Dear Friends and Patients:
In our June 2012 Newsletter I shared with our readers how research has shown that one third of today’s medical “fact” becomes tomorrow’s discredited science. How many of you have heard taking a baby aspirin a day was good for your health and would prevent heart disease, strokes and cancer? This recommendation is now being questioned. A large study of aspirin use in the United States, Europe, and Japan found that for every 162 people who took aspirin, the drug prevented one nonfatal heart attack but caused two serious bleeding episodes. Aspirin use had no effect on overall risk of dying during the study and it wasn’t proven to prevent cancer. I need to emphasize the patients analyzed were all persons who never had a heart attack or stroke, so the aspirin was being used as primary prevention.
Older research has shown in men who have had a previous heart attack, taking aspirin on a regular basis could lower the risk of having another heart attack by 20-30%. It can also reduce the risk of repeat strokes in women that are caused by blood clots (embolic strokes). So what should you take from this? The lead researcher Dr. Sreenivasa stated “we have been able to show quite convincingly that in people without a previous heart attack or stroke, regular use of aspirin may be more harmful than it is beneficial.”
If you are taking aspirin but have no history of heart disease, I would suggest taking Bio Omega 3 fish oil instead, manufactured by Biotics Research. This is a fish-body (not fish liver) oil that is free of mercury, PCBs and other toxins. If you have a strong positive family history of heart attack or stroke, the decision whether or not to take prophylactic daily aspirin should be a decision between you and your doctor. In other words, a decision should be on a case-by-case basis.
THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET
Over the past decade a gluten-free diet has been touted to boost energy, improve health, treat ADD and autism, and promote weight lose. But who really needs this diet? Our readers may be familiar with celiac disease, a disorder where a person must avoid all gluten-containing foods. In this article I will discuss gluten sensitivity and gluten allergy, which are separate disorders from celiac disease.
Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains, including wheat, rye and barley. It may also be found to a lesser degree in oats. Gluten can be hidden in foods such as salad dressings, cold cuts, beer and others. It is added to ketchup as a stabilizing agent and also to ice cream. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keeping its shape. In patients with celiac disease the gliadin portion of gluten damages the lining of the patient’s small intestine due to an autoimmune reaction, destroying the villi. Villi are little projections of the small intestinal lining that are needed to both produce digestive enzymes and also help in absorption of nutrients. As the damage progresses, malnutrition and weight loss occur.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Over 100 symptoms have been attributed to celiac disease. Common symptoms in celiac disease include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Weight loss
- Frequent stomach upsets
There are specific lab tests that are used to diagnose this disorder. Unfortunately, because in many patients the symptoms are vague, they may be attributed to irritable bowel syndrome or stress or other disorders. There is no “cure” for celiac disease but the treatment is to remain on a gluten-free diet for the person’s lifetime.
What about patients whose blood tests are negative for celiac disease but still complain of reacting to gluten-containing foods? These patients have real symptoms and doctors should be aware of a condition called “gluten sensitivity.” A study was published in BMC Medicine where researchers described gluten sensitivity as a separate disorder from celiac disease. In this disorder, the small intestinal lining does not appear damaged but patients are symptomatic. About 1% of the population has celiac disease but as many as one in ten persons may react adversely to gluten. Doctors do not know exactly what gluten sensitivity is – it is not a wheat allergy nor is it celiac disease. And although symptoms are usually mild, patients may have symptoms that are as severe as those with celiac disease.
The diagnosis of gluten sensitivity rests with a person’s history and negative celiac disease lab tests. It’s not clear whether a person with gluten sensitivity needs to be as strict in avoiding all gluten-containing foods as a person with celiac disease. This may vary from person to person.
Gluten allergy can elicit a much different response than celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. If a sufferer eats, or even touches, something that has gluten in it, it may cause a severe physical response in which the body attacks the gluten protein. A gluten allergy is most commonly associated with an allergy to wheat, since gluten is the most common protein in that grain family. However, unlike gluten intolerance, people who suffer from a wheat allergy are often still able to eat foods that contain barley and rye. A gluten/wheat allergy can be diagnosed with a blood test called an anti IgE antibody screen. It can also be diagnosed using NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique) kinesthetic testing of gluten and wheat vials. This is an alternative type of allergy testing and is not an accepted standard Western medicine test. NAET therapy can also be used to eliminate food and other allergies and is successful approximately 85% of the time.
Common symptoms of gluten allergy include the following:
- Asthma or trouble breathing
- Hay fever
- Tissue swelling
- Chest pains
- Stomach upsets
Try A Gluten-Free Diet for 30 Days
If a person suspects either an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, going on a gluten-free diet for a period of time makes sense to see if symptoms resolve and energy improves. Some of the alternative grains that are gluten-free include quinoa, amaranth, and millet. Breads, cereals, and pastas can be found in health food stores and even in commercial grocery stores made from these grains. Dozens of gluten-free diet books are available on- line. It is not clear whether a gluten-free diet will benefit autism, ADD, or other conditions such as obesity. More research needs to be done.
THERMOGRAPHY’S PLACE IN BREAST CANCER DETECTION
I was recently reviewing my notes from an ACAM (American College for the Advancement of Medicine) conference on Integrative Oncology held in Las Vegas in 2008 when I came across a presentation by Alexander Mostovoy, M.D. on breast thermography for early breast cancer detection. Dr. Mostovoy is a homeopathic doctor and board certified in Clinical Thermography specializing in women’s health at his practice in Toronto, Canada. He provides thermographic reporting and consulting services to numerous clinics across North America, and is a frequent guest on radio shows. He also publishes articles in health magazines, educating women on how to take charge of their own health.
He made the point that early cancer detection saves lives but mammography is not “early detection.” It’s late detection, showing cancers 7 – 10 years after problems started. He stated thermography is an “early warning system.” Dr. Mostovoy and I emphasize thermal breast imaging is not a stand alone screening examination, a diagnostic examination nor a replacement examination. It is a method of detecting physiological changes associated with the presence or increased risk for the development of breast cancer. It is safe and non-invasive, and if integrated into a multi-imaging approach can provide an early warning signal of an abnormality. Thermography, just like mammography, is not 100% accurate. It may not detect very slow growing tumors.
In 1965, Gershon-Cohen, a radiologist and researcher from the Albert Einstein Medical Center, introduced infrared imaging to the United States. Since the late 1970′s numerous medical centers and independent clinics have used this procedure in hundreds of thousands of patients. In 1982 the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved breast thermography as an adjunctive diagnostic breast cancer screening procedure. Unfortunately, thermography has not been accepted by most mainstream medicine physicians. This dates back to a poorly constructed study in the 1970′s that concluded thermography should be placed in the “no improvement over mammography” category and that “further study was needed.” There were serious design flaws in that study where many of the personnel were poorly trained in taking thermographic images and protocol design was also a problem. For example, a temperature controlled environment was not consistently used and some of the study participants were even scanned in trailers without air-conditioning. Mammography became the modality of choice.
With established protocols in place for proper imaging and a multitude of large-scale studies demonstrating the value of thermographic imaging, thermography is rapidly becoming an important tool in early breast cancer detection and in the evaluation and monitoring of painful conditions. There has been a high level of refinement in DITI (digital infrared thermal imaging) since the early 1990′s due to advances in sensitivity, reliability, and the huge technological advances that have taken place in computing, solid state miniaturization, and declassification of military electronic super cooling and infrared technology. Today’s DITI scanners have super-cooled thermally stable receiver units capable of reading accurate to 100th of a degree C. At Gainesville Thermography, Inc., all thermographers have gone through a comprehensive training program certifying them, and the physicians who interpret the studies have also undergone advanced training specific to this discipline.
How and What Type of Information Does Thermography Give Us?
All living organisms, including humans, radiate heat energy in specific patterns. Using a special medical infrared digital thermal imaging camera, images of the infrared energy emitted by the skin’s surface are taken and recorded on a computer system. These thermal images can be interpreted by a qualified physician where skin temperatures, thermal and vascular patterns, and sympathetic nervous system responses can be distinguished between normal and abnormal physiological functions of the body. Tests of physiology may be a new concept to the reader. This is totally different than imaging studies such as X-rays, mammograms, MRI scans, ultrasounds or CT scans, which look at structure. For example, an EKG is a physiological test of heart electrical function. Among other things, the sympathetic nervous system controls core body temperature by increasing (vasodilatation) or decreasing (vasoconstriction) skin blood flow and surface temperature, keeping core temperature stable. The sympathetic nervous system originates in the spine, and goes through various organs until exiting in the skin. Medical thermography looks at the first 5mm of the skin’s surface, which is connected to the sympathetic nervous system. There is a system of dermatomes which have been mapped out that correlate to different organs. We are looking at these dermatomes with thermography. We are not looking at the organ itself. In other words, thermography looks “into the body” at the body’s response through the sympathetic nervous system. So it doesn’t matter what “depth” the problem is; it’s not conducted heat. We are looking at neural information and in particular, thermal patterns and temperature differentials rather than the temperatures themselves.
Essentially, the pathophysiological phenomena suitable for a DITI screening investigation can be divided into three broad categories:
- Inflammatory phenomena such as arthritis, soft tissue injuries (e.g. whiplash), and infections.
- Vasomotive phenomena such as seen with radicular neuropathies e.g. nerve compression (“pinched nerve”), reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and neuropathic pain such as in diabetic neuropathy.
- Vascular phenomena such as in circulatory (ischemic) phenomena or thrombophlebitis, or in angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth from tumors).
A 1998 study published in The Breast Journal reviewed 100 patients who were evaluated with thermal imaging and also mammography and physical exam. Mammography had an 85% sensitivity which increased to 95% with the addition of thermal imaging and 98% with thermal imaging and physical examination. Dr. Keysealingk, who is an oncologist, did this study. In a 2003 American Journal of Radiology article, 769 subjects with 875 mammographic lesions were studied with thermal imaging. All lesions were recommended for biopsy based on the mammographic findings. What was found was that thermal imaging provided a 97% sensitivity and 95% positive predictive value, significantly increasing the accuracy of the mammogram at biopsy. This is important as roughly 80% of all mammogram related biopsies are negative for malignancy. This high degree of false-positive tests was one of the concerns that led to new guidelines on breast cancer screening both here in the USA and in Canada.
New Breast Screening Guidelines
In 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new guidelines on breast cancer screening. This panel of experts recommended screening mammograms every 2 years for women aged 50 to 74, and to no longer do them annually. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care in November 2011 also issued new recommendations with a longer screening mammogram interval of once every 2 or 3 years. Both task forces recommended women ages 40 to 49 who are at average risk for breast cancer not get routine mammograms. What the task forces concluded after looking at the evidence (600,000 women who participated in 10 randomized trials of approximately 10 years follow up) was more frequent screening didn’t have an impact on the outcome and breast cancer death rates. There was also concern with the risk for false-positive tests and then unnecessary workups and over-treatment. These new recommendations were met with a lot of controversy within the medical community here in the USA. I agree with the new recommendations but would add consider a screening breast thermography annually, starting at age 40 or even earlier.
Although not addressed by the U.S. and Canadian task forces, there are a growing number of physicians who are concerned about exposing pre-menopausal female breasts to radiation on an annual basis. A Johns Hopkins study published in 2009 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute warned radiation exposure from annual mammograms could trigger breast malignancies in women with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancers who have altered genes (identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2). Contrary to conventional assurances that radiation exposure from mammography is trivial, premenopausal women undergoing annual screening over a ten-year period are exposed to a total of about 10 rads or radiation for each breast.
Also, mammography is not as accurate in diagnosing malignancies in dense breast tissue as is found in many younger, pre-menopausal women. But 1/3 of all breast cancers occur in women below the age of 45. Because breast thermography does not expose a person to any radiation and it’s accuracy is not affected by dense breast tissue, it should be incorporated into an annual health screening program. Finally, thermography has the additional advantage of revealing thermal changes from a hormonal condition called “estrogen dominance.” Estrogen dominance is a risk factor for breast and ovarian cancer development, and is a physiological condition that does not show up on mammography. Estrogen dominance can be found in women who have conditions such as fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids or PMS. For additional information on thermography, please go to our website www.prevent-doc.com and choose the “Thermography” link.
Patient Success Stories – 54 year old Male with Leg/Foot Pain and 60 year old Female with Shoulder and Arm Pain Receiving I.V. Magnesium
Mr. D is a 54 year old man who underwent surgery in 2001 for a herniated lumbar disc. He was having low back, leg and foot pain at that time which did not improve following his surgery. Shortly after that time he has had progressively increasing burning pain in the feet. A review of outside CT scan reports of the lumbar spine from 2010 showed a substantial disc space collapse at the L5-S1 level of his previous surgery and also foraminal stenosis or narrowing on the left where the nerve root exited his lumbar vertebrae. EMG (electromyographic) studies confirmed an abnormality of the left L5 nerve root.
Mr. D and his wife stated they had seen multiple physicians who tried a variety of pain medications including narcotics, Flexeril, Tramadol, Zapelon, prednisone and others. One physician in Miami suggested a morphine pump be surgically inserted into the spinal canal. The patient was taking Hydrocodone, a narcotic, and wanted to reduce the amount of this pain medication with the use of alternative therapies.
Mr. D underwent a comprehensive exam at the Center. His physical exam was unremarkable except for decreased sensation to pinprick in an L4-5 level in his toes. His basic lab work was normal but his Spectracell 5000 (intracellular vitamin and mineral analysis) showed a borderline deficiency in both vitamin D and magnesium. I felt his neuropathy was most likely related to his degenerative disc disease and nerve compression from foraminal stenosis. The use of intravenous magnesium for pain management was discussed and an empiric trial of three IV magnesium treatments at weekly intervals ensued with excellent results. The pre-treatment pain levels were described in the 3-4 out of 10 range with the post treatment pain levels at a 1. The patient was very pleased with the results.
Ms. M is a 60 year old female patient who lifted a case of water, straining her right shoulder and neck area. She saw her orthopedic surgeon when the pain persisted. An MRI scan did not show a capsular tear of her shoulder muscles but did show inflammation in the tendons. She was placed on Motrin and Hydrocodone for pain. In addition, she had a chronic carpel tunnel syndrome and was experiencing numbness in several of her finger of the right hand. She was in tears when she came to the Center, stating the pain medications and physical therapy were not relieving her pain. A trial of IV magnesium sulfate and B vitamins was discussed and Ms. M elected to proceed with this therapy. Her pain level was a 7 out of 10 at the start of the IV and dropped to “zero” at the completion of the IV. She was very grateful with the outcome.
For more information on magnesium therapy for pain management, please go to the “Articles” section of our website to my 2011 article “Magnesium for Pain Relief.”
WHAT’S NEW AT THE CENTER
Holiday Schedules- The Center will be closed on Monday, September 3rd, for Labor Day. We will be closed Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd for Thanksgiving. The Center will also be closed begining December 25th, 2012 through January 1st, 2013 to allow our staff to spend the Christmas/New Year holidays with their families. If you have an urgent medical problem during these dates, please contact your primary care physician or go to an Urgent Care Center.
Dr. Erickson will be attending a September conference where the lastest data and research on thermography and breast cancer, and as well as other thermography applications will be presented. Physicians from all over the U.S.A. will be attending this 2 day seminar sponsored by Meditherm.
New Staff (and Old Staff)- As many of you have learned, Kim Lipsey, our front office manager, has moved back to Ohio to be closer to family. We thank her for the years of excellent service she has given our patients and to Dr. Erickson. Please welcome Jennifer Woulard, who has taken Kim’s place. Jennifer and her family are Newberry, Florida residents. Jennifer has many years of experience in patient service in medical offices. You will love her bubbly personality and positive attitude. We are also very pleased to welcome back Mary Burns. Mary left our employ a year ago to care for her elderly mother. She is now able to return to our front office on a part time basis Monday through Thursdays.
Product Highlights- Bio-Multi Plus is a high quality, broad-spectrum multiple vitamin and mineral formula produced by Biotics Research. It contains the emulsified forms of the fat soluble vitamins, mixed ascorbates and vegetable culture chelated forms of trace minerals. This vegetable culture treatment of minerals is unique to this product. When minerals are in their organic form, they are much better assimilated by the body. In many cases, a preventive nutritional program will incorporate the use of a multi vitamin/mineral if targeted nutrition is not indicated. The usual dose is 2 to 3 tablets daily. Bio-Multi Plus comes in different formulas: iron containing, iron-free, and iron and copper free. We are happy to offer new lower pricing where a 90 tablet bottle is $22 and the larger 270 tablet size is $58.
Natural D Hist is a wonderful combination of Quercitin, Stinging Nettles Leaf, Bromelain and NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) to provide relief of seasonal allergies without drowsiness. Quercetin is a powerful natural flavonoid that has been shown to inhibit mast cell degranulation. Mast cells are cells in the respiratory tree that contain histamine. Stinging Nettles block certain enzymes involved in allergy pathways. Bromelain is a strong pineapple enzyme which supports normal mucosal tissue function and also has been used to treat candida. N-Acetyl Cysteine is an amino acid that is also a natural mucolytic, reducing the viscosity of mucous. NAC also increases Glutathione levels within the cell. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important antioxidants. Natural D Hist is $20 per bottle of 40 capsules.