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Health Notes

Halt the pain and damage of osteoarthritis in just 24 hours 

There has been so much good news in the media lately that I can hardly stand it-animal fat is good, starch is bad. Now they’re praising cod liver oil. It’s about time, too. I have recommended cod liver oil for 30 years. I always said that if it was good enough for my great grandmother Bell then it is good enough for you and me. Great grandma Bell just happened to be “Dr. Lucy” Bell-and much of her advice is what’s gotten me here today.

But back to the issue at hand: cod liver oil.

Cardiff University in Great Britain recently finished a study on the beneficial effects of cod liver oil on degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis). It’s been known for years that cod liver oil is good for rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammatory type. But these new findings by the Cardiff researchers show that not only does cod liver oil relieve the symptoms-primarily pain and stiffness-of both types of arthritis but it can also reverse the destruction of joint cartilage, which is characteristic of osteoarthritis. The cartilage is the cushioning factor that keeps the joints of the bones from rubbing together.

Professor Bruce Caterson, head of the Cardiff study, immersed tissue samples in a test solution of cod liver oil. He found that the solution could completely stop-or even reverse-the action of the destructive enzymes and inflammatory factors affecting the tissue after just 24 hours. Amazing!

“This is where,” Dr. Caterson added, “science and old wives’ tales coincide. Our findings are consistent with advice that taking cod liver oil in early adulthood could prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and would reduce the harmful symptoms associated with the disease.”

Action to take:

Great grandma Bell’s advice? Take four cod-liver oil capsules twice a day. My advice? Always listen to Great grandma Bell.

Reference:

“Science backs cod liver oil arthritis cure,” Cardiff University (press release), 2/20/02

Medical industry back scratching: The more things change, the more they stay the same 

Ten years ago, my son wrote a paper for his master’s degree in nutritional biochemistry. The research thesis concerned the ill effects of homogenized, pasteurized milk on human health. When he showed it to his faculty advisor, she responded: “Don’t rock the boat.” You see, this particular university received very large grants from the commercial food industry. I bring it up because this is just a tiny example of the way medical research is controlled and corrupted by big corporations.

In the October 2001 issue of Dr. Douglass’ Real Health Breakthroughs, I told you about the vile situation that exists in the world of medical research and its illegal and immoral cohabitation with the drug giants. Last year, several of the power- ful medical journals got together and vowed to stop being a part of this cabal. They would, they promised, require that their reports be based on evidence that the research was accurate and not biased by drug company money paid to the researchers and their institutions.

So what has happened since the solemn promise last year to go straight? Essentially, things are still the same. A New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) study revealed that research contracts still fail to follow agreed-upon guidelines meant to keep such studies independent and free of bias from drug company sponsorship.

Marcia Angell, former editor of the NEJM, remarked to the Wall Street Journal: “The academic community is still trying to have it both ways: to maintain their very close and lucrative contacts with private industry while trying to respond to public concern about conflicts of interest.”

Most researchers think their own work is above reproach, as we have previously reported. But speculation runs amok on the ethics of their competitors–Dr. X over there needs to be watched closely. Of course, Dr. X thinks he’s as innocent as can be.

After reading the Wall Street Journal article on page A8 and writing the above report, I happened to turn back to page A7. And what did I discover? An article proclaiming that aspirin really is the wonder drug that the medical researchers have been saying it is. The article claims that aspirin can reduce death after open-heart surgery by 67 percent as well as reducing other complications by 40 percent.

Well, maybe, but I remain skeptical in light of the rampant cheating and sloppy work that are tolerated in this country. What do you suppose they would find if they did the same type of study, with no money from any biased commercial source, on the preventive effect of cod liver oil?

Unfortunately, there’s no money to be made from that information, so you’ll never see such a study.

References:

“Study Lashes Medical Schools For Drug-Research Conflicts” Wall Street Journal, 10/24/02

“A National Survey of Provisions in Clinical-Trial Agreements between Medical Schools and Industry Sponsors,” New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 347(17):1,335-1,341

The grass is always greener on the pain-free side of the fence

Our pot-puffing ex-president, Bill Clinton, started a war against doctors when his administration declared that physicians who recommend marijuana could face criminal charges and lose their federal licenses to prescribe medicine. Bush has continued the fight.

Now, some gutsy federal judges in San Francisco, have struck a blow for free speech and free medicine. They ruled that the government couldn’t revoke the prescription drug license of a doctor who recommended marijuana to patients in pain.

I say, “Bravo.” I’m no hippie, but I can’t tolerate the way our government denies sick and suffering people effective means of pain relief, so any time someone stands up for patients’ rights, I like to acknowledge it.

This three-judge panel also ruled that the Justice Department cannot investigate doctors for merely recommending marijuana to patients.

Exercising their rights, the following sovereign states have adopted laws allowing the sick to use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation: California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Maine.

At any rate, it is a little whiff of freedom-I hope it’s a trend.

Reference:

“Ruling protects doctors who recommend marijuana,” Associated Press, 10/30/02

Protect your bones by lowering your blood pressure

Going through menopause forces most women to start worrying about osteoporosis. But women with high blood pressure face an increased risk of developing this brittle bone disease, according to a recent report. The study, based on information on more than 3,600 women, confirms what doctors have long suspected.

Lancet researchers found that elderly women who have high blood pressure suffer bone thinning at a rate nearly twice that experienced by other women. This is unsurprising, as it is known that high blood pressure causes a loss of calcium in the body and a loss of bone strength. But the reason for this effect is still unknown.

Lead researcher Dr. Francesco Cappuccio, of St. George’s Hospital in London, would like to have us believe that salt is to blame for this phenomenon. I have my doubts. He concludes: “Decreased salt intake should lessen the risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures in elderly people and also have a blood pressure lowering effect.”

However, salt does not cause hypertension in everyone. Only 50 percent of people are salt-sensitive -some say much less. Therefore, reducing salt intake will not lower blood pressure, except in susceptible people. Salt reduction is not a cure-all or preventive for osteoporosis. Dr. Cappuccio needs to start over and select salt-sensitive people for his research before jumping to conclusions about salt restriction for everybody with hypertension.

If you ask me, at this point, the natural way-weight reduction, an omnivorous but low carbohydrate, high animal fat/protein diet, and light exercise-are still the treatments of choice.

Reference:

“High blood pressure and bone-mineral loss in elderly white women: a prospective study,” Lancet 1999; 354: 971-975

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