Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More coffee news

More on my coffee abstinence experiment soon. But in the meantime:

Studies have been showing that coffee seems to ward off dementia by helping regulating insulin. Now it might even dissolve amyloid plaques, the gunk that causes Alzheimer's...

read more here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spanish translation of prescription med instructions can be deadly!

I didn't realize most pharmacies use COMPUTER translation programs to translated Rx directions. Not a good idea. Also, using a mix of Spanish and English (Spanglish) results in some inadvertent problems:

From Doctorslounge.com:

The use of "Spanglish" also created some potentially dangerous situations. For example, the word "once" means "eleven" in Spanish. "You mean to say 'once,' as in 'take once a day,' and a Spanish-speaking person could interpret that to mean 'eleven,'" Sharif said. Such a mistake could result in an overdose.

read more here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

THYROID: Really Low TSH likely OK in pregnancy

My lovely fertility doctor, the late Dr. Alan Beer, was TOTALLY ahead of his time, and people in the medical community gave him SO much grief for it. For one thing, he advocated a preconception TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone--common test of thyroid function) of less that 2 (5 is considered "normal"). I usually feel best a 1.5 or below, so this was great news. But I remember one of my HARVARD endocrinologists yelling at me, saying I was going to have heart problems, etc, and refusing to let my TSH get lower than 5...while trying to get me to take Clomid!

I found a new endo and now feel pretty good, because he follows Dr. Beer's theories. Interestingly, I worked in a clinic for pregnant women and saw all sortsr of charts of women who DIDN'T have thyroid disease, a LOTS of them, in fact most, had TSH of around 0.5. So there you go.

Anyway, now a study tracking women with so-called "subclinical hyperthyroidism" had the same pregnancy outcomes as people without disease. So don't be afraid to push your endo to get your levels down to where YOU feel better. And also, consider taking "natural" (e.g., Armour) thyroid rather than synthetic. The Harvard endo and I battled about this, too. Glad I'm not with her anymore. Also, the natural thyroid doesn't have dyes in it...yay.

Read the study here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Not so safe or effective drugs...why do we take them?

Since I'm a quasi health journalist, I'm on a lot of wire services, etc., and see so many announcements like this go by. Why do we even take most drugs, I wonder? Also, atrial fibrillation (something that I have) is actually benign. I've learned to control it with stress reduction. My mother was put on drugs that made her hair fall out--for forty years--and she still gets palpitations, too. There you go:

Controversial Arrhythmia Drug Provides Only Modest Efficacy and No Clear Safety Benefits
In a rigorous new review of the antiarrhythmic drug dronedarone (Multaq), researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute conclude that the controversial drug is only modestly effective and has no clear safety benefits. The review, to be published in the April 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, assessed data on dronedarone submitted during the drug's FDA approval process and determined that dronedarone is 50 percent less effective than amiodarone (Cordarone), a frequently used treatment for atrial fibrillation, a common type of heart rhythm disorder. (Embargo expired on 05-Apr-2010 at 17:00 ET)
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 23-Apr-2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Men's sexual satisfaction depends on health, not Viagra

This is an interesting conclusion from a recent study at the University of Chicago: "Sexual activity, good quality sexual life, and interest in sex were higher for men than for women and this gender gap widened with age. Sexual activity, quality of sexual life, and interest in sex were positively associated with health in middle age and later life. Sexually active life expectancy was longer for men, but men lost more years of sexually active life as a result of poor health than women."

There is also some evidence that sex (didn't say exactly what kind, if it meant just orgasm, etc.) might do positive things for your immune system. I suppose this might be the next excuse celebrity philanderers trot out, "I just wanted to help my immune system!"

read more here.