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Aug
16

The Quality of Natural Products

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In the U.S., reports emerge periodically indicating that herbal products are not to be trusted. When products have been tested from American chain drug stores, such as CVS, they are sometimes found to contain far less, if any of the labelled ingredients. These reports tend to cast a rather cynical shadow across the industry as a whole, but this is altogether mistaken. There are many companies in the natural products sector competing for market share and industry respect.  One way this is done is by incorporating advanced technologies and methods to ensure the quality and character of their end product. Ingredients that are particularly hot in the marketplace, such as curcumin (derived from turmeric), have companies virtually tumbling over each other to create ever more absorbable forms or cutting-edge formulations. In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit two herbal/natural product research laboratories and several natural product...
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887 Hits
Jul
31

Choice, Fate and Aging

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This is my first blog in a long time, the first in a series over the next few months.  While I have a plan for a number of subjects of interest, as is usual for me I’d like to start with something that serves as a reminder of principles that help keep everything in perspective. It’s a wry fact that many of those who have been most vocal about best health practices have suffered the indignity of a relatively early death of seemingly preventable causes, sometimes the very diseases they said you could prevent by following their approach. It’s an interesting study and a little spooky for the fact that we’re reminded that the matter of health is not so simple as eating a great diet, the best supplements, exercise, etc.   Health Gurus who had untimely deaths: https://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/7-diet-gurus-who-died-of-poor-health https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/sunday/longevity-pritikin-atkins.html https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/deaths-of-fitness-diet-gurus#gypsy-boots) George Ohsawa, the founder of macrobiotics died of a...
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446 Hits
Mar
30

Taking a Sledgehammer to Heartburn

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You may be surprised to learn that medicine is subject to prescribing fads. For example, I’ve been astonished at the dramatic increase of patients that are taking drugs that turn off the acid production in your stomach, a trend well evidenced in the medical literature.  These drugs are called “Proton Pump Inhibitors”. In fact, drugs with names such as Nexium, Tecta, Prilosec, Losec, Prevacid, Periot, are now prescribed for a wide range of stomach problems and related esophageal and throat symptoms, across a remarkable range of ages. I’ve seen several cases of children and teenagers on acid inhibiting medications. In fact, there has been an astonishing rise in the prescription of these medications for children under the age of one for gastric irritation and to prevent infant reflux. As of 2010, there were 114 million prescriptions of acid suppressing medications per year in the United States. Over the last ten years, the...
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2008 Hits
Jun
09

Skeptical of the Skeptics: Unreason in the name of Reason

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Sometime ago I happened to hear Timothy Caulfield discussing his ideas on a Canadian broadcast morning show.  He had authored an essay on  the subject of medical institutes that were proposing to incorporate complementary health care methods into their systems. The thesis of his essay was that there is medical science and then there are the many pretenders to the healing arts that had, in his view, no evidential support.  http://www.irpp.org/en/po/public-square/caulfield/ .  Caulfield's key assertion, is that for universities and medical clinics to associate themselves with purveyors of “nonsense”, such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc,. is to debase "scientific" medicine.   Study them if you must, (in fact, there are those that insist that funding research work on subjects such as homeopathy should completely come to an end) but certainly don’t lower medicine by integrating alternative medicine practitioners or courses into clinics or institutions of higher learning.  He believes it is...
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11535 Hits
May
21

The Two Traditions of Medicine

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When we think of health, it is might be worthwhile to point out that historically there are essentially two dominant conceptions of the body.   While they are not mutually exclusive, in some respects complementing each other, yet they are fundamentally opposite in nature.   (The most complete understanding of this subject has been unfurled in a series of remarkable volumes titled Divided Legacy, by the late Harris Coulter.) One is termed the Rationalist school and is embodied today by modern medicine.  The Rationalist tradition sees the body as a living machine composed of various parts and processes.  Disease is regarded as a disorder of structure or function.  As science grows in understanding of the body, its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, etc., medicine develops elaborate methods and technologies to fix, replace, alter, control, activate or suppress a particular structure or function, or some factor that is designated to be the...
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5554 Hits