Mediterranean Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risk



A new clinical research study shows that a Mediterranean diet significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk.


 

MEDITERRANEAN DIET REDUCES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK

As I have discussed in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a Mediterranean diet appears to significantly reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in particular. In general, a Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. The use of unsaturated cooking oils, like olive oil and canola oil, and the avoidance of saturated fats, are also hallmarks of a Mediterranean diet, as is the decreased intake of red meat, processed meats, and dairy products. A Mediterranean diet has also been viewed by many experts as a heart-healthy diet, although most of the studies that have looked at the effects of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk have relied upon dietary surveys to collect data, which is a less rigorous method of doing research when compared to prospective randomized clinical research trials. However, a newly published prospective randomized clinical trial now provides the high level research data needed to properly assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This important new clinical study appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this study, 7,477 research volunteers were randomized into one of three different study groups. The first group consumed a Mediterranean diet that was supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil. The second group consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts. The third group, which served as the control group, was given advice on how to adhere to a low-fat diet, but the diets of the volunteers in this control group were not modified or controlled by the study’s researchers. Research dieticians closely followed the food intake of the volunteers in this study, and they worked intensively with the volunteers assigned to the two Mediterranean diet groups to modify the diets of these volunteers. All male study volunteers were between the ages of 55 and 80 years, while the female volunteers ranged in age from 60 to 80 years. None of the study volunteers had cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, when they entered into this clinical trial, although they all had one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes or at least three of the following risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, increased LDL cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of early-onset coronary artery disease.

After an average of almost 5 years of follow-up, the impact of a Mediterranean diet on these research volunteers was highly significant. Both groups of volunteers who adhered to a Mediterranean diet in this study experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, or death from any cardiovascular cause (when compared to the control group). Indeed, both the group that adhered to the olive-oil-supplemented Mediterranean diet and the group that was placed on the nut-supplemented Mediterranean diet experienced 30 percent fewer cardiovascular events when compared to the control group that did not adhere to a Mediterranean diet!

In summary, among a group of middle aged and elderly men and women with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or tree nuts significantly reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death due to these or any other cardiovascular causes.

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well! This new research study also shows that it is never too late to adopt a healthier diet, and that health benefits derived from switching to a Mediterranean diet can be enjoyed by even middle aged and elderly men and women.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

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Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

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Inexpensive Power Foods

 


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1



Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Excessive Salt Intake Linked to 10% of All Deaths



A new study finds that 1 in 10 deaths in the United States are linked to excessive salt intake.


 

EXCESSIVE SALT INTAKE LINKED TO 10% OF ALL DEATHS

In the United States, and throughout much of the world, salt is liberally used as a seasoning for many types of food. Unfortunately, however, the salt content of most prepared foods (and fast foods and processed foods in particular) far exceeds the daily recommended allowance of 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day, or less than a teaspoon of salt per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Excessive salt intake has been linked to a variety of serious health problems, including congestive heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Additionally, as I discuss in detail in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, excessive salt intake also increases the risk of certain types of cancer as well.

At the ongoing annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in New Orleans, newly presented research data strongly suggests that at least 10 percent of all deaths in the United States, and as many as 15 percent of deaths worldwide, are related to excessive salt consumption. The data from this study was collected as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, which was performed by an international collaborative network of researchers from 303 institutions in 50 different countries. In addition to collecting salt intake data from participating research volunteers, the scientists conducting this public health research study also analyzed more than 100 previously published prospective randomized clinical research trials linking specific levels of salt intake with adverse health outcomes.

Based upon data collected in this important new public health study, the researchers calculated that excessive salt intake directly contributes to 1 out of every 10 deaths in the United States (and 1 out of every 7 deaths worldwide). According to the findings of this study, 60 percent of salt-associated deaths occur in men, and 40 percent occur in women; and heart attacks cause 42 percent of salt-associated deaths, while strokes cause 41 percent of salt-associated deaths.

Although humans appear to be biologically programmed to seek out salty foods, the unnaturally high salt content of most prepared and processed foods today means that we are ingesting far greater amounts of salt, on a daily basis, than our bodies require (or were designed to handle). As a consequence of this salty evolution of our “modern” diets, our bodies are at risk of becoming overloaded with salt, and the increased amount of fluid that this salt causes our bodies to retain. The end result, for a shocking percentage of people around the world, based upon the findings of this study, is an increased risk of congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease, and a significantly increased risk of premature death due to these illnesses. Additionally, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, high salt intake has also been clearly linked to an increased risk of several deadly types of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.

To help you to decrease excessive salt intake, I recommend the American Heart Association’s online guide on this topic.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Toddler May Have Been Cured of HIV (AIDS) Virus

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Growing Immune Cells to Fight Cancer

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Thousands of Surgery Mistakes Are Still Happening Each Year

Kids with Food Allergies May Become Targets of Bullies

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Tamoxifen for 10 Years (Instead of 5 Years) Significantly Improves Breast Cancer Survival Rate

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

New Egg-Free Flu Vaccine

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods

 


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.7 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Common Household Chemical May Double Heart Disease Risk





 

A new clinical study finds that a common household chemical (perfluorooctanoic acid) may double the risk of heart disease.


 

 

COMMON HOUSEHOLD CHEMICAL MAY DOUBLE HEART DISEASE RISK

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the most common causes of disability and death, accounting for one out of every four deaths in the United States.  The most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease are well known, and include lack of physical activity, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes.  Additionally, a strong family history of cardiovascular disease, particularly at an early age, also increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.  Now, a newly published research study raises the possibility that a manmade chemical commonly found in household products may also significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.  This new study appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) appears in numerous household products, including carpet-care products, clothing, floor-care products, non-stick surfaces in cookware and paper food-wrapping products, polishes, dental floss, and implantable medical devices, among others.  In fact, PFOA is so ubiquitous in the United States that it is detectable in the blood of 98 percent of the population.  Moreover, once ingested, PFOA remains in the human body for many years, and can therefore accumulate at increasingly higher levels over time.

In addition to being a known carcinogen, PFOA has been previously linked with cardiovascular disease in animal studies.  Therefore, this new clinical study was designed to assess the association between cardiovascular disease and blood levels of PFOA in humans.  In this clinical study, 1,216 volunteers were recruited from the ongoing National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) prospective public health study, and were tested for the level of PFOA in their blood.  They also underwent both extensive surveys regarding their health and physical examinations for signs of peripheral arterial disease.  Importantly, known risk factors for cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease were assessed in each of these volunteers, and this information was used to improve the accuracy of the study’s conclusions regarding PFOA and the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease.

Even after correcting for preexisting risk factors for cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease, this study found a significant association between PFOA levels in the blood and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease.  When comparing volunteers with the lowest and highest levels of PFOA, patients with the highest levels of POFA were found to have two times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and almost twice the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease.  Once again, the association between PFOA levels in the blood and the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral arterial disease remained even after correcting for gender, age, race/ethnicity, smoking status, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

While the findings of this study will have to be verified by additional and larger prospective clinical studies, these findings do nonetheless raise concerns that PFOA may, itself, be an independent cause of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease.  Given that almost every adult in the United States has at least some measurable concentration of PFOA in their blood, even a small associated increase in the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease could have a significant impact on the overall incidence of these diseases within the larger population.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 40 percent of adult Americans already have at least two conventional cardiovascular disease risk factors.  However, given that PFOA is present in virtually everyone’s body, our risk of cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease may actually be significantly higher than previously appreciated, based upon the findings of this important new clinical study.

 

At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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Statin Drugs Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes Even in Low-Risk Patients





 

 

A pivotal new study concludes that statin drugs sharply reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke even in patients who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.




 

 

STATIN DRUGS REDUCE HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES EVEN IN LOW-RISK PATIENTS

The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as “statins” are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world, and they have been credited with sharply reducing the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke.  The statin drugs work primarily by lowering blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), thus reducing the risk of developing the arterial plaques that cause cardiovascular disease.

There is a huge body of research data showing that statin drugs reduce death rates due to cardiovascular disease in patients with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, including patients with only mildly-to-moderately elevated LDL cholesterol levels. However, there have also been several intriguing public health studies that have suggested a potential benefit associated with statin drugs even in patients with normal LDL cholesterol levels.  Despite these research findings, however, there has been a general reluctance to prescribe statin drugs to patients with normal LDL levels, or to patients with mildly elevated LDL levels, particularly as statin drugs, like all medications, are associated with known side effects, including potential injury to the muscles, liver and kidneys, as well as a possible increase in the risk of diabetes.  Now a massive new research study, which appears in an early-release edition of the journal Lancet, may lead to a wholesale change in the way that physicians prescribe statin drugs.

This newly published study, a meta-analysis study, combined and analyzed the data from 27 different statin research studies, which included nearly 175,000 adult research participants, making this an enormously powerful research study.  In this study LDL cholesterol levels were measured, and the impact of statin drugs on the incidence of heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and stroke, and death due to cardiovascular disease, was observed.  Study participants were grouped into five different categories, based upon their estimated 5-year “cardiovascular event” risk, ranging from less than 5 percent to greater than 30 percent 5-year risk.  This risk assessment was, in turn, calculated using LDL cholesterol levels, age, gender, blood pressure, and lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and physical activity levels.

Not surprisingly, the use of statins decreased the risk of cardiovascular events, on average, by about 21 percent for every 1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol among the entire volunteer group of nearly 175,000 study participants.  What is particularly important about this study’s findings, however, is that the study participants in the two lowest risk groups experienced at least as much (if not more) benefit, in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, as did the participants in the higher risk groups.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced a 38 percent reduction in the risk (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) of either of these cardiovascular events, while patients with a calculated 5-year risk of 30 percent or higher experienced a 21 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the risk of a major cardiovascular event.

When looking at heart attack or death due to heart attack, specifically, the study participants with a 5-year predicted risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced an enormous reduction in the risk of heart attack or death due to heart attack (43 percent for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) while taking statin drugs.  This same low-risk group, when taking statins, also had a 48 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the likelihood that they would have to undergo surgical procedures to stent or bypass blocked coronary arteries.

The risk of stroke was also significantly reduced in both low-risk and high-risk study participants.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of major cardiovascular events of less than 10 percent were 24 percent less likely to have a stroke (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) if they were taking a statin drug, which was similar to the reduction in stroke risk that was observed in the higher risk patients.

The public health implications of this very large study’s findings are highly significant.  For the first time, this study provides extremely compelling data that even patients who are at low risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke may derive as much, or perhaps even more, benefit from taking a statin drug when compared to patients who are high or very high risk of experiencing these major cardiovascular events.  When measured against the known risks of the adverse side effects of statin drugs, this study still showed an overwhelming health benefit associated with statin drugs in both patients at low-risk for cardiovascular disease and in high-risk patients.  It will now fall to public health experts, internists, cardiologists and family practice physicians to incorporate the findings of this exceptionally compelling, and powerful, meta-analysis study into their management of adult patients, and particularly those over the age of 50, even if these patients are predicted to be at low risk for heart attack and stroke.  I see this research study as a health care game changer, and I predict that it will, eventually, dramatically alter the current prescribing patterns for statin drugs.  (As always, I recommend that you consult your physician before starting any new medication or dietary supplement, including statin drugs.)


 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 





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New Vaccine and Antibodies May Prevent Heart Disease





 

New studies suggest that heart disease may someday become preventable with vaccine and antibody therapy.


 

 

NEW VACCINE AND ANTIBODIES MAY PREVENT HEART DISEASE

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cancer has recently surpassed cardiovascular disease to become the #1 cause of death in many areas of the world.  However, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke continue to kill millions of people around the world every year.

In general, atherosclerotic artery disease arises when thick “plaques” develop on the inner walls of arteries.  These plaques can rupture, thus exposing their inner surfaces, which can then activate the components of the blood responsible for forming blood clots.  The progression of blood clots on the surface “atheromatous” plaques within the arteries of the heart and brain can directly cause blockage of affected arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke, respectively.  Even more commonly, however, clumps of clot and atheromatous plaque can break off and travel downstream, where they block coronary artery and brain artery branches, causing heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and strokes, respectively.  As inflammation, caused by our bodies’ white blood cells and antibodies, plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, scientists have been testing both vaccines and blocking antibodies in laboratory animals in an effort to prevent (or even reverse) the development of atherosclerosis, in the hope that heart attacks and strokes (and limb loss, in the case of peripheral vascular disease) can be prevented.

Two experimental new approaches to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease were unveiled at the Frontiers in Cardiovascular Biology conference this past week in London, and they have generated a great deal of interest among cardiovascular disease experts around the world.

In one recent study, which was performed using laboratory mice, an experimental vaccine (“CVX-210”) that reprograms inflammatory white bloods cells into inflammation-fighting white blood cells was evaluated.  In this mouse study, the CVX-210 vaccine was able to reduce the extent of arterial atherosclerosis by 60 to 70 percent!  While treatments that are effective in laboratory mice do not always work in humans, the manufacturer of the CVX-210 vaccine, CardioVax, is currently awaiting FDA approval to begin preliminary human clinical trials.

A second immunological approach to the prevention and treatment of arterial atherosclerosis involves the use of blocking antibodies that are designed to target oxidized LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol,” which is a major component of atherosclerotic plaques, and which also participates in the inflammatory cascade that leads directly to plaque formation.)  When injected into a patient, these antibodies attack oxidized LDL particles and, theoretically, block the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.  At this time, there is an ongoing human clinical trial that is evaluating this “BI-204” human monoclonal antibody.  (In preclinical studies, BI-204 has already been shown to decrease the extent of existing arterial atherosclerotic plaques in laboratory animals by as much as 50 percent!)

In addition to the potential of the CVX-210 vaccine and the BI-204 human monoclonal antibody to significantly reduce, and possibly prevent, arterial atherosclerosis, these two still experimental therapies, if proven to be safe and effective in humans, would also be available for use in combination with current cardiovascular disease prevention therapies, including the cholesterol blocking statin drugs, high blood pressure medications, and diabetes medications.  (When considered together, these three current, conventional treatments for the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease are estimated to reduce the risk of heart attack by about 40 percent.)  Because all of these therapies target different risk factors for cardiovascular disease, combining CVX-210 and/or BI-204 with current conventional cardiovascular disease prevention therapies could dramatically further reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and significantly prolong our lives in the future.

As a disease prevention expert, I consider these two new developments to be of potentially enormous importance in the area of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.  Given that inflammation is known to play an important role in the development of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, I will be very interested to see if these two new experimental approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment also have a beneficial risk on cancer risk as well!



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a lighthearted perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 





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The Four Critical Cardiovascular Disease Risks That You Can Change

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



New research shows that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking account for the vast majority of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.


 

THE FOUR CRITICAL CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISKS THAT YOU CAN CHANGE

As I mention in my recent bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, many of the very same lifestyle and dietary habits that increase our risk of developing cancer also increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks (myocardial infarction), peripheral vascular disease, and stroke.  Likewise, adopting an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle can not only cut your cancer risk in half, but can also significantly reduce your risk of developing life-threatening cardiovascular disease as well.

A newly published research study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, provides, for the first time, a comprehensive assessment of the lifetime risks of developing cardiovascular disease based upon the following four health-related factors: blood pressure, cholesterol (lipid) levels in the blood, smoking status, and diabetes status.  Importantly, this huge meta-analysis study, which appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, comprehensively analyzes the data from 18 different prior clinical research studies, which included 257,384 adult black and white men and women.  These research volunteers were assessed for these four critical cardiovascular risk factors every 10 years, beginning at age 45 and ending at age 75.  This enormous group of research volunteers was then closely followed, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death rates due to cardiovascular disease were then carefully evaluated and analyzed.

When looking at cardiovascular risks factors at age 55 as predictors of future cardiovascular disease risk, and the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, the findings of this extremely large clinical study were striking.  In this study, a low-risk profile for cardiovascular disease was defined as total blood cholesterol less than 180 milligrams per deciliter (4.7 mmol per liter), average blood pressure less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), nonsmoker status, and nondiabetic status.

Among the 55 year-old men and women who met all of the criteria for a low-risk profile for cardiovascular disease, their lifetime incidence of cardiovascular disease, through age 80, was remarkably lower than for the 55 year-olds who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria.  In fact, the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, through age 80, was only 5 percent among the men who met all four low-risk criteria at age 55, while the men who met only two or fewer low-risk criteria faced a dramatic six-fold increase in the risk (30 percent) of dying of cardiovascular disease by age 80.  Among the women volunteers, only 6 percent of the women who met all four low-risk criteria went on to die of cardiovascular disease by age 80, while 21 percent of the women who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria died of cardiovascular disease between age 55 and age 80 (for a nearly four-fold increase in the risk of death).

Fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease occurred in only 4 percent of the men who met all four low-risk criteria, but occurred in nearly 10 times as many of the men (38 percent) who failed to meet two or more of these four criteria.  The women who met all four low-risk criteria faced a less than 1 percent risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease, while the women who met two or fewer low-risk criteria experienced an 18 percent incidence of fatal and nonfatal coronary artery disease (for a more than 18-fold increase in risk).

The risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke was also significantly lower among men and women who met all four low-risk criteria for cardiovascular disease.  Among the men who met all four low-risk criteria, the incidence of stroke through age 80 was only about 2 percent, but quadrupled, to more than 8 percent, among the men who failed to meet two or more of the four low-risk criteria.  Among the women who met all four low-risk criteria, the incidence of stroke was about 5 percent, but more than doubled, to nearly 11 percent, among the women who failed to meet at least two of the low-risk criteria.

The findings of this very large study cannot be overstated in terms of its public health importance, as this is the only study that has prospectively assessed very large numbers of men and women, including both black and white adults, over long periods of time, and that has analyzed the long-term impact of the four most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease on incidence and death rates associated with cardiovascular disease.  As with the studies that I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the impact of lifestyle, diet, and other modifiable health-related factors on both cardiovascular disease risk and cancer risk is enormous, particularly when measured over the lifespan of the average adult.

The findings of this epic public health research study also add further weight to my strong belief, based upon my review of thousands of research studies, that we, as individuals, hold the key to improving our health, and to significantly reducing our risk of serious illness and premature death, by living evidence-based healthy lifestyles.  If your blood pressure is high, change your diet and increase your level of exercise, with the support of your doctor.  If diet and physical activity interventions alone do not correct your hypertension, then ask your doctor about medications for high blood pressure.  If you have diabetes, you also need to change your diet, increase your levels of physical activity, and safely lose any excess weight.  If these lifestyle changes do not completely resolve your high blood sugars, then you may also need to ask your doctor about medications for diabetes.  If you smoke, or use smokeless tobacco, stop immediately.  Finally, if your LDL and total cholesterol levels are high, then, once again, you need to be more careful about what you eat.  (The cancer-preventing foods and diets that I discuss in my book have also been linked to lower levels of blood cholesterol, as well as a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease.)  You may also need to increase your physical activity levels, and get your weight down to a healthy level, to improve your LDL and total cholesterol levels.  Once again, if these prudent lifestyle measures are not enough, by themselves, to bring your cholesterol levels down into the normal range, then your doctor may need to add a cholesterol-lowering medication as well.

The striking results of this important cardiovascular disease prevention study provide all of us with the key to maximally reducing our risk of developing—and dying from—largely preventable cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.  Better long-term health (and a longer and more vigorous life) is within your grasp, and this study, in addition to my book, can show you the way forward.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!



Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 








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Green Tea Significantly Reduces LDL (Bad Cholesterol)

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

GREEN TEA SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES LDL (BAD CHOLESTEROL)

The cultivation and consumption of tea has continued, uninterrupted, for at least 12,000 years, based upon documentation from China.  Today, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage throughout the world other than water.  As I discuss in detail in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, a lot of health claims have been made for green tea, including a decrease in the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  However, the available clinical and laboratory research data for green tea, unfortunately, includes multiple contradictory findings for these and other health-related claims.

As with most of the available disease prevention research that has been published so far, the majority of research data supporting beneficial health effects for green tea has been in the form of public health studies that rely upon dietary surveys or other research methodologies that produce low-level clinical research data. For this reason, new clinical research studies that rely upon prospective, randomized methods of conducting research, and which generate more valid and predictive data than survey-based studies, are essential in order to better understand the potential health benefits of green tea, if any.

A newly published paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers important information about the potential health benefits of green tea, based upon a comprehensive analysis of all previously published prospective randomized clinical research trials looking at the effects of green tea consumption on blood lipids (e.g., total cholesterol; LDL-cholesterol, also known as the “bad cholesterol;” and HDL-cholesterol, also known as the “good cholesterol”). A total of 14 prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research studies were identified and analyzed in this comprehensive meta-analysis.

In this meta-analysis, green tea consumption, in the form of either a tea beverage or a green tea extract, was found to significantly and consistently reduce blood levels of total cholesterol (by an average of 7.2 mg/dL) and LDL-cholesterol (by an average of 2.2 mg/dL). At the same time, green tea consumption did not significantly affect blood levels of HDL-cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”). Thus, this important meta-analysis study provides powerful, high-level research evidence that green tea does indeed significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. These effects of green tea on total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels are the same primary effects of the enormously popular statin drugs, and which have been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, sudden cardiac death, and stroke.

This is a powerful research study on the effects of green tea consumption on lipid profiles, because it is based solely upon data from high-level research studies, rather than the much more commonly published (and less expensive) survey-based public health studies that make up the majority of research in disease prevention.  I have, for many years now, included green tea in my diet, and while the impact of green tea, if any, on cancer risk is still open to debate, studies such as this one provide compelling evidence that the regular consumption of green tea may be an important part of a cardiovascular disease prevention lifestyle.



For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Green Tea Epicatechin Reduces Heart Damage & CHF

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


GREEN TEA EPICATECHIN REDUCE HEART DAMAGE & CHF

Epicatechin is a member of a group of dietary antioxidants known as flavonoids.  Epicatechin is found in a variety of plant-based foods, but is particularly abundant in green tea and dark chocolate. 

Regular readers of this column are already familiar with previous research studies suggesting that green tea flavonoids, including epicatechin, have been linked to a potential decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as decreased blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension).  Now, an innovative new laboratory research study has suggested that daily epicatechin supplements may dramatically reduce heart damage, and the risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), following heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, laboratory rats underwent surgical blockage of their main coronary artery, which reproduces the acute blockage of human coronary arteries that cause heart attacks (myocardial infarctions).  In one group of rats, daily oral supplements of epicatechin (1 mg/kg per day) were started prior to tying off the rats’ coronary arteries, and were continued after coronary artery ligation.  In a second group of “control” rats, daily water supplements (without epicatechin) were started 10 days prior to coronary artery ligation.  Yet another “control group” of rats underwent “sham surgery,” wherein the chest wall was surgically opened (as with the other two groups of rats), but the coronary arteries were not tied off.  In this group of rats, daily epicatechin supplements were also started 10 days before their sham operations were performed.

When the hearts of these laboratory animals were evaluated 48 hours after their surgically induced heart attacks, the animals that had received daily epicatechin supplements (before and after coronary artery ligation) were found to have 52 percent less permanently damaged heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the animals that received only daily “placebo” water supplements.  Moreover, these “control” animals, that underwent coronary artery ligation but did not receive epicatechin supplements, were observed to develop signs of CHF, as was expected, following the surgical induction of a massive heart attack.  Amazingly, the animals that were pretreated with epicatechin prior to surgical ligation of the main coronary artery did not display evidence of CHF (these animals’ heart function did not significantly differ from that of the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries tied off)!

At 3 weeks after coronary artery ligation, the rats that had received epicatechin supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, had, on average, a 33 percent decrease in the extent of dead heart muscle (myocardial infarction) when compared to the “placebo control” animals that received only water supplements (but no epicatechin) before and after coronary artery ligation.  Once again, there was a significant incidence of CHF in the rats that received only water supplements, in addition to coronary artery ligation, 3 weeks after surgical induction of myocardial infarction, while the animals that received epicatechin supplements in addition to coronary artery ligation retained normal heart function (similar to what was observed in the “sham surgery” rats that did not have their coronary arteries ligated).

 

This is quite an amazing research study, as the protective effects of daily epicatechin supplementation following ligation of the main coronary artery in rats was profoundly significant, and essentially prevented the onset of CHF in these laboratory animals.  If epicatechin was to be shown to have similar “cardio-protective” effects in humans, then this would enormously increase the potential role of epicatechin, and other related green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease!Fortunately, there are several clinical research studies that are evaluating the potential cardio-protective effects of epicatechins, and other green tea and dark chocolate flavonoids, in patients with elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and other conditions that are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.  (At least one other study is also evaluating these same dietary flavonoids in patients who already have CHF.)

Meanwhile, green tea is well tolerated by most people, and if there are no preexisting medical illnesses that prevent you from drinking green tea, then a few cups or glasses of green tea a day may help to decrease your risk of heart attack and CHF.  (As always, however, I must remind readers that laboratory experiments with rats and mice often do not translate to human beings once the same treatments are evaluated in high-quality prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research trials with human volunteers.)

 

To learn more about the role of green tea, dark chocolate, epicatechin, and other dietary flavonoids in the prevention of cancer, look for the publication of my new landmark book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in the summer of this year.



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 1000,000 new and returning readers who visit our premier global health information website every month.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.



 

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