by Dr. S. Brown
As a physician in private practice familiar with highly skilled pharmaceutical representatives pitching the latest (and most expensive) medications, I am fairly good at separating truth from salesmanship. These clear cut interactions with the drug reps visiting my office are relatively harmless. Drug maker’s are now changing up the game however, with a new, more subversive tactic to influence doctors’ prescribing habits.
I have been compiling a “medical propaganda” file, consisting of emails directed to my work and personal address offering cash for my time. In less than a year, I count over 500 of these emails. Here are twenty from the past week. Some details are blacked out for legal reasons. Continue reading
by Gary Pepper, M.D.
According to government estimates, 4.6% of the US population aged 12 or more has hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Based on treatment guidelines published in 2012 by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), only synthetic thyroid hormone (levothyroxine, Synthroid, Levoxyl) is an appropriate therapy for this condition. According to these guidelines, the biologic product Armour Thyroid, is unfit for this treatment purpose. Armour Thyroid, an extract of porcine thyroid, has been available as a treatment for hypothyroidism for about 100 years. It was first used in the U.S. to treat hypothyroidism in 1891. The impact of the AACE guidelines is more than symbolic Continue reading
by Gary Pepper, M.D.
Early in May 2014 a patient being treated with Armour Thyroid (desiccated thyroid) for hypothyroidism reported that her pharmacy service would not refill her prescription for Armour Thyroid because it was an “illegal” drug. We were both very distressed to learn of this, but for different reasons. My patient was rightfully concerned that she might be receiving a wildly inappropriate medication, while I was concerned that I might not be able to prescribe a medication I knew to be extremely helpful and safe. Continue reading
It seems as if “bioflavonoid” is a popular buzzword for the health conscious. But what are bioflavonoids and why are they helpful?
In the past “Bioflavonoids” were often referred collectively as vitamin P. Bioflavonoids are a group of naturally occurring plant compounds, which act primarily in nature as plant pigments, metabolic enhancers, chemical messengers within the plant and also fight various plant infections. In humans, they exhibit a host of biological activities, most notably powerful antioxidant properties. More than 5,000 bioflavonoids have been identified as of now. Continue reading
Obesity Related Type 2 Diabetes is More Severe in Teens than Adults
by Gary Pepper, M.D. and Andrew Levine, Pre-Med, Univ of Central Florida
The recently published TODAY study found obesity related type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is more severe as a teen than as an adult, and high risk of developing diabetes could be tied to weight gain at an early age.
Between 2004 and 2009 the “Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Youth Study Group” (TODAY) gathered 700 participants who met the American Diabetes Association’s criteria for this disease. The participants were monitored for between two to six years. TODAY’s goal was to assess treatment options and the clinical progression of obesity related T2DM in youth. The mean age of the 700 participants in the TODAY study was thirteen, the majority being female. Sixty percent of the 700 participants were African American or Hispanic, with the remainder being Caucasian. The mean duration of diabetes for the study’s’ participants was less than seven months. A major worrisome finding from the study is a majority of participants were also discovered to have dyslipidemia, an abnormally high amount of fats (cholesterol, triglycerides) in the blood, as well as high blood pressure (hypertension). Continue reading
As most people trying to lose weight know, boosting your metabolism is critical to success. Metabolism is the system controlling the rate of breakdown of food into the necessary nutrients for proper function of the cells of the body. A slow metabolism will slow down the weight loss process, while having a faster metabolism well increase your body’s weight loss. Thus, you will want to boost metabolism as much as possible within healthy limits. Knowing what foods assist metabolism will be vital in the effort to achieve and maintain a desirable weight.
Carbohydrates are usually easy for the body to digest. Fiber however, is a non-digestible form of carbohydrate. The body usually doesn’t recognize the fact that it is non-digestible, and expends energy in an effort to break it down anyway. This will increase the amount of “passive” calories used up in the digestive effort. Carrots are a double win, being high in fiber and low in calories, a cup of raw carrots containing only 50 calories. According to Kristine Clark, professor and assistant director at Penn State University, because of the small amount of calories going in while a large amount being used up, eating high fiber vegetables such as carrots can result in an increase in metabolism.
Gaining weight after quitting smoking is a common and dreaded experience. Fear of weight gain often discourages people from trying to take the first steps toward giving up the smoking habit. What is the reason for this unwelcome “side-effect”? Perhaps most importantly, smoking raises the heart rate substantially.
While smoking a cigarette, the heart rate increases 10-20 more beats per minute. (This can lead to heart diseases in the future.) This elevated pulse boosts the metabolism because of the energy it takes to keep the body functioning at this high rate. When a smoker quits smoking, the heart rate will return to its normal, natural rate. This will cause a decrease in the metabolism. However, there are several ways to boost your metabolism after smoking cessation to avoid the weight gain that often occurs.
Poor eating habits are contributing to the rise of type 2 diabetes and obesity in children and adolescents. One of the major nutritional culprits is the high consumption of sugar contained in soda. The amount of sugar in soda is astounding.
by Gary Pepper, M.D. and Andrew Levine, Pre-med
If you ask the average person to define diabetes, a typical response might be “it’s when you have unhealthy eating habits and an overabundance of sugar in your blood.” Although that is not far from the truth, a more accurate definition is that diabetes is a disorder in the way our body uses insulin to process digested food for energy and storage. A good part of what we eat is broken down into glucose, the principle form of sugar in the blood. Diabetes occurs when there is not enough insulin to push the glucose into our cells. This deprives the body of the energy it needs because glucose is metabolized as fuel by all the organs in the body. Therefore in diabetes despite an elevated amount of sugar in the blood, the cells are actually starving for energy. We sometimes conceive of glucose in the blood as the enemy , but without it we would die. Continue reading