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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #62 - November 2007
Issue #62 - November 2007

Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #62. It's my mission to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.

My website is 1 year old.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 189 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.

Newsletter: Here you will find all 62 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".

Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update every week. Check out the entry for Nov. 1 to learn Vitamin D and cancer mortality.

Characteristic Symptoms
So, it's the first visit (or a return visit), you're looking across my desk, and it's time to tell me what is occurring. What do you say? Where do you start? Maybe you've read Dr. Timothy Dooley's wonderful introduction to homeopathy, "Beyond Flat Earth Medicine" and you remember that characteristic symptoms are what I need to hear. But you don't really know what that means.

Characteristic symptoms are symptoms that illustrate the individuality of the patient. These may be found in the mind, emotions, dreams, general tendencies, food cravings, sleep, sex, energy, and so on. What we're looking for is the individual expression of the person who is sick. The real pathology of the patient if you will.

Characteristic symptoms describe the patient's illness as a unique complete entity. The basic concept is that a person is ill as a total entity, not only a part is sick, but that all of the person is ill. The illness is seen in the symptoms. Some symptoms are common and some are unique but all show the total illness. As a homeopath I pay attention to the most identifying features of the whole. These features run through the whole case.

What do we need to know about a symptom to understand it? What gives us the most comprehensive information? One of the most accomplished homeopaths of the 19th century, Clemens von Boenninghausen, wrote extensively on this subject. He developed the following set of interdependent questions that help us derive the most value from each symptom.

1. Who?
The personality, the individuality of the patient, must stand at the head of the image of the disease, for the natural disposition rests on it. In this area we find the sex, age, bodily constitution, etc. The more striking or rare the differences from the norm, the greater the attention.
2. What?
This question refers to the disease, i.e., to its nature and peculiarity. Each person diagnosed with the same disease label still expresses unique symptoms. Various aspects of how they express the disease differentiate them from anyone else with that same label. The ultimate importance lies in the symptoms themselves. It does not rest solely on the attachment of a disease label.

3. Where?
The seat of the disease, though part of the previous question, deserves further emphasis. Often, a characteristic symptom can be derived from the location of the illness. This is true not only for a local disease like a rash, but also for more systemic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. In such situations it is rarely the case that the whole body is affected equally. It may be that one side is affected more than another, or the upper (not the lower) part of the body is involved.

4. Concomitant Symptoms (symptoms occurring at the same time).
Every individual presents with a more or less numerous group of symptoms. Taken together they represent the totality of that person's disease (when the image is complete). Think of a mosaic where every tile exquisitely laid in place represents an aspect of the overall picture. One absent or misplaced tile can distort the image (the picture of the disease) making it unrecognizable. Hence the importance of concomitant symptoms. This is especially true when the symptom is seemingly not related to the disease. An individual has acute kidney stone colic and the concomitant symptom is an unusual outburst of anger. Someone has experienced a strong grief and they have a craving for salty foods that they don't usually like.

5. Why?
The cause of the disease or etiology has a prominent part in pathology books. A large part of this is only untested theories or attempts at explanation. Homeopaths take a much more versatile, wholistic view of etiology that goes beyond simple association with a pathogen.

At one level there exist internal and external causes. Internal causes properly refer only to the general natural disposition, which in some cases amounts to a peculiar supersensitivity or individual susceptibility. For some, illness always begins with their throat. For others, their skin is affected. Some are indisposed at the level of intellect or emotion.

The external causes embrace everything that, where there is such an internal disposition to disease, may produce disease. Weather, poor food choices, sick building syndrome, mental or physical abuse, abandonment, grief, etc. Maybe the specific cause of the kidney stone colic was the burst of anger that preceded its onset. If so, this etiology becomes a significant factor in the understanding of the case.

6. Better or Worse?
The modalities of a symptom, or things that make that symptom better or worse, are quite often a key to unlocking the case. Is the cough better from eating food? Does the throat pain increase when cold water is swallowed? Is the pain better with heat? Or with cold? Does the night sweat always occur at the same time of the morning? A clear modality is worth its weight in gold. One strong modality can shift the perception of the case and point the homeopath in the right direction.

7. When?
This concerns the time of the appearance, the aggravation or the amelioration of the ailments. The periodic return of symptoms after a longer or shorter cessation may relate to specific causes such as menstrual ailments, weather changes, seasons, etc.

Of even greater importance are the aggravations and ameliorations at particular times of the day. Whether this applies to local symptoms that the person has or their general overall state. There is hardly any disease that does not manifest in some form a distinct aggravation or amelioration.

The next time you need to check in or keep a record of your symptoms, ask yourself these 7 questions. The answers might surprise you and delight your homeopath.

"The Obesity Epidemic in the United States - Gender, Age, Socioeconomic, Racial/Ethnic, and Geographic Characteristics: a Systematic Review and Meta-regression Analysis," Wang Y, Beydoun MA, Epidemiologic Reviews, 2007; 29: 6-28
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Human Nutrition carried out this systematic review and analysis of the prevalence of obesity and overweight in the U.S. It reveals an alarming increase in the prevalence of obesity and overweight in the U.S. over the past 40 years. Data published in studies between 1990 and 2006 were included in the analysis.

Results found an increase in obesity from 13% of the U.S. population in the 1960s, to 32% in 2004. In 2003 to 2004, 66% of adults in the U.S. were overweight or obese, 16% of children and adolescents were overweight, and 34% of children and adolescents were at risk of becoming overweight. At all ages, persons of low socio-economic status and members of racial/ethnic minority groups were disproportionately affected. 80% of black women over 40 years of age were overweight and 50% were obese. While Asians were found to have a lower prevalence of obesity compared to other ethnic groups, persons of Asian descent born in the U.S. were four times more likely to be obese than their foreign-born counterparts.

In terms of U.S. geography, a higher prevalence of obesity and overweight was found among states in the Southeast, compared to states in the Northeast, Midwest, and West coast. In terms of education level, generally a higher prevalence of obesity was found in less-educated people.

In terms of the future, researchers project that if the current trend continues, by the year 2015, 75% of all adults living in the U.S. will be overweight or obese, and 41% will be obese.

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: One simple solution. Transition every fast food restaurant in the U.S. to a restaurant that serves healthy food. Eliminate the bad food choices from public schools. High salt, high fat, high simple carbohydrate foods make you fat, and increase your cholesterol and triglycerides. Get rid of them.

What Are the Best Type of Eggs to Get?

Mother Earth News recently finished their latest egg-testing project, confirming their 2005 test results that showed true free-range eggs are far more nutritious than commercially raised eggs.

Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

    * 1/3 less cholesterol

    * 1/4 less saturated fat

    * 2/3 more vitamin A

    * 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids

    * 3 times more vitamin E

    * 7 times more beta carotene

These dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the differences in diet between free-range pastured hens, vs. commercially farmed hens.

Without citing any research of their own, most egg industry advocates hold fast to their claim that commercially farmed eggs are no different from pastured eggs, and that hens' diets do not alter their eggs nutritional value in any significant way.

Mother Earth News points out the flawed and downright fraudulent definitions of "true free-range." The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines "free-range" as chickens that have "access to the outside." However, it does not define their diets, or whether or not the "outside access" is to a cement courtyard or a field fit for foraging.
Sources: Mother Earth News October/November 2007

DR. PAIS'S COMENTS: Chickens are made to eat grass, weeds, bugs, and other things found in the pasture. Feed them correctly and their eggs and meat will be healthy. Feed them poorly and the meat and eggs will not be healthy. And definitely don't feed them genetically modified corn, soy, or cottonseed-common ingredients in commercial chicken feed.

In an October 23 2007 ruling by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture, your ability to know what you are eating in your food is being greatly restricted. As of January 1, 2008, dairies in the commonwealth will no longer be able to state that their products are free of rBST/rBGH-recombinant growth hormone. In other words, the state of Pennsylvania doesn't want you to know when you are drinking milk or eating cheese from cows that have been fed genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Of course, Big Brother PA says this is for your own good. In a classic iteration of Orwell's 1984, "Ignorance is Knowledge", and "Danger is Safety."

Why is this really being done? Monsanto, the creator of this Frankenstein hormone, loses money when you know what you are eating. It's to the benefit of their bottom line that you remain in the dark. If you don't know which milk has rBST/rBGH and which one doesn't, Monsanto's profits are protected. This is more important than your safety or your ability to make choices concerning yours and your family's health.

What's wrong with rBST/rBGH? All 25 countries of the European Union, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have banned its use in the production of milk. rBGH is a powerful genetically engineered drug produced by Monsanto which, injected into dairy cows, forces them to produce 15%-25% more milk, in the process seriously damaging their health and reproductive capacity. Milk from rBGH-injected cows contains substantially higher amounts of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1.  In 1994, despite evidence that rBGH milk contained higher levels of pus, bacteria, and antibiotics, the FDA gave the hormone its seal of approval, with no real pre-market safety testing required.

From the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

The time has come to take action on the milk-labeling debacle in Pennsylvania! We had planned to ask you in the week after Thanksgiving.  But the time has come a bit sooner when we need an urgent flood of messages to let our leaders in Harrisburg know what you think.

Please take a few moments before the holiday, or perhaps just after, to write to Governor Rendell and let him know what you think of PDA¹s move to restrict product-labeling claims involving artificial hormones and other substances many of us do not want used in the production of our food.  

We are asking you, if at all possible, to write a REAL letter (it¹ll get more attention) to the governor at the following address: Governor Edward G. Rendell 225 Main Capitol Building Harrisburg, PA  17102

If time is short, you may use this email address and follow the instructions as prompted:

Or, just call his office at (717) 787-2500 right now and make your feelings known to whoever answers.

Sending copies of any correspondence with the governor to your local legislators would make sense as well.  We¹re also asking that you consider writing letters to the editors of your local papers or of the agriculture press (Lancaster Farming, The Farmer¹s Friend, Farm & Dairy, etc.) to let people know your thoughts about this issue. 

Perhaps no single issue in Pennsylvania agriculture during this first decade of the new century has run so contrary to the goals of sustainability. Sure, labels can be misleading, and we do need state leadership in deciding how they can be consistently and fairly applied. But it is simply outrageous to think that keeping consumers in the dark on important matters involving their food is the better way to go. As always, it¹s important that you individually express your opinions in ways that demonstrate diversity and thoughtfulness. Here are some considerations:
1. Animal Welfare:  Cows treated with rBST have higher rates of mastitis and shorter lives in general.

2. Human Health:  The science is inconclusive as to whether or not there are long-term negative effects on humans who consume milk from rBST-treated cows. 

3. Freedom of Speech:  Farmers need the ability to use truthful claims on labels that help them communicate with their customers and make a good living.

4. Consumer Information:  It¹s not irrelevant at all for consumers to know who uses artificial hormones and who doesn¹t.

5. Ethical Consistency:  Why are performance-enhancing drugs banned in other aspects of our daily lives, but not in food production?

Please share this action alert with your friends, neighbors, customers and any other group in Pennsylvania you can think of who might care about this issue. Let¹s enjoy this week of Thanksgiving knowing full well that food is one of our most precious resources, and that we are united in defending the integrity of how it is produced and marketed to the public.

Yours sincerely, Brian Snyder, Executive Director Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)

This study looked at 148 men from Jamaica - a country with the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. Dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids were found to be positively associated with Gleason score and tumor volume, suggesting that omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) may stimulate the growth of prostate cancer.

Subjects with a PSA (prostate specific antigen) of 2.6 ng/ml or greater underwent biopsy, and of those who underwent biopsy, 44 were found to have prostate cancer. Of those with prostate cancer, 17 had a Gleason score of at least 7 suggesting a moderately aggressive tumor (Gleason score provides an assessment of the severity of prostate cancer based on microscopic observation of the cancer cells). Of those with prostate cancer, 11 had a tumor volume of at least 50%.

Linoleic acid - found in high amounts in the standard Jamaican diet - was positively associated with Gleason score, linoleic acid-to-DHA ratio, and tumor volume, while the ratio of arachidonic acid (omega-6) to docosapentaenoic acid (omega-3) was negatively associated with Gleason score. These results suggest that omega-6 fatty acids may stimulate the growth of prostate cancer, while omega-3 fatty acids may have an inhibitory effect.
"Dietary fatty acids correlate with prostate cancer biopsy grade and volume in Jamaican men," Ritch CR, Wan RL, et al, J Urol, 2007; 177(1): 97-101

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It's interesting to see the differentiation between omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids here. This is further support for the idea that there is a protective effect when considering a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in the diet.

People suffering from chronic nasal and sinus inflammation (rhinosinusitis) literally have a solution (sic) that really works. In this new study in the Annals of Family Medicine it's called 'nasal irrigation' (I call it the sinus rinse). Most of my patients find it very helpful.

Chronic rhinosinusitis is a common reason for doctor's visits and antibiotic prescriptions. This is true even though bacteria are not the cause. Because it causes considerable pain and discomfort, people are often willing to try just about anything to cure their symptoms and to keep them from coming back. 

For the sinus rinse I have my patients do it tell them to take 4oz. Warm water, 1/4 tsp. Salt, and a pinch of baking soda. I have them snort it alternately into each nostril. This hydrates the mucous membranes, washes out irritants, and helps remove any mucous that is clogging the nasal passages. You can put the solution in your hand or use a vessel like a Neti pot.

Studies have shown that nasal irrigation relieves the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. The authors of the new study wanted to know specifically how nasal irrigation helped people, what was most difficult about performing it, and what would make it easier to do. People who had taken part in studies using nasal irrigation to treat rhinosinusitis were interviewed in detail about their experiences with the therapy. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. Here are some of their comments: "Nasal irrigation made a world of difference in my life." "I could actually feel...the pressure-kind of a dam held, and then it whooshed out the other side." "This is the magic cure for my sinuses." "My results were immediate. I went from being congested to breathing, and I would stay clear all day." "You don't have to run to the doctor every few months to get on antibiotics."
Ann Fam Med 2006;4:295-301

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I almost laugh when I see so much effort involved in a study about something so simple. I'm glad it was done but it really doesn't make a difference. Any of my patients who have tried this know it works. It's simple, easy, cheap, and effective. What else could you want?

I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.

Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.

To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.

That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.

Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP