Coronary Artery Calcification Helps Predict Stroke Risk.


Coronary artery calcification (CAC) independently predicts future stroke risk in people considered to be at low and intermediate risk, according to a study in Stroke.

In a population-based cohort of 4180 people aged 45 to 75, some 90 people experienced a stroke over 8 years’ follow-up. After adjusting for Framingham risk factors, people with a CAC score of 400 or higher had three times the risk for stroke, relative to those with a score of zero. CAC was effective in predicting stroke risk in people under age 65 (but not older), independent of atrial fibrillation or sex.

Source: Stroke

Secondary and Tertiary Vaccinia Transmission from a Vaccine.



A case of secondhand — leading to thirdhand — vaccinia infection is reported in MMWR.

One man received smallpox vaccine through the U.S. Department of Defense, without complications, but he did not cover the vaccine site as instructed. After intercourse with the vaccinee, a second man was hospitalized for painful perianal rash and upper-lip sore, as well as fever and emesis; he reported having had contact with “moisture” on the vaccinee’s arm. The second man then had intercourse with a third, who was also hospitalized with genital and arm lesions.

Both hospitalized patients tested positive for nonvariola Orthopoxvirus by PCR. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases were negative in both, and neither had received smallpox vaccination. The patients had histories of eczema, a risk factor for smallpox vaccine reactions. They were treated successfully with intravenous vaccinia immunoglobulin.


Medical students’ job offers withdrawn after exam ‘scoring errors’.


Junior doctor

Thousands of students are left in dark after mistake, which may leave hospitals needing extra cover this summer

Thousands of final year medical students have been left in the dark after their first hospital job offers were withdrawn because of “scoring errors” in a critical final year exam.

A day after 7,200 students were, in effect, given their initial jobs as junior doctors, the examining body was forced to contact them – nearly every student in that year – to rescind the offers because of apparent marking mistakes.

The position of hundreds of these students could now change, leaving almost the entire batch of medical students with an anxious week before the examining body goes through all the papers again.

Students contacted the Guardian to express alarm that with just two weeks before their final written exams take place many were in limbo – unsure in which city they would be living from the summer.

One final year student in Wales summed up the mood saying: “I had many hours of lost sleep and anxiety waiting for the announcement on Monday and then found out I had been placed in my first choice location only to be told 36 hours later that that may not be the case … Revising for finals is stressful enough without any added misery!”

There is speculation that the errors were caused by ink-stained photocopied sheets that could not be read by the automated marking system. The examining body, the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO), says it will resort to manual marking of an estimated 1,200 papers and clear the backlog within seven days.

There is some concern that hospitals will need to provide extra cover in the summer if medical students they thought would arrive are instead sent elsewhere. New medical graduates could miss the August start date as they wait for criminal record and other employer checks that cannot be carried out until a final-year student has been placed. These checks can take up to eight weeks.

Unions representing doctors said “mistakes needed to be corrected urgently”. The co-chairs of the BMA medical students committee, Alice Rutter and Will Seligman, and the chair of the BMA junior doctors committee, Ben Molyneux, said they would express their anger at the “unacceptable situation” in a joint letter to UKFPO.

Rutter said: “Students who initially will have been delighted to receive their foundation school allocation may now be concerned that their job could be at risk. This is completely unacceptable. We view this problem very seriously indeed and will be taking action to ensure students who are affected are kept updated and supported.”

The Department of Health said that this error “should not have happened” and said that the examining body was “working urgently to resolve this”.

The BMA said it expected to be kept fully informed of what steps the UKFPO and the Medical Schools Council, which discovered the error, were taking.

The union said there were already concerns with the system as almost 300 medical students had been placed on a reserve list “because of a third year of oversubscription”. Critics say that medics failed to get jobs because of NHS cuts.

The examining body has admitted it has had problems with the “computerised scoring of the new SJT (situational judgment test)”. The test, a multiple-choice exam, is a key factor in getting a good first job – the higher the score, the more chance medical students have of securing their first-choice foundation school.

In fact the test was only introduced this year with students sitting the exam in December and January – and represents say students 50% of the marks required for the their first job. The SJT was dubbed a “personality rest” which required candidates to read through clinical scenarios and rank a set of given actions in order of preference. The BMA has called for a telephone helpline for affected students, and for a clear timetable for new offers to be made, supported by regular emails and updates on the UKFPO website.

The UKFPO, which only this week in the British Medical Journal had proclaimed its new test “a success”, attempted to temper criticism with a promise that it would fix the error quickly.

Case studies

Lyndon James, a final-year medical student at UCL, described it as “an appalling affair”. He wrote: “Along with many of my colleagues, I simply cannot understand why this wasn’t discovered in the six weeks between the exam date and the release of results. What’s worse, the email we received informing us of the debacle did not even contain an apology.

“It’s an eagerly awaited result because it gives us the rough geographical area we will be working in for the next two years. This is a huge consideration for important life decisions. I know of people whose partners were putting in offers for properties on the day of the results, and I have even heard that some partners of our prospective junior doctors were planning to quit their jobs to move to where the applicants had been placed. With so many knock-on effects, this really is a shambles. Why, oh why wasn’t it dealt with weeks ago?!”

Chris, a final-year medical student in Sheffield, said: ” I don’t think they realise the rebound effect this error will have – people have bought train tickets for welcome days, people’s partners have accepted jobs or further training places as a result of this decision.”

Matthew, a former student at Newcastle university, said: “Having been separated by 350 miles a year ago due to a similarly farcical situation, my girlfriend and I were overjoyed on Monday that we would finally be living together again as she received confirmation that she would be working in London. A day later, and we’re back in emotional limbo. Medical students are treated as anonymous cogs in an uncaring machine. Absolutely disgusting.”

A student in Hull said: “The additional failings of this week reinforce the widely-held opinion that the system is still unfair and does not judge students on merit. It seems like the UKFPO have been unwilling to carry out the necessary checks, for reasons they are yet to provide.

“The latest letter released by the BMA indicates that these issues were known about as early as last week, yet they still ran the allocation algorithm and allowed students to begin making financial commitments on the basis of these allocations, before taking FPAS offline. I had ranked all of my jobs on the first day. This takes a considerable amount of time if you have to rank every job from 1-500+ in order of preference and is not ideal when we are supposed to be revising for exams. This is particularly the case when some students will change areas as a result of any re-run decision.”

Another student said: “The UKFPO has been to the medical schools and asked if they can return all students SJTs back to their unis for them to manually remark them. Being such a huge task and with many of them running finals exams, most medical schools have refused. This now means that the UKFPO is unlikely to even make the second deadline it gave us. The number of affected papers is believed to be around 1250, or 1 in 6, leaked by various foundation programme staff around the country.”

In Warwick, one student said: “I was really happy to get my first choice on Monday. It meant my partner could hand in his notice and accept a job offer he had already been given in the area, which he did on Tuesday morning. Now we don’t know where in the country we will end up, or if he will have to ask for his job back after handing in his notice!! I’m mostly angry about the way they have handled it; mistakes happen but telling us at 6pm by email without telling our medical schools what was going on is unacceptable.”


Diagnostic Radiologist Carol Lee Discusses What Women Should Know about Breast Density.



A new law requires radiologists to inform women if dense breast tissue is found on a mammogram.

To help improve breast cancer detection and prevention, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation that requires radiologists to inform women if dense breast tissue is found on a mammogram. The law, which went into effect this month, is raising awareness among women about this topic.

In an interview, we discussed the concept of breast density with diagnostic radiologist Carol H. Lee. Dr. Lee suggests that if you find out you have dense breasts, you should discuss potential next steps with your doctor. Each individual woman’s risk for breast cancer is different, and many factors – such as family history and lifestyle – must be taken into account when determining whether additional forms of breast cancer screening are necessary.

What are dense breasts?

Breasts are made up of different types of tissue: fatty, fibrous, and glandular. Fibrous and glandular tissues appear as white on a mammogram and fatty tissue shows up as dark. If most of the tissue on a mammogram is fibrous and/or glandular, the breasts are considered to be dense.

Because cancer cells also appear as white on a mammogram, it may be harder to identify the disease on a mammogram in women with dense breasts.

How common are dense breasts?

Breast density is classified into one of four categories, ranging from almost entirely fatty (level 1) to extremely dense (level 4). Dense breasts are completely normal. About half of all women have breasts that fall into the dense category (levels 3 and 4). Dense breasts tend to be more common in younger women and in women with smaller breasts, but anyone – regardless of age or breast size – can have dense breasts.

How does a woman know she has dense breasts?

The only way to determine whether a woman has dense breasts is with a mammogram. A breast exam cannot reliably tell whether a breast is dense.

What does having dense breasts do to a woman’s risk for breast cancer?

If you compare the 10 percent of women who have extremely dense breasts with the 10 percent of women who have very little breast density, the risk for breast cancer is higher in those with very dense breasts.

However, most women fall somewhere in between in terms of breast density, so it’s nearly impossible to determine whether a particular woman’s breast density is a risk factor for the disease.

What should women who are told they have dense breasts do?

Women found to have dense breasts should talk to their doctors about their individual risk for breast cancer and together decide whether additional screening makes sense.

Tests such as ultrasound or MRI can pick up some cancers that may be missed on a mammogram, but these methods also have disadvantages. Because they are highly sensitive, they may give a false-positive reading, resulting in the need for additional testing or biopsy that turns out to be unnecessary. There is also no evidence to show that using screening tests other than mammography in women with dense breasts decreases the risk of death from breast cancer.

Ultimately, women who have dense breasts should weigh the pros and cons of additional screening with their doctor.

Should women who do not have dense breasts make any changes to their regular screenings?

Women who do not have dense breasts may still develop breast cancer, and should continue to receive regular mammograms. Regular mammography is the only screening method that has been shown to decrease deaths from breast cancer, and all women of appropriate age should have mammograms, regardless of their breast density.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering provides comprehensive, individualized breast cancer screening services that include mammography, ultrasound, and MRI, through our Breast Screening Program, located in Manhattan.

source: MSKCC


Blood Test Could Predict Which Patients with Pancreatic Cancer May Benefit from Chemotherapy.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Because the disease does not cause symptoms in its early stages, pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed only after it has spread to other parts of the body.

Though progress against pancreatic cancer has been slow, new combinations of chemotherapy drugs have helped to slow the advancement of the disease and extend patients’ lives. However, as the number of effective treatments for pancreatic cancer increases, new challenges emerge as physicians are left guessing which combination of drugs will benefit an individual patient.

Research led by medical oncologist Kenneth H. Yu, presented on January 25 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, suggests that a simple blood test may be able to predict which chemotherapy regimen will work for some patients with pancreatic cancer.

Predicting Sensitivity to Chemotherapy

Dr. Yu and colleagues observed patients who had received one of 12 different chemotherapy combinations as directed by their doctor. They used a new test developed by CellPath Therapeutics that analyzes specific genetic changes found in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) – cells that have broken away from a patient’s primary tumor and entered the bloodstream.

The results of the test predicted how effective a chemotherapy regimen would be. Blood samples for testing were taken before chemotherapy treatments started and again when the cancer progressed.

In this observational study, researchers found that patients on a chemotherapy regimen predicted by the test to be highly effective did not experience cancer progression until they were about seven and a half months into treatment. When the test predicted the chemotherapy would be less effective, patients had progression of their cancer in an average of less than four months.

They also found that when samples were tested later in the treatment process, the specific genetic changes found in patients’ CTCs had shifted, suggesting that this tool can be used throughout the course of therapy to predict when treatment should be altered.

A Step toward Personalized Medicine

Dr. Yu says that the research is encouraging because it “offers a new strategy to personalize cancer therapy. The ability to less invasively predict which patients will respond to treatment as well as provide a signal when treatment resistance occurs is extremely valuable.”


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Physicians Pioneer Less Invasive Approach for Treating Spine Tumors.

cordtum1When cancer metastasizes, or spreads, to a patient’s spine from another part of the body, it can compress the spinal cord, causing pain and movement difficulties. Until recently, the only way to relieve these symptoms and keep the tumor from growing back was to surgically remove the entire tumor.

This major operation pushed back the timing of treatments – such as chemotherapy – for the patient’s primary cancer while the patient recovered from surgery. What’s more, the benefit was often fleeting; in approximately 70 percent of patients, the spinal tumor returned within a year.

Now physicians in Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Spine Tumor Center have shown that metastatic spine tumors compressing the spinal cord can be controlled quite effectively using a less invasive operation known as separation surgery combined with an intense form of radiation therapy called stereotactic radiosurgery. A new study, published online January 22 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, reports that this dual approach can reduce spine tumor recurrence from 70 percent to less than 10 percent.

“The impact on spine tumor control and the improved quality of life for this group of patients has been nothing short of miraculous,” says neurosurgeon Mark Bilsky, director of the Spine Tumor Center and senior author of the study. “These patients now avoid a major operation, and most importantly, their tumors don’t return.”

A New Standard Treatment

Over the past decade, stereotactic radiosurgery has revolutionized the management of metastatic spine tumors. Using this approach, radiation oncologists receive guidance from advanced imaging technology to deploy precise, intense radiation using multiple beams that converge on the tumor. This restricts the radiation to the tumor target without harming the spinal cord. In 90 percent of patients with spine tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery alone is sufficient to destroy the tumor.

In patients with spinal cord compression, however, there is too much risk of the radiation damaging the spinal cord, so the standard treatment had been to remove the entire tumor. This extensive operation meant that virtually all patients needed a blood transfusion and five to seven days of recovery time in the hospital — effects that delayed the resumption of treatment for the primary cancer.

About ten years ago, experts in Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Spine Tumor Center began investigating whether a less aggressive surgical procedure could be more effective if followed with stereotactic radiosurgery. Rather than removing the entire tumor, in this approach the surgeon performs separation surgery, which involves creating a small space (2 to 3 millimeters) between the tumor and spinal cord to relieve pressure, and then stabilizing the spine with specialized bone screws.

This gap allows the tumor to be treated safely with intense radiation. Patients undergoing this less invasive procedure need fewer days to recover in the hospital, and many do not require a blood transfusion.

Advancing Care through Collaboration

Dr. Bilsky, in collaboration with radiation oncologist Josh Yamada and colleagues, report that a retrospective analysis of 186 patients shows that combining separation surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery controlled more than 90 percent of metastatic spine tumors at one-year follow-up. The control was evident regardless of where the cancer originated — for example, the kidney, the lungs, or the colon – and further analysis suggests that the control persists throughout the person’s lifetime.

“This represents a new paradigm in spine tumor treatment,” Dr. Yamada says. “Patients are receiving less-extensive surgery so we can get them back to systemic therapy much more quickly, and the tumor control is lasting. A success rate increasing from 30 percent to more than 90 percent is striking. Our medical oncologists know that once their patients go through this treatment, they usually do not have to worry about another spine tumor interrupting their care.”

The Spine Tumor Center now uses this technique on about 120 metastatic spine tumor patients a year. Drs. Bilsky and Yamada emphasize that this advance in treatment was made possible by Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s collaborative approach, especially the close interaction among neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists.

“The interplay of the two disciplines has been critical,” Dr. Bilsky says. “Sitting down together every day to discuss treatment plans for patients allows us to develop a deep trust for one another’s judgment and a willingness to recognize how a patient will best be served.”

Source: MSKCC

Drug Reverses Radioiodine Resistance in Some People with Advanced Thyroid Cancer.


Many patients with advanced thyroid cancer have tumors that are difficult to treat because they are unable to absorb radioactive iodine, or radioiodine, the most effective therapy for the disease. Recent findings from Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers, published in the February 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, may indicate a new treatment strategy for these patients.

The phase II clinical trial found that selumetinib, an investigational drug that works by inhibiting a protein pathway called MAPK in tumor cells, reverses radioiodine resistance in some patients with advanced thyroid cancer.

“Blocking this key pathway increased the uptake of iodine, making radioiodine therapy potentially effective for patients who had a resistance,” says James A. Fagin, Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Endocrinology Service and senior author of the study. Dr. Fagin pioneered this research in cells and in mice.

Testing Selumetinib’s Potential

Therapeutic radioiodine is often given to patients with thyroid cancer after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells or thyroid tissue. Taken orally, usually only one or two doses of radioiodine are needed to treat a patient.

This therapy has been shown to increase survival in some patients with certain thyroid cancers that have spread to other parts of the body. Resistance to radioiodine can have an impact on a patient’s course of treatment.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers had previously demonstrated in cells and in mice that the MAPK pathway controls a cell’s ability to absorb radioiodine. As a result of this work, Dr. Fagin and his colleagues examined whether selumetinib, an MAPK pathway inhibitor, could reverse a patient’s resistance to radioiodine by inhibiting the signaling of particular genetic mutations in this pathway.

In the study, 20 patients with tumors resistant to radioiodine were given two doses of selumetinib every day for four weeks. To determine whether selumetinib reversed their tumors’ inability to retain radioiodine, researchers administered a form of iodine that, when absorbed, makes tumors visible on a PET scan. This diagnostic form of iodine has much less radiation than that of therapeutic radioiodine.

While most of the patients’ tumors were able to retain at least some of this diagnostic form of iodine, only eight patients absorbed a large enough amount to be eligible for radioiodine therapy. These eight patients, including all five of the patients with a mutation in a gene known as NRAS, were then given the therapeutic radioiodine.

During six months of follow-up, seven of the eight patients experienced either tumor shrinkage or a stop in tumor growth. All eight had a decreased level of serum thyroglobulin – a protein in the blood used to screen for advanced thyroid cancer – and none experienced serious side effects from selumetinib.

Determining the Benefit for Other Types of Advanced Thyroid Cancer

One advantage of selumetinib is that only a few weeks of therapy are required to improve a patient’s ability to absorb radioiodine.

“The initial results show promise for patients with a mutation in the RAS family of genes, particularly the NRAS gene, but the hope is that a larger clinical trial will shed light on whether selumetinib can be effective for people with other types of advanced thyroid cancer,” Dr. Fagin says.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering will lead the international, multicenter phase III clinical trial of selumetinib, which will begin in mid-2013. The trial, which will be sponsored by AstraZeneca, will enroll patients who have recently had their thyroid gland removed – a procedure known as total thyroidectomy – due to thyroid cancer that has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes.

This study was supported by grants from the American Thyroid Association, The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health (under award numbers CA50706 and CA72598), AstraZeneca, and Genzyme.

Source: MSKCC

Researchers Identify Key Element of Nerve Cell Development.



Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers have shed light on the process by which developing nerve cells, or neurons, are directed to split into two distinct parts — a long, slender axon that conducts electrical impulses away from a cell, and shorter dendrites that receive signals from other cells and conduct them into the cell body.

Investigators in the laboratory of developmental neurobiologist Songhai Shi gained an important insight into how a protein called mPar3 guides this asymmetrical formation of a neuron, known as neuronal polarization. Axon/dendrite polarity is essential for the one-directional flow of information in the nervous system.

The mPar3 protein was found to regulate microtubules — microscopic, threadlike structures inside cells that help them maintain shape and movement. Although it was already known that mPar3 plays a key role in neuronal polarization, the discovery that the protein directs this process through microtubule regulation was unexpected.

“This is the first time that mPar3 has been linked to microtubules and this relationship has been shown to be critical to proper development of a nerve cell,” says Dr. Shi, the senior author.

The study, reported in the January 14 issue of Developmental Cell, was led by She Chen, who recently completed a fellowship in Dr. Shi’s laboratory.

Unbalanced Activity

mPar3 is the mammalian form of the Par3 protein, which has long been recognized as an important factor in cell polarity from studies in a variety of animals, including worms, fruit flies, and mice. Earlier research performed in mice by Dr. Shi and others found that during embryonic development mPar3 accumulates in the part of the neuron destined to become an axon, suggesting that the protein spurs axon growth and neuron polarization. But it was unclear how mPar3 produces this outcome.

In the latest study, the researchers analyzed embryonic mouse brain cells in culture and found that mPar3 guides polarization by selectively binding to, bundling, and stabilizing microtubules in particular parts of the neuron at specific times. Increased microtubule stabilization at one site, such as the region that gives rise to the axon, allows that part of the cell to grow faster than other regions.

When mPar3’s regulation of microtubules is disrupted, the neuron cannot correctly differentiate into axon and dendrites. The researchers demonstrated this by blocking and boosting mPar3 function, which in both cases resulted in improperly developed neurons.

Polarization of Human Cells

Dr. Shi says that his lab’s discoveries could have broad implications beyond the development of neurons.

“Both mPar3and microtubules have been conserved by evolution across many species, so this relationship is likely to hold true for polarization in other cell types, including human cells,” he explains.

Source: MSKCC

Vivid Snake Photos Come at a Cost — A Bite From a Black Mamba.



Mark Laita is not a snake owner or enthusiast but his admiration of snakes’ textures and formal qualities rivals that of any herpetologist. It’s an admiration that is on display in his new book, Serpentine, out next week. The book is a collection of gorgeously lit snakes against a black backdrop.

“My intention was to explore color, shape and movement, using snakes as a subject, but of course herpetologists will probably enjoy these photographs as well,” says Laita, a Los Angeles photographer known for his stunning studio compositions.

During the making of Serpentine, Laita visited dozens of locations in the U.S. and Central America essentially exporting his studio to zoos, venom labs and to the home and workplaces of breeders and collectors.

“I shot everything from the most venomous — an Inland Taipan — to a harmless garter snake,” says Laita. “As for the most dangerous, though, I would think a king cobra is the most capable of doing serious harm to a human. Very big, fast and angry.”

The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake and chiefly feeds on other snakes. Despite relying on the help of trained snake handlers, Laita didn’t complete Serpentine unscathed.

“I was bitten a few times by non-venomous species,” chirps Laita. “I had one venomous bite, but I’m still around.”


Challenge the Establishment — Dispelling Five Common Health and Fitness Misconceptions .



In life we take many things for granted. People are told to go on a low fat diet and do some aerobic training, and yet they still gain body fat. Your blood work shows slightly altered cholesterol and thyroid levels and right away you’re told to go on medication. The trainer at your local gym rips out a copy of Everyday Stretches (reproduced from a 1987 poster) and says: “Do this before your next workout.”

If you’ve been spinning your wheels and going nowhere in your pursuit for optimal health and fitness, then stop! Doing something simply because you’ve been told to is not good enough.

It’s time to question authority and challenge the establishment!

Five Common Health and Fitness Misconceptions

Let’s start by dispelling five common health and fitness misconceptions. Dare I suggest that…

1.      A high fat intake can actually lower body fat!

Two reasons: a) If low fat is consumed, your body retains body fat as a protective/survival mechanism, and b) a high fat intake upregulates key (lipase) enzymes, which not only break down dietary fat but also body fat.

Of course, a high fat and high carb diet will result in body fat accumulation so this only applies to a low carbohydrate intake.

“The lipase enzyme is a naturally occurring enzyme found in the stomach and pancreatic juice, which is also found within fats in the foods you eat.

Lipase enzyme digests fats and lipids, helping to maintain correct gall bladder function. As such, these constitute any of the fat-splitting or lipolytic enzymes, all of which cleave a fatty acid residue from the glycerol residue in a neutral fat or a phospholipid. The lipase enzyme controls the amount of fat being synthesized and that which is burned in the body, reducing adipose tissue (fat stores).

The lipase enzyme belongs to the esterases family of proteins. The lipase enzyme is found widely distributed in the plant world (beans and legumes), as well as in molds, bacteria, milk and milk products, and in animal tissues, especially in the pancreas.

In sufficient quantities of lipase enzyme production, lipase can help use fat-stores to be burned as fuel. Indeed, lipase is a rate-determining enzyme, which not only activates the burning of stored body fats but also effectively inhibits fatty acid synthesis, or fat storage!

Hormone-Sensitive Triacyclglycerol Lipase, as it is also known, actually stimulates lipolysis in fat tissues, safely raising blood fatty acid levels, which ultimately activates the beta-oxidation pathway in other tissues, such as liver and muscle. In the liver, lipolysis leads to the production of ketone bodies that are secreted into the bloodstream for use as an alternative fuel to glucose by peripheral tissues.”

2.      Reduced thyroid levels (i.e. TSH levels above 5) for a lean individual following a low-carb diet may be normal and healthy!

Now before you throw your chair at the computer, hear me out. As Dr. Ron Rosedale notes in the excerpt below, reduced thyroid levels are not necessarily synonymous with hypothyroidism. Your body chooses to lower thyroid hormones due to an increased efficiency of energy use and hormonal signaling. It is yet another example of how your body adapts and should not be viewed as abnormal.

The knee-jerk reaction in many cases would be thyroid medication, which could potentially decrease your lifespan.

“Metabolic rate and temperature has long been connected with longevity. Almost all mechanisms that extend lifespan in many different organisms result in lower temperature. Flowers are refrigerated at the florist to extend their lifespan. Restricting calories in animals also results in lower temperature, reduced thyroid levels, and longer life.

It should be noted that reduced thyroid levels in this case are not synonymous with hypothyroidism. Here, the body is choosing to lower thyroid hormones because the increased efficiency of energy use and hormonal signaling (including perhaps thyroid) is allowing this to happen.

Anything will dissolve faster in hot water than cold water. Extra heat will dissolve, disrupt and disorganize. This is not what I try to do to make someone healthy. It is commonly advised to increase metabolism and increase thermogenesis for health and weight loss.

Yet how many of you would put a brand of gasoline in your car that advertised that it would make your engine run hotter? What would that do to the life of your car? It is not an increase in metabolism that I am after; it is improved metabolic quality.”

3.      Low cholesterol levels will promote aging.

Cholesterol is the raw material for many hormones. If you lower your cholesterol you will also lower your hormone production … and if you lower hormone production, you increase aging! To make matters worse, low cholesterol has been associated with a broad complex of emotional, cognitive and behavioral symptoms including aggressiveness, hostility, irritability, paranoia, and severe depression.

There is also an increase in deaths from trauma, cancer, stroke, and respiratory and infectious diseases among those with low cholesterol levels.

Furthermore, a study in the British medical journal, Lancet, indicates that elderly men die earlier with low blood cholesterol levels.

“The human organism is in a state of dynamic equilibrium, know as homeostasis. One of the main roles in normal homeostasis belongs to multiple feedback loop mechanisms.

Cholesterol is the precursor or the building block for the basic hormones: pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone.

Deterioration of the reproductive function, one of the most striking endocrine alterations occurring in aging, is related to a complex interplay of factors. Target organs may become less sensitive to their controlling hormone or may break them down at a slower rate. Hormone levels may change; some increasing, some decreasing and some remaining unchanged.

Many of the diseases that middle-aged persons begin experiencing including depression, abdominal weight gain, prostate, breast and heart disease, are directly related to hormone imbalances.

Conventional doctors are prescribing drugs to treat depression, elevated cholesterol, angina and other diseases that may be caused by hormone imbalance.

A few years ago we found out that some patients who had high cholesterol levels before hormonorestorative therapy (HT) were free of cholesterol problems during therapy. We started pondering as to why this had happened?

In our opinion, when the production of hormones starts to decline our body tries to correct this problem by increasing the production of cholesterol. A similar situation happens to women during pregnancy. When a female’s body needs more hormones for herself and her baby, cholesterol levels are elevated significantly. If a woman’s body is unable to increase the production of cholesterol the risk of an abortion and miscarriages is increased.

Another situation is a low level of cholesterol. If your total cholesterol is less than 160, you have nothing to worry about. Wrong opinion!

A low level of cholesterol means a low production of basic hormones (because of a limited amount of building blocks). Patients with a low level of hormones have life problems that include suicides, criminal behavior, depression, attention deficit disorder, cancer at young age, etc. Low cholesterol is a marker for poor underlying health.

When patients take cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLD) we can surmise that hormonal production will decrease. That’s why many patients on CLD have severe fatigue, fibromyalgia-like pain, depression, high risk of cancer, suicides, weight gain and impotency.

Normally our body tries to keep a normal ratio between different hormones: DHEA/cortisol, estrogen/progesterone, female/male hormones. When we have a malfunction in a feedback loop mechanism we start to have the problems related to the imbalance of hormones (for example: male or female dominance, estrogen dominance, etc.).

Once again, when the production of hormones starts to decline, our body tries to correct the deficiency of hormones by the extra production of cholesterol. It looks like the elevation of total cholesterol serves as a compensatory mechanism for hormonal deficiency.”


4.      Aerobic training can increase body fat.

Specifically, long distance, low intensity, rhythmic-type aerobics done for a long duration/distance on a frequent basis can signal your body to store fat.

Your body prefers fat for fuel at lower intensities. It adapts to aerobic activity by storing fat (usually in the hips and thighs) to become more efficient for future use. The more fat you store, the more you can use.

Furthermore, aerobics are associated with increased cortisol levels without a concomitant increase in testosterone (as occurs during strength training) disrupting an optimal testosterone:cortisol ratio. In fact, average testosterone levels are significantly lower in endurance athletes. This, of course, equates to a decrease in muscle and strength along with an increase in (android) body fat, i.e., midsection fat.

5.      Static stretching will make you weak.

This has been well documented in the literature, and yet a typical warm-up usually contains some form of (you guessed it) static stretching. The classic Bob Anderson style of stretching before exercise tends to sedate muscles, and research shows that it will decrease power and strength by as much as 30 percent for up to 90 minutes. By that time, your workout is over!

Sometimes you need to take a sledgehammer and crush what’s written in stone!

We’ve been told to reduce fat in our diets, lower our cholesterol levels, improve reduced thyroid production with medication, perform aerobic training almost daily, and definitely start each workout with some static stretching.

Dare I suggest otherwise?

You better believe it!

Source: Mercola.