News News News
FRENCH LOVERS; YOU NEED MORE DRUGS
A survey by one of France's oldest and most reputable polling and market research organizations has challenged the myth of the French lover. More than three-quarters of Gallic couples have bad sex lives, the Institute for Public Opinion found, with more than one in three women said they had used excuses such as headaches, tiredness or children being nearby to get out of having sex.
Nearly one in six men said they had also made similar excuses. The pharmaceutical corporation which commissioned the survey says it is going to launch an information campaign this month for French couples who want to improve their sex lives. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11275032)
ASTONISHING LEVELS OF FOOD WASTE IN U.S.
More energy is wasted in the edible food discarded by people in the U.S. than is available from oil and gas drilling off the nation’s coastlines.
Recent estimates suggest that 16 per cent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is used to produce food, yet at least 25 per cent of food is wasted each year. A study at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin calculates that this is the equivalent of about 2150 trillion kilojoules lost each year.
The numbers are likely to be conservative, as they are based on food waste figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1995, the latest available. (New Scientist July 31, 2010 p 4).
In a study of 873 people with rheumatoid arthritis, those who drank alcohol on more than 10 days per month had less damage to joints and 30 per cent less pain and inflammation than those who did not drink at all.
People who drank no alcohol were more than twice as likely as alcohol drinkers to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and, compared with people who drank frequently (on more than 10 days a month); non-drinkers had four times the risk. (Rheumatology, July 28, 2010 http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/medicine_health/alcohol_reduces_severity_rheumatoid_arthritis_158945.html)
CONGRESS HEARS U.S. UNPREPARED FOR TERRORIST ATTACK
The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism issued a report that indicates that the United States is incapable of responding to a major attack with biological weapons. The Commission issued an “F” grade to government”capabilities for rapid response to prevent biological attacks from inflicting mass casualties”, and cited the example of last fall’s flu program: “H1N1 came with months of warning. But even with time to prepare, the epidemic peaked before most Americans had access to vaccine. A bioattack will come with no such warning.”
As would be expected, the commission gave excellent grades for the expansion of government bureaucracies and the “development a national strategy for advancing bioforensic capabilities”. However, writing up a strategy is far short of the reality of its implementation. http://www.preventwmd.gov/1_26_101/
GOU JI MAY HELP PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS
Korean and Vietnamese biochemists have investigated the Chinese herb Gou Ji (Rhizoma Cibotii barometz - or chain fern rhizome) as a possible treatment for osteoporosis. The herb is also known in Vietnam as the vegetable lamb plant, based on a legend of lambs springing fully grown from its seeds. It has traditionally been classified in Chinese medicine as a Kidney and Liver tonic that strengthens the knees and lower back and is used in the treatment of bone related health problems like rheumatism, lumbago and sciatica.
The group was able to isolate eight compounds from the plant, three of which showed the ability to block the activity of osteoclasts (cells which break down bone tissue) in cell culture. This action may slow bone loss in older people where osteoclast production is higher than osteoblast (bone producing cells) production. (Inhibitors of osteoclast formation from rhizomes of Cibotium barometz. J Nat Prod. 2009 Sep;72(9):1673-7).
MOBILE PHONES AND MALE FERTILITY
A study of 364 Indian men who were being treated at Indian fertility clinics, found that those who used mobile phones for four or more hours a day suffered from the lowest sperm counts and their sperm demonstrated poorer motility and morphology. Those who used phones for two to four hours a day showed lesser reductions in sperm counts and overall sperm health while those who did not use mobile phones at all had the healthiest sperm. (Relationship between cell phone use and human fertility: an observational study. American Society of Reproductive Medicine meeting 2006).
VITAMIN C AND MALE FERTILITY
In another study presented at the same meeting, it was reported that a low consumption of fruit and vegetables (less than five servings a day) appears to be associated with lower sperm quality. It is thought that antioxidants, especially glutathione and crytoxanthan, which are found in brightly colored produce such as leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and oranges, are associated with healthy sperm.
In a small study of 13 men, supplementation by vitamin C (1000mg twice daily for two months) resulted in a doubling of the number of motile sperm and total sperm numbers, and an increase in normal sperm from 43% to 67%, although this last figure is so high in comparison to most measures of normal morphology that it raises questions as to the parameters used. (Improvement in Human Semen Quality After Oral Supplementation of Vitamin C. Journal of Medicinal Food Sep 2006, Vol. 9, No. 3: 440-442).
ANTIDEPRESSANTS & MALE FERTILITY
Men who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are being urged to consult their doctors in the light of a new study which suggests they might damage sperm counts. The announcement was based on observation of men taking either citalopram (Celexa) or sertraline (Zoloft/Lustral).
The drugs were found to cause a severe deterioration in both sperm count and motility, although sperm counts returned to normal when medication ceased. (62nd annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in New Orleans).
ANTIPSYCHOTICS INCREASE RISK OF BLOOD CLOTS
Patients receiving a single antipsychotic drug have an overall increased risk of venous blood clots of 32% and those receiving two, a 99% increased risk. Individuals with a diagnosis of dementia were at higher risk than were those with diagnoses of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other conditions. Risks were increased for those who were prescribed NSAIDs, oral contraception, tamoxifen or anti-manic drugs. (British Medical Journal online September 21, 2010 http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c4245 ).
MERIDIA (SILBUTRAMINE) WITHDRAWN FROM MARKET
As a result of increased risk of heart attack and stroke that outbalances the modest weight loss benefit seen with the use of this drug, Abbott laboratories has taken this drug off the market. The risk of major adverse cardiovascular events is 16% higher among silbutramine treated patients compared with those on placebo. Currently, about 100,000 patients in the U.S. are being prescribed this drug. (Family Practice news October 15, 2010 p 13).
IRREGULAR WORK & PROSTATE CANCER
It is already known that shift workers are at a higher risk of developing some cancers, including breast and colorectal. Now a new study as uncovered a significant increased risk of prostate cancer among rotating shift-workers. The researchers believe that the cause may be disturbance of melatonin secretion. (Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:549-555).
Another study as identified two other risk factors for prostate cancer. One is height of greater than 1.7 meters (5’7”) at age 20, and the other is a long marriage (among men married only once and still married at interview). (Risk factors for prostate cancer: A national case-control study. Int J Cancer 2006;119:1690-1694).
ALCHOHOL AND LONGIVITY
Moderate consumption of alcohol appears to be linked to living longer, according to a meta-analysis of 34 large studies involving more than one million people. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (up to four drinks a day in men and two drinks a day in women) appears to reduce the risk of dying from any cause by roughly 18%. However consumption above these levels is associated with a greater risk of dying. (Alcohol Dosing and Total Mortality in Men and Women: An Updated Meta-analysis of 34 Prospective Studies. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:2437-2445).
Most of us had never heard of Polonium 210 until the extraordinary story of how Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with it in a London sushi bar. In fact Polonium 210 is everywhere as it is inhaled from cigarette smoke both by smokers and by passive smokers.
The radioactivity in cigarettes is so great that a 30-a-day smoker will receive a dose to some parts of the lungs equivalent to 300 chest X-rays a year. This has been known for a long time and in 1990 the US Surgeon General declared that 90% of smoking-related lung cancers were due to radioactivity in cigarettes. In the UK this would equate to 30,000 deaths a year.
The source of the Polonium is radon-rich fertilisers which decay to deposit deadly polonium-210 in the fine hairs of tobacco leaves. In India, where phosphatic fertilisers are not used, Polonium 210 levels are 10-15 times lower than in US tobacco.
ACUPUNCTURE ‘AS GOOD AS HRT’ AFTER OOPHORECTOMY
Acupuncture results in a significant improvement in perimenopausal symptoms in women who have had their ovaries surgically removed (oophorectomy).
Sixty-seven women who had undergone oophorectomy were non-randomly divided into two groups. One group was given acupuncture and the comparison group was given usual medical care (HRT drug "Livial" in the U.K. - a combination of synthetic estrogen, progesterone and androgen). Kupperman index score (a scale for measuring the severity of menopausal complaints) and levels of serum beta-endorphin were found to differ significantly between the acupuncture and the Livial group.
Based on these findings, the authors concluded that acupuncture performs as well as or better than Livial, but cautioned that bias and small sample size may have influenced the results. (Acupuncture for perimenopausal symptoms in women who underwent oophorectomy a comparative study. Forsch Komplementarmed. 2007 Feb;14(1):25-32).
"Is Anyone Thinking?" Department
DO WE NEED MORE OVEREDUCATED, OVERPAID “MANAGERS”?
There are some situations where medical treatment can really make a difference, and the outcomes justify the extra expense of involving the most educated and trained professionals in our society.
In addition to the expense, it must also be pointed out that there is an “opportunity cost” whenever a physician is working. Simply put, using a doctor’s attention and effort in one area means that she will not be able to treat someone else, take care of herself, teach, or supervise other practitioners.
Physician time is a scarce resource, so it is important not to waste it with trivial matters, such as the thousands of man-hours wasted in playing the coding computer game that is presently required for doctors to be paid for their work.
One of the promises generated by the “evidence-based” trend in medical practice is that when a treatment is not effective, doctors should not be wasting their time promoting or offering it.
“Obesity”, in the minds of social engineers, is a condition that has somehow become a “disease”. Constant media prattle about the obesity “epidemic” has reinforced this mythology in the minds of both the public and the professional sector.
As a result, there is the development of thought that physicians should become trained as "obesity managers".
Unfortunately, the science is pretty clear. All of the extra weight that Americans have put on can be explained by increased consumption. Appetite, not hunger, is the mechanism.
Aside from the rare situations that a medical condition causes weight gain, or the more common situation where a drug treatment increases appetite or disturbs metabolism, physicians are no more effective in reducing obesity than anyone else.
Almost all childhood obesity is simply the result of bad parenting. The fat parents of today are the indulged children of yesterday, and the cycle has now reached three generations. There will be no end in sight as long as our culture turns a blind eye to the fact that only parents are responsible for all of their children’s eating habits, as well as their own.
Doctors make expensive nannies and scolds, but if that is what America wants, the medical establishment seems happy to make as much money as government programs, do-gooder social progressives, and easily duped patients can pay out.
Nonetheless, there is no evidence that doctors obtain any better outcomes than weight loss centers, reduced calorie diets, personal trainers, or online psychics.
People who have lost weight the old fashioned way might be offended to be told they have a “disease”, or are part of an epidemic when these labels are fabricated for the purpose of scaring up taxpayer dollars for fat cat researchers. Even “celebrities” have found that only hard effort is required to reverse the blimp like proportions afflicting even these pampered upper class icons.
It is long past time for physicians to become honest and get out of the “obesity management” business. We have much too much important work to do where our expertise does make a difference to continue to waste our time, money and education on a fabricated “disease”.
HOW DID THEY LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT THE BENEFITS OF MODERN MEDICINE?
When CNN and Dr. Gupta are "discovering" that people lose weight when they eat less, and such stories are newsworthy, it is truly a sign that this insight is reaching the dullest members of our society.
However, it is my prediciton that this will not alter the path of the "obesity as disease" proponents.
If you can eat twinkies and lose weight, I suppose some will find it hard to believe that only personal responsibility is necessary to change the fates of all the obese children and adults in the United States.
But victimhood is a state that feels so good, and has worked so well for so many, that this sacrosanct aspect of American culture will counter any tiny trends to expectations of increased personal responsibility, especially with the co-dependence of the medical establishment assured (see above).