From the monthly archives: "February 2012"

Low back pain comes from many sources–spinal joints, discs, nerves, and of course, chronically tight muscles. One such muscle is the quadratus lumborum (QL); when tight this muscle can mimic the pain of herniated discs or sometimes even kidney pain. Common symptoms are a band of pain going across the back of the lumbar spine, and low back fatigue or tiredness from standing for extended periods.

The quadratus lumborum attaches to the lumbar spine from the pelvic crest to the lower ribs. It is a large, thick muscle in the flank. Quadratus stands for four, which is the number of layers present in the QL muscle. It works as a lateral bender of the lower torso as well as an extender of the low back, along with other functions.

If you are having low back pain, you would be wise to get checked by a sports chiropractor. In the meantime, you can try these stretches. If your QLs are tight, you may get some relief from this basic side bending stretch. In an upcoming post I will show a little more advanced stretch, so that you can take your QLs to the next level. Enjoy.

Interesting study coming out of Massachusetts, where a team of a Harvard gastroenterologist and a New York artist have collaborated to show us what it looks like when the human digestive system breaks down processed food.

M2A capsule

The video below was shot using the mouth-to-anus or M2A capsule, which contains a camera, light-emitting diodes and a transmitter. Using bluetooth technology it transmits images from the GI tract to a receiver pack worn by the subject. The study also took advantage of technology called the Smartpill Capsule that measured pressure, temperature and pH of the GI tract.

The team wanted to see if there were differences between the way the GI tract digests whole foods and processed foods. The whole foods consisted of homemade chicken stock with handmade noodles, hibiscus Gatorade, and pomegranate/cherry juice gummy bears. The processed foods included Top Ramen chicken, blue Gatorade and gummi bears.

The test was first run in June 2011 with one subject eating the whole foods and the other eating processed foods. The test was run a second time in September with the subjects switching the foods they ate. The pills were consumed right before the food. Watch the video to see the results. Fascinating…

Oooooh…somebody’s arse is in trouble. Looks like some doctors in Britain might get pinched for approving abortions based on the sex of the unborn child. Heinous! And in the U.K. sex-selective abortion is considered immoral, and it’s illegal. Duh!

According to British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, which claims it has hidden video footage (watch below) of doctors in three different clinics offering to falsify paperwork for women, allowing them to get terminations based on gender. Undercover newspaper reporters accompanied women to nine clinics throughout the country, where doctors in three of those clinics took the bait. The doctors agreed to arrange the terminations even though the woman claimed she did not want the baby due to its sex, the Telegraph disclosed.

Abortions in Britain are allowed only in limited circumstances, including when the pregnancy presents a serious mental or physical health risk to the mother and if there is a high chance the child would have severe disabilities.

Well ain’t that a mo-f*&#%-er. Kudos to the Telegraph for uncovering this ugly practice. As the father of two daughters, and a lover of women (and all people for that matter), I hate this practice. Because as far as I understand it, it’s usually female babies that are unwanted. Along with sex-selective neonaticide, which is the killing of newborns (most commonly practiced in areas where male children are considered more valuable, especially in parts of People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Caucasus), this is one of the most prehistoric remnants of mass cultural ignorance due to educational, political and financial disempowerment of people. When people do not have the educational resources, and/or they live in a caste (sometimes class) system, whereby they see no financial future of a female child, then yes, some are going to take part in aborting females.

In 2005 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit; and India’s 2011 census shows a serious decline in the number of girls under the age of seven. Activists believe that 8 million female fetuses may have been aborted between 2001-2011.

Again, I can tell you that I abhor the practices of sex-selective abortion, neonaticide and infanticide (killing of children, which was the preferred method of sex-selectivity before the advent of diagnostic ultrasound). And don’t even think the practice won’t continue on a different level once genetic engineering technology hits the back alleys. Heck, it probably won’t even need to get that seedy, seeing as fancy-schmancy doctors in the U.K. are willing to do it through abortion today. Times might be changing, but some things seem to stay the same.

60 Minutes did a great piece over the weekend on the business of depression–that’s right, BIG business–and whether the product that’s being sold to America (and the rest of the western world) is actually doing what it’s supposed to. Some experts (myself included) believe that the popular (read: highly prescribed) depression drugs–the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)–don’t do a whole lot for people that are moderately depressed, and the data seems to back up that notion.

However, antidepressants continue to be some of the most prescribed drugs in the U.S., and most of those people fall in the center of a bell-shaped curve. In other words, most people taking antidepressants probably aren’t getting much from them, as Harvard psychologist and researcher, Irving Kirsch articulates in the video. According to his research, many of the studies that show antidepressants not doing much more than placebo have been hidden by the manufacturers who lead the studies.

We call this selective publication, and I’ve been reporting on this phenomenon within the antidepressant manufacturing industry for over four years. In 2008, research showed that only one third of the studies conducted on SSRI antidepressants ever made its way out to the public. Can you guess which third gets published?

In the 60 Minutes piece below, you’ll see Dr. Thomas Laughren, FDA Director of the Division of Psychiatry Products rationalize why it only takes two favorable studies–even if ten come back unfavorable–for a drug to get approval by the FDA. Oddly, he doesn’t mention “cha-ching $$$” anywhere in the piece. Hmmm

Listen, I’m all for big business–a capitalist to the core–but there’s something wrong with pushing a drug onto millions of people, including children as young as six years old, when it isn’t doing exactly what it’s supposed to. And I wouldn’t care except there is also evidence that some of the side effects aren’t benign, or whether they are permanent. And that’s playing with people’s lives.

Again, I do not pull the public out of the equation because too many people are looking for an easy way out–and antidepressants sure promise that. Watch the piece below to see why easy ain’t always what it seems to be.

So you’re a runner and you’ve got knee pain. Is it on the outer side of the knee? Does it hurt worse on going downhill? Do you hear clicking? You may have iliotibial band frictions syndrome (ITBFS).

ITBS is a painful knee condition that is common in runners, specifically those that run downhill. The iliotibial band (ITB) is the longest tendon in the body. It runs from the pelvis (gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata specifically) to the tibia (a shin bone). It can get tight, particularly in people that have foot dysfunction (overpronation, for example), and when it does it can snap across the knee joint becoming inflamed.

It is the inflammation of the ITB that is most painful, although a tight tendon can definitely cause discomfort. So if this is you, please start by icing the ITB at the tibial insertion, or on the outer part of the knee. Next, you should probably see a sports chiropractor, who will go in and really release the area with myofascial work, adjust you pelvis, sacrum or lumbar spine (especially if you have associated low back pain–a common occurrence with ITBFS).

Then you’ll want to stretch. Watch the video below for the best running stretches and IT band home treatment for knee clicking and pain. Do this stretch everyday and watch your ITBS clear right up. You may need orthotics, particularly if this is a chronic and recurring problem, another reason to see your Los Angeles sports chiropractor. Happy stretching.

Pregnant and looking to keep in shape? Then walk yer dogs, ladies. Yes, Fifi and Fido can keep you moving enough to get in your daily fitness requirements. So says a recent study out of the UK that found that pregnant women that owned dogs were 50% more likely to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day by going for brisk walks.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool looked at over 11,000 pregnant women, and suggested that dog walking may be an important factor in controlling obesity and improving the health of pregnant women overall. While they found no major differences between pet owners and non-pet owners with regard to pregnancy weight, they did note that dog-walkers get more exercise overall. And that’s because weight loss or weight maintenance is much more than just a consequence of brisk walking–healthy diet also a major factor.

Adult dog owners have been found to have higher activity levels in general in both the U.S. and Australia, but this is the first time the benefits have been shown in pregnant women. “By not managing their weight and exercise, pregnant women risk unnecessary weight gain, as well as a difficult labor or weight problems for the child in later life,” said researcher Dr. Carri Westgarth.

Many women have difficulty losing their pregnancy weight; in fact, I’m sure more than a few can attest to having never regained their pre-pregnancy weight and shape. I believe the secret is in what’s done during pregnancy, as well as shortly after giving birth. The more women move while pregnant, the easier it will be to continue after the baby is born.

I also strongly recommend yoga for mamas to be, as I am certain that it helps with labor. Working on your flexibility, endurance and pain tolerance with a regular prenatal yoga practice will get you prepared for the big show. Throw in some regular pregnancy massage and you’ll be prepped like a champ. Low on the dough? Look for a local massage therapy school–they always need models, and what better than a pregnant mama needing kneading.

So if you are pregnant and you own a pooch–don’t relegate all the dog-walking to dad. Take the beast out for at least one brisk walk a day to get in your cardio workout. Throw in a little yoga, and a body rub from time to time, and you’ll be ready for the ring on fight-night. Have fun.

Smoking is dangerous! No, no, no…not cigarette smoking, electronic cigarette smoking. Reports of one such device blowing up in the face of a man taking a drag from it have come out of Florida.

According to fire officials, a 57-year-old Vietnam vet was toking on the electronic nicotine device when the battery exploded, shooting across the room and catching the contents of a closet on fire. The blast knocked all the man’s teeth out. Doh!

The man’s wife reports that she was in another part of the house when she heard a loud bang, which she described as sounding like a firecracker, and then a scream. In the aftermath, there was one man going to the burn clinic with a complete tooth demolition, loss of part of his tongue, and burns all over his face, a burned home office with everything in the room altered by the molten debris, including burned carpet, chair cushions, pictures and office equipment. Firefighters found a scorched battery case on a piece of melted carpet, which appears to be one for a cigar-sized device.

North Bay Fire Department spokesperson Joseph Miller said that the best analogy to what the man experienced would be like “trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off.” Um…don’t try this at home kids.

Apparently the man had been smoking the electronic cigarette for two years while trying to quit. These devices contain rechargeable lithium batteries designed to generate an electric charge when the device is inhaled. The charge sets off vapor in the cigarette tube. The nicotine-filled mist gives the taste and experience of smoking without the smoke. According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, these devices are not recommended as a quit smoking aid but as a ‘healthier alternative’ to regular cigarettes, which they say contains more toxic chemicals. The industry says it knows of no previous reports of problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.
Well…what can I say? I guess all things come with their inherent risk. I know a few people that suck on these electronic nicotine dispensers, and I thought it was a stupid thing right off the bat. I’m all for  one kicking a habit–lord knows, I’ve done my fair share–but I’ve never been the ‘fake anything’ kinda guy. No alcohol-free beer, or decaffeinated coffee, or sugarless baked goods. For me it’s all or nothing. So I guess I feel that if you are going to smoke…then smoke, dammit. Not that I could have foreseen this, but…
Listen, consider the lengthy history of cigarette smoking as a science experiment, with the latest info on exploding electronic nicotine dispensing devices as the latest data. True, cigarette smoking increases certain health risks, but you’re fooling yourself if you think an electronic cigarette is going to lessen that risk (just like the claim some twenty-odd years ago that American Spirits brand was better for you because they used less chemicals…puh-leeze!). In fact, we now know that the risk actually increases.
So if you like your teeth…and your tongue…then just stick to the tried and true. And if you’re gonna quit…then just quit, for doggone’s sake.

It’s no secret that I think Obamacare is a bunch of horseshot, and for one simple reason: You don’t ‘fix’ the American medical system by forcing everybody to buy insurance—that is the most overly-simplistic, erroneous notion of the last two centuries. Frankly, nothing is broken with the current system. It is what it is…and at that, it’s the best in the world. Political leaders, namely one POTUS, are trying to pass off precisely this notion to a public that rarely thinks of such matters. But please let me explain and illustrate why Obamacare will do nothing for the American medical system other than weaken it.

The first erroneous idea is that medical costs can be significantly curbed. No doubt, the feds can decrease costs by lowering reimbursements to doctors and hospitals (they do it all the time through Medicare). They can also reel-in fraudulent claims that lead to billions of wasted taxpayer dollars every year. But the idea that health care costs can be reduced significantly by preventing the uninsured from using emergency rooms as their primary care misses one major fact: As technology improves, costs go up because everybody—from doctors to patients—wants to take advantage of the newest breakthroughs in health care diagnostics and therapies. And I’ve got news for you—be prepared for more cutting-edge research and technology in medicine over the coming decades, because the only way advances in medical science are NOT going to flourish is if the feds try to curb health care costs.

Case in point: A recent study showed that men will opt for the newest, and more costly, treatment for prostate cancer, despite there being scant evidence to its superiority over other treatments. Researchers analyzed the treatment choices over 20,000 men living inside or outside the regional market for Loma Linda University, a hospital in Southern California with a proton beam facility. All men were diagnosed with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer between 2003 and 2006.

They found that patients living near a proton beam facility (only nine in operation in U.S., with eight more in development, according to the National Association for Proton Therapy) were more than five times more likely to receive proton beam therapy than those living outside of the hospital’s referral region. This despite there being no evidence showing proton therapy having better outcomes than other forms of prostate cancer treatment, including other forms of radiation, surgery or hormone therapy.

Proton therapy uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue. The chief advantage is its ability to more precisely localize the radiation dose, thus better targeting of tumor tissue while leaving healthy surrounding tissue intact. The treatment is marketed as having lower impotence and incontinence rates than other radiation treatment options, but, again, there’s a lack of evidence to support this, according to Dr. David Aaronson, a urologist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, California, and lead author of the study.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with more than 240,000 diagnosed cases in the U.S. in 2011. Nine out of 10 of those cases were localized prostate cancer, meaning the cancer hasn’t spread outside the prostate gland. Nearly all men diagnosed with localized tumors survive at least five years after diagnosis.

What this study really illustrates is that people will gravitate toward the newest and more advanced therapy when available; and to no small part on the advice of doctors, who will also tend to favor the cutting-edge when making recommendations.

But new technology doesn’t come cheap–estimates have proton beam therapy costing twice as much as intensity-modulated radiation therapy, another form of external radiation therapy and about five times more than radioactive seed implants (aka prostate brachytherapy). And according to some in the biz, institutions with proton beam facilities–which have been shown to be more effective in treating tumors of the brain, eye and spine (rare cancers)–often look to pad their numbers by treating prostate cancer (one of most common in men).

And this, dear reader, is the reality of medical care in the western world. What humors me, though, is the second erroneous notion: that universal health care will fix the current ‘crisis.’ As I have said before, there is no crisis, nothing to be fixed, at least not with regard to how the system currently runs.

We have the greatest medical system in the world here in America, at the forefront of modern technology, and we get to enjoy a pretty decent success rate for the treatment of most modern illnesses. What is a fantasy is that somehow it shouldn’t cost money–yeah right. The only way that will change will be to stifle innovation, so that all Americans can get the same shoddy care as they do in Canada (don’t even get me started, Canadians–I’ve personally treated too many Canucks who’ve come to the U.S. to receive the care they just couldn’t for months in their own country).

Obamacare ain’t gonna fix nutin’ except one man’s legacy. And the politicos spreading the myth that every man, woman and child needs to purchase health insurance to lower health care costs is the biggest laugh of the new millennium. The only aspects of health care ‘in need’ of fixing are the public perceptions–and practices–of health and wellness, and especially the regulation of the insurance industry. But that is another story altogether.

Further support for what I’ve been saying on this blog for years (and which has been obvious for decades)–a significant percentage of antibiotics prescriptions is unnecessary. According to a recent study, doling out antibiotics for sinus infections improved neither symptoms nor recovery time. And although patients may now have come to expect antibiotics to treat their inflamed, runny noses, doing so is actually leading to a rise in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, a very dangerous scenario indeed.

The research conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri included 166 adults with moderate, severe or very severe symptoms such as sinuses and nasal discharge that lasted between 7-28 days. Some were given , others placebo, and the results showed that the antibiotics “did not result in a significant difference in symptoms compared to patients who received placebo.”

Said lead researcher Jay Piccirillo: “Patients don’t get better faster or have fewer symptoms when they get antibiotics. Our results show that antibiotics aren’t necessary for a basic sinus infection–most people get better on their own.”

Wait, let’s hear that again…”most people get better on their own.” And again…”most people get better on their own.” One more time, “most people get better on their own.” How many times do you have to hear it, people?

I have to keep saying it because I am blown away by the number of people still running to their doctor for the cold they just can’t shake. A full 20% of all antibiotics prescriptions are for sinus infections (inflammation and thick yellow or green mucus discharge)–the common approach taken by the very large majority of today’s western medical doctors. With 37 million Americans diagnosed with sinusitis each year, well…that’s a heck of a lot of antibiotics. And how many people actually finish their dose? Well, I don’t know the answer to that, but let’s just say more than a few people mention to me that they “had some antibiotics lying around.” WTF?!

The authors of this latest study have it right, so I’ll just finish with their words:

“We feel antibiotics are overused in the primary-care setting. There is a movement afoot, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to try to improve the judicious use of antibiotics. We hope this study provides scientific evidence that doctors can use with patients to explain that an antibiotic is not likely to help an acute sinus infection.”

Werd to that.

You know what I’ve never understood? The appeal of smokeless tobacco to anybody not sitting in a baseball dugout. Chaw, dip, spits, grizz–nasty stuff. So if you’re a spitter, here’s a post for ya: The American Dental Association wants everyone to know that smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer causing toxins, and they are in the best position to see what it can do to your trap.Here’s a list of oral health problems associated with chewing the chaw:

  • Increased risk of oral cancer
  • Increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease, possibly causing tooth loss and tooth sensitivity (awesome pictures here).
  • Difficulty healing after a dental procedure.
  • Limited treatment options for dental care, such as a dental implant.
  • Staining of the teeth and tongue, as well as bad breath.
  • Reduced ability to taste and smell.
Like I said, I never did get the chewing tobacco thing. I remember tutoring organic chemistry for the Student Learning Center at UC Berkeley, when sitting one day with a Cal football player trying to explain to him the alkene reactions, I couldn’t help but being distracted by his repeatedly spitting into a Styrofoam cup. I kept thinking…“That’s gross, dude.” And I was a cigarette smoker…ha ha ha…Imagine a smoker thinking your habit is disgusting? Smokeless tobacco is definitely on the bottom of the cesspool when it comes to the hierarchy of poisoning yourself (along with methamphetamine use, or sniffing paint).
If you currently use smokeless tobacco, then…yuck! Hey it’s your health, your life, and your choice…but well, shoot, maybe you’d be interested in needle sharing, or unprotected sex with a $10 hooker. Same thing, dude.

France in the health news again as a second major scandal to hit the country in the last few months has surfaced. This one having to do with a widely prescribed lipid lowering medication called Mediator, which is now being implicated in the deaths of 1,300 and the hospitalization of over 3,000. According to a spokesperson for National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the numbers may be even higher than that.

Mediator, known pharmacologically as benfluorex, was originally licensed to combat hyperlipidemia and control blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. But because the drug also acted as an appetite suppressant, it was routinely given to people just wanting to lose weight.

As a result, between 1,000-2,000 are thought to have died from using the drug, which is structurally similar to fenfluramine, the dangerous half of the popular weight loss combo, Fen-phen. If you don’t remember, in the 1990s fenfluaramine was found to damage heart valves and lead to pulmonary hypertension–definitely not worth the weight loss–and as a result it was pulled off the market in 1997.

Same thing happened to Mediator in 2009, when it was pulled off the European market. The drug was also shown to damage heart valves and cause pulmonary hypertension. To make matters worse, the drug’s manufacturer is being probed on suspicion of dishonest practices and deception. You don’t say? Yes, according to France’s national health insurance system, a whopping 303,000 patients used Mediator in 2006 alone, with 145 million sold before the drug was pulled. Woowee!

Well, looks like the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on shady drug manufacturing practices or stupidity. Not knowing all the details yet, I am guessing the makers of Mediator knew of the dangers to the public, and kept quiet–bad, bad, bad drug dealers. And as for the people looking for a magic bullet…well, what can I say that I haven’t said before? No free lunch, folks–so I guess it’s 1,300 dead to learn a lesson. Just wondering when the next American lesson will come. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…statins.

Listen up parents: Sports participation may keep your adolescent child from smoking.

Listen up parents: Sports participation may lead your  adolescent child to smoke…especially your daughter.


That’s right–both are conclusions of a recent study on peer influence conducted out of the University of Southern California. According to the research, middle-school children involved in organized sports were less likely to smoke than their peers. Nice. However, if their teammates smoked, then preteens were more likely to do the same, and the results were more pronounced among girls. Talk about smelling like team spirit.

Researchers questioned 1,260 sixth through eighth graders about their smoking behavior. The children were middle class, lived in urban areas and ethnically diverse.

The researchers concluded that peer leaders, especially in athletics, could help influence kids to avoid the stinky habit.

“Current guidelines recommend the use of peer leaders selected within the class to implement such programs,” said Kayo Fujimoto, the study leader. “The findings of this study suggest that peer-led interactive programs should be expanded to include sports teams as well.”

No doubt individuals of a group are going to influence one another–it’s called group cohesiveness. And no group more cohesive than the athletic team.

It really does make sense, then, to address health issues with both girls and boys as a team. If you can get through to one, you might just be getting through to all. But I am certain it’s best to start teaching ’em young, and to not be too obtrusive about it. Anything pushed too hard on the adult end is bound to stir curiosity. Listen, if my parents and teachers said it was bad, then it was good as far as I was concerned.

A better approach is to teach children about various health risks–like smoking, boozing, or sex (especially unprotected)–by just giving them the facts, without added emotion. This is smokers lung, girls; and this here is the result of a drunk driving accident; and over here we’ve got syphilis…and so on. Trust that kids will come to their own conclusions, and believe me, if a few on the team get it, then they probably all will.

But mostly it starts in the home, folks. If you smoke, your kid will probably smoke too. If you drink soda, your kid will probably drink soda. And on and on

Remember, there’s no I in team, dammit. So teaching the kids, especially peer groups, about healthy habits, without shoving it down their throats, will likely get through the best. Good work, team.

You want me to let you in on a little secret? It’s called dumb doctoring. Here’s how it works: Patient comes into doctors office with symptoms. The symptoms are of a normal physiological process gone awry. Doctor prescribes medication to relieve the symptoms, ignoring the cause (usually a faulty lifestyle habit). Patient gets relief as long as the medication is continued (lifestyle drug), but then develops more symptoms related to the long-term drug use. The patient goes back to the doctor with new symptoms…and gets more medication.

But where does it end?

Well let’s see. How about I finish the story like this: Um…study comes out…yeah, uh…showing that…the medication used to treat initial symptoms…uh, increased the risk of hip fracture! Yeah, that’s it–better than a freakin’ movie of the week, because IT”S REAL!

A recent study shows that women who take popular heartburn and indigestion medications (read: commonly prescribed) may put themselves at a higher risk for hip fractures. Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), may increase that risk by 35-50% for current or former smokers. Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid are some examples of these heartburn/indigestion medications.

Can I give you some Prilosec?

Dr. Hamed Khalili, clinical and research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and lead researcher of the study says that postmenopausal women, particularly with a history of smoking should be closely monitored on these drugs. These results coincide with a recent FDA revision of labeling of PPIs “to incorporate concerns about a possible increase in risk of fractures with these drugs,” he said.

Khalili’s team looked at over 80,000 postmenopausal women over the course of eight years, from 2000 to 2008, and found that nearly 900 hip fractures occurred–with a 35% increased risk for women using PPIs compared to women who didn’t take the drugs. And the increased risk of fractures among women who smoked was even higher, reaching 50%. The longer a women took a PPI, the more her risk increased.

But back to dumb doctoring. The data showed that the number of women in the study taking PPIs increased from 6.7% in 2000 to 18.9% in 2008. Duh! Couldn’t the dumb doctors have gotten the numbers higher than that?! Consequently, the researchers expect hip fractures to rise even further in upcoming years.

What’s so laughable about this story is that it’s simply an everyday occurrence in the world of modern medicine. The story I described above is the way it’s done in 99% of medical practices in the country (g’head, prove me wrong). The only fools not seeing it are the doctors themselves; so blinded are they by their backwards ideology.

Listen, drugs are useful–but in moderation! Short-term drug use is best, Trapper–not a freakin’ decade-long habit. Duh! But that’s what we call dumb doctoring here in the western world. Most indigestion and heartburn issues are diet related. The body responds to foods it doesn’t agree with (or activities, like lying down immediately after eating, or smoking) with acid reflux. The long-term answer is not drugs! On the contrary, it’s finding the real cause and correcting it. But oh no…that would be far too much work, wouldn’t it?

And when patients return with more symptoms…? Why, let’s give ’em more drugs. May I repeat…DUH! And people of the general public you are not off the hook, either, because you don’t ask yourself why? Why does the body respond with heartburn for months…years? You think it’s normal? You think you just don’t have enough drugs in your body?

I know that not everybody cares about maintaining health–that many people want to just live their lives and deal with their illnesses as they come. I get it–I really do. But I also know that some of you reading this do care about your health, because it allows you to live more fully; it allows you to do the things you love. So this post is really for you. If you have symptoms lasting for more than a couple of months, then just understand that you are disrupting your body in one way or another. No biggie–find out what it is and make the necessary changes, that’s all. But understand that if you ignore it; or worse if you ignore it by quieting it with drugs, but never really solve the problem, then you will pay later. And not that much later, either.

As for you dumb doctors–whoops, your bad. Maybe no one will notice…

spam-spam-spamYou’ve heard me say: eat at home. You’ve also heard me say: avoid canned, frozen and processed foods. And surely you’ve heard me say to shop on the outer edges of the supermarket, and avoid the aisles. Well here’s a study illustrating exactly why I preach what I do: Native Americans who regularly ate “spam” developed diabetes two times more than those who ate little or none.

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 2,000 Native Americans from Arizona, Oklahoma and North and South Dakota to determine why this group had such a high rate of contracting diabetes. According to researchers, nearly half of all Native Americans develop diabetes by age 55.

Interestingly, spam (generic term for canned meat) seems to be a staple among many in this group. Because many Native Americans live in rural communities, they seek out food that has a long shelf life. Spam is actually subsidized by the government (I can’t make this stuff up).

The study group, whose average age was 35, was all diabetes-free at the beginning of the study. After the five years, researchers followed up and found that 243 of the people had developed diabetes; and they noticed that those who ate the most spam had the highest rate of developing the disease.

Although Spam is a brand-name commercial product, spam is any canned, processed meat. Canned meat is available freely to many Native Americans on reservations as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program.

The lead author of the study, Amanda Fretts, said that unprocessed meats did not have the same type of connection to diabetes–that is, people were equally likely to develop diabetes regardless of how much fresh hamburger or cuts of pork or beef they ate.

Despite the data, a causational link between processed meats and diabetes cannot be made. The researchers admit they have no explanation as to why processed meats should cause diabetes. Although spam is higher in sodium, there is no known connection there.

The American Meat Institute, which represents companies that process meat, are sure there’s been some sort of mistake. They have responded to these study results claiming that “processed meats are a safe and nutritious part of a balanced diet.”

Well, I’ll leave it to you to decide–did researchers flub these results and see something that wasn’t really there, or does processed food have effects on physiology that we don’t fully understand? Hmmm…tough call.

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