Friday, November 30, 2007

Medical Hindsight

Isn't it amazing how the folks who don't want you to have access to complementary and alternative medicine are the same ones making mistakes that kill people? Today's example is from the wonderful world of medical hindsight, which is always 20-20.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine predicts that in a few decades up to 2% of all cancers in the U.S. may be caused by radiation from CT scans given today. That's because millions of Americans are needlessly getting dangerous radiation that raises the risk of cancer. Children, the study warns, are especially at risk.

The problem is the increasing popularity of CT scans. There were 62 million scans done last year compared with 3 million in 1980. Since previous studies suggest that 1/3 of all diagnostic tests are unnecessary there are millions of people being put at risk.

Only 1/3 of the facilities doing CT scans are accredited by the College of Radiology and even those that are checked frequently neglect to reset equipment from adult to child to minimize exposure and risk.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Brother ... Again

In case you thought the FDA couldn't get more out of control than it already is, today they're having a hearing to begin collecting testimony about the role of salt in our health. They're considering a change of classification for salt (yes, really, old fashioned table salt) from GRAS or Generally Recognized As Safe to a food additive subject to limitations by the FDA.

As usual Big Brother (also known as the Food & Drug Administration) feels that Americans aren't smart enough or capable enough of making their own decisions when it comes to food and our health. Big Brother is going to decide what's safe and proper for you to eat. Since we know government is influenced by big-money lobbyists it will be interesting to see what new restrictions and requirements are created to line the pockets of the special interests.

The first tenet of complementary and alternative medicine is for each person to take responsibility for their own health. Clearly the FDA doesn't agree with that concept.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rickets In America

Thought diseases like Rickets were a thing of the past in our country? Think again. Not enough sunshine, exercise and milk is leading to the growth of Rickets in kids today. Even worse, it may be a ticking timebomb according to Dr. Laura Tosi, bone health chief at Children's National Medical Center in Washington. Research is underway to determine the increased risk for osteoporosis.

To prevent it kids need simple weight-bearing exercise out in the good, old-fashioned sunshine. A little more milk would help too, but basically kids need to be kids. Turn off the video game and get them outside. Like so many complementary and alternative therapies it's all about being who we're supposed to be.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Different Types of Thanks

While some of us are thankful for good health, the love of family and friends it's also clear that different people have different things to be thankful for at this time of year. Personally I'm also thankful for an award-winning book that's helping others to find their own path to better health and a better life.

Others are thankful there are new and better drugs coming out all of the time. Ladies, now you have a new drug to lengthen eye lashes. It seems this is a side effect of a glaucoma drug called Lumigan made by Allergan. The company faces obstacles with other drug and cosmetic companies and with the FDA. However since this is the company that brought us Botox the odds were seem to be in its favor to get this latest cosmetic drug accepted.

The question has to be: What are people doing to their bodies in the name of beauty? And at what price?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Upcoming Radio Interviews

My thanks to Amy for reminding me to put upcoming radio interviews on my blog so folks can listen live. On Monday, November 26th I'll be on The Health & Beauty Revolution Internet radio program with Patty Kovacs at 10:30 a.m. Pacific.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28th Dr. Joe DiPrima will have me on Health Talk on WYSL-AM 1040 in Rochester, New York from 7:30 - 8 p.m. EST.

In the meantime, have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Different Strokes

Did you know 10% of India uses homeopathy exclusively to treat illness? Homeopathic Medicine is the 3rd largest of the government's 7 medical departments. Since arriving 200 years ago with German missionaries it's become the favorite among the poor because it's cheap, convenient and free of side effects. Today even the wealthy view it as a fashionable and effective method of treatment.

The problem is coming frm homeopaths adding pharmaceutical drugs to their mixtures and promoting new miracle cures more and more often. The long arm of the drug companies reaches every corner of the planet today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lopsided Battle

The battle between complementary and alternative medicine and the prescription drug/medical complex doesn't even qualify as one-sided. All of the money, all of the lobbyists and all of the media coverage are controlled by the drug companies and medical powers.

Today's illustration is Amgen which spent over $10 million lobbying Congress last year but has already spent over $9 million so far this year. It seems a couple of their cash cow drugs, anemia drugs called Epogen and Aranesp, are in trouble and they're spending whatever it takes to get Medicare to change their new rule which limits payments. After all, the drugs represent 48% of their profits last year. The fact that Congress has only overturned one of 41,000 such rules in the last decade would make normal folks think twice about such a task, but not a drug company.

Their lobbying efforts have already produced results. Majorities in both the House and Senate have sent letters to Medicare protesting the change. Anybody want to place a bet that Amgen is going to get what it wants?

This is only one recent example of drug company money buying what they want in our Congress. If Americans don't wake up and pay attention they're going to discover they've lost the freedom to choose their health care because medical and pharmaceutical interests have bought them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Confusing The Doctors

Don't you just love it when doctors get confused and can't explain their own research findings? Case in point is the recent discovery that a few extra pounds really aren't a big deal after all. Being up to 25 pounds overweight doesn't appear to raise your risk of dying from cancer or heart disease according to the latest research.

In fact, being a little overweight actually seemed to help some people survive certain illnesses, perhaps giving the body the extra fuel it needed to handle the situation. That really confuses the experts!

Now before you have another slice of pie you have to remember extra weight isn't going to do you a lot of good either. It is going to lead to increased chance of diabetes and kidney disease.

Bottom line: taking responsibility for your health is still the bottom line and that begins with watching your weight.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Billion Here, A Billion There ...

How can I not say something about Merck agreeing to pay $4.85 Billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over their drug Vioxx? After all, it's one of the largest civil cases in history. The deal only works if 85% of the plaintiffs agree to drop their cases and there are 47,000 plaintiffs in 26,000+ lawsuits. The company still faces state and federal investigations.

When problems first came out analysts thought the liability could go as high as $50 billion so this probably looks like a deal.

Question is: how much is a life worth in today's court? How much are we willing to pay for our national drug addiction? How much harm can one company cause before people pressure their elected officials to change health care in our country?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fewer Family Doctors

One of the problems with America's healthcare system is it's focused on acute care, the most expensive stage, rather than prevention and early detection which is the least expensive phase. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians only about 8% of medical school seniors are choosing family medicine today compared to 17.3% just ten years ago. The reason is they can make as much as $100,000 less than their more specialized counterparts.

We need to change our financial rewards for doctors for the benefit of society as a whole. It's the only way we're going to reduce our cost of healthcare which is the most expensive in the world.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Longest Interview

On Monday this week I had the pleasure of talking for an hour with Nancy Lee on her "Lights On" Internet radio program. This was the longest interview I've done yet and it was also the most delightful. Rather than being rushed to try and make a few points we had the time to discuss a wide range of topics at leisure, it was wonderful!

If you missed it on it should be coming up as an archive shortly at NANCY LEE.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Size DOES Matter

When you have a $2.2 Trillion industry you work very hard to protect the status quo, and that's exactly what the medical and pharmaceutical industries are doing right now. (Remember the 1950's military-industrial complex? Today it's the medical-pharmaceutical complex or MPC.) One of their favorite tactics is to discredit the opposition.

There is a new book on the market designed to do just that and the sad fact is it's probably going to influence millions of people. By looking through the wrong end of their telescope they'll convince people not to try complementary and alterantive medicine and instead continue to suffer or use even more prescription drugs. It's an audacious enterprise to discredit ALL types of CAM, not just one or two types.

The arrogance is that they think they can discredit therapies that have been used successfully for thousands of years and billions of people around the world. How stupid do they think people are in this country? Everybody knows somebody who's had a successful experience with CAM, sometimes miraculous, so the cat is already out of the bag. They can't claim that all of us are simply delusional or suffering from a placebo effect.

Isn't it interesting that this new book would come out during an election cycle where health care changes are the most important topic for voters? Money talks ... and right now it's talking loud and clear about protecting its market share. It's not going to change without a fight.

Unfortunately size does matter so when you have power and money behind you, your book gets the best placement, top reviews and will in the coming weeks get lots and lots of media attention. When you see all of these reviews and interviews just remember there is a small book from a small press called UnBreak Your Health presenting the other side of the story, the real-life experiences of people who've found better health and a better life with CAM.