Monday, May 21, 2007
I'm off to a writers' colony, the amazingly pesticide free and organic Hedgebrook, to be exact. (Colonies, where they basically feed you and nurture you and try to get you to write, are great, but most aren't organic, and this one is accommodating my wheat/dairy thing. Yay!)
And I'll be packing my amazing Gramicci organic hemp/cotton Sierra t-shirt. It already feels broken-in, like it's been washed 10000 times, and there's lot of charming details, like raw seams. If there's anything I like, it's being comfy whilte I write.
And the shirt is accented by a necklace from the Palma Collection. More on their sustainable jewelry later.
So this means no email, no phone, but if you want to send me stuff or post an oldfashioned letter:
marie lee c/o
2197 Millman Road
Langley, WA 98260
Friday, May 18, 2007
So again, I turn this over to About.com's thyroid guru.
"Quiz: What Type of Doctor is Best For You and Your Thyroid Treatment?Take the Quiz.
from Mary Shomon
What type of doctor is likely to be the best fit with your approach to health? For some people, it may be an endocrinologist, others want someone who focuses specifically on the thyroid, and for some, an alternative or holistic doctor is best. Take this quiz to explore some of your own feelings about your health care, the style and personality of your doctor, your thoughts about alternative medicine, and you'll get an automatic assessment of the type of doctor you might find best for your health care.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
A Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, team found the risk was especially raised among young women - removal of one ovary by the age of 38 raised the risk by 260%.
When one of my friends had a hysterectomy (and it was for something fairly vague, fibroids, I think), she said the docs took out her ovaries "as long as we're in there," citing that it would cut her ovarian cancer risk because there'd be no ovaries to get the cancer.
But ovaries also secrete hormones (namely estrogen, which fights aging). There's aren't too many non-essential organs in our well-planned bodies. Think before you chop!
Here's another examples of let's not mess with Ma Nature, please!
read more here.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
May 15, 2007
Samantha Carolan was 23 and fresh out of graduate school when she decided to donate eggs to an infertile couple. Ms. Carolan concedes that she would never have done it if not for the money, $7,000 that she used to pay off some student loans...
Ethicists and some women’s health advocates worry that lucrative payments are enticing young women with credit-card debt and steep tuition bills to sell eggs without seriously evaluating the risks...
“One of the most striking facts about in vitro fertilization is just how little is known with certainty about the long-term health outcomes for the women who undergo the procedure,” a recent report by the Institute of Medicine said...
The reluctance is understandable. The process of egg extraction is time consuming, and it is not comfortable. For some women, it can be painful. A woman first has to take medications to stop her menstrual cycle and then daily hormone injections for several weeks to stimulate her ovaries to produce a crop of mature eggs at once.
The drugs may cause bloating, weight gain, moodiness and irritability, and there is a risk of a rare condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that can cause life-threatening complications, blood clots and kidney failure...
And since egg donors go through much the same process as women trying to conceive in vitro, there are concerns that they may be prone to the higher rates of certain cancers that some studies have found among infertility patients. Still, said Dr. James A. Grifo, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the New York University School of Medicine, “There is no credible evidence of long-lasting effects or health consequences down the line.”
That does not necessarily mean that the procedures are safe.
“There’s no health-outcome data collected by anybody other than some voluntary reporting, and there’s no postmarket testing on how these drugs are being used,” said Susan Berke Fogel, co-founder of the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, a project of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, Calif.
In a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, a Harvard Business School professor said the controversy over the price of eggs was obscuring questions of women’s health. The author, Debora L. Spar, an economist who wrote “The Baby Business” last year, calls for more studies of the drugs being used, more long-term follow-up of donors and federal regulations to ensure proper informed consent....
Read more here.USERNAME: GreenFertility
Answer to secret Qu: Soylent Green
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I really like this book, if anything, that it supports the FertilityBitch theory that fun free sex is the way to go (and, scientifically, if you shut your ears to the artificial fertility treatment types and their so-called ticking biological clock, that's also what the numbers bear out**). I will note that in Asia, getting pregnant in our forties is considered to be pretty normal--it's believed that with good health practices, fertility doesn't automatically poop out at the stroke of 35 (and don't forget about the effect anxiety/stress has on fertility...).
Peggy Orenstein (I've always enjoyed her pieces about young women in the NY Times) injects herself with unspeakable things that make her so hormonally craaaazy that "fertilizing intercourse" boils down to her yelling to her husband to hurry up and watch some porn (and in another room, by yourself, por favor), get it up, and just get it over with. Okay, are we pregnant yet?
Like the best "fertility" books (e.g. Julia Indichova's Inconceivable), this one is also a mediation on life and what it means to produce life (or not--so comprehensive is her SIX-YEAR experience, she even delves into adoption). Orenstein has the advantage of turning the reportorial eye on both the mundane and the profound (and the humorous) ranging from the Oscars to the scarily unregulated fertility industry.
And, may I spoil the ending? After all the IVF and stuff (including an expensive, awful, painful fiasco with donor eggs), and the skeevy, rippy-offy doctors who glibly fan false hopes, take her money, are unbothered by incompetence at both the medical and laboratorial level, and seem to truly not care about her psychic pain resulting from their broken promises, she and her hubby randomly get busy one night (i.e., the one time she is not obsessively checking her basal body temps), they have sex for the sake of sex...and the rest is history--Cute Baby! Amen!
** Apparently a majority of couples will get pregnant merely after having unprotected intercourse for 2 years (84% of couples within a year with regular intercourse and no contraception is another stat). The problem is, most doctors start crying "fertility problems!" at about 6 months, and you start falling (then hurling yourself) down the slippery slope of carcinogenic Clomid and hamster gonads and womb transplants before your know it.
Check out the info from the BBC here.
Monday, May 14, 2007
"People with coeliac disease are waiting an average of 13 years to be diagnosed, a poll has revealed.Read more here.
The gut disorder is caused by gluten intolerance, and can lead to bone problems, infertility or bowel cancer....
It also found patients often have to insist on being given the blood test, which is the first step to diagnosis."
This is very related to THYROID because I read somewhere that 50% of people with autoimmune thyroid disease also have celiac...if eating wheat makes you feel funny, you owe it to youself to get yourself checked out.
p.s. if you have been following a gluten or wheat free diet, a celiac test may not be accurate, since your body may have stopped producing the antibiodies, but if you feel you react to wheat, there's no reason not to put yourself on a gluten free diet.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Kind of silly, because it's easily treated. Take Mary's quiz and see you how rate.
| Quiz: Could You Be Hypothyroid? |
from Mary Shomon,
Your Guide to Thyroid Disease
Could your thyroid -- the master gland of metabolism and energy -- be underactive?
As of 2006, experts estimate that as many as 59 million Americans have a thyroid condition, and the vast majority are hypothyroid -- and have an underfunctioning, slow or sluggish thyroid.
START THE QUIZ NOW!!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Here's a political opinion on the failure of the Dorgan amendment from the DailyKos. Sigh!!! I agree that Conservative are GREAT at getting people, especially the poor and disenfranchised, to vote against their own interests. Geez!
What is the Dorgan amendment? A sensible, necessary bill addressing drug price gouging and drug safety that of course got killed. Read here.
While we're on the subject:
The manufacturer of the potent painkiller OxyContin and three current and former executives at the company yesterday pleaded guilty to falsely marketing the drug in a way that played down its addictive properties and led to scores of people becoming addicted, prosecutors said.Read more here.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
You can read more (once you stop vomiting) here.
When Anya Bailey developed an eating disorder after her 12th birthday, her mother took her to a psychiatrist at the University of Minnesota who prescribed a powerful antipsychotic drug called Risperdal.
Created for schizophrenia, Risperdal is not approved to treat eating disorders, but increased appetite is a common side effect and doctors may prescribe drugs as they see fit. Anya gained weight but within two years developed a crippling knot in her back. She now receives regular injections of Botox to unclench her back muscles. She often awakens crying in pain.
Isabella Bailey, Anya’s mother, said she had no idea that children might be especially susceptible to Risperdal’s side effects. Nor did she know that Risperdal and similar medicines were not approved at the time to treat children, or that medical trials often cited to justify the use of such drugs had as few as eight children taking the drug by the end.
Just as surprising, Ms. Bailey said, was learning that the university psychiatrist who supervised Anya’s care received more than $7,000 from 2003 to 2004 from Johnson & Johnson, Risperdal’s maker, in return for lectures about one of the company’s drugs.
Doctors, including Anya Bailey’s, maintain that payments from drug companies do not influence what they prescribe for patients.
But the intersection of money and medicine, and its effect on the well-being of patients, has become one of the most contentious issues in health care. Nowhere is that more true than in psychiatry, where increasing payments to doctors have coincided with the growing use in children of a relatively new class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics.
These best-selling drugs, including Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify and Geodon, are now being prescribed to more than half a million children in the United States to help parents deal with behavior problems despite profound risks and almost no approved uses for minors.
A New York Times analysis of records in Minnesota, the only state that requires public reports of all drug company marketing payments to doctors, provides rare documentation of how financial relationships between doctors and drug makers correspond to the growing use of atypicals in children.
From 2000 to 2005, drug maker payments to Minnesota psychiatrists rose more than sixfold, to $1.6 million. During those same years, prescriptions of antipsychotics for children in Minnesota’s Medicaid program rose more than ninefold...Drug makers underwrite decision makers at every level of care. They pay doctors who prescribe and recommend drugs, teach about the underlying diseases, perform studies and write guidelines that other doctors often feel bound to follow....
In Minnesota, psychiatrists collected more money from drug makers from 2000 to 2005 than doctors in any other specialty. Total payments to individual psychiatrists ranged from $51 to more than $689,000, with a median of $1,750. Since the records are incomplete, these figures probably underestimate doctors’ actual incomes.
Such payments could encourage psychiatrists to use drugs in ways that endanger patients’ physical health, said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, the provost of Harvard University and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The growing use of atypicals in children is the most troubling example of this, Dr. Hyman said.
answer to secret question: SOYLENT GREEN
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Prepubertal gynecomastia is uncommon and idiopathic in over 90% of cases.
full report here.
Not infrequently, urologists may identify gynecomastia in children as part of a routine physical exam or in patients with gynecomastia specifically referred to rule out a testicular abnormality.
In the February 1st issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Henley and colleagues from the University of Colorado report on 3 children whose gynecomastia resolved after stopping the use of lavender and tea tree oils. Both oils were tested on breast cancer cell lines to determine their interaction with the estrogen and androgen signaling pathways.
The first boy (age 4) presenting with worsening gynecomastia was found to have a normal testicular examination and hormonal profile. His gynecomastia resolved after his mother stopped applying a "healing balm" to the skin containing lavender oil. Another 10 year old boy presented with a 5 month history of gynecomastia and a normal evaluation. The areolar mounds disappeared 9 months after discontinuing the use of a hair styling gel containing Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil and Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. The third boy age 7 years was evaluated for a 1 month history of gynecomastia and was found to be using lavender scented soap. His gynecomastia resolved several months after stopping the use of the soap.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The fact that there is a downside to mammography has not been readily explored, but now the American College of Physicians is smelling the coffee:
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends tailoring the decision about screening for breast cancer in women aged 40 to 49 years based on the woman's concerns about mammography and breast cancer and her risk for breast cancer because of the associated benefits and risks for this age group. The new guidelines appear in the April 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, along with a background review article, an editorial, and a patient summary.Read the entire report here.
Available evidence suggests that breast cancer risk, and therefore the benefit of screening mammography, is not evenly distributed in women between the ages of 40 and 49 years. When weighing the possible benefits and harms of screening mammography, one must therefore consider individual risk for breast cancer, as well as susceptibility to and concerns regarding the harms of screening.
"We designed our screening mammography guideline based on scientific evidence," Lynne Kirk, MD, FACP, president of the ACP, said in a news release. "It will empower women between the ages of 40 and 49 to become part of the decision-making process and to encourage them to discuss with their physicians the benefits and risks of mammograms.... If a woman between the ages of 40 and 49 decides not to have a mammogram, she and her doctor should re-address the issue every one to two years."
Following a rigorous process based on extensive review of available scientific evidence, the ACP panel developed evidence-based guidelines rather than expert-opinion or consensus guidelines. In addition to articles reporting findings from the original mammography trials, the ACP panel reviewed 117 studies concerning the risks and benefits of mammography screening for women between the ages of 40 and 49 years.
The ACP panel concludes that evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against screening all women in this age group for breast cancer. The guidelines recommend that women discuss breast cancer screening with their primary care clinician and make the decision that best suits their specific risks and individual preferences.
"It is important to tailor the decision of screening mammography by discussing the benefits and risks with a woman, addressing her concerns, and making it a joint decision between her and her physician," says lead author Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, from the Medical Education and Publishing Division at ACP.
Read some previous cautionary posts on mammography for which some readers are giving me some crap! (here's another one)
Monday, May 07, 2007
On May 3rd, 2007, U.S. Senators voted on an amendment to the 2007 Prescription Drug User Fee bill that aims to reform the FDA and enhance drug safety. This amendment, known as the "Dorgan Amendment No. 990," threatened to break Big Pharma's monopoly over pharmaceutical sales and allow U.S. consumers, cities, states and businesses to purchase their pharmaceuticals from safety-certified pharmacies located in Canada, Japan, the U.K. and other nations.
Americans currently pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Canadians, Europeans, and even citizens of Mexico pay only about one-half to as little as one-tenth the price paid by Americans for the very same chemicals. Drug companies actually import many of the raw materials used in pharmaceuticals from other countries, meaning that some U.S. medicines are already sourced from countries like the U.K. and Germany.
Drug companies mark up their prescription drugs as much as 569,000% over the price of the raw materials. (A typical markup is more in the 30,000% - 50,000% range.) Retailing pharmaceuticals is hugely profitable. There is no business in the world with more profit built in to the retail price of the product. The purpose of restricting Americans from buying drugs from other countries is to enforce a medical monopoly in the United States, forcing consumers to purchase drugs at the highest prices in the world, further padding the profits of powerful and influential pharmaceutical corporations who exert strong influence over the Bush Administration and Republican lawmakers.
The FDA has, over the past several years, colluded with drug companies to maintain a monopoly market in the United States in order to protect those profits. It has taken actions such as raiding a bus load of senior citizens returning to the U.S. from Canada, searching the elderly for legal drugs. The FDA has gone to great lengths to pressure U.S. customs to seize pharmaceutical shipments being imported for sale to individual consumers in the United States, and it has even invoked the fantasy-based fear tactic of suggesting that terrorists might adulterate pharmaceuticals coming to the U.S. from Canada (and therefore we should all buy our drugs only from U.S. monopoly-controlled pharmacies because of "terrorists").
The Dorgan amendment, entitled, "Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2007," proposes what is essentially a free trade policy on prescription medications. It would allow Americans to buy their drugs from certain certified organizations registered as valid importers or exporters. The bill states, "...a prescription drug is neither safe nor effective to an individual who cannot afford it," and goes on to describe rigorous safety requirements that would be required by the amendment, including safety inspections and registrations as well as funding efforts to locate and shut down fraudulent internet sales of counterfeit prescription drugs.
If passed into the law, this amendment would save U.S. citizens, businesses, and government entities (local, state and federal) billions of dollars each year by allowing them to source medications in a price competitive environment. Many cities and states are right now facing the very real possibility of bankruptcy due to health care costs (providing benefits to current and former government employees). A large percentage of those costs are spent on monopoly-priced pharmaceuticals. This Dorgan amendment would set city and state governments free to finally engage in fundamental free market price comparisons and save substantial sums of money in sourcing the very same chemical medications for their employees and retirees.
28 Republicans voted against the Dorgan amendment, voting to enforce the pharmaceutical monopoly and keep Big Pharma in control of virtually the entire U.S. medication market. There were no Democrats that voted against the amendment. But why would 28 Republican Senators vote against breaking a marketplace monopoly and encouraging the use of free market economics to save American consumers billions of dollars? The answer isn't complicated: Because nearly all of them have taken money from pharmaceutical companies!
Here's the list of the 28 Senators who voted to protect Big Pharma's monopoly:
These Senators cite "safety concerns" as a reason for enforcing a U.S. monopoly on prescription drugs and allowing Big Pharma to bilk Americans out of billions of dollars by operating an obvious profiteering scheme. But the truth is that the price you pay for a drug does not affect its safety. And those concerned that adulterated medications from other countries might harm patients conveniently forget that FDA-approved drugs sold in the United States already kill 100,000 Americans each year. It would be difficult to find any source more dangerous than the pharmacies operating in the U.S. right now.
Medications are universally dangerous because they are made from synthetic chemicals that simply do not belong in the human body. Every drug has unintended side effects which include nutritional deficiencies, biochemical imbalances, liver damage, heart damage and even death. Vioxx alone -- which was approved by the FDA and heavily pushed by drug company advertising -- reportedly killed well over 50,000 Americans according to the FDA's own senior drug safety scientist Dr. David Graham. The idea that prescription drugs are safe is ludicrous, and trying to "ensure drug safety" by forcing Americans to pay the highest prices in the world for dangerous synthetic chemicals is a logical fallacy and nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to protect the profiteering drug racket while claiming to be protecting the public.
President Bush has promised to veto the bill if the Dorgan amendment stands. Free trade for medicine simply will not be tolerated in the United States. There's too much money at stake.
read the rest and weep here.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Why? The mammary glands are filled with lymphatic vessels, and this is how the breast drains toxins (and when the lymph poops out, you end up wtih lymphoma). Lymph is a fairly dense liquid, and to get it pumping you need movement (e.g., exercise moves muscles, which squeezes the lymph along), and, unattractive as this may be to us in the West, the free-swingin' National Geographic type braless breast naturally keeps the lymph moving as well.
If something impedes the cleansing process, an imbalance occurs and the sex hormone by-products become destructive molecules called free radicals that begin cellular damage (called lipid peroxidation) which could lead to breast cancer. Plus, smearing on the aluminum chlorhydrate right on top of your lympph glands (and, also blocking your sweat, another detoxification defense in the body)...doesn't sound so hot.
Some natural health advocates suggest breast cancer as a "culturogenic" disease (i.e., a disease occuring only in cultures where people wear bra), read more here.
On the other side, I did read a story once where a woman's underwire bra saved her life because it stopped a bullet, or something.
And, okay, the bra is not going to go away. I understand that it's a little difficult, especially in the warmer weather, to go without support. Soooooo....
I really like Cottonfield's bra top; soft princess seams, organic cotton, not too tight, could use this as a top as well. It also comes in an undyed color (and lighter fabric) that works well with lighter tops. Supportive but not too restrictive, a nice wide band at the botton.
(image courtesy of Cottonfield USA)
Camisole tops are another great way to cover up without restriction. Check out Doie Design's cami top--toxin free bamboo and genuine silk accents. I find this top great to layer under another tank top, plus it's so comfy you can sleep in it.
And, don't forget, bamboo is sutainable, breathable, and antimicrobial.
(image courtesy of Doie Designs)
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Now here's an article on how false-positive mammograms can actually have Negative Long-Term Results.
I'll also note that the new standard of care is now very up in the air about whether mammograms should be recommended for women 40-50 AT ALL. Ask your doc.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Got this from Medpundit:
Into the Breach: The pneumonia vaccine has cut down significantly on the rate of invasive pneumococcal infections among native Alaskans, who for some reason are prone to more invasive forms of the disease. (Maybe Dr. Moalem could explain.) Or at least it had cut down on them until recently:
Researcher Rosalyn Singleton and her colleagues in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Anchorage found that invasive pneumococcal disease decreased 67 percent in Alaska Native children under age 2, and 61 percent in non-Native children of the same age between 2001 and 2003.
But evolving strains of bacteria not covered by the PCV7 vaccine cancelled those gains by 2006.
"The rapid success of PCV7 in Alaska has led to the near elimination of PCV7-serotype disease and the elimination of a health disparity for types covered by the vaccine," the authors wrote. "However, for Alaska Native children, there now exists a substantially elevated risk for IPD from serotypes not contained in PCV7.
How substantial is the increase? Very:
In the first 3 years after introduction of routine vaccination with heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, overall invasive pneumococcal disease decreased 67% in Alaska Native children younger than 2 years (from 403.2 per 100,000 in 1995-2000 to 134.3 per 100,000 per year in 2001-2003.....). However, between 2001-2003 and 2004-2006, there was an 82% increase in invasive disease in Alaska Native children younger than 2 years to 244.6/100,000... Since 2004, the invasive pneumococcal disease rate caused by nonvaccine serotypes has increased 140% compared with the prevaccine period.
Getting rid of the vaccine-targeted pneumococci evidently made life better for their non-vaccine-targeted relatives. That evolutionary medicine idea is looking better all the time.
posted by sydney on 4/29/2007 09:57:00 PM 0 comments