By JT Flores, M.D.
PICTURE THIS: You have been on medication for
years, or you have had a surgical implant and now
need replacement or revision for one or more reasons. You wonder about options, such as medicines
and medical devices not yet approved by the Food
and Drug Administration.
You have questions: “What experimental medi-
cines are available to me?”; “How can I obtain a
cutting-edge heart valve (or knee joint or vertebra)
to improve my health and quality of life?”; “How do
I become a patient in a research protocol?”; “What
are the risks, benefits, side effects, costs?”
Answers to these concerns may be challenging
to find because information on clinical research and
development (R&D) is not published primarily for the
everyday consumer. But with deliberate effort, you
can uncover resources for basic information.
Ask your doctor, physician assistant or nurse
practitioner for specific information. Chances are
high that your practitioner is familiar with the
latest clinical research. If not, ask for a referral to
an office, clinic, center or a company conducting
clinical R&D relevant to your condition.
Use the Internet and keywords in relation to
your condition. For example, if your condition is
spinal stenosis, include the words “spinal stenosis”
and additional words or phrases as you search,
• Companies conducting clinical research.
Company websites provide a link to their research
medicines and medical devices as well as separate
links for patients and for healthcare professionals.
• Treatment and management. Information
often includes the standard of practice as well as
• Medicines, medical devices. Names of
established and experimental medicines and
medical devices often have their own websites
that include points of contact for potential
• Centers of excellence. Centers of excellence showcase their clinical, surgical, research,
health education and other professional services,
often with photographs and names of key professionals to contact.
• Public interest groups. National, regional
and local societies often list a summary of the latest research in their respective therapeutic areas,
including contact names, phone numbers and
e-mail addresses of clinical research sites for you
to access directly.
• Internet forums and clinic- or hospital-based seminars. Chats among kindred spirits
inevitably lead to a network that could include
research patients willing to speak with you. C
health for your
JT Flores, M.D., (jasmintflores@yahoo.
com) is a Stanford-trained primary
care associate with a doctorate from
University of California Berkeley’s
School of Public Health.
STAYING IN TOUCH with pop culture, joining
the latest trends, such as MP3 players and text messaging, and a dinner date with actress Betty White
are keys to living a long life, according to people
who should know: centenarians.
Being socially active, eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep also won’t hurt.
“If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period. That’s it,” said Maurice Eisman, a centenarian who lives in Maryland.
Eisman was one of 100 centenarians questioned
in a poll about the secrets of longevity. Laughter and
prayer were also important, along with staying connected to family and friends and keeping up with
current events and gadgets.
Eight percent of centenarians said they had sent
text or instant messages, compared to 1 percent last
year. And 12 percent are using iPods, 4 percent more
than three years ago, according to the GfK Roper
survey for Evercare.
Nearly 100,000 centenarians are living in the
United States, and the number is expected to climb
to more than 601,000 by 2050, according to the U.S.
“I think everybody
should have something
to say in what’s going
on in their life and not
just take everything for
granted,” said Marie
Keeler, 101, from Minnesota.
White, the octogenarian star of a popular
Super Bowl commercial, was the top choice
as a dinner date for most of the centenarians. She
wrested the spot from comedian Bill Cosby, who was
the winner for the past two years.
Many centenarians said they kept up with popular culture by listening to music or videos through
computers, and 11 percent said they had watched a
video on You Tube.
Forty percent walked or hiked every day, and
1 percent used Nintendo’s Wii Fit. Three-quarters
ate a healthy diet daily, and nearly a third opted for
organic foods. C
Information courtesy Reuters News Service.
Be on top with pop
THE LEUKEMIA & Lymphoma
Society reports that more than
900,000 people in the U.S. currently have some form of blood
cancer, and more than 53,000
will die from one this year.
That’s the bad news. The
good news is that improved
therapies and stem cell transplantation have dramatically
increased survival rates for
most blood cancers.
Leukemia and lymphoma
are two forms of blood cancer.
In both diseases, white blood
cells, normally the infection
fighters, fail to function properly and start to grow at an
Leukemia starts in the
bone marrow, where blood
cells are made, and the cancer
cells spread to the blood that
circulates through the body in
the arteries and veins.
Lymphoma starts in the
lymphatic system, which
drains waste-collecting lymph
from body tissue. Lymphoma
may develop in many parts of
the body, including the lymph
nodes, spleen, bone marrow
Sometimes there are no
warning signs or symptoms of
leukemia or lymphoma, or the
signs and symptoms will be
similar to other more common
and less severe illnesses.
The best advice for any
person troubled by symptoms
such as night sweats, swollen
lymph nodes, unexplained
weight loss, tiredness or shortness of breath is to see a
For information about
blood cancer and ways in
which you can help, the
Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society provides deep
SEPTEMBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 49