Surgery Without Incisions
New equipment and procedures are allowing surgeons to
remove the appendix by going through the mouth, the gallbladder or a
kidney by way of the vagina, and other surgeries by entering through the
Orifice-surgery is faster and less painful than
laparoscopic surgery, which uses small incisions. It doesn't leave scars
and patients heal faster. At Massachusetts General Hospital, the chief
of surgery says he was skeptical about orifice surgery a few years ago
but now thinks that it works.
Device makers are very interested in this new type of
procedure. At least 10 companies are manufacturing equipment for the
emerging field, but it will take some time before it is commonly used
for routine operations.
Vytorin, Zetia Use Questioned
A controversial Dutch study of the
cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin indicates that it works no better than
a generic statin. Doctors at Yale University recommend that their
patients go back to less-expensive statins, especially if they were not
fully treated by them before.
Both Zetia and Vytorin (a combination of Zetia and
Zocor) are made with ezetimibe, which blocks absorption of cholesterol
in the gut.
Vytorin also contains simvastatin, which blocks
synthesis in the liver.
The American College of Cardiology recommends that until further
research is available, Vytorin and Zetia should be used only as a last
resort, after all other drugs fail to lower cholesterol.
Generic Fosamax Approved
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved
the first generic versions of Fosamax, the popular osteoporosis drug
made by Merck & Co. Teva Pharmaceuticals and Barr Laboratories should
have generics in most pharmacies soon. In the United States, 10 million
people have osteoporosis and 34 million have low bone mass.
Don't Let Summer Pass You By
Get out there and walk, run or play. All through the
winter you promised yourself that when warm weather came, you would
start walking. Well, it's here.
Being, busy doesn't cut it now. All you have to do is
put your shoes on and walk out the door. Just start with a 15-minute
walk. Once you do, you'll enjoy it so much that extending the time,
little by little, will be a pleasure.
Another thing you will enjoy is how you will look
after walking for a few weeks. Your waistline will thank you and you'll
have a more toned look.
According to exercise tables, it could seem as if a
few of hundred calories won't count for much when it comes to losing
weight. The better part of exercising is that your body will continue to
burn more calories for a time after your session is over.
As you exercise more, particularly if you add some
weights to your exercise routine, you will build more muscle. Muscle
burns more calories than the fat you are losing, so you will burn more
calories 24 hours a day.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say exercise will improve
your mood and calm you down when you are stressed. It promotes better
sleep and a better sex life.
Exercise helps to manage or prevent chronic diseases,
such as heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and breathing
problems. Doctors at Duke University say walking is the magic pill for
And it's fun, so get out there!
It's hot. It's humid. The Dog Days are here.
The term Dog Days dates back to ancient times when people studied the sky
and relied on the heavens and the stars for navigation and spiritual
These ancients looked into the night sky, before modern lights
obscured the stars, and imagined that the constellations formed images
of bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), a bull (Taurus) and dogs (Canis
Major and Canis Minor)
Sirius, called the dog star, was the brightest star in the night sky.
It was so bright that the Romans thought it added heat to the earth.
In late summer, Sirius rises and sets with the sun, furthering the
notion that the heat of the combined stars created the muggy, sultry
weather. They called the 20-day alignment of the sun and Sirius, the Dog
This alignment can vary in exact dates with the latitude of the
observer and by the annual variances in the equinoxes.
Most of us know only that this period is too hot for a good
disposition and we'll be looking for ways to stay cool during those 20
days. We could go for a swim, take a vacation to a cooler climate, go to
an air-conditioned theater, or spend time leisurely shopping at the air
conditioned mall. Dress in cool clothes and don't overexert.
But if you are still uncomfortable, you can blame it on the big dog
and that familiar old star, the sun.