence interval 27 to 64) and for oesophageal cancer was 1266 (850 to 3460) and for men the respective values were 33 (24 to 57) and 1082 (711 to 2807). In women the NNH for an additional case of acute renal failure over five years was 434 (284 to 783), of moderate or severe myopathy was 259 (186 to 375), of moderate or severe liver dysfunction was 136 (109 to 175), and of cataract was 33 (28 to 38). Overall, the NNHs and NNTs for men were similar to those for women, except for myopathy where the NNH was 91 (74 to 112). CONCLUSIONS: Claims of unintended benefits of statins, except for oesophageal cancer, remain unsubstantiated, although potential adverse effects at population level were confirmed and quantified. Further studies are needed to develop utilities to individualise the risks so that patients at highest risk of adverse events can be monitored closely.  2010 May 20;340:c2197. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c2197

Translation: NNT= number needed to treat. For most antibiotics, the NNT is around 1. For every 1 person treated, one will get better. For statins, the NNT in women is 37, you need 37 people to take a statin to prevent 1 cardiovascular event, not very impressive related to chance.

Whooping Cough Outbreak Update by NVIC

A second important reason is that another Bordetella organism – parapertussis – also can cause whooping cough. B. parapertussis symptoms, while often milder, can look exactly like B. pertussis. But doctors rarely recognize or test for parapertussis. And there is NO vaccine for parapertussis.
The DTaP vaccine given 5 times to children under age 6 and booster doses for teenagers and adults does not protect against whooping cough caused by B. parapertussis. In highly vaccinated countries like the U.S., parpertussis is on the rise and it is estimated that perhaps 30 percent or more of whooping cough disease is actually caused by parapertussis!
So which bacterial organism is causing much of the whooping cough being seen in California, Nevada, Oregon and other states this summer? Is it B. pertussis or B. parapertussis? Has there been any attempt by health officials to do expensive PCR lab tests on suspected whooping cough cases to find out?
Another question: Are public health officials being transparent with the public about just how many children and adults reported to have whooping cough have been fully vaccinated? In 1985 there was a lot of publicity about whooping cough outbreaks in eight states and all the blame was put on parents of DPT vaccine injured children calling for a safer pertussis vaccine. But 25 years ago I investigated those whooping cough outbreaks and found 50 to 80 percent or more of the children and adults with whooping cough symptoms had been vaccinated.

Environmental Medicine

Air Pollution Affects Sleep (webmd)

More specifically, air pollution increased the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, a group of disorders including sleep apnea, in which breathing stops briefly during sleep. Up to 17% of U.S. adults have sleep-disordered breathing, Zanobetti says, although many are unaware they have the problem.

Sleep-disordered breathing and air pollution have both been linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but the link between air pollution and sleep disordered breathing is not well understood, Zanobetti says. Her study is believed to be the first to link pollution and breathing problems during sleep.

The study is published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

New Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience Guide Urges Organic Food Choices to Protect the Environment and Farmworkers (OCA)

The Eating with a Conscience guide explains to consumers the effect they are having on health and the environment when they purchase food grown with chemical-intensive methods, even if a large number of residues do not remain on the finished food product. The group points to USDA organic certification as “the only system of food labeling that is subject to independent public review and oversight, assuring consumers that toxic, synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture are replaced by management practices focused on soil biology, biodiversity, and plant health.”

“Organic practices under the Organic Foods Production Act eliminate commonly used toxic chemicals in the production and processing of food that is not labeled organic, pesticides that contaminate our water and air, hurt biodiversity, harm farmworkers, and kill bees, birds, fish and other wildlife,” said Mr. Feldman.

GMOs Create a Toxic Colon (Natural News)

Probiotic expert S.K. Dash calls the healthy bacteria in our guts our first line of immune defense, as these tiny bacteria protect us from all sorts of problems. Everything from cancer to IBS to allergies and most every disease imaginable is connected to our healthy bacteria. But there’s one problem. Eating one serving of GMO foods has been found to change the genetic structure of our healthy bacteria. Literally, some GMO foods might be altering our healthy bacteria so they’ll now produce concentrated pesticides in our guts for the rest of our lives.

10 Reasons to Label GMOs (OCA’s Newsletter-July 22nd)

Ask Your Congresspersons to Cosponsor HR 5577, Representative Kucinich‘s Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act

10. Almost all non-organic processed food or animal products in the U.S. today contain ingredients that come from genetically engineered crops or from animals given genetically engineered feed, vaccines or growth hormones.

9. Genetically engineered foods have not been tested to determine whether they are safe for human consumption.

8. Genetically engineered foods ARE different from conventional and organic foods.

7. A single serving of genetically engineered soy can result in “horizontal gene transfer,” where the bacteria in the human gut adopts the soy’s DNA.

6. Animals fed genetically engineered feed ARE different from animals fed conventional and organic feed.

5. The third generation of hamsters fed genetically engineered soy suffered slower growth, a high mortality rate, and a bizarre birth defect: fur growing in their mouths. Many also lost the ability to have pups.

4. The more genetically engineered corn fed to mice, the fewer babies they had and the smaller the babies were.

3. Biotech’s scattershot technique of spraying plant cells with a buckshot of foreign genes that hit chromosomes in random spots would trigger the expression of new allergens and change the character of plant proteins.

2. Scientists reviewing data from Monsanto’s own studies “have proven that genetically engineered foods are neither sufficiently healthy or proper to be commercialized.”

1. The Convention on Biodiversity recognizes that genetic engineering is a threat to amount and variety of life on the planet.

Household Detergenents + H20 = Cancer? (Eurekelert)

Scientists are reporting evidence that certain ingredients in shampoo, detergents and other household cleaning agents may be a source of precursor materials for formation of a suspected cancer-causing contaminant in water supplies that receive water from sewage treatment plants. The study sheds new light on possible environmental sources of this poorly understood water contaminant, called NDMA, which is of ongoing concern to health officials. Their study is in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

William Mitch and colleagues note that scientists have known that NDMA and other nitrosamines can form in small amounts during the disinfection of wastewater and water with chloramine. Although nitrosamines are found in a wide variety of sources — including processed meats and tobacco smoke — scientists know little about their precursors in water. Past studies with cosmetics have found that substances called quaternary amines, which are also ingredients in household cleaning agents, may play a role in the formation of nitrosamines.

Nitrosamines and Cancer (Oregon State)

Removal of sodium nitrite would prevent nitrosamine formation, but it might also increase the risk of botulism poisoning. Sodium nitrite and sodium chloride together are particularly effective against Clostridium botulinum. The solution to the dilemma was to limit the addition of sodium nitrite to 120 parts per million (ppm), the lowest level found to be effective in controlling growth and toxin production by Clostridium botulinum.

About 1970 it was discovered that ascorbic acid inhibits nitrosamine formation. Consequently, the addition of 550 ppm of ascorbic acid is now required in the manufacture of cured meat in the U.S. Actually, most cured meat manufacturers add erythorbic acid (an isomer of ascorbic acid) rather than ascorbic acid. Although erythorbic acid has reduced vitamin C activity, it is as effective as ascorbic acid in inhibiting nitrosamine formation and is also cheaper than vitamin C. Another antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), is added to some cured meats to inhibit nitrosamine formation. As a result of these strategies, there are now significantly lower levels of nitrosamines in fried bacon and other cured meats than there were some years ago. Ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid, and alpha-tocopherol inhibit nitrosamine formation due to their oxidation-reduction properties. For example, when ascorbic acid is oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid, nitrous anhydride, a potent nitrosating agent formed from sodium nitrite, is reduced to nitric oxide, which is not a nitrosating agent. The discovery that ascorbic acid can inhibit nitrosamine formation was serendipitous.

Facts on GMO “Organic” Salmon (OCA)

Also, depending on where your fish came from, it is also possible that it was:

  • Treated with toxic chemicals (some like Cypermethrin and Emamectin benzoate classified as “marine pollutants”) used to kill parasites called sea lice
  • Treated with antibiotics at some stage of its life cycle
  • Fed wild fish products that did not come from certified sustainable sources

How Safe is Seafood After the Spill? (Schneider, Public Health Consultant)

But several questions remain to be answered for consumers:

  • Petroleum contamination is known to cause cancer and brain damage. But how much oil and gas does it take to make seafood dangerous?
  • Who’s in charge of determining how safe is safe?
  • The Food and Drug Administration is supposedly the nation’s food protector. What exactly is FDA’s role in this process?
  • How can you really tell where seafood is coming from? Is there any way to distinguish a gulf shrimp from a Pacific one?
What that means is the seafood is deemed safe if it doesn’t increase a person’s lifetime cancer rate by more than one additional case in a million people. Some states like Maine use a higher risk levels, such as a lifetime cancer risk of no greater than 1 in 100,000 people, NOAA says.

Patrick Banks is a marine fisheries biologist for the state of Louisiana and is responsible for ensuring the quality and accuracy of the testing of market-bound gulf seafood.

So far, the state has tested more than 10,000 samples of fish, crab and shrimp. None has levels of oil contamination that raised health concerns.

“Determining how safe is safe can a painful process,” Banks says. “NOAA has a number, the level of contamination at which a closed fishing ground can be reopened for commerce or sport. That’s the level that we test for. Make sense?”

As far as determining whether the shrimp, crab and fish came from the gulf or were farmed in foreign waters, the best advice is to know your fishmonger because buying seafood today clearly demands that the buyer beware.

The Case Against Flouride (Dr. Mercola)

In addition, his book, The Case Against Fluoride, is scheduled for release in late September, but is available for pre-order.

In this timely and important book, Connett and his two co-authors, Beck and Micklem, take a new look at the science behind water fluoridation and argue that just because the medical establishment endorses a public health measure, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.

In the case of water fluoridation, the chemicals used to fluoridate the water that more than 180 million people drink each day are not pharmaceutical grade, but rather hazardous waste products of the phosphate fertilizer industry; it is illegal to dump these into rivers and lakes or release the parent gases into the atmosphere.

In addition, water fluoridation is a prime example of one of the worst medical practices possible—forced medication with no control over the dose or who gets it. Perhaps most shocking of all, it is not subject to any federal regulation.

Plastics and Mattresses Hurting your Thyroid? (Dr. Mercola)

The study revealed that “a 10-fold increase in each of the PBDE chemicals was associated with decreases in TSH ranging from 10.9 percent to 18.7 percent,” the press release states.

When buying new products, such as furniture, mattresses, carpet padding, as well as other plastic products like cell phones, computers and TVs, ask what type of fire retardant it contains. Although you likely won’t find PBDEs in newer foam products, there are a number of other fire retardant chemicals that can be just as detrimental to your health, including antimony, formaldehyde, boric acid, and other brominated chemicals.

Nutrigenomics & Epigenomics

Resveratrol for Heart Health and Weight Loss (webmd)

Laboratory tests conducted in vitro on human cells, in which cells were managed in a control environment, such as a petri dish, showed that resveratrol influenced fat cells’ form and function. Resveratrol blocked immature fat cells from developing and differentiating, which, in turn, affected the fat cells’ abilities to function. Several studies have used animals to examine resveratrol’s effects, but this is one of the first to use human fat cells.

They also found that resveratrol stimulated glucose uptake into human fat cells and blocked molecules from converting into fat. Moreover, resveratrol influenced Sirt1 in a beneficial way and it also affected the secretion of adipokines, fat cells that engage in cell-to-cell communication. The findings indicate that resveratrol might interfere with obesity and other metabolic effects that could increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.

PMID: 20418184

Ginger Reduces Post-Exercise Pain, One Study Reports (J of Pain)

Ginger has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in rodents, but its effect on human muscle pain is uncertain. Heat treatment of ginger has been suggested to enhance its hypoalgesic effects. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 11 days of raw (study 1) and heat-treated (study 2) ginger supplementation on muscle pain. Study 1 and 2 were identical double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized experiments with 34 and 40 volunteers, respectively. Participants consumed 2 grams of either raw (study 1) or heated (study 2) ginger or placebo for 11 consecutive days. Participants performed 18 eccentric actions of the elbow flexors to induce pain and inflammation. Pain intensity, perceived effort, plasma prostaglandin E(2), arm volume, range-of-motion and isometric strength were assessed prior to and for 3 days after exercise. Results Raw (25%, -.78 SD, P = .041) and heat-treated (23%, -.57 SD, P = .049) ginger resulted in similar pain reductions 24 hours after eccentric exercise compared to placebo. Smaller effects were noted between both types of ginger and placebo on other measures. Daily supplementation with ginger reduced muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise, and this effect was not enhanced by heat treating the ginger. PERSPECTIVE: This study demonstrates that daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury. Our findings agree with those showing hypoalgesic effects of ginger in osteoarthritis patients and further demonstrate ginger’s effectiveness as a pain reliever. Copyright © 2010 American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Lowering Cholesterol With Stanols (webmd)

Compared with the comparison group, eating 3, 6, and 9 grams of stanols lowered LDL concentrations by 7.4%, 11.9%, and 17.4%, respectively.

The findings are published in the July issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Recommended daily intakes of plant stanols are usually between 2 and 3 g [grams], at which level the expected reduction in LDL cholesterol is approximately 10%,” the researchers write. “It is thought that hardly any further reductions can be achieved at higher intakes.  We have now shown for the first time that at daily intakes up to 9 g, the effects of plant stanols provided as their fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol in a dose-dependent linear way.”

Green Tea: Role in Cancer Prevention (Pubmd)

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is rich in catechins, of which (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant.Studies in animal models of carcinogenesis have shown that green tea and EGCG can inhibit tumorigenesis during the initiation, promotion and progression stages. Many potential mechanisms have been proposed including both antioxidant and pro-oxidant effects, but questions remain regarding the relevance of these mechanisms to cancer prevention. In the present review, we will discuss theredox chemistry of the tea catechins and the current literature on the antioxidant and pro-oxidative effects of the green tea polyphenols as they relate to cancer prevention. We report that although the catechins are chemicalantioxidants which can quench free radical species and chelate transition metals, there is evidence that some of the effects of these compounds may be related to induction of oxidative stress. Such pro-oxidant effects appear to be responsible for the induction of apoptosis in tumor cells. These pro-oxidant effects may also induce endogenous antioxidant systems in normal tissues that offer protection against carcinogenic insult. This review is meant point out understudied areas and stimulate research on the topic with the hope that insights into the mechanisms of cancer preventive activity of tea polyphenols will result.

Summary: Green tea contains substances called polyphenols which act to quench damaging substances to your DNA, chelate out heavy metals, and produce an oxidative burst to kill tumor cells!

Components of Green Tea (ECGC and polyphenols) & Grape seed (resveratrol and vinetrol) inhibit pathway in Prostate Cancer (FASBE)

The sphingosine kinase-1/sphingosine 1-phosphate (SphK1/S1P) pathway has been associated with cancer promotion and progression and resistance to treatments in a number of cancers, including prostate adenocarcinoma. Here we provide the first evidence that dietary agents, impede prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting the SphK1/S1P pathway. . The sphingosine kinase-1 survival pathway is a molecular target for the tumor-suppressive tea and wine polyphenols in prostate cancer.

Phase II Trials with CLL Promising Using Green Tea (Am. Soc of Clinical Oncology Abstract)

Conclusions: Daily oral EGCG in the Polyphenon E preparation was well tolerated by CLL patients in this phase II trial. Declines in ALC and/or lymphadenopathy were observed in the majority of patients. EGCG containing green tea extracts may have potential as disease stabilizing agents in patients with early-stage CLL. *

*CLL-chronic lymphoyctic leukemia

Exercise Modulates Insulin Sensitivity and Fat Burning (Sci Transl Med.)

Exercise provides numerous salutary effects, but our understanding of how these occur is limited. To gain a clearer picture of exercise-induced metabolic responses, we have developed comprehensive plasma metabolite signatures by using mass spectrometry to measure >200 metabolites before and after exercise. We identified plasma indicators of glycogenolysis (glucose-6-phosphate), tricarboxylic acid cycle span 2 expansion (succinate, malate, and fumarate), and lipolysis (glycerol), as well as modulators of insulin sensitivity (niacinamide) and fatty acid oxidation (pantothenic acid). Metabolites that were highly correlated with fitness parameters were found in subjects undergoing acute exercise testing and marathon running and in 302 subjects from a longitudinal cohort study. Exercise-induced increases in glycerol were strongly related to fitness levels in normal individuals and were attenuated in subjects with myocardial ischemia. A combination of metabolites that increased in plasma in response to exercise (glycerol, niacinamide, glucose-6-phosphate, pantothenate, and succinate) up-regulated the expression of nur77, a transcriptional regulator of glucose utilization and lipid metabolism genes in skeletal muscle in vitro. Plasma metabolic profiles obtained during exercise provide signatures of exercise performance and cardiovascular disease susceptibility, in addition to highlighting molecular pathways that may modulate the salutary effects of exercise. PMID: 20505214

New Meaning to Believe it and you will see it! (Psychol Sci. 2010 May)

These experiments show that vision can be improved by manipulating mind-sets. In Study 1, participants were primed with the mind-set that pilots have excellent vision. Vision improved for participants who experientially became pilots (by flying a realistic flight simulator) compared with control participants (who performed the same task in an ostensibly broken flight simulator). Participants in an eye-exercise condition (primed with the mind-set that improvement occurs with practice) and a motivation condition (primed with the mind-set “try and you will succeed”) demonstrated visual improvement relative to the control group. In Study 2, participants were primed with the mind-set that athletes have better vision than nonathletes. Controlling for arousal, doing jumping jacks resulted in greater visual acuity than skipping (perceived to be a less athletic activity than jumping jacks). Study 3 took advantage of the mind-set primed by the traditional eye chart: Because letters get progressively smaller on successive lines, people expect that they will be able to read the first few lines only. When participants viewed a reversed chart and a shifted chart, they were able to see letters they could not see before. Thus, mind-set manipulation can counteract physiological limits imposed on vision. PMID: 20483844

Fish Oil Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant (Vital Choice)

Once again, the results of a controlled clinical trial indicate that the two major omega-3 fats in fish – EPA and DHA – reduce oxidative stress in the body (Mas E et al. 2010).
Scientists from Australia and France now report that, over a six week period, a standard measure of oxidative stress dropped by about 20 percent in people who took daily fish oil capsules providing either EPA or DHA.
People’s blood levels of compounds called F2-isoprostanes – which are created when bodily fats get oxidized by free radicals – provide an accurate picture of the levels of oxidized fats and overall oxidative stress in the body.

Omega 3 to 6 Ratio relates to Cardiovascular Risk (Vital Choice)

Omega-3s may lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes
In one invited ISSFAL presentation, the speaker noted that lifestyle modifications, such as the inclusion of long-chain omega-3 fats from fish (EPA and DHA) can help deter development of obesity, liver-fat accumulation, abnormal blood fat profiles and impaired glucose tolerance (Kopecky J, 2010).

Health Issues

What Your Skin Says About Your Health (Webmd)

Slide show from Webmd on skin signs of various conditions, including, diabetes and lung cancer.

How Accurate is DEXA for Bone Density? (Better Bones)

Thanks to the excellent work of the University of Washington osteoporosis specialist, Dr. Susan Ott, we now know that the common bone density test is rather imprecise and large changes in density are needed to assure that bone loss is indeed occurring, much less significant in nature. A thoughtful scientist, Dr. Ott had 300 patients get two bone density measurements: one when they came into the room, and the second after walking around the room for a while. With this simple experiment she showed that repeat measurements on the same day may show as much as 7% difference in bone mineral density. Breaking down the data she found that while a 4-6% change in bone mineral density indicates a “probably change” it takes more than a 6% change to fully guarantee a statistically significant change in bone density.

Sleep Found to Modulate Inflammatory Proteins in Migraine Suffers (Webmd)

In the study, Durham and colleagues deprived one group of rats of REM sleep for three consecutive nights while allowing another group to sleep normally.

They found that the sleep deprivation caused increased expression of proteins p38 and PKA, which help regulate sensory response in facial nerves thought to play a key role in migraines, known as the trigeminal nerves.

Lack of REM sleep also triggered increased expression of the P2X3 protein, which is linked to the initiation of chronic pain.

“People with headaches often have a hard time sleeping,” he says. “It is easy to see how several nights of interrupted sleep can make people more susceptible to developing a chronic pain state.”

Canola Oil-Angel or Devil (Vital Choice)

According to the USDA nutrition database, canola is only high in omega-6 linoleic acid (19-20 percent) by comparison with olive oil (10 percent), hi-oleic sunflower oil (4 percent), and macadamia nut oil (2-3 percent).
However, as you know, my characterization of canola oil came in the context of the radically high omega-6/omega-3 intake ratio in the U.S.
For example, consider an imaginary food (or oil) that contained 60 percent omega-6 fat, 10 percent omega-9 oleic acid, and 30 percent omega-3 fat, whose omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 2:1 would appear ideal.
But regular, substantial consumption of that food would still add to the average American’s extremely excessive intake of omega-6 fats
And the omega-6 fats in that food will compete with its omega-3s for processing into useful long chain forms (omega-6 AA and omega-3 EPA-DHA, respectively) via our bodies’ desaturase enzyme pathways.
Canola oil is not so extreme an example as this imaginary food in terms of its proportion of omega-6 LA, but the exaggeration illustrates my point.

You May Want to Hold off on that Hot Dog! Pass the Mustard, or Just Pass on the Hot Dog? (Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, July 2, 2010)

link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html and also the OMNS archive linkhttp://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml are included.

Comment by Andrew W. Saul
Editor-In-Chief, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

(OMNS July 2, 2010) More hot dogs are eaten at the 4th of July holiday than at any other time of the year. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, an all-too-real trade organization) says that “during the Independence Day weekend, 155 million will be gobbled up” and that Americans will consume more than seven billion hot dogs over the summer. “Every year,” they proudly proclaim, “Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs each.” (1)

That looks to be a modest average of just over one hot dog per week per American. But there are at least 7 million vegetarians in the US, and another 20 million who would be inclined to avoid meat. (2) This means that even if you do not eat any hot dogs at all, someone else is eating your share. But a hot dog or two a week? Big deal!

Maybe it is. Children who eat one hot dog a week double their risk of a brain tumor; two per week triples the risk. Kids eating more than twelve hot dogs a month (three a week) have nearly ten times the risk of leukemia as children who eat none. (3)

And it is not just about kids. Of 190,000 adults studied for seven years, those eating the most processed meat such as deli meats and hot dogs had a 68 percent greater risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least. (4) Pancreatic cancer is especially difficult to treat.

Think twice before you serve up your next tube steak. If your family is going to eat hot dogs, at least take your vitamins. Hot dog eating children taking supplemental vitamins were shown to have a reduced risk of cancer. (5) Vitamins C and E prevent the formation of nitrosamines. (6,7)

It is curious that, while busy theorizing many “potential” dangers of vitamins, the news media have largely ignored this clear-cut cancer-prevention benefit from supplementation.

May I also suggest that you have your kids chew their hot dogs extra thoroughly. In landfills, “Whole hot dogs have been found, some of them in strata suggesting an age upwards of several decades.” (8) Bon appétit.

Dietary Supplements Can Save Money (UltraWellness)

New research from the Lewin Group has shown that spending pennies a day on a few key nutritional supplements can dramatically reduce sickness and chronic disease — and greatly decrease healthcare expenditures as a result.(i) How did they come to this conclusion? And why haven’t we heard about it?

The Lewin Group looked only at rigorous scientific studies that documented the benefits of nutritional supplements. They used the Congressional Budget Office’s accounting methods to determine the economic impact of supplements. And they kept their analysis specifically to Medicare patients and women of childbearing age.

1. Calcium and vitamin D and their effect on osteoporosis
2. Folic acid and its ability to prevent birth defects
3. Omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits for heart disease
4. Lutein and zeaxanthin and their benefit in preventing major age-related blindness, or macular degeneration

In this study, the researchers were extremely strict and only looked at nutrient interventions that met three criteria.

1. The supplement had to produce a measurable physiological effect.
2. This physiological effect had to create a change in health status.
3. The researchers only looked at health problems where a change in health status is associated with a decrease in healthcare expenditures

Taken together, these four simple interventions, which cost pennies a day, could produce a combined savings of $24 billion over five years. This does not even include benefits to people younger than 65 or any of the other benefits of nutritional supplementation, such as improved immunity, cognitive function, and mood.

Gluten and Death (UltraWellness)

A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Associationfound that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly fromheart disease and cancers.(i)

This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications — even death — from eating gluten.

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten.(iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancerfatigue, canker sores(v), and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric(vi) and neurological diseases, including anxietydepression(vii), schizophrenia,(viiidementia(ix),migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage).(x) It has also been linked to autism.(xi)

There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:

    • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
    • IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
    • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
    • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
    • Total IgA antibodies
    • HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
    • Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive — based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be “false positives.” That means the test looks positive but really isn’t significant.

We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

Plant Stanols Lower Cholesterol (webmd)

Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and from University of Bonn in Germany placed 93 otherwise healthy people on one of four diets for four weeks. The first group, a comparison group, did not eat any stanol products; a second group ate 3 grams of stanols per day; a third group ate 6 grams; and the fourth group had a daily intake of 9 grams of stanols. They also had to answer a diet questionnaire and provide blood samples before beginning the diet and then during the course of the dietary intervention.

The stanols were in cups of soy-based yogurt and margarine spreads. The foods used in this study were manufactured by a Finland-based functional foods company, Raisio Nutrition Ltd., which also funded this study. The total calories consumed, including the amounts of cholesterol, were about the same between the four diet groups.

Spinning Journal Articles (JAMA)

CONCLUSION: In this representative sample of RCTs published in 2006 with statistically nonsignificant primary outcomes, the reporting and interpretation of findings was frequently inconsistent with the results. PMID: 20501928