American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)
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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 2012

December 7, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Itch relief
If your child is suffering with the scaly and itchy rashes know as eczema (atopic dermatitis), you will want to check out new research that documents probiotics as a potential solution to this problem. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that primarily help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in digestion. Yogurt is a food rich in these friendly germs. Details of this research are presented in "Probiotics May Improve Eczema in Children" in the November, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
GMOs on Fiscal Cliff
As the country watches negotiations to deal with the pending national "fiscal cliff" coming at the end of December, few seem to be aware of unrelated riders that are positioned to be added to the final legislation that will be passed. The most controversial riders, which are related to genetically engineered crops, appear to be favorable to Monsanto and unfavorable to consumers and organic farmers.

Issue: Is it acceptable to you that Congress adds unrelated, far reaching GMO protection riders onto the legislation that must pass to avoid the "fiscal cliff"?

PRO
Spending bill could see vote next week (11/30/12)
by Erik Wasson
[about Omnibus Appropriations package]
The Hill

House of Representatives Bill 5973 in 112th Congress 2nd Session
[Agriculture Appropriations Bill - see section 733 on pages 86-87]

Stalled Farm Bill Is Pushed for Its Savings (12/5/12)
by Ron Nixon
[about deficit-reduction agreement]
The New York Times

CON
Tell Congress to Dump Monsanto's riders! (12/4/12)
Organic Consumers Association

GMO Riders Could Be Back in "Fiscal Cliff" Funding Package (12/4/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Will Congress Let Monsanto Write Its Own Rules? (12/6/12)
by Andrew Kimbrell and Colin O'Neil
Huff Post Politics

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Gift of knowledge
Are you looking for a special holiday gift to motivate a loved one to get more involved in enhancing his/her quality of wellness? AHHA members have written a number of books (and created CDs and DVDs) filled with personal health tips. You can check these out at Health-related Books, CDs, DVDs... and the Books/ Other Media section of the AHHA Organizational Member list.


November 9, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Reduce stroke risk
A recent study of men ages 46 to 65 showed that those with high lycopene blood concentrations had over fifty percent reduced risk of stroke. Dietary sources for lycopene are tomatoes and tomato-based products. Details of this research are presented in "Eating More Tomatoes May Reduce Stroke Risk" in the October, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Chelation wins?
One of the most controversial medical treatments is chelation therapy. This therapy is defined as the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. These chelating agents are organic compounds that bind with any minerals in the blood. For cardiac patients this process can be used to remove calcium before it deposits on artery walls.

To resolve the question as to whether chelation therapy is a viable alternative to heart surgery or a dangerous and ineffective treatment, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did a ten-year double-blind study. The study results were revealed, with all of the drama and secrecy of the Academy Awards, at the American Heart Association conference on November 4. The study group that received the chelation therapy did indeed show better results than those who got the placebo. What is fascinating, but not surprising, is that the two opposing camps about the viability of this therapy are interpreting the study results very differently. Few physicians are changing their positions on the safety and effectiveness of this therapy.

As the study was aimed at patients who had had a heart attack, its results might be of particular interest for individuals who are considering heart surgery, getting a stint, or using chelation therapy to improve their chances of preventing another heart attack. For those who are reviewing all of the news articles about the study results, the following might assist you as you wade through all of the conflicting information.

  • Chelation therapy must be administered very slowly. If it is done too quickly, there can be a dangerous reaction. The body's calcium level might sink too low.
  • The medical community has a long history against chelation therapy. In fact, a couple decades ago, physicians could lose their licenses to practice medicine if they used chelation therapy
  • In recent years, however, a significant number of physicians are using chelation therapy with their cardiac patients with positive results.
  • The medical community has refused to accept earlier studies on chelation therapy because these studies were not in the traditional double-blind study format.
  • When the NIH set up the Trial to Access Chelation Therapy (TACT) as a double-blind study, many in the medical community used scare tactics to discourage patients from signing up to participate.
  • Even after the TACT study was underway, a group got the study stopped by calling it unethical. These objections were overcome, however, and the study resumed.
  • While articles note the high dropout of participants, the scare tactics directed at these patients are not mentioned.
  • Although several large hospital groups with heavy financial stakes in heart surgery originally tried to prevent the TACT study, they later asked to participate in administering the treatment for the study. Nothing about conflict of interest was mentioned.
  • Some articles actually stated that having physicians who had experience with chelation therapy involved in the TACT study was a conflict of interest.
  • All of the patients selected for the study had previously had a heart attack. They were also dealing with other health issues, such as high cholesterol levels or diabetes.
  • A large portion of those whom chelation therapy in the study helped were the patients who also had diabetes.
  • Benefits of the TACT study included not dying, not having another heart attack, not having a stroke, not being hospitalized for angina, and not being referred for other cardiovascular procedures.
  • Little mention is being made that there were only minimal adverse effects in those receiving the chelation therapy.
  • The TACT study's statistics are being interpreted so differently by the opposing camps that whereas some say benefits were in the range of "chance," others calculate a huge probability that the level of benefit was a valid figure.
  • Some say this study was a breakthrough and proved that the chelation therapy regimen can be administered in a safe manner. They assert that this is the key result to focus on.
  • Some insist that the study results must be published in a peer-reviewed journal to have any credibility. But then they turn around and discourage the journals from accepting the study results for this process.
  • Healthier lifestyle choices are an alternative to any treatment, but the TACT study was not designed to address this option. Those supporting heart surgery as the best option appear to be those looking for ways to discredit the results of the TACT study.
ISSUE: Do "Trial to Access Chelation Therapy" study results enhance the credibility of chelation therapy?

PRO
Groundbreaking Federal Study Proves Chelation Therapy Helps Cardiac Patients (11/5/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

NIH Trial Gives Surprising Boost To Chelation Therapy (11/4/12)
by Larry Husten
Forbes

A Timeline for EDTA Chelation Therapy as a Treatment for Vascular Disease
by Terry Chappell, John Trowbridge, and Michael Schachter
International College of Integrative Medicine

CON
Researchers raise concerns over chelation heart study (11/4/12)
by Liz Szabo
USA Today

Chelation for Heart Disease: Study Shows Promise, but Experts Are Divided (11/5/12)
By Alexandra Sifferlin
Time

Study finds heart chelation therapy effective but raises questions (11/4/12)
by Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield
CNN

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Knowledge Is Power
Perhaps the most important resource ever created by AHHA is the Health Information Search Services list. This unique list includes organizations whose experts can research treatment options for any health condition, plus answer other health questions. You can specify conventional medicine and/or alternative approaches. If you know of someone dealing with a life threatening or debilitating diagnosis, please let him or her know about this valuable support option.


October 12, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Pain Relief
Do you know anyone who is suffering from chronic pain? If so, you may want to tell them about a recent study regarding acupuncture to reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. Details of this research are presented in "Acupuncture May Reduce Chronic Pain" in the September, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Is organic still safe?
We are advised that the easiest way to get pure, natural foods and to steer clear of foods which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is to buy organic foods. The assurance is that these foods are required not to contain chemicals and other nonorganic materials and not to be bioengineered with GMOs. But now we learn that organic foods can have chemicals and other nonorganic materials and GMOs in them.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that organic standards expressly prohibit foods to be labeled organic if they are grown or handled using genetically modified organisms. Yet later this month a request to allow GMO vaccines for organic livestock is on the agenda for approval by National Organic Standards Board, division of USDA. Also on the agenda are additional nonorganic ingredients (such as chemicals or foods grown with chemical fertilizers) to be added to a growing list of 250 already approved nonorganic ingredients that can be used in products with the coveted "certified organic" label.

ISSUE: Is the government label "organic" still a guarantee that a food is all-natural and free from GMOs?

Below are a few resources to assist you in doing your own research on this issue with very conflicting positions.

Genetically modified food
Wikipedia

PRO
Welcome to the National Organic Program (6/6/12)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

FDA Organic Regulations
by Jo Pick
eHow

CON
"Organic" Baby Food May Soon Contain Who-Knows-What (10/9/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Has 'Organic' Been Oversized? (7/7/12)
by Stephanie Strom The New York Times

The Organic Watergate-White Paper. Connecting the Dots: Corporate Influence at the USDA's National Organic Program
Cornucopia Institute
(75 page document)

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Who needs an uplifting message?
AHHA offers a unique opportunity to send Get Well(ness) messages to someone you care about. You can find special messages on attractive backgrounds in the Get Well(ness) Messages section of the AHHA website. Pick the one you like and email the URL to your loved one.

FOLLOW UP
California Prop 37
We alerted you a year ago about efforts to require labeling of foods that have been genetically modified or have GM ingredients. One such effort (see archives at ahha.org/updates.asp) was a grassroots movement that is now an initiative on the November, 2012, California ballot.

California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (2012)


September 14, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Have Asthma? Do Yoga!
The benefits of yoga techniques have been widely studied. Reduced heart rate and blood pressure, increased lung capacity, improved muscle relaxation, and increased physical endurance are just a few of the known positive effects. A new study is adding a new benefit of yoga. This is a significant quality of life improvement for those with asthma. To learn more, go to "Yoga May Improve Quality of Life for Asthma Patients" in the July, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Is organic really better?
Have you seen the recent headlines in the media telling us that organic foods are not more nutritious than conventional foods? Before you change your buying choices, you may want to dig a bit deeper to see the whole picture. As you read various articles on this matter, keep in mind the following:

  • The research being referenced was a meta-analysis in which university researchers reviewed existing research studies and picked only the ones they wanted to include.
  • Documented safety benefits from organic foods were incorrectly presented as insignificant or ignored.
  • None of the research included any long-term studies.
  • Potential conflict of interest was uncovered. The university, where this study was done, receives generous donations from major corporations actively working against organic farming.
  • Not fully addressing a major factor for why people turn to organic. This is how organic fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats are grown/raised without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and genetically modified organisms.
  • A similar meta-analysis done in the United Kingdom drew the opposite conclusion. It found organic foods 12 percent more nutritious than non-organic foods.
Issue: Is organic food really no better than conventional food?

Below are a few resources to assist you in doing your own research on this issue so you can determine what is important to you as you select what your family will eat.

PRO
Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt in Advantages of Organic Produce (9/3/12)
by Kenneth Chang
New York Times

Organic Food Is Not Healthier Than Conventional Produce: Study (9/4/12)
by Lauran Neergaard
Huffington Post

Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds (9/3/12)
by Michelle Brandt
Stanford School of Medicine

CON
Stanford Scientists Shockingly Reckless on Health Risk And Organics (9/6/12)
by Frances Moore Lappe
Huffington Post

Busted: Co-Author of Flawed Stanford Organic Study Has Deep Ties to Big Tobacco's Anti-Science Propaganda (9/7/12)
by Mike Adams and Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society

Stanford researcher readily acknowledges limitations of study on organic versus conventional food (9/10/12)
by Heather Rogers
Remapping Debate

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Connect with your Spiritual Self
The whole of you is an integrated union of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. AHHA offers a list of books compiled to support you in developing a richer relationship or connection with your spiritual self. Take a look at the books on the Connecting to Your Spirituality list, and then check your local library or bookstore for the books that speak to you.


August 15, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Reduce Autism Risk
The risk of having a child with autism has increased to one in 80. While this number is staggering, new research is helping to explain potential causes. In a new study, scientists found that women that consumed significantly more folic acid during the first month of pregnancy had a reduced risk of having a child with autism. Folic acid supplements are already suggested for use by women of childbearing age to prevent neural tube defects. Folic can also be found in many foods. To learn more, go to "Folic Acid Intake During Pregnancy Linked to Reduced Autism Risk" from the June, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Statins: heroes or villains?
In the U.S. alone, almost 30 million people regularly take statins. Chances are good that you or someone you know is taking a statin drug. These drugs, popularly known as cholesterol lowering medications for preventing heart disease, are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, with annual sales of tens of billions of dollars. This class of drugs has had a long-standing reputation for being safe with relatively few side effects.

There are opposing researchers, however, that bring out their own studies that they say prove that the side effects of the statin drugs cause the heart problems the drugs are designed to prevent. These researchers further claim that their studies uncover additional side effects beyond those patients already know about. They feel vindicated that the FDA has recently issued a new warning about the class of statin drugs, cautioning users against additional side effects, including an increase in the odds that patients will experience fatigue, develop type 2 diabetes, and suffer reversible memory loss or problems in thinking.

Physicians appear to be ignoring any warnings about the negative side effects of statin drugs and are continuing to prescribe these drugs for their patients because they feel the number of people who do have serious side effects is low.

Are we paying enough attention to this issue? Are researchers doing work to verify that the benefits of statin drugs outweigh the risks? Are patients being thoroughly informed of the risks before taking these drugs? Are natural ways to lower cholesterol with diet and exercise even being considered?

Issue: Do the potential side effects of statin drugs outweigh the benefits?

If you are taking or considering taking a statin drug, you will want to be well informed. Below are a few resources to get you started on your research.

PRO

The Statin Drugs (1/14/12)
by Richard N Fogoros, MC
About.com Heart Health Center

FDA changes safety information on statin drugs (2/29/12)
by Howard LeWine, MD
Harvard Health Publications

Statins Could Benefit Everyone, Study Suggests (5/17/12)
The Inquisitr

CON

FDA mandates new safety warnings for statin drugs due to risks of memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain (3/3/12)
by Tony Isaacs
NaturalNews.com

Concerns Mount Over Side Effects of Statins (6/13/12)
U-T San Diego

Statin Side Effects and Risks, Can You Name Them? (6/26/12)
by Deborah Mitchell
EmaxHealth

IMPORTANT TIP: If you are currently taking or considering taking any prescription drugs, you need to be well informed. Use your favorite search engine (such as Google) to do an Internet search using the name of the drug plus the words package label. Review the information available online to learn more about side effects, symptoms of adverse effects, and negative interactions with other drugs, dietary supplements, and foods.

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share both your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Power from Choices
More and more diseases are being documented as being the result of poor lifestyle choices. AHHA's booklet, Wellness From Within: The First Step, reminds you of the power of the decisions you make throughout each day. Take time to review the options included in this FREE booklet. Choose to do one thing in your everyday routine differently. Various formats of the booklet are available online.


July 20, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Menopausal Relief!
Women, wouldn't it be nice to have a reprieve from hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms? A new study has found that aromatherapy massages reduce quality of life factors like hot flashes. Aromatherapy massages use concentrated essential oils drawn from various herbs. They are not the fragrance oils you buy from gift shops. To learn more about the study, check out, "Aromatherapy Massage May Reduce Menopausal Symptoms" from the June, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
ACA danger to CAM?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA), also called Obamacare, is divided into ten titles and contains numerous provisions. If you're interested in natural, non-drug healing approaches, you may be wondering how the 906 page ACA might affect your ability to have the healthcare of your choice.

Here are a few potential impacts of the ACA that may interest you.

Will more complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) type healthcare modalities be covered by ACA? This could happen if the healthcare providers are licensed professionals. But this doesn't look very promising. Federal subsidies for state Medicaid programs can only be used for "essential health benefits," which are defined as medically necessary services. States will not be reimbursed for CAM services, which at best cover licensed chiropractors and acupuncturists and only for a limited number of visits.

The ACA is touted as expanding the reach of innovative, preventive, and treatments that promote healing and health. A review of the law shows, however, that the only wellness and preventive items covered are standard medical screenings and immunizations, and these only if delivered by licensed medical personnel.

Many individuals who seek out CAM practitioners not covered by traditional insurance policies currently chose to have a Health Saving Account (HSA). They use HSA funds to pay for their visits to the healthcare professionals of their choosing. Anyone interested in continuing to have an HSA may be able to do so under ACA, but they will have to pay the annual tax for not retaining the required, federally-mandated insurance coverage.

Issue: Is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a danger to Complementary and Alternative Medicine?

There will be much in the media in the upcoming months, and perhaps years. To get you started in your research, we have compiled the following news articles.

PRO
Summary of New Health Reform Law (passed 3/24/10)
Overview of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Focus on Health Reform

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine Welcomes the Supreme Court Ruling (7/3/12)
Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine

The Obamacare Decision: One Step Closer to a Healthy Nation (6/28/12)
Whole Living Daily

CON
What the Supreme Court Decision Means for Integrative Medicine (7/3/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

Obamacare and CAM (7/12/12)
Science-Based Medicine

Will Obamacare even deal with holistic medicine? (6/29/12)
Examiner.com

You are encouraged to go to our blog at ahhablog.org and share both your comments and additional resources you have found related to this important matter.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
YOU!
Our featured resource this month is YOU. We want to know what you think of our eReport. How has it enhanced your life? What is the best part of the ahha.org website? What has AHHA done to help you on your personal journey to wellness? Is there something new you would like us to add? Please email us at mail@ahha.org and let us know.


June 13, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Yoghurt or diarrhea?
Have you ever taken antibiotics to fight an infection and suddenly gotten severe diarrhea? This happened because while the antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also killing the good bacteria in your intestines. Then you get diarrhea. You can prevent diarrhea by restoring the good bacteria, or probiotics, in your intestines. Probiotics maintain the health of the intestinal tract. An easy, natural source of probiotics is yoghurt. For the details given in a recent scientific study about probiotics that verified this, check out this article, "Probiotics May Prevent Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea" from the May, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Superbugs are here
Why should you care if the major meat and poultry companies are giving their animals low-dose antibiotics?

The agriculture industry uses low doses of antibiotics on animals raised for human consumption to speed up weight gain as well as to prevent the diseases that result from the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions the animals are forced to live in. What motivation does the industry have to voluntarily stop the use of low-dose antibiotics? It is important to note that low doses of antibiotics are not effective for actually treating diseased animals.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a report released in 1977, giving healthy animals constant low doses of antibiotics promotes the drug-resistant bacteria that can potentially infect people who eat the meat. Research by scientists from all over the world has proved that this could (and did) happen. A study published in February, 2012, showed that staph bacteria exposed to low doses of tetracycline and methicillin in animals mutated and became resistant to the antibiotics.

After the 1977 report on the potential danger of the antibiotics was released, the FDA set up a process to implement a rule banning the non-medical use of penicillin and tetracycline in food producing animals. This process required hearings on each antibiotic before a ban could be imposed. Because no hearings were ever held, however, the rule was never enforced.

It seemed promising in 2005 when the FDA issued a ban on fluoroquinolones, a group of broad-spectrum antibiotic, after an alarming increase in bacteria resistance to them was noted. However, recent testing of animals has proven that these antibiotics are still being used.

In 1999 and 2005, when consumer advocacy groups banned together and petitioned the FDA to hold the required hearings for the 1977 rule so it could be enforced, the FDA responded that the hearings would be too expensive and too time consuming. In 2011, this same coalition of groups brought suit against the FDA in the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that the FDA had failed to take action to protect human health by not following its 1977 process. The lawsuit resulted in two court rulings. The first ruling, given in March, 2012, ordered the FDA to follow through with the hearings on penicillin and tetracycline and either prove that the uses of the antibiotics are safe OR withdraw its approval of their use in animals. In April, 2012, the FDA responded by releasing steps to promote the "judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals." We must note, however, that the steps given in this FDA report to phase in these changes are voluntary and that there is a loophole so that antibiotics can continue to be used for "prevention."

In June, 2012, the court's second ruling ordered the FDA to revisit its decision not to enforce the ban of certain antibiotics in animal feed and criticized the agency for relying on the industry to voluntarily limit the use of these drugs.

Issue: Is FDA's voluntary enforcement approach for reducing use of antibiotic with animals enough?

PRO
FDA takes steps to protect public health (4/11/12)
April 2012 FDA voluntary steps report
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Is the Dominance of U.S. Pork in Global Markets Threatened? (May 2012)
States there is no good science to support not using sub-therapeutic antibiotics
U.S. Pork Center of Excellence

Beef industry concerned with FDA measures for antibiotics (4/12/12)
Focuses on veterinarian involvement
Ohio's Country Journal

Meat Industry Insists Everything is A-OK with Antibiotic Use, Despite Everyone Else's Conclusion That It Isn't (6/28/12)
by Melanie Warner
Industry is taking position antibiotics are being used for disease control (not weight gain)
CBS

CON
FDA's New Rules on Factory Farm Antibiotics Are Flawed- and Voluntary (4/11/12)
by Tom Philpott
Points out FDA contradicting 1977 position
Mother Jones

Judge orders FDA to revisit decision not to ban some antibiotics in animal feed (6/5/12)
by Dina ElBoghdady
Explains court rulings
Washington Post

How Using Antibiotics In Animal Feed Creates Superbugs (2/21/12)
References study proving mutation to superbugs
National Public Radio

CLF Researchers Find Evidence of Banned Antibiotics in Poultry Products (5/14/12)
New testing shows use of banned antibiotics
Center for a Livable Future - Johns Hopkins University

Seek Answers
Note under "What's being done to stop the use of antibiotics on farms?" that multiple government agencies testified before Congress in 2011 about links between the use of antibiotics in animals and the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans
Applegate Farms

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Unique video blurbs
If you are a YouTube fan, bet you will love our Self-Help Videos list. It offers brief educational videos created by AHHA members that share helpful health and wellness tips. Click on those of immediate interest for where you are on your journey toward a higher level of wellness.


May 23, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Exercise migraines away
A new study evaluated regular exercise as a beneficial option for those suffering from migraine headaches. Researchers assigned participants to one of three groups: exercise, relaxation therapy, or prescription drug. They found that all three treatments reduced the frequency of migraines with no significant difference in results between the groups. Imagine a walk around the block being as effective as a pill. If you suffer from migraines, consider adding regular exercise to your prevention program. Details are in the article " Exercise for Migraine Prevention" from the October, 2011, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
CDC vaccine confusion
Parents of young children face difficult decisions related to vaccinations. This alert is for those parents deciding on the measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox inoculations normally scheduled for age one to two years and then repeated at age four to six years.

In the past, the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella was injected as one separate shot from the varicella vaccine for chicken pox. In 2005, however, these two shots were combined into the MMRV vaccine to address all four diseases in one shot. Unfortunately, for many children there were side effects.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded research done in 2010 for children aged one to two years old. This research showed that children getting the MMRV vaccine were twice as likely to suffer from febrile seizures (convulsions brought on by a fever) as those receiving MMR with a separate varicella (chicken pox) vaccine.

The following 2010 study is about administering shots to 1 to 2 year olds:
Combines MMRV Vaccine Associated with Two-Fold Risk of Febrile Seizures Compared with Separate MMR & Varicella Vaccines (6/28/10)
Kaiser Permanente

In 2012, the CDC funded research done for children aged four to six years old. These results showed no difference in number of febrile seizures between receiving vaccines in one or two shots.

The following 2012 study is about administering shots to 4 to 6 year olds:
Measles-Containing Vaccines Not Associated with Increased Risk of Febrile Seizures in Children Ages 4-6 (4/2/12)
Kaiser Permanente

Issues parents should consider:
· While the CDC funded the 2010 and 2012 studies, both were done by an HMO (Kaiser Permanente), that would gain a financial benefit from results favoring the less expensive combined shot.
· The vaccine manufacturer (Merck) recommends separate injections.
· The CDC's rationale for favoring the combined shot is that it reduces the trauma to the child by eliminating the second needle prick (i.e., the second shot). This ignores the side effects of fever, convulsions, and trips to emergency room. A visit to the ER usually includes a lumbar puncture.
· Although the 2012 research states that there is no difference in side effects for the age group four to six years old, this second shot is often administered as early as 15 months. Also note that it does not say there are no side effects.
· Some reports on the 2012 research give the impression that this is changing the 2010 research results. This is NOT the case. Each study was on different age groups.
· Proponents of the combined shot say that the benefit of fewer injections outweighs the risk of increased febrile seizures, rash, and high fever because they usually resolve themselves.
· Even though additional research has been released, the CDC has not updated its recommendations since 2010.
· As the varicella vaccine for chicken pox is only 44-86 percent effective and has its own issues, many parents are electing not to give their children this vaccination. This trend appears to be triggering consideration among regulatory agencies to require this vaccine for a child to be in school and/or of only allowing the combined MMRV in the future. This latter condition already exists in Canada for the second shot.

Issue: Is the combined MMRV vaccine a safe option for your child?

If you are interested in learning more about MMR + V vs. MMRV, the following websites can get you started.

PRO
Q&As About Vaccination Options for Preventing Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Measles Vaccines Won't Raise Seizure Risk in Young Kids: Study (4/2/12)
US News

CON
Two Options for Protecting Your Child Against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella
Note: See chart under Choosing an Option for Your Child's First Vaccination
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Proquad Recommendations (10/11)
Note: Merck makes and sells both separate and combined shots, but recommends separate shots
Merck

Why A Shingles Epidemic is Bolting Straight at the U.S. (11/2/10)
Note: this is about one of the issues related to the chicken pox vaccine
Mercola

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Socialize!
Are you a social media guru? Do you find yourself searching for the perfect organization to follow and subscribe to? AHHA is it! Follow us on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook to receive uplifting messages to help enhance your health and well-being.

FOLLOW UP
GE labeling on ballot!
In the October 6, 2011 issue of AHHA Healthy Updates (see archives at ahha.org/updates.asp, we alerted you to efforts being made to require genetically engineered (GE) / genetically modified (GMO) foods to be labeled in the U.S. as they are abroad. There were enough petition signatures submitted to add the initiative to the ballot for the fall election in the State of California. Passing this initiate will impact food labeling across the nation, as it would not be cost effective for manufacturers to have different labels for use in different states. Food, farm, health, public interest, and environmental groups all over the country are joining together to fight the expected Monsanto campaign against this ballot initiative. Those supporting mandatory labeling of GMO foods can get more details at www.organicconsumersfund.org/label.


April 6, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Amazing Tai Chi
A new study suggests that tai chi may improve balance for individuals with Parkinson's disease. Researchers randomly assigned 195 Parkinson's patients to participate in resistance training, stretching, or tai chi. They found that patients in the tai chi group performed better in the stability tests throughout the study. Patients were still feeling the benefits of tai chi three months after the treatment ended. Even better, no serious adverse effects were noted. If you or a loved one is dealing with Parkinson's, consider adding tai chi to your integrative therapy program. You and your physician can review the research details in the article "Tai Chi May Improve Balance for Parkinson's Patients" from the February, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Is sugar safe?
Have you noticed that sugar is currently in the crosshairs? The key types of sugar currently being debated are the refined processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup found in processed food. Note that researchers are not challenging sugar found naturally in fruits and vegetables, as these sugars also contain balancing fiber and a variety of nutrients.

On April 1, the television program 60 Minutes presented research currently tracking the impact of sugar consumption on the human body. The key message was that sugar is "toxic."

In addition, the University of California, Davis and Harvard School for Public Health recently released research reports showing links between sugar consumption and increased risk of heart disease.

Motivated by the American Heart Association's recommendation to reduce sugary drink consumption, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is sponsoring a Sugary Drinks Summit in June 2012 to strengthen initiatives to reduce sugary-drink consumption in the U.S.

Proponents of sugar say that this research is directing attention away from the problem of general overconsumption. It is eating too much, they believe, that is more likely the cause of health problems related to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Issue: Do you believe sugar is safe?

If you are interested in learning more about sugar and your health, the following websites are offered to get you started in your research.

PRO
Sugar Association Responds To 60 Minutes: Unfounded Accusations Mislead Consumers (4/1/12)
Sugar - sweet by nature

'60 Minutes' Attacks Sugar as Toxic, Like 'Cocaine' (4/3/12)
by Mike Ciandella
NewsBusters
[presents opinion of bias in program]

Sweet Facts You Should Know About Sugar (5/22/11)
Ask DrSears
[general information]

CON
Sugar and kids: The toxic truth (4/1/12)
60 Minutes Overtime Staff

Not all sugars bad, but try to limit intake (4/3/12)
By Dr. David B. Samadi
FoxNews.com
[identifies university research]

CSPI, Health Advocates Announce Sugary Drinks Summit (2/15/12)
Center for Science in the Pubic Interest

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org.

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
AHHA Wants to Know
Have you visited the AHHA website recently at ahha.org? Did you find what you were looking for? We are working hard to make sure our website content includes what you need AND is easy to find. To do this we need your help! Please take our short Survey so we can better support you on your wellness journey.


March 14, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Garlic is great!
After analyzing dozens of clinical trials evaluating the effects of garlic on cholesterol levels researchers have concluded that garlic significantly reduces both total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you are at risk for heart disease, you may want to discuss garlic with your physician. Details are in the article " New Study Supports Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Garlic" from the February, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter.

FEATURED ISSUE
Obesity vs. Heart Attack?
Could the benefits of a weight-loss drug outweigh known major health dangers from the drug's side effects?

With obesity in the United States at epidemic levels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being pressured to approve a new weight-loss drug with known significant side effects. In late February, 2012, Qnexa, a drug combining phentermine (an appetite suppressant medication) and topiramate (an anti-seizure medication), received recommendation for approval by the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drug Advisory Committee. This approval came despite the documented risks of birth defects and heart problems from taking this drug that caused this committee to vote against the drug’s approval in 2010. The FDA is expected to decide whether or not to approve Qnexa by April 17.

Supporters say that Qnexa would fill a crucial need.

Critics note that the risk of dangerous side effects of Qnexa is too great, especially because the long-term effects of the drug are still largely unknown.

Few references are mentioning that patients on Qnexa would need to take it for the rest of their lives. If they stop, any weight lost would return.

The following Internet sites are offered to get you started in your research on this matter.

PRO
FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Diet Drug Qnexa (2/22/12)
ABC News

Diet Drug Qnexa Nears FDA Approval: Who Will Benefit? (2/23/12)
Time Healthland

CON
FDA Advisory Panel Green-Lights Toxic Weight Loss Pill (2/28/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

FDA Should Reject Qnexa, Another Dangerous Diet Pill, Public Citizen Tells Advisory Committee (2/22/12)
Public Citizen

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Powerful tool
Do you have people you would like to empower by sharing the concept of the "holistic approach" with them? AHHA has made it easy for you - and for free! Our "Gift for a Better Life" sheet is posted online. You can email this URL (http://ahha.org/betterlife.pdf) to your friends OR download and print it out to deliver personally.

FOLLOW UP
GE labeling petition deadline
In the October 6, 2011 issue of AHHA Healthy Update eReports (see archives at ahha.org/updates.asp) we alerted you to efforts about requiring genetically engineered (GE) / genetically modified (GMO) foods to be label in the U.S. - as they are abroad. On November 9, 2011 a ballot initiative was filed by a coalition of consumer, public health and environmental organizations, food companies, and individuals in the State of California. April 22, 2012 is the deadline for submitting 800,000 signatures to place "California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act" on the November 2012 ballot.

Interested California residents can get more details at California Ballot Initiative to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods Submitted to Attorney General


February 17, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Belly fat solution?
Are you one of the huge segment of the American population carrying around extra fat in your stomach area? Have you been trying all sorts of things to get rid of it? A new research study offers something else you can consider. Check out the article, "Calcium and Vitamin D Linked to Reduced Stomach Fat" from the January, 2012, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter. This study found that participants who drank juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D had significantly greater reductions in stomach fat tissue than those who did not receive the nutrient supplementation.

FEATURED ISSUE
Who is saying sugar is OK?
When you need nutritional information, do you seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a dietitian? While some define these two professions as the same, as they both study about food and health, they actually have differing qualifying criteria and approaches.

Nutritional consultants (nutritionists) are like wellness coaches that specialize in educating individuals and families about healthy food options and dietary supplements that support a healthy lifestyle. Licensing is not required, as they are not advising sick people.

Dietitians primarily manage dietary choices for people in institutions, like a hospital. Working under the direction of a physician, they pick foods to meet the nutritional requirements appropriate for the patient’s condition. Licensing is required for dietitians, because they are dealing with sick people.

The professional organization for registered dieticians and dietetic technicians is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetics Association). It is noted that this organization is not supportive of dietary supplementation and is supportive of continuing education that teaches dietitians that sugar has a "bad rap" and that it being bad for children is an "urban myth" – sponsored by a soft drink company. These positions may be a result of significantly funding of the dietitians' professional organization by junk food and pharmaceutical companies.

Why is it so important to understand the difference between nutritionists and dieticians? Legislation is being introduced in many states that would lead to dieticians being the sole providers of nutritional counseling – a growing segment of the prevention marketplace. Nutritionists would no longer be allowed to advise people. They (the nutritionists) are fighting this legislation.

There is a second important matter in this legislation that we don't find being talking about. It is that this legislature would give dietitians the right to use nutritional therapy as treatment. This would grant them the authority to diagnose and treat serious diseases or health conditions. This is currently limited to physician-level trained professionals like medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractic doctors, naturopathic physicians, etc.

Again, this legislation would give dieticians the right to diagnose and treat ill people with nutritional therapy (treating with food choices) and would prohibit nutritionists from being allowed to practice nutritional counseling.

Issue: When you understand the source and level of a dietitian's education, are you comfortable that only dietitians should have the right to provide nutritional counseling to individuals and families, and that these dietitians should be allowed to treat sick people?

The following Internet sites are offered to get you started in your research on this matter.

PRO
Market Place Relevance: Regulatory and Competitive Environment of Dietetic Services (February 2011)
American Dietetic Association

Children's Dietary Recommendations: When Urban Myths, Opinions, Parental Perceptions & Evidence Collide
Beverage Institute For Health & Wellness: The Coca-Cola Company

American Dietetic Association
Wikipedia

CON
American Dietetic Association Wants to be Sole Authority on Nutrition (2/9/12)
Health Impact News Daily

American Dietetic Association Speeds up its Race for Monopoly - Updated (2/2/12)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

ADA Says Sugar, and Artificial Colors are Safe for Children! (2/7/12)
Really eat right!

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
Sick? Key AHHA resources for you.
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 box at the top of the ahha.org home page. Rather than having to search the vast resources of our website, the Sick? portal offers the searchers a brief, personal journey to connect with the key resources appropriate for them.


January 20, 2012

FEATURED RESEARCH
Cherry juice vs. sleeping pills
Do you have trouble falling asleep? Past research suggested that taking melatonin might help you get to sleep faster. A new study focuses on assessing the reported high levels of melatonin in Montmorency cherries and the effects of these cherries on sleep quality. The study participants, who received tart cherry juice concentrate every night for a week, had significantly higher melatonin levels than the control group. These individuals reported significant improvement in sleep efficiency and total sleep time. For details, check out the article, " Drinking Tart Cherry Juice May Improve Sleep Quality," from the December, 2011, issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter. Another natural alternative to consider.

FEATURED ISSUE
The wonders of HBOT
Are you aware of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)? Most people have heard of using this treatment to help divers who surface too quickly and get the bends. Through the years, research has revealed how the body responds to breathing 100 percent oxygen in an increased atmospheric pressured environment. The resulting increased amount of oxygen in your blood supply promotes healing and fights infection.

Although recent research on the use of HBOT for brain injury and stroke has had some remarkable results, patients who need this treatment keep hitting a wall of refusal. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the use of the hyperbaric chamber as a medical device, says that research for approving HBOT for brain injury and stroke patients is inadequate.

The practitioners and advocacy groups who are most vocal about expanding the use of HBOT include those working to get it approved for use with wounded veterans.

General information on Hyperbaric Medicine from Wikipedia

Issue: Should HBOT be restricted to only FDA-approved uses?

In our search for websites that support your learning more about this topic, we found that many sites share positive results for the use of HBOT for brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, and strokes, but few that oppose this use of HBOT. As readers of our reports are likely, now or in the future, to know someone with a brain injury or a stroke, being aware of this treatment option may be vital.

PRO
FDA approved uses for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (4/6/11)
WOUND SOURCE

Conditions Treated With and Costs for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
by Rashmi Gulati, MD
Patients Medical

CON
A Phase I Study of Low-Pressure Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Blast-Induced Post-Concussion Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (1/1/12)
Journal of Neurotrauma

New Study Reaffirms: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Should be Standard Treatment for Veterans (12/6/11)
Alliance for Natural Health USA

FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions about HBOT and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Harch Hyperbarics

You can post your comments on our blog at ahhablog.org

FEATURED AHHA RESOURCE
How can you find a progressive physician?
Are you searching for a medical doctor who delivers care with more than just drugs and surgery? Checking referral programs with holistic associations is a good way to start. But if this does not bring forth someone in your geographic area, our Practitioner Referral Sources list is a useful next step. Our list includes a wide variety of organizations that give referrals, many of which are exclusively for medical doctors. Physicians who are affiliated with the organizations on our list are definitely the open-minded, progressive ones who have gone beyond drugs and surgery. Where else but with AHHA can you zero in to identify so many of these special physicians so easily?


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