What I Learn from the Anti-Aging Medicine Conferences

Last week, Mary Ann and I attended the World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas.  This is a meeting we attend annually, and each year we return with new and exciting information.

My focus was again on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and I am never disappointed with my time spent with the world leaders in this field.  The overall philosophy of this branch of medicine is to help our patients prevent disease and to maintain function throughout their lives, long into old age.

-Dr. P

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Prenatal Genetic Testing – A New, Non-Invasive Procedure!

…..Prenatal Genetic TestingPrenatal genetic testing is used to determine the risk of a fetus having an abnormal chromosome.  Finding the fetus with an abnormality at the 21, 13, or 18th chromosome at an early fetal age and with a non-invasive technique has been the quest of many investigators over the past 50 years.  Every decade seems to bring a new and exciting way to help the pregnant woman determine the health of the baby she is carrying.

Now the pace of new developments in the science of prenatal genetic testing is moving at a rate that was unimaginable just a few short years ago.  A non-invasive fetal diagnosis now appears to be practical because cell-free fetal DNA can be found in the mother’s blood and can be used for genetic testing.  These new techniques will gradually replace the invasive procedures such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis.

…..With all the new advances, the testing and counseling for genetic fetal evaluation is evolving, so it is important to discuss these new frontiers with your medical team.

-Dr. P

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Why Finding Out if You Have Cancer Genes Is Imperative

…..Breast cancer and Lynch syndrome genes are carried by over one million people in the United States, and these two conditions are associated with the most common hereditary gynecological cancers.  At present, only a very small percentage of the women who carry these genes have been identified.  Therefore, the protocols that can be used to decrease the risk of dying from the cancers that these genes can cause are not being instituted.

…..GenesOur family history will be the first indication that these genes may be a part of our genetic pool, and this can lead to testing for our carrier status.  If identified, the cancer screening tests start earlier for the individual carrier and for their relatives in future generations.

…..We must remember that, based on family history, about ten percent of women are at an increased risk for a gynecological cancer.  Due to the increased risk of breast, ovarian, colorectal, and prostate cancer, which is determined from the family history, a more intense and earlier testing program may be needed.

…..A woman with a first degree relative with breast cancer has an increased risk for developing that cancer, and it is greater if that cancer was found in that relative before the age of 50.  A first degree relative is a parent, brother, sister, or child.

-Dr. P

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A Way to Help Determine the Status of Your Weight

Weight control is a major concern for most of us.  As menopause approaches, many women experience an increase in their weight, with about 70% being overweight.  Body mass index (BMI) is a commonly used calculation that quantifies where our weight is, and when using this classification, about 50% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are considered obese.

Using a person’s height and weight, body mass index can be calculated, giving us a guide to where we stand with regards to our weight.  A BMI of 24 to 29 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.  Let us look at where some weights fall:

  • At 5 ft. 1 in. a BMI of 24 to 29 corresponds to a weight of 130 to 150 lbs.
  • At 5 ft. 1 in. a BMI of 30 corresponds to a weight of 160 lbs.
  • At 5 ft. 6 in. a BMI of 24 to 29 corresponds to 155 to 180 lbs.
  • At 5 ft. 6 in. a BMI of 30 corresponds to a weight of 185 lbs.

Remember that this BMI number is not an exact measurement of body fat but it alerts us to where our weight status lies and gives us an indication of our risks for developing the complications of obesity.  These include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and many other medical conditions.

BMI Chart Larger

-Dr. P

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This Past Stormy Month and a Conference

I cannot believe a month has passed since I wrote my last blog; it has been an interesting month.  First, I hope all of my friends in the New York area are getting back to normal after Sandy.  On Long Island where I live, the damage along the coast has been devastating, and the strength of my neighbors has been heroic.  Mary Ann and I just returned to our home after 2 weeks when the electric came back on.  We were very lucky with only tree damage, so no complaints in our home.This Past Stormy Month and a Conference

We participated in a wonderful conference in Atlanta concerning Female Sexuality.  It concentrated on many aspects of the sexual experience with a major focus on vulva, vaginal, and pelvic pain.  We must become more open about these problems, and it is my hope to help relieve these concerns with many of my patients in the future.

-Dr. P

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One Possible Way to Decrease Your Chance of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

One Possible Way Decrease Alzheimer’s Smaller BlogI recently came upon an article which touched upon a walking program that could decrease the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Some studies have suggested that by walking about a mile each day, you can dramatically decrease your risk.

It seems that this decreases the mental losses by improving Reduce Alzheimer's Diseasethe blood flow to the brain and therefore keeping the brain cells healthier.  So one of the easiest exercises available to all, again shows great benefit.

Let us then begin a review of this exercise!

  • There are very few medical conditions that prevent us from walking.  Of course, always check with your medical professional before starting a new program.  Beginning at a slow pace in a safe area is a perfect way to start.
  • Good walking footwear is important, and replacement every 6 months or when the cushion of the heal wears is a must.
  • You should start with a few minutes of a mild warm-up with mild stretching.

-Dr. P

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Gonorrhea – A Condition Which Often Lacks Symptoms

…..teenage depression - teen woman sitting thinkingNext in my series about sexually transmitted infections in adolescents, we will be discussing gonorrhea.

…..Gonorrhea is a common STI in the adolescent and young adult population (15 to 25).  There are about 750,000 cases each year, with women having a slightly higher rate than men.  We should use the same targeted screening that is used for chlamydial infections (with all women under 25 being tested).  The same risk factors are associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia, and with both, more than 50% of women are asymptotic.

…..When there are symptoms, they may include vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, or pain with urination.  Again, if there is a delay in diagnosing and implementing the treatment of an infection, severe pelvic problems can develop.

…..There are specific antibiotic protocols for treatment that are available.  These days, consideration must be made for antibiotic resistance, which has been developing.  Lastly, with all persons found to have gonorrhea, there should be testing for HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia.

-Dr. P

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Herpes, Type 1 and Type 2

…..The weather on Long Island continues to be perfect beach weather; I hope everyone is taking the time to enjoy the outdoors, spending wonderful times with family and friends.

…..Let’s get back to our review of the herpes simplex virus (HSV).  HSV is a DNA virus classified into two subtypes, 1 and 2, based on various proteins making up the virus.  HSV-1 is primarily the cause of herpes of the mouth and in the past was said to be the cause of infections above the waist.  It can also be responsible for genital infections, and these infections are becoming more common, especially among young women.

…..HSV-2 is almost always a genital infection.  The virus is spread through direct contact with mucosa (moist tissue like the vagina and lips/mouth) or damaged, irritated skin.  Incubation of the virus lasts for about a week, and the virus then reproduces in the superficial layers of the skin, causing inflammation and damage.  During the first infection, the virus enters the nerve cells and becomes dormant.  The virus can reactivate and cause ulcerative disease or shed without any symptoms.

…..Let me leave you with a few interesting factsH2:

  • In the US, 20% of women have had an HSV-2 infection
  • Most infections are spread by those who are unaware of having HSV
  • Recurrent disease is more common in those with type 2, compared to those with type 1

-Dr. P

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