From the monthly archives: "February 2009"

Hey, catch wind of this: Breathing exercises may improve athletic performance. That’s right, working out the muscles involved in respiration can boost energy and endurance. Here’s how:

Scientists looked at 27 college soccer players and found that five weeks of respiratory workouts improved the athletes “intermittent” exercise performance, or the short bursts of effort needed for quick plays in sports like soccer, baseball, and football. The workouts utilized an instrument called a respiratory muscle trainer, which required the athletes to breathe through a valve, forcing the respiratory muscles to work harder. The study was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study consisted of splitting the players into two groups, the first using the respiratory muscle trainer 10 times a week for five weeks, while the other just resumed their regular workouts. At the end of the study period, many of the athletes in the respiratory training group showed gains in their ability to perform short bursts of exercise.

The clients in my West Hollywood and Beverly Hills chiropractic practice know how much weight I put on breathing–it’s of mega-importance. That’s why I give most of my clients exercises to strengthen and control their diaphragm, the dome shaped muscle responsible for the breathing function. Abdominal breathing retrains the diaphragm to contract fully, removing the burden on the accessory muscles of respiration in the neck and upper back. Not only is oxygen intake increased through diaphragmatic breathing, which increases endurance and energy, but tension in the neck and shoulders is often decreased by utilizing this powerful muscle.

Great news for athletes and non-athletes alike. Whether you shoot hoops or hike the canyons, a strong breath will power your performance. You’ll play longer, recover faster, and live healthier with a robust breathing apparatus.

Taking B vitamins can prevent a type of vision loss common in older women. So says a recent study out of Brigham University and Women’s Hospital in Boston. According to the study, women taking a combination of B-6, folic acid, and B-12 reduced their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by one-third. The researchers believe the results can be extrapolated to men as well.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people 65 and older, causing a layer of the eye to deteriorate, blurring the center of the field of vision and making it difficult to recognize faces, read and drive. There is no known cure for this condition, so prevention is the key, and in that regard B vitamins are it.

I’ve been pushing B vitamins pretty heavily for a decade. I know how crucial they are for good health. Not only do the B vitamins prevent many nasty disorders like anemia, depression and hypertension, but they also increase energy; and now we know that they can help also stop age-related blindness. Not bad for simple nutrients.

If you are not supplementing with B vitamins now, I strongly suggest you start. B vitamins are just too powerful to ignore.

My daughter Delilah has been sick as Swiss measles outbreak–has a nasty cold, probably the same one you have. Hacking dry cough, lots of snot, fever–I’ve seen so many people in my practice with this nasty little bug, and even more that I’ve talked to. It’s that time of year, all right.

Did you get a flu shot? I didn’t. I was sick about a month ago–same thing that’s going around now. I didn’t get my daughters a flu shot either, despite massive pushing from our pediatrician. It got me wondering, why don’t they have a vaccine for the common cold? It can’t be because the rhinovirus is benign; I mean, my daughter has been nailed. After eight days of labored respiration and irrepressible cough, I think she’s been through the ringer. So why no vaccine?

I wouldn’t do it anyway, because I’m sure it wouldn’t do squat. Just like the flu vaccine. As I reported back in December, very few Americans are getting the flu shot this year. And we haven’t been hit yet with the massive flu epidemic that we’ve been told for years would happen unless everyone got their flu shot. Uh..told you.

Even better, doctors are now saying the flu shot doesn’t prevent the flu, it only lessens symptoms. Ha, ha, ha…what a crock of sh*#! Last year it was, “The flu vaccine protects at risk people, like children or the elderly, from the flu.” Today it’s, “You can get the flu even if you’ve been vaccinated, and even if it hits the right virus, you just may not get as bad of a flu.” Yeah…exactly what I’ve been saying.

To the credit of the flu shot pushers, the new word on the hospital floor is that people who haven’t gotten flu shots should try to ride the season out. Bout time somebody started talking sense.

What holds the greatest promise for a disease-free future? Well, if you’ve guessed stem cells, then you certainly know your panacea. Yes, these miraculous little cell line precursors are a shoo-in to rid the world of such maladies as Alzheimer’s, depression and cancer.

But not so fast my little genetic engineering groupies–there’s a hidden danger within the nano-confines of the micropipette. According to a recent story, a family desperate to save their son from a lethal brain disease sought highly experimental injections of fetal stem cells, which triggered tumors in the boy’s brain and spinal cord.

The boy was suffering from ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a fatal neurodegenerative disease of the brain that ultimately leads to loss of coordination of movement. Because the disease also affects the immune system, frequent infections and cancer can also result. His parents took him Russia when he was nine, and it was in a Moscow clinic where he received the stem cell injections into his brain and spinal cord. He received subsequent injections at 10 and 12 years old.

The boy began suffering greater symptoms of incoordination as well as headaches. While under observation in a Tel Aviv hospital, doctors found two cancerous growths pushing on his brain stem and spinal cord. Doctors at Tel Aviv University removed the growths and found the cells to have both male and female cells present, as well as two normal copies of the A-T genes, which led them to conclude that they were the result of the injected stem cells. Yeesh.

Lot’s of red flags arise with this story. First, stem cell research is in its infancy. Much of its promise is currently a dream; nothing definitive in the science yet. Just because they can clone goats, doesn’t mean they know how to safely use stem cell lines for any medical treatment yet.

Second, if chasing an experimental treatment, wouldn’t it make sense to first determine if said treatment is indicated for your particular condition? Dr. Marius Wernig of Stanford University pointed out that A-T is not a disease conducive to stem cell therapy, so what the hacks in Moscow were thinking (besides where they were going to drink their money) is anyone’s guess.

And finally, if you are going to get a new and highly uncertain treatment done, don’t do it outside the U.S. We’ve got the best medicine in the world here; why go to Russia, Brazil, or the Philippines for a pipe dream? At least someone in this country might be held accountable (well, I guess we’ll see what happens to Octomom Doc, anyway).

Although the boy in the story survived, there are still important points to be made: Genetic engineering is serious business, and it is not to be taken lightly. There is so much we do not know about the science, despite how freely it is discussed by laymen, politicians and the media. We have an incredible responsibility with this technology, and although we should look into its promise to “cure disease,” this story proves that the dark side of genetic tampering can be more than just ideological.

I noticed one of my staff members coughing incessantly. “Get that hack checked out,” I’d snarl at her. She had, and nothing out-of-the-ordinary could be found. We’d try to figure it out, ourselves. Biofreeze, she thought. No way; I hardly use it. Air conditioning. Maybe, but every place in L.A. is air conditioned. Something you’re eating? Doubtful; it’s worse at the office.

“It’s me,” I said.

“Without a doubt, but you cause headaches, double vision, and extreme irritation to the point of wanting to commit homicide.” Oh…

But then I came across this story: Australian researchers have found that laser printers release a fine, toxic dust that can cause damage “on the scale of inhaled cigarette smoke“–whenever they were in use. Damage that can results from repeated exposure range from lung irritation to cancer. Apparently, it’s the rise in temperature of the internal printer components, toner and lubricating oil that causes the release of particles. The emitted particles then react with the air and ozone to produce the toxins. The printers’ temperatures, and consequent emissions, peaked at one minute of continuous printing, and then declined. They peaked again at two minutes of continuous printing.

There is variability among both printers and cartridges–I’m including a list of high-emitting laser printers below, but I’ll keep my ears open for any more news on this front. I’m sure nobody will be surprised to hear that the printer manufacturers have fiercely disputed the findings of the Queensland University of Technology research team, but facts are facts. Ink jet printers did not show any toxic emissions.

So, my advice: print small jobs that take less than one minute, let the printer cool, perhaps another couple of minutes, and then print the next small job. Larger jobs can be broken up in the same way, taken to Kinko’s, or started right before lunch when you can leave the room as the toxic particles are forming. Leave windows open if possible; or run an air purifier. And never, ever stop looking for the cause of your hacking cough.

The high-emitting laser printers:

  • HP Color LaserJet 4650dn
  • HP Color LaserJet 5550dtn
  • HP Color LaserJet 8550N
  • HP LaserJet 1320N
  • HP LaserJet 1320n
  • HP LaserJet 2420dn
  • HP LaserJet 4200dtn
  • HP LaserJet 4250n (old)
  • HP LaserJet 4250n (new)
  • HP LaserJet 5(a)
  • HP LaserJet 8000DN
  • HP LaserJet 8150N
  • Toshiba Studio 450

Thems conductin’ um toof study up in ‘em Appalachian mountains: See how many Mountain Dews it takes to lose a tooth. Awesome.Caught the latest 20/20 segment on the A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains about the kids in Central Appalachia. Mountain Dew is the drink of choice in them thar hills, so much so that dentists in the area have coined a term Mountain Dew mouth. MD mouth describes the rotten teeth that owe their condition to the sweet corrosion of excessive sugar and acid contained in each can of Dew. As teeth dissolve away, poor people in the region often have to extract their own dents using wire; the region has been rated #1 in toothlessness–not a distinction to be proud of. The addiction to Dew is so bad that mothers have been known to put MD in their babies bottles, and it is not uncommon for children to have more than ten cavities in their baby teeth.

We may as well pay close attention to this news here in the flat lands, as soda consumption among city slickers is astronomical. Yes, Mountain Dew is higher in sugar than regular sodas (19 tsp. sugar to the typical 10); and it causes 2-5x more corrosion from its high acidity. But this doesn’t make Coke and Pepsi benign. On the contrary, all soda is garbage; so let’s not lose the lesson hidden in the Appalachian soda experiment. If you are pounding the liquid sugar every day, or worse, several times a day, then get ready for them dentures, sonny, ‘cuz you’re jacking up your teefasis a’plenty.

Watch the vid on Mountain Dew mouth and get grossed out.

When speaking to your infant or toddler, gesturing will help increase his or her vocabulary. Scientists have found that the more a child can communicate with gestures, the richer the vocabulary when starting kindergarten. And the ability to use hand and arm gestures to express oneself might be translated later into a better education overall.


University of Chicago researchers looked at the communication habits of fifty Chicago-area families of varying socioeconomic status. They found that the children (aged 14 months) whose parents used the most gesturing to communicate with them (and vice versa) had the greatest vocabulary. The gestures were not a form of sign-language but instead a way to communicate everyday concepts and objects–for instance, pointing at an object while naming it, “Yes, that’s a dog,” or signifying directionality like “up” “down” or “big.”

Another interesting find was that families of higher socioeconomic status tended to use more gestures on average than those of lower income and lower educational status. The way parents talk to their children from babyhood onward has been previously found to influence vocabulary early on; and it persists into later life, ultimately leading to better overall education. On average, children from higher socioeconomic families produced 25 meanings in a 90-minute period, while poorer children produced only 13. This study does a good job of explaining at least one reason why poorer children enter kindergarten with smaller vocabularies than their financially better-off classmates. Kindergarten vocabulary is a predictor of how well youngsters ultimately fare in school.

So the take home lesson here is when speaking with Junior, use lots of hand gestures. Hey, you don’t have to be Italian or from Brooklyn to get into talkin’ witchya hands. Heck no, start today–you’ll be doing your kids a great service in the learning department, as communication is the first form of problem solving. Getting started early in brain training is often of great advantage; but saying that, it’s not too late to start with your toddler now, either.

Well, hallelujah. There is hope. Apparently some doctors see a problem in accepting gifts from drug companies, too. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will be considering a proposal from some of its members to halt the practice of medical seminars being funded by pharmaceutical companies. No guarantee that the board will also see it as a problem, but this is a good start.

Drug companies have been courting doctors for years, with trinkets, luxury trips, and cash. It’s not uncommon for doctors to earn big bucks speaking in favor of one drug or another (of course we mean name brands). And antidepressants are high on that list. Considering the questionable effectiveness, and the even more shaky science behind these highly over-prescribed drugs, and you can only imagine why pharmaceutical courting exists.

Here is the problem: When doctors are paid by a pharmaceutical company–like Wyeth, makers of Effexor, let’s say–then do you think those doctors will recommend any other option? When full-on seminars are sponsored by drug companies, do you think that most attendees will be prescribing Effexor like crazy on Monday? Do you think drug companies will place their product in anything but the most positive light? That’s exactly how drugs like Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, and Zoloft received black box warnings after they had been on the market for several years, despite the fact that research showed a hightened risk for violence and suicidal tendencies in children. Do you think the manufacturers of these drugs disclosed these very important findings to their seminar attendees?

But once again, thank goodness some doctors and medical groups like the APA see the inherent problem. As former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, says,

“It is self-evidently absurd to look to a company for information about a product it makes. Why can’t doctors, who are among the most privileged members of society, pay for their own continuing medical education? Why have they abdicated that responsibility to the companies who make drugs?”

And for those doctors who think they are above being persuaded, Dr. Angell adds,

“There are still those who feel strongly that they can hear things but it doesn’t influence their practice. But the evidence points the other way.”

Precisely.

How stupid would this sound? Most people who exercise don’t really need to; their health status is good already, so exercise is actually overkill. Retarded, right? OK, check this out:

According to a recent study, many children taking vitamin supplements don’t need them because they are not at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Sounds reasonable so far, right? Not to me, but keep reading. The report goes on to say that children who might benefit the most from nutritional supplements, including those with overall poor health or diet, may be the least likely to take them. Alright then, so they’ve established that supplementation is necessary, at least under certain circumstances. Hang in there, this will make sense shortly.

The researchers also say that the children who tend to take vitamins are “the healthiest and most active with a balanced diet.” The conclusion from the researchers, at least as the media is reporting it, is that healthy children receive all their nutrients from their diet, and don’t need supplements. But is that true? I think another possibility is that the healthier children just live healthier lifestyles. Is income and education level a part of the equation? Sure, but equally important is that healthier kids take their vitamins. So isn’t it possible–hang on to your hats now–that taking vitamins adds to the overall level of health?

Duh! Vitamins are important–and this study is just more evidence in support that claim.

*Just so you know, the media has totally misreported the conclusions of this study. Just another example of media distortion of the truth.

Remember my post on the unplanned flu shot study? Remember how I pointed out that only 33% of the American population had received a flu shot as of December ’08, and that only an estimated 17% more would be receiving the vaccine all season? Do you also recall how I pointed out that 80-90% of the population needs to be inoculated for protection to take place–at least theoretically?

OK, OK…you must remember all the other post of mine regarding the flu shot. Remember? You know, that I think it’s the biggest scam of the last two centuries; that the flu shot doesn’t protect against diddly (read this); that if you’ve bought into the flu shot hype, you’ve been duped royally. Well, let’s add a little more fuel to the fire.

Experts now report that the flu may be off to a slow start–flu-like symptoms have been below normal all season. Well whaddaya know. Lets see, government agency sells public on shaky vaccine–one meant to combat rapidly mutating organism. Scientific community admits difficulty getting vaccine strain right, as whole process is guessing game as to which flu strain will rear its ugly capsid in any given year. Despite this, public still buys into flu shot BS.

Rewind to 2007: Record numbers of Americans go out and get the flu shot, yet we experience the worst flu season in three years. Now 2008: People say, “Up yours!” to the flu shot and stay away in record numbers, and to date…flu cases are down! Hmmm…does anybody else smell something fishy?

Well it’s no surprise to me–I’ve been reporting this story for over two years. The flu shot is bona fide bovine scat. And you know what gives me gran satisfacción? People are getting it. Yes! But wait…is it possible that getting the flu shot, gulp, gives you the flu? Public health officials say, “Absolutely not!” But go ahead, read the side effects–sounds like flu to me. Okay…flu-like symptoms. Whatever. But check it: flu shots up…flu up. Flu shots down…flu down. Could it? Nah, it’s just coincidence…right?!?!

Giving Ritalin to your kid may be much the same as giving him an eight ball. Yes, you’ve got it: The popular ADHD medication causes the same brain changes seen in cocaine addiction. What? Don’t believe me? Check it out.

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that healthy mice exposed to daily injections of methylphenidate, or Ritalin, caused changes in the reward centers of their brains, and some of these changes resembled those in mice given cocaine.

This study was prompted by reports that more than 7 million people in the United States have abused methylphenidate, using it to get high or to improve academic performance. This shouldn’t come as any surprise to my regular readers; in fact, I said just that in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health:

For some of these drugs, like Ritalin, abuse has reached epidemic proportions. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) lists Ritalin as one of the top ten most stolen drugs in the country. The frightening thing it isn’t just adults who are abusing these meds, children as young as twelve years old are becoming regular users. As much as 2.5 percent of eighth graders abuse Ritalin…

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, don’t accept it as a helpless situation and succumb to the pressures of drugging him. Your kids will have plenty of opportunities to damage their own brains–why be a part of that equation. Don’t get brainwashed into believing your child has a problem. ADHD, a labelled disorder in one child, is another child’s special gift. All personality traits–good or bad–exist with other aspects (we all, in fact, express every personality trait at various times); it’s up to you to see all aspects of your child’s personality. So you can nurture and encourage the positive aspects of your child’s personality, or you can drug ‘em–it’s your choice.

More on the positive aspects of ADHD
Advantages of ADHD
The 151 positive traits of ADHD

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