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TEDxPennQuarter – Dr Jeff Benabio – How physicians will reinvent themselves (and medicine) The best thing you can do for your health in only 30 minutes per day

Can you be fat and fit?

It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, it matters where or not you move it on a regular basis. We tend to think of people that are “thin” as being more healthy than those that are overweight or “fat”, however it’s not that simple. Believe or not, that overweight person on the treadmill next to […]

Should you replace your bottle of Vitamin D with a daily dose of sunshine?

Scottish dermatologist Richard Weller discusses how regular exposure to sunlight may be the secret behind a healthy cardiovascular system in his TEDxGlasgow talk Dr Weller talks about how nitric oxide may be activated by sunlight exposure and be an important component of a healthy lifestyle

Younger people with high blood pressure are at risk for brain damage

How important is early diagnosis and control of high blood pressure (hypertension) in younger age groups (under 40 years old)? Probably more important that we thought based on a new research article that looked at the changes in both white and grey brain matter in hypertensive and normal blood pressure patients. How much of a […]

TEDxPennQuarter – Dr Jeff Benabio – How physicians will reinvent themselves (and medicine)

TEDxPennQuarter – Dr Jeff Benabio – How physicians will reinvent themselves (and medicine)

Jeff Benabio, M.D., a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, talks about the history and future of medicine and how physicians will once again reinvent how we deliver healthcare to our patients at TEDx last October.

The best thing you can do for your health in only 30 minutes per day

The best thing you can do for your health in only 30 minutes per day

Dr Michael Evans talks about the single best thing someone can do for their health and in only 30 minutes a day…

Can you be fat and fit?

It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, it matters where or not you move it on a regular basis.

We tend to think of people that are “thin” as being more healthy than those that are overweight or “fat”, however it’s not that simple. Believe or not, that overweight person on the treadmill next to you at the gym may be more healthy and fit than you…

Posted in Exercise, Featured0 Comments

Building more muscle may help you fight off cancer

If you need one more reason to start that New Years Resolution of heading back to the gym and working out, the NY Times had a nice commentary about a 2008 study in the Lancet Oncology journal. In this study, the group of cancer patients with less muscle mass had poorer outcomes both during and after their cancer treatment.

The study, published in the July 2008 issue of Lancet Oncology  by researchers at the University of Alberta, looked at the difference in total body fat-free mass in obese cancer patients using a CT scanner. The interesting point not picked up in the NY Times article has to do with the toxicity of chemotherapy treatments since the total body fat-free mass is supposed to determine distribution at toxicity of the chemotherapy. However, many drugs are dosed using a body surface area (BSA) calculation that dates back to a 1916 medical study.

Granted that there are variations of the body surface area formula that have been “improved” upon since then, but this study also suggests that there is not a good correlation in obese cancer patients between their body surface area and their fat-free mass due to the loss of muscle mass in some.

Posted in Cancer0 Comments

Most Americans with high blood pressure don’t have it under control

A report out from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) notes that out of the over 60 million Americans with the diagnosis of high blood pressure, the majority of them do not have it under control. High blood pressure is diagnosed when a patient has several blood pressure readings over 140/90 across at least a two week time period. Usually, people with high blood pressure have no obvious symptoms or complaints. However, untreated hypertension is believed to be a major contributor to the later development of heart disease and strokes; which are the #1 and #4 cause of death in the United States.

What’s sad about this report on the status of hypertension control is that for many of these people, simple lifestyle changes can bring their blood pressure back into the normal range and significantly reduce their risk of future medical problems. Changes in diet, such as following the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) have been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure in some patients by over 10 points.

Regular exercise, just as jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobic classes, or simply walking have also been shown to be a valuable component of a smart hypertension control program through lifestyle modification.

Ideally, we should be focusing on the exercise and nutrition intervention rather than medical management for the majority of people with mild hypertension without other medical issues.

Find out more about the DASH diet at www.dashdiet.org

Posted in Heart Health, Prevention, Uncategorized0 Comments

Can you get Mad Cow Disease from eating farm-raised fish?

Good grief Charlie Brown!

As more and more people discover the benefits of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in fish and try to add fish to their diet, they may find that they are at a small (and theoretical) risk of “Mad Cow” disease from eating farm-raised fish.

The June 2009 issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease had an article from the University of Louisville looking at the possible risk of developing “Mad Cow” disease or Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in people that eat farm-raised fish that had been fed fish food that contains infected cow parts.

The risk of developing Creutzfeldt Jakob disease may be negligible or nonexistent, but it may be one reason to pick the wild salmon over the farm-raised salmon on your next trip to the seafood department.
While I think the risk is small, especially with other issues such as mercury content in larger fish, the risk of developing “Mad Cow” disease could be an evolving concern.

One more reason to look closely at the type of fish that we eat – farm-raised salmon should be labeled either as “farm raised” or “color-added”. Fish caught in the wild is also usually labelled as such. Farm-raised salmon is also sometimes called “Atlantic” salmon, which I personally think is a marketing ploy to confuse the geographically-challenged fish shopper.

I’m sure more than one slightly-confused attempting-to-shop-healthy shopper thought ” ‘Alaskan’ or ‘Atlantic’ – heck they both begin with the letter ‘A’ and this ‘Atlantic’ one is on sale…”

Posted in Nutrition, Omega-30 Comments

Can Vitamin D slow early colon cancer tumors?

A study published this past August by cancer researchers from Spain suggests that higher levels of Vitamin D (specifically the amount of Vitamin D receptors) can possibly help in early colon cancer cases by blocking a specific colon cancer progression pathway called Wnt/beta-catenin. Higher levels of Wnt/beta-catenin are thought to be responsible for the initiation of many types of colon cancer in humans. The study found that while Vitamin D receptors did not have an effect on the number of colon cancer tumors, higher levels of Vitamin D receptors did decrease overall colon cancer tumor load.

It does appear that in more advanced cases of colon cancers, the Vitamin D receptors are already significantly down-regulated and reduced.

The authors of the study suggest that Vitamin D receptor concentrations may offer addition treatment options in early colon cancers where the amount of vitamin D receptors have not been significantly reduced.

Vitamin D supplementation may also be a way to reduce or limit the growth of early colon cancer tumors by decreasing the overall tumor load of the colon cancer.

Larriba MJ, Ordóñez-Morán P, Chicote I, Martín-Fernández G, Puig I, et al. (2011) Vitamin D Receptor Deficiency Enhances Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling and Tumor Burden in Colon Cancer. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23524. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023524

Posted in Cancer, Vitamin D2 Comments

What do Vitamin C, Google and today have in common?

September 16th Google home page

If you spent any time on Google today (September 16th), you may have noticed the Google Doodle with the oranges and other fruit as part of the Google logo.

Is Google entering the health food market?

Nope. ITs just Google’s way of bringing attention to the 118th birthday of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the Nobel prize winning Hungarian scientist credited with the discovery of Vitamin C.

Read more about Albert Szent-Gyorgyi at the Wall Street Journal and on Wikipedia

Posted in Nutrition, Prevention0 Comments

Does the use of anti-depressants during pregnancy increase the risk of autsim

Does the use of anti-depressants during pregnancy increase the risk of autsim

A new study from Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California suggests that women who take a specific class of anti-depressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), have a higher risk of having a child with autism or autism spectrum disorder such as Aspberger’s Syndrome than women that didn’t take anti-depressants either in the 3 months during, or during their pregnancy.

The study authors did not feel that the actual diagnosis of depression or similar mental illnesses had a significant impact on the development of autism spectrum disorders. A separate arm of the study compared women with depression that either took SSRI anti-depressants or did not take the SSRIs and still found a higher incidence of autism related illnesses in the group of women that were taking the SSRI anti-depressants.


There has been a continuing amount of research on autism and the possible reasons for its increase over the past forty years from 4 to 5 cases per 10,000 (or 0.04%) births in 1966 to approximately 100 cases per 10,000 births (or 1% of births) in 2006 based on the CDC published data.

While environment factors have been touted as one possibility, some studies have shown that the women that have the highest rate of autistic children tend to be somewhat older, highly educated and with a higher household income. A surprising finding since other disorders tend to have the opposite findings, with a higher prevelance in children born to women with less education and a lower economic status.


Archives of General Psychiatry
Wisconsin Medical Journal

Posted in Prevention, Womens Health0 Comments

Does this anti-smoking drug cause heart problems?

Patients that are trying to quit smoking to low their risk of heart disease such as heart attacks may get more than they bargained for if they use Chantix (varenicline) based on the findings of a new study from John Hopkins University. Reasearchers reviewed 14 double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trials that included over 8,200 patients. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

An earlier study found that patients with pre-existing heart disease had a high rate of cardiac events such as myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) while on Chantix. This new study now shifts the focus onto the potential increased risk of serious cardiac events to all patients, even those patients without a prior history of heart disease.

While the FDA has previously required Pfizer, the maker of Chantix (varenicline), to have a balck box warning on the medication regarding the possibility of patients having increased risk for suicidal thoughts whil on the medication, this new revelation may change how often physicians prescribe Chantix to their patients for smoking cessation.

Posted in Uncategorized0 Comments

New Study Links Procepia To Impotence and Sexual Dysfunction

A new medical study published this month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that the use of Propecia (finasteride) may cause persistent sexual dysfunction and impotence in some men who take the medication. The study, by George Wahington University researchers, demonstrated that a subset of men that took Propecia (finasteride) had continued sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual desire and libido, even after stopping the medication. This new study is one of the first to look at the long-term effects of the use of Propecia (finasteride) even after patients stop the medication.

What was interesting about the study is that the sexual dysfunction was found in younger men (age 21 to age 46) who were taking the medication for cosmetic reasons (prevention of hair loss). The sexual dysfunction may be due to blockage of the conversion of the male hormone testosterone to the more bio-active form of dihydrotestosterone by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme

Watch some of the comments by Dr. Michael Irwig, the lead researcher from George Washington University discuss some of the study’s findings.

Posted in Mens Health0 Comments

Raising awareness (and money) for prostate cancer

Fine moustachery and immaculate grooming doesn’t grow on trees.You can’t usually find it on sale the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, its often sought after, and rarely obtained…

November is Prostate Cancer month and also Movember, where men (and women if they can) grow mustaches to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer research.

Why is prostate cancer research important? Why is cancer research important?

Here are the facts:

One out of every two men in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage of their life.

One out of every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer

This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to support the great work of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG foundation. To help, you can either:

– Click this link http://us.movember.com/mospace/1123956/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
– Write a check payable to Movember, referencing my name or Registration Number 1123956 and mailing it to: Movember, PO Box 2726, Venice, CA 90294-2726

The money raised will help make a tangible difference to the lives of others, through the world’s most promising prostate cancer research and LIVESTRONG’s programs that support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit

Please remember to donate to http://us.movember.com/mospace/1123956/

Posted in Cancer0 Comments

FDA rejects another weight loss drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected the application of Qnexa, the third weight loss drug this month to be rejected for the U.S. market. The FDA cited concerns about birth defects and heart problems as their reason for rejecting the application, but have asked the drug manufacturer to supply more safety information. Qnexa is a combination of two existing drug, phenteramine and topiramate (Topamax) and both drugs are available in the U.S. in their single formulations.

Read more about the rejection of Qnexa at the N.Y. Times.

Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Weight Loss0 Comments

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