Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sweden just endorsed the Low Carbs High Fat Diet

Finally, Sweden has done it: in the latest expert committee convened, it has formally endorsed the low carbs high fat diet. Ever since Dr Atkins advocated the high fat and low carbohydrate diet, many people have used it to lose weight. The only drawback apparently is the boredom: patients are sick at eating cheese omelet every day. Unfortunately, Dr Atkins did not like publishing in main-stream medical journals. It created a management gap on obesity: while patients who went on the diet definitely got impressive results, doctors remained extremely skeptical.

Well for the past 10 years many studies had been done and had all found one thing: low carbs high fat diets are better than the traditionally-advised low fat high carbs diet. Patients lose more weight, has better blood sugar (which we expect) but watch this: patients who are taking a low carbs high fat diet also has better cholesterol levels!

The evidence has been so overwhelming that I am surprised that we doctors have resisted it for so long. Unfortunately doctors are all bound by the Hippocratic Oath which asks us to always respect our teachers. This may sometimes make us unwilling to challenge the “conventional wisdom”.

Indeed for all my patients with diabetes, I strongly advise the low carbs high fat diet. However I advise them to eat the healthier fats such as fats from fish, nuts, olive oil etc. Indeed a very Mediterranean diet which has been shown to save lives.

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Nanotechnology to detect blood clots

Photo Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Blood clots in the legs are commonly called the Economy Class Syndrome, whereas passengers in the coach class develop potentially life-threatening blood clots in their legs when they sit around not moving for a long time. The other group of people at risk are patients who just have surgery in the pelvis or legs, and cannot walk around.

Sometimes those blood clots break and travel to the lungs and block the big lung arteries, killing the patient.

Now, a group of researchers led of Sangeeta Bhatia, a doctor and a bioengineer, had found a way to detect these clots early, by using nanotechnology.

Blood clots are rich with thrombin. So iron oxide particles coated with special peptides are injected into mice. Should the particles encounter thrombin, the special peptides react with thrombin, releasing substances that can be detected in the urine. Iron oxide particles have already been approved for human use by the FDA.

At the moment, doctors have to look for late signs of blood clots in the leg which includes a swollen feet, and breathing difficulties (late stage). It is then confirmed by an ultrasound of the leg veins which is labor-intensive. This technology has the potential to greatly help us pick up the blood clots before they arise.

World Diabetes Day Singapore 2013

WDD 2013

Mark the day – 10 November 2013. As diabetes affects 11.3% of Singaporeans, the number of families with one or more members are becoming very high. This year the Diabetes Society of Singapore is going to have an event packed with activities at the Suntec Convention Centre. There are tons of free stuff there:

Free Hba1c test (cost $30)

Free eye photos (cost $30)

Free feet check (cost from $25 at least)

Free consultation with diabetic nurse educators, pharmacists, dieticians (cost from $25 each)

Total free stuff: $160 plus the goodie bag!

In fact since every year the DSS celebrates the World Diabetes Day, you can just get your eyes and feet checked free of charge over there, as they are supposed to be screened yearly as well.

Pravin, a patient with type 1 diabetes will also be there to share his experience. He was diagnosed to have type 1 diabetes at age 7, but had learnt to live with the illness, and is now an engineer. He also runs marathons, climb mountains and volunteers overseas to help other people with diabetes.

So just go to Suntec this Sunday!