Read this eye-popping news about LASIK surgery—while you still CAN! – Issue 58

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

Let’s face it—aging takes a toll on your body. And depending on the health problems you face, you may even feel you’re getting old before your time!

Fading eyesight is a common problem for many aging Americans. Some have turned to the popular LASIK surgery to restore eagle-eye vision.

But if you’re considering this treatment, you should be aware of the risks involved—and why the FDA now recommends stronger warnings about this popular surgery.

You’ll discover the reasons for their concern—and many other tips for healthy aging—in today’s Monday Edition of Health News Weekly™.

So let’s get started!

FDA Panel Urges Stronger Warnings
for LASIK Surgery!

Layne Lowery

The vision-correcting LASIK surgery has received much acclaim from people in all walks of life. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said some folks may be ignoring the risks and complications associated with this delicate surgery.

The agency’s Ophthalmic Devices Panel recently met to discuss quality-of-life issues that arise after the surgery. The FDA panel concluded that more warnings are needed to clearly communicate the risks of the increasingly popular surgery, the Associated Press reported.

“This is ground-breaking. It’s the first time anything like this has happened around refractory, or LASIK, eye surgery,” said Dr. Christopher Starr, co-director of Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “I think it’s a good thing, because I know that the surgery, when done on the right patients, is a great, great surgery with phenomenally good outcomes.”

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgeons use a laser to cut a small flap in the cornea of the eye. The surgeon holds back this flap—then reshapes the corneal tissue with another laser.

The procedure can be used to correct near—or farsightedness and, in some cases, astigmatism.

Of the 7.6 million people who have undergone the surgery in the United States since the mid-1990s—140 have written letters of complaint to the FDA. The April 25 hearing was part of a larger review to see if consumers should receive new warnings about the possibility of eye pain, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and other problems associated with LASIK surgery.

The FDA advisers recommend stronger warnings that include:

  • Photographs to illustrate what people suffering certain side effects actually see;
  • Clarifying how often patients suffer certain side effects, such as dry eye; and
  • Clarifying the conditions that should disqualify someone from LASIK, such as large pupils or severe nearsightedness.

Some patients have experienced glare and halos around lights at night. And in extreme cases—some patients had to have corneal transplants when LASIK went wrong.

Dr. Norman Saffra, director of ophthalmology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City, said those who should rule it out include people with a misshapen or excessively thin cornea. He also recommends that people with early cataract formation or big pupils, dry eyes, or underlying conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, not pursue the procedure.

Fast Fact

What do an apple, a pat of butter and a small head of lettuce have in common? Believe it or not—they all have the same amount of calories! But there’s a HUGE difference in the amount of fiber for each food.

Butter is all FAT and has virtually no fiber. But apples and lettuce are excellent sources of fiber—without any extra fat!

New Saliva Test May Speed Heart Attack Diagnosis

Tiffany Lowery

A quick saliva test may soon be available to determine if a distressed person is having a heart attack.

According to a Reuters Health report, scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a microscopic sensor chip that can detect specific proteins in your saliva.

These proteins “have the ability to rapidly classify potential heart attacks,” said University of Texas biochemist Dr. John T. McDevitt.

The nano-bio-chip sensor is biochemically programmed to detect specific saliva proteins that can determine current heart attack symptoms—and even future heart attack risk!

To conduct the test, a person spits into a tube and the saliva is transferred to a small lab card with the nano-bio-chip. The card contains a standard set of cardiac biomarkers.

Medical professionals can insert the loaded card into an analyzer that determines the patient’s heart status in as little as 15 minutes.

In a study involving 56 people who had a heart attack and 59 healthy patients who did not, the research team found the saliva test had the same accuracy at diagnosing heart attacks as standard blood tests.

Many heart attack patients, especially women, experience nonspecific symptoms. They may even have normal EKG readings, which makes timely diagnosis difficult, McDevitt explained.

The saliva test could be used in conjunction with the EKG and “aid in rapidly diagnosing heart attacks that are silent on EKG,” McDevitt said. He said the researchers plan to conduct larger, more refined studies.

Health E-Hints

Flaxseed—A Superstar, Health-Boosting Nutrient!

Flaxseed is a superior source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. These heart-healthy fats are in the form of alpha linolenic acid—which studies show may play a beneficial role in heart, immune and joint health. It can also help your skin stay smooth and supple.

You can also get lignan from flaxseed—a nutrient which has been linked to a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancers, as well as reduced hair loss.

The main lignan in flaxseed is known as SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside). SDG is credited with helping to maintain a healthy prostate and colon—and even in supporting cardiovascular health!