Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Little Sunshine

The dark and mysterious world of mainstream medicine is getting a little more sunshine thanks to a new government website. Now Medicare and Medicaid customer satisfaction and performance information is available at so you can learn about the hospitals in your area and make an informed choice.

The data is the result of a 27-question survey that more than 2,500 hospitals around the country gave to patients between Oct. 2006 and June 2007. Hospitals were required to survey at least 300 patients but many questioned many more.

It's a small step towards consumer education, but a good one!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

First Video Clip

The first major public presentation on March 12th was videotaped, mainly for my own purposes to evaluate the material and delivery. My publisher suggested I use it to create some videos for YouTube and other video sites and that sounded like a good idea.

Like most good ideas, it turned out to be a lot more work than expected! The biggest problem was the fact it was a friend's video camera so it took several trips to get the right cords etc. to get the clips into my computer. Then it took a few more days to relearn the editing software and produce the first clip.

The GOOD NEWS is that a short (10-minute) introduction to complementary and alternative therapies is now available at YouTube or on my website

In the coming weeks I'll be editing additional clips for each category of the book. My best guess at this point is that each category video will include at least one specific therapy along with information about the category in general.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Drug Games

So do you believe Schering-Plough and Merck when they say they simply wanted to refine the study data on Vytorin for more clarity ... or do you think they were simply stalling to protect the $5 billion in sales in 2007 of Vytorin and Zetia?

How stupid do the drug companies think we, and our doctors, really are? First they want to change the primary way the data would be analyzed after it's collected, then they wanted to change the endpoint of the study which is like moving the goal line during the game. Could it be they're just in it for the money after all and not really interested in protecting our health?

Now that doctors are learning there wasn't any significant difference in the clogging of neck arteries even they're beginning to question the benefit of cholesterol-lowering drugs like Vytorin and Zetia. For the billions of dollars there simply aren't any benefits to patients.

Is it any surprise that Congress has started hearings about how drug companies play games with their research? Or that investigations have started into insider trading? Even the medical journals are finally beginning to question the "selective publication" of positive trials quickly while delaying (or hiding) any negative data.

In a for-profit, drug-dominated medical system it's clear what the priority is ... and it isn't our health.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stopping To Smell The Tulips

Wow, didn't realize it's been over two weeks since I posted anything on my blog. Sorry! It was a crunch getting everything ready for the first major presentation on UnBreak Your Health at Unity Church in Dallas on the 12th. Went pretty well for the first time and the folks at Unity were wonderful. One of the folks attending thought I should sell the video since it was such a great overview of the wonderful world of CAM.

Yes, I did have a friend videotape the presentation, mainly for my own benefit to improve the material and my delivery. There are some bits that I'm working to put up on YouTube but we'll see how it goes. Haven't done any video editing for a long time.

Last week was spring break for my wonderful teacher/wife so we enjoyed the time off together. Went to see Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum, always amazing to see all of the brightly colored flowers there. It's a sea of spring, a great time to stop and smell the tulips (roses aren't blooming yet). It was a perfect spring day this year, not too hot or too cold, just a wonderful afternoon.

Several stories in the news lately so more a little later!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Drugs in Drinking Water

Recent research has shown that even small amounts of prescription medications can affect human beings. Embryonic kidney cells grew too slowly, human blood cells showed activity associated with inflamation and human cancer cells grew too quickly. At this point we don't have a clue about the long-term effect of exposure to small amounts of prescription drugs. But the pharmaceutical industry is telling us not to worry about the prescription drugs found in drinking water in major metropolitan areas across the country.

The Associated Press conducted a 5-month study which found prescription drugs in the drinking water in 24 major markets. While tiny, the mere presence of so many types of drugs in tap water obviously becomes a concern to public health.

Even worse it was found that prescription drugs also have found their way down into the aquifers underground which supplies the drinking water to 40% of the nation.

I love the quote in the AP story from Dr. David Carpenter who directs the Institute for health and the Environment for the State University of New York at Albany. "We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water and that can't be good."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Insurance Equality

The House and Senate are negotiating a compromise bill to equalize mental health benefits. The House recently passed legislation barring insurance companies from charging higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health coverage than they do for medical and surgical benefits. This version is different than the Senate bill so there will be some work needed to pass a bill to equalize mental health benefits.

Now if we could only get the Powers That Be to add coverage for complementary and alternative therapies!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Price of Pain

It may all be in your head after all. In a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine the price of a pill determined its effectiveness. In other words the same pill was reported to be more effective when it cost more.

This may be one of the reasons people often prefer high-priced new medications over generics.

The Placebo Effect needs to be studied so we can learn how to capitalize on it. Can you imagine if we spent just 5% on Placebo research than we do on prescription drugs? The pharmaceutical industry would probably disappear within a decade!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Medical Risks

How often have we heard 20-20 medical hindsight after deaths raise an issue to a headline story? The latest example of "those risks were completely unanticipated" comes from the first follow-up study of hormone use after menopause. While heart problems linked to the pills appear to fade after stopping the medication new cancer risks appear.

You may remember this study was halted six years ago due to heart risks and breast cancer. Now we find out years later that lung tumors and other cancers become a problem. Those who'd taken hormones but stopped were 24% more likely to develop any kind of cancer.

As usual doctors are trying to play down the problem saying it only affects 3 women out of 1,000 on the hormone pills. Try telling the 3 women with cancer that it isn't a big deal. Better yet, try BEING one of the 3 women with cancer and see how you feel.