April 24, 2014

The Problem with Cancer Screening

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Cancer testing is a large part of a doctor’s business.  We have been told that if we find cancer early, and cut it out, burn it with radiation, or poison it with chemotherapy, we can make a bigger difference.

While there is a lot of debate over this issue, we still continue to try to detect cancer early – or before it even starts.  I’m going to focus on the most common cancer screening tools, the ones you’ve all heard about, and that you were told you should do – or else!  These include:

  1. Mammograms
  2. Colonoscopy
  3. PSA testing
  4. PAP smears

I started studying cancer screening over ten years ago when I had a patient with an inexplicable case of cancer.  Because there were many cases in her family, Cecilia was always afraid of getting cancer and did all she could to prevent it by eating all organic and exercising regularly.  She even got all her cancer screening tests, PAP smears, annual mammograms and a colonoscopy at age 50.

One day, she came in to see me with a lump in her left breast.  It was large, a couple of centimeters, and not tender.  I looked at the mammogram report done only a few months before and it was negative for any signs of malignancy.  I reassured her that it was probably a cyst, but we would send her for an ultrasound to be sure.  A biopsy was done, it was cancer and, in spite of all the treatments, she died just over a year later.

Since I had known Cecilia for years and knew she was diligent in her health care, I was shaken by her death.  I wondered how we could have missed such a large tumor.  How could the mammogram have missed it only months before?  I asked the radiologist to review it, and he found no evidence of any mass in that exact location at that time.  So, I started doing some real research on the test itself, and was shocked by what I found!  Not only were mammograms questionable, but most of the cancer screening tests did more harm than good!

Mammography

A mammogram is an x-ray, and x-rays don’t distinguish the difference between normal tissue and cancer.  Instead, the radiologist looks for tiny calcium deposits that indicate there is some inflammation in the tissue.  The problem is that calcium deposits happen with any kind of inflammation, and are not specific to cancer.  Thus, many women who don’t have cancer are told they do, and the aggressive real cancers are missed; like in Cecilia, because they don’t form calcium deposits.[i]  The newer mammograms are better able to distinguish tissues with less radiation, however the problems with screening persist.

The primary problem with mammograms is that they don’t decrease mortality, at all.  In the long-term studies, including the Canadian study[ii] and the Oslo study (noted above) after 25 years and 14 years, respectively, the incidence of mortality from breast cancer remained the same – in spite of finding more cancer.

The Canadian Study showed that 22% of the women who were treated for cancer didn’t even have cancer! Or, they would not have died from it if they did.

Thus, the statistics of women having a mammogram and getting “cured” of cancer with chemotherapy and radiation may only represent those women who never had it in the first place! Click to Tweet.

The eight major long-term studies have been reviewed extensively.  The most detailed study of all of them, the 2011 Cochrane Review[iii], said:

“Screening is likely to reduce breast cancer mortality. As the effect was lowest in the adequately randomized trials, a reasonable estimate is a 15% reduction corresponding to an absolute risk reduction of 0.05%. Screening led to 30% over-diagnosis and overtreatment, or an absolute risk increase of 0.5%. It is thus not clear whether screening [mammography] does more good than harm.”

In short: The risk (0.5%) is greater than the benefit (0.05%) by TEN TIMES!  In other words, you are ten times more likely to end up with treatment for a cancer you didn’t have, than to prolong your life span by finding and treating a tumor earlier.

What do I do to screen for breast cancer?

Other screening tests for breast cancer have similar problems… and that is finding something that gets treatment, but would not have become life-threatening if left alone.  One of my patients wanted MRI screening tests because she was afraid of the radiation (there is about a 1/5000 risk) from a mammogram, and didn’t want her breasts pinched in the machine.  A mass was found, and biopsy showed it was an Interductal Carcinoma In-Situ, and she was told she needed surgical removal, radiation, and chemotherapy.  She opted-out of treatment, and she is still fine – with her mass that continues to grow – twelve years later.  She would have been considered a “cure” if she had been treated.

5 ways to prevent breast cancerWhether you use MRI, ultrasound, mammogram, or thermogram, you must consider what you will do once you find a bump!  Do you wait?  Do you treat aggressively?  Unfortunately, we have more questions than answers.  Judging by the numbers in the Cochrane study above, I might opt out of screening for this one.  Instead, I would do my best to prevent breast cancer from forming in the first place: 

History of Thyroid Treatments and Modern Alternatives

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

The history of thyroid disorders goes back as far as written records. 1

As early as 2700 BC, the Chinese used seaweed to treat goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland.

  • 1475 – Chinese physician treats goiter with minced thyroid glands
  • 1500 – Leonardo Da Vinci makes the first drawing of the thyroid gland
  • 1602 – Cretins (physical and mental retardation due to low thyroid) are first recognized in Switzerland
  • 1820 – Goiter and cretinism are treated with iodine
  • 1884 – The first surgical removal of thyroid gland for Graves’ disease
  • 1917 – Thyroid hormone, thyroxine, became available for sale at $350/gram (Gold at the time was $0.61/gram)
  • 1917 – X-rays used to treat Graves’ disease

From ancient times to the modern era, little has really changed in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders – that is, until the 21st Century.

Low Thyroid

Many people come into the office with symptoms of low thyroid.  These include:

  1. low thyroid symptoms_2Feeling slow and sluggish
  2. Tired all the time
  3. Lack of energy
  4. Feeling cold easily, especially in the hands and feet
  5. Hair falling out
  6. Weight gain
  7. Delayed reflexes
  8. Constipation

Many people who have a thyroid condition are already taking supplements to help manage their symptom. These supplements are mostly dried and ground-up thyroid glands from pigs or cows.  These glandular supplement have been around for centuries, and have worked very well.  Today, we have the same hormone, T4, or thyroxine, which is made synthetically.

So, what causes low thyroid?

People can be hypothyroid when:

  • The thyroid gland can’t produce the hormones.
  • The body doesn’t convert the inactive T4 to the active T3.
  • Or, when anything interferes with the action of the thyroid hormone. The proper functioning of your thyroid can be inhibited by:
  1. Stress – high cortisol levels cause low thyroid by:
    1. Higher Reverse T3, which blocks the normal T3 from working
    2. Lower TSH so the thyroid gland makes less T3 and T4
  2. Low selenium3 has multiple effects on the thyroid, causing inflammation and the inability to convert the inactive T4 into the active T3
  3. thyroid functionLow Tyrosine – this amino acid forms the backbone of the thyroid hormone.  When it is deficient, the gland is unable to function.
  4. Low iodine is common.
  5. Lack of vitamin D3 decreases the binding of the T3 hormone to the receptor.
  6. Toxins such as fluoride, bromide, lithium, mercury, and pesticides inhibit thyroid production or use.
  7. Immune dysfunction can cause antibodies to be made against the various components of the thyroid gland, proteins, or enzymes.

Many of these can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, called a “goiter.”

Goiter

A goiter is simply an enlarged thyroid gland at the base of the neck, and is often caused by low thyroid.  Some are barely noticeable, while others can get so large they impair breathing and swallowing.

Pei was a woman from China who went to her doctor with a bump on her neck.  The doctor thought it might be a goiter so he sent her to an endocrinologist.  The specialist did some tests that proved she had goiter, and sent her on to a thyroid surgeon.  The surgeon told her about only two options: surgically remove the gland, or radioactive iodine to kill the gland.  She found that she would have to be on thyroid pills for the rest of her life with either treatment, so she opted not to treat.  Over the course of ten years the gland was getting bigger, and bigger.  She went to several other doctors to see if there was anything else she could do, but they only gave her the same two options.  Finally, it had gotten so large that she was having difficulty swallowing so she went to a surgeon and had the gland removed.

If the thyroid gland doesn’t get iodine it starts getting bigger.  Seaweed contains a concentrated amount of iodine, which was recognized by the Chinese thousands of years ago as a treatment for an enlarged thyroid gland.  Over the years, this information has been lost and re-gained several times.  Currently, though we know the history, yet we continue to use drugs and surgery for goiter instead of iodine.  In the case of Pei, the first doctor could have told her about iodine, which usually shrinks the gland by about 1/3, and she would have avoided surgery, and the mass in her neck.

What causes a goiter?

When there is not enough thyroid hormone in the body,

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The Vitamin Secret Even Nutritionists Don’t Know

by Dr. Scott Saunders

One of the biggest issues over the past hundred years since the discovery that specific nutrient deficiencies can cause disease is whether we should be taking vitamins every day.  The word “vitamin” indicates a substance that is essential to life.  These are substances we don’t make in our bodies, and therefore need to eat them in order to live – or live well.

In the past, doctors commonly dealt with vitamin deficiencies because people didn’t have access to fresh foods all the time, or their diets were very limited.

  • Only eating white rice, for example lead to beriberi, a B vitamin deficiency.
  • Sailors on ships had “hard tack” and dried meat, neither of which had vitamin C.  Scurvy was common aboard ships, sometimes taking the lives of half the sailors on a voyage.
  • During the industrial revolution, Rickets became a common illness because people moved their work and play indoors and didn’t spend time in the sun to get vitamin D.

Doctors also treated, unsuccessfully, cases of enlarged thyroid, goiter, with all sorts of concoctions until it was discovered that iodine deficiency was the cause.  In 1924, iodine was added to salt to prevent this.  However, most of our “designer salts” such as Himalayan salt, sea salt, and kosher salt, as well as the salt used for canning, processing, and cooking in restaurants and packaged food contains no iodine.  Goiter, and other iodine deficiency disease are still common in the United States, and in the world.

One comment in the journal Lancet described the problem:

According to WHO, in 2007, nearly 2 billion individuals had insufficient iodine intake, a third being of school age…  Thus iodine deficiency, as the single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation, is an important public-health problem. (1)

In modern times, doctors are taught that vitamin deficiencies are rare, and are not taught about diagnosis and treatment.  However, we still see lots of “rickets,” but since it is mild and found in older people we have changed the name to “osteoporosis.”  It’s extremely common in the modern world, but instead of giving vitamin D as in times past, we use drugs to kill the bone cells.  We surgically remove goiters, or irradiate them, when all that is needed is iodine supplements.

Can I take too much vitamins?

The FDA is making a huge effort to keep people from taking vitamins.  This comes in two forms:

  1. Questioning the safety of vitamins.
  2. Wasting your money on vitamins that don’t help anything.

The safety of vitamins is unquestionable.  The 2010 annual report of The Poison Control Centers found not one single death from vitamin overdose, in spite of the fact that well over half the population takes them. (2)

By contrast, there are more than 125,000 deaths per year from properly prescribed drugs; and drug overdose has become the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. (3)

Doctors will also tell you, “You’re just wasting your money, buying all those vitamins.”  They told us in medical school that taking vitamins just made “expensive urine” because the body gets rid of what it doesn’t need.  This has been an effective campaign, but is it true?

It is an important fact just in order to get into the urine, the vitamins have to be absorbed, get into the blood and bathe all the cells first.  In other words:

  • regular vitamin useThe cells are able to take what they need, and the kidney will get rid of the leftovers.
  • Each cell has mechanisms to take up the nutrients it needs.
  • Not all cells need the same vitamins and minerals at the same time, but must be available at the time they are needed.
  • Thus, regular use of vitamins is important for your cells to function well.
  • Those cells that don’t get what they need can create disease, such as those noted above, as well as cancer.
    • In one study, a multivitamin, Centrum Silver (made by Pfizer, a drug company) was shown to decrease cancer by 9% in men.
    • Studies on vitamin D have shown up to a 77% decrease in cancer.(4)
    • Many other studies on anti-oxidant vitamins have shown remarkable results on cancer and disease prevention.

Even if the statistics were half as good, it would be worth taking vitamins. So, since they aren’t toxic, and they often help, it’s definitely a good idea to take your vitamins.

Which do I need?

Hilda was a spry woman in her eighties who came to me with two shopping bags full of bottles.  “I want you to tell me which of these vitamins I need to take.”  She was a “member” of an anti-aging group that sent her a catalog of vitamins with articles on why people need them.

Every time she read an article about how important a vitamin was, she bought it.  Now, she spent all her time reading about vitamins, organizing her vitamins, taking her vitamins, and buying her vitamins.  The problem wasn’t that she was overwhelmed by all the vitamins, it was that she was spending over $300 per month on them, and could no longer afford it.  She had a hard time letting go, even after I recommended discarding most of them.

A big question people ask me is, “Which vitamins should I take?”  The answer is, 

8 Healing Remedies to Repair Joints

Take care of your joints in order to protect your mobility

Joints are the most remarkable structures!  Each joint is specifically engineered to perform an exact motion to allow our bodies to function in so many capacities.  Bones rubbing against each other would just wear out easily, but we have cartilage to protect them and to move smoothly.  This cartilage is an amazing combination of proteins and sugars that can take tremendous pressure.  A knee, for example, has to take 400 LBS of pressure while running –  if you weigh only 100 LBS.

Moreover, we have a viscous fluid, like motor oil or grease, which keeps the joints lubricated and prevents wear and tear.  It is a starch-like substance that hardens as pressure is put on it that protects the cartilage from damage by spreading-out the impact.

Another part of the wonder of the joint is that it can repair itself.  When damage is done to cartilage, there are living “chondrocytes” or cells that reproduce cartilage for healing and repairing.  Some damage, such as tears may not be readily repaired, but joints that are worn down to the bone may still be able to replace the cartilage and repair the joint.(1) One study using MRI to measure joint cartilage showed that cartilage could grow back over time.(2)

These studies do not evaluate the reason why some people grew back new cartilage; however, they do prove that it CAN.  Without any treatment, over a third of people repaired their cartilage!

The next question is can we help more people to generate these repairs?  The answer is: yes!  Many of the principles of joint repair are known, allowing most people to avoid the inevitable decline in function from aging joints.

Joint Damaging Drugs

I was a carpenter before going to medical school, so I built my own house over about three years.  I was amazed that before I even finished the house it was already needing repairs.  Things degrade over time and anyone who owns property knows that they need constant attention and repair.  You may think that you don’t need joint repair, so this doesn’t apply to you. However, remember that any weight-bearing activity, such as walking, puts tremendous strain on joints. So, just like my house, joints need to repair constantly. Let’s first start with what NOT to do in order to repair your joints.

There is an irony in the vicious cycle of pain and damage to joints: the very drugs prescribed for arthritis actually prevent you from repairing the joint.  It turns out that the NSAIDs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, COX2 inhibitors (Celebrex, Mobic) and so forth, inhibit prostaglandins that cause inflammation, which in turn decreases the pain, redness, and swelling that comes from injuries to the tissues.

However, these anti-inflammatory drugs also prevent increased blood flow that brings healing oxygen and cells to the tissues, as well as prevent the formation of collagen, the strong protein that is required for healing fibrous tissue like bones, tendons and joints.(3) It doesn’t matter whether you take a little or a lot – even the smallest dose in the study prevented healing.

The take-away message here is to avoid any of the anti-inflammatory drugs!

Repairing Joint Mobility with Supplements

If you can’t take aspirin for arthritis, then what can you do?  Good question, I’m glad you asked!

natural joint anti inflammatoriesNatural Anti-inflammatories

There is a way to decrease the inflammation without preventing healing. These joint supplements have been tested in multiple ways with positive track records.  We suggest the following natural anti-inflammatories:

  1. Omega-3 oils
  2. Turmeric (or curcumin)
  3. Boswellia (frankincense)
  4. White willow bark

Repair supplements

Controversy abounds in the area of joint supplements.  There are many “joint formulas” that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, calcium, and other ingredients.  It is surprising to me that there should be any controversy at all because there is no risk to taking these supplements.  Let’s take a look.

OBAMASCARE: Government Health Care

By Dr. Scott Saunders

In a speech to the National Association of Counties, Nancy Pelosi referenced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act then being debated in congress saying, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it…”  This has proved to be prophetic.

We could not have known what is in the bill at the time because so much of what is now mandated was not in the bill that was voted on in the Senate.  In fact, nobody knows “what is in it” even today.  There have been so many changes, challenges, and rulings that the fog hasn’t yet cleared.

With all of the ideas and misconceptions about the “Affordable Care Act (ACA)” that we call Obamacare we can fall into the trap of just complaining about it.  But what does this law really do?  We are all asking the same question, “How will it affect me?”  While the specifics keep changing, there are a few things that are known.

  1. Everyone is required to buy health insuranceThose with low income may receive a subsidy from the federal government.
  2. Those who don’t have approved insurance plans will be required to pay a fine of 1% of their income next year.  This fine goes up each year.  There is a 3 month grace period so you only have to have to be insured for 9 months to avoid the fine.
  3. Insurance companies must provide certain benefits, such as a free (no deductible or co-payment) annual physical exam, and they cannot choose people based on their health history, gender or lifestyle.  This increases the risk, and thus the cost to the consumer.
  4. Employers with over 50 employees must provide health insurance for all full-time employees, or pay a fine.  (This just changed to start in 2015.)

The cost of health insurance under the ACA carries a higher price tag.  A single, healthy person in Santa Barbara that would have paid about $150 for a high-deductible plan in 2013, will now have to spend over $300 per month.  Also, the cost of obtaining care goes up with co-pays of $60 for a regular doctor and $150 for urgent care.  Because of this, many clinics are requiring people to walk-in the same day so they can get the higher co-pay, causing many patients to wait for hours to see the doctor.

Most of the rest is conjecture.

  • What will happen when everyone has insurance?
  • Are there enough doctors to take care of all the new patients?
  • Will we have access to health care when we need it?

Doctors are retiring and going into other fields.  A colleague of mine, one of the most competent and educated doctors in Santa Barbara, is re-training to be a computer network administrator.  Others I know are retiring early, taking only cash, or not taking any new patients.  So, with fewer physicians, and more patients how long will you wait to have your health concerns addressed?

What about “end-of-life care?”  Obamacare provides for committees that limit what treatments and tests will be available to people.  This may be based on age, illness, prognosis, or other parameters.  You can be denied care if you are not deemed to benefit from it, no matter what your doctor says.

What if you need a specialist?  The law now allows the government to determine the value of a doctor’s service, as well as the salary he or she receives.  If a specialty doesn’t receive extra remuneration, who will be willing to go through the extra training, put in the extra time, and acquire the extra debt?

One thing is sure, there will be many more changes in the future.

What can we do?

Healing Remedies for Crohn’s Disease

by Dr. Scott Saunders

Cynthia had come to the United States from Australia a few years prior to our meeting. She had been struggling for many years with digestive problems and was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Over the next several years, she had several surgeries to remove portions of her bowel, leaving her with a colostomy bag and a shortened intestine. She came in to see me because in spite of the surgeries, she still was having diarrhea, cramps, bleeding, and lots of pain. The bags on her abdomen became a mess and she needed constant help just to maintain her digestive system.

Crohn’s disease is a digestive disorder that causes erosions anywhere in the digestive tract – from the mouth to the anus. The Mayo Clinic website correctly states: “While there’s no known [medical] cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease…” (1)

Crohn’s disease symptoms can be prevented or diminished with the following medical treatments:

None of these conventional medical treatments has been able to cure the digestive problem, although some can go into remission from Crohn’s disease for years. You can read about Barton Publishing’s very own Leslie Prins remission from Crohn’s disease with holistic treatment methods HERE.

Modern treatment can get to the cause of the problem.

Since we now have the ability to find the cause of illness, we can now repair the lining of the intestines with natural remedies, instead of just cutting it out, or trying to relieve the symptoms. This may require some testing by a health professional because symptom control must be tailored to the individual.

However, without knowing the exact cause, you can still treat Crohn’s without drugs. These healing remedies will include the following:

Diet

Food is the foundation of any healing treatment for Crohn’s disease. One of the mainstays of therapy in my office is to do an “elimination diet,” where all offending foods are eliminated for three weeks. The goal is to put as few demands on the digestive tract as possible.

This always excludes the following offensive foods from the diet:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • And anything that causes a reaction

If it is not clear which foods minimize cramps, then we may start with three weeks on a diet exclusive of all foods except beef or chicken broth and pure water. This works nine out of ten times.

nature's antibiotics

Remember:

  • No processed sugar at all
  • Very little fruit that contains sugar
  • Avoid grains, cereals, and starches
  • No alcohol
  • Drink water only. It’s best to hydrate well by drinking water with salt – add ¼ teaspoon of salt per quart of water, drink two of these per day.

Nature’s antibiotics should be used alternately, changing to a new one every week. If you find one that seems to work particularly well, it can be used for two weeks. Each should be used according to the package directions.

  • Oregano oil capsules
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE)
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Colloidal silver

Herbs for bowel and intestines

Herbs can be taken in teas or capsules. Each of these has been shown to relieve inflammation in the bowel. They also aid in repairing the lining of the intestines.

  • Boswellia
  • Turmeric
  • Licorice root
  • Ginseng
  • Marshmallow
  • Aloe Vera (Raw aloe vera juice works best, especially if you milk it straight from the plant)

Other Crohn’s treatments include:

Crohn’s Disease Treatment Without Medication

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Sally was a pretty blonde young woman from New Zealand who had been suffering with diarrhea, constipation, cramps, nausea, and blood in her stool for more than three years.  She had been to several doctors in Australia and the United States and was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.  In spite of trying every medication to stop it, it only got worse.  Eventually, she had developed all the worst complications, including abscesses and fistulas, and the surgeons had to remove several large portions of her bowel, leaving her with a colostomy bag.  She didn’t like the bag at all and was hoping for a way to re-connect her colon.

One day she was eating a pomegranate and noticed she didn’t have any pain that night.  The next day she ate another pomegranate, and, still no pain.  She decided to continue eating them.  As long as she ate one pomegranate per day, she had no symptoms of Crohn’s disease.  She was feeling normal, and was able to have her colon repaired and the bag removed.

anti inflammatory crohn's foods

One day, she went to the store and there were no pomegranates!  None of the other stores had any either.  She started getting her pain and diarrhea back.  It was miserable!  She tried the pomegranate juice in bottles, but it didn’t work at all.  She remains dependent on fresh pomegranates, when she can get them, to relieve the symptoms of her illness.

Crohn’s disease is one of the “Inflammatory Bowel Diseases” (IBD) which afflict about 1.4 million people in the United States, according to CDC estimates.  This is different from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), though they have some similar symptoms.

  • IBS is spastic and not inflammatory.
  • Crohn’s disease, however, causes ulcerations in the lining of the bowel, bloody diarrhea, obstruction, abscesses, and fistulas.  The inflammation wreaks havoc on the intestines, preventing the absorption of nutrients.  Many get deficiency diseases and even protein malnutrition.

Does surgery help?

As you can see, Crohn’s is a serious illness leading to disability and death, if not cared-for properly.  It is very unfortunate when a person must have surgery for obstruction, abscess or fistulas because the illness itself may affect the surgical site and cause worse problems.  They also develop scar tissue and adhesions (where the intestines stick from scar tissue to the wall of the abdomen) causing pain and further risk of obstruction.  For this reason, surgery is a last resort to prevent immediate death from obstruction or infection.

Are there any medications to control the symptoms?

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Dr. Saunders Parkinson’s Protection Plan

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

At age 68 Sally was living alone, and enjoying it.  She had two daughters who lived nearby and she loved to visit her grandchildren.  Her daughter brought her into my office because she had developed a tremor in her lip and left hand, difficulty walking, problems sleeping and stiffness of the muscles.  She was worried that she would no longer be able to live in her apartment where she enjoyed the environment and her friends.

Parkinson’s is not really a disease, it’s a syndrome, or a collection of symptoms.  It happens when there is not enough dopamine being created in the brain, and can have many causes.  Generally it is due to toxic insults to the brain, but Parkinson’s can be caused by hardening of the arteries, inflammation, or even genes.

Parkinson's disease symptoms

Sally had most of the symptoms typical of Parkinson’s disease

The diagnosis is made by symptoms.  It is not an exact science, so the typical Parkinson’s symptoms is all that is necessary.  These include:

  • Stiffness in the muscles
  • Tremors, usually only while resting.  If the tremor happens while using the muscle it is more often a different problem.
  • Flat affect, or lack of emotion in the face due to lack of facial muscle tone
  • Difficulty getting started, as in walking, but once started continuing is easier
  • Shuffling gait
  • Sleep problems
  • Dementia

Parkinson’s is not deadly, but rather a progressively disabling problem.  It can have either rapid or slow progression, depending on the cause.

“How did I get Parkinson’s disease?”

Sally is active, thin, she eats well, and takes care of herself.  Her daughter works in a vitamin store and makes sure she gets her vitamins.  She was curious as to how she could come down with such an illness.  One of the problems is that it often takes some investigation to find the Parkinson’s cause because there are so many.  Moreover, there may be multiple factors such as genetics, toxins, and a lack of nutrients.  Any one of them may not have produced Parkinson’s symptoms, but the three together do.

Genetics

Although the large majority of cases are not genetic, there are clearly some known genes that pre-dispose to Parkinson’s.

Environmental toxins

  • environmental toxins cause Parkinson'sCarbon disulfide, and organophosphate pesticides
  • Manganese – an essential mineral that becomes toxic in large amounts
  • Heavy metals such as lead and mercury damage neurons
  • Carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from getting to the brain
  • Medications such as antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia, paranoia, sleep disorders, and depression
  • Parkinson’s medications including L-dopa cause oxidation and damage the Substantia Nigra in the brain, causing progression of the disease
  • MPTP, a heroin contaminant that may be found in street drugs

Atherosclerosis and stroke

If a stroke causes damage to the areas of the brain that co-ordinate activity, then symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may result.

Inflammation

Some of the toxins produce oxidative stress, but other sources of inflammation may also produce Parkinson’s symptomsGeneral metabolism, or the normal production of energy in the nerve cells, produces oxygen free-radicals so a lack of anti-oxidants may lead to brain cell damage.

Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals protect the brain from harm by blocking free-radical production, and allowing normal energy flow.  When there isn’t enough, there may be either damage directly to neurons, or indirectly by allowing toxins to cause more damage.

Because there are so many different causes of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and the treatment is substantially different for each, it is imperative to know the cause before seeking treatment.

“How can I treat it?”



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Dr. Saunders Cure for the Common Cold

by Dr. Scott Saunders

“Get out of that puddle before you catch a cold!” …a mother scolds her young child.

“Take your coat in case it gets cold!” …we were always told as children.

When I was in the Philippines, I noticed children in the marketplace wearing nothing but shorts and towels strapped to their backs.  I inquired of our guide as to the reason for this and he informed me, “The people think that if the children sweat and the sweat dries on their backs then they will get sick.”  Well, in the Philippines it never gets cold so, they have to explain another reason how and why children acquire these upper respiratory infections.

rhinovirusThese viral infections are called “common” because, sooner or later, everyone suffers coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and fever that we call the “common cold.”

The common cold is caused by a series of over 200 different viruses, the most common being the Rhinovirus.

  • If the virus gets in the nose we call it “rhinitis.”
  • If it is in the sinuses we call it “sinusitis.”
  • If it is in the throat we call it “pharyngitis.”
  • If it’s in the larynx we call it “laryngitis.”
  • In the bronchi we call it “bronchitis.”
  • …and so forth.

All of these illnesses may have the same cause, but only have different names because of the location of the primary infection.

Children average about six such infections per year, while adults average about two.  The symptoms are highly variable and may last from 1-25 days, depending on which of the viruses is the infecting agent, and the strength of the person’s immune system.

How do we catch a cold?

People have many reasons why they may “catch a cold.”

  • how do we catch a coldLack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stress
  • Getting chilled
  • Exposure to someone with a cold
  • Toxicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Too much exercise

Actually, any of these reasons can suppress the immune system and allow us to be more susceptible to a virus.

These viruses are found everywhere in the world.  We cannot avoid contact with them.  Many of them can stay in the environment and do not require us to be near one who has a cold in order to catch it.

Can we avoid the bugs?

We think the primary way of preventing a cold is to avoid contact with the viruses that can cause it.  We often have people who are sick put on a surgical mask while in the office to protect others, but it really only works the other way around.  Within a couple of minutes the mask of the sick person is saturated and they are spewing viruses all over the place.  If you want a mask to protect you from airborne viruses, then you need to be the one wearing it — not the sick person.

Travel is a common way to catch a cold.  Having such close contact with so many people dramatically increases the odds that you will catch something.  Airplane air is mostly recirculated, not fresh outside air. Some airlines have filters, but they don’t remove small microorganisms like a virus. Other airplanes have ultraviolet filters that damage DNA and inactivate viruses, which actually seem to remove pathogens from the air.

Most colds are caught not from the air, but from surfaces.  Hand washing seems to be the best way to avoid coming in contact with a cold virus.  Some people get obsessive about hand washing, which is not necessary.  After being in places where there are a lot of people, like the grocery store, washing the hands is a good idea.  This works to keep the virus off of your hands so you don’t infect yourself.

It isn’t necessary to use anti-bacterial soaps. They seem to do more harm than good, and they don’t kill viruses anyway.

Can we build immunity?

Many years ago, a study in England included people who were lightly clothed on a very cold day, and were sprayed with a solution that contained live viruses.  Whether people were warmly dressed or chilled to the bone, each group caught a cold about 60% of the time.  Some thought this was proof that being cold didn’t make you more susceptible to the infection. But there is another interpretation: 40% of people who were definitely exposed to the virus didn’t get sick!(1)

I read a book about a doctor working in a sanitarium, where they cared for people who were sick with tuberculosis and other such illnesses.  The doctor was asked how he could be around sick people all day and not get sick himself. He replied, “It’s because our immune systems are strong and it keeps us from getting sick.”

(By the way, doctors DO get sick from their patients, especially if they don’t wash their hands!)

Your immune system is the key to preventing all infectious diseases.  All of the 200 different viruses you may be exposed to can be stopped by a strong immune system.

This starts with the reason why children have an average of about 6 infections per year, while adults average only about 2.  If you’ve already been exposed to an infection, then you have some antibodies that will attack it right away and prevent you from getting sick.  Studies on children who grow up in sterile environments, whose houses are very clean, and who aren’t exposed to dirt and other people seem to indicate that they are more sickly as adults than those who grow up in dirty environments. (2) There are two reasons for this:

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How Sweet It Isn’t!

 by Dr. Scott Saunders

My objective in this article is to convince each of you that the sweets in your diet are toxic.  As the late Jack LaLanne, who was fit and active into his late 90s and hadn’t eaten processed sugar in over 80 years said, “If it tastes good, spit it out!”

We are told about “moderation in all things…”

  • But what if something is damaging to your cells and causes aging and disease?
  • Then how much cyanide should we take in every day?
  • What about arsenic, lead, or mercury? What if they tasted really good, or made us feel good?
  • Then what is the moderation limit?
  • Would we then consume these toxins until they caused disease or death?

Yet, this is exactly how we view moderation of sweet things.

The convincing reason I take this position is because I deal with the results of toxic effects of sweeteners in the diet every day.  People who eat sweets come to me for treatment of preventable diseases.  As sugar consumption increases, so does disease.  “Addict” is how many of my patients describe themselves. In fact, in one study, rats preferred sugar and saccharine to cocaine! (1) Perhaps the addict description fits!

Sugar

In 1970, the average person ate around 30 pounds of sugar per year!  However, today the average American eats his weight in sugar every year!  This is because sugar is now added to everything.  There are no longer just sweet foods and salty foods; now even the “salty” foods are filled with sugar.  The taste of sweet gets people coming back for more and more.  Sugar sells!  But, sugar isn’t healthy — even in small amounts.

The toxicity of sugar is similar to alcohol.  When a person drinks alcohol it goes to the liver and causes damage — always.  Any chemical that causes damage to cells in the body is called a toxin, or poison.  There is no lower limit to prevent damage because every drop is toxic.  People continue to drink alcohol and don’t notice the toxic effects because the liver regenerates rather quickly.  Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, only happens when the amount of alcohol consumed exceeds the ability for the liver to detoxify it.

It’s easy for us to understand that alcohol is a toxin because we all know alcoholics and the damage it can cause.  What is less understood is that sugar is just as toxic.  Every little bit of sugar is addictive and toxic to the body as alcohol.  We don’t notice small amounts of sugar poison in our body because the damage is minute; nevertheless, sugar is disruptive and damaging.  When the body uses sugar for energy the by-product is inflammation caused by free radicals.  As we continue to eat sugar, or eat more of it, we may begin to notice some of the toxic effects:

  • toxic sugarInflammation
  • Pain
  • Hypertension
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Gout
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Yeast (Candida)
  • Caries (tooth decay)
  • Arthritis
  • Nephropathy (kidney failure)
  • Retinopathy (blindness)

If we start thinking about it, then we may know people who have had amputations of feet, have gone blind, or are on dialysis because of eating toxic sugar.  These diseases were considered by the ancients to be the diseases of kings. Only royalty could get enough sugar to cause gout or diabetes; peasants didn’t have enough money to buy such things.  Now, just the opposite is true.  Everyone can afford sweets. In fact, sugary treats are cheaper than real food so those who have less money are more likely to be stricken with disease.

In using the word “sugar,” it should be clear that I mean all natural sweeteners including, but not limited to:

  • Sucrose, or white sugar, table sugar, brown sugar, and all cane and beet sugar derivatives
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Corn syrup, including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or corn sweetener
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Tapioca syrup

There are so many natural sweeteners I won’t name them all, but you get the idea.  In spite of being “natural,” these still cause problems in the body for the reasons I’ll discuss later.

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