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Showing posts from January, 2016

The Health Benefits of Dry January

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My under 30 year old hairdresser mentioned to me that she was having a "Dry January".  I had never heard that term and she explained that she wanted to be bikini ready for a trip to Maui so she was having no alcohol for the month.  According to a UK magazine called New Scientist, she is on the right track.


According to an article in National Public Radio Online, the staff at the magazine used themselves as guinea pigs and swore off booze to see what the health benefits would be.  Of the 14 staff members, 10 of them gave up alcohol for 5 weeks and 4 continued to drink as they usually do.  Their drinking patterns varied from a "low" of 8 bottles of beer to a shocking 64 beers a week.  (Those Brits do like their pubs!)


They analyzed the results of lifestyle questionnaires, ultrasounds and blood samples and found some remarkable differences in just that short period of time.  The abstainers saw their blood glucose levels fall by an average of 16%.  Blood glucose is a …

Why Did Glenn Frey Die?

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The untimely death of Glenn Frey, one of the talented leads in the famous Eagles band, has left his fans saddened and the music industry has lost another great.  Early reports from his publicist say his death was from Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pneumonia. You may wonder how someone dies of pneumonia in 2016.

At the turn of the Century, before we had antibiotics, pneumonia was considered "the old man's friend".  A slight pulmonary infection often led to death and I remember my grandmother saying; "Cover up or you'll catch your death of pneumonia".  In her day it was serious and fatal.  But now we have effective antibiotics to treat pneumonia and it mainly effects people who are very young, immunocompromised or who have multiple other organ failures.  So what may have happened to Mr. Frey?

Both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis are treated with medications that can affect the body's natural immune system.  Because they are bot…

Go Ahead And Eat Grapefruits With Your Statin

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Statins are the most commonly used medications in the U.S. and are used by millions of people to reduce cardio-vascular disease, heart attacks and stroke.  For patients who take the three most commonly prescribed, Simvastatin, Lovastatin and Atorvastatin, the current medical advice is to avoid grapefruit juice while talking these medications. Grapefruits and grapefruit juice increase the concentration of these drugs in the body.  But a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine says we have it all wrong!  Patients who like grapefruits should go ahead and enjoy them with their statins.  Here's what the researchers say:

Fresh grapefruit juice contains bergamottin which has an effect on an intestinal enzyme (CYP3A4 for you chemists) that prevents the breakdown of certain statins.  The consequence is that the blood level of these three statins are increased when taken with grapefruit juice.  We've known about this interaction since is was discovered  by accident in 1…