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ACUPUNCTURE FOR CHRONIC PROSTATITIS
A pilot study has assessed the use of body and auricular acupuncture in men suffering from chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).
Ten men who were refractory to conventional therapies were given 30 minutes of body and auricular acupuncture twice weekly for six weeks. A standardized set of acupuncture points, based on traditional Chinese medicine principles, was used.
The body points given at each visit included Waiguan SJ-5, Zulinqi GB-41, Taichong LIV-3, Hegu L.I.-4, Diji SP-8 and Sanyinjiao SP-6.
The auricular acupuncture points needled at each visit (alternating ears with each treatment) included Shenmen, Kidney, Liver, Lung and Spleen.
Decreases in total prostatitis symptom scores at three and six weeks from baseline were significant and remained so after an additional six weeks of follow-up. Changes in quality of life scores were also significant. (A pilot study on acupuncture for lower urinary tract symptoms related to chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain. Chin Med. 2007 Feb 6;2:1).
PSYCHOTROPICS MORE POPULAR IN THE U.S.
U.S. children are three times as likely to be given psychotropic drugs as their European counterparts. In 2000, 7 per cent of U.S. children received antidepressants or stimulants compared with 3 per cent in Germany and 2 per cent in the Netherlands (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health DOI:10.1186/1753-2000-2-26).
On any given day in the U.S., an estimated six-eight million children take medications for what are classified as mental health problems. This is about 8%-10% of the 0-18 age population. One in every ten office visits by teenage boys led to a prescription for a psychotropic drug. (http://www.slhi.org/publications/issue_briefs/pdfs/ib-2006-August.pdf ).
A NEW MECHANISM FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
A private clinic in Los Angeles, the Institute of Neurological Research, has found some success in the treatment of the most common form of dementia. Etanercept injections into the blood supply for the brain seems to be able to reverse some of the deterioration from Alzheimer’s disease.
There is presently no effective treatment for any form of dementia, so this approach, pioneered by Dr. Edward Tobinick, is of great interest to patients and their families.
Etanercept (Enbrel®) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases by regulating a cytokine known as tumor necrosis factor alpha. Dr. Tobinick noted that dementia improved in some patients who had been given Enbrel® for back pain, so he developed a pilot study in which all 15 patients improved.
Continuing treatment is necessary to maintain the improvements, and the cost ranges from $10,000 to $40,000 a year. The company that makes Enbrel has so far not shown much interest in funding further research. Dr. Tobrinick has trained 10 physicians in his technique so far. (New Scientist, Aug 9, 2008 p. 35).
MIGRAINES & SEXUAL DESIRE
Despite the “sorry I’ve got a headache” stereotype, it appears that young migraine sufferers have a higher sexual drive – at least than similarly-aged people who suffer tension headaches, and also rate themselves as having a higher sexual desire than the human average. (Not Tonight, I Have a Headache? Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Volume 46 Page 983 - June 2006).
MORE ON THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
A study which compared the short-term effects of a low-fat diet and two kinds of Mediterranean diet (one high in olive oil, the other high in nuts, especially walnuts) found that adults who consumed either Mediterranean diet (especially the walnut based diet) had reduced blood pressure, improved lipid profiles, decreased insulin resistance and reduced concentrations of inflammatory molecules compared with those allocated to a low-fat diet.
Researchers maintain that the early results of this clinical trial suggest that the Mediterranean diet pattern is ideal for cardiovascular disease reduction. (Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2006; 145 (1): 1-11).
MORNING SICKNESS & DIET
A comparison of the rates of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy across 21 countries has indicated that it is commonly associated with a diet with a high intake of macronutrients (kilocalories, protein, fat, carbohydrate), as well as sugars, alcohol, stimulants, meat, milk and eggs, and with a low intake of cereals and pulses.
By contrast, rates of morning sickness were much lower in countries where the diet relied more on cereal foods and pulses. (Rates of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and dietary characteristics across populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. ISSN: 0962-8452 (Paper) 1471_2954 (Online).
Over the last 20 years, the rate of preterm births has increased in the United States by over 30% with one in eight babies now born at least three weeks early and one in twelve having a low birth weight. The cost of caring for these premature babies is $26 billion a year.
Although the cause is not known, poverty, age (under 16 and over 35), infections, maternal stress, lack of prenatal care and smoking are all known to play a part. There are significant racial or cultural differences, with 17.8 percent of babies born preterm to black women, 11.9 to Hispanic women, and 11.5 to white women. (Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, July 13 2006).
CHOCOLATE BAR LOWERS CHOLESTEROL
Consuming two heart-healthy chocolate bars per day can lower total and LDL-cholesterol levels and reduce systolic blood pressure. The benefits of eating CocoaVia, a dark chocolate product supplemented with plant sterols (produced by Mars) were investigated in a randomized controlled trial. Forty-nine people with slightly elevated cholesterol and normal blood pressure were recruited for the study. All followed the American Heart Association's "Eating Plan for Healthy Americans" diet for two weeks prior to randomization.
After the two-week run-in period, the subjects were randomized to two groups, with one eating two CocoaVia bars daily, and the other eating two nutrient-matched dark chocolate bars that did not contain plant sterols. Participants consumed the chocolate bar for four weeks and then were switched to the other for a further four weeks.
Regularly eating the plant-sterol-containing chocolate bar significantly reduced total cholesterol (by 2.0%) and LDL-cholesterol (by 5.3%). This reduction was on top of the 7% reduction in total cholesterol that occurred during the two-week dietary run-in phase. Consumption of the chocolate product also reduced systolic blood pressure by 5.8 mm Hg at eight weeks.
The benefits of eating the chocolate occurred without any weight gain. (Daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing flavanols and added sterol esters affects cardiovascular risk factors in a normotensive population with elevated cholesterol. J Nutr. 2008 Apr;138(4):725-31).
INFRARED RADIATION SPECTRUM OF ACUPOINTS
Chinese researchers have compared the infrared radiation spectra of Neiguan P-6 in coronary heart disease (CHD) patients and healthy volunteers, to see if patients’ acupoints carry distinctive pathological information.
A highly sensitive infrared spectrum detection device was applied to the Neiguan P-6 and to a control non-acupoint on 50 CHD patients and 47 healthy adults. Infrared radiation intensities of 23 out of the 73 detected wavelength spots differed significantly in the CHD patients' Neiguan P-6, compared with those of healthy subjects, while only 12 wavelength spots at the non-acupuncture control point showed significant differences.
At 2-2.5 microm, a wavelength related to energy metabolism, the recorded intensity at the CHD patients' Neiguan P-6 was significantly lower than that of the healthy subjects. No difference was observed at the non-acupuncture control point.
The authors suggest that the changes of infrared spectrum at Neiguan P-6 in coronary heart disease patients may reflect pathological changes which may be the result of hypoactive energy metabolism in the area of the acupoint. (Infrared radiation spectrum of acupuncture point on patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(2):211-8).
CANNABIS AND COLON CANCER
Raymond Dubois and colleagues at the University of Texas found that a receptor to cannabinoids is turned off in most types of human colon cancer cells and this may be one mechanism by which cancer develops.
Tumors in mice which have these receptors shrink when injected with cannabinoids. This opens up a path for research using extracts of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids as an adjunct in treatment. Dr. DuBois also suggests caution with cannabis receptor blocking drugs (such as the weight loss drug Rimonabant), advising that anyone using these drugs be screened for colon cancer.
Rimonabant was never approved in the U.S. because it increased psychiatric disorders and suicide risk but other, similar, receptor blocking drugs are in development. (New Scientist Aug 9, 2008 p. 17).
OBESITY AFFECTS MALE INFERTILITY
Men with a higher body mass index (BMI) are up to twice as likely to be infertile as men of normal weight. The study data was drawn from the Agricultural Health Study, a large project that began in 1993 examining factors that impact the health of farmers and their families in agricultural communities. (Reduced Fertility Among Overweight and Obese Men. Epidemiology. 17(5):520-523).
CHINESE HERBS FOR ASTHMATIC CHILDREN
The Chinese herbal formula Ding Chuan Tang, given to 28 stabilized, mild to moderate persistent asthmatic children, aged 8-15, for 12 weeks significantly improved airway hyper-responsiveness compared to 24 children given placebo. (Ding Chuan Tang, a Chinese herb decoction, could improve airway hyper-responsiveness in stabilized asthmatic children: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Pediatr. Allergy Immunol. 2006;17:316-22).
CHINESE HERBS FOR SUMMER HEAT IN COWS
Shanghai cows were given herbs to help them counter a summer heat wave and milk yields rose by 20% as a result. The cows had previously suffered from heatstroke, anemia, high blood pressure and depression when temperatures rose excessively with a resulting loss in milk production of 100,000 tons annually ($3.5 million). (Xinhua News Agency).
ACUPUNCTURE & LOW BACK PAIN
In a large study of the use of acupuncture for the treatment of around 10,000 patients with chronic low back pain, acupuncture was found to be more effective than a no-acupuncture control group and relatively cost-effective. (Pragmatic randomized trial evaluating the clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Sep 1;164(5):487-96).
WALTZING HELPS HEART FAILURE
Waltzing is as effective as bicycle and treadmill training for improving exercise capacity in patients with heart failure. And waltzers reported slightly more improvement in sleep, mood, and the ability to do hobbies, do housework and have sex. The researchers suggest that the greater benefit of waltzing in some measures is due to the fact that it is social and fun. (American Heart Association annual meeting 2006, Chicago).
"Is Anyone Thinking?" Department
Reconstructing Health Care, Part II
Our plan will lower annual health care costs by $2500.00 for a typical family. For Americans satisfied with their current health insurance, nothing will change except their costs will go down.
Americans will also be able to choose from a range of private health insurance options though a new National Health Exchange, which will establish rules and standards for participating plans. The Exchange will also include a new public plan that will provide coverage similar to the kind members of Congress give themselves.
Senator Barack Obama, "Affordable Health Care for All Americans", Journal of the American Medical Association, October 22/29, 2008 p. 1927
HEALTH CARE“REFORM” IS JUST ANOTHER BAIT AND SWITCH
Three months ago, I suggested that attempts to "reform" a bad system by making it more complicated would result in a much more difficult to navigate and expensive result. Incremental change by layering on more bureaucrats and regulations has never resulted in a better, more efficient, or less expensive format for the practice of medicine.
Now, in October, we have five different versions of the elitists’ world view of how medicine should be practiced. The congressional budget office estimates that one version will cost 829 billion dollars over 10 years, but it is clear that estimates will vary widely from the actual results.
As was seen with the “stimulus” bill, no one will actually know what is in the final version until it becomes law, including the people who “created” and “crafted” the bill. Lawmakers have refused to put the bill up for examination on the internet before the vote, for reasons that are clear to everyone. And, there are always unintended consequences during implementation when legislators and their staffs exercise their imaginations in this way.
829 billion would be completely paid for by the 2 trillion dollars in “savings” that was celebrated in Washington on May 11th when the President had that expensive meeting with all those important “stake-holders”.
I thought they were going to start saving that money right away but here it is five months later and our medical system is not costing us a nickel less. Five months’ of savings at a rate of 2 trillion dollars per 10 years should be worth about $83,333,333,333.33.
Where is it?
Once some of these past promises are taken care of, it might create more confidence in the other grandiose schemes that have been promised.
The simple fact is that the only way to reduce the cost of the present system is to reduce payments to hospitals and doctors and deny treatment. This obvious truth is one reason that there is so much contention over “reform”; as even your Average American realizes that you don’t get savings without reducing services.
And, in contrast to the "nothing will change except costs will go down" or "no one will pay more taxes" fantasy, we are now seeing the penalties and taxes that each of these five plans will levy on all those who were "satisfied with their current" situation.
REFORM MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO POLITICIANS
In Washington, the "reform" process has always been a vehicle to reward one group excessively while still expanding government dominance and power. At this advanced state of medicine's destruction, many people are aware that the same old lies have been preventing a solution for decades, and little time remains.
"Health care reform" will most likely reflect the same kind of "reform" citizens have seen with the tax code; ill-considered social engineering and financial giveaways to cronies, fat cats, and other persons of influence and wealth.
Ordinary people have little reason to have confidence in the "reform" process to address their insecurity, or their pain and suffering, or issues central to their very survival, when they see how government sets priorities for favoritism and waste as it “reforms” the financial system with "bailouts" of fat cats, financial and insurance firms, and the automobile industry.
Besides, there is already 70 years of past experience to judge the efforts of our elected betters to “improve” a relationship between physicians and patients that has functioned effectively for millennia without centralized planning or third party interference.
The emerging financial failure of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the shortcomings of other "single payer" systems such as the Veterans Administration, foreshadow the fate of the monstrosity that is now being crafted by lawyers and lobbyists.
BOGUS “INSURANCE” IS THE REASON OUR SYSTEM IS FAILING
All of the inefficiency and waste created by the “insurance” system of payment, along with one hundred per cent of the complaints that have arisen from denial of care, preexisting conditions, copayments, deductibles, outrageous premiums, and all of the costs associated with coding, billing, and appealing denials for treatment will vanish by simply eliminating all health “insurance” company influence on health care.
The argument that health insurance is a necessity to avoid catastrophic medical costs is simply untrue, supported by a carefully promoted mythology. The cost of our third party system is itself the primary factor that is bankrupting health care.
The average family’s annual expense for the privilege of enslavement by an unfathomable and impersonal bureaucracy is more than 12 thousand dollars. This is more than enough to pay for twice weekly visits to me for a year.
It costs every doctor in the U.S. about $68,000.00 to interface with third party payers presently. The planned “upgrade” to the International Classification of Disease coding system will add tremendously to this cost. These enormous financial burdens will also completely vanish when coding becomes obsolete.
Aside from the financial benefit, beginning to lift the burden of unnecessary costs and wasted time from the practice of medicine might start to reverse the trend of doctors leaving practice. It is already obvious that mandating care and “universal access” has no relevance if there are no doctors.
As a result of mandating “universal” care in Massachusetts with a third party model, the waiting times to see a specialist in Boston is longer than in any other large city in the U.S. And, this is an area with more doctors per square foot than almost anywhere in the World.
RECONSTRUCTION, NOT REFORM
There is no place for reform if we want a system that is humane and effective. Only complete reconstruction of our health care system offers any chance of solving the problems that have been created by third party interference, and others that loom ahead.
The first step will have to be to entirely eliminate the “system” that has been created for the benefit of everyone except doctors and patients. A system that has become so corrupted and distorted by special interest groups that there is no hope of painting over the defects with incremental changes.
The simplest first priority is to return all decision making about treatment to patients and practitioners.
The entities who have benefited from their interference in the physician patient relationship would be sorely pressed by such a development, so it is likely that there will be a loud objection to reconstructing medicine. We can expect some old lies to emerge and be given a new suit of clothes.
THE FIRST BIG LIE: PATIENTS ARE TOO UNSOPHISTICATED TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT AFFECT THEIR HEALTH
The big lies from government and business have been repeated so often that people have been persuaded to accept an evil facsimile of a medical system instead of the true heritage of this ancient profession and craft.
Despite daily experience and training that contradicts this lie, physicians have allowed themselves to be bludgeoned into acting as if it is true.
Patients are thought to be capable of starting a business, choosing who to marry, raising their children, investing and spending money, and making major life decisions, yet somehow when it comes to their health, they need a government bureaucrat or a businessman to make the decision for them.
Although otherwise considered capable when consulting professionals in other fields, such as accountants, lawyers, and architects, this Big Lie indicates that it is impossible to consult health care professionals and make similar choices with similar consequences.
Really? 29 years of experience practicing medicine has revealed an astonishing truth: patients are capable of making decisions for themselves!
They are certainly aware when they have been treated poorly, or have suffered as a result of incompetent medical care. Patients are as capable in choosing medical care as they are in every other area, including dental, "alternative", and veterinary care. These decisions may indeed be difficult and the results occasionally imperfect, but they are not improved in any way by interference by strangers who act only in self interest.
THE RADICAL SOLUTION: THE ALTERNATIVE TO ANOTHER MEANINGLESS “REFORM”
All responsibility for medical care must be returned to the control of the patient. No compromises, no excuses, no pussyfooting. Patients must have complete freedom to choose the physician or other professional of their choice. This can only come about when all third party interference with medical treatments is prohibited.
In addition, the patient will have full responsibility to determine how much their care is worth and how much to spend. Instead of diversion of a significant proportion of their health care expense into the pockets of rich parasites and wasted on inefficient bureaucracies, patients will see an improvement in their buying power as well as the responsiveness of their doctor. Second rate service, bad attitudes and ineffective interventions will decrease when a direct relationship between quality and price returns to the medical market.
Next: A World without the "health industry"