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[IP] RE: retinopathy and pycnogenol

		"My eye doctor just informed me that I have a bad case of
Renothapy (spelling??)."  My main connection to diabetes is that my
10-year-old son has had it for 6 years.  Pardon my ignorance, but my
question concerns using surgery for retinopathy when there is a drug
commonly used for it in France. Is the drug bogus? Do U.S. doctors really
not know about it? I am attaching this article from "Diabetes Interview" so
that you will know what I've been reading.
		Joyce Riske
		email @ redacted

		Leading Prescription for Retinopathy in France Unknown in
United States
		S. Kellaher. Diabetes Interview March 1999, p. 17
		"I was shocked."
		Tom Petersen had just found out about a treatment for his
retinopathy, not from his physician, but on his own.
		"It's the number one prescription for retinopathy in France,
and my doctor had never heard of it."
		Americans are missing out on a seemingly powerful weapon
against diabetes complications, Pycnogenol.
		When French people with diabetes see their doctors about
retinopathy, they are frequently prescribed Pycnogenol, according to several
sources.  But it is practically unheard of in the United States. French
doctors swear by its antioxidant powers but most American doctors cannot
pronounce it.
		Antioxidants are known to rid the body of free radicals, the
harmful molecules that lead to vascular and other problems, and Pycnogenol
appears to be the supreme antioxidant.
		What Is It?
		Pycnogenol is the name for the patented pill form of the
French Maritime pine tree bark, one of many pine tree species that contains
bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids, also found in fruits, help Vitamin C to
		Pycnogenol is comprised of a particularly helpful group of
bioflavonoids called the proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins have been
shown to improve the elasticity of the capillaries, which are small blood
		Thus, besides the antioxidant abilities of the
bioflavonoids, Pycnogenol is also said to improve circulation, a particular
concern in diabetes.
		Complete Remission of Retinopathy
		Petersen, a school psychologist from San Francisco, is
passionate about Pycnogenol. He credits the product with curing his
		Petersen has had Type 1 diabetes for 45 years, during which
his control has been "pretty good."
		"I'm not a fanatic, but my health is good," he says.
		Yet in 1982, his right eye required laser surgery and his
left would be next, doctors told him. Realizing that retinopathy could take
his sight one day, he research treatments on his own. What he came up with
was Pycnogenol.
		His ophthalmologist had never heard of it and didn't seem
very interested in researching it, even after Petersen described its
popularity in France. So he began taking it on his own.
		After four months of taking Pycnogenol, says Petersen, his
ophthalmologist reported that his retinopathy seemed to be regressing.
After another four months, Petersen says, he experienced "complete
remission." After one year of Pycnogenol, he only requires a yearly eye exam
and his ophthalmologist says Pycnogenol is the only thing to which he can
attribute the improvement.
		Petersen recommended it to two friends with retinopathy.
They too had complete regression of retinopathy.
		"I'm not a researcher or a medical expert," he says, "but I
am sure about these three cases."
		Pycnogenol Studies
		Many European studies have proven Pycnogenol's success as an
antioxidant, and other studies have linked a depletion of antioxidant
vitamins to the onset of diabetes complications.
		One study, published in the journal Ophthalmic Research in
1996, proved Pycnogenol's beneficial effects in cow and pig retinas.
Performed at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the study looked
at antioxidants and flavonoids in treating lipid peroxidation of the retina.
The study states, "Lipid peroxidation is considered a prominent feature of
diabetic retinopathy."
		Lipid peroxidation occurs when the oxygen in the environment
attacks the lipids (fats) of the body. When the body has a good supply of
antioxidants, no damage is caused. But without antioxidants to fight off the
oxygen, free radicals are created. These are the harmful substances that
cause vascular problems and advance the aging process.
		The researchers induced lipid peroxidation and compared
different antioxidants and flavonoids in fighting it. They concluded that
they were successful in varying degrees. Pycnogenol had one of the greatest
percentages in fighting the lipid peroxidation.
		Getting It Here
		Petersen wants American doctors and people with diabetes to
be informed about Pycnogenol. It is available in the United States as a
dietary supplement.
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