December 17, 2011

Holiday Greetings

To all my readers

May you have a happy holiday season

Have a Merry Christmas!


A Happy New Year!

The blog will continue during the holidays. I wanted to take this opportunity to greet everyone and wish you happy holidays.

December 16, 2011

Nanoparticles Help Deliver Steroids to Retina

On July 15, 2011, I wrote a blog about the FDA asking for help in nanomedicine.  Now we are seeing the first research making an appearance in the area of eyesight. What an appropriate arena for this to happen.

Hitching a ride into the retina on nanoparticles called dendrimers offers a new way to treat age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. A study by investigators at Mayo Clinic, Wayne State University and Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that steroids attached to the dendrimers target the damage-causing cells associated with neuroinflammation, leaving the rest of the eye unaffected and preserving vision.”

Macular degeneration is the primary cause of vision loss in older Americans. According the National Institutes of Health this affects more than 7 million people. Retinitis pigmentosa results from many genetic conditions and affects about 1 in 4,000 Americans. There is presently no cure for these diseases and an effective treatment could offer hope to millions of patients around the world.

This research has been done in the rat model, but at least proved that it is possible. Expect to see clinical trials in the future and hopefully I will be able to blog about the results when it happens. Read the press release here.

December 15, 2011

Microneedle Sensors May Allow Real-Time Monitoring

This type of article can really ignite the imagination. Microneedle is not a term that I had heard before, to say nothing about the applications for this. It was with keen interest that I skimmed the article looking for key points. There were many points where I was nodding my head and saying to myself, what next?

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body -- and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.”

Without reading farther, this should have gotten your interest whether you have knowledge of this or just enjoy reading. How far from becoming a reality in daily treatments is unknown, but just the thought of the potential for microneedles gives me hope for the future and what it could mean for our children.

Initial applications may be limited and acceptance may be slow, but for scientific application and research, the benefits may be beyond our imagination at present. “"We've loaded the hollow channels within microneedles with electrochemical sensors that can be used to detect specific molecules or pH levels," says Dr. Roger Narayan, co-author of a paper describing the research, and a professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State's College of Engineering and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Existing technology relies on taking samples and testing them, whereas this approach allows continuous monitoring, Narayan explains.”For example, it could monitor glucose levels in a diabetic patient," Narayan says. Microneedles are very small needles in which at least one dimension -- such as length -- is less than one millimeter.”

I hope this gives you cause to think about this and the fact that there is essentially no pain could even be more exciting as they explore other ways to utilize microneedles.
One of the sensors developed incorporates three types of sensors that can measure pH, glucose, and lactate.

This is another of the topics I will watch very carefully over the coming years. Read the press releasehere.

December 14, 2011

Exercise Is Good For Your Diabetes Health

I know that you are seeing this topic more and more often and I think you can stand another dose. If you think you have it tough, guess again! The gentleman that I wrote about in this blog is doing very well and loves to exercise. He has regained almost full use of his left leg over the summer and is looking forward to this December as the doctor is now convinced that the operation on his right leg is worth the effort.

Although he had been told originally that he would be confined to a wheel chair, he has proven those doctors wrong. Granted he is still on crutches and still uses his manual wheel chair, he now has hope for not using or depending on the wheel chair in the future.

This blog is about the exercises that people with different diabetes complications can accomplish and should provide possibilities. The key is talking with your doctor and getting his/her input about what you want to do. The link within this blog (repeated here) to the Joslin blog discusses exercise for those with diabetes complications. The author also repeats advice and has some excellent suggestions.

So rather than remain sedentary, consider exercise. Find what you can do daily, enjoy, and start exercising. Being sedentary will only assist diabetes in its control over you. Moving within your limits can only help and make your management of diabetes easier.

If you have no limitations, then not exercising should not be an option. Always discuss your plan with the doctor and then find something that you can enjoy even if it is only walking. Find a walking partner or if you have children that can keep up with you, get out there!

More on exercise appeared on the Joslin blog September 23, 2011 for those that are able to exercise and have little or no limitations. They have taken information from several recent studies and are emphasizing interval training. This means high intensity activity for a period followed by low intensity activity. It is a good read but mentions nothing about resistance training verse aerobic exercise.

The big reference they gave us is this link to many more discussions on exercise. These tip topics are for both type 1 and type 2. Included are some good do's and don’ts about exercise for people with diabetes.

To assist you with your choice and show that running or intense exercise is not for everyone, read David Mendosa's blog of October 4, 2011. I like his style. Exercise needs to include everyone.

December 13, 2011

AMA Lobbying Hard for Medicare Bill

Doctors, doctors, what must we do to get you out of politics and back to the practice of medicine. The American Medical Association is pulling out all the stops and concentrating their efforts on maintaining their profit margins. As a result expect to see patients' suffering increase and fewer Medicare patients being seen by doctors. They want you to think otherwise, but profits are profits, and that is what the latest efforts are all about, keeping the profits healthy, not the patients.

The resolution passed by the AMA House of Delegates at their 2011 Interim Meeting says it is for strengthening physician-patient bond, but with this also goes allowing patients to contract privately with physicians and Medicare to pick up the tab. We all know what will be the result. Medicare will refuse to reimburse many of the charges and the patient will be on the hook for the balance of the bill.

No wonder this resolution in one of its “highest priorities.” Profits are protected and Medicare patients will have to foot the bill. This will separate the Medicare protection of over and unneeded charges by doctors and leave the patient paying the differences. If the doctors succeed, they can run up the charges with unneeded tests which the patient will be forced to pay. Many patients may not be the brightest of patients, but this is one ploy that begs for exposure and what the physicians are trying to slide by Congress to “empower that relationship (the patient–doctor relationship) by empowering the patient and his or her self-determination."

This is how the physicians are trying to sugar-coat the bill and keep their profits healthy or increase them at the expense of the patient. We do not need a light shined on this to see the intentions. We can read this even using infrared luminescence.

December 12, 2011

What Is A Medicare Patient To Do?

With the mounting deficit and calls to curtail government spending, what is in store for Medicare and Medicaid patients? Will we see more healthcare rationing, more hospital supervised euthanasia, or will these patients be left where they are to suffer an undignified death? As a retired person on Medicare, I can believe all of this and more as our government forces euthanasia on the less fortunate.

Inhumane is a word that comes to mind. Just how far will all this be taken remains to be seen; however, I foresee some of our worst nightmares coming true as the medical community lobbies for higher and higher profit margins. I do not like raising these alarms, but as the saying goes, I do not want to be the only one left speaking out when they come for me.

Will the votes of the “baby-boom generation” and earlier generations be nullified by legislators that refuse to listen to their constituents? Judging by what the trend has been for the last few years, this seems likely to happen. Just because our federal legislators are insulated with extremely good medical care, they can look past those that have a need for medical care.

This article in Medscape points out how our medical community thinks. It points out how our physicians are willing to protect their profits. While I can believe a little of their needs, they seem most unwilling to consider any compromise and will stop seeing Medicare patients if congress does not give them what they want. They are laying out their intentions with a boldness unheard of before.

When 82% of the physicians say they will stop seeing new Medicare patients or severely limit access to existing Medicare patients, this cannot be a good thing for the patients.

While the Medscape article says nothing about the stance of hospitals, many of the physicians are employed by hospitals. It seems likely that the hospitals are in this as well

This is a warning to current and future Medicare patients about the future access to medical care – it is not going to be there for us, unless you are independently wealthy enough to pay your way.