From the monthly archives: "July 2007"
Medical marijuana is dominating the news again. Last week, Congress defeated a measure that would have prevented the U.S. government from blocking the use of medical marijuana in states that allow it. On the same day, Wednesday, July 26, 2007, federal agents raided 10 marijuana clinics in the Los Angeles area. Seems like this battle will continue to rage on.

On the one side, you’ve got medical marijuana activists, which are really Legalize Pot advocates, and on the other, the federal government, or in some people’s opinions, the moral majorists. Basically, the former group wants the legalization of what they consider a benign substance, while the latter believes that all controlled substances are a danger to society.

I find this an interesting debate because it almost seems silly that a substance like marijuana would be illegal when taken in context to liquor, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, all of which are more physiologically harmful to the body (for a laugh you have just got to see what the man on the street says about it all). Along with that, consider the benefits the government would achieve through legalization, like taxation and control, you know, things governments typically care about. It’s not like it wouldn’t be lucrative. I mean, doesn’t Snoop Dog still live here?

On the flip side, the medical marijuana clinics aren’t helping their cause any by supplying healthy customers with pot. These “clinics” are exploiting gray areas to basically operate as legal drug dens. Hey, I’m the first one to say that we should legalize marijuana – prostitution too – but first we’ll have to overcome our deep-rooted puritanical mores. Until then, well, the law is the law.

What I find particularly hysterical is that opponents to marijuana legalization (I’m using the term opponents here loosely – please play along) are looking for anything to rationalize their position. They are feeling hard pressed to show that marijuana use is harmful, so the best they can come up with is that pot smokers may be at a higher risk for schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

Let’s get serious here. First, these results come from a meta-analysis (a comparative study) of 35 studies done over the last 27 years and not a single clinically controlled study. This means that the conclusions have been extrapolated and are therefore not definitive, not at all. Further, we have no way of knowing whether the mental illnesses observed were due to marijuana use, or whether the mentally ill are more likely to smoke marijuana. Basically, this is a flawed study. Even the study’s authors admit that “it may be impossible to establish for sure whether cannabis causes psychosis on the basis of current methods.”

But wait; before you start thinking that there are no health risks associated with marijuana use, think again. Pot smoking is hard on the lungs, so it could affect respiratory function (increased coughs, asthma, and upper respiratory infections) and cardiovascular capacity. Interestingly, though, it does not increase one’s chances of developing lung cancer.

It has other physiological consequences too, like possible dizziness, confusion, light-headedness, racing heart, agitation, feeling of tenseness, dry mouth, increased appetite, and loss of coordination. Marijuana also has cognitive consequences like short term memory loss, paranoia, anxiety, interruption of linear memory (difficulty following a train of thought), altered sense of time, psychological dependence, and loss of motivation.

So don’t think that pot smoking is all just fun and games – it has its risks too. But as I’ve said before, compared to some other substances that are perfectly legal in this country, marijuana does seem a bit lite by comparison.

Well, well, well…Aquafina bottled water will soon be sporting labels disclosing their source – the good ‘ol tap! Whaddaya know. The bottled water industry has become so lucrative – $15 billion in sales in the U.S. alone – that major beverage players, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co., have their own brands, Aquafina and Dasani respectively, which they push on the American public.

C’mon Campos, take it easy – consumers have a choice don’t they? Not always. Try this sometime: Walk into a gas station convenience store, or in my neighborhood, the local Rite Aid, and you’ll see nothing but Aquafina. Hmmm….

Want to know why? It’s simple – here’s what they say: Carry our water exclusively or kiss Pepsi, Mug Root Beer, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Slice, Lipton Ice Tea, and all the other liquid sugar drinks goodbye. Well, if Mountain Dew is your big seller, then you’ll carry Aquafina. I mean, it’s just water, right? Who the heck is going to know the difference?

Well now you do. Aquafina, Dasani, and any other bottled water that labels its source as municipal water is selling you tap water, plain and simple. True, it’s filtered tap water, which has already been previously filtered by the municipalities, but okay, it’s filtered again. But does that make it worth MORE than gasoline. That’s right, in some instances when you buy those brands (i.e., movie theaters, sports arenas, concerts), you are paying more than you do for gas.

That doesn’t mean all bottled water is a rip off. Natural spring water – like Arrowhead and Sparkletts – is different. It comes from naturally occurring springs and it’s also filtered and taken through the purifying process. It’s overpriced too, but at least it’s more than what you can get out of your home faucet. Yeah, I’ll drink Aquafina occasionally, like when I’m in a pinch, you know – need water, no other options available. Oh well, let me just go ahead and get the liquid jack. However, if I have the option, it’s always spring water. Or you can just buy a washer safe plastic sports bottle and fill it up yourself, if you can remember to pack it. But never, ever refill your Arrowhead bottle – it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. Other than that, if you don’t mind paying hard earned cash for water coming from some factory faucet, well…it’s your money.

Experts say that the number of women in their 30s, 40s and 50s being treated for anorexia is rising fast. One eating disorders treatment center in Minnesota says that its number of mature patients has increased from 9% in 2003 to 35% through only the first half of this year.

According to Carol Tappen, director of operations for the Park Nicollet Health Services’ Eating Disorders Institute in St. Louis Park, Minn., women over 30 are dealing with body image issues and more, such as work, divorce, stepchildren and aging parents. They also are dealing with an aging process, or childbirth, that changes the way they look. Tappen says, “One day, (a woman) wakes up and the kids are gone and she has a sense that nobody really needs her. She looks in the mirror and she says, ‘My body is shot.’ This woman says, ‘You know, that’s it. I’m going on a diet.'”

This really is a complex issue with no easy answers. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a serious self image issue with deep rooted beliefs on what makes a person worthwhile or desirable. Being healthy is one thing, and yes, your body can give you an accurate picture of your current level of health, but skinny does not equal healthy. Far too many people (both men and women) use their weight as a guide to their health – that’s their reference point.

If you wake up one morning, look at your body and say, “I gotta make some changes.” Great, make changes. Start exercising, eat healthy foods, see a chiropractor and get that neck ache squared away, but don’t starve yourself. First off, it’s counterproductive: You’ll actually end up looking worse – it’s not attractive. And secondly, it is so damaging to your health. What difference does it make at the end of the day if you’re skinny but you drop dead because of the stresses you’ve put on your body?

I can’t speak for every man (or woman – this is not a heterosexual thing) but I’m pretty certain that most men find self confidence and self comfortability more attractive than skinniness. Unfortunately, I think that society is inundated with images of ultra-thin fashion models and celebrities and begins to think it’s normal. It’s not! Maybe a few of those images reflect the normal body shapes of some particular celebs, but many of these women are anorexic too.

Some women will say, “I don’t need to lose weight for anybody but myself – I feel better when I’m thinner.” Really? Somehow, I just don’t buy it. A fine line sits between being over and under weight, but as I’ve said before, weight is simply a poor way to evaluate one’s health. Do the right things, practice The Six Keys To Optimal Health, and if you don’t look and feel great, you just haven’t given it enough time. Remember one thing: nobody is rejecting you because of your weight – it might be a lot of things, but it ain’t that. And if for any odd reason it is, then that person isn’t worth a pound of….

Am I seeing this right? Are studies now showing that smoking and obesity might have some benefits after all? Researchers are reporting that smokers are at a lower risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, while obese people who have heart disease live longer than their non-obese counterparts. What!?!? Now let me get this straight, two pillars of conventional health wisdom might be partial truths? Whaddaya know.

Check this out: 11 studies conducted between 1960 and 2004, looking at over 11,000 people, showed that current smokers had the lowest risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, while former smokers, some having quit as long as 25 years earlier, showed the next lowest risk. Scientists are not quite sure what provides the preventative effects, but they extend to cigar smoking, pipe smoking and chewing tobacco as well.

Regarding obesity: among 6,900 men with symptoms of heart disease, researchers found that those who were obese were less likely to die over the next seven-and-a-half years compared with normal-weight men. Some studies also hint that obese people may survive heart bypass surgery better.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should all pick up a pizza, beer and Marlboro lifestyle habit, but it does bring up a very important point. We still know very little about the workings of the human body. According to one of my former professors, we probably know about 40%, and I think this might be a generous estimate.

What’s the significance? Nothing we know today is 100% definite, so proceed with caution. Don’t just accept health information as it comes; think about it, be discriminating. As I like to say: today’s conventional wisdom is tomorrow’s obsolescence. You’ll be the safest if you practice the basics – The Six Keys To Optimal Health. These are tried and true principles, which haven’t changed for thousands of years – they’re timeless. So, instead of banking on Viagra, Lasix or Botox, how about caring for your health as your most important asset? You simply can’t go wrong that way.

Here’s a tripper: French researchers have reported that a man with an unusually small brain has been living a healthy, functional life as a civil servant and family man in France. MRI scans of the 44-year-old man’s brain showed that most of the room in the cranium was filled by a fluid filled chamber called a ventricle. Only a small, thin sheet of brain tissue was actually present.

The “small brained” man lived a very normal life; he was married with two children and worked as a civil servant (insert dumb joke here). He went to the hospital after suffering mild weakness in his left leg. Upon taking his medical history, doctors uncovered that he had a shunt inserted into his brain to treat him for hydrocephalus – water on the brain – as an infant. The shunt was removed when he was fourteen. Intelligence tests showed the man to have an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100 but not considered mentally retarded or disabled, either.

This story felt very satisfying to me because I’ve always been a little put off by the concept of a birth “defect”. Defective? According to who? What defect makes a human being defective? I know, I know…some variations threaten life. However, I’d argue that life spans vary – doesn’t make that individual defective in my eyes. Many people are born with circumstances that take them outside of the norm – heart murmurs, polydactyly, sickle cell, lactose intolerance, cleft palate, and now, small brains – they still can live rich rewarding lives within their own unique limits. You’ve got limits too, and so do I – doesn’t make us defective – so why someone with Downs Syndrome? I know of people with Downs Syndrome who live independently, work for a living, pay their rent, and LOVE their lives. And a man in France with a smaller brain is, I’m quite certain, happy to be alive.

As Dr. Max Muenke, a pediatric brain defect specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute puts it, “What I find amazing to this day is how the brain can deal with something which you think should not be compatible with life. If something happens very slowly over quite some time, maybe over decades, the different parts of the brain take up functions that would normally be done by the part that is pushed to the side.” Ah, the miraculous adaptability of the human body. Makes you sort of rethink the notion of being defective, doesn’t it?

Just another blow to conventional wisdom: A review of 30 published studies confirms it even further – vitamin C does nothing to fight the common cold. I know, I know, that’s not what Mom said. Take plenty of vitamin C along with chicken soup and you’ll beat that cold in no time. Also, don’t go out with your hair wet or without a jacket, you might catch cold. Didn’t mom tell you that one, too?

Well, I hate to be the one to discredit Mom, but researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland looked at people who took high-doses of vitamin C and found it did very little to reduce their risk of catching a cold (so small as to be clinically useless). Furthermore, it did nothing to reduce the duration of a cold or its symptoms.

That doesn’t mean vitamin C is useless, though. As I point out in my upcoming book – The Six Keys To Optimal Health – this nutrient is absolutely essential to achieving and maintaining great health. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, so it fights oxidizing free radicals, which can lead to aging and the development of many degenerative diseases, like cancer. It’s also an important player in the formation of collagen, so…that means healthy skin and healthy blood vessels and healthy joints and healthy ligaments and on and on and on. I think that vitamin C is so important that I believe, to have truly optimal health, you need to supplement with 1,000 mg per day.
But don’t feel badly for mom. She’s right about the chicken soup thing. I guess one out of two ain’t bad, now, is it?
Mandatory HPV vaccinations are once again at the top of the legislative agenda. California is the latest state to introduce a bill requiring girls entering sixth grade to receive the three standard doses of the HPV vaccine.

HPV stands for the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted organism that is the cause of genital warts and 70% of all cervical cancers. On the surface, this may seem like a good idea to protect the lives of young women of our society. However, forcing people to vaccinate themselves against a disease that results from lifestyle choices is simply preposterous. This is no morality trip – I don’t think this mandate, in any way, is going to encourage young women to engage in sexual behavior as some suggest. But, I do think that when it comes to our health, the choice should be ours alone.

Now, this is very different from the scenario of being at risk of developing illness by being in the same room as someone who, say, has measles, or tuberculosis or even the flu. You cannot catch HPV without sexual contact, so the public health is not threatened in any way. Using the argument that mandatory vaccination will save lives is using the ends to justify the means. It would be like vaccinating people against drugs and alchohol – a la A Clockwork Orange – to prevent drunk driving deaths.

Sound like an exaggeration to you? It’s not. Consider this: I have a beautiful, healthy and happy 14-month-old daughter, Delilah, who is the apple of my eye. I don’t know anything about this vaccine other than the government (i.e. the FDA) says it’s safe. Do you know how many substances the FDA has deemed safe that we found out later were not? Here are a few:

So why would I want to give a vaccine to my daughter that hasn’t been comprehensively tested? I’m never the first to try out the new version of Internet Explorer, either. Quite frankly, I’d rather take my risk with my daughter contracting HPV, then inject her with something I know very little about. That’s just my opinion. If you want to vaccinate your daughter, go ahead. Nobody wants to stop you. If I, or she, decide down the road that we should do it, then we will – just don’t force it down our throats.

Our health care system is in a shambles – so says the director of the Centers of Disease Control, Dr. Julie Gerberding. Her solution: start from the ground up – train medical doctors in health theory and practice, and not just the treatment of diseases.

Bravo! I’ve been pushing this agenda for the last seven years. In fact, my upcoming book – The Six Keys To Optimal Health – runs precisely on that premise. It makes no sense to me to neglect basic health practices and hope that, in the future, a magic bullet will be waiting to save us. That’s a big fat fantasy. Dream on.

If you are not eating wholesome nutritious foods, not exercising regularly, not getting sufficient rest, not working out the stress and tension of your body with regular bodywork, not keeping mentally balanced, and regularly ingesting toxins – like prescription and over the counter medications, recreational drugs and cigarette smoke – then you’re flirtin’ with disaster. And…guess what? It’s going to continue to tax an already overloaded and overpriced medical system. Michael Moore can make 5,000 films and presidential candidates can campaign on the Universal Health Care platform till kingdom come – if the people of this country don’t start with the basics, then it ain’t gonna get any better – just worse. Nuff said.

Here’s a disturbing fact: Thirteen percent of 9-13-year-olds have reported dieting in the last month. Dieting pre-teens?

You might think, “What’s the big deal – it’s only 13%”? But I’m blown away that any child that age would be dieting at all. Dieting, as we commonly use the term, rarely means changing one’s dietary habits to healthy ones, but instead means following one of the current fad diets, or just not eating at all. In the 9-13 year old age range, it’s probably more like the latter.
Where on earth do kids this age learn about dieting anyway? Probably from their parents. And at the risk of sounding sexist – I guess I’m going to go out on a limb here – probably from their mothers. Whether we want to admit it or not, children observe and copy everything we do. If you smoke, expect your children to smoke; watch a lot of T.V., expect your children to watch a lot of T.V.; look in the mirror and say, “Ugh, I need to lose 10 lbs.”, expect the same from your child.
Okay, you may, in fact, really need to lose ten pounds. But how many women (men too, but mostly women) are trying to live up to some standard set by fashion magazines or the film industry? Knowing what I know about the epidemic rise of childhood obesity, I really doubt it’s the kids who actually need to lose weight that are dieting. My guess is that it’s more likely kids trying to emulate mom, and those looking up to the Lindsays and Nicoles of super-celebrity stature.
Do your kids a favor: eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and stop obsessing about your weight. They’re watching you – and even though they won’t admit it – they’re copying most everything you do.

This month, on the Dr. Nick Show podcast, I review the mega best selling health book, Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau. Boy, what a blast. This guy is a trip. Read this fantastic article about him from the Washington Post.

Trudeau was banned from selling supplements by the FDA for his false claims about the product Coral Calcium. From what I understand, Coral Calcium is not better than calcium citrate as far as absorption goes, and anyway, Trudeau said it could cure cancer. Dummy! You can’t say that. One, because it’s just not true. And two…well, because it’s not true, and furthermore, people might believe you.

He was also banned from selling any health product on infomercials for both his claims on Coral Calcium and his product Biotape. Biotape, according to Trudeau could cure chronic pain. I don’t think it worked very well. Hmm, I see a pattern here.

So, on to the health book publishing biz. Natural Cures has sold over 5 million copies. Very impressive. And it has been proclaimed the greatest selling health book of all time. Wow! Kudos, man.

Anyway, I don’t think the book is totally useless. Check out my review on the Dr. Nick Show.
Here are some real Natural Cures books:
A German Biotech company is working on a genetically engineered herpes virus to combat and kill cancer cells. Apparently, the modified virus leaves healthy tissue alone, making it a promising tool in the fight against cancer.
This concept may seem weird to many unfamiliar with principles of molecular biology, but it is, in fact, possible, theoretically speaking. Viruses attack cells and other cellular organisms, like bacteria (called bacteriophages). Viruses are small packets of gentic material surrounded by a protien covering. Whether or not they can be considered living material is still being debated by modern science, but either way viruses are an enormous part of life on this planet.
Through bioengineering techniques, viruses can be manipulated to attack certain cells, so these recent finding a very important indeed. We may be getting a glimpse of the future with regard to cancer treatments – and other medical treatments in general. I think it’s exciting anyway. I’ve been saying for quite some time now that it’s futile to try to eradicate certain organisms, particularly microorganisms, from this planet. They wouldn’t exist if they had no purpose – so why try to play Zeus and remove them? In other words, if you can’t beat ’em, find a use for them, and manipulate them. Isn’t that what we humans are best at, anyway?
My wife asked me today, “Can you believe that Nicole Richie is pregnant? How can she hold a baby?” I presumed she meant the skinny, anorexic, drug user thing.

“Why wouldn’t she be able to?”, I asked.

“Because she’s so skinny?”

That question reminded me of something I found very interesting and, quite frankly, peculiar during our own pregnancy with our daughter Delilah. I noticed that an enormous amount of fear and caution is circulated among new, expecting mothers. Downs syndrome, Tay-Sachs, birth defects, emotional scarring, miscarriages, preschool enrollment – you name it, there was a precaution for it. Quite the bit of nail biting involved.

I have to say that I find it a bit counterproductive. I see where it comes from; liability is a grave concern among doctors, especially OB/GYN docs. As I understand it, obstetricians have the highest malpractice premiums of all doctors simply because they are the most often sued. Think about it: a child is born with a birth defect – gotta blame somebody, right? That’s the American way. Couldn’t be destiny or have greater, let’s say, spiritual meaning now could it? Nor could it possibly be a blessing – for the child and the parents. Nah – it’s gotta be the doctor’s fault. Sue him!

Here’s what I always say: It’s true, things do happen. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so testing is o.k. But let’s lighten up a bit. Don’t go through your pregnancy freaked out. Consider this: There are starving women in Africa having babies, and many survive. The human body is incredibly resilient, so for the most part, everything should be o.k. If you happen to fall within the small percentage of there being “a problem”, then I think it’s wiser to look at the deeper implication; the deeper meaning, if you will. It’s still a blessing. You just have to see it as such.

As far as Nicole Richie is concerned, I have a confession to make. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say Nicole Richie in my blog. Paris, you’re next.

O.k. my neck started bothering me again this morning. If you’ve read my entry from last month, Even Chiropractors Need Chiropractic, then you’ll remember that I’ve been having neck pain on and off for about a month and a half.

What gives? You’re a chiropractor Campos.

I’ve told you, chiropractors need chiropractic the most.

Anyway, I’ve been noticing that the discomfort would begin after a leisurely night in front of the T.V. on my…seven year old couch. Aha! It all makes sense now. My couch is so worn that I sink into it, which forces the muscles in the back of my neck to contract. Do this for and hour, two hours…o.k., o.k., SIX HOURS, I admit it…your neck is going to ache. Try holding a baseball bat out at arm’s length for 60 seconds and see what happens. This happens to the neck muscles too, just not as quickly, or as dramatically.

So, duh, I hadn’t considered that before: a couch – like a bed – needs to be replaced, and probably within around the same amount of time. If you’re not sure when to replace your bed, then please read my article How Sweet the Sleep 2. Now, for some people, the couch sees more action than the bed. If that the case, you’ll need to replace the couch sooner. Clearly, my couch has seen a lot of action.

For you do it yourselfers – check out this cool page on replacing the cushions of your sofa.

And another all about cushions.

Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig – which diet is the best? Well, if you listen to the latest flavor-of-the-month diet guru, then their diet is the best. Want to know one of the quickest ways to riches – write a diet book, open a weight loss clinic, or market your trim slim miracle supplements to a desperate culture. That’s it – instant millionaire.

Just ask Dr. Phil. Or Kevin Trudeau. Ask them about the biggest scam “they don’t want you to know about”. Yup, Dr. Phil discontinued his weight loss program – guess he wanted to keep some sort of credibility. The other guy? He doesn’t care. Trust me – he doesn’t care. To quote Mr. Trudeau, “It’s always about the money.” Uh huh, yeah, whatever.

Here’s the skinny: To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. To gain weight, you need to take in more calories than you burn. To break even, your calorie intake must equal exactly what you burn. Simple mathematics.

Yes, some diets work for some people. But no diet works for all people. And according to a recent study, many diets work about the same – which is, not very well. Never thought I’d do it, but if I’ve got to endorse a diet, it would be Weight Watchers. Their protocol is to control, or watch, the amount of calories one takes in on a daily basis. Duh! Makes sense to me. And…they offer coaching and support, something I think is absolutely essential.

You can’t do it without exercise either. There are metabolic reasons for this – you can read about them in detail in my upcoming book, The Six Keys To Optimal Health -but suffice it to say that without a fitness routine to help you burn calories, you won’t find success by dieting alone.

See what the The President’s Council on Physical Fitness has to say about it.

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