Friday, September 26, 2008

wellness weekly

Busy Parents: Here is a great way to stay fit, model fitness and spend quality time with your children. In the morning ride your bike to school with your child and then ride home. In the pm, ride back to escort him or her home. I saw a mom doing this today and both she and her son looked happy to be greeting the day in this way.

Medical Devices: Off label use means prescribing medication for an indication outside of the FDA approved use. It is legal and relatively common. However, drug companies are not allowed to market the medicine for other use nor suggest to providers that they use the medicine to treat an “off label” condition. I did not know the same rules and practices apply to medical devices. If drug or medical device companies advertise or in any way try to influence such off label use they can be sanctioned or sued. Currently, Medtronic is being sued for encouraging surgeons to use its spine product for conditions outside of the FDA approved indications.

Knees!: Speaking of unnecessary, a study out recently suggests that too many people are having arthroscopic knee surgery. A couple of research studies that included a large number of subjects, and control and experimental groups who were followed over time , indicate that in many of the cases where it has been used, this surgery, which is done through a very small incision, is NOT more effective than physical therapy and medication. The surgery has risks, surgery always has risks, and it is expensive. This type can cost around 7000$ for an outpatient procedure. The article I read doesn’t say this, but I am pretty sure there would be some medication and rehabilitation post surgery. Meaning that the surgery doesn’t take the place of physical therapy but is don’t in addition. The best results of arthroscopy are for injury (meniscus tears) or mild to moderate arthritis. Advanced osteoarthritis where one may eventually need total knee replacement is not ameliorated by this less invasive procedure.

Bring It On: A small but interesting study offers a new concept with regard to overcoming the temptation to eat unhealthy foods. In this study, Kelly Geyskens Ph.D, had women participate in a fake marketing exercise which also had them exposed to sweets which they did not have the ok to eat. Compared to women who did the same exercise without any do not eat candy in the room, the first group was more likely to resist the temptation to eat sweets when they were available without restrictions. Dr. Geyskins suggests then that will power can be learned through exposure and building on success. This questions the theory of our Mom’s who say, “Don’t keep that stuff in the house!” Because the author of the study says, without practicing how to handle temptation, tempting situations are not handled well. Hmm. Not sure I would try this with people trying to quit smoking, or maybe we should. Oh that would be a cool study!

Plastics: Again there ARE chemicals in them which may or may not cause harm if you heat them, may or may not cause harm if you drink from them, and almost certainly cause problems when they are put in the ground and when companies who make them allow chemical waste to leach into our ground water. Now a study does link one of the plastic chemicals, Bisphenol A or BPA to both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This chemical is found in many household products including plastic bottles, but also CDs and helmets. Many companies have reformulated their products so as not to use BPA. Past FDA / EPA reports did not find a high enough level of BPA in persons to warrant concern. They are now reviewing this additional data.

Which leads me to this weeks closing thought, how can a product with a multitude of toxic chemicals and cancer causing agents still be legally sold anywhere in this world?

Don’t smoke! Do exercise, do eat right, do rest, do find peace, do get moving……….

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

wellness weekly

OK, I have completed my presentation so expect a real health update soon

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wellness Weekly NOTE


I am currently preparing a piece on the effects of nicotine in tobacco users and will post it for your review and or comment soon. It is my homework really, for a presentation but it has kept my brain quite full and I haven't been able to explore any other health and wellness issues this week or weekend.

Be active and well as you stay tuned for more...........

Saturday, September 6, 2008

wellness weekly

Heart Attack: A study from Norway looked into age differences between men and women with regard to heart attacks and smoking. What struck me most was that there is an average age for heart attacks for both genders. That implies that most people will have a heart attack if they reach that age and I for one do not want that to be true. I imagine that genetics and lifestyle can increase and decrease the odds of any one person reaching that typical heart attack age and then having one. As it is, the age for men is 72 and women 81. However the age of first heart attack is much earlier for smokers and drastically earlier for female smokers. The study results found women smokers to have their first heart attack some fifteen years earlier at 66. Men also have them earlier if they smoke, making things more even, at 64. This does explain why more smokers die from heart attacks than lung cancer.

Parental Oblivion: A study from the UK addressed the consequences if any, of measuring young children’s weights and notifying their parents of the result. There is concern among health professionals that if we note a child as being over weight or obese that it will traumatize the child. Of course, I think that the trauma associated with being obese and having to take medications for disease management when one is 12, is pretty damn consequential. Either way, harm was not found because of this project. What did catch my attention was that some of the parents opted out of the study saying that they did not want to know their children’s weights. Disturbing.

Vytorin: Some time ago I shared that several studies have not found combination cholesterol lowering drug Vytorin to be any more effective if at all effective, than the generic cholesterol lowering medications that are now available. I have always disliked the drug, because the marketing of it implies that one can blame their genetics for the fact that their high fat diet is causing them harm and that is not how it is. Even Dr. Oz will tell you that genetics are only a small part of the equation and what you eat and what you do is the bigger piece. Anyway, now reports are surfacing to show that this medication is also increasing the risk for some cancers in people who take it. This is good news for pharmacy benefit programs as they can keep their enrollees on the cheaper medications.

Lipitor: Speaking of cholesterol lowering medications, Pfizer has the best selling one, if not the best selling drug, period. They took some flack for having a spokes man in their ads who implied he was a practicing physician. This same ad had a body double for the physical activity piece. The ads are being replaced with the real person story. So I guess Pfizer has done its homework on effective marketing campaigns. The same is true for anti smoking messages. A real person discussing a serious health issue followed by a means to address the issue. Well done guys.

Physical Activity: Two late stories which I wasn’t able to vet applaud exercise as being health promoting in cutting risks of many cancers and heart disease. So why are you sitting here reading this? Get Moving!