Study Casts Doubt on Angioplasty, Bypass for Many Heart Patients

SUNDAY, Nov. 17, 2019 — Bypass operations, angioplasty and the placement of artery-opening stents: For decades, millions of Americans have undergone these expensive, invasive procedures to help treat clogged vessels.

However, the results of a large and long-awaited clinical trial suggests that, in most cases, these procedures may not have provided any benefit over medications and lifestyle changes.

In fact, people treated with meds and healthy changes in lifestyle wound up about as healthy as those who underwent an invasive procedure to open their hardened arteries, researchers reported Saturday at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Only a subgroup of patients who suffered from frequent angina appeared to receive any benefit from an invasive procedure, and that benefit was in their quality of life, not in lowering their odds of death or future heart problems.

“Based on the trial results to date, I as a clinician would feel comfortable advising my patient not to undergo the invasive strategy if their angina was absent or controlled or it was tolerated,” said Dr. Alice Jacobs, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Interventional Cardiology at Boston Medical Center. She wasn’t involved in the new research.

Still, doctors are often uncomfortable limiting their treatment of clogged arteries to drugs, diet and exercise alone because they’re worried the patient will wind up suffering a heart attack or other heart-related illness, according to past AHA president Dr. Elliot Antman.

The new findings are expected to give physicians more confidence in saying no to invasive treatments, the experts said.

The study did not focus on people who are admitted to a hospital with a heart attack — these patients often receive bypass, angioplasty or stenting to quickly open a blocked artery.

Instead, the trial focused on patients with stable but severe heart disease.

A typical patient in this group might be a 71-year-old grandmother who has noticed during the past two months some chest heaviness walking from the parking lot to her grandkids’ soccer game, the AHA presenters said. Stress testing and imaging scans could reveal some moderately clogged arteries leading to her heart.

The new trial was very comprehensive, involving nearly 5,200 patients across 37 countries. Half were randomly assigned to undergo an invasive procedure: About three-quarters underwent angioplasty (most receiving a stent as well), while the others had a bypass operation.

The other half of patients were treated with medications and lifestyle changes alone.

Researchers mainly focused on whether the invasive procedure would reduce a patient’s risk of heart-related death, heart attack, hospitalization with unstable angina, heart failure or cardiac arrest.

Overall, an invasive strategy “did not demonstrate a reduced risk over a median 3.3 years” compared with the more conservative, drugs/lifestyle therapy, said trial co-chair Dr. Judith Hochman, a cardiologist and senior associate dean of clinical sciences at NYU Langone Health, in New York City.

However, invasive procedures did have a positive impact on one patient subgroup: People who regularly suffer the chest pain and shortness of breath associated with angina, said co-researcher Dr. John Spertus. He directs health outcomes research at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City.

“For a patient who has weekly angina, there would be 15% of them who would be expected to be angina-free with the conservative approach, while 45% would be expected to be angina-free with the invasive approach,” Spertus said. “This is such a large difference that you would only have to treat about three patients with weekly angina for one to be angina-free at three months.”

On the other hand, patients who did not regularly have angina received only minimal quality-of-life or symptom benefits after undergoing an invasive procedure, Spertus added.

A smaller set of trials — this time focused on patients with chronic kidney disease — revealed even less promising results, researchers said. Patients didn’t gain any health benefits and didn’t have any improvement in their quality of life after getting an invasive treatment. Angioplasty might even help put them on dialysis earlier or increase their risk of stroke, the study found.

Dr. Glenn Levine, a professor of cardiology with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said that when it comes to kidney patients with clogged arteries, he “will treat them with medical [drug] therapy alone” unless they have marked or uncontrolled angina.

Experts said the main message from these studies is that doctors shouldn’t feel pressured to immediately send patients with clogged arteries into a catheterization lab, especially if they aren’t suffering any symptoms.

That could free up physicians to focus on getting patients to take their medications, Jacobs said. If drug therapy helps relieve their occasional angina or other symptoms, then angioplasty might be avoided in two out of every three patients, she estimated.

The trials were funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

For more information:

There’s more on common heart procedures at the American Heart Association.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019 – Daily MedNews

Study Casts Doubt on Safety of Herbal Drug Kratom

By Dennis Thompson        
       HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The herbal supplement kratom regularly causes serious side effects and doesn’t appear safe for use, a new study argues.

Kratom, made from the leaves of a Southeast Asian plant, is usually used to treat pain and addiction. But poison control center data shows it has been tied to seizures, withdrawal, hallucinations, agitation and rapid heart rate, researchers report.

Kratom is “probably not something that’s safe enough to be available as an herbal supplement,” concluded lead researcher William Eggleston, a clinical assistant professor with the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy in New York.

Kratom contains compounds that act on the opioid receptors in the brain and the body, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

And while it’s a legal herbal supplement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already issued a warning against using kratom. The FDA has called the drug “opioid-like” and cited concerns that it might pose an addiction risk.

In the new study, poison control centers received more than 2,300 calls related to kratom between 2011 and 2018.

Those calls increased from 18 in 2011 to 357 in the first seven months of 2018, according to stats drawn from the U.S. National Poison Data System.

The research team zeroed in on 935 cases where kratom was the only substance involved.

About 56% of cases involved kratom taken as a pill, capsule or powder, and in nearly 9 in 10 cases people ate the kratom that had affected them.

The most commonly reported adverse effects were agitation (in almost 20% of cases), rapid heart rate (17%), drowsiness (14%) and vomiting (11%), the data showed.

Severe side effects included seizures (6%), hallucinations (5%), respiratory depression (3%), and coma (2%).  Cardiac or respiratory arrest was reported in 0.6% of cases.

The researchers also identified four cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome, where babies were born addicted to kratom after their mothers took the supplement during pregnancy. They said it caused two deaths.

The National Poison Data System statistics indicated that kratom has a lower risk for fatal overdose than opioids like heroin or fentanyl, Eggleston said.


“The risk for things like serious respiratory depression is probably less with kratom than it is with other opioids,” Eggleston said. “We saw a very low incidence of this in our data.”

However, other studies also have shown that users can experience withdrawal symptoms, Eggleston said.

“That suggests that patients could develop a dependence or a substance use disorder, as you would with other opioids,” Eggleston said. “To me, that exceeds what I would consider a reasonable risk for an herbal supplement you can buy at a local convenience store or head shop.”

Kratom proponents argue that the new study is flawed because it relies on poison control and medical examiner data, which tags kratom as the main suspect and could fail to consider other possible explanations.

“If a person dies and the tox screen identifies kratom in the bloodstream, that is labeled as a kratom-associated death,” said Mac Haddow, a senior fellow on public policy at the American Kratom Association. “It is just as plausible you could identify caffeine in the bloodstream as a result of drinking a cup of coffee that morning.”

Susruta Majumdar, an associate professor with the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in Missouri, said the new study adds a bit more evidence regarding kratom’s safety, but agreed that its reliance on poison control center data makes for a flawed approach.

Based on available data, Majumdar said, kratom probably is safer that prescription and illicit opioids, but “I think we are getting to a point where we can say it’s addictive.”

Majumdar added that he believes kratom-related deaths are not caused by kratom alone, but kratom combined with other substances.

“People are on multiple drugs, and it’s the synergy between those drugs that is causing the toxicity,” Majumdar said.

Eggleston said he does not advocate a ban on kratom, since studies suggest it might have a role in treating chronic pain and addiction.

Instead, clinical trials are needed to assess kratom’s usefulness and establish its safety at certain doses, Eggleston said.

“Our research is not coming from a place where we want to hinder access,” Eggleston said. “We want the public to have all the information they need and be transparent, so they know what works and what’s safe.”

The study findings were published July 9 in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: William Eggleston, Pharm.D., clinical assistant professor, Binghamton University School of Pharmacy, State University of New York; Charles “Mac” Haddow, senior fellow, public policy, American Kratom Association; Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D., associate professor, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Mo.;Pharmacotherapy, July 9, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });


WebMD Health

Universal Kids Casts ‘Where’s Waldo?’ From DreamWorks Animation

Universal Kids network has revealed the series voices cast and season one guest stars for new original series Where’s Waldo?, inspired by the popular book-based brand. The show, produced by DreamWorks Animation Television, will make its TV debut in July. An exclusive Where’s Waldo? tease will air Saturday, April 27 during the American Ninja Warrior Junior season finale at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Universal Kids.

Where’s Waldo? brings the iconic character to life in a new animated series from executive producer FM De Marco (Spy Kids: Mission Critical) and co-executive producer John Tellegen (Spy Kids: Mission Critical). Twelve-year-old Waldo and his best friend Wenda are members of the Worldwide Wanderer Society — the international order of curious travelers who circle the globe celebrating cultures and solving problems through observation. Their mentor — Wizard Whitebeard, a seasoned wanderer — sends these inquisitive young adventurers on international travel missions so they can earn their stripes and someday become wizard-level wanderers too. But standing in Waldo and Wenda’s way is their rival Odlulu, who can’t help but cause trouble wherever she goes.

Leading the all-star line-up is Joshua Rush (Andi Mack, The Lion Guard) as Waldo, Haley Tju (The Loud House, Bella and the Bulldogs) as Wenda, Eva Carlton (Little) as Odlulu, and Thomas Lennons (Santa Clarita Diet, Reno 911!) as Wizard Whitebeard.

Special guest stars include: Carlos Alazraqui, Rachel Dratch, Kerry Kenny, Tom Kenny, Bobby Moynihan, Oscar Nunez, Jerry O’Connell, Hannah Simone, Retta and Weird Al Yankovic.

Created by Martin Handford and first published in 1987, Where’s Waldo? is one of the most recognizable characters in the world and a pop-culture icon. Published in the United States by Candlewick Press, Where’s Waldo? is a global publishing phenomenon with more than 70 million books sold worldwide; the successful series is published in more than 38 countries and has been translated into more than 30 languages.

(L-R) Eva Carlton (Odlulu), Joshua Rush (Waldo) and Haley Tju (Wenda)

(L-R) Eva Carlton (Odlulu), Joshua Rush (Waldo) and Haley Tju (Wenda)

Thomas Lennon voices Wizard Whitebeard

Thomas Lennon voices Wizard Whitebeard

Animation Magazine

Study Casts Doubt on Light Drinking’s Benefits

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you think your nightly glass of vino is doing good things for your health, think again.

A new study suggests that folks who like to tip back a drink or two every day are more likely to die prematurely.

“At any given age, if you drink daily — even just one or two drinks — you have a 20 percent increased risk of death compared to someone who drinks the same amount two to three times a week,” said study author Dr. Sarah Hartz. She’s an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“We should no longer say that it’s healthy to drink. It’s a vice that’s not great for us,” she added.

Hartz noted that how significant a 20 percent increased risk of death is depends on your age. She explained that since very few people die in their 20s, a 20 percent increased risk of premature death is less significant at that age than it would be for someone in their 70s.

Although the study did find an association, it did not prove that light drinking caused early death risk to rise.

But how might alcohol boost that risk?

Hartz said most of the increased risk of early death comes from an increased risk of cancer. She said that people often underestimate how much drinking can increase the risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer. And drinking more than four times a week can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

But what of all the studies that have suggested a health benefit from moderate drinking?

Hartz said that there have been several studies this year that have concluded that drinking generally isn’t good for health. And the populations in these studies and the latest one are larger than in previous ones. More importantly, she noted, the newer studies have been able to parse out the lowest levels of drinking.

“We have access to data we haven’t had access to before,” Hartz explained.


The study included information from more than 400,000 people. More than 340,000 (aged 18 to 85) had participated in a national health survey. Another group of nearly 94,000 were between the ages of 40 and 60 and had been treated as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration clinics.

“The lowest risk group was people who drank one or two drinks just two to three times weekly,” she said.

Still, not everyone is convinced that this study is the last word on alcohol and health.

According to Dr. Guy Mintz, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., “The jury is still out with regard to frequency and quantity of alcohol use.”

Mintz said, “This is an interesting study. One to two drinks four days a week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits.”

He pointed out that “one of the study’s conclusions was that, as medicine becomes more personalized, some patients with a history of cardiovascular disease may benefit from drinking two or three days a week, but those with a higher risk of cancer may not benefit.”

Mintz tells his patients to drink anything but beer because it has a lot of calories and salt, and can contribute to obesity and high triglycerides (an unhealthy type of blood fat). “I would stress alcohol consumption in moderation, both in frequency and quantity,” he said.

The study was published online Oct. 3 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Sarah Hartz, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, department of psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Guy Mintz, M.D., director, cardiovascular health and lipidology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Oct. 3, 2018,Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Gas Money Pics Casts Corin Nemec, David Faustino in ‘Hollywould’

L.A.-based Gas Money Pictures has announced the casting of Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Stargate SG-1) and David Faustino (Married with Children, Dragons: Race to the Edge) in their animated comedy series Hollywould. The show follows the exploits of two washed-up screenwriters as they work towards their long overdue comeback, all the while having to keep their heads financially above water as they deal with the literal fruits, nuts and flakes that inhabit Hollywould.

Created by James L. Bills, Hollywould is geared to an adult audience, and mastered in ultra-high definition. Gas Money Pictures is producing entirely in-house in their North Hollywood studio, with veteran Jesse Yang supervising animation, Paul C. Orman as exec producer, and Bills and J. Horton producing. The series previewed at the the Cannes festival’s Marché du Film this year.

Corin Nemec started his career acting opposite Jeff Bridges in the Francis Ford Coppola film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. He later starred as the title character in the critically acclaimed mini-series I Know My First Name Is Steven, which earned him an Emmy award and opened up more dramatic roles. Nemec then starred with Eddie Murphy in the TV special What’s Alan Watching?, which showed his comedic chops and landed him the lead on FOX TV’s Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. He also worked with Stephen King for the mini-series adaptation of The Stand, and became a series regular on sci-fi hit Stargate.

David Faustino is best known for playing “Bud Bundy” on long-running FOX TV sitcom Married… with Children. His prolific voiceover credits include “Mako” in Nickelodeon’s acclaimed series The Legend of Korra. He can currently be heard as the voice of the villain “Dagur the Deranged” in DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge on Netflix. A Los Angeles native, Faustino made his television debut at three-months-old as Lily Tomlin’s daughter in the CBS special, Lily. Since then, he has been seen on numerous television series including The X-Files, Modern Family, Entourage and Bones, among others.

Gas Money Pictures is an independent production studio creating all projects in UHD/4K for the highest-quality multi-platform delivery. Learn more at

HOLLYWOULD from Gas Money Pictures on Vimeo.



Corin Nemec

Corin Nemec

David Faustino

David Faustino

Animation Magazine

Daily News Bytes: Disney Casts Mulan, Lasseter Scandal Unfolds, & More


Liu Yifei to Star in Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’
The multitalented actress, musician and singer also known as Crystal Liu seems the perfect choice to lead the film, which will blend inspirations from the 1998 animated feature and the classic Chinese ballad. Liu has recently appeared in Pearl Harbor drama The Chinese Widow, action flick Ip Man 3 and supernatural detective adventure Lawless Kingdom. The new Mulan is being directed by Niki Caro (The Zookeeper’s Wife, Whale Rider).

Fresh Details Emerge of John Lasseter’s Behavior, Quetions Arise About How Much Disney Knew
Per Deadline: “There’s evidence Disney may well have been aware of troubling behavior on the part of the digital animation pioneer. Indeed the Pixar co-founder attended some wrap parties with a handler to ensure he would not engage in inappropriate conduct with women, say two people with direct knowledge of the situation.” … The House of Mouse may need to be renamed Monsters, Inc.

Animator Joan Gratz Embraces Technology to Create Her Newest Films
OPB’s Katrina Sarson talks to the Portland “clay painting” animator on the evolution of her technique, from Oscar winning short Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase (1992) through commissioned work to her recent works Puffer Girl and Primal Flux.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Visegrad Animation Forum
The 6th edition of CEE’s leading animation pitch event is seeking in-development projects in the Short Film (< 20 min.) and Series/TV Specials (web/TV formats and films over 20 mins.) Deadline: January 31, 2018. The event is slated for May 1-3 in Trebon, Czech Republic.

WINNERS: Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards 2017
The Effects – Digital award went to the crew of One of Us for their work on The Crown (Netflix), and the team of Rob Heath, John Cryer, Shizuka Hata & Rachel Warr scored the Trails & Packaging prize for their animated, silhouette puppet-inspired work for Film4’s “Film Fear” event.

Liu Yifei

Liu Yifei

Animation Magazine

Study Casts Doubt on Need for Statins in the ‘Healthy Old’

MONDAY, May 22, 2017 — Senior citizens with no history of heart problems appear to gain no health benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a new study suggests.

People 65 and older treated with pravastatin (Pravachol) as part of a major clinical trial had about the same risk of death as people in a placebo group, according to the results. They also appeared to suffer strokes and heart attacks at about the same rate.

“Our study shows there may not be any benefit for taking a statin therapy for primary prevention for people who are over the age of 65,” said Dr. Benjamin Han.

Statins might even pose a risk to people 75 and older, added Han, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at New York University School of Medicine.

“There was some suggestion the statin group had a little bit higher mortality than the placebo group” at that age, Han said. But, this result was not statistically significant, he noted.

Experts from the American Heart Association and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City urged doctors and patients to take these findings with a grain of salt.

“The only merit to the study is that it raises questions that haven’t been adequately answered,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, an AHA spokesman. “This is not the kind of evidence that should influence guidelines about statin therapy in adults 65 and older,” said Eckel, chair of atherosclerosis at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

For the study, Han and his colleagues analyzed data from a clinical trial conducted from 1994 to 2002, called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT).

Most statin studies have focused on middle-aged people, so there’s little known about the effect of these medications on seniors, Han said.

With an aging population, the question keeps coming up, “Should you be on a statin medication even if you don’t have a history of cardiovascular disease?” Han said. “Will this help you in the long run?”

From the antihypertensive trial data, the researchers drew a sample that included almost 3,000 adults 65 and older with high blood pressure, but no plaque buildup in the arteries that would occur due to high cholesterol.

About half of those adults took pravastatin while half received usual care.

The researchers found no health benefit from pravastatin in these older patients. In fact, more deaths occurred in the pravastatin group than in the usual care group — 141 versus 130 among adults 65 to 74, and 92 versus 65 among adults 75 and older.

The side effects of statins, which include muscle pains and fatigue, might weigh more heavily on older people, Han said.

“Anything that can affect their physical function, anything that can affect their ability to do activities on a daily basis, puts them at a higher risk for further decline and a higher risk for mortality,” Han said.

Dr. Robert Rosenson is director of cardiometabolic disorders at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He said the new study is flawed because its conclusions rely on data from a very small number of patients. For example, the analysis of people 75 and older included only 375 people taking pravastatin and 351 in the control group.

“That’s such a small number to detect difference in events, let alone mortality when you’re dealing with a low-potency statin,” Rosenson said.

Because of this, the effects noted in the study often aren’t backed up by the statistics, he said.

“From a fundamental statistical standpoint, I think they’re far overstating their conclusion,” Rosenson said.

Rosenson also criticized the research team for choosing the ALLHAT-LLT clinical trial as source of their data.

That trial has been controversial because “it was one of the few cholesterol studies that failed to show a reduction” in heart attacks and strokes, Rosenson said.

“If you wanted to make the point that statins don’t help older people and may harm them, then that would be the study you would pick to show that the hypothesis is going to fail,” Rosenson said.

Eckel said he is “somewhat underwhelmed” by the study.

“There are so many limitations to this paper, and the authors, to their credit, list most if not all of them,” Eckel said.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study. The results were published May 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

For more on statins, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Posted: May 2017 – Daily MedNews

Study Casts More Doubt on Value of Mammograms

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Mammograms frequently detect small breast tumors that might never become life-threatening, causing women to receive treatment they likely don’t need, a new Danish study finds.

About one in every three women between the ages of 50 and 69 who was diagnosed with breast cancer wound up having a tumor that posed no immediate threat to her health, the researchers reported.

At the same time, mammography did not reduce the number of advanced breast cancers found in women in the study.

“This means that breast screening is unlikely to improve breast cancer survival or reduce the use of invasive surgery,” said study author Dr. Karsten Juhl Jorgensen, deputy director of research for the Nordic Cochrane Center at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. “It also means that breast screening leads to unnecessary detection and treatment of many breast cancers.”

Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said the study shows that breast cancer overdiagnosis is real. But, screening for the disease saves lives as well.

Doctors refer to the detection of non-life-threatening cancers as “overdiagnosis.” Women overdiagnosed with breast cancer are frightened needlessly and undergo potentially harmful, but ultimately useless, medical treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Jorgensen said.

These results call into question the value of regular mammograms, Jorgensen said. Current U.S. guidelines recommend mammograms every other year for women aged 50 or older, although some medical societies recommend annual screening.

“Breast screening has not lived up to its promises,” Jorgensen said. “All women must seriously consider whether participation in breast screening is right for them, after having sought balanced information about what it can and cannot do.”

The new study was published in the Jan. 9 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The American Cancer Society’s Brawley agreed that overdiagnosis is a concern. He wrote an editorial that accompanied the study.

But, Brawley said the current regimen still saves lives, and women should continue to get mammograms while doctors hone genetic tests that will provide a more accurate appraisal of each tumor.


“While we try to better define just how good mammography is, that does not mean women should stop getting screened. It does not mean women should stop getting treated right now,” Brawley said. “It does mean that we need to find better screening tests and better treatments.”

For the study, Jorgensen and his colleagues used data from two comprehensive Danish cancer registries to check the effectiveness of breast cancer screening. They reviewed the medical records of all Danish women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1980 and 2010.

Different regions of Denmark adopted regular breast cancer screening at different times, offering the researchers a before-and-after portrait of the effectiveness of mammography, Jorgensen said.

The researchers compared the incidence of advanced tumors in women aged 50 to 84 in areas that had adopted regular breast cancer screening against areas that did not regularly screen.

They also compared the detection of small, non-advanced tumors among women in several age categories: 35 to 49, 50 to 69, and 70 to 84.

The researchers concluded that between almost 15 percent to nearly 39 percent of breast cancers were overdiagnosed.

Guidelines are already shifting to recommend breast cancer screening less frequently, Jorgensen noted.

“The American Cancer Society now recommends less frequent screening of a narrower age group than just two years ago. Our study supports this development, which will continue,” he said. “Independent expert groups in both Switzerland and France recommend that we stop breast screening entirely because the benefit is doubtful whereas the harms are certain and serious.”

While this study shows that overdiagnosis is real, Brawley noted that a number of clinical trials have shown that screening does help detect potentially fatal breast cancers.

“Yes, this study tells us one of the harms is if you’re diagnosed with localized breast cancer, you may receive treatment you may not need,” Brawley said. “But in the same breath, you need to say we have studies that show while we cure some women who don’t need to be cured, we clearly cure some women who need to be cured. Therefore, we net save lives.”


Women will benefit from better breast cancer screening techniques that use genetics to predict the danger each tumor poses, Brawley said.

“In 2017, we’re already scaling up or scaling down our breast cancer treatment according to these genomic definitions,” he said. “I predict that within the next 10 years, there are going to be a group of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and told genomically we think this is a relatively indolent disease, and therefore we’re going to watch your cancer. We’re not going to treat it initially.”

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Karsten Juhl Jorgensen, M.D., deputy director, research, Nordic Cochrane Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; Otis Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; Jan. 9, 2017, Annals of Internal Medicine

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Jane Fonda Casts Spell on ‘Elena and the Secret of Avalor’ TV Movie


Iconic actress Jane Fonda will be voicing an evil sorceress in the new TV movie Elena and the Secret of Avalor, which will premiere as a special simulcast on Sunday, November 20 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. The movie will also launch on the channels’ respective apps and Disney Channel VOD the same day.

Secret of Avalor tells the exciting backstory of how Elena was imprisoned in her magical amulet by the evil sorceress, Shuriki (Fonda), and eventually set free by Princess Sofia of Enchancia. An anthemic original song, “My Time,” performed by Aimee Carrero (voice of Princess Elena) will debut in the special.

In addition to Carrero and Fonda, the movie’s voice cast includes Ariel Winter as Sofia; Sara Ramirez as Queen Miranda; Chris Parnell, Yvette Nicole Brown and Carlos Alazraqui as the jaquins Migs, Luna and Skylar, respectively; Jenna Ortega as Princess Isabel; Ana Ortiz as Rafa; Darcy Rose Byrnes as Princess Amber; Tyler Merna as Prince James; Travis Willingham as King Roland; Barbara Dirickson as Flora; Emiliano Díez as Francisco; Julia Vera as Luisa; Christian Lanz as Chancellor Esteban; Jillian Rose Reed as Naomi; Joseph Haro as Mateo; Jorge Diaz as Gabe; Keith Ferguson as Zuzo; and Joe Nunez as Armando.

The creative teams of both Sofia the First and Elena of Avalor combined forces for the TV movie, which is written by Craig Gerber and directed by Jamie Mitchell, both of whom serve as executive producers. John Kavanaugh serves as songwriter/music director, and Kevin Kliesch is the composer. Elena and the Secret of Avalor is a production of Disney Television Animation.

Fans can get a taste of the new adventure on October 18, when Disney Publishing will release a hardcover picture book titled Elena of Avalor: Elena and the Secret of Avalor.

Elena of Avalor

Elena of Avalor

Animation Magazine

‘Guardian Brothers’ Casts Streep, Brooks, Kidman & Zendaya


The Weinstein Company has announced it is picking up worldwide rights (excluding China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) to Light Chaser Animation’s freshman animated feature The Guardian Brothers — originally titled The Little Door Gods. Leading the English-language voice cast will be Meryl Streep as narrator, Mel Brooks, Nicole Kidman and Zendaya. The film is directed by Gary Wang and produced by Zhou Yu. Alibaba Group released Guardian Brothers in China in January.

Co-chairman Harvey Weinstein pointed out in the announcement, “Everyone who knows me, knows I’m determined to build our animation division for film and television. This is going to be a huge area for our company and ‘The Guardian Brothers’ is just the beginning of our plan to bring the caliber of film associated with TWC to animation.”

The Guardian Brothers centers on a Chinese family facing the possible closure of its centuries-old family wonton soup shop. When their grandmother passes away, the restaurant is left in the hands of a young girl named Raindrop (Zendaya) and her mother (Kidman). Meanwhile in the Spirit World, times are also tough, and two brother Guardians (beings who watch over and protect humans) are forced into retirement. When the retired Guardians find out that Raindrop and her mother are fending off rivals bent on sabotaging the business, they decide to come to the rescue.

In the last week, Weinstein Co. also picked up Toonbox and Red Rover’s The Nut Job 2. It will be shopping both titles at the Cannes film market.

(from left) Meryl Streep, Mel Brooks, Nicole Kidman and Zendaya

(from left) Meryl Streep, Mel Brooks, Nicole Kidman and Zendaya

Animation Magazine

Bron Casts First Flick ‘Henchmen’


Canadian production house Bron Studios has revealed the prime talent it has procured to voice its first-ever animated feature, Henchmen. The film will star James Marsden, Thomas Middleditch, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Jane Krakowski, Rob Riggle, Craig Robinson and Will Sasso.

Henchmen, currently in production at Bron’s studios in Burnaby and Duncan, British Columbia, is produced in association with CW Media Finance. Adam Wood (Escape from Planet Earth, Space Chimps) is directing, with bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Luke Carroll producing. CW Media Finance’s Jason Cloth and Bron’s Brenda Gilbert serve as exec producers. WME Global is handling sales outside Canada, while eOne distributes the film within the country.


In a hidden world of super-villains, evil schemes and global domination… someone has to take out the trash! Welcome to the world of Henchmen. When fresh-faced new recruit Lester (Thomas Middleditch) joins the Union of Evil, he is assigned to a motley crew of blue-collar workers including Stew (Craig Robinson), Jane (Jane Krakowski) and led by fallen henchmen Hank (James Marsden). Having survived a shift working for The Gluttonator (Will Sasso), they are assigned to the Vault of Villainy, where Lester accidently steals the ultimate weapon. Meanwhile, the evil Baron Blackout (Alfred Molina) and his first-class henchman Biff (Rob Riggle), are poised to defeat their nemesis Captain Superior (Nathan Fillion) and take over the entire world. In order to save Lester and his team, as well as Jolene (Rosario Dawson), the woman he loves, Hank must break his “risk nothing” code and become the one thing he has always avoided… being a hero.



Animation Magazine

‘Little Charmers’ Casts Spell on Licensees


Nelvana Enterprises — the sales, brand-management and consumer products arm of Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana — has won over several notable licensees with its new CG animated preschool series Little Charmers. The show about three “Charmers-In-Training” and their spellbinding adventures in Charmville has enjoyed strong ratings since its launch this winter on Nickelodeon (U.S.) and Treehouse (Canada).

Production and Master Toy partner Spin Master and recently announced global English-language publishing partner Scholastic are now joined by licensees including Rubie’s Costume Company (Halloween costumes), Baby Boom Consumer Products (toddler bedding & bath) and Bakery Crafts (cake decor). Spin Master’s toy collection, including a range of mini figurines, plush, dolls and role play items for kids 2-5, will hit mass retail this fall.

Little Charmers

Little Charmers

Animation Magazine

New Study Casts Doubt on Dangers of Hormone Therapy for Hot Flashes

New Study on Hormone Therapy for Hot Flashes

But other experts warn it’s too soon to say the treatment is safe

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Hormone replacement therapy for women may not be as potentially risky as previously thought, a new Mayo Clinic review contends.

The new study, which evaluated three decades of prior research, concluded that hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause doesn’t increase overall risk of death or the risk of death from heart attack, stroke or cancer.

“This is the latest update of the current evidence,” said lead author Dr. Khalid Benkhadra, a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “I can say there’s no risk of dying from any reason because a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy.”

The results, Benkhadra said, should allay concerns of some women with debilitating menopausal symptoms who have feared taking hormones.

But not everyone is sold on the safety of hormone therapy. Heart and cancer doctors who reviewed the new findings said that hormone therapy should still be used sparingly on those most in need, until further research proves otherwise.

“This study may provide some comfort that it shouldn’t shorten your life, but it doesn’t change the concern that the bad effects of hormone therapy are going to be an issue,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Lichtenfeld added that the review’s results are preliminary, and haven’t been subjected to the rigorous peer review necessary for a study to be published in a medical journal.

“No one should change treatment until the data is examined more closely,” he said.

Findings from the new review were scheduled to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, in San Diego.

Concerns about the long-term safety of hormone therapy arose more than a decade ago with results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a large-scale federal study of the health problems facing postmenopausal women.

The Women’s Health Initiative found that hormone therapy using estrogen and progestin increased a woman’s risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer, compared with placebo. Estrogen alone increased risk of blood clots and stroke, but made no difference in heart attack risk and had an uncertain effect on breast cancer.

WebMD Health

‘Man of Steel’ Sequel Casts Eisenberg, Irons


Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred the butler in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Superman-Batman feature.

The pair joins returning Man of Steel cast members Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Other newcomers include Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

Also returning are David S. Goyer as screenwriter and Zack Snyder as director.

Eisenberg, an Oscar nominee for his role in The Social Network, takes on the role of Superman’s fiercest enemy; previously played in the Richard Donner versions of Superman by Gene Hackman and by Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Luthor first appeared in 1940?s Action Comics #23 as a highly ambitious and power-hungry business executive with immense technological resources.

“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said. “What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

Irons, a Best Actor Oscar winner for 1991?s Reversal of Fortune, will play the role of confidant to Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Batman. The role was played in previous Batman films by Michael Caine and Michael Gough.

“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure,” Snyder said. “He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious facade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Fan reaction has been rather mixed to the announcements, with the choice of Eisenberg drawing the most intense scrutiny.

The film is due out May 6, 2016.

(from left) Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons

(from left) Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons

Animation Magazine