“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: Abraham Lincoln”Mar 02, 2014
Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth president, serving from 1861-1865, but he didn’t always have things easy, especially as it related to his health. As a child, Lincoln was taller than most and he ultimately reached 6 feet 4 inches. When he was nine years old, a horse nearly fatally kicked him in the forehead, rendering him unconscious for several hours. In another childhood accident, Lincoln nearly drowned in a creek but a friend saved him with a sycamore branch. The debate has not been settled as to whether Lincoln had Marfan’s syndrome but DNA testing has not been done. As a young adult, he was well-muscled but was also described as “thin as a beanpole and ugly as a scarecrow.” He was flat footed and weighed 180 pounds. Authors and scholars argue as to whether Lincoln ever had “multiple endocrine neoplasia (cancer).”
“Howes’ Illnesses of the Famous: William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton”Feb 23, 2014
No doubt, all US Presidents have a very difficult job and we have seen them literally “age right before our eyes.” Although it is kept hush-hush, many have had serious medical conditions, which come to light after their terms in office. Bill Clinton was the 42nd US President, serving from 1993-2001. Bill’s family medical history showed his father died in a drowning accident and his mother had breast cancer and no eyebrows – she had to draw them in. At age 6, Bill had a tonsillectomy in 1952 and by 1984, he had a left knee ligament strain. Early in his career, he had problems with allergies, hoarseness and acid reflux disease. In 1995, Clinton had a probable sebaceous cyst removed from his chest and in 1996, a precancerous growth was removed from his nose. Later, in 2001, he had the removal of a basal cell cancer from his back. After exposure of Clinton’s White House sexual antics, he announced a self-prescribed treatment course: periodic meetings with three clergymen to obtain guidance for his return to marital rectitude.”
“Illnesses of the Famous: Terry Bradshaw”Feb 16, 2014
In Louisiana, Terry Bradshaw, No. 12, is readily recognized and admired. But, his life has been challenged with various health-related situations. Terry Bradshaw may have four Super Bowl rings, but one of his toughest matches has been depression. After his third wife asked for a divorce in 1999, Bradshaw was drinking to self-medicate before seeking help. After talking to his pastor, Bradshaw found that a combination of talk therapy and medication worked for him. Now, he’s using his experience to advocate for addressing depression head-on. Consequently, Bradshaw is a highly sought-after motivational speaker for Fortune 500 companies. Terry has also helped to raise an impressive amount of money and awareness for charitable organizations. Terry Bradshaw is an actor, singer and beloved sports and entertainment figure and for his many raucous appearances on the Tonight Show, with Jay Leno. From his early days playing for Louisiana Technical University when he was named an “All-American”, to being the first player selected in the 1970 draft and going on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradshaw’s career can only be described as outstanding.
“Can Good HDL Cholesterol Have A Nasty Side ?”Feb 09, 2014
Shockingly, in 2013, a major healthcare task force (American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association) found “no specific scientific evidence to support specific treatment goals for either LDL or HDL cholesterol.” Claims have been that LDL cholesterol is “bad” because it is deposited in the walls of arteries and causes hard plaques that can cause blockages, resulting in heart attacks and stroke. Whereas, HDL cholesterol is “good” because the cholesterol is instead shipped to the liver. With campaigns of persuasion by drug companies, patients had been misled to believe that their HDL and LDL levels were direct determinants of heart disease and strokes; i.e., high LDL was a sure-fire indicator of impending arteriosclerosis and heart disease but it could be offset by a high HDL. Many patient’s lives were controlled by their misguided attempts to achieve low LDL and high HDL numbers.
“Tea May Have A Dark Side”Feb 02, 2014
We are constantly bombarded with ads extolling the beneficence of antioxidants, especially those in tea. Well, it is not that simple. I have 12 books on the subject at www.amazon.com, in which I discuss the downside to over consumption of antioxidants, including some of those in tea. Dr. Carolyn Sevier, assistant professor of molecular medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, says, “We’re realizing that free radicals serve as useful messengers to cells, and completely quashing them (with antioxidants) can keep cells from forming their own protective defenses.” Wiping out free radicals with antioxidants can keep cells too complacent to build beneficial protective pathways free radicals normally spur. No doubt, some studies show benefits to drinking tea, but there are others that suggest a dark side. Experts warn green tea can weaken the effects of a commonly prescribed blood pressure pill (nadolol, a beta-blocker).
“Hospital Pricings Guaranteed to Shock You”Jan 26, 2014
People are becoming increasingly aware that many hospitals have very peculiar pricing mechanisms. Recently, I had first hand exposure to the extreme variations in charges for the same procedure. A chest MRI costs the insurance company over $2,500 but an individual could personally pay for the same procedure for $650. In April 2013, University of California San Francisco researchers set out to find out how much an appendectomy cost among 19,000 patients in California. An appendectomy varied in price from $1,529 to $182,955, the researchers stated in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine. Dr. Timothy McBride, a professor and health policy analyst at Washington University in St. Louis, said, “For some reasons that are probably quite legitimate, they pad these prices to cover what economists might call fixed costs.”
“Entertainers, Comedians, Actors, Geniuses and Psychoses”Jan 19, 2014
The notion that creativity in art and science is connected with mental illness has long captured the public imagination. Many speculate that people in the entertainment business and creative people use performance as a form of self-medication. Researchers claim, “Comedians have personality types linked with psychosis, like many other creative types, which might explain why they can entertain.” In fact, a study by Oxford University researchers suggests they score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated with mental health problems. They seem to have high levels of both introversion and extroversion. I did a review and found tragic deaths or suicides associated with the following: 138 actresses committed suicide, including Margaux Hemmingway, Dorian Gray, and Marylyn Monroe; 216 male actors committed suicide, including Freddie Prinze, George Reeves (Superman), George Sanders, and Richard Farnsworth; 164 Musicians and singers committed suicide or had tragic deaths, including Janice Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain, Mindy McCready, and Faron Young; 10 comedians committed suicide or had tragic deaths including Richard Jeni, Greg Giraldo, John Belushi, Chris Farley; similarly for 20 television personalities, including Don Cornelius, Dave Garroway, and 35 film directors who either committed suicide or had tragic deaths. Still, there has been very little research on whether these entertainers have psychotic traits (delusions, incoherence, and hallucinations linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder).
“Obesity and the Holiday Overeating Ritual”Jan 12, 2014
The holidays have come and gone and many of us have gained some undesirable pounds. What are we to do? More than one in three American adults over 20 is obese, which is up from one in four, just 20 years ago. Consequently, weight-loss supplement manufacturers, diet book authors and obesity doctors are going full steam ahead. But, watch out for fraudulent claims, such as some made by Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Sensa and others, because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that 15% of weight loss ads contain false claims or false information. The FTC says, “There is little evidence that pills and supplements can help you lose a lot of weight.” Cautions are also appropriate for creams or patches that promise rapid weight loss.
“Vitamin E Hyped Again”Jan 05, 2014
Headlines boldly state, “Vitamin E ‘beneficial’ in dementia” but is that true? A December 2013 study in the journal JAMA found people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease on high doses of vitamin E had a slower rate of decline than those given a dummy pill. High doses of the vitamin delayed the decline in daily living skills, such as making meals, getting dressed and holding a conversation, by about six months over a two-year period. Vitamin E did not preserve thinking abilities, though, and it did no good for patients who took it with another Alzheimer’s medication. But, the Alzheimer’s Society said the dosage was very high and might not be safe. And, Dr. Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said, ” It is vitally important that people always seek advice from their doctor before considering taking supplements. More research was needed to see if vitamin E really does have benefits for people with dementia, and whether it would be safe to be taking such a high dose on a daily basis.”
“Flu Vaccine Facts”Dec 29, 2013
With the return of flu season, it is time to update pertinent data. In short, flu vaccines do not work in 99 out of 100 people. My recent articles on the hidden epidemic of adverse drug reactions revealed that only a small percentage of medications are effective and FDA approved drugs cause over 130,000 deaths annually. The current flu season is due to the H1N1 virus (swine flu) and we must rely on evidence-based medicine (reliable scientific studies) to evaluate its effectiveness or necessity. We can not continue to be misled by “scare tactics” or false claims that a flu vaccination will provide you with 100% protection. As far as I can determine, there are no statistically validated, independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (RCTs) proving the over all effectiveness of the flu vaccines. That is the first red flag. So, we are primarily left with the conclusions of so-called studies performed by the same people who manufacture and sell the vaccines.