Monthly Archives: February 2011

Complex Migraine vs. Stroke

There has been a lot of talk about what happened to Serene Branson, the CBS newscaster who appeared to be suffering from a stroke on live television, over the past few days. It’s now been made clear that what she actually suffered from was what’s called a “complex migraine” or “migraine with aura”, which can mimic the symptoms of a stroke including slurred speech and blurred vision. It’s a rare condition but not damaging or life threatening like an actual stroke would have been. I’m sure that the widespread attention this has gotten has made people curious about strokes though; what they are, how they happen, how to prevent them, and that’s what I would like to cover today. Before I move on to that though, for people who haven’t seen the video I mentioned we covered it on a Fox News segment which can be found here. To start, lets talk about what a stroke is. Your blood carries oxygen to all of the organs in your body and cells can not survive without this constant supply of oxygen. A stroke occurs when something happens in your body that [...]

The Pros and Cons of Avodart

Over the past year there has been a lot of talk about a drug called “Avodart” (generic name: dutasteride) that is used to shrink enlarged prostates and the effects that it can have as a treatment option for prostate cancer. I did a TV spot about it back in May of last year which can be found here. Recently the FDA rejected its use as a drug for reducing prostate cancer risk because its benefits did not outweigh the risks associated with it, such as suppressing PSA levels which are one of the few methods doctors have of monitoring patients for aggressive forms of prostate cancer. The drug was tested in a study of 8,200 patients at risk for developing prostate cancer, and while it was found to reduce overall incidences of the disease by 23% over 4 years this was only seen in less aggressive forms with no reduction in rates of aggressive life-threatening cancers. Another study was performed in about 300 patients with confirmed slow growing low-risk forms of prostate cancer to see the effect Avodart has on patients who already have the disease. It was found that [...]

Link Suggested Between Early Balding and Prostate Cancer

A new study led by Philippe Giraud out of the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, France and published in the Annals of Oncology suggests that there may be a link between men who start balding early in life and the risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. The claim is made that men who started losing their hair in their 20’s are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than those who start to lose it in their 30’s and 40’s. The study is interesting because it links early balding (called androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness) with prostate cancer by what is believed to be a common cause between them; the levels of sex hormones in the body called androgens. Previous studies have been conducted that show high androgen levels to be a contributor to early male pattern baldness as well as increased risk of prostate cancer. The way in which the researches came to their conclusion was to survey a group of 388 men currently being treated for prostate cancer, with a group of 281 men as a cancer-free control group. They were all shown a [...]

Depression in Men

Today I would like to discuss an issue that many men like to avoid discussing – depression. Each year 12 million women are diagnosed with depression, but only 6 million men are. Why is there such a discrepancy? For some reason, and this goes for many conditions, men are much more reluctant to seek the help of a doctor than women are, and thus fewer men are actually diagnosed with this disease. This trend in men has a large impact on our overall health as well as life expectancy. In fact men die at a higher rate than women for all of the top 10 causes of death, with the top 5 causes for men being: Heart disease, stroke, depression, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Many people don’t actually understand what depression is or the effects it has on the body. This is because “depression” can take on many forms and has many causes. Depression is a systemic disease with a root in the altered thoughts and mood of the affected person. I discussed in a previous post about diabetes that a systemic disease is one that affects multiple organs [...]

New Advancements in Prostate Cancer Treatment

There have been a few big advancements in prostate cancer treatment over the past couple of weeks that I wanted to discuss today. A big one is the mapping of the entire genome of a prostate cancer cell. This gives us a “blueprint” of the cancer which we can use to learn more about it and how it works, how it develops, and how it spreads. By mapping other cancerous cells researches can look at the similarities and differences between various types of prostate cancer. This can help us better identify the types of cancer that are more aggressive and likely to spread to other parts of the body. By identifying the exact type of cancer a patient has we can also custom tailor drug and treatment options to use what we know will work best on their particular form of cancer. A separate set of research looked at prostate cancer tissue and found that specific gene sequences in some tumors could indicate the presence of a more aggressive form of the disease. By combining this information with traditional tests the accuracy of determining whether a cancer will be aggressive [...]

Diabetes in America Today

The other day I linked to one of my Fox News segments talking about the dangers of diabetes and pre-diabetes; both of which are huge concerns in the United States and for good reason. The rise in type 2 diabetes goes hand in hand with our country’s increasing obesity rates and we need to start taking action against both of these issues. Diabetes is a systemic disease, meaning it affects a number of organs and can cause blindness, heart disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Diabetes is actually the 7th leading cause of death in the US. It is not a disease to be taken lightly but people do so every day by not eating properly and not getting appropriate amounts of exercise. According to the CDC over 1/3 of the country is affected by either diabetes or pre-diabetes. To put that as an actual number - the population of the United States is almost 309 million people. 105 million of those people are currently or will have to face this disease in their lifetime unless they make the effort to adjust their lifestyles. That right there [...]

Health Information Available on YouTube

As many know my main focus relates to prostate cancer and robotic prostate removal surgery. However, I often have the opportunity to discuss a variety of medical health topics as a member of Fox News’ Medical “A-Team”. We do many segments on different forms of cancer, but also cover a lot of general health information relating to weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, medical research, current events, and more. There’s really a large amount of information available that could be very beneficial to everyone regardless of how healthy you may be. Even people who are in great health, eat correctly, and take care of themselves surely know someone who may not take their health as seriously, and it’s always helpful to be able to share accurate health information with them when they need it. That’s why we publish all of my Fox News segments on my YouTube channel which can be found here. There are over 100 videos covering a very wide range of subject matter so there’s really something here for everyone. If you’re a registered YouTube member you can rate and comment on these videos, subscribe to my channel [...]

Bringing SMART Surgery to Israel / The Future of Robotic Surgery

Towards the end of December I had the fortune of traveling to Israel to demonstrate my SMART surgery technique to the skilled surgeons at Rambam Hospital, located in Haifa in the northern part of Israel. This was the very first SMART surgery performed in Israel, and in addition to that was Rambam hospital’s very first robotic prostatectomy using the da Vinci robot – generously funded by the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York, the Wolfson Foundation, the Crown Foundation, Alan C. Mendelson, and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. It was a great privilege to be able to teach my technique to others in an effort to improve the quality of life for those surviving prostate cancer through this high-tech nerve sparing method. I worked closely with Dr. Jack Baniel of the Rabin Medical Center Petah Tikvah, Israel, and Dr. Jacob Ramon of Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital, Tel Aviv to launch what has become an international effort to mentor colleagues and share ideas on how to better serve our patients around the world. Robotic surgery truly is the future, not only for the benefits of [...]