Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Doctors We Trust

In Doctors We Trust

“While surgical patients spend an average of just one hour researching their surgical procedure or their surgeon, they spend significantly more time researching any of the following:

  • Changing jobs (10 hours)
  • Buying/leasing a new car (8 hours)
  • Buying a big ticket item for their home > $1,000 (5 hours)
  • Planning a vacation > $1,000 (4hours)”

Does this reflect:

1. an extraordinary degree blind trust that patients automatically place in doctors?

2. a high degree of difficulty and overwhelming obstacles to access and process the necessary information to accurately assess doctors?

3. unquestioning deference and resignation, on the part of the patient, to the dictates of insurance and the HMO?

4. discomfort, on the part of the patient, in judging a professional such as a doctor?

5. a form of denial and ignorance about their own health, on the part of the patient, creating an 'I don’t want to know, just fix me’ attitude?

6. poor doctor /patient communications creating patient fear and intimidation?

Whatever the cause, it is a sad commentary on our priorities.

We have abdicated our personal responsibility for our health, the most important possession we own, to doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and Big Pharma.

Is it really any wonder why we are so sick?

In a NY Times article: Do Patients Trust Doctors Too Much Dr. Thomas Russell, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, said: “Today, medicine and surgery are really team sports and the patient, as the ultimate decision maker, is the most important member of the team.”

The article’s author, Pauline Chen, MD, concludes: “a healthy doctor-patient relationship does not simply entail good bedside manners and responsible office management on the part of the doctor. It also requires that patients come to the relationship educated about their doctors, their illnesses and their treatment.”

(Note: the comment thread at the end of the NYTimes article, on-line, are fascinating and worth reading)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



President-elect Obama has picked former Senator Tom Daschle as the new head of Health & Human Services. Daschle has put out a call for town-hall type meetings across the country to hear from anyone and everyone who may have ideas to help solve the health crisis in America.

From the Obama website:

Sign up to lead a health care discussion over the holidays

Health care is a top priority for President-elect Obama and for Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary-designate for Health and Human Services (HHS). They both are committed to health care reform that comes from the ground up -- that's why this holiday season, we're asking you to give us the gift of your ideas and input.

Sign up to lead a Health Care Community Discussion in your home, community center, or even a local coffee shop, anytime until December 31st.

We'll provide you with a special Moderator's Guide that will give you everything you need to get the discussion going. Secretary-designate Tom Daschle will even choose some discussions to attend in person.

Anyone interested?
I have called State Senator Ben Downings office. They were quasi committed, based on our local efforts. If we heed the call, maybe we can make a difference.


Friday, December 19, 2008

The GIFT of Health

The GIFT of Health

This is the time of year many people make resolutions and set goals for the coming year. Improved health is often at the top of the list.

Gym memberships routinely soar and diets change this time of year with the best of intentions. But by March, most of those memberships are no longer used and most people have relapsed back into their old eating habits. “There’s always next year.”

How many times have you said that you were going to lose weight, exercise more and eat better? "There's always next year."

What are you waiting for? To weigh more than you do now? To feel worse than you do now? Another diagnosis, more drugs or treatments? Next year?

Health is really quite simple and elegant.

Your body is genetically programmed for health. More precisely, it is genetically programmed for survival by maintaining homeostasis (balance), and adapting to chemical, physical and emotional stressors that challenge that balance.

The simple truth is: your body has certain specific genetic requirements to be healthy. If those requirements are met, in pure and sufficient quantity, and, if you stop poisoning yourself with toxic foods and chemicals, improved health is inevitable

The corollary to this is: the only thing that ever heals you, is you.

When you know and understand these truths, your life will change.

Health is mostly a matter of choice; how you choose to live your life; how you choose to think, what you choose to eat and how much exercise you choose to get; as strongly influenced, for better or worse, by the habits of the people you hang out with most, your family and friends.

It is all about making a solid commitment to yourself, to create good health by developing and consistently maintaining healthy habits.

There is no more magnificent or awe-inspiring creation and miracle than the human mind-body. There is no greater gift than your life and your health. Treat your body like the holiest and most sacred of temples, with the awe and respect it deserves, and it will serve you well.

Happy Holidays and good health in all your years!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is HEALTH Medically Necessary?

Is HEALTH Medically Necessary?

CIGNA HealthCare: Definition of Medical Necessity for Physicians:

Medically Necessary or Medical Necessity shall mean health care services that a Physician, exercising prudent clinical judgment, would provide to a patient for the purpose of evaluating, diagnosing or treating an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms.”

Ergo, health is not medically necessary and, as such, health is not covered by insurance.

Insurance only pays for the ‘evaluation or treating of an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms’…by definition, the absence of health.

Therefore, if you want to ensure your health you will have to 'step outside of’ your insurance coverage and invest in your health.

But, you protest, they call it health insurance!

“Ay, there’s the rub…and, if I may, the lack of respect, “that makes calamity of so long life*.”

…the calamity too often being, a life of marginal health; chasing too many symptoms with many more drugs.

So, let’s remove insurance (‘the rub’) from the equation and rephrase the question.

Is YOUR health medically necessary to you?

I’ll wager you said yes.

Do YOU budget for your health as a ‘medically necessary personal health care expense?

Do you have a budget, in your daily life, for things that maintain and improve your health?

…budgeting for: better quality foods, omega 3 fish oils and probiotics, a gym and/or yoga membership, motivational or guided relaxation tapes, ongoing education, a good chair, bed and pillow, a good pair of work shoes and sneakers with custom orthotics, and wellness visits for chiropractic wellness care and health coaching, etc.

Anything less is to take your health for granted while it deteriorates into a ‘medically necessary’ event.

Good health requires maintenance, which, in turn, requires an investment of your time, energy and money. The reward, the return on your investment, is YOUR HEALTH


*…to die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life…

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

See related blog entries:

The Rectification of Names: 10-13-2008
What's In A Word: 10-16-2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Waiting for the Bailout


This financial meltdown we are in is no surprise. Yet, most of us, including many financial ‘experts’ and politicians, say they never saw it coming.

Who could ever have predicted that giving a $ 720,000 mortgage loan to a California field worker earning $14,000/year would be problematic? Multiply that times tens of thousands of similar sub-prime mortgages with greedy banks packaging and reselling worthless loans to speculators, also blinded by greed, and who could possibly have ever predicted the looming financial disaster?

Now, everyone sits on the edge of their seat questioning if, and hoping that, a bailout will save the day. Nothing less than an economic financial hail-Mary! Forget Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen, where is Doug Flutie when you need him?

I can hear you say, “I thought this was a health blog!”

Indeed, it is; for the most part.

So, is your health a looming disaster like our economy?

Are you feeding yourself sub-prime foods and re-packaging yourself with cosmetics and trendy clothes while you sit on the couch watching hours and hours of TV?

Are you popping more and more pills to quiet your body’s life-saving distress signals of progressive system failures; pills to ‘control’ cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, anxiety, depression, indigestion, infertility, ‘erectile dysfunction’, 'restless leg', etc.

These drugs are nothing more than ‘toxic loans of health.’ They may stave off symptoms and buy you some time, but they will never create health.

Are you sitting by and watching your health disappear along with your 401K? And, when disease hits, will you say you never saw it coming?

Your health, like our economy, is a continuum. If it is not improving, it is only getting worse.

Have you invested wisely in your health and will you do so in your future?

If not, you may be looking for a medical bailout or hail-Mary as your only and last resort.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vaccines: Profit vs. Medical Necessity

This is an interesting and revealing article I found on Yahoo.

Some doctors may give up vaccines because of cost.

"About one in 10 doctors who vaccinate privately insured children are considering dropping that service largely because they are losing money when they do it, according to a new survey.

A second survey revealed startling differences between what doctors pay for vaccines and what private health insurers reimburse: For example, one in 10 doctors lost money on one recommended infant vaccine, but others made almost $40 per dose on the same shot."


While I truly understand that a medical practice is a business and needs to profit to succeed, eliminating vaccines because they are not profitable raises serious questions about the medical necessity of many, if not most, vaccines.

Any medical procedure or drug that is not medically necessary is ONLY potentially dangerous.

Note: See my related blog entries:

August 21, 2008: NYTimes article: Drug Makers' Push Leads to Cancer Vaccine's Fast Rise.

August 22, 2008: Who Guards Against Gardasil

November 2, 2008: It's Flu Season! Or, is it?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On Personal Responsibility

I recently read, A Charter for Compassion, on David Elpern’s, MD wonderful blog, Cell 2 Soul.

“The Charter seeks to remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule.”

Based on my life experiences and interactions, I believe in a rule that supersedes The Golden Rule.

I call it The Platinum Rule:
Personal Responsibility in ALL Aspects of Your Life

Personal responsibility implies holding ourselves to high standards and accountability to ourselves and to others.

It is only when one has assumed personal responsibility for their own life, that they can fully comprehend and apply The Golden Rule.

I see personal responsibility as the fundamental prerequisite for personal health and wellbeing, essential for successful family, personal and business relationships and the starting point for reclaiming and saving our planet.

The essence of personal responsibility is most beautifully expressed by Hillel’s famous aphorism:

If not me, then who? If not now, then when?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy J.U.P.I.T.E.R Batman!

Holy J.U.P.I.T.E.R. Batman!

Last week the results of a "landmark" drug study ‘that could dramatically change the treatment of cardiovascular disease’ were broadcast to the world.

The study called JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention; an Intervention Trial Evaluation Rosuvastatin (Crestor) claims ‘new data showing that the treatment of apparently healthy patients with a statin cuts their risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality by almost half .'

Such a stunning claim is likely to 'change the (treatment) guidelines', to include treating a much wider range of apparently healthy people with satins.

This is the typical medical-pharmaceutical modus operandi: broadening the diagnosis (to include many more people); to justify drug therapy to broaden the market (to boost sales).

Back in 2001, the last time the cholesterol guidelines were changed by the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol, the number of Americans who ‘needed’ to be on statins jumped from 13 to 36 million overnight (Overdo$ed America: ch 9). What a boon to the pharmaceutical makers! The drug industry's statin sales surpassed $15 billion last year. Now, they are working hard to dramatically expand on that.

It is not surprising that 9 of the 14 'experts' on that panel had strong ties to the drug companies that make statins. Dr. Paul Ridker, who presented JUPITER, is the co-inventor of the CRP test recommended in this study. He has also worked as a consultant and received research money from AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the study and manufactures the statin Crestor.

Now, let’s look at J.U.P.I.T.E.R.

But, before we do, it is important to understand the concept of absolute verses relative risk. After all, if the claim is that statins lower the risk by almost half, isn’t it of paramount importance to know what that risk really is?


Would you take a drug every day for 2 years if it…..?
(Selling Sickness p.84)

A. Lowered your risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack by 50%?
B. Lowered your risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack by 1%
C. Possibly would prevent 1 person in 100 from having, and/or dying from, a heart attack, but there is no way of knowing who that person is or, if it is you?

All the above are different ways of expressing the same thing.

If the risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack is only 2% and taking statins lowers the risk to only 1%...

A. a change from 2% to 1% represents a relative decrease in risk of 50%
B. a change from 2% to 1% represents an absolute decrease of only 1%
C. a change of 1% represents 1 in 100.

That is exactly what the JUPITER statistics reveal: 'the proportion of patients with hard cardiac events—cardiovascular death, MI, and stroke-- was reduced from 1.8% in the placebo (group) to 0.9% in the statin group. That represents a relative decrease of 50% but an absolute reduction of only 0.9%.'

Stated another way; 'the data actually means that 120 people would need to take Crestor daily for 2 years to (possibly) prevent 1 heart attack or stroke. At a cost of $3.45 a day, that's $300,000 for Big Pharma to (possibly) prevent one problem.'

You see, the science is corrupt and should not be trusted.

Drug manufacturers either own, or hugely influence, the researchers, the doctors, the most prestigious medical journals, the legislators, the FDA, the guideline panels of experts, the media broadcast news and advertising and the so-called consumer advocacy groups, like the American Heart Association, etc (Overdo$ed America: ch 7).

They ask questions like: 'Does this drug lower cholesterol?' And then they proceed with studies to justify the answer they want. Remember, they even named the study JUPITER; JUSTIFICATION for the Use of Satins!

They manipulate us and the numbers. They abuse our fear and our trust and then they use mathematical relative values (a 50% decrease) to sell the benefits of a drug and the absolute values (1% chance) to downplay the risks associated with taking the drug itself.

What you don’t know can hurt, or even kill, you. Cholesterol is not the problem.

The recent reports about JUPITER even state: 'doctors have long been mystified by the fact that about half of heart attacks occur in patients with normal cholesterol levels.'

That means nothing less than: having normal cholesterol is as ‘dangerous,’ and as much of a ‘risk factor’ of having a heart attack as is having high cholesterol.

So, what science can possibly support the lowering of cholesterol to ‘normal’ if the risk is 50/50?

Answer: NONE!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

President-Elect Barack Obama

(Note: link "Today" to youtube to hear: It's a New Day)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

Eight years ago a wedge of hate and anger was driven into the heart of America. In the ensuing years it spread like a cancer and we spiraled downward, losing our way, our vision and our hope. And, we came perilously close to losing our democracy.

Today, that reign of terror has ended. We have come together to demand change and reclaim our country. Today there is renewed HOPE that comes from knowing that we achieve our best when we work together for our common good to create our shared destiny.

Note: link to 'HOPE' to youtube to hear: Yes We Can

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Flu Season ! Or, is it?

It’s Flu Season, or Is It?

This is the time of year that the pharmaceutical-medical-government triad revs up their fear-based campaign about the flu. Flyers from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) exhort the public to get the flu shot. And now, some states are mandating them.

The flyers claim; ‘200,000 are hospitalized with the flu complications each year, 20,000 are children under the age of five and 36,000 people die.” The flyers begin and end with an urgent call to action: “protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu: get vaccinated today”

Wow! Those are some pretty scary statistics and the call to action is so simple, all we need to do is get a shot and we’re all saved! Or, are we?

As I worked my chiropractic wellness booth at a ‘Health & Wellness Fair’(more accurately, a Disease Fair) I watched the throngs get screened for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, pre-cancerous skin lesions, and more. They anxiously and eagerly moved from booth to booth for their free prevention screens (disease screens) to hear a verdict on their ‘health,’ (or lack of it).

As if that wasn’t depressing enough, I watched them mindlessly line up and roll up their sleeves to receive their free flu vaccine. Amongst them, one sensed various levels of trepidation about the needle. Otherwise, no questions were asked.

I approached and challenged some of them.

Q: Why are you getting the flu shot?
A: It’s free, and I don’t want to get the flu.
Q: What are your chances of getting the flu?
A: I don’t know. I just don’t want to get it.
Q: What are the risks of getting the flu once you get the shot?
A: I don’t know.
Q: What risks are associated with getting the shot?
A: I don’t know.
Q: What exactly are they injecting into your body?
A: I don’t know.
Q: If someone was pouring something into your gas tank would you just watch?
Or, would you ask them what it is, what it’s used for and whether or not it could damage the engine?
A: I definitely would ask before they did it.
Q: Then why don’t you do the same with your own body?

What if I showed you studies that concluded:

1. you only have a 5-20% chance of even getting the flu
2. influenza does not pose a serious risk of complications to most people who get it.
3. the flu vaccine changes formulations each year and does not prevent the type of flu that the overwhelming majority of people get each fall/winter
4. the flu vaccine may cut the odds of getting influenza A and B by only 25%, but this type of influenza represents less than 15% of all cases
5. the elderly may benefit from vaccination, but the studies are not very good to prove it.
6. there is NO evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks of vaccinating babies or young children
7. healthy people under the age of 60 do not benefit from the vaccine, in terms of reduced odds of getting the flu, days lost from work, or stopping the spread of influenza.
A: Who did the studies?
Q: Great question! That is exactly the right question.

But why didn’t you ask them about the supporting evidence before you let them inject you with foreign proteins and preservatives like thimerasol, a mercury compound?

Why didn’t you ask them about the risks vs. benefits: just how risky is the flu? And, just how effective is the vaccine? Was it because they wear white coats, have MD’s and are associated with hospitals offering free vaccines?

If I, as a chiropractor, offered a free and ‘better’ flu vaccine, you would either ignore the offer or be all over with it with questions, as you should be. Why is that?

The point is the ‘health’ community consistently uses our trust and fear to manipulate our perceptions and understanding of ‘health’ to motivate us to act unquestioningly, to take drugs or submit to vaccines. In this case they overstate the risks getting the flu, and flu-related death, and the effectiveness of the vaccine in ‘preventing’ it.

No drug is totally safe.

The CDC website states “On rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. As of July 1, 2005, people who think that they have been injured by the flu shot can file a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).”

Is that risk, and other potential, unpredictable risks or side-effects, worth the minimal odds of decreasing your risks of getting the flu? Getting, and recovering from the flu, boosts your natural immunity and makes your body stronger.

Your health is your responsibility. Never take it for granted and never undergo any test or procedure, or take any drugs or submit to any vaccine without assessing the facts yourself.

Without any valid scientific evidence to support them, more and more vaccines are being mandated for our children, and the public at large. (Vaccine sales are in the billions of dollars.) We are increasingly giving up our freedoms, including the freedom of choice in health care and decisions we make regarding our bodies, our health and the health of our children. As with losing all civil liberties, this is a dangerous road to travel.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


An Open Letter…..”An Awakening” to the personal responsibility of health


I’ve been thinking about the conversation we had the other week. You gave me an article that you wrote about the importance (and unwillingness of Americans) of practicing preventative health. You also spoke to me about how the idea of health has been substantially skewed by private interest groups.

I have to admit, since we spoke much of what you said has clung to the back of my mind. Before we spoke, every morning I happily popped Prilosec in my mouth. But after, what you said about prevention and maintaining health slips its way into my mind.

I have known for a long time that the most effective method of controlling my heartburn is eliminating the foods that give me heartburn from my diet. Have I ever tried that? No. What did I do? Asked my doctor for prilosec. Now I think about what the long term effects are of this pill, and it has me uneasy, quite honestly. I looked into it, and it seems like researchers have no idea what the long term effects are. Probably because the drug hasn’t been around long enough for any data to be collected. But that freaks me out. So I’ve dropped most foods that give me heartburn. Except coffee, damn that’s a hard one.

Another thing that has me spooked is the media’s control over what I know about my own health. When it comes to scientific data about Global Warming, I don’t go looking in Exxon Mobil's library to find my info. I look at several sources, all of which are reputable scientific communities. Why don’t I do that with my health? I never question my doctor, and maybe I should.

My mother is a nurse practitioner in southern VA, and recently I was having a conversation with her about health awareness. I asked her why we common Americans have no desire to question what our doctors say. She said most people see doctors as authority figures, and western medicine certainly has the stigma of being “in control.”

Why am I not in control of my health? It affects me more than them!

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking about what you said, and its leading me into some uncharted territory. Which is totally sweet.

Have a good one!


Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone 'wake-up' to the personal responsibility of their own health. It is my personal goal as a health coach.

Thanks for listening and, most importantly, taking immediate and decisive action to save your life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's In A Word?

No sooner had I published my entry (10-13-2008), “The Rectification of Names,” I read an article in the NYTimes: “Campaign Myth: Prevention as Cure-All.”

In short, its author, H.Gilbert Walsh, MD says:

Why is it that in a presidential campaign “both candidates champion one of medical care’s most pervasive myths? The myth is that like magic, preventive medicine will simultaneously reduce costs and improve health?”

He goes on to say: “the term ‘preventive medicine’ no longer means what it used to: keeping people well by promoting healthy habits, like exercising, eating a balanced diet and not smoking…The medical model for prevention has become less about health promotion and more about early diagnosis.

It boils down to encouraging the well to have themselves tested to make sure they are not sick. And, that approach does not save money; it costs money.”

The point being that the word prevention has been co-opted, distorted and down-graded to persuade the public that medical screening for diseases is prevention.

Beyond a myth, that is a dangerous lie.

They have convinced the public that prevention = screening therefore, health care = treatment for diseases diagnosed as a result of that screening and, health = taking medications to ‘control’ those diseases (meds for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, osteoporosis, etc, etc.)

Changing names to change the meaning is a powerful form of propaganda. And, all propaganda is used to sway opinion to effect an agenda; in this case, to literally push people into a medical disease and drug based model of care.

Confucius said:

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Therefore, "any attempt to fix what is wrong in the world had best start with the rectification of names."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Rectifcation of Names

Getting the Words Right : or, "Through the Looking Glass"

As acclaimed author Michael Pollan recently wrote, "the corruption of society begins with the corruption of words. Therefore, any attempt to fix what is wrong in the world had best start with the rectification of names."

Clearly, the corruption of language to serve ulterior motives is as old as communication itself. However, its impact has been greatly magnified by the speed and reach of modern communication technologies. Lacking clear definitions of our own we accept as truth those conveyed to us by sources that, all too often, do not have our best interests in mind.

Let's look at the biomedical pharmaceutical-based model of "health."

Health Care:

The entire focus of medical training is the study and treatment of disease and pathology. Doctors do not study health or what maintains it. They do not promote health or prevent disease. You only 'go' when you are sick and care kicks in with disease diagnosis, the end stage of a process.

What's healthy about that?

Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it disease care?

Health Screen:

A systems check looking for observable signs of disease progression, done repeatedly over time until something is found to diagnose and treat.

Again, what's healthy about that?
Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it a disease screen?

Health Insurance:

It only pays if you are diagnosed with illness. Except for token gym memberships and disease screens, most do not cover wellness care or anything that maintains and promotes health.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it:
catastrophic homeowner's insurance for the body?

Health Care Crisis:

The crisis, we are told, is that too many of us do not have health insurance and that costs are skyrocketing. All true. However, the crisis is NOT that we don't have insurance. The real crisis is that so many of us are so sick.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to call it a disease crisis?

And, wouldn't the real fix be promoting health?

Interestingly, insurers now refer to doctors as providers, patients as consumers and health care as managed care. Sounds harsh? Money oriented. Perhaps, the 'rectification of names' has begun!

The medical model has a real and very beneficial role in crisis and emergency care and management and the alleviation of catastrophic symptoms. All, after-the-fact infection or trauma induced or end-process disease care.

However, this model of waiting for, and then treating, the symptoms of disease has failed any way you look at it. It has failed in terms of the the continued skyrocketing rates of disease and mortality, the inefficacy of medical care in treating them, and the economic costs associated with them.

Real change will come when there is a shift in our collective consciousness away from the passive pill-popping and surgical interventions of the disease-care paradigm to the daily personal responsibility of the health and wellness-care paradigm.

It is not as if we do not know what health is or how to achieve and maintain it.

You do not need to be sick to have a healthy intervention.

Eating a whole foods, largely plant-based diet, exercising daily and having a positive outlook on life not only create health, they can reverse and/or ameliorate disease processes and symptoms.

Health is way more than the avoidance or absence of disease and the removal of symptoms.

Health is about living a full, active and happy life. It comes from personal awareness, personal responsibility and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Health throughout your life is not only possible, it is your birthright!

As Buddha said:
"We are each the architects of our own health or disease."

What are you going to do today, and every day, to maintain and improve your health?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Many People ARE healthy?

Look around at any group of 100 adults (age 20 or over).

How many of them do you think are healthy?

How many of them think they are healthy?

We can assume that our group of 100 is consistent with national statistics.


66 are overweight or obese, 11 have diabetes, 27 have cardiovascular disease, 10 have depressive disorders, 7 have chronic headaches, 70 experience frequent sleep problems, more than 51 are taking at least 1 medication per day; 40 are on 3 or more medications per day and 5 are alcoholics

Some statistics are hard to find.


How many have regular digestive problems, routine, back, neck, joint or muscle pain, sexual/reproductive problems, skin problems, chronic bladder/urinary problems, significant allergies, repeated ‘colds,’ and chronic high stress, etc?

If they have one, or any combination of those problems, and/or, they are on medications to ‘control’ the symptoms, are they ‘sick’ or are they ‘healthy?’

So, how many people, out of any random group of 100 adult Americans, are actually healthy? Evidently, very few.

Are you one of them?

We humans are the sickest species on the planet. We Americans, in particular, are obsessed with health (diet plans, gym memberships, supplements, etc) and health care (drugs, medical tests, surgeries,etc) yet we have one the highest rates of chronic degenerative diseases, with more and more of us getting sicker and dying each year. And, the rates many of those diseases are dramatically rising at younger ages and, in our kids.

The only appropriate question is: WHY ARE WE SO SICK?

Is it because we don’t have enough access to doctors, hospitals, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures or drugs? As the numbers of all of these medical interventions rapidly rise, more of us continue to get sick and die.

It is because that is not why we are so sick.

Whenever I ask patients to tell me three things they can do to make themselves healthier, 100% of the time they say some variation of:

I can eat better

I can exercise more

I can control my stress better

That’s because: we all KNOW what it takes to BE healthy.

Patients never say

I need to take more drugs

I need more medical testing

I need to have surgery.

Again, because we all KNOW that medical testing, drugs and surgery are all ‘after the fact’ disease treatments, but never provide health.

So, why is it, in their daily lives, most rely on testing, drugs and surgery for health?

And, if it were working, wouldn’t we, as a group, be getting healthier instead of sicker?

Why the disconnect in our lives, between what we want (to BE healthy) and what we do (get sick and fight disease?

What do you want and what do you do? Do want to invest your time, effort and money on things that promote a healthy life?


Do you want to waste your time, effort and money being sick and tired, fighting diseases after they occur?

It really is a matter of choice and, the choice is yours.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Debunking Genetic Pre-determinism

An interesting article recently appeared in the NYTimes (09-15-2008): 

A Dissenting Voice as the Genome Is Sifted to Fight Disease; A Scientist at Work             by Nicholas Wade


1.    Common disease/common variant hypothesis: “decoding the human genome would enable the discovery of the variant genes that predispose people to common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s" (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc). 

2.    David B. Goldstein of Duke University, a leading population geneticist, says” the effort to nail down the genetics of most common diseases is not working." 

3.    “The reason for this disappointing outcome, in Goldstein’s view, is that natural selection has been far more efficient than many researchers expected at screening out disease-causing variants. The common disease/common variant idea is largely wrong. What has happened is that a multitude of rare variants lie at the root of most common diseases, being rigorously pruned away as soon as any starts to become widespread.”

4.    “If rare variants account for most of the genetic burden of disease, then the idea of decoding everyone’s genome to see to what diseases they are vulnerable to will not work, at least not in the form envisaged.” “There is absolutely no question,” Goldstein said, “that for the whole hope of personalized medicine, the news has been just about as bleak as it could be.”                                                                                             

The entire article can be found at (NYTimes: free subscription):


They have spent over $ 3 billion to ‘crack’ the human genome; an interesting scientific exercise that ‘drove major developments in biology over the last five years’. So, all is not lost.

But, as far as I can tell, the outcome of their ‘common disease/common variant hypothesis’ was a no-brainer from the start. Natural selection does not select for defective genes ‘predisposing’ us to disease even ‘later in life, after our reproductive years are over’.

This article supports what I wrote in my blog article “Germ to Genetic Theory” (posted August 16, 2008):

“True genetic diseases such as Down’s syndrome, Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia and others are 100%. They affect 100% of those with abnormalities in their genes or chromosomes that occur at conception. Fortunately, they are also relatively rare.”

Our bodies are genetically hardwired with mechanisms to ensure survival of the individual and of the species: growth, protection and reproduction. We are not genetically wired to fail with diseases.

The variant genes that lie at the root of most common diseases represent genetic adaptations to environmental and lifestyle exposures, as they adversely affect genetic expression.

Until there is a paradigm shift away from

A disease care system that believes we are inherently and inevitably prone to disease


a wellness care model rooted in nurturing our genetic predisposition for health.

…the current failed profit-driven disease model will prevail. And, more of us will be sicker and die each year.

We are hardwired for health; meaning, health is largely by choice (lifestyle decisions), not chance (genetic pre-determinism/genetic destiny)!