Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simplified Approach to Measuring Lipids

An article in the American Medical Association journal contends that lipids as a risk factors for vascular problems can be accurately measured in non fasting specimens. In summary, you no longer have to fast for 10-14 hours prior to getting cholesterol testing, which makes the process much easier on the patient. We are incorporating this change in the office, not only for convenience but also because we can get these blood tests much cheaper for the patient if we draw the specimen in the office as opposed to the hospital.

See Nov. 11 issue of JAMA, p. 1993-1998.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Serotonin and Sleep

Serotonin was discovered in the 1940’s and is one of the oldest biologically active substances on earth. It has been shown to be active in virtually all behavioral and cognitive actions in the body. A new book reviewed in the American Medical Association Journal reviews serotonin’s role in sleep problems such as sudden infant death, panic disorder, sleep apnea and depression. Adequate sleep is an important requirement for many illnesses, including chronic fatigue. The AMA emphasizes drugs that inhibit the breakdown of serotonin, but nutrients such as 5-HT can increase serotonin more effectively, especially after measuring neurotransmitters in the urine, an excellent approach utilized by Integrative physicians.

See Nov. 11, 2009 issue of JAMA (click here), p. 2036 and the book, Serotonin and Sleep: Molecular, Functional and Clinical Aspects, Edited by J.M. Monti, et. al.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Most Melanomas are Discovered Incidentally by the Physician

Dr. Jonathan Cantor in the Archives of Dermatology published a study showed that 56-60% of Malignant Melanomas were discovered by a dermatologist doing a full body exam for another complaint. Currently, the US Preventive Service Task Force states that there is not enough evidence to support full-body examinations as a screening procedure, so most doctors do not do so. If you have multiple moles or if you have had strong sun exposure, even many years ago, it might be prudent to ask your doctor to do a full body exam. If detected early, melanomas are much easier to treat.

See Family Practice News, Sept. 15, 2009, p. 28.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Avoid Treating Fever in Patients with Flu Symptoms, Especially in Children

It has been long recognized that fever should not be treated with medications in patients with the flu for two reasons: the fever helps the body kill the virus and there is a higher incidence of the deadly Reyes Syndrome in patients with flu treated with anti-pyretics. The British Medical Journal has speculated that the high incidence of deaths in Mexico might be related to harmful effects of ibuprofen used for fever. Since the Japanese have warned against the use of such drugs, the death rate has decreased. In the horrible flu epidemic of 1918, the US surgeon General and the AMA recommended the first-line use of aspirin and probably increased the death and complication rate. In conclusion, we should avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, Alieve, and even Tylenol in cases of the flu. But be sure to keep the levels of vitamin D3 high.

Google Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH to get his newsletter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autism Rate Keeps Going Up

The US Department of Health and Human Services released a report in early October, 2009 that the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which does not include ADHD, is now one in ninety-two children (1 in 57 boys). In 2000, that figure was 1 in 150. News reports continue to quote experts who say maybe we are just getting better at diagnosing the condition. Hogwash! The incidence keeps getting higher and higher. When will we stop trying to sweep this epidemic under the rug? There are many factors that can help gene expression of a predisposition to develop the disorder, and many of these are treatable. Most of them involve toxicities and immune system problems.

Contact the autismresearchinstitute@gmail.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup

An issue of Environmental Health earlier this year prompted a column by Dr. Mitchell Hecht, a syndicated columnist. Various studies have shown a detectible level of mercury in 30-90% of foods that contain a large amount of high fructose corn syrup, and there are many of those of the grocer’s shelf. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, especially in the methymercury form. High fructose corn syrup has its own set of nutritional problems as a sweetener. Whenever possible, I would avoid those products that list high fructose corn syrup as one of the top ingredients.

See January 26, 2009 issue of Environmental Health(click here)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Benefit of Statin Drugs for Preventing Heart Attacks

A review article in the Journal of Family Practice by Dr. Antonio Gotto concluded that most patients with any detectable risk for cardiovascular disease, including family history, should be put on statin drugs. There is no doubt that all of the major lipid-lowering clinical trials have shown that statin drugs can reduce cardiac events, and some show a slight decrease in all-cause mortality. Gotto estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks could be prevented each year. Since there are presently 920,000 heart attacks each year, you could only prevent one out of 92 or one out of 46, depending on which figure you use. That means that 91 out of 92, or 45 out of 46, treated patients would receive no benefit from taking the drugs. Side effects are declared to be minimal, but I sure see a lot of them. Red yeast is much safer and cheaper and comparably effective, but it is not mentioned in the article because it is not a drug. Statin drugs have their place, but whether to take them or not is a reasonable choice that should be discussed between the patient and the doctor.

See Antonio Gotto in the Journal of Family Practice, October 8, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Obesity Adds $147 Billion to the U.S. Medical Bills Annually

According to a CDC sponsored study, from 1998 to 2006, the annual medical costs of obesity increased from $74 Billion to $147 Billion. This accounts for over 9% of our total medical costs, according to Eric Finkelstein, PhD, of the Research Triangle Institute. Just the cost of prescription drugs is $1275 annually per obese individual, as opposed to $707 for those who are not obese. The authors stated that the most effective programs for weight loss might be community-based group activities. However, if a patient reports that he/she has cut back on calories, increased exercise and still was unable to lose weight, prescription drugs might be indicated. Surgery is a last resort. We also note that many patients have undiagnosed food allergies or hypothyroidism despite normal blood work. Both of these conditions can present with severe difficulty in losing weight.

See Family Practice News (click here) subscripton required. October 1, 2009, p. 40.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hypertension Improved with Interval Workouts

Family Practice News reported on a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology confirming the controversial PACE program developed by Dr. Al Sears. In the study after only 12 weeks, interval training of relatively short bursts of exercise achieving 90-95% of Maximal Heart Rate over a total workout time of 12-20 minutes, 3 times a week did much better in lowering blood pressure than conventional aerobic exercise. The average reduction in BP was 154/94 to 141/87. Mean heart rate, brachial artery elasticity, and HDL cholesterol all improved more in the PACE program as well. We are now recommending the PACE program to most of our patients. Virtually all track athletes use interval training to achieve maximal fitness, and it appears that similar training is effective even into old age. Always check with your doctor before engaging in any exercise program.

See Family Practice News, (click here) subscription required -October 1, 2009, p. 13 or google PACE exercise program.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Second-Hand Smoke is Even More Dangerous than We Thought

According to two new studies reported in Family Practice News, those localities which have banned smoking in public places have seen a drop of 17% in heart attacks. Since we have about 920,000 heart attacks each year in the US, that would mean that smoking bans would prevent 156,000 heart attacks every year. One of the studies reported in Circulation, stated emphatically that such prevention begins almost immediately and just gets stronger over time. There is no longer any excuse to allow smoking in public places or the workplace.

See Family Practice News - click here (subscription required) October 1, 2009, p. 2 and Circulation click here, Sept. 21, 2009 issue.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Osteoarthritis and Neuropathic Pain

Osteoarthritis is usually caused by wear and tear on the joints, perhaps accelerated by an injury. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and natural supplements like glucosamine are commonly prescribed. Dr. Jacqueline Hochman of Women’s College Hospital in Toronto reported to the World Congress on Osteoarthritis this fall that Neuropathic pain might be a significant contributor to the pain of arthritis. Numbness, burning, tingling and sensitivity to light touch are symptoms of nerve pain, not inflammation. Of course, her recommendation is to treat this type of pain with anti-seizure medications and anti-depressants. I would try alpha lioic acid and acupuncture first, because they are much less likely to cause side effects, and they can be very effective.

See Family Practice News (subscription required-click here), October 1, 2009, page 1.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hypertension and Viruses

Dr. Robert Rowen’s newsletter, Second Opinion, in its October, 2009 issue discussed the connection between CMV viral infection, which can stay with you a lifetime, and hypertension. This was discovered by researchers at Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center. He suggests measuring CMV titres in the blood. If high, a therapeutic course of oxidative therapy might significantly lower the blood pressure, which might in turn prevent heart attacks and strokes. My favorite anti-viral supplement is Lauricidin (Monolaurin is one brand name). Olive leaf and oregano preparations and high dose vitamin D might also be effective.

See Second Opinion Newsletter.com (click here) 10/09 issue.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weight-Loss Surgery Can Thin Your Bones

Almost 250,000 patients undergo obesity surgery in the US each year. One of the disturbing complications from resulting malnutrition is thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). Calcium supplements are not enough to avoid this complication. We believe that most patients can lose weight by reducing calories, or changing to a low carb diet, or discovering and avoiding food allergies. Sometimes, however, a patient will do all these things and still will not lose weight. The best program for those might be working with an experimental protocol coupling a very low calorie diet with HCG injections. Read the FDA warning before you consider the latter approach, because HCG is an off-label use that has not been proven effective.

See Associated Press article click here, June 16, 2009 or connect to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (click here) or to the ongoing research being conducted by Dr. Shonni Joy Silverberg at Columbia University Medical School (click here)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Arsenic in Chicken Feed

Arsenic is found in roxarsone, a pesticide routinely added to chicken feed to combat parasites and increase weight gain in chickens. Arsenic dust is commonly found on farms, in the water and in the air. In 1999, the European Union outlawed the use of arsenic for this purpose, but it is still legal in the US. Chicken consumption has increased dramatically in the last 40 years, which in turn has increased the arsenic levels in our bodies. Arsenic is a Class A toxic metal that increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and memory loss. Americans routinely get exposed to as much as 11 times the recommended upper limits of allowable exposure, according to the EPA. You can test for arsenic with an EDTA challenge. Treatment usually requires a series of IVs. But most people do not know that they have been exposed, and they mysteriously suffer in silence and ignorance. Paradoxically, this material came from an organization that works with Medical Boards which have routinely charged doctors with inferior care when they test and treat their patients for arsenic poisoning.

Based on an article in the Washington Post (click here) by Douglas Gansler, co-chair of the environmental committee of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dangerous Anti-psychotic Drugs Approved for Use in Children

An Advisory Panel for the FDA has recently recommended that three anti-psychotic drugs be approved for doctors to prescribe for children. In adults, Seroquel, Zyprexa, and Geodon all carry mandatory black box warnings because they can cause weight gain, diabetes, hypertension and premature death. It is high risk behavior to put our kids on such potent drugs. There are safer drugs available, and a whole host of natural products that can be used to help children with psychiatric problems. Caution is particularly important when you have a whole lifetime ahead of you.

See the Health Science Institute, (click here) newsletter of 6/11/09

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Natural Approach to Acne

Despite what dermatologists have contended for years, diet does have a significant role to play for many who suffer from acne. One should avoid greasy foods, those high in sugar, grains, cow’s milk, sodas, fruit juices and other sweetened beverages. Sometimes it is helpful to test for food allergies. Extra vitamins D, C, and A are helpful, but the amounts should be guided by a physician. Zinc is useful and an anti-fungal program of probiotics and herbals such as Echinacea, Garlic, and Berberine are important to treat or prevent yeast overgrowth. Roby Mitchell, MD, a reporter for Holistic Primary Care has a “Touch My Face Masque” that is good to rapidly reduce acute outbreaks of acne.

See Holistic Primary Care (click here-subscription required) and their summer issue, 2009, p. 14.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Warnings for Tylenol (acetaminophen) Toxicity

This summer, an FDA advisory panel made several recommendations to reduce the available doses of Tylenol in both adult and children’s medications because of known liver toxicity. There are 640 cases of liver failure a year due to Tylenol, as well as many more cases of toxicity due to overdoses. 54,743 visits to the ER in 2006 were acetaminophen-related. The panel decided not to remove Tylenol from all over-the-counter products by a narrow 24-13 vote. Tylenol has been thought to be safer than other pain relieving products available in pharmacies, but now it should be clear that natural products such as glucosamine, boswelia, MSM from Health Food Stores are better choices.

See Family Practice News(subscription required, click here) August, 2009, p. 49.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Help for Insomnia on the Internet

There is a fully automated, 9 week program available on the internet called SHUTi that appears to be very helpful for most participants. It uses a technique called cognitive-behavioral intervention, which is a well-established psychiatric technique. In the past, the biggest obstacle to this therapy is the lack of trained therapists to provide it, and next has been the cost. A study at the University Health System of 44 patients (average age 45 y.o.) found SHUTi to be effective in 73% of the cases six months after the training began. Learning the technique on the internet achieved comparable results to those who were treated face-to-face.

See Family Practice News(subscription required-click here), August, 2009, p. 32 . Or search for SHUTi on the internet.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Should Lipid Levels be Measured Non-fasting?

Recently, elevated non-fasting triglyceride levels have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease more than fasting levels. HDL and Total cholesterol levels have been thought to be about the same, whether fasting or not. That is why the latter can be measured in health screenings. A Hungarian study presented at the International Atherosclerosis Society meeting confirmed these suspicions. It looks like lipid levels of the future will like by collected non-fasting to assess the true risk.

See Family Practice News (subscription required), August, 2009, p. 15.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Low for Blood Pressure and Cholesterol?

A Harvard study of patients with known coronary artery disease showed that there was less risk for future events if the LDL (bad cholesterol) is brought to 100 mg/Dl. It also showed that bringing BP below 110 over 60 was harmful. Ideal BP seemed to be about 130/70 in this study (known as the TNT study). Many cardiologists push the LDL and BP to lower levels with multiple drugs. This study did not justify such over-control, and in fact concluded that the risk might be higher for such patients. Those without coronary artery disease were not studied.

See Family Practice News (click here-subscription required), August, 2009, p. 9 .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What About the H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccine?

On 9/10/09 a research report indicated that the vaccine might be more effective than previously thought so that only one shot might be required (in addition to the regular flu vaccine, of course). Safety issues have not yet become apparent. The National Vaccine Advisory Committee is recommending the vaccine for virtually everyone, but they also caution that we need to monitor adverse effects very carefully and transparently, which has not always happened in the past. Potential side effects include paralysis and death. Thus far, the swine flu illness does not look to be very severe, except for high risk individuals, although that could change. The vaccine does contain mercury. My recommendation is to take 2000-5000 iu of vitamin D daily and 1000-3000 of vitamin C. You can take mucococcinium (a homeopathic available through our office) one pill every two weeks for prevention. If you get sick, monolaurin and “colds and flu” homeopathic are usually helpful, and I would generally avoid Tamiflu medication. The vaccine is your choice, but I doubt if I will take it.

See Family Practice News (click here) subscription required, August 2009 issue, p. 4.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fat and Health Care Reform

A Toledo Blade editorial cited a recent study showing that obesity adds $147 billion to health care costs in the US everyyear. Every American deserves the opportunity to avoid catastrophic health care costs, and I sincerely hope that Congress and the Obama Administration find a way to solve the national disgrace of inadequate coverage for so many of us. But far more important than covering routine office visit care for acute illnesses is preventive medicine and incentives for healthy lifestyle choices. This is the only way we will achieve effective medical care and stop spiraling costs.Even Ben Franklin, who suffered terribly from Gout and Obesity, realized that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

See The Blade (click here), Toledo, Ohio, August 9, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Medications Linked to Sudden Death in ADHD Children

A recent study funded by the FDA and the NIH uncovered alink between the use of stimulant medications used to control hyperactive behavior in children to sudden, unexplained death in a few but significant number, ages 7-19. Stimulant meds contain a black box warning against sudden death for children but also for strokes, arrhythmias and heart attacks for adults. There are many alternative choices to such drugs in the integrative field, including herbals, homeopathics, adrenal support, essential fatty acids, and amino acids to balance neurotransmitters, all of which are much safer than pharmaceuticals and often work very well. Prescriptions for ADHD drugs increased fourfold from 1986 to 1996, and has remained steady since then. It is time to think out of the box, the black box that is.

See Mortar and Pestle, St. Rita’s Hospital (click here), Volume 9, Issue 7, July,2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The American Medical Association claims to represent most physicians in the United States. Nothing could be further than the truth. Of 900,000 practicing physicians in the country, the AMA claims membership of only 157,000 (17%). They pad their numbers by offering students and residents greatly reduced or free memberships. Even that number is going down. About 50% of students were members in 2008, compared to 59% in 2004. The founder of Sermo suggests that the biggest risk to US physicians is the AMA. A recent survey of 4000 physicians indicated that 75% were not AMA members, and 89% said that the organization does not speak for them. According to its annual report 85% of its annual revenues come from non-dues sources, such as advertisements from drug companies and sales of coding books,which does not include appropriate codes of alternative medicine, by the way.

See Sermo.com (membership required) and AAPS News click here-(members only), August 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Newest Recommendations on High Cholesterol and Statin Drugs

Stephen Sinatra is a prominent cardiologist who refuses to give knee-jerk support to the standard line on lipid problems, because the usual recommendations are not supported by good research. If your cholesterol is high, he recommends a VAP or LPP test to look much deeper into how much risk you actually have. If you are a male between ages 50 and 75 and you have high levels of small, dense LDL, use a statin drug (I would prefer red yeast, a natural statin). Over 75 y.o., forget the statins. If you are female, the statins are not particularly useful. You are better off using proteolytic enzymes and fish oils to reduce inflammation. If your Lp(a) is high, statins will not help. Niacin and nattokinase will do much better (in my experience, chelation helps even more). Lipitor-associate amnesia has been identified in 662 cases in a recent study by Graveline and Cohen.

See articles on these two subjects in the June, 2009 issue of the Townsend Letter (click here), p. 60-62 and p. 64-70. .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Routine Suppression of Stomach Acid Increases the Risk of Pneumonia

It has become commonplace for physicians to prescribe acid suppressors like omeprazole or Prilosec, Protonics, and Nexium to patients upon admission or discharge from the hospital. The reason is to prevent stress-induced ulcers. 40-70% of patients receive these drugs, even without symptoms. The problem is that the lack of stomach acid eliminates an important part of the immune system’s protection against infection. The incidence of pneumonia in such patients is 30%, according to an article in the AMA journal by Harvard researchers, and the risk begins within a few days of beginning the drugs. These medications can be useful to treat ulcers or GERD (reflux), but they should not be used preventively. Integrative Physicians commonly use natural products to achieve the same results, such as mastica or licorice.

See Herzig SJ, JAMA, May 27, 2009, p. 2120 (click here)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Supplements to Sharpen Your Memory, even if Early Alzheimer’s is a Concern

Robert Rowen’s insightful newsletter, Second Opinion, May, 2009 issue, reports that researchers from University of California have found a cheap, safe way to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. They used high doses of niacinamide (vitamin B3 in its salt form, not Niacin, which is used to lower cholesterol). The dose is 1500mg twice a day. Just in case, liver function should be monitored. Other sources have recommended a form of Vitamin B1 that is called lipothiamine, high-dose vitamin D, and a precursor of the neurotranmitter, acetylcholine, called CDP choline. If you put these altogether, you would likely have a great combo to sharpen your mind with a reasonable cost and a less risk of side effects than the drugs like Aricept. However, this is preliminary information, waiting for more definitive research to follow.

See Second Opinion, PO Box 8051, Norcross, GA 30091. J Neurosci, 2008 November 5:11500-10.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Importance of Sleep

The American Council on Collaborative Medicine publishes an excellent newsletter on health issues. Their June, 2009 issue focused on sleep. A good night’s sleep is important to help control pain, relieve stress, and prevent cardiovascular problems. The most common sleeping pill is probably Tylenol, simply because it eases pain. Antihistamines are often taken over-the-counter because drowsiness is a side effect, but continuing drowsiness into the next day is common. Prescriptions include Ambien, Rozerem, and Lunesta. These meds work but they can be habit forming (despite claims to the contrary), and they can cause bizarre side effects, such as sleep walking and sleep eating. Natural substances include tryptophan or its less potent cousin 5 hydroxy-tryptophan, melatonin, L-theonine, valerian, hops, lemon balm, and other herbal preparations. Each person is different in his/her response. If depression is a problem, it should be treated, preferably with an appropriate natural product, like St. John’s Wort or SAMe. Acupuncture can also be more effective than medication.

See ACCM, 3575 N. Beltline Rd., No. 365, Irving, Tx 75062, annual subscription $19.95. Wang XY, Acupuncture Electrother Res, 2008; 33: 33-41.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Problems with Hormone Replacement Therapy

A presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Dr. Rowan Chlebowski reported that the notorious combination of synthetic hormones, Prempro, not only increases the risk of breast and uterine cancer, but also increases the death rate from lung cancer if you happen to get that as well. A second study showed that women with breast cancer who take common anti-depressants, such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil at the same time as tamoxaphen will have most of the benefit of the tamoxaphen cancelled out. These anti-depressant drugs are commonly used to treat the hot flashes that are made worse by the hormone blocker. About 500,000 women are taking tamoxaphen at this time. Celexa and Lexapro are safer to take. At the same time, the FDA has forbid physicians from prescribing the natural hormone Estriol from compounding pharmacies, even though it appears to be much safer than the synthetics. It is important that women get good advice from Integrative Physicians to look at ways to get relief from menopausal symptoms safely.

To locate a knowledgeable physician on bio-identical hormone replacement International College of Integrative Medicine (click here) or American Association of Environmental Medicine (click here)
See Associated press articles, May 31, 2009.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It’s not your Fault you’re Fat!

This was a title of a fascinating book a decade ago. Researcher Dr. Cindy Visness reported in the Associated Press on a study that showed first that overweight children are 50% more likely to be allergic to milk than those of normal weight. Further, about 25% of overweight children have at least one food allergy. Other common food allergies include eggs, peanuts, wheat, corn and citrus. These findings are probably understated because they likely looked only at IgE mediated food allergies, when we find that most food sensitivities are IgG mediated. The study just looked at children, but adults are commonly affected as well. Sometimes food allergies are the underlying cause of increased inflammation (detected by the C reactive protein) that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Possible food allergies can be identified with an Elisa blood test and then confirmed with an elimination diet. If the allergies are to common foods, desensitization is available from most Integrative Physicians.

See Visness CM. May, 2009, issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (click here-subscription required) and Associated Press (click here), June 1, 2009.
For an Integrative Physician, go to International College of Integrative Medicine (click here) or American Association of Environmental Medicine (click here)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Using the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society and Dr. John Niederhuber of the National Cancer Institute were quoted in an Associated Press article that cancer vaccines are beginning to show effectiveness. This is an important breakthrough because the cancer establishment has not approved any treatment other than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for generations, even though there have been many promising therapies available to boost the immune system. High dose vitamin C is one example. Twenty years ago, a group of alternative physicians formed an Institutional Review Board to review research projects using more natural treatments that were automatically rejected by University IRB’s. Initially, we were approved by the FDA, and we supervised a good many of important projects. However, in time the FDA decided that they were going to put us out of business, and they flooded us with demand after demand. Finally, we gave up because we could not afford the extra requirements. Now the infamous “quackbusters” are posting as many negative comments about our work as they can dream up. Fortunately, no one is paying much attention. But I mention this because one of the projects we approved involved successful work with cancer vaccines 15 years ago. The FDA and the Cancer societies attacked it viciously at that time, and now they are embracing it as their own idea. I sincerely hope they will not continue to drag their feet as they have in the past.

See Associated Press (click here), June 1, 2009.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cigar Smoking is Dangerous

Dr. Ranit Mishori wrote about the considerable dangers of cigar smoking, which include cancer of the lips, tongue, mouth, throat, lungs, pancreas and bladder, as well as heart disease and chronic lung disease. Second-hand smoke is more dangerous from cigar smoke than that from cigarettes. One cigar has 23 times the nicotine content of a single cigarette. An article in the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology showed that the toxin of carbon monoxide was higher at two cigar social functions in San Francisco than on a busy California freeway. One-third of teenagers start smoking cigars after seeing it glorified in the movies. It is way past time for this to stop.

See Mishori R, The Hidden Dangers of Cigars, Parade Magazine, May 31, 2009 (click here).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Anti-depressant Found Worthless for Treating Autism

A study funded by the NIH showed that the risks of taking Celexa for Autism outweighed any benefits. Previously, Prozac had similar results. These drugs are widely used by conventional medicine to treat Autism. Wake up, American physicians! There is an epidemic going on and these families need your help and they desperately need effective treatment. The parents will tell you what works and what does not. The Defeat Autism Now protocol of casein/gluten avoidance, metal detoxification, allergy and yeast treatment, nutritional supplementation, B12 shots, and hyperbaric oxygen helps a great deal with virtually all autistic children. Music therapy helps, neuromuscular retraining helps. We have to rid ourselves of physician drug dependence if there is true hope for this problem. Many states still do not mandate that treatment for autism be covered by insurance. This is criminal.

See Associated Press, June 2, 2009, (subscription required-click here to go to the AP website) Dr. Fred Volkmar, June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
See Autism Research Institute (click here)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


The CAGE questionnaire is a simple way to detect if too much alcohol is interfering with your life: Have you ever: 1) felt the need to Cut down your drinking? 2) felt Annoyed by criticism of your drinking? 3) had Guilty feelings about your drinking? taken a morning Eye opener? A score of 2 or 3 yes answers is highly suspicious and a score of 4 is virtually diagnostic of alcoholism. Alcoholics die early of liver and heart disease, and they ruin their family structure and relationships. Essential for a full recovery is rebuilding your body’s health and detoxifying with great nutrition: 3 meals a day, lots more fruits and veggies, whole, organic foods, healthy oils, no caffeine, no junk food and minimal sugar. The New England Journal of Medicine proposed a simple, inexpensive, safe, effective treatment as well, naltrexone at 25-50 mg a day. It really works to cut way back on the craving for alcohol. Food allergy desensitization can also be very helpful.

Anton RF. Naltrexone for the Management of Alcohol Dependence, NEJM, August 14, 2008. Obrien CP (click here)
The CAGE questionnaire for Detection of Alcoholism (click here), JAMA, November 5, 2008, 2054-2056.
Siple M. Eating for Recovery, De Capo Press 2008. http://www.dacapopress.com/ (click here)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Conventional Doctors Exagerate the Risks of Taking Supplements

Two articles in Prescriber’s Letter recently were good examples of how conventional doctors abandon logic when they write about nutritional supplements. The first was talking about lithium orotate, which is used in very low doses as an adjunct to help with anxiety and depression. It concluded that lithium orotate is dangerous because there was one report that a patient developed mild signs of toxicity after taking 18 pills a day. The recommended dose is 2-3 pills a day, and it is very safe at that dosage. Next, an article correctly pointed out that specific supplements can increase the risk of bleeding (gingko), sedation (valerian, kava), and hypertension (ephedra). Therefore, all nutritional supplements should be avoid for two weeks prior to surgery. Instead of a blanket prohibiton, maybe physicians should take a few minutes to learn the effects of nutritional supplements, some of which can improve recovery after surgery (vitamin C, Body Mend homeopathic) without any risk whatsoever.

See Prescriber’s Letter (click here, subscription required) February, 2009, p. 9, 10.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Uses for Medications to Treat Addictions

There are several controlled drugs (Subutex, Suboxone, methadone) that are approved as substitutes for more addicting drugs such as heroin and morphine. These drugs have lower abuse potential and cause much fewer problems with overdose or withdrawal. They are used in drug-addiction clinics. Recently, these drugs have been used in their own right for pain relief. I would suggest Naltrexone instead. Naltrexone counter-acts narcotic drugs. In much lower doses than usually prescribed for drug overdoses, Naltrexone has been found to be helpful in various autoimmune and neurologic conditions. It is not approved by the FDA for this use, but you can find lots of information on the internet that documents its use. Sometimes, it is dramatically useful and it is very safe at the low dose recommended.

See Prescriber’s Letter (click here-subscription required), January, 2009, p. 4.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Using the Wrong Inhalor Can Increase the Risk of Severe Asthma Attacks and Death

New warnings have been issued about taking long acting bronchodilators like Serevent alone for asthma. Inhaled steroids for inflammation must be used with these drugs for moderate or severe asthma or alone for milder forms. Without controlling the inflammation the long acting bronchodilators can be risky. Short acting bronchodilators like Pro-Air are acceptable. Better yet, control the inflammation by treating allergies or with acupuncture, and you might not need to take an inhalors. However, often it is necessary to treat food and chemical allergies in addition to the pollen, dust and mold allergies treated by most allergists. Only integrative physicians use these advanced techniques.
Go to International College of Integrative Medicine (click here) or American Academy of Environmental Medicine (click here) for an integrative doc who might be able to help.

See Prescriber’s Letter,(subsciption required, click here) January, 2009, P. 5.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Can Statin Drugs Cause Diabetes?

A new concern about the routine use of statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor is a possible link to developing diabetes. This concern came out of the Jupiter Trial. Previously, there has been concern that statins might worsen control of known diabetic patients. This is not yet proven, but it is another reason to use Red yeast, a natural product, instead of the prescriptions meds to help control cholesterol if needed. Regardless of whether a prescription or a natural statin is used, it is imperative to supplement with at least 60 mg of Coenzyme Q 10, because this important nutrient is depleted in the process.

See Prescriber’s Letter (click here-subscription required), January, 2009, p. 5

Friday, June 26, 2009


The Dangers of Getting Prepared for a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is one of the most effective screening devices, If a problem with polyps is detected, it can be cured on the spot. The FDA warns against using over-the-counter products for bowel cleansing prior to the procedure. In the past, Fleet enemas were routinely used. Rarely, this product can lead to permanent kidney damage. Similar prescription products (Visicol, Omniprep) will now have a black box warning against use in high risk patients. The alternatives suggested are PEG solutions, like Golightly and Halflightly. Increasingly, colonic irrigation is being used for a bowel prep. At COHA we have used this procedure therapeutically for many years for various bowel problems and for detoxification, because of its safety and effectiveness.

See Prescriber’s Letter (click here-subscription required) , January, 2009, p. 6.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Many Physicians Give Placebos

In a study by 5 medical ethicists from National Institutes of Health (NIH), it was found that 46-58% of physicians said they prescribe placebos on a regular basis, and almost two-thirds stated that it was ethically permissible to do so. In many studies, the placebo beneficial effect is 30-40%. If a placebo works for a patient, is that part of the art of medicine? If the patient gets better, does it matter if a placebo is used? The problem arises when placebo medications, such as over-the-counter pain drugs, are used that have significant side effects such as gastritis and kidney failure. Another problem is one of definition. If a nutritional supplement is prescribed that has potential benefit for an individual patient but that benefit has not been definitively proven, that could be called a “placebo” by physicians who do not believe in supplements. By limiting prescribing to proven evidence-based medicine, a doctor will miss the opportunity to significantly help a good number of his or her patients. If only 1/3 of patients respond to a safe, inexpensive therapy, those 1/3 are still helped, despite what evidence-based medicine concludes. They should not be forbidden to take a therapy that is helpful for them.

See Family Practice News(click here, subsription required) 12/1/09, p. 50 or BMJ 2008:337:a1938.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Have Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Physicians have been preoccupied with treating Rheumatoid Arthritis by suppressing the immune system. In December, 2008, a European task force concluded that patients with RA have similar risks for cardiovascular disease as those with Diabetes. This is a major risk that has been ignored or perhaps been even increased by the therapy given. There have been reports that reducing heavy metals by chelation therapy might be useful for both RA and cardiovascular diseases. Such an approach might be more rational, considering these research findings.

See Family Practice News (click here) subscription required , December 1, 2008, p. 11.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hibiscus Tea Can Lower Blood Pressure

Dr. Diane McKay, a gerontologist at Tufts University, reported to the American Heart Association meeting this winter that drinking 3 cups a day of Hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure an average of 7.2 mm of Hg. Other studies have shown that lowering the BP even half of that amount can reduce the incidence of stroke by 8% and heart attacks by 5%. Patients with high BP at baseline had even greater benefits. Hibiscus can be combined with other herbs, exercise, and certain muscle relaxation techniques taught by Steve Kaufmann, DC, to effectively control BP, perhaps without the need for prescription drugs and their accompanying side effects.

See Family Practice News (subsription required), 1/1/2009, p. 8.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Restless Legs Helped by Valerian

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a common problem that interferes with sleep quality. Adequate amounts of sleep is an important factor in many medical and psychiatric conditions, al well as for general well-being. Conventional medicine has proposed numerous medications to treat this problem that often are expensive and have major potential side effects. Folic acid 5-10 mg can be helpful. Recently, Norma Cuellar published a triple-blinded, placebo-controlled study showing that 800 mg of valerian was effective in controlling restless legs symptoms and improving sleep quality. This herb is safer and less expensive than the usual and customary treatments.

See Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (subsription required), p. 22-28.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Systematic Reviews Support the Use of Common Herbs

Mark Blumenthal, editor of HerbalGram, contends that evidence-based medicine on natural therapies is being distorted in the popular media. Several negative studies have been widely publicized as proof that herbs in general do not work. In actuality, there have been a good number of systematic reviews lately (which are much more revealing than a single study) that have supported the safety and effectiveness of various herbal therapies. These include reports on ginseng, St. John’s wort, garlic, echinacea, hawthorn berry and saw palmento. True evidence-based medicine should be applied without prejudice or financial incentives from pharmaceutical company influence. We have a way to go.

See Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (subscription required), March/April 2009, p. 14-15.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Integrative Medicine and Health Care Reform

Dr. David Riley, Editor of Alternative Therapies published a perceptive editorial pointing out that if we are going to make progress for the rapidly increasing numbers of patients with chronic degenerative diseases such as asthma, autism, diabetes, circulation problems, cancer and autoimmunity, we simply must incorporate an integrative approach that includes a good diet, rational use of supplements, exercise, detoxification and mind-body techniques to promote healing. To do this on a large scale, we need to bring together the 300,000 primary care docs, 150,000 nurse practitioners, 2 million nurses, 90,000 chiropractors, 20,000 licensed acupuncturists, and 3000 licensed naturopaths in a coordinated effort. No one group can do it alone.

See Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine,(subcription required) March/April 2009, p. 10-11.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scientific Fraud Alleged for Vioxx and Celebrex Research

On April 7, 2009, Federal investigators issued subpoenas for financial records of Dr. Scott Reuben, who is accused of faking data in 21 studies showing the benefits of Vioxx and Celebrex in the pain clinic that he headed at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts. He also was on the faculty of Tufts University Medical School. His work was funded by the drug companies that produced and marketed these drugs. I shudder to think of how many patients were harmed by the side effects of these drugs, which were presumed to be safe and effective. Natural alternatives such as Glucosamine, MSM, Boswellia and other substances are much safer and usually just as effective.

The Wall Street Journal (click here), the online journal, for April 7, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Anger, Hostility, Depression Linked to Heart Disease

Studies in both the United States and Britain published in a leading cardiology journal showed a higher incidence of coronary artery disease and a worse prognosis in patients that exhibited anger, hostility and depression. Antidepressant use was not particularly helpful, because it increased the incidence of sudden death, probably from arrhythmias. A simple test called Heart Rate Variability can assess the balance between the parasympathetic (relaxing) and sympathetic (stimulating) parts of the nervous system. This will identify your degree of risk. There are many ways to learn to relax more effectively and reduce your risk substantially.

See Journal of American College of Cardiology(subscription required) 3/17/2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vitamin C to Prevent Gout

Researchers from Canada found that those who took vitamin C supplements in excess of 1500 mg a day had a much less risk of developing Gout, a painful swelling of the joints, especially in the feet. Those with the highest risk took less than 250 mg a day. This is a particularly important finding because there are drugs that are pretty effective against Gout (Indocin, Alopurinol and Colchicine), but they have potentially severe side effects. Cherry juice is another preventive agent for gout.

See Archives of Internal Medicine (subsciption required) 3/9/09

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease

The Los Angles Times reported on April 20, 2009 on the work of Beate Ritz of UCLA that showed a 75% higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease in those who lived within 500 yards of fields that were sprayed with the common fungicide maneb, and herbicide paraquat. Chemical toxicity might be an important cause of Parkinson’s disease, leading to therapies such as milk thistle to detoxify chemicals, chelation therapy to reduce heavy metals, and various techniques to increase glutathione, which helps in the detoxification of the brain.

See American Journal of Epidemiology (click here) and Los Angles Times (click here)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Swine Flu “Epidemic”

Sorry about the delay in getting my views on the swine flu scare. First, at least in the United States, this seems to be a mild flu that is spreading fairly slowly. The last swine flu scare was in 1976, and more people died from the hastily-prepared vaccine than from the flu. And many others developed Guillain-Barre syndrome (ascending paralysis), tragically. The FDA and the FTC are patrolling the internet looking for “fraudulent advice” from people with vested interest. The anti-viral drug, Tamiflu, has been suggested as a treatment, but it is not approved for swine flu, nothing is. And Tamiflu has a host of side effects. Your doctor can test you for flu with a nasal swab, and currently if positive, the lab will proceed to test for swine flu as well. For treatment, I would suggest high doses of vitamin C and D and garlic, as well as other herbal remedies and perhaps homeopathics against viruses. I would be wary of any vaccine for this problem, and Joe Biden’s suggestions of avoiding crowds and washing hands actually sounded pretty good to me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don’t Let a Hospital Make You Sick

A recent article in Parade Magazine listed ways you can avoid being one of the 98,000 Americans a year that die due to medical mistakes. Many more die as expected complications of drugs and surgery provided according to accepted guidelines. Some of the measures you can take are making sure your doctor is actively trying to prevent blood clots from lying in bed, being sure your surgical site is marked on the correct side, asking nurses and doctors to wash their hands and stethoscopes prior to examining you in the hospital, and asking the IV lines and catheters be removed as soon as possible. Better yet, if you use integrative medicine, which includes office-based IV’s of vitamins and minerals, you might be able to avoid going to the hospital in the first place.

See Parade magazine, February 8, 2009, page 12-13(click here)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Need for Medical Homes and Natural Therapies

Medicare patients saw an average of 7.9 physicians a year, according to a report delivered at the American Heart Association. And those with congestive heart failure saw an average of 23 physicians per year. In 2005 the CHF patients accounted for 37% of the total spent on Medicare, and 50% of the inpatient costs. The American Academy of Family Physicians are pushing for designated Medical Homes that would coordinate all the care received by a patient. This would reduce costs substantially, but an even greater decrease in costs and increase in effectiveness could be achieved by using l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, d-ribose, magnesium and heavy metal detoxification, as recommended by integrative cardiologists Stephen Sinatra and James Roberts.

See Family Practice News, January 15, 2009 issue, page 1. Subscription required.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy in Dangerous

The Women’s Health Initiative, a large ongoing study centered in Harvard, reports that women who stop synthetic PremPro products had an abrupt 8.6% decrease in the incidence of breast cancer beginning in 2003. Some argue that decreased use of mammograms also played a role in the lower incidence. This could be due to a lower detection of existent cancers OR an increased risk due to radiation exposure with compression of the breasts. A safer policy would be to use bio-identical hormones if needed, especially natural progesterone instead of the worst culprit, progestin. Further, use thermography for breast screening. Dr. Michael Godfrey in New Zealand reports that he has detected a number of cases of documented breast cancer detected by thermograms and missed by mammograms that were cured by nutritional therapy and detoxification. He is having difficulty getting his findings published. Wonder why?

See Family Practice News, January 15, 2009 issue, page 1. Subscription required.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Natural Treatment for Nail Fungus

Toenail and fingernail fungus can be difficult to treat and might take months to heal. Tea tree oil sometimes helps. An ad in Mother Earth News provides a money-back guarantee for an herbal soak product that sounds very good, not only for nail fungus but also for athlete’s foot and cracked heals. If the problem returns, an anti-fungal program would include at least a low carb diet, probiotics, and oral antifungal agents, such as capryllic acid and oregano oil.

Contact Long Creek Herbs (click here)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fibromyalgia and the Drug Makers

According to a February, 2009 Associated Press article, Lilly and Pfizer have donated more than $6 million in 2008 to non-profit organizations to publicize Fibromyalgia. Guess why. These companies have the only drugs that have been approved to treat this disabling condition. Cymbalta and Lyrica, the sales of which immediately jumped hundreds of millions of dollars. These drugs might help some with pain and depression that occurs with Fibromyalgia, but they have no impact on its cause. Much better long term results occur with an integrative approach that includes thyroid and adrenal support, yeast treatment, food allergy testing and treatment, and energy therapy such as acupuncture.

Associated Press (click here) by Mathew Perrone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The FDA Puts its Stamp of Approval on Another Toxin

The Chicago Tribune recently published a strong editorial criticizing the FDA for its August, 2008, statement that Bisphenol A (BPA) is safe at typical exposures for human consumption. Even Wal-Mart and Toys R Us disagree with the FDA on that one. These stores have begun to phase out products that contain these toxic chemicals, which are found in liquids that are contained in plastic bottles, such as bottled water and baby formula. BPA can disrupt hormone balance, brain function and increase the risk of heart attacks. The risk in babies is 12X as high as in adults. Canada has banned BPA in baby bottles. In December, the FDA stated that it will take a closer look. The FDA generally has spent more time protecting the pharmaceutical industry from competition from nutritional supplements than it has protecting the public.

See Chicago Tribune for bill (click here) , original article January, 2009.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obesity and the Economy—From Crisis to Opportunity?

Another recent JAMA editorial Harvard docs makes sense. Ludwig and Pollack outline the origins of the obesity epidemic. They include government subsidies for megafarms that produce high-calorie, low nutrition foods, fast food meals, poor incentives and facilities to promote exercise, and decreasing quality family time. Increased obesity has lead to higher incidences of stroke, heart attacks, cancer, arthritis and other medical problems. The authors push hard to correct these problems now. They contend that by doing so, we will have a highly favorable impact on the economic crisis as well improved health. I could not agree more.

See Journal of American Medical Association (click here) for the article- February 4, 2009 issue, p.533-535 (click here)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

AMA Admits that Current Guidelines are Faulty and Calls for Reform

In an editorial in their journal, the American Medical Association gave profound criticism to the process by which treatment and testing guidelines are prepared for practicing physicians. They suggest immediate reforms: appropriate expertise on committees to include clinical experience, avoid placing the same people on the committees from one edition to the next, reporting on disagreements on the committees, asking for public comment via the internet, avoiding the conflicts of interest (especially financial) that are now prevalent, independent peer review, publishing alternative interpretations, and requiring associations which distribute guidelines to not accept financial support from the industry to do so. Hear, hear! It sounds good. But we shall see if this voice has any impact to put a dent in the medical-industrial complex that has proven to be horribly expensive and marginally effective.

See Journal of the American Medical Association (click here for home page) January 28, 2009 issue, p. 429-432 (click here for article)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Primary Care Physician Shortage is Imminent

According to a survey of 270,000 primary care physicians, 49% stated they plan to retire or reduce their patient loads over the next three years. Reasons include declining reimbursements with increased costs and debt load, demands on physician time and increased paperwork. Only 17% reported that their practices were “healthy and profitable” and 45% said they would retire immediately if they had the financial means to do so. This comes at a time when baby boomers are requiring more medical care. It is crucial that the Obama administration and Congress work together to solve the health care crisis. Family physicians are pushing hard for Medical Homes to be established, which would improve care and increase reimbursement for preventive medicine. In my experience, physicians in Integrative Medicine have a much higher job satisfaction, perhaps because they are not dealing with drugs and surgery all day.

See Family Practice News(click here) December 15 issue, p. 33 and International College of Integrative Medicine (click here)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Long-Term Antibiotics for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Ineffective

An Italian Study published in Pediatrics showed that children with recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) do no better than placebo when treated with long-term prophylactic antibiotics, and they often suffer side effects. This should not be a surprise, because the treatment does not get to the cause, which is acompromised immune system. Part of the immune system is the good bacteria that protect against abnormal bacteria taking hold in an infection. For most children, I have seen a much better result by treating yeast overgrowth and food allergies. Diet can play a huge role for such problems.

See Family Practice News (click here) December 15 issue, p.12. and International College of Integrative Medicine (click here) and The Yeast Syndrome by John Trowbridge (click here)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hospitalizations for Congestive Heart Failure Increase Dramatically

Dr. Longjian Liu of the Drexel School of Public Health in Philadelphia reported to the winter scientific sessions of the American Heart Association that hospitalizations for congestive heart failure (CHF) rose by 230% from 1980 to 2006. He attributed the growth in this dangerous condition to an explosive growth in the incidences of Diabetes, obesity, and chronic kidney disease; improved survival from heart attacks; and the graying of America. He left out toxicity, including heavy metal contamination, which has been found to be a significant factor in other studies. Those in the field of alternative medicine know that the wide spread use of chelation therapy, coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine, d-ribose, and magnesium would have a huge impact in treating and preventing CHF.

See Family Practice News(click here) subscription required. December 15 issue, p.7 and International College of Integrative Medicine (click here)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Impotence is Common and Predicts a High Risk for Peripheral Artery Disease

Family Practice News reports that 40% of 50 y.o. men who came to their family doctors for an unrelated medical problem had significant symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Upon testing many ofthose had peripheral artery disease (PAD) in their legs, even though they had no other symptoms. Most did have at least one other risk factor (hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension or smoking). PAD is often missed until symptoms are severe. It should be treated early and aggressively to avoid surgical procedures in the extremities as well as coexisting heart attacks. In addition to risk factor reduction and exercise, some studies indicate that chelation therapy can be very effective to treat these problems.

See Family Practice News (click here) December 15 issue, p.7 and International College of Integrative Medicine (click here)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hormone Therapies Improve Symptoms and Slow Progress of Multiple Sclerosis

Kathryn Simpson is a MS patient who achieved a remission of her symptoms by normalization of her glucose metabolism, balancing thyroid and adrenal function, eliminating infections and taking sex hormones to treat very low levels in her body. Natural Progesterone had a particularly strong effect to promote myelin formation, as was documented in Endocrine Reviews 2007; 28(4):387-439 by Schumacher and associates. ALS was also found to be responsive to progesterone.

See The MD solution: How I Solved the Puzzle of My Multiple Sclerosis (Los Olivos Publishing, 2008) by K. Simpson (click here to see it on Amazon)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fibromyalgia Might be Caused by Heavy Metal Toxicity

Dr. Nikolas Hedberg is a chiropractic internist from North Carolina, who wrote an excellent article in The Original Internist for the March 2009 issue. By definition, Fibromyalgia cannot have an underlying cause, or it should be called pseudo-Fibromyalgia. We often find yeast imbalance, food allergies, thyroid and adrenal deficiencies, and a number of other underlying causes for this constellation of symptoms. Dr. Hedberg describes a striking case of heavy metal toxicity in a similar case, that completely resolved with DMSA chelation therapy. Lead and Mercury were the biggest culprits.

Dr. Hedberg can be contacted at dcinternist@yahoo.com and his website is The Original Internist’s (click here)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dangers of High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This very common sweetener is one of the worst nutritional products ever devised by mankind. It provides maximum sweetness with similar dangers to health. HFCS does not produce satiety like sugar does, and thus it has been implemented in our national obesity epidemic. In January of 2009, Environmental Health published an article that shows that HFCS is also routinely contaminated with Mercury during its production. This increases the risk dramatically, especially for children. Mercury has been implemented in memory problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Autism, as well as many other serious health conditions.

Go to Dr Eliaz's website to see his report on Chelation for heavy metals (click here)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Male Menopause

Karen Thomas, MD wrote a great article in the Spring, 2009 issue of Radius on the “no-name condition” that she identifies as Male Menopause. Signs of age-related low testosterone include decreased sexual function, depression, decreased bone density, fatigue, more fat, less muscle, memory loss and higher risk of heart attacks. A simple blood test identifies the problem, and the treatment is injectable testosterone or pellets implanted in the buttocks. Cream can be tried, but recent evidence indicates that it might not be as effective. Treatment is very safe and usually really improves these symptoms.

See The Radius Magzine (click here)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

U.S. Backs Treaty to Reduce Mercury

The Associated Press reported on 2/17/09 that the Obama Administration is backing a treaty to reduce the global threat of Mercury in the environment. This counter acts a refusal to act by the Bush Administration. Susan Keane of the Natural Resources Defense Council applauded the move. Mercury contamination has increased threefold in recent years. Mercury is found in especially high levels in predatory fish, such as tuna. Coal is a common source in the air. Mercury can also leach out from amalgam metal fillings in the teeth. Children and fetuses are particularly susceptible, but high levels can be found with a challenge test in people of all ages. Brain and memory damage is a common complication.

See Associated Press (click here) 2/17/09 and go to the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology (click here) website for detection and treatment information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

According to a 2008 article in the Journal of Environmental Health, there is no specific test for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, but the diagnosis can be made based on the patient’s history. Patients react to airborne allergies, food sensitivities,and chemicals of many kinds. This was reported by McClatchy Newspapers and printed in the Lima (Ohio) News on 2/24/09. Typically and tragically, conventional allergists do not accept this diagnosis,and patients with the condition continue to suffer needlessly. Integrative techniques to desensitize and normalize the immune system are available. Help is available if patients go to the right source.

To find a doctor who treats MCS, (click here) -American Academeny of Environmental Medicine

For more information contact the (click here) -Lima News for 2/24/09.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Preventing Macular Degeneration

William Chriten of Harvard led a recent study that showed that taking B6, B12 and Folic acid, a combination that is used to lower homocysteine levels will reduce the incidence of early stage macular degeneration by one-third. This is a good reason to take these B vitamins. They also might reduce the effects of stress. The study was for women, but Christen stated in an AP news article that men would likely benefit as well. Once Macular Degeneration occurs,there is no cure, although laser therapy might arrest the problem temporarily. We have also seen nice improvements with a vitamin/mineral IV solution advocated by Jonathan Wright, as well as with EDTA chelation therapy.

See Associated Press (click here) 2/24/09 and Harvard University (click here), or Jonathan Wright (click here)

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Parents Refusing Vaccines

An Associated Press story on 2/17/09 reported that more parents are refusing vaccines for their children because of a perceived threat of autism. Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director ofthe National Institutes of Health, responded to the question, “Are vaccines safe?” By noting that, like aspirin, they are safe most ofthe time, but in certain people, they might not be. That’s what parents are afraid of. There is no doubt that the incidence of autism is increasing, and the increase parallels an increase in the number and kind of vaccines. Autism usually strikes about 2 years ofage, which is a peak time for vaccines. But scientific studies have not proven the link. To me it does seem prudent to delay somevaccines to a later age, depending on risk, and to avoid givingmultiple vaccines at the same time. If a child is genetically predisposed to autism, multiple vaccines at an early age might trigger autism, and that would not necessarily show up in the studies.

See Associated Press (click here), February 17, 2009 and Jenny McCarthy (click here) an actress whose child has autism.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nutrient Therapy has Individual Effects for Each Patient

Jeff Bland in Alternative Therapies puts forth a fascinating analysis of why nutritional therapies might not do well in randomized clinical trials but can have remarkable effects in individual patients. The sensitivity of nutrients varies a great deal, depending on the genotype of the patient. We are just beginning to apply genomics to medicine, but we have a long way to go before we can study nutritional pharmacology by providing the right dose of the right nutrient for the right patient. In the meantime, the art of medicine is alive and well.

Alternative Therapies (subscription required) Sept/Oct 2008, page 12-13.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Acne Linked to Milk Consumption

For many years dermatologists have insisted that acne has no connection to diet. Researchers at Harvard are finally siding with mothers who insist that this is simply not true. Too much milk consumption is now proven to increase acne. One source speculates that this is because most milk comes from pregnant cows, whose hormone levels are high. In addition hormones are frequently added to cows to increase production. Too much sugar and undetected food allergies are also important, according to my experience.

Family Practice News (click here) June 15, 2008 issue, page 15.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Too Much Caffeine Causes Miscarriages

Small amounts of caffeine during pregnancy are probably okay, but more than 200mg per day will increase the chances of losing your fetus. That is about 12 ounces of coffee, but you have to add in the caffeine in soda pop, chocolate, tea and most energy bars and drinks. Be careful if you are pregnant, especially in the first trimester.

Link to Prescriber’s Letter (subscription required)March 2008

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too Much Calcium Can Cause Heart Attacks!

The Prescriber’s Letter, March, 2008 issue, affirms what has been suspected for many years. You should not take the usually recommended high doses of calcium to treat or prevent osteoporosis and fractures without balancing with Magnesium. Some of that calcium goes into the plaque in the coronary arteries. If you take 1000mg of calcium a day, you should take at least 500mg of Magnesium. Don’t forget your high-dose vitamin D3 (5000units) as well.

Prescriber's Letter (subscription required), March 2008.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Most Doctors Think They are Prescribing Placebos

A report from the British Medical Journal states that more than half of internal medicine specialists report using a placebo treatment, and they believe this to be ethical.

What they do not realize is that the nutritional supplements that they offer and believe to be placebos really work. Most of these therapies have simply not been studied with appropriate clinical trials to prove their effectiveness. This is not a placebo effect but a real clinical effect that they are producing without their awareness. Either way, the treatment is often effective.

ModernMedicine.com Dr. Joseph Scherger, MD’s blog

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It Does Not Matter How Blood Pressure is Controlled

Dr. Aram Chobanian in the December, 4, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine addressed the debate in medicine that certain blood pressure drugs are better to use in certain situations. It turns out the evidence is “overwhelming” that the most important aspect is to reduce the blood pressure to goals, no matter what medication or modality is used. Two thirds of patients treated for blood pressure are not adequately controlled and many more “borderline cases” are not treated at all. We have found that a simple herbal product called Blood Pressure Natural Relief rarely has any side effects and is clinically very effective in reducing blood pressure, either alone or in conjunction with other meds and lifestyle changes. If it were used more frequently, many lives would be saved.

See New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required) volume 359:2485-2488.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Use Glucosamine Sulfate, not Hydrochloride

A large NIH study hit the headlines this fall because of the disappointing effect of Glucosamine on knee pain. The Prescriber’s Letter pointed out that that study used the hydrochloride form of Glucosamine. Several other studies using the sulfate form showed significant benefit in osteoarthritis. This is another example of how special interests (drug manufacturers) get to the media to put their twist on scientific evidence to distort it and maintain their profits.

See Prescriber’s Letter (subscription required) 11/08, p. 63.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fish Oils Beat Statins for Heart Failure

Adding 1 gram of high quality fish oils per day to will help prevent deaths and hospitalizations in patients with congestive heart failure, according to the Prescriber’s Letter. Statin drugs did not prevent complications from heart failure. Fish oils work by preventing arrhythmias, reducing inflammation and lowering triglycerides.

See Prescriber’s Letter (subscription required) 11/08 issue, p. 62.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back to the Basics for Diabetes

The American Diabetic Association has dropped its previous recommendations about the newer and much more expensive diabetic meds. Most patients should be managed by lifestyle changes, metformin, sulfonylureas (like Glucotrol) and insulin if needed. The newer drugs like Avandia, Actose and Byetta are not as effective and the former increases the risk of heart disease. Precose, Prandin, Januvia, and Sumlin are usually not recommended because of their cost and they are no more effective than the standard drugs.

See Prescriber’s Letter (subscription required) 12/08, p. 68.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CRP Test Validated and Rejected by Medicare

The Prescriber’s Letter of December 2008 led off with the story that high risk patients should be treated with a statin drug if their CRP sensitive test is elevated, even if their cholesterol is normal. They stressed that it was crucial to use the high-sensitivity test to detect this inflammation risk factor. In the same month Medicare informed practicing physicians that they would no longer pay for the high-sensitivity test. Medicare’s decision probably had more to do with cost than evidence-based medicine. But on second thought, maybe Medicare was correct, even if they did not use the correct reason. The study on CRP sensitive has hit the medical community like a bombshell to increase the use of statins. The study also showed that you have to treat 95 patients to prevent one major cardiovascular event, and side effects were not analyzed. By the way, the study was funded by the makers of Crestor, the most powerful statin on the market.

See Prescriber’s Letter, December 2008 issue.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

FDA Warns about Newer Diabetic Drugs

The American Medical News reports that the FDA is really concerned about increased risk of heart attacks from the newer diabetic drugs, especially the TZD drugs Avandia and Actose. A December, 2008 Canadian Medical Association Journal article also found that the fracture risk for older women taking Avandia doubled. Even the old-time drugs like metformin and Glucotrol have not been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks in type 2 diabetics. Your best bet to treat diabetes is diet and exercise. I am also impressed with using intravenous chelation therapy to reduce the MI risk in diabetics, although the proof is not there yet for chelation either.

See American Medical News 1/19/09 issue.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Risk Factor for Heart Disease

A very sensitive liver function enzyme test, the GGT, has been shown to be a biomarker for cardiac risk, oxidative stress and inflammation. Researchers in Germany found the GGT to be an independent risk factor for vascular disease, and it’s incredibly cheap at about $10 per test. If your GGT level is less than 13, your chances of a heart attack are practically nonexistent. The higher it goes, the worse your risk. The best way to lower liver enzymes is milk thistle (silymarin).

See the winter issue of Holistic Primary Care (subscription required) P. 6 and Meisinger C, et.al. Journal of Internal Medicine 2005; 258:527-535.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Power of Hope

The Journal of the American Medical Association in their last issue of 2008 contained a wonderful editorial that some of my colleagues really need to listen to. They pointed out that physicians should remember “(every) encounter with a patient should leave the patient emotionally more able to deal with his or her illness….Most importantly, no patient should ever leave a visit with a physician without a sense of hope.” This is at the core if Integrative Medicine, and I endorse this “science of care” with enthusiasm.

See JAMA 2008, volume 300, No. 24, p. 2919 EXTRACT (membership required to see full text)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Call to Action to Prevent Pulmonary Embolism

Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson joined the Venous Coalition to issue a Call to Action to prevent deep vein clotting and pulmonary embolism. Coumadin is generally recommended for patients undergoing major surgery or prolonged bed rest at home or in the hospital, but is often not prescribed. Many patients who die of pulmonary embolism are misclassified as having suffered a heart attack. The true incidence of death from PE probably exceeds the total number of deaths from breast cancer, HIV disease and motor vehicle accidents combined. A natural way to help prevent the problem is to take fish oils, a least 1 tbsp a day, which we recommend for practically every adult patient.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Venous Coalition

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quit Smoking for Free

A study in the American Journal for Preventative Medicine (membership required) indicated that 85% of smokers preferred to contact a free telephone quit-smoking line to going to a doctor to stop smoking. Advantages include cost, convenience and anonymity. Experienced counselors will create an individualized quit plan for anyone who contacts them at the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Guidelines (1-800-784-8669). Offer this number to anyone you think might benefit. It is up to the smoker to make the phone call. Sometimes, all it takes is a nudge in the right direction.

National Network of Tobacco Cessation Guidelines (1-800-784-8669).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Food Allergies Increasing

A study by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that the incidence of food allergies in children increased by 19-24% in the decade beginning in 1997. This only included IGE-type food allergies manifesting in asthma, eczema, respiratory and digestive problems. The study did not include IGG-mediated reactions, which we have found to be the most common type of food allergies. Most children with any type of recurrent problem that affects the immune system should be tested for food allergies. Treatment can consist of avoidance of the offending food(s) or desensitization with such techniques as SRT and LDA, neither of which is commonly available but both of which are usually quite effective, in our experience. For more info contact COHA or go to healthcelebration.com.

Resources: National Center for Health Statistics and Family Practice News, November 1, 2008, P. 18

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Avoid Plavix with Heartburn Drugs

The Associated Press reported this fall that patients who combine Plavix with acid-reducers such as Nexium, Protonix, and Prilosec greatly increase their risks of a heart attack, which is exactly opposite of the purpose of the Plavix. Most of the beneficial effect of Plavix is only in the first 30 days after a cardiac event. There are many natural and safer ways to make the platelets slippery and avoid clotting, including fish oils, garlic and nattokinase.

Family Practice News, November 1, 2008, p. 10
The Journal of American College of Cardiology, 2008
American College of Gastroenterology