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Bioengineered Mouse Heart Gets a Beat Using Human Cells

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the tin-man-approved dept.

Medicine 38

cylonlover writes "Heart transplants have given new life to thousands, but are only an unfulfilled hope to thousands more due to a shortage of donor organs. With the goal of meeting this shortfall, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have bioengineered a mouse heart in the lab that beats on its own. The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts that wouldn't be rejected by the recipient."

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Great (5, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44579015)

i've been worried that we might run out of mice, but with this new technology, we can now save those mice who need heart transplants. We won't have to wait for a donar mouse to be killed in an accident any more! It's also hard to convince them to sign a donor cars, as very few of them know how to write.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579115)

It's also hard to convince them to sign a donor cars, as very few of them know how write.

But do they know how to drive?

Re: Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579923)

no need to drive, just a photo id. that way we can vote fo them too.
even if they die.

Re:Great (5, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#44579641)

i've been worried that we might run out of mice, but with this new technology, we can now save those mice who need heart transplants. We won't have to wait for a donar mouse to be killed in an accident any more! It's also hard to convince them to sign a donor cars, as very few of them know how to write.

I realize you are joking. But Hurricane Sandy hit the labs at NYU last year and killed all of the mice and rats that had been bred for 80 different traits for neurological studies. They lost about 20 years worth of work. The last I heard, they've been able to recover only 35% of what was lost due to other labs either donating or sending back lines that came from there.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579787)

And if someone had the foreknowledge to let all of the mice go before the floods hit they wouldn't have this problem, mice are pretty resilient.

Although we would probably now have glowing green mice in the native population of new york, but what else is new?

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579941)

Yup 10,000 animals dead. It was a nightmare in there during clean-up.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44580831)

Why didn't they have any off-site backups of the mice? Just freeze some of the engineered embryos. Trade them with another group across country. Do we not have the technology to grow up new mice from frozen embryos?

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582517)

Why didn't they have any off-site backups of the mice?

While very important for their studies it is not considered a life critical part of society and doesn't need a backup plan.
One could say that everyone should have a backup plan but the cost of having a backup for everything in society far outweighs the money saved the few times an accident occurs.

Re:Great (1)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | about a year ago | (#44585357)

You say that, but time is money, and 20 years lost is not a cheap thing. A 20 year setback is also huge in and of its own right.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579649)

Another important use besides replacement parts (which would probably be grown in a pig or something with similar sized organs) is for drug trials. Doing a drug trial on a human heart (or liver or kidney, etc.) in a mouse would add another layer of testing before moving on to actual human subjects.

Niggers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579017)

Niggers! Coons! Jigaboos! Porchmonkeys! Mooncrickets!

Bioengineered frist psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579019)

ooooh dddd lol lol hahaha wheeeeee

Most heart disease is curable by diet... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44579033) this research is misguided in that sense. See: []

Re: Most heart disease is curable by diet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579129)

Mummified Egyptians showed signs or coronary disease. And unless they eat lots of meat, I'm guessing it was just a high calorie diet that human beings aren't accustomed too. That, or you were just lucky to live pass the age of 40 that it didn't make much of a difference anyways. Viral, bacterial, or parasites were eventually going to get them.

Re: Most heart disease is curable by diet... (0)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44579571)

It's not the calories total so much as where the calories are coming from in terms of whole plant foods. The richest Egyptians thousands of years ago probably ate more like most US Americans today as far as refined grains and lots of meat, so they probably had similar "diseases of affluence" such as heart disease, gout, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, dementia, etc.. []

Re:Most heart disease is curable by diet... (5, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44579301) this research is misguided in that sense. See: []

The link to Dr. Fuhrman's web site says:

The findings indicated that there was no evidence that angioplasty and stent placement for coronary artery disease resulted in fewer heart attacks or deaths when compared to patients with the same level of disease who were not treated in this manner.

That's true, but irrelevant. As the Lancet reported in 2009, angioplasty and stent placement doesn't reduce deaths. Cardiologists don't use it to reduce death any more. They use it to reduce angina (pain). Of course there are unscrupulous doctors who do unnecessary surgery. Just as there are unscrupulous doctors who sell people overpriced, unnecessary vitamins and supplements, as Fuhrman is doing.

However, coronary artery bypass, which bypasses the occluded coronary arteries with grafts from arteries and veins, does reduce death. It extends life by about 6 years in one study that I read, but it depends on the patient population. One of the issues is that medical treatment (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, statins, etc.) has gotten so good that the advantage of surgery over best medical treatment has gotten smaller.

Here's one study. []
Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease: Comparing Long-Term Survival of Patients With Multivessel Coronary Disease After CABG or PCI
Circulation. 2005; 112: I-371-I-376 doi: 10.1161/

Adjusted long-term survival for patients with 3-vessel disease was better after CABG than PCI (HR, 0.60; P<0.01) but not for patients with 2-vessel disease (HR, 0.98; P=0.77).

Conclusions— In contemporary practice, survival for patients with 3-vessel coronary disease is better after CABG than PCI, an observation that patients and physicians should carefully consider when deciding on a revascularization strategy.

Dr. Fuhrman (selectively) quotes The Lancet to argue that angioplasty and stents don't work.

Where are the published studies in major peer-reviewed journals to show that Dr. Fuhrman's diet treatment works? I don't think there are any.

There are studies published in in JAMA and NEJM of randomized trials of various dietary interventions, like the Atkins diet and traditional Greek diets, and some of them have good results, but nowhere near what Fuhrman is claiming.

Come to your own conclusion.

I conclude that Fuhrman is a huckster, making misleading and probably false claims. If people drop their standard medical treatment in favor of his diets, he's killing people.

Plant based diets can reverse most heart disease (0)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44579533) []
"A groundbreaking program backed by the irrefutable results from Dr. Esselstyn's 20-year study proving changes in diet and nutrition can actually cure heart disease ... The proof is in the results. The patients in Dr. Esselstyn's initial study came to him with advanced coronary artery disease. Despite the aggressive treatment they received, among them bypasses and angioplasties, 5 of the original group were told by their cardiologists they had less than a year to live. Within months on Dr. Esselstynâ(TM)s program, their cholesterol levels, angina symptoms, and blood flow improved dramatically. Twelve years later 17 compliant patients had no further cardiac events. Adherent patients survived beyond twenty years free of symptoms."

And: []
"Beginning in 1985 I initiated a study of seriously ill coronary artery disease patients. Their nutrition became plant based without oil. Their cholesterol levels plummeted. Their angina disappeared. Their weight dropped. I have reported this study at 5 years, 12 years, and 16 years, in the peer reviewed scientific literature and again beyond 20 years in my book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. In some of the patients we had follow up angiograms (x-rays) of previously blocked arteries demonstrating striking disease reversal, which is a testament to my often quoted statement âoeThe truth be known coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist It need never progress.""

So, it's actually those who won't pay attention who are "killing people" in the sense you mentioned. Those people who don't want to look at the evidence, or don't want to work to gather more.

But, it is indeed very profitable to kill people via misleading them that heart surgery will help much (as two of my family members suffered through and then died shortly afterwards for a personal anecdote). As Dr. Fuhrman points out, cardiac interventions are a major hospital profit center. Doctors made $100K or more (in insurance) from my family, but did not have to attend the funerals caused by their bad advice, and neither did they have to experience first-hand the physical or mental suffering their interventions caused.

Note that Fuhrman's, Orish's, Esselstyn's and McDougal's approaches are all better than the "Mediterranean diet" as much as that does indeed help: []
"Diet is a cornerstone of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and treatment efforts. Step I and Step II diets are widely recommended as the first line of CVD intervention.1 At the core of this dietary guidance are the recommendations to decrease saturated fat and cholesterol and to consume more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products. Information from an extensive database, especially regarding saturated fat, indicates that these diets significantly lower blood cholesterol levels, a major risk factor for CVD. Consequently, it is beyond debate that these diets reduce CVD risk. ..."

But what these MDs I mention go beyond is showing how you can not just prevent but *reverse* clogged arteries in the heart with diet.

So, if you had heart disease right now (which you probably do if you are like most older US Americans an eat a Standard American Diet), which would you rather have:
* a painful operation, months of recovery, and then six years of generally crappy quality of life eating the same old junk doing various restricted activities, or:
* making a major change to what you eat, which in six weeks tastes as good overall as what you ate before, and then, quite possibly, living twenty years in great health doing lots of physical activity?

See also:
"How to escape The Pleasure Trap!" []

Or, for a different disease, but with similar possibilities: []
"When Natala developed an infection in her right calf, doctors told her that part of her lower right leg might need to be amputated. But then a friend, who Natala described to me as "a vegan and into yoga," suggested that she consider a natural approach to her diabetes, and that she start to think of food as medicine. ... The physicians she was seeing for her diabetes took a look at her numbers, were amazed, and wanted to know how she did it. "I told them I had adopted a completely plant-based diet. They didn't seem surprised at all, and told me that plant-based diets were helping to reverse diabetes. When I asked why they had not suggested it, they told me because it isn't practical."
    Aghast, she asked her doctor, "Do you think it's practical to be 30 years old and lose a leg?""

So, is it practical to have a painful $10K-$100K heart operation and die a few years later as opposed to change your diet?

At the very least, would it not be putting your head in the sand to just get a bypass operation before trying this Google search? []

Of course, even President Bush just got suckered into an angioplasty:
"Was George W. Bushâ(TM)s stent necessary?" []
"President Bush needed aggressive nutritional counseling and potentially life-saving nutritional information. It sounds like he was not properly informed of these studies documenting the ineffectiveness of PCI and the value of the proper dietary intervention. If not, I consider that malpractice. "

See also: []
"[President] Clinton says he was inspired to follow a low-fat, plant-based diet by several doctors, including Dean Ornish, author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease. Ornish has been working with Clinton as one of his consulting physicians since 1993.
    After Clinton's angioplasty and stents in 2010, Ornish says he contacted the former president "and I indicated that the moderate diet and lifestyle changes he'd made didn't go far enough to prevent his heart disease from progressing, but our research proved that more intensive changes could actually reverse it," he says.
    "Heart disease is a food-borne illness," says Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. He's in a documentary about the benefits of a plant-based diet, Forks Over Knives, out next week on DVD. He advocates going "cold turkey from the typical fatty, meat-laden, dairy-rich Western diet" to this kind of plan."

That said, as long as your animal product consumption is less than about 10% of calories, most people without severe heart disease will probably be OK in that regard as far as not developing it. Reversing it may take more restricted diets for a time.

The advice mainstream cardiologists are promoting is equivalent to going to a garage mechanic when your oil light is on and first paying US$1K to have the oil light disconnected (being prescribed blood pressure medicine) and then, when the engine seizes up, being sold a new engine for $100K, all instead of fixing a leak and adding more oil (changing your diet) when the light came on in the first place. As Dr. Fuhrman says, all these things like prescriptions blood pressure medicine are "permissions slips" to avoid changing diet and lifestyle.

Re:Plant based diets can reverse most heart diseas (2)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44580499)

I know what the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association say about diet preventing cardiovascular disease. I know what those (mainstream, establishment) doctors wrote in the Washington Post about Bush's stent. I don't dispute that. What I do dispute is that diet can reverse cardiovascular disease to the extent that Fuhrman claims.

This is America. We have the First Amendment. Anybody can publish a book, no matter how stupid or poorly-supported its claims are.

What I want is an article in a major peer-reviewed journal, like The Lancet, that supports Fuhrman's claims. There isn't any. Fuhrman is happy to cherry-pick The Lancet, but he can't cite an article in The Lancet or any place else that supports his claims.

Ornish and Atkins published articles in JAMA. They've demonstrated small but significant benefits from diet. However, they doesn't claim to reverse heart disease the way Fuhrman does. Fuhrman hasn't published his results in The Lancet, JAMA, or any other major journal.

I'm using your post as a teachable moment. I'm trying to explain how science works.

Scientists submit their results to peer-reviewed journals. The journals send their results out to experts in the field to review their work. If an article appears in JAMA or Cardiology, you know that at least a handful of experts have reviewed the article and decided that its methods and logic were solid, and there weren't any obvious misrepresentations.

Fuhrman can publish his own stuff in a book and say whatever he wants. He can make misleading claims about what the scientific literature says. He can confuse issues like angioplasty and coronary bypass. He can use anecdotes. That's why a book like that isn't reliable the way a peer-reviewed journal is.

I looked up Esselstyn's work on Pubmed and I read his 1999 article in American Journal of Cardiology. I'll give him credit for publishing his results. He had 24 patients and no control group. He says he gave them cholesterol-lowering drugs. (But he doesn't say what the cholesterol-lowering drugs were.) So he's mixing the effect of diet with the effect of drugs. Yes, Lipitor will lower cholesterol. Yes, some researchers (and drug companies) believe that statins can reverse atherosclerosis. But he hasn't published any data since 1999, as far as I could see. If he ever publishes something in NEJM, JAMA, Lancet or BMJ, I'll read it there.

I haven't seen anything there in any peer-reviewed journals that shows plant-based diets can reverse most heart disease.

"Teachable moments" about how science really works (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44582519)

Quotes I collected here: []

"In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict "ideological discipline"."

"The problems I've discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (Marcia Angell)"

"Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors -- to a striking extent -- still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science."

As with Ignaz Semmelweis advocating handwashing after doing autopsies to prevent surgeons causing disease that killed their pregnant patients, change is a tough sell. Semmelweis ended up in an insane asylum. Doctors could not accept they could be unclean (plus the suggestion of using carbolic acid was painful). Only decades later did handwashing become accepted. []

Similarly, modern day highly paid heart surgeons are not going to accept how much harm they are doing compared to advocating nutritional interventions. Studies begin with anecdotes and observations. Those abound.

Who benefits by studies done on nutrition reversing clogging of arteries? Not most highly paid doctors. Most researchers or universities would not benefit either from such studies, because nutritional interventions as simple as eat more whole foods can't be patented. So why would anyone in a position to do so suggest that such studies be funded? Maybe some dedicated public servant in a government medical bureaucracy might; but we've seen from Manning and Snowden etc. how long radicals with a public conscience last in big institutions (not to say some might not keep a lower profile or pick legal strategies for going forward and maybe indeed make some change eventually).

To go back to the car analogy, people pushing a position love to say "there is no evidence for the alternative" when the reason there is no evidence is the politics of funding. So, where is the peer reviewed evidence that fixing an oil leak and refilling an engine with oil will prevent it from melting down? None that I know of. It is just common sense to someone who has worked in the automotive field and seen a lot of cars go by. Yet, by your logic, you could argue that there is plenty of (making this up) evidence through peer reviewed studies funded by General Motors that disconnecting the oil light leads to motorists who are in less pain of worry for a time. And plenty of (making this up) peer reviewed evidence funded by Ford that replacing engines when they melt down leads to people being able to keep their cars running on average for six more years. Those would be profitable studies to fund.

Clogged arteries lead to a host of problems, including probably dementia and cancer from lack of adequate oxygen getting to the tissues. Replacing a clogged heart does not fix those other issues. That is another reason why this whole line of research is misguided at its stated goal. (High-tech organ regeneration or replacement may have value in other ways, I won't deny that. So might similar work in growing artificial muscle for lab-grown meat.)

Anyway, good luck with your paradigm about science. Maybe that is how science "should" work. But it is not how science actually works, at least not in the short term of decades. In reality, scientists stake out positions and defend them, including by ensuring the competition is not funded. Go back into the literature and look up stuff like the value of fasting to see other stuff that works which has fell by the wayside. Look up the history of phage therapy (successful in the USSR) to see another saga of Western medicine ignoring what works, even with published studies (in Russian though).

See also, for another example from another field, Halton Arp and the electric universe idea, to see how an astrophysicist was denied telescope time as soon as he clashed with the orthodoxy. In that sense, scientific establishments are more like religious cults or a political parties, where you have to toe the line to stay in the community.

Still, Fuhrman has tons of references in his book "Eat to LIve" by the way. There is stuff out there.

Esselstyn has many peer reviewed publications: []

See also: []
"To fully grasp how so many smart, right-minded people could get it so wrong, it might help to start with a quick review of medical history. Take the radical mastectomy, conceived by William Halsted..."

See also:
"Slow Ideas: Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that donâ(TM)t?" []

All I can say is keep digging. And if the subject interests you, maybe you will do your own study and publish it.

Re:"Teachable moments" about how science really wo (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44586661)

Esselstyn has many peer reviewed publications: []

Yes, I saw all those publications. I looked them up on Pubmed [] which everyone who understands the medical literature knows about. The latest one, which I discussed above, is from 1999, which is pretty old. In that paper, Esselstyn used diet and cholesterol-lowering drugs, as I said above. Cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin) will lower a patient's cholesterol dramatically, and extend life in certain patients, with or without a low-cholesterol diet. If he wanted to demonstrate the effectiveness of his diet, he should have had one group on the diet, and one group on a normal diet. That study doesn't prove anything.

I have read the work of James Randi, Marcia Angell, John Ioannidis, and Ignaz Semmelweis. I've talked to some of them. I doubt that you've read the actual original articles that you're quoting. You're quoting out of context, you're using their work to prove your own beliefs that they don't agree with, and you're getting their ideas all wrong.

Re:"Teachable moments" about how science really wo (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44588395)

Are you suggesting Dr. Joel Fuhrman is lying (or self-deluding) about this patient? It only takes one anecdote to prove a possibility: []
"John Pawlikoski is a typical patient I see everyday. I am reporting his case here because he has been my patient for 10 years now, so I can report on his long-term results. He first came to see me at the age of 65 with a history of steadily worsening angina. His chest pains interfered with his daily life, so he was unable to perform physical work. He had a stress thallium test which suggested multi-vessel coronary artery disease. He then underwent a cardiac catherization, which revealed a 95 percent stenosis of the left anterior descending artery and had diffuse blockages throughout the left circumflex. He had normal heart function. His cholesterol was 218, with an LDL of 144. He weighed 180 pounds. He was on two medications - one for high blood pressure and nitroglycerin to relieve chest pains.
    Within a few weeks of following my dietary recommendations, his chest pains ceased, and he no longer required nitroglycerin. In two months, his weight dropped to 152, a loss of 28 pounds in eight weeks. He remains exactly at 152 pounds today, 10 years later. He has been entirely well these last ten years and is extremely physically active. He takes no medication, and his blood pressure is normal. His LDL cholesterol runs about 80, and his stress test has normalized too. He has no signs or symptoms of heart disease."

Or that Esselstyn is lying (or self-deluding) about these patients? []

More lies, including by a comment here which might be a paid shill?
"Caldwell Esselstyn MD - Reverse Heart Disease Study" []
"yycman1 wrote: I'm 45, and it will be one year in Nov. since I switched to a vegan diet to address my high cholesterol and blood pressure. ï After just 5 months, I was off 5 different medications...2 for high cholesterol, 2 for high blood pressure and one for prostate. My doctor was so impressed, he told me I made him want to eat better. A vegan diet really does work to reverse cholesterol and blood pressure issues. I was inspired by Bill Clinton to try this. I also lost 18 lbs. without exercising. Amazing!"

Or that Ornish is lying or self-deluded here? []
"In his 2007 book The Spectrum, Ornish describes patients waiting to undergo a heart transplant -- those with the worst possible damage -- who enrolled in his program while on the transplant list. Some of them, he says, improved so much that they no longer needed a transplant.
    "Our studies show that, with significant lifestyle changes, blood flow to the heart and its ability to pump normally improve in less than a month, and the frequency of chest pains fell by 90% in that time," Ornish says. "Within a year on our program, even severely blocked arteries in the heart became less blocked, and there was even more reversal after five years. That's compared with the natural history in other patients in our study, in which the heart just got worse and worse.""

And T. Colin Campbell is full of it, too? []

Still, as Upton Sinclair said: []
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

So, yes, I guess it is possible these MDs are lying to sell books, services, and such... They just don't strike me as such, but it's true, I might be deceived by their demeanor and presentations.

BTW, the text of Upton Sinclair's 1911 book on using fasting to cure (some types of) cancer from : []

Seems it has taken about a century for mainstream medicine to get around to exploring that (where is the money in telling patients not to eat for a while?): []

If you really want to understand the history of the politics of all this, look at: []

Anyway, more and more people are writing about this upcoming revolution in medicine from nutrition, vitamin D, iodine, etc. as best they can. And of course, none of that is new stuff -- with people talking about food, sunshine, and healing for thousands of years... But there is new research to support it, and new ways of connecting those ideas to our current lifestyle and politics. Examples: [] []

More stuff collected by me you are welcome to debunk: []

Guess this MD who cured her own progressive MS without drugs is lying or self-deluded too? []

Guess getting Medicare to cover reversing heart disease must be a scam, too: []
"Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease was the first program scientifically proven to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery. Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, an outpatient experiential program, is a non-invasive treatment option that combines four components to slow, stop and even reverse the progression of coronary artery disease. Since January 2011, after 16 years of internal and external review, Medicare has been covering Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease under a new benefit category, "intensive cardiac rehabilitation." Medicare will reimburse certified providers of the 72 hour training program for patients who have coronary heart disease. Many private insurance companies also cover this program, reimbursing for patients who have coronary heart disease and for patients who simply have risk factors for coronary heart disease."

This is probably lies? From there: "Here are the latest findings from all of the 3,780 patients who went through Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease via Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and West Virginia as of October 2011: ... Significant reductions in depression and hostility (the emotions most strongly linked with heart disease) after 12 weeks that were still significant after 1 year;"

What kind of quack would suggest hostility could be related to heart disease? Maybe some do-gooder should do some investigative research to that government waste by Medicare? Maybe there was some kickback to get it approved? Then we'll have more money to give to the heart surgeons to replace people's hearts with ones grown using mouse cells as scaffolds while also ignoring the clogged arteries in the rest of their bodies.

Why not debunk all of Ornish's pubs listed here? []

I mean, it would be crazy to think people published stuff in the 1990s about the effect of diet and lifestyle and heart disease and surgeons were still ignoring that. I mean, that would be like criminal malpractice, wouldn't it? That would just be unthinkable...

That might even be worse than dermatologist (in conjunction with the skin products industry) scaring their patients to avoid sunlight, with vitamin D deficiency leading to in an increase in autism and internal cancers and even external melanomas! [] [] []

Still, as an example from another medical industry about the spread of ideas, in Europe, Vets only remove the ovaries of dogs when they spay them, which works well. But in the USA where they remove the uterus too, and then it takes longer for the dog to heal it the US. But try to talk to US vets about doing anything different, and see what happens. [] []

Guess those US vets must be really generous -- doing a longer bigger operation just to be helpful, as opposed to just sticking with what they know and were taught in vet school decades ago. Lazy Europeans. And uncaring European owners, to want to not have to care for their pets as much when recovering from a bigger operation. Good thing in the USA we don't have their kind of European crazy health care that covers most everybody; where else would the incentive to become a billionaire and so create jobs for others come from if everyone had access to Elysium MedPods? :-) /sarcasm

Seriously though, there is so much conflict of interest in the medical industry, it's hard to know who to believe. You are correct to point out Fuhrman's conflict by selling various items on his website. Same for someone like Mercola. But it is easy to ignore the heart surgeons giving advice have a conflict of interest too. So do oncologists who get paid for administering chemotherapy. And so on. Good luck sorting this out for yourself.

And, beyond that, as is the case with canine spays in the USA, better techniques can take decades to spread, even with decades of success. From the veterinary practice news article: "A team from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, led by van Goethem, performed an extensive review of scientific articles published from 1969 to 2004. The conclusion of the Veterinary Surgery article is fairly straight-forward: "There is no benefit and thus no indication for removing the uterus during routine neutering in healthy bitches. Thus we believe that OE should be the procedure of choice for canine gonadectomy."

But the US vets still take out the uterus with a bigger incision and probably more pain... Of course, most dogs are not that complaining...

Diabetes is pretty much the same story (much is reversible by diet). As much of cancer is preventable by diet, and some (not all) is likely curable by diet and fasting and its recurrence preventable. This is by Fuhrman, but others say much the same: []

But cardiologists, endocrinologists, and oncologists have a net negative benefit to their livelihood by thinking about any of that. That is the tremendous mostly untold story of modern medicine in the USA.

I don't agree with everything Fuhrman says, but he is a hero to say what he says and take a stand. As is Ornish, Essylsten, McDougal, Weil, and several others.

So, in reality, as illustrated by these examples, many medical practitioners in practice often care little about what works for the patient or what makes sense logically or what the literature says. I'm not saying they don't care at all (some people go into medicine to help others), but a busy doctor in a busy practice also facing the risk of malpractice for departing from what their peers also do is going to do what they do what they were trained to do long ago. That may have been the best their teachers knew how to train them perhaps -- but it is also spun from the point of view of what makes a monetarily successful practice, which in the USA includes having something fancy or rare to sell.

Also, as the New Yorker article I linked to says, the spread of new ideas is a strange and haphazard thing, and unless there is overwhelming immediate benefit to the practitioner, it generally takes a huge investment to make a change happen. And where is the profit usually in that at the individual level?

By the way, if one of the people you talked to included Ignaz Semmelweis, please let me know how you accomplished that. Might be money in it? :-)

Anyway, your post in this thread got modded up to 5 Informative, my reply got modded down, so I guess you can pat yourself on the back for in practice convincing slashdotters not to eat better to prevent and reverse heart disease. Ka-ching for the heart surgeons!

They should not read this as it might impact their profits: []
"Modern cardiology has given up on curing heart disease. Its aggressive interventions-- coronary artery bypass graft, atherectomy, angioplasty, and stenting--do not reduce the frequency of new heart attacks or prolong survival except in small subsets of patients.' For most patients these procedures do not treat life-threatening plaques.1'2 Thus, it is clear that the goal of cardiology has become the relief of pain and unpleasant symptoms in the face of progressive disability and often death from disease. It is time to call this approach by its true name: palliative cardiology. It is also time to acknowledge that this approach is not the only alternative for our patients.
    In this article, I will present converging lines of evidence (many of them well-known and universally accepted) reiterating that when serum cholesterol levels are maintained 150 mg/dl, coronary artery disease is practically nonexistent.3'4 In a small group of my own patients, a 12-year follow-up shows prospective data confirming that a low-fat diet and lipid- lowering medication causes disease to halt or regress. I will also show that this fact can--and must--be made on the basis of a truly curative cardiology that prevents, halts, and selectively reverses heart disease."

I have no doubt that all this stuff on nutrition could be improved. But is going to take a lot of work and funding. And there is not profit in it, except at the individual level for your own family's health and the social level to reduce medical expenses if we had a single payer tax-funded system. Even insurance companies benefit from rapidly expanding sick care costs because they essentially get a percentage of the total. It's a mess. And we've been a century digging it since the Flexner report and similar things.

With bullshit like the boiled frog argument ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44585367)

With bullshit like the boiled frog argument ...

"A gruesome tale
If a frog is placed in a pan of water, it often just sits there. If the pan is heated, ever so slowly, the frog may never notice that the water temperature is rising. He will âoeget used toâ the increasing heatâ"and may be unaware that anything is amiss. Even with no barrier to his escape, he is as likely as not to sit in the panâ"and boil to death. His sensory capabilities may fail to adequately warn him that action is required for his survival, and he may only survive if the heat is turned down." []

Why should we believe anything else this quack says?

Re:Most heart disease is curable by diet... (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#44588263)

Most heart disease is curable by diet...

In theory, so is recently-onset Type-2 Diabetes.

In the past year, I've maybe encountered about 3 patients that actually managed the feat, though. Lifestyle change is a surprisingly difficult thing to implement, even when life and limb are literally at stake.

It takes a village with knowledge of old wisdoms (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44589807) [] []
"Our team of experts Dan Burden, Dr. Brian Wansink, and Dr. Leslie Lytle, empowered the community to make a few small lifestyle and environmental changes. Citizens improved in four areas: eating better, becoming more active, connecting with one another and finding a greater sense of purpose, and reaped the positive benefits of revitalizing their bodies, their spirits and their town.
The community made a variety of changes including adding workplace wellness policies, revised restaurant menu and vending machine offerings, community gardens, walking clubs, walking school buses and new hiking trails.
    Community Successes
* Life expectancy increased an average of 3.1 years
* Participants lost a collective 12,000 pounds
* An average 21% drop in absenteeism by key employers
* City employees showed a 40% decrease in health care costs"

Yes, people are up against tough odds. But isn't the point of a "health care" as opposed to "sick care" system to help people succeed in implementing known effective solutions towards greater health?

Related resources on diabetes reversal with various slightly different approaches -- McDougal may be easier for many than Fuhrman as far as diet -- and medically suprvised fastign may work for others: [] [] [] [] [] []

All have similarities. By reducing foods with high glycemic loads, in the diet, while also reducing a person's body fat, and also improving the nutrient density of the food so the human body works better in general, and also getting adequate vitamin D and exercise which also help improve bodily functioning, most Type 2 diabetics can reach the point where they do not need supplemental insulin or other drugs because their needs for insulin have fallen to what their bodies can manage without aid.

But yes, it can be hard. Maybe the biggest part of the issue is that doctors are trained to write permission slips for unhealthy behavior (called prescriptions) instead of being trained in how to help patients change their lifestyle. How many hours of training does the typical MD have in lifestyle discussions? Especially in the ten minutes at most a typical doctor will spend with a typical patient. More than ten minutes, and a doctor's partners will yell at him or her.

And where is the sick care system's profit in curing diabetes? There is so much money to be made in glucose test strips, drug prescription renewals, insulin pump operations, amputations, and so on. There is a fundamental conflict of interest here.

Meanwhile, when a patient does not make the change, the doctor can just blame the subsequent health problems on genetics and the patient's lack of willpower to follow whatever advice was haphazardly given. Convenient for the well-paid doctor.

Contrast with the advice from the True North Health Center which includes training on how to cook healthier ood (as do other like McDougal's approach): [] []

Contrast also with, say the Patch Adam's vision of health care, which includes (for good or bad) doctors poking their clowned-up noses in their patients cupboards and refrigerators. []

Then there is the Cuban way: []
"Malnutrition created epidemics, but it had positive effects too. Manuel Franco describes the Special Period as "the first, and probably the only, natural experiment, born of unfortunate circumstances, where large effects on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality have been related to sustained population-wide weight loss as a result of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake".[20]" []

WWII Britain is another example.

More positively though, Cuba does have a lot of local health centers (for all of Cuba's other problems).

Wish I had known all this decades ago, as my late mother suffered from diabetes and got three insulin shots a day and four finger sticks for blood monitoring. I gave her some of them after my father passed away while caring for her. She also had dementia (another somewhat diet related illness oftentimes) so she could not do it herself. To think, even later in the nursing home, that could have just been reversed. In theory, both my parents still might be here in their nineties with a healthier diet -- and what's more, they would not have suffered so much their last couple decades of life. Instead, they got some of the best medical care available in the USA, all covered by four different overlapping health insurances. As did a sister, who got the best heart operations and has been dead for years from heart failure. Well, I can only try to help others (and myself) with this knowledge.

You are right though -- it remains a challenge. There is so much money to be made selling junk food or producing it, and then treating and palliating the results, instead of preventing or curing the diseases with healthy foods. And that extends all the way into our farm politics and our school educations: [] [],_monsanto,_and_the_u.s._dairy_industry []

A physician I know recommended Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" book for a time, and hardly any patients bought it, and only a couple tried it. So, yes, there is a big issue here. Part of it though is probably physician training. It is easier to be more convincing if you have seen the success in action. And then you need some good ways of phrasing things. And encouraging. And tracking results.

Beyond that, it's really tough to address all these societal root causes. I feel the US needs more "wellness centers" like True North. If you are in medicine (if they were your patients?), maybe you should consider starting a residential wellness center? Something hands on. Show people what is possible for a week or a month "health" vacation. Something to show type 2 diabetics they can be off insulin in the right circumstance, like in the "Raw for 30" movie. Something to show people how to shop, how to prepare tasty vegetable dishes, how to use a VitaMix to make green smoothies and banana sorbet, and so on.

Anyway, the starting point for knowledge and then success is often to admit our ignorance. A doctor who admits he or she is clueless about getting patients to live a healthy lifestyle has taken a first step on a road to success in community wellness.

Sounds Great (2)

lazarus (2879) | about a year ago | (#44579297)

Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

Seriously though, I wonder how long it will be before brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Pick's disease and the like are considered the most catastrophic things that can happen to you as other body parts become easier to grow and replace.

Re:Sounds Great (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#44579329)

Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

We've got it! []
Liver Stem Cells Grown in Culture, Transplanted With Demonstrated Therapeutic Benefit

You are a mouse, aren't you?

Re:Sounds Great (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#44579693)

Now please start working on a replacement for my liver.

Seriously though, I wonder how long it will be before brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Pick's disease and the like are considered the most catastrophic things that can happen to you as other body parts become easier to grow and replace.

The liver is pretty easy. I was in Hannover Germany a few years ago and they had flushed the cells off of a pig liver and grown cells from a human liver onto it to make a functioning liver. I don't know how far that has come since then. The heart is a bit more difficult with the moving and all.

Big mouse (2)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44579429)

The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts

The mouse will have to be rather big...

Re:Big mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44583951)

The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts

The mouse will have to be rather big...

I hear they're using Rodents of Unusual Size.

don't think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579701)

so called heart is beating on its own... reckon the scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are having something to do with it

deep thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44579877)

G: they can write now.
J: on paper?
G: well, scrolls.
J: See ya in a few days.
G: and don't drink. you know what happens when.. alright, seeya

Whew! (3, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#44580245)

Every time I think I have to quite smoking and drinking and all those other things I do in the mornings something like this comes to the rescue.

Re:Whew! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44580411)

Smoking and drinking effects all of your body; not just your heart. Most importantly, it effects your brain.

Re:Whew! (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year ago | (#44590859)


Re:Whew! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44594347)

You can't just cut your skull open and replace your brain with a new one. Not unless you want your memories (and thus your identity) to go bye-bye along with it. Perhaps you were just joking. But in all seriousness, your brain defines who you are. If you can't take care of it, what's the point in repairing the rest of your body other than to ease pain and suffering? If you mind goes, to hell with the rest of your body.

Opt out vs opt in for organ donation (2)

liquid_schwartz (530085) | about a year ago | (#44580933)

I've never understood why the organ shortage couldn't be solved, or at least improved, by making it an "opt out" system instead of an "opt in" system. My understanding is that the organs are thrown away anyhow when the body is prepared for a funeral. If people really want to not donate that's OK, just let them opt out. Anyone know more about this and why it might not be a good idea?

The future of heart transplant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582861)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of mice hearts.....

I heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44582971)

But I heard mouse-grown human hearts only work on guys named Mickey.... :-/

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