SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

October 31, 2011

Donohue on hot flashes

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH

Low-dose estrogen eases hot flashes

PAUL G. DONOHUE

  Q: Is there something I can take to get rid of hot flashes? I am 74 and have them all the time. I have tried Estrace (a female hormone), Estroblend (a dietary supplement) and black cohosh (an herbal remedy).

A: It has been said that 8 percent of women still have hot flashes into their 70s. Most women stop having them in six months to five years after menopause.    The drop in estrogen production that occurs with menopause affects a part of the brain that regulates body temperature.    The brain’s thermostat is thrown out of whack, causing spells of sudden, uncomfortable warming.    To deal with hot flashes, dress in layers so that outer garments can be shed at the first inkling of a hot flash. Keep ice water on hand and drink it at the start of a flash.    Cut back on caffeine. Slow, deep breathing at the onset of a flash is said to minimize the discomfort.    Estrogen, which you have tried, is the most effective treatment for hot flashes. It should be taken in as low a dose as possible for the shortest time possible. Maybe a different estrogen preparation would work.    Effexor and Lexapro, two antidepressants, have met with success in suppressing hot flashes for some women. Neurontin (gabapentin) is a seizure-control medicine that is also used for control of hot flashes.    Hot flashes that have lasted as long as yours call for a consideration of conditions other than estrogen deprivation.    An overactive thyroid gland, a hidden infection and two unusual tumors — carcinoid and pheochromocytoma — are examples of illnesses that produce symptoms similar to a hot flash.

Jan’s Comment on this Q:  So often I can respond from personal experience- – but not much on this one.   In California, sometime in my 40’s, my doctor whom I totally trusted said I needed to have my uterus removed. It had turned mushy he said, had fibroid tumors and I didn’t need it anymore.  Ugh, I guess!  Had it done; quick recovery and back to usual routine in no time.  Took no meds of any kind.  During my 50’s I was aware of getting extra  warm, but seemed to quickly pass and was no problem.  I did become fairly bitchy however and co-workers seemed to clear a path away from me.  Figured this was menopause and thought I was getting away pretty easy – at least according to my mothers  experience.

Mother had her ovaries and uterus removed (without consent) after having collapsed on a street in Oklahoma.  When she awoke in a hospital and learned what had happened to her (late 1930’s ) when she was pretty young, she of course was distraught and traumatized.  She had a totally different exposure to the need for HRT.    Premarin was being used then (from horses).  She was still taking it in her 70’s, but after her Alzheimers started, she became less aware and it was stopped.  In early 1950’s, she nearly died from cancer – vaginal, a piece of the uterus was still there. She continued HRT after recuperating – could not cope with her “symptoms.” 

No doubt Mother’s near-death cancer experience was in fact brought about by those long years of taking these drugs. 

For the past 30 years or so, Bio-identical Hormones have been available  according to what I have recently learned about Dr Jonathan Wright of the Tahoma Clinic  in Washington.  He wrote a book about it in 1997 and if I had this problem, I would probably get the book and/or contact the Tahoma Clinic for information and direction.  It seems they are deeply interested in tailoring it to the individual after certain tests have been done.  One is dealing with three different estrogen types including Esterol and estrodiol as well as progesterone and testosterone.  One does not take this type of med orally.  Taking a pill by mouth is not how nature provides it to us.  One must always try to copy the way of Nature.   Not to be swallowed. 

They had tried transdermal application, but it was good for only a few years, then quits.  The ideal solution turned out to be copying nature as closely as possible and using prescription compound directly to the labia or inserted into the vagina and rubbing gently in according to a timed concept (again, according to nature’s rhythm) turned out to be ideal.

Similar testing and treatment is done for men as well who have a whole set of particulars involved therein.  And as with the women, where the ointment is applied is specific – either on the scrotal skin or the annal-rectal area.

As I said, I have no personal experience  and what I have detailed here is pretty much all I am able to convey.

Q: My son is 56 and has a problem with bruises. He gets one whenever his arm hits anything.    He has talked to his family doctor and company doctor, but they can’t find a cause.    He doesn’t take aspirin or blood thinners.    Do you have an answer?

A: Easy bruising in someone your son’s age could be an indication of clotting problems, such as the existence of too-few blood platelets (the blood cells that form clots); a defect in producing blood proteins called clotting factors; a fragility of blood vessels; or a deficiency of vitamin K, an almost-unheard-of condition these days.    I don’t know whether he was checked for these things, but he should be.    In older people, easy bruising is common because blood vessels have become fragile and have lost the cushioning material that protects them.    By the way, your son is too young to have fragile blood vessels.

Dr. Donohue answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

My comment:  Pretty much agree with Dr Donohue on this one.    The son is too young for the ‘so-called’ geriatric symptom of frail blood vessels.  He definitely needs a full panel blood workup to determine his status of health or irregularity.  
If by chance, it happens to be a “clotting problem” I would highly recommend  Nattokinase as it is superior to pharmaceuticals known as blood thinners – they are toxic and harmful.  One can google this product online and get a ton of info on it.  If there happens to be a clot problem, this will take care of it and faster than you can imagine, sometimes in hours.
It was stated that two separate doctors have been seen.  Find nothing.  A different type of doctor might be in order here.  Perhaps seek an alternative physician or homeopath – – something other than pharmaceutically trained allopathic doctor,   see if there is a difference.       Jan

HPV leaves victims, wake up

Alliance for natural health – USA

HPV Vaccine Victims Speak Out—Will the Media Finally Get it Right?

October 18, 2011

Speak OutFor people who do not believe the HPV vaccine can have devastating side effects, here is living testimony. The victims who have themselves been harmed by the human papillomavirus vaccine will address the nation this afternoon, hoping to inform the GOP candidates’ debate tonight.

As you know if you’ve been following our coverage of the dangers of the HPV vaccine, the media have been blindly parroting the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement that the HPV vaccine has “an excellent safety record.” The fact is, the CDC has received tens of thousands of adverse event reports after administration of the Gardasil HPV vaccine, including serious side effects like blood clots and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is not “an excellent safety record” by any means.

Hearing directly from the families who have been dramatically affected by the vaccine—particularly girls who became cognitively impaired after receiving the Gardasil vaccine—may change some minds. According to the press conference organizers, the Canary Party, one girl “spent six months at the University of New Mexico Hospital enduring plasmapheresis, two spinal taps, and ultimately a diagnosis of encephalitis from viral infection, traumatic brain injury, and a seizure disorder.”   Another was an honor roll student in the seventh grade, but after receiving the vaccine started failing in the eighth grade. She started high school “in a special education class in diapers. She’s reading at a fifth grade level with maybe the comprehension of fourth grader. She was kicked out of school this year in just the third week.”

With this press conference, the national media will have another shot to get it right. We hope this time they report the truth about the vaccine, and make their reports more complete and accurate. So much of the problem has been not what they said—but what they left out.

October 30, 2011

Pete Seeger adds to OWS

PROFILE PETE SEEGER

Elderly activist lends voice to new movement

By Chris Talbott ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tao Rodriguez-Seeger was halfway through a march down Broadway to support the Occupy Wall Street movement, a guitar strapped over his shoulder and his grandfather Pete Seeger at his side.    Suddenly, a New York City police officer grabbed his elbow.    “Are you Tao Seeger?” the officer asked tersely. “Was this your idea? Did you think of this?”  

JOHN MINCHILLO ASSOCIATED PRESS    Pete Seeger, an activist since the 1930s, and his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, with a guitar, march to folk and gospel songs at an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York.

Rodriguez-Seeger was certain that his arrest was imminent. The officer reached for his hand. Then something unexpected happened.    “He shook my hand and said: ‘Thank you, thank you. This is beautiful,’” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “That really did it for me. The cops recognized what we were about.”

That moment affirmed the message that his 92-year-old grandfather has preached tirelessly across nine decades. The causes and movements have changed from time to time in those years, but his message has always been the same:  

  • ActivistMusic is the key to understanding and change.   

“Music does something to you,” said Rodriguez-Seeger, 39.    “It can cross rivers of meaning that entire books can’t get across. You take any one of Bob Dylan’s songs, and you get to the heart of the matter, where it took Homer volumes and volumes of books to get to the same point.”

Today, Pete Seeger is in the final chapter of a life in which he has walked hand in hand with American history, often at odds with the government.    This time around, Seeger was supported by two canes, not the sound of his banjo. But his presence, in a crowd of nearly 1,000 with guitar players and chanting sign-holders and police swirling around, gave the movement something it seemed to lack during the past month.    A momentary clarity, longtime friend Guy Davis thinks.   Purpose and direction.

“It’s his humanity,” Davis said.    Seeger’s voice rose in the 1930s against Hitler. He met Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax and Lead Belly, and he began to advocate for migrant workers and miners in the 1940s. He stared down Sen. Joseph McCarthy and endured a blacklisting that he simply shrugged off. As a founding member of the Weavers, he was a key figure in the folk revival that produced Dylan. And he was later involved in the protests that helped shape modern America.

Seeger still takes delight in lending his presence to causes, even if his voice doesn’t carry as it used to. He found himself attracted to the Wall Street protests.    “Be wary of great leaders,” Seeger said when asked what he identifies with in the Occupy Wall Street message. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.”    Other than the canes and snowy beard, Seeger hasn’t changed much since he began singing out against fascism in the mid-1930s, after dropping out of Harvard in frustration.

“The sociology professor said, ‘Don’t think that you can change the world. The only thing you can do is study it,’” Seeger said. “But this was 1937, and Hitler had taken power. He was murdering people and was ready to go to war.”    You could say Seeger inherited his activism. His great-great-grandfather came to America seeking self-determination after reading the Declaration of Independence.   His great-grandfather was an abolitionist. His father was a socialist who spoke out against World War I.

The son of a musicologist and a violinist, he began leading others in song at 8 and was introduced to protest music around 12. Early on, he saw beauty and possibility in traditional songs often considered regional hokum or race records unfit for a white audience.

His message found an eager audience in the young generation that would go on to define rock ’n’ roll, changing American and world culture in myriad ways.   He introduced the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to We Shall Overcome.    In his hands, songs such as If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song) and Turn! Turn! Turn! became galvanizing anthems.  

He remains a voice for the disenfranchised — the poor of Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, and the victims of racism and greed.    Rodriguez-Seeger was attracted to the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement, he said, when he joined a support march two weeks ago in Las Vegas. He was drawn to the antiestablishment message but noticed immediately that something was missing.

“I saw a lot of people getting angry at us for marching, getting out of their SUVs and giving us the finger and screaming obscenities” and using anti-gay slurs, Rodriguez-Seeger said. “I thought, if we were singing right now, my gut tells me they’d be less inclined to behave like that because it’s very difficult when you’re hearing music to get that angry.”

Honey Run Inn

STEVE STEPHENS DISPATCH PHOTOS

Many wooded trails crisscross the 70 acres at the Inn at Honey Run, near Millersburg in Amish country.

Couples Therapy

Nature, nourishment among attractions of HOLMES COUNTY retreat

By Steve Stephens THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

MILLERSBURG, Ohio — During the summer I finally took my honey to the Inn at Honey Run.    My previous visit was a solo trip in the dead of winter. I enjoyed that stay, with solitary walks along Honey Run’s quiet and snowy nature trails, a glass of wine in front of the inn’s lovely lobby fireplace and dinners for one at the excellent restaurant.

But the inn, especially the Honeycomb rooms where my wife and I stayed, seems made for honeys to enjoy together.

Honeycomb rooms feature cozy fireplaces.

The inn has 43 guest rooms, most in the main lodge, and a few private cabins.   But the Honeycombs, tucked into the hillside above the lodge, offer cozy nests with private patios, each with a terrific view of surrounding Holmes County countryside.    Each Honeycomb room also has a gas fireplace — which we didn’t use in the summer, although it was a welcome feature during my winter stay.                                        The Honeycombs

The amenities of the inn are impressive, but the best thing is the lush setting.    The main lodge was built to preserve as many trees as possible. Even in winter it’s difficult to make out the shape of the lodge, which is completely surrounded by trees and shrubs nestling against the exterior walls.

The beautiful interior public areas, including the main lobby, feature plenty of window walls overlooking the woods and a lovely decor that I like to call woodland contemporary. Patrons of the inn’s restaurant will feel almost as if they’re dining in a treehouse — a very comfortable treehouse with a much better wine list than most.

The lodge’s lobby is a warm and inviting place to relax.

The inn’s 70 acres of woods and meadows are crisscrossed by nature trails identified by color and marked with corresponding signs. My wife and I enjoyed short hikes on the Red Loop Trail, which curved through a wildflower-dappled meadow up to the top of the hill above the Honeycombs. From there, the view was even more dramatic than from our room, with vast fields and Amish-tended farms stretching out to hills on the horizon. Along the trail, flocks of ebony jewel-wing dragonflies worked diligently among the patches of wild blackberries.

From there, we could hook up with the Green Trail, curving down through forested acreage, past the inn’s woodland spa and finally leading to the entrance of the lodge.    Descending further, the Yellow Trail wound along Honey Run itself, where the water babbled and gurgled over gravel beds and ran under a picturesque footbridge. During my winter visit, I had stopped to write “I (Heart) Di” with a gloved finger in the snow. When I gave her the picture, she seemed pleased — but not nearly as pleased as she was to be on this trip herself.

The different trails present different habitats, which have helped attract more than 100 identified species of birds to the inn.    The inn’s guest guide lists all the species ever seen nearby and divides them by habitat and by season. Each room also contains a bird field guide. That also pleased my wife, an avid bird-watcher.    I’m not much of a birdwatcher myself, but I easily identified more than a dozen species during our short stay, including red-bellied woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, redwing blackbirds, a Northern flicker and the ubiquitous blue jays and cardinals — as well as my own personal favorite, the turkey vulture.

STEVE STEPHENS DISPATCH PHOTOS The lodge is surrounded by lush trees, saved during construction.

While my modest list might not be too exciting for an inveterate birder, I found it very romantic to waken to the chittering of downy woodpeckers at our window and to watch purple martins loop and dive just above our patio — an air show that seemed to encompass every stunt except barrel rolls.    The guest guide also noted 21 species of butterflies, from alfalfa butterfly to viceroy. Our 6-year-old twins would have had a great time tracking them down, I thought. But hurray! — oh, I mean, uh, alas! — no kids.    Don’t misunderstand — romance isn’t the only thing in the air in the Inn at Honey Run.

The inn has a modern conference center for the business and meeting crowd, and that beautifully situated spa offering massages, facials and body treatments. The spa is especially popular for girls’ getaways (but any guy who doesn’t avail himself of the occasional therapeutic massage is missing the boat). Individual spa services are available, as well as full-day and half-day spa sessions.

The inn’s white-tablecloth restaurant, recently renamed Tarragon, is a far cry from the “home-style” eateries that dominate Amish country.    There’s nothing wrong with a big ol’ plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. But at Honey Run, the chicken you find will more likely be a sauteed dish served with baby spinach, sweet and spicy yam fries and a house barbecue sauce, a welcome change from standard Holmes County fare, at least for my wife and me. And big eaters shouldn’t be too concerned — the dishes might be a bit fancy, but the portions are quite ample.

Diana raved about the onion soup made with caramelized onions in a sherry-scented beef broth. And I enjoyed exploring the wine list. A sprightly New England sauvignon blanc called, of all things, Cupcake, was quite tasty — although I wished there were a few more of the rapidly improving Ohio wineries represented on the list. (Really, folks, there’s nothing declasse about Ohio wines these days.)    Along with its new name, the dining room at Tarragon is undergoing a series of gradual renovations, the first of which, a new lounge area, has already been completed. Tarragon also has a new smokehouse where smoked meat, fish, cheese and other foods can be prepared on premises.    Visitors will find plenty of Amish-country diversions to occupy their time away from the inn. The nearby Holmes County seat of Millersburg offers restaurants, shopping, galleries and the Millersburg Glass Museum and Victorian House Museum.

Berlin, just a short drive away, is the heart of Amish country, with restaurants, shops and the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center.    But if you decide to spend your entire visit cozied up with your honey at Honey Run, I’ll understand completely.

ssthens@dispatch.com

If you go

THE INN AT HONEY RUN    The inn, with more than 40 guest rooms, is located in a beautiful woodland setting in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country.

GETTING THERE    The inn is located between Millersburg and Berlin in Holmes County, about 85 miles northeast of Columbus. Allow about two hours for the drive.

STAYING THERE    The inn has a variety of rooms and suites available, including 24 rooms in the main lodge and 12 earth-sheltered (think luxury hobbit house) Honeycomb rooms. Rates start at $159 a night, with specials and discounts sometimes available. The inn also features a dining room with award-winning contemporary American cuisine.

For information, call 1-800-708-9394 or visit www. innathoneyrun.com.

VISITING NEARBY    Ohio’s Amish country is full of popular visitor attractions. To find out more about the area, call the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-643-8824 or visit http://www.visit   amishcountry.com.

October 29, 2011

Great Lakes – linked to “health”/$ survival

I’m Green and proud of it!

(There is no question that I’m GREEN. Believe in Green. GREEN for the planet and Green for us – the people. I even believe in green for the wallet, love greenbacks. Not that it is my favorite color – its the symbolism – what it stands for. Health, clean, open, uncongested, pure and delicious. And behind all this, the beauty, the harmony and all that nature stands for.

Sometimes I get caught up in concentrating on human health issues, I guess because there are so many of them and it is vital that people be given as many options to find their maximum level of health which they desire and are willing to accept.  So health issues for you and me are the seeming priority.  But I can’t truly separate them for we can never achieve our full potential physiologically if our planet is deteriorating.  We actually have nowhere else to go.

We cannot live harmoniously on a planet that is belching misery and roiling in pain with all the toxic problems and inconsistencies  humans have dreamed up in order to “harness nature”   Many giants of industry  are not being constrained or interested in anything beyond their corporate needs and interests and being uber-powerful, are free to desecrate, demolish, alter anything they chose to pursue their profit’s ever greater needs.

We are hurting our planet Earth.  It is our responsibility to take care of it.  We are born with innate intelligence and sense of right and wrong.  We all know what’s going on.  We don’t like it  And most of us feel helpless in changing anything.  But if not us – – who?  Thank God for the 99% who are out in the streets because their sense of urgency has driven them to it.  There is so much which needs fixin’  We need to put our heads together – not fight and insult and injure one another. 

Sorry, you know how I get carried away. . .I was just trying to suggest that this post is about our need to take care of business for the planet too.  I’m lumping 2 posts  together here  which have been waiting in the wings for about 2 weeks and deserved attention.  Partly my gripe is about lack of respect for SCIENCE.  It is ignorance and hypocrisy to ignore obvious realities.  Earth is changing, depleting and what we are doing MUST deal with realities.  And that would include what kind of planet we are handing off to our children and future generations.  

First up is Al Gore addressing the International Joint Commission which advises U.S. and Canadian governments on issues regarding shared waterways.    This is followed by Ohio’s concepts of how to be able to afford still further studies to determine what is causing all our problems in the Great Lakes.   These are BIG DEAL ISSUES.  JAN)

DETROIT NEWS DAVID COATES    Climate change is threatening the Great Lakes, says former Vice President Al Gore. Higher temperatures create larger storms that cause sewers to overflow into the lakes, in turn causing oxygen-depleting algae blooms, he said.

Great Lakes in danger, Gore says

DETROIT (AP) — Former Vice President Al Gore linked climate change to a rash of environmental catastrophes yesterday, from floods in Pakistan to drought in Texas and algae blooms sucking oxygen from Lake Erie.

The fallout from a warming planet is being felt around the world, Gore said in a speech during the annual meeting of the International Joint Commission, which advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on issues affecting shared waterways.

Things will get worse, Gore said, unless people reject a campaign of denial orchestrated by the fossil-fuel industry and make significant reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.

“We’re still acting as if it’s perfectly OK to use this thin-shelled atmosphere as an open sewer. It’s not OK,” Gore said. “We need to listen to the scientists. We need to use the tried-and-true method of using the best evidence , debating and discussing it, but not pretending that facts are not facts.”

Gore, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign to awaken people to the climate-change threat, said higher temperatures could nullify much of the progress made in recent decades to heal the battered Great Lakes.

Increasingly, severe storms made worse by greater volumes of water vapor in the atmosphere are causing wastewater-treatment-system overflows that dump raw sewage into the lakes, he said. That forces beach closures and promotes growth of algae blooms that create oxygen-deprived zones where fish can’t survive.

After largely disappearing decades ago, the algae problem has returned and is worse than ever in some places, primarily on Lake Erie. Smelly clumps of algae are fouling beaches on Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Gore’s critics have accused him of making exaggerated claims about climate change and cashing in on his activism through investments in green technology. But leaders of the International Joint Commission said his comments about the Great Lakes were based on findings of scientists in the region.

“He’s quoting what the researchers are saying,” said Ted Yuzyk, the Canadian co-chairman of an IJC group that plans to release a report next spring on how climate change is affecting the lakes. Researchers have found that heavy storms promote algae growth not only through sewage overflows, but also by washing greater amounts of nutrient-rich soils into the lakes, Yuzyk said.

Lana Pollack, who was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. chairwoman of the commission, said: “There’s absolutely no doubt the challenges we face are greater and more confounding because of climate change.”

Gore also noted that the annual ice cover on the Great Lakes is shrinking, which promotes greater evaporation and drives down lake levels. Periodic low water has caused millions in losses for cargo shippers, marina operators and other businesses since the late 1990s.

  • “There is a relationship between continuing progress in the Great Lakes basin and progress in dealing with the climate crisis,” he said.

Facing the issue instead of ducking it would boost the economy, Gore said. In the Great Lakes region, governments could create jobs by upgrading sewers and other infrastructure that will be strained by heavier rain and snowfall, and by promoting wind and solar power, he said.

“Some people say that it’s going to cost a lot of money,” he said. “It would cost a heck of a lot of money over time if we didn’t do it.”

Farm changes cut runoff into Great Lakes

The Algae situation is worst in Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes

By John Flesher ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT — Farmers are making significant cutbacks in the erosion of soil and nutrients into the Great Lakes, where runoff is suspected of being a leading contributor to rampant growth of algae that damages water quality, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report said.

The study estimated that because of changes in cultivation practices, the amount of sediment washing into rivers and streams that feed the lakes is 50 percent less than it would have been otherwise.   Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff is about one-third lower than it would have been without the improvements.    The report, released this week, was based on computer modeling and surveys of farmers involved on the U.S. side of the lakes, from New York to Minnesota.

The government “appreciates the actions of every farmer who is stepping up to implement conservation practices, protect vital farmlands and strengthen local economies,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “At the same time, we also see opportunities for even further progress.”    Farm runoff is of growing concern in the region with resurgence of algae in all the Great Lakes except Lake Superior. The situation is worst in Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest, where scientists say algae covered more of the surface this summer than it had in a half-century.

Plant nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are believed at least partly responsible, although a report issued this week by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian agency, said scientific evidence is unclear about the causes of the algae comeback.    The study by the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service did not look into the algae problem or other Great Lakes water-quality issues, said Doug Lawrence, deputy chief of soil survey and resource assessment. It focused on how well farmers have done at curbing erosion within the Great Lakes basin, which includes parts of eight states: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.   About one-fourth of the region consists of cultivated farmland.

It also did not measure reductions over a specific period. Instead, researchers developed computer simulations that compared conditions when the farmers were surveyed — from 2003 to 2006 — with how they would have been without erosion control measures. Despite the time lag between the survey period and the release of the report, Lawrence said, farm practices that produced the improvements have continued and perhaps increased.

The study was the third of 14 planned for major watersheds around the nation. Others that have been completed focused on the upper Mississippi River and Chesapeake Bay.    Congress set erosion-control standards in 1985 for farmers to meet over a 10-year period. Many changes since then involve reducing or eliminating cropland tillage while using less fertilizer or applying it in ways that prevent it from washing away.    “It’s pretty clear that we’ve got the tools to address the problem,” Lawrence said yesterday. “These are all well-known practices.”

Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor, said federal programs encouraging different cultivation techniques are helping cut erosion.

  • But the worsening algae problem demonstrates that “the success is not reflected in the water,” he said.    “Lake Erie’s got the worst toxic algae blooms in its history. We’re seeing those algae blooms in other places, and those are primarily caused by the very nutrients that these programs are reducing,” he said during a conference of Great Lakes advocates in Detroit.

The report also did not measure a particular form of dissolved phosphorus that is most responsible for the algae blooms, he said.    Congress is scheduled to reauthorize farm support programs next year. Conference participants said they would seek more money for programs that encourage farmers to fight erosion, such as placing plant barriers between streams and cultivated fields.

“We need to make sure that conservation produces a good economic return for our landowners,” said Gildo Tori, Great Lakes policy director for Ducks Unlimited, which works on wetland and waterfowl preservation.

10-15-11

Occupy WS – got it right

Protesters have hands on problem

KEVIN HORRIGAN

A week ago Saturday, someone using the screen name “ArrestAll-CEOs” posted the following message on the OccupyWallStreet.org   forum:    “I took a break from the struggle here in Zuccotti Park and lined up for the new iPhone 4S, since I wanted to upgrade my iPhone 4. I’m posting from it now.    “It’s soooo cool but now I’m totally broke  “Anyone else have the new iPhone?”    My guess is this post was bogus, an attempt by someone to embarrass the Occupiers by posing as a doofus who took time off from the struggle to line up to spend his last dime on a $200 (for the low-end model) toy, and commit to more dimes for the lengthy service contract. Anonymity is the curse of the Internet.

On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that the doofus is a real, irony-proof protester.  Smart phones are an essential tool for the modern revolutionary.    Which is, when you think about it, pretty darned weird. Many of the evils they’re railing against in Zuccotti Park are embedded in the iPhone.

In the panegyry that followed Steven P. Jobs’ death on Oct. 5, most of the eulogies for the Apple co-founder and CEO skipped his contributions to globalization. One of the more cold-eyed assessments came from a writer and actor named Mike Daisey, who is starring in a one-man off-Broadway play that he wrote delving into the complicated moral choices involved in using Apple products.    “Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt,”

  • Daisey wrote in the Oct. 6  New York Times.    “Apple’s rise to power in our time directly paralleled the transformation of global manufacturing.

As recently as 10 years ago, Apple’s computers were assembled in the United States, but today they are built in southern China under appalling labor conditions. Apple, like the vast majority of the electronics industry, skirts labor laws by subcontracting all its manufacturing to companies like Fox-conn, a firm made infamous for suicides at its plants, a worker dying after working a 34-hour shift, widespread beatings and a willingness to do whatever it takes to meet high quotas set by tech companies like Apple.”   

In 2009, two researchers at the Asian Development Bank Institute did their own breakdown of the process involved in building an iPhone 3. The parts came from nine different countries. The assembly was done in China. The total bill of materials was $172.46, of which $48 was attributable to U.S.-made parts. The assembly cost was the equivalent of $6.50 per unit for a total manufacturing cost of $178.96.

  • The researchers, Yuqing Xing and Neal Detert, argued that Apple could move its assembly operation to the United States, create thousands of jobs and build the phones for $240 per unit, including $68 in assembly costs. That still would allow the company a 50 percent profit margin on each unit, they argued.
  • “Giving up a small portion of the profits and sharing them with low-skilled U.S. workers … would be a more effective way to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and create jobs in the U.S.,” they said.    As it is, they say, even though Chinese labor accounted for only 3.6 percent of the iPhone 3’s cost, China got credit for the full $178.96-per-unit value for exporting them to the United States.

Clearly, many of the same arguments could be mounted against non-Apple phones. It’s just that Steve Jobs made Apple’s phones (and iPods and iPads and iMacs) so darned cool that even the most scrupulously concerned American consumers couldn’t pass them up.    In my house, there are at least five of these products. I rationalize this on the grounds that Apple cares not one bit about my individual buying decisions. I would have been happy to pay an extra $100 for an American-made iPad, but that wasn’t an option. Steve Jobs and Apple’s board chose the extra profits.

Back in Apple’s early days, most phones in America were still made by Western Electric in U.S. factories by unionized workers who supported their families on middle-class earnings. The phones came with cords, though, and weren’t cool at all, except as you regard being practically indestructible as cool.

Globalization was going to send all the drudge jobs overseas. American companies would spend their newfound profits on cool new ideas that would be executed by new generations of highly skilled American workers. The first part worked out fine. The second part worked out fine for a relative handful of Stanford graduates, web developers and investors. For the working class, not so much.    So they’ve taken to the streets in protest, staying in touch with really cool phones. There should be an app for excessive irony.  

Kevin Horrigan wrties for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. khorrigan@post-dispatch.com

October 28, 2011

Lithium for Alzheimers

Low-dose Lithium for Alzheimers disease

( Jonathan V Wright is a prominent physician I have heard of over the years and have  read articles by him.   When the time is right – stuff happens, seemingly on it’s own.   When I called Ron Pelligrini a few weeks ago, he truly listened and responded.  These articles were sent to me to inform me of Lithium, understanding how I have been concentrating  effort toward the mission of prevention with regard to  Alzheimers and my relationship with it.   Tho I still function to acceptable levels, there has been short-term memory loss which is so frustrating and makes my work a little harder – tho still, emphatically – enjoyable!

So along with my Nattokinase, I received much reading material.  Fired up, I went to the blog and other sites.  This man is remarkable.  Apparently, he has been at this business quite a while and has treated over 35,000 patients.  It is so easy to fall for the sizzle – you know what I mean.  Dr Wright doesn’t use hard-sell in his delivery and makes no claim toward authority.   He is a gentle soul with a gentle delivery.  I like that.   His ethic shows thru everything.  At his Tahoma Clinic where he practices in the state of Washington, he has a product base for the convenience of his patients – tho when I went online to maybe purchase some Lithium – couldn’t find any.  I’ll have to do as he said- go to a health food store and he describes what is needed.   

Everyone knows about Lithium and its well-known use with bi-polar disease.  But all the uses Dr Wright outlines – I have never heard of.  This should surprise even the most erudite among you.  And what a god-send it is. Hope you can profit from this as I intend to.  Please see for yourself, either googling Dr JV Wright or go to  Nutrition and Healing.  Also, there is Tacomaclinic.com. . .and sign up for his free newsletter giving you privilege to access his archives.  So read on and see how Low-dose Lithium is helping Alzheimers patients.   In Part 2, he describes multiple other uses.   This is the man who developed bio-identical hormones for men and women and so much else.  Because of his deep smarts, commitment and practical applications for  around three decades, Dr Wright deserves top-drawer status here at smokinchoices.  If I can, I hope to run more of this brilliant man’s stuff.   Jan)

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

by Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, MD

(Reprinted From “Nutrition and Healing”)

Think young into your 90s with this anti-aging secret for your brain

The biggest problem with lithium treatment is people’s perception of it.  Since its most well known use is for bi-polar disorder, lithium sometimes encounters the same stigma as mental illness itself.

I’ve been taking a lithium supplement every day for several years. When I tell people about it, they sometimes get funny looks on their faces and start eyeing the corners of the room for straight jackets. These reactions don’t surprise me, since, as I said, lithium is usually associated with mental illness. But I’ve never suffered from a mental disorder (although certain mainstream medical doctors and possibly a federal agency or two might disagree). Treating manic-depressive (bi-polar) illness is lithium’s most widely known use–but it isn’t an anti-psychotic drug, as many people believe. In fact, lithium isn’t a drug at all. It’s actually a mineral-part of the same family of minerals that includes sodium and potassium.

You might remember reading several editions of Health e-Tips a few months ago that discussed various benefits of lithium. In addition to the benefits mentioned in the e-Tips, like controlling gout and relieving rashes caused by sebhorric dermatitis, lithium also has some great brain-boosting effects. In fact, I’ve reviewed both recent lithium research and the research spanning the past few decades, and I’m convinced that lithium is an anti-aging nutrient for human brains. And there are also some very strong reasons to believe that lithium therapy will slow the progression of serious degenerative mental problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

So there are obviously quite a few “pros” to using lithium, but you’re probably wondering about the “cons.” In the 1930s and ’40s, lithium chloride was sold in stores as a salt substitute. But (as frequently happens) some people used way too much and suffered toxic overdoses, so it fell out of common use. Fortunately, lithium toxicity is entirely preventable, and it’s also easily treatable if it ever does occur,  but more about that later. Right now, let’s get into some of the specifics on just how you (and your brain) can benefit from lithium.

Taking (grey) matters into your own hands

Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous fictional detective, had an amusing quirk in his incessant concern for his “little grey cells.” I thought of Hercule several years ago when I saw the following headline in an issue of the Lancet: “Lithium-induced increase in human brain grey matter.”

That may not sound like an earth-shattering piece of news, but it actually was quite a major discovery. To that point, medical experts believed that once our brains matured, it was all downhill from then on. Decades of autopsies, x-rays, and, more recently, brain scans have repeatedly shown that brains shrink measurably with aging. But according to their report in the Lancet, Wayne State University (Detroit) researchers found that lithium has the ability to both protect and renew brain cells.1  Eight of 10 individuals who took lithium showed an average 3 percent increase in brain grey matter in just four weeks.

Lithium may help to generate entirely new cells too: Another group of researchers recently reported that lithium also enhances nerve cell DNA replication.2   DNA replication is a first step in the formation of a new cell of any type.

The Wayne State study used high-dose lithium, but I’m certainly not using that amount myself, nor do I recommend it. Prescription quantities of lithium just aren’t necessary for “everyday” brain cell protection and re-growth. Studies done years ago have shown that very low amounts of lithium can also measurably influence brain function for the better.

Protect yourself from brain damage you didn’t even know you had

Aside from boosting brain mass, recent research also shows that lithium can help protect your brain from the “beating” it gets in the course of everyday life. Your brain cells are constantly at risk of damage from exposure to toxins of all sorts-even ones produced by your own body. Toxic molecules are formed naturally during the course of normal brain metabolism.3-7 Since these “normal” toxic molecules (sometimes called “excitotoxins”) are produced every day of your life, eventually they start to wear down or erode away brain mass.

Another well-known cause of brain cell injury is overactivated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Lithium can inhibit this overactivity.8 And lithium also increases production of a major brain protective protein called “bcl-2″ in both human and animal brain cells.9

So it appears that lithium can protect against normal brain erosion and shrinkage that would otherwise occur over the course of our lives. But lithium also protects the brain from other less “normal” problems too, like damage caused by prescription medications and strokes.

When a clot or other obstruction occurs in a blood vessel serving the brain, it causes a reduction of blood flow to that area. If it’s bad enough, the lack of blood flow will cause a stroke and death of brain cells. (This type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke.) Research in experimental animals with deliberately induced ischemic strokes has shown that lithium reduces the areas of cell death.10,11

In one of these studies, researchers blocked a brain artery in rats. Some were pre-treated with lithium for 16 days, the rest weren’t. The researchers reported that the lithium-treated rats experienced 56 percent less cell death and significantly fewer neurologic deficits than the control rats.12

And sometimes medications designed to treat other problems end up having a negative impact on the brain. For example, anti-convulsant medications cause abnormal levels of brain cell death. But lithium significantly protects against this type of cell death-so much so that this effect has been called “robust” (a term scientists use to mean “It really works!”).13

In fact, based on its general neuroprotective effect, researchers have recently suggested that “the use of lithium as a neurotrophic/neuroprotective agent should be considered in the long term treatment of mood disorders, irrespective of the ‘primary’ treatment modality being used for the condition.”14 Translation: Lithium should be used along with any patent medicine being used for depression, anxiety, or any other “mood-altering” reason, since it will protect brain cells against their unwanted toxic effects. The researchers didn’t say so, but I will: Any list of “mood altering substances” should include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, “uppers,” “downers,” and-for those who do inhale-marijuana. Harmless as some of them might seem, these substances can cause brain damage with medium to long-term abuse.

Keeping your brain’s lines of communication open -and healthy

Scientists determine how healthy brain cells are by measuring levels of a molecule called N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA). A decrease in NAA is thought to reflect decreased nerve cell viability, decreased function, or even nerve cell loss.15 In a study of 19 research volunteers given four weeks of lithium, 14 experienced a significant increase in NAA, one had no change, and four had a small decrease.16

Now, what about the interaction between those new, protected, healthy brain cells? Communication between brain cells and networks of brain cells is called “signaling.” And lithium is actually necessary for at least two signal-carrying pathways.17 Researchers have also reported that lithium may help to repair abnormally functioning signaling pathways in critical areas of the brain.18

Lithium and Alzheimer’s: New hope for a “hopeless” situation

As you know, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and there’s very little available for patients (and families) that can offer even partial relief from the turmoil it causes. So when new treatments are developed or discovered, it’s usually big news -a ray of hope for people stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation. One of these newly developed patent medications, called Memantine,(tm) was recently approved in Europe. Even though it’s not officially “approved” in this country (yet), thousands of people are already importing Memantine to the U.S. via various Internet sources. But why go through all the trouble (not to mention risk) of getting and using this new patent formula? Apparently, it “works” by protecting brain cells against damage caused by a major excitotoxin, glutamate. But protecting against glutamate-induced nerve cell damage is also one of the well-known actions of lithium. So if it’s true that this newly approved patent medication slows the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in this way, then lithium should slow Alzheimer’s disease progression, too. Of course, lithium treatment, which isn’t patentable and doesn’t have nearly the profit potential of patented Alzheimers medications, hasn’t made any headlines. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a promising option for patients struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many other research findings that also strongly suggest that lithium will protect against potential Alzheimer’s disease and slow the progression of existing cases. Researchers have reported that lithium inhibits beta-amyloid secretion, and also prevents damage caused by beta-amyloid protein once it’s been formed.20-23 Beta-amyloid peptide is a signature protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease: the more beta-amyloid protein, the worse the Alzheimer’s becomes.

Overactivation of a brain cell protein called tau protein also contributes to neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, as does the formation of neurofibrillary tangles Lithium inhibits both of these nerve-cell damaging problems.24,25

And you’ve likely read that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease usually have excess aluminum accumulation in brain cells. While it’s not yet known whether this excess aluminum is a cause, an effect, or just coincidental, most health-conscious individuals take precautions to avoid ingesting aluminum. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely avoid all aluminum, since it’s naturally present in nearly all foods. But lithium can help protect your brain against aluminum by helping to “chelate” it so that it can be more easily removed from the body.25

Although Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia aren’t technically the same, they do share many of the same degenerative features so there’s every reason to expect that lithium will help prevent or slow the progression of senile dementia too.

A younger, healthier brain with just one small dose a day

As I mentioned earlier, some of these studies used rather high doses of lithium. And in some instances, as in the case of manic depression, doses as high as 90 to 180 milligrams of elemental lithium from 900 to 1800 milligrams of lithium carbonate are necessary. Quantities of lithium in that range must be monitored closely to guard against overdose and toxicity.

But you really don’t need large amounts to improve your “every-day” brain function. Studies have repeatedly shown that substantially lower amounts of lithium can significantly improve brain function (as reflected in behavior).

The amounts of lithium I recommend for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20 milligrams (from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) daily. I’ve actually been recommending these amounts since the 1970s. At first I was exceptionally cautious and asked all of my patients taking lithium to have regular “lithium level” blood tests and thyroid function tests. After a year or so, I quit asking for the lithium level blood tests, since 100 percent of them came back very low. Another year after that, I stopped requesting routine thyroid function tests, too, only doing one when I was suspicious of a potential problem. In the 30 years since, I’ve rarely found one.

Protect your brain starting today–no prescription necessary

High-dose lithium is available only by prescription. But low-dose lithium (capsules or tablets containing 5 milligrams of lithium from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) is available from a few natural food stores and compounding pharmacies.

If you’re interested in keeping your brain as young as possible for as long as possible, you should definitely consider lithium therapy. Review this information with your physician…but make sure he is skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine!

A sneak peek at even more lithium secrets

In Part 2, I’ll review lithium’s many other effects-from preventing anorexia to relieving cluster headaches, to lowering blood sugar (and that’s just to name a few!). I think you’ll be surprised at just how versatile this misunderstood mineral can be.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read the Health e-Tips on lithium (or to sign up to begin receiving these free e-mail updates), visit the Nutrition & Healing website at www.wrightnewsletter.com.

JVW

Lithium – the misunderstood Mineral – Pt 2

Lithium fights crime and some of your most nagging health concerns

Turns out it’s not only the strict use of the death penalty lowering crime rates in some areas of Texas. And while I’m sure “Dubya” would be quick to take credit, it’s not stricter laws or changes in sentencing guidelines either. Using 10 years of data accumulated from 27 Texas counties, researchers found that the incidence of homicide, rape, burglary, and suicide, as well as other crimes and drug use, were significantly lower in counties whose drinking water supplies contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter than those with little or no lithium in their water.

The researchers wrote: “These results suggest that lithium at low dosage levels has a generally beneficial effect on human behavior…increasing the human lithium intakes by supplementation, or the lithiation [adding lithium] of drinking water is suggested as a possible means of crime, suicide, and drug-dependency reduction at the individual and community level.”

And that’s not to mention all of the lithium health benefits we went over in Part 1: It may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and possibly Parkinson’s disease. Lithium not only protects brain cells against normal wear and tear, but also offers additional protection against a whole variety of toxic molecules, including patent medications. It can also promote brain cell regeneration and increase brain cell mass. In essence, the research suggests that lithium is a brain anti-aging nutrient.

All of these results are every bit as good as (if not better than) the data that led to dumping toxic waste (fluoride) into so many public water supplies. So why haven’t public health and safety “authorities” been pushing for further intensive research on water-borne lithium and criminal behavior?

I’m certainly not in favor of the government adding anything to pure drinking water. But if it insists on forcibly mass-medicating us through our water supply (a thoroughly un-American concept I’m 100 percent against no matter what the added substance is), why haven’t they considered adding something that might actually do some real good for people’s health and safety? Isn’t the possibility of reducing homicide, suicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, mental hospital admissions, and drug addiction related arrests just as important as the possibly of preventing tooth decay?

Call me pessimistic, but I suspect lithium is still being ignored because no huge, politically connected industry has enormous quantities of lithium-containing waste lying around. (In the 1940s, that’s exactly how water fluoridation began, by using up huge quantities of fluoride-containing toxic waste generated by the politically connected aluminum industry.)

But if there’s one thing we all know about the U.S. government, it’s that we shouldn’t wait for the people running it to do anything to help us, especially when we can help ourselves. So today let’s go over a few more of lithium’s benefits and I’ll tell you how you can help yourself to this valuable mineral right now.

Lithium tackles another addiction

In 30 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I’ve been told by many alcoholics and their relatives that low-dose lithium can be very helpful for both alcoholism and associated mood disorders. For “practicing” alcoholics, I recommend a trial of lithium orotate, 10 milligrams three times daily (along with diet advice, niacin, glutamine, and other supplements). I ask recovering alcoholics to try 5 milligrams, three times daily (occasionally more). The majority of these patients report improved mood and decreased desire for alcohol after about six weeks using lithium therapy.

According to one review article in the British Journal of Addiction, “both controlled and uncontrolled experiments show that symptoms of both alcoholism and affective disturbance are reduced in patients treated with lithium.”2 (All of the studies reviewed used high dose prescription lithium.)

I also often recommend direct blood relatives of alcoholics (parents, children, or siblings) consider a trial of lithium orotate, 5 milligrams two or three times daily, even if they have never noticed a mood problem. I explain that this is a “personal clinical trial,” and a safe one, that they can discontinue in six to eight weeks if they don’t feel a difference. I also ask that the individual discuss this personal clinical trial with their husband, wife, or other close household member, since I’ve found that the individual doesn’t always notice subtle (or even not-so-subtle) mood changes in himself. But immediate family members notice-particularly when the changes are for the better! I haven’t kept a count of exactly how many individuals have tried this approach over the last 30 years, but it’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of 300 to 400-maybe more. And the majority report positive changes: less depression and irritability for women, and less irritability and “temper” for men.

Can lithium help solve your health mysteries?

So far, you’ve read about how lithium can help combat mental illness, mood disorders, and chemical dependency. All of these benefits, in turn, help communities become safer places overall by reducing rates of violent crime. And, yes, increased safety does benefit you and me. But right now, let’s discuss some ways that you might be able to put lithium to work in your own life with some surprising applications for a few rather “mysterious” conditions.

By “mysterious,” I don’t mean brand-new, mutated viruses like the recent outbreak of SARS. No, the conditions I’ll go over today have been around for quite a while. But the mystery lies in the fact they each of them is still considered “incurable.” Let’s start with one of the most painful.

Fibromyalgia relief: This “last resort” could rank No. 1

This condition primarily strikes women and causes debilitating pain and stiffness. Lithium can help alleviate these symptoms without the problems associated with conventional fibromyalgia treatments, which include tranquilizer, antidepressant, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (which only temporarily mask the pain and sleeplessness that often occur).

One study examined three women suffering from fibromyalgia, none of whom had responded to conventional treatment. When researchers added lithium to the women’s current treatment, all three noticed a marked reduction in their symptoms.3

The authors of the study didn’t explain why they didn’t have the women discontinue their ineffective conventional treatments, but I’ve got a pretty good idea that their motives might have had something to do with the fact that the conventional treatments, as useless as they were for these women, are the “standard” protocol.

But I digress.

The gout-eliminating combination that tastes as good as it feels

You might remember reading the Health e-Tip on lithium and gout several months ago (2/3/03, subject line: “Help! My big toe is on fire!”). As the e-Tip mentioned, gout occurs when the body can’t process and eliminate excess uric acid. The result is a painful burning or stabbing sensation usually in the ball joint of the foot.

Although there are no published studies on this topic, over the years I’ve found the combination of low-dose lithium (10-15 milligrams twice daily) and vitamin C (2 grams twice daily) can be very effective in preventing recurrent attacks of gout. Vitamin C significantly reduces serum uric acid levels. Lithium makes uric acid more soluble so it doesn’t crystallize into painful “needles.” These two actions combine to significantly reduce gout attacks. If you have gout, I also recommend that you drink 32 oz. of cherry juice at the first sign of an attack. Just please make sure it’s real cherry juice–no sugar added. Although no one is sure why or how it works, studies have shown that cherry juice usually eliminates the pain of acute gout.

85 percent cluster headache relief in just two weeks

Cluster headaches are another one of those inexplicable conditions that my patients tell me always seem to come on at exactly the wrong time. In fact, they might actually be one of the most “mysterious” of the conditions I’ve listed so far since, like fibromyalgia, the cause isn’t known. They tend to attack relentlessly for weeks to months and then often go into remission for months or even years. But lithium (in relatively high doses) can significantly reduce both the severity and frequency.

One study examined lithium’s effects on 19 men with cluster headaches. Eight had rapid improvement-an average 85 percent reduction-in their “headache index” in just two weeks. Four individuals had both cluster headaches and psychiatric symptoms; these four had almost complete elimination of their headaches. The remaining seven had only a slight benefit.5

Another research group tried lithium therapy (again, relatively high quantities) for 14 individuals with cluster headaches. Five individuals had complete disappearance of their headaches, four had significant improvement, and four had no change.6

There’s no guarantee that lithium will cure your cluster headaches, but there is a good chance that it might help. With so few other options available, it’s at least worth a try.

Simple relief from those annoyingly persistent problems

Along the same lines as these mysterious conditions are a few other conditions that lithium can benefit. But these are less on the mysterious side and more in the vein of annoyingly persistent. Even so, lithium can still help in a number of ways.

  • One research group reported that lithium inhibits the reproduction of several viruses, including herpes simplex viruses (HSV 1, HSV 2), adenovirus (the “common cold” virus), cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (associated with mononucleosis and many cases of chronic fatigue), and the measles virus.7

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of lithium carbonate (doses ranging from 150-900 milligrams daily) demonstrated “a consistent reduction in the number of herpes episodes per month, the average duration of each episode, the total number of infection days per month, and the maximum symptom severity. In contrast, treatment with placebo resulted in an increase in three of the four severity measures.”8

In addition to lithium, selenium, lysine, and other nutrients can also help suppress the reproduction of herpes simplex (and other viruses) and speed the recovery process should an active infection occur. I tend to think it’s better-and safer-to follow this approach (using small quantities of several effective nutrients rather than a larger quantity of just one), so nearly 10 years ago I worked with Bio-Tech Pharmacal to create a useful anti-herpes formula. We combined low-dose lithium with selenium, lysine, vitamin C, olive leaf extract, and other nutrients into two formulas, one (called HPX) for prevention of herpes simplex, and the other (called HPX2) for treatment of outbreaks. Those who have used it tell me it does the job, cutting down or eliminating recurrent herpes infections and/or helping them heal more quickly when they do occur. HPX and HPX2 are both available through natural food stores and compounding pharmacies.

A quick end to a Grave disease

Hyperthyroidism can be persistent and difficult to treat. It comes on either very suddenly or very gradually-so gradually, you might not even notice that something is really wrong until the symptoms become severe. Graves’ disease is one of the common names for hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the immune system disrupts the functioning of the thyroid gland, causing it to become enlarged and to secrete too much hormone.

  • Mainstream treatments completely shut down the production of thyroid hormone using dangerous patent medicines. But lithium can get to the root of the problem much more safely.

In 1972, Mayo Clinic researchers published the first clinical investigation of lithium treatment for Graves’ disease.9 Using high-dose lithium for 10 individuals, they reported that thyroid hormone levels fell by 20-30 percent within five days.

Twenty-six years later, in a review of more than 10 successful trials of lithium therapy for Graves’ disease, the authors wrote: “a small number of studies have documented its [lithium's] use in the treatment of patients with Graves’ disease… it’s efficacy and utility as an alternative anti-thyroid [treatment] are not widely recognized…”10 They also note lithium’s rapid effect: “Lithium normalizes [thyroid hormone] levels in one to two weeks…” But they also caution that “toxicity precludes its use as a first-line or long-term therapeutic agent.” If they’d just added flaxseed oil and vitamin E to their treatment, they would have basically eliminated the risk of toxicity.

Lithium’s benefits: Ripe for the picking

Perhaps the budding evidence about lithium and brain protection will spark even more interest in researching this mineral. Maybe researchers will accumulate enough evidence to prove that lithium can slow or even reverse brain aging. And perhaps researchers will conclude that putting very low dose lithium into drinking water to reduce violent crime is even more important than adding fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

But I won’t hold my breath. Lithium isn’t patentable, so I doubt that patent-medicine companies will even consider funneling huge amounts of research dollars into it. And if the patent-medicine companies aren’t interested in it, it isn’t likely to be “approved” for these or other uses any time soon. But remember, “approval” does not ensure safety or effectiveness; it just means that procedures have been followed, forms have been filled out, and money-lots and lots of money-has changed hands.

Now for the good news: Just because lithium won’t be formulated into the next wonder drug and isn’t likely to be making the headlines of your local news, that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of its benefits-from brain anti-aging to headache relief–right now. Low-dose lithium supplements are available in some natural food stores.

If you decide to give lithium a try, as with any new treatment or preventive measure (even an all-natural one), it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural medicine as part of your decision.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read the Health e-Tips on lithium (or to sign up to begin receiving these free e-mail updates), visit the Nutrition & Healing website at www.wrightnewsletter.com.

JVW

Citations available upon request and on the Nutrition & Healing website: www.wrightnewsletter.com

Vitamin D Newsletter

New study finds high prevalence of osteopenia in infants
October 26, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
When we talk about T scores, osteopenia and osteoporosis, we assume we are talking about older people, especially post-menopausal women. However, a group of obstetricians and pediatricians from the University of Sienna, led by Dr. Franco Bagnoli, reported that 42% of infants have osteopenia.Bagnoli F, Casucci M, Rossetti A, Nappini S, Cecchi S, Toti S, Franci MB. Vitamin D as a drug. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Oct;24 Suppl 1:7-11What I like was that the authors said, “To be safe, vitamin D administration should be increased to 2,000 IU/day for neonates, 5,000 IU/day for children and 10,000 IU/day for all adults.” Obstetricians are generally regarded as the one group of physicians that seldom change their mind. My hat is off to these seven obstetricians.So many infants have craniotabes, or softening of the fontanels, it is considered normal although such infants show signs of vitamin D deficiency. That is, about a third of our infants show evidence of having low vitamin D during their development in the womb.

Yorifuji J, Yorifuji T, Tachibana K, Nagai S, Kawai M, Momoi T, Nagasaka H, Hatayama H, Nakahata T. Craniotabes in normal newborns: the earliest sign of subclinical vitamin D deficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 May;93(5):1784-8.

Finally, if you look at the incidence of rickets inside the womb by ultrasound, about a third of infants have signs of intrauterine rickets (splaying or widening of the femur) during their pregnancy.

Mahon P, Harvey N, Crozier S, Inskip H, Robinson S, Arden N, Swaminathan R, Cooper C, Godfrey K; SWS Study Group. Low maternal vitamin D status and fetal bone development: cohort study.J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Jan;25(1):14-9.

Then there is the evidence that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is associated infection, toxemia and caesarean section, not to mention a host of diseases as the child ages, including diabetes, asthma, and infections. If you know any pregnant or breastfeeding woman, make sure she is taking at least 6,000 IU/day (10,000 IU/day is fine) and then make sure the child takes 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D when he is weaned and progressively more as he ages, until he is on 5,000 IU/day as a teenager.

However, you and I both know many people will not take supplements or give them to their children, which is why Professor Walter Willett of Harvard believes this is a public health problem that will only be solved through adequate food fortification. Also, prenatal vitamin makers could easily increase the vitamin D in their products up to 4,000 IU/day and stay within the safety guidelines of the Food and Nutrition Board. Many more foods need to be fortified, and these foods need to be foods that all subgroups of people eat in similar amounts, such as cheese and cereals. These foods need to have 400 IU per serving, not 100 IU per serving. I wish I could tell you that I think I will live to see it.

Children do not get enough sunshine
October 21, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
New paper suggests that children do not get enough sun exposure to meet their minimum daily vitamin D requirements… continue reading
Vitamin D and sepsis
October 17, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
In July of 2011, researchers from three different divisions of infectious disease (Akron Medical Center, Rochester School of Medicine, and Case Medical Center) reviewed the role of vitamin D in sepsis… continue reading
Review finds association between vitamin D and colorectal cancer
October 24, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
From the Sixth People’s Hospital in Shangai, China, Dr. Yanlei Ma and five of her colleagues looked at all the existing studies on vitamin D and colon cancer, finding 18 studies with one million subjects, including almost 7,000 with colorectal cancer… continue reading
Successful treatment for feline distemper?
October 25, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
A reader writes in about using vitamin D on his cats who were diagnosed with feline distemper… continue reading
Association between vitamin D and adiponectin
October 20, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
Recent study is able to correct for all known potential co-founders between vitamin D and adiponectin and still find an association between the two… continue reading
Vitamin D levels in children with psychiatric disorders
October 18, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
Researchers from Oregon’s medical school discovered that children with mental problems were more likely to have severe vitamin D deficiency… continue reading
Mailbag: Vitamin D, nutrition and bone health
October 13, 2011 — Dr John Cannell
Dr. Cannell responds to a few emails about bone health, nutrition and vitamin D… continue reading

Ways DUST can Hurt Us

Dust to dust

Inspired by a lab mishap, Ohio State researcher seeks to create library of microscopic particulate matter

By Spencer Hunt | THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

TOM DODGE DISPATCH Ohio State University chemist James Coe shoots a laser through a thin metal mesh that traps dust particles.

For many scientists, dust particles can pose big problems.  * One more invisible gremlin that can foul up experiments. * That’s how things started for James Coe, an Ohio State University chemistry professor who was testing a new type of scanning device that beams infrared light though microscopic holes in a razor-thin metal mesh. * His experiment was supposed to measure the spectra of latex spheres placed on the mesh. But Coe discovered that a lone dust particle had gotten in the mix. * Although the particle was 3 microns wide (30 of them equal the width of a human hair), “It was messing up the averaging that we were doing,” he said. * But before he started over, he saw that the scanner had identified the bits of rock and organic gunk that formed that dust particle.  * Call that Coe’s eureka! moment.  * All of a sudden, the stuff we sweep from our floors became the focus of a research project.

*              *             *

Coe trapped and scanned the dust in the air in his laboratory and “characterized” 63 particles. The results were published in July in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

It’s more than an exercise in scientific curiosity.   Health experts say Coe’s work could aid efforts to better understand how dust particles help trigger allergies, breathing problems and even heart attacks.

His research shows that most dust particles are a mixture of two or more ingredients stuck together.   Dust particles come in many forms and sizes. Compared to lab dust, house dust is more likely to include flakes of skin and hair from people and pets, as well as fibers from clothing and carpets, Coe said. That dust usually is pretty large, measuring 10 microns or larger.

He said he is most interested in dust particles that range from 3 microns to 5 microns. That’s because these particles are more likely to be inhaled deeply into lung tissues.    The most-common mineral ingredient found in the lab particles was silica, fragments of quartz that more commonly make up sand. It was found in 34 of the 63 particles.     Clay was found in 17 particles; and calcium carbonate rock, including limestone, dolomite and ankerite, also was found in 17 particles. Some particles contained more than one type of mineral.

Other particles included what could be manmade materials. Gypsum, which was found in 14 particles, is an ingredient in wall board. Coe said two particles also showed evidence of nitrates, a key ingredient in fertilizer.

At least 40 of the 63 particles showed evidence of some type or plant or animal material.

Spectroscopy detected complex hydrocarbon molecules found in living things. Five of the particles had spectra similar to those given off by yeast cells.    Further analysis is needed to determine what these organic materials actually are. The work would involve separating out the mineral spectra to focus on the organic portions, he said.

*                *               *

This type of particle-specific analysis is new. Until now, dust research typically involved analyzing thousands of dust particles in a single sample.     The average spectra created in these tests could cover up a smaller number of particles that don’t have the same general “ingredients,” Coe said.

  • But his technique for scanning singular ingredients could open new windows for advances in medical research.

Janice Nolen, vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association, said scientists have long known that the microscopic particles that form airborne soot can help trigger asthma attacks and heart attacks. But they don’t know why or which type of particle is worse. Part of the problem is that soot from different sources mixes together in the air.

“Are particles from wood fires as harmful as those from coal-fired power plants? What about diesel-exhaust particles?” Nolen said. “We are trying to see what the impacts are of what’s in those particles, but it’s not quite clear yet what the differences are.”

Dr. David Hauswirth, an allergist at OSU Medical Center, said an analysis of the dust in a patient’s home could help doctors tailor more-effective allergy treatments.    “We know that dust is a carrier for a lot of the things we are allergic to,” Hauswirth said. “Here, they’ve come up with a way that potentially could identify individual particles that could cause reactions.”

*                  *                *

The technique for gathering dust samples is simple. Researchers place the mesh, which looks like super-thin aluminum foil, over a tube connected to an air pump.    The pump draws air — and dust — through the foil. They place the foil under an electron microscope to look for dust particles caught in the holes. The mesh is then placed in the scanner for analysis.

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY    A sample of dust particles collected in Coe’s lab

Coe said he and his graduate and undergraduate students hope to build a dust “library” that goes beyond the 63 particles found in their lab.    “Now we will go out to other places where you would expect to see different particles,” he said.

Students already have collected air samples from areas where people were smoking cigarettes, Coe said. Other locations could include parking garages and airport lobbies.     Coe said he believes that the materials that make up dust particles in those locations could be remarkably different from the dust found in his lab and include compounds created by burning tobacco and gasoline.

The researchers also will try to find out why a few particles appear to be mostly mineral while others are a hodgepodge of different ingredients.    “Clays seem to pick up organic materials more readily,” Coe said. “We don’t know why.” shunt@dispatch.com

Dust and dust mites

You might suffer dust (or dust mite) allergies. How do you know? An allergist can help determine why your nose runs, your eyes water and you sneeze. Some facts:

• House-dust exposure also can trigger asthma symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. These microscopic arachnids are hardy creatures that live and multiply easily in warm, humid places.

• People who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins inside mites and their waste. These particles are found mostly in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture.

• There can be many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust. Each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste particles per day and lives for 30 days.

Mites eat shed skin and dander.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

October 27, 2011

Halloween is fun, doggone it

Halloween is fun, doggone it

Pets and some people were all dressed up with somewhere to go yesterday — the annual Halloween Pet Parade in the Town Square of Easton Town Center. Registration fees were used to raise money for the Capital Area Humane Society, the event’s sponsor. Awards were given for such categories as scariest and funniest costumes. To see a slide show of additional pictures from Easton’s 12th year hosting the event, go to Dis  patch.com/photos  .

NEAL C. LAURON DISPATCH PHOTOS Aye, matey, that’s Adrianna Williams, 3, and her dog Bentley donning their pirate personas for the annual Halloween Pet Parade at Easton Town Center yesterday. Entry fees helped abused, abandoned and homeless animals.

These two easy riders, looking dapper and a little dangerous in their motorcycle gear, are, from left, Jack and Charles “Gibson.” Awards were given for best, scariest and funniest costumes in the Halloween parade.

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