|Issue #73 - October 2008|
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store : There are 231 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 73 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".
Optimal Health Points : This is my blog that I update every week. Check out the entry for October 8 concerning BPA (plastic bottle) exposure and the risk of death.
Whatever your political persuasion I highly encourage you to get out and vote in this election. It is a fundamental privilege of our republic to make your voice heard and cast your vote. It's my belief that if we don't vote we really can't complain about the direction government takes. Democracy rules!
WHAT CAN HOMEOPATHY DO? Part 3
Many people have a limited sense of the breadth and scope of homeopathic medicine. They may be unaware of the history of homeopathic medicine and its application in the last 160+ years. From its inception by Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy has been very successful in the treatment of epidemic diseases. Malaria, scarlet fever, yellow fever, and typhoid, are some of the scourges that have succumbed to homeopathic treatment. As the flu season approaches and 'bird flu' hysteria mounts I thought it would be useful to provide the following excerpt from an article entitled "Homeopathy In Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony" by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920.
Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the average old school mortality is 30%.
Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.
In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not drugged to death. We used no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.
I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD, Providence, Rhode Island.
I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to me! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.
One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many cases. "Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies." The Doctor replied: "But that is homeopathy." "I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost a single case." -W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh.
There is one drug that directly or indirectly was the cause of the loss of more lives than was influenza itself. You all know that drug. It claims to be salicylic acid. Aspirin's history has been printed. Today you don't know what the sedative action of salicylic acid is. It did harm in two ways. It's indirect action came through the fact that aspirin was taken until prostration resulted and the patient developed pneumonia. -Frank L. Newton, MD, Somerville, Massachusetts
Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief that is but meretricious. In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought to be prohibited. -Guy Beckly Stearns, MD, New York
Three hundred and fifty cases and lost one, a neglected pneumonia that came to me after she had taken one hundred grains of aspirin in twenty-four hours. -Cora Smith King, MD, Washington, DC
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The 1918 flu pandemic was a plague that exceeded the ravages of the Bubonic Plague of 1347 that killed a third of the European population. Worldwide the 1918 flu killed an estimated 40 million people. If this past history is of benefit, homeopaths can be singularly confident about treating viral illness, including flu. Homeopathic medicine proved extremely effective in the management of the 1918 flu epidemic, and it will prove itself in any future flu pandemic, just as it does every winter in the treatment of that year's flu cases.
FLU SHOTS INEFFECTIVE FOR ELDERLY
It's that time of year again. The call for flu vaccination, especially for the elderly, will start showing up everywhere. Community groups will get behind it as a public health measure. Doctors will promote it to their elderly patients. Though overshadowed by the Wall Street bailout the drumbeats of flu vaccination will be heard loudly soon.
A recent New York Times article reported that "A growing number of immunologists and epidemiologists say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70." The idea is that previous studies may have shown "not any actual protection against the flu virus."
Though influenza vaccination is loudly and widely promoted, I've never been convinced by the actual scientific evidence. In fact, a scientific review that looked at 40 years' worth of influenza vaccine studies found that flu shots were ineffective for elderly persons living in the community, and flu shots were "non-significant against influenza" for elderly living in group homes.
Dr. Thomas Jefferson, one of the researchers said, "The vaccine doesn't work very well at all. Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." Indeed, he commented, "What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth."
Whenever you mention this non-supportive research, the immediate response is that flu vaccinations, even if they don't prevent the flu, may prevent serious complications like pneumonia-which is often deadly.
But the authors of the study discussed in the NY Times article specifically noted that "influenza vaccination was not associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia."
Remember, flu vaccines can have harmful side effects, like all immunizations. Vaccines have ingredients such as mercury and aluminum, which are toxic. The elderly are
more likely to be injured by, or even die from, flu vaccine side effects. Many of my patients report becoming sick from getting the flu shot.
Often hospitals and physicians underreport vaccine side effects. The US Food and Drug Administration's Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System receives around 11,000 serious adverse reaction reports each year, mostly from doctors. However, FDA admits that they probably receive reports for only about 10% of all adverse vaccine reactions. The National Vaccine Information Center estimates the reporting percentage to be far lower, perhaps under 3%.
As I tell my patients the content of each year's flu shot is a guess, one that is often wrong.
In 2008, the flu vaccine didn't match two of the three main types. Even when the guess
is more accurate, flu viruses frequently mutate and become resistant all over again.
As far as science goes, the flu vaccine has not been double-blind, placebo-control tested. It's more a matter of faith in vaccination than the scientific evidence to justify vaccination. Seniors already take too much medication-more than any other segment of the
population. The elderly usually have weaker immune systems. The risk of vaccination adverse effects rises accordingly. The increased danger of side effects, combined with low effectiveness, is a bad combination. Jefferson T, Rivetti D, Rivetti A et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Oct 1;366(9492):1165-74.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: So what's the alternative? Improve diet and nutrition for seniors. Nutritional supplements can help fight the flu. Nutrients have been shown to significantly reduce incidence and duration of influenza. High doses of vitamin C reduce the frequency and shorten the severity of influenza. Vitamin D also increases resistance to influenza as do the minerals selenium and zinc.
Good nutrition along with supplemental vitamin and mineral intake helps strengthen the body's natural defenses. It's my sense that nutrition is more important than vaccination. No vaccine can take the place of proper nutrition.
For the instances where flu is not thwarted by nutritional defense, the homeopathic medicine specific for the individual's case of the flu will be very effective. The mortality rate of homeopathic physicians treating working during the 1918 flu epidemic was 1%- 3% compared to the 20%-30% mortality rate of conventional physicians.
TEFLON BREAST MILK
Non-stick residues are turning up just about everywhere. The chemicals used to make nonstick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics are spreading around the world and turning up in disturbing places. Researchers have found these suspected carcinogens in samples of human milk from nursing mothers in Massachusetts.
"Perfluorinated compounds, (PFCs), are found in human blood around the world, including the blood of newborns, but this is the first study in the United States to document their occurrence in human milk," said Kathleen Arcaro, a member of the environmental sciences program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "...breastmilk should be considered as an additional source of PFCs when determining a child's total exposure."
Breast milk samples were collected in 2004 from 45 nursing mothers in Massachusetts and analyzed for nine different PFCs. Perfluorooctane- sulfonate (PFOS), used to make stain-resistant fabrics, was found in the highest concentration in breast milk, followed by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in nonstick cookware.
On average, each approximately 1 quart of breast milk, contained 131 billionths of a gram of PFOS and 44 billionths of a gram of PFOA. Arcaro cautions mothers should compare the risks of breastfeeding with the benefits, which include better nutrition and immune system development and enhanced defense against infections in children. First time nursing mother's milk was also studied to see how PFC concentrations changed over time. Total PFC concentrations and the concentration of PFOS increased during the first six months of nursing.
These studies led the team to investigate breastfeeding as a source of PFCs, information that will be needed to determine the sources and magnitude of exposure in infants and children and whether PFCs have an effect on birth outcomes in newborns.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Food sources of PFCs include grease-resistant packaging such as microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes, as well as fish and other animals that contain these chemicals. Exposure can also come from other products including dental floss and shampoo.
PFCs are persistent chemicals that can linger in the environment and the human body for years without being broken down. Several studies have documented their presence in the blood of newborns collected immediately after birth, and in children between the ages of 2 and 12, who have blood levels similar to those found in adults.
CALCIUM AND KIDNEY STONES
This systematic review of studies investigating the relationship between calcium intake and risk of kidney stones showed no relationship. It was concluded that calcium intake (dietary and supplements) is not associated with an increased risk of kidney stones in postmenopausal women.
More to the point, reviewers point out that, "...there is a substantial body of evidence, both from controlled trials and from observational studies, indicating that there is an inverse relationship between calcium intake and stone risk.
"Calcium supplementation and incident kidney stone risk: a systematic review," Heaney RP, J Am Coll Nutr, 2008; 27(5): 519-27
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: For years I've been tracking this research and telling my patients that it's ok to supplement with the Calcium form that's best for them individually. Even though their docs have continued to tell them not to. This review should lay this to rest. The proper calcium supplement should not increase your risk for kidney stones.
ANTIBIOTIC ADVERSE EFFECTS
On August 13 2008 the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released "the first report ever done on adverse reactions to antibiotics in the United States. Considering that antibiotics have been used for over 60 years, I have to ask, "What took so long?"
Make no mistake; antibiotics can put you in the emergency room. The most frequently prescribed antibiotics, ones regarded as the safest, cause for nearly half of emergencies due to antibiotics. The study authors reported that "Persons aged 15-44 years accounted for an estimated 41.2 percent of emergency department visits" They also found that nearly 80% of antibiotic-caused "adverse events" were allergic reactions.
In the US, over 3 million pounds of antibiotics are used on humans every year. Add in the millions of pounds used on the foods we eat. Then include the incredible 25 million pounds of antibiotics that are administered to farm animals. Seepage from feedlots results in low concentrations of antibiotics in our waterways and food. This increases human antibiotic resistance. The CDC itself currently states that antibiotic resistance "can cause significant danger and suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics. . . Some resistant infections can cause death."
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It's cause for thought when the CDC itself starts talking about the adverse effects of using antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance and antibiotic allergic reactions are major public health problems. Both dangers are directly related to the huge amount of antibiotics we consume. There's a simple way to change this, use antibiotics less often. Reducing use "by even a small percentage could significantly reduce the immediate and direct risks of drug-related adverse events," the CDC study authors said.
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