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.