Bone-strengthening drugs… Issue 48

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

You probably try your best to eat well and protect your health. But recent news reports of food recalls and tainted water supplies don’t
make it any easier, do they? And it’s hard to keep track of the growing list of drug recalls from the FDA…

It’s one reason I believe so strongly in using natural remedies and supplements. It’s also why I’ll keep sharing news and health tips to
help you keep your body as young and healthy as possible. We at Health Resources™ believe you deserve the best information and products available.

In today’s Monday Edition of Health News Weekly™, you’ll find out which drugs some folks in the medical establishment continue to prescribe—despite being proven ineffective for many patients! You’ll also learn about some common body conditions that help predict your risk for heart problems.

For more simple and natural ways to stay healthy, let’s get started…

Doctors Suggest Drug Makers Exaggerate Benefits of Bone-Strengthening Drugs

Layne Lowery

Drug companies exaggerate the benefits—and downplay the risks—of prescribing bone-strengthening drugs for women with
pre-osteoporosis, a new report claims.

According to an article in the January 19 issue of BMJ, drugs such as raloxifene, alendronate and risedronate do reduce the risk of fractures for women with osteoporosis.

Study co-author Dr. Pablo Alonso-Coello, a family practitioner at Hospital Sant-Pau in Barcelona, takes issue with drug makers arguing that the
effect of treating pre-osteoporosis (osteopenia) and osteoporosis is similar.

Alonso-Coello explains many women with osteopenia have such a low risk of fractures that drug treatment is essentially useless.

The research team examined four studies—all of which reported benefits in giving osteoporosis drugs to women with osteopenia.

But those reports exaggerated the benefits, often by reporting risk reduction in relative rather than absolute terms, Alonso-Coello said.

For example, the absolute risk of a woman with osteoporosis having a fracture in a given year might be 10 percent, he said. “The effect of
an osteoporosis drug is to lower that risk by half, so the absolute benefit is a 5 percent reduction.”

“But in women with pre-osteoporosis, the risk of fracture is very low, say 1 percent a year, so if you lower that by half, you go down to a 0.5 percent absolute reduction,” he explained.

The study also found that the research played down potentially harmful side effects of these drugs. In one case, further analysis of the
drug raloxifene failed to mention its role in increasing risk for blood clots.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued an alert on bisphosphonates—the class of osteoporosis drugs that include
alendronate and risedronate. The FDA warned that these medications can cause severe bone pain.

Dementia Patients on the Decline Routinely
Receive Antibiotics—Despite Unclear
Benefits, Study Says

Roz Roscoe, Staff Writer

Nearly half of nursing home patients with advanced dementia receive antibiotics in the last two weeks of life, a new study found.

But researchers say it’s not clear whether this therapy provides any benefits. And along with the possibility of experiencing pain and unpleasant side effects—this practice may contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotic exposure is extensive in nursing home residents with advanced dementia, and it increases as patients near death,” said lead study author Dr. Erika D’Agata, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

She recommends examining whether these patients really need this medication if the benefits are unclear.

About 70 percent of the 5 million Americans with dementia end up in nursing homes toward the end of their lives. At this stage, they frequently
face repeated infections and fevers.

Common medical practice recommends antibiotic treatment for these episodes of infection.

To get a clear understanding of antibiotic use for nursing home residents with advanced dementia, D’Agata and her colleague, Dr. Susan Mitchell, reviewed data from a group of 214 people. They followed the group for 18 months or until death.

The researchers found that 66 percent of the patients received at least one antibiotic treatment during the study period. On average, an
advanced dementia patient spent 53 of every 1,000 days on antibiotics.

During the study period, 99 people died. Of those, 42 percent were on antibiotic therapy during the last two weeks of their

D’Agata said it is advisable to figure out whether these patients benefit from antibiotic therapy. And they must also consider the consequences from the overuse of antibiotics to the patient and to society.

The researchers concluded that not every advanced dementia patient should be treated with antibiotics. If the antibiotics will not enhance the
quality of life, withholding their use may be the appropriate step to take in cases of infection.

But they stress that the decision to use antibiotics or not should be made on a case-by-case basis with the family. And, Kennedy added, this study points to the importance of having an advance directive, which allows patients to spell out their wishes for end-of-life care.

The study findings are published in the February 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Fast Fact

Some research suggests that compounds in black tea—the most common kind in “regular” tea bags—may cause cancer. But scientists say milk can neutralize these harmful materials.

So if you’re a heavy black tea drinker, try adding milk to your cup. Non-pasteurized milk is most nutritious and could reduce your cancer risk!

Lung and Leg Blood Clots May Predict
Future Blockages

Tiffany Lowery

People who develop a blood clot in their legs or lungs are at risk of developing another blood clot within three years, a new study suggests.

The medical term for leg clots is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A lung clot is called a pulmonary embolism. A combination of both types of blockages is called venous thromboembolism.

Researchers examined 1,691 people, average age 65, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The patients had been diagnosed either with lung clots (549) or leg clots (1,142) in 1999, 2001 or 2003.

During the three-year study, 31 of the pulmonary embolism patients had a recurring clot in the lung. And 75 of these patients had a recurrence
of both types of clots.

Researchers noted that 82 of the study participants had a major bleeding episode.

Among the 1,142 patients with leg clots, 64 (5.6 percent) developed a lung blockage. And 217 of these patients experienced recurrent venous

The researchers found that patients with lung clots were more likely to die than those with DVT.

“Patients whose course was complicated by major bleeding were more likely to experience recurrent venous thromboembolism or to die at three years than those without these complications,” wrote Dr. Frederick A. Spencer, of McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario,

The study authors said rates of recurrent clotting and major bleeding remain unacceptably high.

Efforts are needed to identify patients most at risk for complications associated with both lung and leg clots. They stressed a need to develop better anti-clotting strategies for long-term use in the community setting.

Health E-Hints

What Your Bulging Belly REALLY Means!

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors for heart disease. It is caused by eating a diet high in calories and saturated fat—and getting little or no physical exercise. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, you
have metabolic syndrome if at least 3 of the following are true:

  • You are overweight or obese, and carry the weight around your waistline.
  • You have high blood pressure (130/85 mm Hg or greater).
  • You have a high amount of sugar in your blood (a fasting blood sugar of 110 mg/dL or greater).
  • You have a high amount of fat in your blood (a triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or greater).
  • Youhave low HDL (good) cholesterol; for men, this means HDL less than 40 mg/dL and less than 50 mg/dL for women.

The more of these risk factors you have—the higher your risk of heart disease. Even if your cholesterol level is normal, you still may be at risk for a heart disaster.

To decrease your risk of heart disease, you need to exercise regularly and include plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber in your diet. You
can also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes by not smoking and by losing excess weight.