Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flags and inflammation

On the very bottom of my blog last week I installed a flag counter. Statcounter erases my hits every 500 or so. I have been keeping track of all the countries from that I have had visitors. I am up to 83 today with a visitor from Macedonia trying to read about Donkey Stew, the number one search engine term that gets people to my blog. Number one cancer related phrase: What color is your tumor?

Maybe at some point, I'll hang up a world map and stick pins where my visitors are from. When I lived in the co-op, a man had a large map of the US on the wall with pins stuck in various cities. There didn't seem to be any pattern to them as there would be if he had made a cross country trip. I finally asked what the pins represented: places where various coke bottles he drank from had come. To each his own.

From the science news (Tuesday is the Wall Street Journal's medical news day): genetic diversity and the effect on drug metabolism. It turns out that Plavix needs to be metabolized by the liver to be effective against forming blood clots after a patient has had a stent implanted. This is the number 2 selling drug so many are effected. Most people have the cytochrome necessary to do this but there are two subsets of people: some with reduced cytochromes so they'll need twice the dose and some who can't metabolize the drug at all. They have an expensive test that can identify these people but insurance doesn't usually cover it even though more strokes will result if the people aren't identified. Bits of information such as this keep appearing. Last year it was discovered that taking some antidepressants interferred with the conversion of Tamoxifen to its active form thus putting these ladies at risk for recurrence of their estrogen positive tumors.

I decided to take some of this new research personally and take a baby aspirin a day. In a very uncontrolled study, it was shown to cut breast cancer recurrences by 50% presumably by reducing inflammation. Reducing inflammation from any source is thought by some to being a key for cancer prevention. There are even anti-inflammation diets. Some foods presumably increase the amount of C-reactive protein in the body, a marker for inflammation (see http://www.nutritiondata.com/help/inflammation) and nutritionists have determined which foods are IF positive or negative. Blueberries are surprisingly on the bad list despite their antioxidant properties. I'm not sure how much I believe all this but in the meantime, the baby aspirin can't hurt much and might even make my arm feel better.

Where is the sun? I bought even more solar lights yesterday and want them charged up. My patio now is a tangle of strings of lights flashing through various colors-fantasyland. Not too classy but it gives me pleasure. I had a good run today too. The peepers are still going strong. Later Naomi and her puppy will come over. I've been trying to teach the dog to walk on a leash which I don't recall my other dogs having had problems doing. She does somersaults behind me trying to escape but at 5 lbs, I am stronger than her. I did teach her to sit.

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