29 June 2003

67.6% of U.S. Population Uses Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Long-Term Trends in the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in the United States
Ronald C. Kessler, PhD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; David F. Foster, MD; Maria I. Van Rompay, BA; Ellen E. Walters, MS; Sonja A. Wilkey, BA; Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD; and David M. Eisenberg, MD
Ann Intern Med. 2001;135:262-268.

Background: Although recent research has shown that many people in the United States use complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies, little is known about time trends in use.

Objective: To present data on time trends in CAM therapy use in the United States over the past half-century.

Design: Nationally representative telephone survey of 2055 respondents that obtained information on current use, lifetime use, and age at first use for 20 CAM therapies.

Setting: The 48 contiguous U.S. states.

Participants: Household residents 18 years of age and older.

Measurement: Retrospective self-reports of age at first use for each of 20 CAM therapies.

Results: Previously reported analyses of these data showed that more than one third of the U.S. population was currently using CAM therapy in the year of the interview (1997). Subsequent analyses of lifetime use and age at onset showed that 67.6% of respondents had used at least one CAM therapy in their lifetime. Lifetime use steadily increased with age across three age cohorts: Approximately 3 of every 10 respondents in the pre–baby boom cohort, 5 of 10 in the baby boom cohort, and 7 of 10 in the post–baby boom cohort reported using some type of CAM therapy by age 33 years. Of respondents who ever used a CAM therapy, nearly half continued to use many years later. A wide range of individual CAM therapies increased in use over time, and the growth was similar across all major sociodemographic sectors of the study sample.

Conclusions: Use of CAM therapies by a large proportion of the study sample is the result of a secular trend that began at least a half century ago. This trend suggests a continuing demand for CAM therapies that will affect health care delivery for the foreseeable future.

28 June 2003

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: About 50% caused by strep infections in children

This article supports one aspect of a basic principle that I am trying to articulate on this web site. The majority of chronic diseases are caused by pathogens. They can be eliminated by electronic devices. Recurrence can be prevented by the right exercise, nutrition, and supplement program.

Mental ailments in children being linked to strep

By Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff, 6/28/2003

ENNEBUNKPORT, Maine -- Sammy Jelin, math whiz and natural comedian, sailed through fifth grade, a school enthusiast eager for the bus each morning. By the start of sixth grade last fall, he could barely make it to school at all: In just weeks, his world had turned into a minefield of germ phobias, invisible walls, and constant tics -- hallmarks of obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome.

By this May, Sammy's mother, Beth Jelin, was nearing her wits' end. Then an acquaintance mentioned that her son had contracted similar mental ailments through a streptococcus infection. The idea sounded wild, especially because Sammy had never had strep throat. But a prompt blood test did turn up unusually high levels of strep, and Sammy went on antibiotics.

12 June 2003

Once again, I salute the British Medical Journal for providing all articles online. This is a tremendous service to people worldwide.

The article below articulates a major problem very well. Some diseases are now "fabricated" by the medical industry and drugs are created and prescribed that you must be on for a lifetime to treat this fabricated disease. Some of these drugs cause side effects which can not only be deadly, but can make it impossible to get off the drug. Thus the holy grail is achieved. A self sustaining disease state is created that requires buying the drug for the rest of your life.

I find it difficult to talk about these issue with people. My wife, who is the daughter of several generations of devoted physicians, accuses me of paranoia (at best) or libel (at worst) for even mentioning it. Yet the leading medical journals all have articles that should be read by every personal who uses the healthcare system. Beware of your local drug dealer, even if they appear to be reputable professionals!

As a businessman, I understand "disease mongering" is just "business as usual." In the computer industry, where I work, things are even more ferocious in the battle for market share. However, the fact that in the last two weeks the CEO's of major health care companies underwent some of the same fate as the leaders of Enron and Worldcom should cause the average person to ask deeper questions than they might have asked in the past. Cooking the books in healthcare can mean cooking the patients as well.

Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering
Ray Moynihan, Iona Heath, David Henry
British Medical Journal 334:13:886-891, 13 Apr 2002

A lot of money can be made from healthy people who believe they are sick. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor diseases and promote them to prescribers and consumers. Ray Moynihan, Iona Heath, and David Henry give examples of “disease mongering” and suggest how to prevent the growth of this practice. There's a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they're sick. Some forms of medicalising ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments. Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.

Whereas some aspects of medicalisation are the subject of ongoing debate, the mechanics of corporate backed disease mongering, and its impact on public consciousness, medical practice, human health, and national budgets, have attracted limited critical scrutiny. Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups. Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable. Because these “disease awareness” campaigns are commonly linked to companies' marketing strategies, they operate to expand markets for new pharmaceutical products. Alternative approaches—emphasising the self limiting or relatively benign natural history of a problem, or the importance of personal coping strategies—are played down or ignored. As the late medical writer Lynn Payer observed, disease mongers “gnaw away at our self­confidence.”

03 June 2003

SARS Followup: Nerve Damage in SARS Survivors

Sars patients 'suffer brain damage' from steroid cocktail
By Adam Luck in Hong Kong
(Filed: 01/06/2003)

Psychiatrists believe that up to 50 per cent of surviving Sars patients may have early signs of possibly irreversible brain and nerve damage after steroids were used experimentally to combat the potentially fatal virus.

Recovering Sars patients in Hong Kong have suffered from hallucinations, manic behaviour, rapid mood swings and memory loss after being treated with large doses of steroids.

Many are doctors and nurses who have found their concentration and short-term memory impaired since returning to work. Sars specialists say that it is too early to tell whether the problems are permanent.

I checked two asymptomatic individuals who had exposure to SARS coronavirus. They both had residual virus in the brain and spinal cord confirming that the virus attacks the nervous system. Plate zapping for specific organ systems using SARS frequencies posted previously will clear it out and relieve lingering symptomology.

01 June 2003

Cancer Undefeated

John C. Bailar, M.D., Ph.D., and Heather L. Gornik, M.H.S. New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 336:1569-1574. May 29, 1997, Number 22.

Dr. Bailar was my thesis advisor and co-author at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He served as the lead statistician for the New England Journal of Medicine for a decade or more and is currently the Chairman of the Department of Public Health at the University of Chicago.


Background: Despite decades of basic and clinical research and trials of promising new therapies, cancer remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. We assessed overall progress against cancer in the United States from 1970 through 1994 by analyzing changes in age-adjusted mortality rates.

Methods: We obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics data on all deaths from cancer and from cancer at specific sites, as well as on deaths due to cancer according to age, race, and sex, for the years 1970 through 1994. We computed age-specific mortality rates and adjusted them to the age distribution of the U.S. population in 1990.

Results: Age-adjusted mortality due to cancer in 1994 (200.9 per 100,000 population) was 6.0 percent higher than the rate in 1970 (189.6 per 100,000). After decades of steady increases, the age-adjusted mortality due to all malignant neoplasms plateaued, then decreased by 1.0 percent from 1991 to 1994. The decline in mortality due to cancer was greatest among black males and among persons under 55 years of age. Mortality among white males 55 or older has also declined recently. These trends reflect a combination of changes in death rates from specific types of cancer, with important declines due to reduced cigarette smoking and improved screening and a mixture of increases and decreases in the incidence of types of cancer not closely related to tobacco use.

Conclusions: The war against cancer is far from over. Observed changes in mortality due to cancer primarily reflect changing incidence or early detection. The effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing. The most promising approach to the control of cancer is a national commitment to prevention, with a concomitant rebalancing of the focus and funding of research.