Eating Fruit and Non-Starchy Vegetables Helps Maintain a Good Weight

Fruit and VeggiesWhen you realize that a third of the US population is obese and two thirds of us are over weight and this is starting to affect our children as well, the time is now to pay attention to what we are eating and make the best choices possible. Most dietary guidelines recommend lots of fruits and vegetables.  Whether you are looking at the government’s food plate or the Harvard medical school food plate (found here… ) you will notice that there is little distinction being made about the type of vegetables you should eat. Many may recall the scandal of the school lunch programs that allow catsup and french fries to qualify as vegetables!

The study, “Changes in Intake of Fruits and Vegetables and Weight Change in United States Men and Women Followed for Up to 24 Years: Analysis from Three Prospective Cohort Studies,” (found here… )  looks at three large studies that followed adults over a 24 year period.

The findings are clear:

  • Eat more fruits and non-starchy vegetables
  • Eat less starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn for example)
  • For best weight loss results, eat high fiber low glycemic index vegetables (greens as the perfect example).

 

I would add to this that it is clearly to your benefit to avoid processed foods (things in bags or boxes), sugar, and artificial sweeteners and to also get adequate exercise.

This article provides loads of data for those wanting to get the details. What was enlightening to me was the benefit from fruit, which universally seems to have benefited weight loss. The greatest benefit was, of course, from the high-fiber, low-glycemic index vegetables (kale & spinach anyone?)

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

The Measles Epidemic That Isn’t! Infectious Diseases Society of America Seems to Be in The Business of Fear-Mongering

scaredycatIn the press release, “One in 8 children at risk for measles, analysis shows,” (which you can find here… ) the Infectious Diseases Society of America plays with numbers and statistics to promote a sense that we are in some imminent risk of a measles epidemic. They lead off with, “gaps in measles vaccination rates place one in eight children at risk for becoming sick from the highly contagious illness, according to an analysis of national vaccination coverage being presented at IDWeek 2015™. Measles can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, hospitalization and occasionally, death.”

They present that, “nearly 9 million children – infants through 17 – are susceptible to measles primarily because they haven’t received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, or have received only one of the two recommended doses.” Since the first MMR vaccine cannot be given until 12-15 months of age, and the second MMR is given at 4-6 years of age, and we have almost 4 million births a year in the USA, obviously there will be about 4 million who have not had the vaccine each year even when they are following the CDC schedule.

They make a big deal saying, “nearly one in four children aged three or younger are at risk, the study found.” Well if you are looking at those 0-3 years old and you have to be 12 months old to get the vaccine, then it should be 1/3 who are not vaccinated and thus at risk! We know from past studies that one vaccine is 95% effective. This leaves 5% of those who got their first vaccine on schedule at 12 months vulnerable until they get their second vaccine at age 4-6 years. The authors of this study know this, but play with these numbers to make it seem like there is some crisis on the horizon as more parents learn about the risks of the MMR and choose to delay or skip this vaccine.

A look at countries that have had significantly lower rates of immunizations, such as England in the past couple decades, shows that there are slight increases in the numbers of cases but very few deaths. We are not on the verge of some measles epidemic.

This type of “study” is no more than a ploy to frighten the population into getting the MMR on schedule regardless of your risk factors and regardless of other information that suggests the MMR may be associated with significant risks.

A look at the CDC data found here shows that the “epidemic” of measles that was blamed on Disneyland is over. Measles rates for 2015 have basically returned to baseline. We have had no deaths in the USA the past decade associated with measles infections. The Disneyland epidemic was hardly a blip on the map of measles infections.

 

One should remember that measles in the 1800’s was epidemic and had a high fatality rate. Prior to the introduction of the MMR in 1963, measles was almost nonexistent in the USA. While the MMR gets most of the credit for the huge reduction in measles, in fact it has been improved nutrition and sanitation that has been responsible for the eradication of measles. The book, “Dissolving Illusions, Disease, Vaccines and the Forgotten History,” by Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk provides excellent data and references for those wanting the facts.

I suspect our children and society would be better served to have the MMR being given at age 3 rather than to babies 12-15 months old, and we could then check measles titers (IgG) at age 4-6 years to determine what percentage of children might need a booster dose. This approach would result in far less side effects and probably provide more than adequate herd immunity to prevent measles from spreading through the community.

What we need from our infectious disease experts is a willingness to challenge the status quo when it comes to the vaccine schedule. We need to look at long term comparative schedules, and track immunity and side effects from vaccines. Sadly, vaccines are added, and added, and then more are added to the CDC schedule. There is never a long term analysis of how children do who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated. Until such studies are done, it seems we are stuck with the best minds being forced to come up with reasons we should continue business as usual and give all the vaccines to all the children.

We hear over and over the mantra, “vaccines are safe and effective”. Of course everyone knows that some children suffer catastrophic side effects. Some are triggered into autism. Some die. Many are suffering from a new syndrome ASIA (Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants). Should we accept this as the cost of doing business?

Who pays the price when a child is damaged by a vaccine? I assure you that it is not the infectious disease experts that make the vaccine schedule recommendations, and not the companies that manufacture the vaccines (they are immune from liability). It is our children and the parents who must care for these children.

I’m a pro vaccine pediatrician. I’m also not a fan of the MMR before age 3. I’ve heard too many times the sad story of a child who was completely normal at age 1 year, who regressed into autism after the MMR vaccine. You’ll read that it’s been proven there is no link. Tell that to the families in my practice who watched this happen before their eyes. Tell that to CDC researcher Dr Thompson (whistle blower) who felt compelled ethically to risk his career and expose that the data that showed no link between the MMR and autism had been manipulated. The data that showed a link was excluded after the study was done, intentionally, to make sure the paper could present data that showed no link.

 

Measles is not a significant risk here in the USA. We have had no deaths – NONE – caused by measles in the past decade. Meanwhile, back at the farm, we have seen the autism rate jump from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 67. It’s not just the MMR responsible for this, but what if it is part of the puzzle?

Infectious disease doctors don’t see autism, developmental delays, and the host of chronic disease our children are experiencing. At least they don’t see it as in any way linked to the vaccine schedule they promote. You can’t see what you don’t look for! Studies will come showing the huge improvement in health for the selectively and unvaccinated children. What will be important is that we not throw out the baby with the bath water. Vaccines have been a huge benefit to society and our children. We simply must individualize and selectively vaccinate.

Minimize the injection of toxins, by NOT getting the Tdap while pregnant, and don’t give the Hepatitis B vaccine to infants whose mothers do not have Hepatitis B. Wait until age 3 to give the MMR. Consider delaying the Hepatitis A vaccine until your child is school age, if at all. Only give one aluminum containing vaccine at a time. There are risks and benefits to these recommendations. Discuss them with your physician.

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

Single Question That Determines If Drugs or Alcohol May Be A Problem In One’s Life

addictionResearchers at Boston University have found that one key question may gauge the severity of unhealthy drug and alcohol use as well or better than many of the lengthy questionnaires used by addiction specialist and primary care physicians for screening.  As a primary care physician and an addiction specialist, I have found that long questionnaires are a barrier and most are not used at all.  The single question not only identified those with alcohol dependence 88% of the time and those with drug dependence 97% of the time, but it also identified the severity of the problem.  So what is this key question?

For alcohol use, the participants were asked how many times in the past year they had consumed five or more drinks in a day (for men), and four or more (for women). For other substance use, they were asked, “How many times in the past year have you used an illegal drug or used a prescription medication for nonmedical reasons?”

This tool was used in a primary care physician setting, and thus should be implemented into the routine care of all adolescents and adults as a screening tool to identify those who we can offer services for drug or alcohol dependence or addiction.

If you or a loved one has a potential problem or challenge controlling their alcohol or drug use, I highly recommend you encourage them to find help.  Often the family may be ready for change long before the drug or alcohol dependent person is willing to admit they have a problem.  If you are a parent, then you need to set very clear boundaries.  Those with drug or alcohol dependence should not be supported with access to a car, nor should they be given money that they can then use to purchase more of the drugs or alcohol.  Regardless of age, sometimes an intervention is needed.  This might be accomplished by a family and friends meeting where all those who love and support the individual gather and share their concerns.  This process may require a professional, and should always include options for treatment or change.

Treating addiction saves lives.  It is not always a linear process from identifying the illness to being drug and alcohol free.  It’s more of a journey, with relapses more common than not.  The earlier in the disease process the addict or alcoholic (or dependent person) gets help and learns about the disease, the better their chances are for recovery.  This disease is chronic and progressive, and the bitter end is often institutions, prisons, or death.

For the family members of the dependent person:  love them enough not to enable them.  Be willing to take a tough stand.  It often means being willing to kick them out of the home (with treatment options if you can afford them). That being said, each case is unique.  Get professional help.  Some individuals are so far gone or so incapable intellectually and emotionally to survive on their own, that to kick them out would be a death sentence.  If you suspect that may be the case, then definitely get professional help so the decision of what to do is not yours alone.

You can read the study from Boston University here…

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome- Treatment of Newborn Addicted to Opiates

happy babyNewborns of moms who are on opiates go through acute withdrawal at the time of delivery since they have been continuously exposed to opiate drugs (pain pills, heroin, methadone, etc.) then at birth are suddenly without these opiates.  The symptoms of withdrawal in an infant can be mild irritability to seizures. Tremors, increased tone (we would comment “the baby seems strong”), and poor feeding are common.

The studies are now showing less neonatal symptoms for women on Buprenorphine compared to those on methadone. You can read more about this here…

This has been my experience in my addiction clinic where we have had 4 pregnancies now on Buprenorphine. Each delivered babies who had absolutely no withdrawal symptoms. Three of the four were weaned to 1-3 mg by the time of delivery and one was on 12 mg at the time of delivery.  It should be noted that weaning the dose while pregnant has been discouraged due to fear of relapse and the risk that would put on the fetus.  I have found for motivated moms, as long as they know they have an addictionologist willing to support them should a weaning process get difficult, and they will have access to more Buprenorphine should they need it, we have had 100% success with a very slow and gradual taper of the dose.

You can read here for  a great overview with tools for managing the neonate in withdrawal.

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

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