Thursday, September 11, 2008

Honey Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Increased rates of antibiotic resistant infections have led to a dramatic decrease in the effectiveness of almost all conventional drugs. Long live the honey bee! Traditional folk healers have talked about the virtues of honey for treating infections while conventionally trained physicians have long dismissed these claims. Finally there is a bit of science supporting the claims that honey just might have some effect after all.

Researchers in the Netherlands, with government and industry support, investigated the antimicrobial properties of a "medical-grade" honey, which is produced by bees in closed greenhouses. In in vitro studies of bactericidal activity, a 40% solution of honey reproducibly killed all bacterial isolates tested, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Escherichia faecium, and multidrug-resistant gram-negative rods. Forty-two healthy volunteers then had small forearm patches of skin swabbed with honey and covered with polyurethane dressings for 2 days. Compared with control skin patches (covered with polyurethane, but without honey) on the same volunteers, the honey-covered patches were culture-negative for bacteria significantly more often. 

Be careful with store bought honey however, because grocery-grade honey is not standardized and can be bacterially contaminated. Much to bee lovers delight, honey might one day take its place alongside mupirocin as a topical microbicide or even as a treatment for wounds that are infected with multidrug-resistant organisms.

Kwakman PHS et al. Medical-grade honey kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria in vitro and eradicates skin colonization. Clin Infect Dis 2008 Jun 1; 46:1677

Citation Link

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Merck Ghostwrites Drug Studies for Doctors

The practice of ghostwriting research articles calls into question all legitimate research that's been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry by academic physicians.

Merck, a major drug manufacturer drafted dozens of research studies for a best selling drug Vioxx. To give validity to the study, Merck was in want of a big-name researcher. Before publication lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports according to a leading medical journal.

This practice calls into question all legitimate research that's been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry with academic physicians.

Vioxx, a best selling drug was pulled from the market after causing heart attacks and killing many people. The company agreed to pay a $4.8 billion settlement to resolve tens of thousands of of lawsuits.

To quote from the JAMA article: "This case-study review of industry documents demonstrates that clinical trial manuscripts related to rofecoxib were authored by sponsor employees but often attributed first authorship to academically affiliated investigators who did not always disclose industry financial support. Review manuscripts were often prepared by unacknowledged authors and subsequently attributed authorship to academically affiliated investigators who often did not disclose industry financial support."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hydration, Water and Health

It is well known that as we age, the thirst drive decreases. Maintaining adequate fluid balance is an essential component of health at every stage of life. Age-related changes make older adults more vulnerable to shifts in water balance that can result in overhydration or, more frequently, dehydration.

Maintaining good hydration status has been shown to positively affect urolithiasis (kidney stones) and may be beneficial in treating urinary tract infection, constipation, hypertension, venous thromboembolism, fatal coronary heart disease, stroke, dental disease, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis , gallstone disease, mitral valve prolapse, and glaucoma. Local mild hypohydration or dehydration may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of several broncho-pulmonary disorders like exercise asthma or cystic fibrosis. In bladder and colon cancers, the evidence on hydration status' effects is inconsistent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Electromangetic Fields (EMF) and Public Health

Everyday we swim in a sea of electromagnetic radiation produced by electrical appliances, power lines, and a slew of modern technologies. New research is suggesting that exposure to elevated levels of EMF magnetic fields such as those from electric power transmission lines are implicated in a number of adverse health effects. These include but are not limited to childhood leukemias, breast cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, miscarriage, and cllinical depression.

There appears to be a statistical correlation between various diseases and living near power-lines. The physical mechanism is still unclear however it is believed that the EMF is disrupting the ability of our cells to communicate with each other. This disruption in intercellular communication can cause symptoms of electrosensitivity such as inability to sleep, general malaise and headaches as well as more serious concerns.

Check out these links below for more information:

Epidemiologic Literature on EMF and Health

Magnetic Field Exposure and Neurodegenerative Disease

Neurodegenerative Diseases and Workers Exposed to High Levels of Magnetic Fields

Magnetic Fields and Miscarriages 1

Magnetic Fields and Miscarriages 2

Increased Exposure to Aerosol Polutants Under Power Lines

Thursday, March 13, 2008

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Special thanks to Derek and Heather!

Don't Drink the Water!!!

The AP reports that a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — are entering our bodies via the drinking water delivered to homes and workplaces. Millions of Americans are being affected.

The presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

Check out more here:

As Drug Advertisements Surge, More Prescriptions Filled

Prescription-drug ads prompt nearly one-third of Americans to ask their doctors about an advertised medicine, and 82% of those who ask say their physicians recommended a prescription.

Drug Company's Secrececy Surrounding Unfavorable Studies Continues

"Secrecy became the pharmaceutical industry's watchword as it sought to control publication of trials and even manipulate results. Cancer drugs introduced in the 1990s claimed to offer major benefits which later turned out to be more apparent than real. Evidence published in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 38 per cent of independent studies of the drugs reached unfavorable conclusions about them, compared with just 5 per cent of studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2004, UK researchers commissioned by Nice to develop guidelines for prescribing antidepressant drugs to children tried to obtain unpublished trials from the drug companies. They were refused. They then contacted the individual researchers who had worked on the trials. Only then did a picture emerge of increased risk of attempted suicide, and a lack of efficacy. Nice concluded by banning the drugs for under-18s with the exception of Prozac.

A recent report suggesting that modern antidepressants offer no significant clinical benefit over placebo has been dismissed by the drug industry as "just one study" which should not be allowed to undermine the wealth of research showing that the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are effective.
But that is to miss the point. The Hull University researchers have demonstrated how partial access to research can give a distorted view of a drug. The non-disclosure of data on the SSRIs has raised doubts about the trustworthiness of all research on antidepressants."

Check it out here:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Antidepressant Drugs Don't Work: Official Study

Antidepressant drugs are among the biggest-selling drugs of all time and are taken by millions of people in the US every year.

One of the largest studies of these drugs has found that they have no clinically significant effect. In other words, they don't work!

This finding raises serious questions about the regulation of the multinational pharmaceutical industry, which was accused yesterday of withholding data on the drugs.

Check out more information on this topic here:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rhodiola Effective for Depression

New research published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry suggests that Rhodiola could represent an effective natural agent in the treatment of depression. The antidepressant effects of Rhodiola are associated with a decrease of stress activated proteins. This suggests a different mechanism of action than conventional antidepressant drugs and could be a reason why Rhodiola is relatively free from side-effects.

Thyme and ivy leaf effectively treat acute bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is usually a viral and a self-limiting condition that typically does not require the use of antibiotics. First-line herbal therapies for bronchitis often include ivy leaf, thyme, and Pelargonium sidoides. A thyme-ivy combination known as Bronchipret is a well-established treatment for acute bronchitis and coughs in Europe. The link to this large clinical trial clearly demonstrates that the syrup safely and effectively reduces the incidence of cough and duration of illness in adults with acute bronchitis. Thyme's phamacologic activities secreolytic, expectorant, and bronchospasmolytic effects while ivy leaf is noted for its antispasmodic and expectorant actions. Health care practitioners note that these herbal ingredients are recommended in children as young as 4 years of age but are contraindicated in pregnant or lactating women.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Medical Cannabis

A NEW STUDY in the journal Neurology discusses how marijuana is an invaluable medicine in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain.

Marijuana May Fight Lung Tumors? From CBS news: "Cannabis may be bad for the lungs, but the active ingredient in marijuana may help combat lung cancer, new research suggests. In lab and mouse studies, the compound, known as THC, cut lung tumor growth in half and helped prevent the cancer from spreading, says Anju Preet, PhD, a Harvard University researcher in Boston who tested the chemical."

I found this very interesting: "More people are using the cannabis plant as modern basic and clinical science reaffirms and extends its medicinal uses. Concomitantly, concern and opposition to smoked medicine has occurred, in part due to the known carcinogenic consequences of smoking tobacco. Are these reactions justified? While chemically very similar, there are fundamental differences in the pharmacological properties between cannabis and tobacco smoke. Cannabis smoke contains cannabinoids whereas tobacco smoke contains nicotine. Available scientific data, that examines the carcinogenic properties of inhaling smoke and its biological consequences, suggests reasons why tobacco smoke, but not cannabis smoke, may result in lung cancer."

From the Harm Reduction--The Cannabis Paradox: "This article examines harm reduction from a novel perspective. Its central thesis is that harm reduction is not only a social concept, but also a biological one. More specifically, evolution does not make moral distinctions in the selection process, but utilizes a cannabis-based approach to harm reduction in order to promote survival of the fittest. Evidence will be provided from peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports the hypothesis that humans, and all animals, make and use internally produced cannabis-like products (endocannabinoids) as part of the evolutionary harm reduction program. More specifically, endocannabinoids homeostatically regulate all body systems (cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, nervous, musculo-skeletal, reproductive). Therefore, the health of each individual is dependent on this system working appropriately."

US Hospitals Charge Uninsured More, Study Says

U.S. hospitals are charging uninsured patients about two-and-a-half times more than those with health insurance!

US Health System Rankings

The United States, which has the most expensive health system in the world, underperforms consistently relative to other countries.

What's in a flu shot?

Check out this funny video just in time for the cold and flu season!

Do you really need that spinal surgery?

Can you trust your doctor's recommendation to have surgery for an aching back? Make sure you have all the facts. Evidence says surgery does not fix the problem over the long term any better than time, physical therapy, and exercise.

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Special thanks to Derek and Heather!