From the monthly archives: "September 2009"

Awright Gents, yet another reason to exercise. Recent findings show that moderate exercise may lower the risk of prostate cancer. In a recent study, men who exercised the equivalent of three or more hours of brisk walking per week were two-thirds less likely than their sedentary counterparts to have prostate cancer. Booyah!

Even more exciting is that men in the study that were found to have cancer were less likely to have aggressive, faster-growing cancer if they walked as little as one hour per week. Not bad now is it?

Researchers believe that exercise leads to lower levels of testosterone and other hormones that help feed prostate tumor growth. It may also stimulate the immune system which works hard to suppress tumor development on a daily basis.

The caveat is that this current study does not prove that exercise protects against prostate cancer. For that, further studies will be needed to determine how much other lifestyle behaviors–like diet and mental health–play a part. For now, however, we can assume a link between exercise and lower prostate cancer risk; and at the very least between healthy behaviors and lowered risk. Now aren’t you glad to know that things in life are not just random?

Wow! Dramatic headline, yes? Dramatic but true: More than half a million children in the U.S. have bad reactions or side effects from widely used medicines that require medical treatment and sometimes hospitalization. Why? Because drugs are poisons, that’s why.

According to a new study appearing in the medical journal, Pediatrics, 585,922 children (on average) need to be treated for bad drug reactions every year. Rashes, stomach aches, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and accidental overdose are some of the side effects children can suffer. Parents are advised to monitor children closely when giving them medications for the first time. Younger children, under five, are the most commonly affected, accounting for 43 percent of visits to clinics and emergency rooms. Teenagers (15-18) are next at 23 percent of ER visits.

Some pushers, er…doctors, believe that it’s the parents’ fault, that they just don’t understand how to properly measure doses. Michael Cohen, a registered pharmacist and president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, said a common problem involves giving young children liquid medicine. Doses can come in drops, teaspoons or milliliters, and parents may mistakenly think those amounts are interchangeable. Uh…whatever.

First it’s the doctors’ and pharmacists’ responsibility to make sure the parent understands dosages. In my opinion, it is the height of arrogance to solely blame parents whom have never been to medical school and have probably passed on the opportunity to take basic pharmacology classes. Second, let’s face the facts: drugs are poisons, plain and simple.

This doesn’t mean drugs are evil or that they shouldn’t be taken–heck no! I’ve said it a million times in this blog, I am enormously grateful for having a multitude of drugs and medications in our arsenal; they are necessary under very specific circumstances. But here’s the problem: We are a drug-happy culture. We run to medications for everything under the sun, when in fact our bodies can and do heal most situations quite adequately.

Are parents at fault? Yes, because they maintain the mind-set that they must protect their child from any suffering whatsoever, remaining blind to the fact that symptoms ARE our bodies way of expressing health. But doctors are at fault, too, because they know better. All drugs are toxins, and every human being is different, so how any particular person responds to a drug will be different too. Doctors are educated–they have been to medical school, and they have taken basic pharmacology classes–so they could be a bit more discriminating in pushing the “all drugs all the time” approach that is typical in most medical offices.

Listen, this is not just a “parents have to be more careful” issue, although they certainly do in a different way. Adverse drug reactions are happening with the same frequency in hospitals. 540,000 hospitalized children have bad drug reactions, including side effects, medicine mix-ups and accidental overdoses every year. Read the article. Drugs are useful and necessary in times of crisis. But if you are giving your child medications for every cough, sniffle or feeling of discomfort (and this includes “sadness”), then you are responsible if something goes wrong, because well…now you know.

Imagine getting bitten by a spider, gents, and developing a painful erection lasting for four-days, and then possibly dying of asphyxiation. Sounds harrowing doesn’t it? But this is reality in south-eastern Brazil. The deadly Brazilian wandering spider can be found in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, and its venom is so intriguing to scientists that they are now studying it as a possible impotence cure, a la Viagra.

Phoneutria nigriventer, the Brazilian wandering spider, is indigenous to Brazil and parts of northern Argentina. It is known as one of the most dangerous spiders in the world. Its venom is so potent and can be delivered at such a quantity that it can be deadly to human beings. Throw in it’s wandering nature and the fact that it searches for cover during the day–often hiding in houses, clothes, cars, boots, boxes and log piles–and it can be a serious risk to people who happen upon and disturb it. It is also known as the “banana spider” because it has been encountered as a stowaway in shipments of bananas.

When bitten by P. nigriventer, men will develop a long-lasting, painful ercetion which ultimately leads to impotence. The potent venom known as PhTx3 acts as a broad-spectrum calcium channel blocker. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation. In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation following an attack.

But it’s the erectile stimulatory effects that have scientists excited (go figure). Viagra (sildenafil citrate) works by increasing nitric oxide in the penis, which opens up the blood vessels and allows the penis to fill, causing erection. The spider venom works in the same way, increasing nitric oxide levels, albeit through a different mechanism. Scientists say that as exciting as this news is, they are years away from developing an impotence drug based on the spider venom. But try they still will.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always pumped-up about erection drugs. And why not? I mean, what’s life for except for furthering life? So spider venom working on the fly is good news in my book, even if one might have to deal with a little discomfort (four days?) along the way.

This just in: Thousands of schools across the country have been found to have unsafe drinking water. Contaminants have surfaced at both public and private schools in all 50 states–cities and small towns alike–including lead, pesticides and dozens of other toxins.

The federal government has failed to monitor water safety violations despite them multiplying over the last decade. The contamination is most prevalent at schools with their own water supply–wells, that is–which represent 8 to 11 percent of the nation’s schools. Approximately 20% of schools with water wells has violated the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last ten years, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The number of schools with violations is only a fraction of the country’s 132,500 schools, but it causes concerns since children drink more water per pound of body weight than adults do. Part of the problem is that the monitoring of drinking water in schools is spread too thin among a number of local, state and federal agencies. Finding a solution, experts and children’s advocates say, would require a costly new national strategy for monitoring water in schools.

Some of the findings from the EPA data include:

• Water in about 100 school districts and 2,250 schools breached federal safety standards.

• Those schools and districts racked up more than 5,550 separate violations. In 2008, the EPA recorded 577 violations, up from 59 in 1998 — an increase that officials attribute mainly to tougher rules.

California, which has the most schools of any state, also recorded the most violations with 612, followed by Ohio (451), Maine (417), Connecticut (318) and Indiana (289).

• Nearly half the violators in California were repeat offenders. One elementary school in Tulare County, in the farm country of the Central Valley, broke safe-water laws 20 times.

• The most frequently cited contaminant was coliform bacteria, followed by lead and copper, arsenic and nitrates.

It seems to me that this problem is only the tip of the iceberg. I point out in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, that the nation’s public water system is a shambles. According to a 2003 National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study, many community water systems (CWS) had the following problems:

  • polluted water source
  • outdated treatment processes
  • poor maintenance of water treatment and storage systems

It’s high time investigative journalists, like the ones at the Associated Press breaking this story, start reporting this mess with our nation’s water system. Water is the elixir of life–no living thing can survive without it–so it stands to reason that a faulty public water system is essential to our health and safety. Children in Minnesota and Seattle have already gotten sick from drinking contaminated water at their schools. At what point will the entire system come unglued and start causing a real public health hazard? I don’t know, but it’s one of those rare times I endorse the government stepping in, providing funds for the upkeep of this vast system, monitor all source water and its transportation, and shut down schools or any other building violating the Safe Drinking Water Act.

*If you would like to know more about your local drinking water, check here: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo/index.html

Hooray for nutritional products for kids! I’m thrilled by any product developed for a child’s nutritional consumption. The latest–probiotic straws–to replenish healthy gut bacteria for children that might have had a bout of diarrhea or have been through a round of antibiotics or such, are now available through the Nestle’ corporation.

I am a firm believer in the power of commerce–that is, allowing the markets (peoples’ buying habits) to determine product availability. That’s why I vehemently oppose mandating regulation or restrictions on the food industry. The food industry only produces what people (the market) want(s). So Coca-Cola and Pepsi now both sell bottled water. Why? Simple–it’s a huge market. Duh! Businesses only care about making money. There’s nothing immoral about it (with regard to the food industry)–amoral, for sure; but immoral?..no way.

So although it may be surprising initially to hear that the Nestle’ corp–makers of Quick, Butterfinger, Chunky, Coffee Mate and a slew of other junk food products–is behind the latest health product for kids, it makes complete sense to me. Health and nutrition is a large and growing market; and naturally, parents will want products that also ensure their children’s health and well-being. Can you both be a junk food and health food manufacturer? Sure, why not?

OK, back to the product. Nestle’s Health and Clinical Nutrition (HCN) products has aligned itself with BioGaia, makers of the Probiotic Straw which contains a daily dose of L. reuteri, a “universal” gut organism, meaning it is found throughout the animal kingdom. L. reuteri is already being used in products in 42 countries, including formula products in Europe and Asia.

Probiotics help replenish healthy and useful gut bacteria, which are necessary to ward off opportunistic organisms that could overtake a deficient environment. Probiotics can be taken by children of any age. Vaginal births and breastfeeding lead to greater flora production in children, but probiotic supplements can help enormously. Probiotics can help boost the immune system, and a preliminary Chinese study showed that probiotic supplementation may aid in preventing colds.

Thumbs up to Nestle’s. Yeah, you can manufacture both health and junk together. The market determines what should be available. Some want Hot Pockets, others probiotics. No problem–Nestle’s got ‘em.

Listen up bootcampers: Intense exercise can cause low blood counts. Yes, yes, it’s true–you can overdo it. Do not take this news lightly, especially you youngsters; you are not as invincible as you think.

A recent study looked at incoming recruits for an elite combat unit in the Israeli Defense Forces and found that many (18%) came in anemic–an unusual occurrence for healthy young men. But more alarming was that the numbers tripled to over 50% following six weeks of intense military training. Whoa! The anemia was the iron deficiency-type and is known as sports anemia. Very strange, indeed.

Scientists are unsure of the exact physiological cause of the anemia, but believe that intense exercise is at fault, particularly since 18% came into the training with the condition. Because young men hoping to join the elite forces prepare themselves through intense workouts to begin with, it’s not a total surprise that so many came in iron deficient. But to what degree the recruits developed anemia is startling, and goes to show that too much of a good thing does exist.

I talk about overtraining syndrome in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. It is a real phenomenon, and I see the effects on clients in my West Hollywood/Beverly Hills sports chiropractic practice. No matter how much I preach moderation, there always will be people who deny the data and overdo it anyway. It’s really a shame, because if these same people would just understand that they are actually hampering their growth and progress, they might cool it. I have one client, a female in her forties, who works out every day! That’s too much. And guess what? She’s always injured, hurting and/or tired. She looks, forgive me for saying so, like she’s been run over by a truck most of the time I see her. I tell her to slow down, but she tells me it makes her feel good. Yeah, right.

So here’s the deal: If you are not training for a marathon, triathlon, UFC title bout or any other athletic event, three to four days of moderate to intense exercise is sufficient (and efficient, by the way). Anything more than that and you are risking burnout.

If you are training for an event or special forces–military training units and personnel pay close attention here–too much intensity will put the troops at risk. This is a true military public health issue and needs to be monitored and addressed.

What’s the latest rage in cosmetic surgery? Man boob reduction. That’s right, ladies–now it’s your turn to wonder.

According to recent reports out of Great Britain, men of all ages in the UK are opting for moob reduction–that is, reducing their man boobs (moobs). The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reports that the number of male breast reduction operations has jumped 1000% since 2003, or from 22 to 323. That’s nearly one moob reduction every freaking day. Nice!

Researchers say the reason for the surge is unclear but think it might have to do with the increase in websites showing what’s available. Douglas McGeorge, past president of BAAPS, said, “I get people coming to me in their 50s and 60s. Men who have never taken their T-shirts off in public before.”

All I can say is, well…uh…thank goodness for modern technology. There, how’s that? No need to make fun…but, well…I can help save you gents a few thousand dollars and some scar tissue, too, you know. How about hittin’ the gym and laying off the booze, soda or Ben & Jerry’s for awhile, boys? Bet those moobs will melt away on their own. Just saying.

Want a developmentally-stunted child? Then keep the TV on. Want to be a mentally-absent parent? Again, keep the boob tube running constantly. In fact, if you want to hinder your child’s development to the utmost, then just put the kid in a playpen, leave the TV on, and do your thing, baby. That’s the way.

Damn, that’s hard Campos. No it’s not. The data is out and it’s conclusive: TV makes people stupid!!! Sorry.

Here’s the latest: A team at the University of Massachusetts observed about 50 children, aged 1, 2 and 3 years, who were with a parent at a university child study center. For half of a one-hour session, parents and children were in a playroom without a television; in the other half-hour, parents chose a program to watch.

The researchers studied how much verbal interaction there was between parents and children, whether parents were actively involved in their children’s play, and whether they responded to each other’s questions and suggestions.

The study authors found that while the TV was on, parents spent about 20 percent less time talking to their children and were less active, attentive and responsive to their kids, resulting in a decrease in the quality of the interactions.

This study is important, researchers say, since more than one-third of American infants and toddlers live in homes where the television is on most or all the time, even if no one’s watching. This study challenges the popular notion that television doesn’t affect young children if they are not watching the screen. Wrong! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that parental interaction is imperative in child development. And this study just reinforces how television pulls parents’ attention away from where it is needed the most–the children. So turn off The View ladies (and ESPN, gents), and keep your attention on the kids–they deserve it!

*More info on how TV affects your child.

Flash, this just in: Only 10% of American adults have low heart disease risk. You heard right, nine out of every 10 people in the U.S. have at least one risk to their heart health; and the worst part is that these risks are all lifestyle dependent. Not good for a nation bent on pointing the finger at external causes for its poor health rankings.

According to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that looked at four national studies covering tens of thousands of Americans aged 25 to 74, only ten percent had low risk in the following categories:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood sugar
  • overweight
  • smoking
  • exercise too little

Each one of these categories is significantly impacted by lifestyle behaviors. High blood pressure, cholesterol and weight can all be controlled with regular and moderate exercise. Regular. Three times per week, minimum. Are you doing that?

High blood sugar and weight is directly related to the amount and types of food we eat. The U.S. has a morbid addiction to sugar. I’m not talking just desserts here–oh, we’ve got that too, but what I’m talking about is sugary regular foods: cereals, canned foods, ketchup, BBQ sauce, French toast, scones and muffins for breakfast, and the worst of all–sodas! Hey I’m guilty too, because I have recommended sports replacement bars to my readers. No more! That stuff is sugary shit. I don’t eat them, and I’m not going to recommend them to anyone else, anymore. Pure crap.

And the portions we eat are obscene. We all put away way too much every time we eat out. Sorry, but them’s the facts. Too much food.

And smoking? Like my good friend J.C. says, “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” But just don’t point the finger at anyone but yourself when it’s time to pay the piper.

This is what really gets me irked about people: A full 90% of citizens are not doing all they can to care for their health, yet somehow it’s somebody else responsibility to take care of them if they fall ill. Sorry, but nobody can do your push-ups for you, no matter how much you demand it.

More benefits to yoga it seems. Apparently, regular yoga practitioners are more mindful of their eating habits and tend to be slimmer overall than non-yogis, regardless of other physical activity and eating patterns. Just another reason to pick up the practice if your weight and good looks mean anything to you, not to mention all the other health benefits that come along with doing yoga.

Current research at the Frank Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle reports a link between yoga practitioners and “mindful eaters,” people who are better aware of their feelings of hunger and fullness and why they eat. This is in direct opposition to emotional eaters, binge eaters, nervous eaters and all other eaters that eat to soothe anxiety, depression or other mood swings. Although many of the studies participants were engaged in at least 90 minutes of walking or moderate and strenuous exercise, only regular yoga class participation was linked to mindful eating.

According to study leader, Alan Kristal, yoga challenges people to focus and accept their surroundings without judgment, key teachings that might encourage better discipline about eating. “This ability to be calm and observant during physical discomfort teaches how to maintain calm in other challenging situations, such as not eating more even when the food tastes good and not eating when you’re not hungry,” he says.

That may be true, but as a long-time yogi myself I’ll put it more simply: After busting my balls in a grueling hour-and-a-half yoga class, I am certainly NOT going to throw it all away by putting away an extra large pizza. But that’s just me. How’s that for yogic wisdom?

Health information is filled with myth: All people should curb salt, cholesterol is bad for you, and my favorite, eating meat is unhealthy. Oh sorry, red meat…whatever. And then comes science–you know, that objective observation of natural phenomena–to show us where we’ve been foolishly mistaken.

Take eating meat for example: A new study out of Japan showed that middle-aged people that eat meat at least twice weekly have a greater ability to care for themselves with such activities as independent feeding, dressing, bathing, and mobility. Check it: Over 2,300 Japanese men and women, aged 47-59, were observed for nearly twenty years. Of the more than 80% original participants still living, those that were regular meat eaters had significantly less risk for impaired physical function. The researchers did not find the same result for people eating fish or eggs at least once daily. Further, researchers found NO increased risk of dying from eating meat–none, nada, nunca.

All I can say to this is NO DUH! I know we all want to believe the conventional wisdom of the day, because well…it seems so logical; and dammit, it’s what we are told; and we wouldn’t be told what isn’t right, right? Wrong. When it comes to deciphering health information, a certain amount of logic is necessary. For instance, we have evolved as meat eaters–think about this hard Pythagoreans–how the hell is it going to be bad for us? I love what my good friend J.J. always says: Pointing to the sharp pointy teeth in his mouth, “See these; they are called canines; they are for meat eating.” No sh@*!

So now we have a study to show what most level-headed meat eaters already know–meat is not murder, it’s life; part of a magnificent cycle that keeps living organisms inhabiting this beautiful blue planet. The researchers of this current Japanese study believe that eating meat at the level reported in this study may help elderly better preserve muscle mass due to increased protein intake which, in turn, may play a role in elders’ ability to continue to perform daily activities. Let me repeat: No sh@*!

*Check out this great article on the dangers of NOT eating meat.

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack; All dressed in black, black, black…word, you know how it goes. That’s right, bought a jump rope today, ready to get my hops on. An eight dollar investment, and a little time to pick up the skill (I’ve never jumped rope before…Lame-O), and I should be cutting up in no time.

Why jump rope? Best cardiovascular workout you can get, and I’m all about endurance and stamina these days. My plan is four times per week, ten minutes, that’s all…very doable.

Float like a butterfly…

Jumping rope not only gives an arse-kicking cardio workout, it works the legs and abs too. Further, the bouncing motion is in sync with the vibratory oscillations of our cells, atoms and subatomic particles. I, therefore, am going to oscillate.

Flying high now…

I bought a light-weight speed rope. Eight bucks and change at Sports Chalet. Much cheaper than a trampoline, although I’m thinking about one of those too. So, I start this week–anyone else with me?

First I’ll master the rope, then perhaps I’ll attempt catching the chicken. Whaddaya think?

Wake up, people! What you are fighting for is not health care–it’s sick care. Get it right. There is nothing wrong with wanting accessible sick care. Since most people believe that getting sick is inevitable, they naturally want accessible, affordable sick care. But don’t call it health care, because there is nothing health about it.

This distinction is creating quite a bit of confusion among otherwise well-informed people, and it’s not their fault. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking medical care is health care. It’s not. One million dollars to anybody who can prove to me that there is a health component to it. Health, not sickness. Health.

The medical definition of health:

the condition of an organism or one of its parts in which it performs its vital functions normally or properly

Which medical procedure fulfills that?

Real health care is that which enhances the health; and in that regard, there are many health care practices: Exercise is health, so trainers you are health care. Nutrition is health, so nutritionists you are health care. A body functioning optimally, smoothly, and without pain is healthy; so chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists and all other body workers, you are health care. Getting proper rest, serenity, and balanced mind and body are health; so yoga instructors, Pilates instructors, meditation teachers, Buddhist monks, and mental health practitioners, you are all health care.

Medicine, psychiatry, rehab, emergency care–you are sick care. Period. Nothing wrong with that; in fact, we need it. Sick care is an integral part of our world, but it’s not health care. So all this debate about health care is erroneous, because nobody is really fighting for health care at all, except the true health care advocates–the practitioners. Let’s get it straight, all right?

The advice of an aspirin a day has always irked me. I’ve always seen it as the medical machine’s pathetic attempt to jump on the “prevention” bandwagon. “See, we’re progressive; we understand prevention.” Yeah, right…aspirin…prevention…tsk, tsk.

Well, current research shows that for healthy people, an aspirin a day may actually do more harm than good. British scientists with the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) project have uncovered that the risk of bleeding is great enough that its routine use in healthy people “cannot be supported”. Healthy people were those with no underlying cardiac or vascular problems.

Aspirin has been recommended as a blood clotting preventative by medical doctors for about 50 years. In the mid-1980s, despite there being very little conclusive evidence, the FDA was convinced to push aspirin as a preventive drug for heart attacks. Even mega super-star physician, Mehmet Oz in his book, You: The Owners Manual, pushes aspirin as a wonder drug. His Twitter post from two months ago proclaims,

BABY ASPIRIN, taken once daily, is proven to reduce stroke, heart attack, and many cancers. Kudos to those who got it right.

I hate to be the one to tell Dr. Oz, but: It’s not right!!!

I evaluate health from one simple philosophy: The human body, in it’s infinite intelligence, knows exactly what to do and when to do it. Do neglected bodies have internal disruptions such that they are unable to self-regulate efficiently? Absolutely. Are drugs under these circumstances useful? Absolutely. Do healthy people, with their complete capacity to self-heal and self-regulate need a foreign substance, a drug, to keep them functioning properly? Did they 200 years ago? 1000 years ago? We have evolved without drugs, haven’t we?

I’m no proponent of going back to an earlier age for a blue print on how we should live; but to me the answer is obvious. The notion that we need a daily drug to maintain our health and well being is a myth pushed on us by a cultural authority. But thanks to the objective eye of science, we now know–it’s wrong! It looks to me that the real health care crisis in this country is being exposed, and a political and cultural giant is being pounded to its knees.

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