Archive for May, 2006

Asbestos and Malignant Mesthelioma

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

Many people are wondering about the risks of asbestos exposure and getting malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer on the pleura, or lining of the lungs. It can lead fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, and eventually death. When it comes to how our bodies age and handle illness, 65% depends on the environment, like the things we feed, expose, and do to our bodies. The remaining 35% is due to genetics, that wonderful nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that we got from ours parents and mothers, respectively.

When we think about environment, consider the following study. A 35-year period evaluation of workers in an asbestos factory in Poland revealed that increased rates of lung cancers, pleural mesothelioma, and all malignant cancers were higher in these workers than in the general population. Of the 4,187 subjects studied (2805 men and 1382 women), five died from pleural mesothelioma. Also, the risk for these types of illness did not differ between those that had a preceeding documented diagnosis of lung asbestosis and those that did not. So, where people work, and the polutants they are exposed to, clearly influence disease risks.

Now with genomics laboratories, investigation of disease risk is taken to a new level. A recent study in Northwest Italy evaluated single nucleotide DNA polymorphisms in 4 genes responsible for DNA repair. Polymorphisms are like typos in the DNA language. The assumption was that sloppy DNA repair increased the risk for this cancer when a gene-damaging substance like asbestos was thrown into the picture. It’s like trying to fix an important system with an entire chapter ripped out of the repair manual. So seven different variations of these 4 genes were studied in 81 malignant mesothelioma patients and 110 of their age-matched and sex-matched controls. All subjects were residents of Casale Monferrato, a town polluted with asbestos. The results showed that with one type of polymorphism (or DNA typo) a 2.147 oddds ratio existed for this disease, another variant (or DNA typo) had a 4.09 odds risk ratio. These genetic variations can certainly put people at an increased risk of developing the cancer. This is valuable information because the residents of this town can now look at their family genetics and give more consideration about whether or not they should move out of there!

Environment and genetics…we are getting more options now than ever before to learn about our risks of getting cancers, like malignant mesothelioma. If you have any concerns about a history of personal asbestos exposure, I encourage you to explore with your physician or health care provider what diagnostic tools are available for further evaluation.

Dianzani I, et al. Polymorphisms in DNA repair genes as risk factors for asbestos-related malignat mesothelioma in a general population study. Mutant Res. 2006 Marc 23; (epub ahead of print)
Wilezynska U, Szymezak W, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N. Mortality from malignant neoplasms among workers of an asbestos processing plant in Poland: results of prolonged observation. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2005; 18(4):313-26.

The Metabolic Plan

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Now at Best Seller status with 250,000 sales, “The Metabolic Plan” by healthy aging expert Stephen Cherniske is a must-read for anyone interested in a high quality of life. Cherniske has the great understanding and insight that healthy aging requires much more than a good diet and exercise. As an international expert on DHEA, he reveals his own aging process. The before and after photos strikingly demonstrate his healthy recovery and on-going improvement. Quite frankly, he shows how the metabolic approach to health improved his cholesterol levels, blood pressure, lean muscle mass, and appearance. Page 40 shows photos of him at 40 years old and 48 years old. At 48 years old, he looks much younger, healthier and more handsome. Cosmetic physicians are astounded when I share this book with them and explain that he’s had no cosmetic procedures done. With over 400 scientific references, the concepts and data presented in this book are very true and tested. Healthy aging is not just for the elite. When can use the benefits of nature to grow younger and healthier naturally. Cherniske shows us how we are all able to attain a level of health that is above average, without having to spend outrageous amounts of money on outrageous procedures. His book focuses on the wisdom of nature and science to create health.
For longevity gurus, this book serves as a strong foundation for studying anti-aging medicine. I am particularly grateful for this book as it helped me to understand important concepts in preparation for my American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine exams. The Metabolic Model of Aging is an important concept for us to understand at any age for healthy living. It is a delightful read and great reference. It lists important tests that are needed to assess longevity and health. Read this book now and get 5 more copies to give to friends- they will appreciate it!

Medical Lab Tests

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Many people go to their doctors and get a set of lab tests to evaluate risks for heart attack and disease. But the set of tests that physicians order are not all the same, and many risk factors and longevity markers go untested. The book “Medical Tests That Can Save Your Life: 21 tests your doctor won’t order…unless you know to ask” by David Johnson PhD, David Sandmire MD, with Daniel Klein is a great resource for planning a preventive medicine visit to your health care provider. It can serve as a quick reference and is an easy book to read. I highly recommend it. We must all be advocates for our own health and this books helps show us one of the ways to do that.