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Medical Article Scan for August 2008

September 3, 2008 Leave a comment

I know; it’s September. Better late than never…

Anemia of Chronic Disease: An Adaptive Response?  The authors argue that anemia may be beneficial to patients with inflammatory disease, and advocate restraint in treating mild to moderate forms of anemia. This may be proven someday, as they are now finding that too much injected erythropoietin (Procrit, Epogen, etc) can have adverse effects if used to bring hemoglobin up past 12.

CMV Infections Affect More Than Just Patients With Compromised Immune Systems – researchers have discovered that Cytomegalovirus, which is particularly dangerous to those with suppressed immune systems, can also be reactivated in those with normal

Want A Reason To Love Your Lower Belly Fat?….     Fat in the lower abdomen and thighs is rich in adult stem cells.  Maybe they can set up a plan for those having gastric bypass to donate their extra fat after weight loss to cover the cost of cosmetic surgery?

Does Too Much Sun Cause Melanoma? You’ll notice in the past that I’ve had articles on Vitamin D. This article reports that sun can cause the more “benign” skin cancers, but not melanoma, and that we must strike a balance between the need to protect the skin from cancer and the need to get Vitamin D.

Long Term Weight Loss… – study of women which shows that in order to maintain a 10% weight loss, there needed to be 5 days a week of 55 minutes of exercise. On the bright side, small changes throughout the day can be partially substituted, such as moving around more, less TV, etc.

Total Calories More Important Than Dietary Fat In Diabetes Risk – decreased risk of diabetes is linked to weight loss, and not to specific nutrient content. There are other conclusions in this study, such as consumption of soft drinks was associated to unhealthy behaviors and consumption of fruit juices to healthy behaviors “to some extent”.

Stem Cell Scientist Predicts Health Revolution – immature adult stem cells are predicted to be as important a revolution in the 21st century as antibiotics were in the 20th century.

World’s First Transplant of Both Arms – Last month, a surgery team in Germany transplanted bilateral arms onto a 54 year old farmer who lost his in an accident. The 2 things of interest are the actual procedure and what was involved, as well as the hurdles afterwards, such as immunosuppression and the lack of a blood test to catch rejection.

Positive Thinking May Protect Against Breast Cancer – Yet another study affirming feelings of happiness and optimism as providing a “protective role” against disease (in this case, breast cancer).

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Medical Article Scan May 2008

May 27, 2008 2 comments

Here are some interesting articles from this past month:

Supplement Your Knowledge of Vitamin D – While looking up some information on one of my meds, I found this article. It’s actually directed at a general audience (as opposed to those with kidney disease).

Bye Bye Biopsy – there is now an alternative for those of us with transplants who may face a biopsy; a genetic test that is done from a blood sample. This test can also be used for a variety of other biopsy related situations.

New York Planning Special Ambulance To Recover Organs – on the surface, this looks like a great idea, but I think it will do more harm than good. To quote from the article: “People are going to worry when the ambulance comes out to their house whether they are there to care for them or to take their organs.”  And this is where the problem lies; there are a good amount of people who will not sign the donor card for fear that they will be in an ED, and the doctor will pronounce them brain dead in order to get their organs, when they may not be brain dead. I don’t believe this to be true, but the thought is still out there, and this plan could potentially make things worse.

Daily Doses of Bach and Breathing Lower Blood Pressure – The title is a bit misleading, as it’s not only music by Bach that had an effect. Being a former music teacher, this is right up my alley (although one physician interviewed felt that it was primarily the breathing that had an effect). And even though it only had an effect on systolic pressure, it’s a treatment that has no side effects, so what can it hurt?

 Early Insulin Hit Leads To Diabetes Remission – This is a very interesting study of using intensive insulin treatment for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics (non-insulin dependant aka “adult onset diabetes), although the study is limited.

Home Monitors Advised For Hypertensive Patients – in my opinion, this is an excellent proposal. It seems odd that physicians will base anti-hypertensives on bp readings limited to when to when the patient is in the office. There are far to many variables to depend on this. If bp is taken at home, it can be done once or twice a day, and it will be easier to spot trends. Also, I’ve found that the electronic machines are a waste. I bought a cuff that has a stethoscope attached, and it is much more accurate. And for those not trained to take a bp, as long as you can hear well, it’s easy to learn.

Experts Question Placebo Pill For Children – I don’t think this is a good idea. After all, a parent needs to build trust with their child/children; once the child finds out that the parent has tricked them, what does that do to their sense of trust?

 

Medical News

May 13, 2008 4 comments

Protecting the Heart in Muscular Dystrophy Patients wait until you see which med they studied….

Perfecting an Artificial Pancreas misleading title; this is about producing insulin (the pancreas has other functions as well). Nonetheless, this is potential big news on the diabetes front.

Tobacco as a Self-Medication and Wellness opinion piece on how people self-medicate with tobacco, yet are being financially punished for this.

Vitamin D Linked To Reduced Mortality Rate In Chronic Kidney Disease the docs tested all of us on dialysis a few months ago, and I started on Vitamin D (ergocalciferol, which is non-activated), in addition to Zemplar (the activated form). I think you’ll be seeing a lot more on Vitamin D, even in “healthy” patients.

Microsoft Envisions Smarter EMR Interfaces this is interesting to me, as my employer is 100% EMR based (electronic medical record)