Healing Points Issue 27 HealingPoints Newsletter

Provided by Richard Grossman, L.Ac., O.M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 3, Issue 26
Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In This Issue:


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Welcome to Issue 27 of Healing Points.  I offer Healing Points to you as a gift and as a service.  I spend many hours each week reading current stories that relate to natural health care, and I provide them here for you as an educational public service. 

The Human Genome Project is Revolutionizing Medicine

I have some incredible news for you today:  Affordable genetic testing is a reality now, and is available through my office!  No longer a science fiction pipe-dream, measuring your genetic individuality is now a practical and cost-effective reality.

Knowledge is Power!

Imagine knowing what your genetic vulnerability to some of the most life threatening diseases might be.  Now imagine the peace of mind in knowing, without doubt, what you can do to truly help prevent these diseases from occurring? 

You have the power to begin to take the reins of your health destiny into your own hands.

We’ve all heard about the health nut who eats a perfect diet, runs 10 miles a day, has the cholesterol of an 18 year old vegetarian, and who drops dead of a heart attack at 40.  The question has to by Why??  The answer is often found in individual mutations in the genetic code.

This is not a rare problem

Genetic defects are not rare - some have a prevalence of over 50%. The good news is the way these genes affect health can be modified by changes in nutrition, diet, herbs, and lifestyle.

Who Should Take These Tests?

Ideally, everyone should take every test, but they are especially important if there is a history of heart problems, cancer, osteoporosis, allergies, asthma, etc.  These tests are also important if any family members have any of these conditions. 

Never too young

Also, you are never too young to take these tests.  Parents could discover if their children need extra nutritional support or dietary change long before any diseases have a chance to develop.  That can be true peace of mind.

Easy to do

To take this test, all you need to do is rinse your mouth with mouthwash and then spit it into a test tube.  Then you send it to the laboratory.  In just a week or two, we’ll review the results.  Also, these tests and the follow up consultation can be done almost anywhere.  No office visit is necessary!

Total Confidentiality

A great deal of extra care has been taken to insure total confidentiality of your records.  If requested, these test can be run anonymously.

What is available now

This is a rapidly growing science.  At this time, we have focused on the main risk areas that are easily modified with nutritional and herbal therapy. These tests show possible genetic problems relating to the heart, the immune system, the detoxification systems, and the health of your bones.  

For more information about this, please contact me at 310-293-9475.

And now, the technical stuff (This is for those who want more detailed information)

These defects are called “Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms”, and are known to researchers and doctors as "SNPs" (snips).  These are mutatioans in the genetic code that can impair the production of certain proteins or enzymes. These in turn increase the risk of developing many chronic diseases. The combination of genetic screening and functional testing can identify individuals at increased risk and monitor the efficacy of prevention and treatment strategies.

We inherit a set of genes from each parent.  This is the main reason a doctor will ask you about the health of your parents and grandparents.  There are only three possible combinations of genetic information we can inherit in each location.  First, you inherit, at a given genetic location, two sets of SNP’s that do not have a negative effect.  In this case, you are the “George Burns” of the genetic world.  You can drink, smoke, etc. and will likely live a long life.  The second option is that you will inherit one good SNP, and one negative SNP.  In this case, you will need to take care of your health with modifications to diet and lifestyle to avoid disease.  The third case is that you will inherit two bad SNP’s, one from each parent.  In this case, you are at a greater risk of developing disease, and you will need to take extra care and regular monitoring to prevent disease.

Details on the Profiles

Cardio Genomic Profile
Identifies genes that influence regulation of blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, blood clotting, and vitamin/nutrient metabolism. These markers provide improved clinical insight into risk factors for atherosclerosis, hypertension, and coronary artery disease, for more effective prevention of the number one cause of death. If you can only do one test, this is the one to do.

Osteo Genomic Profile
Measures genetic variations associated with increased risk of bone loss, altered bone metabolism and osteoporosis, including collagen synthesis, calcium metabolism, vitamin D3 activity, parathyroid hormone action, osteoclast (cells that destroy bones) activity, and chronic inflammation. This test is especially important for women as it shows if you need more than routine therapy to effectively prevent the disabling effects of "brittle bone" disease as they age.

Immuno Genomic Profile
Identifies increased genetic risk of developing defects in immune regulation and defense. Markers affect the production and activity of specialized immunologic substances. These immunologic markers may lead to conditions characterized by chronically increased inflammatory conditions, including asthma, a tendency towards allergies of all kinds, bone loss, heart disease, infectious diseases and possibly some forms of cancer.

Farmed Salmon Can't Beat Wild

Nick Jans
USA Today

''Want some fresh kings? Two bucks a pound!'' the commercial fisherman calls out to me as I head down the dock in Hoonah, Alaska. He holds up a beautiful 20-pound salmon. The price he's asking, though absurdly low, is 75 cents over what he's being offered by the local fish buyer -- and less than half the wholesale price 10 years ago.

During this summer, the peak of salmon season in the fish-rich waters of southeast Alaska, many commercial fishermen in Hoonah and across the state didn't bother to go out. The worldwide market for Alaska wild salmon has crashed in such dramatic fashion that Glen Reed, president of the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, has stated that Alaskan salmon fishermen ''should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.'' In August, President Bush ( news - web sites) approved a massive aid package for the ailing industry.

The overall problem isn't dwindling numbers of fish -- 320,000 tons of salmon were harvested in Alaska last year, a one-third increase from 20 years ago -- but falling prices and decreased demand.

World and domestic U.S. markets are being flooded with inexpensive salmon produced in foreign fish-farm operations. Multibillion-dollar corporations based in Norway, the Netherlands and Chile dominate the salmon-farming industry, which has risen from virtually zero production in 1980 to control the world market, producing roughly 1 million tons last year. In our supermarkets and restaurants, these farmed Atlantic salmon have all but replaced fish from Alaska.

OK, so thousands of fishermen are going broke, and another U.S. industry is on the verge of collapse because of cheap imports. But why should the consumer care? The farmed fillets look and taste fine, are available year-round and are noticeably less expensive. Industry representatives are quick to point out that farmed fish are a pure and healthful food, rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. ''Think of us as the provider of the pure and natural taste of products from the blue pastures,'' invites the Web page for Norwegian salmon-farming giant Pan Fish.

But studies suggest farmed salmon may be far from pure. A recent pilot study by Canadian scientist Michael Easton, an expert in ecotoxicology, found that a four-fish sample of farmed salmon when compared with wild-caught salmon contained elevated levels of chemical contaminants, including PCBs -- known carcinogens. Easton's research, which was published in the peer-reviewed international science journal, Chemosphere, showed 10 times more PCBs in farmed salmon than in wild fish -- levels that he believes pose a health risk for regular consumers.

Levels of pesticides in farmed fish were also significantly higher, Easton's study showed, while mercury levels were roughly the same. ''This is a preliminary study that raises significant questions,'' Easton says. He stresses the possibility of damage to anyone who consumes farmed salmon directly or indirectly from combined, low-level toxins. Easton also points out the elevated risk of mental retardation and brain damage to nursing babies and unborn fetuses.

Other new studies in the United Kingdom (source of many farmed salmon that supply U.S. markets) have cast further doubts on the safety of these fish, enough to fan an outcry in the British media.

A recent feature in the Daily Mail outlines a ''chemical cocktail'' of substances found in trace amounts in these fish, including canthaxanthin, a dietary additive that gives farmed salmon its appealing color; various pesticides such as cypermethrin, dichlorvos and azamethiphos, associated with cancer and reproductive problems in humans; copper and zinc-based paints; and malachite green, a fungicide. The latter was banned in June by the Scottish government, and a European government-sanctioned science commission has recently called for a two-thirds reduction in canthaxanthin, which has long been banned by the European Union ( news - web sites) for direct human consumption, due to its potential for vision damage.

The contaminants' source is linked to the farming process. PCBs and other toxins are concentrated in the oil-rich, pelletized fish meal, which farmed salmon are fed. The fish are treated with pesticides to control parasites, fed canthaxanthin and subjected to pen disinfectants. Antibiotics are administered to treat disease in crowded pens. In addition, there is mounting evidence farmed salmon contain fewer of the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids for which wild salmon are so highly touted.

A number of respected sources, including U.S. nutritionist Andrew Weil and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( news - web sites), state that farmed salmon have two to three times fewer omega-3's than their wild counterparts. Meanwhile, the fat content of farmed fish ranges between 11% and 20% vs. 7% for wild.

There are serious environmental issues associated with salmon farming as well. The spread of highly infectious, mutating salmon diseases, large-scale environmental pollution and the escape of millions of non-native fish from salmon-farm operations are all ongoing problems that alarm scientists. They worry about the potential impact on wild salmon stocks.

Industry representative Odd Grydeland, who is president of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association, allows that there are concerns, but states that they ''have been blown out of proportion. You'd have to eat a horrendous amount of farmed salmon to reach the levels high enough to cause damage.''

Current U.S. Department of Agriculture ( news - web sites) standards, more lax than the World Health Organization ( news - web sites)'s, back up his claims. ''These issues need to be dealt with professionally and scientifically,'' Grydeland says. ''I feel very proud of our industry and the improvements that have taken place.'' Like Easton, he calls for more research and careful stewardship of natural resources.

Meanwhile, the salmon-farming industry continues to expand, notably in British Columbia, literally on the doorstep of Alaska, home to our last huge runs of wild salmon. Alaskan fishermen continue to go bankrupt, processing plants close and workers go on welfare.

Wild Alaska salmon remains one of the last abundant, relatively pure and wild foods available. Why on earth should we weaken our economy and threaten a precious natural resource -- all so we can eat an imported, inferior substitute?

Alaskan writer Nick Jans is a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

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Antibiotics Not Always Beneficial For Childhood Ear Infections

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., October 10 – More children are treated in the U.S. with antibiotics for inflammation of the middle ear, or otitis media, than any other child health problem. More than five million cases are diagnosed every year. But now, a scholarly review of over one hundred studies by a U.Va. pediatrician concludes that antibiotics help only one in eight children with ear infections.

Dr. J. Owen Hendley, professor of pediatrics and a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, writes in the Oct. 10 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine that placebo-controlled trials found ear infections had gone away in one week in 81 percent of placebo recipients, as compared with 94 percent of antibiotic recipients. Hendley says there is a clear downside to the use of antibiotics to treat common ear infections. "The bacteria which cause ear infections learn quickly to be resistant to antibiotics. At some point we're going to run out of drugs to treat the problem," he says. "Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in this country. The practice of treating eight children to help the one who needs antibiotics just makes it worse."

When they diagnose an ear infection, doctors should hold off giving antibiotics for 48 to 72 hours, Hendley advises, because the infection can clear up spontaneously. The pain and irritability that accompany ear infections should be treated with children's acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other pain relievers. Hendley, however, found that an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, is recommended for a less common ear infection, bacterial otitis media or "pus drum", characterized by bulging eardrums and visible pus.

In addition, Hendley's review sheds light on the increasing use of tympanostomy tubes in the eardrum to help drain fluid from the middle ear in children with recurrent ear infections, usually three or four episodes within six months. Hendley says there is no benefit to children unless they suffer from more severe bacterial otitis. Often, he says, the fluid goes away on its own. The review also found that giving children a flu shot can reduce the likelihood of otitis by 30 percent, but the benefit only lasts during flu season, about six weeks out of the year. For more information on Hendley's article visit the New England Journal of Medicine's website at http://www.nejm.org.

Editor's Note: The original news release can be found at http://hsc.virginia.edu/newstips/Archives00/ear-infections.html

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Active Ingredient in Curry Soothes Inflamed Colon

By Melissa Schorr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) - The curry spice tumeric may help reduce and even prevent inflammation of the intestines, according to research on laboratory animals presented here Tuesday at Digestive Disease Week, an annual conference for gastroenterologists.

The spice contains curcumin, a compound thought to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent effective in wound healing. "We showed that curcumin can improve experimental colitis," study author Dr. Ken Sugimoto, of the department of internal medicine at the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine in Hamamatsu, Japan, told Reuters Health.

The researchers induced severe colitis, or colon inflammation, in mice using a chemical and immediately gave the mice a diet containing 0.5%, 2% or 5% curcumin for a week. The mice are used to study inflammatory bowel disease, a group of conditions in humans that can result in intestinal inflammation, cramping and chronic diarrhea.

The investigators also gave some of the mice a 2% diet of curcumin before the colitis was induced, to see whether the compound had a preventive effect, and 2 days after colitis was induced, to see whether the substance had healing powers if administered at a later point.

The mice who received no curcumin had a 30% death rate due to colitis. However, the death rate was 28.6% with a 0.5% curcumin diet, 26.7% with 2% curcumin, and 20% with a 5% curcumin diet. None of the mice given the curcumin 2 days before colitis was induced died.

Sugimoto and colleagues conclude that curcumin could be a potential therapeutic agent to treat and prevent inflammatory bowel disease in humans. Interest in the potential medicinal properties of curcumin rose after studies found very low levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's in elderly Indian populations.

Last fall, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles reported that curcumin appeared to slow the progression of Alzheimer's in mice.

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Mouse Study Suggests Soy May Weaken Immune System

By Merritt McKinney

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A hormone-like compound found in soy products, including soy-based infant formulas and menopause remedies, may impair immune function, animal research suggests.

When mice were injected with the "plant estrogen" genistein, which is found in soy products, levels of several immune cells dropped and the thymus, a gland where immune cells mature, shrank.

Of course, people eat rather than inject soy products, but the thymus also became smaller in mice that consumed genistein in their diet. This is particularly concerning, researchers say, since the resulting blood levels of genistein in the mice were lower than those reported in human babies fed soy formula.

Although the research raises concerns, it does not mean that parents should stop feeding their children soy formula, according to Dr. Paul S. Cooke at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

"We're not trying to convey that message," Cooke, who is the lead author of the study, said in an interview with Reuters Health. Cooke emphasized that he and his colleagues studied mice, not people. He characterized the knowledge about the effects of soy on human health as "absolutely muddled."

According to Cooke, a few reports from the late 1970s and early 1980s suggested that a soy-based diet impaired infants' immune functions. But he pointed that a recent study found that immune development was normal in children fed soy formulas.

Cooke added that he and his colleagues are "not saying that it's deleterious" for infants to use soy formulas or for women to take soy supplements after menopause. Instead, the study simply raises a possible concern that needs to be investigated further.

Cooke's team plans to continue studying genistein in mice to see if they can understand the mechanics of how it affects the immune system. The Illinois scientist said he hopes clinical researchers will conduct human studies to see whether the substance has similar effects in people.

About 15% of infants in the US, or roughly 750,000 children, consume soy-based formula each year.

The study was funded by the United Soybean Board and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research.

It is important is to view the findings in perspective, according to Cynthia Sass, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). In an interview with Reuters Health, Sass, who is a registered dietitian at the University of South Florida in Tampa, stressed that before any conclusions can be made about the effects of soy on the immune system, the research must be confirmed in human studies.

She added that it is difficult to know whether one component of soy products, genistein, will have the same effect when consumed as a part of soy-based food rather than when injected by itself.

Sass pointed out that moderate amounts of soy have been shown to be beneficial to cardiovascular and bone health. As is the case with most parts of our diet, however, Sass said the key is moderation. Adding a few servings of soy products, such as tofu or soy milk, to the diet may be beneficial, but it is best not to go overboard.

The Chicago-based group recommends limiting soy intake to about 100 mg a day, which is the amount contained in about three servings of soy-based foods, she said. The ADA does not recommend supplements containing soy isoflavones, Sass said, since there is not enough research on their effects.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2002;99:7616-

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Is There A Link Between Soy Formula And Attention Deficit Disorder? Scientific Study Of Soy Milk Finds Behavior Problems From High Manganese Levels

Irvine, Calif. -- Does soy-based infant formula lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? There's much speculation -- but little science -- on this association. Shedding some light on this problem, a UC Irvine-led study discovered that a mineral found in high levels in soy milk appears to be linked to behavioral problems. The study in rats, one of the first scientific inquiries into soy milk and ADHD, indicates that the mineral manganese may cause behavioral problems if consumed in high doses. The study appears in the August issue of NeuroToxicology.

Francis Crinella, professor of pediatrics, and his colleagues at UCI and UC Davis found that giving rats increasing levels of manganese during infancy resulted in behavioral changes at higher doses. The researchers also found that manganese exposure resulted in lowered levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a key role in inhibiting behavior seen in cases of ADHD.

"Manganese is a mineral that's essential for life. But past studies on manganese miners have shown that it causes a number of behavioral problems," Crinella said. "Soy milk formula contains about 80 times the levels of manganese found in breast milk, posing the risk that infants could receive too much manganese in the first weeks of life. While we've shown that behavioral problems can result from manganese exposure, we don't know if these problems are permanent, or result in ADHD among humans."

Crinella and his colleagues found that at lower doses, manganese did not result in any significant changes in behavior in the infant rats. However, at the experiment's highest doses of manganese, researchers saw that the rats were much more inconsistent at completing tasks than they were at lower doses.

In addition, the researchers found significant decreases in dopamine with higher doses of manganese. Previous research had shown that dopamine decreases occurred in areas of the brain that are critical for performing problem-solving tasks. These areas of the brain coordinate what is called the brain's "executive function" and are known to be deficient in ADHD.

"While this study shows a definite correlation between high manganese and lower dopamine levels, we still need to see whether high manganese doses result in permanent behavioral problems, including ADHD," Crinella said. "While soy milk by itself is not harmful, manganese can be removed through a laborious and expensive process. Only more scientific research will determine whether or not removing manganese would provide any prevention of ADHD in infants."

Manganese is in the Earth's crust and is found in nearly all cereals and grains, including soy. It is a mineral important for enabling cells to obtain energy. High doses of industrial exposure have been known to produce a syndrome called "manganism," marked by tremors similar to Parkinson's disease and spasmodic, often violent, behavior.

Crinella and his team are now working on simulating human doses of soy milk formula to test whether they have any connection to behavioral problems.

Crinella's colleagues included Trinh Tran, Winyoo Chowanadisai and Bo Lonnerdal of UC Davis, and Louis Le, Michael Parker and Aleksandra Chicz-Demet of UCI.

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