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I was doing business with someone recently and, as happens frequently, the conversation turned to the state of his health.  He had been put on Armour thyroid by a well-meaning physician, felt great for awhile, then stopped feeling well.  He went back to feeling tired, having some weight gain, lowered libido and feeling vaguely depressed, or at least mentally exhausted. I explained to him that the thyroid, adrenal glands, sex hormones and neurotransmitters are intimately connected, they send second-to-second messages to one another, and affecting one will have effects on the others unless they too are supported and adjusted.   Over and over, patients tell me that they were put on thyroid medicine, on anti-depressants, on hormones or whatever.  They feel better
If there’s one constancy in my approach to the body, it’s that all the body’s systems are connected, and depend on one another for proper function.   In effect, folks, there is no “thyroid” “adrenal” “brain” or “digestive tract”, except as different parts of a coordinated system. If there’s another constancy, it’s how the conventional approach to health ignores this fact.  So here’s another example.  One more study, this one surveying 93,000 women, again showed a relationship between using anti-depressants (specifically SSRIs like Prozac and Paxil) and brittle bones.  The population on these anti-depressants had a 20% increase in spinal fractures, and a 30% increase in total fractures, over those who didn’t take the meds.  This followed other studies with similar findings,
One of the difficulties I have with Parkinson's disease is how visible it is.  There's no getting around the fact that, when people meet me, they noticed my shaking immediately.  It helps to form their first impression of me, I believe.  I've been thinking about this as I watch the presidential race.  We live in a culture where how you look is a very important factor in people's judgment of you.  So, John McCain can't appear too old, Hillary Clinton can't appear too feminine, and Barak 0bama can't appear too white or too black.  Presidential politics weren't always like that.  Abe Lincoln was tall gawky and funny looking, William Howard Taft was obese, and John Adams had bad teeth and was
I’ve just read a very interesting article in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande, entitled The Itch.  The article itself is worth reading.  Itching is a really bizarre sensation that we all get. Think of it, A touch has to be very deep and hard to cause discomfort.  But a tiny sensation like a bug’s leg or hair brushing against us can set off a really uncomfortable feeling, so uncomfortable that we claw at ourselves to experience relief.  Even more odd, we just have to THINK about a bug walking on the back of our neck, or a hair brushing against us to start itching (OK, how many of you  have the urge to scratch right now?  You’re not alone,
It should come to no one's surprise that I'm not a John McCain supporter. But I have to admit I get a little itchy win the issue of his age is brought up. Now, in the interest of full list disclosure, I must say that yesterday I took another step dangerously close to 60 years of age, so aging is certainly on my mind.What actually brought this up though is that I just saw Leonard Cohen put on a 3 1/2 hour concert, and then jog off the stage after his third encore. All this at the ripe age of 74. For those of you who don't know, Leonard Cohen is best known now for writing the song "Hallelujah", which
As the saying goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you."  Sometimes, practicing out of the conventional medicine mainstream, you can feel like someone's out to get you, or at least that you're Alice in Wonderland.  Nowhere is this more obvious than when treating chronic Lyme disease in one of my patients.Chronic Lyme disease is a diagnosis that doesn't even exist for much of medicine.  The fact that there's plenty of information on the chronic nature of Lyme, that lots of patients have symptoms that are attributable to Lyme and get better with antibiotics, and that the tests are positive in many of these patients doesn't seem to convince a lot of doctors who are
Two related events marked this week's trip to visit my parents in Boca Raton.  My father proudly showed me his plummeting cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (termed "Lousy" cholesterol by his doctor to distinguish it from HDL "Happy" cholesterol).  And, my mother showed me the stock market drop that Schering Plough had taken that morning.  The two events were linked by Vytorin, the Schering Plough drug to lower cholesterol. Vytorin is a combination of a statin drug (Zocor) and another drug (Zetia, actually made by Merck) that blocks absorption of cholesterol.  The ENHANCE study to study effectiveness of Vytorin was complete two years ago but the drug company dragged its feet in publishing for so long that a Congressional committee sent

Vitamin D for Diverse

As I've written about before, vitamin D  is the current sexy vitamin.  In fact, it's probably not a vitamin at all but a hormone that controls much of our metabolic and immune function.  New information on the wondrous web of vitamin D activities comes out all the time.What fascinated me about this article in the journal Metabolism is the implication that there is yet another area where vitamin D has a role: insulin and blood sugar metabolism.  No need to plow through the science here, unless that interests you.  The key for me is that obese children and adolescents with low vitamin D levels were at increased risk of developing insulin and blood
Every couple of years my patients go to the pharmacy to refill their prescriptions, only to have the same rumor gets whispered to them: Armour thyroid is going off the market.  It's happening again.In the past four months, it has been increasingly difficult for patients to get 120 mg (2 grain) and 15 mg (1/4 grain) of Armour thyroid.   Some of my patients have been told that these strengths are going off the market permanently, and one or two of my patients have been told that all strengths of Armour thyroid will disappear soon.  None of these statements are, in fact, true. So why does this rumor resurface?   I agree with Mary Shomon that the answer lies in a

The Sweetest Season

 In the late 1970s I was Medical Director of the Marco Polo Rest Home in East Boston.  Anxious to improve the health (as I saw it) of the residents, I contracted with Quebrada Bakery (which coincidentally now lies down the street from my office).  Twice a week, they would deliver whole grain bread to the mostly elderly residents, who had previously dined on mass-produced white bread.  I was very proud of myself and I thought that I had done a good thing increasing the nutritional value of my patients' diet.Boy was I naïve.  A mile or two from the site of the Boston Tea Party, a new revolution ensued.  The rest home staff, convinced that I was torturing the

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