Moving to New Hardware

I thought I’d post this just in case there are some folks who use a newsreader to manage subscriptions.  I’m upgrading the server hardware and server software – sometimes this breaks whatever it is that updates things like Google Reader et al.

I have new blood work to post.  I’ll put it up after I get the new server going.  (In a nutshell though, I’ve been off my cabergoline for almost three months and have seen just the smallest uptick in prolactin – still not as high, though, as it had been sometimes while on the cabergoline.)

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January 5, 2012 Blood Work

First, my apologies for taking so long to get this up. I had to cancel the blood draw scheduled for for December (twice) due to being busy. That same busy-ness has kept me from posting.

First, the new news: I’m off my cabergoline. I was taking .25 mg weekly (down from a high of 1.5 mg twice a week – or 3 mg weekly), which is 1/2 of a Tic-Tac sized pill. My prolactin has been in good shape for long enough that the doc and I thought we’d see what happens if I quit taking it all together.

I will start having monthly blood draws.

Now the summary for the most recent blood draw: Blood was taken Thursday morning. I’d not had any cabergoline since the previous Thursday, so I’d have had the least bit in my system I could have. I’ve not taken any vitamins in months – we moved a couple of months back and I’ve just not gotten back into the habit. (This is not to say my past blood draws involved having vitamins in me – I’d just never kept track and they were typically hit-or-miss from day to day. This draw I know it’s been a good long while since my last vitamins.) My weight is about 297… I keep saying I need to do something about it but I’ve just been too busy to pay close attention. (My being an all-or-nothing personality type sort of works against me here… I have trouble dieting without exercising and I’ve not had time to – per me – to exercise on a regular schedule.)

Changes: The testosterone scale has changed again. The normal range used to be 300-1000 ng/dL, then 241-827 ng/dL, then 280-800 ng/dL. The most recent shows 348 to 1197 ng/dL

 

Results:

Prolactin 7.2 ng/mL (4.0-15.2) – the last draw was 8.5 (4.0–15.2)

Total Testosterone 532.5 ng/dL (348-1197) – the last record was 519 (280-800)

At 519 ng/dL where 280-800 is “normal” I was at 65% of the high end.

At 532.5 ng/dl where 348-1197 is “normal” I am at 44% of the high end.

 

I’ve added percentages to the Hormone Table that I use to track all of my blood draws. There are now values in red that mark where I stand with regard to being at the high end of the prolactin and testosterone scales.

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Sometimes I get mail

A week or so ago I went to Williamsburg to help my brother do some post-hurricane-Irene rebuilding. (Well, and to visit, mostly.)

During the visit I’d check my phone periodically and noticed I’d received an email from someone regarding pituitary tumors, meds, and, I think, nausea. I read just a few sentences, realized it would require a longer reply – if the mail ended with a a question (it may have been just sharing info) – than I was willing to type up on a smartphone and I closed it… intending to give it proper attention when I was back at work and in front of my computer.

And now I can’t find it.

I don’t know if I deleted it off my phone. Maybe my email client at work sorted it to a folder and I’ve lost it. Maybe Gremlins from the Kremlin were involved.

So… if you were the person who mailed me, let me apologize for being such a poor steward of your mail. Especially if you are someone I’ve exchanged mail with before. More especially if you are someone I went to school with. Most especially if you are a relative of mine.

If you were writing to share your experience with pituitary tumors or had a question you thought I might know something about, please resend your mail.

Based on the bits I remember about the mail – meds and nausea – I’ll toss this out:

During the course of treatment for my pituitary tumors, I was on two different meds. The first was Bromocriptine (parlodel) and the second Dostinex (cabergoline). Bromocriptine didn’t do anything to reduce my prolactin levels (though I’ve read accounts of people having great success with it.) I typically took it before bed but forgot one night and took it the next morning – as I recall this led to some jitteriness.

Dostinex worked well, after the dosage was tweaked appropriately, to control my prolactin. Twice (as I recall) had developed nausea – both times I thought I was getting the flu — and each time it was just after my dose had been increased. The nausea occurred just the first time my dose was increased; that is, both times the dose was increased, I’d have flu-like symptoms just once… the first time I took the higher dose.

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Blood Work – June 2, 2011

As always, you can find the record of my blood work history – from July 2001 to present – in this Hormone Table.

Blood was drawn on a Thursday morning prior to my weekly meds so I should have had the least bit of Cabergoline in me as possible. 

I continue to take .25 mg of Cabergoline weekly. I’ve been taking a vitamin B supplement and I’d taken the vitamin a couple of hours before my blood draw.

I weighed 299 pounds, which puts me up 10 pounds from last visit. Yes, yes, yes… I keep talking about needing to lose weight but that’s all I’m doing – talking about it. I’ve got no sense that I’m seriously trying to lose weight and having no luck at it. 

Hormone Info
Prolactin: 8.5 (4.0-15.2)

Regarding Vitamin B6

Effect of pyridoxine on human hypophyseal trophic hormone release: a possible stimulation of hypothalamic dopaminergic pathway

Delitala G, Masala A, Alagna S, Devilla L.

Abstract

A single dose of pyridoxine (300 mg iv) produced significant rises in peak levels of immunoreactive growth hormone GH and significant decrease of plasma prolactin PRL in 8 hospitalized healthy subjects. Serum glucose, luteinizing hormone LH, follicle stimulating hormone FSH and thyrotropin TSH were not altered significantly. In addition, in 5 acromegalic patients who were studied with both L-dopa and pyridoxine, inhibition of GH secretion followed either agent in a similar pattern. These data suggest a hypothalamic dopaminergic effect of pyridoxine.

and

Pyridoxine (B6) suppresses the rise in prolactin and increases the rise in growth hormone induced by exercise
Barletta C, Sellini M, Bartoli A, Bigi C, Buzzetti R, Giovannini C.

The influence of vitamin B6 in a dosage of 300 mg X 2 in 24 hrs, on circadian rhythm of plasmatic ACTH, cortisol, prolactin and somatotropin have been studied in 10 normal women. After vitamin B6 24 hrs pattern of ACTH and cortisol is unchanged; prolactin levels are slightly lower, in a statistically unsignificant proportion the night peak of growth hormone is higher in a statistically significant proportion (p. 0.05). The effect of vitamin B6 is likely to me mediated by dopaminergic receptors at hypothalamic level as previous studies by other Authors appear to prove.

Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper 1984 Feb 28;60(2):273-8
N Engl J Med. 1982 Aug 12;307(7):444-5.

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Low T, Diabetes and Death

The Daily Mirror recently published story titled, Diabetic men with low testosterone more likely to die. While I’m of the mind we’re all likely to die regardless of the levels of testosterone we have, eventually, I was curious enough about the headline to click the link in my newsreader and have a read.

In the end the title gave most of it away: Low T + Diabetes 2 = earlier death

The article goes on to say that hormone replacement therapy has been effective in prolonging the lives of men with the low T/diabetes combination.

A little bit of Googling turned up the original release from which I’ve clipped the following snippet:

Professor Hugh Jones, Consultant Endocrinologist and Hon. Professor of Andrology, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield, said:

“This is potentially a very exciting finding. Whilst we have shown that low testosterone levels can put diabetic men at greater risk of dying, we have also demonstrated for the first time the potential benefit that testosterone replacement therapy holds for this group of patients.

“It is well known that men with type 2 diabetes often have low testosterone levels, so it is important that we investigate the health implications of this. We now need to carry out a larger clinical trial to confirm these preliminary findings. If confirmed, then many deaths could be prevented every year.”

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Testosterone levels and our ability to woo women.

Way back, when I was something like 20 and testosterone pretty much dripped off me much as it does most 20-year-old males, I would sometimes go to a local store that sold overstocks of printed sports team shirts and what-not. Of all the trips I made to the store I remember buying two items. One was a red shirt that had “Red Onion” printed on it in big white letters – the letters were made of just the right type of stuff and positioned in just the right manner that they’d rub my nipples raw if I jogged in the shirt. The other item was a hoodie with “Wayne State” printed on the front.

I never found out what “Red Onion” was supposed to be about.  While I’d no idea what Wayne State was when I bought the hoodie, I’d eventually find out it was a university in Michigan.

Well, it seems the good folks at Wayne State do more than just supply overstocks to clearance stores. They’ve recently published a study that links testosterone with men’s ability to "woo" potential mates.

According to Richard Slatcher, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in WSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a resident of Birmingham, Mich., the effects of testosterone on dominance behaviors were especially pronounced among men who reported having a high need for social dominance. In his study, "Testosterone and Self-Reported Dominance Interact to Influence Human Mating Behavior," published online Feb. 28 in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science, these men showed a strong positive association between their own testosterone and their own dominance behaviors and, most surprisingly, a strong negative association between their own testosterone and their opponents’ dominance behaviors. In other words, men both high in testosterone and who reported a high need for social dominance appeared to be able somehow suppress their competitors’ ability to attract potential mates. However, when men reported low need for dominance, there was no association between testosterone and dominance behaviors-either their own or their competitors’.

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Low Testosterone and Your Muscles

There is a lot more detail to the answer Bret Contreras provides to the guy who asked, “Can someone be consistently on the lower end of the normal range for testosterone and still be muscular?” … but the simple answer, per Bret, is:

As you can see, there are multiple (and many redundant) pathways to muscular hypertrophy, and even though testosterone helps tremendously, one can still see dramatic gains despite suffering from low testosterone levels.

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Effects of Low T – for the auditory learners among us

I don’t know that I ever felt like I got passed over for promotions due to low testosterone, but the rest of the stuff this guy says applied.

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Diabetes and Low Testosterone

When I started looking into my hormone problems I remember reading that low testosterone can lead to loss of bone mass, loss of muscle mass, loss of libido, diabetes… just about anything that can go wrong with a man – but I’ll be darned if I can find the notes or source I had that mentioned diabetes.

In any case, I ran across this at The Taylorsville Times:

Research has shown that men suffering from diabetes may be at increased risk for a condition called hypogonadism, more commonly known as low testosterone. This is because men with diabetes have lower levels of testosterone than those without diabetes.

. . . . .

"Studies have shown that men with diabetes are twice as likely to have low testosterone as men without diabetes," says Dr. Helena Rodbard, past-president of the American College of Endocrinology (ACE), and past-president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). "It is vitally important for men with diabetes to visit their doctors to discuss the condition and potential risk factors."

I’d be interested in finding out what came first, lot T or diabetes. Or maybe either one can lead to the other. I don’t know. (I’m no doctor or medical professional in any way shape or form. And, as Yosemite Sam would say, dooooon’t you forget it.)

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Eight-eight percent of testosterone deficient men…

I’ve had this graphic on my desktop forever and thought I’d put it here for safekeeping.

88-testosterone-zz-thumb

The source of the information, as spelled out in the hard-to-read line at the bottom, is the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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