From the monthly archives: "October 2008"
What do you think about vaccinations? Public health miracle or a conspiracy ploy by the pharmaceutical industry? Listen to this month’s episode of The Dr. Nick Show (episode 8) to get the scoop on vaccinations. For a taste:

Haven’t millions of lives been saved by vaccinations? Aren’t illnesses like whooping cough, diphtheria and the flu horrible enough to warrant mass protection? Most people sure think so.

But there is another camp–a group of people who feel strongly about not vaccinating their children. They think that vaccines are toxic and can cause more harm than good? There is concern that the rising number of vaccines (24 before the age of 2) are increasing the risk of autism in American children. According to one report, autism has gone up by 500% (check here, too) in the last 15 years. Check out the video below to hear one celebrity vaccine activist speak out against the toxic substances still present in a number of vaccines.

Where do you stand on the subject? Do you wonder about some of the preservatives put into vaccines, like thimerosal or aluminum? Can these preservatives lead to autism? Do you need to vaccinate against chicken pox…or the flu? Or do you think people who don’t vaccinate their children are crazy child abusers? You know, Guillan-Barré syndrome is a very real illness tied to vaccinations (check out some side effects as reported by the CDC). Perhaps you think like actress Amanda Peet does, that parents who don’t immunize their kids are “parasites”, since they leech off the responsible families who get vaccinated.

Oh wait, you didn’t know that? Yeah, it’s called herd immunity: If 80-85 % (give or take 5% depending on the infectious agent) of the population is immunized, then there is a very low chance of illness spreading since such a large number of people are already protected. If you listen to this month’s podcast, you’ll get information like this and more! It’s a must hear for anybody struggling with the decision on whether they should vaccinate or not.

No matter how you stand on the issue, please check out this month’s podcast, Vaccines: Protection or Poison?, to get all the information necessary to make an intelligent and informed decision. Don’t make assumptions or take anything for granted. This is a big issue and you need to know the facts. So take a few minutes to listen up, you’ll be happy you did.

Think I’m making this stuff up? Watch this video showing exactly what I’ve been saying about the flu shot, the influenza virus and it’s rapid mutation rate. Yes, this piece comes with the mainstream twist that the flu shot is good for you. Please see if you pick out the BS. As I always say: truth is a matter of perspective.

How effective is the flu shot? @ Yahoo! Video

What do you do when you’re a pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturer, and scientific data shows your product to be useless? You search hard for a rationalization and apply it to your MO in a stepped-up marketing campaign. That’s exactly what flu vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur is doing right now.

You may remember a story I reported in an earlier post in which elderly people who were given the flu shot did not have a lowered risk of dying from the flu. Well, that study didn’t sit well with Sanofi Pasteur, so what was their recommendation? Give elderly people a massive dose of flu vaccine. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket. Give grandma four times the usual dose to boost her immunity (four times the standard is what Sanofi now recommends). Think about it: with that much attenuated virus in your system, you’ll no doubt have a measurably high immune response. No doubt. And as an added bonus you’ll quadrupel your profits. That’s called a win situation. Not win-win–just win…for Sanofi.

The reasons the flu vaccine works poorly remains the same: The influenza virus is a rapidly mutating organism. It’s virtually impossible to create a vaccine that will be right-on in any given year. They may get lucky sometimes–every gambler hits paydirt now and again–but there just isn’t now, nor will there ever be, an effective flu vaccine.

What makes this story especially frightening is that it’s simply another example of a greedy pharmaceutical corporation manipulating the truth for their own end. And this public health BS is being perpetuated by our medical and public health industries. The data is there; the flu vaccine doesn’t do much. Instead of making it the poster child of public health marketing, how about more studies? Not only studies done by the manufacturers of the drug itself (preliminary to FDA approval), but third party studies paid for by the manufacturer and regulated by a government agency too. You won’t hear me suggest government getting involved very often, but in this case, I think it’s crucial.

Here’s a big surprise: Steroid user are twice as likely as non-users to engage in violence. Let that sink in.

I know what you’re thinking: No kidding! But believe it or not, some previous studies have shown the link to be inconclusive. However, researchers at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice looked at data on almost 7,000 young steroid users who were tracked since 1994, when they were in middle school and high school, and followed them through 2002.

The researchers found that steroid users were about twice as likely to have committed at least one violent act in the past year than men who never used them–even when statistically accounting for other drug use or prior violent tendencies. The violence included fights, shootings, stabbings or injuring another person badly enough to need medical attention. No women steroid users were studied.

A very important point to distinguish is that the study does not predict that all men who take steroids will get violent; instead it shows that men who take steroids have a higher probability that they will become violent at some time.

Steroids are used by bodybuilders and athletes to gain muscle mass and strength. In the U.S. they are only attainable by prescription through a doctor. However, they aren’t too hard to get illegally. Many body building gyms have “pst, pst” privileges in their back rooms, and professional athletes get theirs from trainers or directly from labs.

Aside from roid rage, the term used for aggressive and hostile behavior exhibited by steroid users, using the juice also has been linked to heart problems, liver problems, acne and disturbinces of secondary sexual characteristics like gynecomastia (man tits) and testicular atrophy (small balls) in men, and deep voice, hairy chest and clitoral enlargement in women. To read a great article on how anabolic steroids affect the body, click here.

Well, I guess it’s really not that big of a surprise to most of us. We’ve all seen the “don’t f#@ with me” buffed guy walking down the street. Some of us have witness roid rage first hand. And yet, there are still deniers: They say roid rage doesn’t exist (see video below). What do you think?

Roid Rage Denyers

Well, you know what they say, “As Hawaii goes, so does the nation.” OK, nobody really says that. And good thing, too; because judging by what’s just happened in Hawaii with their universal child care program, following suit could be disastrous for American health care.

According to recent reports, Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care system in the country just seven months after it launched. You don’t say…I wonder why. Apparently the program was set up for families who couldn’t afford their own private health insurance; however, many families began dropping their private health insurance to get the freebie. No kidding. Wow, why would they do that? Essentially, the program became unaffordable. Duh.

In another unrelated report, government officials have declared spending on the Medicaid health program for the poor as “unsustainable.” Medicaid benefits will increase by 7.9% per year over the next decade, costing $674 billion by 2017. Woowee! That’s a lot of dough. The program is inflating at a higher rate than the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a statement, “This report should serve as an urgent reminder that the current path of Medicaid spending is unsustainable for both federal and state governments.”

Yeah. Well, I can’t see a proposed national universal health care plan being any different. For a country as large and addicted to medical care as the good ol’ U.S. of A, the price tag for such a program will be astronomical. Good campaign slogan, poor idea overall. Listen, I’ve got nothing against helping people who can’t afford this and that, but the problem in health care isn’t that people have no access to it–people have access, it’s called Medicaid (50 million cardholders and counting)–it’s that people in this country have become overly reliant on medical care.

This concept is a major premise of my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. People have simply neglected their health for years. We are one of the most unhealthy industrialuzed countries on the planet. Why? Because people don’t have access to medical care? BS! Walk into any big city ER on a Saturday night. I did it three weeks ago when my daughter was being born, it was packed–packed!–with low income citizens. Go ahead, walk into Cedar Sinai in Beverly Hills on a Saturday night; you’ll see the truth. People have access to care. The bottom line is that the average American takes very little care of their health. THAT’S WHY WE ARE HAVING A HEALTH CARE CRISIS! Not because we don’t have universal health care. It doesn’t matter if we do get this type of system; until people make a conscious effort to change their lifestyles into one of movement, wholesome eating, regular bodywork, proper sleep, mental balnce and conditioning, and toxin avoidance, HEALTH CARE COST WILL CONTINUE TO SOAR!

The only thing we are going to get with a universal health care system is more cost for the taxpayer, to pay for the health care of the people down the street who continue to neglect their health. Mark my words.

I reported last year on the totalitarianism being practiced in the State of New Jersey with regard to mandatory flu vaccinations. Well, this story ain’t over…

Last December New Jersey’s Public Health Council passed a policy that all children aged 6 months to 5 years were mandated to receive the flu shot (along with the pneumococcal vaccine) in order to enter preschool or day-care centers. The policy takes effect this fall: parents have until December 31st to inoculate their children.

Well, if you read my post on the subject last year, you know that I find this mandate a blatant violation of civil rights. It’s downright disgusting. Vaccinating children with the useless flu vaccine (or with any vaccine, for that matter) should be a parent’s choice, not the state’s. And hundreds of parents and activists in New Jersey agree with me. A crowd of them congregated outside the Jersey Statehouse yesterday denouncing the mandate and supporting a bill that would allow a conscientious objection option to opt out of giving the vaccine to their children.

I have to ask one question: Is this country going frickin’ crazy? I hope this insanity is confined to the Garden State only and doesn’t catch on elsewhere. I fully support the citizens over there, subjects of the Fourth Reich. When our medical institutions get so powerful that they become the authority on all things, including our personal lives, then you know it’s damn well time to create change.

We are hearing so much about change right now as a result of the Presidential elections, but my guess is that change will not come quickly from that office. Change has to come from us, the people, the citizens of this country. And we need to put our feet down and stop this mandating health policy stuff, especially when it comes to vaccinations. Don’t give me that “public health at risk” nonsense: If the damn flu vaccine works so well, then the people who choose to receive it and to give it to their children have nothing to worry about. They’re protected, right? Isn’t that the point? It’s all political and financial BS–better believe that.

Listen to concerned mom, Barbara Majeski of Princeton, N.J., who says, “Mother Nature designed our bodies to be able to fight off infections through natural means — you need to be exposed and develop immunity. We’ve just gotten a little too overprotective with our children.”

Amen, sister. Fight on, New Jersey–lots of us support you.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how I feel about getting sick–it’s absolutely essential. Protecting yourself against all illness is not only impossible, it’s dangerous. We need to get sick from time to time because encountering microorganisms upgrades our immune system in the same way updating your computer’s virus scan does: it protects you from future illnesses that might be strong enough to kill you. We evolve along with microorganism–and they with us. There’s no such thing as solitary evolution.

Case in point: Scientist have recently discovered the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis (TB) in 9,000 year old human bones submerged in waters off of Israel’s coast. It was previously thought that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was younger by about 3,000 years, but these findings show the incredible co-evolution of TB and man.

What I find interesting is that in our attempt to eradicate certain microorganisms, and thus certain diseases, we may actually be making said microorganisms stronger, tipping the balance in their favor for awhile. The widespread use of antibiotics and other drugs has led to the emergence of drug-resistant strains that are sturdier and tougher to treat. Take multi-drug resistant TB, or methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA), or now drug resistant HIV. We’ve created these superbug monsters, and are we more advantaged as a result?

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t take antibiotics, or HIV infected people shouldn’t take their drugs, but taking antibiotics for every sniffle or sore throat is absurd. Please let me inform you that sniffles and sore throats ARE good health! They are our bodies ways of fighting infection.

I bring this up because we are entering “flu season” and millions of people will be running for their flu shots, and millions more to their doctor for antibiotics because, “I’ve been congested for three days.” Just understand that on the one hand you are living an illusion to think that if you get a shot, you’ll avoid getting sick. You’ll get sick again, one day. And that you are actually getting protection from the flu (read last post)…you’re not. On the other hand, by running to the doctor for antibiotics to fight your viral infection, you are just adding to the probability of even stronger superbugs in the future.

Bugs evolve. Man evolves. We typically evolve together. Sometime man has the advantage, and sometimes microorganisms have the advantage. If I’m going to be the master of my health, I’ll take my chances and meet these little buggers head-on. Better believe that if I encounter something super-virulent, I’ll take the drugs. But not for the sniffles, I won’t. For that I’ll tough it out.

Our daughter Violet had her first pediatric check up today. The pediatrician suggested that we all get a flu shot. I don’t think she reads my blog.

If she did she’d know exactly why we wouldn’t be interested. The flu shot is bunk, plain and simple. I have no reason to expose myself or my family to a flu we may never get. Nor do we fool ourselves into thinking that we’ll have some sort of protection–we might just catch the flu one way or another. But the PED insists that we’ll be doing ourselves a service, adding protection in case one of us brings home the bug and gives it to little Violet, who is only two and a half weeks old. Yawn…the story never gets any more interesting.

Here’s the latest: A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that kids who were immunized against the flu did not have lower rates of contracting the flu than non-vaccinated kids. And even more eye-opening (I hope) for pediatricians is that kids who received the vaccination were just as likely to be hospitalized or visit the doctor than those who had not been vaccinated.

All I can ask is how long will this ruse continue? Probably indefinitely. It’s hard to let go of a deep-rooted paradigm. Flu shot proponents in the medical community have thought it necessary to explain the result by saying that the development of the flu vaccine is not an exact science. They say it’s like “forecasting the weather.” Um hm…just what I want out of my vaccinations, comparisons to meteorology. According to Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg, professor of pediatrics at University of Rochester. “Sometimes we are right on, and sometimes we are off.”

No kidding. I’ve been saying exactly that for a long time (and here, and here). The flu is one of the most rapidly mutating viruses there is. Preparing a inoculation to perfectly match a strain is like trying to pick a Superbowl winner in September. Sometime you will be right on, and sometime you will be off. And now they are even saying that perhaps children need to use a nasal spray to administer the vaccine. Yawn…on to the next round.

No we won’t be getting the flu shot this year…or next year, or the next. We graciously thanked our pediatrician for the concern but told her we’d be okay. I’ve never had a flu shot and neither has Erika. We did not give it to our eldest Delilah, and we don’t plan on giving it to Violet either. Although I’m certain this farce called the flu shot will not come to an end any time soon, I’m pretty sure the unflattering studies will continue to pour in on this bunk vaccination.

A message that I try to get out in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, is that exercising for purely aesthetic reasons is a sure to lead to frustration and disappointment for many. It’s the best way to guarantee an abandoned physical fitness program when things don’t turn out the way you’ve fantasized. I think a much better approach is to exercise for the myriad of physiological or health benefits you will surely enjoy if only you can keep up the effort.

I think what happens is that people want to lose weight and “get ripped.” Nothing wrong with either of these desires. But what happens when it doesn’t occur over night, or in a few months? Well, many people end up frustrated, and say, “This isn’t working.” They then come up with all kinds of implausible excuses why it’s not working for them: genetics, slow metabolism, or the old, “I work out all the time, but I never seem to lose weight.”

Well here’s good news this week out of the University of Michigan: Fat metabolism speeds up in just one exercise session. That’s right! Just one workout and fat burning increases. This lowers your chance of developing insulin resistance–the hallmark of type 2 diabetes–and increases your ability to burn fat in the future. How? Exercising increases the ability to store fat in the muscle tissue as triglycerides, which makes it available for quick energy; much quicker than the fat filled adipose tissue we store around our bellies, butts and hips.

So even if you find that you “never seem to lose weight” no matter how much you exercise, just know that despite what seems to be slow going, you’re doing yourself a great physiological and health service by working out regularly. If what you say about working out all the time is true, then you might need to be honest with yourself and cut the calories you’re ingesting everyday in the form of food, booze or soda. But you can be sure that your metabolism is working faster and burning fat more efficiently if you are exercising. And even if that’s the most you get out of it, you are still doing your body a world of good.

Good news for health naturalists: Ginkgo biloba extracts have shown promise as both pre and post-stroke treatment in mice. We have all heard of ginkgo’s ability to improve blood flow to the brain, thereby enhancing memory and concentration. What better to help with stroke than a substance that increases blood flow to the brain?

A study out of John’s Hopkins University showed that mice given ginkgo before a stroke suffered only half the damage than mice not given the substance. And mice that received the extract five minutes following stroke had 60% less damage than mice not receiving it, while mice receiving ginkgo 4.5 hours following stroke had a third less damage. Wow! That’s incredible.

Researchers attribute ginkgo’s benefits to raising levels of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an enzyme that acts as an antioxidant protecting cells against free radical damage. Free radicals are toxins that can damage DNA leading to aging, degeneration, and cancer.

Ginkgo is one of the top five highest-selling medicinal herbs in the U.S. Ginkgo biloba is a living fossil–it is the lone surviving species of an ancient order of trees which died out millennia ago. It grows wildly in Eastern China and has long been used for its medicinal properties.

I’ve never taken Ginkgo, but I must start. I just can’t ignore all the many benefits it seems to offer. Since I’m into the power of my mind, why not an occasional tonic? I say occasional because I think it’s always good to practice prudence when it comes to taking herbs or tinctures. But every once in a while can’t hurt, now can it? Not according to this latest study. I do want to caution, though, that this study is preliminary, and extrapolating the findings to humans may be premature; but like I said, I just can’t ignore all the positive press this herb has been getting. So I’ll keep my eyes open, and my mind too; and I’ll keep you all informed.

The most common burn-related ER visits are due to scalds from hot tap water, with 4,000 children a year suffering accidental burns either from the faucet or bathtub. 75% of all childhood burn accidents are preventable. According to a recent report, a new danger parents need to consider and teach their children about are burns from microwave heated foods.

A review of records from the University of Chicago Burn Center shows that hot foods or liquids from microwave ovens were the fourth leading cause of scald injuries in children under 5 years old. Parents need to teach their children that the microwave is as dangerous as the stove when it comes to getting burned. The most common mechanism of injury in microwave burns is when children–the report has the youngest at 18 months old–open the microwave on their own and reach in for the substance inside. Most injuries occurred when one parent is home alone and trying to cook dinner; the children end up finding their way to hazardous areas.

The best thing parents can do is:

  • Teach children about the hazards of the hot stove and microwave.
  • Turn down home thermostats to under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don’t drink or handle hot liquids of any kind when small children are around
  • Keep pot handles turned inward on the stove.
  • Avoid using tablecloths and placemats that your child could use to pull hot foods and liquids down on him or herself.
  • Always test the water with your wrist or elbow before you place a child in the bathtub. You can also use a bath thermometer.

Remember 3 out of every 4 child burn injuries are preventable. The first step is just knowing the prevalence of these accidents. In this way, you’ll stay alert. When you are cooking, put infants in high chairs or create a “safe” play area somewhere away from the hazards of the kitchen. Then, always keep your eyes open. Better to burn dinner than your child.

This is probably no surprise to you, but marijuana has been deemed less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. According to the Beckley Foundation, a research charity in Oxford, England, not only is marijuana relatively benign, but banning it has no impact on supply, and it turns users into criminals.

No surprise to me either, as I’ve been covering the marijuana debate for over a year now. The foundation reports that the number of deaths last year contributable to marijuana worldwide were two. Compared to the 150,000 deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco in Britain alone, the notion of keeping marijuana illegal seems absurd. But we still live in a Puritanical society. As pointed out by the foundation, it makes more sense to regulate the drug, as the ills society experiences are “the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment.”

Keeping marijuana illegal is baseless, and as it’s medicinal benefits continue to be uncovered, it seems foolish to keep up the prohibition. In the U.S. we manufacture and sell two of the most dangerous drugs on the planet–booze and tobacco–and they are subject to regulation. Even in the worst economic times, both products enjoy healthy sales. They are taxed heavily and generate millions of dollars in revenue. We should be doing the same with marijuana: Legalize it, regulate it, tax it, and stop wasting time and money prosecuting its use. Let’s get smart and move forward.

Get ready for this one. I believe that people who are sick a lot–you know the ones: the co-worker who is often absent from work, your Aunt Tilly with the bad case of rheumatism, the lady down the street with 30 different maladies–create an internal environment of poor health. This unhealthy internal environment weakens the body, and over time, stresses of the external environment break down the body and lead to premature death.

What is this internal environment? It starts with the mind. People who see themselves as sick, people who use being sick as a tool for emotional support, and/or people who wholeheartedly buy into their illness as described to them by their doctors or the popular culture, lower their resistance and immunity, and hamper the innate healing power of their bodies. In other words, the mind that sees itself as sick, gets sick and stays sick.

BS Campos? Really, check this out: A recent British study found that people who were out sick from work for extended periods, even if generally “healthy” at the time of the study, were more likely to die prematurely than people who didn’t take such time off. What? Listen again: The study looked at approximately 6,500 government workers from 1985-1988 and followed them through 2004. The workers who had one or more periods of extended leave–out of work for more than one week–were 66% more likely to die in the study period than people who hadn’t taken such leave.

Now wait a second, Campos; weren’t these people simply ill to begin with? Of course, they’ll die earlier.

No. Many of the workers who died “were in good health at the beginning of the study,” according to Jenny Head, a statistician at University College London who led the study. True, it would make sense for people who had cancer or circulatory problems to need extended leaves of absence, and also to die earlier. However, the results also showed earlier death for people who had called in sick for minor complaints such as coughs and colds and flu. Wow! Mind tripper.

So I go back to my original point: People who see themselves as sick; that is, they believe they are ill, not well, unhealthy, and so forth, create an internal environment, through their thoughts, that weaken the body and leave them susceptible to early breakdown and disease, and eventually death. People who see themselves as healthy know they will bounce back, and that they will be OK. What do people who know they’ll be OK do? They move on with their lives. They go back to work, or don’t take off at all–they know that they’ll feel better shortly, so they keep on truckin’.

The researchers did not come to this conclusion. It’s mine. It hasn’t been tested yet, nor proved. It’s simply my theory. The researchers did not know the connection between early extended sick leave and premature death; they only found it a curiosity and thought it might be useful data for doctors to screen or be able to predict later illness and death in people. Yeah, I definitely think it’s good for that. But I also think I have a good working hypothesis. It’s the direction of my current research. Stay tuned.

Are Americans more depressed and mentally disturbed than Europeans? How about our kids? Now c’mon…people are people, right? Americans don’t have more stress than Europeans, Asians, or Latin Americans. Everybody has stress. Especially other industrialized countries–we all have to deal with economic issues, crime…traffic! No, no, no…Americans aren’t more mentally disturbed than Euros.

Then why are more American kids being heavily medicated with psychotropic medications than European kids? According to a recent study, children in the U.S. are significantly more likely to be prescribed drugs for mental conditions than their European counterparts. Psychotropic drugs include stimulants (Ritalin), antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft), and antipsychotics (Risperdal). The research showed that American kids were more than two times as likely as Dutch children and more than three times as likely as German children to be medicated with a psychotropic drugs. American children were also substantially more likely to be on multiple psychotropic drugs. So I ask the question again, are our kids more mentally disturbed?

You know the real answer: Hell no! Our kids are more medicated for one simple reason–America is a gold mine for pharmaceutical sales. The reason is three-fold:

  1. Americans believe in magic bullets
  2. Americans worship medicine and put their doctors on pedestals
  3. American doctors are given financial incentives (like trips, cruises, and other gifts) to prescribe particular meds

What else would you expect? The current mental health paradigm in this country is that the cause of mental illness (depression?) is biochemical. What a bunch of horseshot. I cover this subject extensively in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health; but suffice it to say there isn’t one shred of evidence making this paradigm a fact. It is all theory. And a poor one at that.

All this in light of another recent study that shows psychotherapy to be better than meds in treating complex psychiatric problems. Time to cut the crap and get your kids off the psychotropics.

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