Sunday, October 31, 2010

Children and Statin Drugs

The headlines read, “American Heart Association Backs Statin Use for At-Risk Kids”. Revised guidelines by the American Heart Association now say that children (>8 years old) with high cholesterol and risk factors for heart disease should be treated with statin drugs. I can’t imagine a worse thing to do to a child. Yes, it is true, there is an obesity and diabetes epidemic among our children. However, these illnesses are not caused from a ‘statin-deficiency syndrome’. These illnesses are caused by poor eating habits and lack of exercise. As I describe in The Guide To Healthy Eating, eating healthier food can make a huge positive improvement in your health. In Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, I show that statins are an over-used class of medications that have not been shown to appreciably prolong anyone’s life, much less decrease one’s risk for heart attacks or strokes. Coupled with their high cost and side effect profile, there are safer and more effective options.

The number one thing you can do to improve your health as well as your family’s health, is to eat a better diet. You need to educate yourself about which food is healthier and how to incorporate it into your diet. It is best to avoid the ‘whites’—white sugar, flour, and salt. Cut down on all refined foods. Eat organic foods and make sure you drink enough water and exercise. Following these simple recommendations is a safer and more effective treatment regimen than relying solely on the statin drugs. More information about how to incorporate a healthy diet can be find in my book, The Guide to a Healthy Eating.

Children should never be prescribed statin drugs. Lifestyle changes should be the first therapy prescribed for elevated cholesterol levels.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big Brother and the Flu Vaccine

Last week, I saw a patient, Nancy, who works at a local hospital. Nancy was told if she did not receive the flu vaccination, she would have to wear a mask for three months. Furthermore, Nancy would have a red sticker placed on her name badge telling all that she did not receive the flu vaccine. Has society gone mad? Being forced to wear a red sticker and a mask for choosing not to have a flu vaccination is utter madness. This is more Big Brother hogwash.

The flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everybody over the age of six months. The U.S. Government claims the flu vaccine will save 36,000 lives per year. However, there are no statistics to back up this claim. In fact, there are no statistics to show the flu shot is effective at preventing the flu.

The Cochrane Group (an independent medical research group designed to help physicians put evidence into practice) published a study which tried to answer the question, “Does seasonal influenza immunization of health care personnel reduce the incidence of influenza and its complications in older residents of long-term facilities?” The authors examined four randomized controlled trials and one cohort study. They found that vaccination of personnel had no effect on the incidence of laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, admissions to the hospital, and death from pneumonia. The authors concluded, “There is insufficient evidence to support the vaccination of health care workers as a measure to protect older patients from influenza.” (Am. Fam. Phy. Oct 1, 2010. Vol. 82, No. 7. Pg. 763-4)

It is ridiculous to mandate anyone getting a flu vaccine. In fact, I think it is ridiculous for anyone to get the flu vaccine since the flu vaccine has never been shown to prevent the flu or decrease mortality from the flu. Finally, most flu vaccines contain toxic contaminants such as mercury. The best advice I can give you is to do your research and then make your own decision on whether the flu shot is right for you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Controversy Over RD's Giving Nutritional Advice

Dear Blog Readers,
I received a few ‘unhappy’ emails from RD’s (registered dieticians) concerning my article (Blog post 9/27/10) about how the State of Michigan is trying to put a licensing program in place which ensures that only RD’s can give nutritional advice. Please read below to see the controversy. The first letter was written by an RD. My response to her is below that. The third letter was written to the State of Michigan Board of Dietetics and Nutrition by another RD. I say, it is important to hear both sides of the story before choosing a side. I would be interested to hear your comments.
David Brownstein, M.D. (10.8.10)

This letter was written by: Nancy DiMarco, PhD, RD, CSSD.
Re; On Big Brother Controls Nutritional Advice on 9/27/10

I take great offense to the comments by Dr Brownstein because it is clear he does not understand the difference between the registered dietitian and the certified clinical nutritionist. I train students to become registered dietitians and also to attain post graduate certifications and the majority of those students have been in school for 7-8 years by the time they complete their graduate degrees. In contrast, our university has admitted students with the CCN because once they get their credential and think they can practice, they quickly find out how woefully inadequate their training to be and they must then go back to school to get the proper training as the RD. To question the ADA would be like me questioning Dr Brownstein's credentials as an MD. There is no accredited credentialing agency that oversees the CCN, and it is not a member of the National Organization for Competency Assurance to tell potential members that the credentialing process meets national standards. There is no mandate by the CCN to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution that is recognized by the US Department of Education or CHEA. I could go on and on about the differences, and there are many - I would be more than glad to share an expanded version of these points, but more importantly, I would like to initiate a dialog so that all of your readers can know that the RD is the nutrition expert and there is reason for licensure in many states because the majority of nutrition information that gets passed on as credible is usually not. You can trust information from the ADA and RDs.

Dr. DiMarco,
You are well within your rights to question my credentials as a M.D. to give nutritional advice. In fact, you should. Just because I spent a long time in school getting an M.D. degree does not mean that I am qualified to give correct nutritional advice. It took me many years and much reading (after medical school) to allow me to properly discuss nutrition with my patients. I can guarantee you that M.D.'s are not (and have not been) trained to give proper nutritional advice. Unfortunately, the same holds true for the training RD's receive. It doesn't matter how many years you go to school if you are not taught the correct information. I do question the ADA and their teaching model as it has perpetuated the chronic health care problems we are facing today such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. As for trusting information from the ADA and RD's, I suggest looking at the food choices at any hospital and then deciding whether it is best to trust the advice from the ADA (who receives coroporate sponsorship from Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Mars, Hershey’s, General Mills, and others). It is clear that the ADA should not be in control of licensing who can and is not capable of giving correct nutritional advice.
David Brownstein, M.D. 10.8.10

4 October 2010
Ms. Rae Ramsdell
Director, Health Regulatory Division
Michigan Dept. of Community Health Bureau of Health Professions
611 West Ottawa
P.O. Box 30670
Lansing, MI 48909-8170

Attention: Michigan Board of Dietetics & Nutrition

Dear Director Ramsdell:

I would like to express my concern about the rules being developed to implement Public Act 333 of 2006, §18351 (on Dietetics and Nutrition Licensing).
I am a registered and licensed dietitian in the state of Texas and can testify to the inadequate training of dietitians. Most of our education and the majority of our exam is focused on food service, not nutrition counseling or wellness. We get basic biochemistry and learn one approach to feeding people in diseased states (usually in a hospital setting), but we do not learn how to use real food, vitamins, minerals, herbs or antioxidants to restore health. We are taught that these things are useless and that no one needs more than the RDA of a nutrient.
I had a client who was going to have a hysterectomy. I had her take 25 mg of iodine (the RDA is 150 mcg) and 6 months later, she no longer needed a hysterectomy. I learned about iodine on my own, outside my formal education and using such a high dose of iodine goes against everything I was taught in school, yet it gave my client a better quality of life and she can still bear children if she so desires. It was in the best interests of my client to ignore what I was taught in school.
While there are some very knowledgeable dietitians out there, having the credential of RD does not qualify someone to dispense accurate, sound nutrition information. Other credentialed nutritionists (CNS, CCN, chiropractors, etc) are just as qualified, if not more so, than a dietitian. It really depends on the person, rather than the credential. Anyone who is open to new ideas and keeps up with the latest research is better qualified to give out nutrition information than a dietitian who only does what they were taught to do in school.
It will be a disservice to citizens in your state to only allow Registered Dietitians and nutritionists supported by the American Dietetic Association to dispense nutrition information. Consumers deserve to have a choice and many now prefer alternative approaches to health rather than what is promoted by the mainstream because they have not been helped by the mainstream advice. Dietitians do not have adequate training in alternative therapies, so we need other nutritionists who are qualified in alternative approaches. Above all, we need choice. That is what democracy is all about, the freedom to choose what is best for self and family.

I am concerned that this will affect a citizen’s choice to adequately protect their health and the health of their family. They should have the right to choose nutritional therapy from a variety of professionals coinciding with their personal health and nutritional philosophy. The rules seem to favor the Registered Dietitian without recognizing the value of other nutrition credentials or professionals with training in nutrition, and serve only to create a monopoly for them, and restrict choice for citizens.

Please ensure that non-restrictive rules are put in place that protect the practice of nutrition and the rights of Michiganders. Thank you for your consideration.

Annette Presley RD LD

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baby Boomers Less Healthy Than Parents?

The headlines from MSNBC read: “ Baby Boomers May Be Less Healthy Than Parents (4.20.07).” How can this be? Boomers smoke less than their parents, seem to exercise more, yet have poorer health parameters. The article went on to report that boomers report more difficulty climbing the stairs, getting up from a chair and doing other routine activities. Furthermore, they report more problems with chronic medical conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

There is no question that the obesity epidemic is partly to blame-over two-thirds of adults are overweight and over one-third are obese. However, I think there is more to the story. We take more medications than ever before, yet our health is not improving. Perhaps we are taking too many medications.

For many years, the declining health of successive generations has been discussed at many holistic medical conferences that I have attended. Many holistic doctors have predicted that the decline in health of subsequent generations would occur. How could many of us make this prediction? We (holistic practitioners) knew that too many toxic drugs were being prescribed for conditions that did not warrant them. Furthermore, these toxic agents were being prescribed for conditions where appropriate lifestyle changes were a much better approach.

Holistic practitioners (including myself) have predicted that as the toxic load increased in our environment our health would suffer. We are exposed to an ever increasing load of toxic chemicals including bromine, fluoride, and mercury that are bound to affect our health and our children’s health and the health of future children. The consequences of this increased toxic load are the increasing array of chronic illnesses from cancer, diabetes and hypertension in adults as well as ADHD, autism and cancer in children.

We’re relying too much on prescription drugs to treat these ailments. However, many of these drugs do nothing to treat an underlying cause of an illness and actually cause other problems. I have written all my books to give you an alternative view and to provide you with safe and effective natural therapies that treat the underlying cause(s) of illness.
The news is not all negative. We can reverse this trend. Our health does not have to decline as we age. How do we prevent that? The answer is simple; go back to the basics; eat a healthy diet, optimize nutrition, and exercise. Finally it is important to periodically undergo detoxification.

The human body is designed to function at a high rate if it is given the appropriate raw materials. Drugs do have their place; however, there are many natural ways to optimize your health without relying on expensive drug therapies that do not treat any underlying cause of an illness. More information on the problems with drug therapies and which natural therapies work can be found in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, 2nd Edition.