WYSONG HEALTH LETTER
Dr. R. L. Wysong
July 1995
*
DEAR FRIEND:
 
    Although the media may give us the impression that we are receiving all the late breaking impor­tant discoveries, such is not the case.
    What we hear in the popular press is selected to increase ratings and conform to convention.  The really important revolutionary research results that spring from careful study by competent, honest and inquisitive investigators by and large stays buried in the scientific literature.
    A new idea may eventually be re­ported, but there is a 10 to 15 year lapse before it reaches the collective professional audience, and perhaps even longer for the public to get it.
    The question arises: Why would your doctor not be up-to-date on late break­ing discoveries that could mean the difference between health and disease for you?  It's because he is up to his neck putting out fires in his office and trying to eek out enough time to have some semblance of a personal life.  The rigors of a medical practice simply do not permit perusing and digesting the current literature.  When you consider that tens of thousands of research projects and scientific reports are added to the literature each year, it becomes apparent why it would be an insurmountable task for a practitioner to truly stay abreast.  Instead he depends on colleagues, drug salespeople, and short courses.  But these sources are usually not current and are often narrowed, always conventional and even prejudicial.  To be unconventional would risk ostracism, censure, even loss of license.
    So the onus is on you.  I realized this long ago, and the Health Letter is really just the written record of my effort to find information unencumbered by conformity.   I am not saddled with an office full of patients and insurance forms to fill out.  I can dedicate the time to survey­ing the current literature to glean from it the important, late-minute, state-of-the-art breakthroughs that can put you ahead of current conventional medicine.
    This is not to say that I can survey every piece of research results that emerges.   I use a short cut.  The value of the philosophy of the Health Letter -that humans have departed dangerously from their proper environmental context -serves as an efficient sieve for me to focus on information that fits this immi­nently logical algorithm.
    Therefore, the Health Letter will not be of assistance to you if you are look­ing for the latest drug to use for your midday depression, or surgery to repair the closed blood vessel in your heart, or an insurance carrier to permit you better access to modern medical measures.  This is, however, the source for in­formation that helps put you in control of your own health destiny and assists you in restoring your proper nutritional, environmental, lifestyle, and social context.
    The Health Letter (and a few other publications such as those listed in the Wysong Book Store Catalog), in effect, fill the gigantic chasm between emerging truth and the always out-of-date standard of care and current consensus of opin­ion.
Health is a good place to heed the adage that truth lies at the opposite end of what the majority believe.
 
GIVE MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY CREDIT
    A woman lost her thumb in a boat propeller. Skin was grafted from the groin onto the area and then a toe was transplanted. This resulted in adequate sensibility and a return of 50% of the adduc­tion power of the thumb. She had adequate range of motion and full extension of the thumb. In spite of loss of the toe, she was able to walk without difficulty.
A true marvel of modern medical skill. But don't be misled. Such skill does not translate into either the abili­ty of modern medicine to prevent disease, or adequate­ly treat or cure the serious degenerative plagues of mod­ern society. Surgical skill is a mechanical skill and gives physicians no more knowledge of how to achieve or keep health than any other mechanic.
    Modern technological society is the place to be if you need surgical repair such as this. It is not the place to be if you want to prevent, maintain and build health.
    Reference:
        1. The New England Journal of Medicine, March 23, 1995:785         
 
SUMMER SUN UPON US
    Skin cancer is on the increase. Its increase is occurring at the same time that people are using more and more sunscreen products.
Go to the beach and watch the blind faith in sunscreens. People white as ghosts will slather up with sunscreen and lay in the sun for hours on end. Their prolonged ex­posure would never be possible without such chemical screens. Their skin would soon let them know they were getting too much and they'd seek shade. With the screening agents, people are given the impression that they can essen­tially stay in the sun as long as they want, as long as they keep putting on sunscreens with a high enough SPF.
    We simply do not know all there is to know about the sun and its effect on the body. We do know our skin has been designed to be exposed to natural sunlight and dis­ease does not result from doing so. If this were not true, we would not exist today. We are designed to be naked and outside.
    We also do not know the long-term effects of the various chemi­cals that are used in commercial products. The mere fact that we can prevent burning does not tell us what our artificial manipulation of the sun's rays on the skin with syn­thetic products ultimately does to the surface of the skin, to tissues underneath it, or even to the blood coursing through it.
    Slowly acclimate to the sun. Wear clothing and use the shade to limit your exposure until you have adapted to the new season. If sun­screen must be used, use natural products in moderation only as a temporary stop gap and not as an excuse for unlimited exposure. (See Resource A, below) Don't rely on SPF. It creates false security and encourages overexposure.
    In spite of all the scientific re­search that has been done to in­vestigate skin cancer there is no convincing evidence that more ex­posure to the sun, per se, increases the risk of melanoma. On the other hand, chemical substances we are exposed to may be prime candidates for sensitizing us and increasing the risk of developing skin cancer. For example, children who receive che­motherapy for childhood cancer have an increased risk of melanoma. There is also a correlation between water pollution and chlorination of swimming pools and risk of melano­ma. (People go on vacation to the beach, find a condo with a swim­ming pool and spend their days dip­ping in and out of chlorinated water and sun bathing. With all we know about the various toxic effects of chlorine it seems like we would have learned by now.)
    No, it is not old sol that is the cause of skin cancer. The cause is unusual behavior - such as sun bathing for hours sprawled in the sun slathered with so-called "sun-screens," or exposure to environ­mental chemicals such as water pollutants and chlorine.
    Reference:
        2. The Lancet, February 11, 1995: 397
        A. Wysong Sun Care Products. If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.
 
VIGOROUS EXERCISE FOR LONGEVITY
    In a study of 21,582 Harvard alumni, it was demonstrated that there was an inverse relationship between total physical activity and mortality. This means that exercise of a vigorous nature was associated with increased longevity.
    With almost 60% of the U.S. adult population engaging in little or no leisure time activity, it is lit­tle wonder our population is struck with degenerative disease as it is. Though nonvigorous exercise can benefit many aspects of health, if you want to reach the mother load of increased life span, you are go­ing to have to sweat and breathe hard.
    Find an exercise activity you enjoy and work up a sweat and breathe hard for 15 or 20 minutes three times a week at least.     Pref­erably, every day should be an ex­ercise day to some degree, but be sure to be vigorous at least three times a week.
    As I have mentioned before many times in the Health Letter, a program of aerobic exercise com­bined with weightbearing strength type training done not casually, but with effort, will yield the best dividends. Make it interesting and enjoyable by doing it with friends, joining a club, or engaging in a competitive sport which you can regularly play and train for on off times.
    Reference:
        3. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 19, 1995:1179
 
SALMON MAY NOT BE SALMON
    With increasing pollution of in­land water ways, choosing ocean fish seems a healthier alternative. Wild animals, including fish, are also more natural in the sense that they do not spring from farmed ar­eas which have been manipulated with artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Nor have these creatures been intensively raised in confinement such as commonly oc­curs in the food animal industry.
    All of these seem logical rea­sons to choose ocean fish.
    Among ocean fish, salmon are desirable since they are high in the omega-3 (fish oil) factor. But don't assume that when you go to the meat counter that "Atlantic" salmon are that at all. That may be the species of fish you see there, but it may be as far removed from the Atlantic ocean as a creature could possibly get.
    Most salmon, in fact many fish that retain their ocean names at the meat counter, are not from the ocean at all anymore. Rather, they are farmed in inland aquaculture ponds. Here they do not live out their natural life cycle in pristine oceans, but grow in a bathtub-like pond and are fed dog food.
    I am not saying that they are literally fed dog food from packag­es so labeled, but the food they re­ceive is essentially no different than what is being fed to dogs and cats out of commercial packages. The pellets fed to fish are milled and extruded nuggets of commodity grains and by-product meat meals "fortified" with synthetic vitamins identical to those used in the pet food industry.
    The object in choosing wild meats is to gain the benefit of the natural ratio of whole integrated nutrients that are assembled within the tissues of these creatures. Fish are what they eat. Domestically pond-farmed fish are nothing more than processed foods with synthetic fortifiers and preservatives.
    If that isn't enough, researchers in Canada have now altered the DNA of Pacific salmon to create fish that are on average more than 11 times bigger than their natural counterparts. One fish, in fact, af­ter a year of growth was over 37 times larger than standard pacific salmon! The stimulation of growth occurs as a result of taking growth promoter genes from fish and mice and injecting them into salmon eggs. Don't think aquaculture food producers are not salivating over this... but I’m not sure we should at the dinner table.
    Wheth­er or not to con­sume bath­tub fish that have been bloated by dog food and growth stimulant genes from mice is the best thing to eat is, for me, an obvious choice.
    When making your fish selec­tions, talk to personnel in the store and make them assure you that the fish you are selecting are indeed directly from the ocean.
    Reference:
        4. Scientific American, February 1995: 24
 
EDUCATED BUT SHALLOW
    As technology increases, so does the time and effort necessary to learn it. In medical school, it is all a student can do to learn the morass of detail required to pass test­ing. There is little time or call to think beyond how the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, or which enzyme comes first in the Krebs biochemical cycle.
    Recently, 50 residents in inter­nal medicine were being inter­viewed. They all aspired to leader-ship roles in academic medicine in the future. They were drawn from 17 residency programs from over 25 medical schools.
    To veer somewhat from the conventional interview questioning, an interviewer asked residents to express their thoughts on health system reform. The interviewers were shocked when they barely got responses. Few enunciated even a broad goal of reform such as uni­versal insurance coverage, and "none had any well-formed ideas about how to actually address these challenges or realize these goals or could even render a seasoned opin­ion about somebody else's well in­formed idea." Most of these tech­nically talented individuals didn't seem to even really care about the crisis the health care system faces.
    This is a long cry from the ad­monition of sage ancient physician Galen who said a physician must first of all be a philosopher.     Our world is being filled with highly skilled plumbers, carpenters, elec­tricians and seamstresses both in and outside of medicine. Technical skill does not require thought, nor a great deal of intelligence, but rather simply the ability to be trained in an art.
    Without broad perspective, without reflection, without a criti­cal view we become simply swept along by current standards with lit­tle hope for salutary revision.
    If the technocrats in our world do not become philosophically sage, then it is up to us, the con­sumers, to do so, so that we know when to say yes and when to say no to the latest technology someone wishes to apply to us.
    Reference:
        5. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 17, 1995:1533
 
HOMEOPATHY MORE THAN PLACEBO
    Homeopathy is a healing art that designs medicines to mimic the symptoms of the disease they are attempting to treat. In contrast, modern medicines are allopathic in that they attempt to reverse or elim­inate the symptoms of disease. Ho­meopathy is extremely safe and es­sentially without side effects, and is based on the principle of working with the body's response rather than against it.
    There has always been consid­erable debate as to the merits of ho­meopathy. It is considered implau­sible by the modern medical mind. Medical students are simply not trained to believe that a poison can actually become an aid at very low dose as occurs in homeopathy. Ad­ditionally, since there is a lack of understanding about how homeo­pathics work, the fact that they do work for patients is simply ignored.
    What is particularly intriguing about homeopathy is that some of the medications are diluted so much that none of the molecules of the original substance remain. This is explained by homeopathic practi­tioners by suggesting that water or alcohol, the diluant used, can en­code the biological information from the homeopathic, even when none of the original molecules are any longer present.
    In this regard, modern medical science, like modern nutritional sci­ence, both aggregate sciences built upon more fundamental sciences such as chemistry and physics, lag far behind the state of knowledge. Modern physicists, for example, understand the possibility of isoto­pic stereo diversity, clathrates, resi­ments, coherence, and electromag­netic changes that may impart prop­erties to the water or diluant in a homeopathic medication that can affect biological systems. For ex­ample, it has been found that ho­meopathic dilutions can have nu­clear magnetic resonance changes.
    But such noneuclidean, nonre­ductionistic and even counterintui­tive ways of thinking about things are so foreign to the traditionally educated mind that they are simply rejected.
    Recent studies, however, con­firm that homeopathic medications can produce more than a placebo effect. A meta-analysis of three clinical trials proved a clinical ef­fect. Medical scientists are now left with either the conclusion that homeopathics work, or that clinical trials, no matter how carefully they are conducted, produce false positive results.
    To concede the latter would re­move the entire scientific underpin­ning of modern medicine. To con­cede the former would mean non-conventional medicine works.
    Reference:
        6. The Lancet, December 10, 1994: 1601
 
JOINT REPLACEMENT DANGERS
    Joint replacement surgery is one of the most common forms of surgery. Over 120,000 knee re­placements alone were performed last year in the U.S. The cost was an estimated $3.5 billion five years ago. It is only growing.
    There is no question that this surgery has provided remarkable results. It can alleviate pain and give mobility. In spite of the successes, this, like any other surgery, should only be considered when there are absolutely no alternatives left.
    Here are some things doctors won't tell you and you may not want to hear when you are looking for a silver bullet solution.     Just in the last year, the number of failures of the surgery has climbed to 12%. What happens when there is fail­ure? You have to go back in for re­pair, replacement, or even fusion of the joints... or amputation. Second time surgeries are always more complex and more difficult for the surgeons since they must work through scar tissue, inflammation, bruises, clots, old sutures and pos­sible pockets of infection left be­hind from the first technique. Additionally, the anatomical land­marks that make a first-time sur­gery more precise and defined can be obscured in subsequent surger­ies, making the possibility of mis­takes such as severing critical nerves and vessels far more likely.
1 in 90 patients will die as a re­sult of the procedure. 1 in every 35 is readmitted on an emergency ba­sis within a month of the operation. A stroke caused by pulmonary em­bolism is the most common cause of death in patients undergoing the surgery.
    The various "bio-materials" used such as titanium, vanadium, aluminum, cobalt, stainless steel, chromium and plastics can break down due to wear in the joint, cre­ating fine particulates that can mi­grate throughout the body. These foreign particles can cause chronic inflammation, lymph node disease, destruction of the bone marrow, reabsorption of the bone and loosening of the implant. Some believe that neoplasia (cancer) is stimulated by these migrating foreign materials. Other problems include sciatic nerve palsy, retention of urine, granulomatosis as a result of a possible allergic reaction to the materi­als implanted and deep vein throm­bosis (plugging) in the legs.
    Infection can be the worst complication of all. Not only will infection destroy the potential good results of the procedure, but infec­tions in the bones and bone marrow may linger for years and even a lifetime - causing unrelenting pain and sickness, requiring constant medication that creates even more sickness by their side effects.
    These are certainly sufficient reasons to give anyone pause be­fore they jump to purchase this new technology. Many of the ma­terials being used for implants are by and large unproven and you thus become an experimental sub­ject. One author in a medical jour­nal stated "You can design a hip replacement in your garden shed today and be putting it into patients tomorrow."      In 1971 there was just 1 hip replacement design. Now there are 34, and hundreds of pros­thetics available for the knee.
    Be sure you exhaust all of the other reasonable methods available to you before you have yourself experimented on. If you are over­weight, try to lake some of the load off. Eat fresh, whole, natural foods. Stay away from manufac­tured foods such as hydrogenated oils, white refined sugar, white flour products and refined salt. Get plenty of fresh air and sun­shine every day. Drink pure water and try to find organic sources of food. Be careful of food sensitivi­ties and allergies and avoid those foods that cause them. Take a mul­tivitamin/mineral supplement at least at RDA levels (see Resource B, below) and an antioxidant supplement containing beta caro­tene, C and E (see Resource C, below). Begin a regular exer­cise program that combines both aerobic and weightbearing exer­cises. Do what you can. Begin slowly and gradually continue to challenge yourself and make such a program a permanent part of your life. Refer to past issues of the Health Letter using the index to find articles on arthritis and for various other nutritional and natural methods to relieve the pain of arthritis and reverse the disease.
    If people experiencing joint problems would do these things, simply taking control of their own health destiny and benefiting from all of the added bonuses of improv­ing their health, the number of joint replacements would dramatically decline.  
    Reference:
        7. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 14, 1994
        8. British Medical Journal, December 17,1992          
        9. Journal of the American Medical Association, June 8, 1994
        10. The Lancet, April 24,1993
        11. Journal of Arthritis, February 1994
        12. British Journal of Radiation, March 1993
        13. Cur Op Rheuma, March 1994
        14. Guardian, February 23, 1993
        15. What Doctors Don't Tell You, May 1995
        B. Wysong RD™, a broad-spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.
        C. Wysong Food A*C*E a concentrated food only source of vitamins A,C, & E. If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.
 
THE BHOPAL CATASTROPHE
    In December of 1984 water leaked into a methyl isocyanate tank at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, setting off a runaway reac­tion that vaporized between 30 and 40 tons of the gas. The cloud set­tled over 30 square miles exposing over 600,000 people. Residents woke up, tried to run away, but suc­cumbed in the streets. Many died in fields and forests and in towns far from Bhopal. The body count likely exceeded 7,000 people.
    At least 50,000 people are still suffering. One person is dying al­most every two days from the ef­fects of the gas. Lingering effects include increasing rate of asthma, 43% increase in miscarriages, 14% increase in death within a month af­ter birth of new babies, and birth abnormalities including limb abnor­malities, spina bifida and heart dis­ease.
    Four-fifths of the hundreds of thousands of the survivors of the disaster have received no compen­sation. People living in the worst affected areas were laborers who subsequently became unable to earn a living5 resulting in thousands suffering from posttraumatic stress and pathological grief from no longer being able to care for or pro­tect their loved ones. They are simply victims with nowhere to turn.
    In spite of the scale of the trag­edy, no medical protocol has ever been developed for treating the vic­tims. Ignorance of the gas remains because Union Carbide considered its research data proprietary. Those trying to treat the injured don’t have a clue what they are up against. Though later it was dis­covered that simply placing a wet cloth over the face would have stopped the gas from penetrating, since it reacts rapidly with water, such information was too late for the thousands who fell victim. This is a pathetic tragedy. When trans­lated to the scale of the misery ex­perienced by even one human it is enough to turn your stomach.
    Such tragedy is a wake-up call and a reminder to us all of how pre­carious our safety is. This tragedy is like a fast forward preview of what can happen on a larger envi­ronmental scale by degradation of life sustaining balances. Some day, if the air, water and food has been ruined we will all experience like tragedy.
    If you think your lawyer will be able to sue someone for appro­priate compensation, dream on. Reckless technology with concern only for profit will ultimately com­monize the costs of resulting ruin­ation of our health.
    Be ever suspicious. Do not trust that industry or government is protecting you. Do not assume that if things break down you will have adequate resources to recoup your damages.
    Be alert, stay informed, be cau­tious and use whatever means are available to you to thwart so-called "progress" that privatizes profit but commonizes cost.
    Reference:
        16. Scientific American, June 1995: 16
 
OLD IS YOUNG
    In a study of the oldest of the old, the unexpected was found. Examining the lifestyle of individuals well into their 90's and even 100 and beyond found that many were much healthier than those 20 years younger.
    Centenarians report that their 90's were essentially problem free. As Nona­genarians, many were employed, sexually active, enjoyed the outdoors, sports, exer­cise and arts. The conclusion: "The com­mon idea that advancing age inevitably leads to extreme deterioration does, in­deed, seem to require revision."
    Reference:
        17. Scientific American, January 1995: 70
 
SCIENTISTS TAKE SUPPLEMENTS
    Although there is much poo-pooing in the sci­entific literature regarding the taking of vitamin/mineral supplements, what scientists practice is another thing. At a recent con­ference the audience of about 2,000 scien­tists was asked if they took vitamin sup­plements; about 2,000 hands went up.
    Reference:
        18. Science News, April 22,1995:249
 
FRUIT AND ORAL CANCER
    Approximately 30,000 persons per year in the United States develop oral cancer. The most consistent dietary findings across multiple cultural settings are that there is a protective effect of diets high in fruit con­sumption and a negative effect from high alcohol intake.
    Reference:
        19. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 1995:4375
 
GARLIC IN THE EAR
    Crushed garlic cloves mixed with olive or coconut oil, used to treat infections including those caused by fungi in the ear, has been demonstrated to be highly effective.
    Reference:
        20. British Medical Journal, February 11, 1995
 
TEMPERATURE AND MORTALITY
    Every year snow birds intuitively move south during the winter months because the heat just plain makes them feel better. Now science has dis­covered that deaths in most countries are 10 to 25% higher in the winter than during the rest of the year. For example, in Britain winter brings an es­timated 40,000 excess deaths. Most of these deaths are a re­sult of heart attack and stroke.
    In Taiwan it has been shown that the risk of cerebral infarction (stroke) at 890F was 66% lower than that at 80-840F; the risk increased by 3% per 1.80F reduction from 80-840F. Additionally, the risk of coronary artery disease at 890F was 22% lower than at 79-840F; below 79-840F the risk increased by 2.8% per I .80F reduc­tion.
    Reference:
        21. Lancet, February 11, 1995:337 & 353
 
LOW MAGNESIUM CAUSES MIGRAINES
    If you experience chronic migraines, you might consider a blood test to measure magnesium levels. If low, consider taking a magnesium supplement. On the other hand, you might simply try a magnesium supplement in the form of magnesium tau­rate, for example, to see if it works and forget the test.
    Reference:
        22. Headache, 1994; 4: 100
 
COFFEE DANGERS
    Anything taken in excess or perpetually is potentially toxic.  Anything consumed daily, particularly if it is not a nutritional requirement but simply a form of recreation or habit, should be highly suspect.
    Caffeine aggravates blood sugar problems and thus mood, energy and sleep. Caffeine in coffee and soft drinks can cause the overproduction of insulin which can lead to weight control prob­lems, chronic low blood sugar and diabe­tes. In addition, the stimulant action of caffeine is a stress to the body which also increases blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing and can cause a loss of calcium from the body.
    Just because everyone is doing it and it is socially acceptable is no reason to as­sume it is safe.
        Reference:
        23. Health Revelations, June 1995: 8
 
CANNED ESTROGENS
    Canned foods can contain estrogen pollutants. These hormone mimicking compounds are emit­ted by the plastic coatings on the inside of canned fruits and vegetables. About 85% of the cans in the United States are coated by plastics that can emit a compound called bisphenol-A (BPA) that can exert estrogen-like effects in the body. Heat in-creases the release of this compound from the plastic lining and since canned foods are retorted under high heat, the ideal con­ditions for the release of this pollutant into the food are met.
    For a discussion of the considerable dangers of environmental estrogenic com­pounds in causing a variety of health prob­lems including cancer, see Vol.8 No.3.
    Reference:
        25. Science News, June 3, 1995: 341
 
DON'T LAY AROUND WITH BACK PAIN
    Physicians normally prescribe bed rest for acute low back pain usually caused by her­niated discs. Only a few controlled trials have even attempted to assess the effec­tiveness of this recommendation.
    In a controlled study of almost 200 patients with back pain it was found that those who continued ordinary activities within the limits permitted by the pain had more rapid recovery than those who used bed rest or back mobilizing exercises. (This does not suggest, however, that exer­cise is not an excellent preventive mea­sure, see Vol.3, No.1.)
    Reference:
        26. The New England Journal of Medicine, February 9, 1995: 351 
 
SMOKING? LOSE YOUR LOOKS
    Often the threat of lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and the like are not enough to dissuade people from smoking. Many who smoke do not realize that they will greatly accelerate the aging of their face with smoking. Chemical toxins and free radical generating chemicals within smoke cause the face to lose color, lose its vibrant look and feel, dry, then sag and permanently furrow and wrinkle. Additionally, smok­ing will increase the chance of tooth loss by live fold, cause yellowing of the teeth, deterioration of the gums and chronic mal­odorous breath.
    Though people may not be moved by the threat of terrible diseases which may strike them later in life, the notion of loss of looks and attractiveness can be a real incentive. Use whatever is necessary to stop this destructive habit.
    Reference:
        27. Townsend Letter, June 1995: 24
 
HONEY FOR HEALING
    In a study of 64 patients with burns treated with either con­ventional dressings or a honey impregnat­ed gauze, it was found that the honey treat­ed patients healed faster by almost a factor of 2, and had half the amount of residual scars  patients using conventional dressings.
    Reference:
        28. Burns,1994; 20:231-
 
BCG FOR BLADDER DISEASE
    Interstitial cystitis, a disease of the wall of the urinary bladder, is often very refractory to conventional treatment. In an attempt to cure the disease, patients are often over-medicated resulting in spin-off complica­tions and diseases from the medications themselves. An accidental finding by a researcher showed that Bacillus Calmette­Guerin (BCG) which is an attenuated (non-virulent) strain of bovine tuberculo­sis bacteria was effective in treating inter­stitial cystitis. This bacteria has also been attributed with the capability of increasing immune function in treating certain forms of cancer. The serendipitous finding was a result of treating a patient who was be­lieved to have cancer of the bladder but later found to have interstitial cystitis. Af­ter treatment with BCG the patient remained without symptoms for four years.
    Reference:
        29. Urology, 1994;43: 121-
 
MUSIC FOR DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY
    Depression is common among the elderly. Studies have demonstrated that by listening to music, particularly de­signed by a music therapist, scores in­crease in standardized tests of depression, distress, self-esteem and mood. The changes were not transient, but were maintained over a nine-month follow-up period. This is a much more practical means of dealing with this disability compared with the use of drugs which are particularly dan­gerous for the fragile elderly.
    Reference:
        30. Journal of Gerontology, 1994; 49: 265-
 
MAMMARY SILICONE IN THE LUNGS
    Several cases of acute pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue) have occurred fol­lowing the subcutaneous (under the skin) injection of silicone for breast augmentation. Symp­toms included fever, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), and breathing difficulty as a result of infiltration of lung tissue. Upon microscopic examination it was found that silicone parti­cles were within the lung tissue and inciting an inflammatory re­action.
    There was a time not too long ago when silicone was be­lieved to be truly inert in living tissue. Time always creates interesting revelations and should warn us all about any definitive statements about safety of any human in­tervention.
    For some people, cosmetic tech­niques may be necessary for them to live a happy life. If such techniques are elected, do a thorough examination of all of the alternative methods, check the competen­cy of the surgeon as best you can and be as conservative as possible. The tragedy of a failed procedure and loss of health must be weighed against the potential cosmetic benefits. (For further information see Re­source D, below).
    Reference:   
        D. Crashing into The WaII of Vanity, Cosmetic Surgery: Is Ii For You?, by Katherine Michaels, R.N. This book provides extensive information about cosmetic surgery including valuable ways to checkup on physicians and procedures. 155 pp., paperback, $6.95 + $3.50 shipping. Available from the Wysong Book Store Catalog, 1.880 N. Eastman, Midland, MI 48642.
        31. Chest, 1994; 106:1152-
 
MAGNESIUM FOR PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME
    Premenstrual syndrome can be characterized by a variety of symptoms in­cluding anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sugar craving, increased appetite, hypoglycemic symptoms after sugar ingestion, depression, forgetfulness, and fluid retention. Even a marginal deficiency of the mineral magne­sium could trigger any or all of these symp­toms.
    One study of 192 women demonstrated that magnesium supplementation relieved breast pain in 96% of the patients, weight gain in 95%, nervous tension in 89% and headache in 43%.
    A reasonable level of supplementation is 400 mg daily combined with 50 mg of vi­tamin B6 as a part of a B complex supple­ment which increases the ability of the body to utilize magnesium.
    Reference:
        32. Townsend Letter, June 1995: 26
 
FLUORINE INCREASES FRACTURES
    It was originally thought that by adding fluorine to drinking water supplies that not only would tooth cavities be reduced, but so would bone fractures. A study of 3,777 subjects aged 65 years and older has shown this not to be true. Even for moderate concentrations of fluorine in the drinking water, there was an increased risk of hip fracture.
    While scientists debate the results of experimenting on you by adding various chemicals to your drinking water, why not drop out of the experiment? If you are on city water, obtain devices that remove fluorine and other additives. This can be done even right at the shower head. For drinking water it is probably wiser to get a home purification system and make your own. (See Resource E, below.)
    Reference:
        34. Journal of the American Medical Association, March 8,1995:775-
        E. Water purification systems. If not available locally, contact Wysong Institute for a supplier source.
 
SIDS, SLEEP POSITION AND SMOKING
    There is compelling evidence both for and against the notion that children may in­crease their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if they sleep prone. When in doubt do the obvious. Placing a child on its stomach on a soft mattress with blankets and clothing surrounding them which could pocket against their face could conceivably cause breathing or ap­nea problems. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that some chemicals that can gas out of various kinds of mattresses and plastic covers may also be harmful and lead to the condition. Placing the child on its stomach where it rebreathes these va­pors in a concentrated form may indeed increase risk.
    Another study has demonstrated that mothers can increase SIDS risk for their children by smoking while they are breast feeding. Toxins from the smoke go right through to the infant. Additionally, chil­dren exposed to passive smoke are also at increased risk.
    Reference:
        35. Ibid: 783
 
COAL TAR SHAMPOOS AND CANCER
    Coal tar is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds and includes polycyclic ar­omatic hydrocarbons (PAR). PAR are known human carcinogens.
    Although most people think that products applied to the skin or hair are re­stricted to the outside and wash off in the next shower, such is not the case. The skin is an absorbing organ. What is put on the skin should in effect be a safe and healthy edible product, since it may be ab­sorbed into the body just as food is ab­sorbed into the body.
    Studies of the use of coal tar sham­poos have demonstrated that PAR are ab­sorbed into the body creating a high inter­nal dose that is potentially carcinogenic. Coal tar products should be used only briefly or intermittently if necessary.
    Reference:
        36. The Lancet, November 26, 1994:1505