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Valentine's Day
February is heart month, and Feb 14 is a special heart day of its own. Don't forget to take of either one!

The CDC has designated February as American Heart Month and that brings up a fascinating scientific debate. The traditional view of myocardial infarction, the technical name for a heart attack, is a build-up of plaque in the main coronary arteries, typicaly associated with well-known risk factors like smoking. Eventually a wayward blood clot comes along and Ka-Boom! Heart attack. But some cardiopathologists are now investigating another risk factor:

Inflammation is not complicated -- it is quite simply your body's natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.
The idea that inflammation and the body's response to may contribute to higher risk of early heart disease is far from ironclad. But if that research is eventually borne out or eliminated, you better believe it matters to me and millions of others: I inherited a chronic inflammatory disease called AS.
  • When it comes to the anti-science movement, most pandering politicians cannot be persuaded, they are unwilling to compromise. But they can sure as hell be fired by ballot box:
    I suspect that means it’s going to die the slow silent death of neglect. That’s good, but how about if you Missourians take the next step and make sure the author of the bill, Rick Brattin, and his partner in crime, Andrew Koenig, don’t get elected anymore?
  • Some anti-science numbskulls, probably fresh off renting Amityville Horror, offer up "proof" Obama is a demon incarnate: the flies, the flies!
  • We didn't build that, but we sure as shit killed it!
  • An asteroid large enough to wipe out a city will buzz earth with little room to spare in a couple of weeks. There's no chance of impact, but two objects roughly the same size that did strike left an impressive scar 50,000 years ago in the southwest U.S., the other wreaked havoc in Siberia in 1908.
  • We could debate what caused my unexpected heart attack last month all day. But this week a friend of mine died from a heart attack and there's no debate over what saved my life and probably cost him his. Hint—it will come as no surprise to regular readers here on Daily Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  With apologies to Nirvana. n/t (10+ / 0-)

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:05:16 AM PST

  •  Good morning!!!! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for giving me something to read on saturday for a few years now.

  •  From swords to plow shares... (10+ / 0-)

    From Steven Chu's resignation letter, worth reading it all...

    The President secured ratification of the New Start Treaty, under which the U.S. and Russia agreed to further reduce the number of deployed warheads to lowest level since the 1950s – an 85 percent reduction from the darkest days of the Cold War.  And over the last four years, we have worked with our partners to downblend more than 100,000 kilograms of weapons grade uranium from the former Soviet Union, converting it to peaceful purposes like U.S. civilian nuclear reactors.  In fact, roughly 10 percent of America’s electricity comes from uranium that once threatened the United States as part of the Soviet nuclear arsenal.

    Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

    by jim in IA on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:15:45 AM PST

    •  speaking of expensive swords (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jim in IA, DSPS owl, Lujane

      it appears that our military budget, including "off budget" expenditures is rapidly approaching our GDP.  If deficit hawks were truly serious, the military would be the first on the chopping block.  After all, what existential threat to the US exists today that is not of our own creation?

  •  I'm glad you are still around to write diaries. My (11+ / 0-)

    Friend just had a"widow maker" massive heartache with a huge blood clot in his heart. He is alive and is suppose to pull  through. Thanks for all you do DarkSyde to educate and inform.

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:18:03 AM PST

  •  Wow! You are fortunate to be alive. (7+ / 0-)

    We are fortunate to still have you.

    Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

    by jim in IA on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:18:32 AM PST

  •  Apologies for interrruption---"Resuming exercise" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, side pocket, AlwaysDemocrat

    wave file playing on homepage anybody else getting that?

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:26:28 AM PST

  •   A C-Reative Protein test... (4+ / 0-)

    may help determine risk level for a coronary event. This has been researched for years with no real definitive answer, but the test can measure your level of inflammation and in some people it may be a better determinant than cholesterol levels for one's possibility of having a heart attack.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:42:17 AM PST

    •  Try Anatabloc to reduce inflammation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, doingbusinessas

      It really works to reduce C-Reactive Protein. It is a more powerful anti-inflammatory than aspirin and other common anti-inflammatory pills, by a factor of 7.

      Have a look...

      It also works to reduce recovery time from lots of exercise, which i how I started using it. It is said to help with thyroiditis.

      Inflammation is now thought to be a contributor to memory loss and Alzheimers.

      You can find lots of testimonials on facebook to the stuff, but I don't go there. Just read the info on the link above. You can get it at GNC or from the site.

    •  better (0+ / 0-)

      do you have a citation for information about it being better than cholesterol levels?

  •  fish oil, honey (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    side pocket, judyms9, RonV, Lujane

    fights inflammation, good for bad hearts.

    •  Something about fish, for sure. The Japanese (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      diet is fish-based and they are a nation of smokers who have far fewer heart attacks per capita than the US, although the number is rising, but there was that nuclear event at the site of the peaceful use of uranium.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:49:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  on infections and MIs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Another diary this week pointed out the link between endocarditis and gum disease.

    It is interesting to note that my heart is evidently still healthy, despite decades of having triglyceride levels triple the norm and a series of various inflammatory diseases over the years from encephalitis to Crohns to hepatitis to peritonitis and probably a few I have forgotten.  Appears I am giving Typhoid Mary a run for her money  

  •  Just read your blog post, DS. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bewild, Lujane, DarkSyde, doingbusinessas

    Glad you are doing well & that you had the insured healthcare you needed.  You won't miss that food too much after too long; it's amazing what small acts of focused willpower can build up to in terms of what foods appeal to you (and quitting smoking is the greater act of will, so doing that will make the food part easier).  I have pizza maybe once a month now, if that; it was once weekly.  And you can still have a small cheeseburger if you go 100% grassfed; those cows have Omega 3s like salmon & a fat profile your body needs.  Just be sure to have plenty of fibrous veggies with it.

    I work at a natural foods grocer, & our nutrition people are talking up the blood sugar/gluten/inflammation angles with respect to heart health.  Saturated fat still needs to be consumed in moderation, but it's not the whole greasy enchilada.

    After being uninsured for years, & now being insured, I've dillydallying about finding a PCP, because habit, so it's very motivating for me to be reminded by you that I'm gonna feel dumb for not doing it sooner.   I think I'm OK, but approaching 40, I've been feeling a little off in some ways.  Really hope it's nothing like you've endured, but it's long past time for a checkup to make sure there's no tiny detail that signals a bigger problem down the road...

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:52:27 AM PST

  •  Chronic inflammation and heart disease are known (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Gorette

    to be correlated. In fact, having inflamed gums is a predictor of heart disease.

    The interesting thing is that it's looking more and more like the cause of basically all the "diseases of civilization" (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation, hypertension, stroke, cancer etc.) is excessive consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates.

    Don't believe it? Read Good Calories, Bad Calories by award-winning science reporter Gary Taubes.

    A quick taste of the full story: eating carbohydrates raises insulin levels. Eating a lot of refined carbohydrates causes chronically high insulin levels, which wreaks all sorts of havoc on the body.

    My obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and bad cholesterol all went away when I switched to a low-carb diet.

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:54:59 AM PST

    •  most dismaying is the amount of refined (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      sugar that is in all our food.  Unless you go completely native growing and killing your own food, you will eat a great deal of refined sugar, even if you try to consciously avoid it

      •  Well, not totally (0+ / 0-)

        There's little or no sugar in typical low-carb foods, like meat, cheese, nuts, and green vegetables.

        It's the processed foods you have to watch out for.

        If you haven't seen Dr. Robert Lustig's YouTube video "Sugar: the bitter truth", you should.

        What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

        by RobLewis on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:11:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If we vote out anti-science politicians, nearly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, doingbusinessas

    all offices will be empty.

    Politicians love science that suits their purposes and hate science that doesn't.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:23:54 AM PST

  •  So happy you made it through (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, doingbusinessas

    What you did in the cath lab when the stent went in is just remarkable.  I can only hope I make it until the exchanges are in place and I can afford good health insurance again.  Until then I'll only have a high-deductible health insurance plan and a low-paying job that makes a decision to seek any medical care the ACA doesn't force them them cover a choice between economic disaster and physical survival.  

    You can't change the world without conflict. -- Markos

    by ZAPatty on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:41:25 AM PST

  •  vitamin K2 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    needed by the body to get calcium from the bloodstream to the bones. without it calcium gets deposited in arteries  = atherosclerosis.   Modern diets are lacking so supplementation is necessary and most multivitamins only have K1 which is not interchangeable with K2.

  •  heart disease is important but (0+ / 0-)

    did they have to pick Black History Month?

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:47:00 AM PST

  •  has a vegan ever gotten a heart attack? (0+ / 0-)

    i thought heart attacks were God's justice on people who supported the factory farm industry.

  •  There seems to be some correlation between (0+ / 0-)

    eating mammal meat and inflammation as well.  This is from a short article about it:

    Several years ago, Professor Ajit Varki of the University of California, San Diego discovered a molecule called Neu5Gc that appears in the tissues of every mammal except humans (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 29, 2003). Now he has put together the pieces of a puzzle that may explain why humans evolved with large brains and why, if we want to live into old age, we should probably avoid eating meat from any other mammals (Science, October 31, 2008). . .

    Many epidemiological studies show that people who eat red meat are at increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, at least 17 different cancers, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and asthma. Scientists have blamed saturated fats or burnt fats, but this does not explain why red meat is linked to all of these diseases while poultry, fish or saturated fats from plants are not. Dr. Varki proposes another theory. When humans ingest the flesh or milk of any mammal, they absorb Neu5Gc and treat it the same way as an invading germ, so they make antibodies against it. This turns on their immunity and keeps it active so it eventually attacks the host itself, the human body. This is called chronic inflammation, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, cancers and so forth.

    Since humans cannot make Neu5Gc, any amount found in human cells come from the mammals that they have eaten. Neu5Gc is found in high levels in tumors, with the highest levels in metastasizing tumors. In our food supply, Dr. Varki found very high levels of Neu5Gc in beef, pork, lamb and goat, and moderately high amounts in milk and cheese. Low levels are found in turkey, duck, chicken and eggs; and negligible amounts occur in plants and seafood.

    On a personal note, I have found that my arthritis symptoms are worse for several days after I choose to eat mammal meat, then they abate again so I'm avoiding it except for special occasions.
  •  Watch the source (5+ / 0-)

    Although I'm sympathetic to much of the discussion about inflammation and heart disease, since this is the week in science post we should keep an eye on our sources.

    Lundell is perhaps not the most credible source on these issues.

    •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      hence the caution. This is a topic of debate, there are credible correlations, but it's not as ironclad as some sources will claim.

      •  I must say that after reading some sources (0+ / 0-)

        from the quakcwatch article I was very upset that you cited him at all here. I have such high respect for your writings here, DarkSyde. Just reading notes from Lundell's Board hearings gave me many gasps and cringes. (Especially since in one of my own four major surgeries I had unexplained excessive bleeding as in one of his patients who died from it due to his lack of correct procedures.)

        Not saying there could not be something quite real to this theory, nonetheless, on the frontpage here I expect pretty well-sourced material or some qualifications, especially as we are advised to be careful about this in writing our own diaries. I've never ever complained about a fp piece here but this bothers me. Do you know how trustworthy a source the is besides posting this particular article?

        I'm glad you got through your own heart attack in good shape.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:53:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I forwarded his article to a physician friend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who also thinks inflammation is a major cause of heart disease and other problems and got this reply:

      That theory has come and gone.
      We used to think that a high ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fats caused
      inflammation. Now we know this is wrong, and so is Dr. Lundell.

      Omega-3s block inflammation, but omega-6s do not cause inflammation.

      •  That's good to know. Lundell makes money from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        selling products he tells people to buy so he has a big self-interest in selling this theory after retirement and having license revoked. Given it's Arizona I don't necessarily trust anything they do, but I do think taking Lundell with a grain of salt, one at least, is advisable. Aren't there many other more trustworthy sources on all this? If so I'd like to know of them since this issue affects me.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:03:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A lot of docs (0+ / 0-)

    knew about the inflammation theory 15 years ago when I worked ICU/ER. it just wasn't conventional medical wisdom then, and apparently still isn't.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:53:00 AM PST

  •  inflammation is looming as a critical (0+ / 0-)

    factor in cancer as well.

    additionally a low calorie diet seems to extend life and health because it suppresses inflammation reactions of certain types.

    the inflammation reaction you experience due to a sunburn is what allow melanoma to escape detection by your immune system (Nature).

    it is also most likely why aspirin seems to confer a host of benefits, it's an inflammation suppressor.

    very interesting stuff and is being researched a great deal.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 10:58:15 AM PST

  •  I followed the link to read your blog entry about (0+ / 0-)

    what saved your life. I wonder if people have ever considered the $ that they and their employers pay for health insurance to be a tax. It would not surprise me that if everyone and their employers simply paid those premiums to the government in the form of higher taxes, we could provide medical care to everyone in this country.

    Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

    by Susan Grigsby on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:06:06 PM PST

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