Orthomolecular Health Medicine Society - Friday, February 27, 2004

by Richard P. Huemer, M.D.

I. General principles

    A. Viscosity

        1. Definition: resist flow or change of shape; resist shearing forces

        2. Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids; examples of the latter (honey; catsup)

        3. Variable viscosity of blood: 4X water (flowing fast), 20X water (slow)

    B. Laminar flow and shear rate

        1. Observation of sticks in a brook

        2. Mental experiment: dumping pingpong balls into the brook

            a. Parabolic curve within boundary layer

            b. Straight paths = laminar flow

            c. Difference in velocity between layers = shear rate

    C. Calculation of viscosity from flow measurements

        1. Aircraft: hot-wire anemometer; 3D laser doppler velocimeter

        2. Blood: rheometer from Rheologics; 9000 data points

            a. Plot viscosity in cP vs. shear rate in sec-1

            b. Sample of typical data

    D. Turbulence

        1. Stochastic motion, not laminar flow

        2. Ratio between inertial and viscosity factors; Reynolds number

        3. Relation to boundary layers, roughness of surface, and applied force

II. Clinical Relevance

    A. Dr. Ken Kensey and the protective-adaptive theory of atherosclerosis

        1. Turbulent flow upstream of bifurcations; work of the heart

        2. Endothelial damage via turbulence, with protective callus formation -> plaque

        3. Why atherosclerosis is localized rather than same throughout vessels

        4. Shift from biochemical to biomechanical viewpoint

    B. Things associated with increased blood viscosity:

        1. Hematocrit

        2. Fibrinogen

            a. Smoking raises it; probable reason for association viscosity w/ smoking

            b. Strong predictor of CAD, periphal AD, and all-cause mortality

        3. Total protein

        4. Diseases: diabetes, obesity (BMI), hypertension, use of Rx meds

        5. Lipids: triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL

        6. Age and male sex

    C. Things associated with decreased blood viscosity

        1. HDL

        2. Lifestyle: alcohol (decrease fibrinogen), fish oil (?), leisure activities

        3. Pharmacologic: HRT (mixed effect), lumbrokinase, nattokinase, Wobenzym, other

III. Practical recommendations

    Lose weight; exercise; take fish oils, B3, Cr; don't smoke; drink a glass of wine

    daily; become a regular blood donor; control BP; consider statins and kinases.

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