Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NASA's Biocapsule Breakthrough

NASA has developed a new technology called a “biocapsule”, designed to prevent the damage from the radiation exposure that occurs when astronauts spend extended periods of time in space. The biocapsule is designed so that it continually assesses certain conditions (like an elevated radiation level) and then treats the condition. What is exciting, for those of us who stick to living on terra firma, is that these biocapsules hold a lot of promise for treating chronic illnesses.

So how does it work and what other kinds of illnesses might we eventually treat with biocapsules?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Cholesterol Conundrum (part 3) - Statins

In our first two posts on cholesterol, we discussed the flawed research that created the myth that cholesterol and dietary fat cause heart disease. We also discussed the role that cholesterol actually plays in the body. With these pieces in place, we can discuss what, if any, benefit can be gained by taking cholesterol lowering drugs called “statins”.

Statin drugs are among the most widely used and studied pharmaceutical drugs of all time. They are primarily prescribed to lower cholesterol levels in people who are considered at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But, due to the confusion around cholesterol, many people who only have slightly elevated cholesterol and no other risk factors are being prescribed statin drugs. Statins are the number one prescribed class of drugs in the developed world and yet this “miracle drug”, has not improved the amount of heart disease, in fact, heart disease continues to go up despite the massive number of statins being prescribed. 
Why is this so? The real question is, do statins actually help prevent heart disease or any other health problems? If they don’t, then what are risks of taking statins and are they actually as safe as the manufacturers would have us believe?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health (Video)

This morning, I came across a very well done video lecture by a doctor at my alma mater, University of Toronto. Dr. Mike Evans discusses a treatment that he believes is the single best thing his patients can do to help dramatically prevent many different diseases. This treatment is one which we have discussed in many of our posts and is absolutely essential for achieving and maintaining optimum health. What is this miraculous treatment?

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Cholesterol Carriers (Part 2)

In our last post, we discussed the origin of the cholesterol myth and how the early research on cholesterol and fat intake was so flawed as to be meaningless. In this post, we will look at what we now understand actually causes heart disease. So if eating fat and cholesterol does not cause heart disease, then how exactly is cholesterol involved in heart disease?

The Myth of Cholesterol and Heart Disease

We’ve all seen the advertisements about cholesterol. One day, eggs are good for you, the next, they’re filled with evil cholesterol, then they’re good for you again. Drug manufacturers sell pills by the billions to people looking to lower their cholesterol and, hopefully, avoid heart disease. Many doctors blindly repeat to patients, many of whom are at risk of heart disease, to avoid eating cholesterol-rich foods.

While we briefly addressed the issue of cholesterol in our post about a healthy diet, this particular issue is the cause of so much confusion by patients and physicians alike that it really deserves a more detailed discussion. Decades worth of misinformation and improperly interpreted research studies (much of which, when reexamined, do not appear to be correct) have muddled the issue. Furthermore, there is no shortage of people who firmly believe that cholesterol is something to be strictly avoided. But, does avoiding cholesterol actually help to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and heart disease?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Research on Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a great mystery. Not only do we not really understand the underlying cause, we don’t understand the mechanism of its progression. The better that researchers come to understand the cause and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, the greater our chances of being able to find effective treatments or even a cure.

An article in the New York Times today highlights an exciting new development in Alzheimer’s research. This newly published research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may progress in the brain not unlike an infection.