This month’s issue of Scientific American contains an interesting article entitled, The Amazing Teenage Brain. It seems that the teenage brain is no longer viewed as an incomplete, poorly developed adult brain but is characterized by flexibility or plasticity in its ability to readily adapt to changes in thought patterns and socialization. However, this flexibility brings with it susceptibility to dangerous behaviors and in some cases mental disorders.
IN DEFENSE OF HOMEOPATHY
Homeopathy was founded by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. This traditional healing art is founded on the concept that there exists a homeostatic principle in all living things called the vital force or Dynamis. In China, this force is called Chi, in Japan it is called Ki, and in India it is known as Prana. So far, it has not been possible to directly measure this force; we only know it indirectly through its action on living tissue or biological systems.
Clearly the CDC and WHO dropped the ball on Ebola from the beginning. I think this is mostly due to being out of practice. We haven’t had a lethal epidemic potential in this country for over 100 years. Its been that long since we were threatened by the likes of Spanish flu or smallpox. We knew how to do this but it is just too expensive to be constantly prepared for a lethal epidemic. We did it by quarantining people at Ellis Island and then sending them to a smallpox hospital on Roosevelt island for 3 weeks. They either recovered or died. It was pretty harsh but we did what we had to do.
There are few medical conditions that have generated as many web pages as Lyme Disease so I will try to make my contribution as concise as I can. My comments are based on my professional experience treating patients with Lyme Disease as well as my own personal history with this ailment.
Chronic headaches of many types can be treated effectively with both homeopathy and osteopathy. These include tension headache, migraines, cluster headaches, daily persistent headaches as well as headaches which occur before and during the menstrual period, during sleep, after coughing and from exertion. Head pain and facial pain lasting from minutes to days, one sided and bilateral, will all yield to the combination of homeopathy and osteopathy. Conventional treatment is not geared toward cure but rather continued treatment with various drugs from NSAIDs such as Indomethacin, sumatriptan type drugs such as Imitrex, beta blockers such as Propranolol, seizure medication such as Topamax, as well as Lithium, caffeine, acetaminophen and aspirin. However, my goal is always to aim for cure, not life long treatment with drugs of any kind.
In December 2013 an expert panel on hypertension published its latest recommendations in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In essence these are the recommendations: 1. The target BP for patients over 60 is now 150/90. It used to be 140/90. 2. There is insufficient evidence to support a target systolic blood pressure for people under the age of 60. 3. Reduction of one risk factor (in this case hypertension) for heart attacks, strokes and premature death by using a drug does not in and of itself mean that patients are less likely to suffer these events. These recommendations make sense to me because as we age, the compliance of our blood vessels decreases, they become less flexible and our blood pressure rises over time. To try and maintain an otherwise healthy patient over 60 to a BP of 120/80 never made much sense to me.
This post relates to the previous blog post about cholesterol. On December 17, 2013, The New York Times ran a profile of nutrition scientist, Fred Kummerow. At the University of Illinois in the 1950s, Dr. Kummerow studied the relationship between artificial fats (trans fats) and heart disease. The 1950s and 1960s was the era when the American public was literally force-fed margarine and other hydrogenated oils as a “healthy” alternative to butter. He discovered that these artificial fats filled the arteries of patients who had died of heart attacks.
Back in November 2013, the American Heart Association issued new cholesterol guidelines that immediately created confusion and controversy for both patients and physicians. The committee reviewed many randomized controlled clinical trials that lead to the development of a risk calculator. Factors such as sex, age, race, total cholesterol, HDL (“good cholesterol”), systolic blood pressure, treatment for elevated blood pressure, diabetes and smoking are used to generate a 10 year risk number. If that number is greater than 7.5%, then the use of a statin is recommended. This is regardless of the level of your LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”). In the past, target levels of total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol were the major parameters used. The committee also announced that life style modification is the first line of treatment but also stated that no other drugs, supplements or vitamins should be used, just a statin.
Flu vaccine efficacy has been estimated by various studies to be between 30 – 70%. The reason for the less than 100% efficacy is a phenomenon called “antigenic drift”, namely that the surface proteins on the virus change in nature from the time the strains are selected in the Spring and the vaccine is manufactured in the late summer. Your immune system is being primed with inactivated viral strains whose surface features have changed in the months since the vaccine was manufactured.
Sandy was my soft coated wheaten terrier. Here’s a photo of him when he was about a year old. He was all terrier – a great companion and ready to defend the home turf against all intruders: horses, deer, foxes, skunks, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, and even some bird species. He was affectionate, always jumping up to kiss or placing his chin on your lap. He had a sense of humor and was a trickster at heart.