Articles Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on:

If you have any interest in artificial hips, you need to follow the work of Dr. Steven Tower. An orthopedic surgeon in Anchorage Alaska, Dr. Tower has built a one-man research laboratory studying the horrifying health effects of chrome and cobalt hip components. While hip manufacturers have been slow to produce meaningful studies on the ill-effects of metallosis on the human body, Dr. Tower decided to study his own patients. What he discovered could save lives.

Dr. Tower’s Backstory

Orthopedic Surgeon Steven TowerSteven Tower’s story is remarkable. He is featured in the Netflix medical device documentary The Bleeding Edge. Dr. Tower is an avid cyclist and needed a hip replacement several years ago. He chose the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal artificial hip because it was marketed to “exceptionally active individuals.” Several months after his hip replacement surgery, however, Dr. Tower noticed a tremor in his hand. His ears started ringing, his thinking became confused and he began repeating himself when he spoke. One night while attending a medical conference Dr. Tower had a mental breakdown and trashed his hotel room. He wrote all over the walls with sharpies and pens, and wrote on the hotel mirrors with soap. When he returned home he measured the metal levels in his blood, and the test results revealed 100 times the normal amount of cobalt that should be in his body. Dr. Tower soon arranged to have his metal hip components removed in a revision surgery. Within a month his thinking cleared and his other symptoms mostly disappeared. He was relieved, but also intrigued.

Published on:

Some drug companies pay doctors, who then prescribe the company's drugsYou scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Favors are often exchanged among friends and family. But what most people don’t know, or don’t want to know, is that questionable “favors” are also exchanged in professional and business relationships. Over the years, there have been reports that favors, or benefits, are too often exchanged between drug manufacturers and doctors and hospitals who prescribe medicines.

Recent studies have explored this relationship and compared data to see if drug makers are, effectively, paying doctors to prescribe their medications.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act included a section called the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. This Act requires drug and device manufacturers to report any and all payments made to physicians and hospitals. Since 2013, 40.74 million records have been published and $24.92 billion dollars have been given to doctors and hospitals from drug and device manufacturers. The Sunshine Act has been successful at exposing these payments.

Published on:

You go to the doctor to get help, not to be hurt. And you take medicine to be healed, not to be harmed. However, some prescription drugs, like Actemra, may do the latter – hurt you instead of help you.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Actemra
If you or a loved one have rheumatoid arthritis, you may have been prescribed or heard of Actemra. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes the joints to swell and become painful. Actemra, also known as tocilizumab, is a prescription drug that is injected weekly or infused monthly to aid patients with their symptoms and slow the progression of RA.

Recently, Actemra has also been prescribed to “help” those with giant cell arteritis. Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a blood vessel disease that causes the vessels, primarily those in the scalp and head, to swell and become inflamed.

Published on:

Leukemia patient is prescribed drug Tasigna
If you have a specific type of leukemia—Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, or Ph+ CML—you may have been prescribed the chemotherapy drug Tasigna (nilotinib). Tasigna offers promise for some patients and may even be associated with remission of their disease—but it’s not without risks.

What’s more alarming, the drug’s manufacturer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, may have known about those risks and failed to disclose them to you. People who have been harmed or lost loved ones due to Tasigna have sued Novartis. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Tasigna?

Published on:

For many years my clients with failing artificial hips have asked me about the health effects of high cobalt and chromium levels in the body. These questions usually arise after clients get blood work done and the test reveals abnormally high metal levels. If you are reading this article, you probably already know that cobalt and chromium are two metals used in the construction of most metal-on-metal (MoM) artificial hip systems. In fact, cobalt and chromium are used to make artificial hips that are not metal-on-metal but instead use polyethylene liners, or ceramic heads, or other non-metal components. When metal components grind together, as they naturally do when a MoM artificial hip is implanted in a person, very small metal particles can be released into the tissue and the bloodstream. I wrote about the health effects of metallosis on the body over a year ago. You can check out that article here.

Cobalt poisoning from artificial hip implants
Dr. Steven Tower, an orthopedic surgeon in Alaska, recently gave a fascinating (and alarming) talk about the many neurological problems he has observed in hip patients with elevated cobalt levels in the body. For years the focus following hip replacement surgeries has been on the physical condition of the hip itself. Dr. Tower has concluded that this approach is wrong, or at least incomplete, and he has seen that often the first signs of trouble with hip replacement patients are neurological symptoms. He has even given it a name: Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy, or ACE.

What is Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy (ACE)?

Published on:

Taxotere and Permanent Hair Loss
Hair loss, or alopecia, is a common condition for many people, especially when they age. The exact reason for the hair loss can vary, but one particularly unpleasant cause is chemotherapy. However, not all patients will be affected the same way during chemotherapy, even when taking the same chemotherapy drug to fight the same type of cancer.

For example, some patients may only experience a slight change in hair color, while others will have thinning hair. Others may have hair loss, although the amount and areas of hair loss can differ among patients. For some unlucky patients, the hair loss is permanent. One such chemotherapy drug that causes permanent hair loss is Taxotere.

What Is Taxotere?

Published on:

Arthritis Drug Actemra Many things in life involve a cost benefit analysis. We’re constantly taking risks that can cause harm, but choose to take on that risk because the benefits outweigh the dangers. A good example of this is driving a car. There is a risk of getting into an accident, but the benefit of having on-demand personal transportation is easily worth it.

Prescription medications are no different. Each one is intended to provide a benefit, although each will always have at least some side effects or adverse reactions. The question is never, “does the drug have a side effect or adverse reaction?” Rather, it’s “how many side effects and adverse reactions are there and how bad are they?”

It’s no surprise to learn that many medications on the market today have numerous side effects and adverse reactions, some of them deadly. Yet, they’re available for use not only because the benefits may outweigh the risks for a significant number of consumers, but also because the makers of the medication are required to inform consumers of these risks. So a pharmaceutical company that fails to properly warn consumers of the risks of its drugs can get into trouble. That’s exactly the issue with Actemra. Continue reading →

Published on:

Textured breast implants and lymphoma
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons almost 280,000 breast augmentation procedures took place in the United States in 2015. Given the popularity of breast implants, a wide range of breast implant products have been released in the United States and the rest of the world. One such product is the textured breast implant.

Why Are Breast Implants Textured?

The purpose of adding texturing to the breast implant surface is to help the body keep the implant in place and avoid it from shifting. Another reason is to prevent a complication called capsular contracture, which occurs when the scar tissue that forms around the implant become painful and hard.

Published on:

Zimmer Biomet Reverse Shoulder Product Recall

Shoulder replacement surgeries are common and provide relief to thousands. But some conventional shoulder replacement surgeries don’t work, requiring a different type of shoulder replacement surgery.

In a typical shoulder replacement, artificial components replace natural ones, such that an artificial cup is placed into the shoulder while an artificial ball is placed at the top of the humerus, or arm bone. For individuals with rotator cuff tears and arthropathy, which is a complex type of shoulder arthritis, this type of shoulder replacement surgery doesn’t work.

Instead, patients must obtain a reverse shoulder replacement, which places the ball in the shoulder and the cup at the top of the humerus. One such reverse shoulder replacement medical device is Zimmer Biomet’s Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System. However, this product has recently been recalled by Zimmer Biomet.

The Reverse Shoulder Recall

Zimmer Biomet Reverse Shoulder RecallOn December 15, 2016, Zimmer Biomet recalled its Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System, noting that it was fracturing far more often than expected and could lead to serious problems, such as infection, inability to use the shoulder and even death. Fracturing is an unusual problem, since most shoulder replacement complications do not involve fracturing, but instead deal with excessive wear, dislocating and loosening of joint components.

Due to the severity of the problem with the Comprehensive Reverse Shoulder System, the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA) classified this recall as a Class I recall, which is the most serious type of recall available.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Female contraception is common these days, with many medications, medical devices and methods available. One popular birth control method is the intrauterine device, or IUD.

There are many companies making different types of IUDs that work in different ways. Some use copper as the primary means of contraception while others use hormones. One of the most popular hormonal IUDs available goes by the brand name Mirena.

How Does the Mirena IUD Work?

Mirena is a hormonal IUD that is inserted into a woman’s uterus. Once inserted, the IUD continuously releases a small amount of the hormone levonorgesterel. The Mirena IUD is extremely effective and works primarily by preventing fertilization from occurring, rather than preventing implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus.

Another advantage of the Mirena IUD is that it works for a long period of time (three to five years) without any intervention by the woman. And when the effective time period of Mirena passes or the woman decides she wants to try to get pregnant, the Mirena IUD can be removed and fertility restored. Because of these advantages, many women have chosen Mirena as their preferred form of birth control.

What’s Wrong with the Mirena IUD?

Woman with Mirena IUD Suffering from Intracranial HypertensionDespite its effectiveness as a contraceptive and its popularity, the Mirena IUD has caused some women to suffer from a variety of serious conditions, including the dangerous buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This fluid buildup then causes an increase in intracranial pressure and can lead to severe headaches, ringing in the ears, nausea, blurred vision, neck pain, and blindness due to the swelling of the optic nerve.

Many women experience progressively worsening vision as the optic nerve swelling increases. Most of these symptoms are similar to those people suffering from a brain tumor. There are several names to describe this condition, including Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) and Intracranial Hypertension (IH).

Depending on the woman, the effects of PTC or IH can sometimes be reversed, but it often results in permanent damage to a woman’s vision. Even if the effects can be reversed, it usually takes years of maintaining normal intracranial pressure in the brain. As a result of these problems, many lawsuits against Bayer, the maker of Mirena, have recently emerged.

Continue reading →