Category Archives: Blog

ED & Prostate Cancer Surgery

Men who undergo a nerve-sparing prostatectomy (prostate removal) by robot-assisted laparascopy may be more likely to regain their erectile function than men who undergo the ‘open’ surgery, say German researchers at the University Hospital Leipzig.

Laparascopic prostate removal is performed through small, keyhole-sized incisions. Traditional ‘open’ prostate removal requires a long incision down the abdomen.

Researchers at the German hospital studied 422 men, 67 years and younger, who had normal erectile function (EF) before their prostatectomy. All the men had localized prostate cancer i.e. the cancer had not spread beyond the prostate gland.

Following surgery, patients in the study received either tadalafil (commonly marketed as Cialis for ED) or a placebo (sugar pill) after surgery for nine months. This period was followed by a six-week drug-free ‘washout.’

Men who had a robot-assisted laparoscopy were 2.4 times more likely to have erectile function recovery at the conclusion of the drug-free washout when compared to the open-surgery group.

Got CKD?

piece of a grilled steak on a forkHigh-acid diets linked with kidney failure.

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who consumed high-acid diets were three times more likely to develop kidney failure than those patients with CKD who consumed a low-acid diet, reports a study that will appear in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

A low-acid diet is rich in fruits and vegetables. A high acid diet contains more meat.

Researchers at the University of California – San Francisco, conducted the study.  They analyzed the retrospective data of 1486 adult patients with CKD, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III), a large national and continuous program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional needs of adults and children in the United States.

Mom was right: eat more fruits and vegetables…

Bladder cancer & smoking

iStock_000014086794SmallAre smokers in denial?

Smoking is not only bad for your lungs it’s bad for your kidneys too. ‘Lighting up’ more than doubles your risk of developing kidney cancer and increases your likelihood of the deadliest form of renal (kidney) cancer. Smoking produces toxins that can languish in the urine. Active smokers repeatedly expose their kidneys to these toxins, which over time, can result in bladder cancer.

UCLA researchers developed a study to characterize bladder cancer patients’ knowledge of tobacco use and their malignancy. They surveyed 790 bladder cancer survivors who were diagnosed between 2006 and 2009.

Researchers found that active smokers were more likely to acknowledge tobacco use as a risk factor for bladder cancer, and that smokers who cite their urologist as their information source were 2.8 times likely to believe that tobacco use caused their cancer.

The study is purportedly the first to establish that informed bladder cancer patients acknowledge their smoking habit caused their cancer.

Kidney stone relief

Kidney stonesKidney stone sufferers need a new drug, and drugs used to treat leukemia may help one day.

A class of drugs used to treat leukemia and epilepsy may also be effective against kidney stones, says a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The drugs are a type of enzyme called HDAC inhibitors.

Two HDAC drugs – Vorinostat and trichostatin A – lowered levels of calcium and magnesium in the urine in a study with mice without significant side effects.

Kidney stones form when urine becomes too concentrated allowing calcium and magnesium to crystallize. One drug used sometimes to treat kidney stones – thiazide – reduces calcium in urine but increases magnesium, countering its effectiveness.

A better way to biopsy prostate cancer?

iStock_000000371304SmallTargeted biopsy allows for more accuracy.

The new method fuses or combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ‘real-time’ ultrasound.  ‘Real-time’ means the image is acquired as the exam is being performed. It’s not a stored image obtained days or weeks earlier.

‘Targeted biopsy’ allows the physician to zero in on suspicious areas as opposed to the traditional, prostate biopsy of random or ‘blind’ tissue sampling. The new method detects prostate cancer with greater accuracy.  It also helps to better stage prostate cancer when the disease is detected. This, in turn, can help prostate cancer patients who are considering active surveillance.

Physicians also believe that targeted biopsies will be particularly helpful to men who have persistently high PSA levels but who routinely test negative for prostate cancer.

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