Tag Archives: Medicine

TOP MEDICAL PODCASTS: ‘DIVERTICULAR DISEASE’ (BMJ)

Colonic diverticulosis refers to herniation of the mucosa and submucosa through the muscular layer of the colonic wall and may be the result of colonic smooth muscle over-activity. Diverticular disease may be defined as any clinical state caused by symptoms pertaining to colonic diverticula and includes a wide-ranging spectrum from asymptomatic to severe and complicated disease. 

Mohamed Thaha, Senior Lecturer & Lead Consultant in Colorectal Surgery, National Bowel Research Centre, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, tells us more. 

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HEALTH VIDEO: ‘SURGEON GENERAL HYPERTENSION REPORT’ (JAMA NETWORK)

The US Surgeon General’s office has released a report emphasizing the importance of making hypertension control a national public health priority. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, the 20th US Surgeon General, discusses the report’s background and recommendations.

Recorded October 7, 2020.

DR. C’S MEDICINE CABINET: BENEFITS OF “FINASTERIDE”

Finasteride is a medication that I was given by my urologist, after my operation for an enlarged prostate with restricted urine flow. It was used to prevent the re-growth of the prostate, and subsequent recurrence of urinary obstruction.

It is also recommended to treat male-pattern baldness. That it is used to treat male problems suggests that it has something to do with testosterone, and indeed it does. Finasteride (proscar) is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, preventing testosterone from being converted to dihydrotesterone, the active form, in the prostate and the skin.

Finasteride is well studied, and has been found to decrease PSA in the blood, and is suspected of interfering with the use of PSA as a screening device for Prostatic Cancer. It has also been suspected of increasing severe, high grade cancer. These findings have been refuted in later papers.

It has also been found to decrease sexual function, which it has in my case. I have continued it for several reasons.

First, my urine flow remains fine. Second, the bulk of the data indicates that it hinders prostatic cancer formation; and in a previous posting, I stated that Prostatic cancer in 88 year-olds is almost universal. Third, we are continuing in a Covid 19 pandemic.

One of the markers for severe infection is male-pattern baldness, which finasteride prevents. I did find in my reading about finasteride that there is a 1 mg. dose, and I am taking 5 mg..

When the Covid epidemic slows, I will probably opt for the 1 mg. Dose, which produces a significant effect, though of course less than the 5 mg. Less medication is usually better.

For Patients with BPH opting for medical treatment, Finasteride is usually recommended along with an alpha adrenergic agonist to relax the bladder sphincter.

For the men out there, facing an ever-increasing likelihood of BPH, or wanting to slow down baldness, you may eventually be making the decision whether or not to take this effective medication.

–Dr. C.

MEDICINE: LUNG CANCER DEATHS DROP AS TARGETED THERAPIES IMPROVE (NEJM)

NEJM (Aug 13, 2020) – Population-level mortality from NSCLC in the United States fell sharply from 2013 to 2016, and survival after diagnosis improved substantially. Our analysis suggests that a reduction in incidence along with treatment advances — particularly approvals for and use of targeted therapies — is likely to explain the reduction in mortality observed during this period.

“The survival benefit for patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with targeted therapies has been demonstrated in clinical trials, but this study highlights the impact of these treatments at the population level,” said Nadia Howlader, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, who led the study. “We can now see the impact of advances in lung cancer treatment on survival.”

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CORONAVIRUS: “HOW WE CAN REACH HERD IMMUNITY”

Scientists are working at breakneck speed to develop an effective vaccine for the coronavirus. Their ultimate goal: to immunize enough of the world’s population to reach herd immunity. WSJ explains. 

Illustration: Jacob Reynolds