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Where We Draw The Line On "Free Medical Advice"

12/14/07

This Week In HealthBeat News:

  • "Hot Flashes" from this Week's Conventional Medical Journals
  • A Fitness Resource That We Use - And You Can Too!
  • Some Thoughts Regarding "Free Medical Advice" - A Nurse Mark Rant...
  • "But I really Miss Mashed Potatoes..." Our Secret Cauli-tato Recipe
  • Laughter is the best medicine: More Of The "Lowest Form Of Humor"...

"Hot Flashes" from this Week's Conventional Medical Journals

By Dr Dana Myatt

Though often boring and always highly biased toward Big Pharma and Big Medicine, we never-the-less review the conventional medical journals on a daily basis. This helps us understand what is really going
on when we read a liberal media "medical news" report (which is more entertainment than news, to be sure).

However grudgingly, natural remedies are occasionally reported in mainstream medical literature, especially when a pharmaceutical company has something to gain from the "finding" somewhere down the line. Here are a few "gems" of interest from this week's medical news.

1.) Antibiotics for dental prophylaxis. For years, dentists have been instructed to dish out antibiotics before dental procedure in order to help prevent heart and other infections. Also for years, no good research showed that this was in any way helpful.

"We've concluded that if giving prophylactic antibiotics prior to a dental procedure works at all and there's no evidence that it does work we should reserve that preventive treatment only for those people who would have the worst outcomes if they get infective endocarditis," noted Chair of the new guidelines writing group Walter R. Wilson, MD, from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in a statement issued by the AHA.

Dr. Myatt's Summary: taking antibiotics before a dental procedure is "old news" and no longer recommended, since the bacteria obtained just from chewing food is more than the exposure of a dental procedure. Studies don't show that taking antibiotics prevents anything, but it sure can mess up normal gut bacteria and cause havoc with the immune system.

I predict that a lot of dentists and docs will continue to prescribe antibiotics, a "CYA" (Cover Your A$$ets) strategy intended to protect the practitioner from liability, not the patient from disease.

2.) Diet and Exercise Lower Risk of Lung Cancer. Who'd have thunk it? It's not just smoking, but also a lack of exercise and good diet that contribute to developing the disease. This may help explain why 15% of people who develop lung cancer have never smoked.

Participants who ate less than 3 salads per week were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer, regardless of smoking status. Eating 4 salads per week or more was protective. Fruit intake made no difference, and protective vegetable intake was seen only with raw vegetables, not cooked.

As for physical activity, gardening on a weekly basis (because most smokers don't engage in heavier activity, or so researchers concluded) reduced risk by up to 46%.

Dr. Myatt's Summary: Very few diseases have "just one cause." Now we've seen that although smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, protective behaviors like eating raw vegetables and engaging in mild activity can help mitigate the effects of same.

3.) Physical Activity Lowers Overall Death-Risk. Seems it's not just lung cancer that is prevented by exercise. A recent study found that people who engage in 3 hours or more of physical activity reduce their risk of death from all causes by 27%.

Dr. Myatt's Summary: Sounds like a compelling reason to add some moderate weekly activity to your New Year's resolution list.

4.) High Glycemic Diets raise Cataract Risk. High carbohydrate diets raise cataract risk 19-77% risk, with the higher risks being associated with higher carb intakes.

Dr. Myatt's Summary: Add increased risk of cataract to the already-long list of problems caused by high carbohydrate diets. If you've forgotten the rest of the reasons why high carb diets are dangerous, please read this previous HealthBeat article "
The Most Dangerous Food You Can Eat!"

I hate to say "I told you so," but, "I told you so."

5.) More Proof that Avandia (a Diabetes Drug) Really DOES increase Cardiovascular Risk. There appears to be little doubt that the diabetes drug Avandia raises the risk of congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction (heart attack), yet the FDA still is not willing to pull the drug from the marketplace.

Dr. Myatt's Summary: Type II Diabetes, for which Avandia is prescribed, is not so much a disease as a dietary imbalance. (Those evil excess carbohydrates again). Better to correct the problem through natural means, like diet, exercise and supplementation than to use drugs which raise this risk of heart disease.

After all, isn't lowering blood sugar supposed to be about reducing your risk, not raising it?

Also of note is the FDA's unwillingness to protect us from a dangerous drug (remember, the FDA is on the side of Big Pharma --- from whence their money comes --- not you, the consumer).

References
1.) AHA Updates Recommendations for Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Dental Procedures, updated guidelines by the American Heart Association (AHA) published online April 19 in the Publish Ahead of Print issue of Circulation.
2.) Sixth Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research: Abstract B143. Presented December 7, 2007.
3.) Physical Activity Linked to Decrease in Mortality Risk. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:2453-2460.
4.) Diets With High Glycemic Index May Raise Cataract Risk Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85:1502-1508.
5.) Lipscombe LL, Gomes T, Lévesque LE, et al. Thiazolidinediones and cardiovascular outcomes in older patients with diabetes. JAMA. 2007;298:2634-2643.
6.) Lincoff AM, Wolski K, Nicholls SJ, Nissen SE. Pioglitazone and risk of cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA. 2007;298:1180-1188.

We Have A Preferred Fitness Resource - And You Can Use It Too!

By Nurse Mark

Many of our patients get exercise and fitness recommendations as a part of their consultation with Dr. Myatt - and the toughest part of that is describing to folks just how to do the exercises. We have a resource that we use - it is a fitness website with plenty of free information and also some extremely useful animated pictures showing very clearly just exactly how to perform each exercise.

This site has workouts and fitness routines for everyone - men, women, kids, seniors, athletes, runners, golfers, expectant moms, swimmers, folks with back pain, folks in a hurry, folks who want to lose weight, you name it!

You can use this website too: go ahead and visit, and sign up for some free stuff. You can join up for full access (like we did) - it is cheap at $99 per year - or you may find that the free stuff is just what you need all by itself.

Try it - click on the link below for free information and then let us know what you think!

Some thoughts on "Free Medical Advice"...

By Nurse Mark

Why Is Dr. Myatt So Expensive? How Come She Can't Just Give Me A Quick Recommendation? Can't she just help me for free? My question is pretty simple, after all...

We hear these questions a lot here - for example, I talked with a fellow recently who said he has  suffered with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for nearly 10 years - and has been treated with little success by his conventional doc and any number of "specialists" for the last 5 years. The best they've had to offer him is the "reassurance" that this is just something that he must "live with" and that when things get too bad they can give him drugs to relieve the symptoms temporarily - and they have him on prednisone which will keep the worst of the symptoms at bay for at least some of the time but is causing all sorts of other nasty side effects all by itself.

So, he wanted to know, what can Dr. Myatt do for me?

Plenty, I told him - as a patient of Dr. Myatt he will find himself enjoying normal bowel function and greatly improved health in fairly short order - because we just plain fix IBS!

We discussed consultations, and then he asked: "Well, why do we have to do all that? Can't she just tell me what to take? I've told you what my problem is, so why can't you just tell me what stuff to take and skip the consultation part?

Arghhh! When will people "get it?"

Conventional Medicine has so many folks brainwashed - everyone seems to want the One Pill that will cure their ill - "...and give it to me quick - I've got places to be, things to do, and people to see!"

Look folks, it just doesn't work that way - and here's why:

To begin with, your conventional doc has been fiddling around with your problem for how many years now? And he has thrown how many drugs at it, without success? And has done how many diagnostic and lab tests and examinations, without being much wiser or better able to solve this problem?

In this man's case, there are at least 5 years of unsuccessful conventional doctor treatment.

And he wants us to toss out some quick off-the-cuff recommendations? It ain't gonna happen!

Oh sure, we could probably suggest some generic health improvements, but in reality if we're to help we need to spend some time sorting out what the conventional doctor hasn't been able to.

We need symptom surveys, histories, all available labs and tests, and every other scrap of information about your health, whether you think it is relevant or not. We need time for our research team to sift through all this information, looking for the clues that your conventional docs have missed. You need to spend time with Dr. Myatt on the phone, so that she can get a better picture of what is going on, and make sure that we have every possible scrap of information. Then we need to do further research and create a set of recommendations tailored just for you.

Then, and only then, will you really be on the path to improved health.

So, if someone offers you quick, free medical advice, maybe something along the lines of  "say, try this herb - it worked wonders for my aunt Effie" or "Yes, of course Dr. Wonderful's vitamin protocol will work for your problem, whatever it is - it works for everything!" you really need to ask yourself just what do they really know about your condition?

If you are shooting in the dark, what do you really think are your chances of hitting what you want? Or are you just making lots of noise and wasting "ammunition?"

Here's another fairly common question - it usually goes something like "I'm writing about my (daughter, friend, friend's daughter - pick one) who is pregnant - she has had a hard time with "losing" her babies in the past. She is taking XYZ, ABC, and QRS drugs and I want to know what vitamins or herbs or supplements I should tell her to take instead so that she can stop taking the drugs. Please hurry and tell me so I can help her to not lose another baby!"

Yikes! Double Yikes! Are you kidding us? You really think we are gonna touch that one without a full consultation? Do we look crazy?

Here we have someone with a history of lost pregnancies, on a cocktail of prescription drugs, who is pregnant again and at risk, and you want us to make medical recommendations that will affect the health of both mom and baby, based on minimal information. Sorry, it isn't going to happen! If you want us to assume responsibility for the fragile health of not one but two people we are going to need all the information we can possibly get - and that means a consultation, with all that I mentioned before.

Here is another one - this fellow wrote from an Asian country with the following touching letter:

Hi, I am V T having age of 27Yrs.
1. Right from my birth I was born very thin
2. Later in my infant age only, I got badly ill and suffered pneumonia
3. In my school also I used to perform every activity but when I have to run I was the last in the class rest I was able to perform
4. Gradually I started facing problem as I need support to climb stairs
5. Then eventually situation get worsened that I cannot lift myself up from ground level
6. These days at age of 27, I am not able to walk for a long distance as if I feel that I will fell down
Rest there is no major problem as of now
I will be thankful to you if you confirm me is there any treatment through which I can be cured
Pls confirm, Thanks & regds, V T

So, having read what I've said of the previous cases can you imagine our response to this fellow? Yep, you got it - this is a heart-beaking letter, and I'm certain we could help this unfortunate fellow, but an off-the-cuff generic answer will do him no favors. A consultation will be far more likely to find him the improved health he seeks.

Or, how about this one - this person was especially terse, and I'm not even sure what is the actual question:

I was born into a horrific environment, 1956, and have been diagnosed now at age 51, by physicians as having post traumatic stress disorder, very serious, in addition to osteopaenia severe especially in neck, (head injury 1978), and chronic intense pain mostly head and neck but now showing up in feet (beginning to show deformity), and, dental trauma/bite alteration creating TMJ. Anorexia, 40 years now.

The appropriate response to this person? Right! A consultation! With this many problems going on this person is a medical minefield - not a place to be wandering about giving out generic, non-specific, un-researched advice!

I think you must be getting the picture by now - but you are maybe saying to yourself "you just don't want to give free advice to anybody!" Well, that's not true - we get plenty of questions that we can appropriately and gladly answer based on minimal information. Consider the following:

You may remember Audra, whose letter about breast reduction appeared in the 09/13/07 HealthBeat Rheumatoid Arthritis - it's a hopeless diagnosis, right? Not Here It Isn't!. Audra is now scheduled for surgery and asked about scarring:

Hi Dr. Dana:
I was wondering about aiding the healing and scarring if you have any favorite recipes or products for that? When I am well I would love to see you about my iodine levels.
Thanks much, Audra

Dr. Myatt wrote back to say:

Actually, topical iodine is great for this, but we can't use as much as may be needed until we have the iodine test results! It would be better to get these numbers sooner instead of later so we can get you started on iodine (anti-scar) treatment as soon as possible.
Best success with your surgery!
In Health, Dr. Myatt

Or this question:

My aunt is taking 5mg. each day of prednisone for arthritis. Can she take bromelain while on this drug. Will there be a problem mixing them? Thank you!

To which Dr. Myatt gave this very complete answer:

Hi There:

No, no problems or conflicts of interest; these two substances work through different biochemical mechanisms.

Be sure to look for a bromelain with a high potency, not just the "milligrams." It's the digestive potency of the product that produces anti-inflammatory results! Click here to learn more about bromelain.

By the way, prednisone speeds up the underlying demineralization of bone that occurs in arthritis. What this means is that it helps symptoms while actually making the disease worse! Whether rheumatoid or osteo, you'll find information on our website about what to do.

Please let me know how this works out!

In Health, Dr. Myatt

Now, this question is getting a bit light in information for being a bit complicated, but Dr. Myatt is still able to give this fellow a helpful answer - Herb writes:

Dr. Myatt,
Have you had any input about longevity of replacement lens for cataracts? I'm 57 and I'm concerned if I have surgery expecially after having had RK surgery about 15 years ago, if my eye can handle being cut on again. Also, will the lens wear out with time. For about the last year I have increased my vitamin C, taken the N-Acety-l-Carnosine eye drops and used your eye drops from hell. I'm also taking, when I can afford them, many of the other supplements you mention on your web site.
Thank you for your time, Herb D.

Hi Herb:

So, are your cataracts progressing, at a stand-still or regressing? Be sure to check your gastric acid function, too. Digestive under-functioning can result in lack of absorption of nutrients needed to keep the eyes healthy.

I don't know about "being cut on twice," but I haven't heard that this is a problem. The artificial lenses implanted seem to last OK, but a high percentage (I believe it's nearly half) of all people who have cataract surgery will develop a secondary film that requires addition treatment with laser.

Carbohydrates are a major source of the junk that build up in the eye and results in cataracts. Limit your intake of carbs and aim for a diet high in quality proteins and essential fats, and you may be able to stop the "clouding" process or even reverse it.

In Health, Dr. Myatt

So there you have it: the simple, uncomplicated stuff we are happy to help with via email or sometimes even a quick answer when you call to place an order. The complicated cases really do require a consultation to be fair to you and to us.

But, you ask, how do I know which category I fall into?

Here's a tip: The Wellness Club website is absolutely chock full of carefully researched information about medical conditions, health issues, herbs, vitamins, minerals, and supplements and how all these things relate to one another. All this information is free for the taking. If you are not getting the information or answers to your questions from all of this freely available information the chances are that your case or condition or concern is just a little too complicated - maybe you need to call me and ask if a consultation would be the best way for you to find better health.

"But I really Miss Mashed Potatoes..."

By Nurse Mark

As you know, we counsel many people regarding diet and our advice is almost always that a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet is best for many reasons. This usually means giving up breads, pasta, rice, and potatoes along with other starchy foods. Unfortunately, for many people this seems like a very big sacrifice. "What will I fill up on?" they say. "A meal without potatoes (or rice, or beans, or bread) just doesn't seem complete" is another one we hear. Well, we haven't found a low-carb substitute for bread or pasta yet (at least not a tasty one) but we do have a low-carb, really, really tasty and healthy substitute for mashed potatoes. My Dad is on a low carb diet as a part of his treatment strategy for prostate cancer, and he wrote recently to ask me to remind him of the recipe for our cauli-tatoes that he had enjoyed here when he and Mom visited.

We use a hand-held blender to whip these up in a bowl, but Dad doesn't have a hand blender - he has a counter-top appliance.

So, Dad, (and everyone else) here is the recipe:

I'm sure cauli-taters could be whipped up in a countertop blender. Try this:

  • Take 1 head of cauliflower with the leaves and stem removed.
  • Steam until tender. (Microwave in a covered dish with some water , between 5 & 10 minutes depending on the microwave)
  • Drain well.
  • Place in blender and break up initially with a potato masher or some such (just to get it into smaller pieces so the blender can handle it)
  • Add 1/4 pound of butter (just drop it in hard - it will blend)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of good salt - sea salt is best - regular salt is OK.
  • Blend / whip until smooth, like mashed potatoes.
  • Serve into a bowl, heat slightly in microwave if needed, serve with butter or low-carb (no flour / no starch) gravy, enjoy.

We actually like the taste of cauli-tatoes better than real potatoes, and knowing that we can eat as much as we like is a super-bonus!

Laughter is Good Medicine: More Puns

By Nurse Mark

Many readers will remember my penchant for what has been described as "the lowest form of humor"; the pun. I try not to inflict this on folks too often, but sometimes the urge becomes too great and I succumb. Here is a collection that you can either laugh or groan at:

  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
  • Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
  • Practice safe eating - always use condiments.
  • Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
  • A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
  • Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
  • Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
  • When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
  • A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.
  • What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  • In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
  • She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
  • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
  • If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
  • With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  • When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.
  • The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
  • You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
  • Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
  • He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
  • Every calendar's days are numbered.
  • A lot of money is tainted - It taint yours and it taint mine.
  • A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
  • He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
  • A plateau is a high form of flattery.
  • A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.
  • Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
  • Once you've seen one shopping centre, you've seen a mall.
  • Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
  • Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

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