|Issue #40 - January 2006|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #40. 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. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.
Look for an email before my next newsletter about upcoming events and the opening of my new website.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.
OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens...
GEORGE W BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.
GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.
JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together - in peace.
ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road
BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2005, which will not only Cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C \ reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?
HOMEOPATHIC STORY TELLING
In my homeopathic practice there are periodic ebbs and flows related to certain issues that come up with patients. Once again it seems that it is difficult for my patients to know what exactly I need to hear from them and when I need to hear it.
A little background first. Most homeopaths of my generation were trained in the ‘Wait and Watch” method of prescribing. One dose of a homeopathic remedy is given and there is no follow up or contact scheduled for 4-6 weeks. Anything that happens during that time—the good and the not so good—isn’t dealt with until the next visit. I initially practiced in this manner and my patients seemed to do fairly well over time.
However, it’s been more and more apparent over the last several years that this method no longer worked very well for my patients or me. Too much valuable information about their response—sensation, duration, timing, and modalities—was being lost or not accessible. Part of the process of healing is attending to what is changing and keeping track of the changes. As so many of my patients say, “it’s hard to remember what happens with symptoms when they’re gone”. Time after time patients will say ‘nothing has changed’, when in reality much has changed. Sleep is deeper and less disrupted, headaches are gone, energy is better, the cough is nonexistent, there’s much less anxiety overall, etc. Just at the level of tracking improvement it’s very important to understand the timeline that’s underlying a patient’s healing response.
To address the needs of my patients over the last few years I’ve shifted to a different method of dosing and follow up. Assuming that the prescribed homeopathic remedy is the correct one (a very important assumption) I usually request more frequent dosing and have much greater contact with patients in between visits. I find this contact to be of the utmost importance as the healing process is initiated. For the patient there is the knowledge that what happens is important to their homeopath and they begin paying attention to their health, often to a greater degree than ever before. For my work as a homeopath it’s critical to understand the expression of the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of health after a remedy is given. For me this information is priceless, nothing can replace it. What happens to you at work may seem unrelated (to you) to your stomach pains. How you sleep may not seem important in relation to your migraines. Why am I asking about your mood when you want to lower your cholesterol? All these pieces fit together in a unique way to make up You. Your health on a small level—individual symptoms—your health on a larger level—prognosis, healing reaction, and becoming well. If I am missing any one piece, no matter how unrelated you may feel it is, it can make the difference between what I see and what I miss. If all I feel is the trunk I might think it’s a tree. If I feel the skin I might think it’s rough ground. Put those two together along with a sound or an image and I know it’s an elephant. Similarly, the time of day you have your back pain, or the side you sleep on, might be just enough information to help me shift my perspective and ‘see’ a different, more curative remedy.
What about an aspect of health that isn’t the reason why you’ve come into see me? Let’s say you develop a cold or a cough in between visits. Maybe you reach for something for fever or some cough suppressant thinking nothing about doing so. We then have missed an opportunity to understand and hopefully support a very important aspect of your health. It can be quite unhealthy to suppress a fever, and, as the article below states, those cough meds don’t work any way. It’s my expectation that, as I work with someone with the correct homeopathic remedy, that their overall state of health will improve. Not that they won’t ever get sick but that their illnesses are less frequent, less intense, and shorter in duration. I will offer supportive alternatives—hydrotherapy, Vit. C, etc.—as necessary to encourage the healing process. Why do things this way? First and foremost, Do No Harm. When utilized properly by someone appropriately trained with sufficient experience such therapeutics are very safe and effective. Not only do you get well, you do not harm yourself in the process. We’ve had the chance to interact and enhance your healing response—if you’ve told me what’s going on.
So the next time someone lays a guilt trip on you, you catch a really nasty flu bug, or you are in a lot of pain before your menses, I probably want to know about it. Even if our next visit is only a week away. Or it seems that you ‘always’ react this way. Better to fill me in and tell me your homeopathic story. It might be just what I need to help you get well.
EPA TO ALLOW PESTICIDE TESTING ON ORPHANS & MENTALLY HANDICAPPED CHILDREN
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is just days away from publishing a new federal regulation that will allow the testing of chemicals and pesticides on human subjects.
On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children, without exception. But the EPA's newly proposed rule, is ridden with exceptions where chemical studies may be performed on children in certain situations like the following:
Despite receiving over 50,000 letters from citizens, congress, and EPA's own scientists opposing the proposed rule, on January 24 2006, the EPA notified the Associated Press, saying they are on the threshold of approving the proposal and allowing chemical testing on children.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Regular readers of this newsletter may remember this story from last year. Outrageous and intolerable! Now, like some monster raised from the dead it’s happening all over again. Except this time it’s even more monstrous. Testing pesticide effects on kids who are handicapped, orphans, neglected and abused, and outside the U.S. Could it be worse? Tell Congress to stop the EPA-- http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/oca/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=1532
FLU SHOTS FOR TODDLERS NOT BACKED BY EVIDENCE
U.S. health authorities should have waited for more evidence before recommending routine flu shots for healthy toddlers, according to a new systematic review of studies involving half a million children worldwide.
Only a few studies of the vaccine have been conducted in children under 2 years old, and findings suggest that the injection is no better than a placebo at preventing influenza. Moreover, only one tiny study has looked specifically at the safety of flu shots in toddlers.
Based on these findings, the reviewers question whether all healthy children between 6 months and 23 months of age should receive the flu shot as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2004.
"National policies for the vaccination of healthy young children are based on very little evidence," say the authors, led by Dr. Sue Smith of Oxford University.
The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.
The Cochrane review comprised 51 studies of influenza vaccines - including 17 papers translated from Russian for the first time - involving more than 250,000 healthy youngsters under age 16.
Yet only a fraction of these studies focused on children younger than 2. Two efficacy studies involving about 1,000 toddlers indicate that flu shots containing inactivated virus - the only vaccine approved for this age group - are no more effective at preventing the flu than placebo.
Furthermore, the reviewers "found no evidence to back up the claims that the vaccines prevent deaths from influenza or other serious complications," said coauthor Dr. Tom Jefferson of the Cochrane Collaboration vaccine program. "They may do so, but there is no evidence at present."
Nearly three-dozen studies on vaccine safety followed a similar pattern. "We were astonished to find only one safety study of inactivated vaccine in children under 2 years carried out nearly 30 years ago in 35 children," say the review authors.
Given the paucity of research on children under 2, the review also calls for more randomized trials on the efficacy and safety of inactivated vaccine in this age group. "All this homework should be done before the vaccine is recommended for use in any population, not after," said Jefferson.
Smith S, et al. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: One of the most common criticisms made about traditional medicine is that “there is no proof”. Besides the patent absurdity of such blanket remarks they’re now revealed as quite hypocritical. The very same individuals who make such comments blithely recommend the flu vaccine for kids under 2. Yet, as we see here, ‘there is no proof’. At least with traditional medicine you don’t have the homeopathic remedies, nutritional supplements, herbal extracts, etc., practically forced down our throats as vaccines often are. That might be because no giant drug company with governmental ties makes millions of dollars off homeopathic remedies and other traditional medicines (at least not yet).
OTC COUGH THERAPIES VIRTUALLY WORTHLESS
The American College of Chest Physicians (January 10, 2006) is now advising those who have colds that over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrups or drops are worthless for their intended purpose.
There is no scientific evidence that either suppressants like dextromethorphan or expectorants like guaifenesin relieve cold-related coughs.
This is similar to the findings of a 2004 paper by the non-profit Cochrane Collaboration, which discovered no good evidence either for or against the effectiveness of OTC cough medicines.
OTC cough medicines do have a strong placebo effect. Consumers may have therefore been led to believe they had personal evidence of the effectiveness of the cough medicines.
Nearly 30 million visits to doctors' offices in America each year are for coughs.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Given the sad fact that teens often abuse dextromethorphan it’s time this ingredient was removed from the marketplace. Eating simply, getting plenty of rest, and taking Vit. C to bowel tolerance, is often sufficient to head off cold-related coughs.
HEAD LICE SHAMPOO LINKED TO LEUKEMIA
French scientists are warning parents not to use chemical shampoos to rid their children of head lice. The results, they say, could be an increased risk of developing leukemia.
The French research group INSERM conducted the study (1/17/06), looking at 280 children who had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Their mothers were interviewed on a number of subjects, including any use of insecticidal shampoos, as well as the use of pesticides and fungicides in the home and garden.
Based on responses to the interview questions, scientists said they can conclude that using insecticidal shampoos could almost double the risk of developing leukemia. They also found the risk of developing the disease was almost twice as likely in children whose mothers said they had used insecticides in the home while pregnant and after birth.
The research did not specify any of the lice shampoo brands used by the children, but cited ingredients such as malathion, pyrethroid, and lindane, which are often in such products.
Leukemia is a malignant disease of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society estimates there were nearly 35,000 new cases of leukemia in the United States in 2005. Most cases occur in older adults, with more than half of all cases occurring after age 67.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Even if you’ve never had cause to use one of these shampoos it’s quite possible that you and your children have been exposed to one or all of these ingredients. The next time they spray for West Nile Virus ask them what they are using. Malathion is a commonly used insecticide.
B12 RECOMMENDATIONS SHOULD BE HIGHER
The recommended daily intake for vitamin B-12 should be more than doubled from the current level, researchers argue in a new report.
In a study of 98 middle-aged and older women, the researchers found that 6 micrograms of B-12 per day seemed to be enough to prevent signs of mild B-12 deficiency. That is almost 3x as high as the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 2.4 micrograms per day.
The findings, along with those from several past studies, "strongly suggest" that the RDA should be raised, the researchers report in the January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Dr. Mustafa Vakur Bor at the University Hospital of Aarhus in Denmark led the study.
Vitamin B-12 is essential for maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cells; a deficiency in the vitamin can cause symptoms ranging from the subtle -- including fatigue and mild dizziness -- to more severe complications like nerve damage, anemia, and even dementia.
Though the typical Western diet is thought to provide people with the current RDA for B-12, this may no longer be true. With the nutritional degradation of the best sources—meat, poultry, fish, and (in lesser amounts, eggs and dairy)—many people are deficient. Vegans, who avoid all animal products, including dairy, may have low stores of the vitamin.
Proper digestive function—stomach acid production and the release of intrinsic factor—are necessary for B12 absorption. With so many people on acid blocking drugs this poses a high risk for nutritional deficiency.
Vakur Bor and his colleagues note in their report that 2.4 micrograms is probably too low of an RDA. The RDA is what experts believe is the minimum B-12 needed to prevent certain disorders. But it's not clear that it's enough to prevent other effects, according to the researchers.
In their study, they looked at the relationship between vitamin B-12 intake and certain blood markers of mild B-12 deficiency in 98 postmenopausal women.
Based on diet records the women kept for one week, Vakur Bor and his colleagues separated them into groups according to B-12 intake. They found that overall, 6 micrograms of B-12 per day appeared to be enough to normalize the various blood markers of B-12 status.
This suggests, the researchers conclude, "that this dose might be more adequate for the general population than the current RDA of 2.4 micrograms."
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Any clinician that has professional training in nutrition (a medically trained naturopath for example) knows that most RDAs are worthless when it comes to working with real people with real health problems. It’s quite common to start with 1 mg. (1000 micrograms) of Vit. B12 in the care of individuals with deficiency symptoms. It used to be thought that oral B12 was not well absorbed making it necessary for injections. Several studies over the least few years have established the efficacy of oral B12 (at least in those who aren’t taking acid blocking drugs).
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 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