Monthly Archives: November 2012

Did you know that your medicine might damage your nerves?

You take medicine to cure an illness. Did you know that your medicine might have a side reaction? Most people may not get serious side reactions and can tolerate their medicine and begin to feel better. Very few, however, may get a side reaction called peripheral neuropathy or numbness of fingers from nerve damage. In most cases, stopping the medicine will stop this damage.

If you want to read more about what to do if your fingers feel numb after taking a certain few prescribed drugs, then click on the title of the following excellent current scientific articles, which are not too unpleasant to read because they are so full of simple facts. However, always consult your doctor since the risks must be balanced with the positive aspects of taking this medicine.

Peripheral neuropathy

Many more agents are suspected of causing neuropathy than discussed. Despite the lengthy and fastidious drug approval process, rare and idiosyncratic causes of medication-induced neuropathy may only become evident after wide-usage. Medication-induced toxicity should be at least considered in new cases of neuropathy including apparent idiopathic forms. Also importantly, patients with existing neuropathy of known or presumed cause should have their current regimen and planned therapy considered for potential neurotoxicity. Some preventative agents against chemotherapy toxicity show promise, but none are yet approved for routine use against neurotoxic effects.

Platinum neurotoxicity

Current research has shown insight into the mechanisms of nerve damage caused by the platinum agents. After entering the DRG, the platinum agent forms an adduct with DNA. Apoptosis has been observed in DRG neurons following cisplatin treatment both in vitro and in vivo (31) and is correlated with increased platinum-DNA binding in these DRG neurons (31). Oxaliplatin and cisplatin differ in their severity of neurotoxicity to the DRG. Cisplatin produced about three times more platinum-DNA adducts in the DRG (32) than equimolar doses of oxaliplatin, consistent with clinical observations that cisplatin is associated with greater neurotoxicity.

A genome wide association study (which asks if your genes dictate a tendency towards nerve damage)

Purpose:Sensory peripheral neuropathy is a common and sometimes debilitating toxicity associated with paclitaxel therapy. This study aims to identify genetic risk factors for development of this toxicity. Experimental Design: A prospective pharmacogenetic analysis of primary breast cancer patients randomized to the paclitaxel arm of CALGB 40101 was used to identify genetic predictors of the onset and severity of sensory peripheral neuropathy.

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Can you have an unwanted reaction from a drug?

Yes, because genetically you are unique. Even though the medicine worked perfectly well on every person you know, your body may be different and might react to either the drug or the components in which the drug is made, referred to as the inactive ingredients.

So, if you feel something is not quite right after taking a medicine, check the name of:
1) The active ingredient
2) The list of inactive ingredients. Usually innocuous for most people, some ingredients are not well-tolerated by all.

The saying that “you can make some people happy all of the time and all of the people only some of the time” definitely applies to wonder drugs. There will always be a few people who will be unhappy and some who will be somewhat happy, while the majority will be pleased.

How is that? Your genes. You are a unique individual, and quite different from your immediate circle of friends, but slightly similar to many members of your family and most similar to a few members of your immediate family. Know your genes and you will be a happier person. We are not quite there yet, but I attended a presentation by one of the Nobel Prize winning discoverers of the DNA helical structure of our genes. He predicts a future when we will have little chips in our body, informing all who must know, our entire genetic code. Your medication will be personalized to your own genes.

If you have not liked biology before, be prepared to love it. In the future, your doctor will be talking about “your genes require that I give you this particular dose of this medicine and I must avoid giving you these additives because you personally react to these ingredients”. In other words, you will be familiar with your genes to get personalized medical attention. Many companies are already working for this glorious future.

Until then, what are we to do? Well, we need to be open to the fact that not all medicines will be tolerated by our body. Just because your neighbor Tom loves this medicine, or your coach Yuri recommends it highly, or your chef Xin Lee has enjoyed it for years does not mean that you will not get diarhea or nausea or heart burn or an allergic reaction. For example, Tamiflu has recently become controversial. It has caused deaths in some individuals while presumably helping others with serious flu – like symptoms. The manufacturer of Tamiflu claims it prevents the severe flu from progressing to pneumonia. Others claim it does not work as promised and might even cause death. You may click here to read more about Maria Cheng’s wonderful article in Yahoo news, Nov 12, 2012) discussing the effects of a drug being stock-piled for a deadly flu pandemic.

For a more scientific explanation and differentiation of terms you may want to click here. It defines adverse effect, adverse reaction, drugs, medicine and more. It is rather formal science reading but a pleasure if you want to understand why you should not feel shy to speak up when you feel a medicine “just does not feel right”. The article was published in the respected medical journal Lancet in 2000, when personalized medicine studies began to emerge in earnest. The authors are scientists from Uppsala Monitoring Centre, WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring, Uppsala, Sweden and and Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK. An excerpt from the article is below.

You may direct questions or interest to
Dr Jeffrey K Aronson (e-mail:

If you wish to encourage such work do write or email these scientists and encourage their work. Let them know you appreciate personalized medicine research. If not, all medicines will continue to be made in “one size fits all” mode. Would you buy a dress, blouse, pant made for a person ten times your size? You must have replied “NO”! Then, soon you will wish personalized medicine was already here. Your personal chip is on its way.


We therefore propose the following definition of an adverse drug reaction: “An appreciably harmful or unpleasant reaction, resulting from an intervention related to the use of a medicinal product, which predicts hazard from future administration and warrants prevention or specific treatment, or alteration of the dosage regimen, or withdrawal of the product.”…..

……The terms “adverse reaction” and “adverse effect” are interchangeable, except that an adverse effect is seen from the point of view of the drug, whereas an adverse reaction is seen from the point of view of the patient. However, the terms “adverse effect” and “adverse reaction” must be distinguished from “adverse event”.

Read more.

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Coenzyme-Q: Consider it but use caution – it may lower blood pressure

Are there any safety concerns? I would certainly say, yes!
1) If you always had low blood pressure and now have high blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure regularly. Coenzyme-Q might lower your blood pressure, perhaps below your previous normal. So, monitoring is highly advisable. You might want to read the paragraph under “Safety concerns” by clicking here for the Medline Plus list of safety concerns. Medline Plus is an advice site for the public by the National Institutes of Health, USA.
2) While it helps with preclampsia during certain pregnancies, this Medline site also strongly cautions against taking drugs without supervision during pregnancy. Several drugs considered quite safe have resulted in deformed babies. So, this cautionary advice is not to be taken lightly.

Is Coenzyme-Q beneficial? I would say, yes!
Most people prescribed statins can benefit from its regular use. It may have increased the lifespan of this generation by a healthier decade perhaps. However, a percentage of people have an adverse reaction to statins. Not all, simply a percentage. This may be particularly severe for a cohort and prompted the Pharmaceutical giant, Bayer, to recall its statin. This cohort may have had a genetic factor that predisposed them to a severe reaction to statins. Others had a favorable response. For those who have had a serioius adverse reaction to statins and need a statin alternative, Coenzyme-Q might be the answer, but again, under a physician’s supervision. You may click here to read where to access the full article by Texas medical scientists on “Treatment of statin adverse effects with supplemental Coenzyme Q10 and statin drug discontinuation”.You may email their chief scientist to encourage further research but also with questions you might have regarding replacing statins with Coenzyme-Q.
Email: Dr. Langsjoen
Briefly, his teams observations are summarized below:
-50 patients were evaluated for adverse statin effects (myalgia, fatigue, dyspnea, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy)
-Began supplemental CoQ(10) at an average of 240 mg/day
– follow-up demonstrated a decrease in fatigue from 84% to 16%, myalgia from 64% to 6%, dyspnea from 58% to 12%, memory loss from 8% to 4% and peripheral neuropathy from 10% to 2%.

Want to learn more about Coenzyme-Q? The best site that I found for the public was the one by the New York University’s Langone Medical Center, which you might access by clicking here. I love the way it tells you the history of Coenzyme-Q and how it works and who benefits most from using it. For example, I enjoyed learning that the Japanese discovered it and use it regularly and are it’s primary manufacturers.

Who should take statins? I would strongly recommend reading this wonderfully detailed, well-balanced February 2012 article by Alice Parks in the Times magazine’s Health and family section by clicking here. It covers the FDA warnings and recent updates. It also clarifies hysteria versus rationale in “FDA Warns Statin Users of Memory Loss and Diabetes Risks”. Read more.

Does eating red beets help? Coenzyme-Q is manufactured by fermenting red beets. That makes a good case for introducing red beet regularly in your diet. Who knows how the body processes red beets internally and maybe eating more red beets may assist those who want to avoid medication.

Now, I have given you a wonderful set of well-researched articles to read and decide for yourself whether you should eat red beets, and add Coenzyme-Q to your vitamin shelf.

If you had a unique experience with Coenzyme-Q, do alert our readers, who are a special brand of people who are unafraid of a healthy dose of science in any explanation.

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I bought this non-brand polarized sunglass; should I have selected a brand?

With the goal to save my retina for eternal eyehealth I routinely shop for polarized sunglasses. I can never make up my mind on what might be the best way to protect my delicate retina. I am told that sun glare must be prevented from reaching the retina and these days the sun is stronger each summer or on the ski slope. So, I am always hunting for the latest technology and the best deal on polarized sunglasses. You may read the “related articles” below for a comparison of the latest available technology on sunglasses.

I found this non-brand recently, right before the 2012 New York city marathon, in which 50,000 runners run 26.2 gruelling miles. The New York city marathon was cancelled that evening, after I had bought my polarized sunglasses! The storm of the century, Sandy, had gone through New York and destroyed the lives of many.  Nonetheless,  I found the sunglass  choices interesting enough to share with you. The proprietor, Smokey, specializes in sporty sunglasses and prices them all under $30.00. That is Smokey himself with his sunglasses in the photo. So, I bought one. Smokey said he never charges for shipping and likes to know his customers personally. He loves to chat about sports. So, let him know what sport makes your heart sing. He will let you know which polarized or non-polarized sunglasses he carries that he might recommend for you. For an additional $4.00 you add a case, should you need one. I did not.

Smokey’s email: You may call him but he prefers email.

Smokey’s Ph: (303) 618-3384.

Smokey and his Sunglasses
Pinnacle Performance Eyewear

To wear or not to wear designer sunglasses? Are ordinary sunglasses just as good as designer brands in function? What valuable features should one look out for when purchasing a sunglass?

Firstly, the purchaser has to decide the primary function of the sunglass:
1) To look like a celebrity, or
2) To avoid outdoor glare while
a. skiing
b. surfing or fishing or water sports
c. hiking or outdoor, non-water or skiing sports

My research finds is hard to combine the above two choices. However, some sporty celebrities have made many functional choices quite desirable! After functionality, I find durability is a feature that must be valuable. The frame must not snap easily. The frame material should be able to withstand heat for sure. After all, are not sunglasses supposed to be worn in serious sunlight? I have heard many complaints of sunglasses simply snapping easily in extreme heat. So, I would give the highest value to a frame that can withstand the highest, recorded temperatures in the world. It would be thoughtful if the manufacturer planned ahead for global warming, in case our planet warmed significantly higher during the lifetime of the purchased sunglasses. The lenses have to be scratch resistant. One tends to drop glasses and they do manage to find the only sharp object to fall upon. Also, one tends to clean lenses with material lying around and rarely the chamois supplied by the manufacturer, because either it gets lost or is never conveniently close by. It would be a shame to pay a lot for sunglasses only to find that an innocent cleaning or a perfectly normal “dropping” produced a scratch on the dark lenses. It is quite possible that the damage happens within a week after purchase. That would be an absolute waste. So, durable sunglasses is important to me. Some retailers provide life-time warranty for durability claims. This warranty is worth the purchase price when shopping around. Yes, expensive designer glasses do break and a warranty would replace them for free. If you lose them, however, the warranty does not cover a replacement.

Superior Technology Claims
Personally, I feel this should be the most important feature in a sunglass when the function of the sunglass is eye protection. However, the reason I put this most important feature after durability is because it would be senseless to pay for superior technology mounted on an inferior frame and non-scratch resistant lens.

Now, lets review the few designer brands that claim superior technology available today and marketed to attract your purchasing power:Read more

Related Articles
You may like:
Choosing sunglasses: Designer brands or a generic brands to save your retina
Three Patents by Reginald Henry Bradshaw: The inventor of spectacles, eyeglasses and tinted glasses
You will need a prescription for your eyes “optical distance” (OD) to purchase eye glasses from an online retailer.

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26 Awesome inventions in 2012

See if one applies to you by clicking here. Selected by staff of Time Magazine.

Some of our favorites were:
#5 OraQuick Home HIV Test
#6 Solar-powered Water distiller for use in coastal areas in the third world that are deprived of freshwater. It is half as expensive and 67% more efficient than existing models, and his hope is that local manufacturers will adopt the open-source design and mass-produce it for local populations.
#11 The baseball-size orb is tossed into the area. Its six cameras snap pictures while its sensors detect air quality, temperature, radiation and other hazards. It then beams the data to mobile devices.

You may like the other 24 more than our choices. Do check them out and get a glimpse of a fabulous future.

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