Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for October 21, 2006

My doctor thinks I have anxiety. I would disagree however, I would say that my body is in a state of anxiety. I know I have these upward lines in my pupils and the iridologist was the first to mention anxiety and explain it. But nobody has mentioned that it can be caused by a B vitamin deficiency… Dr Google?

A deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) causes extreme anxiety, nervousness, confusion, and melancholy. Vitamin B6 is easily destroyed by heavy use of alcohol, drugs and refined sugars.

A quick google search and I have the answer that I’m looking for. These doctors are so caught up in their world of drugs. If this B6 blood test comes back as extremely low then all of my problems are related a vitamin deficiency that nobody could figure out except me and doctor Google.

How embarrassing… Modern medicine is antiquated.

I’d love to order the injectable B6 vitamin from Romania and have it with me when he has the results of my blood test. I’ve been wrong before but my problem is I keep looking for the one thing that is causing my symptoms and that is my biggest problem: my symptoms are caused my a number of different deficiencies. Niacin, riboflavin, magnesium and now possibly pyridoxine?

My theory goes like this: My magnesium and B6 have been low for years and I believe that the combination low levels of B6 and magnesium caused the vibration/anxiety. Losing the B6 caused me to lose niacin and later riboflavin. Then I started taking B vitamins which helped but I was ignoring the magnesium.

Some more information:

Functions: Pyridoxine and its coenzyme form, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, have a wide variety of metabolic functions in the body, especially in amino acid metabolism and in the central nervous system, where it supports production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Many reactions, including the conversion of tryptophan to niacinand arachidonic acid to prostaglandin E2 require vitamin B6. The pyridoxal group is important in the utilization of all food sources for energy and in facilitating the release of glycogen (stored energy) from the liver and muscles. It helps as well in antibody and red blood cell production (hemoglobin synthesis) and in the synthesis and functioning of both DNA and RNA. By helping maintain the balance of sodium and potassium in the body, vitamin B6 aids fluid balance regulation and the electrical functioning of the nerves, heart, and musculoskeletal system; B6 is needed to help maintain a normal intracellular magnesium level,which is also important for these functions. The neurotransmitters norepinephrine and acetylcholine and the allergy regulator histamine are all very important body chemicals that depend on pyridoxal-5-phosphate in their metabolism. Also, the brain needs it to convert tryptophan to serotonin, another important antidepressant neurotransmitter.

Pyridoxine is especially important in regard to protein metabolism. Many amino acid reactions depend on vitamin B6 to help in the transport of amino acids across the intestinal mucosa into the blood and from the blood into cells. By itself and with other enzymes, pyridoxal-5-phosphate helps build amino acids, break them down, and change one to another and is especially related to the production and metabolism of choline, methionine, serine, cysteine, tryptophan, and niacin.

The body has a high requirement for vitamin B6 during pregnancy. It is important for maintaining hormonal and fluid balance of the mother and for the developing nervous system of the baby. Pyridoxine may somehow be related to the development and health of the myelin covering of the nerves, which allows them to conduct impulses properly.

This is making so much sense that I feel really stupid for missing it. I shouldn’t really feel bad. It’s the doctors that are paid to figure it out, not the patient.

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October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 21, 2006

The dangers of owning a laptop…

Risky business

Threat to fertility? Poor ergonomics? Possibility of fire?
Laptop usage isn’t without its potential hazards.

Sep. 8, 2006. 06:12 AM
DAVID BRUSER
BUSINESS REPORTER

If your neck hurts, or pecs feel particularly flabby today or if your crotch feels warm, turn off your laptop and put it aside for a moment.

As hundreds of students head back to school and the ever-shrinking devices — now de rigueur for post-secondary and many secondary students — pop up in classroom and dorms, few people seem worried about the health hazards that intense use could bring.

With 7 million laptops in use throughout the country, according to IDC Canada, which tracks technology trends, many Canadians, especially travelling businesspeople or those who use laptops as their main computer, are potentially doing their bodies harm.

Most men might psychosomatically shudder to hear that a laptop, used in its most literal and seemingly innocuous way, balanced atop thighs in an airport lounge or bohemian coffeehouse, could affect their fertility.

If high-profile companies announcing recalls of laptop batteries — amid concerns of their potential to get too hot or even combust — doesn’t raise alarms about the possible health risks associated with portable computers, Dr. Yefim Sheynkin’s research might strike closer to home.

In 2004, the urology professor from State University of New York in Stony Brook set out to answer a burning question: Since high scrotal temperature has been identified as a risk to male fertility, does using a notebook computer while it sits on your lap cause that temperature to rise?

For 29 male volunteers, ages 21 to 35, “two cutaneous thermocouples were attached to the unshaved scrotal skin … using thin transparent tape to cover the sensor end of the thermocouple.”

(The doctor seems gentle: His practice specializes in no-scalpel vasectomies, a procedure, according to his website, that “is conveniently performed on Friday, which allows a smooth recovery over the weekend.”)

The results of the experiment might make Jerry Lee Lewis sit up and sing. But more on that later.

There are other health risks associated with laptops, however remote the possibility.

Earlier this year, a UPS cargo plane en route to Philadelphia International Airport caught fire and the three flight-crew members suffered minor injuries while the blaze caused major damage to the plane and cargo containers.

The fire invited the attention of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and its investigation into the “potential risks of transporting cargo such as (lithium-ion) batteries.”

The lithium-ion format is popular, powering millions of laptops and other devices around the world, and appears behind several recent and highly publicized recalls.

Last month, Dell Inc. recalled 4.1 million Sony-made, lithium-ion computer batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly found in laptops, cellphones and MP3 players.

Ten days later, Apple Computer Inc. recalled 1.8 million Sony-built notebook batteries, citing nine reports of overheating lithium-ion packs, including two cases where users suffered minor burns.

Then, Virgin Blue Airlines banned the use of Dell laptops aboard its planes, a move that quickly followed Qantas Airways’ decision to allow passengers to use their Dell laptops with a battery only or plugged into the plane’s power system without battery, according to media reports.

The problem, some experts say, is that the batteries are often not being used under ideal circumstances, as the devices they power are becoming smaller, faster and, with more options, placing greater demand on the battery. And the smaller the device, the more difficult it could be to allow air in to cool the battery.

Nevertheless, as industry watchers point out, the number of incidents of laptops overheating or bursting into flames is a tiny fraction of the number of lithium-ion battery-powered devices in use without incident.

But the health risk likely to affect the most laptop users doesn’t involve hot crotches or smoking batteries.

The problem, according to one chiropractor and two ergonomics experts, is a laptop, due to its design, is either at eye level, forcing the user to strain his arms to type, or in the lap, causing the user to bend his neck down to see the screen.

“Laptops are very bad because when you lean forward you change the dynamic in the neck,” says Toronto chiropractor Dr. Blair Lewis.

“Your back is not against the back of your chair. The whole neck moves forward, which causes over time a lot of degenerative changes in the neck. (Frequent laptop use) rounds everything. Everything is shifted forward. That’s not the way the spine is designed.”

And, Lewis, adds, frequent use of the small laptop keyboard can cause “shortening of the pectoral muscles.”

Ergonomics expert Marnie Downey notes that the human head accounts for about 8 to 10 per cent of body weight. “Your neck muscles are having to hold up your head,” she says. “Our neck is not meant to be bent down.”

Connecting an external keyboard — perhaps on an adjustable keyboard tray if the laptop is on a desk — could allow an upright posture with eyes level with the top of the screen and elbows at 90 degrees, which is the ideal posture, the experts say.

The trend toward smaller devices won’t help, says certified kinesiologist Tania Lillak.

“The smaller it is, the worse it is, generally,” says Lillak, who runs Elemental Ergonomics in Toronto. “Everything’s just too small. The writing’s too small. The buttons are too small. You’re always hunched over a BlackBerry.”

Lewis figures laptops are here to stay, sees more and more kids using them and says it’s important to educate young users about how to avoid injury.

Meanwhile, combining a laptop’s internal operating temperatures — which can exceed 70 degrees Celsius, according to the 2004 study — with the body position required to balance the laptop, Sheynkin’s experiment found a median scrotal temperature increase of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius.

“Our study demonstrates statistically significant elevation of scrotal temperature in laptop computer users,” says Sheynkin’s article in the journal Human Reproduction, but he adds that further research is needed to clearly establish whether laptop heat can directly lead to infertility.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 21, 2006

White bread increases cancer risk
Last updated at 10:12am on 20th October 2006

Eating lots of white bread raises the risk of a cancer that kills thousands of Britons every year, according to new research.

Those who eat five slices a day are almost twice as likely to develop the most common form of kidney cancer compared to those who have one and a half slices.

Scientists put the cause down to refined cereals triggering a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels, which is thought to fuel cancer cell growth.

People should particularly cut down on white bread, which causes the biggest rise in blood glucose levels, and opt for wholemeal varieties instead.

The study also adds to the mounting evidence of the health benefits of following a low GI diet.

This involves avoiding processed and refined foods, such as white bread which have a high Glycaemic Index.

Whole grain foods are classed as having a low GI value as they lead to slower release of sugar into the blood stream.

The new study published in the International Journal of Cancer set out to investigate potential triggers of Renal Cell Carcinoma.

It accounts for more than 80 per cent of the 6,000 cases of kidney cancer diagnosed each year in the UK and claims 3,400 lives annually.

The researchers from the Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy studied more than 2300 Italians – 767 who had the disease and 1534 who did not – and asked them detailed information about their diet in the previous two years.

The scientists discovered a clear link between eating lots of bread and the risk of getting the cancer.

The study did not specify what type of bread people ate.

However, overall those in the group that ate the most bread – equivalent to 35 slices weekly or five a day – were almost twice as likely to develop the cancer as those who had just 11 slices a week- around one and a half a day.

In contrast, those who ate a high proportion of poultry, meat and vegetables had a lower risk of getting the kidney cancer.

The study did not establish exactly what in bread may be to blame, however the researchers believe it may be linked to the high Glycaemic Index of many types.

Foods with a high GI cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar levels which leads to the release of insulin and in turn chemicals that can fuel cell growth.

The theory is that cancer cells use these chemicals and the glucose to fuel their own unchecked, and therefore dangerous, growth.

Lead researcher Dr Francesca Bravi said her study suggests that a diet with fewer cereals and more vegetables may help reduce the risk of renal cell carcinoma.

“On the basis of the study we can also suggest reducing the consumption of refined cereals and increase that of whole grain ones,” she added.

Past studies have also found women who follow a low GI diet after the menopause have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who have lots of high GI foods.

The diet is also advised for people with diabetes to help prevent peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006

1161481844-hr-748

Let’s find out about the side effects in more detail for “Paxil CR”. Here’s what the official web site says:

Important Safety Information

Prescription Paxil CR and Paxil are not for everyone. Don’t take with MAOIs, thioridazine, or pimozide. Paxil CR and Paxil are generally well tolerated. As with many medications, there can be side effects. Some of the side effects may include infection, injury, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, constipation, decreased appetite, sleepiness, dizziness, sexual side effects, nervousness, tremor, yawning, sweating, abnormal vision, weakness, or insomnia. Talk to your doctor if you are taking prescription medication known as triptans, which are used for migraine or cluster headaches. When used in combination with Paxil CR or other anti-depressant treatments, these drugs may lead to potentially life-threatening complications.

Paxil CR and Paxil are approved only for adults 18 years and over. In some children and teens, antidepressants increase suicidal thoughts or actions. Young adults, especially those with depression, may be at increased risk for suicidal actions. Whether or not you are taking antidepressants, you or your family should call the doctor right away if you have worsening depression, thoughts of suicide, or sudden or severe changes in mood or behavior (for example feeling anxious, agitated, panicky, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, severely restless, hyperactive, overly excited, or not being able to sleep), especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose.

Don\’t stop taking Paxil CR and Paxil before talking to your doctor since side effects may result from stopping the medicine, particularly when abrupt. Symptoms some patients have reported on stopping Paxil CR and Paxil include: dizziness, sensory disturbances (including electric shock sensations and tinnitus), abnormal dreams, agitation, anxiety, nausea, sweating, mood fluctuations, headache, fatigue, nervousness and sleep disturbances.

This is a very long list of side effects. In fact there are fourty side effects and I really don’t think it’s worth it for anxiety or not. My new magnesium is doing just fine with no side effects whatsoever. So he prescribed Paxil because I have general anxiety at the direction of the Neurologist which is funny because he didn’t recommend any medication to me. If fact, he made it appear that he was against it because it wouldn’t help me.

Let’s see what I can find out:

Anxiety, the body’s reaction to a perceived, anticipated or imagined danger or threatening situation, is a common occurrence. Most people experience it before or after a stressful event, such as an important presentation or a traumatic loss. A little anxiety isn’t always a bad thing, either: it can help motivate you to do your best and to respond appropriately to danger.

Sometimes, though, anxiety develops spontaneously, even when a stressful or threatening situation isn’t immediately apparent. When worry becomes so excessive and persistent that it limits or inhibits� a person’s daily activities, it becomes a disorder that needs to be recognized and treated.

What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
It’s only realistic to be worried about your finances after losing a job or your health if you start having chest pains. And it’s natural to be anxious about a sister who lives in a tough neighborhood or reports of a local flu epidemic or impending SATs. But generalized anxiety disorder isn’t about realistic or natural worries. GAD is about chronic, excessive worry concerning events that are unlikely to occur; it’s minor problems or concerns that wrap around your mind like kudzu and won’t let go.

Generalized anxiety disorder occurs when normal levels of anxiety become severe, prevent everyday activities, and persist over more than a few months. Normal life becomes difficult for people with GAD because they experience high levels of worry, dreading the immediate future and dwelling on what can go wrong, but feel unable to take action or control events. Generalized anxiety disorder affects 3 to 4 percent of the population at any given time, with women twice as likely to be affected as men.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), persons with generalized anxiety disorder anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. A co-worker’s careless comment about the economy becomes a constant vision of an imminent pink slip; a spouse’s criticism of a new outfit becomes dread that the marriage is over. People with generalized anxiety disorder usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation calls for, though some convince themselves that their worrying is protective or otherwise helpful. Either way, people with GAD can’t seem to turn off the worry. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. Most people with GAD don’t avoid workplace or social situations, but they go about their activities filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke them. For others, the anxiety and physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder interfere significantly with work, social interactions, and everyday functioning.

There is no way that the above description is anything like me and my wife agrees. What a joke. I didn’t see this direction coming…

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006 *D*

1161481836-hr-747

All last night I was planning on what I would say to the doctor and I have a plan.

First thing he ask me about was if I had any tingling. Nope, not since the first riboflavin injection. Secondly he asked me about taking St. John’s Wort. Nope, did nothing for me.

I started telling him about how I did some experiments and I’d like to go in a new direction. He seemed very interested so I told him how I found a magnesium supplement that seems to be working better than any of the others and he was happy to hear about that. Then I told him about how I stopped taking the B vitamins and I’d get a weird feeling in my head. So I continued only with B6 and the weird feeling never came back. His face was more interested and he said if I suspected a B6 deficiency, then we can test for it. GREAT NEWS!

Then he told me how he would like to follow the recommendation from the neurologist. Huh? This caught me off guard because he never mentioned anything about him until now. He said he’d like to give me something called “Paxil CR” in a very small dosage to start. He mentions that it is used for depression and general anxiety disorders and continues about the side effects and that if I didn’t like it, I could stop taking it. He said it may not have any effect and on a scale of 0-10 it may only have an effect of a 2. Hardly seems worth taking but I agreed to continue with his approach if he took mine.

He wrote out a blood test for pyridoxine and added B12 and folic acid. Since it was a blood test, I asked him to check my level of triglycerides and he agreed but he said it would now need to be a fasting blood test.

I go down to the pharmacy and they fill out my prescription. As the pharmacist hands it to me she says how it may cause drowsiness and dizziness and says it could be three weeks until I feel any benefits.

Not so sure I like the sounds of the side effects so I call my wife and explain what happened. She looks it up on the internet and reads me a few more of the side effects including suicidal and mentions that there is a listing for it on crazymeds.com! She is adamant that she doesn’t want me taking this medication and I agree. We’re both confused as to why the doctor felt it was neccesary to take paxil when I clearly don’t have the symptoms to justify taking it.

The only symptoms I still have are an internal vibration and weak muscles. All of my other symptoms have disappeared though my own methods of vitamins and mineral supplements.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006

Omega-3 fatty acids may slow very early Alzheimer’s

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids for 6 months appears to be of little benefit in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to results of a study conducted in Sweden.

However, a second look at the data suggests that omego-3 fatty acids may protect cognitive function in patients with very mild, early stage AD.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as found in fish oil, reduces the risk of AD. Furthermore, animal studies have shown that the two predominant omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), preserve cognitive function.

To evaluate the effect of DHA/EPA on patients already diagnosed with AD, investigators led by Dr. Jan Palmblad, from Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge in Stockholm, randomly recruited 174 patients with mild to moderate AD.

Eighty-nine patients were assigned 430 mg DHA plus 150 mg EPA, administered four times daily, and 85 were assigned placebo for 6 months during blinded portion of the trial. For the next 6 months, both groups were given the DHA/EPA supplement.

As demonstrated by Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores and the modified cognitive portion of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-COG), the two treatment groups did not differ significantly at 6 months or at 12 months.

But when Palmblad’s group conducted a post-hoc analysis of the 32 patients with very mild AD at baseline, those first treated with placebo exhibited a significant decline in MMSE score at 6 months, whereas scores remained stable in those treated with DHA/EPA.

The researchers say their results, coupled with other studies, “support the idea that omega-3 fatty acids have a role in primary prevention of AD but not in treatment of manifest disease,” when the “neuropathologic involvement is too advanced to be substantially attenuated by anti-inflammatory treatment.”

SOURCE: Archives of Neurology October 2006.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006

More Infant Deaths Found to Be Due to Premature Birth

By Mike Stobbe
Associated Press
Monday, October 2, 2006; Page A02

Scientists now say one-third of infant deaths are because of premature births — a much larger percentage than previously thought.

In the past, “preterm birth” has been the listed cause of death in fewer than 20 percent of newborn fatalities. But that rate should be 34 percent or more, said researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s because at least a dozen causes of newborn death are actually problems that go hand-in-hand with premature births, such as respiratory distress syndrome caused by underdeveloped lungs.

“This brings preterm birth, as a cause of death, to the kind of level that we think it deserves,” said the CDC’s Bill Callaghan, the lead author of a study appearing today in the journal Pediatrics.

The revised statistic might lead to greater efforts to counsel pregnant women about taking care of themselves and avoiding actions that can lead to preterm births — such as smoking and drug use.

It also may help organizations lobbying for more research into why some women who follow medical advice still have preterm babies. The March of Dimes is advocating to expand federal research into preterm labor and delivery and the care and treatment of premature infants.

“Preterm birth” generally describes infants who are born before 37 weeks gestation, and the term is also used as an official cause of death. Two-thirds of infant deaths occur in children who were preterm, but their cause of death is often attributed to one of the several specific problems that can occur in preterm babies.

Callaghan and other researchers examined birth and death certificates for about 28,000 U.S. infants who died in 2002.

More than 4,600 of those were attributed only to preterm birth. But the researchers also grouped in thousands of other deaths that were attributed to preterm-related conditions, including respiratory distress syndrome, brain hemorrhage and maternal complications such as premature rupture of membranes.

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

Earlier this year, I warned you about the alarming 30 percent rise in premature births in the United States, amounting to one out of every eight babies, and how the risk of complications increase dramatically the earlier a child is born.

With premature births responsible for a third of infant deaths, it’s no wonder the United States ranks 23rd among all industrialized nations in infant mortality.

There are many factors that are responsible for these problems, from smoking, infertility treatments and drug use to genetic factors and even prior abortions. But one of the most common causes for premature births has more to with something mothers aren’t getting: omega-3 fats.

A study published in the British Medical Journal clearly shows that omega-3 fat consumption is associated with less of a risk for premature delivery.

Omega-3 fats not only help prevent this problem, but they also do dramatic wonders to improve the health of all children. The omega-3 fat DHA is absolutely critical for optimal brain and vision function. It is my estimation that omega-3 fats are likely to be the single most important nutrient that a pregnant woman could be on.

So PLEASE if you know a pregnant woman please encourage her as strongly as you can that she needs to be on a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat supplement like fish oil or krill oil. This could very well save her baby’s life, but at a minimum it will make her child smarter.

Also, recall that although fish do provide omega-3 fats, they are also loaded with mercury and solvents like PCB and PDEs so supplementation is clearly the safer and superior option. 

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 20, 2006

Breastfeeding has far more benefits than making babies smarter. It’s not suppose to make them smarter it’s building their immune system!!!

Breast-Fed Babies Aren’t Smarter
Despite Study, Researchers Still List Lots Of Reasons For Breastfeeding

(WebMD) Do breast-fed babies become brainier kids? Some studies say yes, but new research shows no direct link between breastfeeding and intelligence later in life.

In the largest study ever to address the issue, researchers found a positive impact for breastfeeding on intelligence only when other potential contributors — such as the mother’s IQ and the parents’ educational and economic status — were not taken into consideration.

When these variables were considered, breastfeeding was found to have little impact on a child’s IQ.

The study included 5,475 children and mothers in the United States who participated in an ongoing youth development survey. The findings were published today in BMJ Online First.

The researchers also identified 332 sibling pairs in which one child was breast-fed and the other was not. No significant difference in intelligence was found among the breast-fed and non-breast-fed siblings.

“The mother’s IQ was by far the most important variable, accounting for 70 percent to 75 percent of the difference [between children who were and were not breast-fed],” researcher Geoff Der, MCS, tells WebMD.

The first study linking breastfeeding to greater intelligence later in life appeared almost 80 years ago. But the research since that time has been mixed.

“Although the majority of studies concluded that breastfeeding promotes intelligence, the evidence from higher quality studies is less persuasive,” researcher Anjali Jain, M.D., and colleagues wrote in 2002 in the journal Pediatrics.

When Der and colleagues combined their own results with those from other studies that also considered maternal intelligence, they again found little evidence of a link between breastfeeding and intelligence.

“We took three different approaches to examining this question within this one paper, and the results converged quite nicely,” Der says.

Der and colleagues from the British research group Medical Research Council expressed surprise that maternal intelligence has been overlooked in so many studies examining the impact of breastfeeding on intelligence. Even many recent studies have failed to consider maternal IQ. They add that the latest findings should not be interpreted as meaning that new moms now have less reason to breastfeed.

“Even if it does not enhance intelligence, breastfeeding remains an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants,” they write.

Breastfeeding has been shown to lower an infant’s risk of infections and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and it is believed to help protect against allergies, diabetes, and obesity later in life.

“We would never suggest that any woman should choose not to breastfeed on the basis of our findings,” Der says. “Clearly, there are many good reasons to breastfeed.”

SOURCES: Der, G. BMJ Online First, Oct. 4, 2006. Geoff Der, MSC, statistician, Medical Research Council, U.K. Jain, A. Pediatrics, June 6, 2002; Vol. 109: pp. 1044-1053. WebMD Feature: “Making the Breastfeeding Decision.”

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Entry for October 19, 2006

I still don’t have any diarrhea from the 1500 mg of magnesium so I’ll raise it again. I’ll take two capsules, four times a day (2000 mg) and I’ll take the B6 at the same time.

I will say that the vibration has been the weakest it’s ever been and my “weird” chest symptoms have been reduced significantly. I’m finding that I don’t need the homeopathic remedy as much as I used to between doses.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Entry for October 18, 2006

Chemical cocktail blamed for soaring breast cancer rate
By FIONA McRAE 
 
Cocktails of gender-bending chemicals, found in everyday products from CD cases to babies’ bottles, may be to blame for soaring rates of breast cancer, scientists have warned.

Experts fear the chemicals, used in pesticides, cosmetics, electrical goods and plastics, have the power to trigger the cancer which claims the lives of more than 1,000 British women a month.

The warning follows official figures which show the number of cases of breast cancer has almost doubled in a generation.

Almost 37,000 women in England and Wales were diagnosed with the disease in 2004 – 10 per cent more than in the previous year and 80 per cent more than in 1971.

Less than half of cases can be explained by genetics and lifestyle factors such as diet, leading to fears manmade chemicals may also play a part.

A report by the World Wildlife Fund points the finger at synthetic oestrogens – common chemicals with structures similar to that of the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Oestrogen, a key ingredient of the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy, is already thought to fuel breast cancer, sparking fears manmade chemicals with a similar structure or action may have the same effect.

Among the chief suspects is bisphenol A.

Found in CD cases, lunchboxes, sunglasses, water bottles and babies’ bottles, and in the plastic lining inside tin cans and food packaging, the compound is a building block of many plastics.

Present in more than half of the cans of food on sale in British supermarkets, it is likely most of us have at least a little of it in our bodies.

Studies have linked it to a host of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer and birth defects.

It has also been implicated in infertility, miscarriage and diabetes.

Other suspects include polychorinated biphenyls or PCBs and pesticides such as DDT. Now banned, these industrial chemicals continue to contaminate our soil and are food.

Also of concern are artificial musks, used to scent perfumes, shampoos, shower gels and washing powders, and the aluminium compounds used to block the sweat glands and found in almost all spray and roll-on deodorants.

It is known that synthetic oestrogens affect the environment, leading to fish changing sex and snails’ reproductive systems going into overdrive.

Experts in pollutants say even small amounts of the chemicals could do untold damage to the body -and warn that no one knows the effect of a combination of chemicals.

It is thought puberty and the months before birth – both periods in which the breast tissue is developing – could be critical for exposure.

Studies have so far failed to either prove or rule out the possibility that the pollutants cause the cancer.

However, research shows that just one in 20 breast cancer cases are inherited. Even taking into account other factors such as diet and alcohol, only half of breast cancer cases can be explained.

Dr Andreas Kortenkamp (CORR), head of London University’s Centre of Toxicology, said: “The role of chemicals in breast cancer requires urgent attention and precautionary action is warranted to limit exposure.”

Elizabeth Salter Green (CORR), of the WWF, called on the Government to strengthen legislation on the use of chemicals.

In the meantime, women can cut their exposure by reducing their reliance on canned foods and heavily fragranced cosmetics.

“I have got no real synthetic fragrances in my house at all,” she said.

“Bisphenol A is in the linings of tin cans of baked beans and tomatoes and I choose not to use those.”

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 18, 2006

And now the response to Pinkwashing… Glad I’m not the only one.

Letters: Breast cancer commercialization
Oct. 13, 2006. 06:19 AM

Re: Are we getting pinkwashed? (Oct. 6)

Samantha King’s article on the flood of breast cancer awareness merchandise was both timely and accurate.

As a breast cancer survivor, I am so sick of the commercialization of the entire breast cancer campaign. T-shirts, duct tape, cellphones — what are they thinking?

I’m all for raising breast cancer awareness, but how about we start with the family doctors. You know, the ones who send their patients home (the ones who just found a lump in their breast) telling them that at 35, they are too young to get breast cancer. No ultrasound. No mammogram. What about breast cancer awareness for men? Both my father and my uncle died of cancer that had spread from their breast into their lungs and bones. Janet Boccone, Toronto

———————————————

FINALLY, someone has written an article that we who are breast cancer survivors can agree with. We are worn out by all the pink rip-offs trying to “help” us when all they are doing is filling their coffers.

Thank you for your article. Dotti Campbell, Crossville, Tenn.

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I admire you for putting into print so many of my own thoughts about fundraising for specific diseases. In some ways breast cancer is considered “sexy” — not in an erotic sense, but in it being “okay” to have, to be public about, to support as a worthy cause. It really concerns me as other devastating diseases are ignored.

When did you last see a bumper sticker “I survive schizophrenia every day of my life”, or a T-shirt emblazoned with “My sister is bipolar, I am not, but neither of us is crazy”.

No one sends baskets of fruit, bunches of flowers, or boxes of chocolates to a psych ward patient.

How about a coin with a black centre for depression? Even better, make those coins out of cardboard as a reflection of the worn-out attitudes, patched together system, and general shabbiness of our society toward� one-fifth of its members.

Liz Powell, Elliot Lake

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Kudos to Samantha King for voicing the opinions and concerns that I and many of my friends have regarding the breast cancer campaign. I cringe when October approaches simply because of the media blitz promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Unless you have just arrived from Mars, I think the majority of individuals, especially women, are “aware” of the devastations caused by this insidious disease.

I am truly sick of the way we are being placated and manipulated into believing that a cure is just around the corner. I am tired of being “pink-ribboned” to death.

Christine Filippelli, Mississauga

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 18, 2006

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Wendy Mesley’s investigative report on Breast Cancer had a huge effect on me and my attitude towards the actual root cause of illness and disease. I’m sick of hearing about how a cure is just around the corner… October is Breast Cancer month and it’s not just me who shares this opinion. Running for a cure is a waste of time. Run for the cause and I would donate everytime.

In the paper this week, a flyer contained a two page spread of items coloured pink with a portion of the proceeds going towards Breast cancer research. Matresses, blenders, flying pans!!?? This is all too much.

Are we getting pinkwashed?
Commercialization of breast cancer cause has overshadowed the search for a cure, author argues
 
Oct. 6, 2006. 01:00 AM
SAMANTHA KING
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
When I began researching the widespread public interest in fundraising for breast cancer 10 years ago, I was convinced that this was a fad that would soon diminish.

Like the brightly coloured silicone wristbands that swept in and out of our lives last year, the pink ribbon, I predicted, would quickly lose its lustre. It probably goes without saying that I could not have been more wrong.

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins, Canadians are once again confronted with a barrage of advertisements promoting merchandise with a breast cancer theme.

Frozen dinners, fishing tackle, popcorn, kitchen mixers, and running shoes are just some of the products on offer this year. For each purchase, sponsoring corporations promise a small donation toward the fight against the disease.

What’s more, consumers can now pay for their purchases with the new breast cancer quarter only the second coloured coin to be produced by the Royal Canadian Mint and the first to be devoted to a specific disease.

And those who wished to open their lungs, as well as their wallets, joined the 170,000 Canadians on Sunday’s CIBC Run for the Cure.

Public concern about a disease that kills more than 5,000 Canadian women and men each year is not in itself surprising. But the fact breast cancer has become a marketer’s dream, or that survivors of the disease proudly declare their identity as survivors by sporting bright pink T-shirts to distinguish themselves from other Run for the Cure participants, would have been unimaginable for much of the 20th century.

During that time, women with the disease were objects of stigma and a positive diagnosis was viewed as an individual tragedy best dealt with privately and in isolation.

One of the few formal mechanisms of support available was the Canadian Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, modelled on a service founded by New Yorker Therese Lasser in 1952.

Although Reach to Recovery was based on the then radical idea that women who had experienced breast cancer could provide a special kind of emotional support for women newly in recovery, certain topics such as family relationships, doctors, and the mastectomy scar itself were off limits for discussion.

Instead, volunteers were supposed to convince women who had undergone a mastectomy that they did not have a handicap, but, in the words of breast cancer scholar Lisa Cartwright, “a condition from which they can recover given the right attitude, clothes, and a prosthesis.”

Although Reach to Recovery remains to this day heavily focused on cosmetic counselling and women’s private struggles with the disease, broader social attitudes toward breast cancer began to change in the latter decades of the 20th century.

The development of the women’s health movement in the 1970s lay important groundwork for specific issues that breast cancer activists would address in the decades to come.

Heightened political activism dedicated to changing surgical practices and increasing funding for breast cancer research in the 1980s and 1990s, coincided with the emergence of large, well-funded organizations, such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, devoted to the struggle against the disease.

These shifts, together with the emergence of mammography as a routine aspect of women’s health care, placed breast cancer squarely in the public eye.

No longer “victims” or “patients” women with breast cancer began to describe themselves as “survivors” and the disease itself came to be more commonly understood as an enriching and affirming experience.

In some respects, this clearly marks a change for the better: women who are in a position to take advantage of the optimism and camaraderie of survivor culture are likely to find that it aids in their recovery.

Unfortunately, the new image of breast cancer has brought with it a slew of other problems.

The cheerfulness and consumer-oriented character of breast cancer survivor culture can be enormously alienating to women who do not have the financial means or networks of social support to participate in it, not to mention unintentionally working to denigrate those who have “failed” to survive.

It also has the effect, as American author Barbara Ehrenreich argues, of transforming the disease into a rite of passage, rather than an injustice to struggle against.

This particular problem has been magnified considerably by corporate interest in the disease. Businesses looking to sell more products to female consumers have been quick to latch onto to changing attitudes toward breast cancer, and the pink ribbon industry that has emerged as a result is deeply dependent upon a positive image of the disease.

Sickness and death do not sell, but images of survivors who are uniformly youthful, ultrafeminine, immaculately groomed, radiant with health, and seemingly at peace with the world, do.

The effect of breast cancer marketing campaigns is to erase from public consciousness the fact that incidence rates remain stubbornly high and newly diagnosed women face essentially the same options as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy than they did 40 years ago.

That mortality rates have been declining slightly since the early 1990s offers little comfort to the estimated 22,000 Canadian women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

In terms of prevention, the only new choices are pills like tamoxifen which, while effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence, also brings with it serious side effects including increased risk for uterine cancer and surgery (in the form of prophylatic mastectomies) more drastic than that available to women who already have the disease.

Corporations are not alone in promoting an overly optimistic account of the struggle against the disease, however. It is quite possible to attend, as I have done, numerous splashy fundraising events and to come away with the impression that breast cancer is a disease from which people no longer die.

The large breast cancer foundations have also discovered that upbeat messages result in more devoted individual fundraisers and more generous corporate sponsors.

People often point to the good work that breast cancer campaigns perform in raising “awareness” and argue that regardless of the accompanying messages, pink ribbon products and 5k runs raise large amounts of money for a good cause.

But this position raises its own set of questions: What exactly are we being asked to gain awareness of? And how is the money being spent? For those campaigns and events that venture into specifics, awareness usually means preaching the benefits of early detection through mammograms.

Although this approach might prompt people to discover if they already have breast cancer, this selective brand of awareness asks individuals to take personal responsibility for fending off the disease, while ignoring tougher questions related to what might be done to prevent it in the first place. And to overlook the limitations of mammography as a tool in the fight against breast cancer. Mammography is not a preventive technology, as its proponents often claim.

Some researchers say the small decreases in breast cancer deaths in recent years are better explained by the widespread use of tamoxifen and other new chemotherapy treatments than mammography.

As for the funds raised, contrary to claims commonly made about the great difference a minor purchase can make, breast cancer marketing often makes relatively small sums of money for research.

Take for example the nationwide breast cancer promotion undertaken by Yoplait, the yogurt company, last year. For every Yoplait Source yogurt purchased by a consumer, Ultima Foods, which owns the licence to produce the yogurt in Canada, promised to donate 10 cents to the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. But the offer runs for just eight weeks, ending Oct. 15, which means that a consumer would have had to buy and then consume the equivalent of three cartons of yogurt a day during that period to raise just $16.80 for the cause.

Of course it could be argued that as long as lots of people across the country are diligently buying their yogurts, it wouldn\’t matter if each individual raised only, say $5. But the donations are capped at $80,000. This means that if and when the maximum donation is reached, consumers are no longer contributing to the struggle against the disease with their purchases.

By tying their good intentions to marketing strategies and bottom lines, companies inadvertently exploit people’s generosity. The promotion, says Diane Jubinville, director of consumer service for Ultima Foods, “gives visibility to the cause.”

It didn’t lead to an increase in yogurt sales, but it’s allowing women to “be aware of breast cancer and fight against it. We have given almost a quarter of a million dollars (over three years) to the cause,” she says.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation raises 16.5 per cent of its funds, or $3.4 million last year, through corporate support. Barb Bryson, the foundation’s media manager says, “Pink ribbon products offer consumers an everyday purchase choice to buy something they need and contribute, however small the gesture, to doing something about breast cancer … all at little to no cost to the foundation.

“The fact that there are so many corporations focused on the breast cancer cause is a testament to the impact that breast cancer has in communities across Canada.”

But a well-funded research agenda is clearly necessary if we are going to induce a more precipitous drop in mortality rates. There is a pressing need for more effective, less-toxic treatments and, in particular, for research on how to stop tumours from spreading.

After all, people don’t die from the tumours in their breasts; they die when they spread to other parts of their bodies.

But because of biases in research granting, work on this problem has been noticeably underfunded. Most importantly, however, we must begin to take more seriously questions of primary prevention if we are going to make a real dent in incidence rates and stop this disease at its source.

While the sums of money raised by pink ribbon products comprise a tiny percentage of total funding for research, consumers could urge corporations to direct their largesse, however minimal, to preventive science.

The best approach is to circumvent what activists at Breast Cancer Action Montreal call “pinkwashing” and give directly to those organizations whose work we support. That way we might find ourselves on the path to a cure, or better still, a world without breast cancer.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 17, 2006

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Four capsules of the new magnesium is still not enough. I raise it again to six capsules. Two at each meal for a total of 1500 mg. I have my follow up doctor’s appointment on Friday and I’m not sure what to tell him other than the St. John’s Wort has done absolutely nothing. I’m still eating 2-4 bananas a day and I don’t feel any improvement. I’ve noticed that if I miss taking the B complex, I get this weird feeling in my head. Almost like the tingling with the riboflavin but it’s more mild. I still suspect a B6 deficiency so I’ll stop taking my B complex vitamins and try taking B6 by itself for a while but this time I’ll try something different. I have B6 in a 250 mg dose and usually I take it twice a day. This time, I’ll split the pills and take four throughout the day at 125 mg.

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about the cost of eating healthy. Drinking carrot juice will give you botulism, eating spinach will give you e-coli…chemical residue in our fruits and vegetables… It never seems to end. And now we have the new breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons.

Tim Hortons Breakfast Sandwich

Innocent-looking sandwich packs a wallop of fat and sodium.

Nutritional breakdown:

Sausage, Egg and Cheese: 500 calories, 34 g fat (20 g saturated, 0.5 g trans), 32 carbohydrate (1 g fibre), 18 g protein, 920 mg sodium

Bacon, Egg and Cheese: 400 calories, 24 g fat (17 g saturated, 0.5 g trans), 31 g carbohydrate (1 g fibre), 16 g protein, 740 mg sodium

Analysis: Tim Hortons is now offering some protein at breakfast time this is good news. The bad news is that the protein comes with a lot of saturated fat (a day’s supply) and sodium (one-third of a day’s supply).

Health Canada recommends a total of 20 g per day of saturated and trans fats. Well, if you pull up to the drive-in and order your Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, you should just turn around and go home, because you will have had your entire day’s intake of saturated and trans fats. The daily value (DV) for sodium is 2,400 mg, which is about the amount of sodium in 1 tsp of salt. The breakfast sandwiches have 740-920 mg of sodium.

When I asked Tim Horton’s about this, company spokesperson Diane Slopek-Weber stated that their customer research overwhelmingly told them that the most popular choice for a hot breakfast sandwich, was one that included egg and meat. Given their wide menu selection and ordering options, their customers can choose for themselves.

Alternative: The Breakfast Sandwich is made to order, so you can ask for a multigrain bagel instead of the tea biscuit, with only egg and/or cheese. This will change the nutrition breakdown to 380 calories, 10 g fat (so you can keep driving to work).

How does it compare to McDonald\’s? The Sausage McMuffin with Egg has 440 calories, 26 g fat (10 g saturated, 0.4 g trans), 29 g carbohydrate (2 g fibre), 20 g protein, and 930 mg sodium. The Bacon & Egg McMuffin has 310 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated, 0.3 g trans), 29 g carbohydrate (2 g fibre), 16 g protein and 710 g sodium.

This becomes a lesson in relativity. Tim Hortons has created something so bad, it makes McDonalds look good. Perhaps this should be their new marketing position.

Take it or leave it: Keep driving.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 16, 2006

After taking 1 capsule of the new magnesium three times a day, it’s clearly not enough. So today I add another one to make it four capsules (1000 MG). I still don’t understand why I need so much?

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Entry for October 15, 2006

I was doing my grocery shopping today and it was late in the day. I’ve run out of my magnesium gluconate and the only place I can get it is now closed. I don’t want to miss any day without taking my magnesium so luckily I’m in Loblaws and they have a great health food section.

They don’t have much selection for magnesium but I pick up a brand by Nu Life that I’ve been curious about for a while. It mentions on the label that it contains five different types of magnesium and something about a krebs cycle?

Opti-Mag 250mg is a high-potency, elemental mineral formula using a Krebs Cycle Complex for improved absorption. Essential for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. Beneficial for muscle spasms, nausea, anorexia, constipation, nervousness and irritability.

Recommended Use:
Take 1 caplet daily with a meal.

Ingredients:
Magnesium (Citrate, Fumarate, Malate, Glutarate, Succinate) 250 mg,
Reinforced in a base of herbs including Black Cohosh, Wood Betony & Capsicum.

I take one 250 mg with every meal to start for a total of 750 mg.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 14, 2006

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With my recent time off on parental leave, I’m finding myself in a lot of new places and whenever I see a health food store, I’m always curious to find if they have something new that I’ve never seen before that can help me.

This store will offer a nutritional analysis but it doesn’t say how. I don’t bother asking anything about it as my first thought is a hair analysis and we know how good that works…

I’ve been taking Glucosamine now for one week. The results? No difference whatsoever.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Entry for October 13, 2006

Made a new discovery today. My mother in law was watching the weather channel and they happened to mention something on magnesium deficiencies and the relation to our climate in Canada. They talked about the lack of sunshine in the Canadian winters and how vitamin D can effect the absorption of magnesium.

I’d heard the connection to vitamin D before but I’ve also read the opposite. I’ll start taking it again and see what happens. Vitamin D is a fat soluble and I’ve already taken it for a while and I didn’t notice any difference.

I’ll try it again…

Here’s what I found:

The effects of three dietary levels of vitamin D (500, 1500 and 3000 IU/kg diet) on magnesium metabolism and on some bone parameters related to bone mineralization were studied in vitamin D-repleted pigs fed normal magnesium intakes (0.2 per cent) for two months. Apparent absorption and retention was measured in 10-day balance studies (prior to slaughter) in three groups of four 10-week old pigs. Except for vitamin D, the pigs received the same diet which met the recommended dietary allowances for growing pigs. The highest vitamin D level used was only three times the recommended level in French pig husbandry. At slaughter, the fibula and two main metatarsals (right hind leg) were collected to determine bone breaking strength, apparent density and bone mineral (ash, calcium, magnesium) contents. Blood was collected to determine plasma concentrations of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolites. Magnesium absorption increased linearly from 28-39 per cent intake with increasing dietary vitamin D. Urinary magnesium was not affected, thus magnesium retention also increased linearly as a function of vitamin D intake. Plasma calcium and magnesium were not altered by vitamin D. Plasma 25-hydroxycholecalciferol concentrations reflected vitamin D intakes, while plasma 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol was unchanged. Density, breaking strength and mineral contents of the bones were lower in the pigs fed 1500 or 3000 than in those fed 500 IU vitamin D/kg diet. This suggests that bone resorption was stimulated by the higher dietary vitamin D. Thus, vitamin D at physiological doses may enhance magnesium absorption in non previously vitamin D-depleted pigs fed diets with abundant magnesium. This nutritional situation may help explain the predominant bone-resorbing effect of vitamin D supplementation.

October 21, 2006 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

   

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