Dr. Norman Allan's

Vol 1, No. 2, February 2005

  This second issue of my newsletter continues with clippings from newspapers that I hope are of interest.
It also discusses at a little greater length "C Reactive Protein" and Heart Disease. There was a little flurry in the media about this topic early in January and, for most of us, it probably needs some explaining.

"C Reactive Protein"
*   newspaper clippings

*   Archives
what's new in my "practice".


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Newspaper clippings



Antioxidants do help!:
The New York Times 25 Jan 2005

"It Can Be Done: Scientist Teach Old Dogs New Tricks"

48 eight to eleven year old beagles were randomly assigned one of four treatment conditions: a) a diet rich in antioxidants, that is, supplemented with vitamin C and E, and other antioxidants, b) an enriched environment (kept in groups, the poor dogs were kept isolated, I guess - I'll have to check the article in January's Neurobiology of Aging), c) enriched diet and environment, d) "control" (an apt word) poor diet and environment.

"By the end of the two-year trial, it was clear that the enriched diet alone and the enriched environment alone were each helpful in preventing (mental) decline. But the mental function in g of the dogs given a combination of enriched diet and stimulating environment was considerably higher than that of dogs in the other three groups..."

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"Cancer Passes Heart Disease As Top Killer": New York Times 20th Jan 2005 (attributed to Associated Press)

"For the first time cancer has surpassed heart disease as the top killer of Americans younger than 85..."

The article goes on to tell that death from both heart disease and cancer is dropping but the decline in heart related disease is faster. The major factor, in both cases, is believed to be the decline in cigarette smoking...

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Activity is an important determinant of weight .
New York Times 28 Jan 2005: "The Fit Tend to Fidget..."

Slim people move around and "fidget", are active, two hours more each day than the obese. That amounts to 350 calories a day or 30 to 40 pounds a year.

In an article published in Science researchers from the Mayo Clinic reckon that they can explain obesity in terms of activity. Mind, it was a study of only 10 lean and 10 slightly obese men and women. Still, its sobering. Off that couch now!

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Sunshine: good or bad?

Since the scare in the 1990s about the dangers of ozone-free UV sunlight, the story has become more complex. A story in the Globe and Mail, 2nd Feb 2005, quotes two stories in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute...

Sunlight protects against lymphomas.

There is a positive correlation between exposure to sunshine and survival in patients with melanoma. (However, in an apparent contradictory fashion, exposure to the sun is the main risk factor for developing skin cancers, including melenoma, in the first place.)

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"Cherries May Help Fight Diabetes: Chemicals in Cherries Increase Insulin Production in Lab Tests" AOL's news-clips 23 Dec 2004.

The proanthocyanin pigments in cherries apparently help regulate and enhance insulin production. The pigments in many fruits and vegetables, and of which are proanthocyanins, are powerful antioxidants. Most famous amongst them is pycnogel, made from the bark of a French pine tree and also found in grape seeds.

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"C Reactive Protein"

A short while ago there was a stir in the media about "C Reactive Protein" (CRP) as an indicator of the risk of heart disease. As a lab test CRP seems to be as powerful an indictor of risk as cholesterol levels or blood pressure. So should we all run to our doctors to ask for test? If you are a cardiac patient, it could be additional information and possibly of some value. Ask your doctor. For the most part most doctor are saying , "Wait and see how this all turns out." It is quite a complicated story, and it is early days yet.

What is CRP? C Reactive Protein is one of the numerous substances produced as part of inflammation.

Back up a step: what is inflammation? Inflammation is a protective reaction of vascular tissue to damaging stimuli, including infection. The inflammatory response is primarily a matter of increased vascular permeability and recruitment of white blood cells, but it is also much more complex then these two major reactions. There are numerous secondary reactions and numerous "acute phase proteins" are produced. CRP is one of these. (see HAPS for a well produced detailed account of CRP, and see the purple text below for more discussion of inflammation.)

Back to, "What is CRP?": CRP is a protein that binds to phosphocholine, which is found in the cell walls of certain bacteria. The CRP binds to the bacteria and thus helps the white blood cells to find and attack them.

And of course, its more complex. Phosphocholine is also found in "PAF", platelet aggregation factor, so CRP seems to down-regulate platelet aggregation...

Does the CRP actively contribute to arteriosclerosis or is it simply an indicator of the inflammation associated with arteriosclerosis? This is not known at this time.

The recent studies suggest that the statin drugs, used to reduce cholesterol, also reduce CRP and in doing so further reduce the risk of heart attack.

From the New York Times, January 11, 2005:
     "Scientists have known for some time that CRP (C Reactive Protein) levels can predict the risk of heart attacks as powerfully as better-known risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The higher the CRP level, the greater the risk. But they still did not know whether reducing the level would reduce the risk.
     "The new studies addressed that by analyzing what happened when heart patients took statins, the drugs that lower cholesterol. Statins, it turns out, also lower CRP levels, but that effect is independent of their effect on cholesterol. That allowed the investigators to ask: Is lowering CRP independently protecting patients from heart attacks and the worsening of atherosclerosis?
     "The answer, the researchers found, appeared to be yes. But the studies involved patients with severe heart disease, not healthy people or people at risk for heart disease. Studies are now under way in healthy people, but in the meanwhile, cardilogists are divided about whether it is helpful to measure CRP in most patients and what to do when the level is high.

A little bit more information about inflammation? Inflammation is response to injury and to infection, and attempt to wall-off or isolate the injured or infected part and to heal it. Classically inflammation was associated with swelling, redness, heat, pain and loss of function. In modern times it is understood as a response, primarily, of the circulatory system. In the acute stage inflammatory response the blood vessels become permeable so that fluid and cells flow into the effected area, clotting/coagulation stop frank bleeding, and "chemotactic" substances, which attract white blood cells to the region, are released. There are also various special mechanisms and "C Reactive Protein" is one of these special chemicals released in the acute stage response.

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Dr. Norman Allan's Newsletter, January 2005: snippets from newspapers, various, which I hope are of interest.


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  What's new in my "practice":- same old, same...  

Office Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday

8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  As of December first 2004 chiropractic was "delisted". Provincial health insurance no longer pays us the pittance it used to ($9.65 per visit up to $150 per year), so I'm biting the bullet and will not raise my fees at this time.

We still offer acupuncture, chiropractic, counseling, craniosacral therapy, herbs, homeopathy, trigenics... at the same cost to patients ($30 for 15 minutes, $120 per hour: brief chiropractic sessions - 5 minutes, simple adjustments - $15)

and we still offer treatment by donation at our Wednesday walk-in clinic, from 3 to 4 p.m.



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