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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #43 - April 2006
Issue #43 - April 2006
  1. A Case of Arnica
  2. Osteoporosis: A Vitamin D Deficiency?
  3. Recognizing a Stroke
  4. Fluoride and Bone Cancer
  5. Humor
  6. Antibiotic Use and Breast Cancer
  7. U.S. Bird Flu Threat Overstated
  8. Eat More Turmeric: It Prevents and Cures Cancer
  9. Emerson Ecologics

Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #43. 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.

A CASE OF ARNICA

For many people their introduction to homeopathy comes by way of trauma and the use of homeopathic Arnica montana. Pick up any homeopathic first aid book and the first remedy discussed is usually Arnica. If someone has a trauma story to tell it’s often that it was cured by Arnica. Arnica montana is a pretty yellow flower that grows in the mountains. Why is this a common remedy for trauma? You thought there weren’t any specifics in homeopathy. That each case was unique and needs to be individualized. This is still important and necessary.

The interesting thing about certain kinds of trauma is that there is a commonality about the way the organism responds. If there is blunt trauma to muscle or bone you will see a certain tissue response in terms of cellular disruption, pooling of fluids, and the nature of the pain elicited. Combine these more general symptoms with the unique response of the individual and you have a prescription for a state that will respond to the similar homeopathic remedy. Let me give an example.

Like many, one of my earliest experiences with homeopathic Arnica involved one of my children, my son Skylar. This was when I was a sophomore in naturopathic medical school in 1989. Sky was 5 years old and the two of use were riding our bicycles in the neighborhood streets of southeast Portland, spending time together after I got home from class. There was one particular downhill slope that was the steepest and therefore the most fun because you could build up a good head of steam going down it. Needless to say, one day Sky crashed at the bottom of the hill, while he was going full speed. His legs and torso took the brunt of his fall.

First, there was an ominous silence that lasted forever (really only 30 seconds or so). I bike just about to where he’s lying in the street when he let’s out what is still the loudest scream I have ever heard someone make. He’s screaming and crying so loud that 2-3 people come out of their homes to see if he needs an ambulance. I make sure there are no bones protruding or blood pouring out. He doesn’t want me to touch him at all. Interspersed with his screaming he’s sobbing that he’s ok. We’re less than 5 minutes away from home. I ask one of the concerned neighbors to stay with him and madly bike home, going through remedy differentials. I grab Arnica 1M and race back to his side.

I give him one pellet, a little larger than a poppy seed, under the tongue. Within the first 15 seconds there is a lessening of the banshee scream that has been continuous ever since the injury. He’s actually breathing without sobbing and the decibels are down to the level of a shout. He let’s me touch and examine him now. His one leg has a raw, red raspberry from knee to ankle, on the outside. Within 5 minutes the swelling of his flank on that side, as well as the swollen calf, visibly decreases by at least 50%. He’s responsive now, able to say what hurts and where the pain is. By the 10-minute mark he’s able to get up with my help, I throw the bikes into the back of the car, which my wife has driven there, and we go home. 3-4 more doses of Arnica 1M that evening and he wakes in the morning, tender, but able to walk normally. The raspberry healed quite nicely with some doses of Hypericum oil (perhaps a story for a different time).

Here is an excerpt of the symptoms of Arnica from Allen’s Keynotes, one of my favorite homeopathic materia medicas:

“Sore, lame, bruised feeling all through the body, as if beaten; traumatic affections - Mechanical injuries; Concussions and contusions, results of shock or injury; cannot bear pain; over-sensitive.”

This is a very accurate description of the state that Sky was in, after his fall. He was in a lot of pain and very sensitive to it. He also expressed several confirmatory Arnica clues from practice. Clinically, the patient will often say, “I’m fine”, “I’m not hurt”, “Don’t touch me” (he said all of these things interspersed with the screaming). If I don’t see this, the likelihood of Arnica working, in my experience, is much less. If your trauma case matches these symptoms, Arnica will most likely work.

Such dramatic results are fairly common in trauma treated homeopathically. Often you have strong clear symptoms. With a firm grasp of the nature of a few homeopathic remedies useful in trauma you’ll have your own homeopathic story to tell.

Got one to share?

OSTEOPOROSIS: A VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?

According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2005;90:3215–24), more than half of American women receiving drug therapy for osteoporosis are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and metabolism and is required for healthy bones and to protect against osteoporosis. This new research suggests that many women with osteoporosis are using drugs to treat a problem that should be addressed nutritionally.

The researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (which regulates calcium metabolism) in 1,526 postmenopausal women whose average age was 71. The authors used 30 nanograms/milliliter (ng/ml) as a cutoff point below which women were considered deficient. Just over half the women studied were vitamin D–deficient. Remember, nonwhite women have been shown to have even higher rates of Vitamin D deficiency.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and an additional 34 million have low bone mass, putting them at increased risk for the disease. In the United States, half of all women over 50 (and a quarter of all men that age) will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Osteoporosis is very much a preventable disease considering that nutrition and exercise play such an important part.

DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: It’s great to see this research study done. Any woman diagnosed with osteoporosis should have a serum hydroxy Vitamin D {also written 25(OH)D} test done. This is the correct test. The one to specifically ask for. Do not get the dihydroxy Vitamin D test. This is the incorrect test. Depending on your blood levels a supplement may be necessary. Make sure that you take cholecalciferol, which is Vit. D3. As Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin it is retained in the body and can produce toxicity if too much is taken over time. I highly recommend that you discuss this with your friendly neighborhood naturopath before you start taking it on your own.

RECOGNIZING A STROKE  

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke may be difficult to identify. The stroke victim may suffer increased brain damage while people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

The goal is to get a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the person care for as quickly as possible.  

Remember the "3" steps, STR.

S Ask the individual to SMILE.  

T Ask the person to TALK. to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. . . It is sunny day today)  

R Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.  

{NOTE: Another possible 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue... if the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also a possible indication of a stroke}  If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.  

DR. PAIS COMMENT: This is a simple pneumonic device to help you recognize if someone is having a stroke. It may come in handy one day.

FLUORIDE AND BONE CANCER

While working on her PhD in epidemiology at Harvard University, Dr. Elise Bassin carried out a research study that found a significant relationship between fluoride and osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer. Her research discovered that boys who drank fluoridated water at ages 6-8 were five times more likely to develop osteosarcoma. The fluoridated water looked at in the study had only 25% of the so-called "safe" level allowed by the EPA.

This is not the first study to demonstrate a connection between fluoride and osteosarcoma. In 1991, a study by the U.S. Public Health Service found a strong link between fluoride exposure and bone cancer in boys. The nationwide study found that rates of osteosarcoma were 57% higher in fluoridated communities than in communities with non-fluoridated water. Further, a study from the Harvard School of Dental Health found that young boys exposed to fluoridated tap water from ages 5-10 suffered an increased risk of osteosarcoma between the ages of 10 and 19.

DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: There’s a reason why there’s an FDA-mandated poison warning on all fluoridated toothpaste. It is a toxic substance that can cause harm in acute over-exposure as well as from chronic long-term exposure. The central nervous system is vulnerable to fluoride poisoning. Dental fluorosis (mottled teeth) is a visible sign that an individual has been exposed to too much fluoride. Serious fluorosis causes discoloration, enamel loss, and pitting of the teeth. Enamel fluorosis can be a serious dental problem, as tooth enamel protects the teeth from decay and infection.

HUMOR

Why We Love Children

* A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead.

“How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil.

"Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently.

You did  WHAT ? ! ?" The teacher exclaimed in surprise.

"You know, “explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."

* A small boy is sent to bed by his father.

Five minutes later....."Da-ad...."

"What?"

"I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?"

"No, You had your chance. Lights out."

Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."

"WHAT?"

"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"

I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"

Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."

"WHAT!"

"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"

* An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?"

The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'"

* One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. "I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room." A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."

* It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?" The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone,

"Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron."

* When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy."

"I know," she replied, but what's growing in your butt?"

* A little boy was doing his math homework. He said to himself, "Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine....". His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?" The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom." "And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked. "Yes," he answered. Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?" The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition." The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?" After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."

* One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, ".... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" The teacher paused then asked the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?" One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think he said: “Holy Shit! A talking chicken!” The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.

ANTIBIOTIC USE AND BREAST CANCER.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb. 18, 2004;291:827-835.

Context: Use of antibiotics may be associated with risk of breast cancer through effects on immune function, inflammation, and metabolism of estrogen and phytochemicals.

Objective: To examine the association between use of antibiotics and risk of breast cancer.

Design, Setting and Participants: Case-control study among 2,266 women older than19 years old with primary, invasive breast cancer (cases) enrolled in a large, nonprofit health plan for at least 1 year between January 1, 1993, and June 30, 2001; and 7,953 randomly selected female health plan members (controls), frequency-matched to cases on age and length of enrollment. Cases were ascertained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry. Antibiotic use was ascertained from computerized pharmacy records.

Main Outcome Measure: Association between extent of antibiotic use and risk of breast cancer.

Results: Increasing cumulative days of antibiotic use were associated with increased risk of incident breast cancer, adjusted for age and length of enrollment. For categories of increasing days of use increased risk was observed in all antibiotic classes studied.

Conclusions: Use of antibiotics is associated with increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer. Although further studies are needed, these findings reinforce the need for prudent long-term use of antibiotics.

DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: There are many issues with overuse of antibiotics—resistant strains, inappropriate use, ineffectiveness, allergic reactions, etc. This is a new risk to consider. If you needed another reason to consider a different approach to health, you’ve got it.

U.S. BIRD FLU THREAT OVERSTATED

The Bush administration has finished a massive response plan for a potential avian flu pandemic. Epidemiological experts are predicting that if and when the avian flu reaches American shores, it's not likely to be the disaster most once feared. Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said "there is no evidence it [bird flu] will be the next pandemic." Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "The American people should not be worried. They should execute some degree of reasonably intelligent, non-panicky, non-hysterical preparedness, which really means 'have a plan for your family.”

The current H5N1 virus has generated more fear than normal because of its virulence and ease of transmission among flocks of domestic birds. So far, bird flu has killed 110 people in nine countries, mostly in Asia--Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. More than 200 million domestic fowl have been killed worldwide to help stem the spread of the illness.

Human casualties limited to people who have had close and prolonged contact with infected birds, such as poultry farm workers.

"The threat to people is minimal," Siegel said. "In Asia, people have gotten sick because they had such close contact with birds. In Europe, we haven't seen a single case in humans. There's no reason to believe that there's an imminent threat to human beings."

So far, the virus has shown no ability to jump from human to human. So far, the H5N1 viruses do not have this capability and therefore cannot cause a pandemic.

SOURCES: Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Marc Siegel, M.D., author, False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear, clinical associate professor, medicine.

DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: So, is the U.S. government's preparedness plan an overreaction? To the degree that fear will be used to drive people to do anything, the answer is Yes. If the goal is to enforce mandatory vaccination, the answer is Yes. If you are convinced that there are no other options, the answer is Yes. On the other hand, if you are willing to consider that there is a better therapeutic—homeopathy, there is little reason to fear.

EAT MORE TURMERIC: IT PREVENTS AND CURES CANCER

Researchers at the University of Texas have concluded that curcumin, the constituent that lends turmeric its yellow color, can block the biological pathway to melanoma and other cancers.

Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, who headed the 12-member team of researchers at UT's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said, "It was already known that curcumin can prevent cancer," Aggarwal said. "Now it can also be used to cure cancer." And, he added: "We are providing evidence that curcumin can work on at least one dozen cancers. In fact, "let's put it this way: we have not found a single cancer on which curcumin doesn't work," Aggarwal asserted. The medicinal use of turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been documented in Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of medicine that has its origins in India.

Because of turmeric's extensive use in foods in India and Pakistan, the incidence of cancer, especially breast, colon prostate and lung, is a lot less in those countries, Aggarwal said. And because south Indians use turmeric more widely than north Indians, "the prevalence of cancer is less among them than among north Indians," he said. The spice has been shown to relieve arthritis as well, he added. The UT team's research focused on how curcumin stops laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating, and pushes the cancer cells to commit suicide.

The team homed in on a molecule called NF-kappa B, a powerful protein known to promote an abnormal inflammatory response that leads to cancer in some people, arthritis in others, and a wide range of other diseases in other people.

"Nearly 98 percent of all diseases are controlled by this molecule," Aggarwal said, asserting that curcumin can subdue this potent molecule.

Earlier this year, a UCLA study published in the online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, indicated that curcumin inhibits the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The team determined that curcumin is more effective in inhibiting formation of the protein fragments than many other drugs being tested to treat Alzheimer's. The prevalence of the disease among older adults in India is 4.4 times less than in the U.S., suggesting that many Indians might be benefiting from having turmeric as a dietary staple.

The University of Texas findings were published in the Aug. 15 2005 issue of the journal, "Cancer."

DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: FINALLY! Now I know why I love Indian food so much. There’s nothing like a good curry. This is reliable information. Don’t just blow it off as another anecdote. There are positive things you can do to prevent cancer. And taste good too.

EMERSON ECOLOGICS

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