Saturday, April 01, 2006

StudioTraffic's Web Site Suspended - The End for ST?

It appears that repeated calls and emails sent to Studiotraffic's provider, FastServers.net, have succeeded in shutting down the online auto-surf gone rotten. Visiting StudioTraffic's website now displays the message that the account has been suspended. Meanwhile, StudioTraffic's other website, including their forum, remains online, while it's "investors" and other people who have held out hope in recovering their money can still chat about StudioTraffic under the watchful eyes of the moderators who are continuing to try and not let damaging information about the program be disseminated.

The purported owner of ST, John Horan, has been discovered to be an alias. The domain is registered to a company in Panama called Overseas Incorporation Services Overseas Incorporation Services which claims to offshore company registrations and other services. Contact to the company has been made and they are quoted as saying that they have no knowledge of a person named John Horan and that Studiotraffic is not in good standing with the company. However, they have refused to release records about ST unless forced to by law. Many people are still trying to track the whereabouts of the other owners and operators of ST and report them to law enforcement and other agencies.

Whether or not this is the death nell for ST remains to be seen, but under ever increasing pressure, and outside individuals who have lost money continue to report ST and it's owners to consumer affairs divisions and government agencies, it's likely that the company doesn't have much longer to exist.

UPDATE 4/2: Studiotraffic's forum is now offline. They claim the cause is due to "abuse" from members, despite the fact that they haven't allowed people to register for the forum in months.

Sorry - but due to constant abuse and mistreatment, we have a lack of forum staff. The board is unavailable at the moment.

Please try the 2 alternative private forums.

http://com1.runboard.com/bmembersofsthelpingmembersofst

http://com2.runboard.com/bmelleen
Studiopay's website has also disappeared showing up simply saying that "there is no website configured at this address". Whether this is only temporary remains to be seen. But, it looks like this is a victory for those of us who have worked to prevent anyone else for falling victim for this scam as ST is currently out of business. We will still have to wait and find out if any funds are recovered to anyone or if any of the owners or operators are brought to justice.

The latest updates and news about StudioTraffic can be found on TalkGold's ST forum.

Consumer Reports: No Evidence for Hoodia

Consumer Reports has come out saying there is not enough evidence to say Hoodia qualifies as an appetite suppressant or has any effect on weight loss. Dr. Stephen Berrett summarized the article in his mailing list, Consumer Health Digest:

Consumers Union pans hoodia.

Based on lack of evidence, Consumer Reports on Health (CRH) has
recommended against taking products containing Hoodia gordonii, an
herb that is widely promoted as an appetite suppressant. Hoodia is a
cactus extract said to keep South African tribesmen from feeling
hungry during long hunts. CRH's literature search yielded only two
reports: (a) an unpublished report from a manufacturer about nine
volunteers who were followed for 15 days, and (2) a study in which
the ingredient was injected into the brains of rats. Neither of these
studies substantiates the claims made by hoodia marketers. The
editors also noted that Pfizer had tried to develop hoodia into an
obesity drug but had given up after failing to make an acceptable
synthetic version. [Hoodia: Worth trying for weight loss? Consumer
Reports on Health, Feb 2006]
The study they mentioned was also the only study I could find in PubMed for Hoodia and makes for very poor evidence of the supplements benefits.

Increased ATP content/production in the hypothalamus may be a signal for energy-sensing of satiety: studies of the anorectic mechanism of a plant steroidal glycoside.

MacLean DB, Luo LG.

Division of Endocrinology, Hallett Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Brown Medical School, Coro Building Providence, RI 02903, USA. david_b_maclean@brown.edu

A steroidal glycoside with anorectic activity in animals, termed P57AS3 (P57), was isolated from Hoodia gordonii and found to have homologies to the steroidal core of cardiac glycosides. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of the purified P57AS3 demonstrated that the compound has a likely central (CNS) mechanism of action. There is no evidence of P57AS3 binding to or altering activity of known receptors or proteins, including Na/K-ATPase, the putative target of cardiac glycosides. The studies demonstrated that the compound increases the content of ATP by 50-150% in hypothalamic neurons. In addition, third ventricle (i.c.v.) administration of P57, which reduces subsequent 24-h food intake by 40-60%, also increases ATP content in hypothalamic slice punches removed at 24 h following the i.c.v. injections. In related studies, in pair fed rats fed a low calorie diet for 4 days, the content of ATP in the hypothalami of control i.c.v. injected animals fell by 30-50%, which was blocked by i.c.v. injections of P57AS3. With growing evidence of metabolic or nutrient-sensing by the hypothalamus, ATP may be a common currency of energy sensing, which in turn may trigger the appropriate neural, endocrine and appetitive responses as similar to other fundamental hypothalamic homeostatic centers for temperature and osmolarity.

A CBS 60 Minutes News story in November of 2004 reported on the Hoodia plant and it's origins in Africa. The patent holders of the hoodia extract, which was shown to work in their in house studies, claimed that the products with hoodia in it they tested had less than 1% of the actives in the ingredients. This would indicate that most products on the market don't have the necessary standardized ingredients in them to work properly, at least according to the South African company that owns the patent. The active ingredient in Hoodia that is claimed to work is called P57. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer also attempts to isolate a synthetic version of this ingredient but gave up after it was decided to be too expensive.

So, are there any Hoodia supplements on the market that might actually work? It's hard to say due to the lack of any studies, but most anecdotal reports on the ingredient itself seems to be poor. Hoodia may work best when taken as a standardized extract combined with other ingredients, such as in a product like Dietex. However, all consumers should research for themselves and decide which product is best for them.

Consumer Reports on Health - Hoodia: Worth trying for weight loss? 2/06

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Preventing Androgenic Hair Loss

Male pattern baldness (MPB) or androgenic alopecia is a concern for many men as they age, and especially men who choose to engage in the usage of anabolic steroids. In this article I will go over some of the most common treatments for MPB including how they work and where to get (some) of them.

1) Nizoral shampoo (1% is fine) alternated with Neutrogena T-Gel (or generic) or some other type of OTC anti-dandruff shampoo like Head and Shoulders. This keeps your hair in good pH balance and from getting inflammed. Dr. Lee @ Minoxidil.com sells 2% Nizoral + Salicylic acid which works great also. This is the first line of defense in hair loss, and is the cheapest route to go. Since the active ingredient in Nizoral helps prevent DHT from forming on the scalp, it helps prevent MPB and in one study was shown to be as effective as minoxidil. [1]

2) Topical spironolactone applied twice daily to inhibit DHT/androgens on the scalp. The 2% is liquid, and 5% is a cream (but Dr. Lee also makes a 5% liquid, which is easier to apply). Spiro is available by prescription only. There are very few places that sell topical spironolactone online - it is mostly sold an oral version that is meant to be used as a diuretic. So, you will probably have to buy from Dr. Lee. I also recommend his, as his doesn't smell as badly as many of the other versions (which is a problem with many other topical spiros sold online).

3) Topical zinc/B6/Azelaic acid. All of these have been shown in some studies and by users to have some good ability to inhibit hairloss. Although they aren't as strong as the other items listed above in preventing hairloss, they can help. You can make your own shampoo/topical or buy one from Lee or possibly at some drug or speciality stores. I could not find this combination sold in any of the places I looked, or even zinc/b6 or just azelaic acid. However, I'm sure if you were to search Froogle you could probably come up with something.

Dr. Lee doesn't recommend combining zinc or B6 with his products, as he says that they degrade and become useless. He also says that he isn't sure whether a home brew zinc/B6 topical would work because there haven't been any studies on it. Here is what he had to say when asked about the subject.

Troymaclure asked: "hi Dr. Lee, I don't know if you are
aware of the growing interest of a topical being used whereby the
person mixes a solution (say sufficeint to fill a minoxidil bottle)
of 110mg Zinc Sulphate, 60mg vitamin B6 (p-5-p) and 60ml distilled
water...my question is do you have any thoughts on a) how well this
formula would absorb sufficiently to be effective and b) assuming
it does, what are your personal thoughts on just how effective such
a treatment could be....and if i may put one more point to you;
assuming you feel it is worthwhile, do you think it would be viable
to mix some Zinc Sulphate & B6 in with your spiro lotion, in other
words would the mixture remain stable and would it be as effective
as the distilled water version? Thanks Dr. Lee. "

Dr Richard Lee, MD answered: "I have been reading with interest
some of the accounts of patients who have been treating their
MPB using a mixture of topical zinc and vitamin B6.
Unfortunately, I don't know how well either zinc sulphate
or vitamin B6 is absorbed, when they are applied topically.
I have tried to find this information, but have not been
successful in doing so. Zinc and vitamin B6 are usually
taken in oral forms.

There is some rationale in this proposed treatment for MPB.
Very credible articles (e.g. British Journal of Dermatology
(1988) 119, 627-632) have shown that zinc in high
concentrations could completely inhibit 5-alpha reductase
activity and that vitamin B6 potentiated the inhibitory
effect of zinc. The problem is we don't know if topical
zinc has any efficacy in treating MPB. There is no
evidence that oral zinc is beneficial in the treatment
of MPB. In an excellent article (article),
Dr. Dawber of the Oxford Hair Foundation has written
about the medical history and pharmacology of zinc.
He opens his article, "Zinc supplements: a cure for
hair loss? I believe the short answer to whether zinc
is a cure for hair loss - is NO"

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that exists in
three major chemical forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal,
and pyridoxamine. Your designation of p-5-p is
pyridoxine 5' phosphate, which is the primary
form of vitamin B6's biological activity.

Since I cannot find any information in regards to
the topical absorption of either zinc sulphate or
pyridoxine 5' phosphate, I can't make an educated
guess in regards to "just how effective such a
treatment could be". Sorry.

Richard Lee, M.D. "

HairLossHelp.com

However, people are still using this method with success. I searched around for some bulk zinc powder but didn't find anyone who sold it. I guess there isn't much demand for it. Bulk B6 powder is available at BAC though.

4) Minoxidil is basically a lifetime treatment for the condition of MPB. Yes, you have to use it for the rest of your life if you want to keep having the benefits of minoxidil regrowing the hair on your scalp. Once you stop using it, you can expect to lose the hair you regrew within around 4 months, so once you decide to start using it, expect to use it forever. It's not an easy decision, considering the costs, so do your research and take into consideration before you start.

5) Finasteride works by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT through the type 2 5-alpha reductase enzyme. It was originally prescribed for treatment for BPH (prostate enlargement) as the drug Proscar in 5mg tablets, but is now prescribed for MPB as Propecia in 1mg tablets. It eliminates approximately 65% of DHT in the body within 24 hours of a 1mg dosage. [2] There are two types of the 5AR enzyme, type 1 and type 2 and they are found in different parts of the body. The drug dutasteride (Avodart) blocks conversion through both enzymes. You would assume that this would work better than finasteride since it would eliminate all DHT, but this is not the case. DHT is a potent anti-estrogen and eliminating all DHT in the body can cause symptoms of gynecomastia, lack of libido and strength and other unwanted side effects. It seems that finasteride is a better choice since it leaves you with some DHT systematically, while dutasteride leaves you with virtually none. The best choice, however, still seems to be a topical DHT inhibitor that is site specific. Although DHT is a heavily androgenic compound, it is still necessary in the male body for many functions. Blocking it at the problematic sites would obviously better than blocking it entirely. As with minoxidil, finasteride essentially needs to be taken long term for it's effects to continue working since once you discontinue it your DHT levels would rise back to what they were prior to the initial usage of the drug.

6) Plant Sterols: Beta Sitosterol & Saw Palmetto have been shown in some recent studies to be useful in treating androgenic alopecia when taken orally [3] and applied topically. They have similar functions to the drug finasteride in regards to blocking DHT conversion, as well as working as partial androgen agonist and antagonist in different organs (such as the prostate). Saw palmetto appears to be a good choice for older men to take as it has been show to assist in reducing the symptoms of BPH and increasing urinary flow through various mechanisms. Beta sitosterol is one of the main actives in saw palmetto and can be purchased as an individual supplement. It can also aid in reducing cholesterol in some people, which is what it is mainly sold for. When buying saw palmetto always make sure it's the standardized extract and beta sitosterol should be in a strength of around 300mg per serving.

During a cycle of AAS, if you are prone to MPB, I would recommend using Nizoral shampoo twice a week along with any other OTC dandruff shampoo inbetween along with 5% topical spiro twice daily. If you have heavy shedding or major problems with MPB then you will want to look into the other methods mentioned in this article. Consult Dr. Lee or your dermatologist for more information.

Dr Lee: Which Hair Medications are Best?

Dr. Lee - MPB FAQ

There are also many other hair loss treatments I didn't mention in this article. If you are concerned with or experiencing hair loss of any type, do plenty of research. There are many sites and forums dedicated to the discussion and treatment of male and female hair loss. A doctor, such as a dermatologist, can help you make decisions about treatments for any hair loss you might be experiencing. You can also find plenty of popular hair loss products, at a great discount, including Minoxidil, Revivogen, Folligen and more at OnlyHairLoss.com - I highly recommend it.

References:

1. Pierard-Franchimont C, De Doncker P, Cauwenbergh G, Pierard GE. Ketoconazole shampoo: effect of long-term use in androgenic alopecia. Department of Dermatopathology, University of Liege, Belgium. Dermatology. 1998;196(4):474-7.

2. http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic3/propecia_cp.htm

3. Prager N, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Clinical Research and Development Network, Aurora, CO, USA. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.

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