WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
February 1996
*
DEAR FRIEND:
 
    On a recent plane trip I survived (I'm never quite sure that I will), we got stuck for a time on a runway because of weather.  As we sat there waiting, people on opposite sides of the aisle began a conversation that went from politics to religion to environmental issues to corporate downsizing to minimum wages. 
    I listened attentively since it appeared that all of the world's problems would be solved right then and there.
    One man, who had moved to Reno, Nevada to substantial acreage in the desert to escape the crowds of California, explained that concern for the spotted owl cost "hundreds of thousands" of jobs in forestry.  He couldn't understand how the rights of owl lovers should prevail over jobs.  A lady remarked that crime in her neighborhood had forced her to move from an urban area back to her Midwest small community.  Another remarked that corporate money mongers were sucking out all of the money from our society and what was needed was strong political action to force companies to pay everyone a better wage level.  This prompted a swing in the conversation to the enormous number of illegal immigrants who are moving into the country, creating language barriers and taking jobs away from Americans.
    The conversation continued in this depressing vein for at least an hour with the final conclusion being that everyone pretty much felt there was little that could be done, and they felt sorry for their children. 
    It was amazing to me the range of topics these strangers touched upon in this short period of time, and how poignantly it reflected the increasing woes that society does indeed face.
    Well, we can just talk about these problems or we can really try to address fundamental causes and try to put a real end to the misery that afflicts hundreds of millions around the planet.
    Sure, one can try to be a good citizen.  We can vote and become socially and politically active in our communities.   We can reduce, reuse and recycle.  We can plant some trees and turn down the thermostat and support organic farmers.
    These are good, decent, intelligent, socially responsible acts.  But they are not the ultimate cause of mankind's problems and therefore will not yield ultimate solutions.
    I have talked about this in past issues, but it bears repeating again.  We are rushing toward a demographic disaster.  The U. S. can sustainably support a population of 150 million, yet we presently have 264 million.  Our children will in their lifetime see a population of over 400 million.  Outside the U. S., particularly in developing countries, the population is growing at a staggering pace of 90 million per year.
    The Earth is a finite home and does not contain unlimited resources.  If you live in a 2,000 square foot home and have a family of 4 you may be comfortable.  If 10, 20 or 30 people move in, your life becomes hell on Earth. 
    Our Earth home is comfortable at a certain population level.  We have already exceeded that.  If we continue to pour people in, everyone is going to be miserable and no amount of recycling, tree planting, or polluter jailing will make an iota of difference in the long run.
    This is not to say you should not be actively engaged in all of the other issues that affect human quality of life.   But a priority issue on all of our agendas should be the curtailment of population growth.
    There are several organizations specifically designed to help bring public awareness to this problem and enact appropriate laws and incentives to make a difference.  They advocate such things as a strong immigration policy.  At the same time, we should do all that is necessary to improve living conditions and educate people in developing countries so that they can limit their own populations to sustainable levels.
    The ideal family size is believed to be two children as a maximum.  This could be encouraged through various incentives such as eliminating the federal income tax exemption for more than two children, giving a credit to parents who have no more than two children, or even a tax grant to those who have no more than two children.  For those who have more, they would lose all such tax and financial benefits.  In a few generations, under such a program, U. S. population would shrink to manageable sustainable levels.
    There are many different ideas advocated by each population control group and you should contact each one to learn all you can and support them as best you can.  (See Vol. 9, No. 9).
    As it is, people essentially give no thought nor effort to population control, but attempt to reach out to do good by focusing on the symptoms of our burgeoning population.  Instead, we should probably spend 90% of our effort attempting to control population and the other 10% on other social and environmental issues.
    There is no need to sink into the frustrated feeling of despair that comes from thinking we can do nothing.  Once we understand the root cause of most of our social and environmental problems - population - then we can exert energy on it to make changes that can really bring hope for the future... and more pleasant optimistic conversations on airplanes.
 
HOW TO SUSTAIN INTIMACY
    The personal liberation that has come with the shunning of the old moral codes, which once forced man/woman marital relationships to be maintained, has come with a price.  As people move from one mate to another, children are abandoned, and economic resources diluted from repeated splits, what then?  We are now a liberated society floundering for stability and direction that will restore order and predictability.
    Politicians or moralists simply telling people what is “wrong” or “right” - because of edicts that either they or someone else has concluded are sacred in one way or another - simply will not do.  The need and the right to be free and led only by truth is not replaced by another person’s mandate.  People should not be together because they are forced by some outside agency, but rather because they choose to be and are fully aware of the limitations of the relationship. 
    Lying at the heart of so much disappointment between couples is a fundamental misunderstanding.  Love stories would have us believe that overcoming every obstacle to finally be together with the person of your dreams means happiness ever after.  Kids are weaned on Cinderella and her prince and our teenagers  through advertising, music and video have their hormones stoked (as if they need any help) and their minds convinced that life is about being in heat.    In spite of the constant persuasion by novels, movies, song and peers that a perfect mate you are forever in love with is the goal in life, frustration inevitably results.
    Most of us have felt the incredible euphoria of being “in love.”  It is wonderful, everything is wonderful, your mate is perfect, any problems you see in them will disappear because of love, you feel better than ever, you feel better about yourself than ever before, you don't get sick (your immune system is indeed strengthened during the “in love” high), you even look better.  It is indeed one of life's highest highs.
    What is rarely understood or mentioned is that everyone who has experienced it has lost it.  The euphoric altered state of consciousness that results from the shower of love chemicals (now specifically identified) in the brain can only last for about 2 years.  For the couple, this is long enough to conceive a child and hold the man in the relationship while the child is in extreme infancy and dependent upon the mother, who needs the man to assist in support.  For the woman, bonding changes to incorporate the maternal bond to the infant, satisfying needs that were once met by the man. 
    From a strictly biological perspective it appears that the man/woman relationship is for the sole purpose of procreating the kind.  Men bond to women for short periods of “in love” engagement and then move to the next opportunity for being “in love.”       There is more practicality in the relationship for women in that who she bonds with can result in a child which is primarily her responsibility to suckle and nurture.  She has more at risk and is more deliberate in her selection of a mate since security and stability, at least for a time, are important for her and the child she will bear.   Even the sexual response between the two varies reflecting these fundamental changes.  The man is quickly aroused and more easily fulfilled, whereas the woman is more slow to arousal and fulfillment.
    Without realizing that the “in love” altered state of consciousness will inevitably pass, and acknowledging the fundamental innate differences between the sexes, society is doomed to frustration.   The quixotic search for the perfect sustained “in love” relationship is doomed to failure.  If everyone simply understood that the “in love” euphoria can only be sustained for a short period of time, people could then approach relationships with, so-to-speak, full disclosure, so that relationships at least had a chance to be long-term, rationally built with the understanding of what could and could not be expected.
    None of the above means that intimacy and at least twinges of “in love” feelings can not be maintained between couples for a lifetime.  Here again there are misconceptions.
    Most feel that a relationship that is warm, uncontentious, with complete unanimity of purpose and desires is the ideal.   However, this “weness” can actually hasten the demise of erotic zest and intimacy.  By attempting to negate differences and neglecting independent friends and interests and always attempting to think and feel as a unit, couples lose sight of the fact that true intimacy takes two separate people who choose, voluntarily, to embrace the challenge of maintaining individuality and independence at the same time.  Those who are able to understand and confront this fundamental truth that closeness does not necessarily lend itself to intimacy, are most likely to succeed in a long-standing, interesting, challenging, yet loving, warm and intimate relationship.
    A long-standing, intimate and exciting relationship requires creative adaptation and needs to be continually nurtured as the relationship evolves.  It is a work in progress, never truly finalized.
    If people become frustrated with the loss of the “in love” feeling, feeling as if they have been somehow “betrayed” by the other for not doing what was necessary to maintain it, hostility and resentment can build and thinking about the other in an erotic way becomes only a memory.  Studies have shown that when couples stop thinking about each other in an erotic way for five years or more, they can never again do it even if they try.
    So maintaining an intimate relationship is an active will that requires the maintaining of attraction to one another.   Remembering the features in the other, perhaps physical or mental, that originally elicited the excitement can prove powerful stimuli to maintaining intimacy.  A man in his 70’s may see a certain look in the eyes of his elderly wife that reminds him of the special attraction that originally brought him to her.  She, on the other hand, when seeing his fond glances may recall how she was attracted to him because of his strong assertive and confident personality.  This in turn causes her to look at him in that special way again which in turn stimulates his pride and confidence and on the cycle goes, a never-ending stimulus to intimacy.      Such seeking out of characteristics in the other that have attracted you can be ongoing, strong aphrodisiacs that nurture an ongoing life-long intimacy.
    Bonding does not have to mean the limitation of freedom and privacy.  Every person needs their own non-relational sphere of existence that is theirs alone and does not need to be questioned or challenged by another.  The best relationship is one that comes from individuals who maintain such privacy, yet voluntarily choose to bond with another.  The knowledge that a different person who is free and separate from you chooses you brings a sense of personal fulfillment.  It can bring an affirmation and validation, a bolstering of self-esteem that makes one-on-one relationships extremely gratifying.
    The constant effort to shape and mold one another into a just-like-me cookie cutter is a tyranny that will demolish intimacy and fulfillment.  Freedom to act independently and privately, yet come together can result in a more deep long lasting love that can flourish through a lifetime.  
    There is a continuing and unavoidable tension between the goals of a relationship and their fulfillment.  For example, falling in love with another and courting them and then winning them creates the beginning of an end.  The passion for another is ultimately doomed once that passion is fulfilled.  That is, unless the relationship is understood to be cyclical with an endless series of desires and fulfillments that must be nurtured to be sustained.   This is nothing more than a part of the larger human paradox that satisfaction of any kind sows the seeds of discontent.  But if relationships are understood to be naturally a series of cycles, rather than one or a few linear events consisting of passion and arousal, fulfillment, satisfaction and then disinterest, a realistic view results that can bring about the many benefits of a long-term, warm, loving, voluntary relationship.
    Those who move from mate to mate looking for a new love high can actually increase loneliness.  With each lost relationship there is a death of one's history.  One's sense of belonging, of worth, and of security are diminished each time a part of one's history embodied in a relationship is discarded.
    A fundamental human problem of being a distinct individual who is ultimately lonely can uniquely find a solution  in a long-standing intimate relationship.  The sexual act, in fact, in microcosm is a reflection of what a long-standing relationship can mean.  Sexual intimacy for a few moments can relieve the fundamental loneliness of being human, bring an altered state of consciousness and transcendence and unity.  It is, if you will, spiritual in that it engages us totally to enlarge our sense of self by connecting with another or even with hidden dimensions of self.
    Such intimacy on a larger relational scale can also expand the self and relieve the loneliness that all humans fear.   But to do so will require understanding that passion and being in love are only momentary and simply reflective of what is possible on a larger scale in a relationship if creative effort is put forth to develop it.
    When both partners come together voluntarily to embark on a life-long relationship that naturally moves to the rhythms of desire and fulfillment, a lonely existence can be replaced by one that is uplifted, livened and satiated which can only contribute in a very positive way ultimately to both mental and physical health.  Reaching toward this goal, and not the fantasy of a continual “in love” experience is a realistic and achievable objective that can bring peace, happiness and fulfillment - and with that better health and vitality.
    Reference: 
        Erotic Mind, Jack Moren Ph.D., 1995, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.
 
ESSIAC -  A CANCER CURE
    In 1922 a patient told Renee Caisse about an herbal tea that had cured her of breast cancer.  Nurse Caisse subsequently watched her aunt recover from inoperable cancer after taking it.  She then committed her life to making the product available to the public.
    For eight years she ran a non-profit cancer clinic in Bracebridge, Ontario charging no fee.  In spite of continual harassment for well over half a century from the conventional medical establishment, the herbal tea continues to be used with reported excellent success.   In fact, when pressure mounted against her by threatened physicians, some 55,000 people signed petitions in support of her.  The herbal tea mixture, composed of burdock root, slippery elm, sheep sorrel and Indian rhubarb, is supplied in dry powder form for users to make their own fresh tea from.  This herbal remedy has been around for perhaps centuries.  But it has only been popularized since 1922 - which is in and of itself a significant history. 
    Though Nurse Caisse never claimed the product was a cancer cure, many of her patients argue vehemently otherwise.   She recommended that the herbal preparation, she named Essiac (the reverse of her name), be taken before any cancer surgery to help prevent metastases and reoccurrence.   Though not everyone is cured, it does reportedly relieve pain and improve the quality of life for many patients who do not wish to be subjected to the “cut, burn and poison” therapy promoted by modern medicine.
    The formula, originally compounded by the Ogibway Indians, is also recommended as a preventive.  It is also reportedly effective for diabetics, increasing the ability of the pancreas to synthesize insulin. 
    The product is easy to prepare by simply boiling and refrigerating the resulting tea.  For those who have cancer, 2 ounces are recommended morning and evening.  This is slowly reduced to one ounce morning and evening.  After three months the dosage may be dropped to one ounce daily or one ounce every other day. 
    The tea is also recommended for chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, HIV infection and viral infections.
    As I have mentioned in other issues, anything can be potentially toxic at sufficient dosages.  When taking products such as Essiac, be sure to follow the time tested protocols recommended by the manufacturers. 
    If you are taking the herbal tea simply as a preventive or health enhancer, give your body a break and an opportunity to detoxify if there are sensitivities to any of the compounds in the tea, by not taking the product more than once every third day or three weeks in a row with a week's break.   (For further information contact Resource A.)
    Reference:  
        A)             Essiac International, 116 West Service Rd #177, Champlain, NY  12919, 1-800-668-4559.
 
LOSING YOUR MIND WITH ASPARTAME
    A variety of mental problems are being associated with aspartame use.  These include confusion and memory loss, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, headaches, dizziness and visual difficulty. 
    One physician has a data base of over 650 aspartame reactors, 250 of whom suffered significant confusion and memory loss.      The FDA received 227 complaints about memory loss as of January 1994, 1602 complaints of headache, 672 complaints of dizziness and 272 instances of seizures and convulsions. 
    Although originally submitted as a drug for use in treating people with peptic ulcers, aspartame is now almost ubiquitously used throughout the food industry to create “sugar-free” dietary products.  Although aspartame is composed of the natural amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, the amounts consumed are far greater in proportion to other amino acids than would occur ingesting natural foods containing proteins.  Since nutrition and metabolism are a matter of balance, it is little wonder that neurotransmitter dysfunction may occur resulting in the mental disorders reported.
    As mentioned in a previous issue (Vol. 9, No. 4), as much as 10% of aspartame is composed of methanol, which is a known extraordinary toxin.
    One physician specializing in the research of the toxicity of aspartame states that “the supplement should be removed as an imminent public health hazard.”  He concludes this for the reasons previously cited, but also because aspartame may accelerate Alzheimer’s disease as well as brain cancer.
    Such problems with a synthetic, fractionated food material used in excess are predictable from the contextual philosophy continually discussed in the Health Letter.   Our bodies were designed to eat natural, whole, complex, integrated and balanced foods, not fractions of foods which have been doctored with synthetic materials, even if these materials mimic something found in nature.  (For further information, see the Food Additives section of Resource B.)
    Reference:
        B)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
        Townsend Letter, September 1995: 99
 
HOW SAFE IS FLUORIDE IN YOUR WATER?
    Although for decades we have been assured that fluoridation of our municipal water supplies is not only safe, but essential for our tooth health, there is significant evidence to the contrary. 
    Sodium fluoride is an industrial waste and commonly used as rat poison.  A 7-ounce tube of fluoride toothpaste, according to the manufacturers of Crest, contains enough fluoride to kill a small child.  The symptoms of fluoride toxicity include nausea, vomiting, cramps, tremors, weakness, excitability, skin abnormalities, mouth and lip sores, sore joints, and fluorosis, a white, brown or black discoloration of the teeth. 
    Fluoride can interfere with the ability of the body to produce collagen, the protein making up 30% of the body's   total amount of protein.  It is known that 1 part per million of fluoride disrupts collagen metabolism, but the U. S. Environmental Protection      Agency allows 4 parts per million in the water.  This is the reason for the discoloration of the teeth with fluorosis.  But collagen is not restricted to the dentition.  It is also essential in ligaments, cartilage, arteries, the skin and throughout tissues.  Fluoride induced collagen abnormalities can result in hardening and calcification of the arteries and tissues.  Although fluoride is popularly recommended as a treatment for osteoporosis, evidence also demonstrates that it can increase, not decrease the risk of fracture.
    Destruction of other proteins such as enzymes, and chromosomal damage, can create even more broad systemic pathologies.    Important enzyme systems such as acetyl cholinesterase, glutamine synthesase, ATPase and DNA repair mechanisms are known to be inhibited by fluoride levels as low as 1 part per million.  Fluoride levels found in the brains of people drinking fluoridated water average 1.5 parts per million, in the heart 1.8 parts per million, and in the thyroid gland 4 parts per million. 
    Fluoride is also known to cause cancer with evidence demonstrating that people living in fluoridated cities have a higher rate than those not drinking fluoridated water.  In one estimate, 10,000 excess cancer deaths per year are linked to water fluoridation in the U. S.  In 1991, The National Cancer Institute found that the incidence of osteosarcomas was 50% higher in males aged under 19 years who drank fluoridated water than those who did not.
    Further, there is serious doubt as to whether there is any substantial data to demonstrate that fluoridating water even prevents tooth decay.  Nevertheless, this poisonous byproduct of the aluminum and fertilizer industries has found a ready market as a part of rat poison and added to municipal water supplies.
    You are at risk of consuming excess fluoride by using toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain it, and drinking soft drinks, beer, wine, and fruit juices that have municipal water added to them.  Coke Classic, for example, bottled in Chicago contained 2.65 parts per million of fluoride and Diet Coke contained 2.96 parts per million.  Even produce grown on land fertilized with fluoride-containing fertilizers can contain 6 to 12 times more fluoride than produce not so fluoridated.  Fluoride is even being released into the air from various manufacturing plants producing steel, plated glass, aluminum phosphate and other industrial products.
    Eliminate or severely restrict consumption of all bottled beverages and where possible eat organic fruits and vegetables.   While everyone debates about the safety of fluoride, use wisdom and drink water that is as pure as possible.  Get a home water purifying system, store the water in glass, (Do we really know what might be leaching out of plastic bottles into otherwise clean water?) and take a natural trace mineral supplement containing the 70+ minerals found in natural water.  (For further information, see the Food Additives section of Resource B.)
    Reference:
        B)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
        Fluoride The Aging Factor, Dr. John Yiamouyiannis, 1993, Health Action Press   
 
CAPSAICIN FOR FIBROMYALGIA PAIN
    Tender painful areas of fibromyalgia can be extremely resistant to pain control.  A study of 45 patients who applied a 0.25% capsaicin cream or a placebo four times daily in a double blind study showed significant improvement in the treated group.  Capsaicin is derived from cayenne pepper and is believed to work by depleting substance P which is a mediator of pain in afferent (going to the brain) nerve fibers.
    The treatment does not cure the condition, but it does decrease the tenderness and was found to even increase grip strength.      The only side effect is a temporary burning and stinging at the point of application.
    Reference: 
        Semin Arthritis Rheum, 1994; 23 (Supplement 3): 41
 
DRINK POP AND DISSOLVE YOUR BONES
    Carbonated soft drinks contain phosphoric acid to give them a “zesty” taste.  But this phosphoric acid does not go unnoticed by the body.
    Each 12 ounce drink can contain as much as 36 mg of phosphoric acid which interferes with calcium metabolism in the bones and can bind and interfere with the metabolisms of other important minerals such as magnesium.
    With soft drink consumption now at a level of about 40 gallons per person each year, it is little wonder that our population is increasingly suffering from various mineral imbalances including the loss of calcium in the bone, resulting in osteoporosis (a thinning and loss of strength and density in bones).
    It should also be mentioned that two cups of coffee and five cups of tea can also leach calcium from bones.  For those of you who don’t want to end up having knees and hips replaced, or develop a Dowager's hump in your back, or become bed ridden with fractures every time you fall, give serious consideration to how much of these recreational drinks you are consuming now.
    Reference:  
        Journal of Adolescent Health 94; 15:210-215
        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 1994; 573-578
 
ESTROGEN AND LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS
    In a study of almost 70,000 post menopausal nurses, it was found that the chance of developing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) increased 2-1/2 fold in women who had used estrogen therapy over those women who had not.  SLE is evidently, at least in part, a hormone related disease and can be extremely debilitating.  This is yet another reason for caution before jumping on the estrogen bandwagon for menopause.
    Reference: 
        Ann. Intern. Med. 1995; 122: 430
 
EXERCISE THE BACK
    In another study of individuals engaged in physical therapy because of low back pain, it was found that exercise can be one of the most effective of all therapies.  With just two back exercise sessions a week, participants in the study showed significant improvements over controls.  This reduction in disability was maintained for as long as six months after the study stopped.
    As discussed in a previous issue (Vol. 9, No. 7), the current recommendation that those who have back problems should baby themselves is in fact counterproductive. Weak muscles and ligaments in the back from years of sedentary living or unusual, often work-related physical stress, make the back unstable and vulnerable to intervertebral disc disease.  The solution is a well-rounded exercise program that is maintained indefinitely with the goal of strengthening the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine, the density of bone and the flexibility of cartilage.
    Back exercises are not particularly fun and they do not yield any noticeable visible results.  But if a program is maintained, the absence of chronic pain and disability is well worth the effort.  No drug or surgery has the potential for restoring you like this simple remedy.
    Reference: 
        British Medical Journal, 1995; 310: 151
 
EXERCISE AND INSULIN IN THE ELDERLY
    High levels of blood insulin are known to be a significant risk factor for the development of heart disease and hypertension.  In a study of 389 men over the age of 65, it was found that those who had the highest level of physical activity daily had the lowest insulin levels.
    By just repetitively causing a muscle to contract, insulin levels can be lowered.  Another study demonstrated this by showing that strength training in men over the age of 50 resulted in dramatic decreases in blood insulin levels.
    This is more sophisticated proof to tell you what you already know.  Get active, get engaged in a regular aerobic and strength training program and become a healthier, more vibrant and youthful you.
    Reference:
        American Journal of Epidemiology, 1994; 140; 4: 350
        Journal of Applied Physiology, 1994; 7; 3: 1122
 
PROBIOTICS FOR THE ELDERLY
    Atrophic gastritis is a condition which can occur in the elderly, resulting in the loss of the stomach’s ability to secrete hydrochloric acid levels.  The result is various forms of maldigestion and malabsorption, as well as overgrowth of disease-causing organisms.   The acid secreted by the stomach normally inhibits the growth of pathogenic organisms.  As acid secretion drops off with age, the potential for growth of disease-causing organisms is thus increased.
    By consuming probiotic bacteria cultures, the elderly can create a population of microflora in the digestive tract that can effectively compete against disease-causing microorganisms.
    Additional health benefits of probiotic organisms include improved lactose (milk sugar) digestion, reduced serum cholesterol, improved vitamin nutrition by absorption of bacterial synthesized vitamins, anticarcinogenic activity, immune enhancement, and improvement of constipation.
    Unfortunately, many commercial yogurts may not contain bacteria cultures that are viable or capable of surviving the stomach and adhering to the digestive tract.  Thus, a specifically designed probiotic culture supplement containing a range of viable organisms is recommended.
    Reference:  
        If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 1995: 353
 
MAKING SURE ROOT CANALS ARE ASEPTIC 
    Since the use of root canals there has been controversy regarding them.  As reported in a previous issue (Vol. 7, No.12), a focal infection is believed by some medical researchers to  remain in the canal and serve as a source of a wide range of chronic maladies.  Some people have reported remarkable improvement in chronic refractory conditions by having root canaled teeth extracted.
    There are now, however, dental products such as Biocalex 6.9 that utilize heavy calcium oxide and have been scientifically shown to provide asepsis (lack of infection) in the root canal.   Anyone having a root canal would be wise to inquire of the dentist as to what materials are being used and insist on the use of such aseptic materials.  (For further information, see the Dental section of Resource B.)
    Reference: 
        B)             The Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1880 N. Eastman Road, Midland, MI  48640, 517-631-0009.
        Townsend Letter, August 1995: 91
 
TIMING INTERCOURSE FOR PREGNANCY
    Although there are many ideas about the relationship between the timing of intercourse and pregnancy, as well as determining the sex of the baby, few careful studies have been made to establish with more certainty what is true.
    In a recent study of some 221 healthy women who were planning to become pregnant, it was found that nearly all pregnancies could be attributed to intercourse during the six-day period ending on the day of estimated ovulation.  In some cases it was also found that intercourse three or more days before actual fertilization could result in conception. Lastly, for all practical purposes, the timing of intercourse in relation to ovulation had no influence on the sex of the baby.
    Reference: 
        New England Journal of Medicine, December 7, 1995: 1517
 
BEWARE OF LIPID-LOWERING DRUGS
    Although some clinical trials have shown that lipid-lowering drugs can reduce the incidence of coronary artery disease in middle-aged men, a more broad meta analysis of such trials has shown there to be no effect on overall  survival.  These are expensive drugs and not without troubling side effects.  Some researchers, in fact, argue strongly that extreme caution should be used by any individual who is healthy and without symptoms. 
    Furthermore, why go to a drug route when dietary and lifestyle modification is so extremely effective at both preventing and reversing coronary artery disease?
    Reference: 
        British Medical Journal, 1990; 301:309-14
        British Medical Journal, 1992; 304: 431-4
 
CIGARETTE POISONING OF CHILDREN
    About 15% of the poisonings presented to two university hospitals in Athens, Greece were due to children eating cigarettes.      The predominant symptoms were vomiting and tachycardia (rapid heart beat).  They received stomach lavage, intravenous fluids and activated charcoal to neutralize the acute poisoning and to help facilitate the urinary excretion of nicotine and metabolites.  Although none of these children received a fatal dose, which is surprisingly less than two cigarettes, parents should be aware of this danger whether or not they smoke at home, since children are often taken to areas where cigarettes lie readily available in public ashtrays.
    Reference: 
        Lancet, November 11, 1995: 1296
 
SELENIUM AND ACUTE PANCREATITIS 
    Acute pancreatitis can be a rapidly progressing, dangerous disease with a high death rate.  Once disease begins in the pancreas, this enzyme-loaded organ can rapidly break down with severe systemic consequences.  Modern medical approaches leave much to be desired. 
    Recent studies have shown that patients with acute pancreatitis, given a daily dose of 500 mcg of sodium selenite experienced pronounced improvement within 24 hours.  In one study, no patient who was given the sodium selenite died, whereas 89% of those who didn’t receive it did.
    Researchers have found the following routine to be the most effective.  Upon diagnosis of acute pancreatitis patients are given 200 mcg of sodium selenite mixed with food.  Then, in 24 hours they were given another 800 mcg and from the second day on they were given a dose of 500 mcg daily.
    Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that is often deficient in the diet.
    Reference:
        If any of the products mentioned are not available locally, contact the Institute for a resource.
        Z Gesamte Inn Med, 1991; 46: 145-149           
        Med Klin, 1995; 90: 36-41