Acupuncture Associates

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August 2008

In Tibetan Medicine, pulse diagnosis is an important examination


Avoiding mosquito borne diseases is a priority in summer, especially in view of the limited effectiveness and side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Using 100% DEET with limited exposure directly to the skin is an effective option to repel these insects. Dot the repellant along cuffs of shirts and pants, and around the neckline and along any zippers or button lines. A series of dots along the underside of any hat with a brim, or at the outer margin of the baseball type hats will do a pretty good job. If possible, avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk.

Oral treatment with herbal antiviral formulas might be helpful, as might a daily ration of unpasteurized sauerkraut or kimchee. Sauerkraut is rather easy to make yourself but does take some time: one reliable source that we have found for organic saurkraut is Kimchee can sometimes be found in refrigerated cases at chain grocery stores and should say it is unpasteurized on the label. A tablespoon or two a day is all you need to take.


In a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial, the efficacy of i. Carbamazepine (CBZ), ii, CBZ plus the Chinese herbal medicine Free and Easy Wanderer (FEWP/Xiao Yao Wan), and iii. Placebo, was compared in the treatment of 124 bipolar depressed and 111 manic patients over a twelve week period.

CBZ plus FEWP produced significantly better outcomes on three measures of depression at four and eight weeks and significantly greater clinical response rate in depressed subjects (84.8% versus 63.8%), but no such benefit was found in manic subjects. (J Psychiatr Res 2005, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2005.06.002).


Artesunate, a drug derived from the Chinese herb Qing Hao (Herba Artemisiae Apiaceae), is preferable to quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria. It acts more rapidly, is safer, simpler to administer, appears to reduce mortality and should become the treatment of choice for this disease. (Lancet 2005; 366:717-725).

The World Health Organization said the findings will prompt a change in its guidelines on the treatment of adults with severe malaria in areas like Southeast Asia and South America, locations where the parasite has shown resistance to quinine.


Quinolone antibiotics increase the risk of tendon disorders, such as tendonitis, tendon rupture and tendinopathy. The onset of these adverse effects can occur as early as the first few hours after the initial dose and as late as six months after treatment.1

It is important that patients are asked to inform their prescriber immediately if they experience symptoms suggestive of tendon disorders, such as edema, erythema, and sharp pain, particularly with walking and palpation.1

Of the 104 cases of tendon disorders reported to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) to date, 69% involved quinolones, mainly ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin and enoxacin. Similar figures have been seen in Australia with 75% of reported tendon disorders involving quinolones.2

Prescribers should be cautious when prescribing quinolones to patients already receiving steroid therapy, those with renal insufficiency or who are elderly as these risk factors increase the likelihood of quinolone-associated tendon disorders.1

It is also recommended that the history of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of tendon damage be checked for current or previous use of quinolones.

Emerging reports suggest that the newer generation quinolones such as levofloxacin also carry a risk of tendon disorders.1

References 1. Gold L, Igra, H. Levofloxacin-induced tendon rupture: A case report and review of the literature. Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 2003;16:458-460. 2. Personal communication, 6 July 2007. Executive Officer, Adverse Drug Reactions Unit, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia.


For almost 3 decades now I have recommended that patients take additional Vitamin D3 at levels greater than generally recommended by government and academic experts. New evidence suggests that children with some chronic pain problems may have deficiencies in Vitamin D (actually a hormone).

Dr. Elizabeth Szalay, an orthopedist in New Mexico, presented data at the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America indicating that average vitamin D levels were low in 41 children who had nonspecific pain complaints. This was true even though they lived in the sunny Southwest.

When 8 of these children were given supplements, “marked subjective improvement or complete relief” from pain was seen in 5. Dr. Szalay believes that video games and television instead of playing outside has contributed to inadequate levels of vitamin D in children. (Family Practice News June 1, 2008, page 24)


After three years of a bureaucratic experiment with people’s health (in this case 150,000 “seniors”), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been forced to reveal that the “effort is not saving the government or taxpayers money” and there is no evidence that health outcomes were improved.

Eight private “disease management firms” were hired to create a model of “trained nurses” and “health coaches” to contact patients and remind them to “…check their vital statistics and take their medications. Among other activities, the companies encouraged the seniors to take better care of themselves between office visits.” (American Medical News April 28, 2008, p. 5)

Ed. Note:This is another example of government bureaucracy run amok. How does it make sense to pay private firms to hire other people to “encourage” patients to “take better care”? Who can possibly think that a program such as this is going to solve issues of chronic disease? Centralized control of medical care breeds these sorts of inefficiencies, where millions or billions of dollars extracted from patients and taxpayers in the guise of “health care” disappears into the maws of fat cats and government toadies.



In a study of the health and dietary habits of more than 25,000 subjects over ten years, the only dietary factors appearing to influence the incidence of inflammatory polyarthritis were higher consumption of red meat and low levels of vitamin C consumption. (Arthritis & Rheumatism 2004; 50(12): 3804-12.


A twelve week study of 24 women with postnatal depression (PND) randomized them to either pushing a baby carriage or a social support group. The exercise group met for stretching exercises and 40 minutes of brisk walking twice a week, for twelve weeks, and was asked to do a third walking session each week.

The social support group met once a week for one and a half hours. Mothers in the walking group showed significant reductions in PND at 6 and 12 weeks, with no corresponding improvements in the social support group. (International Journal of Nursing Practice 2004; 10(4):177-94).


Regular exercise (three times a week) appears to reduce the risk of developing dementia according to a study that followed 1740 older adults for six years. Those who exercised regularly were up to 40% less likely to develop dementia than those who rarely exercised. The published study did not specify what kind of exercise was most suitable and the range of activities undertaken (hiking, calisthenics, swimming etc.) was very varied.

It did appear, however, that exercising more frequently was of no added benefit to reducing dementia risk, and that exercise could be moderate and remain effective.(Annals of Internal Medicine 2006; 144 (2): 73-81).


Acne patients who use topical or oral antibiotics for at least six weeks have a 2.15 times greater risk of developing upper respiratory tract disease compared to those who do not use antibiotics, although the reason why, according to the researchers, is not clear. (Arch Dermatol, Sep 2005; 141: 1132 – 1136).


After a spate of negative research reports, a clinical trial of homoeopathy (individualized remedies) found it to be more effective than placebo in the treatment of 70 severely ill (unconscious or semi-comatose) patients with severe sepsis. The 180-day survival rate was 75.8% in the homoeopathy group compared to 50% in the placebo group. (Homoeopathy 2005; 94: 75-80).


Proponents of iridology claim to be able to diagnose bodily disorders through observing changes in the iris of the eye. In this study, an experienced iridologist was allowed to suggest up to five diagnoses for each subject. He examined 110 subjects, of whom 68 suffered from medically diagnosed cancers. In fact, a correct diagnosis was made in only three cases. (J Altern Complement Med 2005; 11: 515-19).


A Chinese bear bile farmer was attacked and eaten by six of his black bears as he was cleaning their cage. Bear bile farming has been repeatedly attacked for its unacceptable levels of cruelty to the bears who have catheters permanently implanted in their gall bladders or holes in their abdomens through which the bile drips. (Xinhua News Agency).

Meanwhile the deputy director of China's Department of Wildlife Conservation has rejected European union calls for a total ban on bear bile farming. He said that many inhumane practices had been phased out, that painless procedures had been introduced and that as yet no substitute had been found for the use of bear bile in medicine, a view opposed by animal protection groups. Sixty-eight bear farms will be allowed to continue business in China, with over 400 closed due to unacceptable practices.


Acne patients who use topical or oral antibiotics for at least six weeks have a 2.15 times greater risk of developing upper respiratory tract disease compared to those who do not use antibiotics, although the reason why, according to the researchers, is not clear. (Arch Dermatol, Sep 2005; 141: 1132 – 1136).


"What Were They Thinking?" Department


Gambling on your health

Just like lottery winners, when corporations and foundations become too rich too quickly, their judgment suffers and they waste money on frivolous projects.

On average, patients take their prescribed medication 50% of the time. A $400,000.00 grant from the Aetna Foundation will pay for a study at the University of Pennsylvania to determine whether offering a lottery prize will improve compliance. 100 patients will be randomized in this pointless exercise.

For the 50 people in the “lottery” group, there will be a one in ten chance of a $10 prize every day they take their medication, and a one in one hundred chance of winning $100.00.

“If it looks like it works, we’ll try to incorporate it in things we do” states Aetna Chief Medical Officer Troyen A Brennan, M.D., MPH.

David B. Nash, M.D., professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia believes that it is appropriate for “health plans” to sponsor this kind of research because “it’s in their interests to keep members healthy”.

One should note that Dr. Nash serves as a board member of InforMedix, which manufactures the “Med-eMonitor”, the tool used in the study. This appears to be an electronic pillbox which monitors when a compartment is opened.

Of course, merely taking medication doesn’t restore “health”. Drugs are effective only about 50% of the time even when they are taken appropriately. More than 100,000 patients die every year from the adverse effects properly prescribed medications and many more suffer adverse effects, with some 2,000,000 a year requiring medical treatment.

Without blood or urine studies, it is hard to imagine how to know if the subjects in this study actually take their pills, but exploiting a lottery mentality for patients seems to be just fine with researchers who have a 100% probability of getting their money.

If this “research" is successful, perhaps we can look forward to other bonuses for compliant patients; perhaps a lifetime’s worth of free hip replacements, or a chance to have a real nurse take care of you if you are hospitalized. Having all your funeral expenses paid if you have an adverse drug reaction will no doubt be a strong motivator, also.

Obtaining quality medical care in the United States has become enough of a crapshoot without adding a Las Vegas mentality to the mess that third party control has already created.


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