Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in Review

I posted 136 blogs during 2014, quite an increase from the 17 posted during the last few months of 2013 when I began this process. I reviewed them all this week, picking the top four topics for the year. If you would like to catch up on any of these areas of research, I have listed the related blogs following each area.

The fourth most popular topic was stem cell research. I my mind I thought it was number one and next year, and maybe for years to come, it might be. Stem cell research holds great promise to heal damaged tissues and organs of the body. Although readily available in children, as we age, stem cells radically decrease. Hospitals are already offering to store stem cells from the umbilical cord at birth for possible future use. The biggest hurdle is reproducing stem cells in sufficient numbers from an aging population that needs them. The political environment that delayed stem cell research for so many years appears to have faded. Please review my blog “Stem Cell Research Expanding” posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

In third place is the shifting perception on high cholesterol and statin drugs. With the exception of general practitioners and cardiologists, most physicians have long admitted that there are several myths that have been perpetrated by the drug industry about statin drugs. This year was a continuing dichotomy. Respected cardiologists and cardiac research scientists began to speak out against the widespread use of statins while the new guidelines for the use of statins would dramatically increase the number of people taking this drug. Here are the blogs on this topic:

  • Friday, March 21 Saturated Fat is Not Bad for Health, Says Heart Expert
  • Friday, June 13 High Statin Doses Increase the Rick of Diabetes
  • Monday, December 8 Most Seniors Could Use Statins under New Guidelines

Second place was occupied by research on the digestive tract. A new term, the ‘microbiome’ became popular as a description of the vast variety of life that lives in our digestive tract. We learned that virtually every illness in the body is somehow connected to this microbiome. DNA mapping of all existing microbes in the gut is ongoing with close to 15% having been identified and verified with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Fecal implants, a cure for C. difficile, have become popular with implant clinics popping up all over the country. We are still early in this research, certainly too early for these clinics to properly identify and treat patients correctly. I fear the widespread use of probiotics by Americans will create more dysbiosis as we do not yet know what probiotic(s) are needed by any one individual. Please review the following blogs:

  • Friday, March 14 Serious Diarrheal Infection in Kids Linked to Antibiotics
  • Wednesday, April 23 Probiotics Revisited
  • Wednesday, April 16 Gut Associate Lymphatic Tissue (GALT)
  • Friday, June 20 Exercise May Spur More Varied Gut Microbes
  • Friday, August 5 Experts Issue Guidelines for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The number one topic of research interest this year was testosterone and male sexual dysfunction. Fifty percent of men over the age of 40 have some form of sexual dysfunction. Testosterone is routinely prescribed for these men despite studies showing increased risk of heart attack with use. The following blogs are available for review:

  • Friday, March 7 Higher Risk of Suicide and Autism in Children Born to Older Dads
  • Friday, April 25 Study Question Safety Thresholds for Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
  • Friday, May 30 Toothpaste, Sunscreen Chemicals ‘Interfere with Sperm Function’
  • Friday, June 27 Sperm, Semen Defects May Be Tied to Shorter Lives
  • Monday, August 11 New Drug Could Treat Low Testosterone with Fewer Side Effects
  • Friday, October 24 Practice Guidelines Nixes Testosterone Therapy for Women

Please take some time to review some of these blogs. It is vital to your own health that you be an educated participant in your own health care.

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