Monday, 26 October 2015

Trial By Error and MSG

From the "Voices From The Shadows" website -

‘Trial By Error’ – by David Tuller.


‘Voices from the Shadows’ shows the devastating effects some patients have suffered following exercise programmes. These treatments of Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, used as the primary treatment for CFS and ME on the basis that patients have become de-conditioned from resting too much, caught in a cycle of boom and bust as a consequence of mistaken ideas about this illness, have become the accepted treatment across the NHS for patients.

David Tuller is  academic coordinator of the concurrent masters degree program in public health and journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He has spent the last year or more pursuing an in-depth investigation into a major research project – the UK’s PACE Trial –  which received what was a disproportionate amount of money from the MRC in comparison with other research projects for CFS in the UK. The distorted publicity give to the trials results, which misrepresented the illness, impacted very badly on public and health professionals perceptions of patients.

David Tuller’s investigation, ‘Trial By Error’ was published in three instalments on October 21st, 22nd and 23rd 2015 in Virology with links to each instalment at 





He says “Top researchers who have reviewed the study say it is fraught with indefensible methodological problems.” and includes quotes by a number of highly respected scientists –

Dr. Bruce Levin, Columbia University: “To let participants know that interventions have been selected by a government committee ‘based on the best available evidence’ strikes me as the height of clinical trial amateurism.”

Dr. Ronald Davis, Stanford University: “I’m shocked that the Lancet published it…The PACE study has so many flaws and there are so many questions you’d want to ask about it that I don’t understand how it got through any kind of peer review.”

Dr. Arthur Reingold, University of California, Berkeley: “Under the circumstances, an independent review of the trial conducted by experts not involved in the design or conduct of the study would seem to be very much in order.”

Dr. Jonathan Edwards, University College London: “It’s a mass of un-interpretability to me…All the issues with the trial are extremely worrying, making interpretation of the clinical significance of the findings more or less impossible.”

Dr. Leonard Jason, DePaul University: “The PACE authors should have reduced the kind of blatant methodological lapses that can impugn the credibility of the research, such as having overlapping recovery and entry/disability criteria.”


The Brain Destroying, Cancer Causing Ingredient Hidden In Your Food


There’s a widespread and silent killer that’s hidden in most foods that is slowly destroying millions (maybe even billions) of people’s health. It’s worse for you than alcohol, nicotine and even many drugs.  And it’s likely lurking in your kitchen cabinets right now. What is this harmful substance that is so pervasive and unfortunately legal for food manufacturing companies to use? You’ve probably heard of it, but likely didn’t know how widespread its use was because it is allowed to be disguised under many different names. The ingredient is “monosodium glutamate” or MSG. You will learn here how MSG harms your brain and your health as well as its other “secret” names so you can avoid it and protect your health.

I used to think that MSG was just in Chinese food, but the truth is that it’s actually added to thousands of the foods you and your family regularly eat, especially if you are like most Americans and eat the majority of your food as processed packaged foods or in restaurants.

MSG is one of the most harmful additives on the market and is used in frozen dinners, crackers, canned soups, processed meats, barbeque sauce, salad dressings, and much more. It’s found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child’s school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in baby food and infant formula.

Why is MSG so harmful? It’s an excitotoxin — substances, usually containing amino acids that react with specialized receptors (neurons) in the brain in such a way as to lead to the destruction of certain types of brain cells. Humans lack a blood-brain barrier in the hypothalamus, which allows these excitotoxins to enter the brain and cause damage.  Simply put, as described in Dr. Russell Blaylock’s excellent book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, they are exactly what they sound like: toxins that excite your brain cells to death!

How does this happen?

As Dr. Blaylock explains, “MSG enters the brain past the blood-brain barrier and triggers neurons to open their calcium channel. The glutamate causes the cell to remain stuck in the open position then calcium floods into the cell in large amounts. This triggers the cell to react in emergency mode and starts its special pump that will start pumping out the excess calcium using up large amounts of energy (ATP).

The cell then swells up with excess calcium and eventually the cell is depleted of energy and dies within a few hours. The pump couldn’t pump out the excess calcium fast enough. It’s like trying to bail water out of a boat with a large hole in the bottom. You use up a ton of energy and eventually the boat is filled and sinks. The cell shrivels up and the body’s defense mechanism sweeps away the dead cell debris.”

No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so the scientists create them. They make these morbidly obese creatures by injecting them with MSG when they are first born. The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats to become obese.

MSG creates a lesion in the hypothalamus that correlates with abnormal development, including obesity, short stature and sexual reproduction problems.  MSG has also been shown to kill brain cells as well as to cause nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, depression, and heart problems.

As I mentioned earlier, MSG is often disguised under many other names and therefore, you may not be able to detect it in a list of ingredients unless you know what to look for.

According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD, the following are hidden MSG derivatives listed on ingredient labels that should be avoided.

Natural Flavors/Flavoring
Corn oil
Glutamic Acid
Yeast Extract
Soy Protein
Soy Isolate
Carrageenan (often in almond and other nut milks)
Stock
Broth
Natural Beef Or Chicken Flavoring
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
Glutamate Textured Protein
Gelatin Yeast Nutrient
Autolyzed Yeast
Caseinate
Citric Acid

Food companies learned that MSG increased the flavor and aroma and enhance acceptability of commercial food products, so it is doubtful that they will ever quit using this brain killing additive to our food supply.  Take a quick trip to your kitchen and check your pantry and fridge. You will likely see that MSG is in almost everything processed: soups, chips, ramen noodles, gravy, sauces, salad dressings, corn oil, broth and so many other items.

If you want to avoid MSG, learn to read ingredient labels and better yet, eat foods that are whole foods – foods from nature that are unprocessed. Your health and your family’s are worth the extra effort!



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

October Holiday

Tim and Lois, my brother and sister-in-law, have been on their travels again, visiting various places including Italy and Israel.  As usual, they took hundreds of photos, and I've posted a small selection of them below - with captions by Tim.

Click on the photos to enlarge them and bring up the slide show.

Port building at Naples. Filled with plenty of decent souvenir shops,
and security for ship-bound tourists

Tourist boat, Naples. There are many ferries/boats
going to lots of interesting destinations

Some of our little tour group,
outside the Jaffa gate, Jerusalem

Part of the west side of old Jerusalem; the wall will be
500 years old in roughly twenty years

Part of the Kotel (western, or wailing wall),
and Temple Mount behind

Us in the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem,
the western wall plaza in the background

Western wall/plaza;
visited day and night by many Jews/ tourists

Road on the way to the Dead Sea

Kalia beach resort, Dead Sea

Looking down to the Baha'i gardens
from the top of Mount Carmel

Water spout forming over Haifa harbour

Fort at Kusadasi, Turkey. The flag was at half-mast 
for those killed in the terrorist bomb attack

Mykonos harbour (Greek island)

Arch of Hadrian, Athens

The Acropolis, Athens

Alps, possibly French!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Statins: One of the Greatest Failures of Modern Medicine


An interesting new post on Dr Brownstein's blog -

Over the weekend, I travelled to Chicago to lecture my colleagues.  I was asked what I thought about evidence-based medicine.  In fact, I am frequently hammered by my conventional colleagues because they claim that I do not follow evidence-based medicine.  Of course, I disagree with that statement as I am always reading the medical literature and I am happy to point out the evidence that supports my use of holistic medicine.  My books and other articles have numerous citations supporting the medicine that I practice.

However, I take issue when conventional doctors claim that evidence-based medicine supports the use of statin drugs in treating/preventing heart disease.  In fact, evidence-based medicine, when studied objectively, would reveal that statin drugs should not be prescribed for either treating or preventing heart disease.

Let’s look at statin guidelines.  The new guidelines recommend nearly half of Americans over the age of 40—more than 50 million people—may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk.  I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% who take them—they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer.

On October 6, 2015, an article in the New York Times was headlined, “Heart Scan Can Fine-Tune Risk Estimate for Patients Considering Statins.”  The article stated that a new study on CT scans of the coronary arteries, which can identify calcium deposits in the arteries, can help guide health care providers whether or not to prescribe a statin drug.   If there is little calcium in the coronary arteries, the authors found a lowered risk of heart attacks.   A cardiologist profiled in the article states that he uses the coronary CT scans because “All the other biomarkers get blown away compared to the calcium score {of the coronary arteries}.”

So, is there evidence that increased calcium in coronary arteries is associated with an increased risk of heart disease?  The answer is yes.  Where is the evidence that statins help lower coronary calcium levels?  There isn’t any.  In fact, the opposite is true:  research has shown that statin use actually increases the deposition  of calcium in coronary arteries.  (1)  Yes, you read that right.  In fact, researchers reported, “…coronary artery calcium progression was fastest among participants using statins…”  This wasn’t the only study to report that fact.  Other researchers have concluded, “Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.” (2)

I would venture a guess that you just read that last paragraph again.

To be fair, the authors of the second study claim that statins may stabilize coronary plaques.  However, that has never been proven and even if that is true, it is hard to make a positive argument for using statins at all when they fail nearly 99% who take them.   And, I am not even discussing the horrendous side effects and the tremendous cost of statin drugs.

Folks, evidence-based medicine should be used and embraced.  It is too bad that conventional medicine fails to use it when it comes to statins (as well as many other drug therapies).  The evidence behind the statin studies should expose statins as one of the greatest failures in modern medicine.

More information about statins can be found in my book, The Statin Disaster.

DrB

1.  J Am. Heart Assoc. 2015;4:e001726
2.  J. Am. College of Cardiol. 2015;65:1273-82


Thursday, 8 October 2015

A Hymn For Harvest

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest-home.

All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn doth appear:
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that Day
All offenses purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come!
Bring Thy final harvest home!
Gather all Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
There, forever purified,
In Thy presence to abide:
Come, with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest-home!

Henry Alford, 1810-1871

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Patients battle for justice


By Leonard A. Jason

Is it possible that a disease as impairing as Type II diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, and end-stage renal disease could be repeatedly belittled and delegitimized by scientists and health care professionals? Tragically, this is the case for a devastating illness affecting over one million Americans, and these patients have been deprived of their basic rights to respect, appropriate diagnosis, and humane treatment.

In the beginning, patients with this illness had a credible name, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), and diagnostic criteria that had been developed by the distinguished British physician, Dr. Melvin Ramsay. Yet, in 1988, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) renamed this illness chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Patients were unanimous in their disdain for this trivializing term, but they were no match for the supreme power and authority of the CDC. The new name placed patients around the world in a compromised position, as they were now forced to use a degrading and stigmatizing term in explaining their illness to family members, friends, work associates and medical personnel.

Patients were next characterized as having a relatively rare “Yuppie Flu” disease, and flawed epidemiology was responsible for these inaccurate and biased characterizations. If this were not enough, the CDC in 1994 developed a case definition that did not require the cardinal symptoms of this illness (such as post-exertional malaise and neurocognitive impairments). When this porous case definition was used to select patients, the resultant heterogeneity increased the risk of failing to consistently identify biomarkers, which contributed once again to dismissing those affected as having a psychiatric illness. Misguided psychiatrists then developed treatment approaches focusing on increasing exercise, even though the patients’ chief complaints were muscle weakness and exercise-induced fatigue.

Rarely in the annals of recorded medicine has there been such a David and Goliath-like battle, with impaired and sick patients trying to defeat an entrenched medical and scientific establishment. Their story of resistance is not one of an epic skirmish, but rather a veritable war with health care professionals and scientists that has endured for decades, as has been so well documented by Hillary Johnson.

This past year, in an effort to rectify these tragic abuses, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report that not only clearly emphasized the debilitating nature of this illness, but also strikingly rejected the stigmatizing name CFS and the defective case definition. Unfortunately, particularly in light of decades of past disastrous scientific blunders, the IOM once again imposed an inappropriate name (i.e., systemic exertion intolerance disease) on the patient community, but patients valiantly challenged this recommendation by collecting data that exposed the spuriousness of this foolish name change effort.  Even a federal panel called the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee at its recent meeting in August has rejected this new name.

The IOM also released a new case definition to replace CFS, and our published work now suggests that these new criteria would almost triple the prior CFS prevalence rate, and this is in part due to the inclusion of individuals who formerly had been excluded. Unwittingly, this inadvertent action accomplished much of what Bill Reeves and the CDC had attempted to do a decade ago when they proposed an ill-fated expansion of the case definition.

Is there any way to salvage the damage inflicted on the larger patient community by well-intentioned scientists from the IOM?  Perhaps we might consider re-activating the brilliant scholarship of Dr. Melvin Ramsay and the term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which would identify a smaller more homogenous group of patients as having ME. In contrast, those meeting the broader IOM criteria, which we might call neuroendocrine dysfunction syndrome (which had been recommended by the patient inspired Name Change workgroup over a decade ago) could replace CFS and this category would represent a larger group captured by the key IOM symptoms. Those that do not meet the ME criteria or the broader IOM criteria could be classified as having chronic fatigue, which is the most general category, and represents those with 6 or more months of fatigue. Such a tripartite classification system would eliminate the detested term CFS, validate the original respected name ME, differentiate ME from the IOM criteria, and provide a new nonstigmatizing term for those not meeting the more restrictive ME criteria. In addition, the broader IOM criteria could be used for clinical purposes, whereas the more restrictive ME criteria could be used for research purposes. Some scientists might prefer to consider this tripartite grouping a matter of severity rather than categorical differences, but all agree that differentiations of this type occur with many diseases, and such a classification system has the potential to clarify discrepant findings from epidemiologic, etiologic, and treatment studies.

Ultimately, whatever decisions are made on the names and criteria, the vetting process needs to be open, inclusive and transparent, with patients playing a prominent, decisive, and leadership role in these deliberations.