Category Archives: In The Lab

Cardiac Tests: B-Type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP)

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) belongs to a family of protein hormones called natriuretic peptides. These natriuretic peptides have an important role in regulating the circulation. They act on blood vessels, causing them to dilate, or widen. They also work on the kidneys, causing them to excrete more salt and water. In addition, the natriuretic peptides reduce the production of various hormones that narrow blood vessels, boost the heart rate, or affect fluid retention; examples include adrenaline, angiotensin, and aldosterone.

Blood Tests: What Is A ‘Basic Metabolic Panel’?

1. Glucose

Glucose is the type of sugar that your body uses for energy. 

What’s normal: 70 to 99 mg/dL (after 8 to 12 hours of not eating).

  •  What’s normal: 70 to 99 mg/dL (after 8 to 12 hours of not eating).
  •  What abnormal results can mean: If there’s too much, then it can mean diabetes or prediabetes. If there’s too little, it could mean hypoglycemia.

2. Calcium

Calcium is needed for many body functions, including building bones, heart function, muscle contraction and nerve signaling. 

  • What’s normal: 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean: Kidney/liver problems, bone disease, thyroid disease, cancer and malnutrition

3. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals that maintain fluid levels and chemical balance in your body. 

  • What’s normal: Bicarbonate (total) 18 to 30 mEq/L; Chloride: 98 to 106 mEq/L; Magnesium: 1.8 to 3.6 mg/dL or 1.5 to 3.0 mEq/L; Phosphorus: 3 to 4.5 mg/dL or 1.8 to 2.3 mEq/L; Potassium: 3.5 to 5.5 mEq/L; Sodium: 135 to 147 mEq/L.
  • What abnormal results can mean: Dehydration, kidney disease, liver disease, heart failure and high blood pressure.

4. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is a waste product that kidneys filter out of your body.

  • What’s normal: 6 to 20 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean: If there’s too much, then it can mean kidney disease, heart failure or dehydration. If there’s too little, it could mean liver failure or malnutrition.

5. Creatinine

Creatinine is a waste product that kidneys filter out of your body.

  • What’s normal: For men, 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL. For women, 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL.
  • What abnormal results can mean:  If there’s too much, then it can mean kidney disease, muscle breakdown or dehydration. If there’s too little, it could mean malnutrition or low muscle mass.

“Metabolism involves any way your body converts or uses energy,” says Dr. Allan. “That includes digestion, breathing, circulation, and functioning of your organs, muscles and nervous system.”

COVID-19: A REVIEW OF THE BEST RAPID AT-HOME TESTS

New high-tech Covid-19 tests promise better and earlier detection of the virus—similar to a PCR test. WSJ’s Joanna Stern (and her mannequin clone) tried out the Detect Covid-19 Test and Cue Health Monitoring System to see how they compare with rapid antigen tests. Photo illustration: Ryan Trefes/ WSJ

COVID-19: MOLNUPIRAVIR – MERCK’S ANTIVIRAL DRUG

Molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801) is an investigational oral antiviral medicine that significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death at a planned interim analysis of the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial in at risk, non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%; 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377); p=0.0012. Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo.

Medicine: Is Metformin A Wonder Drug? (Harvard)

DR. C’S MEDICINE CABINET: LITHIUM OROTATE

Lithium’s big claim to medical fame is it’s beneficial effect on manic depressive disorders in approximately 1/3 of the cases. It seems to benefit the manic phase more than the depressive phase, and its effect  on isolated depression is uncertain.

A recent report states that lithium works by increasing CRMP 2, which has an effect on tubulin in nerve cells. This report has not yet been confirmed.

When lithium is effective, it must be given in a dose that is almost toxic. People taking this drug should have lithium levels on a regular basis, and be alert to its numerous side effects, diarrhea, lethargy, and the like. It may also have an adverse effect on thyroid function.

I started taking low doses of lithium orotate a while back because of the touted effects on memory, mitochondrial function, and the like. I thought that our hunter gatherer ancestors probably had some exposure to lithium from the Hot Springs present in many areas, and that maybe lithium was a physiologic necessity.  Sodium and potassium are highly regulated ions in the cell membrane of all cells, I thought, so why should not lithium, a kindred element, have some effect there.

Lithium carbonate is the form that is used for treatment of manic depressive disease, and lithium orotate has not been well studied.
When one starts taking a dietary supplement, it is hard to tell whether or not it has any effect. Our bodies are complicated, and even if something does have an effect, the bodies corrective mechanisms can nullify that effect, or even cause  a reverse effect,

After further thought, I plan to start phasing out my lithium orotate. Maybe once a week would be a reasonable dosage, if at all. With irregular dosages, if I notice that I feel better on a day when I take lithium orotate, I might change my mind.

—Dr. C.

DR. C’S JOURNAL: STEM CELLS

The ultimate stem cell is the fertilized egg from which we came. This omnipotent stem cell divides countless times, “differentiates”, and forms more and more specialized tissues, and our body is the eventual result. All of our tissues contain some stem cells, which grow increasingly rare as we age.

Regenerative medicine takes advantage of stem cells derived from diverse sources. An embryo, an umbilical  cord, or your bone marrow contains stem cells. Even one of your mature connective tissue cells that has been dedifferentiated, or sent back along the pathway that originated from the single cell from which you came, can be induced to form a stem cell (iSC).

If the stem cell originates from your own tissues, it is  accepted by your body, as one of its own.

I have an wealthy acquaintance whose Parkinson’s disease is being treated by one of his own cells induced to form a dopamine containing neuronal stem cell.

The article posted previously regarding rotator cuff surgery apparently used stem cells to shorten the recovery time.

I have heard about the use of stem cells in heart failure, osteoarthritis, and other joint problems, and I’m sure we will hear about this increasingly as time passes. However, there are hurdles to be overcome, moral, legal and medical. The possibility (small) of induced stem cells to evolve into cancer is one medical hurdle, and if the Stem Sell originates from another individual, immunosuppressive treatment must be used in the recipient to allow the stem cells to work. Also, the use of the other individual’s stem cells may involve some moral, legal and possibly religious objections.

Please refer to the following Mayo clinic article for more information.

–Dr. C

HARVARD: ‘NANOBODIES’ EVOLVED FROM SYNTHETIC ANTIBODY FRAGMENTS

A new approach developed by Harvard Medical School researchers uses yeast to rapidly evolve synthetic antibody fragments called nanobodies with the aim to find variants that are effective at binding to selected antigens, including SARS-CoV-2. The antibodies are intended for use in diagnostic tests and disease treatments. Read the full story: https://hms.harvard.edu/news/antibody…SHOW LESS