Can we reverse Alzheimer's?

Two new approaches to treating Alzheimer’s disease offer hope for meaningful treatment in the near future. One is PBT2, a drug that prevents metals in the brain from driving the production of plaques and tangles that kill neurons. Another is Neuro AD, a therapy that challenges a person to solve problems on a computer right after it uses noninvasive electromagnetic energy to stimulate the brain region required to give the answer. It doesn’t cure the disease, but it appears to make the brain circuits work better, which can lead to a striking improvement in cognitive abilities for daily tasks. More »

Ask the doctor: When to remove carotid blockage?

  People with a 70% blockage in the carotid artery and symptoms such as a mini-stroke may want to have surgery to unblock the artery sooner rather than later. Other options include angioplasty with stent placement and blood-thinning medicines.   (Locked) More »

Are high tech heart tests best?

High-tech imaging tests that use computed tomography (CT) scans to determine heart health are becoming popular. However, the scans are far from perfect. Abnormal results do not necessarily mean a person will have a heart attack, and normal results are no guarantee against a heart attack. These new imaging tests may have a valuable role when used for patients who are at intermediate risk, according to traditional risk factors. If the imaging test results are abnormal, that can push a person into a high-risk group. Then, based on that reclassification, the person can be treated. (Locked) More »

Depression and obesity: Confirming the link

It appears obesity is associated with depression in older adults. Obesity affects the parts of the brain that regulate mood. Low energy and low motivation from depression can translate into less activity and exercise. The result may be weight gain. Individuals can break the vicious cycle by making a small change in eating or exercise habits. Losing weight will improve motivation, energy, and mood. (Locked) More »

NSAIDs: topicals vs. pills for pain

Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can bring weeks of pain relief. The drug stays close to the site of application, so levels in the blood and more remote tissues remain low. That makes topical NSAIDs less risky than oral NSAIDs, which can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and increased risk of heart attacks if used long-term. Topicals are best for people who have occasional joint pain, when other methods of treatment have failed. (Locked) More »

Why doctors keep pushing fiber

Fiber can help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber, the nondigestible component of plant food, increases satisfaction after eating—leading you to eat less. Fiber also lowers both blood sugar and cholesterol levels. To fit more fiber into the daily diet, experts advise eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and eliminating prepackaged and processed food. (Locked) More »

Considering testosterone therapy?

Testosterone (T) therapy offers the potential to improve a man’s energy, mood, and sex drive. Treatment comes in the form of injections, gels or patches placed on the skin, or tablets that stick to the gums. Candidates are usually men with a total T level below 300 nanograms per deciliter. However, the diagnosis of low T can be tricky, and doctors debate whether T therapy raises risk for blood clots, heart disease, and prostate cancer. (Locked) More »

Should you get a PSA test?

The latest thinking in PSA testing is that prostate cancer screening should not be offered routinely to all men. Because of the testing, many men are diagnosed and treated for cancers that would not have made them sick or shortened their lives. For such men, the treatment—which can produce side effects—is worse than the disease. Although PSA screening has been thought to offer most potential benefit to men at elevated risk, such as African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer, this has not been shown in studies conducted to date.  (Locked) More »

The popular fix for droopy eyes

Droopy upper and lower eyelids change a person’s appearance, and they can block peripheral vision. The fix is blepharoplasty, which is surgery that removes the drooping excess skin and fat around the eye. Recovery can take up to two weeks. One risk is dry eye syndrome. Doctors advise that patients have eye exams before and after surgery. The best surgeon for the job is someone who performs blepharoplasties frequently, such as every week. (Locked) More »

New attack on precancerous patches

Actinic keratoses (AK) are small pea-sized rough patches, often scaly and with surrounding redness, on sun-exposed skin. They look minor, but they can progress to skin cancer. Typical treatment involves freezing them, scraping them, using chemical peels, or applying medicated creams for weeks. One new treatment is photodynamic therapy (PDT). Medicine applied to AK is absorbed only by the problem cells, and then it kills them when a light is shined onto the skin. All treatments are almost always successful, although some AK can reoccur. (Locked) More »

What you should know about: Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential nutrient found in highest concentration in fruits (particularly citrus), green vegetables, and tomatoes. It’s necessary for bone structure, iron absorption, skin integrity, and immune function. Evidence shows vitamin C doesn’t help fight the common cold if taken after cold symptoms start. However, if taken for prevention, it may help reduce the length of a cold. The preferred way to get vitamin C is from food sources, not supplements. (Locked) More »

Multivitamin use may reduce cancer risk

Multivitamins may reduce the risk of cancer in men by 8%. The benefits of multivitamin supplements may mirror those found in vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, which also have been associated with lower cancer rates in previous studies. (Locked) More »

Bisphosphonates may help men with osteoporosis

The commonly used bone-strengthening drugs called bisphosphonates may provide the same level of benefit for men as they do for women. It appears the drug zoledronic acid (Reclast) significantly reduced spinal fractures in men with osteoporosis. (Locked) More »