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ANTIDEPRESSANT LINKED TO BONE DENSITY LOSS
Investigators at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that older women using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression had nearly twice the hip bone mineral density loss as study participants taking tricyclic antidepressants or no medication.
A similar study of older men at Oregon Health and Science University also linked SSRIs to loss of bone density. (Arch. Int. Med. 2007; 167:1240-1245).
ANTIDEPRESSANTS LINKED TO HOMICIDE/SUICIDE
One well known and often-discussed danger of antidepressant treatment is an increased risk of suicide. However, much less well known and generally suppressed is the association between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and violence.
A high percentage of the perpetrators of school shootings and multiple homicides were prescribed these drugs before they became homicidal, raising concerns that in some individuals, the use of SSRI drugs unmasks or causes homicidal rage.
A new category of “narcissistic” suicide may be necessary to describe these mass murders, where an individual chooses not only suicide, but demonstrates a desire to “take them all with me”, resulting in the disturbingly increasing phenomena of horrific slaughters of strangers or family members.(http://www.ssristories.com/index.php).
THANKS FOR NOT SHARING
Investigators at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry analyzed 113 recorded primary care visits.
They concluded that 85 percent of physician self-disclosures - discussing their families, feelings, etc. – were useless to patients, and 11 percent actually disrupted treatment. (Arch Intern Med 2007; 167:1277-1283).
CHINESE HERB CUTS ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
The Chinese herb Ge Gen (Puerariae Radix) appears to be able to reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers.
Those who were given the herb extract in capsule form for seven days prior to a drinking session cut their alcohol consumption by almost 50% compared to controls given a placebo.
Not only did they consume fewer beers, but they took more and fewer sips and therefore consumed the beer more slowly. (Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 29(5):756-762, May 2005).
LICORICE & KAPOSI SARCOMA
Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpes virus (KSHV) is linked with all clinical forms of Kaposi sarcoma and several lymphoproliferative disorders.
Like other herpes viruses, KSHV becomes latent in the infected cells, expressing only a few genes that are essential for the establishment and maintenance of its latency and for the survival of the infected cells. All currently available drugs are ineffective against latent infection.
However, a new study has shown that glycyrrhizic acid, found in licorice (Gan Cao: Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis) can terminate the latent infection. This is the first time an anti-viral agent has been found that specifically targets genes required to maintain the virus in a latent state. (J. Clin. Invest. 115:642-652, 2005).
TCM COMA HOSPITAL
China’s first coma hospital using traditional Chinese medicine has been opened in Beijing with state funding.
Treatment combines acupuncture with modern emergency and rehabilitation methods. China sees over 100,000 comatose persons annually, most of them suffering trauma caused by traffic accidents, poisoning or cerebral hemorrhage.
The traditional Chinese medicine treatments for restoring consciousness are reported to have a success rate of 61.36%, taking an average of 38.3 days per person. (People’s Daily Online).
GREEN TEA CAN PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER
When substances extracted from green tea were given to 32 men at high risk of developing prostate cancer, only one man had developed the disease one year later, compared to nine men out of a similar group who were given only a placebo.
All the men in the study had high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia - premalignant lesions that are known to predict the development of invasive prostate cancer within one year in nearly a third of all cases.
The men in the treatment group were given three 200mg tablets of green tea catechins a day, a dose equivalent to the amount a typical Chinese tea drinker will consume over one or two days. (96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 2005).
GREEN AND BLACK TEA & DIABETES
Green and black tea fed to rats for three months had a blood-sugar-lowering effect and inhibited the development of diabetic cataracts. (J. Agric. Food Chem., 53 (9), 3710 -3713, 2005).
TEA DRINKING REDUCES HYPERTENSION
Habitual tea drinking appears to significantly reduce the risk of developing hypertension. Of 1507 Taiwanese men and women, 600 were regular tea drinkers, defined as drinking 120ml or more a day.
Compared with non-habitual tea drinkers, the risk of developing hypertension decreased by 46% for those who drank 120 to 599 ml a day and was further reduced by 65% for those who drank 600 ml a day or more after adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, family history of hypertension, body-mass index, waist:hip ratio, lifestyle factors (total physical activity, high sodium intake, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and coffee drinking) and dietary factors (vegetable, fruit, unrefined grain, fish, milk, visible-fat food and deep fried food intake). (Arch Intern Med 2004; 164: 1534–40).
GREEN TEA & CANCER
There is considerable research evidence that green tea is associated with reduced risk of various forms of cancer.
Now a team of Spanish and British researchers has discovered how epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a naturally occurring polyphenol in green tea, binds with a specific enzyme (dihydrofolate reductase/DHFR) which can inhibit cancer cell growth.
The enzyme, which is very similar to the drug methotrexate used in chemotherapy, has an effect even at low concentrations (the equivalent of two to three cups of green tea a day).
ECGC concentrations are five times greater in green tea than black tea, according to the researchers. (Cancer Res. 2005 65: 2059-2064).
TEA MAY REDUCE BODY WEIGHT
Thirty-eight men were assigned to one of two groups, and were asked to drink a bottle of oolong tea daily, containing either 22mg or 690mg of catechins.
After twelve weeks the high catechin group showed a significant reduction in body mass index, waist circumference and body-fat mass compared with the low dose group. (Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 81: 122-9)
GREEN TEA CREAM TREATS ROSACEA
In a study of 60 female patients suffering from papulopustular rosacea, half were treated with a hydrophilic cream containing 2% polyphenone (green tea extract) and half to vehicle cream.
All women had visible signs of papules and pustules, 20 had erythema, and 17 had telangiectasia. The women randomized to the green tea extract cream had a 70% improvement in rosacea compared with women in the vehicle cream group. (63rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Dermatology, Poster 19).
MEDITATION AIDS LONGEVITY
A study has found that older people with high blood pressure who had practiced transcendental meditation over a period of several years had a 23% reduction in risk of death from all causes compared to those who practiced other relaxation techniques or who received standard medical care.
Specifically there was a 30% decrease in the rate of cardiovascular mortality and a 49% decrease in the rate of mortality due to cancer. (The American Journal of Cardiology, 95; 9: 1060-1064).
UNBORN BABIES EXPERIENCE STRESS
Traditional Chinese medicine has long emphasized, under the heading of ‘fetal education’, that babies are susceptible to physical and emotional events experienced by their mothers during pregnancy.
New research has dramatically confirmed this, showing that babies born to mothers who were present during the twin towers attacks in New York and who suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had lower salivary cortisol levels than babies whose mothers experienced only mild PTSD after the attacks.
Lower cortisol levels in relation to maternal PTSD were most evident in babies born to women who were in their third trimester of pregnancy at the time. (J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., May 2005; 10.1210/jc.2005-0550).
RAW VEGAN FOOD SEEMS OK FOR BONES
A research team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis compared the body composition, bone mineral content and density, bone turnover markers and other indicators of overall health of 18 vegan raw food eaters (aged 33 to 85, on the diet for a mean of 3.6 years) with a similar group who ate a normal American diet.
The study group had a lower overall body mass index, lower total body fat content and reduced bone mineral content and density, but higher than average levels of vitamin D. The vegans also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory molecule linked to greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, and lower levels of IGF-1, a growth factor linked to risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Despite having relatively thinner bones, the vegans showed no signs of osteoporosis which, it has been proposed, is a risk with this kind of diet. (Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:684-689).
OBESITY & DEMENTIA
Obesity in middle age significantly increases the chances of developing dementia in later life, especially among obese women for whom the likelihood of developing dementia doubled. The findings were made after analyzing data from 10,276 members of Kaiser Permanente medical care program in California. (BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.38446.466238.E0).
In a separate Swedish study, overweight and obesity was found to significantly increase the likelihood of men developing dementia, with the risk rising to 2.5 times for men with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over, compared to those with a BMI of around 20. (Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:321-326).
FISH OILS & CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT
Children suffering from dyspraxia (also known as developmental co-ordination disorder) improved dramatically when their diet was supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid rich fish oils.
117 children aged five to 12 in UK schools who were underachieving and showing learning and/or behavioral disorders, were fed supplements of either fish oils or olive oil (as placebo) for three months. Although there was no effect on motor skills, there were significant improvements in the fish oil group in reading, spelling, concentration and behavior (the last two improved to the same degree as achieved with drugs like Ritalin).
Similar changes were seen in the placebo group when they were subsequently changed to the fish oil supplementation, whilst the children who continued with active treatment after the first three months maintained or improved their progress. (Pediatrics 2005; 115: 1360-1366).
"What Were They Thinking?" Department
THE COMMODIZATION OF MEDICINE
The recent announcement by Wal Mart for plans for 2,000 in store clinics over the next five years represents another trend subjugating medical practice to the demands of a “business model” of treatment.
Several chains of clinics already are expanding into Walgreen and CVS drugstores, with more than 5,000 clinics in total expected by the end of 2008 in various in-store and freestanding formats.
Primary care in this country has failed to provide a level of service and results that patients are willing to pay for, with long wait times, brusque, inept, and impersonal treatment, and a profit-driven “every visit is a billable encounter” mindset.
One result has been increasing alienation of patients and destruction of the physician-patient relationship. Having never experienced a personal therapeutic relationship, most patients have concluded that they are just as well served by visiting a mid level practitioner and receiving medicine-by-protocol treatments.
In reality, when primary care physicians are seeing patients for the brief periods mandated by insurance reimbursement and the demands of their business managers, the option to provide in depth analysis or treatment is essentially nil, so it is hard to argue against the convenience and low cost of a retail clinic for most entry level problems.
NO LONGER AN ALLIANCE
Another factor making retail medical clinics more acceptable is that our third party payment system has already damaged the chance that patients and physicians will ever know a long term relationship.
A change of employment or a decision by an employer to alter coverage, and patients are coerced to change all of their physicians. Insurance companies may also drop or add doctors to their provider lists, with the same result.
Because my practice is not subject to these pressures, I have seen some patients for almost 26 years, and I have observed first hand how dangerous, expensive, and inconvenient it is for patients to be compelled to find new doctors every few years.
I have even observed patients scrambling to find new specialists even in the midst of treatment for life threatening disease. Outrageous!
And, despite the pathetic bleating of the academic figureheads of organized medicine that patients need a “medical home” or “continuity of care”, none of these organizations have had the integrity to oppose these powerful fat cats.
Of course, the reason is that their positions and income directly result from their sniveling submission. Weaklings!
BIG BUSINESS HAS BIG POCKETS
Having a retail medical clinic within a larger facility is great for clinic owners, as the patients are already in their stores, and will no doubt use their pharmacies and buy a few other items. Unlike physicians, who have to make money on what they actually do, businesses like Wal-Mart can increase prices somewhere else or sell some stock to subsidize salaries or losses in their clinics.
Eventually, primary care physicians can be squeezed out of business by retail clinics whose corporate pockets are bigger than any medical group practice could attain. Add 2 cents to the price of a quart of milk, and Wal-Mart can probably make enough money to buy an entire graduating medical class, and still get some change back.