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Old January 8th, 2003, 16:31
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2002.12.01 Medical News

Monday, December 30, 2002

Obesity Rates Double in Australia
This research looked at Australians aged 7 - 15 yrs and found that obesity rates from 1985-1997 increased dramatically in both boys and girls (from 2 - 4 fold). Comment: these findings are consistent with trends seen in several countries worldwide, including the US, UK, and Canada. [ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 77, No. 1, 29-36, January 2003 ] posted at 12/30/2002 03:08:48 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Sunday, December 29, 2002

Obesity Epidemic or Not? Weigh It Again, Sam
Reprinted from NewsMax.com

Obesity Epidemic or Not? Weigh It Again, Sam
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., and Robert J. Cihak, M.D.
Friday, Dec. 27, 2002


As the winter holiday season continues to bless us with a surfeit of wonderful foods and drinks, it's time for us heavy-duty Medicine Men to weigh in on a massive subject - is there or is there not an epidemic of obesity? Should you worry about the growing "Christmas Cummerbund" around your waist?

Of course not. We all perished 10 years ago, in the global famine so confidently predicted by the environmental apocalyptics of the 1970s.

But maybe we should worry, because there's another apocalypse coming. This time, if you believe the Guardians of Girth and the Dictators of Diet, America is about to become the first nation in history to eat itself to death.

Clearly, Americans weigh more than they used to. So does much of the rest of the human race. (Spend some time looking at armor or clothing in a museum, or travel to Japan if you doubt this.) But there is an epidemic of muddled diagnosis and thinking on this heavy subject. Two facts, for starters.

First, "overweight" is an arbitrary and to some extent culturally defined construct, a set of height/weight/body type/body fat percentage relationships you read off a chart. Any individual's comfortable and healthful, let alone "ideal" weight, might vary significantly. Metabolism matters. So does occupation, lifestyle and myriad other factors.

Second, overweight (as opposed to genuine obesity) is in most instances the result of the human body's natural ability to store extra calories as fat - a survival-enhancing mechanism from those eons when you never knew when the next woolly mammoth barbecue might be. "Calorie" is actually a measure of heat or energy. The image of the body "burning up" calories is pretty close to the physiologic truth. For every extra 3,300 calories accumulated and stored as fat in the body, you gain 1 pound of fat weight, plus extra fluids.

Further, whatever the nutrient value of specific foods, all calories are created equal. As Michael Fumento, author of The Fat of the Land, writes: "Maintaining a healthful body weight is no more complex or magical than simply balancing calories burned vs. calories consumed, regardless of the source."

However, like most things connected with human existence nowadays, the adiposity issue has P.C. overtones, giving rise to some weighty relativism on the part of the public health crowd and their omnivorous colleagues, the trial lawyers.

They're wrong. If overweight is an epidemic, the national health statistics should show it. But statistically - and despite all the other fashionable fears - we're actually getting healthier and living longer, better lives.

So, what's going on?


SLOBBERY SNOBBERY

At one level, snobbery. The elitist conviction that Americans can't be trusted to take care of themselves, and that the "Holier/Healthier Than Thou" crowd must therefore lobby and legislate and sue and try to force people to live according to their standards. And once again, we find social engineering and coercion flaunting "scientific" evidence that doesn't stand up, often for the simple reason that it doesn't exist to begin with. As Steve Milloy of junkscience.com writes, "the simplistic notion that dietary fat is bad was a political and business judgment, not a scientific one."

It seems to have started back in 1977, when a Senate committee led by George McGovern issued a report advising Americans to consume less fat to avoid "killer diseases," then supposedly sweeping the country. The politically dutiful National Institutes of Health soon joined the anti-fat bandwagon, a move that spawned the low-fat food industry - a boon to consumer choice but not necessarily one with a beneficial health impact.

As Fumento notes: "Since 1977-78, fat as a percentage of our diets has dropped by over 17 percent, even as obesity has increased by over 25 percent. The fewer calories we've taken in from fat, the fatter we've become."

But it was a boon to activists seeking funding and power, especially the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Center for Science in the Public Interest. Lest we not forget to add the reliably socialistic World Health Organization (on the matter of WHO).

It was also a boon to environmentalists trying to destroy the beef industry.

We also suspect some non-commercialism in holiday meals, with many wives following the biblical wisdom of Sirach 26:13: "A wife's charm delights her husband, and her skill puts fat on his bones" (Revised Standard Catholic Version). So, you want biblical justification for putting fat on your bones this holiday season, there you are.

But enough of this at holiday time. The Medicine Men conclude by wishing you all the delights and inspirations of the season.

So party hearty, if you like. And if you were lucky enough to get some exercise equipment or a health club membership for Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukah ... do use it. In moderation, of course. Overdoing in getting the calories off can be more dangerous than putting them on.

Such is life. A Happy Holiday Season to you all. Be well.


* * *
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple-award-winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Contact Drs. Glueck and Cihak by e-mail at GlueckAndCihak@newsmax.com.

NewsMax.com - reprinted with permission ] posted at 12/29/2002 12:13:00 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Friday, December 27, 2002

No Sex Difference in Benefit of Early Revascularization in an Acute Myocardial Infarction
This study looked at 757 women and 1463 men and found that both groups had similar reductions in risk after early angiography (and revascularization if appropriate). This early invasive strategy reduced the endpoint of a hard cardiac event in women by 28%. In men the risk of a hard event was reduced by 36%. [ JAMA Vol. 288 No. 24,December 25, 2002 ] posted at 12/27/2002 04:53:35 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Saturday, December 21, 2002

NEJM: C-Reactive Protein and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels Both Help in the Prediction of First Cardiovascular Events
NEJM -- Abstracts: Ridker et al. 347 (20): 1557 ] posted at 12/21/2002 06:50:18 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Friday, December 20, 2002

Who should be taking aspirin?
This article discusses new updates on the use of aspirin to prevent a heart attack. [ Patient Care, Nov 2002 ] posted at 12/20/2002 12:25:52 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Thursday, December 19, 2002

Statins Do Not Lower Fracture Risk
This study refutes the claim that statins lower the risk of hip and other osteoporotic fractures. [ Inj Prev 2002;8:276-279 ] posted at 12/19/2002 04:30:35 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Diuretics Usually Best Initial Therapy for Hypertension
This large, multicenter study concluded that diuretics should strongly be considered as first-line therapy for patients with hypertension. The authors state that nearly all patients with hypertension should get a diuretic as initial treatment. Comment: this is a major study of 623 North American centers, with a total of 33 357 participants. It confirms previous recommendations. [ JAMA Vol. 288 No. 23, December 18, 2002 ] posted at 12/18/2002 01:59:01 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Air pollution responsible for 600 000 premature deaths worldwide
Researchers looking at 304 cities around the world concluded that air pollution was responsible for 1% of cardiopulmonary disease and 3% of cancers of the trachea, bronchus, and lung. [ BMJ 2002;325:1380 ( 14 December ) ] posted at 12/18/2002 12:06:33 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Media Asked to Follow Guidelines in Reporting Suicides
This editorial notes that the reporting and portrayal of suicidal behavior by the media can cause more suicides. The impact of the media seems to be most pronounced when the method of suicide is specified, especially when the method is specified in detail. Dramatic and prominent media reports increase the risk of more suicides occuring, especially when suicides of celebrities are reported. Not only young people, but also the elderly are impacted. Comment: read this editorial, and remember the devastating effects irresponsible behavior by the media can have. Hollywood continues to shirk any responsibility, stating that their "art" simply "imitates life" and does not influence behavior. Thus, the Hollywood elite believe they can promote all sorts of socially degenerate "art" in their movies, yet take no responsibility for their effects upon society. This editorial is more strong evidence that the media actually influences behavior, and that people in the media need to be responsible citizens, not simply greedy do-anything seekers of the almighty dollar. [ BMJ 2002;325:1374-1375 ( 14 December ) ] posted at 12/17/2002 06:12:25 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Sunday, December 15, 2002

Growth Hormone Increases Lean Body Mass, Decreases Fat Mass, But Also Increases Glucose Intolerance
This study looked at the effect of supplementation of human growth hormone (20 ug/kg SQ 3x/wk) with or without sex steroids (estradiol/medroxyprogesterone for women or testosterone for men) in a group of elderly men and women (aged 65 to 88 years). It found positive benefits for HGH in terms of lean body mass and fat mass, but the HGH was associated with an increase in diabetes and glucose intolerance. [ JAMA Vol. 288 No. 18, November 13, 2002 ] posted at 12/15/2002 09:51:42 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




ACE Inhibitors Better Than Beta Blockers or Calcium Channel Blockers in Preserving Renal Function
This study of 1094 African Americans with hypertensive renal disease found that ACE inhibitors were better at slowing the decline in glomerular filtration rate than beta blockers or calcium channel blockers (for equal levels of BP control). [ JAMA Vol. 288 No. 19, November 20, 2002 ] posted at 12/15/2002 09:34:32 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Abstinence Succeeds in Africa Despite Condom Lobby
By Austin Ruse

We are told ad nauseam by the Condom Lobby that people, especially youngsters, cannot possibly control themselves when it comes to their sexual appetites, even in the face of AIDS infection and death. We are also told that condoms are the panacea for this dread disease. The Condom Lobby is loath to speak about sexual abstinence and marital fidelity. There is one country, however, that has mostly ignored the Condom Lobby and instituted widespread abstinence and fidelity programs and this country is so far beating AIDS. Uganda should be congratulated for fighting back against the very powerful Condom Lobby. We report today on their success.

Condom Lobby Drives AIDS Debate Besides Abstinence Success in Africa

As AIDS sweeps across Africa, Uganda remains a lone success story, as millions of Ugandans have embraced traditional sexual morality, including sexual abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within marraige, in order to avoid infection. But the international AIDS community has been reluctant to promote this strategy elsewhere, continuing, instead, to place its faith in condoms.

According to a US Agency for International Development (USAID) study of Uganda, "HIV prevalence peaked at around 15 percent in 1991, and had fallen to 5 percent as of 2001.This dramatic decline in prevalence is unique worldwide." USAID believes "The most important determinant of the reduction in HIV incidence in Uganda appears to be a decrease in multiple sexual partnerships and networks."

In comparison to other African nations, "Ugandan males in 1995 were less likely to have ever had sex., more likely to be married and keep sex within the marriage, and less likely to have multiple partners." USAID concludes that "the effect of HIV prevention in Uganda (particularly partner reduction) during the past decade appears to have had a similar impact as a potential medical vaccine of 80 percent efficacy..A comprehensive behavior change-based strategy.may be the most effective prevention approach."

However, the Ugandan experience is not being promoted elsewhere, which leads some observers to conclude that ideology may be playing a role. In fact, as news of the Ugandan success has spread, the defense of condoms has grown more insistent.

Specifically, international AIDS activist have increased their attacks on the Bush administration, which now seeks to incorporate abstinence training into the US international AIDS program. Amy Coen, president of Population Action International, recently stated that "the importance of condoms cannot be overstated..Yet here in the United States, we are witnessing a retreat on the part of the government and a wall of silence descending around condom use..The case for condoms is indisputable." And, according to a column by Marie Cocco in Newsday, "President George W. Bush has begun appointing critics of condoms to a presidential advisory panel on AIDS. They include social conservatives who question the international scientific consensus that condoms are highly effective in AIDS prevention."

This promotion of condoms continues, despite the mounting evidence that they have failed to stem the spread of the disease. For instance, led by Nelson Mandela, South Africa has firmly embraced the "safe sex" strategy, and condom use has increased. But South Africa remains the world leader in AIDS infection, with 11.4 percent of its population currently infected.

The international AIDS community appears determined to find a technological solution to the epidemic, rather than to suggest the types of behavior-change that have succeeded in Uganda. On Tuesday, the Mercury News of Miami reported that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation willspend $28 million to study the potential of birth control diaphragms to combat AIDS in Africa. The Mercury News cautions, however, that "the scientific basis for diaphragms preventing AIDS is more theoretical than clinically proven."

Copyright - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427, New York, New York 10017 Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291 E-mail: c-fam@c-fam.org Website: www.c-fam.org

Comment: abstinence should be promoted as the safest sexual practice, but we also need to promote a greater use of condoms. This isn't an either/or issue. posted at 12/15/2002 03:46:08 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Glaucoma Medication Shown to Worsen Airway Disease
This study wanted to see if topical beta blockers, commonly used for glaucoma, caused an increased risk of airway obstruction disease. Of the 3358 patients begun on a topical beta blocker, 5% to 10% had either started medication for airways obstruction or been diagnosed with an airway obstructive disease. Comment: this was a limited study but helpful in identifying the risk. The researchers estimate that out of 55 patients given the topical beta blocker, 1 will develop an airway obstructive disease due to the medication. [ BMJ 2002;325:1396-1397 ( 14 December ) ] posted at 12/15/2002 02:46:50 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Friday, December 13, 2002

Diarrhea on Cruise Ships
The CDC has released a report on the recent outbreaks of gastroenteritis on cruise ships. The editorial comment states that the incidence of diarrhea may be elevated this year, but that the recent outbreak may be nothing out of the ordinary----and the recent media attention to the issue is due to mandatory reporting measures put in place last year. With the mandatory reporting measures in place, the cruise ships must report these outbreaks. Most outbreaks were due to noroviruses, viruses that are difficult to eliminate from ships because they may be harbored by crew members. [ MMWR 12/13/2002 51(49);1112-1115 ] posted at 12/13/2002 04:07:04 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Thursday, December 12, 2002

Congressional Oversight Committee Concludes That Accutane is Associated With Suicide
The US congressional committee looking at the acne medication Accutane has concluded that it has been frequently associated with suicide. Furthermore, this article notes that the FDA has recently added to the list of warnings on the Accutane label that side-effects include a risk of violent and aggressive behavior. [ UPI article ] posted at 12/12/2002 02:21:28 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccination Only 44% Effective
This study of an outbreak of varicella in children attending a day-care center in New Hampshire, USA found that vaccination against the disease was only 44% effective. Comment: in my opinion, the rush to call for universal varicella vaccination of all children in the US was premature. Not enough long-term studies of the vaccine have been conducted. Nevertheless, major medical organizations still recommend universal vaccination, although acceptance of this recommendation by physicians is lukewarm. [ article ] posted at 12/12/2002 02:03:28 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Czech Hospitals in Crisis
Several Czech hospitals are in a financial crisis after the Association of Large Distributors has decided to stop delivering drugs and other medical supplies to six hospitals that are severely delinquent paying their debts. Thirty other hospitals are at risk. The chairman of the Czech Association of Doctors blamed an artificially high price of drugs for the situation. Comment: the healthcare crisis seems to be a global problem. This week Canada reported problems, the UK is also having problems and looking at a major overhaul; Australia has also had a recent crisis due to their malpractice climate; and the US also is having problems with access to care. [ bmj.com Krosnar 325 (7376): 1322d ] posted at 12/10/2002 06:39:02 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Allergy Medication Now Over-the-Counter
The second generation allergy medication loratadine (trade name Claritin) has been approved to be sold over-the-counter (without a doctor's prescription). Comment: this will be an improvement for many people compared to the other over-the-counter, earlier generation antihistamines that tend to cause more sedation. [ bmj.com 325 (7376): 1318 ] posted at 12/10/2002 06:24:42 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Sunday, December 08, 2002

Antibiotics for Acute Purulent Rhinitis
Despite very limited effectiveness, antibiotics are still prescribed for runny noses at a rate of over 60%. This editorial states that patients should be told that the benefit of antibiotics ranges from 0% to 10%. Even if the patient has had the runny nose for 10 days, the effectiveness is still only about 15%. Comment: almost all patients should undergo "alternative" medicine treatments such as Vitamin C or tea rather than antibiotics when they have a runny nose. [ BMJ 2002;325:1311-1312 ( 7 December ) ] posted at 12/8/2002 11:04:42 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Saturday, December 07, 2002

Eye Microchip Could Save Sight
US scientists are developing a bionic eye implant to help blind people see again. The scientists anticipate that they will have a workable implant within 3 years. [ Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 00:16 GMT ] posted at 12/7/2002 08:04:25 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Friday, December 06, 2002

Nurses Performance of Preoperative Assessments
This study looked at how well specialty trained nurses perform preoperative assessments compared to house officers, and found that both groups performed equally. Comment: this was a well designed study. The implication is that training for doctors can be improved by using some of the educational methods currently used for nurses. [ BMJ 2002;325:1323 ( 7 December ) ] posted at 12/6/2002 10:34:11 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Facts About the Norwalk Virus Infection Striking Cruise Ships
Newsmax.com Wires- Norwalk virus infection is an intestinal illness that often occurs in outbreaks. Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are increasingly being recognized as leading causes of foodborne disease in the United States.

The viruses are passed in the stool of infected persons. People get infected by swallowing stool-contaminated food or water. Outbreaks in the United States are often linked to raw oysters.

Infected people usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects. To prevent Norwalk virus infection: 1) wash hands with soap and warm water after toilet visits and before preparing or eating food; 2) cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating; 3) wash raw vegetables before eating; and 4) dispose of sewage in a sanitary manner.

What is Norwalk virus infection?

Norwalk virus infection is an intestinal illness that often occurs in outbreaks. What is the infectious agent that causes Norwalk virus infection? Norwalk virus infection is caused by the Norwalk virus. The virus was first identified in 1972 after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in Norwalk, Ohio. Later, other viruses with similar features were described and called Norwalk-like viruses. These have since been classified as members of the calicivirus family.

Where is Norwalk virus found?

Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are found worldwide. Humans are the only known hosts. The viruses are passed in the stool of infected persons.

How do people get Norwalk virus infection?

People get Norwalk virus infection by swallowing food or water that has been contaminated with stool from an infected person. Outbreaks in the United States are often linked to eating raw shellfish, especially oysters and clams. Shellfish become contaminated via stool from sick food handlers or from raw sewage dumped overboard by recreational and/or commercial boaters. Contaminated water, ice, eggs, salad ingredients, and ready-to-eat foods are other sources of infection.

Who is at risk for Norwalk virus infection?

Anyone can get Norwalk virus infection, but it may be more common in adults and older children.

What are the signs and symptoms of Norwalk virus infection?

Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Stomach cramps Severe illness or hospitalization is uncommon. Infected persons usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear? Symptoms usually appear in 1 to 2 days after swallowing contaminated food or water.

How is Norwalk virus infection diagnosed? Laboratory diagnosis is difficult. Diagnosis is often based on the combination of symptoms and the short time of illness.

What is the treatment for Norwalk virus infection? No specific treatment is available. Persons who are severely dehydrated might need rehydration therapy.

How common is Norwalk virus infection? Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are increasingly being recognized as leading causes of foodborne disease in the United States. However, since no routine diagnostic test is available, the true prevalence is not known. Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses have been linked to outbreaks of intestinal illness on cruise ships and in communities, camps, schools, institutions, and families.

Many oyster-related outbreaks of intestinal illness linked to Norwalk-like viruses have been reported in Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and other states where oyster harvesting is common. In 1993, 73 people in Louisiana and about 130 others in the United States who ate oysters from Louisiana became ill. A malfunctioning sewage system was the cause of an outbreak in 1996. An outbreak in 1997 was linked to sewage from oyster-harvesting boats.

How can Norwalk virus be prevented? Wash hands with soap and warm water after toilet visits and before preparing or eating food. Cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating. Wash raw vegetables before eating. Dispose of sewage in a sanitary manner. Food handlers with symptoms of Norwalk-like illness should not prepare or touch food. This fact sheet is for information only and is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health-care provider. If you have any questions about the disease described above, consult a health-care provider.

SOURCE: Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education

[ reprinted with permission from newsmax.com ] posted at 12/6/2002 12:49:58 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Bone Loss After Therapy for Osteoporosis
This study looked at different therapies for osteoporosis and found that when therapy was withdrawn, bone loss only occurred in the women using estrogen alone for osteoporosis. Women using alendronate or alendronate & estrogen did not experience accelerated bone loss after withdrawal of therapy. Comment: alendronate, but not estrogen, led to sustained elevations of bone density, even after withdrawal of therapy. Only when estrogen was combined with alendronate was a sustained bone density seen. [ 3 December 2002 Volume 137 Number 11 ] posted at 12/6/2002 12:44:18 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Screening for Prostate Cancer: New Recommendations
The US Preventive Services Task Force has released new recommendations on prostate cancer screening. Conclusion: we still don't know how to screen for prostate cancer. [ Ann Intern Med 3 December 2002 Volume 137 Number 11 p 917 ] posted at 12/6/2002 12:36:16 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Combination Hormone Replacement Therapy: Effects on Cognitive Function in the Elderly
This study of 1063 women (71 +/- 6 years of age) with coronary artery diseas followed for an average of 4 years found that hormone replacement therapy with estrogen 0.624 mg plus medroxyprogesterone 2.5 mg did not improve cognitive functioning. On 1 of the 6 standardized tests of cognitive function, those on the hormones scored worse than those on placebo (the Verbal Fluency test). Comment: this is yet another study that suggests that combination hormone replacement therapy has limited clinical benefit, and may be harmful. [ Am J Med 2002;113(7):543 ] posted at 12/4/2002 10:46:11 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Elevated Homocysteine Levels Associated With Decline in Overall Physical Function
This prospective study of 499 men and women aged 70 - 79 years found that elevated homocysteine levels were associated with a decline in phyical functioning 28 months later. Comment: the exact mechanism of homocysteine's effect isn't clear, but elevated levels are certainly of concern. This article supports routine multivitamin supplementation among the elderly, even in countries where bread is fortified with B vitamins. [ Am J Med 2002;113(7):537 ] posted at 12/4/2002 04:37:06 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article



Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Scrutinized
The US Food and Drug Administration is scrutinizing advertisements by Merck that promotes is pharmaceutical Vioxx. (rofecoxib). The FDA's concern is over whether or not the advertisements need to mention the pharmaceutical's side-effects. Comment: this news article is interesting reading because it discusses how much money is being spent by the pharmaceutical companies on direct-to-consumer advertising. In 2000, approximately $2.5 billion was spent on this type of advertising. The issue is very controversial, with proponents citing free speech issues, and opponents citing the immense cost to the healthcare system. [ bmj.com Josefson 325 (7375): 1262a ] posted at 12/3/2002 06:41:10 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Tuberculosis Affects Approximately a Third of the Global Population
This review of the treatment for tuberculosis notes that approximately a third of the world's population has latent tuberculosis, resulting in roughly 9 million cases of active tuberculosis annually and 2-3 million deaths.Comment: tuberculosis can be very difficult to treat. Currently, many antibiotic-resistant forms of the disease are becoming more common. [ bmj.com Chan and Iseman 325 (7375): 1282 ] posted at 12/3/2002 06:26:06 PM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article




Simvastatin Shown to Induce Regression of Atherosclerosis
The researchers used MRI imaging to look at 21 patients with a total of 44 aortic and 32 carotid plaques. Patients were examined before and during simvastatin therapy. Progressively during therapy the atherosclerotic lesions were shown to regress. Comment: the maximal reduction of total and LDL cholesterol was achieved by 6 weeks on the therapy-- an aggressive approach justified by these promising findings. Theoretically, these lesion regressions will have positive health benefits--- I hope that the researchers continue to follow this group of patients and report hard event rates. [ Circulation. 2002;106:2884 ] posted at 12/3/2002 02:35:06 AM by Tom Heston, MD comment on this article
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