|Issue #115 - April 2012|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #115 (the April 2012 issue). It's my mission to help you find optimal 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 please 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.
STEAM VALLEY SPRING FARM TOUR
What: Tour our barns to see the unusual breeds of sheep and goats raised at Steam Valley Fiber Farm. Enjoy the Colored Angora Goat kids, Nubian Goats and Border Leicester lambs at play. Watch Spinning Demonstrations as Fiber Artists turn wool into yarn.
Steam Valley Fiber Farm, Heirloom Crochet & Flying Fox Farm will have items for sale including hand dyed yarn, wool and Mohair roving, spinning & weaving supplies, socks, shawls, scarves, hats and handmade soap.
When: Saturday, May 5 from 10am-3pm - Free
Where: Steam Valley Fiber Farm is located 22 miles north of Williamsport and 28 miles south of Mansfield, off Hwy 15 near Fry's Turkey Ranch. Take Hwy 15 to the Steam Valley / Hwy 184 exit. Turn north, heading away from Fry's Turkey Ranch. Turn right onto Steam Valley Rd and go 3/4 mile to 2304 Steam Valley Road.
HERE COMES THE SUN
My eBook, "Here Comes The Sun: Preventing Chronic Disease With Vitamin D", is now available for purchase.
The best way to order my book is to mail a check (made out to Dr. Pais) for $9.95 to my office address below. Drop me an email saying your "check is in the mail" and I will immediately email you my book.
I would appreciate any comments or feedback once you've finished reading it. Enjoy!
What questions do you have about homeopathic medicine that you never get a chance to ask? What would you like to know? We'll take a question from a different person every month and answer it in this section. Email me the question you'd like me to answer or let me know at your next visit. This month's question comes from 2 different people in the last week.
"Won't I get better more quickly if I take my homeopathic medicine more frequently?"
No, not necessarily. Why not? The answer depends on several factors. First, whether you're dealing with an acute disease or a chronic disease. The pace of an acute disease is usually quick and intense. Often, dosing the appropriately homeopathic medicine for the acute state matches this. As you get better the dose will be needed less often. How do you know? Because your symptoms are now less frequent and less intense.
But you might ask, "Doesn't this make the case for dosing as often as possible?" You need to look at the bigger picture. It might very well be necessary to dose more frequently for an acute but we're basing the decision on your specific situation. What's happening for you in that particular case of disease. Not a routine, one size fits all dosing choice.
What about dosing for a chronic disease state? There is a general rule we can apply. If there is a significant improvement in the central aspects of your case then we ride that improvement until it begins to ebb. Think of it as surfing your disease with the support of the homeopathic medicine. While you're on the top of the wave of significant improvement there is no need to dose again. As that wave crests (even better is right before that wave crests), it may be time to dose again. That's where paying attention to your symptoms and checking in with any changes becomes so important. It's this information that determines when to dose again. The wave of improvement is cresting--dose again. Still riding that wave, hold off on dosing.
It's difficult to adapt to the homeopathic approach to dosing when most of the conventional medicine you know, and even a lot of alternative medicine follows the 'more is better model'. With homeopathy often less is better. By waiting to dose again until (or right before) improvement is waning, we get the most out of every dose of your homeopathic medicine. When you dose too soon you can knock yourself right off the wave of improvement. Sometimes dosing too soon confuses the case as the too early dose adds new symptoms to your case, making things more complex to deal with.
Now you have a better idea of why I want you to write a sentence or two about your symptoms when you check in. Even if you don't think anything is changed.
What question do you have about your homeopathic care? Let me know and we'll try to cover it in a future newsletter.
DENTAL XRAYS INCREASE RISK OF BRAIN CANCER
A study by Elizabeth Claus, of Yale University, published April 10, 2012 in the journal Cancer, has identified, in those who have often had dental X-rays, a significant rise in the risk of developing a meninigioma, a type of brain cancer.
In wealthy countries, five men in every 200,000, and twice as many women, develop tumors called meningiomas that affect the membranes surrounding the brain. Doctors diagnose about 5,000 cases a year in the United States, about three times as often in women as in men.
Meningiomas account for a third of primary brain tumors. Only about 2% of them are malignant, but non-malignant does not mean non-dangerous. Even a “benign” meningioma can kill. Around 30% do so within five years of diagnosis. Symptoms can include seizures and blindness, and treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy or, surprisingly, radiation therapy. Even though research shows the most important environmental risk factor for meningiomas is ionizing radiation. For most people, the main source of ionizing radiation is dental X-rays.
Dr. Claus and her colleagues have tried to plug the gap. They studied 1,433 Americans who have had meningiomas and compared them with 1,350 others who have not. These others were chosen to match the study group’s age profile, sex ratio and dwelling place. The researchers then inquired about both groups’ family, medical and dental histories.
In the case of their dental histories, participants were asked whether they generally had standard X-rays, known as bitewings, every year, or never had them, or fell somewhere in between. They were also asked how often they had had panoramic X-rays of their entire mouths, and whether they had ever had braces, the fitting of which often involves a panoramic X-ray.
The researchers found that people who had had a meningioma were more than twice as likely as those who had not to have had at least one bitewing X-ray. And the more bitewings they had been given, the greater that likelihood was.
Even more troubling was the finding that people who had been given a panoramic X-ray when they were under ten had 4.9 times the normal risk of developing a meningioma. According to Dr. Claus, “before getting braces all the kids have it.” Some dentists and orthodontists use new techniques like cone-beam computerized tomography which actually expose people to much higher levels of radiation.
Guidelines from the American Dental Association state that healthy adults should have a bitewing X-ray no more than once every two or three years, and that there is little reason to X-ray patients who do not have symptoms. But not all dentists are heeding their own professional body’s advice. Most of those who took part in the study reported having at least one X-ray a year. Dr Claus’s work, then, is a timely reminder that X-rays are dangerous, that dentists should use them sparingly and that patients who have suspicions about their use are being smart.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: For years I've said people should have a conversation with their dentist about the need to use X-rays as little as possible to keep teeth healthy. There is no safe dose of ionizing radiation. So it comes down to cost/benefit. Is the benefit you receive worth the risk incurred. Now you have some numbers to make a more informed decision.
SLEEPING PILLS ASSOCIATED WITH PREMATURE DEATH
Data was collected between January 2002 and January 2007 and was adjusted for age, gender, smoking, body mass index, ethnicity, marital status, alcohol use, and prior cancer. The hazard ratios for death were computed by controlling for risk factors and using up to 116 criteria to exactly match case subjects and controls.
Medical records from 10,529 subjects (mean age 54 years) who received hypnotic prescriptions were compared to records from 23,676 matched controls with no hypnotic drug use.
Results demonstrated that patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics. These results were not attributable to pre-existing disease. Hazard ratios were elevated for several common hypnotics, including zolpidem (Ambien), temazepam, eszopiclone, zaleplon, other benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sedative antihistamines. Additionally, those consuming the most hypnotics had a significant elevation of incident cancer.
Previous studies have shown a clear link between the use of sedative hypnotic drugs and increased mortality risk, so the results from this latest study are not surprising. However, the magnitude of the issue is extreme given that an estimated 6–10% of US adults took a hypnotic drug for poor sleep in 2010. When the results from the current study are extrapolated to the US population they indicate that in 2010, sedative hypnotics may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 cases of deaths in the United States alone.
We already know that use of all of these drugs is associated with significant risks. Most of these drugs are highly addictive and very poor candidates for long-term use. Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired coordination; it is important not to drive or engage in any potentially dangerous activities while on these drugs. Alcohol should never be consumed with these drugs, as it could be fatal.
These drugs also produce significant effects on memory and behavior. Because they have a powerful effect on brain chemistry, these drugs can cause significant changes in brain function and behavior. Severe memory impairment and amnesia, nervousness, confusion, hallucinations, bizarre behavior, and extreme irritability and aggressiveness may result. They have also been shown to increase feelings of depression, including suicidal thinking.
These drugs also produce significant effects on memory and behavior.
The lead author of the study being reviewed is Daniel F. Kripke, MD, professor of psychiatry emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. Kripke has worked for more than 30 years assessing the risk of sleeping pills. In a previous study Kripke and his colleagues found that 50% more of those who said that they often took sleeping pills had died compared to participants of the same age, sex, and reported health status who never took sleeping pills.
To re-examine these risks, the American Cancer Society agreed to ask new questions about sleeping pills to 1.1 million new participants in another study, called the Cancer Prevention Study II or CPSII. In the CPSII, it was again found that people who said that they used sleeping pills had significantly higher mortality. Those who reported taking sleeping pills 30 or more times per month had 25% higher mortality than those who said that they took no sleeping pills. Those who took sleeping pills just a few times per month showed a 10–15% increase in mortality, compared to those who took no sleeping pills. Deaths from common causes such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke were all increased among sleeping pill users. Sleeping pills appeared unsafe in any amount.
All told, including the most recent study there are now 18 population-based studies that show a clear link to the use of sleeping pills and increased mortality risk. Four of these studies specifically found that use of sleeping pills predicted increased risk of death from cancer.
Kripke DF, Langer RD, Kline LE. Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: A matched cohort study. BMJ Open. 2012 Feb 27;2(1):e000850.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: These sedative/hypnotic drugs disrupt normal sleep processes. That has to be an underlying issue in these drugs’ increasing mortality so significantly.
Achieving a high degree of sleep quality is absolutely essential to good health. Disturbance of the normal rhythm of sleep, as well as impairing the ability to reach the deeper stages (3 and 4) of non-REM sleep, have long been known to be a problem with many sedative hypnotic drugs. It's the main reason these drugs will often produce a morning "hangover" feeling.
Natural sleep enhancers (e.g., melatonin, 5-HTP, L-theanine) appear to actually increase the time spent in the deeper levels of non-REM sleep, allowing for the brain and body to get fully recharged. The individualized homeopathic medicine can work so well to permanently improve sleep in a safe manner. In other words, the natural approaches can significantly improve sleep quality without the serious side effects of the hypnotic sedative drugs.
WHOOPING COUGH HIGHER AMONG CHILDREN ALREADY VACCINATED
New research reported reveals that whooping cough outbreaks are higher among vaccinated children compared with unvaccinated children. This comes from a study led by Dr. David Witt, an infectious disease specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California.
In early 2010, a spike in cases appeared at Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael, and it was soon determined to be an outbreak of whooping cough -- the largest seen in California in more than 50 years. Witt had expected to see the illnesses center around unvaccinated kids. "We started dissecting the data. What was very surprising was the majority of cases were in fully vaccinated children. That's what started catching our attention."
"GSK has never studied the duration of the vaccine's protection after the shot given to four- to six-year-olds, a spokesperson said. Dr. Joel Ward at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute said it's still important for parents to get their kids immunized, even though it doesn't provide lasting protection from whooping cough."
Whooping cough vaccines don't seem to do anything to reduce the rate of whooping cough infections. The claim is that the whooping cough vaccine merely "wears out" or "fades over time." The foundation of vaccination theory is that when your body is exposed to a weakened virus, it will build up its supply of antibodies that will forever recognize that virus and defend your body against it. The key element of the story is that your body is supposed to keep those antibodies forever, right? Just like if you get the chicken pox one time, you won't ever get it again because your body is immune to the chicken pox, right?
However, now they're saying vaccines fade out over time. Somehow your body "forgets" the antibodies, they now admit, so you need a booster shot, what else?
So then, vaccines don't really invoke lifetime antibodies at all. No lifetime antibodies means the vaccines aren't really working like real infections (such as the chicken pox). Getting the real chicken pox is what confers immunity.
Clinical Infectious Diseases, online March 15, 2012
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: When you read these stories it's always amazing to me that the 'expert' solution is, "We just have to vaccinate more". In other words, this vaccine didn't do what it was supposed to but everybody should be vaccinated anyway.
Some facts to consider when discussing this vaccine:
* Whooping cough infections are MORE common among children already vaccinated against whooping cough than unvaccinated children.
* The whooping cough vaccines have NEVER been tested for long-term efficacy.
* Doctors openly admit the vaccine "doesn't provide lasting protection" against the disease.
OBESITY TIED TO AUTISM
A new study of mothers and children in California finds that kids born to obese women are more likely to be diagnosed with autism or related developmental delays than the children of slimmer moms. Researchers were looking for effects on kids' cognitive development from a variety of "metabolic conditions" in mom, including high blood pressure or diabetes, found the strongest links between obesity and autism-related disorders.
"If there is anything you can do to make yourself healthier, this is yet another reason for moms to consider," said Paula Krakowiak, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who led the study.
Krakowiak and her colleagues looked at 1004 children who were between two and five years old, born in California and already participating in a study underway at UC Davis.
Of those kids, 517 had an autism spectrum disorder and 172 had developmental delays.
Autism is attributed to atypical brain development and characterized by a group of symptoms that include problems with socialization, communication and behavior.
Milder versions of autism, such as Asperger's syndrome and related conditions, form a "spectrum" of autism-related disorders. In addition, impairments in any one of the autism-related cognitive skill areas are considered developmental delays.
Among the kids in the study with an autism spectrum disorder, 48 were born to mothers with Type 2 or gestational diabetes, 111 to mothers who were obese and 148 to moms with any sort of metabolic condition, like high blood pressure.
For children with a developmental delay, 20 were born to mothers with Type 2 or gestational diabetes, 41 to mothers who were obese and 60 to moms with any sort of metabolic condition.
The new findings come on the heels of a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that estimated every one in 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. That number represents about a 25% increase from the agency's last report in 2006.
Krakowiak and her colleagues referenced that nearly 60% of U.S. women of childbearing age (20-39 years) are overweight, one-third are obese and 16% have so-called metabolic syndrome -- a constellation of symptoms, including high blood pressure and insulin resistance, that raise heart disease risk.
One theoretical explanation for the possible connection between obesity and autism is that vascular problems and an overabundance of inflammatory proteins in obesity could be crucial in a baby's brain development.
Pediatrics, online April 9, 2012.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Although the study cannot prove that one condition causes the other, its authors caution that even the possibility is worrisome in light of rising U.S. obesity rates. It gives us another dimension to look at in terms of preventing autism and we can use as many of those as possible.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 345 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 115 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.
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LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compel people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.
Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5, 10, 15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.
Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 36 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.
Licensed naturopaths like me receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme.
What I’m offering to is easy access to this experience and training. Both for you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste.
Let me hear from you and we’ll get started.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST WITH ZRT LABORATORY
It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time.
For a long time I looked for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation.
Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $55 each, plus $8 shipping. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover the total.
If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.
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
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701