Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Raising the Good Cholesterol is Easier Than Most Doctors Think

The American College of Cardiology continues to have the goal of raising the HDL, which is the subfraction of the cholesterol that protects against heart disease and strokes. The standard advice is to increase exercise, which is a very good idea by itself but does not produce dramatic improvement in HDL numbers. The B-vitamin niacin is probably more effective than any drug in raising the HDL. A nightly glass of wine might have a tiny effect. But the most dramatic increases in HDL occur by lowering carbs in the diet, especially if your triglycerides are at least slightly elevated. I have seen HDL’s double, just by switching to a low carb diet.

Contact American Medical News, May 19, 2008 issue, page 29 or search the internet for low carbohydrate diets.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Doctors Make Mistakes When They Think

The best-selling book, How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman was recently reviewed in Family Practice Management. The best thinking by docs requires that we must learn from our mistakes and failures by constantly revisiting and reworking medical “truths” that we have learned in our training. How many times have patients told me that they have reported to their conventional docs that an integrative therapy worked when standard medicine did not? The usual response is either that it must have been something else that caused you to get better or that your experience is interesting but I don’t have time to look into it further. All doctors should constantly be searching for new answers for their patients instead of categorizing them into inflexible protocols that may or may not be effective.
Contact , May, 2008, pp. 31-36 or order the book, How Doctors Think, published by Houghton Mifflin, 2007.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Preventive Medicine is a Necessity, not a Luxury

Dr. Steven Woolf wrote an excellent editorial in the May 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Power of Prevention and What It Requires. Twin crises that we face in the US are a sinking economy and deteriorating health of our citizens. In order to live longer in better health and avoid sinking under the burden of health care spending we have no choice but to embrace health promotion and preventive medicine. This strategy is more effective than episodic care with drugs and surgery and much less expensive, with or without the use of integrative medicine. Of course, I would suggest we embrace the latter to maximize the benefits.
Journal of the American Medical Association