News regarding a popular wrinkle remedy – Issue 45

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

Here we go again…

Another announcement from the Food and Drug Administration about dangerous side effects of a widely-used drug; this time it’s the incredibly popular wrinkle-reliever, Botox.

Once again patients have trusted their doctors, who in turn have trusted the drug companies. And once again the public has been disappointed. While I hate to sound like a broken record, this pattern just keeps repeating itself. It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so scary!

In today’s Monday Edition of Health News Weekly™, I’ll give you more details about the Botox drug scare.

But I’ve also got good news to share about a promising new test for prostate cancer detection. And I’ll tell you about some natural and SAFE nutrients for boosting your memory and heart health.

Let’s get started!

FDA Says Anti-Wrinkle Drugs
Are Linked to DEATHS!

Layne Lowery

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a public warning that Botox and Botox Cosmetic (Botulinum toxin Type A) and Myobloc (Botulinum toxin Type B) have been linked to respiratory failure and death in some patients. The incidents followed treatment of a variety of conditions using a wide range of doses.

The adverse reactions appear to be related to the spread of the toxin to areas distant from the site of injection. The reported reactions mimic symptoms of botulism—including weakness, difficulty swallowing and breathing problems.

An agency statement said the reactions may be related to overdosing. The adverse effects occurred with both FDA-approved and non-approved product usage.

The most severe adverse effects were found in children treated for spasticity in their limbs associated with cerebral palsy. This treatment is not an FDA-approved use of the medication in children or adults.

The FDA is not advising health care professionals to discontinue prescribing these products.

The agency is currently reviewing safety data from clinical studies submitted by the drugs’ manufacturers. They are also reviewing post-marketing adverse event reports and medical literature.

After completing its data review, the FDA will issue a public statement regarding its conclusions, recommendations and any regulatory actions.

The agency has asked Botox maker Allergan Inc. and Myobloc maker Solstice Neurosciences Inc. to provide additional safety records.

Urine Test Provides More Accurate for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis than PSA Blood Test

Roz Roscoe, Staff Writer

A simple urine test identified 80 percent of study patients who were later diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, this new test is far more accurate than the PSA blood test currently in use worldwide.

The researchers say even the newer PCA3 test, which screens for a molecule specific to prostate cancer, and which is now in use both in the U.S. and Europe is less precise.

Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan, and a team of researchers developed the new urine test.

They based their test on a recent finding that gene fusions—pieces of chromosomes that trade places and cause two genes to stick together—are common in prostate cancer.

The researchers built upon the PCA3 test by screening for six additional gene fusions, or biomarkers.

To begin, they collected urine samples from 234 men with rising PSA levels before they underwent prostate biopsy at a University of Michigan urology clinic.

Among this group, biopsy results confirmed a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 138 patients. The remaining 96 patients were cancer-free.

When researchers compared the urine biomarker test results with the biopsy data, they found four of the seven biomarkers were significant predictors of prostate cancer.

Of the seven markers, only PCA3 had been previously reported as a diagnostic biomarker.

The combination of the four biomarkers gave a positive predictive value of greater than 75 percent. This was five percent better than use of a PCA3 test alone, Chinnaiyan says.

Chinnaiyan believes that any tests that are developed and widely tested would first be used to supplement a PSA blood screen.

He also says that this “first generation multiplex” biomarker test will likely be improved upon as researchers continue to uncover more information about prostate cancer.

“We want to develop a test to allow physicians to predict whether their patients have prostate cancer that is so accurate a biopsy won’t be needed to rule cancer out,” Chinnaiyan said. “No test can do that now.”

The study is published in the February 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Fast Fact

Want to know your ideal body weight? It’s easy to calculate. Just take your height over five feet in inches, multiply times 5, then add 110 if you are a woman and 120 if you are a man.

For example, a woman who is 5 feet, 4 inches tall would have a calculation like this:

4 inches x 5 = 2020 + 110 = 130 pounds ideal weight
And it’s nice to know you can fudge the numbers by about 5%, and still be within your ideal weight range!

Are You Taking Mother Nature’s Memory Pill?

Haley Whiten, Contributing Editor

Insufficient levels of folate in your diet may triple your risk of developing dementia, says research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The new findings were reported by South Korean researchers who spent two years tracking the development of dementia in 518 people. All participants were over the age of 65. They either lived in one rural or one urban area in the south of the country.

Researchers conducted validated tests at the start and end of the two-year period to find out if patients had dementia.

They also took blood tests to assess changes in levels of folate—also known as vitamin B9—vitamin B12, and homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with cardiovascular disease.

At the beginning of the study, 3.5% of participants were folate deficient. By the end of the study, 45 people had developed dementia.

Of these, 34 had Alzheimer’s disease. The rest had other types of dementia.

Researchers say memory loss was more likely to develop in people who were:

  • Older
  • Relatively poorly educated
  • Physically inactive

They said onset of dementia was significantly more likely in people whose folate levels fell—while their homocysteine levels rose—over the two years.

The researchers concluded people who were folate deficient to begin with were almost 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia.

Folate and folic acid, another form of the compound, help your body create new cells. The nutrient occurs naturally in leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens and lettuces. You can also get it by eating dried beans, peas and some fruits.

A study published in 2007 in The Lancet showed people over 50 who took a daily dose of 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid showed improvement in short-term memory, mental agility and verbal fluency.

The US recommended daily dose of folate is 400 mcg.

Health E-Hints

For Ultimate Heart Health—
Tap Into the Power of Pomegranates!

Pomegranates have become a rising star in the world of disease-fighting “super foods”! This is partly due to evidence that the fruit juice contains high levels of antioxidants—in fact, higher than most other fruit juices, red wine or tea.

Preliminary evidence suggests drinking concentrated pomegranate juice may reduce cholesterol. And additional studies suggest that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice a day for one year reduced blood pressure levels!

Recently, Israeli researchers studied the effects of pomegranate juice on diabetics with heart disease. They found that patients who consumed about 2 ounces (50 milliliters) of pomegranate juice for three months had a reduced uptake of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

The researchers also found reduced levels of other heart disease indicators. And the sugar in pomegranate juice did not appear to worsen blood sugar levels in these patients!

The researchers concluded pomegranate juice may help prevent hardening of the arteries in people with diabetes. Study results were published in the August 2006 journal Atherosclerosis.

So raise a cup of pomegranate juice and drink to a healthy heart!