Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book Reviewers Love UnBreak Your Health

Book reviewers love the easy-to-read style of UnBreak Your Health along with its comprehensive collection of information. It continues to add 5-star reviews in addition to being awarded FINALIST in this year's Best Books Awards for Health/Alternative Medicine.

The latest addition can be found at:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No More Excuses

Exercise makes you healthier at the cellular level. A British study of twins discovered that physically active people have younger looking cells, meaning exercise protects you against the effects of aging.

We've already heard that exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other illnesses and the British study seems to confirm why. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides and scientists believe aging occurs as cells reach the end of their telomeres. Looking at the telomeres of 2,401 twins in a long-term study the length of the telomeres was directly related to their level of activity.

In other words, people who did 100 minutes of exercise a week had telomeres that looked five or six years younger than folks who did almost no exercise. There are no more excuses for not exercising!

KGO San Francisco Interview

Wow! Had a short, but fun, interview with Joanie Greggains at KGO in San Francisco last Saturday. She's not only one of America's leading fitness experts, she's also a bundle of energy! If we could hook up some wires to her we could probably solve the energy crisis. She's clearly the product of her passion for fitness!

KGO has given me permission to use their logo and the MP3 file from the show so it's been added to on the News/Talk page and also on the Media Coverage page. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Drugs With One Small Side Effect - DEATH

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has finally decided it may be time to study another minor side effect of many drugs - Suicide. After decades of ignoring problems the FDA has started requiring drug manufacturers to study whether patients become suicidal during drug clinical trials.

Following the discovery four years ago that antidepressants for children caused suicide the agency finally began to notice that drugs for obesity, acne, high colesterol, heartburn, insomnia and many other conditions also had this little problem. One of the most recent drugs to be caught with this side effect is Chantix which is used to stop smoking. Unfortunately these problems are noticed after the drug has been approved by the FDA and used by millions of people. Lives continue to be lost because of the rush to make money money by drug manufacturers and the ineffectiveness of the FDA to protect Americans.

What's sad and ironic is that these are the folks who don't want you to have the freedom to choose complementary and alternative medicine because it's too dangerous!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Medical Accountability

Health care insurers are beginning to adopt the same policy as Medicare in refusing to pay for medical errors. The 28 most common "never events" include mistakes like leaving an object inside a patient during surgery, giving the wrong kind of blood, even bedsores. Best of all, many insurers are also making sure that hospitals don't bill patients for these errors when the insurance company doesn't pay.

Compiled by the National Quality Forum coalition these are mistakes that simply can't be justified in any way. The goal isn't to save money because these events are so rare, the policy is intened to focus hospital attention on safety, but the CDC estimates such errors add $4.5 billion to the nation's health care tab each year.

Does your health insurance have such a policy? It may be worth checking out since their contracts with hospitals may be the incentive to make changes to improve safety and care ... and that could literally save your life.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Science Fiction Becoming Science Fact

In the 17th century Rene Descartes said the mind and body are separate and Science has believed it ever since but new research is beginning to change that perception. People think with their bodies as well as their brains according to recent studies in the field of "embodied cognition" which suggest that pacing the floor or gesturing with your hands may clarify thoughts.

One study found that arm movements can affect language comprehension. In another study children were found more likely to solve math problems if they were told to gesture with their hands as they think through the problem.

Another area of research has found that unconscious eye movements help people solve certain kinds of brainteasers. It's only another step or two down this path to understand why therapies like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), TIR (Traumatic Incident Reduction) and even some uses of EFT are so effective right now. These therapies, and other types of complementary and alternative therapies, use a "movie screen" format so eye movement can be used to resolve emotional problems.

Science fiction often becomes science fact. Today we've been to the moon and back and can see inside the body in ways Descartes never even dreamed possible. Slowly we're learning the "why" and "how" behind so many complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) and that makes it easier for many people to accept.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another Day, Another Problem Drug Story

Why would anyone take a dangerous prescription drug when it only offers a small chance for improvement over a placebo effect? Most wouldn't which is why drug research information is so slanted in the drug company's favor. A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that while 94% of positive drug trials make it into print only 14% of those with disappointing or uncertain results did. Not exactly fair and unbiased reporting now, is it?

For example the makers of antidepressants Prozac and Paxil never published the results of nearly 1/3 of the drug trials that were done for government approval. This omission clearly misleads doctors, patients and government regulators. They admitted that 60% of test subjects benefitted from their drugs compared to 40% who got better due to the placebo effect but in other trials the numbers were not that good.

60% compared to 40% and that's the best they can talk about? So the real numbers may be a lot closer to 50-50 but in one case there is no liver damage or other harm done to the body. The placebo effect, or the body's natural healing ability, can do as well without artificial chemicals and damage.

In UnBreak Your Health I talk about Cognitive Behavior Therapy which actually has been shown to produce superior results to prescription drugs. What does it say about America today that we'd rather pop a pill, even though it's more dangerous, than taking responsibility for our own lives?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another Day, Another Drug Problem

How can I not say something about the latest problem drugs? This time it's Vytorin and Zetia, the ones you see on TV every night. Research shows that they're no more effective at slowing heart disease than older, cheaper drugs. Generics cost about $1 per pill while these two superstar drugs cost about $3 per dose.

The fact that the study was released nearly two years ago is another issue. Why and how did the FDA approve these drugs in the first place? Zetia was approved in 2002 and Vytorin in 2004. In 2006 doctors wrote about 18 million prescriptions for Vytorin and about 14 million for Zetia.

As usual, all we have to do is follow the money to learn how modern medicine works in America today.

And this is the industry that questions the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine? Therapies that have been used successfully for decades if not hundreds or thousands of years? If there was more money to be made with CAM than drugs then that's what you'd see on TV every night.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Money Not Medicine

Did you know that in 2002 the top 10 drug companies had profits that equaled the other 490 Fortune 500 companies combined? Think direct-to-consumer advertising by the drug companies could have anything to do with it?

In 1982 the vice president and general counsel of American Home Products responded to Representative John Dingell saying "(Direct) advertising would make (patients) extraordinarily susceptible to product promises." The chairman of Abbott Laboratories wrote, "We believe direct advertising to the consumer introduces a very real possibility of causing harm to patients who may respond to advertisements by pressuring physicians to prescribe medications that may not be required." Smith Kline and French warned that "advertising would have the objective of driving patients into doctors' offices seeking prescriptions."

What changed in the last 25 years? Why did drug companies suddenly jump on the advertising bandwagon? The answer is simple: Money. From the first small steps it became obvious how much money could be made. Greed quickly overcame conscience, as usual.

The predictions made in 1982 have been proven incredibly accurate in the last few years. In the years to come I predict we're going to look back at this period with disgust at the unbridled greed by the drug companies and its resulting toll in human lives and suffering. This isn't medicine, it's marketing, and the price is too high.

If you'd like to learn more about this subject I highly recommend Shannon Brownlee's new book "OVERTREATED".

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Medical Costs Keep Rising

Health spending increased 6.7% in 2006, it's now 16.1% of America's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Medicare spending increased at the fastest pace in 25 years fueled by the new drug benefit last year, it rose nearly 19% to $401.3 billion.

Spending on prescription drugs rose 8.5%. The only bit of good news is that generic drug sales increased to 63% of all drugs sold in the U.S. last year compared with 56% in 2005.

At some point complementary and alternative medicine is going to become more popular simply due to financial necessity.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bad Test = Wrong Treatment

From the wonderful world of medical news you probably don't hear comes the story about how thousands of breast-cancer patients may be getting the wrong treatment because the diagnostic tests were wrong. Turns out while several major insurance companies are willing to pay for second opinions on such tests the doctors often just don't bother to order them.

Since the American Cancer Society estimates that 178,000 patients were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer last year even a small percentage factor for errors adds up to a lot of lives. In this case it's not a small factor, but may be something in the 14% - 23% range. Hormone testing methods aren't even consistent since different labs use different methods and criteria to make their decisions.

Always, ALWAYS ask for a second opinion on EVERYTHING to do with your health whether it's mainstream medicine or some type of complementary or alternative therapy. After all, it's YOUR life!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Better To Be Gambling

If you're having a heart attack is it better to be: A) in a hospital or B) in a casino or airport?

If you guessed A (as most of us would) then I have some bad news for you. It's actually safer to be in a casino or airport according to medical researchers. In nearly 1/3 of all heart attack situations in a hospital the staff takes too long to respond which increases the chances of brain damage and death.

The difference is defibrilators are widely available in most casinos and airports today while patients in a hospital room may not be noticed for the most important window of time for recovery. The odds are even lower in small hospitals with less than 250 beds and on nights and weekends.

Just one more case where the state of mainstream medicine may not be what you think.