From the monthly archives: "September 2008"

Here’s a tripper: Japanese scientists have discovered that recovery from stroke is faster when using a mirror to create the illusion that paralyzed limbs move in tandem with healthy ones. Just another study showing the incredible healing power of the mind.

Stroke causes hemiplegia–a condition where one side of the body becomes paralyzed–one of the more serious complications of this dreaded brain injury. Rehabilitation of hemiplegia is especially tricky, and regaining full use of the paralyzed half isn’t always successful.

But now with mirrors the rehab has gotten easier. What researchers did was place a mirror on the side of the stroke patient’s body. As the patient moved his or her healthy arm, it appeared that the paralyzed arm was also moving due to the impression in the mirror. This bilateral image of limb movement, the researchers found, actually tricks the brain into believing that there is normal motion. Apparently this visual imagery is necessary to create and maintain neural motor function, the ability to move.

This is simply fascinating to me. If the visual imagery caused by mirror trickery works on a neurological level, then what are the implications for other types of healing? And why would it only apply to mirrors? Wouldn’t simply visualizing healing processes also work? What does this mean for cancer patients? Or AIDS patients? Or people with high blood pressure? I mean, can’t we extrapolate these findings to other healing mechanisms? Well, we don’t know yet. But my guess is that adding visualization to any treatment or therapy–be it chemo or drugs–should do wonders to help the healing along.

As Kazu Amimoto, one of the study’s authors said, “The mental aspect of rehabilitation has far greater importance than previously understood and should be paid far more attention.” Indeed, Kazu–I think it’s coming.

What makes a better doctor, one who knows about your illness with unequaled expertise, and who can ramble off all signs and symptoms as well as treatment options like he wrote the book on them, or one who listens to you intently, sympathizes with your condition, and brings hope and encouragement? Hard to say, really. It would be nice to have both, but as you probably know, that’s not always the case.

But we really are finding out how important sensitivity and warmth are to the healing process. It’s not just about physiology, symptoms and disease, but about the mental, emotional, and spiritual too. Are all doctors aware of this? Not yet.

According to a recent study, when patients commented to their doctors about their struggles with cancer–the diagnosis or treatment–or the health care system in general, doctors responded with empathy only 10% of the time. 389 doctors visits were recorded (both doctor and patient were aware of the taping) where these concerns or emotions were expressed, and doctors responded with empathy in just 39 of these instances.

You know, there are healers and then there are technicians. Technicians know all the book stuff–how to differentiate between diagnoses and what drug or treatment goes with what. But healers bring calm, warmth and empathy to their practices. They have a way of stirring-up the unseen energetic forces of healing in others. Healers come in all disciplines–medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturist, physical therapists–as do technicians. You know the difference. If you are looking for a healer but find yourself in the office of a technician, then say thank you and move on. You’ll find what your looking for if you don’t give up.

My daughter, Violet Star Campos, entered the world like an astral illumination at 11:01 pm on September 27, 2008. She came in healthy, happy, and unusually calm–can she be a Campos???

Mama is doing beautifully–appeared as if she were ready to play two; not a bead of sweat on her. Must be all those hikes up Runyon Canyon.

Papa is well, but tired–put in a full day of adjusting patients before going to the hospital to yell, “push! push!” Baby got her first chiropractic assessment, too. But all was well, no need to do anything (that wasn’t true for Delilah). Maybe the birth canal is just so much more forgiving the second time around. Hey, I’ll take it. Woohoo!

We are overjoyed. OK, off to see the girls…

Just heard on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, the analysis show preceding Monday Night Football: NFL analyst and Former Dallas Cowboy running back (and Dancing with the Stars champ) Emmitt Smith giving current San Diego Charger LaDainian Tomlinsonadvice on how to bounce back from injuries and prolong his career, the wise Mr. Smith suggests trying chiropractic.Yes! You heard right. From one future Hall of Famer to another, chiropractic is the way to go to stay healthy, strong, and preserve one’s skills in a highly demanding and physically grueling sport.

Woowee! What a plug for chiropractic! Why am I so ecstatic? Because what we’ve mostly heard in the past about chiropractic from major media outlets has been less than gracious. But now a major sports star with mass appeal says on national television to go see a chiropractor, and I say bravo.

If you don’t know who Emmitt Smith is, suffice it to say that he is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and three time Super Bowl winner. He’s a league MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. It doesn’t get much better than that. And Mr. Smith danced his way into the general public’s consciousness when, in 2006, he won the third season of Dancing with the Stars.

If you’ve read my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, then you know what Emmitt Smith has said about chiropractic, “After that season (where he was hobbled by a hamstring injury), I decided to invest in me, to keep me going.” He went on to say, “You can have a Ferrari body, but your wheels need balancing. I felt if I took care of my body, I could still function when I got older.” So Emmitt Smith chose chiropractic, and he’s encouraging LaDainian Tomlinson to do the same.

And I’m encouraging all of you to do the same too. If you want to live pain free, with proper biomechanical functioning, and optimal overall health, choose chiropractic–it works!

Walking a mile a day keeps the Grim Reaper away. So says an Italian study that looked at the universal exercise–walking–and found that people who walked regularly lived longer.

The study followed 248 volunteers aged 86 years on average for a period of two years. Although twelve percent of the volunteers died throughout the study, those that did not walk regularly (less than one hour per day) died at a rate of more than 30% higher than the regular walkers. Wow! Additionally, the walkers suffered less from depression and cognitive impairment, had less heart disease and high blood pressure, and had less debility from osteoarthritis. Double wow!

Well, of course, this is no surprise to me. I incessantly push the idea that regular physical fitness is paramount to not only a long life, but to one of high quality as well. I call walking the universal exercise because it’s the one that all cultures engage in to some degree. In my neighborhood you can see the Russian community out every night enjoying their after-dinner walks. It’s beautiful! And my wife and I take walks with our daughter and doggies every chance we get.

As I point out in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, walking is the best exercise for obese people, the elderly or people who haven’t exercised in a while or are trying to solve a pain issue. But mind you, the walk must challenge you. It doesn’t have to knock you out, but you should break into a moderate sweat, otherwise you are not doing much. And note, the study saw health benefits and longevity in those who walked for an hour or more every day. Do I think you need to walk for an hour every day? No…but how about twenty minutes? Or a half hour? Just make sure you’re breaking a little sweat by the end of the walk. I guarantee that if you walk 3-4 times a week for the next three months, you’ll have no problem–neither in motivation nor ability–to extend the walking in both length and frequency. Happy walking.

Did you know that arthroscopic knee surgery is one of the most common operations carried out in the U.S. today? Now why do you suppose that? How about it’s quick, it’s easy and–cha-ching!–it pays. Well, the latest reports show that arthroscopic surgery for arthritis of the knee is no better than rehabilitation and medication. Hmm…can’t say I’m surprised by that.

Timing is impeccable as I’ve just written an article on the same subject, but the details are this: When it comes to relieving the pain and stiffness of moderate to severe knee arthritis, surgery is no better than physical therapy and medication. Further, that holy grail of orthopedic diagnostics–the MRI–is not the end all, be all when it comes to predicting surgical necessity. What this means–and something we know quite well in chiropractic–is that many MRIs show tears (and disc bulges) in non-symptomatic people while many with symptoms have no tears (or bulges) at all. What does this mean on a practical level? MRI results may be over-predicting the necessity of what are now routine orthopedic surgeries. And we now have the studies to prove it.

As musculoskeletal clinicians, chiropractors know quite well of this misdiagnostic and mismanagement practice. Practically every patient of mine who has walked into an orthopedists office with knee pain has been recommended a knee surgery, despite the fact that they were prime candidates for conservative rehabilitative care. The same is true for the low back pain patient with radiating pain into the leg. Many things cause radiation, but walk into an orthopods office and expect a surgical recommendation. Damn shame, considering many people still take the M.D.’s word as law. Guess what people? Arthroscopic knee surgery was a low risk money maker for your doctor. Cha-ching.

Here’s the bottom line: If you are having knee pain, stiffness and other symptoms, read this article before you make a treatment decision. It could save you an unnecessary trip to the surgeon. Many knee problems can be fixed through conservative rehabilitative care. You’ve got nothing to lose, and the surgery will always be there if you need it later.

Warning: No tan is safe! That’s the latest out of London, the capital of alabaster hues, where scientists have concluded that tanning and cancer share the same biological mechanisms. So cover up beach bunnies and slather on the sunscreen, because the sun has now become public enemy number one.

According to a paper published in the current issue of Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, both tans and skin cancer begin with DNA damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. In tanning the mutations to the genetic material cause darkening of melanin, the skin’s pigment responsible for protecting against further DNA damage by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

There are two forms of ultraviolet radiation, UVB and UVA. UVB induces increased melanin production through direct and indirect DNA damage. This mechanism produces vitamin D in the skin, but it is also responsible for sunburn when the skin is overexposed and can cause skin aging (see last post). UVB can also cause cancer but not melanoma.

UVA, on the other hand, causes release of preexisting melanin from melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin), which actually produces the tanned look. It causes less cancer than UVB but is the generator of the deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma.

Both forms of UV radiation can be blocked by a broad-spectrum sunscreen; however, most sunscreens on the market protect mostly against UVB. The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number on a sunscreen product shows its rated effectiveness. Products with a higher SPF number are those designed to provide more defense for the skin against the effects of solar radiation.

The only thing I can say about all this is that…it’s true–smart sunning is a must. Sun-worshiping, like the kind done in the past (a la George Hamilton), is simply unwise. However, we know how important sunlight is to all life, so to say that “no tan is safe” is a bit alarmist in my opinion. Skin cancer diagnoses are way up, but how many of those are due to better diagnostics? In my observation, dermatologists are having a field day with some people, frying off every freckle on their bodies. I’ve encountered it with some of my clients, and frankly, I find it unethical. They’re selling it as a prophylactic skin cancer treatment. BS, I say. But if enough people are scared shirtless, they’ll do it.

“Oh, yeah,” they’ll say, “I used to tan a lot in the 70s.” And so as a result they’ve got to look like they’ve taken a shot of sulfuric acid to the face. I don’t buy it. There are plenty of people who do their work out in the sun every day, and they aren’t getting their freckles zapped to kingdom come. Bad insurance, I guess.

So sun smartly, but don’t get too paranoid and shut out the sun entirely. You’ll cause more health harm than good that way. We can go way overboard with the health precautions if we allow ourselves to.

Did I say in the last post that anti-aging creams don’t work? I’m sure that should piss off a lot of cosmetics pushers and anti-aging enthusiasts. But, well…it’s true.

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Michigan, estrogen creams do not reduce wrinkles, especially those caused by the sun. So throw out those estrogen-laced sunscreen ladies–they’re bunk! Oh wait, wait…don’t throw them out yet…appears that there is some use for them. The same study found that the estrogen creams did increase collagen production…in skin not exposed to the sun. Whoa. How’s that?

The study looked at 70 men and women aged 75 on average (some were in their early 50s). They applied estradiol, the major form of estrogen, on their hips, faces and forearms three times every other day for two weeks. Because the hips were for the most part covered from the sun, the estrogen-treated skin started producing more collagen. But no changes in the appearance of wrinkles were noted on the faces or forearms of the subjects.

So bad news for anti-wrinkling, but not so bad for collagen production. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissue and the most abundant in the body. It is responsible for skin strength and elasticity, and when it breaks down it can lead to wrinkling. When skin is damaged by the sun it stops producing collagen, which leads to dry wrinkled skin.

My advice: forget the estrogen-laced creams, stay protected from too much sun with sunscreen (talking from sunbathing here, not just being outside), and load up on the vitamin C (I recommend 1,000 mg a day minimum). Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, and quite frankly, many people are probably deficient in it. No, no, no…not RDA deficient (they recommend 75-90 mg/day to prevent illness), but optimal health deficient. And preventing wrinkling is just another reason to start supplementing. Don’t buy it? What have you got to lose? Vitamin C is affordable and it can’t harm you (it’s water soluble so you’ll just pee it out fluorescent green). There you have it–anti-aging made simple.

Listen up, peeps. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is the only true way to slow down the effects of aging. Creams don’t work. Make-up doesn’t work. Lipo doesn’t work. None of these will make you look and feel younger–not with any lasting effect that is. But practicing healthy habits–like the six keys to optimal health–most certainly will. And we’ve got the research to prove it.

A new study conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish, head of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, showed that certain activities and lifestyle habits raised the amount of an enzyme present in the body that is responsible for controlling the aging process. The enzyme telomerase was 29% higher in men who adopted healthy habits for a period of three months.

The study looked at thirty men who had low level prostate cancer. The healthy habits they adopted were increased intake of fruits and vegetables (diet–optimal health key #1), moderate daily exercise (regular physical fitness–optimal health key #2), and an hour of daily stress management, like meditation (mental health–optimal health key #5). Blood levels of telomerase were measured both before and after the study period, showing significant increase in men practicing the healthy habits. Nice. Now just imagine how the results might change if they throw in some regular bodywork (optimal health key #3), implement and test a rest and recuperation schedule (optimal health key #4), and control for at least one toxic substance (tobacco, statins, pollution–optimal health key #6). That would make for a great follow-up study down the road.

Telomerase fixes and lengthens parts of chromosomes known as telomeres that control longevity and are also important for maintenance of immune-system cells. Interestingly, a number of premature aging syndromes are associated with short telomeres (Werner syndrome, Ataxia telangiectasia, Bloom syndrome, Fanconi anemia, and Nijmegen breakage syndrome). The shortening of telomeres is also thought to be an indicator of disease risk and premature death in some types of cancer including breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer.

The men who adopted healthy habits not only increased their blood levels of telomerase but they also lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, and saw other health improvements as well. Additionally, they also had changes in activity in about 500 genes. The activity of disease-preventing genes went up, while the activity of disease-promoting genes went down, especially those involved in the development of breast and prostate cancer.

All I can say is wow! We all know how important adopting healthy lifestyle habits are, but now we know the genetic and molecular basis. I’ve always felt that knowing why is as important as knowing what. So understanding these processes should make it even more tangible as to why we need to be doing (or not doing) certain things. Without knowing why, health-enhancing practices become exercises in faith, with the occasional physiological confirmation in the average person (who may just stop, precisely because faith and a promise don’t go very far for most people). But now that we have evidence that changes occur on a biomolecular level, there should be no doubt as to what you should do to increase your longevity. If you care about that kind of thing, anyway.

Don’t fret, Americans! We’re not the only prima donnas on the planet. Looks like our rivals in Iran want it easy too. According to recent reports, women in this Middle Eastern country are electing to have c-sections by the boatload. In fact, a whopping 40% of children in Iran are born by cesarean section.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a cesarean rate of 10-15% only, but in the Iranian capital of Tehran, the numbers are as high as 50%. Crazy? Not to people in the Isfahan and Gilan provinces. 60% of the women in these regions are choosing to give birth this way. Dang!

Looks like vaginal child birth is so last year in Iran. The women there–like many here in America–don’t want to feel the pain and discomfort associated with child birth. And they figure, if science can alleviate this, why not use it? Some women believe that they’ll actually save themselves physical damage by opting for the surgery. Oh, little do they know it’s quite the contrary.

Doctors there, however, aren’t disclosing the risks to the soon to be sliced-opened moms. According to gynecologist Nasrin Changizi, who heads the mothers’ health bureau in the Iranian health ministry, Iranian women are not generally well-informed about the benefits and risks involved with each form of childbirth, and that elective c-sections potentially have more side effects than having a baby the natural way. She also points out that local doctors (like our own) abhor the long hours of deliveries (must interfere with tee time), and that fears of malpractice suits also lead them to push mothers into c-sections at the slightest sign of difficulty. And of course let’s not forget the difference in price between natural child birth and c-sections. Chaching!

You know how I feel about cesarean deliveries–I discussed it in an earlier post–but it deserves mentioning again. C-sections are a Godsend. They’ve saved countless lives of both mothers and children, and we should count our blessings every day that we have this valuable procedure at our disposal when we need it. However, choosing a c-section to simply make it easier is absurd and dangerous. There is always a risk to the mother (or anybody having a surgery for that matter). Further, I believe that the birthing process develops an emotional and neurological (energetic) bond between mother and baby that is important to the nurturing and parenting process. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that children born by c-section don’t bond with their mothers–they do. But why lose out on this valuable and beautiful experience for sheer simplicities sake? Life ain’t easy, and you can’t escape challenges, so why bother in this regard? For lack of a better analogy, it’s like hoping to win the lottery–you’re living in a dream world, mate.

Anyway, it makes me snicker a little to know that Americans aren’t the most spoiled rotten softies on the globe. At least in this case, Iranians have got us beat by a mile.

You know how I feel about adequate sleep–I think it’s absolutely crucial. Not only does getting a proper amount do amazing things for your health, but not getting enough can be simply disastrous. Check out the latest findings from the California Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco: Women over 70 who get less than adequate sleep are more likely to fall; and falls cause fractures as well as some deaths.

According to the study, which followed 3,000 women over 7o for a number of years, women who slept no more than five hours per night were at the greatest risk of falling and seriously hurting themselves. They were, in fact, likely to have two or more falls a year. Women who slept between five and seven hours were the next most likely to fall, and they did 40% more than the best rested. The women who slept the most, over seven hours, had the least risk of falling.

Although the study looked at women solely, it is by no means a female phenomenon. Men are at the same types of risk when not rested, and in light of the numbers of older people falling every year, it’s something to think about. Many people have trouble sleeping that’s for sure. Every reason to take up regular exercise, meditation and get some regular bodywork in. Each one of these practices should help regulate the natural sleep cycle. And I also think very highly of melatonin supplementation. No, it’s not going to work immediately over night, but try it for a few weeks or months and I’ll bet it helps.

There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep, so if you aren’t getting yours it would be wise to make changes, no matter what your age. And if you are having sleep difficulties, speak to your doctor about any medications you are taking that might be contributing. Otherwise go to the gym, stay away from stimulants (coffee, cocaine) close to bedtime, meditate twice a day, and visit your local chiropractor–she might be able to help–and you should be catching proper z’s in no time. And when you finally do, you’ll find that your balance is as steady as a rock.

Cancer may be tougher to cure than once thought. Because it is the product of many gene mutations and not just one, cancer is especially hard to located and treat. That’s the latest, anyway, out of Johns Hopkins University.

According to researchers, genes in tumors work in networks, not as single genes as once believed. The scientist studied every gene in two of the hardest to treat cancers, pancreatic and glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain cancer. They found that pancreatic cancer has an average of 63 mutated genes that code for uncontrolled cell growth, while glioblastoma multiforme averages 60 mutations. And to make matters worse they vary among people. According to one of the researchers, Dr. Bert Vogelstein, “If you have 100 patients, you have 100 different diseases.”

Sounds daunting, I know; but the good news is that they found just 12 pathways on average that caused uncontrolled growth and spread. The researchers point out that treatments should be aimed at interacting in the pathway itself, and not against a singular gene, like the current cancer drug Gleevec does.

These findings are not surprising to me and it illustrates the complexity of genetic interactions. The one gene, one illness notion is simplistic and unlikely. It happens to work that way for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)–which Gleevec was designed for–but that’s probably more the exception than the rule. The researchers point out that single gene target drugs will most likely be ineffective against most solid tumors.

I also think that finding one gene for other characteristics is unlikely too. Don’t get me wrong, geneticists think they are finding genes that act in a solitary fashion in coding for traits or processes, but I’m certain that the work done in this study is a taste of how it works as a whole–the pathways or networks are what is important.

I think that finding drugs to disrupt these pathways and cure cancer will a be very difficult task, indeed. We may not see it in our lifetime. And it really makes me think of the bigger picture. We are all developing genetic mutations and damage at all times. Our body has a way of fixing these problems. And when the damage cannot be fixed, cells have a built-in protective process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This evolutionary insurance plan is designed specifically to halt uncontrolled cellular growth, which is non-conducive to life. If we all have the propensity toward genetic mutation, and we all have repair mechanisms, then why does this process go haywire in some people and not others? Remember these are pathways, not single genes, so we aren’t just born one way or the other–we all have the capacity to develop cancer, every one of us.

I don’t really have an answer that would suffice here, but I do think that the future with regard to cancer will be about prevention; and much of this will come from mind-body discoveries. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. There is a mental/emotional component that we are missing in all of this, and we’re missing it because we are so attached to materialistic explanations for everything. I think there is more, and I think it will come out sooner or later. Let’s leave it at that for now.

How’s this for plugging physical fitness: Research shows that exercise may reverse the damage done to the brain of cancer patients from radiation, particularly in kids. That’s the latest out of the Institute for Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. How’s that? Exercise for the brain!?!? Duh, yeah! According to the research, exercise causes new stem cells to develop, which in turn can form new neurons, the brain’s cellular workhorses.

Here’s how they found out. The researchers irradiated the brains of baby mice; the dose was comparable to doses given to cancer patients with brain tumors. They then let half the mice exercise on running wheels, while the other half simply hung out in cages. After a few months, all the mice were killed and their brains examined. What they found was that the mice which were allowed to run “had more precursor cells and more new neurons, and these neurons took up their places better in the brains than mice simply kept in cages.” The exercising mice had a 275% increase in the number of newborn cells that developed into neurons.

The conclusions of the study are that pediatric cancer patients can benefit from exercise. Ah, yes. And the brain damage seen to their undeveloped brains can be reversed. Yes, yes! And that physical rehabilitation should be an integral part of post-cancer radiation treatment. Bravo!

But let’s take it a step further. Physical rehabilitation should be on every post-treatment protocol, whether chemical, radiation, or surgical. Think about it: The human body was meant to move. Physical activity has neurological implications. The nervous system controls and coordinates every function of the body. It’s the master control of the system (have you read my book yet?), and it’s the structure we know the least about. But we’re learning–and studies like this extend our knowledge into this vast and fascinating territory. What might be more important is what we learn about development and regeneration in general. Not only reptiles have that ability.

Remember: The human body is an amazing self-healing, self-regulating organism. It can repair itself, and it can regenerate. We have the power to heal ourselves if we do the right things. A few of those things are regular movement, physical challenge and balance training–all of which help our bodies create new nerve pathways that allow us to adapt to our environment. So if you are not moving your body regularly, better get started–your life depends on it.

A newly observed phenomenon is being reported which shows that some young men are dying suddenly following police arrest, and scientist believe that it may involve a mechanism similar to one to one that kills some animals in the wild. Man as wild animal expiring under extreme stress? You bet. Read on.

According to Dr. Manuel Martinez Selles of Madrid’s Hospital Gregorio Maranon, surges in blood levels of hormones–specifically catecholamines–may cause cardiac arrest. Interesting. Many wild animals also die suddenly when captured. Call it an evolutionary expiration mechanism if you will. But why?

The study looked at 60 cases of people who had died suddenly and unexpectedly after being arrested. Twenty had died at the point of arrest, while the rest died within 24 hours. All but one of the cases was male, their average age being 33. Only sudden deaths with no clear causes were included and autopsy reports were checked to exclude the possibility of mistreatment or past serious medical conditions. Twelve of the victims were drug users but Selles said this was not thought to have contributed to their deaths.

I find this story so interesting, because it illustrates the incredible innate intelligence of human body. Organism under severe stress, captured and compromised, expires suddenly. Cells do it, wild animals do it, and now we know that man also does it. Simply fascinating. This type of organismic suicide has most likely evolved to preserve the whole, that is other cells or other animals of the group. In cells, programmed cell death occurs to stop infection from spreading to other cells, and clearly this has passed on to more complex organisms.

What really gets my intellectual juices flowing is the notion that this phenomenon is just now being observed. I asked why. Why now? What is going on in society, with people, that this mechanism is turning on. Why haven’t we seen more of it before? Surely people have experienced extreme stress before today. Was it just that we weren’t paying attention? Was it that we only now have the tools, the diagnostics, the autopsy techniques to study this phenomena? Any thoughts?

I love it when medical science finally catches up to the rest of the world regarding health practices. The medical community is finally starting to realize the mega-importance of supplementing with fish oil…well, sort of. Check out the latest study published in the medical journal, The Lancet. It showed that when it comes to fighting chronic heart failure, fish oil supplements may work slightly better than a popular cholesterol-reducing drug.

The Italian study looked at 7,000 heart failure patients, half taking a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement, and the other taking a placebo. The patients were followed for four years. They did the same study with the popular statin, Crestor. As it turns out, less people died in the omega-3 group than in the statin group. Although the difference between the two was small, the benefits of supplementing with fish oil is obvious–it’s natural and it has few, if any, side effects. The same cannot be said for statins.

Statins work by lowering “bad cholesterol” or LDLs, while omega-3 fatty acids work by increasing “good cholesterol” or HDLs. As I’ve pointed out in earlier posts, when it comes to heart health, good cholesterol reigns supreme. Furthermore, omega-3s are much cheaper than “the best selling drugs of all time” that are the statins, so supplementing with them makes good financial sense too.

So there you have it: Fish oil supplements are better for your heart than stains. According to Dr. Douglas Weaver, president of the American College of Cardiology, “This study changes the certainty of the evidence we have about fish oils.” Thank you doctor. Glad you’ve finally come around. Now let’s see how it affects statin sales. Anybody want to guess?

More BS exposed on the flu shot health watch. Despite proponents talking up the countless benefits, seems like research is proving otherwise. The latest study out of Alberta, Canada showed that elderly people getting the flu shot had no lowered risk of dying from the flu. That’s right–no lowered risk of dying from the flu. If I’m not mistaken, that’s always the reasoning behind the heavy marketing of this bogus vaccine.

Over 700 elderly people were followed, half receiving the flu shot. As it turns out, after adjusting for potential confounders, including functional and socioeconomic factors, no statistical significance was found between death rates of vaccinated versus non-vaccinated people. In other words, just as many flu-vaccinated elderly subjects died as non-vaccinated subjects. Now ain’t that a…bleep.

Anyway, that’s no surprise to me. I’ve been pounding out this story for well over a year, and have been screaming foul for the flu shot for as long as I can remember. Plain and simple: The flu shot is bunk! Thank you but no thank you. Even though flu vaccinations among the elderly have gone way up–from 15 to 65 percent–”there has been no commensurate decrease in hospital admissions or all-cause mortality,” said one researcher. All this despite previous estimates that “50% of reduction in death from any cause had been noted in elderly people who got a flu shot.

Oh well, I guess even these results won’t slow down the flu vaccine propaganda. I’ll just keep saying it until it catches on: You’ve got to get sick! It’s the only way your immune system keeps updated and ready to fight tomorrows invaders. The flu shot merely exposes you to a minuscule proportion of existing flu strains. The influenza virus mutates rapidly. Just keep yourself as healthy as you can, and you shouldn’t have any problem beating the antigen off those little buggers.

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