Accidental Health 9. October 2008 William Davis (2) "I shall never have smallpox for I have had cowpox; I shall neverhave an ugly pockmarked face."Such was the idle comment made by a milkmaid to Edward Jenner in 1768 when Jenner was 19, a remark that later prompted his investigations into using isolates of cowpox injected into humans as the first vaccination against the devastations of the European epidemic of smallpox. (A caricature of Jenner administering cowpox vaccine to people, causing them to sprout bovine appendages. Image courtesy Wikipedia and the Library of Congress.)When I look back, something similar has happened here. Although the Track Your Plaque program is intended to stop and reverse coronary plaque using the only available means of tracking coronary plaque, i.e., heart scans, an unintended panel of benefits follow: --People lose weight, often dramatically--People gain greater energy--Thinking is clearer, emotions more stable--Sleep is deeper--Bone density increases--Physical strength and coordination improve--Winter blues dissipate--Blood sugar drops dramatically--Blood pressure dropsCholesterol (lipid) panels also settle to values that most physicians deem impossible or impractical, given our target of 60:60:60, i.e., LDL 60 mg/dl or less, HDL 60 mg/dl or higher, triglycerides 60 mg/dl or less. And medications are not always necessary to achieve these values. (When I show these values to my colleagues, they declare them flukes, unobtainable only in select people with high doses of medications.) I didn’t set out to find the next weight loss solution, nor the key to boundless energy. My goal was "simpler": create a program of heart health. I am, after all, a cardiologist. I was so intently focused on achieving incremental improvements over the steps leading to heart disease prevention that I failed to recognize the profound phenomena that accompanied it: people were quicker, smarter, thinner, and healthier.In other words, I believe that we have inadvertently created a program of super health and performance. Ironically, most people don't want to talk about heart disease, let alone reversal of heart disease. They do want to talk about getting thinner, feeling more energetic, living longer, better cholesterol values, etc. Perhaps there's a lesson in this.