Sunday, October 28, 2007

And Now, Even the Stent Mongers are Starting to GET It!

Let's make this clear yet again. Needing a stent, any stent, is a prevention failure. But, they are effective life-savers once you are "over the edge." Perhaps the COURAGE trials (which showed that non-interventional therapy was as effective as inteventional therapy for non-acute heart disease sufferers) has helped pushed technology in the right direction.

The TRIAS HR study has shown that the new Genous R stent to be as or more effective in patients at high risk for restenosis than paclitaxel drug-eluting stents. What is noteworthy about the Genous stent is that it has been bioengineered with a coating that attracts Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs). The idea is that the stent will form a natural endothelial lining similar to healthy arteries. Recall that it is the one-cell thick endothelial lining that regulates artery dilation (by producing nitric oxide) and provides a protective barrier. Once that lining is compromised the atherosclerotic process begins.

Of course, this whole area of innovation begs the question, "Can a method be devised to get EPCs to damaged endothelial sites BEFORE lesions become acute and require a stent?" If so, you might be talking about a REAL cure to heart disease before too long!

Given that hearts in my family are genetically predisposed to fail at age 65, that gives them about 13 years to figure it out.

Stay tuned,


Saturday, October 27, 2007

FINALLY! A Few Docs that GET it!

I spend a great deal of time exposing members of the traditional medical community who, for one reason or another, remain rooted in the "stone age" of cardiovascular care. Perhaps they are lazy, have a profit motive or are, sadly, simply ignorant. Happily, there are a few who get it like those associated with the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE).

The SHAPE docs have been taking quite a bit of heat for promoting heart scanning and calcium scoring as the new standard for detecting and managing heart disease. They have recently fired back at their major critics such as Dr. Michael Lauer and the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine with this rebuttal.

Shape doctors such as Dr. Harvey Hecht, Dr. Arthur Agatston, and Dr. Matt Budoff understand the simple truth. Using risk factors such as the popular Framingham Risk Score can tell you if you MIGHT have heart diesase. Heart scans tell you if you DO have heart disease. If you have a non-zero calcium score you must:

1. Understand YOU HAVE HEART DISEASE. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. Deal with it!

2. You need to find out WHY you, specifically, have heart disease. The risk factors for MOST people is unimportant. What is YOUR specific cause or causes.

3. You need to take measures to counteract YOUR specific causes. Starting treatments (like statins) just because they help some or most people is just plain stupid if your specific problem cannot be helped (or is less than optimum) by the treatment.

Slowly, but surely, the truth about heart disease prevention and reversal will prevail. Heart scanning and lipoprotein analysis are proving to be the first two steps.

The truth shall set you free from heart disease!



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Breaking Medical News - The Pope is Catholic!

This just in from the cutting-edge of traditional medical research.

"The addition of an omega-3 fatty-acid supplement to statin therapy in patients with persistent hypertriglyceridemia significantly reduced triglyceride levels and non-HDL-cholesterol levels, all without a significant increase in LDL-cholesterol levels."

YA THINK?!! Now tell me something I DON'T know. It never ceases to amaze me what the traditional medical community regards as "news." But what really irks me about this latest study is the following.

1. They only care about studying compounds as they relate to patentable prescription drugs like statins.

2. They only studied a prescription form of Omega-3 fatty acids when you can easily achieve equivalent doses with cheap, over-the-counter, equivalents.

3. They persist in maintaining "it is not clear what clinical benefit would arise from further lowering triglycerides in patients with levels between 200 mg/dL and 500 mg/dL."

It is bad enough that the FDA does not approve Omega-3 supplementation in patients with triglycerides below 500mg/dl, now we get this "old news" study that, despite its "revelation," will continue to bolster the hopelessly inept FDA. Hell, Dr. Davis of Track Your Plaque recommends a triglyceride level of 60mg/dl while these guys are still speculating about 200. One of the lead researchers even suggests that effects on LDL particle size has a threshold BELOW 200 (more non-news)!

It is pretty clear to me that this study is nothing more than an attempt to create a market for prescription Omega-3 products and take a share of the huge market for the non-prescription Omega-3 supplements. I can't wait for more "breaking news" from traditional medicine, even if it will be at least 10 years late!



Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blessed with Brilliant Commenters

I continue to be nothing less than impressed with the intelligence and insight of the commenters on this blog. The blog was started as an outlet to vent my frustration with what I see as cardiological malpractice and to hopefully help others by sharing my experiences. Instead, it is slowly developing into a community of ideas on the subject driven by mostly thoughtful comments from those who both agree and disagree with the way I state my case.

"Anonymous" (a scan technician) recently replied to my last post "It's STILL the Plaque, Stupid!" decrying how heart scan results are often misinterpretted by doctors who alternately tell really sick patients to ignore the results or blindly rush them to the cath lab for no good reason (and I think also in reply to a comment by "Bix"). The money quote from the comment was "You wouldn't consider a "small amount" of cancer to be normal, why do you think this disease is any different?" Of course, I will be stealing this line in the future!

Oh, and to all you "Anonymouses" out there, take credit when you say something brilliant!



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