Health Notes

Would you fall for this?

You go to your doctor with heartburn. He agrees with your diagnosis. You’ve tried the drugstore remedies, and they have been ineffective. You ask him what can be done.

“Well,” he replies cheerfully, “why don’t we try surgery?”

Being a reader of Real Health, and being of reasonably sound mind, you are dumfounded by this preposterous idea. Countering with a smile of your own, you ask: “What will they do, cut out my esophagus?”

Having a sense of humor, he chuckles, “No, no, nothing quite that drastic.” We’re just talking gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) here, not cancer. The surgeon just wraps a little of your stomach around the end of your esophagus and you’re as good as new.”

Tell your doctor you’ll get back to him on this one. Surgeons have been doing this procedure for 10 years at the rate of 35,000 a year and a new study shows dismal results. It’s strange that surgeons can get away with doing just about whatever they want in experimenting on patients-there is no controlling body among surgeons to prevent them from doing irresponsible things. However, if a medical doctor attempts something not approved by the medical board, say hydrogen peroxide therapy or phototherapy of the blood, he will lose his license. Or he at least will be reprimanded and put on probation. He even might be forced to take “remedial training,” which implies that he is incompetent.

“Surgery for chronic severe heart-burn may not eliminate the need for medication or prevent throat cancer,” headlined the Associated Press on May 28, 2001. The research also “unexpectedly found” that surgery patients were much more likely to die during the 10 years after their operations than patients treated with medication alone. Many of the deaths were due to heart disease, perplexing researchers who could not explain how surgery for heartburn, which involves the esophagus and not the heart, might cause disease of the heart itself.

GERD is not a simple medical problem, and surgery is not the answer. Everything imaginable has been tried, and the success rate is still low. One recent study found that chewing gum has a positive effect for many patients. There is a scientific basis for this. Chewing gum causes a significant increase in salivary volume. Saliva is rich in esophago-protective factors, including epidermal growth factor, mucin, proteins, and prosta-glandin E2.

I have found that freshly squeezed cabbage juice, one 8-ounce glass as often as needed, can often be remarkably effective. I had a reader write to me and tell me he tried it and it only helped a “little bit.” It turned out he was drinking saurkraut juice bought at a health food store. I am surprised it didn’t make him worse.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 5/9/01
Family Practice News, 7/15/95

An early warning test for heart attacks

Researchers have found a substance detectable in the blood that may be able to predict whether you could have a heart attack, before symptoms develop. The sudden appearance of substances called “sphingolipids” in the blood may indicate the patient is suffering from heart disease, even if he is unaware of it.

“When you deprive heart cells of oxygen, they release these sphingolipid -signaling molecules across the membrane out into the environment outside the cell,” reported Dr. Roger Sabbadini, biology professor at San Diego State and president of Medlyte, the company conducting the study.

A study known as the Myocardial Ischemia Rating Function (MIRF) Trial proved this to be true. More than 300 cardiac patients had their blood tested for sphingolipids. In 73 percent of them, the test indicated both the presence of the disease, as well as the severity in terms of the number of coronary vessels blocked.

Coronary heart disease, as in stroke, may present no symptoms until someone is actually having a heart attack. Then, if the attack is massive, it may be too late to save the patient. Risk factors, such as hypertension, triglyceride levels, and high cholesterol, are, at best, weakly predictive. They also can be dangerously misleading. A patient can have perfectly normal blood evaluations and still drop dead of a heart attack. If this test does indeed serve as a sort of early warning that trouble lies ahead, it may give doctors a tool to help prevent heart attacks. It has already proven to be more predictive than all the “risk factors” mentioned above. In the clinical trial, measuring sphingolipids was more accurate at predicting disease than all of the conventional risk factors.

Action to take:

Practice pronouncing “sphingolipids” (sfin?go?lip?ids) and then ask your doctor to let you know when the test is available.

American Heart Association, 73rd Scientific Session, 4/01

Boron for prostate cancer and osteoporosis prevention

Boron is one of the most effective weapons available for the prevention of osteoporosis. It stops the excretion of calcium in the urine and raises the level of estrogen in postmenopausal women. The increase in estrogen levels can be remarkable, rivaling those of estrogen replacement therapy. A dosage of 3 milligrams a day is sufficient for women and 6 milligrams should be sufficient for men.

And now there’s even more good news about boron. A recent report extols the virtues of it for men in the prevention of prostate cancer. In one study, researchers found significantly decreased levels of cancer in the boron-rich group, as compared to that of the group on a boron-poor diet. It’s important to note, though, that the study was based on food surveys, interviews, and the like-which makes the entire project suspect.

In addition, there is the question of high estrogen levels brought on by boron. Does this occur in men as it does in women? It should be investigated.

Action to take:

For women, boron supplementation is a good thing. For men, I’m not so sure. If you already have prostate cancer or osteoporosis, then I would suggest taking it.

Experimental Biology Conference 2001, Orlando, Florida, 4/6/01
Reuters, 4/6/01

Fluoride, aluminum, and Alzheimer’s

I have been hammering away against fluoride and aluminum in your drinking water for nearly 30 years. What I find most disturbing is the fluoride-aluminum connection: It has been demonstrated in rats that fluoride enhances absorption of the aluminum. Aluminum is found in the brains of most Alzheimer’s patients. President Reagan and millions of others may be the victims of the national water bureaucracy that originates in Washington and filters down to every hamlet in the nation. This is one illustration of why I have always said the government kills more people than our enemies in our incessant “freedom” wars.

It’s not just your old brain that’s taking a hit from this poisoning; your kidneys are also affected. The cause of death on your exit certificate may say “kidney failure.” The diagnosis may actually have been chronic fluoride/ aluminum toxicity resulting in kidney failure and death-but you will not see that on the death certificate.

Action to take:

(1) Don’t drink or cook with fluoridated water (and if you love your pets, don’t feed them government water either).

(2) Don’t bake foods in aluminum foil. Aluminum pans are OK for cooking as long as the water you are using is free of fluoride. I do not recommend frying or baking with aluminum utensils. Fluoride will carry aluminum from the pan into your system and hence to your brain and kidneys.

(3) Take the icemaker out of your freezer. Use ice trays to make pure ice from store-bought water.

(4) There is no known efficient method of removing these chemicals from your system. However, if you have accumulated calcium and aluminum in your body, you may want to give chelation therapy a try. For a referral to a doctor in your area who is familiar with chelation therapy, contact the American College for the Advancement of Medicine at 800-532-3688.

Jane Jones, Campaign Director, National Pure Water Association