Archive for July 2011

Natural Remedies that Aren’t?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Orange Juice versus the FruitBelow you’ll find news from around the web about natural remedies and not so natural stuff (that we think is good). I found these articles very interesting and thought they would offer some great information to my readers.

This article confirmed for me that store purchased OJ just isn’t what it should be when it comes to nutrition. Fresh squeezed is the best juice, but better still? Eat the orange! …

The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice (from Food Renegade)

Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, I’m sure you’re careful to buy the kind that’s 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, that’s the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind that’s sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

If I’m describing you, then you’re either going to hate me or love me by the time you’re done reading this post. The truth is, that orange juice you feel so good about buying is probably none of those things.

This may not come across as a natural remedy, but a lot of people think of it as a “good” thing. I’m actually “guilty” of using Hydrogen Peroxide on wounds and scratches, so the following article was an eye-opener for me…

Mild Soap and Water Is Better for Your Wounds than Peroxide or Alcohol (from LifeHacker)

Most people aren’t afraid to use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect a wound when they get a cut. According to WebMD however, using peroxide on a wound can actually harm the tissue around it and delay the healing process. This is just one first aid fallacy they’re out to debunk.

Again, the article below also confirmed for me that you shouldn’t short-change nature. I realize that a lot of people have a hard time getting enough fiber in their diets, but switching to whole grain breads, and eating more fibrous vegetables and beans are a much better step than fiber supplements…

Are Fiber Supplements as Good as the Real Thing? (from My Health News Daily)

Commercials make it look oh-so-easy to add fiber to our unhealthy diets: Just sprinkle a bit of powdered fiber supplement into your soup, sauce, dip or yogurt and voila — become as healthy as someone who regularly eats whole grains.

The truth, of course, is more complicated, nutritionists say. While fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber, Fiber Choice and Citrucel can give a healthy boost to diets a little low in this indigestible, plant-based nutrient — especially helpful for people with sluggish digestion — they’re no substitute for the real thing.

For more information on, I hope you’ll visit my site on holistic nutrition, Eat Well to Be Well >>

“All medicine is local”

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I just stumbled on an excerpt of a commencement speech that Atul Gawande gave at the Stanford Medical School this year. I found it very interesting and thought I’d share if with you here. I’ve bolded below what I thought were the most interesting parts.

“All medicine is local”
Atul Gawande
Stanford Medical School

HALF A CENTURY ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has combatted our ignorance. It has enumerated and identified, according to the international disease-classification system, more than 13,600 diagnoses—13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we’ve discovered beneficial remedies—remedies that can reduce suffering, extend lives, and sometimes stop a disease altogether. But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we’re struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver.

It should be no wonder that you have not mastered the understanding of them all. No one ever will. That’s why we as doctors and scientists have become ever more finely specialized. If I can’t handle 13,600 diagnoses, well, maybe there are fifty that I can handle—or just one that I might focus on in my research. The result, however, is that we find ourselves to be specialists, worried almost exclusively about our particular niche, and not the larger question of whether we as a group are making the whole system of care better for people. I think we were fooled by penicillin. When penicillin was discovered, in 1929, it suggested that treatment of disease could be simple—an injection that could miraculously cure a breathtaking range of infectious diseases. Maybe there’d be an injection for cancer and another one for heart disease. It made us believe that discovery was the only hard part. Execution would be easy. But this could not be further from the truth. Diagnosis and treatment of most conditions require complex steps and considerations, and often multiple people and technologies. The result is that more than forty per cent of patients with common conditions like coronary artery disease, stroke, or asthma receive incomplete or inappropriate care in our communities. And the country is also struggling mightily with the costs. By the end of the decade, at the present rate of cost growth, the price of a family insurance plan will rise to $27,000. Health care will go from ten per cent to seventeen per cent of labor costs for business, and workers’ wages will have to fall. State budgets will have to double to maintain current health programs.

And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it’s the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you’ve made almost no difference. Our deficit problem—far and away—is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care.

We in medicine have watched all this mainly with bafflement, even indifference. This is just what good medicine is like, we’re tempted to say. But we’d be ignoring the evidence. For health care is not practiced the same way across the country. There is remarkable variability in the cost and quality of care. Two communities in the same state with the same levels of poverty and health can differ by more than fifty per cent in their Medicare costs. There is a bell curve for cost and quality, and it is frustrating—but also hopeful. For those getting the best results—the hospitals and doctors measured at the top of the curve for patient outcomes—are not the most expensive. They are sometimes among the least.

Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems—of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together.

What are your thoughts?

Personally, I’ve been disappointed in nearly every bit of health care I’ve received throughout my life. That’s why I’ve turned to holistic practices — herbs, vitamins and other supplements, diet and nutrition. What about you?