|Issue #124 January 2013|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #124. 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.
2013 OPTIMAL HEALTH LECTURE SERIES
Staying Healthy In Flu Season
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
7:00pm until 8:00pm
580 E. 3rd St. Williamsport PA
Are You Suffering From The Flu?
Do you still have flu symptoms after the flu vaccine? Are you worried about H1N1?
Find out what you can do for yourself. Learn natural ways to take care of yourself and your family.
I will discuss natural remedies for the flu and how you can support your health and prevent illness. Come to this free 1 hour lecture Tues., January 29, 2013,from 7:00-8:00 pm at Solley Chiropractic, 580 E. 3rd St. Williamsport.
I’ll bring my 38 years of natural medicine experience to light in this informative free lecture. This year’s flu season has been more widespread than expected. The flu struck early this season, and it struck hard. Doctor visits for influenza-like illness are classified as high for half the country.
I will discuss nutritional and lifestyle factors that can prevent the flu and limit its effects if you have it. Learn the best that natural medicine has to offer.
Remember to mark your calendar for Tuesday, January 29 from 7:00-8:00 pm, at Solley Chiropractic, 580 E. 3rd St., Williamsport.
EMERSON ORDERING--GET YOUR DISCOUNT!
When I wrote about this last month I thought it would be a one time article. That I’d mention it, everyone would read it, and that would take care of it. Not the case. Just last week someone couldn’t order a supplement I recommended because their account wasn’t linked to my practice. So, here we go again.
When I discovered Emerson Ecologics a few years ago I was excited to provide physician quality supplements to my patients. One of the aspects I liked the most was the opportunity to offer my patients a 10% discount when they ordered. When there was a problem with someone's order last week I called Emerson to help figure out what the problem was.
Turns out, when this patient had set up their account with Emerson, they'd neglected to tell the representative that they were a patient of mine (past or present-no matter). So they were not receiving their 10% discount with every order.
This all came about because I had asked the patient to order one of the products from a manufacturer that restricts orders to physician-linked accounts. When they tried to order the product they were told they could not. That's how we found out their account wasn't linked and they weren't getting their 10% discount.
If you try to order a product from Emerson and they tell you that it is restricted it means that they don't know you are a patient. Hence, no discount.
To be sure you're getting your 10% discount, the next time you order, ask the representative to check that your account is linked as one of my patients. That way you can be sure to receive your discount.
HOW LONG SHOULD A COUGH LAST?
Researchers in this new study hypothesized that antibiotic overuse for acute cough illness (ACI) is in part due to a mismatch between patients’ expectations and the natural history of ACI.
They performed a population-based random survey of 493 adults in Georgia to determine their expectations regarding the duration of ACI. They also performed a systematic review of observational studies and the placebo or untreated control groups of randomized controlled trials to determine the duration of ACI from the published medical literature. Also included were studies of otherwise healthy adults with undifferentiated ACI, no clear bacterial cause, data on at least 1 cough outcome, and at least 1 week of follow-up.
The mean duration of cough in the published literature was 17.8 days. Patients expecting a longer duration of illness were more likely to be white, female, and have self-reported asthma or chronic lung disease. Independent predictors of the belief that antibiotics are always helpful included nonwhite race, some college education, and previous antibiotics for ACI.
The study concluded that there is a mismatch between patients’ expectations regarding the duration of ACI and the actual duration based on the best available evidence. Efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use should target this discrepancy.
“Comparing Patients’ Expectations With Data From a Systematic Review of the Literature”, Ann Fam Med January/February 2013 vol. 11 no. 1 5-13.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: There are a couple very interesting aspects to this study. First, that the average duration of an acute cough (with conventional antibiotic treatment) is 17.8 days. Here’s a standard to measure your next cough against. If you use the Vitamin C protocol, or I give you a homeopathic medicine for your cough, and you get better in less than 18 days, you’re doing better than the average conventional outcome. This is the experience of most of my patients. There have been 2 or 3 this season whose acute cough has lasted longer.
Second, the researchers are making a plea to lower the repetitive use of antibiotics. If the average duration of an acute cough is 17.8 days, there is may be no medical need to repeat a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the huge problem of the overuse of antibiotics.
PBDEs LINKED TO DELAYS IN DEVELOPMENT
Flame retardant compounds pervasive in most California households appear to delay the neurodevelopment of children exposed to the chemicals from the womb through the first years of life, UC Berkeley researchers say in a new study.
Researchers say their findings, published 11/15/12, add to worries about a class of endocrine-disrupting compounds called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, that are widely used in furniture, infant products, electronics and other goods.
Studies have shown California children have among the highest concentrations of the chemicals in the world, likely because of the state's strict fire-safety law, enacted in 1975, which requires that furniture withstand 12 seconds of flame without catching fire. Manufacturers used large amounts of PBDEs to comply.
Some of the chemicals have been banned and phased out since the law took effect, but Gov. Jerry Brown has called on state agencies to revise the regulations to reduce toxic chemicals in furniture even further.
The new study is the largest to show that children exposed to PBDEs tend to have poorer attention, motor skills and IQ scores, said Brenda Eskenazi, the lead author and director of UC Berkeley's Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health.
The report is the latest in a long-running series of studies to examine various chemicals' health effects on Mexican American families in the Salinas Valley. But "this is not just about Mexican American farmworkers' kids," Eskenazi said. "This is all of us living here."
Eskenazi's research team focused on types of PBDEs that were banned and phased out in 2004. Products made before 2004 are well-used, and as they have disintegrated, they released their PBDEs, which then stuck to dust, toys and other objects that kids touch, Eskenazi said. New products are made with compounds that are structurally similar to the chemicals and potentially harmful, but not banned.
Eskenazi said even small doses of PBDEs can be harmful since they stay in humans for up to 12 years. "They have very long lives in our bodies and environments, so they're going to build up," she said.
Researchers collected blood samples from about 300 women when they were pregnant and their children when they were 7. PBDEs were detected in more than 97% of the mothers and children alike, a figure on par with the U.S. population, researchers said.
At ages 5 and 7, the children also took a slew of tests that evaluated their attention spans, motor skills and IQs.
Researchers found that the higher the concentrations of PBDEs in mothers and children, the lower the children tended to score on some tests. Youth whose mothers had the highest amounts of PBDEs in their blood during their pregnancies, for example, had verbal IQs that were on average six points lower than those whose mothers had the lowest levels.
That correlation also surfaced in games that tested children's ability to concentrate. The mothers with the highest levels of PBDEs when they were pregnant were more likely to have kids who had problems paying attention and therefore a higher probability of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, researchers said.
Finally, increased exposure to the chemicals appeared to decrease the children's motor skills. The higher the concentrations of PBDEs in mothers, the less successful their children were in quickly sticking pegs in a pegboard, the study found.
The exact ways in which PBDEs delay cognitive development are still under investigation. Studies involving animals have shown that the chemicals are endocrine disruptors that affect thyroid hormones and also seem to hurt some neurotransmitters that enable communication between brain cells, Eskenazi said.
To reduce exposure to PBDEs, scientists recommend that people seal tears in couches and upholstered furniture, mop and vacuum often, and frequently wash their hands after exposure. But it is almost impossible to avoid the chemicals entirely, at least until their use is discontinued.
Nov. 15, 2012, Environmental Health Perspectives.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: The message here isn’t to limit environmental regulations. They should be expanded to cover these chemicals. Otherwise we’re saying a 10% rise in ADHD is acceptable, or a certain number of children with developmental delay is ok.
I don’t think so.
DOES BREAST CANCER SCREENING DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD?
Whether breast cancer screening does more harm than good has been debated extensively. The main questions are how large the benefit of screening is in terms of reduced breast cancer mortality and how substantial the harm is in terms of overdiagnosis, which is defined as cancers detected at screening that would not have otherwise become clinically apparent in the woman's lifetime.
An independent panel was convened to reach conclusions about the benefits and harms of breast screening on the basis of a review of published work and oral and written evidence presented by experts in the subject. To provide estimates of the level of benefits and harms, the panel relied mainly on findings from randomized trials of breast cancer screening that compared women invited to screening with controls not invited, but also reviewed evidence from observational studies. The panel focused on the UK setting, where women aged 50—70 years are invited to screening every 3 years.
In a meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials, the relative risk of breast cancer mortality for women invited to screening compared with controls was a relative risk reduction of 20%. The panel considered the internal biases in the trials and whether these trials, which were done a long time ago, were still relevant; they concluded that 20% was still a reasonable estimate of the relative risk reduction. The more reliable and recent observational studies generally produced larger estimates of benefit, but these studies might be biased. The best estimates of overdiagnosis are from three trials in which women in the control group were not invited to be screened at the end of the active trial period.
The panel concluded that screening reduces breast cancer mortality but that some overdiagnosis occurs. Since the estimates provided are from studies with many limitations and whose relevance to present-day screening programs can be questioned, they have substantial uncertainty and should be regarded only as an approximate guide.
If these figures are used directly, for every 10, 000 UK women aged 50 years invited to screening for the next 20 years, 43 deaths from breast cancer would be prevented and 129 cases of breast cancer, invasive and non-invasive, would be overdiagnosed; that is one breast cancer death prevented for about every three overdiagnosed cases identified and treated.
Of the roughly 307,000 women aged 50—52 years who are invited to begin screening every year, just over 1% (greater than 3100 women) would have an overdiagnosed cancer in the next 20 years.
“The Benefits And Harms Of Breast Cancer Screening: An Independent Review”,
The Lancet October 2012
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: This cost to women's well-being is worth considering, the study panel said, because:
99% of patients diagnosed with a screen-detected breast cancer will undergo surgery
About 70% will receive radiotherapy
70% will receive adjuvant endocrine therapy, and
25% will undergo toxic chemotherapy
In the US, the typical recommendation calls for women over the age of 40 to be screened annually, even though the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force updated their recommendation in 2009, advising women should wait until the age of 50 to get screened, and only get a mammogram every other year thereafter.
The recommendation was widely criticized and outright rejected by some American cancer organizations and doctors, so while mammograms among women in their 40's have declined slightly since 2009, many are still sticking with the old guidelines.
What this means is that the findings from the UK review are probably an underestimation when applied to American women, as screening in the US tends to begin a decade earlier, and the frequency is three times as great (annually instead of every three years).
One of the most important aspects that I emphasize when patients ask me about breast cancer screening is having the facts with which to make decisions about your health. Based on your age, family history and other risk factors you can decide whether annual mammograms are worth the increased risk of breast cancer from the mammogram radiation. Many women will still be willing to take that risk, but having this information will probably make some women think twice.
As Karsten Jorgensen, a researcher at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen told NBC News:
"Cancer charities and public health authorities have been misleading women for the past two decades by giving too rosy a picture of the benefits. It's important they have at least acknowledged screening causes substantial harms."
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.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 357 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 123 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”.
Come join my fan page at www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.
Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier.
I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!
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