Sunday, November 25, 2012

Little bits of knowledge all add up

As a practicing, board certified plastic surgeon, I have a responsibility to keep up with news in the field of health and medicine. Here are a couple of tidbits you may find interesting:


The FDA recently approved a new topical anesthetic cream called Pliaglis.  It is a cream designed to be used on intact adult skin.  It can be applied before laser resurfacing, laser tattoo removal or before injectables such as Restylene.


Artificial skin has done much to improve the treatment of large surface area burns.  Now researchers at Stanford have developed a new artificial skin that can actually conduct electrical charges.  You might ask why is this important?  This is how skin signals the brain to promote healing.


A new Danish study tracked the health and physical appearances of over 11,000 people over the age of 40.  Four signs of aging revealed increased risk of cardiovascular disease – receding temple hairline, baldness at the crown of the head, creases in the earlobes and yellow fatty deposits on the eyelids medially.  More common signs of aging such as graying hair and wrinkles did not seem to correlate with heart disease.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How you look may be a sign of health

A new, Danish study tracked the health and physical appearances of over 11,000 people over the age of 40.  

Four signs of aging revealed increased risk of cardiovascular disease – receding temple hairline, baldness at the crown of the head, creases in the earlobes and yellow fatty deposits on the eyelids medially.  

More common signs of aging such as graying hair and wrinkles did not seem to correlate with heart disease.

As a practicing surgeon, I can assure you that your doctor won't mind you checking with him if these symptoms concern you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weight Control - The Dance of Sysyphus?

The Greek legend of mythical Sysyphus was the tale of a person with the task of rolling a larger stone up a slope, only to reach the top and have it roll back to where he started. Who among us has not had a similar struggle, at one time or another, with weight control? Even I, as a Board Certified cosmetic surgeon practicing in Fort Myers, have had my challenges.

It is one of the biggest news items of late; the alarming rate of obesity in America.  As young medical students, the only information we had was a small monograph on vitamins.  How things have changed.  I saw some statistics on obesity in America.  It was frightening to see how America has walked the plank from around 1970 until today.  Check it out.

As I grow older I realize more than ever that we are what we eat.  Getting one’s weight under control produces so many benefits for your overall health – perhaps lower blood pressure – better control of your diabetes – more energy – less strain on your joints.  The list goes on.

I also realize that one size does not fit everyone so my approach is to offer 3 diet plans and hopefully one will be just right for you.  Success in dieting requires two things, in my opinion.  One – you must be committed.  If not, you are wasting your money.  Secondly, I think success depends on some form of exercise.  No, you don’t need to run a marathon but after dinner walk around the block a few times – swim a few laps in the pool or if your office is on the 3rd or 4th floor – climb the stairs – don’t take the elevator.

Diet One:          PhenTabz Rx

This is the easiest of our diet plans.  I’ve tried it and lost about 15 pounds. Then, I went away for awhile – got off of it and putthe pounnds back on.  Basically, the diet calls for one PhenTabx Rx tablet about 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch with a glass of water.  You don’t take any at dinner.  These tablets will cut down on your craving for snacks.  It is an aid to help control your cravings for food.  What I liked about PhenTabz Rx is that you DO NOT feel nervous or jittery.  Again, motivation is the key and some aerobic exercise will go along way to help you achieve your weight loss.  Once your weight has stabilized you may want to only take one a day.  Simple, easy and effective in a well motivated patient.

Diet Two:         Weight Loss by Design

This second diet is called the “Metabolic Miracle” or Weight Loss by Design.  This diet was developed by a biochemist, Dr. Cindy Ferraro.  During her studies, she came to realize that each individual has a biochemical makeup that is unique to that person.  She also realized that foods have biochemical fingerprints as well.  So the natural question to be asked is what would happen if we matched peoples unique biochemical makeup to certain foods that matched their makeup.  She created a biochemical metabolic profile and provided foods that matched that profile.  The results were remarkable.  People eating biochemically matched foods 6 days per week with a “treat day” lost weight.  These are foods that you prepare for yourself.  No pre-packaged / pre-prepared foods.  She also recommends light exercise.

After offering her diet services for thousands of individuals, she launched “The Metabolic Miracle”.  The results revealed over 90% of people completed the program.  Patients were remarkably  compliant because as they put it, they ate real food!  Obesity is an epidemic for sure with over 400,000 people dying every year because of obesity or its side effects.

Why does “The Metabolic Miracle” work?

This program makes available to the patient daily counseling, e-mail and/or phone support.  Some individuals need more hand holding and support.

The counselors will work with you on stress levels and how to decrease them.

They will offer strategies to cope with stress.

They also offer suggestions on exercise programs.

They provide you with daily menus – no daily weighing of food or portions – no pre-packaged foods and they can still eat out at restaurants.  Also, there is an added bonus. One day a week you can cheat.  Indulge in a little pizza or maybe a little ice cream.

This is a great diet because it is customized to your needs – your unique biochemical makeup.  You also have access to counselors daily via phone or e-mail.

Again – motivation is big and exercise is a big plus.

Diet Three:       Physicians Health and Diet Program

This is a program directed by physicians that has been in place for well over 14 years.  Thousands of physicians around the country have used this successfully with their patients.  The products are produced by a company called WIN (Wellness International Network, LTD).  Their products are listed in the PDR or Physicians Desk Reference.  Their products are manufactured from the finest ingredients using the most advanced manufacturing technique.  Each product is formulated to provide great quality and outstanding performance.  Their products are used by the whole spectrum of people from professional athletes/Olympians to the infamous weekend warrior.

The Physician Weight Loss program involves the use of 5 non-prescription diet aids.

1.      Biolean – This is an ephedra-free formulation to help curb your appetite and speed up the fat burning process.

2.      Biolean Free – This allows your body to convert proteins, fat and carbohydrates into heat energy.  This helps restore your bodies energy level.

3.      Accelerator – This product extends the heat generating activities of Biolean and Biolean Free.

4.      Lipotrim  - This helps potentiate weight loss effects of Biolean and Biolean Free.

5.      Satiete’ – This helps curb your craving for sweets and stabilized moods and enhances sleep quality.

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Chinese Regulations for Plastic Surgery

I guess cosmetic surgery is quite popular in China – so much so that new laws are being passed to quell it’s popularity, especially among minors.  

In Guongzhow China, the capital of Guongdong province in southern China, a law was recently passed to require parents consent for any minor undergoing cosmetic surgery.  

I guess prior to the law a young “minor” could walk into a plastic surgeons office and get the “works”.  Kind of frightening, to this Florida plastic surgeon.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is fat a new way to control aging?

Fat is everywhere – on everyone’s mind -  too much in our bodies. 

But, we now are learning fat may hold the key to anti-aging.  

Plastic surgeons have recognized molecular changes in certain molecules that my be markers for aging in our cells.  The research was done at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.  

The researchers studied changes in histone genes by removing fat from the abdomen of patients during liposuction.  They separated out of the lipoaspirate fat cells and stem cells.  They noticed changes in histoner and other molecules that regulate gene activity.  If these changes could be reversed they may be able to prevent aging.  

Histones and the organization of your genes are critical to how we age.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caught with her hand in the cookie jar

I recently read where an employee of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got caught stealing from the agency to have $10,000 worth of liposuction performed.  

Ms. Jamilah Franklin also wrote $15,000 in “convenience” checks for herself and friends for various things such as rent.  She was placed on 3 years probation and ordered to repay $25,177.00 in restitution.  She now is a “former” employee.  

With all the new enrollees in the food stamp program, more fraud is occurring.  I had a phone call from a lady who wanted to pay for her tummy tuck in Fort Myers with food stamp vouchers!  Unfortunately the bigger government gets, the more opportunities for waste, fraud and corruption.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

New Weapon in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

A company called First Warning Systems Inc. in Reno, Nevada has developed a new technology to aid in the EARLY detection of breast cancer. 

Breast cancer cells need to establish a good blood supply to continue to grow.  The development of new blood supply to a tumor creates a measurable temperature change.  As a breast lesion goes from normal to malignant, the thermal fingerprint of the lesion will change as well.  In order for a breast cancer to be large enough to be felt or palpated it must go through 30 tumor doubling times.  After 30 doubling times the lesion maybe 1 cm. which is small.  

The goal of the First Warning Breast System is to pick up breast cancers even before they reach 1 cm. in size.  Different types have different  thermal patterns.  By utilizing this new technology one can help identify early malignancies from benign breast growths.  

As a Florida breast surgeon, I need to do a little more research but it is exciting. 

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Diabetes and Coronary Artery Surgery

Stents - those little mesh structures inserted in the arteries to keep the flow of blood uninhibited - have been a major innovation in re-establishing blood flow to a damaged heart muscle.  It's simple – just an overnight stay – no more cracking the chest to have open heart surgery.  

A recent study of over 1900 patients with diabetes found that patients who received open heart operations versus stents, however, were 30% less likely to die or suffer a heart attack or stroke within 5 years.  This is significant. It will certainly change choices patients make, as have so many new findings that come across my desk. Even after more than 30 years as a cosmetic surgeon in Florida, I am continually surprised by how much we learn and how much it stands to improve patient outcomes..

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Raspberry Ketone Diet

Recently I keep seeing ads touting the “new” raspberry ketone diet. 

This, like so many, is the new holy grail of weight loss.  

But hold on!  There was an interesting article about it in the Wall Street Journal.  Raspberry ketones give raspberries their natural aroma.  A study was done by Japanese researchers in 2005 that showed mice fed a high fat diet AND raspberry ketone gained less weight than mice fed a high fat diet alone. 

To my knowledge as a Cape Coral cosmetic surgeon no studies have been done on humans.  But the media hypes it and people buy it.  One thing to keep in mind, studies done in mice don’t necessarily translate the same results in humans.  

More research in humans is needed.  Sorry!

Update: This subject has received a ton of comments. While we are grateful the the implied endorsement of those who comment, we can' vet them all and we from time to time post dubious websites. We certainly don't endorse them, but merely include them for your evaluation. May 2013 shine on you with bounty. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obesity Woes Increase

We all know the damaging effects of obesity on our health. Or, at least, we should. New dangers are being identified everyday.  

For example, obese mice tend to have decreases in their sense of smell.  Mice with super senses of smell are more resistant to obesity. 

Obese people tend to be more drowsy during the day – lose the weight and feel less drowsy. 

Also obese people have higher rates of cancer. And obesity aids in the progression of certain types of cancer. Cancer cells recruit fat cells to help them grow.  

The moral from this Fort Myers plastic surgeon is "cut the calories – lose the weight and feel better!"

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quick! Call a copper! Or something

THE VERDICT IS IN! I wrote a while back about copper pillow cases (tomorrow it may be titanium). 

Anyway, pillow cases that contain copper oxide may improve skin texture and reduce facial wrinkles.  A study reported in 
the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology involved 61 patients (30 with copper; 31 control group). 

The authors did 3-D imaging (kind of like Star Wars), and measured 3 roughness parameters and they found no difference in the control group but a definite decrease in crows feet appearances in those sleeping on copper oxide.  

Amazes me, even as a board certified cosmetic surgeon.

What is lycopene and why should you care?

As a board certified cosmetic surgeon in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL, I have always supported the idea of good health through the use of natural foods.
I also personally always have enjoyed big, ripe, red, juicy tomatoes. 

Now, I have learned they may lower my risk of stroke. Increasing levels of lycopene  by eating more tomatoes can lower the incidence or risk of strokes by a whopping 55%!  

In addition, according to the Mayo Clinic, high consumption of lycopene-containing foods, such as tomatoes, or the presence of high lycopene levels in the blood, have correlated with lower incidences of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. Tomatoes also are sources of other nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium, all of which may contribute to positive health results. 

So, slice them, dice them, put them in a salad and eat up. If you don't like tomatoes (or they don't like you), Lycopene is also found in grapefruit, watermelon, papaya and mango. 

By the way, everything I write in these blogs is general health information. It is not intended as specific medical advice.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

We can't answer if we don't know who you are

Today, I got another question that should be answered. But, as with many other questions, since there is no return email address, there is no way to respond. Please, if you want me to respond, I have to know how to contact you.

Dr. Robert J. Brueck MD FACS, Fort Myers, Florida