|Issue #24 - September 2004|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #24. It’s my goal 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.
HOMEOPATHY AND THE RETURN OF SYMPTOMS
After a 2-month hiatus from writing about homeopathy it returns as a newsletter subject this month. I thought it would be useful to cover something that many homeopathic patients experience. That is, the return of a previously experienced symptom.
Why is this topic important? If you have a symptom doesn’t that mean you are sicker than before? Not necessarily. In 1828, in Samuel Hahnemann’s first edition of “The Chronic Diseases”, he noticed that the cure of symptoms would lead backwards to an old suppressed eruption. This held true as long as the person’s vitality was strong enough. Once the old symptom had come and gone, the patient was well on their way to being cured.
In Hahnemann’s day skin lesions and syphilis were treated with suppressive therapies—chemical substances, Mercury derivatives, etc. So often, when an old symptom returned during his homeopathic treatment, it was a skin symptom. This holds true in my practice today. Many of my patients have had an occurrence of eczema treated by cortisone, a yeast infection suppressed by topical treatments, a bout of acne covered up by antibiotics, or other similar experiences. While under homeopathic are these symptoms return once again, in modified form.
What these situations have in common is the externalization of an interior imbalance. The Vital Force creates symptoms in response to this imbalance. Usually these symptoms are on the surface or in superficial areas, where symptoms, though uncomfortable, will not cause deep harm to the organism. If these symptoms are covered up and suppressed by treatments that do not address their cause, then deeper problems will develop. Though the shape of these symptoms has now changed—it was eczema, now it’s asthma—the energy driving the symptoms, the cause, has not. With homeopathic treatment, the organism has a chance to heal the old symptom, as the cause is being dealt with.
At your next follow-up, when I ask you if old symptoms have returned, pay closer attention to what has transpired. It might be an old physical injury that acted up; maybe you experienced some indigestion like you used to when you worked that stressful job; perhaps your menstrual cycle symptoms were just like they were when you were a teen. These connections, these related aspects of your health, may be the best indicator as to what is happening. So, if I say, “that’s promising” or “it’s a good sign” you’ll know that I’m hoping that things are progressing in the direction of cure.
AUTISM AND THE MMR VACCINE
* A new study has confirmed a definite causal link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism - and it has used the same data employed by an earlier study that governments have relied on to deny the link.
The vaccine increases the risk of autism by 850 per cent, or nearly 500 per cent if we allow for greater diagnostic awareness, one of the major arguments put forward for the sudden increase in autism.
This conclusion contradicts that of the Madsen study carried out in 2002, which found no link, and which governments have gratefully clung to ever since.
So why the enormous discrepancy between the two trials? Autism is usually diagnosed only at age 5 or older, or it is in Denmark from where the data for both studies has been gleaned. The Madsen study monitored the progress of vaccinated children in Denmark only for four years, so it's hardly surprising that few, if any, cases of autism were established. Less severe cases, which might have become apparent even later, were certainly not included in the findings.
The new study, carried out by American pediatrician Dr Fouad Yazbak and Dr G S Goldman, tracks levels of autism in Denmark from 1980 - seven years before the MMR vaccine was introduced in Denmark - until 2002. Prevalence of autism among children aged from 5 to 9 stood at 8.38 cases per 100,000 in the pre-vaccine years of 1980 to 1986, and then rose to 71.43 cases by the year 2000.
Dr Samy Suissa of McGill University had similar problems with the Madsen study. When he analyzed the statistics he discovered that the rate of autism increases to a high of 27.3 cases per 100,000 two years after vaccination compared with just 1.45 cases in non-vaccinated children.
No doubt in the spirit of the public's right to know, government officials will be broadcasting the latest findings as loudly as they did the Madsen conclusions. Strangely, they have been silent thus far.
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2004; 3: 70-5
GP: I’m sure the government wants this issue to just go away. But it won’t. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative, was/is used to preserve vaccines. Mercury is a known brain poison. Just ask the people of Minamata Bay, Japan (largest know Mercury contamination). We have the term “Mad Hatter” because Mercury was used in the production of felt, which was used to make hats.
TONSILLECTOMIES: INEFFECTIVE AND UNNECESSARY
For children with mild throat infections or enlarged tonsils or adenoids, surgery to remove the offending tissues offers no major clinical benefits over a watchful wait-and-see approach, according to a Dutch study.
The findings are based on a study of 300 children who were candidates for adenotonsillectomy because of recurrent throat infections -- more than seven episodes in the preceding year -- or because they had enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids.
The kids were randomly assigned to undergo surgery or be followed with a watchful waiting strategy, Dr. Anne G. M. Schilder, from University Medical Center Utrecht, and colleagues note in this 9/10/04 (week of) online issue of the British Medical Journal.
After an average follow-up of 22 months, the number of fever episodes in the surgery group was nearly the same as in the watchful waiting group. Subjects in the surgery and watchful waiting groups averaged 0.6 and 0.8 throat infections per person per year, respectively.
The results indicate that surgery offers little benefit to children like those in this study.
British Medical Journal, September 11th online issue, 2004.
GP: Having a fever or enlarged tonsils is not a medical reason for a tonsillectomy. This lymph tissue serves an important immune function. Your health is much better off with it than without it. Taking out your tonsils to get rid of a sore throat is like cutting off your leg because you have muscle cramps. Find the cause and treat the person.
PSA NO LONGER USEFUL DIAGNOSTIC MARKER OF PROSTATE CANCER
Dependence on serum levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) as a marker of cancer has led to overly zealous treatment of men with prostate hyperplasia, investigators at Stanford University report Sept. 10, 2004.
However, they believe that the PSA test "will remain an enduring marker for both benign prostatic hypertrophy and its rate of progression." The test will also "continue to be useful also as a marker of failure to cure the patient after radical prostatectomy and probably irradiation of the prostate as well."
"What we didn't know in the early years is that benign growth of the prostate is the most common cause of a PSA level between 1 and 10 ng/mL," lead author Dr. Thomas A. Stamey notes in a university press release. Dr. Stamey first reported in 1987 that PSA levels could be used as a marker of prostate cancer.
However, evidence that PSA testing is not very sensitive has been accumulating (see Reuters Health reports, July 23 and May 26, 2004). Finding out why this is so was the basis for the California-based team's current research, outlined in the Journal of Urology for October 2004.
Dr. Stamey's group examined tissue from the 1317 radical prostatectomies performed at Stanford since 1983 to quantitate all histologic aspects of the cancers. They compared the findings with the patients' serum PSA levels and other preoperative characteristics.
During the first 5-year period, 90.79% of cancers were palpable on digital rectal examination (DRE), average volume of the largest cancer was 5.33 cc, and mean capsular penetration was 1.54 cm. Between 1999 and 2003, these values had declined to 16.76%, 2.44 cc and 0.22 cm, respectively. Mean serum PSA levels had declined from 24.74 to 8.14 ng/mL.
After 1983 and 1988, the last 5-year period, the only trait related to serum PSA was prostate weight.
What has happened, Dr. Stamey's group suggests, is that prostate cancer is being over-treated, given that most men will develop the disease if they live long enough and the low associated mortality rate.
Thus, the authors conclude, the current extensive use of PSA screening is unwarranted. Until a better serum marker for prostate cancer is found, "we should emphasize better training in careful palpation of the prostate, especially with the patient in the 'knee-chest' position on the examining table."
J Urol 2004.
GP: The US is finally beginning to catch up to the Swedes and other countries with more advanced healthcare systems (less likely to cut things out). For years there has been good evidence suggesting that men in the US were being over-treated for this condition. Many a procedure has been ordered due to a change in the PSA. The next time you talk to your doctor about prostate health ask them if they are aware of this study and how they are incorporating the findings into practice.
SWEETENED DRINKS INCREASE WOMEN'S CHANCES OF HAVING DIABETES
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women who drank one or more cans of sugar sweetened soft drinks a day over several years is 1.83 times the risk among women who drank less than one a month, a new study shows (JAMA 2004;292:927-34).
Consumption in the United States of soft drinks-the leading source of sugars in the country's diet-increased by 61% among adults from 1977 to 1997 and more than doubled in children and adolescents between the periods 1977-8 and 1994-8.
Women with stable patterns of consumption of soft drinks showed no weight gain, but women who increased their consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks from one or fewer drinks a week to one or more a day increased their weight by an average of 4.7 kg (10.3 pounds) between 1991 and 1995.
Consumption of fruit punch (fizzy, sugar sweetened, juice based drinks) was also associated with a higher risk of diabetes (relative risk for one or more drinks a day, compared with less than one a month, was 2.00 (95% confidence interval 1.33 to 3.03; P= 0.001)).
The analysis of the risk of diabetes involved 91 249 women who did not have diabetes or other major chronic diseases at the 1991 baseline. The weight change analysis involved 51 603 women for whom complete dietary information and body weight were available in 1991, 1995, and 1999. The women were part of the second nurses' health study.
The researchers found 741 new cases of confirmed type 2 diabetes in 716, 300 person-years of follow up. Type 2 diabetes, which has grown rapidly in incidence in recent decades in parallel with the obesity epidemic, affects about 17 million people in the United States. Recent evidence indicates an association between consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and the risk of obesity in children.
Women in the study who drank a higher number of sugar sweetened drinks tended to be less physically active, smoke more, and have a higher intake of energy and a lower intake of protein, magnesium, and cereal fiber than women who drank less.
GP: You wouldn’t think it would take such a massive study to figure this out, would you? If anybody’s doctor tells them to stop drinking soda to reduce their chance of diabetes, let me know.
NATURE OUTINGS REDUCE ADHD SYMPTOMS
The great outdoors provides great benefits to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
So says a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study in the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The nationwide study of more than 400 5- to 18-year-old children with ADHD found that spending time outdoors enjoying nature on weekends and after school led to a significant reduction of ADHD symptoms.
"The advantage for green outdoor activities was observed among children living in different regions of the United States and among children living in a range of settings, from rural to large city environments," wrote study authors Frances E. Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor.
"Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children," the authors wrote.
These are exciting findings, said Kuo, professor in the departments of natural resources and environmental sciences and of psychology.
"I think we're on the track of something really important, something that could affect a lot of lives in a substantial way," she said in a prepared statement. "We're on the trail of a potential treatment for a disorder that afflicts one of every 14 children -- that's one or two kids in every classroom."
Kuo said "nature treatments" for ADHD symptoms could be as simple as designing a greener route to school each day for kids, building in outdoor playtime, or making sure kids do their homework with a view that looks out onto the natural world.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, news release, Aug. 27, 2004
GP: If schools got as much support for ‘treating’ ADHD kids with Nature as they do for giving them drugs we might see a major transformation. Imagine, treating an illness without pharmaceuticals? Who would have thought of it? Of course, if one is surrounded by freeways and concrete and steel buildings, it may be difficult to implement this treatment.
If any of you would like to check out Emerson Ecologics online here is the address of their home page. http://www.emersonecologics.com/Main.asp Here you will find information on herbal products and nutritional supplements as well as product specials. 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