November 30, 2009

The new breast implants

There's been a long history of controversy over breast implants. Everything from the desirability or not of the technique itself: for example, there are those who insist we should stay as nature made us. However, if we stayed with that idea we would of course never use make up, train, diet or dress well, so that idea is out.

There are others who have focused on the procedure itself and the material nature of the breast implants themselves. While there was, at least arguably, some concern over the first generation of them this has now been resolved by the work that has been done on the new generations of them. For example, we know a great deal more about both depth and width, about how tissue reacts with various rough or smooth surfaces and so on.

It's also true that the entire subject of breast implants has become much more personalised, as with much other medicine. We most certainly do not think that there is a one size fits all solution any more: a plastic surgeon will take you though all of the available options and help you decide which is the best for your particular circumstances.

Click through any of the links for more information about this field.

November 30, 2009 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2009

Stem cells

There's been a lot of controversy over stem cell treatments in the past. This comes from the fact that some of the treatments proposed involve the detruction of an embryo to get the cells needed. For those who believe that humanity begins at conception this is obviously troublesome.

However, there's another entirely different set of stem cell treatments out there and there are some 75 conditions that can currently be treated in this manner. There will surely be many more to follow as well. This treatment is based upon storing the child's own stem cells, by collecting the umbilical cord blood and then freezing it.

You can have a look here at the Cryo-Cell testimonials to see how effective this treatment has already been.

Of course, to find out more about how you might be able to save your child's life at a later date by this method you can always request more information about the technique.

You might also want to check out the list of current offers and the ways in which you can potentially aid your child in the future.

In fact, given the way that medical technology is advancing at present, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that every more diseases will be potentially curable in this manner in hte future, making the collection and storage of umbilical blood cells even more valuable.

June 15, 2009 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2008

Horny Goat Weed

Horny Goat Weed better than Viagra?

Horny goat weed is a Chinese plant that may be able to tackle impotence with fewer side effects than Viagra, scientists from the University of Milan say.

Both Viagra and horny goat weed contain ingredients that block phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5), an enzyme which limits blood flow to the penis and therefore prevents erections.  Previously, Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra was shown to be 80 times more effective than icariin, a compound found inside the horny goat weed.  However, Mario Dell'Agli, the lead pharmacologist on the study said that by producing a modified version of the icariin molecule a version that works as well as Viagra can be made.

Horny goat weed is also known as epimedium brevicornum or Bishop's Hat.  A drug made from it could also have fewer side effects than those associated with the little blue pills.  People with heart problems are unable to take Viagra as it affects enzymes that are essential for the heart.  Early testing suggests icariin does not have this problem.  As Mr Dell'Agli said, "At this stage of the research, we cannot say if the molecule we have synthesized possesses less side effects with respect to Viagra. However, this derivative seems to be in vitro more selective than Viagra, because it targets more precisely."

Mr Dell'Agli said that further tests were necessary and that it would be at least 10 years before any drug was available to consumers.

The study is expected to be published in the October 24 issue of the Journal of Natural Products, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

The researchers also tested Lebanese Viagra (Ferula hermonis) and Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) which are reputed to boost sexual performance, but found no benefit in their cases.

Anything that reduces the chances of seeing this, has got to be a good thing!

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News stories

Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
U.S. News & World Report, DC 
A Chinese herbal remedy known as "horny goat weed" may indeed live up to its name as a natural version ...

Horny goat weed can give Viagra a pretty hard time!
Entertainment and Showbiz!, India
Testing four plants that are used as natural aphrodisiacs in traditional cultures, a team of Italian researchers has found that the soft green heart-shaped ...

Study: Horny Goat Weed May Be Nature’s Viagra
Italian researchers have discovered that horny goat weed, a Chinese herb, is a potential alternative to Viagra, Reuters reported Monday. ...

Chinese herb could be new Viagra
Marie, UK
A Chinese herbal remedy known as horny goatweed could be the new Viagra, say researchers. Nature's answer to the little blue pill, scientists have ...

Horny goat weed may outperform Viagra - naturally
New York Daily News, NY 
It's fate: an herbal remedy called horny goat weed may be an alternative to Viagra. "This could be the natural Viagra. The novelty is that we have ...

October 4, 2008 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2008

Ray Tye

Ray Tye oversees the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation with his wife Eileen.

A. Raymond Tye made his money in liquor and sold his company United Liquors Ltd to the Martignetti family in 2006 for an undisclosed sum.

Ray and Eileen started the Foundation five years ago after their son died of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell that is incurable. "I found out that all the money in the world couldn't save him, but I did realize that money could save lives," Tye said.

The motto of the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation is "We will never stop caring," and that has been the case with their latest quest. Two-year-old, Safia, has a twelve pound tumor growing in his kidney.  The Foundation flew him from his home in Iraq to Jordan for a five hour procedure to remove the tumor.  The foundation also covered all medical expenses.

Safia has survived the surgery and has a lengthy recovery ahead, thanks to the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation.

Ray Tye A Nice Guy
Times of the Internet, Ohio
Liquor tycoon Ray Tye has helped an Iraqi baby who had a 12 pound tumor. When the boy, Safa, arrived in Jordan to deal with the ...

Baby with massive tumor saved by liquor tycoon
About 6000 miles  away, in Boston, Massachusetts, Safa'a came to the attention of Ray Tye. A liquor distributor and philanthropist, Tye and his wife, Eileen, ...

Reflection on a battle lost
Ray Tye, a Boston philanthropist, agreed to pay for everything -- a Jewish man became the benefactor of a Muslim child. Kevin Cullen told his story in the ..

The end of Rakan's war
Boston Globe, United States
Ray Tye, the Boston philanthropist, agreed to pay for everything - a Jewish guy who made his money in the liquor business became the benefactor of a Muslim ...

August 14, 2008 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Rare Twins

A couple in Lichtenberg, Germany had a surprise last week when their twin boys were born.  One twin was white and the other one black.  The boys mother, Florence is from Ghana, West Africa and their father, Stephen from Germany.   

The chance of different colour twins is so rare that medical experts put the odds at one-in-a-million.

Ryan and Leo are doing well, and Mum and Dad are pleased to have two healthy little babies.

Rare twin boys born - one black, one white, Australia
But when brothers Ryan and Leo arrived they had an extra surprise for their parents - they were born with different coloured skin. ...

Black and white twins: Brothers from the same mother
Some things aren’t always black and white. Then again, sometimes they are – like the twin sons born July 11 to a German couple. ...

One-in-a-million chance...
Independent Online, South Africa
Berlin - Twin boys of radically differing skin colour have been born in a one-in-a-million chance to a German father and Ghanaian mother in a Berlin ...

Black & White Twins Born
Peace fm Online, Ghana
A Berlin couple got an interesting surprise this week when the woman gave birth to twins with very different skin tones. One of the two boys born on July 11 ...

Twins defy all odds
A couple in Germany have become famous after giving birth to twins with different skin colours. Leo and Ryan were born in a clinic in Berlin on July 11 and ...

One-in-a-Million Twins: One White, One Black
Twin boys with different skin color have been born to a mixed-race German couple, a once-in-a-million occurence according to doctors. ...

July 25, 2008 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2007

Faecal Transplant

Faecal transplants are now being carried out (for our American friends that's fecal transplants). Quite seriously, you take shit from one person and then feed it to another to cure that second person:

A grandmother who contracted a potentially fatal superbug in Scotland has been saved after a hospital fed her daughter’s faeces to her.

Ethel McEwan, an 83-year-old from Guardbridge, Fife, was near death after contracting Clostridium Difficile, the Daily Record reported.

But she was saved after receiving a  "faecal transplant" from her daughter, Winnifred.

The treatment involves liquidising a sample of faeces from a close relative of the patient, and feeding the liquid down a tube into the stomach.

The treatment restores the bacteria to levels at which they help the recovery process.

"When you tell people about the treatment, they wrinkle their noses," Mrs McEwan told the Daily Record.

"But it’s not like they put it on a plate and have you eat it. You don’t ever see or smell a thing.

"People will have a blood transplant or a kidney transplant – what’s the difference with this?"

So there you have it. It's not some kookie new wave treatment, it's a fecal (or faecal) transplant.

November 27, 2007 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2007

Femoral Artery

The femoral artery is the main one that runs down into the leg. It carries all of the oxygen rich blood needed to keep this major part of the body going. If the femoral artery is cut or broken, as is said to have happened in the Sean Taylor shooting, then this is extremely serious. 10- 15 minutes without medical treatment (or without a tourniquet being applied) would normally mean death.

Fortunately, if prompt medical treatment is given, including blood transfusions and a stemming of the bleeding, then the prognosis is generally good. It depends really on how much blood is lost before the flow is staunched.

Sean Taylor (NOON UPDATE)

Sean is in critical condition in Florida after being shot in the leg. The injuries are very serious, and according to one team official "It's not good. We're waiting on more details from the hospital." There is some concern an artery may have been struck, though I have not been able to get the firmly confirmed.

Just spoke with a friend of the family who said that Sean lost a substantial amount of blood and the bullet traveled near the femoral artery, which is located in the upper thigh. Sean's father, Pedro, the chief of police in Florida City, Florida, is with him at the hospital, according to the source. They believe the situation is stabalizing, and are obviously hoping for the best.

Players and coaches are very worried right now and essentially everyone can do nothing but pray for the best. The media is being quarantined to the media room - as you would expect in these situations - and there will be no open locker room. Players may be speaking to us later in the day.

The femoral artery very definitely is in the lower extremities:

The Miami Herald reported that Taylor and other occupants of the house heard intruders at the rear door and that Taylor was shot in the leg, but police said they could not confirm those details.


"We've yet to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting," Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Kathy Webb said.


Miami-Dade police Lt. Nancy Perez, speaking to reporters outside Taylor's home, said Taylor "was shot in the lower extremities. He was airlifted to Ryder Trauma (center at Jackson Memorial Hospital) in critical condition."

No one can say for certain but as he's in hospital, with the possibility of transfusions, the outlook is pretty good. No guarantees though, unfortunately.

November 26, 2007 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2007


Achalasia is reallymore of a symptom than a disease in itself. Perhaps a physical condition is a better description. It occurs when something goes wrong with the esophagus and the various muscular actions that allow swallowing to take place. The causes can be many and varied, cancer, genetic, age, other physcial damage:

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. It is characterized by enlargement of the esophagus, impaired ability to push food down toward the stomach (peristalsis), and failure of the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), to relax. It is the contraction and relaxation of the sphincter that moves food through the tube.

Causes can be:

Another part of the disorder is lack of nervous stimulation to the esophagus. Causes include damage to the nerves to the esophagus, parasitic infection, cancers, and hereditary factors. Achalasia is a rare disorder, may occur at any age, but is most common in middle-aged or older adults.

Treatment can be manipulation, surgery, or even Botox!

The approach to treatment is to reduce the pressure at the lower esophageal sphincter. This may be achieved by manipulating the lower esophagus sphincter with special instruments.

Therapy usually involves widening of the lower sphincter or injection with botulinum toxin (Botox) to paralyze it and prevent spasms. Medications such as long-acting nitrates or calcium channel blockers can also be used to lower the pressure at the lower esophagus sphincter.

Surgery (called an esophagomyotomy) to decrease the pressure in the lower sphincter may be needed. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is best for your situation.

November 25, 2007 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Acanthocytosis is an inherited (ie genetic) condition more prevalent in males. It causes problems with the digestion and absorption of fat into the blood and can thus result in the following symptoms:

  • Balance and coordination difficulties
  • Curvature of spine
  • Decreased vision that gets worse over time
  • Developmental delay
  • Failure to thrive (grow) in infancy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor muscle coordination that usually develops after age 10
  • Protruding abdomen
  • Slurred speech
  • Stool abnormalities, including:
    • Fatty stools that appear pale in color
    • Frothy stools
    • Abnormally foul-smelling stools

 You might recall those problems people were having with htepotato chips made from a fat that people deliberately couldn't digest? They were reporting bloating and quite, quite, foul faeces? This is the same outcome but from a different cause: or rather, the fact that you're not ingesting the fat properly (but for a different reason) is caused by a different thing.

A general description is here:

Acanthocytosis is a digestive disorder that is characterized by the absence of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and chylomicrons in the plasma. Chylomicrons are very small fatty droplets that are covered with a beta-lipoprotein and perform an essential function in fat transport in the blood and, thus, in fat metabolism. The absense of VLDL and of chylomicrons interferes with the absorption of fat and leads to excessive fats excretion (steatorrhea). Other symptoms include abnormal red blood cells (acanthocytes), a vision disorder (retinitis pigmentosa), and impaired muscle coordination (ataxia).

The nice thing about this particular genetic disease is that in large part it is treatable by diet.  Large doses of fat soluble vitamins and low amounts of fat in the diet (and possibly replacement of some fat types by others) can keep at bay almost all of the symptoms in all except the most extreme cases.

Large doses of vitamin supplements containing the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin Evitamin K) are given. Linoleic acid supplements are also recommended. and

To avoid intestinal symptoms, persons with this syndrome should not eat long-chain triglycerides and limit fat intake to 5 - 20 grams per day. The diet should contain no more than 5 daily ounces of lean meat, fish, or poultry. Use skim milk instead of whole milk.

Since a certain amount of fat is needed for normal growth and development in all people, medium chain triglycerides are alternatively used as the major source of fat in the diet. These are absorbed from the gut differently than other fats, and thus avoid the intestinal symptoms. Medium chain triglycerides are taken as a dietary supplement

As ever, the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier treatment can start and thus the better the prognosis.

November 25, 2007 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans in itself is not dangerous nor does it either require or even have a specific treatment. It looks a bit odd, but that's about it. Sometimes Acanthosis Nigricans simply happens and no one quite knows why. However, a much more important point is that there are a number of possible underlying causes, some of them serious, like cancer or diabetes.

Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a skin condition characterized by abnormally increased coloration (hyperpigmentation) and "velvety" thickening (hyperkeratosis) of the skin, particularly of skin fold regions, such as of the neck and groin and under the arms (axillae). Various benign (non-cancerous) forms of AN have been identified in which the disorder may be inherited as a primary condition or associated with various underlying syndromes; an excess accumulation of body fat (obesity); or the use of certain medications (i.e., drug-induced AN). In other instances, AN may occur in association with an underlying cancerous tumor (i.e., malignant AN).

The actual symptoms are:

Acanthosis nigricans usually appears slowly and doesn't cause any symptoms other than skin changes.

Eventually, dark, velvety skin with very visible markings and creases appears in the armpits, groin, and neck. Sometimes, the lips, palms, soles of feet, or other areas may be affected.

The important thing about Acanthosis Nigricans is that i you don't already have one of the commonly known causes of it thn you need to be checked out for all of th other known causes. I can be a sign of highly serious underlying and as yet unknown problems.

One thought is that it is a possible sign of the onset of diabetes, the symptoms themselves being a sign of a changing resistance to insulin.

Experts suggest that AN may be a skin manifestation of insulin resistance, which is a condition characterized by impaired biological responses to insulin. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, regulates blood glucose levels by promoting the movement of glucose into cells for energy production or into the liver and fat cells for energy storage. (Glucose is a simple sugar that is the body's primary source of energy for cell metabolism.) Some clinicians suggest that insulin resistance causes a build-up of the hormone in the blood, and then it finds its way into skin cells. Insulin resistance may be associated with various disorders, including obesity and non-insulin-dependent (type II) diabetes mellitus. In individuals with type II diabetes mellitus, the pancreas produces insulin but the body becomes resistant to its effects, leading to insufficient absorption of glucose and abnormally increased glucose levels in the blood (hyperglycemia) and urine. As a result, there may be a gradual onset of certain symptoms, including excessive urination (polyuria) and increased thirst (polydipsia), and the development of particular complications without appropriate treatment.

Shorter version: acanthosis nigricans in itself is nothing to worry about. But get checked out to see what's causing it as there are some serious and treatable diseases of which it can be a symptom.

November 25, 2007 in Medicine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack