Prevention With Joel Kahn, MD


Dr. Kahn is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He practices cardiology in Detroit, is a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and specializes in vegan nutrition and heart disease reversal.

Sauna Time Can Prevent Weight Gain (in Mice)

Dear readers,

Two therapies often considered “alternative” show benefits in this week’s medical reports. In a mouse study, sauna time prevented weight gain associated with menopause. This will need to be studied in humans, but prior studies lend credence to it. In another study, hyperbaric oxygen treatment using the Israeli protocol improved VO2Max, a measure of cardiopulmonary fitness. Carotid intimal medial thickness ultrasound scans have proven very useful in my clinic and a report of airline pilots relates thickness with weight issues and poor sleep.

In addition, routine lab calculations of LDL-C can include a portion contributed by Lipoprotein(a), but a new study says no correction is routinely needed. We check Lipoprotein(a) and Apolipoprotein B consistently in my clinic so there is no confusion. We also check homocysteine levels (and MTHFR genetics) routinely, and a new report relates a high homocysteine level to the risk of sleep apnea. A routine ECG during an annual exam can provide clues to cardiovascular disease even though some payers will not reimburse for it. A rare side effect of semaglutide in the eyes is reported. Finally, hopping on one leg improved bone density compared to the control leg over a period of 6 months and highlights the role of higher impact exercise for bone health. A jump rope might be a good option to help both legs.

Be well,
Joel Kahn, MD, FACC

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    • New research performed with mice suggests that daily time in a warm environment such as a sauna might help older adults, especially women, combat age-related obesity and insulin resistance. The study shows the potential of heat treatments as a simple way to promote healthier aging.

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    • Measuring the level of homocysteine—an amino acid—in the blood can help predict a person's risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by recurrent interruptions in breathing due to relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep. This simple blood test can also help clinicians gauge whether a patient with the mild or moderate form of the disorder is likely to develop the severe form, according to a study conducted in Brazil by researchers at the Sleep Institute and the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).