Tim Russert Revisited 16. November 2008 William Davis (7) A Heart Scan Blog reader brought this piece by Dr. MacDougall to my attention. Dr. MacDougall created a fictitious posthumous conversation between himself and the late Tim Russert. MacDougall paints a picture of a hardworking, hard-living man who adhered to an overindulgent lifestyle of excessive eating. He concludes that a vegetarian, low-fat diet would have saved his life. Beyond being disrespectful, I would differ with Dr. MacDougall’s assessment. In fact, I’ve heard an interview with Mr. Russert’s primary care physician in which the doctor claimed that Mr. Russert had been counseled on the need for a low-fat diet and, in fact, adhered to it quite seriously. Far from being an overindulgent, overeating gourmand, he followed the dictates of conventional dietary wisdom according to the American Heart Association. The low-fat diet articulated by Dr. MacDougall is simply a little more strict than that followed by Mr. Russert.What exactly could Mr. Russert have done to prolong his life? Several basic strategies:--Added fish oil. This simple strategy alone would have reduced the likelihood of dying suddenly by almost half. --Eliminated wheat and cornstarch—Mr. Russert developed diabetes in the last few years of his life. By definition, diabetes is an inability to handle sugars and sugar-equivalents. Wheat and cornstarch yield immediate and substantial surges in blood sugar greater than table sugar; elimination causes weight to plummet, blood sugar to drop, and diabetes (at least in its early phases) can be eliminated in many people, particularly those beginning with substantial excess weight.Just those two strategies alone would more than likely have avoided the tragic death that brought Mr. Russert’s wonderful life and career to an abrupt end. Of course, he could have even taken his heart health program even further, as we do in the Track Your Plaque program. While the conversation has focused on how to avoid tragic events like sudden cardiac death, why not take it a step farther and ask, "How can coronary plaque be measured, tracked, and reversed?"In that vein, Mr. Rusert could have restored vitamin D to normal levels; identified all hidden sources of heart disease using lipoprotein testing (though he had small LDL without a doubt, given his generous waist size, HDL of 36 mg/dl and high triglycerides); considered niacin. Simple, yet literally lifesaving efforts, that make reversal much more likely. Those simple steps, in fact, would have tipped the scales heavily in Mr. Russert’s favor, making a heart attack and/or sudden death from heart disease exceptionally unlikely.