[COLUMN] Inspiring data

PH’s Shirley Temple

A book titled “The Legend of Tessie Agana: Beloved Child Star of the Philippines – An Intimate Portrait of My Mother,” is the debut book written by her daughter, Mylene Agana Jao Richardson and is being released on Wednesday, September 20, 2023.

Tessie Agana was married for 53 years to Rodolfo L. Jao, MD, a popular medical leader and an Infectious Disease expert in Northwest Indiana, who died on February 28, 2018, at the age of 84. Her Dad, Adriano A. Agana, MD, was also an Indiana physician.

As the daughter and granddaughter of world-famous entertainers from the Philippines’ golden age of cinema, Mylene was born into a family of legends. Tessie Agana, now 81, was known as the “Shirley Temple of the Philippines”; her grandmother, Linda Estrella, the Elizabeth Taylor of her time, was a lead dramatic actress and singer of her era in the 1950s.

Mylene shows how you can maximize your happiness by discovering to truly know oneself, the journey forward is to look back. With unsparing truth, Mylene offers the first intimate portrait of her mother, whose early fame and exposure to the public eye led to dark shadows that impacted her entire life. An inspiring must-read book for the entire family. For details about the author and the book, email: [email protected]

Is there a drug to prolong life?

Yes, researchers found the drug “rilmenidine” can extend life span and slow down aging. It is actually a prescription medication for the treatment of high blood pressure, marketed under the brand names Albarel, Iterium, Tenxum, and Hyperium. Hopefully, this extra action and benefit from this drug would be confirmed in the future by large clinical studies and confirmation from medical centers around the world. Rapamycin and the anti-diabetic medication, metformin, are also being studied for their ability to slow down aging and prolong life. The future is, indeed, exciting, even bolstered by the introduction of artificial intelligence in various fields of human endeavor.

Is the pandemic over?

From all indications, it seems to be over…but, even as late as July 29, 2023, according to the New York Times COVID-19 Tracker, there were still 6,511 hospitalized for COVID-19. Primary series vaccination rate is still a low 69 percent, and booster rate, 17 percent. The unvaccinated are at risk, not only getting infected but spreading the virus around. Even President Biden and other leaders were saying it was “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Is there a blood test for brain cancer?

Soon there will be. A new study reveals a promising simple blood test that could help detect brain cancer with 87 percent accuracy. This exciting revelation was reported in the journal Nature Communications by Dr. Matthew J. Baker of the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Brain cancer usually has a poor outlook because of the delay in the diagnosis since the symptoms, primarily headache, are nonspecific. This new blood test would expedite the diagnosis and improve the outcome.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy is a new drug for weight loss from Eli Lilly, which catapulted its stock recently because it was found to also reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart-related death by 20 percent. It is a landmark clinical trial, the first to show that weight loss drug alone could provide such a huge benefit. It is a boon to cardiovascular health and longevity.

Do repeated chest x-rays cause cancer?

No, an annual chest x-ray does not cause cancer. The dose of radiation that one gets with a chest x-ray is so minimal, about 30 millirems, which is even less than the radiation exposure one gets from travelling by air (where you will be exposed to a greater degree of radiation from the sun) for a 4-hour flight, say to another Asian country. The cut-off safety limit per year is 5000 millirems, which would be equivalent to about 166 chest x-ray exposures. A chest x-ray once a year, or even 20 such radiation exposures in a year, is safe. The basic rule is, of course, the lesser radiation the better, but if it medically necessary, chest x-ray or other x-rays should be performed without worry.

Can one get AIDS from holding hands?

Experts say that HIV infection is not transmitted by holding hands or (intact) skin to skin contact, but mucous membrane contact with blood or body fluids from someone infected with HIV, unprotected sexual intercourse with AIDS victim can definitely transmit this deadly disease. The best behavior is to avoid partners that are at high risk of having HIV, but if this is not possible, use a condom. One must be cautious to make sure the condom is durable, intact and not have a hole in it. One could get the HIV infection even after only one, yes just one, sexual encounter. Remember, having AIDS is like having a death sentence hanging over your head.

What are the leading causes of deaths?

In the United States, according to CDC,  the leading causes of deaths are in this order: heart disease (695,547); cancer (605,213); COVID-19 (416,893); accidents (224,935); cirrhosis (56,585); stroke (162,890); chronic lower respiratory disease (142,342); Alzheimer’s (119,399); diabetes (103,294); chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (56,585); and nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (54,358).

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995, presented by then Indiana Governor, later Senator, and then presidential candidate, Evan Bayh. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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