Tuesday, March 28, 2006

These little piggies make omega-3 fatty acids!

From the genes of threadworms come worthy fats in your morning bacon. A little genetic engineering feat pops a wormy strand of DNA into a piggy egg, and poof! bacon that's good for you. This porcine pair produces three times as much omega-3 fatty acids and 23% less omega-6 fatty acids than your average hog.

But, says Michael Roberts, a bovine reproductive biologist at the University of Missouri, "It's going to be a long time before such animals are able to enter the food chain." Meanwhile, scientists hope to study whether the genetic tinkering might enhance the cardiovascular fitness of the pigs.
Ladies day at the GI lab!

Are you still hesitating about taking the plunge and going for that colonoscopy? How about doing it in the company of other women with a wonderful female colon specialist here in Denver? If you're interested, I've been in touch with Rose Medical Center; the tests are set for Saturday, May 6th. There are still two openings. Let me know!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Colonoscopy city!

Drs. Paley & Sykes go for the cancer screening gold!

My top tip for surviving a colonoscopy is: Do it with a friend! Look how much fun we're having. If you want to read my other advice for a smooth adventure with the colonoscopist, see My cathartic experience.

Reckless rodents

What do daredevil rats and aging women losing their hair have in common?

Both ratty brains and senescent hair thrive on progesterone. See rats without helmets for details on the rats. Look for the hair answer in future blogs.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


A woman called this a.m., frantic with the sudden onset of pain up the back of her head, show-stopping, stabbing, tears-to-the-eyes pain. She'd tried ibuprofen, midrin, Maxalt, and Vicodin without relief. My best guess? The awful cough with her current cold (I'll bet most of you have had one of those this year) twisted her skull out of alignment with her neck, squashing the greater occipital nerve as it exits the spinal cord and goes up the back of the head. As a result, this nerve was basically seizing with pain in nauseating waves.

Lyrica is a fairly new medication approved for nerve pain associated with diabetes and shingles. She took a 50 mg. capsule at my office, and 45 minutes later was nearly pain-free.

This from the Lyrica web-site:
If you are feeling numbness, tingling, pins and needles, burning, sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain, you may have nerve pain.

Nerve pain is different from other types of pain you may feel, such as pain from a muscle ache or a sprained ankle, which may be sore, achy or throbbing, and go away after time.

And common medicines that may work for muscle pain have not been clinically proven to work very well for this type of pain.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What's wrong with iron, man?

High iron intake may rust out your lungs, your bowels, and your pancreas, at least if you happen to be a rat from the South or an aging woman from Iowa.

Data from Tennessee rodents showed that dietary iron increased oxidative stress in feces (see previous post), and stressed out stools increases risk of DNA mutations and cancer in colon cells. Investigators have also found that postmenopausal women in the Iowa Women's Health Study were more likely to get lung cancer if they took vitamin C along with high dietary iron, colon cancer if they took extra iron with a diet high in fiber, and type 2 diabetes, especially if they drank alcohol.

I recommend multi-vitamins WITHOUT iron to all my postmenopausal patients and their pet rodents!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Still pink after all these years...The rougheye rockfish can live up to two centuries. For more information on how this cute little centenarian may have information for you, see (Negligible senescence.
Stop the Strep
While adults are less likely to contract strep throat, I can tell you that the teachers of Denver, up close and personal with small children in thin control of their secretions, are certainly battling the bug this season.

An analysis of 47 antibiotic trials involving 11,500 patients suggests that penicillin just doesn't faze this germ anymore. Additional treatment was needed for 24% of the stricken given penicillin and 18% of those taking amoxicillin.

Cephalosporins such as Keflex (cephalexin) had a better cure rate. Only 14% of the cephalexined came back with an incomplete cure, and merely 7% of those on newer cephalosporins.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

PN 100

They're going to have to find a new name, because PN 100 won't play on a prime time TV ad. But this little pharmaceutical 'two-fer' could be just the thing for those with joint pain AND a touchy stomach. We know that NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are great analgesics for persons with musculoskeletal pain from injury or arthritis. Unfortunately, they are tough on the GI tract, causing injury and ulcerations in the stomach and also ulcerations in the lower intestine which can lead to diarrhea (see Running on ibuprofen).

The COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx and Celebrex were supposed to be the answer to the problem--stemming painful inflammation while being gentle on the stomach. As you know, however, both Vioxx and Bextra were yanked from the market when their use was linked to cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, an English study just found that the COX-2 drugs were no safer than the old NSAIDs with respect to causing gastrointestinal problems.

The simultaneous use of ulcer-healing drugs such as Prilosec or Nexium with NSAIDs has been shown to reduce those GI risks. Enter PN 100, a combination drug currently in phase 3 clinical trials. This tablet combines an immediate release coating of lansoprazole (a potent acid inhibitor also know as Prevacid) surrounding a core of naproxen (an effective NSAID).

In one of those 'who-the-heck-would-volunteer-for-this?' studies, volunteers downed either once-daily delayed-release Prevacid plus naproxen twice daily, naproxen two times a day, or twice daily PN 100. After 2 weeks of treatments, the participants queued up for endoscopy for a little look-see into their stomachs.

Two patients on naproxen already had stomach ulcers as did one of the two pill group. The bunch on PN 100 were ulcer-free. 24-hour pH monitoring (as in 'Here, volunteers, swallow this tube so we can track your stomach acid for an entire day") showed that acid was better suppressed throughout the day and night on the twice daily Prevacid.

Dr. J as a fairy princess!

So why am I posting a picture of me duded out in vintage velvet? See Picture your doctor.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Snickers Bar Theory"

Dr. William Blank of New York's Lutheran Medical Center has written an excellent explanation as to why a little extra food each day goes a long way towards adding on the pounds:

"Let's assume that a person is of normal weight and that his weight has remained perfectly stable for 2 years. That means that, through activity and exercise, the person burns the same number of calories that he consumes each day.

Now, let's add to that equation one Snickers bar eaten every day (or for that matter any other candy bar or small bag of chips), but the person does no additional exercise to burn off those extra calories.

In 1 week, he will have gained about half a pound. Now, multiply that by 52 weeks, and in 1 year he could gain 26 pounds. In 5 years, the amount gained would have reached 130 pounds--all from an addtional, unburned daily candy bar."

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dear Readers,

For those of you who already subscribe to my newsletter, welcome to the abbreviated blog edition with near daily updates. I will bring you the same relevant medical news that you've counted on for these past six years. In the past few months, family and practice obligations have prevented me from writing a weekly newsletter. I hope this blog will allow me to keep in touch with you on a regular basis with surprising, relevant, humorous, and bizarre tidbits from leading medical journals. I will continue to publish both Femailhealthnews and Vintagefemail as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with my e-mail publications, please visit femailhealthnews.com for a look at the latest edition, back articles, and an opportunity to enter your free subscription to femailhealthnews. The mailing list will never be shared for commercial purposes.

Please visit regularly!

Best wishes,
Judy Paley, MD