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Special Updates e-Reports from the American Holistic Health Association with items of interest to those actively enhancing their health and well-being are periodically sent out to e-mail addresses provided by the individual or organization. AHHA President, Suzan Walter, is the Editor. You can have these Special Updates sent to you personally by signing up online.

Special Updates Archives for 2009
December 14, 2009

Could a fruit help your pot belly?
How many people do you know who have excess fat showing as love handles or a pot belly? Abdominal fat can result from a condition called metabolic syndrome. A research study found that consumption of an Asian fruit, the lychee, leads to significant decrease in waist circumference and improvement in insulin resistance. For details you and your physician can read "Lychee for Metabolic Syndrome", compiled by the Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the November, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Health Bill Terms Undefined
The major issue this month is (obviously) the evolving healthcare legislation. Unfortunately, the daily changes to the Senate’s bill are so confusing that it’s not possible for the average person to keep track. Plus, Senate leaders aren't releasing details of the revisions as they are firmed up.

You might want to keep in mind that the Senate bill that is ultimately passed will be very different than the House bill. This will trigger sending both Senate and House bills to a conference committee, which means that the final healthcare terms that will impact all of us will be decided by a small group of legislators.

There is no way we can set up a PRO and CON this month. So we just urge you to pay attention to what you can learn about what is going on. Here are some recent news stories…

House, Senate health care bills grow further apart
CNN Politics

Senate Healthcare Bill a Mixed Bag for Consumers
by Kent Garber, U.S. News & World Report

Our gift to you
AHHA sends you these monthly eReports throughout the year as our special gift to you. This month our warmest wishes come to you as we select several articles from our Self-Help Articles collection to inspire you to remember the magic of keeping balance and perspective in your daily life in whatever way works best for you. Happy Holidays!

A Simplified Explanation of Holistic Health by Greg Anderson
The Ten Tenets of Wellness by Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC
Spirituality and Healing by Nicki Riddell Tiffany

November 17, 2009

Love as effective as medicine?
Researchers have found evidence that the physical and mental decline of Alzheimer's patients was slower for patients who have a close relationship with their caregivers. This is like the beneficial effects of common pharmaceutical drugs for this condition. It's an awesome concept. If you are interested in learning more of these findings, read "Caregiver Closeness and Alzheimer's" compiled by the Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the August, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Cell phone quandary
Two safety debates continue to swirl around cell phones--driver safety and health risks. You have total control of the driver safety factor. Don't be distracted while driving by talking or texting on your cell phone.

The scientific evidence supporting the safety versus health dangers of using a cell phone is another matter entirely. While there is a growing list of researchers who believe that cell phone use has serious health risks, others discredit this research. Which group will influence your actions? Below are some sources to get you started in checking out this issue.

Are cell phones safe? Researchers still uncertain
cnet news

Are cell phones safe? A summary of the debate on whether or not cell phones are safe to use

Report Stirs Debate on Cell Phone Safety

Cellphones Cause Brain Tumors
EM Radiation Research Trust

Join the conversation! Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA’s interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

Gift of knowledge
Are you compiling a list of gifts for your loved ones for the upcoming holiday season? Consider the gift of a book. Knowledge is power, particularly when it includes personal health tips. AHHA's website has two resources that list some inspiring publications. Check out the Health-related Books, CDs, DVDs... list and the Books/Other Media section of the AHHA Organizational Member list.

October 18, 2009

Reduce your risk of falling
If you have a senior citizen among your loved ones (or are one yourself), then you are aware of the danger of injury from a simple slip and fall. Check out the research indicating that generous levels of vitamin D can reduce the risk of falling among older individuals by 19%. This level of vitamin D can impact how other supplements work, so be sure to check this out carefully with your physician. For details, read this article, "Vitamin D for Fall Prevention", compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the October, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Swine flu shot?
Are you and your family going to get a swine (H1N1) flu shot OR are you going to rely on lots of hand washing and being careful not to sneeze or cough on anyone? The nation seems to be dramatically divided on this issue. What is more dangerous, the risk of getting the swine flu or the risk of dangerous side effects from the vaccine? Here are some sites that feature a diversity of opinions. Start preparing yourself to make an informed decision.

CDC's Advice to Parents: Swine Flu Shots for All
Delece Smith-Barrow, Washington Post Staff Writer

Intense tracking for swine flu shot's side effects
Yahoo News/ Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press Medical Writer

Vaccine revolt! Swine flu vaccine support crumbles as flimsy rationale for H1N1 shots becomes apparent
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America
Jo MacFarlane, Mail Online (UK news source)

Join the conversation! Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

What did I miss?
If you are a new subscriber to our monthly AHHA Special Updates eReports, you may be wondering what you missed. We have an AHHA Special Updates eReport Archives. Check out the interesting research and reminders of matters about which to be vigilant.

September 19, 2009

Help for metabolic syndrome?
In recent years medical researchers have been studying a common vine, the kudzu, to see if it will treat a wide variety of conditions. The most recent study is for metabolic syndrome. Those with this syndrome tend to have several of the following conditions: high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol. If you fall into this category, you and your physician might want to check out the article, "Kudzu for Metabolic Syndrome" compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the September, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Who is the government protecting?
Spurred on by recalls of contaminated foods, Congress has been working on legislation to reform the FDA's food safety systems. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is reported to… * Improve our capacity to prevent food safety problems
* Improve our capacity to detect and respond to food-borne illness outbreaks
* Enhance U.S. food defense capabilities
* Increase FDA resources

It sounds like this bill is designed to protect the consumer. However, some groups are concerned with the vagueness of many of the controls, the favoritism it shows to large farm companies, the lack of protection for organic farms, the massive power given to the FDA, and references to "harmonization" with international regulations that would be contrary to our heath freedoms … to name a few issues.

The House version passed. In September the focus switched to the Senate version S. 510. Here are some resources you can check out as you determine how you feel about this matter.

S. 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
Currently in Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S. 510 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (Introduced in Senate)
Marler Blog

Tell Congress: One Size Does Not Fit All When Considering Food Safety Bills
Western Organization of Resource Councils

Alert! Food Safety Bill Bad for Supplements (Ties U.S. to Codex) and Gives FDA Control Over Farming
American Association for Health Freedom

Join the conversation! Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

Variety under one roof
Are you one of the increasing numbers of people who appreciate the value of integrating multiple healing options? Wouldn't it be convenient to have these under one roof? Our Healing Centers in North America list introduces you to AHHA Institutional Members who are centers or clinics that have gathered several healing approaches within one facility.

August 18, 2009

Can we prevent the common cold?
Finding new ways of boosting our immune system and staying healthy is especially popular these days. Pediatricians are considering probiotics. For details, see "Probiotics May Prevent Colds" compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the August, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Do you really know what your Member of Congress is thinking about health care reform?
The media is filled with so much contradictory information, we feel that we can best serve you by offering a couple of websites that show comparisons of the various health care reform bills. Please go to the source and find out what is really in these bills. Decide what you agree with and what you are against. Communicate your educated opinion with your Member of Congress. Share your views on health care legislation with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Post your comments on our Issues Forum.

"Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals"
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Regularly updated to reflect changes in the proposals and to incorporate major new proposals as they are announced

"Health Care Reform Resources"
American Association for Health Freedom
Regularly updated site with latest commentary on health care reform

Join the conversation! Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum. Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

Keep your family healthy!
Have you discovered the special "portal" boxes at the top of the AHHA website home page? If you're not actually sick, but you also know there's lots of room to be healthier, you will want to click on the "Healthy" box and take a brief, intimate journey to connect with special AHHA resources featured there. Or you can go directly to

July 13, 2009

Quick back pain relief?
If you're experiencing intense back pain, you want relief NOW. A study using the herb comfrey topically noted that pain was relieved in less than an hour. If this interests you, have your physician check out the reported benefits and potential side effects. For details, see " Comfrey may Improve Back Pain" compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the July, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Do the words "some concern" mean that something is really safe?
Are plastics dangerous or not? First the government said there is no problem. Now they're saying there is "some concern." Some independent sources are claiming that the safety studies were paid for by the chemical makers. Is that reassuring, or is it a conflict of interest?

The chemical in question is Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Translation—it's the chemical used in manufacturing baby bottles, food cans, and dental sealants and composites. Here are some articles that give varying perspectives on this safety issue.

Bisphenol A
Wikipedia definition

Issue: Little need to worry about Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A Safety Conformed In Final National Toxicology Program Report (September 2008)

Since You Asked - Bisphenol A (October 2008)
National Institutes of Health

Bisphenol A (BPA) Found In Many Plastics May Cause Heart Disease In Women, Research Shows (June 2009)
Science Daily

Why Is FDA Protecting the BPA Lobby? (May 2009)
American Association for Health Freedom

Join the conversation. Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

Looking for innovative wellness-enhancing products?
There are many exciting products available to support your journey to a higher level of wellness. The PRODUCTS section of the AHHA Organizational Member list is a wonderful resource for discovering new options.

June 15, 2009

Did you know about this natural option for a cancer treatment program?
Researchers have determined that a compound found in green tea decreased the white blood cell count for many patients with a slow growing type of leukemia common among adults over 50 years of age. For details, see "Green Tea for Leukemia" compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the June, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

Will the FDA admit the dangers of mercury amalgam?
This summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) is scheduled (by court order) to classify mercury amalgam, the substance used for dental fillings. It will be interesting what the FDA says.

Those evaluating the safety of mercury amalgam have very divergent viewpoints. They range from the position that mercury amalgams are toxic and lead to an array of health problems to the position that mercury amalgams are safe and any associated side effects are incidental.

When the FDA classification comes out, look to see of any of the following points are included:
* Mercury amalgam as a substance poses a health risk to pregnant women and unborn babies, and children.
* Mercury vapor is released during chewing on an amalgam filling and also when the silver fillings are placed and removed from the teeth.
* When a mercury amalgam is removed from the mouth, it is considered hazardous waste. Strict governmental regulations are applied to its storage, handling and disposal.

Are mercury amalgam fillings safe?

Dental Amalgams (updated May, 2009)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

ADA Statement on Dental Amalgam (updated July, 2008)
American Dental Association

Are Mercury Fillings Safe? (April, 2009)

U.S. FDA Warns Women and Children about Mercury Dental Fillings, Settles Lawsuit (June, 2008)
Mercury Policy Project

Join the conversation. Post your opinion on this issue. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and links to other online sites that support your position.

Quick AHHA support for those who are sick!
Do you know someone who is dealing with an acute, painful, or life threatening illness or a chronic condition that affects their quality of life? Encourage them to visit the special Sick? portal off the home page. Rather than having to search the vast resources of our website, the Sick? portal offers the searcher a brief, personal journey to connect with the key resources appropriate for these patients.

May 14, 2009

Protein lovers, beware what you eat. Recently published research supports the importance of the form of your protein choices. Those in the study who consumed lots of red meat experienced a significant increase in the development of cancer and heart disease. For details read the article Red and Processed Meats May Be Unhealthy" compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration ( and presented in the April, 2009, issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

When I came across an interesting article, " Ten ways to reduce health care costs," it stuck in my mind because it suggests that the individual should be involved and responsible for his/her actions and lifestyle choices. This is very different from what is being discussed regarding changes in national policies to bring down the skyrocketing costs of healthcare in the U.S., such as simplifying billing procedures; slowing down the rate of increase for what is paid to physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies; paying for vaccinations as preventive care; and insurance coverage for medical treatment for everyone. Are these changes going to improve anyone's health and well-being?

Issue: The solution to health care reform is to rely on the doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies, all of which need us to be sick to stay in business.

Health Care
The Whitehouse

How they'll save $2 trillion on health care

COST: The News About Medicare
New America Foundation - The New Health Dialogue Blog

Just How Bad Is U.S. at Controlling Health-Care Costs?
The New York Times

Join the conversation. Post what YOU think needs to happen. Participate in AHHA's interactive Issues Forum at Add your opinions and other online sites that support your position.

AHHA is now on Facebook! We have joined the online social networking scene, which gives the general public a wonderful opportunity to learn about AHHA. You are invited join us, too. Our direct access is at If you are brand new to Facebook, you will first need to go to for the free signup.

April 5, 2009

For parents and grandparents searching for non-drug options for hyperactive children, some promising new options have emerged for your consideration. Check out the article, "2 secrets to calmer, smarter kids," by Kerry Bone and discuss with your physician. This article appeared in the April 2009, issue of Dr. Jonathan V. Wright's Nutrition & Healing newsletter.

If you purchase organic produce for your family, you may want to pay attention to legislation currently pending in the U.S. Congress. For example, let's look at the bill H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, which is labeled "To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes." There are major concerns being expressed all over the Internet about some power shifts this bill would create. First, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be divided into two sections, the first for food safety, the second for drug and medical devices. The "one-size-fits-all" regulation approach heavily favors large agribusinesses at the expense of small farmers. Some who have studied this bill believe that organic farmers would be regulated out of maintaining the purity of their operations.

Another bill that some see as an even stronger threat is H.R. 759: Food And Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009, labeled "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve the safety of food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics in the global market, and for other purposes." This bill has several provisions that many believe could cause problems for small farms and food processors.

While the accuracy of some Internet articles can be challenged, calm voices in the discussion are urging that the proposed legislation be revised to state in more reasonable terms so that "food safety legislation ... addresses the inherent dangers of our industrialized food system without burdening certified organic and farm-to-consumer operations." Below are some resources to review to get up to speed on matters that may determine what will be available in your local grocery stores in the future.

Status of H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009

Status of H.R. 759: Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009

What Might the So-called "Monsanto Bill" Really Do?
Alliance for Natural Health

H.R. 875
The Slow Food USA Blog

Background on H.R. 875
Food & Water Watch

Monsant's dream bill, HR 875

HR 875 The food police, criminalizing organic farming and the backyard gardener, and violation of the 10th amendment
Campaign for Liberty

Who is on your personal healthcare team? Whether your team is one individual or a diverse group of practitioners, the ideal team is one in which you and your physicians and other professionals function as partners and everyone espouses a holistic (whole person) approach to creating optimal wellness. If this isn't happening in your case, consider making some changes. A great place to start your search is the AHHA Practitioner Member list. As you select candidates to add to your healthcare team, consider the tips given in our Self-Help Articles collection under the category SELECTING AND DEALING EFFECTIVELY WITH A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL.

March 6, 2009

One of the most devastating diagnoses any individual-or family-can receive is Alzheimer’s disease. Until recently, there was absolutely nothing to offer in the way of treatment, even today, there is very little to consider. It is exciting, therefore, to hear about research that offers a promising option for investigation. Check out the article, "The potential, do-it-yourself treatment for Alzheimer's you can get at your local pharmacy," by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. and discuss with your physician. This article appeared in the March, 2009, issue of Dr. Jonathan V. Wright's Nutrition & Healing newsletter.

Do we need to be concerned about the latest no-calorie sweeteners?

Because the common, chemical-based, artificial sweeteners aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low), and sucralose (Splenda) have been linked to several health concerns, major food manufacturers have been seeking a "natural" no-calorie sweetener to use in their products.

The logical natural sweetener seems to be stevia, a plant native to South America. Although stevia-based natural sweeteners have been in widespread use in most countries with no negative side effects since 1887, in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified stevia as an "unsafe food additive" in 1991 and banned its use in food products in the U.S. It is reported that this was done at the request of the manufacturer of a competing artificial sweetener. Recently, however, the FDA has granted a few major food manufacturers approval to use the sweeteners Truvia™ and PureVia™, which are patented chemical derivatives made up of extracts from the leaves of the stevia plant combined with erythritol (a naturally fermented sugar alcohol), and other flavorings. It appears that to get a patent and the much-needed FDA approval, they had to alter the natural product. (Note: The FDA continues its ban on the use of pure stevia in food products.)

With the above information in mind, you can take a look at the marketing of these new sweeteners. Most give the impression that Truvia™ and PureVia™ are pure, all natural, stevia extract products.

Issue: Are the new no-calorie sweeteners pure and safe?

"Truvia sweetener review by Ktadmin

"U.S. Food and Drug Administration Issues No Objection Letter to GRAS Status of Rebaudioside A

"Stevia-based Sweeteners: FDA Approved After 10+ Years. So, Why Now? By Kelly Campbell Blog

"Truvia Sweetner? What is it?

You are invited to participate in an ongoing discussion about this issue at Add your opinions and other online sites that support your position.

Perhaps the most important resource ever created by AHHA is the Health Information Search Services list. This unique list includes organizations with experts who can research information and treatment options for any health condition. The patient can learn what both conventional medicine and alternative approaches have to offer. If you know of someone dealing with a life threatening or debilitating diagnosis, please let him or her know about this valuable support option.

February 6, 2009

Vitamin D is again in the news. This time a new study suggests that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. Senior citizens--and their loved ones--might want to pay attention to any lowering of mental alertness and review the amount of Vitamin D available through exposure to sunshine and inclusion of fish, eggs, and fortified milk in the diet. If a correlation may be present, consider sharing the article "Vitamin D and Cognitive Function" with your family physician. This article was compiled by Natural Standards Research Collaboration and presented in their February 2009 issue of Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

In October, 2005, we reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was implementing plans for a national system for electronic health records and that some organizations were documenting concerns that this would bring about the loss of personal control of our private medical records.

In late 2006, we alerted you to a court decision that indicated that you have no legal recourse if your medical records are shared without your consent.

In 2009, this matter appears to be evolving into a situation where in the U.S. there will be mandatory participation in a national program of electronically storing all medical records. The current economic stimulus bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is being debated in the U.S. Senate includes a provision that a mandatory electronic medical records system be fully implemented by 2014. (It also includes the establishment of a council that will decide what kind of medicine the government approves of, but this is a separate issue.) Under this program, individuals would not have the opportunity to opt out of participating. Privacy advocates are alerting the public that information about abortions, mental health problems, impotence, being labeled as a “non-compliant patient,” lawsuits against doctors, and sexual problems could be shared electronically with perhaps millions of people. The terms of the new electronics medical records system appear to reverse the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and other regulations currently protecting the privacy of your medical information and requiring your permission to be shared.

What the final compromise economic stimulus bill will contain when the House and Senate have negotiated compromises is not known as of this date. However, as the medical records provision is in both versions, it is expected to remain. What is developing is that lobbying is being done to decrease what privacy protection does exist in the bill.

Issue: The proposed mandatory national electronic medical records system has sufficient protection of my privacy rights.
To learn more, check out the following resources that have differing views of this issue.

"Dec 19 2008 Letter to Senate and House recommending removal of some privacy provisions"
Confidentiality Coalition

"Taking On Google: Organization Wants Privacy Protection In Stimulus"
On The Hill

"Economic Stimulus Bill Mandates Electronic Health Records for Every Citizen without Opt-out or Patient Consent Provisions"
Institute for Health Freedom

"Do You Want Your Medical Records Online? The Economic Stimulus Bill Puts Your Privacy at Risk"
American Association for Health Freedom

You are invited to participate in an ongoing discussion about this issue at AHHA Issues Forum. Add your opinions and other online sites that support your position.

Valentine's Day is the time of year when we take time to share our caring feelings with the special people in our lives. Check out AHHA's Get Well(ness) Messages for something unique to share.

January 9, 2009

With the huge number of people dealing with diabetes, the odds are that each of you knows people who are dealing with the challenges of this condition. You might wish to encourage them to review the research presented in the article "How You Can Benefit From the Three Things I Never Knew About Milk Thistle" by Kerry Bone and discuss the information with their physicians. This article appeared in the January, 2009, issue of Dr. Jonathan V. Wright's Nutrition & Healing newsletter.

Are you aware of the increasing problem of resistance to antibiotics? Many feel that bacteria that learn to resist antibiotics endanger human life. If you get a bacterial infection, whether or not your body will respond to the antibiotics prescribed by your physician may depend on both the quantity of antibiotics you have taken in the past AND on antibiotics in the meat and poultry you have eaten.

A coalition of consumer, environmental, scientific, and humane organizations successfully influenced the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) to institute an order banning the off-label use of drugs in food-producing animals. This was to have taken effect November 30, 2008. However, after a number of agricultural-related organizations criticized this ban, the FDA revoked their earlier order on November 25, 2008,

Is there a real danger from the overuse and abuse of antibiotics in human and animal use?

FDA Rules Override Warnings About Drug: Cattle Antibiotic Moves Forward Despite Fears of Human Risk
Washington Post

What is antibiotic resistance & why is it a problem?
Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics

FDA Action Urged As Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Caused by Animal Farms Threaten Americans
Keeping Antibiotics Working

FDA revokes planned extralabel cephalosporin use ban
American Veterinary Medical Association Journal

FDA Revokes Order Prohibiting Extralabel Use of Cephalosporin
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

You are invited to participate in an ongoing discussion about this issue at Add your opinions and other online sites that support your position.

AHHA Organizational Members offer products, services, and educational opportunities you can use to enhance your health and well-being. The category Education-Professional is popular with individuals researching a career in the health field. Share this resource with your friends who are looking at a wide range of educational options to pick their future career or who want to prepare for a career switch.

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