Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grapes And Grape Extracts May Lower Cardiovascular Disease Risk

A growing body of research data suggests that consuming foods rich in polyphenols from grapes, including red wine, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a review article in the November issue of Nutrition Research.

"Consumption of grape and grape extracts and/or grape products such as red wine may be beneficial in preventing the development of chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease," write Wayne R. Leifert, Ph.D., and Mahinda Y. Abeywardena, Ph.D., of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Adelaide, Australia.

The authors review the accumulating evidence that grape polyphenols work in many different ways to prevent cardiovascular and other "inflammatory-mediated" diseases. Polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in grapes and some other plant foods. Their types and actions vary, depending on where in the grape they are found. Grape seeds, grape skin, and grape juice contain several types of polyphenols, including resveratrol, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

Through their antioxidant effects, grape polyphenols help to slow or prevent cell damage caused by oxidation. Polyphenols decrease oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)—a key step in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Grape polyphenols also have other protective effects on the heart and blood vessels, including actions to reduce blood clotting, abnormal heart rhythms, and blood vessel narrowing. It's not yet clear exactly how these benefits of polyphenols occur, although there is evidence of effects on cellular signaling and on the actions of certain genes. The wide range of health-promoting effects suggests that several different, possibly interrelated mechanisms may be involved.

Original Article

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Mother's Diet Can Affect Genes And Offspring's Risk Of Allergic Asthma

New research suggests that a pregnant mother's diet can induce epigenetic changes that increase the risk her offspring will develop allergic asthma

A pregnant mouse's diet can induce epigenetic changes that increase the risk her offspring will develop allergic asthma, according to researchers at National Jewish Health and Duke University Medical Center. Pregnant mice that consumed diets high in supplements containing methyl-donors, such as folic acid, had offspring with more severe allergic airway disease than offspring from mice that consumed diets low in methyl-containing foods.

"Our findings suggest that a mother's diet that alters DNA methylation can affect the development of the fetus's immune system, predisposing it to allergic airway disease," said David Schwartz, MD, senior author on the paper and Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health. "It also suggests the dramatic increase in asthma during the past two decades may be related in part to recent changes in dietary supplementation among women of childbearing age."

The current research suggests too much folic acid (and other dietary supplements) during pregnancy may be related to an increased risk of allergies and asthma, and may even play a role in the dramatic increase in asthma prevalence during the past two decades. The U.S. Public Health service recommended in 1992 that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to reduce their risk of birth defects of the spine and brain. In 1996 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that folic acid be added to specific flour, breads and other grains to prevent birth defects. Research has suggested that these measures have helped reduce birth defects.

Given the important role folic acid supplementation has played in prevention of birth defects, Drs. Schwartz and Hollingsworth do not advise any changes in folic acid supplementation, but do believe the issue is worth further investigation.

For more information, visit the Original Article

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Vitamins for Healthy Hair

Yes! There is a cure for damaged hair! haha I found this article that I thought would be beneficial for women and some men. With the sun and it's rays threatening your hair.. you need some way to protect it other than shampoo. Of course, you can't keep shampoo in your hair while out side.. so there has to be something! Taking Vitamins are a great way to make your hair healthy! There's Vitamin A, C, and E (the main ones I'm curious of) If you guys have plenty of vitamins in you, then you should already have healthy hair! I'm guessing of course.. it sounds pretty common sense.

-Vitamin A - Antioxidant that helps produce healthy sebum in the scalp. Food sources: Fish liver oil, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots and peaches. Daily Dose: 5,000 IU. Warnings: More than 25,000 IU daily is toxic and can cause hair loss and other serious health problems.

-Vitamin C - Antioxidant that helps maintain skin & hair health. Food sources: Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes and dark green vegetables. Daily Dose: 60 mg.

-Vitamin E - Antioxidant that enhances scalp circulation. Food sources: Cold-pressed vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, soybeans, raw seeds and nuts, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables. Daily dose: Up to 400 IU. Warnings: Can raise blood pressure and reduce blood clotting. People taking high blood pressure medication or anticoagulants should check with their doctors before taking Vitamin E supplements.

-Biotin - Helps produce keratin, may prevent graying and hair loss. Food sources: Brewer's yeast, whole grains, egg yolks, liver, rice and milk. Daily dose: 150-300 mcg.

-Inositol - Keeps hair follicles healthy at the cellular level. Food sources: Whole grains, brewer's yeast, liver and citrus fruits. Daily Dose: Up to 600 mg.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) - Promotes scalp circulation. Food sources: Brewer's yeast, wheat germ, fish, chicken, turkey and meat. Daily dose: 15 mg. Warnings: Taking more than 25 mg a day can result in "niacin flush" - a temporary heat sensation due to blood cell dialiation.

-Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) - Prevents graying and hair loss. Food sources: Whole grain cereals, brewer's yeast, organ meats and egg yolks. Daily dose: 4-7 mg.

-Vitamin B6 - Prevents hair loss, helps create melanin, which gives hair its color. Food sources: Brewer's yeast, liver, whole grain cereals, vegetables, organ meats and egg yolk. Daily dose: 1.6 mg. Warnings: High doses can cause numbness in hands and feet.

-Vitamin B12 - Prevents hair loss. Food sources: Chicken, fish, eggs and milk. Daily dose: 2 mg.

Original Article


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Reasons To Avoid Grapefruit And Other Juices When Taking Certain Drugs

Scientists and consumers have known for years that grapefruit juice can increase the absorption of certain drugs - with the potential for turning normal doses into toxic overdoses. Now, the researcher who first identified this interaction is reporting new evidence that grapefruit and other common fruit juices, including orange and apple, can do the opposite effect by substantially decreasing the absorption of other drugs, potentially wiping out their beneficial effects.

The study provides a new reason to avoid drinking grapefruit juice and these other juices when taking certain drugs, including some that are prescribed for fighting life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, cancer, organ-transplant rejection, and infection, the researcher says. These findings - representing the first controlled human studies of this type of drug-lowering interaction.

"Recently, we discovered that grapefruit and these other fruit juices substantially decrease the oral absorption of certain drugs undergoing intestinal uptake transport," says study leader David G. Bailey, Ph.D.,

In the most recent research, Bailey's group had healthy volunteers take fexofenadine, an antihistamine used to fight allergies. The volunteers consumed the drug with either a single glass of grapefruit juice, water containing only naringin (substance in grapefruit juice that gives the juice its bitter taste), or water. When fexofenadine was taken with grapefruit juice, only half of the drug was absorbed compared to taking the drug with water alone, Bailey says. Loosing half of the amount of drugs taken into the body can be critical for the performance certain drugs, he points out.

To date, grapefruit, orange and apple juices have been shown to lower the absorption of etoposide, an anticancer agent; certain beta blockers (atenolol, celiprolol, talinolol) used to treat high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks; cyclosporine, a drug taken to prevent rejection of transplanted organs; and certain antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, itraconazole). But additional drugs are likely to be added to the list as physicians become more aware of this drug-lowering interaction, Bailey says.

Bailey advises patients to consult with their doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications with grapefruit juice or other fruits and juices. Unless it is known to be a problem, he recommends taking most medications only with water. This research was funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the United States Public Health Service.

For more information see the Original Article

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Olay Regenerist vs. The Rest

Many women have been trying to overcome aging and wrinkles with Anti-aging cream. Some might have worked but some were a hoax. From what I've heard through word of mouth, is that the brand Olay actually works and you will see results. I found this article that actually compared Olay and different other brands to see if one could beat or be almost at the same level. There was a top 3 of the brands that were most effective out of the bunch: Dermitage, LIFTSP, RoC Retinol.

1. Dermitage
Dermitage's line of skin care crèmes really caught our panel by surprise. An ambitious company from San Francisco Dermitage has pioneered a breakthrough formula to beat back the effects of aging.
Their patented ingredient is called Rejuvaline™ and it has been scientifically proven to:
1. Restore youth and vigor to mature skin
2. Preserve the youth and glow of young skin
To prove that it works the creators of Dermitage took a step that many facial beauty companies feverishly avoid. They submitted their product to a panel of skeptical scientists for testing… and published the results for all to see.

What Lift SP does is provide a short yet extremely convincing solution for wrinkles and aged skin. Apply it in the morning before work or at night before you go out and it will instantly lift and firm your skin in all the sensitive areas.

Lift SP can actually make you look years younger in seconds and works in conjunction with all brands of make up.

3. RoC Retinol
Roc has been a trusted and revered name in the skin care market for years. Their Retinol brand represents the higher end aging solution of their products. It should be noted that Retinol refers to a line of products, not just one particular aging solution. The Retinol products researched in this review are the Retinol Deep Wrinkle Serum and Deep Wrinkle night cream.

Original Article


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Better Living Tips

Maintaining a healthier body can help you live life to the fullest. From learning to help a backache to tips to get you fit. Better body tips can be the first step to get fit.

The neck is the most flexible part of the spine, it has seven cervical discs, along with muscles and ligaments. Caring for you neck can help your back stay healthy.

Using proper form for a sport, whatever it is, can help avoid muscles problems. Getting expert advice on sport techniques is an investment that will pay performance and health dividends.

Did you know that you are likely to succeed in making healthy diet changes if you start gradually? If you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, try eating one more extra serving each day. Try eating healthier versions of foods you enjoy, such as lower fat cheeses and lower fat mayonnaise and salad dressings.

If running a the sport for you, experts recommend never increasing your mileage by more than 10 percent a week.
Walking is great for the legs, for weight loss, and for cardiovascular health. If you are not use to exercising then try 5 or 10 minutes at a time and gradually build up to 30 minutes on most days.

Original Article

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Monday, October 20, 2008

What Women Need to Know About Birth Control

As a woman who grows older and is more curious to different things, Birth Control might come across her mind. I found an article that could spark up some minds of a woman. It's very interesting to read! I just thought it might do some of you women some good. I really thought that it was informative and well written. There are drugs that cause Vitamin Deficiency and they could cause less problems during unwanted pregnancy and birth. Which is very vital for people who take a lot of pills and they probably don't know what can effect a birth control to less likely work.
Many prescription drugs cause vitamin and mineral imbalances or deficiencies. Diuretics used to lower blood pressure deplete heart-essential minerals such as magnesium. The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins (Mevacor, Zocor) deplete coenzyme Q10 which is essential for healthy heart muscles. Birth control pills deplete vitamin B6 and folic acid. Folic acid protects against birth defects and both vitamins protect against cervical dysplasia, the abnormal cell growth detected by a pap smear. You're much better off if you can avoid birth control pills, but if you must take them, be sure to get 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 200 mcg of folic acid daily.

Also, the following drugs can make birth control pills less effective, increasing the risk of an unwanted pregnancy and the risk of birth defects: antibiotics (including macrolides, penicillins, tetracyclines), rifampin for TB, antifungals such as metronidazole (Flagyl), anti-HIV drugs, and epilepsy drugs.

Original Article



Friday, October 17, 2008

Supplements helpful for Acne Treatment

What is Acne? Well Acne is a disease caused by an increase in both keratin and sebum (oil) production within the gland. Acne is the most common of all skin problems/disorders. The lesions are mainly on the face, but can also present on the back, shoulders, and chest.

Do have Acne and are you tired of it? Well here are some helpful supplements for Acne Treatment.

First of all, Herbal Acne Treatments, like Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) and Ocimum gratissiumum (basil species) are two herbal supplements that have been affective in the topical treatment of acne.

1. Tea tree oil - The oil is harvested from the leaves of a native tree species in Australia. The oil has certain antiseptic properties and is effective in combating a wide range of organisms, including most of the natural skin bacterium that contribute to severe acne. Tea tree oil also exhibits antifungal properties and is used as an astringent. A 5% tea tree oil concentration is best effective against superficial forms of acne, and concentrations of 15% may be used for deep acne.
2. Oil of Basil - Another topical herbal preparation that is useful for the treatment of acne, oil of basil has similar properties to preparations containing tea tree oils. Interestingly, it is often effective in a lesser percentage solution - 2% and 5% concentrations. In one particular study, oil of basil was shown to be significantly more effective than 5% benzoyl peroxide. However, the 5% solution of ocimum (basil) was too irritating to use regularly on the skin.

Next, supplements for Acne treatment are also very helpful.
1. Vitamin A is essential for the treatment of acne. Retinol, a bioactive component of Vitamin A, reduces sebum and keratin production from the sweat glands. In clinical application, this water-soluble vitamin has proved effective in treating acne at an oral dose of 150,000-400,000 IU per day. However, it is important to note that doses ingested in this elevated range are considered toxic and should only be taken under a physician's care. When females supplement with Vitamin A, it is important to avoid higher dosages if there is possibility of pregnancy.
2. Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring antibiotic. It is primarily dispensed in a 20% cream. It has been found to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin, tetracycline, and tretinoin. The only conventional treatment proven to be more effective is oral isotretinoin, though azelaic acid has fewer side effects and produces little or no irritation and toxicity to the body.
3. Vitamin B3 has been shown to be a legitimate treatment for acne. As an effective antioxidant, it is protective to the cell membrane and prevents cellular breakdown by free radicals and lipid peroxidation.

For more information visit the Original Article

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Foods that Prevent Cancer

Of course, there were foods that we all knew it wasn't healthy for us. If you guys have ever heard of the movie Supersize Me, you guys would know what I'm talking about. After seeing that movie you probably don't want to eat Mc Donalds for awhile. But check this out! I found an article that did an interview with Mike Adams about the foods that actually prevent cancer. It's true.. and I'm not surprised at all. For those of you who don't know who Mike Adams is.. he's basically a health freak. And in this article, he is 100% aware that he stays away from cancerous foods. He even gives a little bit of a few tips in this article! A Natural chemotherapy type deal. People don't realize that health is very important, but yet we continue to abuse it often.

Did you know that there’s an active ingredient in turmeric, which is an ingredient in curry, called curcumin? Curcumin causes cancer tumors to be unable to grow by destroying the blood vessels that feed those tumors, making the tumors die inside your body. If you combine curcumin with black pepper, it multiplies the effectiveness of curcumin by 1,000 times. It makes it the most powerful natural chemotherapy you can ever experience. You eat curry and pepper, and add some broccoli, and for the next 48 hours, your body will be destroying cancer tumors better than any chemotherapy known to modern science.

Original Article


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vitamin Pills a Waste of Money?

I remember posting a blog not too long ago about Vitamin Pills help against diseases. Now, I found an article about how Vitamin Pills that are supposed to help fight diseases are a waste of money. The Heart Protection Study did testing that the Vitamin bills were rarely beneficial. Don't get me wrong though, it's not like vitamins aren't good for you.. they are.. but not to help fight against cancer. Vitamins are taking to fill up the things that we don't ear.. like vegetables and fruit. At least we know taking our vitamins are doing some good in our body. I'm just disappointed to see that there's not a lot you could do to prevent cancer.

"There is a lot of evidence that vitamins in the diet are a good thing such as eating fresh fruit and vegetables."

The people studied were given relatively high doses of vitamins - 600mg of vitamin E, 250mg of vitamin C and 20mg of beta-carotene.

Rory Collins, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford who led the study which is published in the Lancet, said: "Over five years we saw absolutely no effect.

"Vitamin pills are a waste of time. There was no evidence of any protective effect against heart disease, cancer or any other outcome. They are safe but they are useless."

Original Article

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Steps for a Younger You

Time sure goes by fast!! And those days that pass are valuable days that can even make you younger. Using these tips will not only help to prevent premature aging, but they may also help you look and feel younger than you currently do-no matter what your condition. Start thinking fresh and keep your body and mind vibrant this year!

1. Count your Calories
Several studies have found that eating a highly nutritious, calorie restricted diet slows the aging process.
2. Maintain a healthy muscle mass with resistance training
After the age of 30 we lose approximately one pound of muscle per year if we don't continue resistance training. So it is very important to remain active and get yourself those rubber stretching bands, to strengthen your muscles.
3. Take antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E and minerals like selenium and zinc.
These help to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. This damage is linked to the aging process.
4. Ship the Coffee.
Caffeine in coffee and tea causes dehydration, increases the secretion of stress hormones and causes loss of minerals like magnesium.
5. Take essential fatty acid supplements to keep your skin supple and inflammation low.
Take a high quality fish oil supplement daily. Fish oils are great natural anti-inflammatory compounds.

For the rest of the list (Original Article)

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Category: Fish Oil

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Monday, October 13, 2008

No Cold Remedies for Children Under Four

Gave you ever wondered what age you should start giving your child flu and cold remedies? Well the big drug companies say that no child under 4 should be given flu and cold remedies. On Tuesday drug companies said in a concession to pediatricians who doubt the drugs work in kids and worry about their safety.

The voluntary changes came less than a week after federal health officials said they also saw little evidence that the drugs work, but feared that parents would give kids adult medicines if the products were taken off store shelves. In addition, the drug makers said they will add a warning to their products that parents should not give children antihistamines to make them sleepy. These are allergy-relief medications often found in medicines that combine several ingredients to treat a variety of symptoms.Problems with OTC cough and cold medicines send some 7,000 children to hospital emergency rooms each year, with symptoms ranging from hives, to drowsiness, to unsteady walking. Many kids overdose by taking medicines when their parents aren't looking. Since a majority of the problems involve 2- to 3-year-olds, the industry's new instructions, if followed by parents, should help. "The 2- and 3-year-olds are definitely the highest risk," said Sharfstein. "More than 50 percent of the problem is with these kids. "If they don't have this stuff around the home, they're less likely to grab it and ingest it."

Pediatricians still support recalling the medicines for children under 6, and the Food and Drug Administration is studying their effectiveness for children under 12. But it could take a year or more for federal health officials to reach a final decision. The industry is also expanding an educational campaign aimed getting parents to be more careful in giving their kids cough and cold medicines.

Original Article

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

US govt policy displays fear of bioterrorism

IN a recent article from the Associated Press, I found out that the US government is controlling America's export of bird flu vaccines to countries which it considers to be nests of terrorist activity. On this list are Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Sudan. The article also mentioned North Korea, but just today the US government removed North Kora from its terror blacklist. I have yet to find out how this policy affects North Korea now. The bird flu vaccines is just one of the many vaccines whose export is heavily watched by the US government. The worry is that other countries might use it as a biological weapon against the United States. Peter Palese, chairman of the microbiology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said that the regulations bird flu vaccines made "no scientific sense", because the vaccines were mainly used on chickens, ot on humans in order to prevent the bird flu virus from mutating into a form that would in fact be harmful to humans.

I am not sure as to the full implications of this government policy, but I do agree that the US must rethink its policies in such a way that each action is not counterproductive. Often times, well intentioned regulations can lead to harmful and even catasthropic results.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081011/ap_on_re_as/as_bird_flu_biological_warfare;_ylt=AteSu4sb9IuQd6490RXOil7VJRIF


Sizing up the presidential candidates' health plans

Since health care is on top of the political agenda in this year's elections, it would be good to look at the proposals of Barack Obama and John McCain on how to solve the current health issue.

Barack Obama's plan is more government oriented and the centerpiece of his plan is to start a health program which would cater mainly to people who are uninsured. He also wants to give poor people subsidies in order that would help them secure insurance policies. Obama's plan also involves requiring businesses to offer health insurance or else put a tax on them, which would fund insurance for those who do not have it. Lastly, he would require that children be insured, contenidng that it is cheaper to insure them than adults.

Now let's take a look at John McCain. To be sure, John Mccain's plan relies on the strength of the market. The centerpiece of his plan is to provide a refundable tax credit to families (for $5000) and individuals (for $2500) to allow them to purchase insurance policies in the private sector. He would also work with governors to set-up a "high risk insurance pool" for people who ahve pre-existing conditions. Finally, he also plans to deregulate the insurance markets.

So which one better? Well, fundamentally I agree with john McCain that our health care crisis can be solved by the free market. However, I would still refuse to put my endorsement on him because his plan misses out on some key components that would make it work properly. These things include abolishing the FDA, pullin the plug on costly government health progams such as Medicare and Medicaid, and ending mandates on employers to provide health insurance to their employees. All of these things drive up the costs for individual consumers and unless McCai pays attention to these things, his plan will not work. His tax credits will only truly help people if costs go down and the only way to do this is to eliminate third party insurance payers such as the government (who currently pays for 50% of the nations health care expenses) To McCain's credit, however, I do agree that we should have a high risk insurance pool that would end discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

Obama's plan to expand government health care, while flowery and politically sound, but I believe it is counterproductive and unwise at a time when we are already mired in soaring deficits and fianancial meltdowns.

ORIGINAL PHOTO and ARTICLE: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-candidates-healthcare-intro13-2008oct13,0,7066440.story

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vitamins prevents Diseases?

We have always wondered what we could take to prevent us from any serious health issues. With an article I just found, I thought it would be interesting to share with all of you. In this article, it stated that you could actually prevent diseases in two ways. I'm not sure if this one, but I think they mean for example if your body takes in a lot of Vitamin C you could gain stronger bones; thus, you cannot get osteoporosis. That's just how I'm thinking though. I really think that people should start taking in more vitamins. It's natural resources that we could all get and we could basically be living in a more healthy state of life. I think that we really tend to focus more on junk foods and stuff that could cause serious health issues, when we should really be focusing on vitamins. I partially think that taking away junk foods from school is the best thing to do but i also think that schools should offer more vitamins in their selection. (yeah i know that sounds crazy) but it's true!

Vitamins can help prevent disease in two main ways: By preventing the deficiency syndromes characteristic of the respective vitamin, and through the health benefits conferred by that specific vitamin. For example, Vitamin A is important for our vision. It also plays a major role in bone growth, reproduction, cell division and cell differentiation. It helps maintain the surface linings of the eyes and the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts. When those linings break down, bacteria can enter the body and cause infection.

Original Article

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Exercise in a Pill?

For every couch potato out there, LISTEN UP! What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat? Scientists reported Thursday that there is such a drug, there's just a small catch, you have to be a mouse.

Sedentary mice that took the drug for four weeks burned more calories and had less fat than untreated mice. And when tested on a treadmill, they could run about 44 percent farther and 23 percent longer than untreated mice. Just how well those results might translate to people is an open question. But someday, researchers say, such a drug might help treat obesity, diabetes and people with medical conditions that keep them from exercising.

"We have exercise in a pill," said Ron Evans, an author of the study. "With no exercise, you can take a drug and chemically mimic it." Evans, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute reports the work with colleagues in a paper published online Thursday by the journal Cell. They also report that in mice that did exercise training, a second drug made their workout much more effective at boosting endurance. After a month of taking that drug and exercising, mice could run 68 percent longer and 70 percent farther than other mice that exercised but didn't get the drug.

But Eric Hoffman of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., noted that AICAR mimics only aerobic exercise, not the strength training that might be more useful to bedridden people or the elderly, for example. He also cautioned that it's not clear whether the new mouse results can be reproduced in people. Goodyear said exercise has such widespread benefits in the body that she doubts any one pill will ever be able to supply all of them. "For the majority of people," she said, "it would be better to do exercise than to take a pill."

Original Article

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

SF's health care program

Barry Goldwater once said that we would be better off if we saw off the northeastern seaboard and let it float away. I do not share the same bluntness as the former Senator about the east coast, but I certainly do think that we have a problem out here in the West. It's called San Francisco. Now do not get me wrong. I happen to agree with the civil libertarians out there who believe that gays should get married and that abortion is a woman's right.

But lately, that place has been going to far. First off, the city/county has been caught harboring illegal immigrants (some of them young drug dealers) and then sending them out to neighboring counties. Now, I do believe we should have open borders, but for the sake of decency and the rule of law, please contain your criminals and do not send them to other places.

The latest outrage form San Francisco, however, is its "citywide healthcare system". This is SF's miniature of the common liberal's fantasy: universal health care. And with the 9th Circuit of Appeals upholding it, it seems that such idea is well on its way to greater prominence. Governor Schwarzenegger got a boost of confidence because of this court decision and is probably plotting to ressurect his idea of a statewide health care system. It won't be long if the idea is finally done in the national arena.

Which scares me.

Get this: if the government provides your health care, then the gvvernment has control over your health care. That is the philosophical argument. But maybe that won't cut it.

But what if I told you that government intervention in health care is the reaosn behind skyrocketing prices? In my opinion, and reasonable economists would agree, that the government's intrusion in health care (i.e. Medicare; its mandates on employers to provide health insurance to workers, etc.) has driven up the costs for individual insurance buyers to the point that folks are choosing to be uninsured instead. If we truly want to drive down the cost of health care and allow people to purchase cheap health insurance, it is time to pull the plug on government health entitlements and return control of health matters to where it belongs: private individuals.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/policy/la-fi-sfhealthtax1-2008oct01,0,4967157.story


Annother example of medical ethics dilemma

In a recent LA Times article, it was reported that Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff, a psychiatrist at Emory University, is being tied to conflict of interest allegations. He had apparently received $2.8 million "from companies whose drugs he was evaluating" and did not report all of his earnings. One of his donors is the drug company GlaxoSmithKline who had given him money while he was studying five of the company's drugs which was claimed to treat depression. He had also received large sums of money for giving speeches to fellow doctors despite signing "university documents pledging to accept no more than $10,000 a year from any one company."

Despite the depth of Dr Nemeroff's case, his situation is not an isolated one. Just as corporations and special interests are lobbying government officials to do favors for them, drug companies are pampering doctors in exchange for their support and favor of a certain drug. This is a growing trend in the medical field, although not all doctors engage in this dubious practice.

Now, I am one to tend towards a free market system, in which government has a limited role. I do believe, however, that government has the duty to protect the public from health risks and fraud. I believe that if any doctor or company exaggerates and falsifies their claims about the efficacy of a medicine, they should be persecuted under federal law. I do not care how much drug companies pay off doctors, but there should be strong punishments for any physician or company who makes fraudulent claims about their products.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-sci-doctors4-2008oct04,0,6123791.story

PHOTO SOURCE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thruartisticeyes/2120216212/