Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another reason to stay healthy
The number of serious drug reactions and deaths reported to the government shot up in the first three months of this year to set a new record, a health industry watchdog group said Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration received nearly 21,000 reports of serious drug reactions, including more than 4,800 deaths, said an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, known as ISMP.
Two drugs accounted for a large share of the latest reports. One was heparin, the tainted blood thinner from China that caused an international safety scandal. The other was Chantix, a new kind of anti-smoking drug from Pfizer.
Clearinghouse for informationThe watchdog group that prepared the analysis has served hospitals and pharmacists for years as a clearinghouse for information on medication errors. Known as ISMP, the organization is now trying to reach consumers with regular reports on drug safety trends.
“We believe that one of the most important tools to promote is to monitor trends on a regular basis,” said Thomas J. Moore, a senior scientist with ISMP. “Knowing which drugs are causing injuries and how many people are being hurt is the raw material we need to fashion sound measures to promote patient safety.”
The FDA defines serious drug reactions as ones that cause hospitalization, require medical intervention, or place a life in jeopardy. The agency’s monitoring system relies on voluntary reports from doctors and is only believed to capture a fraction of overall problems.
The 20,745 cases reported from January through March was 38 percent higher than the average for the previous four calendar quarters, and the highest for any quarter, the report said.
The number of deaths, 4,824, was a nearly threefold increase from the last calendar quarter of 2007. The FDA said heparin was largely to blame.
Previous ISMP research has shown that reports of serious drug safety problems had increased markedly since the late 1990s.
The FDA case reports provide a signal of possible problems with a drug, but a cause-and-effect connection can only be established through painstaking investigation. If the FDA were a police agency, the reports would indicate “probable cause,” but not necessarily “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
‘Significant drug safety problem’The ISMP study found that heparin accounted for 779 reports of serious problems, including 102 deaths. The FDA, using data that covers a longer time period, has reported 238 deaths possibly linked to heparin.
Heparin “illustrates an example of a significant drug safety problem that was promptly and effectively resolved by the drug manufacturers and the FDA once the issue was detected and understood,” the report said.
Most physicians believe the problem of drug reaction is severely under reported be cause of the amount of paperwork the doctor must do to make a report.
Are Arizona Workers Healthier?
Are Employers Noticing the Difference in the Bottomline?

The Salt River Project (SRP) Teams with the Healthy Humans Foundation to Implement Employee Wellness Program

October 22,2008—The Healthy Humans Foundation, a non-profit focused on the open communication of health and wellness research and advocacy, extended its employee health program with visits and seminars at two Arizona power plants.

Dwight Lundell M.D., founder of the Healthy Humans Foundation, led seminars at two Arizona power generating stations—the Navajo Generating Station in Page, and the Agua Fria Station in Peoria, with 400 employees participating.

“It’s smart business,” says Dr. Lundell. “Providing employees with information that can significantly change their lives not only shows employees that they’re recognized and appreciated, but it dramatically lessen health insurance claims and associated expenses. We’ll see more companies follow suit.”

Dr Lundell shared the simple and startling message that heart disease can be prevented and cured by simple dietary and behavior changes that recognize our human biology in the modern environment. Employees at both plants showed tremendous participation in the question and answer sessions—proving acceptance and appreciation to SRP for showing a concern about their health.

“SRP (Salt River Project) is a very forward thinking company who recognizes that health of their employees goes beyond just reducing medical claims, but goes to job satisfaction, productivity and loyalty,” says Dr. Lundell. “I’m honored to play a role in their positive forward movement.”

The power plants purchased Dr Lundell’s book The Cure for Heart Disease: Truth Will Save a Nation, Co-Authored by Todd Nordstrom, for all the employees at the two plants.

“The economy is forcing businesses to rethink their relationships with their employees,” says Lundell. “Health insurance rates are eating the bottom line, and employee engagement is a huge topic during turbulent times. Implementing a wellness program addresses both issues.”

The SRP employee health programs follows similar successful programs conducted by Dr. Lundell at the SRP Santan Generating Station, Henry Brown GMC Pontiac, and a 10% weight loss challenge at Waste Management done in cooperation with the Triscottsdale Foundation.

“Modern medicine, with all its benefits, is focused on treatment of disease,” says Lundell. “The Healthy Humans Foundation is focused on prevention and reversal of disease and disability through education about human biology and nutrition.”

Dr. Lundell says recent interest in Employee Wellness programs has spiked, and feedback from both the employers and the employees has been phenomenal.

“We want people to feel alive and vibrant,” says Lundell. “Companies want their employees to feel young, energized, and engaged too. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming. Obviously employees are feeling the results of the programs, and their employers are seeing the results in the workplace.”

For more information about The Healthy Humans Foundation, go to:

For more information about the book, The Cure for Heart Disease, go to:

Or to inquire about Dr. Lundell speaking at your organization, call:
Think fish oil
Emerging research is now showing that Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. An article on WebMD dated Dec. 26, 2007, by Daniel J. DeNoon, titled Fish Oil Prevents Alzheimer’s Plaques: Brain Needs Fish Oil Fatty Acid to Make Plaque-Fighting Protein, discusses how the brain needs the fish oil fatty acid DHA in order to produce a plaque-fighting protein. Researchers at UCLA, under the leadership of Greg M. Cole, PhD, found that those people who took a lot of DHA reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and determined that it was due to DHA’s ability to cause brain cells to increase the production of the protein LR11 (also called SorLA).
LR11 acts to help clear the brain of amyloid precursor protein. Amyloid precursor protein is essential for the production of beta-amyloid plaque, the plaque that seems to clog the brains of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that approximately 15% of people with Alzheimer’s disease carry a genetic mutation that reduces LR11.
Just last month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article citing more evidence that Omega-3s may reduce the risk of dementia and depression. The article, Low plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and depressive symptomatology are independent predictors of dementia risk by Samieri C et al., discusses how plasma Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to be inversely related to the risk of dementia and to depression, frequently associated with dementia.
Samieri reports that a high level of plasma EPA (Omega-3 fatty acid) concentration may decrease the risk of dementia. Further, it is reported that ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids may actually increase risk. This was especially true when the ratio of Arachidonic acid (AA, an Omega-6) to DHA (docosahexanoinc acid, an Omega-3) was high. The increased risk due to the high ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3s was especially applicable in depressed older persons. Samieri concludes by stating that the role of EPA in dementia warrants further research.
The research into the therapeutic benefit of Omega-3s will continue and new revelations regarding their incredible health benefits will undoubtedly continue to accumulate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Great Statin Scam

The television ad featuring artificial heart inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik, who by the way can't row a skull, and never practiced medicine, claims that Lipitor will lower heart attack risk by 36%. Now who wouldn't want to do that? However, the fine print required, says “in a large clinical study. 3% of people taking placebo had a heart attack and 2% of those taking Lipitor had a heart attack.
Let's do the math. For every 100 people in the trial, which lasted for 3 1/2 years, three people on placebo, and two people on Lipitor, had a heart attack. That is one less heart attack for every 100 people. In other words, 100 people had to take the drug 3 1/2 years to prevent one heart attack. What this really means is that 99 out of 100 people, taking the drug had no benefit.
This is explained in a little known statistic called number needed to treat (NNT). In the case of Lipitor, 100 patients would have to be treated for 3 1/2 years to possibly eliminate one heart attack. Let's compare that to today's antibiotic treatment to eradicate ulcer causing H. pylori stomach bacteria. The NNT is 1.1; give the antibiotic to 11 people and 10 will be cured.

Several recent scientific papers peg the NNT for statins at 250. Dr. Jerome R. Hoffman, professor of clinical medicine at UCLA asks “What if you put 250 people in a room and told them that they each would have to pay over $1000 per year for a medicine they must take every day, that may give them diarrhea and muscle pain, and that 249 would get no benefit. How many would take that?”

Marketing over Medicine!
Drug companies have a responsibility to their shareholders to make a profit, and we need them to develop new medicines. But when they grossly overstate the benefits and spend huge amounts of money influencing physicians it turns bad and leads to potential corruption.
The National Cholesterol Education Program, (NCEP) 2004 guidelines that lowered the targets for cholesterol treatment and recommended that many more Americans take statins was issued by a panel on which 8 of 9 experts had financial ties to the drug industry.
“The guideline and process went awry” says Dr. Henry C. Barry of the Michigan State University College of medicine. Dr. Barry and 34 other experts sent a petition of protest to the National Institutes of Health, saying the evidence was weak and the panel biased because of its ties to the drug industry.
I and all other physicians who speak out take great risks; medicine and government agencies do not like criticism.
At a recent meeting, a prominent statin boosting physician who advises the NCEP
said that Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School “should be held accountable in a court of law for doing things to kill people” because Dr. Hayward had the audacity to suggest that ”current evidence supports ignoring LDL cholesterol altogether”.
We would expect this kind of vitriol from zealots and extremists not from government agencies or scientists.
If we spent a fraction of the money that we spend on cholesterol testing, cholesterol lowering drugs, and doctor visits instead on educating people about proper diet, exercise and weight loss we would be far healthier.