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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #7 - April 2003
Issue #7 - April 2003

Welcome to Naturopathic News issue #7. It’s my goal 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. Any feedback in the form of comments, letters to the editor, success stories, etc., is appreciated.


EATING BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT JUST LIKE YOUR MOM TOLD YOU

Eating breakfast might have beneficial effects on appetite, insulin resistance and energy metabolism, as obesity and insulin resistance syndrome rates were 35 percent to 50 percent lower among people who ate breakfast every day compared to those who frequently skipped it, according to a study.

Researchers believe that eating breakfast may play a role in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, eating in the morning may make you less likely to overeat at lunch.

People with insulin resistance syndrome, a metabolic disorder, are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The syndrome is characterized by several factors including obesity, high abdominal body fat, high blood pressure, and high fasting levels of blood sugar or the hormone insulin, which helps the body store glucose.

The syndrome does not allow the body to use glucose efficiently, and often patients also have problems with blood fat metabolism such as high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol.

The study included 1,198 black and 1,633 white participants whose breakfast habits and risk factors for heart disease were assessed from 1992 to 2000. At the start of the study, participants were aged from 25 to 37 years.

About 47 percent of the whites and 22 percent of the blacks reported daily breakfast consumption. After accounting for other risk factors such as smoking, low physical activity, alcohol use and demographic factors, researchers found that a reduced risk of obesity and insulin resistance was associated with daily breakfast consumption.

The association was consistent for white men and women and for black men but not for black women. Researchers are conducting further studies to explore the difference between racial groups. They also noted that the study was limited because a causal relationship could not be determined since the study used self-reported data.

Additionally, researchers found that people who ate whole grain cereal each day had a 15% lower risk of insulin resistance syndrome, an association that they are studying further.

American Heart Association's 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention March 6, 2003

GP: Just remember, we’re not talking about standard breakfast fare here. You will not see any benefits eating doughnuts, waffles, or pancakes. Processed cereals or fruit juice aren’t that helpful either. Remember to read labels closely. If the label says wheat flour or has added gluten flour this is not whole grain.

CHILDHOOD VACCINES EXCEED FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR MERCURY

Childhood vaccines contain doses of mercury that are in excess of the Federal Safety Guidelines, and evidence shows a link between these excessive doses of mercury, found in thimerosal-containing vaccines, and neurodevelopment disorders such as autism and speech disorders, as well as heart disease, according to a study.

Since the introduction of thimerosal to vaccines, rates of autism have drastically increased. In the mid-1980s, one in 2,500 children had autism compared with one in about 300 children in 1996--an increase of over 800 percent in 20 years.

Researchers say that thimerosal should be banned from all U.S. vaccines and hope such a ban would curb the epidemic of autism and speech disorders facing America. The study found a two- to six-fold increased occurrence of neurodevelopment disorders after an additional 75- to 100-microgram dosage of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines as compared to thimerosal-free vaccines.

To investigate, researchers analyzed the doses of mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines that children received from routine childhood immunizations. They also evaluated the incidence of rates of neurodevelopment disorders and heart disease following thimerosal-containing vaccines and thimerosal-free vaccines.

Additionally, researchers looked at data on children with various types of disabilities in comparison to the amount of mercury they received from thimerosal in their childhood vaccines.

Based on the results, which found thimerosal-containing vaccines to contain mercury in excess of Federal Safety Guidelines, researchers confirmed a link between thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines and neurodevelopment disorders and heart disease.

Journal American Physicians & Surgeons Spring 2003

GP: How long has it taken for this issue to be addressed? Do we really have to let our children suffer first, before we do something? We’ve known since the Miramata disaster in the 50’s the neurological damage that Mercury causes. The real question is why was this extremely toxic substance used in the first place? It’s difficult to trust the conventional vaccine perspective when glaring errors such as this are made.

 

OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS TIED TO EYE PROBLEMS

 A class of osteoporosis drugs has been found to cause several eye problems, some of them serious, and researchers say patients should discontinue the medication if they experience any ocular woes.

The drugs, called bisphosphonates, presumably prevent fractures by slowing down bone loss. The cases of eye problems are rare, says a research letter appearing in the March 20,2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. But they're also surprising, since physician's guides don't list them as a potential side effect.

Bisphosphonates are sold in the United States under the names Fosamax, Actonel, Zometa, Didronel, and Skelid. Ophthalmologists at the Casey Eye Institute, affiliated with the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, found ocular problems with each one.

The problems include conjunctivitis, abnormal or blurred vision, eye pain, scleritis (an inflammation of the sclera, the outer coating of the eyeball), and uveitis (an inflammation of the uvea, a middle lining that includes the iris). Some of the people taking the drugs experienced more than one of these symptoms, the letter says.

It is the first time any class of drug has caused scleritis, report the researchers, Drs. Frederick W. Fraunfelder and Frederick T. Fraunfelder. The conjunctivitis problems eased as the patients' bodies got more accustomed to the drugs. However, some of the problems didn't abate until the patient stopped taking the drugs altogether, they write.

GP: Drugs such as Fosamax were once the darlings of the osteoprosis treatment world. As their use increases however, questions concerning their effectiveness and safety have arisen. Here is one more caution concerning their use.

 

TESTICULAR SELF-EXAMS

Testicular cancer is the most common malignancy for males between the ages of 15 and 35 years. Although the best way to fight this disease is through early diagnosis and treatment, less than half of U.S. pediatricians teach patients how to do testicular self-exams, a study showed.

The study involved 80 women and 49 men who are pediatric or pediatric/internal medicine residents. About 29 percent of the male residents performed monthly self-exams, and 40 percent of all the residents taught the exam to their 12- to 21-year-old patients. There was no difference between sexes in the rate at which they informed patients of the technique.

Most commonly, study participants said that they “never thought about including it” or didn’t have time to fit it in as reasons why they did not teach self-examinations to patients. The most common reason cited by male residents for why they did not perform their own self-exams was that they forgot.

Rates of testicular cancer have risen 42 percent in the past 25 years, and today it accounts for 20 percent of cancers in males between the ages of 15 and 35 years.

Risk of testicular cancer is highest among residents of the United States, England and northern Europe, while residents of Africa, Asia and Puerto Rico have the lowest risk. Researchers suggested that more information should be presented to educate the public and physicians on the importance of testicular self-exams.

Original Pediatrics Study March 2003

GP: Monthly self-exams, combined with awareness of the symptoms of testicular cancer, can help men catch this disease at an early stage.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
A small, painless lump in a testicle
A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
A change in the way a testicle feels
A sudden collection of blood or fluid in the scrotum

The National Cancer Institute recommends following these steps every month:
Stand in front of a mirror. Look for any changes or swelling on the skin of the scrotum.
Examine each testicle with both hands. Place your index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. Don't be surprised if one testicle seems slightly larger than the other. That's normal.
The best time to perform a testicular self-exam is after a warm bath or shower, as heat relaxes the scrotum.

Find the epididymis, the soft, tube like structure behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm. If you are familiar with this structure, you won't mistake it for a suspicious lump. Cancerous lumps usually are found on the sides of the testicle, but also can appear on the front.

If you find a lump, see your doctor right away. Your lump may not be cancerous, but if it is, it may spread if not treated quickly. In almost all cases, testicular cancer occurs in only one testicle. In those instances, men can maintain full sexual and reproductive function with the other testicle.

 

BAYER SLAMMED WITH $100 MILLION LAWSUIT

Bayer is facing a $100 million lawsuit, the first of thousands, for its cholesterol drug Baycol. Baycol was pulled off the market after it was linked to at least 52 deaths worldwide, including 31 in the United States.

The lawsuit, which claims the drug produces a muscle-destroying side effect, has yielded information that suggests Bayer disregarded disturbing research on Baycol (cerivastatin) before it was removed from the market.

The side effect, rhabdomyolysis, is a rare disorder in which muscle tissue breaks down, which can lead to organ failure and death. Baycol is one of the cholesterol-fighting drugs known as statins, which are taken by about 8 million Americans.

Baycol was approved in 1997 and had become Bayer’s third best-selling drug by the time it was pulled from the marked in 2001.

Bayer was forced to release confidential company documents to the U.S. courts as a result of the lawsuit. At the trial, the plaintiff’s lawyers argued that documents show that Bayer was aware of problems associated with Baycol since its 1997 approval and that Baycol was 79% more likely to cause rhabdomyolysis than competing drugs.

They also suggested that not all adverse events were reported to the FDA, though Bayer said that it kept the FDA fully informed.

Bayer faces about 7,800 lawsuits from former Baycol users, mostly in the United States, and has paid $125 million to settle about 450 cases related to Baycol use.

BMJ March 1, 2003;326:518

GP: Few people taking Baycol, or for that matter any of these statin drugs, would need to take them at all if they were following a proper health plan. There are, however, a rare group of individuals who have familial hypercholesterolemia. This genetic defect, which occurs in about one in 500 people, creates much higher, more resistant cholesterol levels.
However, this is probably less than one percent of the people taking the statin drugs.
Last year the ‘Normal’ reference range for cholesterol was lowered. This means that almost half of the American population now ‘needs’ these drugs.

Statins were introduced in 1987 and have quickly become blockbuster drugs with total annual sales now worth more than $14 billion. Leading products include Pfizer’s Lipitor, Merck's Zocor, and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pravachol.

It is important to remember that the total cholesterol level itself is not an important risk factor unless it is over 300. It is actually the ratio between the level of total cholesterol and HDL that is far more predictive of heart disease.

The ideal HDL/cholesterol ratio should be higher than 25 percent, and generally speaking the higher the better. Levels below 15 percent are a serious problem.
The ideal triglyceride/cholesterol ratio should be below 2.0.

I hope you have enjoyed this issue of my newsletter. If you would like me to cover any specific topic or answer questions in a future issue, please send me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it If you have a friend or family member who might like to see my newsletter please send me their email and I will add their address to my list.

Until next time,

Stay Healthy,
Gregory Pais