Friday, January 29, 2010

Do Contaminated Dietary Supplements Pose a Threat?

The New England Journal of Medicine posted an alert on October 7, 2009 that 140 products on the market have been identified as having contamination with potentially toxic substances. Many are from outside the United States. NEJM calls for more regulation. Yes and no. Even with such contamination, vitamins and minerals are far safer than drugs. Hardly anyone dies of supplement ingestion and thousands die of drugs each year. If supplements were required to undergo the same testing as drugs, they would rapidly disappear, because their cost would be prohibitive. And they are far too valuable and much safer for that consequence. This was affirmed by the DSHEA act of Congress several years ago. However, the NEJM has a point. Some testing for toxicity should be required, and the best companies already do this on their own. It would be a disaster for Big Pharma and the AMA to successfully outlaw supplements so that all we would have to use are drugs. For now, the answer should be to get your supplements from a holistic physician or from a source recommended by one—they will know which ones are reliable and which ones are not.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vitamin D Protects Against H1N1 Flu

A report from Dr. Norris Glick at the Central Wisconsin Center in Madison, WI concludes that vitamin D protects against the swine flu. CWC is a long term facility for people with developmental disabilities. For several years, the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood levels have been monitored and patients have been treated if they are low. However, staff have not been so treated. In June, 2009, there was an outbreak of H1N1 flu. Only 2 out of 275 patients in the facility came down with H1N1, while 103 out of 800 staff members got the disease. Unfortunately, the CDC and state health authorities have ignored these findings. I recommend vitamin D supplements for most of my patients. I also want to protect them against heart disease, strokes, cancer and autoimmune problems.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Growth Hormone Would be Very Useful if not Suppressed by the American Medical Association

A Harvard study showed that overweight patients have 75% less Growth Hormone than normal, and that this risk translates into a higher incidence of atherosclerosis. One might think that cardiologists would rush to treat their obese patients with HGH to prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, the AMA and thus state Medical Boards repeatedly harass physicians for using this natural hormone for treating practically any adult patient. In my opinion, it should be malpractice not to treat such patients, not the other way around. This amounts to just another catastrophe in the politics of medicine.

See Family Practice News, September 1, 2009, p. 16.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tight Blood Pressure Control has Mixed Results

We know that controlling BP to 130 mm Hg instead of 140 in diabetic patients significantly reduces the risk for heart attacks. A group in Italy studied non-diabetic patients with hypertension to see if they could get similar results. They did reduce the incidence of Left ventricular enlargement by about half (from 9% to 5%). Because they needed to use more drugs to accomplish this improvement, the incidence of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and death were the same in both groups. Since the study was funded by a major drug company, they did not state the obvious conclusion, that yes we should lower the blood pressure more than we do now, but we need to use non-drug methods to do so. When will we ever learn?

See Family Practice News (click here), September 1, 2009, p. 15.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Addiction Medicine Becomes Recognized

A newly formed Board of Addiction Medicine now certifies physicians who treat patients hooked on legal and illegal drugs, including nicotine and alcohol. Previously, such treatment was done in inpatient centers by psychiatrists. Primary care physicians are beginning to diagnose and treat patients with these difficult problems. Some claim that a family doc will see at least 1-2 patients every day with addictions, but often these are not recognized. The Board emphasizes added drugs to quiet the addiction, but there are many more natural therapies that can be effective. We use acupuncture and the use of specific amino acids to rebalance neurotransmitters. These can be very effective for someone who seeks help.

See Family Practice News,(click here) Sept. 1, 2009, p. 1.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

False Security for Heart Attack Risk.

According to a report at the American Heart Association meeting, a majority of Americans are at a low 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease but at high lifetime risk. In the age group of 40-59 years, 80% have a 10-year risk score but ¾ have a high lifetime risk (>39%). Thus a 40 year old could be told he is OK even thought he is at risk of having a heart attack at age 52!

Not only do we need to keep up with a healthy diet, lab monitoring, and regular exercise, but most of us would benefit from chelation therapy as a preventive measure, even as early as 40 year old.

See Family Practice News, (click here) December, 2009. Page 1.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Breast and Pap Smear Screening

New recommendations for cancer screening have been lambasted in the press and by quotations from local specialists. Buried in the hoopla is the real reason for reommended changes. An article in Journal of American Medical Association in their October, 21, 2009 issue contends that the problem is that we are detecting early cancers that would be successfully treated even if their diagnosis had been delayed, and this is increasing the cost of medical care. My contention is that we should be using thermography for breast screening and developing new protocols for prostrate screening so that we actually prevent the development of cancer, rather than detect cancers already present that have to be treated after the fact.

See October 21 issue of JAMA (click here), P. 1685-1691. For information on thermography click here.