Tag Archives: Dr. Roizen

You’re Not Dead Yet!!

4 Jan

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing:  You get a do over: it doesn’t take that long, and isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and then to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over your quality and length of life.

This month, one of our readers, John (not his real name, he asked that not be printed) wrote in with: “I recently had a heart attack while having sex… [I] want to know when I can start enjoying sex again… and how will I know if I am in trouble short of serious chest pain…that was the first sign last time. My doctor doesn’t seem to want to address those questions with me.”

I’ll start my answer by referencing a favorite PBS show, Monty Python’s Holy Grail (look it up on YOUTube).  In one memorable (for me at least) scene, John Cleese carries out John Young (a dead body), when John Young utters the immortal words, “I’m not dead.”

I want to be very clear about this, John: If you’ve had a heart attack and you’re reading this, you’re not either! That means you can live life passionately.

Yes, check in with your doctor, but if it’s been 10 days since you were released from the hospital and you’re healthy enough to walk at a nice pace for a mile or so, and climb two flights of stairs (a la Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets”), then you’re likely to be cleared for sex.

Your doc is unfortunately typical. Most docs don’t talk about post-heart-attack sex with their patients. Only half of male and a third of female patients are ever told when to restart their love machine. Without that info, many patients are too timid to test the waters. So, I am glad you asked the question. Two long flights easily we say, and then get cleared by the doc.  I’ve been very disappointed that 87% or so of patients after heart attacks (both nationwide and in Cleveland and surroundings) do not avail themselves of either the usual cardiac rehab or any of the three Intensive Cardiac Rehab programs we offer [the ICR of Dean Ornish –paid for by Medicare, The Granddaddy of all programs–the Esselstyn Program (developed in Cleveland)—or the Lifestyle180 program].

You should take one of these programs (many are offered in other parts of the country) if you are at high risk of a heart attack, so you don’t have another one.

By the way, beta blocking drugs like metoprolol were commonly prescribed after heart attacks until two months ago for rhythm control if you had abnormal heart beats after your attack.  But, they caused patients to eat more, have insulin resistance and even have problems achieving an orgasm. New data supports rhythm control with rhythm specific drugs, which means you won’t need those beta blockers and can probably perform better (better orgasms for both males and females). If you are at high risk (50% of men over 65 are), and don’t go for Intensive Cardiac Rehab, and do have a heart attack, you’ll probably feel like a dolt – and you should. You can prevent all that pain, and suffering for you and your loved ones, and not have that heart attack in the first place. (The Essy program is only one day!)

Worse, worrying about sex after a heart attack can be harder on the heart than having sex. Sex reduces stress, and reducing stress and having a great partner with whom you enjoy life helps reduce heart-stopping belly fat. That’s one reason why sex twice a week cuts your risk of heart attack in half.

By the way, why would Medicare pay for it? Probably because it just might save your life, allow you much more fun (I’m not sure Medicare cares about your fun), and reduces your lifetime Medicare costs (Intensive Cardiac Rehab does in randomized controlled trials). So, don’t be an 87 percenter and remember, if you are reading this, you aren’t dead yet.   So John, and all you John wannabees, after that two flights of stairs test and after Intensive Cardiac Rehab has started, snuggle up with your honey and remember: you’re doing this for your health!

Thanks for reading.

Young Dr Mike

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for TeensIt makes a great (even late) graduation gift.  Thanks for reading.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime.

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. This article is of the opinion of its author.  

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

 

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Building a Bigger Brain.

31 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

What do your favorite wool sweater, your retirement savings account, and your brain have in common? They’re all better off if they don’t shrink! But the brains of the 79 million Americans (and millions more Canadians) with slightly elevated blood sugar levels are at risk for just that!

Even a little extra blood glucose shrivels grey matter. Once you develop dementia, extra sugar may help short term memory but can still be bad for the long term. This column is not for those already with dementia. Please see a specialist very quickly as there are over 20 totally reversible causes including drugs, B12 deficiency, thyroid disease, etc. It seems the areas of the brain where memories are processed (hippocampus) and thinking takes place (the amygdala) grew smaller in women and men whose blood sugar was in the prediabetes range, about 110 mg/dL on a fasting blood sugar test. (And if you progress from prediabetes to diabetes—as most people eventually do—you’ll accelerate shrinkage even more!)

Now, it’s true that the size of your brain shrinks with age if you do not do anything about it—perhaps ‘cause we humans live so long– but there’s a lot you can do to reverse prediabetes (that will protect all your organs, not just your brain), control your glucose levels so you don’t ever develop prediabetes, and keep your neurons firing at their best. Exercise is most important, followed by stress management.  For comparison, brain games increase hippocampal size less than 10% of the amount that exercise does.

1) Break Out Your Walking Shoes. Exercise stimulates the growth of new neurons and new connections between neurons by boosting levels of a protein called BDNF that acts like “Miracle-Gro” for the brain. Even a few 30-minute walks a week protect against cognitive decline as you get older, and they are even more effective than brain games or spending time with your BFFs. We recommend you aim for 10,000 steps a day; if you can do that, you will definitely be giving prediabetes the heave-ho.

2) Break Out Your Sweat Socks and Heart Rate Monitor. More vigorous physical activity at any age increases your hippocampal size, and your brain connections.  That’s why exercising your leg and core muscles may be the best games for your brain. Get your heart rate up to 85% of your age adjusted max for 20 minutes three times a week, and you’ll get maximum benefit.

3) De-stress daily and get help for depression. Chronic worry and anxiety nibbles away at brain cells and brain connections by switching on a gene that blocks the creation of new nerve connections. The same goes for depression.

4) Get B’s, C, D, E — and omega-3s. Loading up on noggin-friendly nutrients — found in produce, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereal, low-fat milk or ½ a multi twice a day (for vitamin B12), and oily fish like salmon and trout (or take 900 mg of DHA a day from an algal oil supplement) — could substantially reduce your risk for brain shrinkage. People who don’t get enough of this good stuff had 37% more brain loss in one eye-opening report.

5) Lower high blood pressure. Take your blood pressure readings seriously. Anything higher than 115/75 can cause white matter changes and damage the blood vessels that supply every brain cell with oxygen and fuel.

6) Stop Smoking and Second Hand Smoke Exposure. Puffing on tobacco products strangles the blood supply to your brain, like cutting your laptop’s power cord.  It’s also associated with inflammation in your body (including your brain).  Avoiding second hand smoke and avoiding inflammation in your brain makes you much smarter.

7) Consider Supplements That Decrease Insulin Resistance. Cinnamon (2 teaspoons a day), tumeric (17 mg as a food spice—Indian food is a great place to start), purified omega-7’s (420 mg a day), and coffee (more than 2 cups a day if your doc says that’s all right for you) all decrease insulin resistance and may all improve long-term brain function.

8) Go To Sleep. Chronic bed-time trouble is another brain minimizer. Nix afternoon caffeine, de-stress before you turn in, make sure your room is cool and dark, and that a snoring pet or human bedmate isn’t keeping you up. In the morning, snap up the shades and get some morning light. Missing out on sun exposure may also downsize your little gray cells.

We haven’t even mentioned brain games or even ping-pong, both of which improve brain function.  And all make your RealAge younger by many years. Next month, we’ll return to things to prevent breast and prostate cancer like daily cruciferous veggies, avoidance of getting too big a waist, and two baby aspirins with a half glass of water, if your doc agrees.

Thanks for reading.

Young Dr Mike

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime.

 

Building a Bigger Brain.

24 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

What do your favorite wool sweater, your retirement savings account, and your brain have in common? They’re all better off if they don’t shrink! But the brains of the 79 million Americans (and millions more Canadians) are at risk of not only shrinking but not growing right from the start!

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” That proverb has been around since at least 1695, and it was a creepily obsessive phrase in the 1980 movie The Shining (and look what happened there!). Yet, this very simple and profound observation has somehow gotten lost in our modern scramble to make kids smarter. Recess, that time honored tradition that lets kids work off their restless energy and teaches them everything from being part of a team to negotiating conflicts with classmates, has virtually disappeared from many school districts. (In some school districts instituting recess is a challenge. In Chicago, for example, nearly 100 elementary and middle schools have no playgrounds.)

But people who make such policies are finally beginning to realize that it’s a huge mistake to eliminate  playtime. The benefits of recess include: stimulation of creativity and imagination, improved physical health and control of obesity, building friendships, and an improvement in classroom attention and learning. Kids who have an hour of play first thing in the day learn better. Social-emotional learning should be woven into academic learning because it enhances a child’s ability to learn and to thrive.

So if your child goes to an elementary school that does not have recess, or you have school administrators who do not think recess is important, then speak up and step in.  If you have no outdoor space for recess, then help school teachers find creative ways to make the gym or a classroom work. If you have to take the issue up at parent-teacher meetings or the PTA, then do it. Your child’s health, happiness, and school success depend on it.

On to another topic…

Intestinal bacteria are big news: Breast milk contains 700 varieties (that’s good because it seems to build an infant’s immune system and digestive health). We now know these bacteria break down and generate amino acids and neurotransmitters that affect mood (these are true gut reactions); and it seems disruption of a healthy balance of gut bacteria may cause (or be the result of) type 2 diabetes. But perhaps the most astounding news is that a fecal transplant (putting someone else’s, um, healthy mix of gut bacteria into the GI tract of a person suffering with Crohn’s disease or a C. difficile infection) can banish chronic diarrhea PDQ. But it sounds so… what’s the scientific word? Icky.

Well, now there’s an artificial mixture of gut bacteria that’s called, we kid you not, RePOOPulate.  In tests, people with “untreatable” C. difficile infections (that’s the bacteria that can thrive in the gut after treatment with antibiotics) saw their diarrhea clear up in three days after RePOOPulate-ing. Six months later, they were still free of the sinister bug. This not-quite-as-personal bacterial transplant successfully rebalanced their gut with a healthy bacterial mix.

If you have chronic intestinal problems, get onboard with a probiotic regimen (we recommend Culturelle and Sustinex) and make sure you eat plenty of apples. They’re loaded with pectin (it’s what’s called a prebiotic); it helps balance gut bacteria in favor of the good guys. Asparagus, chicory root, garlic, onions, and oats are other prebiotics. And if that doesn’t help, talk to your doc about repopulating your intestines with friendly bacteria.

Thanks for reading.

Young Dr Mike

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime.

 

Could Diet & ADHD Be Related?

14 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

The age-old question — which came first the fried chicken or the ADHD? — is not easy to answer. We know obese moms give birth to kids with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ) more often; people with ADHD (kids or adults) are more likely to be overweight (impulse control issues?); and consuming refined grains like white bread, sweet sodas, red meats, and whole dairy increases a child’s risk for ADHD.

Now, it seems that kids who eat diets high in saturated and trans fats (think fried food and red and processed meats) have a greater chance of developing several childhood disabilities including impulsivity, depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

Five to eight times as many kids are depressed today as they were 50 years ago (less play, more pressure, more obesity?) and anxiety is increasingly diagnosed. ADHD affects millions of U.S. children with diagnosis up 66%, especially among boys. These issues often lead to more problems in their teenage years and major depression in adulthood.

So, for your kids–and you too–adopt an eating plan packed with fruit, vegetables, 100% whole grains, healthy fats (olive oil, omega-3 rich salmon and ocean trout, and DHA supplements, and ALA in walnuts, avocados, and cannola and walnut oil).

Go for portion control: Keep servings of animal protein about the size of your palm; fill 2/3rds of your plate with veggies and whole grains.

Get moving with 30 minutes of aerobics (minimum) daily for you and your kids, and  perform strength training exercise with weights or stretch bands (for you, the parent) 2 to 3 times a week.

Thanks for reading,

Young Dr. Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime.

 

How To Stay Cold and Flu Free This Year.

12 Dec

The Most Important Principles For Staying Young: 

How To Stay Cold and Flu Free This Year –  For A Younger YOU®

 Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

We YOU Docs love fall: crisp days, chilly nights (chilly enough for chili), the beginning of basketball, the end of re-runs (all new Dr. Oz shows!), and tackling all those projects we never touched last summer. There’s just one spoiler (well two): colds and flu. 

 In addition to washing your hands 20 times a day (a great start), these two tips can make a mega-difference: 

 Get enough of our favorite vitamin, D3 (the most active form of vitamin D). Healthy levels make you half as likely to get a cold or flu. If a flu bug gets you anyway (viruses are wily buggers), you won’t feel crummy for nearly as long. Why isn’t yet clear, but D’s anti-inflammation powers may reduce the infection. Take 1,000 IU a day.

 Get your 8 hours a night. Sleep may be the most underestimated cold fighter out there. You’ll catch far fewer colds if you habitually log eight hours of ZZZs a night. Getting less than seven hours makes you three times more likely catch a cold than getting eight. If you sleep poorly, repeatedly waking and falling off, you’re five times more likely to catch a cold. 

 And if you don’t like Vitamin D3 and sleep, then let us warn you of The Dangers of Driving While Under the Influence of a Bad Cold.  

 If your nose looks like a radish and your eyes are more watery than chicken soup at a bad diner, the only equipment you should be operating is a thermometer (but maybe not a mercury one). The common cold, it turns out, is an automobile accident waiting to happen. The sneezing, tearing, fever, and puffy eyes make your reactions behind the wheel as slow and unsteady as a party-goer who’s pounded back several drinks… at least, that’s what a UK team reports.

One reason: A single sneeze lasts two to three seconds and your eyes automatically close during it. If you’re driving 70 miles an hour  (about 110 kilometers an hour) and go ah-ah-ah-choo, you’re driving blind for 315 feet (about 100 meters). You don’t need us YOU Docs to tell you that’s scary. 

North Americans get 1 billion colds each year so you can bet many sneezing, blowing, dripping drivers will be bobbing and weaving down highways. Don’t be one. 

What if you have a ferocious cold and absolutely have to go someplace? Do not take the nearest cold medicine without first checking the warning label. Many contain decongestants that can make you nod off or respond slower. Instead, pick up the phone and ask a friend or a taxi service for a lift.

Once you’re back on your feet, stave off your next “battle of the sinuses” with this trio of cold-fighters: Get eight hours of sleep nightly, take 1,000 IU of virus-fighting vitamin D3 daily, and wash your hands like a maniac.

Thanks for reading and feel free to send more questions at youdocs@gmail.com.

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

 Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

 Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime. 

Don’t Wash Your Chicken!

11 Dec

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

Don’t Wash That Chicken:  A new campaign, “Don’t Wash the Chicken,” (it’s not a joke, Google it) was launched by researchers at Drexel University to alert you to the risks of washing raw chicken before you plop it in a pan to cook. Most people do that to remove contamination. But, rinsing the bird can splash Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria or both onto adjacent surfaces, cutting boards, knives, plates in your sink, and other food. Around 200,000 folks a year come down with at-home food poisoning caused by those bacteria and have to deal with diarrhea, fever, cramps, and vomiting.  Or worse, hospitalization and risk of serious (even deadly) side-effects.

Tip for the day? Just unwrap, cut, and cook your chicken at 165 degrees in its deepest areas (you’ll need a meat thermometer—and afterwards wash that thermometer well too, but carefully so as not to splash). All raw meat has bacteria on it, and proper cooking wipes ’em out.  Wash any surface the chicken did touch with soap (it’s a great bacteria slayer), or Clorox and water. Store chicken and all meats in individual (double) plastic bags in the fridge to avoid leakage!

Other food safety tips:

Keep raw chicken meat separate from produce, and keep each variety of produce separate from others.

Maintain a fridge temp of 40°F or lower.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling food or when switching from handling one type of food to another.

Maybe next month we’ll do more on food safety, but I want to give you a follow up on the potential Alzheimer’s breakthrough we recently wrote about (many of you sent us emails asking for a follow-up). Bexarotene and Alzheimer’s Follow Up… Last year, March I think it was, I wrote:

“[Probably] no subject is more emotional to women and important to men than keeping your memory and brain functioning. So it was with interest that I got an email forwarded from my wife with the subject line “Alzheimer’s Breakthrough!” Now, I didn’t even bother to open that email for a day because I have seen that type of headline before and such a subject usually mean BS (bad science). But I WAS BLOWN AWAY.   I couldn’t believe the study – Three different mice models of Alzheimer’s disease treated to an already approved FDA drug given by gavage (that is pushed down into the stomach of the test mice like you would take a pill); and their beta amyloid plaque melted away.  More importantly, the mice had return of cognitive function, or at least as best as that can be tested in mice.  And such was based on a predicted response by the drug in turning on the Apo E gene.  As it was an approved drug, we may know very quickly if this works in humans.” 

Since March of last year, Bexarotene has undergone trials in several other laboratories to see if these results could be replicated before it went into human trials. Like many things, there were mixed results. Half the time, there was a decrease in some anatomic markers of Alzheimer’s (often not plaque size but commonly the amount of soluble amyloid in the brain).  Better than that, there appeared to be improvements in cognitive function in the one study that tested it (these studies were reviewed in Nature in May of this year). There was enough uncertainty that it was unclear whether or not human trials would proceed… But, since this is a devastating disease with no drug that gets at the basis of the ailment, the Cleveland Clinic Las Vegas Lou Ruvo Center on Brain Health is starting a study of 20 patients to see if any biomarker by radiograph (sensitive scans are now available that can measure plaque burden), and/or cognitive testing improvements can be detected.  If so, pharma firms may look for a relative of Bexarotene to bring to market because this drug, while approved for use for some lymphomas, has some pretty serious side effects.  Jeff Cummings, MD, PhD is leading the study group.  Keep reading these columns, we’ll keep you informed, and thanks for reading. Feel free to send more questions–you can always send us questions at youdocs@gmail.com , and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to youdocs@gmail.com. You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site: YOUBeauty.com  and its companion BeautySage.com the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.healthradio.net  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at YouDocs@gmail.com.   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto youbeauty.com anytime.