From the monthly archives: "June 2009"

Do you wear orthotics? Do you have back pain, hip pain, knee pain; do your feet hurt? Has anybody checked your feet? If you wear orthotics, then you know how much they help your particular condition. But did you know they need to be repaired periodically?

Orthotics are devices inserted into the shoes that support the feet. They are customized to each individual, so they may provide an arch for one whose arches collapse; or they might provide cushion for people that come down hard on their feet. Each foot dysfunction and gait abnormality has its own particular correction in custom-made orthotics.

We take approximately ten million steps a week. By the shear volume of it all, orthotics wearers have to be aware of one thing–orthotics eventually break down. Once the device expires, symptoms slowly return. Hello sciatica–long time no burn. Shin splints–thought you’d never come back. Oh, and low back pain–fuggedaboutit–that’ll come back with a vengeance. Sometimes symptoms return slowly; other times–BAM!–hello again.

The approximate time frame to repair or replace your orthotics is 1-2 years. For runners or heavy tennis players that only have one pair, your looking at closer to a year. But for the average weekend warrior, or for the person with two or more pairs, it’ll be closer to a year and a half, two years. Once you get them repaired, your orthotics will be like brand new.

Just ask my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood chiropractic client Eddie Pence. He’s been running around in his pair for a couple of years–he’s taken them up Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, trudged them through the Los Angeles flag football gridiron, and slugged mud in them with his dog at the most popular of West Hollywood dog parks. And although the Biomechanical orthotics we fit him for could take a serious licking, Ed knows that to keep them ticking, it’s time for a repair.

If you need orthotics, or you would like to have your low back, hip, groin, knee, calf, shin or foot pain evaluated by a sports chiropractor, and you live in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or West Hollywood, come see Dr. Nick Campos and get your foot problems squared away.

Driving under the influence is a crime, but some researchers think we should make an exception…for the ADHD driver. Doh! According to research recently present to the American Psychiatric Association, adults with ADHD are more prone to auto accidents. So to combat this phenomenon, researcher recommend ADHD drivers to be cranked out on speed. Nice.

The study showed that adult ADHD drivers had significantly more auto collisions than the general public and received more citations. ADHD teens and adults have also been shown to be nearly twice as likely to having their licenses suspended. According to UC Berkeley psychologist Nadine Lambert, Ph.D., “People with ADHD have serious difficulties planning ahead, following through, and staying on task—things you need to do to drive safely.”

Apparently ADHD drivers are more likely to be convicted of speeding, not obeying signs and signals, following too closely, improper passing, and not following road markings. Additionally they’re somewhat more likely than non-ADHDers to participate in reckless driving, drunk driving, and poor lane placement.

So what’s the solution? Give ’em speed. Now that’s responsibility in the psychiatric research profession–recommend drugging our drivers, yeah! I’m never for the drugging solution, especially when it comes to mental health. Instead of encouraging our unfocused fellow citizens to develop good driving skills, we resort to the simple solution—drugs. I’m not anti-drug, but giving legalized speed, and that’s essentially what these ADHD drugs like Ritalin are, is foolish. It’s not going to make one a more attentive driver. Why don’t we just put a kilo of coke in their trunk—that’ll make them pay attention–guaranteed. But no one would seriously suggest that because it’s nonsensical. And so is drugging our drivers.

I deal with a lot of auto accident victims in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office. Accidents caused by people under the influence are some of the worst I see. If the general public is considered impaired even under the influence of cold medications, why recommend speed for ADHDers? The use of drugs to treat mental “disorders” will remain somewhat controversial for years to come; but let’s hope cranking out our ADHD drivers won’t cause more problems than they fix.

Meet Shiloh Pepin, the mermaid girl. Born in August 1999, in Kennebunkport, Maine, Shiloh has a very rare congenital disorder known as sirenomelia, or mermaid syndrome, where the legs are fused together resembling a mermaid’s tail. But Shiloh is unique in another way, she is living well beyond what was ever expected.

Most people born with sirenomelia die within a day or two of birth because of complications associated with abnormal kidney and bladder development and function. It results from a failure of normal vascular supply from the lower aorta in utero. And little Shiloh was in fact born without a bladder, uterus, colon or vagina, and with only one partial kidney and one ovary.

But because of a kidney transplant at four months of age, and a second one in 2007, Shiloh fights on–a truly remarkable feat. Overall, she has survived more than 150 surgeries. It will be interesting to see what limits she’ll be able to push with a combination of modern-medicine and her will to survive. I send my thoughts and blessings to the sweet little mermaid of Maine–keep kicking, sister.

While most mammals have very little interaction with their offspring, human fathers are an integral part of their children’s upbringing; and this relationship, scientists believe, is what makes us unique, what makes us human.

Most popular theories on the role of the father have him as a protector of the young, and while this is true, fathers also play an important role in the optimum development of psychological and emotional traits considered to be primarily human, such as empathy, emotional control and the ability to navigate complex social relationships. This is uniquely human, as 95% of male mammals end their interactions at conception.

Prolonged human male interaction has important consequences to child development. While most other primates mature within 10 years, humans need 18-20 years before they can fend for themselves. The more involved a father is in family upbringing, research shows, the later sexual maturity develops in the child. In homes where fathers are absent, girls reach menarche sooner and form clingy relationships, while boys become aggressive and sexually exploitive.

The way fathers interact with children influences how they function as adults. For instance, as a result of possibly worrying about children’s financial future, fathers across cultures tend to give advice, encourage academic success and stress achievement. And father’s play tends to be on the rough side, riling up kids to the point of snapping, and then calming them down, which is believed to develop emotional control in children. As a result of his interactions, a father’s presence in the family correlates with improved health and decreased child mortality, increased emotional security and sexual maturity, and enhanced social skills.

Fathers also play an indirect role in the development of their grandchildren. As social skills develop in the child, increasing social standing, their parenting skills develop and the grandchildren benefit. Good fathering skills, then, can be passed down through generations–quite the responsibility. And finally, the more fathers help mothers following childbirth, the sooner mom becomes fertile, ensuring a bigger brood. Evolutionarily speaking, this is an advantage, as bigger families can become more powerful.

So celebrate fatherhood, dads–you are an essential part of your family’s dynamics and the development of your children. Without dads we simply wouldn’t be human.


I wrote a post back in March questioning some conclusions from a Columbia University and UC Berkeley study stating that fast-food restaurants located near schools increases childhood obesity. While I didn’t deny the data, I certainly disagreed with the authors’ conclusion that banning fast food joints near schools would decrease obesity in children. Well a new study has just been released that closes the lid on the fast-food ban argument. In fact, it shows that the presence of fast food restaurants has no effect on childhood obesity at all.

According to research conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which looked at a decade of data on more than 60,000 children aged 3 to 18, living near a fast food restaurant had little effect on weight gain. And surprisingly, living instead near a supermarket stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables wasn’t associated with lower weight either.

These results go against anecdotal data that have led some to believe that the types of food choices in a neighborhood have an effect on weight gain. The study looked at details such as both sick- and well-doctor visits, changes in a child’s address, annual food-service establishment inspection data, aerial photographs of neighborhoods and crime statistics over time. This study provides more accurate data since it was collected over a period of ten years and not a single year as in previous studies. As an interesting side note, living near recreational facilities was associated with lower childhood weight.

Well, all I can say is…I figured. C’mon folks, temptations are all around us, all the time. Does anybody really believe that not having a fast food restaurant near their home will prevent them from getting fast food? I mean, everybody knows that crack addicts come from every neighborhood, right?–even travelling into dangerous neighborhoods to get their goods, right? What’s the difference with junk food? Listen, staying away from junk is an issue of upbringing. You either learn fast food is junk, or you don’t–you think it’s food. Whether you’ve got a dozen fast food restaurants in your hood, or zero, if you think fast food is a viable dietary choice, then you’ll find it when you want it. And it’ll show in your waistline…your kids, too.

We keep hearing about the obesity epidemic, but are chubby people really less healthy? Not according to Japanese researchers who have found that slightly chubby people live longer than their thinner counterparts.

The study was conducted by a health ministry team at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. They looked at 50,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 for over twelve years in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyagi. What they found was counter to the common wisdom: People who are slightly overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people. Even more startling is that very skinny people had shorter life span than even the obese–by five years!

“We had expected thin people would show the shortest life expectancy but didn’t expect the difference to be this large,” said Shinichi Kuriyama, an associate professor at Tohoku University. The prevailing thought among the researcher was that thinner people would have lower life spans because of underlying illness or smoking. The results remained unchanged, however, when eliminating those factors. The researchers believe the differences are due to thinner people being more susceptible to illness and having weaker blood vessels.

I don’t know about those conclusions but I will say that I’ve always endorsed a “natural” body type and diet. What I mean by this is that I see far too many people pushing their limits to become thin, with the belief that thin is more beautiful and more healthy. I’ve told many a washboard ab desiring client that “zero body fat just ain’t that healthy.” When fantasizing about that Men’s Health cover-boy physique, just know that those young studs are practically starving themselves for that shoot; but you can’t be that way year round. A little spare tire never hurt anybody, but maintaining zero body fat can–and here’s the study to prove it.

Saying that, I know that many of you reading this won’t take heed. You’ll still strive for zero body fat, and that’s cool–no biggie. Just know which contract you are signing because in the end nothing comes without a price.

Campos note: Before taking these results as a license to party, the scientists did conclude that the healthiest people were at their “normal” body weight. Going to town on the Ben & Jerry’s to plump-up a little is ill-advised. More important is that underweight people probably need to add a bit more weight. Again the take home lesson here is that too thin is not always in. Healthy and au natural is certainly better.

Here we go again: Nestle’s is recalling its popular Toll House Cookies due to a possible bacterial outbreak. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), various Nestle’s Toll House refrigerated products may be contaminated with E. coli causing food poisoning in people who eat the raw cookie dough.

Nestle’s said the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were investigating reports of 66 illnesses across 28 states tied to E. coli O157:H7. Twenty five people have been hospitalized, but no one has died. A spokesperson from the company has strongly advised people to not eat raw cookie dough–a warning prominently displayed on the packaging. Food poisoning from E. coli can cause cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.

The following Nestle’s Toll House products are being recalled: refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough, Cookie Dough Tub, Cookie Dough Tube, Limited Edition Cookie Dough items, Seasonal Cookie Dough and Ultimates Cookie Bar Dough. If you currently have any of these products in your home, throw them away. The FDA advises against trying to cook the product as handlers may get the bacteria on their hands or cooking surfaces.

I never did get the fascination with cookie dough; I’ve always thought it was nasty. Saying that, I never considered that it was raw food. Duh, in hindsight. Of course it’s raw food and can harbor bacteria, so safety requires cooking it. Bet all those ice cream manufacturers feel dumb now–I sure would. So toss out the Toll House products sitting in your fridge, peeps–you’ll have to settle for Pepperidge Farms this weekend.

Well, well, well…never thought I’d see the day, but the first draft of The Affordable Health Choices Act has neglected to uphold one simple choice–chiropractic care! If adopted, this plan could wipe out the first choice in health and wellness of millions of Americans. Just think–a future of affordable health care…but no chiropractic. Sorry.

The bill sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy’s Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (“HELP”) does not include chiropractic coverage. No language in the bill guarantees chiropractic coverage in the future, nor does it guarantee that its national policy making board will include chiropractic in the “universal” health scheme. Now that’s progress! I’m so proud to be an American. Just think, a future of guaranteed health care–because that’s a right–but no chiropractic in the birthplace of chiropractic. God bless America…my home…sweeeet hoooooome!!!!

If this notions gets you as upset as it does me, please do your part in letting your Congress representatives know how you feel. Simply fill out the form provided by the American Chiropractic Association’s Chiropractic Legislative Action Center, and tell Capitol Hill that


If there is going to be socialized health care, there’s no reason to push out chiropractic. This scenario would be the worst case of government and special interests manipulating the markets to form health care monopolies–very un-American. And more important, millions of citizens, people who rely on chiropractic care every day to be pain free and healthy, will be able to get their chiropractic care because private insurers will follow the government’s lead. As Obama says, a government plan will create competition, which translates to: all private insurance plans will do as the government plan does. So no chiropractic coverage in federal plan, no chiropractic coverage, period.

Well I guess there’s always cash. Cha-ching $

*Please all my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic clients, please log into the Chiropractic Legislative Action Center and fill out the quick and simple form. Help keep chiropractic accessible for Americans.

Los Angeles county health official have announced that they will be offering free at-home testing kits for sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Urine of fire can now be diagnosed in the privacy of your own home thanks to a new county public health program aimed at fighting the high incidence of STDs in L.A. County.

The L.A. County program is being created for women in need who are concerned that they may have contracted chlamydia or gonorrhea. It’s intention is to eliminate long waits at clinics or costs that might prevent women from getting tested. Any female Los Angeles resident aged 12-25 can get a free home test kit by calling the toll free number: 1-800-758-0880 or logging on to the website

The program is a response to the inordinately high rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks Los Angeles first in chlamydia and second in gonorrhea cases throughout the nation. A few more statistics:

  • There are 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, at an estimated cost of $15.9 billion annually to the national health-care system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • In 1999, there were 340 million new cases of STDs worldwide–syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis–in men and women ages 15-49, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Financial support for a U.S. government program that funds low-cost, confidential family planing services is 61 percent lower today than it was in 1980, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

So if you are sexually active and suspect that you could have contracted a STD–don’t guess, know! Order your free STD home testing kit today. There are 10,000 kits available immediately, and more should be on hand shortly.

*It’s unclear for me whether men are eligible for these free kits. The dontthinkknow website has a check box for men and transgender people, so it may in fact be available. It’s certainly worth calling the toll free number to find out.

News Alert: Smoking marijuana can damage DNA and cause lung cancer. The solution: Eat more brownies.

Seriously folks, nobody in their right mind thinks that marijuana use is 100% risk free, do they? My regular readers know how I feel about the marijuana issue–I think it should be legalized. Marijuana as a mind-altering substance is relatively benign–that is, it causes little physical harm when compared to alcohol and tobacco.

But saying that, marijuana is still a foreign substance to the human body, and as such, it will have some negative physiological effects. It doesn’t surprise me that the link to DNA damage and lung cancer has finally been found. It has certainly been suspected for years. Duh! Think about it: smoke of any kind will be toxic to the lungs. Yeah, we can filter some and remain relatively healthy–the body is that strong (self-healing and self-regulating)–but high or long-term exposure will damage the nuclear genetic material.

Marijuana has its medicinal uses, and all joking aside, ingesting it as an additive to food is a less risky alternative. So if you are an AIDS or cancer patient, choose the brownie–it’ll save your breathing apparatus over time.

Here we go. Hospitals, medical technicians and a medical imaging access coalition all oppose President Barack Obama’s latest health care reform proposal to reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending. These organizations believe that the proposed cuts will impair access to medical care to many who need it.

The president suggested yesterday that $200 billion could be saved over the next ten years by trimming federal payments to hospitals. He justified this change by noting broader insurance coverage, so in other words, they’ll make it up in volume. Many hospitals, especially those with large numbers of poor patients say these cuts will be unfair and will only hurt the poor, sick and elderly.

Although congress will sculpt the new laws, the president has influence. Obama has urged the congress to resist powerful lobbies trying to maintain their clout and profits. Like those greedy hospitals, medical technicians and imaging centers (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans), I presume. All in all, the president wants to cut $313 billion in both federal programs over the next decade.

All I can say is, “Wow!” Already being one of the worst reimbursing insurances in the country, Medicare under Obama’s proposal would pay even less? Does anybody have any idea of what the consequences will be? Why don’t we ask The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition, a trade group representing diagnostic imaging centers and their patients,

It would “impair access to diagnostic imaging services and result in patients’ delaying or forgoing life- and cost-savings imaging procedures.”

The group also said Obama’s efficiency estimates were based on a flawed survey. You don’t say…

What else? Some believe that providers–doctors, hospitals, imaging centers–will have to ration services due to the cuts. No kidding–what else do you think will happen? Do you think that doctors will pay for a patient’s lab tests themselves? C’mon! If you have been reading this blog lately, then you know I’ve been saying it repeatedly–health care reform, as proposed by our current government, will do little to improve health care and a lot to diminish its quality. Unfortunate, since quality is the one thing American health care has got going for itself.

Here’s a question: What medical treatment improves health? Chemotherapy? Heart bypass? Prozac? What? Feel free to answer below–all comments welcome. I really want to know, because if improving health is a goal of health care reform–and it certainly should be–then shouldn’t we define which aspect of today’s health care system is improving health?

Former Health and Human Services Secretary appointee, Tom Daschle had it right when he spoke of the importance of making “wellness cool”. But wellness comes from lifestyle behaviors, not medical procedures. If you’ve read my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, then you know where I place medical care on the health care spectrum–it’s for saving lives. And in saving lives, nothing beats American medicine.

But health giving? Yeah, what? One gentleman told me about his doctors visit where they found his thyroid to be under-functioning. “And that is medical prevention or wellness,” he said.

“What was prevented,” I asked.

“My thyroid becoming a problem.”

“But it’s already hypothyroid–that doesn’t change. The medicine or treatment prevents you from becoming lethargic. It’s saved your life–at least the quality, that is.”

I know that’s a tough point for people to accept, but it’s true. Antibiotics don’t kill bacteria; they simply poke holes in the cell walls of bacteria or stop their growth, and so they leave the bacteria susceptible to attack from the white blood cells of the immune system. Chemotherapy doesn’t bring the body back to health–it kills all the cells in the body, and the body must build itself back up through its own faculties.

Here’s the point: Nothing heals the body but the body itself. It can be helped along through medical procedures, but ultimately it must self-heal and self-regulate. The only way to nurture the body’s innate healing ability is through practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

With this in mind, how is providing universal health coverage going to “improve” the health of Americans? The only real way to improve the health of the masses is by teaching, encouraging and rewarding healthy behaviors. This doesn’t mean punishing business that provide junk–it’s everybody’s responsibility to know what’s healthy and what’s not. Instead, why doesn’t the government provide tax breaks for gym or yoga studio memberships? How about covering chiropractic and massage therapy in every health plan? Twelve a year–how ’bout it Obama? How about really making wellness cool. Or do we just have to hear the rhetoric, and see another law passed that helps the rich (insurance industry).

If what the President says is true, that a universal health plan should “place the American people’s interests above the special interests,” then shouldn’t it do more than just provide us with life-saving coverage. Shouldn’t we take the cool wellness concept to heart? It’s really the only way to bring health care costs down.

I wrote in my last blog post that insurance companies have a vested interest in universal health care. This might be a surprise to some, since it might not be obvious how private insurers will profit from health care reform. A Los Angeles Times piece hot off the press explains just how–through mandated individual coverage.

Individual mandate” is the provision private insurers are hoping for; without it, they might as well pack it in, because reforms are sure to destroy the industry. Why else would insurance companies back a plan to restructure the health care system that they’ve fought to block for sixty years plus? The individual mandate would require everyone to buy medical insurance, which insurers hope will be sweetened by taxpayer-funded subsidies for customers who can’t afford it, and enforced with fines.

If the individual mandate provision goes through, then insurers stand to gain millions of customers over night; and it will probably save the sinking ship as the insurance industry has been hurting for some time now. Since 2000, business has waned for private insurers as rising premiums pushed scores of people out of the market. The current recession has only heightened the problem. As baby boomers age, things will get worse: 79 million boomers will turn 65 in 2011 and move away from private insurance coverage to Medicare. And an estimated 170 million people will be making that shift over the next two decades. So, basically, health insurers need this mandate.

The scenario which the private health sector can least afford would be the one where the single-payer plan is adopted. In this scheme the government pays all bills, rendering private insurance obsolete. Clearly, for the health insurance industry, this can’t happen.

So that’s why you are now hearing insurance companies getting into the universal health care act. Playing their cards right can lead to huge profits; but playing the wrong hand can lead to a bust. Just pointing it all out so you understand the economics and politics behind this movement. I’m not against it, as long as the powers that be (or as it will probably turn out, the new powers that be) don’t start messing around with fee schedules. If it prevents waste and crookery and medical mistakes without making hard-working health professionals go belly under, then wonderful; erect the statues today. But I can’t see how all this is going to be funded without taxing the lot of us (bye-bye, small businesses), or slapping health care with mandated lower reimbursements. If it is the latter, expect the quality of health care to suffer big time.

What our federal government wants to do is reform the health care system–that is, make sure medical care is available to everybody. Universal health care, the belief goes, will lower costs and make people healthier (I’m guessing, because I don’t really get the ultimate goal of all this reform stuff).

Healthier? Really. And lower costs? Hmm. A recent report from the sham organization, Families USA, has suggested that uninsured people increase health cost for everybody. They claim that as medical bills go unpaid, the costs are shifted to the insured through higher premiums. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Families USA provides no rational argument–no facts, whatsoever. I’ve read their sorry report, and it’s obvious to me that it is just fodder for the politicos trying to push the health reform agenda. Most people, especially those that favor reform without question, won’t bother to read the report; and many more won’t understand it. In fact many doctors won’t understand it because they don’t do the billing in their office. But every billing manager in health care will know my words ring true. Listen.

Families USA claims that doctors and hospitals charge more for their services when uninsured patients don’t pay their bills; they claim that providers primarily pass these increases on to insurance companies. Nonsense! That’s illegal. All medical procedures have reasonable and customary (R & C) rates that are determined by discipline (medical doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.), procedure (examination, office visit, debridement, x-ray, etc.), and zip code (Beverly Hills, Bakersfield, Omaha, etc.). Charging more than this R & C rate 1) won’t get paid by the insurer and 2) is illegal. A provider also can’t raise the bill to insurers by upcoding either–that is, charging for a higher level of service to pad the bill. Illegal!

So the claims by Families USA are pure BS, plain and simple. And to the undiscerning reader it may seem like cold, hard facts; a good reason to support universal health care. But it’s a lie. Understand this, universal health care is being embraced by political groups, ideologues, and insurance companies alike. That’s right, insurance companies*. Because they smell the money-making opportunity in this horse turd. More insured means more premiums for the insurance companies–believe that. And they love it! They have a vested interest in perpetuating the complete falsity of passing costs onto the insured. Bull! Insurance companies raise premiums for one reason and one reason only; the same reason they withhold reimbursing health care providers for as long as they can–PROFITS. And profit from this political mumbo jumbo they will.

*Reasonable and customary charges” are the allowable charges that Aetna will pay for medical services by contract with providers in its network. Rates are consistent with those normally charged by the provider for the same services or supplies and within the general range of rates charged by other providers in the same area for the same services or supplies. When you use a network provider, you pay only the coinsurance on the allowable charges. When you use an out-of-network provider, Aetna pays the allowable charges it would pay a network provider, and you pay the difference. You decide.

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