From the yearly archives: "2011"

Five years ago I wrote and published a book called The Six Keys to Optimal Health. I really contemplated the concept of adding a seventh key, which would have been hygiene, but I resisted because I made a gross assumption–that pretty much everybody in the modern world is attuned to this paramount health practice.

I now realize that I was severely wrong.  In fact, improper hygiene seems to be a continuing scourge of the new millennium. From dirty hospital rooms, leading to an increased spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, to dirty tattooing equipment, to dirty soda fountains, it’s pretty clear to me that human beings haven’t yet gotten this one down, so let me say it loud and clear: WASH YOUR HANDS!

Whew, I feel better. According to researchers at the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety,

Hand-washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread certain ‘germs’ (a general term for microbes such as viruses and bacteria) by touching another person even casually. You can also catch germs when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face,” the group explained in a news release from the Society for Women’s Health Research.

Yes, wash people. You go to the WC…wash. You shake somebody’s hand…wash. You handle money…wash. You touch food? Wash. You work with people? Wash. You have kids with snotty noses? Wash dang it!

Oh waaait…you don’t know how to properly wash your hands? Got it…okay, well here you go…straight from the Centers of Disease Control:

  • Place hands under clean, running water.
  • Once wet, add soap and rub hands together until suds form.
  • Scrub on every surface for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice), including both sides, between fingers and under fingernails.
  • Rinse hands again under running water and dry with a clean dry towel or air-dry.

Listen, proper hygiene is so important it’s often the difference between developed nations and third world countries. Some people even believe that it was the improvement in methods and practices of hygiene and not vaccinations that led to the dramatic decrease in death and illness due to infectious microorganisms–I’m one of these people.

Simple as this–wash your hands like you’ve never washed before. Get a sink in your car. Wash in your sleep. Go nuts–you can never wash too much. This has been a public service announcement.

I recently showed you a great shoulder stretch for relieving pain from a tight posterior capsule. As I explained in that post, that first stretch was the basic, and that I would show you an advanced stretch for shoulder pain relief and prevention.

The posterior capsule, when tight, can cause pain in the back of the shoulder joint (GH). A tight posterior capsule can lead to “dead arm” in throwers like baseball pitchers, shoulder impingement syndrome, and labral tears (SLAP lesions). Stretching the posterior capsule, consequently, can prevent the above conditions and even avert surgeries to repair  labral tears/SLAP lesions.

Watch the video below to see the advanced posterior capsule stretch. I call it the 90°-90°-90° stretch, but it also known the sleeper stretch. I advise any athlete that throws or uses a racket to do this stretch. So baseball and tennis players will get a lots of use out of this one. And I would do it daily. Studies show that Major League Baseball pitchers that incorporate this stretch into their routines have less shoulder injuries and repair surgeries than those not doing the stretch regularly.

And if you are just a regular Joe with shoulder pain, then definitely get checked by a Los Angeles sports chiropractor, but also try these stretches–they are that useful and can only help (people with shoulder impingement syndrome might have increased shoulder pain when doing this stretch–more reason to see a sports doctor). Enjoy.

 

You’ve heard of genetically modified foods? How about genetically modified pathogens? H5N1 to be exact–bird flu, made in the lab. Anybody else get the heebie jeebies from that notion?

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a strongly worded statement today warning against the dangers of the U.S. government-funded pathogenetic engineering information getting into the wrong hands and exposing the world to a potential bioterrorism threat. WHO said it was “deeply concerned about the potential negative consequences” of the study.

“This is not the kind of research that you would want to have out there,” WHO’s top influenza expert, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

On the flip side, WHO concerned that all credible scientists should have access to the information. Huh? The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) last week asked scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to refrain from publishing full details of their work on how to make the H5N1 virus more easily transmissible between humans.

H5N1 rarely infects humans and usually only those who come into close contact with poultry. But among those infected, up to 60% die, and scientists are closely watching the virus for any signs it is becoming more easily transmissible from human to human.

The WHO and the scientific community are concerned about the steps the NIH has taken toward censorship. Many are concerned that this move will keep important information out of the hands of those who may need it, particularly in Asia where preventing a pandemic is of the utmost importance.

Dr. Fukuda reports that WHO has not yet received copies of either group’s research, and he states wisely if not ironically, “I’m hoping that we are privy to as much of the details as possible, but like anybody else one of the questions for us is what kind of information do we need to know.”

Exactly–conundrum 101. It’s a dangerous venture designing pathogens in the lab, but the information gathered, I am certain, will be valuable if need arises to thwart a pandemic. However, there is always an inherent risk when you play with fire; we should know this in the post-Cold War nuclear era. So with plus comes minus, and our need for knowledge can create the very thing we fear–a bird flu pandemic, in this case, but caused by accident or through malicious intent.

If I told you, though, that we can’t escape conflict, would it have meaning? Listen, I’ve got no problem with the scenario as it exists. The U.S. government funding research to understand H5N1 seems as reasonable as doing so for HIV. Naturally, because of the sensitive nature of the information, it must be classified. It would be a fantasy to think that while we have this powerful knowledge and technique called genetic engineering that we wouldn’t use it. I’ve said time and again, genetic engineering is here to stay. What is important is using it wisely.

Somebody is going to try genetically engineering whatever can be imagined–may as well be under the system that’s based in checks and balances (and before you start with the conspiracy stuff, please think of which nation or organization you’d rather have the information). In that regard, I think the U.S. government and NIH have done right by censoring this information. Can’t get nuke building info easily–it shouldn’t be any different for sensitive pathogenic information. Good job U.S.A.

More bad news for junk food, as a recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that elderly people having higher levels of certain vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood score better on mental acuity tests than those who eat the junk.  Further, researchers found that eating better might even reduce the brain shrinkage associated with with Alzheimer’s disease. Booyah!

The study, conducted at Oregon State University, and one of the first of its kind, looked at 104 people at an average age of 87, and specifically measured a wide range of blood nutrient levels (instead of basing results on food questionnaires, which are less precise and less reliable).

“The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers,” said Traber Maret Traber, a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute and study co-author. ”I’m a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better.”
Yes, so am I! I’ve been preaching for years. Always happy to see the science back up a universal truth–whole, natural foods are healing and health enhancing. We’ve gone through millions of years of evolution feeding ourselves the foods of the earth–can’t think of any Doritos shortages that challenged mankind, can you?
The principle vitamins they found to help neurological health are some of my personal favs–vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as the omega 3 fatty acids–which increased mental quickness and brain size.
Elderly people that had diets high in unnatural and unhealthy foods, like those laden with trans-fats, fared worse on cognitive tests. Although the researchers found that age and education had major effects on cognitive function and brain size, nutrient status accounted for 17% of the variation in scores, and 37% of the differences in brain volume.
Well, what can I say other than…been tellin’ ya. Eat well–it’ll take you far. This study looked at people with typical American diets–some good, some…well, not so much. But it’s not too late to make the switch–in fact, perfect time for the new year. 
I’ll leave it to study co-author Gene Bowman of the Oregon Health and Science University to conclude with, ”It is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet.” Indeed.

It appears as if I must close out 2011 by warning people against getting invasive procedures overseas. Yesterday breast augmentation, today tattoos. Yes, tattoos are invasive–and if you’re planning on getting one overseas because the price is right, reconsider. Australian officials claim that a recent tattoo receiver likely caught HIV from the ink-needle of an artist on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Australian health authorities recommended that people who had recently been tattooed on the island, known for its white sandy beaches, partying and nightlife, should consider being tested for HIV and other blood-borne viruses (and I’m personally even more afraid of hepatitis).

“All the evidence points to a tattoo received recently in Bali as being the source of the infection,” Western Australia’s Department of Health said in a statement dated Friday.

“This case demonstrates the very real health risk in having this type of procedure done overseas,” said Paul Armstrong, the department’s director of communicable disease control.

No shiitakes! Dang people, what’s with the utmost trust in others that makes you think humans are above using dirty tools on you? That’s just foolish. Forget the ignorance and differences in standards of many third world countries–but some people just don’t care. One reason we take things like simple hygiene for granted in the western world is that we’ve gone through the pain of experience over the last century to understand the cleanliness/godliness thing. In other words, we’ve got to be clean by law, and any violation is met with punishment and shutdown. Can we say the same for Bali?
The real answer from me is, “I don’t know”…but that’s enough for me to keep my procedures home-grown. So if you don’t know, these procedures would include:

  • plastic surgery
  • tattoos
  • dental work
  • other surgeries
  • ear piercings
  • other body piercings
  • delivering babies
  • and darn it…probably sex too (but that’s just my peculiarity)
If you feel like the deal you’re getting overseas just can’t be beat, then, well…just know the risks. I’d pay top dollar, myself, to know I’m getting the best procedures done; but really, I do care and think about my health like that. Hope you do too.

Posterior Capsule

Shoulder pain is probably the condition I see most in my Beverly Hills chiropractic practice. Because of the mobility of the shoulder joint, it is prone to all kinds of pain conditions. In an attempt to stabilize an often non-stable shoulder joint, the body will create certain circumstances that can lead to pain and discomfort of the shoulder.

One such situation occurs with a tight posterior capsule, which is a connective tissue at the back of the glenohumeral (GH) joint. When this tissue gets tight, it can cause a narrowing of the subacromial space, increasing the probability of pinching off and thus causing inflammation to the elements that sit in the space, or causing a shoulder impingement syndrome.

To stretch a tight posterior capsule at home you can do this following stretch (demonstrated in video below). This excellent shoulder stretch loosens the tight posterior capsule, allowing the subacromial space to open and thus preventing shoulder impingement.

Try the stretches in the video below to relieve shoulder pain and prevent shoulder injuries. But don’t forget to visit your friendly neighborhood Beverly Hills sports chiropractor for shoulder pain relief.

This post will probably rub some tired people the wrong way, but…well, I’ve been waiting a long time to write it. I guess it’s time. It has to do with chronic fatigue, and the attempts to turn it into a disease, with it’s own microorganistic causation, and probably a slew of drugs and support groups. Evidence to the affirmative has been lacking, however, and the latest happenings has a prestigious medical journal retracting a controversial 2009 report that linked chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to a virus. Sorry folks.

In an unusual move, the journal Science is taking the retraction step on its own. Normally, authors retract their own research papers when serious problems arise after publication, but according to the scientific publication, the authors are having trouble agreeing on the wording of their statement. A retraction signed by all the authors “is unlikely to be forthcoming,” said the journal.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by severe fatigue for at least six months, impaired memory and other symptoms.
The 2009 paper, from scientists at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., the Cleveland Clinic and the National Cancer Institute, reported finding a virus called XMRV in blood cells of some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. That raised hope that a cause of the mysterious illness had been found, although other viral suspects, like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) over the years had proven to be false leads.

Follow up studies, however, failed to show a link, leading Science magazine to publish two reports last May suggesting the original finding was due to lab contamination. Doh! In September, the authors retracted some of the data, citing contamination. Science said the authors had also acknowledged omitting important information about the study’s procedures in an illustration of some lab results.
Sigh…as much as I sympathize with people feeling really, really tired (I know, I know…), I think the problem in chronic fatigue is psychosomatic. Now there’s often a misunderstanding with this term–psychosomatic does not mean that something is simply a figment of the imagination, that it doesn’t exist.  On the contrary, the physical condition exists, but it is the manifestation of many components including social, psychological and behavioral factors. And I am confident that this is the case with CFS.

I believe that CFS is rooted in a generalized lack of purpose in those exhibiting signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue. Whoa! I know, many reading this are going to flip. How dare I blame the victim? No blame here, just an observation. I have had numerous clients in my West Hollywood chiropractic clinic demonstrate signs and symptoms of CFS, and my observation is that most of these people were not working, they had nothing inspiring them, and their drives were stuck in survival mode–I know I’d be fatigued with life under those circumstances too.

Well…perhaps these people had no drive or inspiration, and lacked work because they were suffering from unusual fatigue. I doubt it. Anecdotally speaking, I had lived a purposeless life for a short period during my youth. I slept for long hours, was tired all the time, my body ached, and I was certain there was something wrong with me physically. But it wasn’t until I made decisions from my heart as to what I wanted my life to be about that I developed a renewed vigor. Today, I rarely sleep longer than six hours, and my energy levels are booming.

I realize that my experiences do not a scientific study make. But they shape my beliefs, and that along with the failure to find any infectious agent or other solitary cause for that matter, make it easy for me to hold my convictions. Further, if the illness is in fact a medical condition, in the sense that it requires physical or chemical treatment, then exercise and psychotherapy seem to be the most effective treatments available so far. Not rocket science. And all this goes for fibromyalgia too.

Listen, I know when people are in a rut–when they aren’t in touch with their heart’s drive, their life’s purpose–it can be very fatiguing. I’ve lived it. But the answer will never be in medicalizing the condition. Finding purpose in one’s life will do much more for this condition than searching for viruses that aren’t there. Surely, a virus can be found…we have many to choose from, as they permeate our world, but is that really it–doubtful. Sorry to shatter the illusion.

See Part One here; Part Two here.

South American authorities are considering their next move on the heels of the French government’s recommendation that 30,000 French women have their silicone breast implants, manufactured by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), removed. The now-bankrupt French implant manufacturer is facing criminal charges as its chief executive is on the lamb, wanted by Interpol and Costa Rican authorities for crimes involving “life and health.”

Tens of thousands of women in over 65 countries around the world have the same implants, made from industrial rather than medical quality silicone. The implants are also said to be at an unusually high risk for rupture. Most of the women having received the PIP implants live in South America and western Europe.

The implants are particularly widespread in Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina across different economic levels, with many young girls eager to augment their bust size before they become adults.

In Brazil, a National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) spokesperson said that it “has not yet made a recommendation,” echoing the sentiments of health professionals and officials in other Latin American countries. He states that the French government also recognized an as of yet unproven cancer risk to ruptured PIP implants.

Ironically, PIP implants were banned in Brazil in April 2010 when problems were first reported, but 25,000 implants had already been performed in the country, according to ANVISA. Around 100,000 women get silicone breast implants in Brazil each year (including Americans). Silicon implants were banned in the U.S. for fourteen years until 2006 when the restrictions were lifted.

“The medical facts that we know suggest that these implants can rupture earlier and with a greater risk of inflammatory reaction,” said Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery president Jose Horacio Aboudib.

Aboudib said his group in Brazil recommended that women who received the implants get tested early to make sure the implants were viable.

Venezuela’s union of plastic surgeons agreed, declining to recommend that women with the PIP implants get them removed, recommending preventative checkups instead. About 40,000 breast augmentations are performed in Venezuela each year, and plastic surgery is widespread in a country that has produced regular top contenders for Miss Universe over the years.

Surgeon Juan Jorge Blanco noted that breast augmentations used to be prohibitively expensive but that costs have since dropped to $3,000-7,000. “Women from all social backgrounds now get operations,” he said.

Argentina’s ANMAT drugs authority urged 15,000 women who received implants to “consult” their doctors.

In Colombia, implants are sometimes offered as birthday gifts, especially for “quinceaneras”–girls’ 15-year-old birthdays–that mark a girl’s passage into young womanhood.

“Drug traffickers also offer the surgery as a gift to their girlfriends,” said surgeon Celio Bohorquez, spokesman of the Colombian Society of Plastic Surgery.

This cosmetic surgery scandal is multiplied exponentially by the hordes of women who have run to surgical enhancement over the last couple decades. It really put the practice into its massive perspective, as we see the scare affecting up to 300,000 women in over sixty countries.

My advice to the women of Latin America, and to tourists taking advantage of the rock-bottom prices of plastic surgery in foreign countries, be extra careful. Usually regulations are much more lax outside of the U.S. and Europe, and as I have said in this blog–any unproven and risky drug or procedure will find its way to South and Central America sooner or later by rogue practitioners or corporations ready to make a buck.

The surprise to me is in the brazenness PIP showed in its safety protocols and practices. I recommend that all women suspecting that they may have silicone breast implants manufactured by PIP to call their surgeon to discuss removal options and risks. Once again, my sympathies to any and all involved.

See Part One here.

PIP was placed into liquidation in March 2010 with losses of 9 million euros after the French medical safety agency recalled its implants. In a subsequent inspection of its manufacturing site, officials found it was using industrial silicone not approved by health authorities, and only about a tenth as expensive as approved gel.

An investigation found a majority of implants made by PIP since 2001 contained the unapproved gel. Industrial silicone is used in a range of products from computers to cookware.

While all breast implants can burst, especially as they get older, “these implants have a particular fragility” and appear to pose risks of rupture earlier in their life spans than other implants, said Jean-Claude Ghislain of the French health agency AFSSAPS. France’s state health care system normally pays for implants for medical reasons, such as after a mastectomy, but not for cosmetic implants. About 80% of those with the PIP implants had them for aesthetic reasons.

A PIP lawyer says the company recognizes that its products were defective but argues that it is being unduly singled out.
“The implants had flaws but the PIP implants are not the only ones on the market that had problems,” said lawyer Yves Haddad. “The reality is that everyone who makes implants has a percentage of failures.”

According to him, company founder Mas is in France but does not intend to make public comment.

What can I say? Shocking is all that comes to mind. My heartfelt sympathies go to the women affected by this shameful act. Hopefully, everything will be sorted out quickly and decisively; but most importantly, may all the women involved get resolve with the most minimal consequences.
*Most of this piece consists of excerpts coming from various sources including Reuters, Associated Press, BBC and ChannelNewsAsia

Jean-Claude Mas

Hold onto your hats with this one, folks–it doesn’t look pretty. The chief executive of a French company whose questionable breast implants are under international scrutiny is on the Interpol police agency’s most-wanted list.

According to recent reports Jean-Claude Mas is wanted by Costa Rican authorities for crimes involving “life and health.” It bears a photo of the 72-year-old Mas but does not elaborate on his alleged crimes or link to Costa Rica.

France’s health ministry Friday advised 30,000 women with breast implants (silicone) made by the now-bankrupt Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) to have them removed, saying that while there is no proven cancer risk, they could rupture.

Tens of thousands of women in over 65 countries around the world have the same implants, made from industrial rather than medical quality silicone, although some reports have the number as high as 300,000 worldwide. Most of them live in South America and western Europe.

250 British women are suing for compensation after being fitted with the suspect breast implants. Some 42,000 women in Britain are thought to have the implants, according to a government watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The silicone gel implants, made by PIP, appear to have an unusually high rupture rate and fears about possible health risks are spreading.

French and British authorities appear to be taking very different approaches to the potential dangers. France has take the costly (euro60 million or $78 million) and unprecedented steps of offering to pay for the 30,000 women to have their implants removed.

In Britain, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said:
“Women with PIP implants should not be unduly worried. We have no evidence of a link to cancer or an increased risk of rupture. If women are concerned they should speak to their surgeon.” 

According to Davies, removing implants “carries risks in itself.”  She does say, however, that women with these implants should be checked by their surgeons. 

MHRA in Britain says that France has reported rupture rates of around 5% for PIP implants, compared with 1% in the UK. Eight cases of cancer have been reported in women with the implants but the French authorities say these are not necessarily linked to faulty implants.
French  Health Minister Xavier Bertrand urged French women to have the implants removed as a “preventive measure,” but said that it was not “urgent.” The French Government did not move quickly enough for thousands of French women that marched on Paris to demand more attention to worries about what might be happening inside them. Images of leaky, blubbery implants and women having mammograms have been splashed on French TV. 

The implants were exported from France to Latin American countries such as Brazil and Argentina, and Western European markets including Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy. Local investigative police in Costa Rica said a man identified as Jean Claude Mas Florent was arrested by national police in Costa Rica’s Cartago province on June 1, 2010 for reckless driving under the influence of alcohol, a crime that can carry a jail sentence. He was given a court date in November 2010 but fled the country. It was unclear if there was any link between that arrest and the Interpol notice.

Concerns in France first surfaced about two years ago when surgeons started reporting abnormally high rupture rates, leading to a flood of legal complaints, the company’s bankruptcy and a scandal that has spread across the world.  

In the U.S., concerns about silicone gel implants in general led to a 14-year ban on their use, in favor of saline-filled implants. Silicone implants were brought back to the market in the U.S. in 2006 after research ruled out links to cancer, lupus and some other concerns.

Australia’s healthcare watchdog says about 8,900 of the implants were used in women there, some of whom had complained about splitting and leaking.

Germany’s medical safety board advised women with PIP implants to consult their doctors for checks, but stopped short of recommending their removal.

Go to part two here.

The adductor muscles of the legs are in the inner part of the thighs. They attach from the pelvis to the inner thigh bone (femur) and knee. As they are named, they adduct, or bring the leg toward the midline. Short adductors include the adductor longus, adductor brevis, and the pectineus muscles, while the long adductors include the adductor magnus and gracilis muscles.  Each adductor group has its own unique stretch.

The short adductors attach from the pubic bone to the inner thigh. A great stretch for these muscles is called the frog stretch, which I demonstrate in the video below.  There are three levels of this stretch, each one giving a little extra length to the short adductors.

Although some people have weak adductors, which require strengthening, many people get tight adductors instead. If your adductors are tight, try the frog stretch; and if you are unsure, try the frog stretch as well–it will let you know if you have tight adductors. Have fun.

In the last post I discussed L.A. Unified’s failed first attempt at introducing “healthy” menu items into the school lunch program. Not only have school kids rejected dishes like black bean burgers and quinoa salad, but a black market junk food trade has cropped up as a result. And my response is…yeah, no kidding.

Listen, I can appreciate the attempt by a large institution like the L.A. Unified School Lunch Program to combat obesity, diabetes and other illnesses by introducing healthy foods–but black bean burgers? C’mon! I was fortunate enough to be raised on health foods, as my mother was a health nut back when it was considered real weird, and I still wouldn’t eat any of that yuck they’ve tried serving to those kids.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with those foods, but there is a severe misconception as to what “healthy” is, and what it is not. Vegetarianism is not automatically healthy, nor is meat eating unhealthy–that notion is utter nonsense! However, some people believe just that–and L.A. Unified has sure tried jumping on that bandwagon. Here’s some advice for school boards: Only vegetarians will eat purely vegetarian. Duh! Take a poll at the very least.

Further, mass produced anything is not healthy. When multiple people handle food, the health-factor diminishes progressively with each set of hands involved. And add to that a variety of preparation styles, and…well L.A. Unified is getting to see the result. It’s pretty hard to mess up a burger, but chicken curry? Ha ha ha…

Now in the last post I stated that my words would likely provoke some people that feel school lunches are an inalienable right–and maybe they are–but I never ate them as a child. Why? Because they were disgusting…at least to my palate.

And I won’t subject my children to that mess either. Instead, my mom made us bagged lunches–sandwiches, fruit and an occasional cookie. In high school I would sometimes sell my sandwiches to classmates. They loved them, and they would beg me to sell daily. They loved them for one simple reason: My mom’s bagged lunches were delish. She took the time every evening before the next school day to prepare them, and yeah, sometimes I wished I could have the yuck they were selling at the high school cafeteria–but not very often.

So if you care about your child’s health and nutrition, bag their lunch every day. If it’s just too hard (I know, I know–my mom was a single parent, too, who worked full time to make ends meet–and she bagged our lunch anyway), then keep sending your kids to the school lunch line. Maybe school lunch programs will get it right one day.

The following two posts are not for school districts or their lunch programs–they are for parents. I am writing these posts for individuals, not for the mass consciousness behind government programs. Although I fully understand the utility of mass institutions, like school lunch programs, particularly for people who’d rather not think or act for themselves, I happen to know that some people prefer to take care of themselves–that is, they appreciate certain qualities of life, like what kind of foods their family eats.

I don’t necessarily mean that as an insult, since we all have areas in which we would rather just have help than personally take the bull by the horns. But I am certain that people falling into this category with regard to their children’s lunches–those that would rather subject their kids to school lunches than prepare bag lunches from home–are going to be pissed off by what I have to say. Oh well…

It appears that school kids in Los Angeles are rejecting the new “healthy” meals they’re dishing up at L.A. Unified these days. The L.A. Times reports that the new menus introduced into the public school system as a part of the campaign to combat obesity, diabetes and other health problems has been a massive flop. Not only are kids not biting into the health food fare, but underground junk food markets are popping up at most schools, some even being run by teacher that feel sorry for the starving children. Crazy, I know…but can’t say I’m surprised. I’ll explain why.

First, let’s take a look at some menu items being served at school cafeterias in Los Angeles: black bean burgers, vegetarian curries and tamales, quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles, beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, lentil and brown rice cutlets, quinoa and black-eyed pea salads, and Caribbean meatball sauce. Duh!

Who the heck would eat that stuff? I’m sorry L.A. Unified but that’s beyond stupid. Today’s children, raised on junk food, are not going to suddenly and drastically change their diets, even if First Lady Michelle Obama endorses that yuck. Wake up you brain-dead ideologues–I wouldn’t touch a black bean burger for anything, and I grew up eating healthy food. Sorry, that’s not healthy–it’s puke-inducing.  Listen to what the kids have to say about it

Iraides Renteria and Mayra Gutierrez don’t even bother to line up. Iraides said the school food previously made her throw up, and Mayra calls it “nasty, rotty stuff.” So what do they eat? The juniors pull three bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and soda from their backpacks.  Yeah, no kidding. “This is our daily lunch,” Iraides says. “We’re eating more junk food now than last year.”

And it’s not just the type of foods L.A. Unified School Lunch Programs are serving, but the ways in which they are serving them. Reports are coming back from students and administrators alike of inedible food:

“The chicken pozole was watery, the vegetable tamale was burned and hard, and noodles were soggy,” said one 16-year-old

Other complaints included salads dated Oct. 7 being served on Oct. 17, although lunch program officials claim those dates were not for expiration, but instead “best used by”  dates. Either way, I don’t blame the kids—I wouldn’t buy that either. Who wouldn’t want food to be at its best?

As a result, student participation has been down–thirteen percent to be exact. And as an understandable backlash, the junk food black market has been booming. Students and teachers are coming equipped with candy, chips and even instant noodles to supply the hungry students.

So I reiterate that if children are raised on junk food, like most Americans are, and the food being served in school cafeterias is “like dog food” (according to one student), wouldn’t you expect them to reject it and go for what they know? Duh.

You can’t force drastic food changes on people, let alone children–that’s a recipe for disaster. School lunch programs could start by simply offering good quality foods. So keep the burgers and pizza, just make them with decent ingredients, and not the mass produced crap that large institutions typically purchase. I mean, my heavens, the school lunch budget increased a whopping 900% (from $2 million to $20 million)–start by buying fresh meat instead of frozen pre-made patties.

I like that L.A. Unified is attempting to make school lunches healthier, but serving Sloppy Quinoa-Joes ain’t gonna cut it. They’ve got to keep it within the comfort zone of the children. Fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen is a good start, and I’m happy to report they have done that. But before introducing the same sort of yuck they serve at the Whole Foods hot deli counter…I’d invest in barf bags.

Ed Reed, superstar free safety of the Baltimore Ravens has this to say about natural health care:

In the off-season, a few other guys and I work with Dr. Clayton Gibson and his antiaging program in Miami every day for four hours. We do acupuncture, chiropractic work, foot detoxes…

Have I told you Ed Reed is my favorite player in the NFL?

Uh…booyah!

Just to show you how bad the childhood obesity numbers are getting, a recent study highlighted the problem among our nation’s kindergartners. Research conducted by the RAND corporation showed that today’s children are heavier than their counterparts of the 1970s and 1980s, and that these children run a real risk of becoming obese as adults.

The researchers analyzed data on nearly 6,000 white, black and Hispanic children who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–a nationally representative sample–and had their height and weight measured over nine years, in kindergarten, first, third, fifth and eighth grades. They found that nearly 40% of kindergartners had a BMI in the 75th percentile, which means that they are heavier than 75% of their peers. This number is up from 25% in the 1970s and 1980s, when the growth charts were developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although the 75th percentile is not by any means overweight or obese, it does show that, in general, children are getting bigger. Overweight (85th-95th percentile) and obese (>95th percentile) numbers for children did increase as well, however, to 28% and 12% respectively, up from 10% and 5% in each category. The largest gains were seen in Hispanic children and black girls.

Experts are unsure of the reasons for these findings but believe that readily available and convenient high-fat, high-sugar and highly caloric snack and processed foods, and less physical activity due video games, TV and less outdoor play time are all potential contributors.

The significance of these findings are not only that the number of overweight and obese children is on the climb, but that a large portion of children are on their way to blowing up, as signified by the high numbers in the 75th percentile. Without a doubt, overweight and obese children should be attended to, but a real danger lurks with these potential bigger kids, those in the 75th percentile, and the direction they might go as they grow.

Less children were on the lower weight end, too–about 14% were in the lowest fourth for weight compared with 25% in earlier generations and 18% were in the second lower quartile compared with 25% in earlier generations. While having some pluses, primarily less underweight and malnourished children, it merely shows how society, as a whole, is blowing up.

I still contend that these numbers are due to the types of foods Americans eat regularly. Processed foods, in my opinion, are the worst, since they are sold a wholesome foods in supermarkets and grocery stores. But too many are relying on fast foods, which is just hamburger joints, but delis, pizza, bagel shops, taco stands, and the list goes on and on. If it’s not whole, natural foods and you are not preparing them at home, then it’s fast food, period. Not good for the health, and certainly not good for the waistline.

Parents you have a responsibility to feed your tykes good food. They will eat junk food on their own–no need to have it around the house. And frozen, canned and packaged food isn’t any better, no matter what the label says. If you ain’t cooking it–it’s crap. Nuff said.

Bravo to the younger generation! Millennials have got it right—they’re cooking at home. And if you don’t know how I feel about that, then you haven’t been listening. The most predominant dietary advice I give is to eat whole, natural foods; and in that vein, you’re much better off preparing those foods at home than eating at a restaurant.

According to a survey conducted by Mintel, a market research company, home cooking has become increasingly popular among younger generations. The survey polled 2,000 adults over the age of 18 and found that 25% of respondents between the ages 18-34 said they “love cooking,” while only 17% of seniors and Baby Boomers said the same.

The survey also found that 51% of respondents eat at home primarily for dietary reasons, as “homemade meals tend to be healthier than restaurant fare and prepared grocery foods.” Nice!

Looks like the younger generation are doing thing the right way for the right reasons. I love it. What it means, I hope, is that this practice will be passed down to even younger generations. Millennials seem to be aware of the downside to the fast food revolution of their parents era, and they are smart enough to connect the poor-health dots. Once again  I say bravo to the younger generation: They’ve got it right when it comes to how they eat. Keep up the sage practice, kids—the rewards it has to offer are bountiful.

Was recently asked to say a few words about migraines and what to do about them. First it’s important to understand what migraines are. Migraines are severe headaches that have an unknown etiology–in other words, we are not exactly sure what causes them.

The symptoms of migraines are moderate to severe pulsating headaches, usually on one side of the head, with associated nausea, and very often with an aura–transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbances signaling the migraine will soon occur. Many people have a sensitivity to light, such that they have to draw the shades and spend the day (or days) in a dark room lying in bed. Women tend to be effected more than men by a 3:1 ratio.

I see plenty of migraine sufferers in my Los Angeles chiropractic clinic.  However, more often people come in complaining of migraines when in fact they have tension headaches instead. Tension headaches are a little easier to treat, since they are most often due to musculoskeletal issues (subluxation, muscle tension, etc). I have to ask incoming “migraine” sufferers if they have been diagnosed by a medical doctor, and if they are on medication. If the answer is no, my experience is that many of these people are having severe tension headaches, which can certainly be bad.

Most migraine sufferers have been dealing with their severe headaches for quite some time, and they have visited other doctors. While not a hard, fast rule, it is what I most often observe. When I ask about medication, if they tell me that they’ve tried Excedrin, and that it helps, that’s a pretty good indication that we are dealing with migraines. If they say that regular pain meds, like Tylenol or Advil work, then it’s probably not a migraine. Again these are not definite rules, just observations.

For tension headache sufferers, chiropractic care is phenomenal–I would say the success rates is in the 90 percentile. If the headaches originate from TMJ syndrome, then this needs to be addressed. Either way, a chiropractor is a pretty good choice for treatment.

For true migraines, the results of chiropractic are about 50/50. That’s because sometimes migraine headaches are set off by certain foods–wines, cheeses, and other substances like MSG for example–or are vascular in nature. However, saying that, it is still a good idea to try chiropractic for migraine sufferers because it does, in fact, help some people.

I have a young man that sees me for chiropractic care who suffers from migraines a few times per year. He has auras, so he definitely knows when the migraine is coming. If he gets in early enough, the chiropractic helps cut the headaches off at the pass. If he does not, then he suffers for about three days, totally incapacitated–can’t work, can’t socialized, done.

We believe that by adjusting the spine, it allows blood vessels to open and flow freely. Further, chiropractic adjustments free the nervous system from functional interference and thus migraine sufferers get a return to normal function both vascularly and neurologically, thereby clearing up the headache.

So my advice to people suffering from migraines is to get into a chiropractor right away when symptoms first arise. If it turns out chiropractic alone doesn’t do it, you might want to get checked by a medical doctor and get some migraine medication, which I understand from some of my clients that take them, they work pretty well in conjunction with the chiropractic care.

Hope that helps, Double L. Thank you for the great question.

Ladies: Are you over 50 and considering a boob-reduction?  Hope you’re healthy then, because a recent study shows that you’re at an increased risk for infection. That’s right. And on top of that, women over 50 also have a higher rate of wound-healing problems as compared to younger women, leading to a higher rate of repeat surgery to remove areas of dead skin (debridement). Something to think about if you’re considering a slash to the sag.

The study conducted at Johns Hopkins University looked at 1,192 women who had breast reduction surgery between 1999 and 2009 and found that the post-surgery infection rate for women over 50 was 2.7 times higher than for those under 40.
Researcher believe that the differences are due to age-related changes to hormone levels. Yes, of course! And the reason is that they found older women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were less likely to have post-surgery infections. Further, women who had undergone hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries, both of which result in large decreases in hormone levels, had higher rates of infection. Accordingly, the study’s authors conclude that doctors should investigate any factors that might effect hormone levels in women considering breast reduction surgery, and that hormone replacement therapy might be warranted in women with reduced hormone levels.
So why would I say “hope you’re healthy?” Because health isn’t simply which chemical or hormone we’re missing. When the body is in a state of wellness, it’s missing nothing. Why not instead encourage older women to do some things that might improve their health overall? Why not encourage younger women now to maintain their health to their best ability?
Spoke to a lovely lady this evening in my practice who told me that she does what she does cosmetically because it makes her feel better about herself, which in turn, motivates her to do other right things for herself (like exercise and eat well, etc). While I certainly understand where she’s coming from on an emotional level, I’d say it’s somewhat illogical reasoning: You alter yourself through surgery so that you feel better about yourself, and then you exercise and eat well?
Ladies, your body is yours to do what you deem appropriate. But I assure you that by doing the right things:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Eating whole, natural foods
  • Supplementing with vitamin D and calcium
  • Visiting your chiropractor regularly
  • Getting regular body work
  • Being aware of your body (through gyno checkups and breast self-exams)
  • Minimizing alcohol and tobacco use
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Getting plenty of rest
…you should be healthy for years to come. And if you are in your fifties and pick up these habits now, your highly intelligent body will rebalance itself. If you don’t feel better about yourself then, it’s time for me to hang up my hands (sorry, I’m a chiropractor: it’s all I could think of…). At the very least, if you decide to get that breast reduction after all, then you’ll be in the best shape to handle the surgery.

You may not know this but…sometimes drugs used to fight one condition cause other equally health damaging conditions. Take chemotherapy, for instance: it’s immunosuppressive. In other words, it kills all cells–cancer and healthy immune cells together. Not a great thing when the immune system works 24/7 to keep us free from infection and cancers. But that’s the idea–kill all the cells, and let the body rebuild itself with healthy cells, yet sans the cancerous ones.

How about other disorders, like the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Immunosuppressive drugs are often given to people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease too. These conditions are inflammatory in nature–that is, the body goes through major inflammation of the digestive tract, usually the small intestine or colon, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stool among other symptoms. To combat them, immunosuppressants are often used to shut down the body’s immune system to prevent it from attacking itself (autoimmunity). Unfortunately, some patients are developing skin cancer as a result.

In a recent French study it was found that both past and present use of a widely used class of immunosuppressants called thiopurines significantly increased the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in inflammatory bowel disease patients. The increased risk was seen in all patients, even those under 50; however, it increased with age. As a result, researchers recommend that anybody taking thiopurines now or at any time in the past protect their skin from UV radiation and receive regular dermatologic screening, regardless of their age.

Non-melanoma skin cancer includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are the most common cancers diagnosed in North America.

I find these results and conclusions rather harrowing for two reasons. First, I strongly believe that these conditions are related to lifestyle factors like diet and toxin ingestion (smoking, for example). Although not necessarily straight forward in which foods are the causative factors, I believe most everybody has foods that they are sensitive to. Unfortunately, they may be foods that aren’t generally recognized as allergens–like the common wheat or dairy–but nevertheless cause the body to respond defensively to them. Repeated ingestion will ultimately lead to inflammation, which can become chronic and thus classified as IBD.

Second, why the treatment option becomes an immunosuppressive drug, in my opinion, is that doctors are simply at a loss at what else to do, so they go for broke–they simply attack the symptoms, or the body’s response–quite foolish I believe. It is not surprising to me that the risk of developing skin cancer goes up. Duh! Suppressed immune system leads to increased infections and increased cancers.

Finally, I think it’s ludicrous that the answer is to “protect oneself” from the life giving rays of the sun. This is just another case of being at a loss. We can’t figure out why our blessed drugs and medical ideology aren’t figuring out this skin cancer thing, so it must be the sun. Uh yeah, the source of all life in the solar system; the entity which provides energy for all living things, and we shouldn’t expose ourselves to it. C’mon.

Further, this anti-sun sentiment has been pushed by dermatologists and the entire medical profession to the degree that people are coating their skin with chemicals so as to prevent themselves from getting the healing and life sustaining rays of the sun. Puh-leeze! No doubt, baking in the sun like a freakin’ piece of bacon is unwise…but so is getting no sun.
Please medical profession wake up! Drugs cause skin cancer, and the inordinate amount of people walking the planet on multiple drugs they take daily is just as likely the cause of increased skin cancer as sun exposure is, probably more so. Thank goodness time acts as the greatest of observation tools.

Sigh…I know it’s hard to think about your health when so many other things need attention. I get it, not everybody eats, breathes and thinks health consciousness. But here’s the deal: Your physical body is your vessel. It carries your mind and your spirit, and as such, you really can’t do or experience much on the material plane without it. So it really does make sense to take care of it.

Here’s why I bring it up: I know that many people don’t think about their health much until there is a problem. Some people get as far as having a serious problem, one that is life threatening–like a heart attack–before they realize how important their body is. But when you get to that point, it much more difficult to bounce back–not impossible, mind you; just harder.

Take a recent study that showed that one in ten people that have angioplasty–a surgical technique to open clogged arteries–will land back into the hospital within 30 days.  The procedure, which includes the placement of a stent, or an artificial tube, into the blood vessel to create a new opening, and hopefully prevent further flow constriction. Worse yet, these individuals were more likely to die within a year when compared to their counterparts who were not readmitted to the hospital after their procedure.

A second study showed that the risk of rehospitalization remained after three years following the procedure. The rehospitalizations were for new procedures to open arteries, heart failure, heart attack or serious bleeds. According to study author Dr. Gianluca Campo, a cardiologist at the Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria di Ferrara in Ferrara, Italy:

Coronary artery disease is a chronic condition that needs chronic care. Just because a stent is placed or bypass surgery is done does not mean that you don’t need continued care in terms of preventing other episodes. You have the disease and have been treated for this episode. Now we need to treat the rest of you to decrease the chance that you will have another episode in the course of this chronic and progressive disease.”

Exactly. In other words, you still need to take care of your health. Listen, modern medicine is amazing at giving people a second chance, but that doesn’t mean you should just go back to business-as-usual. You need to observe all six keys to optimal health–diet, exercise, bodywork, mental health, rest & recuperation, and toxin avoidance (smoking cessation, for example)–and it has to become a top priority.

But even more importantly, why not just start observing these practices now? Many illnesses are lifestyle related. You do have a choice; and you ultimately have a hand in your illness and health. Once you get to the point of an angioplasty, you have suffered severe damage. My philosophy: Prevent it starting NOW. And if you’ve already had the experience of heart disease, and modern medicine has given you a second chance, don’t look that gift horse in the mouth. Live as if your body is your life vessel, and do the right things to preserve it. You’ll have more life to live that way.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design