|Issue #32 - May 2005|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #32. 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.
“A DAY IN THE LIFE” OF A HOMEOPATHIC CASE
“Same as it ever was…”, “It’s always the same”, “There’s been no change”, and other variations on the theme. People are quick to make such superficial assessments concerning their response to homeopathic care. There are a number of reasons why this happens.
It’s frequently the case that people seek care at my door as a last resort. Their MD has tried everything (sic), they’ve been told it’s all in their head; they’ve dealt with the problem for years, etc. Their symptoms are so entrenched, it seems almost impossible for them to move or change.
Sometimes it’s the ‘forest for the trees’ syndrome. Attention has been so focused on the pain in the big toe that the fact that they’re sleeping deeply through the night and experiencing less anxiety has escaped their attention.
Often the change in health takes place at such a deep level, without side effects, that they just ‘forget’ about their symptom. “What about the daily headache you told me about at the last visit?” “Oh, I forgot all about that. It went away about a week after I saw you”.
Occasionally there is a reluctance to hope that improvement is occurring. As if it will disappear if it’s noticed. When you’re told for so long that “there’s nothing wrong with you”, even though you’re very ill, it’s easy to doubt yourself. Doubt your ability to know what’s going on. So, it makes sense that you will doubt the improvement that you feel.
These and other reactions are just the manifestation of the individual’s chronic disease (unhealthy state). If you think of this state as an internal imbalance that creates disharmony on the mental, emotional, and physical levels, it makes sense that even your interpretation of your symptoms can be distorted.
That’s where your feedback comes in. All that’s necessary is to describe what you experience in as great a depth as you can access. Last month’s focus on who, what, where, when, how, why, etc., is one way to organize all the information. Even if the symptom has remained the same, you might use a different word in the retelling that helps me understand what you mean. Your language is very powerful in this regard. It’s a great communication tool that is more useful than a lab test. You just have to use it.
So, the next time you get an email from me that asks you to describe any changes, dig a little deeper. If there’s an initial—“there’s been no change’’. Think about it a bit more. Look at things from a different angle. Turn it upside down and inside out. There might not be a $50 bill inside but you’ll at least get your 2 cents worth. And that may be just enough to make all the difference in the world.
ORGANIC REBELS FIGHTING AGAINST THE DARK SIDE OF THE FARM
Courtesy of the Organic Trade Association, the hilarious spoof, Store Wars, adopts the likeness of the all-time classic film, Star Wars. Instead of the well-known original characters, Store Wars features both organic and non-organic versions, including:
The parody begins with Obi Wan Cannoli explaining to Cuke Skywalker that organic birth is being slowly wiped out through the use of chemical pesticides, genetic engineering, and irradiation. The rest of the clip is devoted to the characters' journey to cease this evil doing.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
Have a laugh or two and eat your organic veggies.
A woman went to see her doctor. After about 15 minutes with one of the new doctors, she went screaming down the hall. Another doctor stopped and asked her what the problem was and she explained.
The second doctor went back to the first and said, "What's the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old. She has four grown children and seven grandchildren and you told her she was pregnant?"
The new doctor simply smiled and said, "Cured her hiccups though, didn't it?"
Frequent use of acetaminophen, the over-the-counter painkiller found in Tylenol and many other analgesics, has been associated with an increased risk for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and decreased lung function.
In a retrospective health survey of more than 13,000 Americans, researchers found that frequent acetaminophen users were more likely to have lung disease than those who never or seldom used it.
In December 2004 the FDA said that acetaminophen is an active ingredient found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines, such as pain relievers, cough suppressants and cold medications. "…Taking too much can lead to liver damage," the FDA said.
A link between acetaminophen and asthma, as well as aspirin, has been seen in other studies, but this is the first to detect a dose-related association between the popular painkiller and other serious lung diseases. The authors reported this in a study published in the May 2005 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The study drew on data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), and included information on more than 13,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 80 years.
Participants who reported regular acetaminophen use (6-29 times per month), had a 40% greater risk (adjusted odds ratio =1.40) of having asthma, and daily users had a 75% greater risk. In contrast, no statistically significant differences were seen in asthma risk among aspirin or ibuprofen users.
Similarly, acetaminophen use, but not ibuprofen or aspirin use, was linked to higher risk of COPD, with daily users being at 72% increased risk, even when the data were adjusted for confounding variables such as smoking, race, and use of other pain medications.
Aspirin-induced asthma has long been known. Studies have suggested that up to 20% of asthmatics are sensitive to aspirin, and aspirin intolerance is an independent risk factor for developing asthma.
"We found that increased acetaminophen use was associated with greater prevalence of both asthma and COPD, and with lowered lung function in this large, cross-sectional study," the authors wrote. "To put these results in context, aspirin avoidance is important in people who have severe, persistent asthma or a history of aspirin sensitivity, and aspirin avoidance in children is important to prevent Reyes syndrome.”
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
What I find most interesting is the kind of commentary that often is associated with this kind of study and the studies that found stroke and heart disease problems with the COX-2 inhibitors. Basically the attitude is, “balance getting asthma or lung disease against the benefits of taking acetaminophen”, end of story. As if there are no other options. The estimate is that between 30-40,000 deaths were caused by the COX-2 inhibitors. How many cases of asthma or other lung disease have been caused by acetaminophen? It’s time to widen the perspective and consider other approaches.
PROCESSED MEAT INCREASES PANCREATIC CANCER RISK
A high intake of red meat and, particularly, processed meat, increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, suggest results of a large multiethnic study presented 4/20/05, the last day of the 96th annual gathering of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The results hint that carcinogenic substances related to meat processing, such as heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons might be responsible for the association, Dr. Ute Nothlings from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii in Honolulu told Reuters Health.
Meat consumption has been linked to pancreatic cancer in several case-control studies.
Dr. Nothlings and colleagues examined the relationship between diet and pancreatic cancer in 190,545 men and women in the Hawaii-Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort Study of Diet and Cancer. The subjects included African Americans, Japanese Americans, Caucasians, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians.
During an average follow up of 7 years, 482 subjects developed pancreatic cancer. In analyses adjusting for age, smoking status, history of diabetes, family history of pancreatic cancer and ethnicity, subjects with the highest intake of processed meat had a 67% increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with those with the lowest intake of processed meat.
A high intake of pork and total red meat increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by about 50%. "In our study, red meat and processed meat intake were the most pronounced risk factors for exocrine pancreatic cancer, associated with a 50% to 70% increased risk for those consuming the largest amounts, respectively," Dr. Nothlings said.
"Due to the large size of the study with 482 cases, this is an important piece of evidence for a reduced intake of red meat and processed meat as target factors for disease prevention," Dr. Nothlings told Reuters Health.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
Though not identified by the researchers, the most likely culprit responsible for this increased risk of pancreatic cancer is the widespread use of a carcinogenic precursor ingredient known as sodium nitrite. Nearly all processed meats are made with sodium nitrite: breakfast sausage, hot dogs, jerkies, bacon, lunchmeat, and even meats in canned soup products. This ingredient is a precursor to highly carcinogenic nitrosamines -- potent cancer-causing chemicals that accelerate the formation and growth of cancer cells throughout the body. When consumers eat sodium nitrite in popular meat products, nitrosamines are formed in the body, where they promote the growth of various cancers.
The USDA actually tried to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970's, but was preempted by the meat processing industry, which relies on the ingredient as a color fixer to make foods look more visually appealing.
Expectant mothers should avoid consuming sodium nitrite due to the greatly heightened risk of brain tumors in infants. Children should not consume products that contain sodium nitrite, including all popular hot dogs, bacon, jerkies, breakfast sausages, and pizzas made with pepperoni or other processed meats.
Nearly all school lunch programs currently serve meat products containing sodium nitrite. Hospital cafeterias also serve this cancer-causing ingredient to patients. Sodium nitrite is found in literally thousands of different menu items at fast food restaurants and dining establishments. Look for "Nitrite-free" or "Nitrate-free" labels when shopping for meat products. Fresh meats are almost never prepared with sodium nitrite.
BEANS AND LENTILS MAY HELP PREVENT BREAST CANCER
Women who eat beans and lentils frequently have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who seldom eat them, according to a study in the International Journal of Cancer (2005;114:628–33).
Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in women. Many studies have examined the effects of specific dietary habits on the breast cancer risk and have found that diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in fiber have been linked to increased risk, while diets that include lots of fruits and vegetables might be protective. Some, but not all, studies have found that a vegetarian diet might be linked with a lower risk of breast cancer. Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are a major protein source in vegetarian diets. They are rich in some of the food components believed to protect against cancer, including antioxidants, fiber, and phytoestrogens. The possible breast cancer–protective effect of eating legumes has not been previously studied.
The current study used data from a large ongoing study known as the Nurses’ Health Study II, which is examining the associations between lifestyle factors and disease patterns in women. A total of 90,638 women between 26 and 46 years old who did not have cancer upon entering the study were monitored for breast cancer during eight years of the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women answered dietary questionnaires at the beginning of the analysis and after four years. These were used to estimate intake of flavonols, a family of chemicals that are widely found in plant foods and that are known to have antioxidant properties. An analysis of the effects of individual foods that are especially rich in flavonols (onions, apples, string beans, broccoli, green peppers, blueberries, and legumes) showed that foods from the legume family reduced the risk of breast cancer significantly. Women who ate beans or lentils two or more times per week had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate them one or fewer times per month.
These findings suggest that women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by eating beans and lentils frequently. This beneficial effect may be due to their rich content of flavonols and fiber, or to some other, as yet unidentified, characteristic of beans and lentils. In addition, beans and lentils are good sources of protein and can replace some animal foods in the diet if they are combined with a grain to make a complete protein. Moreover, previous studies have shown that eating legumes may be effective for preventing and treating diabetes.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
STRESS CONTROL LOWERS CARDIAC RISK
People with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac events by over 70% if they learn how to manage stress. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center say that patients with coronary vessel disease and ischemia who learned stress management had a lower risk of a future heart attack or of needing cardiac surgery than those who received standard cardiac rehabilitation care. Those people who underwent four months of stress management training had only a 9% incidence of cardiac events, defined as heart surgery, angioplasty, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or death compared to 30% of patients who received usual medical care.
Archives of Internal Medicine (1997;157:2213-2223)
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS DRUGS LINKED TO LYMPHOMA
Studies of a class of rheumatoid arthritis drugs on the market revealed cases of lymphoma, a blood cancer, in treated patients. As part of a safety review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants an advisory panel’s advice on how to best study the issue and express a warning on the drugs’ labels. The drugs, which are used to treat advanced cases of the disease, include Abbott Laboratories’ Humira, Johnson & Johnson's Remicade, and Amgen’s Enbrel. The medicines are injected and bioengineered to block a protein called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, which is linked to the inflammation that causes painful, inflamed joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, although the TNF molecule causes discomfort in people with rheumatoid arthritis, it also helps fight infection and possibly cancer. Along with lymphoma risk, the medications have already been linked to other serious side effects, such as higher risks of infection and tuberculosis.
According to the panel, of 8,000 patients treated with the drugs, 24 developed lymphoma as compared with none of the patients taking the placebo. Humira's label states that in clinical trials 10 lymphoma cases were observed. It also says the role of this class of drugs in the development of malignancies is unknown. Remicade's label also includes clinical trial data regarding malignancies and says that the data is insufficient to determine whether the drug plays a role. Analysts expect the FDA panel to recommend further studies and possibly enhance safety precautions for this class of drugs. The FDA is not required to accept the panel’s advice, though it typically does. Analysts did not think the warnings would alter the drugs’ combined 2003 sales, which they estimated would reach over $3 billion. Meanwhile, the panel is also reassessing the safety of another rheumatoid arthritis drug, Arava, because of increasing reports of liver failure among treated patients. Rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly women, often starting between the ages of 25 and 50 years.
Seattle Times March 5, 2003
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW
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