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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PAGE HAS BEEN REPLACED BY Dr JPB Prinsloo's Blog. In future please visit our Blog for the latest health related news and articles. The articles below will remain on this page due to their relevance and importance.



"It is not the fault of Homeopathy that science has not yet advanced sufficiently to conclusively measure it."
Dr. J.P. Prinsloo snr.


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Acetaminophen Use in Adolescents May Double Risk for Asthma
by Penny Murata, MD

The following is quoted as fair use from : Medscape.com

August 17, 2010 - Acetaminophen use in adolescents is linked to development and/or maintenance of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema, according to the results of a global study reported online August 13 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"This study has identified that the reported use of acetaminophen in 13- and 14-year-old adolescent children was associated with an exposure-dependent increased risk of asthma symptoms," said first author Richard W. Beasley, MD, professor of medicine at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in Wellington, in a news release, on behalf of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC).

At 113 centers throughout 50 countries, 322,959 adolescent children (aged 13 - 14 years) enrolled in ISAAC Phase Three completed written and video questionnaires regarding current symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema. They also completed a written environmental questionnaire regarding potential risk factors such as acetaminophen exposure in the preceding 12 months. Logistic regression allowed calculation of the odds ratio (OR) of current asthma symptoms associated with acetaminophen use, which was the main study endpoint.

Recent use of acetaminophen was associated with an exposure-dependent greater risk for current asthma symptoms, based on multivariate analyses. For medium use (at least once in the last year) vs no use, the OR was 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33 - 1.53). For high use (at least once in the last month) vs no use, the OR was 2.51 (95% CI, 2.33 - 2.70).

"The overall population attributable risks for current symptoms of severe asthma were around 40 percent, suggesting that if the associations were causal, they would be of major public health significance," Dr. Beasley said. "Randomized controlled trials are now urgently required to investigate this relationship further and to guide the use of antipyretics, not only in children but in pregnancy and adult life."

In multivariate analysis, there was also an acetaminophen exposure-dependent increased risk for current symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis (OR, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.29 - 1.47] and OR, 2.39 [95% CI, 2.24 - 2.55] for medium and high use, respectively) and eczema (OR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.21 - 1.42] and OR, 1.99 [95%

CI, 1.82 - 2.16] for medium and high use, respectively).

"Acetaminophen use may represent an important risk factor for the development and/or maintenance of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in adolescent children," the study authors write.

An accompanying "at a glance commentary" notes that potential mechanisms for these effects of acetaminophen include oxidant-induced airways inflammation and enhanced Th2 responses.

Limitations of this study include cross-sectional design, precluding determination of causality; and potential confounding factors.

Birth-Cohort Study Also Conducted

Also in the same issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine is a small, longitudinal study of the risk for asthma and allergies associated with acetaminophen use in a population in Ethiopia. This birth-cohort study by Alemayehu Amberbir and colleagues from Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, showed a temporal relationship between acetaminophen use and development of asthma and allergy symptoms, supporting a causal role for acetaminophen.

The individual centers and collaborators that undertook ISAAC Phase Three were funded by numerous sources throughout the world. The main source of funding for the ISAAC International Data Centre (IIDC) is The BUPA Foundation, with support from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, the Child Health Research Foundation, the Hawke's Bay Medical Research Foundation, the Waikato Medical Research Foundation, Glaxo Wellcome New Zealand, the NZ Lottery Board, and AstraZeneca New Zealand. Glaxo Wellcome International Medical Affairs supported the regional coordination for Phase Three, and the IIDC supported this study.

The birth-cohort study was funded by Asthma UK and the Wellcome Trust.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. Published online August 13, 2010.

Study Highlights

Data were available for 322,959 children aged 13 to 14 years from 113 centers in 50 countries.

Subjects completed a written environmental questionnaire about protective and risk factors including acetaminophen use in the past 12 months; a written questionnaire about current symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema; and a video questionnaire about asthma symptoms.

Exclusion criteria were centers that deleted the acetaminophen use question, centers with less than 70% data for current acetaminophen use, centers with less than 1000 enrolled children, missing data for sex, and missing data for current acetaminophen use.

Adjusted and multivariate analyses included 180,887 subjects with complete covariate data or subjects who came from centers with at least 70% covariate data.

Current acetaminophen use was considered medium if taken at least once in the past 12 months and high if taken at least once a month in the past 12 months.

Current asthma symptoms were defined as reported wheezing or whistling in the chest in the past 12 months.

Separate assessment of current wheeze was defined as reported symptoms similar to a video showing wheezing at rest. Current rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms were defined as sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, or itchy watery eyes in the absence of a cold or the flu in the past 12 months.

Current eczema symptoms were defined as an itchy rash in the folds of the elbows; behind the knees; in front of the ankles; under the buttocks; or around the neck, ears, or eyes recurring for at least 6 months in the past 12 months.

Severe asthma was defined as 4 or more wheezing attacks, 1 or more nights per week of disturbed sleep because of wheezing, or wheezing severe enough to limit speech in the past 12 months.

The primary outcome measure was the OR of current asthma symptoms linked with acetaminophen use.

Medium acetaminophen use occurred in 73% of participants (range, 41% in China to 92% in Panama).

High acetaminophen use occurred in 30% of subjects (range, 2% in Taiwan to 68% in Nigeria).

Analysis adjusting for sex, region of the world, language, and gross national income showed that an increased risk for current asthma symptoms was dependent on exposure to acetaminophen use:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.31 - 1.46)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 2.36; 95% CI, 2.24 - 2.50)

Multivariate analysis adjusted for maternal education, current maternal smoking, siblings, and current intake of vegetables and fruit.

Multivariate analysis showed that an increased risk for current asthma symptoms was dependent on exposure to acetaminophen use:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.33 - 1.53)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 2.51; 95% CI, 2.33 - 2.70)

In multivariate analysis, there was also an acetaminophen exposure-dependent increased risk for current symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.29 - 1.47)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 2.39; 95% CI, 2.24 - 2.55)

In multivariate analysis, there was an acetaminophen exposure-dependent increased risk for current symptoms of eczema:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.21 - 1.42)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.82 - 2.16)

Current acetaminophen use was linked with an exposure-dependent increased risk for current wheeze determined by video questionnaire, severe asthma, current rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema.

After exclusion of subjects with current wheeze, an increased risk for current rhinoconjunctivitis was linked with current acetaminophen use:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.25 - 1.42)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 2.04 - 2.33)

After exclusion of subjects with current wheeze, an increased risk for current eczema was linked with current acetaminophen use:

Medium vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.21 - 1.44)

High vs no acetaminophen use (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.7 - 2.05)

Study limitations include possible confounding and possible increased use of acetaminophen in persons with asthma.

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Research reconfirms that taking SSRIs (Anti-depressant drugs) during early pregnancy cause septal heart defects in children.
Published in the British Medical Journal, 23 September 2009

The following is quoted from : READ THE FULL ARTICLE

"Participants 493 113 children born in Denmark, 1996-2003."

"In the linked population based cohort study from Denmark, Pedersen and colleagues confirm a previously reported doubling of risk for septal heart defects after early exposure in pregnancy to SSRIs."

"each of the more commonly used drugs in this class has been implicated in at least one study, so it is difficult to conclude that one SSRI is "safer" than another."

"Women should be informed about the possible risks and benefits of their treatment choices, and ongoing consultation between the patient's obstetrician and psychiatrist is needed during pregnancy, to determine and carry out the most appropriate and acceptable treatment plan."

"Most drugs taken by pregnant women have not been well studied, or studied at all with respect to safety of the fetus. Although research about SSRIs and pregnancy outcomes is plentiful, it does not necessarily provide definitive answers for clinical practice."

"Conclusion - There is an increased prevalence of septal heart defects among children whose mothers were prescribed an SSRIs in early pregnancy, particularly sertraline and citalopram. The largest association was found for children of women who redeemed prescriptions for more than one type of SSRIs."

As always, they try to down-play the risk with the following words (note the use of the words "small risk") -
"Clinicians and patients need to balance the small risks associated with SSRIs against those associated with undertreatment or no treatment."

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Paracetamol under the spotlight
by Prega Govender, Published:Jul 04, 2009

The following is quoted from : The Times

Popular painkillers for mild pain and fever that are bought over the counter will come under the spotlight at the Medicines Control Council's next monthly committee meeting.

The move follows this week's vote by the US Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel to reduce the daily dosage of acetaminophen, known locally as paracetamol, because of its side effects on the liver.

According to US news reports, even recommended dosages can cause liver damage in some people.

More than 400 people die and 42000 are hospitalised every year in the US as a result of overdosing.

In both South Africa and the US, the maximum recommended dosage of paracetamol is four grams or eight pills a day. There are about 175 different painkillers in the country that contain paracetamol, including Panado, Syndol and Dolorol.

Mukesh Dheda, head of the council's pharmacovigilance unit, said it would be studying the US recommendation closely.

"We will look at it in context and see what the situation in our country is and whether it warrants any action."

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Painkiller (Paracetamol) may damage liver
(HealthDayNews) Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The following is quoted from : The Times

In a new study, people who repeatedly took the maximum recommended daily dose of acetaminophen (Paracetamol) developed abnormalities in blood tests that can be a signal for liver damage.

The study researchers said they first noted the potential for liver toxicity in patients treated for pain with a combination of the opioid hydrocodone plus acetaminophen. But, before this study, the scientists had assumed the threat came from the hydrocodone.


So, the new findings came as somewhat of a shock, the researchers said.

A previously unrecognised effect

"This clearly showed, much to our jaw-dropping surprise, that it had nothing to do with the opiate," said Dr Paul Watkins, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It was a previously unrecognised but pretty remarkable effect of acetaminophen alone when taken as directed for four days."

Still, acetaminophen, which is most commonly marketed as Tylenol, has been on the market for 20 years and has a clear safety record, Watkins said, and consumers should not stop taking the drug if they really need it.

"No one should ever take a drug they don't need," he said. "But this study is not a reason to stop taking acetaminophen if you need it."

"There is concern, but this is not black or white," added Dr Eugene Schiff, MD, chief of the division of hepatology and professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He pointed out that acetaminophen has been known to elevate liver enzymes in people who are regular drinkers or who have been fasting.

Upper limit is too high

However, Schiff said, "This paper is important, because they're showing that what we thought was the upper limit of safety in people who are not regular drinkers or fasting - that it's too high. To me, the critical factor is, 'What is the upper limit that's safe?' "

Millions of people take acetaminophen for pain relief. Some of these people can't take aspirin because of its gastrointestinal effects, or can't take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (Aleve). Use of Celebrex, one of a newer class of NSAIDs called cox-2 inhibitors, is also controversial because of cardiovascular problems linked to two recalled cox-2s, Vioxx and Bextra.

The current findings came about by accident. In the process of conducting a trial on a combination acetaminophen/narcotic drug, Purdue Pharma discovered that a number of healthy volunteers had a high incidence of abnormalities in blood aminotransferase (ALT and AST) tests used to measure levels of specific liver enzymes. Those results "would normally be considered very alarming," Watkins said.

The initial concern was that it was the narcotic, hydrocodone, that was responsible for the increase.

That trial was halted, and the company called in Watkins and another expert to design the current study, published in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Watkins and two other authors reported having served as paid consultants to Purdue during the planning and execution of the study but not during preparation of the article.

How the study was conducted

For this study, 145 healthy adults each received either a placebo, one of three acetaminophen/opioid combinations, or acetaminophen alone for 14 days. Each active treatment included 4 grams of acetaminophen daily, the maximum recommended daily dosage.

None of the patients in the placebo group had a maximum ALT measurement of more than 3 times the upper limit of normal.

However, in the four treatment groups, 31 percent to 44 percent of patients had a maximum ALT of more than three times the upper limits of normal. Those in the acetaminophen-alone group had a similar elevation, suggesting that the opioid had nothing to do with the effect.

"It was so unbelievable that I am conducting an ongoing study with 50 people," Watkins added. "That's not in the JAMA paper, but we're finding that it verifies the findings."

The authors suspect, however, that ALT elevations should go down, even after continued use of acetaminophen. "I'm quite convinced that if we continue to treat people, they would come back to normal, so that about after a month, I believe liver chemistries would be normal, even continuing," Watkins said.

Liver marker questioned

One question raised by the paper is whether aminotransferase elevations are even accurate in predicting the potential for liver damage.

"In the past, when we've seen liver enzyme abnormalities to this extent, it has indicated to us physicians that there is significant liver injury or damage occurring," Watkins said. "Since we have decades of experience and know the safety of acetaminophen, are the tests as good as we thought they were? Maybe they're not good predictors as to which drugs are going to have liver problems," he added.

It's also possible that a number of past tests have been misread, incorrectly attributing elevations to a drug other than acetaminophen.

"Because recommended doses of acetaminophen have not been previously recognized to cause liver enzyme elevations, physicians may have embarked on costly liver evaluations unnecessarily," Watkins said. "Also, treatment with other drugs suspected to cause liver problems, such as lipid-lowering medicines, may have been stopped unnecessarily."

The message to consumers is to pay attention to dosing and duration of use when taking acetaminophen (and other drugs). In particular, pay attention to "hidden" acetaminophen in other drug products.

"There are a lot of combination drugs that include acetaminophen that people aren't aware," Schiff said. "That's been a problem."

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Life Threatening Side Effects of Celebrex

The following is quoted from : Rxlist.com and LawInfo.com


Celebrex has recently been found to increase the risk of heart attack by a factor of 2.5 compared with older nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Cardiovascular Risk

Celebrex may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. All nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have a similar risk. This risk may increase with duration of use. Patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be at greater risk.

Celebrex is contraindicated for the treatment of perioperative pain in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Gastrointestinal Risk

NSAIDs, including Celebrex, cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events.

Common Celebrex side effects include cold-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, sneezing, cough), skin rash, swelling in the extremities.

Less common Celebrex side effects can include burning sensation in chest or stomach, chest congestion, diarrhea, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, flu-like symptoms (muscle aches, weakness, nausea, chills), stomach tenderness, indigestion, back pain, or runny nose.

Although these side effects are rare, they are known to happen. Contact your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of these side effects: anxiety, susceptibility to infection, constipation, breathing problems, breast problems, eye infection, cataract, dermatitis, diabetes, difficult urination, sweating, numb or tingling fingers or toes, ear infection, fungal infection, hepatitis, inflamed digestive tract or bladder, kidney stones, skin sensitivity or increased reaction to sunlight, tendonitis, hair loss, laryngitis, menstrual difficulties, herniated stomach, migraine, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia, leg cramps, or nosebleeds.

Certain health conditions can put people at greater risk of the dangerous side effects associated with Celebrex. These conditions and side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions to Celebrex mean that you should end treatment immediately. Contact your doctor immediately. People with allergies to Sulfonamides (sulfadiazine, sulfisoxazole, Gantanol, or Thiosulfil), other NSAIDs, carry a much higher risk of an allergic reaction to Celebrex.
  • Anemia - Celebrex may trigger this condition in rare cases, and should be used cautiously by individuals with a prior history of this iron deficiency.
  • Asthma - Celebrex could trigger an asthma attack. Make sure that your doctor closely monitors any adverse reaction. Asthmatics that are sensitive to Aspirin are at the highest risk for an allergic reaction to Celebrex.
  • Dehydration - Due to the increased risk of kidney damage, people suffering from dehydration should not take Celebrex.
  • Diabetics - are especially vulnerable to side effects, and should not take Celebrex.
  • Heart problems - Long-term Celebrex treatment may cause renal toxicity and decreased blood flow to the heart. Patients with pre-existing heart conditions, liver problems, and those taking diuretics or angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are most likely to be affected. High blood pressure is also a possible side effect of this medication. Normal function may be restored when the patient stops taking Celebrex. If not, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Kidney or liver impairment - Celebrex could aggravate or trigger these conditions. Kidney damage may also result from long-term use of Celebrex.
  • Symptoms of liver problems include yellowing skin, pain to the right of your stomach, itchy skin, nausea, drowsiness, or other flu-like symptoms. Stop taking Celebrex and contact your doctor immediately if these conditions develop. If you are then diagnosed with a kidney or liver problem, consult a specialist.
  • Pregnancy - COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex should not be taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy, and have not been studied for safety earlier in pregnancy. You suffer personal injury or your baby could have a birth defect or even die from a cause that may be linked with the use of Celebrex.
  • Ulcer or Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding - Celebrex may cause or aggravate deterioration and bleeding in the GI tract. Active ulcers are a contraindication for treatment, so if your doctor prescribed Celebrex while you have an active ulcer and it was aggravated as a result, you may have a case against the manufacturer as well as the doctor and pharmacist who filled the prescription.
  • Water retention - Celebrex can aggravate any problems related to fluid retention such as heart failure, high blood pressure, or oedema (swelling).

Celebrex Resources

- Official Celebrex Web site maintained by its Manufacturer, Pfizer, Inc.

- FDA statement on Celebrex.

- FDA consumer information on Celebrex.

- Celebrex drug class, medical uses, side effects and drug interactions by MedicineNet.com.

- Celebrex information including what it's used for and information for people who may be at greater risk for Celebrex side effects by Health Square.

- Questions and answers about Celebrex by Drugs.com

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Pharmacy Research Shows Prescribers Miss Potentially Dangerous Drug Pairs
by ScienceDaily (July 16, 2009)

The following is quoted from : DrugInfo mail forum

(The following article is of vital importance to patients as this may be happening to you!. It is of the utmost importance that patients seek advice from their pharmacist on possible drug-interactions between medicines they are currently taking, or that they have recently been prescribed. Tell your pharmacist about all the conventional and herbal medicines you are taking.
Homeopathic medicines may not necessarily interact negatively with conventional medicine, but there are instances where this may happen. Discuss this with your homeopath to ensure that there are no interactions between the Prescribed Homeopathic and conventional medicine. Your homeopath may also be able to advise you on herbal medicines you are taking.
Dr. Johan P. Prinsloo)

Research led by The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has found that medication prescribers correctly identified fewer than half of drug pairs with potentially dangerous drug-drug interactions.

These findings raise concern because of the high number of drugs Americans take: an average of 2.3 medications is prescribed during each physician office visit.

A synopsis of the research was published in May "Research Activities", a digest of research findings intended to contribute to the national policymaking process.

The researchers, led by Daniel Malone, PhD, professor at the UA College of Pharmacy, mailed a questionnaire to 12,500 U.S. prescribers who were selected based on a history of prescribing drugs associated with known potential for drug-drug interaction. Prescribers were primarily physicians, physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners.

Recipients were asked to classify 14 drug pairs as "contraindicated," "may be used together but with monitoring" or "no interaction." Respondents could also state that they were "not sure."

For the drug pairs, one commonly prescribed medication was matched with another commonly prescribed medication.

The 950 respondents classified 42.7 percent of all drug combinations correctly.

Of the 14 drug pairs presented, four of them were contraindicated, meaning they should not be used together. A majority of prescribers correctly identified only one of the four pairs as contraindicated.

Moreover, for half of the 14 drug pairs, more than one-third of the respondents answered that they were "not sure," and two of these drug pairs were contraindicated.

"The study found a very low rate of recognition of these particular interactions," says Malone, "and some of these interactions are very common."

Use of several of the contraindicated drug pairs could be dangerous. For example, taking sildenafil (Viagra®) and nitrates, such as isosorbide mononitrate, can be life-threatening.

According to Malone, the research indicates that health professional programs are not doing enough to teach students about potential drug-drug interactions. Consequently, patients should be sure to tell their pharmacist of all the medications they are taking.

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Drugs increase death rate of Alzheimer's patients
by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The following is quoted from : Daily Dose

Let me bring you up to speed on the use of anti-psychotic drugs used to treat dementia patients. First of all, a 2006 study showed that Alzheimer's patients who took these drugs had no significant improvement over placebos. We also know that these drugs can cause some serious side effects in Alzheimer's patients, such as an increased risk of stroke and respiratory issues. And another study linked the use of "atypical" antipsychotic drugs to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death - even in younger patients.

Now a study shows that the anti-psychotic drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat Alzheimer's could actually double a patient's risk of dying within a few years. The lead author of this study, Clive Ballard of the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases at King's College London, says that risk of death likely outweighs the benefit of these drugs.

Well, no kidding! I have yet to see anything good come from loading these helpless elderly people up on antipsychotic drugs that were never even intended to be used in this way. Ballard's study tracked 165 Alzheimer's patients aged 67 to 100. Half continued on their course of anti-psychotics, while the other half were took placebos.

At the end of two years, 71 percent of the placebo group were still alive - but only 46 percent of the group on anti-psychotics survived.

After three years, just 30 percent of those taking the anti-psychotics were alive, while 59 percent of the placebo group were still going strong.

Yet in spite of the increasing evidence of the dangers of these anti-psychotic drugs such as Risperdal, Thorazine, and Stelazine (as well as other derivatives like risperidone, quetiapine, and olanzapine), they racked up a staggering $14.5 billion in international sales in 2007. These are three of the top 10 best-selling drugs on the planet.

These drugs were never meant to be used long-term, yet as many as 60 percent of nursing home residents with dementia are placed on anti-psychotic regimens that last as long as two years. William Thies of the Alzheimer's Association said that "at some points, some people will be better off with no medication."

I doubt that's something that the Big Pharma companies that paid for this study will want to hear.

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Low-cal diet slows monkey aging
by Reuters, 2009-07-09 21:06

The following article is copied from : http://www.news24.com/
News 24

(The only thing ever to have been proven to prolong life in mammals is "near starvation". Numerous studies in rats have demonstrated that rats placed on a diet that only just kept them alive, far outlived rats that were over-fed or those on a standard diet. Now the latest twenty-year study in monkeys seems to prove this conclusively. To quote my father "One eats to live, one doesn't live to eat". Now read on - Dr. J.P. Prinsloo)

Chicago - A 20-year study of monkeys shows that a reduced-calorie diet pays off in less disease and longer life, US researchers said on Thursday, a finding that could apply to humans.

They said rhesus monkeys on a strict, reduced-calorie diet were three times less likely to die from age-related diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes over the study period than monkeys that ate as they liked.

"We have been able to show that caloric restriction can slow the aging process in a primate species," Richard Weindruch of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, whose study appears in the journal Science, said in a statement.

"We observed that caloric restriction reduced the risk of developing an age-related disease by a factor of three and increased survival," Weindruch said.

Humans may benefit too

The study in primates reinforces similar findings in yeast, worms, flies and rodents, and suggests other primates - including humans - may benefit, too.

Since people live far longer than monkeys, it may never be possible to fully study the effects of calorie restriction in humans, but monkeys do offer a close approximation, the team said.

Most caloric restriction studies have found that a lifetime of deprivation is needed to achieve the longer-life benefits, and many research teams are working on ways to replicate the findings with drugs.

Researchers reported on Wednesday that the antibiotic rapamycin, sold by Wyeth under brand Rapamune to suppress the immune system in transplant patients, showed promise at slowing age-related disease in older mice, but it is not clear how it works.

And several teams are hoping to harness the age-defying benefits of red wine. GlaxoSmithKline last year spent $720m to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, which has developed a souped-up version of the red wine compound resveratrol that has been found to make mice live longer and stay healthier.

Monkey at 30% less calories

In the latest study, Weindruch and colleagues studied the effects of calorie restriction over two decades in a group of rhesus macaque monkeys.

Half of the monkeys were allowed to eat as they pleased, and the other half ate a carefully controlled diet that provided just two-thirds of the calories they would normally choose to eat.

The team found that half of the monkeys that were allowed to eat freely over the course of the 20-year study have survived, while 80% of the monkeys that ate 30% fewer calories over the same period are still alive.

While rhesus macaques have an average life span of about 27 years in captivity, the team said.

The animals that ate less had half the amount of heart disease and cancer, and there were no cases of diabetes in the low-calorie group.

Animals on a restricted diet also had more brain volume in some regions than the animals that ate freely, suggesting diet may affect brain health in aging as well.

- Reuters

Read more on: low calorie diet | longer life

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Research shows HRT may shrink your brain
by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The following is quoted directly from Daily Dose (July 02, 2009)

Sometimes I wonder about how the healthcare community can continue to support certain medical practices or treatments in spite of an avalanche of evidence that they are downright dangerous. That's especially the case with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Researchers are doing their best to put a positive spin on two of the latest HRT studies, but in the end, I'm more convinced than ever that HRT is one of the most dangerous scams being foisted upon our nation's women by both Big Pharma and a willing health care community.

Over the course of six years, the first study examined the brain scans of 1,400 women who were part of a Women's Health Initiative (WHI) memory study. This research found no link between brain lesions or any evidence of increased dementia. But don't get too excited just yet. The second study analyzed MRI scans of the same women and concluded that HRT led to a "small but significant" shrinkage of the brain's frontal lobe and hippocampus regions -- areas known to be crucial to the brain's ability to handle memory and cognition.

So the risks of HRT include cancer, stroke, gallbladder disease, blood clots... and now brain shrinkage? I've yet to hear any legitimately positive things about this treatment. It's unbelievable to me that women subject themselves to all these dangers -- aided and abetted by their physicians -- just to alleviate postmenopausal symptoms.

As the downside of HRT pile up higher and higher, doctors -- and researchers, too, it seems -- continue to be in willful denial of the obvious dangers of this treatment. The bottom line is that HRT is a cash cow for many doctors.

My advice? Forget HRT. If you're bothered by hot flashes, load up on Vitamins E and C and call it a day.

Always focusing my attention on the lie of ADHD,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

Please visit The Douglas Report. Please click here to visit the subscription page.

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