Dear Friends and Patients:
As the Christmas/Chanukah holidays and a New Year rapidly approach, the staff at the Preventive Medicine Center and I want to say Athank you@ for all of your referrals and support this past year. Many of you have worked hard to improve your health and enjoy life, and we celebrate your successes. Our heartfelt wishes go out to you and your families for a healthy and joyous holiday season.
Webster’s defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.” As our nation is in the midst of a major change within our health care system, “wellness” is a concept that is completely foreign to the “sickness” industry. Wellness doesn’t fill prescriptions or hospital beds. I have communicated with our elected officials to embrace the concept of encouraging healthy habits that prevent disease and suffering. Wellness is not a concept that the big hospital chains, drug companies and insurance industry will lobby for. Wellness is the responsibility of the individual to place him or herself in charge of their own health and well-being.
A recent TV news announcement from Britain pronounced that babies being born in that country could now expect a lifespan of “100+ years.” What was ignored was what I call “healthspan,” or the length of time an individual is relatively free of serious disease or disability. This is quality of life as opposed to quantity of life. Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, death and disability in the United States and account for almost 80% of the health expenditures. But according to the American Medical Association, physicians receive very little training in providing care for chronic conditions as the emphasis has been on acute care.
In this issue of the Newsletter I will share some of the information I gained while attending the ICIM (International College of Integrative Medicine) conference on Detoxification in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this past October. This was an international meeting attended by physicians from China, Greece, India, Canada and other foreign countries as well as from the US.
In an Environment Working Group report researchers examined the umbilical cords of 10 newborn babies born in U.S. hospitals. They tested for 400 chemicals and 287 were detected in umbilical cord blood. Of these 287 chemicals, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans and animals, 207 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects. In another study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health, 4 year old children in Michigan were found to have DDT (a pesticide) in over 70%, PCBs (a cancer causing chemical) in over 50% and PBB (a cancer causing chemical) in over 21%. It was determined nursing was the primary source of exposure! In another study over 90% of U.S. foods have pesticides in them.
In a National Human Adipose Tissue Survey done by the Environmental Protection Agency, samples of fat from autopsies or surgeries were taken from 33,000 people free of serious disease. The survey looked for 54 different chemicals. What was found was 100% of the samples had 5 items:
Styrene (from cigarettes and Styrofoam), 1, 4 dichlorobenzene (mothballs), xylene (exhaust fumes), ethylphenol (from creosote) and dioxin. Almost all of the samples had DDE, a metabolite of DDT, which was banned in the 1970s and also chloroform, which comes from chlorinated drinking water and showers.
Here’s a common scenario. You’ve just parked your car at the beach or the mall parking lot during a hot, sunny day in Florida, and return later that day. When you return the car interior can reach 200 degrees and there’s an oily substance covering the bottom of your windshield. Much of this oily substance is due to out gassing of compounds called phthalates (pronounced THAL-LATES) from the plastic components in your car. You’ve put a case of bottled water in the trunk of your car after grocery shopping, not realizing phthalates in the plastic have migrated into your water and will go into your body.
Some phthalates, including butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), are xenoestrogens (synthetic estrogens). They can bind to estrogen receptors and act as hormone disruptors. BBP, DBP and another common phthalate, di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) when added to a culture of breast cancer cells makes these cells grow rapidly. In addition, these three phthalates inhibit the anti-tumor action of tamoxifen. They are associated with causing early puberty in girls. They are associated with an increased risk of prostate and testicular cancer in males, and also liver cancer.
Early life exposure to phthalates holds the greatest risk for harm and prenatal exposure to very low doses may have irreversible, lifelong effects. A recent study reported in a 2008 edition of Pediatrics found measurable levels of seven out of nine phthalates tested in the urine of infants born between 2000 and 2005. Levels were closely correlated with use of infant care products (lotion, powder, shampoo) within 24 hours of urine sample collection, making it clear that what goes on baby also goes into baby. Some crib mattresses have plastic covers containing phthalates. These should be avoided.
In Europe, phthalates are banned from all personal care products. In the USA the FDA permits the use of phthalates in cosmetics because of insufficient evidence that they’re harmful to humans. As of February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the manufacture of child care articles and toys containing phthalates.
BPA was developed in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen (xenoestrogen) and it acts like an estrogen in humans, increasing the risk of breast cancer. Just like phthalates, BPA causes breast cancer cells in culture to grow and it inhibits the effects of Tamoxifen.
Studies funded by the chemical industry say it’s harmless; non-industry studies show it’s a powerful hormone-disruptor linked to breast cancer. There are no human studies to prove safety of this chemical. A number of animal studies show that prenatal and early life exposure to extremely low levels of BPA alters development of the mammary gland in ways that predispose the animals to cancer in adult life. Animal studies also implicate BPA in childhood obesity.
Phthalates and BPA are only 2 chemicals out of hundreds that humans are exposed to on a daily basis. There is no way one can predict the effect that exposure to low doses of multiple chemicals have on human health. The toxic effect may be much more severe than just an additive effect. Also, just because the amount of a hazardous chemical is a “low dose” in an exposure doesn’t make it safe. We are not talking about a single exposure. There is a mechanism called bio-accumulation, where multiple low doses of toxins over time accumulate to where the organism or human become poisoned.
2. Avoid choosing products that use polyvinyl chloride (#3), polystyrene (#6), and polycarbonate (#7) which often are found in baby bottles or sippy cups.
3. Store foods in Pyrex or corning ware containers and avoid the use of plastic wraps or storage bags.
4. Use glass or stainless steel containers to store filtered water rather than plastic bottles.
5. Eat and cook with fresh foods rather than canned foods.
6. Use aluminum foil to wrap food rather than plastic cling wrap.
7. Replace plastic water bottles, cups, cutting boards and food containers with glass, bamboo and stainless products.
8. If you are going to use microwave plastic wrapped foods, remove them from the container and place them in a Corning ware container instead.
The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. out of Kansas is in the process of providing a screening test for 75 different toxic chemicals, including phthalates, benzene, pesticides, and many others. The anticipated date of availability is January 2010 and the cost for this test was not available as of the time we went to press.
In a Nov. 29, 2007 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, David J. Brenner, Ph.D., and Eric J. Hall, Ph.D., from the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center, argue that the potential carcinogenic effects from using CT scans may be underestimated or overlooked. This is of particular concern, because perhaps one-third of all CT scans performed in the United States may not be medically necessary. Many of these scans are ordered for defensive purposes. What this means is potentially 20 million adults and more than one million children annually in the United States are being irradiated unnecessarily. A CT scan can expose an individual to 25 – 35 times the radiation dose of a chest X-ray.
The risk of radiation exposure is apparently higher among younger women. The National Cancer Institute released evidence that, among women under 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies. A Canadian study found a 52 percent increase in breast cancer mortality in young women given annual mammograms. The majority of health experts agree that the risk of breast cancer for women under 35 is not high enough to warrant the risk of radiation exposure. Similarly, the risk of breast cancer to women over 55 justifies the risk of mammograms. The statistics about mammography and women between the ages of 40 and 55 are the most contentious. A 1992 Canadian National Breast Cancer Study showed that mammography had no positive effect on mortality for women between the ages of 40 and 50. In fact, the study seemed to suggest that women in that age group are more likely to die of breast cancer when screened regularly. In a large scale Scandinavian study, women who received routine screening mammograms every 2 years (in Europe they do not do annual mammograms) had a 22 percent higher incidence of breast cancers than women of the same age group, but who underwent mammograms every 6 years. The conclusion of scientists was that either the higher accumulated dose of radiation in the group receiving every other year mammograms was causing breast cancer, or in the group that received a lower accumulated dose of radiation the malignancies were somehow being spontaneously healed by the body’s immune system.
While screening is an important step in fighting breast cancer, many researchers are looking for alternatives to mammography. Burton Goldberg, a researcher and publisher of alternative therapy books and DVDs, touts the safety and accuracy of new thermography technologies. Able to detect cancers at an early stage of development, thermography does not use x-rays, nor is there any compression of the breast. Also important, new thermography technologies do not lose effectiveness with dense breast tissue or obese patients, decreasing the chances of false-negative results. Thermography is approved by the FDA as an adjunct to but not a substitute for mammography. It can safely be used in any age group, including younger women.
Some doctors are now offering digital mammograms. Digital mammography is a mammography system in which x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electric signals. Though radiation is still used, digital mammography requires a much smaller dose. The electrical signals are used to produce images that can be electronically manipulated; a physician can zoom in, magnify and optimize different parts of breast tissue without having to take an additional image.
Breast thermography is available at Gainesville Thermography (either call 352-332-7212 or log on to
www.gainesvillethermography.com). Digital mammography is available at DIG (Diagnostic Imaging Group).
Ms. P was placed on a product called Serene, which contains 5 HTP, a precursor to serotonin. She was also placed on B vitamins and other nutritional supplements with rapid improvement in her symptoms. She continued doing well until another sudden death of a family member occurred. In addition to office counseling, a Meyer’s nutritional IV was given. The ingredients in this IV therapy were developed by Dr. Meyer. The Meyer’s formula is used by CAM (complementary and alternative) physicians world-wide to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and viral infections. Some of the ingredients include vitamin C, vitamin B 12, all other B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid. Within 12 hours of the IV therapy the patient felt calm and less depressed.