Tag Archives: effective health care

Effective Health Care

My Presidential Platform is a plan to turn that “E” for Health and Wellness from a failing grade into an E for excellance.

  • Effective Health Care – a preventative healthcare, not-for profit single payer system.
  • Economy & more Green Jobs.
  • Environment & more Green Jobs.
  • End the War on Peace.
  • End Citizens United & reform campaign finance and voting transparency laws
  • Education — Repeal or rewrite the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies to create a public education system that promotes helping the child to maximize their own potential – whatever it is. — Require all under graduate education providers to teach evolution and a science based curriculum. — Reduce college tuition loan rates and work towards restoring public education subsidies for in state college tuition.

An effective health care system would likely also help improve the economy and the environment and help improve education outcomes because healthier citizens would be likely to produce better output for lower cost in whatever role they filled at any point of the lifespan. A health care system based on preventative health care likely would create jobs because it would require increased numbers of health professionals trained to provide individualized education and lifestyle guidance services and there would be less focus on high cost screenings and treatments based on pharmaceutical maintenance prescriptions or surgical interventions. Cost would be shifted from those areas to support the salary and benefits for the new preventative health education jobs. Effective health care would also likely promote peace because healthier citizens are likely to be happier and more socially oriented. Chronic illness tends to be associated with an increased risk for depression and we may have an instinct to isolate when we are ill which would be helping to protect the group.

Individual goals to work towards to improve the Health and Wellness of U.S. citizens (and anyone else who happens to be affected by U.S. policies):

  1. Change the status of marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 which would match the current rating for the synthetic version of THC, the euphoric cannabinoid found in marijuana. Changing the status would better reflect the true medical benefits of the plant; allow more variety of academic research to be performed with marijuana and the cannabinoid receptor system throughout physiology and throughout the plant and animal kingdoms; end Federal prosecution of patients, growers and dispensaries; and allow marijuana businesses to function as normal businesses in regards to the IRS, ability to report expenses on Federal State and Local taxes, and access to banking.
  2. Change the rating of several food additives from GRAS to no longer allowed. Ban potassium bromide from flour products and reinstate the use of potassium iodide as a anti-caking agent in flours.  Ban the artificial sweeteners Neotame, aspartame and sucralose. Any emulsifiers that have been shown to have emulsifying effects within the intestines. Ban glyphosate use as an herbicide or desiccant for food crops, non-food crops or in wild areas for invasive plant control. Ban the Bt GMOs and Round-up Ready GMOs and any others that have been associated with negative health risks since being approved for widespread use.  — or at least work towards creating non-corporate funded research into the longterm health effects of those food additives and agribusiness chemicals and GMO crops.
  3. Work towards a health care system that is based on a not for-profit system whether it is a single payer system or has multiple funding sources (insurance companies) seems less important to me than getting the profit motive out of treating patients. To promote Health and Wellness we need a health care system designed to identify and resolve underlying health problems rather than focusing on longtime symptom management.
  4. Create a stronger adverse reaction board for monitoring the long term and short term risks of vaccinations and other medical treatments. Include the suicide and homocide risks associated with psychiatric or other types of pharmaceuticals and consider the need to ban some of them.

To be con’t.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

U.S. ranks 68th on health and wellness compared to 133 developed nations

The U.S. ranked 68th for the category “Health and Wellness” in a comparison of 133 developed nations. That ranks in the lower half of the group. Economically the U.S. ranks within the top few nations and ranks in the top in many of the other categories that were assessed. However the Health and Wellness ranking or the U.S. is low in comparison not only to other nations but also to the U.S. ranking for many of the other 53 categories that were used to assess a nation’s ‘social progress,’ — suggesting that the healthcare strategies that have already been in use or were recently implemented in the U.S. in an effort to improve the health and wellness of U.S. citizens need to be reviewed and redesigned if we hope to achieve better results.

https://hbr.org/2016/08/why-americans-are-so-angry-despite-americas-strong-economy?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz

We may be able to afford ineffective health care over the short term of a few sickly generations but we can’t afford ineffective health care for ever. Somebody has to remain healthy enough to be able to take care of the increasing numbers of chronically ill people.

The globalization of markets has helped some workers while it may have left other groups less well off than they had been. Globally incomes have improved for groups of people in some areas of the world but have held stable or dropped in other areas. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/this-chart-reveals-the-most-dramatic-change-in-incomes-since-the-first-industrial-revolution?utm_content=bufferd61fe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

In some categories used to assess social progress the U.S. has been dropping in comparison to other developed nations and we are now on par or worse than some third world nations including the area of ‘Health and Wellness.’  http://usuncut.com/class-war/america-third-world-country/

Male fertility in 1992 was estimated to be at a rate of 1710 births per 1000 males on average (or 1.7 children per male aged 15-44) and 1960 births per every 1000 females (or 1.9 children per female aged 15-44). https://www.census.gov/population/documentation/twps0014.pdf

However either fertility has decreased or the desire to father children has decreased because the rate of children fathered by men aged 15-44 years in 2002 was at a rate of 1.0 children per male and the rate dropped yet more to 0.9 children per male aged 15-44 years between 2006-2010.  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr051.pdf

So in 1992 the average 15-44 year old male had 1.7 children while in 2002 the average 15-44 year old male in the U.S. had 1.0 children and between 2006-2010 the average male aged 15-44 years old only had 0.9 children.

It might seem like everything is for sale in a capitalist nation but — you can’t buy health and while you might be able to buy fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization it turns out that nature has ways we are only beginning to discover. In vitro fertilization (egg meets sperm in a test tube) may leave the child with DNA from the male’s mitochondria which wouldn’t be as likely to occur during natural fertilization. Few of the male mitochondria enter the egg during normal fertilization and the egg has ways to destroy any male mitochondria that are able to enter. Normally only the maternal mitochondrial DNA is left in a newly fertilized zygote. (The first new life form is a single celled egg/sperm combo called the zygote.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternal_mtDNA_transmission

Excess male mitochondria may be involved in some cases of male infertility.  http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.496.2503&rep=rep1&type=pdf

The markers that help an egg identify male mitochondria for destruction may be species specific according to research performed with lab animals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC41980/pdf/pnas01486-0478.pdf

We don’t know what we don’t know — until we learn it — and we are learning that we can’t really pollute our environment and food supply with estrogen mimetics and other toxic additives, herbicides and pesticides, if we hope to have “Health and Wellness”. As U.S. citizens we are constitutionally supposed to have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Health and wellness – and the ability to have children naturally – seems like part of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off human citizen’s ability (or inability) to procreate or should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off a human citizen’s right to decide how they deliver their baby or how they feed their baby? Would it be fair to the non-corporate people (formerly known as humans) if the government ruled that all infants will be conceived in a test tube; and will be delivered by C-section; and will be fed exclusively with formula; or will be fed exclusively by breast milk whether the mother is able to or not?

Part of “health and wellness” might be the freedom to make individual choices based on individual differences. Some regulations protect the corporate ‘right to access to the consumer’ more than they protect the consumer’s right to access safe products and services. Midwives have been harassed for centuries and even burned as witches while medical schools and medical associations are regulated as safe providers of maternal care. History has shown that men didn’t wash their hands even after being told that it was causing increased maternal deaths due to infections. The pioneering doctor that tried to get other doctors to wash their hands was harassed during his own career for his work — but his name lives on in textbooks though, at least, (Ignaz Semmelweis). Midwives knew about sanitation but it took a male doctor ruining his career to get other male doctors to eventually start washing their hands in between attending pregnant women.

Hand washing helped promote improved “Health and Wellness” in the U.S. and elsewhere but it took a while to catch on. What other health practices are needed? We won’t know if we continue to not listen to pioneering scientists. Currently alternative information frequently is being dismissed as “debunked” or “Quack,” but history revealed that Ignaz Semmelweis was not the quack and likely the midwives who were burned as witches didn’t quack either. (A Monty Python reference is hiding there for Monty Python fans.)

So if we want America to continue to be great than we need to review and redesign our nation’s strategies for promoting individual health and wellness because whatever we’re doing hasn’t been very effective while it has been costing us more than other developed nations — and health and wellness includes the ability to have healthy children.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

If elected President of the United States, I would also…

If elected President of the United States, I would also work towards changing…

  • tax structures and regulations that favor large businesses over small businesses,
  • and increasing Capital Gains taxes so that investing in employees would be a more valuable investment for businesses than investing in equipment,
  • and closing loopholes that make it easy for businesses and individuals to hide income from the IRS in off shore banks,
  • and I would work towards making an easier tax code in general based on percentage of income with fewer exclusions.

The last post already contained more than five to nine topics which might overtax the short term memory, (unintentional, gratuitous pun)., so I concluded it, but having opened the topic of what I would work towards changing it seemed important to add some of the other issues affecting our country and which affect the world because our economy and policies affect so much of the world.

  • I would also work towards decreasing spending on military, but in phases that address the unstable economies and terrorist organizations that have resulted from our nation’s “War on Terror.” Less war ultimately is likely to result in less terror and more peace; and less pollution. Bombs over other people’s neighborhoods still results in more pollution in the atmosphere and it does spread. Volatile chemicals evaporate from warmer regions of the world and condense and settle in colder regions so bombing the Middle East is ultimately poisoning the ground of colder regions in addition to poisoning the ground and air and people of the Middle East.
  • I would work towards providing effective nutrient based health interventions for helping reduce cancer and chronic disease risk. Pharmaceutical medications can be life saving but they also frequently contain toxic ingredients which have negative side effects for the patients using them and as waste products add to the pollution of our water supply.
  • I would work towards reducing the agencies and policies put in place by the Patriot Act and Homeland Security — they haven’t been proven to be cost effective or helped reduce mass killings.
  • I would work towards improving medication testing and adverse reaction reporting as psychiatric medication use has been linked directly to mass killings and suicides.
  • I would work towards a not-for-profit single payer health care system that encourages preventative health education and lifestyle changes as the first strategy for promoting wellness in patients. Private health care facilities would likely still exist for those who have the money to afford self pay health care but taking the profit motive out of standard health care would allow freedom to treat health issues with the cheapest possible solutions. Magnesium supplements and Epsom Salt baths are much cheaper and safer than medications such as Prilosec, Nexium and Zantac — which are physiologically used in place of magnesium, nature’s calcium channel blocker, but which have been proven to have negative health effects at least for some groups of patients.
  • I would work towards an increased use of genetic screening for the purposes of individualized dietary guidance. I could share which nutrients I need to bypass my genetic defect in the ability to make cannabinoids internally, but they wouldn’t necessarily help other people unless they had the same genetic anomaly as me.
  • I would work towards substance addiction being treated individually with genetic screening and lifestyle guidance for bypassing other people’s individual metabolic needs. Defects in the cannabinoid receptor system may affect cravings for opioids, food, and alcohol and to a lesser extant nicotine and cocaine.
  • I would work towards modifying the banking industry so that they aren’t allowed to loan out the same money to multiple debtors and then treat it as if more money was created when actually only more debt repayment cash streams were created.
  • I would work towards making a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court which created a new race of non-humans – the corporate people, can’t vote, don’t need to eat or breath pollution and therefore aren’t people or citizens and have no right to interfere with electing politicians or judges.
  • I would work towards a campaign system that is not funded by donations from individuals by establishing a forum for town hall meetings and debates and educational websites that allow all candidates an equal opportunity to address the voters. And to reduce the popularity contest aspect I would work towards outlawing campaign commercials from being allowed on television and other paid advertising media. I would work towards ending gerrymandering of districts and work towards improving access to vote by making mail in ballots more universally accessible and/or by making businesses allow workers to take time off from work to vote or by making the voting dates federal holidays, (that would only give government workers the day off though and would cost a lot).
  • I would work towards decreasing college loan interest rates but I am not supportive of “free” college tuition — we aren’t doing well enough with providing “free” education to grade school and high school students yet to suggest that as a nation we could provide free college educations too. And students who are just given access to college might not be as motivated to treat it as a business opportunity that affects the rest of their life – they may be more likely to treat it as a few more years to party. Making technical schools and career guidance more available is also important. A college education does not guarantee a job in the current market.
  • I would work towards making public education about educating the children as creative individuals rather than about passing standardized tests and punishing teachers for not getting the children to pass tests. Some children may need to focus on learning life skills and will never be able to pass all the tests — biology is a fact that can’t be changed by passing laws against it.
  • I would work towards expanding jobs within nations and work towards sensible global trade agreements. Sending raw chicken to nations such as China to then be processed by cheaper labor and then be shipped back to the U.S. for sale to consumers is a waste of gasoline and increases food safety risks due to the increased transit time and possibly due to unknown factory conditions or food processing additives. [http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/10/curious-case-chinese-chicken-import-export-business-273699.html] Processing chicken is not a pleasant job but U.S. workers need work too.
  • I would work to decrease the use of “Temporary Workers” and to make regulations that make it safer for temporary workers as well as work to stop temporary immigration from being falsely claimed to be an opportunity for a guest worker to be able to bring their whole family to the U.S. as permanent citizens. Some changes have been made but congress has also blocked changes. The inexpensive workers are good for some businesses but also tend to bring wages down in general for the industries and areas in which they are allowed to work. [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/11/us/rules-revised-for-h-2b-guest-worker-program.html?_r=0]
  • I do not support birthright citizenship it is being used as a vacation destination to give babies dual citizenship. Border patrols can’t keep out pregnant tourists with money for an airplane ticket. People who move here and establish residences and seek jobs and have children should have routes available to work towards their families becoming citizens but the ease of travel in this era has changed too much to support continuing automatic birthright citizenship – in my opinion and others. [http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-ed-birthright-citizenship-20141026-story.html]
  • I would read information about these issues that is written by non-partisan, non-corporate funded specialists and seek out specialists to work with who know more about the industries but who are not lobbyists for the industries.

That’s a few of the issues that I care about. I care about a lot of things. Litter pick-up and invasive plant control would be potential jobs that improve environmental and public health and the economy. Biodiversity helps keep insects like mosquitos healthier too. Spraying mosquitos with pesticides has been associated with an increased rate of autism. So do we want to reduce the risk of a few mosquito born diseases at the expense of an increased rate of autism — or do we want a healthier, more biodiverse environment in general?

Do we want to spend a quarter of million dollars per person who has cancer or prevent cancer in the first place? or help the patients recover with more cost effective treatments and lifestyle changes? Our national priorities have lasting impact on the whole world because we share the air and we share the water — with dragonflies and birds and bees, and the trees, as well as with each other.

Live, Work, Create.

Live, Work, Create — the subway, because — public transport matters, it saves gasoline.

 

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

The voices that people with schizophrenia are hearing are probably their own inner thoughts

This is kind of breaking news — new news: A research scientist, with the aid of a powerful microphone, was able to record a patient with schizophrenia speaking to themselves in a sub-vocal voice. The patient was not aware that they were speaking at the time.

The research is very early, a first in its field perhaps, but the theory seems to suggest that the patient’s with schizophrenia symptoms may have some disconnect with the normal ability to identify internal thoughts and sub-vocal speech as being self generated and instead are interpreting the internal thoughts as coming from some external source of whatever type the person might think.

(Example of my interpretation of sub-vocal speech: the almost silent muttering under your breath that you don’t notice yourself doing, until suddenly you do notice that you’re talking to yourself, and then you stop because you don’t want anyone to notice. The brain of a someone with schizophrenia may no longer recognize the voices of self-talk, or those of voices in memories or in imagined conversations, as being internally self-generated and instead probably tend to make up some explanation for  whatever or whoever might be doing the talking that is being heard — hearing voices. Our internal chatter can get busy and sometimes pretty mean, it would be scary to not realize that it is just yourself. )

Read more, of the actual article:  [http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2016/03/schizophrenia_and_subvocal_speech_why_schizophrenics_hear_the_voices_of.html]

This seems like very important news — patients with schizophrenia may be able to be gently reminded that those voices are just brain mumbles, and to try to ignore them.

People with schizophrenia are generally not associated with violence unless there is also a history of violent behavior, alcohol or drug abuse, or more persecutory fantasies. [citation missing, I don’t remember where I read that recently, but I posted it in a comment somewhere.]

Mental health symptoms sometimes may be due to underlying issues that could be easily fixed, rather than considering the patient as being ‘mentally ill’ for the rest of their life and likely being placed on medications that tend to have severe side effects. Effective health care would seek for any underlying causes that can be returned to a state of normal function with the simplest solutions possible, “Let food be thy medicine,” the first part of the quote by Hippocrates may be the most important part.

There are several different nutrient deficiencies that can cause symptoms similar to schizophrenia or may be involved in an underlying cause for the condition, this information was from an older post of mine but it was not grouped together:

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Costs of autism care could reach $500 billion by 2025 per research estimates

Current costs for caring for patients with autism spectrum disorder is more than double that for patients with stroke or hypertension and equivalent to that spent on care of patients with diabetes according to a news release by “study senior author Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences and a researcher with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research at UC Davis.” By 2025 the costs to care for patients with autism are estimated to range from “$276 billion to $1 trillion, with $461 billion being the researchers’ best estimate.” Developing improved methods for diagnosis and care could help reduce the cost. The study was published online July 28, 2015 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Read more: [http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20150729/autism-care-costs-could-hit-500-billion-by-2025-study]

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A preventative health longevity study could be crowd sourced

Clinical research trials with actual patients have to address the ethical concerns of using an experimental treatment instead of a treatment that has become the accepted standard of care. Longevity studies start with healthy people. Measurements and health history data are collected at the beginning of the study and then periodically more data about health habits and lab measurements are collected. Eventually, five or ten or twenty years later, the data is grouped to see how many people ended up with negative health diagnoses and whether those smaller groups of people had any lifestyle or dietary choices in common.

It took many decades but eventually enough data was collected to show that cigarette smoking is a significant negative health risk, maybe not for every single smoker but enough of them got sick that eventually the activists in support of preventative health were able to get the message out that cigarette smoking is dangerous to individuals, not just profitable for cigarette companies.

The more recent research on diet and cancer showed that less animal products makes a difference in the amount of a cancer promoting chemical, IGF-1, that is produced by a person. So an exclusively vegan diet or vegetarian diet might be a better cancer prevention diet but simply having more beans and produce and less meat, eggs, and dairy products might also help prevent cancer. A crowd sourced research project could be based on an internet app that allows individuals to enter and track their daily meals and any supplements or medications they use regularly. The app could provide the individual with information about their calorie intake or protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake, or a micro-nutrient. The dietary and lifestyle data would be collecting over time and eventually could be available to researchers interested in looking for specific types of diseases or lifestyle or dietary patterns associated with the people who eventually got that type of disease.

An example might be black hair dye which has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, [1] , so five or ten years into the study a researcher might pull up all the participants whose data mentions “got my hair dyed black today,” and see how many of them developed cancer during that time period and then compare them to all the participants whose data mentions “got my hair dyed _some other color_ today,” and to all the participants whose data never mentions hair dye at all or better yet, who answered “No” to the specific question “Do you ever get your hair dyed at a hair salon or at home?”  — Yes or No.  If you marked yes what color did you choose to dye your hair today?_click which color you chose today —.

Maybe black hair dye is really more of a risk when you also smoke cigarettes and/or also eat a diet with animal products or are also exposed to hazardous chemicals in your work environment. Maybe black hair dye is only a risk for people who choose black hair dye many times over the years rather than only one or two times. Maybe it’s only a risk for the people who chose it many times and who smoked cigarettes or ate animal products frequently or who chose black hair dye and worked in an environment with other toxic chemicals. We don’t really know unless we collect the data as it is happening rather than trying to ask people about their habits years later.

A large crowd sourced longevity study could collect data about people’s personal lifestyle habits and about their work or recreational environments. A smartphone app could provide the individual user with some feedback about the data they had entered, such as a calorie count for the day, and all of the entries from all of the crowd would be collecting for research scientists to eventually collate and look for patterns of habits or environmental hazards that were associated with less risk for the participants and those that were associated with increased health risks.

Keeping people’s data secure and private would be a concern but there’s probably already apps for that — a crowd sourced research project would require software experts and health experts. Prototypes for crowd sourced research do already exist in the area of gene mapping. A dietary focused longevity study that was working in conjunction with the gene-mapping research groups could be even more informative for both groups, down the road a few years.

There is good news from Australian researchers who have modified a type of algae into nano-particles that are able to carry chemotherapy drugs specifically to the cancerous tumor and to avoid healthy cells. This would make the toxic chemotherapy drugs much less harmful to other rapidly growing cells and would reduce the negative side effects caused by the death of the rapidly growing intestinal cells and hair follicle cells.

  • Targeted drug delivery using genetically engineered diatom biosilica,” [nature.com] Bahman Dalalat, et. al., Nov, 10, 2015

This post is a continuation of two earlier posts, or maybe three:

  • “Accidents don’t happen,” – if they can be prevented
  • Evidence based medicine: is the evidence to support the use of patent medicine?

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Information is not a substitute for individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

A research study proposal; for clarity

To clarify a point from my last post, the cancer research I would like to see completed would be on the use of a vegan diet with ginger as a preventative or as a cancer treatment. Adding fluoride or bromide to 6-shogaol was simply an example of how other natural products have been made into chemicals that could be patented in the past.

The difficulty with designing clinical research studies is the ethics involved with substituting an experimental treatment for a treatment that has evidence supporting its value. A person with cancer is more likely to be allowed into experimental trials only after they have already been through other anti-cancer treatments that were unsuccessful – but which likely left their bodies in a weakened condition. Trying an experimental treatment as a first attempt would have to be with the patient’s understanding of the possible risks of not using the standard of care treatment instead. Maybe the standard treatment for the patient’s type of cancer provides the 22.5 months of survival on average but the experimental treatment wouldn’t have any history of clinical trials to offer as a comparison. So frequently the experimental treatments are only offered to patients whose cancer has returned or that had failed to respond to standard treatments.

Prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer that is frequently a benign problem compared to other types of cancer. It is said that more men die with prostate cancer than die from prostate cancer — and surgery in the area sometimes leaves men with worse problems so a watch and wait approach is being recommended more often. A diet based research study designed for patients in the watch and wait phase of prostate cancer treatment might be a reasonably ethical experimental design.

The experimental dietary treatment that I would propose would be based on a vegan diet, possibly with fish, and which is low in arachidonic acid rich foods and is not excessive in total calcium foods or supplements and which provides adequate amounts of CLA fats, [8, 12, 13] and with ginger powder daily, approximately a half teaspoon per day or equivalent ginger root cooked in food — or with an appropriate amount of the purified active compound, 6-shogaol. However, use of the whole root or ginger powder or mixed extract might provide other beneficial phytochemicals, from a summary I wrote years ago:

  • In humans, mice, and in petri dish studies, ginger has been found to inhibit the action of 5-LO from converting as much arachidonic acid into 5-HETE and slowing prostate cancer cell growth. [13]
  • *The cancer cells replicate human enzymes  that increase membrane breakdown and release of arachidonic acid which is then converted into a form the cancer cells can use as an energy source. The ginger extract stopped the step that would have converted the arachidonic acid into the form, 5-HETE, that could be used as a food source for the cancer cells. [13]  So adding ginger to the diet might make avoiding arachidonic acid containing foods less of an issue – but moderation is usually still a good idea. Arachidonic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid found in egg yolks,chicken, liver and animal fats. [14, 15] Arachidonic acid can also be formed out of linoleic acid which is found in seeds and nuts and most vegetable oils. [15]

Approximately a half teaspoon of ginger powder was the amount found helpful for reducing pain for arthritis patients, but I still haven’t found the exact reference link, sorry. A different study on muscle pain due to exercise found that two milligrams of ginger powder given daily prior to the episode of strenuous exercise (approximately 3/4 teaspoon, which was given in capsules) helped reduce the exercise induced muscle pain by 25%. [9, 10] Heat treatment of the ginger powder was not found to give any further reduction in muscle pain in that study however for cancer prevention heat treatment might be increasing the amount of the chemical that is active against cancer, 6-shogaol.

Clinical results that showed benefit for the men with prostate cancer in the watch-and-wait phase might than be preliminary evidence to support trying the treatment plan for men with more advanced stages of prostate cancer or for women with breast cancer — with their understanding of the potential risks of using an alternative treatment instead of the standard of care treatment.

As a nutrition focused member of a multi-disciplinary team I would count on other specialists to work out the details related to stages of cancer and assessment, etc.                  — no one works alone these days.

/Tangent: 6-shogaol and two other phytochemicals found in ginger have also been found to help promote bronchodilation in asthma patients.  [11]/

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Information is not a substitute for individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Evidence based medicine: is the evidence to support the use of patent medicine?

The underlying problem with a for-profit health care industry is that a primary focus has to be on finding medicines and surgical devices that can be patented and sold for a profit rather than focusing exclusively on finding out how to prevent disease or restore healthy function. Finding out how the body works during health and sickness and finding out how to restore health using natural strategies is not as profitable because natural strategies are usually not something that can be patented and sold at a steep mark-up.

Natural processes of the body are studied in health and sickness with the stated goal of learning how to restore health but too often there is also an underlying and unspoken goal to restore health but only with a product that can be patented and sold at a markup. Foods and vitamins and natural hormones can not be patented and therefore it is less profitable to use them as treatments — there is less of a price mark-up.

As most people involved with primary prevention in public health know all too well, prevention is often under-resourced in public agency budgets and virtually non-existent in the private for-profit sector.

The President of the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Harvey Fineberg, addressed this in a 2006 lecture at the UCLA School of Public Health entitled “Why Prevention is a Hard Sell.”146 He listed some of the reasons as follows: “There is no drama in prevention; non-events are not counted; statistical lives don’t have immediacy; prevention is not profitable; prevention often runs against commercial interests; it may conflict with personal preferences or religious beliefs; and there is declining trust in leaders and institutions, challenging people’s willingness to follow guidelines.”

A Forbes magazine story in 2004 quoted a clinician at a cancer treatment center in New York as saying that ten years earlier, he could extend the life of one of his patients by 11.5 months on average with a drug that cost $500; in 2004, he could extend the life of a patient with the same diagnosis 22.5 months, at a cost of $250,000. The goal of many current cancer treatment protocols is to repeat this experience with more and more types of cancer. [1 

Vegetarian and vegan diets have also been associated with fighting cancer — but by reducing the amount of cancer promoting chemicals (IGF-1) in the person’s blood. Vegans had less of the cancer promoting chemical than vegetarian diners, who had less than people eating a meat based diet.

“Women placed on plant-based diets for just two weeks, for example, were found to suppress the growth of three different types of breast cancer (see images of the cancer clearance).” “Similar results were found for men against prostate cancer (as well as against prostate enlargement).” [2]

Fighting cancer by preventing it from happening in the first place could extend a person’s lifespan far more than 22.5 months and without causing severe vomiting or hair loss, and at a much lower price than $250,000, and without potentially causing cognitive decline. The bad news is that cognitive decline is common among breast cancer survivors and the good news is that the decline tends to improve somewhat between 18 months and 36 months after treatment, (less of an improvement was seen in survivors with multiple diagnoses). [3]

However news that a vegan diet stops production of a cancer causing chemical from forming in a person’s blood would probably not be good news for the person who would rather be told that their cancer was a complete mystery which probably had nothing to do with the person’s lifestyle or their food preferences and that some medication, or surgery, or radiation, or a combination of all three, would take care of the problem without the person having to change a thing about themselves — except that that isn’t really true. Some of the treatments might make all food taste metallic, and some may cause severe vomiting which might leave the person not wanting to eat anything at all and may leave them with some lasting food aversions depending on what they were eating before the severe vomiting stage was reached — the dietary recommendation is to plan ahead for the nauseous stage and to eat something anyway because nutrients are still important but choose nutritious foods that aren’t also favorite nutritious foods for meals that are likely to be coming back up again in a short while. A vegan diet, on second thought, probably tastes better than having a metallic taste in the mouth, or worse.

And it doesn’t even have to be a vegan diet — vegetarian diets that include fish have also been found to reduce cancer risk, [7] — but the information about either study wasn’t in mainstream news outlets. I found the information on virtual news websites — so this is basically top secret news — the cure for cancer has been in the grocery store this whole time — just avoid the meat aisle and maybe the egg and dairy cases and spend more time in the produce section.

It can be a career risk to write about less profitable health treatments. The paragraph about cancer treatments and the 50,000 percent increase in price that occurred over ten years, that was excerpted earlier in this post, concludes with the following statement: “Those who seek to prevent or reduce the magnitude of these profits risk being swept aside by industry representatives and their political and scientific spokespeople.” [1]

Ginger has over 400 active phytochemicals and humans have been enjoying it for thousands of years — the long term evidence is in on ginger – people keep growing it because they like it — either they like its flavor or its effects or both. [4] Some of the active phytochemicals in ginger have been found to help reduce arthritis pain as much as the anti-inflammatory pain-killing medication ibuprofen (approximately a 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder per day). And even better pain control was found when ginger was used in combination with ibuprofen. Ginger also helps protect against ulcers while long term ibuprofen use can be damaging to the GI tract. And more recently another phytochemical found in ginger, 6-shogaol, has been found to help kill breast cancer cells while at the same time not being harmful to surrounding healthy cells. This is early research rather than clinical trials. [4, 5] The negative side effects from most cancer treatments are usually because the treatments are harmful to both cancer cells and to health cells that grow rapidly.

Ginger has few negative side effects compared to chemotherapy or even ibuprofen. The two risks that I am familiar with: 1) Eating large amounts on a daily basis may increase risk of bruising and  bleeding too easily as ginger has blood thinning activity. A half teaspoon of dry powdered ginger per day was the dose found helpful for reducing arthritis pain. I have experienced easy bruising when I was using more than the half teaspoon of powdered ginger on foods, I was also eating chunks of candied ginger regularly and was also using raw ginger in cooked dishes in large amounts. I haven’t had problems with easy bruising when eating only the half teaspoon per day dose.   2) Small amounts of ginger during pregnancy is probably fine and active phytochemicals in the root vegetable may be helpful for reducing nausea, (Folk wisdom example: Gingerale for nausea), but very large quantities of ginger on a regular basis during pregnancy  may increase risk of miscarriage.

I didn’t find the ginger powder/ibuprofen study citation when I looked for it, but while looking I did find a more recent study done on cell cultures that found ginger extract effective for reducing cytokine production in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA). [6]

In a for-profit industry too often the goal of research is to find a chemical that is effective for some health condition, like 6-shogaol, and then to find a way to chemically make it unique and therefore able to be patented and sold at a larger markup than would be possible for a produce item like ginger root, but without ruining the original chemical’s effectiveness and without making the new chemical too toxic. That can be a risk when fluoride or bromide is added to a medication; the heavy metal can help the medication enter cells — which can make it a more effective or a faster acting medication — but then the atom of fluoride or bromide is not easy for the body to remove from the cell and the heavy metals may be increasing long term health risks. [8]

My goal in sharing health information is twofold —

— For the general reader who is interested in science and alternative health information: writing easy to read summaries of health information for the individual reader is where I have training and experience. As a patient I am looking for health guidance for my own conditions but as a dietitian I also am interested in learning more about all aspects of health and illness. The entire body needs balanced nutrition in order to function and therefore a dietitian specializes in understanding all of the body’s systems and how they interact.

— For the open-minded science reader: some people read summaries and other people read reference lists. Frequently cited papers or books would be immediately recognized by some readers and they might be interested in clicking on other links that they hadn’t seen yet, or hadn’t seen in relation to the rest of the list. Some readers might read the summary in seconds and skim through the links in a few minutes — and gain ideas for their own research — that is my hope. In some places there may be more funding, and more academic freedom, and more interest in preventative health care, and more interest in the use of natural products for restoring natural function, — I can dream and read and share. Some comments that I’ve received do suggest that at least a few people appreciate my posts for providing research ideas.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Information is not a substitute for individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

  1. Richard W. Clapp, DSc, MPH, Molly M. Jacobs, MPH, and Edward L Loechler, PhD, Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer New Evidence, 2005–2007, Rev Environ Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 Dec 10., [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791455/]
  2. Kathy Freston,  A Vegan Diet (Hugely) Helpful Against Cancer, 12/09/2012 [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/vegan-diet-cancer_b_2250052.html]
  3. Zheng Y, et. al., Long-term cognitive function change among breast cancer survivors., Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Aug;146(3):599-609. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-3044-1. Epub 2014 Jul 9. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25005574]
  4. Ginger: 10,000x Stronger Than Chemo (Taxol) In Cancer Research Model, Nov. 7, 2015, [http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/ginger-10000x-stronger-than-chemo-taxol-in-cancer-research-model/]
  5. Anasuya Ray, Smreti Vasudevan, Suparna Sengupta, 6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death., PLOS One, September 10, 2015, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137614 [http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137614]
  6. Søren Ribel-Madsen, et al., A Synoviocyte Model for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Response to Ibuprofen, Betamethasone, and Ginger Extract—A Cross-Sectional In Vitro Study., Arthritis. 2012; 2012: 505842. 2012 Dec 31, [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3546442/]
  7. Jennifer Lea Reynolds, Vegetarian diet reduces cancer risk by up to 43% in new study., Nov. 6, 2015,   [http://www.naturalnews.com/051856_vegetarian_diet_colorectal_cancer_fish.html#]
  8. by me, “Private: Eicosanoids are made from eCBs from the membrane,” *This is one of my older posts with more excerpted material and a messier format so I have it closed to public view. The post does include more information on the health benefits of ginger for preventing colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Ginger extract seems to help prevent cell membrane/endogenous cannabinoid breakdown and reduce the release of metabolites of endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs) — which include eicosanoids and arachidonic acid. The pharmaceutical industry charges $2,945 for 1 mg of eicosanoids which we would be able to make for ourselves in the amounts that we need if we are healthy and well nourished. Eicosanoids are also a natural chemical so I’m not sure why it can be sold or how the patent process works in the pharmaceutical industry.
    [http://transcendingsquare.com/2011/10/04/eicosanoids-are-made-from-ecbs-from-the-membrane/]