Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Older Americans At Risk From Drugs

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms what most of us have already discovered the hard way ... that older folks take too many dangerous drugs. Older folks take more drugs to begin with and their more frail bodies are less able to handle drug interactions.

How big a problem is it? Experts say that among older men the number could be 10% or one man in every ten. The study says that there could be 2 million people in America taking potentialy harmful mix of medications today.

It's not just medications but combinations of medications with over-the-counter supplements that can be a problem. There are so many prescription drugs on the market and so many supplements that no one really knows all of the possible combinations or how each person will react.

BUYER BEWARE and be careful!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drug Firm Lawsuit in Texas

Front page of the Dallas Morning News today features an article about the lawsuit the State of Texas just filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The filing claims they used kickbacks, distributed false marketing materials and deployed phony advocacy groups to get its expensive schizophrenia drug prescribed to low-income Texans.

The lawsuit claims that in the mid-1990's Janssen provided "substantial funding" to Texas officials to influence the adoption and implementation of drug protocols by funneling it through third-party vendors, charitable organizations, advocacy groups and governmental entities. Janssen is said to have used Texas' mental health officials as "pitchmen" to get other states to adopt the drug by providing them with trips, perks, travel expenses, honoraria and other payments.

Texas has spent millions of state Medicaid dollars on the drug. Risperdal appeared on the Texas list of approved drugs for children for eight years before it was approved by the FDA for use in juveniles. Recent studies show that Risperdal fails to perform better than older, generic drugs.

"It's standard practice in the industry to influence a few key decision-makers," according to Allen Jones, a Pennsylvania whistle-blower who brought the case to the attention of Texas authorities. "But this is the most transparent example I have seen."

A Janseen spokesman said none of the allegations has any merit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happiness Is Contagious

Our emotions are infectious but positive emotions are much stronger than negative ones, that's the conclusion of a recent study that followed 4,700 people for 20 years published recently in BMJ, a British medical journal. One person's happiness can affect another's for up to a year too so it's not simply a fleeting ripple through social circles.

It's interesting that proximity is such a major factor in our responses. For example we need a friend who lives close to us for greater affect. The greater the distance the lower the impact. It's also fascinating that we apparently have social filters because a neighbor we see rarely can have more impact on our emotions that co-workers that we see every day.

So next time you're sad, it may just be the people you're hanging around with! Find happy people and you'll be happy too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2007 CAM Health Study

The 2007 National Health Interview Survey of 23,000 adults suggests overall use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices has remained relatively steady at about 40% but with significant increases in the use of deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy and yoga.

The latest study is consistent with the 2002 research showing CAM use among adults was greater among women than men (42.8 to 33.5 percent), among older people than younger (30-39 years: 39.6 percent, 40-49 years: 40.1 percent, 50-59 years: 44.1 percent), and among people with higher levels of education (55.4 percent).

It's interesting to note that CAM is now being used by 1 in 9 kids but this can include supplements like echinaccea for colds. It would appear their parents' practices played a big role because kids were 5x more likely to use CAM if a parent or other relative did. The top health issues kids used CAM for were head and neck pain, colds, anxiety, body aches and insomnia.

The study was done by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saving $700 Million

In these difficult economic times wouldn't you like to save $700 million? That's the figure that experts say we're wasting in health care every year in America. Right now we spend 16.3% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care, more than any other nation on earth, yet we rank #48 for life expectancy and 19 out of 19 industrialized countries in preventable deaths.

Recent news reports make it clear. "We're not getting what we pay for," said Dr. Denis Cortese, president and chief executive of the Mayo Clinic. "It's just that simple."

Experts say as much as half of the $2.3 trillion spent each year on health care is wasted. Since he promised every family savings of $2,500 President-Elect Obama faces steep challenges on health care.

One way to reduce costs is to capitalize on the hundreds of CAM therapies that have been proven safe and effective for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Not every health problem needs prescription drugs and high tech.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

FDA Works For ?

You've probably heard that those wonderful folks who brought you Thalidomide, Vioxx and other wonderful drugs, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), have now decided that a little melamine is safe for babies. The deaths of children in China apparently has taught them nothing about the situation.

"This FDA, this Bush administration, instead of protecting the public health, is protecting industry," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FDA budget. In an interview, DeLauro said she wants the agency to disclose its findings and to develop a plan to remove melamine from formula. "We're talking about babies, about the most vulnerable. This really makes me angry."

'Nuff said.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Heart Attacks Are Different In Women

Heart disease kills more people of both sexes than all cancers combined. More women than men have died from heart disease in the U.S. every year since 1984, and they are twice as likely as men to die after a heart attack yet modern medicine is still trying to figure out the difference between men and women.

According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) women are far more likely than men to be hospitalized for chest pain for which doctors can't find a cause. In 2006 there were 477,000 women discharged from U.S. hospitals with a diagnosis of nonspecific chest pain, compared with 379,000 men. This is important because that diagnosis is often given to patients who are admitted for a possible heart attack that turns out not to be one.

The problem is that heart attacks often look different in women than men. While both frequently report chest pain, pressure or tightness, women more often have subtle signs. These may include dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, aches in the back, shoulders or abdomen, sudden weakness or fatigue or an overwhelming feeling of doom. A 2003 study found that 95% of women who had heart attacks started feeling some of those symptoms a month or more before.

Be smart, be safe, and if you feel any of these symptoms then err on the side of caution and take action NOW. Remember the old saying: Better Safe Than Sorry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Broken Medical Model

Interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal called Submitting To The Science Of Prevention. It's about a paradigm shift in mainstream medicine that's long overdue. It seems they're beginning to realize their focus on treating disease and illness is not the most effective system after all. Now they are slowly beginning to endorse the concept of prevention and maintenance of good health as the priority.

Of course all of this comes with the heavy financial baggage necessary to keep modern medicine happy, this time in the form of preventative tests. After all, no matter how valid the model we can't have Medicine losing any money now, can we?

Did you know years ago in China you used to pay your doctor every month to keep you healthy and stopped paying him when you got sick? Compare that to our system in American where we pay our doctor when we get sick and stop paying him when we're healthy. Which system do you think is most effective at keeping you healthy?

But at least it's a start and a recognition that complementary and alternative medicine has had this right from the beginning. It's one of the ways that it's lasted for hundreds and thousands of years.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Common Traits of Healers

There was a recent article in Annals of Internal Medicine based on interviews with 50 practitioners from allopathic and complementary & alternative medicine which found their common skills as "healers" to be: Do the little things; Take time; Be open and listen; Find something to like, to love; Remove barriers; Let the patient explain; Share authority and
Be committed.

Now you know what to look for in your health practitioners.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Billions For Health Care

The landmark 1998 tobacco settlement was supposed to bring in billions of dollars for health care for Americans. Of the $61.5 billion that's been divided among 46 states between 2000 and 2006 only 30% has gone for health care according to the GAO. The Associated Press estimates that less than 4% has gone towards anti-smoking efforts.

States would rather use the money to fatten their general budgets. New York used some of its money for new carts and sprinklers for the Niagara County golf course. Alaska used some of its money to complete a museum featuring mummified bison. In Nebraska part of the money went for a dog catcher in Lincoln.

In 2005 the tobacco industry spent $13.1 BILLION on advertising and marketing. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that states spent $718 Million on prevention.

States won the court case claiming the need to pay for medical expenses for those injured by tobacco products and to prevent tobacco illnesses in the future. Clearly once they got the money they had higher priorities.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Duct Tape of Health Care

Added a new article to my website today ( called the Duct Tape of Health Care. I compare duct tape to prescription drugs because both only treat symptoms and don't repair the source of the problem.

Once in awhile it's fun to get on the soap box!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cancer and Mind-Body Medicine

A study in the journal Cancer says that reducing stress in breast cancer patients can reduce their risk of dying from the disease by 50%. The study also found that psychological interventions reduced the risk that tumors would come back by 45%.

The researchers focused on stress reduction as a primary reason why patients appeared to benefit from group counseling sessions.

As usual modern medicine is looking for a direct cause-and-effect relationship involving some chemical rather than recognizing the power of energy (thought, feelings) and its impact on epigenetics.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Investing in Health

Finding money well-spent in health care today is a challenge but it turns out that community-based physical activity interventions designed to promote more active lifestyles among adults are cost-effective. From advertising campaigns to adding more bike and hike trails these efforts can reduce heart disease, stroke, colorectal and breast cancers, and type 2 diabetes according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study recommends 2 1/2 hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity,such as brisk walking or at least 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous-intensity aerobicactivity such as jogging or running.In addition, all adults should include muscle strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups on two or more days per week.

Staying healthy is the best health care for everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Big, Fat News for Health

New study in the New England Journal of Medicine makes it clear belly fat is really a big, red flag for health problems. A European study followed 360,000 men and women for almost 10 years and their conclusion is that belly fat indicates a higher risk of death than simply being overweight. Men with waists measuring over 40 inches are considered at higher risk while the number is only 35 inches for women.

How important is belly fat? Men with a waistline of 40 inches were twice as likely to die as those with waists of 34 inches or less. The belly is a more reliable indicator of health risk than the BMI (body mass index). The risk is even higher for women.

Like it or not we need to eat less, eat better and exercise in America if we expect to have the quality of life, and duration, that we deserve.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fun Witih Mainstream Medicine

The 30-year-old system of medical coding is heading for an update. The new system, known as ICD-10, would dramatically increase the number of codes used to define various ailments and procedures. The number of codes would be increased ten-fold to 155,000. For example angioplasty today has just one code but the new system will have 1,170 coded descriptions that pinpoint such factors as the location and the device involved for each patient for doctors to choose from each time. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of insurers predicts billing errors are likely to rise between 10% and 25% in the first year which means patients are going to be billed incorrectly much more often.

All of this is necessary, if painful, progress to facilitate the switch to electronic records and universal information in health care. We'll all have to wait and see if it's really worth the time, expense and hassle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crestor Study

I'm sure your newspaper has a BIG story about the Jupiter study showing that Crestor can reduce heart attacks and strokes for "normally healthy" people. There are a few points that are probably not included in the article though, like the fact that Dr. Ridker (he presented the study) and Harvard share a patent on the lab test needed to see if the medication is warranted.

We've become so upside-down on medications we don't realize the stupidity of 81 people taking a drug they don't need in order for one person to benefit. Side effects? (Like anger, memory loss and other symptoms reported by Crestor users.) Long term hazards? Doesn't anyone realize how crazy this is?

The drug was not used against the Ornish Program or other lifestyle changing therapy which would reduce weight and generally improve health. In other words it's a drug for the lazy American who is happy to pop a pill but is too busy to take care of his own health.

Once again the media is going to work hand-in-hand with their friends at the drug companies to sell another dangerous drug to more Americans.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

WHO Promotes CAM

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its "Beijing Declaration" at the end of its congress on traditional medicine on Saturday recognizing traditional medicine as "one of the resources of primary health care services to increase availability and affordability." WHO added that "people have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care, which may include access to traditional medicine." Traditional medicine is another description of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

"The knowledge of traditional medicine, treatments and practices should be respected, preserved, promoted and communicated widely and appropriately based on the circumstances in each country," said the declaration.
This medical resource which goes back to our earliest civilizations should be respected and cherished, not run over in our haste to employ the latest medical fad.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It Isn't Working

What we're doing for health care in this country clearly isn't working. The latest example of this is the fact that our obesity epidemic has caused the rate of diabetes to double in the past 10 years. The CDC reports in a state-by-state review of new cases that the worst situation is in West Virginia with 13 cases in 1,000 adults were diagnosed in 2005-07 while the lowest was in Virginia with only 5 cases per 1,000 adults.

How can mainstream medicine claim to be doing such a great job when the situation continues to get worse with each passing year?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Spring Forward

Seasonal changes can kill you, literally. It seems researchers in Sweden have found that when we "spring forward" to daylight saving time in the spring there are 6% more heart attacks. On the other hand when we "fall back" as we'll do on Saturday night there will be 5% fewer heart attacks the following day.

The best guess on this phenomenon is that since we're chronically sleep deprived today, average sleep duration has fallen from 9.0 to 7.5 hours in the last century, the sudden change can be fatal to a few vulnerable folks. The simple solution? Don't make sudden changes to your daily schedule, gradually adjust your routine to maintain a safe amount of sleep.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FDA Advisory Group Disagrees With FDA

The FDA asked a panel of scientific experts to review its August report claiming that BPA was safe. Now that panel of science experts challenged the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion noting the FDA should have paid more attention to studies suggesting the contrary, primarily those not supported by the plastics industry.

The FDA report issued in August said that BPA is safe at current levels. Lawmakers and scientists criticized the report because it relied largely on industry-funded studies and contradicted over 100 studies suggesting BPA is harmful to humans. The FDA says it is already moving forward with planned research to address the potential low-dose effects of BPA.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Congress Questions FDA Action

You know the FDA is doing a pretty poor job when both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have questions about its work. This week the issue is why the FDA's advisory panel only used research funded by the chemical industry as the basis for its recent report that BPA is safe and harmless ... ignoring even the government's own research. Congress has asked specific questions of the FDA on this situation and is waiting for a reply. The advisory panel is scheduled to release its review of the FDA's report on BPA before it meets Oct. 31. The panel will present its findings to the FDA's Science Board, which may issue its own assessment of the agency's work.

Just last month (as noted in this blog) the Journal of the American Medical Association linked BPA to heart disease and diabetes in adults. Canada last week declared BPA to be toxic and announced plans to ban it in baby bottles. A growing number of retailers, manufacturers and government officials are taking action against BPA including state attorney generals in several states.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Doctors Use Placebos

A new survey reveals that half of American doctors use placebos regularly. This data is similar to studies done in Britain, Denmark, Israel and New Zealand. Research has shown that placebos do work so it's not surprising that doctors turn to them in some situations. Using vitamins, headache pills and other products they're trying to activate the patient's own healing system.

If you ever hear your doctor say this is "a medicine not typically used for your condition but might benefit you" then you may be getting a placebo. The good news over the last few years is that the better the placebo, the better the results for patients.

One of the primary attacks on complementary and alternative medicine is that it's nothing more than a placebo ... and now we discover that even doctors use placebos to help patients! Is this talking out of both sides of your mouth?

The study is being published in BMJ, formerly The British Medical Journal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Drug Reactions, Deaths Rise

Another day, another news report about the increasingly dangerous world of prescription drugs. Today it's a report from the FDA about the first quarter stats this year showing 21,000 reports of serious drug reactions including 4,800 deaths. This dramatic increase sets a new record, not the sort of news the drug companies want you to hear.

The numbers reflect a 38% increase over the previous four quarters and was almost 3x higher than any quarter in 2007. You'll be glad to hear their spokesman say "The FDA is aware of the increasing number of reports and we take them seriously."

And the medical community wonders why more and more people are turning to complementary and alternative medicine?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Dangerous Drugs

The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association features a study warning against a new generation of "biological" drugs. Nearly 1/4th produce serious side effects that lead to safety warnings soon after they went on the market.

Many thought since these drugs to treat common diseases were made from biological sources they'd be more safe than traditional artificial drugs but that is turning out not to be the case. Side effects include brain infections and cancer.

As more and more evidence piles up is anyone really surprised anymore?

Perhaps it's useful to put it all in historical perspective. It was a little more than 100 years ago that mainstream medicine was treating patients with mercury and other heavy metals as the correct medical treatment of the day. Today we know they were killing people. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changing Opinions

Isn't it amazing that doctors who think they have all of the answers to our health problems continue to change their recommendations? If they're right, why change?

The latest case in point is the increase of vitamin D for children. To reduce rates of the bone-softening disease rickets and improve long-term bone health, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommendation of vitamin D for babies, children and adolescents. A report suggests children receive 400 IU (international units) a day of vitamin D, beginning in the first few days of life — a big leap from a 2003 recommendation that suggested only half that amount starting in the first two months of life.

Or you can simply GO OUTSIDE AND GET MORE SUNSHINE but doctors don't seem to think about any natural ways to get healthy, only artificial drugs. Even in the most simple situation they can't seem to think first of a natural solution to the problem.

Sorry I've been absent lately. It's not for lack of news to cover, just been too busy to get on my blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Following The Money ... Again

Is anyone really surprised to learn that a leading psychiatrist earned more than $2.8 million from drug makers from 2000 - 2007 and failed to report at least $1.7 million of it? Dr. Charles Nemeroff of Emory University signed a letter in 2004 promising the university he wouldn't earn more than $10,000 per year from GlaxoSmithKline but in fact he earned $170,000 that year alone.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is leading a congressional inquiry into drug company payments and he says "The current system for tracking financial relationships isn't working."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Supplement Safety

I don't usually talk about diets and supplements because my book does not contain any information on them. Just can't resist the news about the new supplement reaction law. During the first six months after the law took effect, only 604 adverse events were reported, versus an annual prescription drug adverse event total of 482,154. On an annual basis, that works out to 1 dietary supplement adverse event for about every 400 drug adverse events.

Many supplements have been used for hundreds of years while our modern drugs have a track record of only a few years. Even pharmacists will tell you they don't know what the long-term interactions are going to be for all of these prescription drugs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Loneliness is Cold, Really

Research published in the journal Psychologlical Science shows that feeling loneliness literally feels cold. "Unpopular" participants in studies were more likely to want hot soup or coffee and to report a lower room temperature than other participants involved in the research at the University of Toronto.

Raising the temperature may help someone who is feeling loneliness much like light therapy helps those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Question is: Why is science continually surprised by the correlation between mind and body?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Follow the Money in Medicine

Congress and the Justice Department are looking into the payments made by medical device companies to doctors who consult for them. A bill is pending that would require companies to disclose payments by both drug and device companies.

In Texas, meanwhile, two renowned psychiatrists liked to the University of Texas system are being investigated for their connections to drug companies by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). The University of Texas is also investigating possible failures to report income and other financial allegations. The doctors are recognized for their contributions to child pharmacology.

Eli Lilly plans to begin reporting payments they make to doctors for advice and speeches, even making the information available to the public through an Internet database. It was also the first company to publicly report its educational grants for medical conferences noting that letting the public see what's going on is a necessary step towards restoring trust.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Drugs In Your Water

Whether you want to take prescription drugs or not, you are, because they're in your drinking water. The Associated Press has been following the story of drugs in America's water supply for months but now comes news of a huge source of the drug contamination. Nursing homes and hospitals are dumping 250 million pounds of prescription drugs into the water supply every year!

In a survey of 5,700 hospitals and 45,000 long-term care facilities the AP estimates that millions of pounds of outdated, over prescribed and simply unwanted drugs are simply flushed down the toilet for disposal. This includes the most toxic and dangerous drugs available today. In most states and areas there aren't even any regulations preventing this method of disposal.

This is a dangerous practice because in tests of wastewater tested near European hospitals and one in Davis County, Utah, scientists were able to link drug dumping to virulent antibiotic-resistant germs and genetic mutations that may promote cancers.

Even state and federal prisons are contributing to the problem by flushing thousands of pills every year.

The EPA hopes to begin looking into the problem next year ... sometime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BPA Study Links Health Problems

Suspicions about the effect of bisphenol A (BPA) on human beings has been confirmed in the first large study on the product. Research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the health of 1,455 men and women with BPA in their systems. Those with the highest concentrations of BPA were nearly 3x more like to have cardiovascular disease and 2.4x as like to have diabetes than those with the lowest levels.

In Congress Sen. Charles Gressley, R-Iowa has opened an investigation into the way the FDA regulated the chemical. In addition Congress is looking into whether chemical manufacturers unduly influenced the agency's position.

How long will it be before somebody gets this stuff pulled off the market?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Helping Wounded Warriors

With the support of my publisher we're going to be donating copies of UnBreak Your Health to the Books 4 Boots program. This is a great program to help our wounded warriors and I highly recommend every author and publisher get involved.

Books are sent to VA hospitals to help patients pass the time and are also sold to benefit the program. In the case of UnBreak Your Health it's also to help them discover a world of complementary and alternative therapies to help their recovery. Several VA hospitals are adding Integrative Medicine to benefit their patients.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Upside Down System

America ranks #30 in longevity in the world and one of the reasons other industrialized countries enjoy longer, healthier lives is that 80% of their doctors are general practitioners who know their patients and can catch health problems earlier. In America only 20% of our doctors are GP's and that number is falling.

Today only 2% of graduating medical students say they plan to work in primary care internal medicine, or becoming a family doctor. The biggest reason is money. Family medicine has the lowest average salary of only $186,000. Only 42% of residency slots are filled by U.S. students. By comparison an orthopedic surgeon makes an average of $436,000 and 94% of those slots are filled by Americans.

Clearly the trend is not improving and in 2006 the American College of Physicians warned that the nation's primary care system is "at grave risk of collapse."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Health Media Bias

I seem to have kicked the hornet's nest recently with a post to the Association of Health Care Journalists about bias against complementary and alternative therapies. Wow! I didn't expect the outburst of responses claiming there was no such thing. Fortunately there were some other brave souls who joined the discussion after that round to respond that yes, in fact, there was clearly a bias in reporting against CAM.

If the buggy makers had been in charge of evaluating the effectiveness of the automobile we'd still be riding horses. The media prefers to turn a blind eye to the influence of money and politics in their coverage of health care. They prefer to rationalize how we spend more on health care than any other nation on earth but rank so poorly compared to other industrialized countries. They bury stories that taint the world of mainstream medicine as if it were heresy.

How can they report on something that they know so little about is my first question? Why don't they demand the same level of research and "proof" for mainstream medicine? I guess with so many jobs disappearing today they prefer to keep their eyes closed and their heads down because most health "reporters" today are simply reporting what the hospitals or drug companies sponsoring the news tell them to cover.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

FDA Lists Side-Effect Probes

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has posted 20 drugs being investigated for possible side effects. The list will be updated quarterly to better inform patients and doctors of the latest developments. At least 5 of the drugs on the list had problems that have already been publicized like heparin.

To learn more please visit FDA LIST

The drug companies are upset at this list because patients need to understand the risks and benefits of a drug. This coming from the folks who look for ways to not tell consumers ANYTHING about risks!

To the FDA: long overdue, but it's a start.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Health Care Costs

Hold on to your wallet, the cost of health care is going up, again. This time it's in the amount of your co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses because employers are moving more of the costs to employees. A survey released this week found that 59% of companies intend to hold down their health care costs next year by increasing the worker's share.

Estimates are for health care costs to increase 5.7% next year, similar to the increase in 2007.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vytorin Cancer Risk

Editors at the New England Journal of Medicine have warned that it's impossible to rule out a link between the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin and cancer. The connection came to light in July from 3 studies which were looking at whether the drug prevents deaths from heart attacks and strokes. The data revealed that patients taking Vytorin appear to have at least a 40% higher risk of dying from cancer than those taking a placebo.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Medical System Fraud

The federal government estimates that it's recovered $9.6 billion from health care providers accused of fraud as a result of whistle-blower claims from 1996-2005. The good news is the whistle blowers picked up $1 billion of the amount for having the courage to step forward. Recoveries jumped from about $10 million per case in 2002 to $50 million by 2005.

Greed anyone?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drug Company Scam

Drug companies have found a way around the FDA requirement that they warn consumers about the dangers in their products. After all, Eli Lilly's ad for Evista doesn't want to spend 25 seconds of their 60-second TV commercial warning about such side effects and blood clots and dying from stroke. Now companies are using ads that don't mention their drug. Instead the promote the problem, like stopping smoking, and refer consumers to a website that has a link to Chantix. It's a 2-step dance around FDA rules but it more effectively captures potential customers because it doesn't scare them away with side effects of the drug like DEATH.

When are our elected officials and the FDA going to realize the American experiment with allowing direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs has been a disaster for health in our country? We have only 4.3% of the world's population but we consumer 48% of the world's prescription drugs ... yet only rank #30 in longevity (worse in other categories). There are only 2 countries in the world that allow it, and the othe one is already looking at discontinuing it because they're seeing the same pattern of abuse.

WAKE UP CONGRESS! Or are you just too happy with all of the political contributions from the drug makers? Didn't we vote you into office to protect our welfare, not the welfare of the drug companies?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Other Side

One of the reasons I didn't include anything on diets or supplements in UnBreak Your Health is that it is an area ripe for exploitation.

Today's news shows that both sides of the fence can be guilty of unethical behavior. The founder of the company that produced the male enhancement product Enzyte was convicted of fraud and sentanced to 25 years in prison. Turns out all of his natural supplements were nothing but hype preying on the hope of millions.

One more case of a rotten apple spoiling the barrel for everyone else.

Medical Safety

Everyone questions the safety of complementary & alterantive medicine even though these therapies have been around for decades, hundreds even thousands of years. Shall we compare it to the best of mainstream medicine?

Recent front-page article in the Wall Street Journal notes that a new treatment for Sepsis infections may help the 4 million people who die from it each year, or not. When the research came out medical groups endorsed it and hospitals started using it. Now it turns out that the research was done at just 1 hospital and, oh gee what a coincidence, they happen to own the patents on a medical device critical to the therapy. It also turns out that the research started with a standard rate of infection that is much higher than current research standards, a red flag in the world of statistical research.

The situation has become quite public, and pretty ugly, in the quiet halls of medicine. As questions started coming up more statistical issues became apparent in the study that promoted this new therapy. The hospital claims it did a thorough investigation but won't release the report. The groups that supported the therapy were not aware of the conflict of interest in the situation.

And these are the folks that expect us to trust them with our lives?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Health Care Increases to 16.3% of GDP

The journal Health Affairs reports that uninsured Americans will spend $30 billion for care out of their own pockets this year while others, mainly the government, will spend an additional $56 billion.

The bigger picture is that health care now consumes 16.3% of our nation's entire Gross Domestic Product, more than any other nation on earth. When added to our country's poor rating of #30 in the world for longevity it's obvious our return on investment continues to get worse with each passing year.

Everyone agrees there is a huge and growing problem with health care in America but no one can agree on what to do to fix the problem. This election year is the time to make every politician running for office go on the record for what they'll do to fix this crisis.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Faith in Healing

In this week's Archives of Surgery there is an interesting study on Prayer Therapy. In a random survey 57% of adults felt that God's intervention could save a family member even if doctors had said that treatment would be futile. Even 20% of doctors shared the belief, apparently understanding their limitations.

The bigger question is, how can we not imagine miraculous cures? In this era of epigenetics and discoveries about the unlimited abilities of our bodies to heal how can we not have faith in the unseen and unknown? Is this any bigger leap of faith than those 150 years ago who believed that antibiotics might cure a disease caused by evil spirits?

What's sad is that only 20% of doctors understand their are higher powers than theirs.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dallas Child Article

I keep forgetting to mention that if you're in the Dallas area pick up a copy of the current DALLAS CHILD magazine, there is a nice little article on me and UnBreak Your Health. To check it out online visit:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Laughter Therapy Fun

Recorded my 5th podcast last night and I have to admit it was the most fun ever. Nothing like talking to the president of the Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor about Laughter Therapy to have some fun! Check it out at Podcasts

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors, in other words mistakes that should have been prevented, are costing employers an estimated $1.47 billion each year according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The estimate was reached reviewing records of 161,000 adult patients who underwent surgery in 2001 and 2002 and were enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans. In other words, this isn't the whole picture.

Anyone interested in the hidden costs of mainstream medicine should read Shannon Brownlee's award-winning book OVERTREATED: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sleep and Stress

With the 24/7 world we live in it's not surprising to hear that most of us have trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and awakening too early. The April 2008 survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center was done with a nationally representative sample of 1,466 adults. Fifty percent of those we asked about their most recent night of sleep reported those problems, and for many, they occur repeatedly. When asked about the previous month, 44% said they had one or more of those issues on at least eight nights, making them "problem sleepers." .

What's really sad is that instead of treating the source of the problem most people simply turn to prescription drugs. The survey discovered almost 20%Americans took prescription or over-the-counter medicines at least once a week to help them sleep better.

Treat the source of your problem (usually stress) and you'll not only sleep better, you'll live better.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Drugs Can Kill

The government issued a warning on Friday that patients taking some common medications for high cholesterol and irregular heart beats can suffer severe muscle damage because of a problem in the way the drugs interact. Once again people are guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry.

The Food and Drug Administration said doctors should use extra care when prescribing Zocor, generic Zocor, or Vytorin to patients who are also taking amiodarone, a heart rhythm drug marketed as Cordarone or Pacerone. Want to bet the drug salesmen forget to mention this small problem because it might impact their revenue?

When are Americans going to wake up to the fact that drugs have a higher cost than they've ever been told by doctors or drug companies?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Doctor Visits

The CDC reports that the number of medical visits increased 26% between 1996 and 2006a number that is significantly higher than the 11% population growth during that period. Older folks are the main reason and that's because they're making more visits than they did 10 years ago.

What's sad is that the majority of visits were for chronic conditions ... you know, those health problems that complementary and alternative therapies do so well with and mainstream medicine does so poorly. Go to a doctor for a chronic condition and all you're going to get are more pills.

Our current sick-care system shows what it's all about.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Medical Errors Cost More

The U.S. government reported this week that preventable medical errors during or after surgery cause 10% of surgery-related deaths each year and may cost an additional $1.5 Billion each year.

The Director for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Carolyn Clancy, said "Eliminating medical errors and their after effects must continue to be the top priority for our health care system." Looking at records from 2001 and 2002 the agency reported that errors ranged from bedsores to infections and blood clots.

As if medical costs weren't high enough already!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Slow Enforcement of Off-Label Drug Use

Even after federal investigators find a drug company selling products for uses that are not approved by the FDA it can take up to 7 months for them to issue a warning. Then it can take the drug companies another 4 months to stop the practice. Yes, you're right in thinking that millions of prescriptions can be written in that amount of time resulting in lots of profits for drug companies.

As always, it's all about the money when talking about the drug industry, and it's never enough.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Meditation Fights AIDS

There is a new study out on Mindfulness Meditation and how it boosts the immune system to fight AIDS in just a few weeks. There was a direct correlation because the more often the volunteers meditated, the higher their CD4 T-cell counts. Those are cells are a standard measure of how well the immune system is fighting the AIDS virus. The CD4 counts were measured before and after the two-month program.

Following on the footsteps of Dr. Dean Ornish's research that the Ornish Program can switch our genes to help fight cancer it's clear there is a new trend beginning. There are better options than prescription drugs!

Now if we could only get the news media to cover CAM as well as they cover their friends in the pharmaceutical industry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ailing Drug Industry

Strange as it sounds the drug industry is sick. You see the number of prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies in America is growing at the slowest rate in a decade. Consumers are being squeezed by an ailing economy and it shows.

In May namebrand medicines were less than 31% of prescriptions, down from nearly 46% in 2003. The health care industry has always thought it was immune to economic conditions but the current results are clearly show otherwise.

The cause of the problem is that more of the cost burden is being shouldered by consumers. In 2000 the average co-pay was $15 but in 2007 it had risen to $25, a 67%increase. Insurance premiums were $3,281 last year, up 84% from 2001. It's an attempt to control the $2 trillion health care system in America.

As I've said before, all of this is actually good news for people interested in real health because it's forcing them to consider new, non-drug alternatives. The world of complementary and alterantive medicine offers hundreds of incredible therapies to help everyone find better health. The easiest way to start is to read the award-winning book UnBreak Your Health - The Complete Guide to Complementary & Alternative Therapies (Loving Healing Press 2007).

Friday, July 18, 2008


As the suggestion of my publisher, Loving Healing Press, I've added podcasts to the website at UnBreak Your Health Podcast.

My first interview on July 17th was with Dr. Philip Slocum, Dean of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, the first school of osteopathy in the world founded in 1892. We talked about what osteopathy is, what it can do for patients, and its growing future.

Each week I'll bring add another interview with a leading authority in the field of complementary and alternative medicine to build a podcast version of UnBreak Your Health.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rising Medical Costs

The fight between doctors and insurance companies continues. Five years ago 700,000 physicians and state medical and specialty societies sued the largest health insurers in the country and won multimillion-dollar settlements and changes in how their claims are processed. That settlement is reaching the end of its 5-year term.

Health care costs in America nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007 with lots of finger pointing going on. Insurance company profits continue to climb with Health Group reporting a 12% increase in net income last year, Aetna reported an 8% increase and Human came in with a whopping 71% increase. The CEOs of these companies earned $13 million, $23 million and $10 million.

Doctors point out shrinking reimbursements and a jump in denied claims which are reducing their incomes. One way they've been attempting to correct the situation caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission which has ruled against them saying they're trying to fix prices.

Meanwhile it's the patients who continue to get caught in the squeeze. Our insurance rates continue to climb, our deductables go up and coverage goes down. And the medical world and insurance industry wonders why there is such growing demand for a single-payer system in America?

And why more people are turning to complementary and alternative medicine?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gene Therapy

The research confirming the new science of Epigenetics continues to roll in. The journal Science reported on a international study on Autism that 3 of the 6 genes identified as being connected to autism are regulated by activities like thinking, feeling and doing. In other words, early treatment that stimulate thinking, feeling and doing can "switch" the genes and reduce the effects of autism.

This study about how thinking and feeling can turn genes on (or off) follows the recent announcement by Dr. Dean Ornish that a small study with men who have prostate cancer using The Ornish Program "switched" 500 genes in only 90 days, increasing genetic activity to fight cancer and decreasing genes supporting cancer growth.

Epigenetics is the science of changing our genetic activity based on the energy of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Early research by Dr. Bruce Lipton demonstrated that the energy of our thoughts is another environmental factor that can alter our genes. Research continues to demonstrate that our genetic functions are not carved in stone but adjust to the environment as needed. This cutting-edge science is showing how many complementary and alternative therapies have managed to improved health.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported last year that 1 in every 150 children has an "autism spectrum disorder" making it one of the most urgent health problems today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy

According to a recent report Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world. Zimbabwe, torn by political and social strife, is the least happy. To illustrate that money can't buy happiness the U.S., the world's richest nation, ranks 16th.

Overall, the world is getting happier. It found increased happiness in 45 of 52 coutnries studied from 1981 to 2007.

So don't worry about rising oil prices, food prices and other problems. Be happy!

Seriously, it's not what happens to us in life, it's how we react to it that matters. Take time for yourself each day. Live in the moment. Meditate and find the peace within. Not only will you be happier but your health will benefit.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Medicare Progress

Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for the Ornish Program, the only medically-proven therapy to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery. This is the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes, something insurance companies aren't even doing yet.

Way To Go Medicare!

It's good to see government health care leading the way, especially when it involves saving money and avoiding drugs and surgery. Dr. Ornish and his colleagues are now training and licensing health professionals from around the world in his program for reversing heart disease for free in an open source model ... a radical new trend in medicine.

You may have read about Dr. Dean Ornish in the news lately. Dr. Ornish has expanded his research and recently directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or perhaps even reverse the progression of prostate cancer. The initial results demonstrated that 500+ genes were modified by lifestyle in only 3 months, basically turning on more cancer-fighting genes and turning off genes that support cancer growth. For those of you familiar with Bruce Lipton's work or UnBreak Your Health you recognize this is the new science of Epigenetics.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Drug Industry Control of Government

How much fun is the drug industry having with the current administration and climate in Washington? Would you believe they increased their lobbying spending by 32% in 2007? The pharmaceutical industry's spending has skyrocketed since Democrats took control of Congress to $168 million and it comes as no surprise that for the first time they gave more to Democrats than Republicans.

The biggest single spender was the industry's hub group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Board which paid $23 million. Their goal is to block the importation of inexpensive foreign drugs and to protect their patents. They're also doing everything they can to slow the growth of generics.

So next time you're spending $10 Oor more) per pill just remember who to thank!

With this kind of financial power is it any wonder that the field of complementary and alternative medicine is under more legislative attacks than ever before? Remember it was only 20 years ago that the federal courts had to protect chiropractors from the attacks of the American Medical Association. They've got the gold, and they're making the rules in Washington and in state capitals all across America.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daily Happiness Measure

The is a new, daily survey of the happiness (and stress) of life in America that you can look at on the Internet. Healthways, Inc. and Gallup measure out situation nightly with 1,000 interviews. On a daily basis the ratio is about 5:1 in favor of happiness. Happiness Graph

What's interesting in this survey is the detailed information subsets. For example sick people with no insurance 56% reported a lot of stress compared to only 39% of those with insurance.

Too bad they didn't start this survey before the price of gas rolled over $3 per gallon ... that causes all of us a lot of stress!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More To Genes

Researchers have discovered that comprehensive lifestyle changes including a better diet and more exercise can lead not only to a better physique, but also to swift and dramatic changes at the genetic level. The activity was improved diet and exercise along with an hour each day of stress management including such techniques as meditation. The small study involved men with prostate cancer and it found that after the three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes -- including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off.

The activity of disease-preventing genes increased while a number of disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is exactly the type of response that Dr. Bruce Lipton and others involved with the field of epigenetics have been talking about for some time. Research is now beginning to verify that disease isn't simply "in our genes" after all. The choices we make in how we live are clearly a factor.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lost Opportunity to Save Lives

The sudden death of journalist Tim Russert was a shock to everyone. He had just passed a heart stress test two weeks prior to collapsing at work. His loss is shared by family, friends and his many media colleagues and my condolences go out to those who knew him.

In reporting on his death the news media has gone into great detail about how heart disease kills 300,000 Americans every year and is still our #1 cause of death. The news stories have gone into great detail on all of the surgical options, diagnostic tests, even prescription medications on this popular topic. In other words they've covered the story from every possible angle ... but one.

I've seen stories in almost every major media and not once has there been any mention of any complementary and alternative therapy for heart disease. I expected to see at least some mention of the Ornish Program which is the only medically-proven treatment to reverse heart disease. Or perhaps Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School or some other proven CAM therapy. Instead all of the media chose to stick to their AMA-approved script. I'm sure all of the drug companies cheered all the reporting on their wonderful medications, they consider it free advertising.

This is just the latest example of how shallow journalism has become. It's sad and ironic that a journalist who always wanted to get behind the photo-op and underneath the press release became the latest example of the surface reporting that passes for journalism today in our country. Tim Russert, of all people, would've scolded his colleagues to do their job and get the WHOLE story, not just the sound bite.

The result of this media failure is another lost opportunity to help hundreds of thousands of people find better health with complementary and alternative medicine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hope for New Doctors

One of the most hopeful trends in medicine is the skeptical eye medical students are casting on their teachers. The American Medical Student Association has conducted its second annual survey on U.S. medical schools, grading them on how strictly they control the relationships between doctors and sales representatives from drug and medical device companies.

Of the 132 medical schools surveyed, 60 received Fs. These schools refused to reveal their policies, or ignored requests for the policies, which the student association contends should be available to the public. Only seven schools received As, while 14 received Bs, four received Cs and 19 received Ds.

The good news is that at least some of the medical students are beginning to appreciate the influence peddling that's going on in the hallowed halls of America's medical schools. Perhaps the next generation of doctors will not only view prescription drugs with more skepticism but maybe even appreciate the healing techniques called complementary and alternative medicine.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

Does it surprise you to learn how many doctors are hiding income, often a lot of income, the receive from drug companies? In the news recently is the story about a world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped fuel the explosion of use in antipsychotic medications for children who neglected to report he received at least $1.6 million from drug makers from 2000 - 2007.

Yes, this is a violation of federal and university rules designed to police conflicts of interest, but it turns out several doctors there aren't paying attention. The case has been referred to the university's conflict committee for review and NIH is looking into the that it's been exposed for them.

The situation came to light through the efforts of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. He noted the amended disclosures may actually understate the researcher's outside income because the amounts contradict payment information from the drug manufacturers.

Most of us aren't surprised in the least by such news reports. We know the doctors and researchers are in bed with the drug makers. We're surprised when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar is all, and are deeply grateful to Sen. Grassley and others for shining light on these dirty little secrets.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Must Be Nice

I must admit right upfront that this blog is all about jealousy and envy. As a new author with a small publisher I am very jealous of all the media coverage given to big companies with their expensive PR agencies. It really rubs me the wrong way when it's a pharmaceutical company pushing more drugs down the throats of Americans.

Latest case in point: Erbitux. You have to have heard about this new cancer fighter because it was reported on all major TV news networks yesterday. It was also reported on several of the local TV news programs here in Dallas. It was even in today's Dallas Morning News newspaper. Judging from all of this media coverage you'd think this was a major innovation, but you'd be wrong, it's just more of the usual.

Dr. Roy Herbst, lung cancer specialist at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston had it right when he said "It's a very small benefit. No one should try to make any more of it than that." I would add it's based on an extremely small study so it's very premature too.

There were only 1,125 people in the new study and the drug appears to only extend the average survival from 10 months with standard chemotherapy to 11 months with Erbitux and chemo. Not exactly a huge improvement but from all of the media hype you'd think this was the cure for cancer.

Like I said, I admit I'm envious of all the media coverage! I've been trying for nearly a year to get some coverage, any coverage, about complementary and alternative medicine ... with no success. My book, UnBreak Your Health, can certainly reduce pain and suffering as well as this new drug but without the money to pay a big PR firm for media attention, nobody knows about it. The hundreds of therapies in my book can help millions of people, not just the thousands impacted by the type of cancer involved with this new drug, but the media ignores it.

Welcome to the Golden Rule, pharmaceutical style.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Consumers Will Make Better Choices

Consumers Union is starting a new hospital rating service to offer an unbiased review. You may know them better as the folks behind Consumer Reports, the popular magazine with valuable information about cars, appliances and other consumer products. They were already offering reviews of health insurance plans, drugs and some medical treatments so this new service is just a new step down the path. They will report on about 3,000 facilities.

The index is based on the research of the Dartmouth Atlas Project which has shown that more intense (and expensive) medical care doesn't necessarily correlate with better results. (For more information please read Shannon Brownlee's book OVERTREATED.)

While consumers need to know more about the quality and cost of care the question is whether they will care.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Snowball in Summer

Two Democratic lawmakers have asked parmaceutical companies to voluntarily reduce their direct-to-consumer TV advertising. Representatives John Dingell and Bart Stupak are investigating whether companies are misleading consumers.

Ya think? And what do we think the odds are that Merck & Co, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough are going to comply? Even in the face of potential Congressional restrictions the companies are probably going to continue making money hand over fist and use the same delay-and-deny tactics they've always used.

America should have never passed the law in 1997 permitting direct-to-consumer advertising in the first place. With only 4.3% of the world's population we consumer 48% of the world's prescription drugs ... and at premium prices.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Mind-Body Connection

The facts continue to pile up about the Mind-Body connection but doctors continue to ignore it or dismiss it as so much "woo-woo" New Age mumbo-jumbo. The latest evidence comes from research with 1,032 adults with whiplash injuries in Sweden.

"There is a dose-response relation between recovery expectations and the degree of subsequent disability," accord to Dr. Lena Holm of the Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm. Surveys were taken about 23 days after their accident and again six months later.

As expected those with less initial disability had higher expectations for recovery. But more thorough review produced an interesting discovery. Compared with individuals reporting the highest expectations of recovery, those with the lowest expectations were FOUR TIMES more likely to have higher disability and TWO TIMES more likely to have moderate disability six months later.

In other words, early identification of people with low expectations for recovery from whiplash injuries may be a better indicator of future disability. No mention of whether Sweden will begin using some type of complementary or alternative therapy to improve expectations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Drugs Aren't Always The Answer

Last winter in the U.S. the flu vaccine was ineffective against a large percentage of cases. Experts are now saying that seasonal flu viruses are developing the ability to evade influenza drugs globally, and doing it quickly. It's always been known that they can mutate quickly but the speed of adaptation is surprising scientists. The resistance also varies by strain, with a quarter of H1N1 flu viruses resistant in Europe and about 11 percent of H1N1 in the United States affected.

Many scientists say we need to develop better faster vaccines to prepare for a pandemic. It hasn't dawned on them that by using more drugs they're actually creating the pandemic they fear. Case studies have found that with simple skin viruses it can take less than 3 weeks and 32 generations of mutation for a virus to become completely drug resistant and deadly. Aren't we doing the same thing with our flu drugs?

Altering a natural cycle may only be creating a bigger problem in the long run.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cancer Profit

Sales of cancer drugs are predicted to grow at nearly twice the rate of the world's other pharmaceuticals, possibly reaching $80 billion by 2012 according to IMS Health. Sales this year are expected to reach $48 billion.

Why would you want to find a cure for cancer when treatments are so profitable? Isn't it curious that cancer has received more research money than any other health problem and yet apparently we've made so little progress in curing or even preventing the disease over so many decades?

If it isn't about the money is it possible that the current limitations of medical science prevent a cure from being found? Perhaps they simply can't look outside their small little box of preconceived attitudes to find solutions? One of my favorites was a doctor at the NIH saying that nutrition has nothing to do with cancer. If not, then why do they use a sugar-based radioactive solution to find cancer? Because the tumors consume the formula at a higher rate than normal cells making them light up like a Christmas tree ... but nutrition has nothing to do with cancer.

Many people turn to complementary and alternative medicine for more holistic, more natural and in many cases very effective cancer treatments. The more you research your options, the more you'll understand why.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What Does It Take?

I often wonder what it takes to get people to take responsibility for their own health. I view this as the first step before they'll even consider the world of hope called complementary and alternative medicine. I have to admit that in my case, it took running out of medical options, although I hope others are much smarter.

A recent report on cancer survivors following minimal recommendations has me shaking my head and wondering what it takes to get people involved in their own health. You'd think that surviving cancer would do it, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong.

The American Cancer Society issued three fundamental recommendations in 2006 on healthy lifestyle behaviors: get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise, or an hour of strenuous physical activity every week; eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; and quit smoking. These are recommendations that every type of complementary and alternative therapy can agree on with mainstream medicine so that should give you an idea of how basic these suggestions are for maintaining good health.

Today we know that only 5% were meeting all three requirements. Pretty sad, isn't it? At the same time just over 12% were meeting none and fewer than 10% of cancer survivors of any of the six cancer types in the study were meeting two or more recommendations.

Once again I pose the question: What in the world does it take???

Friday, May 9, 2008

Complementary & Alternative Medicine Opinion of Former Surgeon General

Ran across an interesting interview with former Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D. recently where he talked a little bit about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). While admitting that some good comes from CAM, those parts that are scientifically proven and then accepted into mainstream medicine, he feels that billions of dollars are being wasted on dubious devices and products. He added that "But the fact that 50% of Americans are spending discretionary income on alternative medicine shows that the public is dissatisfied with the healthcare system."

I do agree with him on one major point: people don't know enough about their health. Dr. Carmona said "We're a health illiterate nation. Studies show that about one third of our population doesn't understand the connection between their lifestyle and their health outcomes...The real challenge for consumer-directed initiatives is to deliver health literate, culturally competent messages that resonate with diverse populations....Health literacy is the currency of success for everything we need to do to improve the health, safety, and security of our nation."

Hopefully UnBreak Your Health is one of the ways to improve the health of Americans!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's About The Money

In America we're free to choose our careers based on our ambitions and abilities. When the financial rewards are controlled by third-party payments instead of consumers, the system can go terribly out of balance.

That's what is happening in medicine today. Shortages are being created in many specialties because they earn less than fields where more high-profit procedures can be done per day. For example, in the coming decade America will probably lose 140 of the remaining 400 neuro-opthamologists, specialists trained to detect and treat visual problems connected to the brain. In the last 4 years only 20 medical students have chosen this field.

This trend contributes to the relentless increase in medical costs as both patients and doctors are driven into more expensive, procedure-driven medical treatments. Just one more part of a broken medical system in our country.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dallas Meeting

Interesting meeting at the Tower Club in Dallas last night, a presentation on "Health Care: The Situation, Politics and Solutions." The general feeling was there are tremendous pressures building for fundamental changes in our current system but doubts about the ability of Congress to get the job done. (After all, look at how well they're handling the Social Security crisis!)

There was some very good information presented and interesting questions from the audience. I didn't really expect the subject of complementary and alternative medicine to come up since the time was very limited but wanted to attend ... just in case. I did have an opportunity to talk with several people about CAM during the networking time.

People are always amazed to hear about some of the wonderful healing therapies available in complementary and alternative therapies and shocked that they've never heard of them before. As I explain, since these therapies take money away from mainstream medicine they shouldn't expect to hear about the competition.

A few more seeds for change have been planted.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NBC Series on Mind-Body Medicine

Have you caught the NBC News series this week on Mind-Body medicine? Monday's segment featured Duke Integrative Medicine where they talked about the benefits of health and wellness. The catch: trying to get insurance companies to realize it's better and cheaper to pay for wellness than it is disease management. Big task, but with hospitals realizing that it's better to capitalize on the rising consumer popularity of complementary and alternative medicine perhaps there's hope the insurance companies will "get it" eventually too.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Medications Dangerous for Elderly

We all know how the elderly are more frail and that means medications impact their diminished bodies more severely. Now there is news of an NIH study that confirms these observations. The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study (GEMS) was presented to the American Geriatrics Society meeting last weekend.

"Older adults who take drugs designed to block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine – including common medications for incontinence, high blood pressure and allergies – are more likely to be dependent in one or more activities of daily living and to walk slower, according to new findings from researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and colleagues."

Just one more example of the unintended consequences of prescription drugs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

Many people put off investing in their own health. We take better care of our cars than we do our most precious gift, our own body. We used to think we could put it off and simply pay up later.

That day is coming sooner than many people realize since many hospitals are now charging before they provide service. Uncompensated care cost the hospital industry $31.2 billion in 2006 up 44% from 2000. It's not only those without insurance or with little coverage, the increasing co-pays and deductables are pushing the bills to new heights. (Don't get me started on the price of gas and food!)

Best choice has always been to invest in your health TODAY otherwise you may discover the truth of "penny wise, pound foolish" later at the doorway to the hospital.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Modern Medicine vs. Old Wives' Tale

There is an old wives' tale that if a woman eats bananas she'll have a boy. Now British researchers have confirmed it. In addition it makes a difference if a woman eats breakfast. Women who ate one bowl daily were 87% more likely to have a boy than women who ate just one per week.

The study involved 700 women in the United Kingdom and is reported to be the first to show a link in humans between a woman's diet and the sex of her child.

Want to bet that the pharmaceutical industry comes up with a banana pill with a commercial on the evening news sometime soon?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Getting Our Priorities In Order

Did you know that France provides a minimum of 30 days of paid leave every year? Or that Austria and Portugal require 22 vacation days each year along with 13 holidays? America ranks last among industrialized countries!

America is a nation of workaholics ... and it is literally killing us. We're not on this planet to work but to live and we seem to have forgotten the priority. It's the reason we have so many health problems so it literally is killing us.

Next time you're tempted to skip a vacation (or take your laptop or PDA) ask yourself "Why?" because you're missing a chance to LIVE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Declining Health in U.S.

According to a new study average life expectancy declined significantly in nearly 200 counties across America. Overall life expectancy has increased since 1961 to 79.6 years for women and 74.1 years for men but it began to plateau or decline in the 1980's for 4% of men and 19% of women.

This rise in mortality for chronic diseases contradicts the health trends in other industrialized countries. Generally the data highlights domestic trends in smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.

According to Majid Ezzati of Harvard University, "In the U.S. there has always been a view, stated or unstated, that we can live with some inequality if everyone is getting better. This is the first sign that not everyone is getting better."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Price of Drugs

Insurance companies are changing the game so people understand and appreciate just how expensive the newest prescription drugs can be. The new "Tier 4" pricing will change from a fixed co-pay amount to a percentage of the total cost, so instead of the small co-pay of $10 or $20 patients are now paying, they'll pay a percentage of the price of the drug. As an example if your drug is actually $500 per bottle, say $16.67 per pill for a month, then instead of just a few dollars you might pay $150 or 30% of the total. If you have one of the really expensive new drugs, say $1,500 per bottle or $50 per pill, you might spend $450 for each refill ... or $5,400 per year for the medication.

Obviously the insurance companies want you to appreciate the cost difference between old generic drugs with proven effectiveness to the latest, as-seen-on-TV drugs which can be incredibly expensive. As gamblers say, if you have "more skin in the game" then you'll decide what it's really worth.

The good news is by making prescription drugs more expensive the insurance companies are also going to increase the popularity of complementary and alternative medicine. After all, if it's your money you may as well spend it on what you want.

Monday, April 14, 2008

CAM Growing in Popularity

People want complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) even when they're using mainstream medicine. The American Hospital Association does a survey every two years on CAM use in hospitals and the latest shows the percentage of hospitals offering one or more CAM services increased from 8% in 1998 to 27% in 2005.

You probably expect them all to be in California but most were in the Midwest and they were actually less common on the West Coast. The least common areas to offer CAM services were in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The top CAM services offered on an outpatient basis among hospitals were massage therapy (71%); tai chi, yoga, or chi gong (47%); relaxation training (43%), acupuncture (39%); guided imagery (32%), and therapeutic touch (30%). The top inpatient services were massage therapy (37%), music/art therapy (26%), therapeutic touch (25%), guided imagery (22%), relaxation training (20%), and acupuncture (11%).

There are literally hundreds of other therapies available (as shown in UnBreak Your Health) but at least we're making a start. Hospitals and doctors are beginning to realize there are thousands of years of healing experience available in therapies outside of prescription drugs. People are finding the courage to ask for what they want.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taking Responsibility for Our Health

Companies are encouraging employees to take responsibility for their health by adding the convenience of on-site health clinics. With the cost of employee health care running about $10,000 per year it's also an opportunity to save money while benefiting healthier, more productive employees, which is why 30% of large employers have on-site clinics.

Most clinics focus on preventative health care but 40% also offer pharmacy services. Some offer primary care, travel medicine, even pregnancy support and nutritional advice. Frequently clinics can produce savings of $70,000 the first year and up to $250,000 by the third year mainly by reducing the number of emergency room visits, self-referrals to specialists and improving health awareness.

Anything that gets Americans to take responsibility for their own health is a good thing ... now if we could just get them to add complementary and alternative medicine to those clinics!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Money and Longevity

We assume that if you spend more on health care then you'll live longer and better, and as usual that may be wrong. New research from Dartmouth College illustrates the discrepencies in our nation's health care system.

While Medicare spending for chronically ill patients in the last two years of life at UCLA cost $93,842 it cost $53,432 at the Mayo Clinic's main teaching hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Many people have pointed to the variations of medical policy and procedures as one of the main factors for cost and waste in our system. The care you get, and what it costs, depends on where you live. While chronically ill patients spent only 10.6 days in the hospital in Bend, Oregon they spent nearly 35 days in the hospital in Manhattan.

This is important because Medicare spends $1 for chronic illnesses out of every $3 spent. The next time someone tries to tell you that Western medicine has all of the answers, remind them they don't even know how much variation there is in system.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Drug Timing

Is it a coincidence that 14 of the 21 drug withdrawals or black-box warnings for drugs approved since 1993 were approved within two months before the deadline for new drug applications? To look at it another way, the 97 drugs approved near the FDA's deadline had a 14% rate of severe safety problems compared with a 3% rate for 216 other drugs.

Could it be the FDA's effort to "fast track" drug approvals is leading to cutting corners? Today the agency promises to decide on 90% of drug applications within 10 months. In 1991 it took them 33 months to decide on a new drug. Drugs like Vioxx, Baycol and Rezulin were all approved within two months of deadline. There is no law forcing this schedule, just politics and pressure from the drug industry in a rush to make money. While some people can't wait for the newest drug, others pay a deadly price for such haste.

Compare this system to the world of complementary and alternative therapies which have been around for decades, hundreds ... sometimes even thousands of years. Regardless of what mainstream medicine says, if these treatments weren't effective they would not have survived. Which would you rather have?

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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hold On To Your Wallet

Health-care spending in the U.S. is projected to hit $4.3 trillion by 2017, nearly double the current $2.3 trillion. Medicare spending will reach more than $2 trillion consuming nearly 20% of America's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Much of this change is driven by the aging Baby Boomer population but the failures of the current medical system must also be faced. The current system of private insurance means that every doctor is faced with multiple forms with different rules and criteria in a system of denial management by insurance companies. It's estimated that this factor alone amounts to 1/3 of the total health care cost today.

Unnecessary medical tests and procedures driven in part by liability lawsuits and partly by our top-heavy ratio of specialists to general practitioners means that perhaps as much as another 1/3 of total costs could be reduced by adopting a different medical approach. The majority of other industrialized countries employ a majority of general practitioners to prevent health problems, an approach that produces lower costs and higher world rankings. (America ranks #40 in longevity today.)

Developing a new, affordable health care system is past urgent, it's now critical. Health-care spending is projected to grow on average 6.7% each year in the next decade, far greater than the 1.9% growth in the general economy.

Adding complementary and alternative medicine into the mix is one ingredient in the new recipe for better health and lower costs, as it is in other countries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Congress Investigating Misleading Lipitor Ads

Pfizer said it is pulling all of the ads for its cholesterol drug Lipitor since Congress is investigating whether the ads are misleading to the public. Pfizer is the world's largest pharmaceutical company and through last October they'd spent $139 million advertising Lipitor making it the 5th most advertised drug. The drug is the world's best-selling medicine with nearly $13 billion in sales last year.

The United States is one of only two nations on earth that permits direct-to-consumer advertising and it is the leading cause of our nation's prescription drug obesity.

Monday, February 25, 2008

FDA: Americans Need More Drugs

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) apparently believes that Americans are taking enough prescription drugs. After all, our country has only 4.3% of the world's population but consumes 48% of the world's prescription drugs ... but that's not enough. Now the FDA wants to allow drug companies to promote off-label uses of their drugs to doctors so more prescriptions can be written.

It's not like this is a new subject because off-label uses are already an estimated 21% of drug sales. Drug manufacturers want even more because it can mean additional sales ... lots of additional sales. For example, Risperdal was used off-label 66% of the time according to the Archives of Internal Medicine study from 2006. Anybody think this isn't about the money?

It's a complicated issue because drug manufacturers sued the agency in the 1990's for violating their freedom of speech. The Justice Department has been involved with a number of high-profile whistleblower lawsuits for off-label promotion so there's strong desire by the drug companies to get the situation nailed down ... to their advantage.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Money Talks in Medicine

Too many people think doctors and hospitals know everything and can walk on water. Fact of the matter is, they don't and can't. Did you know that 25% of all hospital patients suffer the indignity of a urinary catheter even though many don't even need them? Installing them is simply automatic in a hospital. Did you know that half of all hospitals don't even bother keeping track of who gets them? Less than 10% of hospitals bother to check and see if they're still needed on a daily basis. That research comes from a recent study by the University of Michigan.

Urinary tract infections are at the top of the Will Not Pay list from Medicare beginning on October 1st of this year since it's one of the most common hospital errors. The others are:
Bloodstream infections.
Bed sores/pressure ulcers
Objects left in patients during surgery
Blood incompatibility (giving wrong type of blood)
Mediastinitis, a type of infection after heart surgery
Air embolism - an air bubble in a blood vessel

Since Medicare insures 44 million elderly and disabled Americans it has the clout to get the attention of hospitals. They've also sparked a movement to eliminate preventable hospital errors and insurance companies like Aetna are joining the parade.

It's about time.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Impersonal Medicine

Can mainstream medicine get any more impersonal than it is today with 8-minute appointments? The answer is: Yes! Now doctors don't have to even come in contact with you to diagnose your ills and prescribe a drug. Soon you'll have a virtual visit with the doctor via the Internet. Aetna and Cigna have both agreed to reimburse doctors for online visits.

Considered best for follow-up consultations or for minor ailments like a cold the visits can be simply e-mail answers to your questions or actual virtual visits. Some doctors are experimenting with webcambs to add a more "personal" touch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Health Insurance Games

The attorney general of New York plans to sue UnitedHealth Group as part of his investigation into the games the health insurance industry plays with the payment schedule for out-of-network doctors. The common practice results in high bills for consumers.

By controlling the database that the "average cost" information is based on, the industry appears to manipulate the costs lower than they actually are leaving patients to fill in the gap by paying more.

"We believe there was an industrywide scheme perpetrated by some of the nation's largest health insurance companies to defraud customers," Mr. Andrew Cuomo said recently. "Real people get stuck with excessive bills and are less likely to seek the care they need," Mr. Cuomo added.

One of the major reasons America ranks so poorly in world health ratings is that other industrialized nations have health care systems based on prevention and early care instead of the acute care model in our country. It's also why we spend more on health care than any other nation on earth.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Deaths Stop Drug Trials

Another week, another drug problem in the headlines. Today on the frontpage of the Dallas Morning News the story is about a trial for a new diabetes drug being cancelled because it was killing people. The intensive treatment to lower blood sugar raised the risk of heart attack and stroke.

My favorite quote in the article is from Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist, who said "This suggests that there are things drugs do that we don't understand." As Homer Simpson would say, "Duh!"

Almost as good was the quote from Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, who said "We were obviously surprised, we were hoping for a positive outcome."

Sometimes the drug-dominated world of mainstream medicine is really scary.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sick Is Cheaper

Society and governments may not want you to be healthy after all because it costs more money. Living longer is more expensive in the long run according to a Dutch study in the news recently. On the average healthy, skinny people lived 84 years at a medical cost of $417,000.

Smokers lived to an average of 77 years at a cost of $326,000 while obese people lived to about 80 years old at a medical cost of $371,000.

What a great advertisement for the tobacco companies! "Smoke now, you'll save your government money which is your family's tax dollars."

Sorry, but I prefer to be very healthy!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Treating the Whole Person

One of the many benefits of complementary and alternative therapies is that they tend to look at you as a whole being, not just bits and pieces. These therapies look for the source of your health problem, not just the symptoms. New studies are showing the wisdom of this common sense approach to health care.

Researchers studying brain injuries think they may have found a common factor in many social problems: an old blow to the head. Underlying brain injury can lead to a variety of cognitive and behavioral problems from alcoholism on up the list.

In one case Mount Sinai researchers looked at a group of 100 homeless men and discovered 82% had suffered brain injury in childhood, often from parental abuse. Many learning disabled are, in fact, suffering from the effects of a brain injury.

By looking at the whole person and not just a specific problem we may be able to find the true source of problems and then be able to offer better treatments. It's good to see mainstream medicine opening the blinders a little to see more.

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!