Friday, November 30, 2007

Over the Edge. Cypher Stent Commercial Goes Too Far

There I sat watching Brett Favre and my beloved Green Bay Packers getting stomped by the Dallas Cowboys (so my BP is already high) and what do my eyes behold at the commercial break? Why none other than Cordis Corporation running a commercial touting their Cypher stent. The message being delivered while the band Guster is belting out its tune "C'mon" in the background is "If you have narrowed arteries that are limiting your activity, go see your doctor about getting a Cypher stent to open up those bad boys." What is most galling is their new slogan, "Life Wide Open." Yeah for about six months until your sirolimus-eluting stent produces another case of late stent thrombosis or the artery plugs up further down the line.

Nevermind that the COURAGE trial said drug and lifestyle changes are just as or more effective. Nevermind that stents DO NOT reduce your risk of having a heart attack or reduce the underlying disease that caused your arteries to narrow. Nevermind that stent insertion is a surgical procedure with significant risk of its own. Never mind that sirolimus-eluting stents have increased risk of stent thrombosis and you have to take Plavix for six months as a precaution (which has its own increased bleeding risks). Nevermind that relying exclusively on stents means you will likely need another and then another before your untimely death. No, go right out and have your doctor cut a hole in your side and snake our product into your heart all in the name of a short-term fix.

What Cordis (a Johnson and Johnsn Company) is doing is UNCONSCIONABLE! We already have unscrupulous cardiologists running "cath factories." Now Cordis is egging on heart disease sufferers to pester their doctors to put more stents in and being disingenuous in the process by not telling the whole story. Tough shit if there are better ways to manage heart disease. We only make money when stents are used.

Stents are for acute situations. There are better, safer, and more effective ways to reduce stable angina than surgical intervention. Shame on Cordis for playing the "quick fix" card and putting profits ahead of patient well-being. Perhaps they should watch this commercial.

Or this one!

Just when ya think you've seen it all!


OK, This is Too Cool To Miss!

Ever wonder about HDL reverse cholesterol transport and how it works to reduce plaque. Now, this is a pure commercial play by the drug giant Merck and normally I would not pass it on, but they have put together a pretty cool animation about the mechanism by which HDL removes cholesterol from artery walls. Here is the link

They also have an amimation that explains why we sometimes get that nasty flushed feeling when we take niacin. Do ya think they spent all this money on the cool animations out of the kindness of their hearts? Or, do ya think that maybe they are setting us up for some new presciption drug that raises HDL without the flushing side effect?

Hmmmm, I wonder - NOT!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Diet: This is getting spooky real FAST!

I have had many long-winded arguments with Dr. Davis of Track Your Plaque but I'll be damned if he isn't right again! I kind of raised an eyebrow over one of his articles titled "Fasting: Fast Track to Control Plaque" until this study recently released at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions entitled "People who skip meals: are they better off?" corroborated his position.

The study provided fascinating evidence that suggests a fast as short and sweet as skipping two consecutive meals provides additional protection against heart disease. Dr. Benjamin D. Horne, Ph.D., M.P.H., study author and director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City offered two provocative quotes ...

“Fasting was the strongest predictor of lower heart disease risk in the people we surveyed."

based on the possible theory that ...

“When you abstain from food for 24 hours or so, it reduces the constant exposure of the body to foods and glucose,” he said. “One of the major problems in the development of the metabolic syndrome and the pathway to diabetes is that the insulin-producing beta cells become desensitized. Routine fasting may allow them to resensitize — to reset to a baseline level so they work better.”

OK, seems reasonable. Now, my next question is "Exactly how often do I have to "reset my baseline level?" Call me anything (and people do), just don't call me late for dinner.



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