A new study just out in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated the following, mothers-to-be taking SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc) during the second and/or third trimester of pregnancy increased the risk of their child having an autism spectrum related disorder (ASD) by 217%. Mothers taking antidepressants in general (not just SSRI's), increased the risk of ASD's by 87%. Please share this with your friends. Here's a link to the study.
An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in April 2014 demonstrates a link between acetaminophen (Tylenol) use during pregnancy and behavioral problems in children. The researchers found that one half of pregnant mothers used Tylenol while pregnant. The children of these mothers had a 37% in hyperkinetic disorders (Hyperkinetic disorder is a psychiatric syndrome emerging in early childhood featuring an enduring pattern of severe, developmentally inappropriate inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity across different settings (e.g., home and school) that significantly impair academic, social and work performance), and were 29% more likely to use ADHD medications. Read the study here. A second article, published in May of 2013, found a strong relation between Tylenol use and Autism. The authors showed in particular that circumcised boys who were given tylenol had an increased risk of an autism diagnosis, and the authors posed that this is one reason for higher levels of autism in males. Read the study here.
A new meta-analysis of over 90,000 patients being treated with statin drugs showed that statin use increases the risk of developing diabetes by 9%. Currently, cholesterol levels out of the "normal range" are routinely treated with statins. These drugs have many problems including muscle pain, lever problems, increased risk of dementia, and increased risk of sudden cardiac death. Add a 9% increase in diabetes rates (diabetes already affects 8% of the US population), and the picture is complete: statins are causing trouble.
Please read my article on Cholesterol--it will explain when to worry about your cholesterol and what to do about it in a way that builds health rather than eroding it!
Read the study here.
Tamiflu has shown up in rivers and sewage treatment plants. What this could mean is we've added one more "stressor" to the influenza virus. Influenza reacts to such stressors by mutating. The researchers who reported on the study say "The recent increase in OP (the active metabolite of tamiflu) resistance in influenza A virus (H1N1; commonlly called “swine flu”) has raised questions about the widespread use of Tamiflu in seasonal epidemics and the potential ecotoxicologic risk associated with its use in the event of a pandemic."
This quote is scary for two reasons: first, the H1N1 is already resistant to tmiflu, meaning it has mutated due to exposure, and second, the concern regarding possible toxic effects of tamiflu in the envirnment. Perhaps we should think about supporting the immune system with Andrographis and vitamin D rather than waging chemical warfare against the influenza virus?
Read the study here.
I was amazed to see an article posing as a study recently titled "Can dietary Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Improve the Health of the Elderly?" The article makes the case that since MSG excites taste buds and parts of the gut, it will make the elderly eat more and solve their health problems! It is not a study, but a hypothesis. My favorite part of the article is the financial disclosure "Supported in part by the Ajinomoto Company, a manufacturer of food and amino acids, including glutamate."
It amazing me that journals continue to accept such industry sponsored hogwash. Rather than focusing efforts on publishing manuscripts with the aim of advancing scientific knowledge or decreasing human suffering, scientific journals are bowing to industry. Remember that whenever you read research that is contrary to reason, read the financial disclosure!
MSG and aspartame are known to be potent carcinogens and brain toxins. Additionally, research shows that MSG is bad for the liver--as evidenced by the wonderfully-titled study "Monosodium glutamate (MSG): a villain and promoter of liver inflammation and dysplasia.".
Read the rediculous abstracthere.
I am providing a link here to an excellent review of gut bacteria published by the National Institutes of Health--check it out--its good. It has great pictures and accurate information regarding the dangers of antibiotics. Here are a few quotes:
The microbiota is similar to an organ in that it performs functions essential for our survival. And just as with the heart or the lungs, when an environmental agent alters the function of the microbiota, the result can be disease.
Both human and animal studies have shown that even a one-time antibiotic treatment can lead to long-term shifts in microbial populations. The health consequences of these long-term shifts are still largely unknown.
“The incidence of [H. pylori] infection has been declining in the United States and other developed countries, which may contribute to the increasing incidence of [esophageal adenocarcinoma].”
In a study reported by Johan Dicksved et al. in the April 2007 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, children raised according to the “anthroposophic” lifestyle touted by philosopher Rudolf Steiner—with restricted antibiotics and plenty of microbe-rich fermented foods—showed higher microbial diversity than farm children, whose diets included more farm-produced animal products.
Psychological stress appears to reduce the numbers of Lactobacilli species in the human gut while increasing the growth of pathogens such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas species, as reported by Femke Lutgendorff et al. in the June 2008 issue of Current Molecular Medicine.
"Helena Parracho and colleagues reported in the October 2005 Journal of Medical Microbiology that 91.4% of 58 autistic children studied had a GI disorder, compared with 25% of otherwise-healthy siblings..."
Several studies have reported a strong correlation between disrupted microbial composition and allergies and asthma. Infants with atopic eczema had lower microbial diversity in their guts as well as fewer species of Bifidobacteria, compared with healthy infants, according to a study by Mei Wang et al. in the January 2008 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The bacteria in a gut, to a larger extent than I think we appreciate, both reflect and determine the state of your health. Antibiotics are incredibly over-prescribed to the detriment of the user.
Another study shows no benefit of aspirin in preventing cardiovascular disease. The new study published in the British Medical Journal found that aspirin did nothing to prevent risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke or heart attack) in people with diabetes (read the study). The study also found no benefit from taking supplemental antioxidant pills containing vitamin C, E, B vitamins, and zinc. This is not surprising if you’ve read my article on Antioxidants, which explains why food based antioxidants are far superior to man-made pills.
If you or someone you know takes aspirin for health reasons please read the article. Here is a link to another article on aspirin--in it they found a 60-80% increase in stroke in women who use aspirin, and an increase in certain types of stroke in men.
If you want to decrease your chances of having cardiovascular problems, taking a high quality,purified fish oil is your best bet. If you want to decrease damage caused by stroke consider using Gingko and/or Ashwagandha.
A new paper links statin drug use to tendon rupture. The paper reports on a medical doctor using the statin drug Vytorin who had a "spontaneous tendon rupture" of his biceps. He had surgery on his biceps and went off Vytorin and got better, he went back on Vytorin and he began to have pain in his other biceps! He went back off Vytorin and his symptoms resolved.
The author of the study states that statins are know to interfere with the process of tendon repair. Hopefully one less MD will be prescribing statins after this experience! Please read my cholesterol paper which discusses safer alternatives that work better than statins to reduce heart disease risk--click here.
One of the biggest lies in modern psychiatry is that depressed people have Prozac deficiency syndrome. Despite physicial exam findings that can discover specific deficiencies/excesses in the brain and specific urine tests that can effectively evaluate neurotransmitter levels, the mainstays of modern psychiatry remain non-targeted antidepressant drugs. The New York Times recently broke a story showing that as often as studies showing a benefit from antidepressants are published, studies showing that they don't work are suppressed (read the article here.)
I always recommend having a neurotransmitter test done (I use a lab called NeuroScience) to pinpoint brain deficiencies and excesses in individuals with depression. An excellent physcial exam can also reveal relevant therapeutic strategies, whether they include lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, exercise, supplements, or somatic therapies like chiropractic care.
Two supplements are gaining attention in the treatment of depression that I would like to mention here; creatine monohydrate and whey protein. For those of you who have worked on becoming no-neck muscle heads, these will be familiar, as they are mainstays in the world of fitness.
Athletes use creatine monohydrate to re-energize muscle cells during workouts. What new research shows is that that creatine does the same thing in your brain! The study involved giving 3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate to people with "treatment resistant" depression for 4 weeks. Astoundingly, all the patients improved significantly! If this were a drug trial it would of headlined on every newspaper and television show in the world. Since creatine is a cheap, non-patentable supplement, the research was only seen by people who read the journal Bipolar Disorders (you can read the study here). One warning; the researchers gave the creatine to 2 people with bipolar disorder and they both developed hypomania/mania--people with bipolar should not use creatine.
Next, Whey protein has shown some promise in normalizing neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Disturbances in these chemical balances is associated with depression. One study (read it here) looked at serotonin levels and cognitive ability (memory, in this case) among people taking whey protein. They found increases in serotonin and improvements in memory. Another study again found increases in serotonin with use of a protein in whey protein, as well as better sleep, and "improved behavior patterns" in people who has poor sleep prior to supplementation (see the study here). Whey protein is a complete protein that both supplies the brain with precursors needed to create neurotransmitters, and increases the body's production of glutathione--your most potent antioxidant and detoxifier (see the whey protein page). I offer an excellent whey protein product in my store-- click here to view it.
Last, don't forget about omega-3's--you can read more about them in the treatment of depression in a separate article--click here.
The hepatitis B vaccine is in the news this week as a French lawsuit raises concerns regarding the association between the vaccine and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In 1998 the vaccine was curtailed from routine use in France amid rising concerns of significant risk of the vaccine precipitating multiple sclerosis. The best available research on the subject was published in 2004 in the journal Neurology. That study was a prospective, well done project that showed a 310% increase in MS among people who received the hepatitis B vaccination!
As with all vaccinations, it is important to weight the risks against the benefits. The risks of the the Hepatitis B vaccine are significant. A study reported in the journal Autoimmunity in 2005 reported the following increases in risk of autoimmune disease following hepatitis B vaccination:
The authors of the study conclude "...chances of exposure to hepatitis B virus in adults is largely life-style dependent. Adults should make an informed consent decision, weighing the risks and benefits of HBV, as to whether or not to be immunized."
In the United States the hepatitis B vaccination remains part of the infant vaccination routine. Hepatitis B is transmitted via blood, with nearly all cases being transmitted through sexual activity or IV drug use. The vaccination probably has benefits that outweigh the risks in sex workers and IV drug users. As far as the routine vaccination of infants, I believe this is inappropriate, and that we could learn from the French!