From the monthly archives: "December 2009"

Last post I discussed a new and deadly form of superbug: extremely drug-resistant (XXDR) TB. Two more drug-resistant microorganisms that will likely become a health threat in upcoming years have also surfaced–they are drug-resistant malaria and drug-resistant HIV.

Like XXDR TB, these two new superbugs are a result of over- and misused drug responses. In the case of DR-malaria, the drug in question is artesunate–a derivative of artemisinin, the world’s last weapon against malaria. On the Thai-Cambodian border, DR-malaria is popping up, experts believe, as a result of over-the-counter purchases and self-administering of artesunate.

Although artesunate has some use in fighting malaria, it is not meant to be a stand -alone drug. This weakened drug response makes it easy for the malaria bug to withstand and develop resistance. Artesunate has been banned in Cambodia; despite this, it continues to be sold to locals in small, unlicensed shops for self-treatment of malaria.

DR-HIV is starting an upsurge in South Africa. Because of short drug supplies, many people do not take the full course of antiretroviral treatment, and drug-resistance results. For the unfortunates that fail on one antiretroviral regimen, other drugs can be tried; but for each successive one the risk of mass drug-resistance increases–not a good prospect in the fight on HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, where 2/3 of the world’s 33 million HIV cases exist.

As I pointed out in my last post, the evolution of drug-resistant microorganisms is a truly frightening notion on the surface. But all is not futile. I talked about maintaining one’s own health as the best possible defense against microorganisms–superbugs or not. This includes adopting all health-enhancing behaviors, as well as abandoning those health-depleting behaviors we have become all to accustomed to. One in particular is proving to be an incredible long-term solution to slowing down the growth of drug-resistant microorganisms, and it is being practiced with great success in Norway.

The Norwegian public health system has adopted a program to combat drug-resistant bugs, and it’s basis is to cut back on the use of antibiotics. Bravo Norway! They have recognized there that the majority of antibiotics are prescribed for benign symptoms, like minor coughs or fevers.

“We don’t throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see, and we give them a Tylenol to feel better,” says one Norwegian doctor. “Penicillin is not a cough medicine,” says one marketing message on a package of Norwegian tissue paper. Hallelujah!

I’m pleased to see a country making a mass effort to contain a menacing global problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) says antibiotic resistance is one of the leading public health threats on the planet. I couldn’t agree more–time to take proactive measures. And Norway is doing just that. We could do the same here in the U.S. but it will take a concerted effort by physicians; something I think will be much harder to count on. Only time will tell which direction it all goes. But with the looming dangers of DR-TB, DR-malaria and DR-HIV we better start doing something. As I keep preaching, all we can do is take the best care of ourselves possible by practicing health-enhancing behaviors. It will be the strong that survive if a superbug onslaught is allowed to fester.

As they say, the future is here. Experts have warned for years the coming of superbugs (I, myself, have warned extensively about drug-resistant microorganisms in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, and here in this blog)–their looming invasion and the consequences we’d have to face in a world where microorganisms develop resistance to the only weapons we have to fight them–drugs!

Well that world has arrived: Recent reports disclose two new frightening superbugs that could have global health officials scrambling for years to come. The first (I’ll touch on the second in an upcoming post) is a case of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) found in a Peruvian national studying English in the U.S. (West Palm Beach, FL area). Doctors say this extremely drug-resistant (XXDR) TB has never been seen before in the U.S. and is, in fact, so rare that only a handful of other people in the world are thought to have had it.

According to Dr. David Ashkin, one of the nation’s leading experts on tuberculosis, “[This infected student] is really the future. This is the new class that people are not really talking too much about. These are the ones we really fear because I’m not sure how we treat them.”

The XXDR TB-strain of TB is contagious, aggressive, and especially drug-resistant, doctors say. TB germs can float in the air for hours, especially in tight places with little sunlight or fresh air. So every time an infected person coughs, sneezes, laughs or talks, he or she could spread the deadly germs to others. Tuberculosis is the top single infectious killer of adults worldwide, and it lies dormant in one in three people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of those, 10 percent will develop active TB, and about 2 million people a year will die from it.

Simple TB is easy to treat–a $10 course of medication for six to nine months. But if treatment is stopped short, the bacteria fight back and mutate into a tougher strain. It can cost $100,000 a year or more to cure drug-resistant TB, which is described as multi-drug-resistant (MDR), extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and XXDR. There are now about 500,000 cases of MDR tuberculosis a year worldwide. XDR tuberculosis killed 52 of the first 53 people diagnosed with it in South Africa three years ago.

Although this all seems scary and futile, I do not take that stance. It’s true that antibiotics and other microorganism-fighting drugs have been over- and misused. And it’s also true that we have few to no external weapons to fight superbugs. But we still have one mighty tool in our arsenal, one that evolves along with the ever-changing environment in the same way mutating microorganisms do: our immune system.

The human immune system is the only weapon I’m putting my money on. A healthy human body expressing a healthy immune system is rather formidable–our ability to thrive over the course of history proves it. We encounter plagues that take out the weakest (with a few random exceptions) of our ranks, but ultimately, we adapt…and the dance goes on.

No doubt, our own endeavors have created new and enigmatic challenges–like extremely drug-resistant (XXDR) TB–but we will persist, for now. I don’t see drug-resistant tuberculosis as the dawn of the new Roman Empire, but we will have to be smart about it. Without a doubt, our most talented minds in chemistry and biotechnology will find new drugs to combat these dangerous superbugs, but ultimately, we’ll have to maintain strong, healthy bodies. We’ll have to make sure that all our functional systems are operating at their highest levels. This includes the immune system, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and all other systems of the body.

Practicing the health-enhancing behaviors I outline in my book and here in this blog are the only things that will ensure your own strength and survival. Some healthy people will get sick and probably die from drug-resistant microorganisms. But if I have to bet on which people will have the greatest chance of survival from a superbug onslaught–I’ll put my money on healthy, optimally functioning people every time.

Pediatric science has learned what many a man instinctively knows–no such thing as too much breast. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breast-feed their babies exclusively for six months and continue breast-feeding for at least an infant’s first year of life. But, unfortunately, many women are quitting early.

According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, relatively few American women breast-feed their babies for the full first six months of life, let alone an entire year, despite the fact that more women are starting their babies on breast milk. The study, a part of a larger analysis called “Juggling Work and Life During Pregnancy,” funded by the U.S. government’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, sought to study how returning to work affects new mothers’ ability to breast-feed their babies.

What they found was that women that take short maternity leaves–six weeks or less–had more than a three times higher risk of quitting breast-feeding compared to those still at home who hadn’t returned to work.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breast-feed exclusively for six months and continue breast-feeding for at least an infant’s first year of life. Exclusive breast-feeding–meaning no water, juice, formula or foods–has been shown to improve protection against many diseases, including bacterial meningitis, diarrhea and ear infections.

In the first half of the decade, the number of breast-fed infants increased somewhat, from 71% in 2000 to 74% by the end of 2006, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, these numbers do not tell the whole story, simply because they reflect the number of women starting their children on breast milk. Of infants born in the U.S. in 2006, 43% were breast-feeding at 6 months and 23% at 12 months. Just 14%, though, had been exclusively breast-fed for six months. The numbers fall short of national objectives for breast-feeding. Healthy People 2010, the government’s health promotion and disease prevention agenda, seeks to boost the number of breast-feeding women to 75% by 2010. The six-month and one-year targets are 50% and 25%, respectively.

According to Sylvia Guendelman, one of the lead authors of the study, “Initiation of breast-feeding, although it is one measure, doesn’t mean much. You can put your baby to the breast for two times and say, ‘Well, I tried it and I didn’t like it,’ or, ‘I didn’t succeed,’ but what you really want to look at is, of women who initiate, how many breast-fed successfully for at least six months?”

The study found that full-time workers with short postpartum maternity leaves were more likely to quit breast-feeding early. Those at highest risk were women in non-managerial and inflexible positions and women with higher stress levels.

Laws related to breast-feeding in the workplace are in place in 24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. An Oregon law, for example, allows women to take a 30-minute, unpaid break during each four-hour shift to breast-feed or pump. Oregon has the highest rate of breast-feeding at 12 months, at 37 percent, and the second-highest rate of breast-feeding at six months, at 63 percent, after Utah, where the rate is 69.5 percent, according to the CDC.

So it looks like the best approach for new mothers, if possible, is to take an adequate time off work. And speaking from experience, really working on pumping breast milk and getting baby used to taking it from the bottle will be invaluable here. Eventually, mama will go back to work, and baby will have to take a bottle sooner or later, so may as well start the habit early-on.

Breastfeeding is important. Do what you can to give baby mama’s milk for one full year–he or she will thrive as a result.

Some final words on the recent death of actress, Brittany Murphy. According to a forensic pathologist, attorney and medical-legal consultant, the 32-year old actress most likely died of drug toxicity. I know you are all thinking what I’ve already said, but since preliminary reports have the death listed as from “natural causes,” we can all sigh a collective, “No scheiße!”

Celebrity Web site TMZ is reporting there were “large amounts of prescription medications” on the nightstand when paramedics arrived at her Hollywood home, and that Murphy was “complaining of shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain” in the week before she died.

On Tuesday, pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht (celebrity coroner that has worked on famous cases like Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey) said on CBS’ The Early Show that although it’s possible Murphy died of natural causes, it would likely have been from a congenital heart abnormality (my words exactly); however, most people are aware that they have these disorders. More likely, he said, she suffered toxicity from a multitude of prescription drugs obtained both legally and illegally, a la Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Anna Nicole Smith.

“When you have a 32-year-old person dying suddenly, and especially a celebrity in Los Angeles, you can place your bet down that it’s going prove to be a case of acute combined drug toxicity. And I bet you that this young lady tragically died in the same way that Michael Jackson did, and Anna Nicole Smith, and her son, Daniel Smith, and Heath Ledger — a combination of drugs that had been prescribed for her, prescribed for her husband, for her mother, in some fictitious names, probably by doctors who are very, very quick to make available anything that celebrities want, sometimes using knowingly fictitious names.

“So, even though these drugs are, quote, legal, unquote, they are, many times, illegally obtained. And it’s a tragedy. And it’s being played out everywhere in America every day, and we only come to know about it when it involves celebrities.”

The drugs in question? Ativan, one drug found in the Michael Jackson case, Klonopin, a drug involved in the Anna Nicole case, Hydrocodone, a common pain killer found in OD cases, and Vicoprofen, a form of Vicodin.

Another truism disclosed by Dr. Wecht, “I guarantee you that, if the pathologists at the Los Angeles coroner’s office had found something dramatic, like a heart attack, like a stroke, or like something of a definitive nature, would you have heard about it. The fact that they say that they’re going wait for toxicology tests and it will take a couple of months, you can be sure that this is going to prove to be a case of acute combined drug toxicity.”

Agreed. Either way, heartfelt condolences go out to Brittany Murphy’s family.

*Brittany Murphy was laid to rest this evening at twilight. RIP.

Anybody else thoroughly over hearing about the swine flu? I know you are, but I thought I’d wrap it up (I vow to lay off the story from this point forward) by sharing a chuckle about this completely over-hyped mass hysteria. Reports coming off the news wires have been mixed regarding H1N1 infections; some have them labeled as disastrous, others as no big deal. Let’s check a few out:

On the-worst-thing-since-Typhoid-Mary scene, deaths from swine flu are up everywhere–U.S., India, Israel, California–madness. Many groups are supposedly at increased risk–Native Americans and Eskimos (not kidding), new mothers, children, seniors, and people with chronic lung disorders like asthma and COPD.

However, despite the massive danger to most everyone but people living in plastic bubbles–the public isn’t buying into the hysteria (thank goodness). According to a report last week, the number of Americans getting tested for swine flu has decreased by 75%. Awesome! And the number of tests coming back positive has dropped from 44% in November to only 21% for the two weeks ending Dec. 9. Nice!

So the swine flu epidemic has been more hype than headache. In fact, the actual cases of swine flu reported may be grossly over-exaggerated. Check out this piece by CBS news showing the CDC stopped counting actual swine flu cases individually back in July. Now why would they do that? The piece does a good job of explaining the rationale behind the decision, and if you’ve got a few minutes, check the video below to get an outstanding account of the chronology of the swine flu hysteria. This is CBS News not Natural Health News; just investigative reporting uncovering what I’ve suspected and have written about all along in this blog. Hysteria, that’s all it is.

Nevertheless, our President Barack Obama showed the country he was leading the charge against the swine flu by getting vaccinated yesterday. Bravo! I applaud his taking charge and diving in–’bout time. But I’m certain it’s not necessary, because as I’ve said from day one–flu is flu is flu is flu. But if you want to follow Barry’s lead and get the shot, go ahead, you’ll be fine.

I just happened to see this commercial on T.V. today for an osteoporosis drug being plugged by The Flying Nun. I have to say, it got me a little PO’d. Here’s why: The opening line is a blatant distortion of the truth, and with a little investigation, one will find that Ms. Sally Field isn’t being exactly honest about her story, either. But, distortions are precisely what these commercials are geared for…to sell more drugs.“I always thought calcium and vitamin D and exercise would keep my bones healthy, but I got osteoporosis anyway, so my doctor started me on once a month Boniva…,” is how the piece begins. Hmm. As far as I was taught, that’s exactly what women must do to prevent osteoporosis. Was there something I missed in doctor school?

Let me do some fact checking, I thought.Sally Field, also known as Norma Rae, was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2005. She was, according to her own accounts, a regular exerciser. But did she really keep up with the nutritional requirements necessary to prevent the bone-thinning disease? Not according to this article on WebMD, which discloses that her vitamin D levels were, in fact, LOW!!! Thank you, I thought so.When I saw the commercial, the first thing coming to mind was that people who don’t know better are going to think that their current preventive routine of good diet and exercise isn’t enough. And in truth, if you are missing a step—women or men—you aren’t doing enough. You must take daily calcium (1,000 mg for women under 50, and 1,200 mg thereafter), daily vitamin D (1,000 mg) and do weight bearing exercises regularly (so cardio alone is not enough, ladies). Asian and Caucasian women are at the highest risk, but don’t be fooled my African American and Hispanic sisters, you can get osteoporosis, too. Pharmaceutical companies want you to question what you are doing currently, so that you will go ask your doctor if you need Boniva (way too many people asking their doctors for drugs by name these days). That leads to the greatest amount of drug sales. It’s called DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketing, and we know it works. Pharmaceutical sales have skyrocketed since the practice started. From Source Watch:

A November 2006 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office report noted that “studies we reviewed found that increases in DTC advertising have contributed to overall increases in spending on both the advertised drug itself and on other drugs that treat the same conditions. For example, one study of 64 drugs found a median increase in sales of $2.20 for every $1 spent on DTC advertising. Consumer surveys suggest that DTC advertising increases utilization of drugs by prompting some consumers to request the advertised drugs from their physicians, who studies find are generally responsive to these requests. The surveys we reviewed found that between 2 and 7 percent of consumers who saw DTC advertising requested and ultimately received a prescription for the advertised drug.”

And the use of celebrities, and now celebrity doctors, increases the likelihood that consumers pay attention to a drug campaign; thus the use of Gidget in GlaxoSmithKline’s Boniva commercials.Now you might say, “Isn’t DTC better for public health, to become better aware of illnesses and to catch them early?” To that I’d say, “Catching illness early is always better than catching it late, but prevention is even better. And best of all is living a lifestyle that promotes and maintains good health. That is done by getting proper nutrition, hydration, rest, exercise and bodywork, not by taking drugs.”Taking drugs is useful as a last line of defense. But the pharmaceutical industry, and let’s face it, the entire medical paradigm, pushes drug use as a first line of defense. Oh, they’ll pay lip service to healthy behaviors, but that’s all they’re doing. Nobody is paying Jack LaLane big bucks to sell gym memberships (yes, I know, but the juicers are his).So I appreciate Nora Walker’s dedication to fighting osteoporosis. But being dishonest about her experience to make the story sound better and get people to ask their doctors about Boniva, a post-menopausal osteoporosis drug, isn’t helping the public health at all. It’s simply perpetuating an already faulty paradigm that has people trying to maintain their health from the outside in, instead of the inside out, the way it’s supposed to be.

Actress Brittany Murphy was found dead this morning apparently suffering from full cardiac arrest. The 32-year-old actress was found unconscious in the shower at 8 am by her mom. TMZ reports that her husband, Simon Monjack, called 911 and when paramedics arrived they were unable to revive her with CPR. Murphy was taken to Cedars Sinai where she was pronounced dead.

Sad news as the another celebrity passes in 2009. Murphy was star of such films as “8 Mile,” “Clueless,” and “Don’t say a Word.” A few years ago, she released the single “Faster Kill Pussycat,” which became a dance club hit.

Murphy was young enough that this smells of narcotics overdose to me. I could be wrong but young ladies are not typically susceptible to cardiac arrest, unless there is an underlying cardiac abnormality. Given her life as an actress and singer, I hate to say it, but…well, we’ll see.

An investigation is being launched. We’ll keep you informed.

*Update: Rumor has it that she was fired from a recent movie, The Caller, for, “being difficult,” a charge her agent denies, insisting she left the project due to “creative differences”. Apparently early in her career, she was accused of having an eating disorder which some believed was tied to a cocaine habit.

Parents beware: Your toddler is at risk around the Christmas tree this season. Although rare, holiday hazards can occur. In Boston alone, five children per year end up in emergency rooms due to injuries ranging from eating broken glass to swallowing batteries.

A study done at Children’s Hospital in Boston showed that between 1995-2008, 76 cases of injuries involving holiday decorations, such as ornaments and light bulbs occurred. Half of the injuries happened when a child ate fragments of the decorations–glass, metal or small light bulbs.

Dr. Lois Lee, director of the hospital’s Emergency Injury Prevention Program says, “If there are toddlers in the house, keep them away from the Christmas tree or at least keep the ornaments off the lower branches where the children can reach them.”

A few other things to think about:

  • Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.
  • Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.*
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted! To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it!
  • Keep “bubbling” lights away from children. These lights with their bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break candle-shaped glass, which can cut, and attempt to drink liquid, which contains a hazardous chemical.

For more tips on preventing accidents this holiday, please visit The U.S. Consumer product Safety Commission’s website.

*Watch the video below to see how fast a Christmas tree can ignite and end the party.

Middle-aged naturalists wanting a sexual boost are going nuts on the “mad” honey, a nectar derivative of a particular rhododendron species found in Turkey. That’s right, who needs Viagra with mad-honey on the money? And IT’S ALL NATURAL! Unfortunately mad-honey is sending some people to the ER, and it ain’t for love-makin’ exhaustion.

The sexual stimulant honey nectar is produced by Rhododendron ponticum, or the Common Rhododendron. According to a recent report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Turkish researchers document 21 cases of mad-honey poisoning that passed through their ER over five years. Although most were men (85%), women were in the mix, too!

Mad honey contains a concentrated ingredient called grayanotoxins, which can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting. In Turkey, savvy mad honey consumers know to ask the beekeepers selling it about possible side effects, says Dr. Ahmet Demircan of Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, lead researcher of the study.

However, the most common cause of mad honey poisoning is from people taking more than is recommended. You know what they say, if a little is good, then more must be better, right? Not with the mad honey, sonny. Those grayanotoxins can essentially put you into shock.

The researchers pointed out that with the growing consumption of imported and unprocessed “natural” honey worldwide, the possibility of honey intoxication should be kept in mind whenever a healthy person has an unexplained drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Word. And we are not totally isolated from mad honey poisoning here in the U.S. either. Other rhododendron species contain grayanotoxins, like the western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) found from Oregon to southern California, the California rosebay (Rhododendron macrophyllum) found from British Columbia to central California, and Rhododendron albiflorum found from British Columbia to Oregon and in Colorado. The eastern U.S. also has some plant species to watch out for; read this article for the full information on honey intoxication.

Here’s the point of this story. You need a sexual boost–there are FDA approved pharmaceuticals for that. They’ve been through studies, and thousands of men are taking them every day. I’m not a big drug guy, but I must say, if you’re gonna do it…why not go with what’s been tested? Natural isn’t always better, I mean, anthrax is natural. Anyway, this story shows exactly why going au naturale must be practiced with caution.

Again, if you need a boost, go visit your doctor; the stuff they’ve got medically to make you a super stud works pretty well. If you want natural–try a bottle of wine, and a Little Bo Peep outfit for the mate. That type of natural ain’t gonna hurt you.

Good news for men who drink coffee: Java might prevent prostate cancer. Yes! And my other favorite pastime–exercise–might prevent it as well. But wait fellas, it gets even better: BEER might prevent prostate cancer, too! Damn, life can be good.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America–more common than breast cancer, more common than colon cancer. More than 192,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 27,000 men will die from the disease. Dang!

Prostate cancer is uncontrolled cell growth in the prostate gland–the walnut shaped gland that sits beneath the bladder and produces an alkaline solution that protects sperm in the acid environment of the vagina. Prostate cancer starts as primary tumors in the gland itself but can travel–or metastasize–to other parts of the body, particularly the bones or lymph nodes.

Prostate cancer is generally slow-growing–good news as it can be caught early in many cases with good treatment outcomes. Prostate cancer is also preventable through ejaculation frequency (that’s right master baiters, clearing out the ducts can be beneficial, but beware hairy palms), taking omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and now drinking coffee, beer and exercising.

In Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-Up Study on coffee and prostate cancer, there was a clear relationship between the amount of coffee consumed and prostate cancer risk: The more coffee men drank, the more positive the effect observed. Caffeine was not the protective substance, however, as decaffeinated coffee also showed positive results. Researchers believe it has something to do with insulin and glucose metabolism. As one of the scientists put it, “A number of studies have found that coffee is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.” The researchers cautioned that the link is not yet fully conclusive…but it certainly looks good.

The second study showed that the death rate from prostate cancer for men who exercised vigorously was 12 percent lower than for those who didn’t. Although researchers do not know exactly why exercise protects against prostate cancer, it might have something to do with immune function and reduced inflammation.

Finally, recent reports tell of the protective properties of a substance found in beer, xanthohumol, which in tests blocked a biological pathway that allows prostate cancer to be fueled by the male hormone testosterone. Yay! Don’t fret ladies, they also found that xanthohumol blocks estrogen receptors, which may lead to prevention of breast cancer. Double yay!

So drink up, gents (and ladies have a pint, too). If beer is not your thing, then have a cup of Joe, and do thirty minutes on the treadmill. You’ll be doing the right thing for your prostate that way.

E.D. or P.E.? No problem, Mon–we’ve got a drug for every penile predicament. That’s erectile dysfunction and now premature ejaculation for those of you not familiar with the LOL/OMG vernacular. You’ve got it–drug makers have created a spray and a pill and that help delay ejaculation. Hallelujah for modern medicine! I can see the three hour porn scene on the horizon.

PSD502–which combines the drugs lidocaine and prilocaine–is sprayed on the head of the penis before intercourse. A study of men in Canada, Poland and the United States found that those treated with the spray five minutes before intercourse were able to delay ejaculation up to five times longer than those who used a placebo. In addition, men who used the spray and their partners reported improved sexual satisfaction. Throw in a little Viagra and WATCH OUT!

Johnson & Johnson has also developed a pill called Priligy that delays ejaculation. The company studied the product on several hundred men who had a typical ejaculation time of about 36 seconds. After using the product, the typical time from penetration to ejaculation was about 2.6 minutes, about a two minute increase–not a big deal for most of you stallions, but for the typical P.E. sufferer…that’s heaven.

As exciting as this news is, controversy looms: Some people in health care circles believe, accurately in my opinion, that too many disorders these days are created only after a drug has been developed. This is certainly the case with antidepressants, and probably with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, too.

Listen, no doubt some men can’t hold on for dear life, but enough to create a mega-selling drug in the Viagra vein? I doubt it. Variation exists in all physiological functions, including staying power–and there’s no shame in that, but let’s hear the arguments:

According to Dr. Wayne J. G. Hellstrom, professor of urology at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and, not surprisingly, previous consultant for Johnson & Johnson, “[Premature ejaculators] don’t usually last in their relationships.” Excuse the pun. He goes on to say that 20 to 30 percent of men experience premature ejaculation at some point in their lifetimes.

But Leonore Tiefer, a clinical associate professor in the psychiatry department at the New York University School of Medicine specializing in sexual disorders, believes that pharmaceutical companies are medicalizing every aspect of our daily lives, from mood to sleep to sexual function. My regular readers know I agree with this wholeheartedly. If you haven’t had the chance to check out to my podcast on lifestyle drugs (episode 3), it’s definitely worth the listen.

Tiefer says, “Rapid ejaculation as opposed to slow ejaculation is common, but there is slow and fast everything in the world: slow and fast walkers, slow and fast eaters, slow and fast breathers. When you tell someone they are a fast ejaculator, it makes it sound like there is a right time to ejaculate and, if you ejaculate before, it’s a medical problem.”

She goes on to say, “It is going to become a problem once enough publicity is given to it.”

Exactly. Don’t let me ruin the party but…come on (not too quickly, now)! Thirty percent? Uh huh. Today, marketing is everything in the world of pharmaceutical sales. And sadly, it even dictates disorder classifications. That’s the world we live in.

A history of juvenile delinquency in men raises the risk of dying or becoming disabled by age 48. So says a study out of the U.K. that followed 411 South London boys from the ages of 8 to 9 years old since 1961. Uh oh…should I worry?

According to the study published in the December issue of the Journal of Public Health, among subjects who at age 10 displayed antisocial behavior (such as skipping school or being troublesome or dishonest) and who were also convicted of a crime by the age of 18, one in six (16.3 percent) had died or become disabled by the time they turned 48. Now this may seem obvious at first thought, as it did for me, because juvenile delinquents likely have increased drug use and are at risk for violent encounters; however, premature death and disability resulted from other factors as well, like heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer. Whoa.

Researchers were unsure of the reasons why premature death and disability occurred in former delinquents, but offered one explanation,

“…it seems that impulsivity–or lack of self-control–in childhood and adolescence [is] a common underlying theme. It may be that the stresses and strains of an antisocial lifestyle and having to deal with all the crises that could have been avoided with more self-control take their toll.”

Interesting. I think the scientists are onto something here. Many juvenile delinquents do act impulsively, and if drugs and alcohol are involved inhibition flies right out the window. As a former juvenile delinquent myself, I can tell you learning how to deal with various emotions is seriously delayed. For some, it may never be learned. Learning how to put the world around us into perspective is a skill that we generally learn as young people; perhaps not perfectly, requiring further refinement in adulthood, but the basics are learned by most. The juvenile delinquent that lashes out impulsively at every uncomfortable experience likely goes through a heightened stress response. And we all know how damaging long-term and high cortisol concentrations can be on the internal environment, physiologically.

I don’t know if there is an answer. I don’t even know if there needs to be one. I guess I would say that if you have a loved one expressing juvenile delinquency, trying to help them balance their emotions will be paramount. I know in my case I listened to no one–that’s part of the delinquency–everyone was stupid (except Ozzy Osbourne). But at least when the child grows up–it happens eventually to all of us (except Ozzy Osbourne)–you can help by teaching him balance, and teaching him that emotions moments eventually pass. Maybe in this way (and turning him on to other healthy lifestyle behaviors) you can help decrease the stress response that is likely knocking bad boys off at a young age.

Don’t let me say I told you so, but…

A recent study proves that we must be exposed to germs as kids or risk getting sicker as adults. Duh! Told you so.

This, oh-my-god-don’t-come-near-me-if-your-sick stuff is pointless, and detrimental in the long run. Consider getting sick as updating your computer virus scan–same idea. Check it:

A recent U.S. study that followed thousands of participants from birth (in the 1980s) to 22 years of age showed that although Filipino children were exposed to many more infectious diseases than their American counterparts, they had much less inflammation as adults. Inflammation was measured by the concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is an indicator of the body fighting off infection.

According to Thomas McDade, lead author of the study, “CRP concentrations are incredibly low in Filipinos compared to people in the United States and that was counter to what a lot of people would have anticipated because we know that Filipinos have higher exposure to infectious diseases.” The take home lesson, McDade stressed is the importance of being exposed early in life to common microbes and bacteria.

Why? Again, exposure to infectious agents updates the virus scan. Says McDade, “These bacteria and microbes may never result in outright clinical disease but they do play an important role in promoting the development of regulatory networks.”

I know, I know, dude…I’ve been telling them. You’ve got to get sick. It’s healthy, get it? Sick is health. I know it doesn’t make complete sense, but life is tricky. So is health. To be truly healthy, you’ve got to be sick sometimes. No biggie. Swine flu, bring it on. Rhinovirus, bring it on. Chicken pox, bring it on. Kids and adults have gotta be prepared.

Here goes another cool way to think about it: McDade, who has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, likened immune system development to the way Americans promote brain development in infants and toddlers by exposing them to “all sorts of cognitive and social stimuli. There’s rapid brain growth early in life and there are lots of neurological connections being formed, and you need to engage with your environment in order to promote those connections.”

So observe the ten-second-rule: Your kid drops food on the floor, you’ve got ten seconds, have Pumpkin pick it up and eat it. On second thought, drop the rule altogether–just let Pumpkin eat. It’s for her health.

Oh, and I told you so.

I sometimes get a sideways look when I mention to a new client that their low back pain might be originating from their feet. That happened this weekend when a mixed martial arts instructor limped into my Beverly Hills chiropractic office with excruciating lower back pain.

When I mentioned that I wanted to look at his feet, he quickly asserted that he wasn’t worried about them–he just wanted his back treated, okay? OK.

I looked anyway as I was treating him and saw that he had severely loose ankles. Casually, I asked if he had ever sprained them. He replied, “Yeah, lots of times.” Bingo! Chronically sprained ankles are a classic sign of foot dysfunction, which requires orthotic foot support.

Orthotics provide an arch and control foot motion during the gait cycle–that is, when we walk. When there is lack of foot control and overpronation (a foot movement), the low back takes a massive hit. I know; I’m an overpronator (and former chronic low back pain sufferer).

So I’m sure my MMA instructor will be back again with the same problem sometime soon. Doesn’t have to be you, though. If you have low back pain (or chronically sprained ankles), come see a sports chiropractor in Beverly Hills to have your feet evaluated. Your back will be happy you did. Watch the video above to learn more about the foot’s role in low back pain, and orthotics.

Encouraging news for parents of autistic children: The first rigorous study of behavior treatment in autistic children as young as 18 months found that two years of therapy can vastly improve symptoms, often resulting in a milder diagnosis. Although small (only 48 children), the study out of the University of Washington had such encouraging results that it has been extended to several other sites.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Children with autism might also have co-morbid disorders including intellectual impairment, seizures and anxiety. The parts of the brain involved in autism include the frontal lobes, amygdala and cerebellum.

The study showed that early autism treatment led to increased IQ and improved language skills. Almost 30 percent of the children receiving early treatment were re-diagnosed with a less severe form of autism after two years, versus 5 percent of the others. No children, however, were considered “cured.”

The study followed the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) of early autism treatment, a form of behavioral training that focuses on social interaction and communication, which are both difficult for many autistic children. Because ESDM believes that families should be at the helm of their childrens’ treatment, parents worked along with therapists in teaching coordinated, interactive social relations through rewarding social engagement and developing joint play activities designed to build skills and “fill in” learning deficits. If you are interested to learn more about ESDM, please visit their site here.

This is very good news for autistic children and their parents. Early autism treatment is not new–the Son-Rise home-based program has been around since the 1970s–but this is the first to show, empirically, behavioral treatment improving outcomes for autistic children. Autism is complicated by many factors including classification and which treatment option is best. This study at least moves the field of autism treatment a little closer to verifiable and reproducible results. Bravo!

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