Monthly Archives: July 2009

Use Lifestyle Remedies to Counteract Depression

Depression is a debilitating illness characterized by lack of energy, negative thoughts and an inability to experience joy and a sense of wellbeing. Sometimes this is due to psychological factors such as a job loss, an unhealthy relationship or bereavement. However, depression can often be a case of nutritional imbalances.

Cut out the following foods:

* Cut out sugar and all refined carbohydrates in food and drinks, as they create blood sugar imbalances which can contribute to adrenal fatigue leading to depression.

* Cut out processed and refined foods as they can contain chemicals which can deplete the body of nutrients which are needed to elevate mood.

* Cut down or cut out alcohol and caffeine as both can stimulate and stress the adrenals, causing blood sugar imbalances and the loss of nutrients required for mood elevation.

* Cut out any foods to which you know you are intolerant or allergic.

Increase the following foods:

* Eat good quality protein including organic lean red meat, game, eggs, fish and seafood, as well as free range white meats. Good vegetarian protein sources include: nuts and seeds, grains and legumes like Soya foods, and quinoa grains. Protein is very important for providing the amino acids required to build neuro-transmitters in the brain which regulate mood.
Regular protein at each meal is also very important in managing blood sugar balance and supporting the adrenal glands.

* Seafood is high in zinc, and red meat contains good levels of iron and Vitamin B. The grains also contain good levels of Vitamin B. Iron is also found in the dark green leafy vegetables.

* Eat plenty of vegetables, beans and pulses for fiber, as this can help balance blood sugar and are full of nutrients.

* Eat plenty of the omega 3 essential fatty acids, as they are known to support the performance of mood enhancing neurotransmitters. These foods include: oily fish like tuna, salmon, herring mackerel, sardines, anchovies and trout. Others include: walnuts, flax seeds and flax seed oil.

* Eat 3 meals a day and have two small snacks in-between meals if this helps stave off hunger. Ensure snacks have some protein in them (like nuts and seeds). This helps maintain blood sugar control.

* Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables each day as these contain many of the micronutrients, including Vitamin C and magnesium, which are important for mood regulation.

Lifestyle recommendations

* Consider visiting a nutritionist to help assess your thyroid and adrenal status, and to check for pyroluria, heavy metal toxicity, and food allergies and intolerances as well as your mineral status.

* Ensure you take regular exercise, especially in daylight, which releases endorphins which elevates mood. Exercise also increases serotonin in the body which is the feel good neuro-transmitter.

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About Blood

Blood is a weekly medical journal published by the American Society of Hematology. It was founded by Dr. William Dameshek, the researcher credited with describing the concept of myeloproliferative diseases and participating in the first studies of nitrogen mustard in various blood malignancies, in 1946, and has since been in continuous publication.

With 1,250 articles published annually, an impact factor of 10.896, and an Immediacy Index of 2.458,Blood is the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field. It provides an international forum for the publication of original articles describing basic laboratory, translational, and clinical investigations in hematology. The journal covers all aspects of hematology, including disorders of leukocytes, both benign and malignant, erythrocytes, platelets, hemostatic mechanisms, vascular biology, immunology, and hematologic oncology. All articles undergo a rigorous peer review and are selected on the basis of the originality of the findings, the superior quality of the work described, and the clarity of presentation. Blood is indexed and abstracted by Index Medicus, Excerpta Medica, Current Contents/Life Sciences, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index, SCISEARCH, Automatic Subject Citation Alert, ISI/BIOMED, and BIOSIS.

Blood Online provides access to First Edition Papers. These are pre-published papers that have been accepted into Blood, but are still going through our editorial process. First Edition Papers are fully integrated with the regular issues of Blood Online. They are searchable via Blood Online’s search engine, Cite Track, and Medline. First Edition Papers are also citable until the article is published in its final form.

Blood Online also provides a large amount of free content to the public. Five articles from each issue of Blood are made publicly available. Additionally, all articles are made publicly available twelve (12) months after publication. We also provide articles to patients free-of-charge (please visit our Public Access page for details).

The following special sections appear in issues of Blood:

  • Inside Blood – provides succinct summaries of cutting-edge topics, especially those that hold promise for future clinical application.
  • Plenary Papers – present cutting-edge findings in the broad discipline of hematology.
  • Review Articles – evaluate important advances in a wide range of specialty areas.

In addition to the fifty-two (52) weekly issues of Blood published annually, a supplemental issue is published in November of each year. This supplemental issue contains the ASH Annual Meeting Abstracts, and is published to coincide with the ASH Annual Meeting. The most recent four years of abstracts are searchable online via Blood Online’s search engine.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in Blood do not necessarily reflect those of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) or the Editors of Blood. Publication of an advertisement or other product mention in Blood should not be construed as an endorsement of the product or the manufacturer’s claims. Readers are encouraged to contact the manufacturer with any questions about the features or limitations of the products mentioned. ASH does not assume any responsibility for any injury and/or damage to persons or property arising from or related to any use of the material contained in this periodical. The reader is advised to check the appropriate medical literature and the product information currently provided by the manufacturer of each drug to be administered to verify the dosage, the method and duration of administration, or contraindications. It is the responsibility of the treating physician or other health care professional, relying on his or her independent experience and knowledge of the patient, to determine drug dosages and the best treatment for the patient

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Most Infertility Patients Try Nonmedical Treatments

For as long as couples have found it difficult to conceive and start a family, they have tried folk remedies and nonmedical advice from family and friends to improve their chances of becoming pregnant. With the development of the Internet, these recommendations can be shared at the keyboard, and advice has become even more widespread.

A study from The Ohio State University Medical Center showed that a majority of infertility patients used alternative therapies while attempting to become pregnant. The findings were published in a recent issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Nonmedical treatments for infertility can range from dietary changes and herbal remedies to acupuncture, yoga or massage therapy. In some cases charms, cards or other objects have been handed down through a family’s generations to help enhance the chance of pregnancy. “The study speaks to people’s commitment to do everything within their power to conceive,” said Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, obstetrician at The Ohio State University Medical Center and lead author of the study. “Most of the nonmedical options are shown to be harmless but very few, if any, have been shown to actually benefit infertility.”

Schaffir has recognized, and warns against, taking herbal medications, herbal teas, or an overabundance of vitamins, without consulting a physician. Some supplements have not been well studied, and herbal preparations may be inappropriately produced, leading either to sickness or to interference with infertility treatment.

Of 133 patients who completed questionnaires, 62.2 percent indicated use of alternative therapies. The most common were religious intervention (33.8 percent), changes in sexual practices (28.6 percent), and dietary changes (21.8 percent). Patients using alternative therapies were younger than those who did not. The study showed no difference in use of such interventions by women of different income, education, length of infertility or parity.

While most alternative treatments, from acupuncture to massage, are not risky in themselves, patients should consider the expenditure of time and money needed. In some cases, patients may consider it worthwhile if the treatment helps them feel relaxed and in control of their situation.

“However, if women utilize family members or the Internet for advice on infertility, they should not rely on unproven treatments for remedies. This could delay seeing a physician and possibly result in a lost opportunity,” said Dr. Beth Kennard, director, reproductive endocrinology/infertility at OSU Medical Center, and an author of the paper.

An aging woman has a declining chance of natural fertility. For example, a 34-year-old has a 15 percent chance of infertility, while a 40-year-old has twice that rate. “An undiagnosed condition may exist, such as underlying hormonal imbalances or a husband’s low sperm count. By postponing treatment for a woman with endometriosis, the condition could progress and may require more extensive medical or surgical treatment,” said Kennard.

“When patients use alternative therapies, they should always plan to use them in conjunction with conventional medical treatment,” warns Kennard. “The nonmedical treatments, used by themselves, could lead to a loss of time, and age can be the major factor in infertility.”

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How Exercise Affects Body Image In Women

Researchers from the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England are looking for female participants for a study investigating the relationship between exercise and body image. Dr James Byron-Daniel and MSc Research methods student, Nicola Stock will explore how small amounts of exercise make women feel about how they look and hope that the study will shed new light on an area where there is currently very little research.

James Byron-Daniel explains, “Despite the high importance placed on exercise in the media and within the NHS, surprisingly little research has been conducted into exactly how small amounts of exercise make people feel about the way they look. Whilst past research has shown that exercise improves body image in professional athletes, the relationship in non-athletes is less clear.”

“Body image, that is to say an individual’s own feelings about the way they look is supported by research to be more of an issue for women than for men. In this study we hope to find examples of how one influences the other, whether body image might improve, stay the same or deteriorate during and after a short period of exercise and what factors might influence this change such as performance, mood or general health.”

“As a starting point for this study, we are inviting female participants between the ages of 18-60 to come to the University. They will take part in a very brief, individually tailored 15-30 minute exercise session on an exercise bike during which we will also conduct questionnaires to monitor responses during and after exercise.”

The study will run until the end of the August. The results will be used to inform further research in this area and also will be published in a scientific journal.

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Asthma, Allergy Patients Respond Better To Advair

The study also showed patients treated with Advair plus Singulair saw no measurable improvement compared to patients treated with Advair alone in their asthma symptoms or albuterol use. In another comparison patients using Advair plus the intranasal corticosteroid, fluticasone propionate nasal spray, saw significant improvement in daytime nasal symptoms compared to patients treated with Advair plus Singulair (p<0.001).

“These findings give us a greater understanding of how to treat patients with asthma and seasonal allergies, two diseases that often are seen in tandem,” said Rohit Katial, MD, National Jewish Medical Research Center. “By using the right combination of treatments, physicians can help patients gain relief from the symptoms of both diseases.”

The study included people age 15 and up who had both persistent asthma and seasonal allergies. Patients received one of four different treatments: Advair Diskus 100/50 twice daily, Singulair 10 mg once daily, Advair 100/50 twice daily with Singulair 10 mg once daily or Advair 100/50 twice daily with fluticasone propionate nasal spray 200 mcg once daily. Those who received Advair alone had significant improvements in their morning peak expiratory flow, a measure of asthma control, as compared with Singulair alone (p<0.001). Secondary endpoints, including symptom-free days and rescue-treatment-free days, were significantly increased in the Advair group compared with the Singulair group. The incidence of adverse events was similar among all groups.

Advair Diskus combines two medications in one device to help prevent and control asthma symptoms. Asthma causes inflammation (swelling in the airways) and airway constriction (the tightening of muscles that surround the airways), and Advair contains both an inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone propionate, to reduce inflammation; and an inhaled long-acting bronchodilator, salmeterol, to help prevent and reduce airway constriction. Advair is for people who still have symptoms on another asthma controller, or whose disease severity clearly warrants treatment with two maintenance therapies.



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Merck Engaged in Blatant Scientific Fraud with Vytorin Cholesterol Study?

It’s no surprise these days to hear about a pharmaceutical company committing scientific fraud and distorting clinical trials to get the results they want, but it’s unusual to see it done as blatantly and arrogantly as what you’re about to see here.

In June, 2002, Merck and Shering-Plough began a cholesterol study called “ENHANCE” to test the effectiveness of their blockbuster drug Vytorin ($3 billion in sales so far). The trial concluded in 2006, and the final results are still not available. Why? Because the companies are sitting on the data, trying to figure out how to manipulate the results enough to make them look good!

The trial was attempting to measure the reduction of arterial plaque in the carotid arteries, and this reduction was measured by a high-tech ultrasound imaging technique called intravascular ultrasound. The measurements from the study were murky and unreliable. Some were “biologically implausible,” meaning the images were showing things that could not possibly exist in a human body. So instead of doing the scientifically correct thing and ditching the study results, they decided to do something arrogant (and scientifically invalid): They changed the definition of what the study was measuring, after the fact!

In other words, they decided to cherry pick the data they wanted to use by redefining the goal of the study after it was complete. This is such a blatant violation of scientific principles that it would earn you an “F” if you tried to pull this stunt in a high school chemistry class.

Upon hearing about this utterly non-scientific alteration of the trial goals, the medical community expressed outrage. Big Pharma critics leapt at the opportunity to point out how drug-company-funded clinical trials are little more than junk science designed to distort findings and produce the results desired by the study sponsor. Even Congress got in on the act, announcing an investigation of Merck for its apparent attempt to commit scientific fraud with Vytorin study results.

By the way, the FDA doesn’t require medical studies to be non-fraudulent. The agency is happy to accept fraudulent studies from Big Pharma — and it has done so for decades! When it comes to pharmaceuticals, the point of conducting studies is not to discover the scientifically-validated truth about a particular drug’s effects on the human body, but rather to provide a sufficient amount of pseudoscientific cover to allow the FDA to approve the drug and proclaim it to be both safe and effective. It’s all about sales, after all, and if a little science needs to be “redefined” along the way to earn another billion dollars a year in the marketplace, then that’s easy to accomplish.

So now, instead of measuring three points along the carotid artery where plaque typically accumulates, the Vyrotin ENHANCE study will retroactively select just one point. And guess what? Merck gets to choose which point!

I sure would like to use this system the next time I got to Vegas. I’ll just place my bet on the roulette wheel after the spinning stops! Or maybe I’ll go to the poker table, have the dealer toss me ten cards, and then I’ll decide which five cards I want to be in my hand! It sure would be nice to be able to cherry pick the results I want to “count” after the fact, wouldn’t it?

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No-Calorie Sweetener Erythritol May Aid Weight Loss and Diabetics

Erythritol, one of the newest no-calorie sweeteners on the market, delivers a double-fisted benefit. Along with being a zero-calorie sugar alternative for people interested in weight loss, a new study shows that erythritol may provide potent antioxidant activity, which may protect the blood vessels of people who have diabetes.

The new trial, which was conducted in The Netherlands, involved diabetic rats who were studied using two different approaches. In one, investigators found that erythritol was an effective antioxidant against hydroxyl free radicals but not against superoxide radicals. In the other, use of erythritol showed a protective effect against oxidative stress on the lining of the blood vessels. Previous studies have shown that erythritol can benefit diabetics because it does not affect glucose or insulin levels, and it has been promoted to help with weight loss as well.

Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol that is found naturally in fruits and fermented foods. For commercial use in foods, it is produced in the laboratory from glucose that is mixed with water and then fermented with a yeast. Because of how it is absorbed by the body it is nearly calorie-free (0.2 calories per gram), which makes it a desirable product for people interested in weight loss. Erythritol has been approved for use in the United States since 1997, the same year it was granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status.

The authors of the Netherlands study note that their study results suggest that erythritol’s benefits could go beyond those indicated for diabetes and weight loss and help individuals who have other chronic conditions in which free radicals cause significant tissue damage.

Den Hartog GJM et al. Nutrition 2009 July 23; doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.05.004
Sharafetdinov K et al. Voprosy Pitaniia 2002; 71(3): 19-23

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Scientist, 94, goes after the FDA for misleading trans fat food labels

At 94, University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor emeritus Fred Kummerow is an extraordinarily busy — and determined — man. Not only is he continuing to conduct research on how trans fats in the diet can harm health, he’s taking on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and sounding the alarm that the federal agency is allowing inadequate and misleading trans fat food labels which are downright dangerous to health.

Last month, Dr. Kummerow filed a 3,000 word petition with the FDA that outlines why trans fats, long a part of the American diet of fast and processed foods, are extremely bad for the human body and why the FDA is doing a rotten job of warning the public about what foods contain these substances. His mission is nothing less than to eradicate trans fats from human consumption. “Everybody should read my petition because it will scare the hell out of them,” Kummerow proclaimed in a statement to the press.

Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids) are not found in nature. They are made through the chemical process of hydrogenating oils. Sometimes labeled as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat or oil, trans fats are often used in baked goods like doughnuts, breads, crackers, potato chips, cookies, margarine and salad dressings.

So what’s so bad about these processed fats? Plenty. They are known to be a factor in the build up of atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaque in the arteries that interferes with blood flow, and they contribute to the formation of blood clots in coronary arteries that can lead to heart attacks and sudden death. What’s more, trans fats are now also known to increase low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the “bad” cholesterol, and to spur inflammation, which has been linked to a host of illnesses from heart disease to cancer.

Dr. Kummerow is no Johnny-come-lately to the field of trans fat research. He began publishing on the subject in 1957. And his crusade against trans fats in food began in earnest in 1968 when he insisted the American Heart Association urge members of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils to decrease the amount of trans fatty acids in shortenings and margarines and to replace them with essential fatty acids. “Even then, there was strong evidence that trans fatty acids increased plasma cholesterol levels,” Kummerow said in the statement to the press.

The food oil industry dragged its heels but finally lowered the trans fatty acid content and increased essential fatty acids in some processed food products. Those changes coincided with a significant decline in coronary heart disease mortality after 1968. However, far too many trans fats have remained in the American diet and heart disease has continued to be a huge killer.

According to Dr. Kummerow’s research, the latest published last month in the journal Artherosclerosis, trans fats displace the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3), which the human body needs to be healthy. Dr. Kummerow’s research has also found that trans fats interfere with the function of a key enzyme essential to blood flow regulation.

Faced with enormous evidence showing that trans fats are detrimental to health, the FDA finally required, starting in 2006, that trans fats are listed on food labels — or at least the FDA gave the impression that trans fats had to be listed. Dr. Kummerow says the FDA put in loop-holes that allow food labels to be woefully inadequate and downright misleading. For example, anything less than one-half gram of trans fats per serving is listed as zero grams. Clearly, anyone reading such a label would get the wrong impression that the food product has zero trans fats. And that’s a lie.

So Dr. Kummerow is calling the FDA out on this issue with his petition. He’s given the agency 180 days to respond to the facts he’s clearly listed. “According to American Heart Association data, nearly 2,400 Americans die of heart disease each day,” Dr. Kummerow explained in the media statement. “This statistic shows the importance of a quick response.”

If you’d like to help Dr. Kummerow get the message to the FDA that misleading the public about trans fat is not acceptable, you can read his petition and offer your comments at Under “Enter Keyword or ID,” type the petition docket number (2009-P-0382) and click on “search”. Once you get the results, scroll down the right-hand column and click on “Submit a Comment.” Enter your information on the left and write your comment in the box on the right.

For more information:……

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