Friday, September 30, 2011

Plastic Surgeons Behaving Badly

What is it about "Patient Privacy" that some doctors don't understand?  A St. Louis, Mo. plastic surgeon is being sued by 5 patients after she posted "before" and "after" photos of their bare breasts and torsos on her website to show the benefits of their breast implants.  To make it worse, she also posted their full names with the photos and several of the women are prominent in their

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is Listeria?

If you have watched any news over the past week you know there is a listeria outbreak from contaminated cantaloupes that has been traced to Jensen Farms in Colorado. The CDC has confirmed 72 illnesses, including 13 deaths linked to the melons and three other deaths may be involved.  By now most of the cantaloupes should be gone as they usually last only a couple of weeks.  The recalled

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Humans on a Cafeteria Diet

In the 1970s, as the modern obesity epidemic was just getting started, investigators were searching for new animal models of diet-induced obesity.  They tried all sorts of things, from sugar to various types of fats, but none of them caused obesity as rapidly and reproducibly as desired*.  1976, Anthony Sclafani tried something new, and disarmingly simple, which he called the "supermarket diet": he gave his rats access to a variety of palatable human foods, in addition to standard rodent chow.  They immediately ignored the chow, instead gorging on the palatable food and rapidly becoming obese (1).  Later renamed the "cafeteria diet", it remains the most rapid and effective way of producing dietary obesity and metabolic syndrome in rodents using solid food (2).

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Land Mines Around the World

We must not turn a blind eye to the shocking facts about land mines and the damage they cause to civilians and our own troops.  The fact that modern warfare involves buried explosives that are completely untargeted  should shock the conscience of the world.  The number of severe wounds that affect our servicemen is on the rise and the Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany is filled

Primal Docs

Chris Armstrong, creator of the website Celiac Handbook, has designed a new non-commercial website called Primal Docs to help people connect with ancestral health-oriented physicians.  It's currently fairly small, but as more physicians join, it will become more useful.  If you are a patient looking for such a physician in your area, or an ancestral health-oriented physician looking for more exposure, it's worth having a look at his site:

Primal Docs

Update 9/22: apparently there is already another website that serves a similar purpose and has many more physicians enrolled: Paleo Physicians Network.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chocolate May Benefit the Heart and Reduce Stroke

In case you missed it, I'm happy to report something that should please most everyone.  A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that consumption of chocolate (candies, candy bars, chocolate drinks, cookies and deserts) lowered the rates of stroke, coronary heart disease and blood pressure.  It seems that chocolate is good for you!

The study (which did NOT receive funding from the

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cocaine Smuggler Swallowed Drugs

This CT scan reveals reddish capsules that are intertwined through out this man's intestines.  The 72 capsules are filled with almost a kilogram of cocaine.  The man was arrested in Sao Paolo, Brazil, as he was getting ready to board a flight to Brussels.  He was an Irish guy and he was taken to the hospital for removal of the baggies.  We don't know how they were removed but usually they are

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doctors Improving Quality

I spent the day today with 60 physicians and nurses at a symposium focused on quality improvement and reducing mortality from sepsis.  Sepsis (overwhelming infection) is the number 1 cause of hospital deaths and the mortality rate can be as high as 60% if the patient goes into shock from infection.  Survival depends upon thousands of independent pieces coming together in an organized way.  A

Fat Tissue Insulin Sensitivity and Obesity

In this post, I'll discuss a few more facts pertaining to the idea that elevated insulin promotes the accumulation of fat mass.  

Insulin Action on Fat Cells Over the Course of Fat Gain

The idea that insulin acts on fat cells to promote obesity requires that insulin suppress fat release in people with more fat (or people who are gaining fat) to a greater extent than in lean people.  As I have written before, this is not the case, and in fact the reverse is true.  The fat tissue of obese people fails to normally suppress fatty acid release in response to an increase in insulin caused by a meal or an insulin injection, indicating that insulin's ability to suppress fat release is impaired in obesity (1, 2, 3).  The reason for that is simple: the fat tissue of obese people is insulin resistant.

There has been some question around the blogosphere about when insulin resistance in fat tissue occurs.  Is it only observed in obese people, or does it occur to a lesser extent in people who carry less excess fat mass and are perhaps on a trajectory of fat gain?  To answer this question, let's turn the clocks back to 1968, a year before Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. 

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Medicine Prices in 1900

Click on image for a better view
This looks like a pretty good deal.  Physicians in attendance, large, well ventilated rooms and food.  Medicine and nursing by caring nuns included.  All for $7-$10.00 a week.  If that is too expensive you can opt for a ward for $4-$6.00/week.

Of course, you will likely be prescribed arsenic and be bled via a slice in your arm vein.  Enemas and purgatives are

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sjogrens Syndrome Slows Venus Williams

U.S. Open 2010
I was lucky enough to see Venus Williams play her first professional tennis match when she was a teenager.  It was obvious she was something special and her coach-father said "If you think she's good, wait until you see her little sister." (Serena Williams).

Venus and her sister, Serena have dominated women's tennis over the past decade but she is currently sidelined with a

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NSAIDS May Increase Risk of Miscarriage

A new study of more than 52,000 pregnant women in Canada shows that miscarriage rates were more than twice as high for women who took a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) compared to women who did not.  The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that women who used prescription NSAIDS for just 4 days during early pregnancy had an increased risk for

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hyperinsulinemia: Cause or Effect of Obesity?

Is Elevated Insulin the Cause or Effect of Obesity?

The carbohydrate hypothesis, in its most popular current incarnation, states that elevated insulin acts on fat cells to cause fat storage, leading to obesity.  This is due to its ability to increase the activity of lipoprotein lipase and decrease the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase, thus creating a net flux of fat into fat cells.  I'm still not sure why this would be the case, considering that fat tissue becomes more insulin resistant as body fat accumulates, therefore insulin action on it is not necessarily increased.  Total fat release from fat tissue increases with total fat mass (1), demonstrating that insulin is not able to do its job of suppressing fat release as effectively in people who carry excess fat.  But let's put that problem aside for the moment and keep trucking.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Foods that Lower Cholesterol

All physicians recommend dietary (lifestyle) changes for patients with high cholesterol (aka: hyperlipidemia).  But this dietary advice which focuses on low fat intake is often confusing for patients and physicians can be pessimistic that it will even work.  Many rush into prescribing statins because we know they will "get the numbers down".  New evidence published in the Journal of the American

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Catered Paleo Dinner with Yours Truly

Gil Butler, organizer of the Western Washington Paleo Enthusiasts group, has organized a catered "paleo" dinner on Sunday, October 9th.  He will be screening the first episode of "Primal Chef", Featuring Robb Wolf and others.  He invited me to give a short (20 minute) presentation, which I accepted.  There are still roughly 30 spots remaining [update 9/21-- the event is full].

The event will be in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and the price is $15.76 per person.  I will not be paid for this talk, it's just an opportunity to share ideas and meet people. 

Click here to register.

Summer Fresh Tomato Pasta

The farmers market in my area is bursting with fresh tomatoes now.  If you are lucky, you have tomato plants that are producing fruit.  Here is a healthy way to use tomatoes that your family will love.

Summer Fresh Tomato Pasta

Serves 4-6
6-8 tomatoes chopped
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1 chopped clove garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review: The End of Overeating

The End of Overeating was written based on the personal journey of Dr. David A. Kessler (MD) to understand the obesity epidemic, and treat his own obesity in the process.  Kessler was the FDA commissioner under presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton.  He is known for his efforts to regulate cigarettes, and his involvement in modernizing Nutrition Facts labels on packaged food.  He was also the dean of Yale medical school for six years-- a very accomplished person. 

Kessler's book focuses on 1) the ability of food with a high palatability/reward value to cause overeating and obesity, 2) the systematic efforts of the food industry to maximize food palatability/reward to increase sales in a competitive market, and 3) what to do about it.  He has not only done a lot of reading on the subject, but has also participated directly in food reward research himself, so he has real credibility.  The End of Overeating is not the usual diet book baloney. 
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