Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Do More Guns Make Us Safer?

The American Journal of Medicine published a study that answers this question in the negative. The United States has 88.8 guns per hundred people and a fire-arm related death rate of 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people. The United Kingdom has 6.2 guns per hundred people and a 0.25 fire-arm death rate. Japan has 0.6 guns per hundred people and a 0.06 fire-arm death rate. Canada is in between, with 30.8 guns per hundred people and a 2.44 fire-arm death rate. There was no correlation between the mental illness rate in a country and its crime rate, but there was a positive correlation between the mental illness rate and fire-arm related deaths. Interestingly, the crime rate in the U.S. is only about half the rate in Canada and in the United Kingdom, but Japan’s crime rate is less than half of ours. Obviously, there are multiple factors at play. See S Bangalore, American Journal of Medicine 2013;126:873-876.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

First, Do No Harm

Hippocrates issued this often-repeated mantra for the medical profession. Unfortunately, with the side effects of medications and the complications of surgery, modern medicine often pays minimal attention to this important guideline. An article in the AMA journal goes one step further and advocates screening for financial harm. Patients without insurance are often shocked by huge medical bills, sometimes way out of proportion for the benefit gained. One of the leading causes of bankruptcy is medical bills for people who have insurance! Generally speaking, complementary and alternative medicine is much less expensive than conventional treatment, and it is often very successful. Be a mindful consumer. Choose wisely, and ask for the cost ahead of time. It will probably take you a while to get the cost, especially if a hospital is involved, but it is your right to know what you are getting yourself into. Moriates C and associates, JAMA, August 14, 2013, p. 577-8. Celebration of Health Association website healthcelebration.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Are Fish Oil Supplements Safe and Effective

Lately, fish oil supplements, otherwise known as Omega-3 fatty acids, have come under fire both for effectiveness and safety. According to a meta-analysis by Rizos and associates, published in the AMA journal, the benefit in preventing cardiac events is less than previously thought. However, the benefit for treating bipolar disorder, autoimmune problems, and other illnesses remains unchallenged. A questionable link to prostate cancer has been reported. I have seen the benefits of fish oil for many conditions, but the problem lies in that many fish oil products on the market are contaminated with Mercury and other toxic chemicals. The company supplier that we use carefully tests all of its products to be sure that they are pure. That is extremely important. Further, fish oils are an adjunct to other therapies. Use them in conjunction with chelation therapy for vascular disease or nattokinase to prevent clotting. I would generally not recommend using them by themselves. See Monaco J and associates. The Journal of Family Practice, August 2013, p. 422-4. Celebration of Health Association website

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Save the Bees

Bees are dying all over the world. The European Union has responded by banning Neonic pesticides, which have been linked to this massive destruction of bees. Bayer has responded by suing the EU to allow it to continue to use their product, even though it threatens to cause a huge disruption of our food chain. Food safety authorities say that this pesticide can easily by replaced by much safer chemicals. See EU insecticide ban triggers legal action. Nature News, 28 August, 2013. Celebration of Health Association website

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hormone Therapy for Women

The latest report from the Women’s Health Initiative from Harvard is confusing to say the least. They looked at a fixed dose of conjugated estrogen (Premarin, from horse urine) with or without a synthetic progestin (Provera) to see if the benefits outweighed the risks. The end points included heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, gall bladder disease, onset of diabetes, hip fractures, cancers, and urinary incontinence. Some of these improved a little and others got worse. Neither regimen affected all-cause mortality, and symptom improvement was not predictable. My conclusion from this is that they used lousy medical treatment. Provera is the most dangerous hormone to give and should be avoided. Natural progesterone and Estriol (bio-identical) are the safest hormones to use, and they were excluded from the study. If you can get by with just natural progesterone, that is the best choice. Finally, if you want to relieve symptoms, you have to give the correct dose for each individual patient, not the same dose for everyone. Come on, Harvard, we deserve better than that. See JoAnn Manson, et.al. JAMA 2013; 310:1353-1368. Celebration of Health Association website

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Curbing Milk Allergies

Scott Calvert of the Baltimore Sun reported that the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center had successfully treated 8 of 32 children with severe milk allergies by gradually giving them increasing amounts of milk over 3 years. This is a passive way to get the immune system to eventually tolerate the milk protein and thus end the allergy. Our success rate is a lot better than that with either of two methods we use to desensitize food allergies. The Sensitivity Reduction Technique (SRT) does it over a few months by tapping on acupuncture points when exposed to the energy field of the food, and the Low Dose Allergen (LDA) technique works over two or three years with injections of an enzyme along with tiny doses of the foods. I wonder how big a grant Hopkins got for studying a vastly inferior treatment. See the Toledo Blade, Sept 9, 2013, Section D, page 1. Celebration of Health Association website