Monthly Archives: November 2006

Statin Drugs – Not all they are cracked up to be.

In a shocking article (well, not to me) in the esteemed journal Archives of Internal Medicine, statin drugs didn’t seem to really make much of a difference in saving lives or preventing coronary heart disease, especially in healthy people.

For example, an analysis of seven previous trials involving nearly 43,000 adults aged 55 to 75 found that the average adult had a nearly 6 percent chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke over a 4 1/3-year period, compared with a 4 percent risk among those who took statins.

“Therefore, 60 patients would need to be treated for an average of 4.3 years to prevent one major coronary event,” the study’s author, Dr. Paaladinesh Thavendiranathan of the University of Toronto, wrote in the article.


To prevent a single stroke, 268 people would need to undergo statin treatment, and to prevent one nonfatal heart attack 61 would have to take the drugs, he added.

Moreover, statin use did not improve the overall risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or from other causes, the analysis found. 


Well, well the wonder drug is not so wonderful after all.

Vitamin D – Immune Booster???

Ever wonder why people tend to get more colds in the winter?  Well according to research coming from all over the world, the answer may be vitamin D.  Since humans need sunlight to produce natural vitamin D, and obviously winter is the time of the year we get the least amount of sunshine, it goes without saying that this is the time we are most likely to be vitamin D deficient (or at least suboptimal).

Vitamin D has long been known for its benefits relating to osteoporosis but it has been recent research that has focused on its immune benefits. Michael Zasloff of Georgetown University, Dr. John J. Cannell, Adrian F. Gombart of UCLA, dermatologist and immunologist Richard K. Gallo of UCSD, John H. White of McGill University, Mona Stahle of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and microbial immunologist Robert Modlin of UCLA, are among the many researchers that have published papers regarding the remarkable benefits of vitamin D supplementation and the human immune system. 

So how does this “wonder vitamin” work? One of the mechanisms thought to occur is the increase of the production of cathelicidin which seemingly punches holes in the external membranes of microbes thereby killing them. Also, vitamin D did more to stimulate the production of cathelicidin than any other substance. Not only was it helpful in protecting against colds, the flu and other minor infections, there is evidence that it may be highly beneficial in the treatment of tuberculosis. 

Further research into the use of topical vitamin D on skin wounds is continuing. Dr. Stahle’s research has already seen results from studies that suggest benefits.

One comment, made by Dr. Zasloff was, in my opinion, the most profound.  He states that the payoff from research into the positive effects of vitamin D “would be amazing. Imagine being able to block the spread of epidemic flu with appropriate doses of this vitamin.” Yes, imagine the value of a simple vitamin over the use of drugs.

After reading the review article in the November 11th issue of Science News (pgs 312 & 317), I am going out to the local health food store and buying extra vitamin D for the whole family.  Starting dose for the kids (four and ten) will be 400 i.u.’s and for my wife and I, 800 i.u.’s.


Top Ten Reasons for the Obesity Epidemic

In a recent issue of the British journal – The New Scientist (November 4-10, 2006) they reported on a review paper written by 20 experts on the field of obesity in the International Journal of Obesity listing the top ten reasons for the epidemic of obesity.  Here they are:

  1. Not Enough Sleep – While obesity causes sleep problems, the reverse seems to be the case as well. It seems that sleep deprivation may cause an alteration in metabolism which in turn causes weight gain. The answer simply seems to be, sleep more.
  2. Climate Control – Our bodies have a thermoneutral zone where we like to stay which means air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.  By keeping ourselves too close to the thermoneutral zone we use less energy. The answer here is to keep it warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. Lose weight and save money.  A no-brainer in my mind.
  3. Less smoking – Guess what? You do gain weight if you stop smoking. Still you would have to gain about 100 pounds to even the health risk from smoking. Answer, don’t smoke, the weight loss isn’t worth it.
  4. Prenatal effect – Mother’s fed a high-fat diet during pregnancy are more likely to have overweight children. Conversely, if the mother was starved during pregnancy like in famines after World War II, the child is also likely to be obese. The answer is to stop the trend and eat right if you are pregnant.
  5. Fat equals fecund – Overweight people have more children. Having children does make you gain weight but women who are heavier tend to have more children. If you look at reason #4 you see that the genetic component here may make a difference. Answer? see #4.
  6. A little older… – Women in our society are having children later in life than ever before. People over the age of 40 are more likely to be overweight than their younger counterparts. No real answer here except that if you do want to have a child later on in life, take real good care of yourself.
  7. More drugs – Is anyone surprised that a number of drugs cause weight gain? Everything from beta blockers to anticonvulsants to antipsychotics to contraceptive pills and even antihistamines can add up the pounds. The answer here is simple; don’t do drugs.  Find safer alternatives.
  8. Pollution – If anyone has read my previous blogs or if you have sat in on my lectures you will know that environmental toxins have a great impact of obesity. My data has suggested that toxins can slow down resting metabolism thereby reducing energy output which can lead to weight gain. My answer to this dilemma is to detoxify yourself and reduce exposure.
  9. Mature mums – Pretty much the same as #6.  A little redundant but I guess they wanted to make a point.
  10. Like marrying like – Overweight people tend to marry people who are equally overweight. Add the genetic factor and you can see where this is going. No real answer here.

The bottom line is aside from eating too much and exercising too little, there are a multitude of reasons why obesity has become such a problem.  The only answer is for people to do what they can to lose weight. 

I will be posting simple, scientifically verifiable ways to increase calorie burning in the upcoming weeks.  Stay tuned.

Update on Tasya – November 2006

Many who read my blog are familiar with my daughter Tasya’s ongoing battle with epilepsy.  Today, I am happy to report that her seizure activity is at the lowest level since she began to have seizures seven years ago. My father-in-law will often times berate me for mentioning her improvements as it is often followed by a backslide, but I have always steadfastly refused to not put the best foot forward.

Watching her for the past few months has been a totally uplifting experience for all of us in the Schauss family. Her confidence is growing, her social skills are improving and she is so happy with herself that her biggest problem now is not having a seizure but how to act like a normal child again.

We have much more work to do, but seeing not only the light at the end of the tunnel, but the road away from the tunnel of darkness is very encouraging.

Big Changes Needed at the FDA

In the October 26, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (pg. 1821), authors Gregory D. Curfman, Stephen Morrissey and Jeffrey M. Drazen make some important points regarding changes needed at the Food and Drug Administration. Their concerns relate to the series of recalls of medications over the past five years that has caused many of us to question the drug approval process as well as the supposed follow-up procedures to track continued drug safety.

Two notable sugestions came from this brief (one page) report. First, to give the FDA greater authority to require post-approval adverse event tracking on any drug on the market. Secondly, to have “…a 2-year moratorium on direct-to-consumer advertising after a new presciption drug has been approved.”

While there are many other issues that need addressing, like the need to get BigPharma’s financial fingers out of the FDA, these are two excellent first steps in assuring drug safety in the U.S.A.

The China Study – Everyone Needs to Get This Book

The complete title of this book should be more than description enough to convince you to buy it today – The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

This book reveals information that came out of the largest study of its kind that should turn the medical profession on its head. A review on summed up what the book is about and why it is so important.  Howie Jacobson, “America’s Fit Family Coach” said:

The main point of this book is that most nutritional studies that we hear about in the media are poorly constructed because of what the author terms “scientific reductionism.” That is, they attempt to pin down the effects of a single nutrient in isolation from all other aspects of diet and lifestyle.

While this is the “gold standard” for clinical trials in the pharmaceutical world, it just doesn’t work when it comes to nutrition. Given that the Western diet is extremely high fat and high protein compared to most of the rest of the world, studies that examine slight variations in this diet (i.e., adding a few grams of fiber or substituting skim milk for full fat milk) are like comparing the mortality rates of people who smoke five packs of cigarettes a day vs. people who smoke only 97 cigarettes a day.

If you want to find the truth behind what really matters in nutrition, get this book today by clicking on the link.

 The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health

Researching Environmental Health Issues – Part Deux

Want to know who’s polluting in your neighborhood? Want to know where the biggest polluters for each toxin?
What the worst pollutants are? is your home for all that information and more.

Looking for data relating to health, mortality and morbidity? The Center’s for Disease Control is the place to go.

To access the latest in information about pesticides go to Beyond Pesticides which contains a veritable clearing hour of data.

Health and is a veritable treasure trove of information relating health and toxins.

Want to find the foods highest in Tryptophan, B6 and Zinc but are low in Glycine, Manganese and Starch? Go to and search to your hearts content.

For those of you who want to research the periodic chart, here is one of the best on the web posted by the University of Minnesota.

Want to know the scoop of everything lipids?  Go to for all the real information about fatty acids.

NHANES is the US government databank known as National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Lots of information relating to health and nutrition.

And finally, for a great website dedicated to science, try

Hope my two latest blogs help you learn more about the important issues surrounding health and the environment.

Researching Environmental Health Issues

The first stop for anyone interested in the field is the home page of the highly respected journal –  Environmental Health PerspectivesThis journal is funded by the NIH and because of that, every article is available free online in Adobe PDF format.

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization made up of scientists, engineers, policy experts and lawyers who research issues relating to the environment and health. They have reported on issues relating to Teflon®, cosmetics, perchlorates, bisphenol A, phthalates and many more. They have published numerous reports like Skin Deep, Body Burden, and Body Burden II. Every person who is interested in this field should read these three reports.

In the field of environmental toxin cleanups, it is well known that certain bacteria have an affinity for certain toxins.
THe database provided by the University of Minnesota has hundreds of toxins and the species of bacteria that break them down. One of my theories is that some people’s persistent infectious state is due to these bacteria’s affinity for these toxins which are found in everyone’s blood stream and adipose tissue.

The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition’s site is filled with information about individual toxins like phthalates, mercury, and dioxin. It is also filled with lots of news and tips on how to live in today’s toxic environment.

How many times have you been asked “What is the safest fish to eat?” At Ocean’s Alive, you can download the latest information about fish eating safety.

Back Posting Again

For those of you who wonder where I’ve been in recent weeks the answer is, all over the place.  On October 28, 2006 I was lecturing in Baden-Baden, Germany and my talk was called “Modern matrix medicine: toxic loads and excretion therapies.” The crowd of health care practitioners from around the world numbered between 350-400. I would like to thank Heel GMBH and the International Society for Homeopathy and Homotoxicology for inviting me to their annual event.

From there I went to the meeting of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) in Rancho Mirage, California and when I got back, it was into the hospital to get my Achillies tendon repaired along with removing a nasty bone spur.  While I expected to be down for a few days, little did I realize how much I would need the support of pain killers to deal with the aftermath of some pretty extensive surgery.

So, now that I’m somewhat recovered, my topics over the next few weeks will include the following topics:

  • The influence of BigPharma on patient advocacy groups
  • Recent research into treatment options and prostate cancer
  • Is angioplasty really that effective?  Or worse, can it be harmful?
  • Growing evidence on the effects of environmental toxins on obesity
  • Neurological damage caused by industrial chemicals
  • Obesity, an American phenomena or world-wide epidemic?
  • The development of a lab competency testing protocol
  • Books that inspire, educate and provoke thought
  • Resources to research environmental health issues
  • Trivia, opinions and straight from the hip comments

I am looking forward to the coming weeks of information sharing.