Author: ProfKeith

wine benefits for women, drug and substance abuse songs

Wine, Women and Song  Catchy title. I wonder who thought of that? So what’s this blog about; why did I use this old cliché? Well, a piece about the beneficial effects of wine on the heart physiology of women (and by inference, of course, on us guys). Plus a surprise research item, showing that nearly 80% of certain genre of pop songs contain explicit references to drugs and substance abuse. These are ink-still-wet scientific reports (dated Nov 7th, 2007). Let’s go with the wine and women first: In a report from Spain, researchers at the University of Barcelona evaluated the effects of moderate consumption of red and white wine (2 glasses a day) in 35 non-smoking Spanish women, average age 38. The study was done like any other controlled medical trial, with each woman drinking the recommended "dose" of either white or red wine for four-week periods, with a four-week dry period separating each round of study. The results may be surprising to some, not to others: consumption of both red and white wines increased blood HDL cholesterol (often called ‘good’ cholesterol), which suggests a heart-protection effect. Furthermore, wine consumption significantly reduced serum concentrations of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein (both markers of chronic inflammation). Inflammation, we now believe, is the number one mechanism of furring up arteries and causing aging and heart attacks. So now the Spanish join the...

Read More

Is daylight saving time a health hazard?

This week we are thinking about the departure of summer “daylight saving” time, which takes place next Satuday, Oct 28th. Most of us have grown up with daylight saving, which was introduced widely in WWI, to save fuel and increase harvest time. But is there a price to pay for this convenience? We already know that the accident rate goes up, right after the clocks are adjusted. Man-made time is a purely artificial and has nothing to do with Nature. You might think “OK, well, a couple of weeks into this my body will have adjusted; everything back to normal”. That’s apparently not true, which comes as a complete surprise to me. Changing to daylight saving time may give people an hour more of sunlight, but it appears that their internal body clocks never really adjusts to the change, according to a German study under Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich [Oct. 24 online edition of Current Biology].  It’s only a one hour discrepancy but that’s enough to cause a significant disruption in our circadian rhythms. As I said, it surprises me. But when you think about it logically, altering the dial of a machine changes nothing whatever to do with the Sun. Our bodies have been in tune with the Sun’s variations for millions of years. The pure social change of time cannot fool our inner clock. Even...

Read More

The best way to quit smoking, without a doubt.

So if you smoke, or know someone close who does, listen up. Side-smoke dangers are now clearly established and so smoking affects us all. A recent clinical trial reported at the American College of Chest Physicians 73rd Annual Scientific Assembly (Oct 2007) showed that one method stands out way ahead of the rest when it comes to stopping smoking: and it isn’t will power! The researchers took 67 patients with heart or lung problems and divided them into 4 groups. The control group quit smoking without any supportive treatment, a second group underwent hypnotherapy, a third group received nicotine replacement therapy (NRT – pills or patch), and the fourth group received both hypnotherapy and NRT. Patients selected their own treatment approach, which was strongly influenced by their previous experiences with smoking cessation, with most patients choosing a different method. More women chose hypnotherapy, whereas men were more likely to choose a patch or go cold turkey. After 26 weeks, the results were assessed. You may be surprised or maybe you can guess. Hypnotic suggestion was the clear winner, with over 50% of patients remaining non-smokers at 6 months. Cold turkey came second with 25% and NRT was a miserable 16%. Interestingly to me, hypnotism and NRT combined didn’t work any better than just hypnotism alone. [American College of Chest Physicians 73rd Annual Scientific Assembly: Abstract 6066. Presented October 22,...

Read More

Is MRSA the new Black death? – part 2

In part 1, I talked about the spectre of CA-MRSA as a pandemic, spreading like the Medieval "Black Death". There are strong parallels, but let us pray it never happens because the consequences would be unspeakable. The question remains IF IT DOES: what would you do? Please note that my answers amount to good health advice for the present, when and while you remain fit and well. This is not just "disaster talk". Any good health measure is a good protection measure in the event of an epidemic or pandemic. Those who survive will do so because they have strong physiology and a vibrant immune system. Firstly, you can forget the idea that the doctor will come along and help you. Even if the medical profession knew how to deal with such a problem, which is doesn’t, there would simply not be enough doctors to go around. You will be on your own. As I said, you can forget all the shallow advice about washing your hands and using Chlorox everywhere; the truly dangerous form of this disease is inhaled. Even so, contact does not mean inevitably going down with the disease. Millions did not die in the Plague years. Those who worked the carts to carry off the dead bodies generally survived: it was NOT a suicide job! [You may not be aware but doctors very RARELY catch...

Read More

Is MRSA the new Black Death?

MRSA “fever” has struck the country with the publication of a telling article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 17th Oct 2007). This morning I was invited on a radio show to discuss the problem and get it into perspective. I had recently done a piece for subscribers to my ‘Wholesome Living Letter’ on this very topic. I had likened the community active form of MRSA (as opposed to the hospital “superbug” version) to the Black Death from ages past. One of the other guests, who I suppose I should not name, was being interviewed by several radio stations, including the one I was on. He blamed illegal immigrants, claiming it was their dirty habits and lack of personal responsibility; he also blamed foreigners for tape worms, TB, Chagas’ disease and a whole host of other dangerous diseases. I followed him and declared his opinion “fascist, unscientific and inciting prejudice and hatred”. Fortunately, he had left to spread his poison somewhere else by the time I said this, otherwise a war of bitter words would have broken out. No matter, I stand by my condemnation of this foolish and ignorant tirade. It’s akin to hysteria. The studio presenter, normally a very mild and civilized man, ended up raising his voice in shock at what “these people” are doing to our country. This is how mob violence...

Read More

From the Desk of Dr. Keith

Follow Us on Facebook