Archive for the 'Health' Category

11
Jul
11

Gout Cure: Update

UPDATE: For additional info please see this new blog on gout: About Gout: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief

My previous post on gout has been, by far, my most popular post and I feel it is time to update so as to give better information out there to those searching for a remedy to an extremely painful problem.

My previous post talked about how I found some relief using alkaline raising products from plain old baking soda in a solution of water as well as alkaline drops. I did indeed get some relief from that, but it wasn’t ever enough. The attacks were coming even more frequently and I had been on a cane for months. I couldn’t really even walk without that cane, so I eventually bought a second one to ensure that I would never be without it. I would leave one in my car and one in my house so one would always be near. Even still, sometimes I had to resort to using crutches as it was just too painful to put any pressure on my feet. But what is worse, is that gout eventually attacked my knees. I thought I had already experienced the worst that gout could do, but when it hit my knees I was in for a whole new world of hurt. I couldn’t move and just wanted to throw up from the pain. (Do NOT let it get to your knees!!! My recommendations below are nothing compared to that pain, trust me.)

Well, I finally decided to get on gout medication, Allopurinol in my case. I had been putting it off because of the potential for horrendous side effects. I was on it for only three days when I became terribly ill. I wasn’t sure tho if it was the medicine as I worked in a petri dish of an office: overcrowded and with lots of sick people; tho up to that point I had stayed completely healthy (aside from the gout that is.) So I stopped the med immediately and resumed it a week after I was better. Well, I did indeed have a negative reaction to that medicine. I ended up with an itchy rash that stayed with me for almost three weeks after stopping the med. I also learned that a decreased immune system is one of the side effects so I can safely blame the illness on it as well.

Find Gout Relief Products At Amazon

So what is the update? One of the visitors to the previous post pointed me to an article on Wikipedia about Hyperuricemia.

High dietary intake of fructose contributes significantly to hyperuricemia.[11][12][13] In a large study in the United States, consumption of four or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day gave an odds ratio of 1.82 for hyperuricemia.[14] Increased production of uric acid is the result of interference, by a product of fructose metabolism, in purine metabolism. This interference has a dual action, both increasing the conversion of ATP to inosine and hence uric acid and increasing the synthesis of purine.[15] Fructose also inhibits the excretion of uric acid, apparently by competing with uric acid for access to the transport protein SLC2A9.[16] The effect of fructose in reducing excretion of uric acid is increased in people with a hereditary (genetic) predisposition toward hyperuricemia and/or gout.

So what I see in this article is that my consumption of fructose is destroying my bodies ability to remove uric acid from my body and at the same time, increasing the production of painful gout crystals which would end up in my joints. As I had mentioned in my previous post on the subject, I already knew that soda and gatorade caused my gout. I was sure of it, despite doctors telling me that there was no chemical transformation that would turn the ingredients in soda into uric acid. Turns out, it doesn’t need to turn to uric acid as it added to it in different ways.

So to answer the question I see all the time: YES, gatorade can cause your gout. Gatorade uses Fructose to sweeten their drinks and so consuming Gatorade (Or Powerade) can indeed cause your gout. Soda’s are probably worse though, as they use High-Fructose corn syrup for a sweetener and they are more calorically dense, meaning even more fructose per ounce consumed. Worse, any sugar can cause this problem as regular sugar (sucrose) contains fructose as well.

The best answer, is to avoid as much sugary foods and drinks as possible. This includes soda, sports drinks and candy. Its not real easy, and I still drink a real Coke from time to time, but I have had to switch to diet sodas and chocolates like a snickers bar instead of my preferred skittles and starbursts. Now, I am still, after three months, not of the opinion that diet sodas taste very good. What I have found to work for me is to have numerous types of diet sodas so that I can have a different type each time I grab a can. Whereas in the past I could have Coke or Dr Pepper in my fridge and for months never think twice about the selection, I now have Sprite Zero, Fresca, Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Mug, Diet Cherry Pepsi, and Diet Sierra Mist in my fridge. I also buy Diet Rite as well. None of these will cause gout.

I have been three months gout free except for one weekend where (leading up to it) I had started drinking regular soda again. If you are suffering from gout, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try this. Dietary changes are NEVER easy, but I have no doubt you have already changed your diet to try to stop the pain. This one should provide results pretty quickly.

Just so I don’t fall afoul of lawyers:
1) Its not Gatorade, Coke, or Pepsi et. al. themselves that cause gout, but the fructose which is used as a sweetener. Choose a diet variety instead.
2) “Real” sugar also contains fructose, but in lesser amounts than a High fructose corn syrup. I suggest avoiding both
3) I’m not a doctor. Duh. You should always discuss changes to your diet (and ESPECIALLY your medicine) with your medical practitioner.

Gout related products on Amazon:

Product: The Ultimate Gout Formula

[Product Description] [Specifications]

In the UK? Click HERE

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14
Jan
11

Suicide

Marvel Comics teamed up with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and has put up a free Captain America comic available online that specifically addresses the issue of suicide.

There are about 33,000 suicides every year in America. Some 25,000 of these are men. That makes it the 8th leading cause of death among males. Interestingly it also seems to be a white phenomenon. 73% of all suicide deaths are white males. Not sure why that is, but it is well beyond statistical noise so it really stands out when looking at the numbers.

But as big as the numbers are, this is a largely ignored issue. Certainly the male aspect of it is. Of course the MRA corner of the blogosphere has certainly taken this up, but it is often still something seen as just an abstract concept. Sure, men commit suicide at greater rates than women. But its not like its personal right? Well, Hawaiian Libertarian was recently affected by such a tragedy. You can read his account of the death of a longtime friend here and then here. I am both glad that he posted this, as well as saddened by his loss.

About.com lists some of the risk factors as

# Using drugs and/or alcohol to help cope with emotions, relationships, pressure of work etc.
# Social isolation, living alone.
# Not being able to form or sustain meaningful relationships.
# Divorce or relationship breakdowns.
# A history of physical and sexual abuse.
# Imprisonment.
# Being bullied at school/college/work.
# unemployment.
# loss of a loved one through trauma or disease.
# mental illness, particularly where this is related to depression. painful and/or debilitating illnesses or conditions.

Obviously the divorce/relationship breakdown are a huge factor, and unemployment is also another problem with the continued lack of jobs. But I would want to point out that last line regarding depression. I’ve blogged on it previously, but want to state again that the common concept of depression is really more of the way females experience depression. Sure men can also get sad and gloomy when depressed, but a more common and unfortunately missed symptom of male depression is anger. MayoClinic lists the symptoms of male depression as

* Escapist behavior, such as spending a lot of time at work or on sports
* Alcohol or substance abuse
* Controlling, violent or abusive behavior
* Inappropriate anger
* Risky behavior, such as reckless driving
* Infidelity or unhealthy sexual relationships

Note that none of these are the standard conception of depression. Rather, they are usually just written off as stereotypical male behavior. We need, as a society, to recognize these symptoms in our men and start coming along side of them to get them past the depression, instead of just writing them off. There is a defined and knowable cost of not doing this. Its at least 25,000 needless deaths every year. Its certainly time to change this.

The statistics used for this post can be found at suicide.org

11
Nov
10

Medical “Science” All Wrong

Well, not entirely wrong, just the majority of it. And this is being said by a long time, well respected medical researcher.

In an article released this month by The Atlantic titled Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science, journalist David H. Freedman relates the story of researcher John Ioannidis (pronounced yo-NEE-dees). Ioannidis has spent most of the last two decades rebutting claims made by other researchers and has made a career out of analyzing others studies and their various findings and has come to some rather shocking conclusions. Ioannidis even released a paper, published in PLoS Medicine in 2005 stating 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials. Ioannidis charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.

I am going to provide a few quotes, but really you should just read the whole thing. Freedman did an excellent job and you would be missing out by not reading this article. All bolding was done by me.

“I take all the researchers who visit me here, and almost every single one of them asks the [oak] tree [at the old Greek oracle site] the same question,” Ioannidis tells me, as we contemplate the tree the day after the team’s meeting. “‘Will my research grant be approved?’” He chuckles, but Ioannidis (pronounced yo-NEE-dees) tends to laugh not so much in mirth as to soften the sting of his attack. And sure enough, he goes on to suggest that an obsession with winning funding has gone a long way toward weakening the reliability of medical research.

That grant money affects not only the types of things that are studied but their outcomes is obvious. If you want to study squirrel mating, you can’t just say that, you have to couch it in terms that will win funding, like say the affects of Global Warming on said squirrels, and then prove that GW is affecting them. This will ensure that you get the initial funding and then that after proving the “correct” fact you will ensure further funding

But beyond the headlines, Ioannidis was shocked at the range and reach of the reversals he was seeing in everyday medical research. “Randomized controlled trials,” which compare how one group responds to a treatment against how an identical group fares without the treatment, had long been considered nearly unshakable evidence, but they, too, ended up being wrong some of the time. “I realized even our gold-standard research had a lot of problems,” he says. Baffled, he started looking for the specific ways in which studies were going wrong. And before long he discovered that the range of errors being committed was astonishing: from what questions researchers posed, to how they set up the studies, to which patients they recruited for the studies, to which measurements they took, to how they analyzed the data, to how they presented their results, to how particular studies came to be published in medical journals.

This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was. “The studies were biased,” he says. “Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there.” Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results—and, lo and behold, they were getting them. We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it’s easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously. “At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,” says Ioannidis. “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.

As above. If the man paying your check wants X, if you like collecting a paycheck you will give him X. Its really that simple. That happens in every job across the entire world. And as we have more scientists than funding and its been that way for some time, there is no doubt a strong sense of self preservation among those working in the field.

In the paper, Ioannidis laid out a detailed mathematical proof that, assuming modest levels of researcher bias, typically imperfect research techniques, and the well-known tendency to focus on exciting rather than highly plausible theories, researchers will come up with wrong findings most of the time. Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right.

My favorite studies are those where the researcher admits that they went into the study expecting X but came out with an answer of Y. To me that means that they overcame their motivation to prove their theory right and instead followed the evidence to a conclusion. Working in IT I see similar things every week at the least. You may get a report and “know” just what the problem is, but once on the server you just have to start following the evidence or else you will be trying to fix something that isn’t the issue.

[Ioannidis] zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years, as judged by the science community’s two standard measures: the papers had appeared in the journals most widely cited in research articles, and the 49 articles themselves were the most widely cited articles in these journals. … Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated.

41% of the most widely cited studies were incorrect? That is an amazing percentage. That means that all the research that was done based upon these 49 articles was also incorrect. How many treatments were wrongly given or denied based upon this false research? And how much money was spent in the process?

“Often the claims made by studies are so extravagant that you can immediately cross them out without needing to know much about the specific problems with the studies,” Ioannidis says. But of course it’s that very extravagance of claim … that helps gets these findings into journals and then into our treatments and lifestyles, especially when the claim builds on impressive-sounding evidence. “Even when the evidence shows that a particular research idea is wrong, if you have thousands of scientists who have invested their careers in it, they’ll continue to publish papers on it,” he says. “It’s like an epidemic, in the sense that they’re infected with these wrong ideas, and they’re spreading it to other researchers through journals.”

Invested their careers. Thats key. Its not an easy thing to change course, and when you have invested your career and your name on something you want to see it succeed, even if it is incorrect (but still likely believed to be correct in that person’s mind)

Nature, the grande dame of science journals, stated in a 2006 editorial, “Scientists understand that peer review per se provides only a minimal assurance of quality, and that the public conception of peer review as a stamp of authentication is far from the truth.” What’s more, the peer-review process often pressures researchers to shy away from striking out in genuinely new directions, and instead to build on the findings of their colleagues (that is, their potential reviewers) in ways that only seem like breakthroughs—as with the exciting-sounding gene linkages (autism genes identified!) and nutritional findings (olive oil lowers blood pressure!) that are really just dubious and conflicting variations on a theme.

Most journal editors don’t even claim to protect against the problems that plague these studies. University and government research overseers rarely step in to directly enforce research quality, and when they do, the science community goes ballistic over the outside interference. The ultimate protection against research error and bias is supposed to come from the way scientists constantly retest each other’s results—except they don’t. Only the most prominent findings are likely to be put to the test, because there’s likely to be publication payoff in firming up the proof, or contradicting it

Except they don’t. WOW. Science fetishists claim that “science is self correcting” and in theory it is just that. But in practice, it is not. No one goes back over the results to see if they are true. There isn’t enough money or other resources to do it. And when an “outsider” tries to point out errors or bias they get beat down by the collective “science community.” There isn’t a whole lot that the remainder of the world can say about science, in the current climate, to correct its course. If you need proof look at what happens if you dare claim that fetal stem cell research is both wrong and a waste of time? Despite nearly a 100 to 0 ratio of adult stem treatments to fetal stem cell treatments all hell will break loose. Or you could just say out loud that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fraud, but if you do make sure you are near cover.

Perhaps worse, Ioannidis found that even when a research error is outed, it typically persists for years or even decades. He looked at three prominent health studies from the 1980s and 1990s that were each later soundly refuted, and discovered that researchers continued to cite the original results as correct more often than as flawed—in one case for at least 12 years after the results were discredited.

12 years is a long time for misinformation to be floating about. Most industries could not get away with that. That the medical community can is likely just testimony to the amazing self-healing power of the human body.

Medical research is not especially plagued with wrongness. Other meta-research experts have confirmed that similar issues distort research in all fields of science, from physics to economics (where the highly regarded economists J. Bradford DeLong and Kevin Lang once showed how a remarkably consistent paucity of strong evidence in published economics studies made it unlikely that any of them were right).

ALL fields of science? Thats quite a long way from the science fetishists view of science. But of course it does fit quite well with the view of human’s as fallible.

I suspect Vox Day will have a heyday with this article once he finds it. He has been pointing out these same problems for quite some time. Dave over at Hawaiian Libertarian has also had some things to say about medical science, particularly on the nutrition side of the house.

31
Oct
10

Happy Movember!

The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

So who is going to participate?

(No word if Jamie was involved in the creation of Movember, but as Aussies and beer were involved there is a good chance of it!)

11
Aug
10

New Pandemic! We Are All Gonna Die!

You heard it hear first! Line up for the next overhyped much needed vaccine. This news is just in time as the WHO officially declared swine flu “pandemic” was over just yesterday. (they don’t waste any time with these things do they?)

The AP brings us news that there is now a new double plus ungood strain of sooper dooper resistant bacteria out there. So this isn’t the actual start of the new and improved pandemic-that-is-going-to-kill-us-all-if-we-don’t-line-up-for-flu-shots-right-this-instant. However, it is laying the media panic layer down for the next big Big Pharma bailout scare uber deadly* antibacterial resistant strain of the flu.

Just remember that you heard it here first. I suspect to hear calls for this new latest greatest flu no sooner than late winter, but likely not till next year before the regular flu season. Hafta give the proles some time between panics lest it lose its affect upon them

* The Swine Flu is accredited with killing 18,449 people worldwide since 2009. This compared with an average yearly flu death toll in the US alone of 33,000

29
Jul
10

An End To Dental Fillings?

Looks like it may become a reality. Seems some French scientists have come up with a gel that causes the cells in the tooth to multiply

A team of scientists at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris tested if melanocyte-stimulating hormone, or MSH, could stimulate tooth growth, according to the Daily Mail.

The French team mixed MSH with a chemical called poly-L-glutamic acid. The mixture was then turned into a gel and rubbed on to cells taken from extracted human teeth.

12
Jul
10

Domestic Violence: A Reply

Over at Laura’s on her post “An Article that Teaches Wives How to Train a Husband Like a Dog” she received the below comment. I tried to respond over at Laura’s but was unable to do so, so I posted it here.

Anonymous said…

Are you really puzzled as to why there is a double standard?

It has to do with how women were treated in history–back in the days when beating your wife was legal, when women couldn’t own property, when their feet were bound and broken so they could hardly walk, when they were literally sold by their fathers into slavery (read recent Chinese history for proof).

Since there is a history of treating women almost like dogs, making a joke about it comes too close to home.

On the other hand, men are the ones who commit domestic violence the majority of the time (visit any shelter to see the battered, broken women there). They are the ones who control society through voting, physical strength, and discriminatory laws. So making a joke about teaching them to “heel” is far more palatable.

July 11, 2010 5:20 PM

Anon 520 (should that be 420?)

Your reciting the men-beat-women meme is completely unconvincing. The facts are that women commit DV at a slightly higher rate than men, as posted upon by Elusive Wapiti. Compound this with severe under reporting of female on male DV and it is no doubt significantly higher

To quote from EW’s article (note PV = Partner Violence, rather than the more commonly used Domestic Violence):
Feminist-friendly scholar Murray Strauss of the University of New Hampshire is a profligate publisher in the arena of PV. Last year, he published a paper titled “Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence: The Evidence, The Denial, and the Implications for Primary Prevention and Treatment”.

There are 200 studies that demonstrate equal rates of PV. Evidence that PV is symmetrical in context and motives has been available for at least 25 years.

The majority of PV is mutual combat, accounting for about 50% of PV incidents

Female-only PV is somewhat more prevalent than male-only PV

Female PV is a key antecedent of male PV; in other words, she often starts fights which result in the male fighting back in response. Moreover, female PV helps legitimize male PV. Both serve to increase the rates at which women are harmed in PV episodes.

This is also highlighted by a graph showing the acceptability of female violence compared the the acceptability of male violence. The above puts the lie to the feminist claim that men are the ones who commit DV the majority of the time.

The study goes on to say:

Symmetry in Coercion and Control
Both sexes use PV as a tool of coercion and control, contra to the feminist characterization of PV as a tool of the “patriarchy”**. Women who commit female-only PV (data for men was not provided by the studies Strauss quoted) offered the following reasons for their violence:

46% “My partner wasn’t sensitive to my needs”
44% “I wished to gain my partner’s attention”
38% “I didn’t believe my actions would hurt my partner”
38% “My partner was being verbally abusive to me”
43% “My partner was not listening to me”
90% assaulted their partner because they were “furious, jealous, or frustrated”

In a study of couples in the first three years of marriages, wives used slightly more controlling behaviors than men

In a study of college students in 1991, men attributed their violence to anger 37.5% of the time, while women attributed their violence to anger 57.6% of the time. Moreover, men reported a desire to control their partner 8.3% of the time, while women reported using violence as a tool of control 22% of the time.

Other studies reported that the motivations of coercion and control were slightly more prevalent in the PV committed by women than in men.

Note the petty reasons listed by these female DV perpetrators: Not sensitive to my needs, to gain my partner’s attention, My partner was not listening to me. These aren’t even reasons to be violent. How is it that the so-called gentler sex is committing violence because she is not getting attention? How does that equate to self defense, or the “evils of patriarchy”

I could go on and tear down some of the rest of your statement, but I will leave it at this one aspect for now.