Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Concerns for Cell Phones

Cordless phones, WiFi, and cell phones produce electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Earlier concern that they might increase the risk for brain cancers and cognitive function has not been consistently shown in scientific studies. However, an international team led by Magda Havas at Trent University in Canada showed that healthy volunteers had a 40% increase in cardiac arrhythmias and disturbances in heart rate variability when exposed to the same EMFs. The concern is not so much that everyone is at risk from these changes, but who is at risk. If you are prone to heart rhythm problems, it would seem prudent to minimize your exposure.

See Dr. Havas’ ebook (with Camilla Rees), Public Health SOS: The Shadow of the Wireless Revolution, 2008. Order from www.electromagnetichealth.org (click here)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sugar, Sleep and Survival

I met T.S. Wiley at a recent convention. She has written a fascinating book on how to get 9 hours of sleep a night, lose weight, eliminate depression, and avoid heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. She starts you out with restricting carbs and eating fresh meat and lots of veggies. In summer, added fresh fruits are allowed. Especially avoid all processed foods, pasta and bread. Don’t eat any fat that did not start out alive, directly from animal or plant. Drink water, get mild exercise for 15 minutes before each meal, do yoga. Lights out at 9 PM after reading from a book, no bedtime TV. Rise at dawn. Take a good probiotic and l-glutamine to settle your gut. If you need something more to make you sleepy, try kava or tyrosine first, then natural progesterone for women and testosterone for men.

See T.S. Wiley, Lights Out, Pocket Books 2000.

Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks—But People Do

Mathias Rath, M.D. has written a thought-provoking book by this title. He uses comprehensive nutrition based on the work of Linus Pauling to suggest treatment and prevention of heart disease. According to the World Health Association, 12 million people die of heart disease and strokes each year. Animals almost never die of heart attacks. What is the major difference between the biochemistry of animals and humans? Animals manufacture the equivalent of 1000 to 20,000 mg a day of vitamin C. Humans do not produce it at all. Think about this while you take your daily dose of vitamin C.

See www.dr-rath-health-foundation.org (click here)

Cardiac Surgery Centers Expand at an Alarming Rate

According to Consumer Reports there were 163,149 cardiac bypass procedures performed at 955 centers in the USA in 2009. Ten years previously, there were 146,384 procedures done in 365 sites. Many more hospitals have added this service, largely for financial gain. The problem is that the low-volume centers have a 50% higher mortality rate. Overall, 29% of the centers did not follow published guidelines on coronary interventions, and thus were given only a one-star rating. The problem is even more significant because reporting was voluntary, and most of the centers that did not report were likely those who were not performing well. The take-home message is be careful where you go for your bypass. It might mean life or death.

See Family Practice News(click here), February 15, 2011, p. 17.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Dietary Guidelines are Making More Sense

The government departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have jointly issued new dietary guidelines for those of us 2 years and older. Sodium should be restricted to 1500 mg in blacks, those greater than 51 y.o., and those with hypertension, diabetes, etc. and 2300 mg for the rest. Nutrient dense foods are recommended, such as whole grains, seafood (but not shark, swordfish and king mackerel due to high mercury content), eggs, beans, nuts and soy. The latter is controversial. Fewer solid fats make sense but I disagree with their recommendation of using low fat and fat-free foods because these are often highly processed. Foods with iron and folic acid for women, vitamin C, and vitamin B12 for those over 50 are recommended.

See www.dietaryguidelines.gov (click here)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hypertension and High Cholesterol are Uncontrolled in the USA

The Center for Disease Control reports that 37 million American adults out of 68 million who have hypertension are not adequately controlled by medication. Likewise 48 million out of 71 million with high cholesterol are uncontrolled. 20 million with high blood pressure and 37 million with hyperlipidemia are not being treated at all. These numbers do not include those who live in nursing homes. The implication is that patients and their physicians are neglecting the former’s health care by not taking enough drugs, and some of that is true. However, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, obesity and smoking are at least twice as powerful treatments as drugs. Natural supplements such as red yeast for cholesterol and magnesium for hypertension are much safer and cheaper than many drugs that are available. Side effects and high costs discourage patients from taking prescription drugs. A more natural approach would produce better statistics and fewer heart attacks and strokes.

See the NHANES study at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns (click here)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

50 Ways to Improve Your Life

A special issue of US News and World Report in December, 2010 listed 50 ways to improve your life. At the top of the list were some health tips. Only a few were given, but I particularly liked President Obama’s presidential fitness award, catching up on sleep on the weekends if needed, taking water before meals to help with weight loss, and the multiple benefits of taking up Tai Chi.

See US News and World Report, December, 2010.