In This Issue:

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the July issue of the True North Tune- Up. We continue to emphasize “up stream” strategies for health in the areas of nutrition, mind-body, and lifestyle. The studies are from peer-reviewed scientific journals, except the link to the Government Accountability Project (GAP) which blows the whistle on an attempt to corrupt “peer-reviewed” data.

To your health,
B. Joseph Semmes, MD
Director of Research, True North
Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine

Cholesterol-lowering treatment with statins reduces all-cause mortality in men at risk.
This Lancet review looked at 14 studies of more than 90,000 patients, of which 76% were men. Statin drugs reduced deaths from coronary heart disease and strokes. Every reduction of LDL cholesterol by 39 mg/dl was associated with a 1/8th reduction in all cause mortality.  87 patients had to be treated for more than two years to prevent one death.  Statins are associated with a low risk of muscle damage, but the benefits far outweigh the risk. For each case of muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) 174 treated patients did not otherwise die and 361 patients did not have a heart attack. Patients with high LDL cholesterol should be treated with statins.  Incidentally, Merck’s Zocor (simvastatin) just came of patent and will be considerably less expensive than Pfizer’s Lipitor.
Lancet Review: efficacy and safety of cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Some patients on statins, particularly those over 65, or with familial hypercholesterolemia, or congestive heart failure, might benefit from supplementation with CoQ10.

Considerations for supplementing with coenzyme Q10 during statin therapy

Statins, taken by millions of Americans, appear to also lower the risk of cataracts, which affect more than half of Americans over 70.
Information on statin use and incident nuclear cataract.

Proctor and Gamble appears to have hidden data on its bone drug Actonel.
There is a huge potential market for drugs to prevent osteoporosis (a bone weakening disorder that afflicts 10 million Americans and for which at least another 14-18 million are at risk). Proctor and Gamble which makes Actonel (risedronate) is competing with Merck, which makes Fosomax (alendronate). A. Bluhmsohn of the University of Sheffield, a leading center for evidence-based medicine information (see was paid $250,000 to be the principal investigator of a study comparing the two drugs. Even though he was the author of multiple abstracts, he accuses P and G of refusing to let him see what proved to be incriminating raw data.  Bluhmsohn also lost his position at Sheffield, which apparently received robust funding from P and G. Bluhmson’s speaking tour brought him to the Maine Medical Center very recently.
Proctor and Gamble press release

Women who combine work and family stay healthier.
This study looked at 1200 British women born in 1946 and found that taking on multiple roles -  mothers, wives, employees - over the years was itself associated with good health. The study made it clear that it was not simply because healthier women took on more roles. 
Study on life course social roles and women's health in mid-life

Adolescent girls in Maine are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
This small study of twenty-three 9-11 year old girls looked at their active forms of vitamin D in the blood from September through March.  48% of the girls had at least one level that was considered insufficient.  Vitamin D, present in fish oils, fortified milk, egg and liver (see Dietary Supplements Info) is actually a hormone activated by UVb light on the skin. Vitamin D intakes need to be increased in winter at northern latitudes. 
Study: adolescent girls in Maine are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency.

An earlier Tune-Up warned that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of colon cancer. A recent study showed that supplementation with vitamin D and calcium for seven years had no effect on the incidence of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women. However, the long latency period of colon cancer may have led to no apparent effect in the seven year time frame. More time may be needed to show an effect. So stay tuned to National Clinical Trial 00000611.
Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of colorectal cancer.


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Information provided in the True North Tune-Up is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The information and links in this e-publication are intended to provide general education on the topics listed, but you should not use the information or links to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner. True North advises you to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioner prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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