Prescriptions for Health – or Profits?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

Perhaps you have heard some reports about the pharmaceutical companies trying to influence doctors to prescribe more drugs, for their benefit rather than the patient’s.  Well, now even the medical journals are looking at the situation.  The Annals of Family Medicine reported a study done by some anthropologists from Michigan State University.  The authors noted that spending on prescription drugs in the United States has risen nearly 6-fold since 1990.  The study focused on how medical doctors managed type two diabetes and hypertension, two of the most common chronic health conditions.

What they found was a significantly lowered diagnostic threshold for these diseases.  Which means, it has gotten easier to be diagnosed with them.  In 1998, the fasting glucose level that meant “diabetic” was lowered from 140 to 126.  This resulted in an additional 10.3 million people being defined as diabetics.  The definition of “pre-diabetes” was changed from 110 to 100.  These changes meant that those millions of people would now be put on prescription drugs.

In 1993, the blood pressure definition for hypertension was lowered from 160/95 to 140/90 (in non-diabetic patients).  In 1998, hypertension for diabetics was set at 130/80.  These changes resulted in about 22 million additional hypertension diagnoses – and prescriptions.

Now, is this a bad thing?  The committees and organizations that set these standards have substantial pharmaceutical industry ties.  Doctors are monitored and evaluated on if they treat by these standards.  The important question is if these lower standards benefit patients or just make profits go up for drug companies.  If medical doctors were treating diabetes and hypertension by encouraging patients to eat healthier diets, exercise more, and take nutritional supplements, it would probably be a good thing.  But they are treating with drugs which have side effects and risks.  Two- thirds of patients report symptoms from their diabetic and hypertension medications.  Furthermore, 89% of these patients are taking multiple drugs, averaging 4 or 5 drugs which they are told to take “permanently”.

The authors of this study found that drug companies setting the standards by which their products are sold is not in the best interest of patients. They urged that organizations with financial conflicts of interest be banned from guideline writing panels.  And they called for physicians to be discouraged from seeing drug representatives.

The worst part of this story is that the biggest money makers for the drug industry do not fix the problem.  They “manage” a chronic condition.  And diabetes and hypertension are both treatable by lifestyle changes!  So by only offering patients a prescription, doctors are actually keeping people sick when they should be working with them to make them well.  You hear a lot in the news about how these problems keep worsening, and about the social and economic costs involved.  But maybe the blame lies with a system in which medicine is run by a multi-billion dollar drug industry.

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Preventing Breast Cancer

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Like all cancers, breast cancer has gone from very rare to incredibly common, in recent years.  A woman’s lifetime risk has nearly tripled in the past 4 decades.  The right question to ask is why.  What causes breast cancer?

The biggest cause is the least “proven” because there is no funding or career advancement in research that challenges industry.  But there is no real doubt that decades of manmade toxic pollution has turned our previously life-supporting environment into a cancer causing environment.  The list includes, but is not limited to, pesticides, solvents, polyvinyl chloride (added to plastics to soften them), bisphenol-A (the lining of food cans), dioxin, flame retardants, food additives, methyl mercury, chemicals in air fresheners, cleaning products, cosmetics and deodorants, new car interiors, construction materials, styrofoam, and plastics.  Living near a paper mill,  gas station, chemical factory, airport, mine, electrical substation or golf course increases your exposure to carcinogens.  No amount of “looking for the cure” will matter as long as we keep pretending that this is not the issue.

There are other things that can increase your risk.  Breast cancer grows faster in higher concentrations of estrogen – that is why it is much more common in women than men.  Things that elevate estrogen levels include hormone replacement therapies, and exposure to manmade estrogen-like chemicals in plastics.

Working the night shift increases the risk of breast cancer.  Night work reduces melatonin levels, and normal melatonin levels appear to be important in normalizing other hormone levels.

Excess weight and inactivity increase risk.  The World Health Organization claims that weight loss and exercise could prevent 25 – 30% of breast cancer cases.

Pretty far down on the list of causes, certain genetic mutations increase breast cancer risk.  I say pretty far down, because these mutations are found in less than 1 to 5% of women with breast cancer.  Therefore, the US Prevention Services Task Force recommends against routine genetic screening.

Prevention?  First, I have to point out that “prevention” means before the problem occurs.  Wearing a helmet can prevent head trauma for motorcyclists.  When medical doctors talk about “prevention” they are generally talking about mammograms, which detect, but do not prevent, cancer.  Some tumors are detected by mammograms, some are not.  Estimates range from 25% to 80% detection.  And up to 83% of “suspicious” areas turn out to be non-cancerous.  Overall, the benefits of screening have been exaggerated.

You can’t avoid all toxins, but you can avoid some.  As much as possible, obtain organic foods, and do not eat too much fish.  Avoid trans (hydrogenated) fats.  Eat whole, real foods rather than processed, prepackaged foods and fast foods.  Don’t use pesticides around the home.  Don’t smoke.  Avoid artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, and other synthetic products made of hormone disrupters.  Take probiotics and limit your use of antibiotics.

Cancer causing foods include refined grains and sugars – pasta, white bread, pies, cakes, candy, French fries, margarine, soda pop.  Cancer fighting foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, non-industrial poultry and meat.

Deficiencies in vitamins all correlate with increased cancer risks, so vitamin supplements help.  This includes Vitamins A, the B’s, C, D, and E!  Minerals – calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc., are protective.  So, the good news is that all the things that you want to do to be healthy in general – healthy diet, exercise, and supplements – will help lower your cancer risk, also.  And to make cancer the rarity it was 50 years ago, we need to stop manufacturing carcinogens.

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A Rare Guest Post by Sophie (the receptionist) Dog

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in Blog | 3 comments

I am writing this because I was watching my human, you know her as Dr. Linda, doing yoga on her mat in the living room.  I like my human, don’t get me wrong.  But sometimes she misses the mark by a mile.  She says she does yoga for “inner peace”.  So naturally I offered to contribute by licking her face while she is on the floor, and believe it or not, she pushes me away.  While talking about inner peace!  It is nonsensical stuff like that that made me realize the need for some basic canine wisdom here.

I’ve watched and listened to my human and her friends long enough to grasp the kinds of emotional and psychological handicaps humans operate under, relative to dogs.  Watching and listening is what your dogs and cats do, you know, except for those precious moments when you are playing fetch or tug with us, or feeding us.  We watch and listen and can barely believe our eyes and ears.

As near as I can tell, and incredible though it sounds to dog ears, the basic issue is that humans do not experience wholeness as their normal reality.  And a whole slew of problems spring from that one.  I’m talking about the illusion that each human is an individual, disconnected from other humans, and nature.  If you are a human, you are so sure you are an isolated, unique soul that you don’t even recognize this as the most basic error.  If you are a dog, well, we can hardly conjure up that unique identity thing with all our imagination.  Still, I think you can learn better, so take heart.

Here is what your dogs know to be true.  The same life force flows through every living thing.  It doesn’t matter if you have fur or feathers, paws or fingers, scales or shells.  I’m not saying the same kind of life force, I’m saying the same life force.  Imagine a huge tree with a million massive limbs.  Each limb has a million branches, and each branch a million twigs.  All connected to one vast trunk.

Each twig ends in a leaf.  If the leaf is human, it looks around and sees the other leaves, but never looks down at the branches that connect them.  These human leaves imagine they are separate, not connected to anyone, much less everyone.

Dogs and cats, and most everyone else, sees the twigs on the branches on the limbs on the tree trunk.  We are all leaves on the same tree.  We are all as connected as that.  We are all the same soul.  Trust the dog, she knows.

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What Does Chiropractic Do?

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

In one study, 1,504 patients were given questionaires.   These were all chiropractic patients being treated for musculoskeletal pain.  What the study found was that the patients reported positive side effects besides pain relief 23% of the time.  Adjusting the spine to relieve pain also helps organs and tissues work better.  Positive effects were found in the respiratory system, digestive system, circulation, and eyes.  The patients reported that it was easier to breathe, they had improved digestion, clearer vison, lowered blood pressure, and relief from ringing in the ears.

Chiropractors don’t find this surprising!  The nerves are the communication lines between the brain and every organ and tissue in the body.  So if you improve nerve function, by releasing pressure from misalignment, you will benefit everything that nerve communicates with.

Compare these side effects to the ones listed at the ends of drug commercials!  Aren’t these the sorts of side effects you’d rather have from your health care?

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Farewell to Fibromyalgia

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Fibromyalgia is best described as chronic pain all over.  Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?  And it is exactly the sort of illness that M.D.s hate to see.  It does not have clear blood markers, making diagnosis difficult.  It does not respond well to medication.  It doesn’t just go away on it’s own.  It does, however, respond very well to a comprehensive, holistic approach including JMT, nutrition, and exercise.

JMT (Jaffe-Mellor Technique) treats auto-immune disorders, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, arthritis, and others.  In auto-immune diseases, the damage to the body seems to be coming from the immune system mistakenly attacking your self as if you were a germ.  The initial triggers to fibromyalgia are thought to include lack of sufficient sleep, as well as infection or trauma triggering the auto-immune response.

JMT uses principles of chiropractic, acupuncture, and NAET to gently correct the auto-immune reaction.  Even if the patient makes no other changes, JMT can often relieve most to all fibromyalgia symptoms.  But there are additional steps patients can take to get the best results.

Gentle, low impact exercise helps with muscle health and stress reduction – gentle yoga is a good choice.  A diet that is primarily vegetarian (vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains) reduces inflammation and pain.     Probiotics help to support normal immune system health, and correct one of the primary triggers to auto-immune problems, which is leaky gut syndrome.  A green supplement, such as chlorophyll or algae, helps provide needed nutrients and also helps with detoxification.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and the medical response is “live with it”, please call Dr. Linda and make an appointment.  Fibromyalgia can be made a thing of the past.

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Goodbye to GERD

Posted by on Dec 2, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

One of the complaints I see most often is GERD, or acid reflux.  We spend $13 billion a year  on this one illness in the U.S.  That money is spend on drugs called proton pump inhibitors, which are designed to reduce the amount of acid formed in the stomach.  The medical reasoning goes like this:  When stomach contents backs up into the esophagus, the acid is irritating, so let’s reduce the acid.  Which begs the question, how is it that Americans are making $13 billion dollars of excess stomach acid?

It turns out that the problem is rather the opposite.  People tend to produce less stomach acid as they age.  In addition, life is very stressful, and stress shuts down digestion.  The digestive enzymes in your stomach require an acidic environment to do their job.  Too little acid results in poor digestion, and that leads to reflux, as well as bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

There are other problems with low stomach acid levels.  The highly acidic stomach is your immune systems very effective barrier to food-borne germs.  Protein, and several vitamins and minerals, including B12, calcium, and magnesium, require normal acid levels to be absorbed.  So when the cause of the problem is decreased acid, do we really want to be reducing stomach acid even more?

The chiropractic approach is rather the opposite.  Supplement with acid (HCl generally in the form of betaine hydrochloride) and digestive enzymes.  When food is digested normally, it can procede downwards through the digestive tract.  In addition, chiropractic adjusting can correct the functioning of the esophageal sphincter and reposition the stomach correctly below the diaphragm.  This adjustment and supplement protocol is very effective, and rather than causing side effects, it benefits the entire digestive process.  It is one of the most clear-cut cases of treating the cause (low stomach acid) rather than the symptom to fully correct a problem.

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