From the monthly archives: "August 2009"

Listen up, people–get your swine flu shots straight away. Seriously. The U.S. government, along with the CDC, really, really wants you to be well. So they are reaching out (and I’m helping) through Facebook and Twitter to let you know–they care.

According to recent reports, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is turning to social networking sites targeting 50% of the population to spread the fear about the swine flu. The CDC reports that it is urging people to get their annual inoculations–three to be exact–one for the regular flu (the one that doesn’t work), and two for the swine flu (the one that could be dangerous). They would like you to know that despite 50% of health care workers in Hong Kong stating that they wound NOT be getting the vaccine–you should–because you’re American, and well, you’re dumb.

They also want you to know that despite the mild nature of the current swine flu spreading throughout the world, it COULD be deadly. And so in the event that it might…you really need to get inoculated. Please do not fixate on the fact that the vaccines currently in the works have not been thoroughly tested; and please do not spend too much time thinking about that silly little legal immunity thing granted to the vaccine makers–those are simply technicalities.

What is really important is that you are safe. The CDC and the U.S. government want you to know that in these certainly uncertain times, the only thing that is certain is uncertainty.

As I will be posting this on Facebook and Twitter, I certainly hope that I have done my part.

Celebrity Disc Jockey, Adam Goldstein, also known as DJ AM, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this evening. Police had to break down the door and they found drug paraphernalia in the apartment. Details are being withheld until the Goldstein family is notified.

DJ AM survived a recent brush with death nearly one year ago when a plane carrying him and Travis Barker of Blink 182 crashed in South Carolina. Four people died in that crash, but Goldstein and Barker miraculously survived, despite suffering massive burns. Goldstein, at that time, said he was grateful to be alive. “I can’t believe I made it,” he said. “I’ve prayed every night for the past 10 years. There’s a lot more to thank God for now. … I was saved for a reason. Maybe I’m going to help someone else. I don’t question it. All I know is I’m thankful to be here.”

DJ AM came to fame through his celebrity relationships with Nicole Richie and Mandy Moore, as well as his club spinning vocation. He had talked openly about his previous addictions to crack cocaine, Ecstasy and other drugs, but he claimed he had been drug-free for years.

Well, another sad celebrity loss in a year that saw Michael Jackson, Danny Gans and Billy Mays all overdose on drugs. This is nothing new as musicians, comedians and actors have been dropping yearly to drug overdose for decades. Maybe it’s the pressure or maybe it’s the accessibility, but these high-profile people seem to take it to the limit when it comes to drugs. I know, I’ve been there; but I’ve stopped; and I know the difference between a life on drugs and one that’s clean. No comparison, in my mind, which one is fuller, richer and more rewarding, but that could just be my perspective. What is a shame is that DJ AM also knew, supposedly, the difference; yet he chose to play around one more time.

Once again I’ll say, I’m no teetotaler. I have nothing against anybody’s drug use. Do what you want, really. But if you do care about your life, just remember that every time you play around, even if you think, “Ah, it’s just a little…,” you’re taking a chance. Each time could be the last. That’s all.

RIP DJ AM.

I don’t know; what do you think? If 50% of health care workers would refuse the swine flu vaccine, do you think there might be something behind that? According to a recent study that polled 2,255 Hong Kong health workers, even during the height of global swine flu panic in May, less than half were willing to get vaccinated. You don’t say…

According to the report, the workers cited being “afraid of side effects,” and having doubts about, “how safe and effective it would be.” Well, no Schlitz. Du-uh-uh-uh-uh.

But what is obvious to you and me, seems like a real head-scratcher for public health authorities, like the World Health Organization (WHO). Bioethicists are debating the ethics of health care workers protecting their patients by getting vaccinated to the pig flu. But if health care workers believe that it’s bogus–as bogus as the regular flu shot (doctors read the data; they know: In the U.S., about 35 percent of health workers get a regular flu shot, while in Britain, only about 17 percent do), and even possibly dangerous–then good luck.

When it comes to vaccinations, freaky side effects usually come about after 1 million inoculations. This was the case in 1976 when a swine flu vaccine was produced then; and the poor suckers who got the stab developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, a temporary paralyzing disorder that can lead to death; however, the numbers were a bit less than one in a million. But I’ll bet you those one in million were none too happy with the results. Add in that pharmaceutical developers will be immune to any lawsuits, and scheiße, who the hell is gonna take the chance.

George Annas, a bioethecist at Boston University says of this recent finding, “Like the lay population, [health care workers] assume they won’t need the shot because they don’t think they will get the flu.” Uh…noooo….since health care workers have a basic understanding of the health sciences, they know when the wool is being pulled over their eyes. Face the facts.

Question: What do you do if you are the pharmaceutical industry and the current health care climate is such that it will be harder to hold long-term patents, and people are getting hip to the dangers of lifestyle drugs?

Answer: Why, step up your development of vaccinations, that’s what.

As I peruse the health news daily, it does not get past me that a very large percentage of stories (30% tonight) are on vaccinations–new ones for swine flu, cervical cancer and other illnesses, as well as finger-wagging at people who choose to not subject themselves or their children to new and untested vaccines. All of it rounded out by stories of the government pushing, pushing, pushing policies and legislation to inoculate us all, against everything. Who’s scared of this scenario, and who’s not? Who is in complete trust and confidence in this latest twist to the, “We the government care about the peoples’ health and well-being,” game?

The latest is the new findings that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is responsible for 50% of all penile cancers.* As a result, the drug-makers that manufacture the vaccine against HPV for girls, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, say the vaccine can be also used in boys. What do you know? First it was 50% of schoolchildren that we can stick, now we get the other half. Who doesn’t see the rationale behind this?

And if that isn’t scary enough, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has signed a decree granting vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from any new “Swine Flu” vaccine. The vaccine is untested and new, and if anything goes wrong–tough titties; suck it up, it’s for the greater good.

It’s simple: You need to know this stuff to understand where we can take control over our own health. If you think the government knows how to best take care of you, be my guest, Patriot. But if mandatory inoculations of your kids scares the crap out of you, better be prepared to say so.

*Penises blamed for 100%–bad penises, bad, bad…

Here we go again: The numbers of teenagers overdosing on ADHD drugs has risen 76% over the last eight years. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that the number of calls for all cases of ADHD drug misuse involving 13- to 19-year-olds went from 317 calls per year in 1998 to 581 in 2005. Holy moley! Is anyone else disturbed by this as much as I am?

I report in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, that Ritalin and other ADHD drugs are some of the most commonly abused among teens. ADHD drugs are classified as Schedule 2 along with opium, morphine, cocaine, methadone and methamphetamine–that is, they have some medicinal purpose but are highly addictive and have a high potential for abuse. Ritalin and the other ADHD drugs (Adderall and Vyvanse) are the only schedule 2′s that can be obtained through a prescription. See the problem yet?

ADHD drugs are a form of amphetamines (schedule 3 drugs, which have less potential for abuse and dependency than schedule 2′s), yet they have been classified as even more dangerous than the amphetamines. 8-12% of all American children are diagnosed with ADHD. Sales for ADHD drugs totaled about $4.8 billion in 2008, according to data from IMS Health. Do you see the problem yet?

Although the history of ADHD is long in development, it was not classified as a medical disorder until 1987. And then in 1996 the first medication to treat this new medical disorder, Adderal, was approved by the FDA. Now do you see it?..now?..now?

Amphetamines cause abuse, dependence, addiction, tolerance, and overdose. They are illegal to posses in the general public without a prescription for just these reasons, yet Americans are willfully feeding it to their children because some crack science says it’s good for them. Kids that have overactive minds and personalities are tagged with some BS label called ADHD, and their parents are told, “if left untreated, the persistent and pervasive effects of ADHD symptoms can insidiously and severely interfere with one’s ability to get the most out of education, fulfill one’s potential in the workplace, establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, and maintain a generally positive sense of self.” And the kids are given speed. And 581 are ODing every year. Are you seeing the problem yet?

Those of you that really think the American health care crisis has to do with medical insurance should pull your heads out of your asses.

Say hello to the modern-day chastity belt: it’s called the surgical mask. College students are being advised to refrain from kissing, but if they must, they should do it through surgical masks. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) has released it’s 2009-2010 Guidance For Response to Influenza for Institutions of Higher Education during the Academic Year and it’s a doozy. So forget the condoms and forget the home pregnancy tests–horny college students go pick up your make-out masks at the Student Health Services building on the double!

The Guidelines have other very useful tips for our Nation’s students like, If sick

  • Don’t go to class
  • Don’t be around others
  • Professors, ignore absenteeism
  • Get off campus, go home–and don’t take the bus, get a cab
  • If you can’t leave campus, stay in your room, and have either the bravest student, or the most expendable bring you meals
  • Communicate only through e-mail, text and telephone
  • Also if unable to leave campus, the college can provide you with quarantine with all the other unfortunate lepers
  • and many others

Boy, this swine flu’s really got the government scared. Some ideas that did not make it into the Guidelines this year but were considered:

  • Heavy petting to be done only while wearing catcher’s or hockey goalie’s gear
  • Fornication should only be conducted virtually, through the web
  • And any orgy should be conducted singularly, in isolation, although web cam is permissible

So there you have it: Health care as provided by our government. Is it just me or can everybody else not wait for the socialized system to kick in? Woohoo!

Yes, you’ve read the title right: Heroin is the best treatment for heroin addiction. Duh! Who doesn’t know that? Heroin addict, no heroin–big problem. Heroin addict, heroin–no problem!  Every-ting irie, man.

According to Canadian researchers, injections of the active ingredient of heroin work far better than oral methadone for keeping addicts in treatment, away from illegal drugs and out of trouble. You don’t say…and they call this science? May I point out that a heroin addict will sit in a bucket of live crabs if there’s heroin in there.

Even better is the warning by researchers that administering heroin as treatment increases the risk of overdoses and seizures. Ha ha ha ha ha…oh sorry, but sometime I just can’t believe it myself.

So let me get this straight: To keep a heroin addict in treatment, simply give him or her heroin. They’ll stay put, commit less crimes, and it will cost less–$10,000 vs the $50,000 it is estimated to cost a heroin addict on the street. Why that’s a great idea, but is it treatment or is it a subsidy?

Either way, I don’t care. I just marvel at the absurdity of the discovery. I wonder how much the research cost? Must be that awe-inspiring innovation coming out of socialized health systems. Yes, Canada, keep wowing us with your cutting-edge medical science. Can’t wait for some more up-and-coming Canadian breakthroughs like pedophilia aversion training with room full of six-year-olds, and the ever-favorite “tough love” suicide hotline recorded message. We strive to be just like you, O Canada: humanitarian, progressive, and down-right brilliant.

Big trouble in Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate polio in the African nation have taken a wrong turn. The polio vaccine being administered to Nigerians is causing a polio surge. You heard right, Nigerians are contracting polio from the very substance meant to curb it. Pretty scary for outside observers, and pretty awful for the Nigerian people.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the polio virus used in the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that is currently being administered in Nigeria has gone through a mutation, causing poliomyelitis, a disease-induced paralysis, in 124 children. Nigerian officials have reported that this number has doubled from the year before, and the cause is primarily from a mutation in the strain contained within the vaccine.

Polio vaccine comes in two administration forms–injectable polio vaccine (IPV), which is the form predominantly used in the U.S., and the oral version. OPV is preferred in third world countries because of it’s low cost and ease of administration. It does provide added benefits over IPV in that it protects the intestinal tract, preventing infection through the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Because polio is transmitted through fecal-oral transmission, the protection added by the OPV is a big plus. Even here in the U.S., the polio vaccine schedule has been changed to include both injectable and oral doses.

Whereas IPV contains a killed virus, leading to zero chance of mutation, the OPV is a live viral strain (it’s attenuated, which means weakened), and can thus mutate. This comes as a particularly unfortunate circumstance for Nigerian public health, as fears and suspicions have slowed the vaccination process for years. History has shown that Nigerians have distrusted the polio vaccine, believing the vaccine would sterilize their children and infect them with HIV. Their low vaccination rates had led to exportation of polio to twelve different countries as a result.

The WHO believes that Nigeria’s vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) cases have been occurring since 2005. At that time, aware of the outbreaks, WHO officials believed that the outbreaks would be easily contained, but they have been severely wrong. Some experts believe that the VAPP outbreak can cause an epidemic as bad as one caused by a wild virus (one found in nature).

I find this situation scary, since our trusted experts and officials assure us that they have our public health under control. We are advised to vaccinate, to get on lifestyle drugs (statins, antidepressants, and so forth), and to turn to medical authorities for advice on our health care. But what if the authorities are wrong? What if they don’t know everything about a particular procedure, drug interaction, or even physiology? You are aware that we only understand a fraction of the workings of the human body, yes?

Here’s is what I mean: The current crisis in health care is the swine flu. We are being told to vaccinate our children. Countries around the world are stockpiling vaccines, and mass inoculations are being prepared. Schools around the country are getting ready to handle everything from vaccinations to quarantine. Are you confident in the assurances of the government that a swine flu vaccine is warranted, and most of all, safe? You are a braver citizen than me, oh-trusting-one. Knowing what I know about the adjuvant in the swine flu vaccine, as well as knowing that flu is flu, and I probably had swine flu last year (haven’t been so sick in all my life), why would I take the chance. My motto is, as always, god bless the availability of all drugs and vaccines for the people who want them, but I’ll choose the one’s I want to give to me and my family, thank you very much. And I ain’t touching that swine flu vaccine.

Right to life. Right to death. Wouldn’t you say that when it comes to our bodies, our own lives, we should be able to do as we see fit? Even if that means ending it all when we want to move on, doesn’t it? The right for people to make their own decisions with regard to their death is a controversial issue as old as man himself. Well one country has decided that it’s time to put the power of decision in the hands of the individual when it comes to choosing one’s death.

An Australian court ruled today that a quadriplegic man who has begged to be allowed to die has the right to order his care takers to starve him to death.* Western Australia’s chief judge Wayne Martin said the Brightwater Care Group would not be criminally responsible if it stopped feeding and hydrating the severely paralyzed 49-year-old, Christian Rossiter. The judge said the ruling had nothing to do with euthanasia, nor about the right to life. What this case had to do with is the right to direct one’s own medical treatment, period. Amen to that.

This ruling set a landmark precedence in Australia, where it is a crime to assist one in taking their own life. People convicted of assisting in this endeavor face life in prison. The judge found Rossiter neither terminally ill nor mentally incapable of making an informed decision, thereby allowing him to direct his own death. Rossiter’s attorney said it best when he stated, “It sets a precedent whereby people can easily refuse medical treatment.” And isn’t that the way it should be?

We can take a few lessons from our Aussie friends on this issue. First, the inability to direct one’s death is absolutely absurd. I know mine is not the popular opinion, but I feel that you should be able to do anything you want with your body, provided it harms no one else in the process. We already allow this practice to some degree with tattoos, piercings and brandings. Why is it OK to put a mental ring through one’s genitals, but not to be able to choose when to die? Duh!

Second, the right to direct our own medical treatment, it seems, is a basic human right. So why on earth do we settle for government mandates on vaccination, like they’ve recently done in New Jersey and Texas? Public health measures are understandable, so highly contagious diseases like measles, mumps, and whooping cough are certainly defensible when it comes to state and school policies. But the flu, human papilloma virus, and now swine flu? Are we crazy to allow the government to propose such mandated inoculations? I don’t want that crap in my children, and I think it’s my right to choose.

This Australian, individual’s-right-to-direct-medical-care, case is highly relevant to some issues here in the U.S. It’s our lives, our bodies and our families–it’s not the government’s place to direct our personal lives when it comes to our health and well being. Nobody knows better than we do about our own bodies, even if we do sometimes relinquish control to our doctors or others. And especially not the government and their consortium of idiots, responsible for shaping policy. They don’t know what’s best for our bodies more than we do–they’ve proven that time and time again.

*Just a side note: I personally wouldn’t choose to end my life as a quadriplegic person because as long as I have my brain, I value my life; but I certainly support everybody’s personal decision in this matter.

Well, looks like I’ve been right all along. The best health insurance policy is the one you provide for yourself. I’ve known it, and now you do too. Here’s the proof:

According to a large study conducted at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, living a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the incidence of chronic disease. Adopting four habits–not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight–reduced the probability of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. While practicing all four behaviors provided the greatest benefit, adopting them one by one had significant protective effects too.

The study followed more than 23,000 middle-aged Germans for eight years. The participants were aged 35-65 years old. They found that the people who practiced all four habits had a 1/2% per year per person risk of developing chronic disease. Think about it–4% chance of developing chronic disease during the eight years of the study; extrapolate that to 20 years and the risk is only ten percent! For those people that did none of the habits, however, the risk went to 3% per person per year. That’s a full 24% during the study period and a whopping 60% in twenty years. Does anybody else see the enormity of this?

Here are some more facts:

  • A BMI lower than 30 was a particularly strong protective factor against development of diabetes
  • Physical activity protected more strongly against diabetes and heart attack than against cancer
  • Following good dietary principles provided a similar degree of protection against diabetes, stroke, and cancer
  • The largest reduction in risk was associated with having a BMI lower than 30, followed by never smoking, at least 3.5 hours of physical activity and then adhering to good dietary principles

None of this is a surprise to me or my regular readers. It’s the major premise of my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, and it’s what I focus on most here in this blog. Despite the focus on health insurance as a means toward better health, the reality is that nothing in the current health care model is going to improve health as a whole. This recent study provides the proof. Now the difficult part will be to convince lawmakers, and more importantly, people that focusing on personal health habits is the only true path to health reform.

Ever wonder what motivates people to kill, rape, or torture? Ever wonder what differences exist between people who do this and you? Well scientists have found a piece to the puzzle: Psychopathic people have disruptions in their neural connections in parts of the brain that deal with emotions, and handle impulses and decision making.

Recent research published in the latest issue of Molecular Psychiatry shows that the connection between the amygdala, which processes emotions, and the orbitofrontal cortex, which handles impulses and decisions, are dysfunctional. These two brain regions function together to produce actions based on conscious decision. We use emotions to guide these decisions.

Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized by amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, and failure to learn from experience. Psychopaths–people exhibiting psychopathy–have a disruption–researchers called them “potholes” in the neuronal connections (between nerve cells) that allow this function to proceed unimpeded. Normal, non-psychopathic people have no disruptions or potholes.

Although it was only a matter of time before the physiological and structural deformities in psychopathy were uncovered (this is true for all mental disorders, of which depression is not one to my estimation), the pothole findings are not what interest me. For my understanding, a physiological response is a given in any “disorder”. But I always ask the question, “Does the physiological change cause the disorder or is it the other way around?” When it comes to disorders of the mind, I think in general, the physiologic change is a result or manifestation of a faulty or dysfunctional mental process.

Think about this: our bodies are constantly changing, reshaping and reforming all the time, and our brains are no exception. Our nervous systems change and adapt to stimuli and the environment around us. We develop new neural connections and pathways as a response to stress. Stress can be environmental, mental, or simply learning new things. When we are imbalanced in our perceptions, polarized–that is, when we see more of one side than another–we create different pathways (and probably lose some) than when we are seeing both sides of a situation, when we are in balance. Mental polarity causes electrical charges, just like a battery. This electrical polarization in my opinion is what causes the potholes seen in psychopathy–which is an extreme form of charge. Revisit the definition of the disorder above–doesn’t it describe exactly what I am talking about here?

The unfortunate part of this type of finding is that the current paradigm in psychiatry (still the reigning authority on clinical mental health) is the biological model. The belief is that physiology is cause. In other words, it’s the physical dysfunction that leads to disorder. As a result, the typical treatment options are 1) find a drug to combat pothole formation or 2) screen potential pothole developers and catch before psychopathic behavior manifests–both futile in my opinion.

What I believe needs to be done–and we are probably years off–is to work psychologically with these patients, try to regain perceptual balance through mental techniques, and then focus these techniques on all mental and psychological patients, regardless of the issue. But like I said, we are probably way off from that being the treatment method of choice. So until then we will simply have to marvel in discovery; and with regard to these latest findings, I am in awe.

This just in: Well known pitchman, Billy Mays, had cocaine in his system that contributed to his death in June. A recent autopsy report concluded that Mays probably used cocaine “a few days before his death,” but whether or not he was a regular user was inconclusive. The 50-year-old infomercial pitchman was found dead in his sleep by his wife, the unfortunate victim of a heart attack, with cocaine being a likely contributor.

According to recent reports, the surviving Mays family is up in arms about the findings. They say that no outward evidence of Mays’ cocaine use is apparent; but the toxicology tests indicate its presence, along with therapeutic amounts of painkillers hydrocodone, oxycodone and tramadol, as well as anti-anxiety drugs alprazolam and diazepam. Hmmm…..

I guess the only thing I have to say is fifty-year-old men don’t often drop dead in their sleep. When it does happen (think Danny Gans) suspect drug use right off the bat. Cocaine raises arterial blood pressure, and anybody who has ever done it knows how it affects heart rate. The real kicker is that when you use stimulant narcotics regularly, you don’t have to be doing it on the day it stops your heart–Billy Mays is prime example of that.

The Mays’ family is questioning the coroner’s findings and are seeking an independent evaluation of the autopsy findings. The statement said the family was “extremely disappointed” by the release of the information. They said the report “contains speculative conclusions that are frankly unnecessary and tend to obscure the conclusion that Billy suffered from chronic, untreated hypertension, which only demonstrates how important it is to regularly monitor one’s health.”

I certainly get that the Mays’ family is embarrased by the situation and they want to keep Billy’s name clean; however, it does no one any good to hide the truth and blame hypertension alone. Can chronic, untreated hypertension cause a heart attcak in a fifty-year-old man? Sure. Will doing cocaine while having chronic, untreated hypertension increase your chance of a heart attack? Well, what do you think?

Listen, I ain’t knocking whatever Billy Mays was doing to enjoy or deal with his life. To each their own. But for those of you who like to play, you better understand that you might just have to pay somewhere down the line; and that payment may prematurely cost you your life. That’s all–just thought you should know.

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