A study coming out in March 2006 not funded by the manufacturer shows that there is a strong link between aspartame (Nutrasweet®) and cancer. Rsearchers at the nonprofit European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Bologna, Italy examined 1,800 lab rats consuming this artificial sweetner. They found more lymphomas and leukemias in the rats exposed to aspartame proportionate to the amount they ate.
Dose-response reactions are good indicators of causation of cancer so the link is quite strong. Opponents of this study cite previous work which did not show a link. Those studies were either funded by the makers of this poison (wow, surprise surprise they found nothing bad), were poorly done or were too small. Come on FDA, do your job and ban this poison!!!
Typically, I would write an article about the silliness that is the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) but this time, I’ll just link to an excellent comment on the subject by Pat Sullivan on his blog. I couldn’t have explained the problems with the study they published any better than Pat did. Click here to go and read his blog.
For three weeks in a row, the pharmaceutical industry has trotted out their loyal horses, and printed articles in the New England Journal of Medicine on how poorly nutritional and herbal supplements worked as opposed to placebos and their stellar medications. The news media picks up exactly what the companies want them to report on, not the entire truth.
Week after week, flawed studies are paraded out, written by people with vested interests (paid shills) for the pharmaceutical industry who is seeing their profits erode because of the dangerous side effects of the medications they tout as life savers.
In this particular study, the big news supposedly was that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate did little better than placebo in controlling pain in arthritic joints but boy did Celebrex work (guess who funded the authors?). In actuality, in severe cases, the nutritional supplement was superior but no one seems to focus on that.
The flaws in the study include a very high drop out rate (20%), small sample population and a very high placebo effect. Placebo’s in this trial were incredibly effective, way beyond what is found in almost all other placebo controlled studies. All in all, this paper wouldn’t have seen the light of day in a respectable journal unless it is another in a series of articles that fit an agenda perpetrated by the editorial staff of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Another fabulous book that should be on every health care practitioners bookshelf and should be read by anyone interested in the causation of disease. It is a must read that will open your eyes about the relationship between infection and diseases like schizophrenia, coronary heart disease, cancer, and much more. Dr. Paul Ewald writes in an easy to understand and flowing manner which makes the read enjoyable. Click on the book to go to Amazon.com and pick up a copy.
While I agree that our government is bloated and needs to have a lot of pork barrel programs cut but one of the proposals in the recent budget submitted to Congress is absolutely wrong. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program which helps low income seniors, mothers, infants and small children get nutritionally balanced food helps 4,800 people in Nevada alone each month. Can someone please explain to me what the reasoning behind this cut is? I would venture to say there are a number of other areas we can cut without hurting people who rely to some extent on this program.
Another budget proposal which should also get everyone up in arms is the proposal to triple the cost of health insurance for our veterans. These are people who risked their lives to protect our country and this is how we treat them? George Bush keeps telling us to support our troops in Iraq and I’m all for it. But to cut health services for veterans is appalling. If anything, we should be improving their lives and continue to say “thank you for everything you sacrificed for us.”
If our elected officials were really interested in making tough decisions and wanted to cut the waste, there are a lot of other programs they could cut without harming our senior citizens and veterans. Shame on them.
Is is just me, or are the NBC announcers covering the Winter Olympics just the biggest bunch of whiners? All I keep hearing is how bad all of the athletes are, how bad their ski runs are, how dull the skating is, yada yada yada. Seeing as most of them are ex-athletes, I’m wondering whether professional jealousy is their motivation behind the hyper criticism.
Hey, NBC, we’re not watching as much as usual because your annoying us to no end. Be more positive, please before I turn is off way before the end of the games.
One common thread I read about in many newsgroups relating to autism is the use of antifungal drugs like Nystatin and Flagyl to treat this common neurological disorder. There is a lab that claims to have a series of markers that prove that many autistic children have yeast (that nonsense will be the subject of another blog later this month) and it is a major part of their disease. They go on to show that they have many case studies from parents showing remarkable recoveries because of the use of antifungal therapy. This they go on to pontificate, is proof positive that they are right. Sorry, but that isn’t proof as there may be a stronger alternative reason.
One of the things that antifungal drugs may do is they may downregulate Phase I detoxification which is typically high in autistic children. The importance of this? If a child is toxic from solvents, heavy metals or other environmental insults, upregulated Phase I (increased) may create more neurotoxic byproducts than the Phase II detoxification system can handle. When we give the child an antifungal and they do better are we really just killing yeast or are we releaving the pressure caused by the neurotoxins floating around their system?
Well then, if we are lowering the Phase I detoxification pathway by using antifungals, isn’t this good regardless of why? Absolutely not. By abusing these kind of drugs we increase the likelihood of creating a new drug resistant fungus that may cause incalcuable long term damage to the child. Upregulating Phase II detoxification also known as conjugation reactions, is a better, safer and more productive choice.
The term biochemical individuality, coined by the late Dr. Roger Williams, means that every one of us are unique biochemical entities that should be treated uniquely whether it is with pharmaceuticals or nutritional supplements. Both conservative allopaths and alternative medical practitioners claim to understand the concept, but very few really get it. They bluster about how their theory takes our uniqueness into account but it all amounts to a bag of hot air.
I’ve seen health care practitioners claim that no one ever does well on N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and others who claim everyone needs it. They both should be made to sit in the corner and write in their spiral notebook, “people are different, not everyone is the same” one hundred times or until their fingers bleed, whichever comes first. I’ve been at lectures of a well respected scientist who will said that “everyone needs supplemental vitamin E.” This came from the same man who quoted Dr. Williams in many of his books. We should all be going into a moral epileptic fit when we hear such nonsense.
Conversely, we here that herb XX doesn’t work on disease YY as a proportion of people showed no improvement. If you read the study though, there were a goodly sized number who did get better. The authors, in their fervor to get published, didn’t bother to ask the question, “which subgroup got better and was there a biochemical profile that fit a pattern we could use to pinpoint those people?” We can’t do that because if we do that we might genuinely help people get better. ARRRGGGGHHH!!! Makes you want to go into the corner of a dark room and just cry.
The company I founded, Carbon Based Corporation (www.carbonbased.com)has focused its entire existence on the ideal of helping health care practitioners fully access the concept of biochemical individuality through its interpretive lab reports. Others have similar reports which they took from us, but all they do is look at one or two types of tests as though everyone is either made of fatty acids or simple blood chemistries. I guess they follow the adage, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem is a nail. What I believe is that there are many possible solutions and ways of getting there and to pigeon hole yourself into one or two tests as the be all is somewhat myopic at best. This is why I have helped develop interpretations over 30 different tests and hundreds of different combinations knowing that you can’t build your “health house” with just a hammer, you need saws, bricks, screwdrivers, glue guns, etc.
Each person is different. Let’s force our health care providers to treat us all that way and not like cattle going to slaughter.
While I am always a little hesitant for our government to open its purse strings and spend our money, a bill proposed by a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators needs our support. Called the PACE Act (Protecting America’s Competitive Edge) it is a first step towards increasing spending in the field of science and math. Instead of spending money on pork barrel projects like bridges in Alaska that no one will use, we need to help stimulate an improvement in our worldwide standing in science, math and engineering.
By improving our educational system, not with the failing rhetoric that is “No Child Left Behind”, but with better funding for education (note I didn’t say more, I said better) especially in fields of science and math.