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Health Checkup: November 2008

Three-time "Top Doc" Answers Your Most Common Questions About Clinical Trials

Ronald Tutrone, M.D., F.A.C.S., Medical Director of Chesapeake Urology Research Associates, answers common questions about current clinical trials for overactive bladder, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, enlarged prostate, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and more.

Q: What are the advantages of participating in a clinical trial?
 Clinical trials give you access to the latest treatments and technologies before they are widely available to the public, as well as the close attention of our expert physicians and study coordinators. Many participants say it gives them a good feeling knowing their participation may further our medical knowledge and ultimately help others.

Q: What does a clinical trial involve?
 Typically, you will work with a health care team that includes a physician and a research coordinator. The team follows a research protocol in which an assigned group of participants receives the same tests and treatments. Your health is closely monitored during and after the study.

Q: What kind of safety precautions are taken during clinical trials?
 Patient safety is our main concern. All clinical trials are conducted according to the principles of Good Clinical Practice as mandated by the FDA. Plus, all trials are approved by an independent institutional review board.

Q: What are the concerns of participating in a clinical trial?
 Possible drawbacks include the treatment not benefiting you, even if it has proven helpful to others. In some cases, it may prove less beneficial than an existing treatment, or less beneficial than doctors hoped. Participation often requires more trips to the physician's office and may cause side effects.

Q: How do I find out what clinical trials are available to me?
 Visit our website at If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, call our research center at (410) 825-5454.

Dr. Tutrone has conducted over 75 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials for a broad range of urologic conditions. A graduate of Rutgers Medical School and Harvard Program in Urology, he is certified by the American Board of Urology and is chairman of the William E. Kahlert Urological Endowment. Dr. Tutrone has been voted a "Top Doc" by Baltimore Magazine three times.

As the largest urology practice group in Maryland, Chesapeake Urology combines the expertise of 46 top physicians in 16 offices and 14 ambulatory surgical centers throughout the state. CUA offers expertise in treating prostate cancer, bladder cancer, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, vasectomy and more. For details, call 1-866-955-0002 or visit

Are You Going To Pile On The Pounds Again This Winter?

By Margarethe de Clermont
Why do so many people put on weight in the winter? Is it because we eat more to stay warm? Is it because we exercise less? Is it because we get depressed and comfort-eat more in the winter?

Winter weight gain is a common complaint. Every winter a few pounds creep on insidiously, and come spring our summer clothes feel too small. And why is it so hard to lose these extra winter pounds?

Why does winter weight gain happen and what can we do to avoid it?

There are several contributing factors:

Annoyingly, it seems likely that we have a genetic pre-disposition to store more fat as winter approaches. Many animals do this and it was probably vital for the survival of our ancestors. We may even unconsciously choose foods that are higher in fat content in the autumn. Can't win, can we?

Neuro-transmitters in the brain also influence our weight. The interaction of these chemicals can bring about variations in appetite and sudden cravings. People who are overweight often have low levels of these neurotransmitters and the results can include increased appetite for high-fat, high-sugar foods, low mood and sleep disorders.

The lack of daylight due to the shortening days can cause seasonal affective disorder. One of the fastest ways to boost energy levels and lift emotions is to eat high carbohydrate foods like chocolate that give a fast blood sugar "fix."

The best way to handle our winter food cravings is to substitute healthier foods that are also high in carbohydrate, but low in fat content and full of fiber. Potatoes (cooked with out adding fat), homemade wholegrain bread without butter, wholesome soups, wholegrain rice, pasta, cereals, and fresh whole fruit would be suitable choices.

It is also important exercise more. Often our physical activity levels drop significantly in the winter. We have a tendency to stay home and hibernate. Sign up with a gym or put a stationary bicycle in front of the TV. Get out in the fresh air, take the dog for a long walk, or even better, take the whole family. Get rid of the fat before it settles down permanently around your hips and waistline.

Winter weight gain is avoidable: it is a matter of staying motivated, getting enough exercise, making the right choices and moderating our fat and sugar intake without depriving ourselves.


Dr. de Clermont is an experienced medical doctor, a certified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She is the author of several weight loss articles, as well as the Papillon Weight Management Program and the Gorgeous Gourmet Newsletter.


Increased exercise capacity reduces the risk of death in men, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The government-supported Veterans Affairs study included 15,660 participants and is the largest known study to assess the link between fitness and mortality.

"It is important to emphasize that it takes relatively moderate levels of physical activity -- like brisk walking -- to attain the associated health benefits. Certainly, one does not need to be a marathon runner. This is the message that we need to convey to the public," said Peter Kokkinos, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the Exercise Testing and Research Lab in the cardiology department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

According to Kokkinos, most middle aged and older individuals can attain fitness levels with a brisk walk, 30 minutes per day, five to six days each week. "I do not advocate that everyone can start with 30 minutes of physical activity. In fact, 30 minutes may be too much for some people. If this is the case, split the routine into 10-15 minutes in the morning and another 10-15 minutes in the evening. The benefits will be similar if the exercise volume accumulated is similar," he said.

Source: American Heart Association


Don't let knee pain keep you off your running schedule or on the sideline during your team's big game. Here are a few tips on how to get active again.   

That pain in your knee is telling you to give the joint some time off. If your knee hurts, stop running or doing any exercise that worsens the pain. But don't let it keep you from working out. Try exercises that don't put pounding pressure on knee joints like water workouts, swimming, biking and walking. And don't forget to hit the weights to build muscle strength to help support the knee.

Don't be afraid of over-the-counter drugs, just don't take more than the recommended dose. Acetaminophen eases pain, while naproxen and ibuprofen reduce pain and swelling. Gels and creams that contain capsaicin can also relieve discomfort in the knee.

To keep swelling and pain down, apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day. 

Compressing your knee by wrapping it with an elastic bandage reduces swelling while also providing support to the joint and muscles.

Elevate your knee above heart level to limit swelling.

Source: WebMD Magazine


• By the year 2015, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight and 41 percent will be obese.

• One-third Americans receive 47 percent of their calories from junk food.



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Is a Penile Implant My Last Line of Defense Against Erectile Dysfunction?

Geoffrey Sklar, M.D., F.A.C.S., of Chesapeake Urology Associates, answers many common questions about the penile implant.

Q: What if I don't respond to drugs like Viagra® and Cialis®?
Depending on the cause of your erectile dysfunction and the severity, the pills simply may not work. Some men cannot take these drugs as they may interact with other drugs that they may be taking. In many of these cases, a penile prosthesis, or penile implant, may be the recommended course of treatment.

Q: Does a penile implant really work?
At Chesapeake Urology, we have a very high success rate with penile prosthesis procedures. We have extensive experience with a variety of implant types, and our patient satisfaction rating is approximately 95 percent.

Q: How long does the procedure take?
Typically the penile prosthesis procedure takes about an hour to perform. The majority of our patients go home the same day, or at least within about 23 hours. Of course, you'll require some general rest and relaxation, as is the case with nearly any outpatient procedure.
Q: How soon can I try it out?
After about a month of recovery time, most of our patients are able to resume a fulfilling and satisfying sex life. These are some of the happiest patients we see here at Chesapeake Urology.

Dr. Sklar is certified by the American Board of Urology and is athe chief medical officer for Chesapeake Urology. His clinical interests include erectile dysfunction, Peyronie's disease, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and more.

As the largest urology practice group in Maryland, Chesapeake Urology combines the expertise of 46 top physicians in 16 offices and 14 ambulatory surgical centers throughout the state. CUA offers expertise in treating prostate cancer, testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction, vasectomy, vasectomy reversal and more. For details, call 1-866-955-0002 or visit

Issue 131: November 2008