Saturday, October 25, 2008

What drugs is your doctor REALLY giving you? (Placebos aren't harmless any more!)

The following story was a real shocker to me!

Doctors prescribing placebo pills is not anything new, and actually I'm all for it in instances where it might help.

The mind is the most powerful healing device you have, and if a tool, like a harmless pill, can nudge your mind into effecting a cure and creating good health, so much the better.

However, in my opinion, the article below shows just how over-the-top the medical community has become when it prescribes placebo pills that are not harmless, do-nothings, but are serious drugs like painkillers, antibiotics, and sedatives.

The overuse of antibiotis in the U. S. is already legendary, but here are doctors prescribing it as a placebo! I sure hope the sedative recipients are given the "do not drive" warning even though they don't know they are taking a sedative!

The worst part is that the do this without telling the patient what he or she is receiving! Not only that, the majority of doctors in the study believe this is "ethically permissible." When did it become "ethically permissible" to prescribe a potenitally harmful drug and lie to the patient?

The more I see, the more I say: Go holistic!

Here's the story:

Doctors Often Prescribe Placebo Treatments

By Ed Edelson HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 23 [2008] (HealthDay News) -- American doctors regularly prescribe placebo pills that are intended to have a psychological effect, a new survey finds.

However, the placebos reported by the 679 physicians in the survey often aren't the inactive substances used in controlled clinical trials, said Dr. Farr A. Curlin, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and a member of the team reporting the finding in the Oct. 24 issue of the BMJ.

"Most people when they say 'placebo' think of something like a sugar pill," Curlin said. "But doctors can use a treatment that may have some effects but that they think will not have a direct effect on the patient except by the placebo effect."

The placebo effect, well-established in countless studies, is a benefit produced by assuring someone that whatever is being given will benefit whatever the problem happens to be -- "optimism or confidence that something is being done," as Curlin phrased it.

Only 3 percent of the doctors responding in the survey reported prescribing sugar pills. But 41 percent said they used over-the-counter painkillers as placebos, 38 percent used vitamins, 13 percent used antibiotics, and 13 percent used sedatives.

The survey also found that only 5 percent of the doctors who prescribe a placebo treatment describe it as such. The great majority, 68 percent, describe it as a potentially beneficial medicine or treatment not typically used for the condition.

And almost two-thirds of the doctors in the survey said they believed the practice to be ethically permissible.

"It's a gray zone," Curlin said. "It is not ethical to actively deceive patients. But when doctors give something which they think will help but don't think it helpful to explain the full reasoning about why it will help, that's a gray zone."

Placebo treatment "is pretty common in the practice of medicine," said Curlin, who acknowledged using it. "I give people the information I think a reasonable person would want to know, trying to be as candid as possible," he said. "There are times when I have said, 'Yes, I think it might be helpful, why don't you give it a try,' when I don't have confidence it will help their condition."

What matters is that the treatment can help, Curlin added. "The placebo effect is a real effect," he said. "People do feel better. To the extent that it can be mobilized in a way that is restful and not actively deceiving patients, I think it is acceptable."

Placebo treatment "is part of an old but good medical tradition," said Dr. David Spiegel, an assistant chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. "The basic rule is: First, do no harm. If there is no toxicity, and it does some good, evidence supports its use," Spiegel said.

But straightforward lying about a prescription is wrong, said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, associate dean of the school of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"The cornerstone of what treatment is acceptable is full disclosure for the patient," Leuchter said. "If you explain to the patient what you are doing, and why you are doing it, that is right. If you mislead a patient, there is a serious problem with that."

The appropriate way to explain a placebo treatment, Leuchter added, is to say, "There is no reasonable medical evidence that this pill is effective for your condition, but some people who take this pill say it makes them feel better."

It is important to note that "deception is not a necessary part of the placebo effect," Spiegel said. "You can tell people that the treatment might benefit them, and that is not a lie."

And the placebo effect is often at work in medical practice, Spiegel noted. "A lot of factors go into the effect of therapy, some of which are specifically pharmaceutical, and some are not. You might feel better, because you feel you are doing something actively to treat the problem."

The argument about the ethics of placebo treatment can also be turned around, he added. "There are ways to present placebo treatment that do not involve deception," he said. "You are doing it because it can help a patient, and a certain percentage of patients will respond. Especially in conditions where we do not have a lot of treatments, is it ethical to withhold it?"

More information

The history of placebo treatments is described in the Skeptics Dictionary.


It's been proposed that as many as 90% of doctor visits are to relieve symptoms of stress!

Before you go there, here are several articles with stress-reducing techniches and information that can help you stay clear of costly, potentially harmful medications that you don't need anyway!

Progressive Relaxation Technique II

SAD or Depressed? Antidepressants Are Out, Sunlight Is In!

12 Ways to Stay on Top of Stress

Stressed and Depressed, or dehydrated?

Laughter - It does a body good!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Suicide Rates Rising Among Middle Age Women

This trend is pretty scary, but not as surprising nor as unfathomable as the researchers seem to think.

Here is the story; my own comments follow at the end.

Middle-aged women drive rise in U.S. suicides: study

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor

October 21, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. suicide rates appear to be on the rise, driven mostly by middle-aged white women, researchers reported on Tuesday.

They found a disturbing increase in suicides between 1999 and 2005 and said the pattern had changed in an unmistakable way -- although the reasons behind the change are not clear.

The overall suicide rate rose 0.7 percent during this time, but the rate for white men aged 40 to 64 rose 2.7 percent and for middle-aged women 3.9 percent, the team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found.

"The biggest increase that we have seen between 1999 and 2005 was the increase in poisoning suicide in women -- that went up by 57 percent," said Susan Baker, a professor in injury prevention with a special expertise in suicide.

Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Baker, Guoqing Hu and colleagues said they analyzed publicly available death certificate data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The results underscore a change in the epidemiology of suicide, with middle-aged whites emerging as a new high-risk group," Baker said in a statement.

"Historically, suicide-prevention programs have focused on groups considered to be at highest risk -- teens and young adults of both genders as well as elderly white men. This research tells us we need to refocus our resources to develop prevention programs for men and women in their middle years."

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States and Baker said the changes are substantial.

"Definitely these are not just little blips," she said in a telephone interview. "We are looking at a big population change."

She hopes other researchers will study the reasons behind the shifts. "I certainly think we need research to look at the information that we have on people who have committed suicide," she said.

"Are these people living alone, with no major responsibility or others to take care of, or are they people overwhelmed with all of the jobs and responsibilities they have? We need to find out more about the conditions under which these people are living."

The middle-aged women and men used various methods to kill themselves -- poisons, prescription drugs, hanging or suffocation, and firearms, Baker said.

While firearms remain the most common method, the rate of gun suicides decreased while suicide by hanging or suffocation increased by 6.3 percent among men, and 2.3 percent among women.

In September researchers confirmed an 18 percent spike in youth suicides in the United States in 2004 persisted into 2005 after more than a decade of decreases.

And international research published in January found that the young, single, female, poorly educated and mentally ill are all at higher risk of suicide.

According to the World Health Organization, suicide rates have increased by 60 percent in the last 45 years. Depression is the leading cause of suicide.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen)


Michelle here again. . .

Personally, I would like to know if the jump has been gradual since 1963, or if there has been a spike in the suicide rates more recently. I think that could give a lot of insight into what is behind this terrible trend.

Here are some reasons that I believe contribute to the rise in women committing suicide in record numbers:

Just being a woman means there is something wrong with you and you need to be fixed:

· Young girls must be medicated for a virus that the FDA has said "are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer;"

· Young women must be medicated to reduce or eliminate the menstrual cycle;

· Middle-age women must be medicated to overcome menopause;

· Elderly women must be medicated to overcome osteoporosis.

· From 9 to 90, you spend your entire life on drugs!

Here is an eye-opener: a chart ranked by number of prescriptions filled for women by state showing prescriptions filled for both men and women in 2007. Overall, women are prescribed far more drugs than men.

"Retail Prescription Drugs Filled at Pharmacies (Annual per Capita by Gender) 2007"



United States















New Mexico



District of Columbia






























New Jersey












New York



South Dakota












New Hampshire









Rhode Island





















North Dakota












North Carolina






























South Carolina






West Virginia




You are paid less than a man doing the same work. This is a major source of stress, anxiety, fear, and depression.

You have wrinkles, and you are never thin enough. This is a major source of anxiety and depression.

You may be caring for children, spouse, and parents, but there is no one to take care of you! This is a major cause of stress, anxiety, and depression.

You don't eat right, and don't get enough sunlight so you are deficient in many nutrients, especially Vitamin D. This is a major cause of stress, anxiety, depression, and general illness.

You are expected to participate in the competitive business world and yet that is counter to all we know about women and how they work best, which is cooperatively not competitively. This is a major cause of stress, anxiety, and fear.

Your main source of support and stress-relief has virtually disappeared; hanging out with other women. This is a major source of stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression.

Women, you must break the cycle. You are the only ones who can.

Stop listening to the television tell you who you are and what you are supposed to be, do, and think.

Start listening to that most-ridiculed and yet most profound and relevant of womanly senses: Intuition.

And, for goodness sake, read the article about the Back Fence Network and then get out there and hang out with other women!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Caffeine overload in our children?

Here is a reprint of a story I saw on Yahoo today. It gives me the chills on so many levels, the highest of which is why the FDA is again NOT doing its job of protecting the citizens by making companies label products containing caffeine given that there has been a petition requesting this that has been open since 1997.

Yep, you read that right: 1997. It can't possibly take eleven years for an agency to determine that a particular substance which is present in a product should be on the label unless the producers of that product want that information hidden from the consumer!


Anyway, if you drink a lot of coffee or tea or other caffeinated products, you will want to avoid certain soap and jelly beans!....... and certainly protect your children from them.

For more information, see below.

And send a note to the FDA when you're done demanding that caffein-containing products be labeled!!


Hey! Who Put the Caffeine in My Soap?

By JOHN CLOUD John Cloud – Mon Oct 20, 11:10 am ET October 20, 2008

Most adults know how many cups of coffee we can have before we get twitchy. We're a race of well-practiced, high-functioning junkies. After all, regular human consumption of caffeine began at least 2,000 years ago, and until recently there was no reason to think our little global addiction posed any threat.

But recently companies began unleashing a barrage of unfamiliar products packed with extreme amounts of caffeine. The trend started with super-caffeinated energy drinks in the '90s, but more recently scientists and marketers have created caffeinated foods and even personal-hygiene products. In the past five years, according to the market research giant Mintel, firms have launched at least 126 caffeinated food products for sale in the U.S. Twenty-nine such products have been introduced this year alone. The offerings include things like Morning Spark oatmeal, NRG potato chips, and - my favorite, if only for the brazen attempt to draw kids into caffeine culture - Jelly Belly's Extreme Sport Beans, which call themselves "Energizing Jelly Beans." You can also now buy caffeinated toiletries like Bath Buzz Caffeinated Lotion.

Public-health officials are worried about the new products for two reasons: first, people might simply add the new products to their typical ration of coffee or tea. That could increase their risk for caffeine intoxication, a condition that causes symptoms like nervousness, insomnia, tachycardia and psychomotor agitation. Caffeine intoxication is not uncommon: according to a 1998 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 7% of caffeine users have experienced it. The symptoms usually abate quickly when people quit caffeine, but in rare cases the symptoms can lead to death.

The larger problem with the new caffeinated inventions is that their labels don't typically disclose how much caffeine they contain. And yet some of them are crammed with the drug: Sumseeds, a brand of caffeinated sunflower seeds, contain 120 mg of caffeine per packet, 16% more than in a typical 6-oz serving of coffee. Shower Shock soap is designed to deliver a crackling 200 mg of caffeine when lathered into the skin, twice the amount in that same cup of coffee.

Earlier this month, a Johns Hopkins neuroscience professor named Roland Griffiths, one of the world's leading caffeine experts, sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration urging it to require specific caffeine labeling in light of all the strange new caffeinated products. Nearly 100 fellow scientists and public-health advocates signed the letter. Griffiths reminded the FDA that it has yet to decide on a 1997 petition filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) requesting caffeine labeling.

The FDA has not yet responded to Griffiths. FDA spokesman Michael Herndon told me in an e-mail that the CSPI petition is still "active and pending." When I asked why it has taken 11 years - so far - to review it, he replied, "Some petitions may take longer depending on agency workload and complexity of the issue."

But caffeine labeling is not a complex issue. Consumers should be able to make informed choices; people should know that a Starbucks venti drip coffee can have as much as 400 mg of caffeine.

Griffiths says there's no good epidemiological data yet to show whether the new caffeinated food and hygiene products are affecting public health. But he does worry about one group that can readily access these products: kids.

Doctors recommend that pre-pubescent kids not have any caffeine, and yet caffeinated candies and gums and chips have strong appeal for kids. Earlier this year, four middle-school boys in Broward County, Fla., had to go to the hospital after drinking energy drinks. The boys were sweating so much that school officials thought they might be having heart attacks.

That's an extreme but not isolated case. Those boys probably wouldn't have paid much attention even if labels did include caffeine content, but the rest of us should be able to calibrate our addictions with more information.

View this article on

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is cancer a fungus? The most important video you will ever watch!

Let's face it, with statistics that say one-third of the women in the United States will have an issue with cancer at some time in her life, cancer is certainly a source of stress, albeit a silent one, for many, many women. . . including me! (My mother had two kinds of cancer, so I am very "at risk"!)

The two videos below, at approximately 10 minutes each, are two parts of an interview, and two of the most important you will ever watch in your life, I promise! They are parts one and two of an interview with an Italian oncologist who has cured cancer without chemo, without radiation, without damaging chemicals or drugs of any kind!

This Italian oncologist has determined that cancers, at their core, are yeast infections, and that simple bicarbonate of soda, yep, that baking soda we all have in our kitchen cupboards, will eliminate cancer!

Amazing, absolutely! However, in America today, the doctors are more interested in plugging chemotherapy and radiation than baking soda. I'm sure you can guess why: $$$$$.

So, if you believe this fellow has the "real deal," and frankly I believe him completely, then you must be prepared to make a stand against the medical community and demand this treatment that can save your life and reallu cure cancer, not chemo which is an unbelievably toxic theray and "cures" a mere 2% of the people who receive it!

Not sure of that startling figure? Check out this chart from
(If the chart is difficult to read, click on it for a larger version.)

Only 2.1% of the people who receive chemo live beyond five years! Unbelievable! And yet, this treatment is the doctor's treatment of choice!

Watch the videos and see for yourself!

If you want to know what to do about fungus, here is a website that has some fantastic, holistic info on how to recognize and overcome fungal infections that you may not even know you have: Holistic Health Solutions.

I have to say that I have recognized a few of these symptoms in myself, and I believe that it is because there are so many hidden sugars and carbohydrates in our diets that it is difficult to avoid them unless we go a wholly holistic and organic route in the foods we eat! (Yeast thrives on sugars and carbs. Please follow the link and see how you can avoid these problems! Holistic Health Solutions)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Does Thinking Make You Fatter?

Today's article is a reprint of one I received in today's free newsletter from Dr Joseph Mercola of It's another valuable lesson on the exercise and nutrition we need, and how stress can throw our whole system out of whack!

A research team has demonstrated that intellectual work induces a substantial increase in appetite and calorie intake. This discovery could help to explain, in part, the current obesity epidemic.

The team measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks: relaxing in a sitting position, reading and summarizing a text, and completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer.

Each session of intellectual work required only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests than they did after relaxing.

Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work caused bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels -- two critical components in the body's regulatory and energy machinery -- than rest periods.

Jean-Philippe Chaput, the lead author of the study, said that mental work "destabilizes" the levels of insulin and glucose, thus stimulating the appetite, apparently in response to a need to restore the body’s energy balance.


ABC News September 10, 2008

Psychosomatic Medicine September 2008 70:797-804

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

After a hard day of mental work, you can be just as physically exhausted as if you had spent the day doing physical work. So it makes sense that thinking hard also increases your appetite. The researchers found mental work “destabilizes” your insulin and glucose levels, and that’s what they suggest is causing the increase in appetite and eating.

For now, it’s safe to assume that many factors can increase your appetite, and of them many are related to your mind.

How Your Mind Makes You Hungry

One of the mental states that leads to more eating is stress (remember, a mental challenge is a form of stress). This is a major one that almost everyone can relate to, and to some extent this is hard-wired into you.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found that when rats are chronically stressed, the release of glucocorticoid steroid hormone (cortisol in humans) leads them to engage in pleasure-seeking behaviors, including eating high-energy foods. When they ate these foods (things like the human-equivalent of greasy pizza or chocolate chip cookies), they developed abdominal obesity, but the negative aspects of chronic stress were blunted.

The researchers concluded that craving, and eating, comfort foods may actually “apply the brakes on a key element of chronic stress.”

Well, relieving stress is good, but not when it’s at the expense of abdominal obesity or “belly fat”, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and more. Nipping stress in the bud at its root source is a much better option than soothing your nerves with a bowl full of ice cream.

Meanwhile, stress is not the only emotion that leads you to eat. A 2004 study by British researchers found that about half of adults turn to food in times of not only stress but also boredom and loneliness.

Then there are many other, very subtle, reasons why people feel hungrier, such as:

• Seeing food, which makes your body anticipate eating.
• Time of day. Your body is conditioned to eat at certain times.
• Drinking alcohol, which can impair your judgment and make you eat more than normal.
• Eating refined carbs, which generates a rapid rise in blood sugar, followed by a subsequent “crash” that makes you want more food.

• Portion size. Studies show that the larger the portion, the more you’ll eat.
• Eating too fast, which allows you to consume more food before your body has a chance to let you know it’s full (it takes about 20 minutes for this to happen, so you should wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds).
Not sleeping enough, which triggers hormone imbalances that boost your desire to eat.

Does This Mean You’ll be Fat if You do a Lot of Mental Work?

Of course not, but knowing that your appetite may be stimulated after a long meeting or hours at the computer is something to keep in mind. And it’s not as though a stimulated appetite is a bad thing at all.

If you feel hungry, you should listen to your body and eat something. Just make sure it is something that will actually nourish your body, not just keep it going temporarily followed by a major crash. Finding out your nutritional type, and eating accordingly, is really the best way to feel satisfied and give your body the nutrients it needs -- without having to worry about gaining weight.

Now, if you do a lot of mentally challenging tasks it’s a good idea to eat plenty of these foods that are known to nourish your brain:

• Organic eggs
• Leafy vegetables like spinach
• Seeds and nuts (especially walnuts)
• Organic grass-fed beef and chicken
Green tea
Omega-3 fats (like krill oil)

That said, some of the worst foods for your brain are refined foods (white sugar, white flour, processed anything), alcohol, and trans fats. So focus on eating whole foods (especially those from the list above) if you do a lot of mental work. And if you’re worried about gaining weight, be sure you’re getting plenty of exercise as well. Not only will the exercise burn calories, it will help to relieve your mental stress and optimize your brain function all at the same time.