Thursday, January 4, 2007

Health Notes

This is interesting information from American Heart Journal, 2006;152:1028-1034: it seems that women are more likely to die after heart bypass surgery than men. Part of the reason may be that they are more likely to need a transfusion of blood, and the article speculates that getting blood from a stranger may increase the chance of having a fatal infection due to the presence of foreign white blood cells. Therefore they suggest that patients consider banking their own blood before a bypass operation, or “or ask their doctors about safer blood products such as filtered donor blood.” This is a pretty serious issue that needs serious consideration.

According to the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is apparently now recommending that “every pregnant woman, regardless of age, be offered a choice of tests” to screen for Down Syndrome. This is a big change, of course. I think 35 has been the age when most screening begins. There are less invasive tests than amniocentesis now available, which is good. But things like these always raise a multitude of questions without providing a lot of satisfying answers. For example, where are we headed with genetic testing? Screening for Down Syndrome seems innocuous enough, but once you start screening every pregnant woman, you are headed down an ethical road that is often tricky, not to mention the cost of these tests, and the impact on our health care system. Once again, it seems to me that things like this are more likely to occur in science fiction novels of some distant future. I guess I just a twentieth century sort of guy who likes the way things used to be, not the way scientists are dreaming them up now.

Have you heard of the new digital mammography? It may be available at a diagnostic center near you soon.

Scientists have engineered fat particles to be able to more efficiently fight cancer than by using conventional chemotherapy.

Androgen therapy, i.e., treatment with testosterone, may help against Alzheimer’s disease. (The Journal of Neuroscience.)

Taking coenzyme Q10 may help with heart failure.

I’ve mentioned this before, but conjugated linoleic acid is supposed to help with weight loss.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Note: links that look good today often are no longer good in the future. I make every effort to create good links. When I discuss a topic, I also attempt to provide enough pertinent information so that readers won’t have to rely solely on the link at hand for their understanding, or for their further research.

No comments: