Category Archives: Studies

Having Friends Leads to Longer Life

(My comments)

Whether they realize it or not, one reason people seek health care from Chinese Medicine is that we treat the patient, not the illness.

Everything about you is important to us – not just because we care about you; your Western MD surely cares about you too. However, the Western medical model does not integrate the state of your interpersonal relationships with your knee pain.

A highly skilled PA with a wide spectrum of serious medical experience recently said to me,

“You [Chinese Medicine practitioners] ask your patients what the color of their urine is? We don’t ask them the color of their urine. If it’s really yellow, they’ll tell us.”

First of all, statistically, the patient often does not know that there is something abnormal going on. If they have had dark scanty urine for years, they assume it’s normal.

Secondly, if the Western health care providers don’t ask about something as basic as your urine and bowel movements, what other key pieces to the puzzle are they ignoring? Don’t you think your primary health care provider should know if you have no friends?  If having no friends is damaging to one’s health and well being (as we know), than one’s nurse/doctor/PA should certainly know that you have no friends!

Of course, some of this is not the Western model’s fault, but rather the health care system‘s fault since the system itself does not promote preventive medicine.  This has led–not to a shortage of health care providers (as the headlines say) but rather–a superabundance of sick people. Yet the current health care system is based on the Western medical model – which has not, until recently, focused on preventive medicine.

Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, takes things such as your friendships into account in diagnosing ailments as physically tangible as Gall Stones.  Additionally, our source texts says that treating a disease once it erupts is like digging a well once you are thirsty.

Thankfully, Western medicine brings us powerful tools that can, when necessary, drill a well over night, so to speak. However, everyone agrees that preventing disease remains optimal. In this, I believe Chinese Medicine far surpasses contemporary Western medicine.

It is no surprise, therefore, to see the lovely research proving the very important health benefits of friendship, collected by the NYTimes.com journalist below.

Be well,

Daniel

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Published: April 20, 2009

In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books or herbal supplements. But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life: their friends.

Researchers are only now starting to pay attention to the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health. A 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends. A large 2007 study showed an increase of nearly 60 percent in the risk for obesity among people whose friends gained weight. And last year, Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age.

“In general, the role of friendship in our lives isn’t terribly well appreciated,” said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “There is just scads of stuff on families and marriage, but very little on friendship. It baffles me. Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.”

In a new book, “The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship” (Gotham), Jeffrey Zaslow tells the story of 11 childhood friends who scattered from Iowa to eight different states. Despite the distance, their friendships endured through college and marriage, divorce and other crises, including the death of one of the women in her 20s.

Using scrapbooks, photo albums and the women’s own memories, Mr. Zaslow chronicles how their close friendships have shaped their lives and continue to sustain them. The role of friendship in their health and well-being is evident in almost every chapter.

Two of the friends have recently learned they have breast cancer. Kelly Zwagerman, now a high school teacher who lives in Northfield, Minn., said that when she got her diagnosis in September 2007, her doctor told her to surround herself with loved ones. Instead, she reached out to her childhood friends, even though they lived far away.

“The first people I told were the women from Ames,” she said in an interview. “I e-mailed them. I immediately had e-mails and phone calls and messages of support. It was instant that the love poured in from all of them.”

When she complained that her treatment led to painful sores in her throat, an Ames girl sent a smoothie maker and recipes. Another, who had lost a daughter to leukemia, sent Ms. Zwagerman a hand-knitted hat, knowing her head would be cold without hair; still another sent pajamas made of special fabric to help cope with night sweats.

Ms. Zwagerman said she was often more comfortable discussing her illness with her girlfriends than with her doctor. “We go so far back that these women will talk about anything,” she said.

Ms. Zwagerman says her friends from Ames have been an essential factor in her treatment and recovery, and research bears her out. In 2006, a study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer found that women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. And notably, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend wasn’t associated with survival. Just having friends was protective.

Bella DePaulo, a visiting psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work focuses on single people and friendships, notes that in many studies, friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member. In the study of nurses with breast cancer, having a spouse wasn’t associated with survival.

While many friendship studies focus on the intense relationships of women, some research shows that men can benefit, too. In a six-year study of 736 middle-age Swedish men, attachment to a single person didn’t appear to affect the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease, but having friendships did. Only smoking was as important a risk factor as lack of social support.

Exactly why friendship has such a big effect isn’t entirely clear. While friends can run errands and pick up medicine for a sick person, the benefits go well beyond physical assistance; indeed, proximity does not seem to be a factor.

It may be that…CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/health/21well.html?_r=3&ref=health

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Why Most Acupuncture Research is a Sham

Below is a section of an article from AcupunctureToday.  The full article can be read here:
http://acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32013

emphases added -ed

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TRUE VS. “SHAM”

True needling consists of actual penetration of the needle with manual stimulation, whereas sham needling is carried out by a special needle which touches the skin but may only penetrate superficially or touch the skin’s surface. In cases of both true and sham, the de qi phenomena is reported and the subject feels the needle at the point of contact.

Superficial needle stimulation is a known and accepted acupuncture procedure within a variety of European and Asian-American acupuncture techniques. Within acupuncture research, however, it is considered a placebo. Conclusions will be drawn and reported as such to an unsuspecting public. These sham acupuncture needles, which are internationally accepted and referred to as Streitberger or Park needles, are used by virtually every researcher conducting studies within the area of acupuncture. It is the standard for the scientific industry. This fact alone makes any research using this needle procedure a “sham,” as it is ignores that nonpenetrating acupuncture is a valid technique.

Recently, a major research institute attached to a very prominent university received a grant to conduct acupuncture research. They chose as their topic the treatment of colitis and diverticulitis via acupuncture. They sought my input and expertise into the matter. To say I was honored and humbled would be an understatement. When I inquired as to my role, I was shocked to learn they wanted to know “what points do you treat for this condition?”

They did not have a clue what acupuncture was. They only wanted to know what points to use for gastrointestinal distress. I reminded them that was a very general condition with many potential causes. I advised against using federal funds to finance such a study since their final results would be flawed. They were totally unaware of pulse, tongue diagnosis, system review or electromeridian imaging through ryodoraku. When I asked what was their goal for the research, I was told “to determine if acupuncture was effective in gastrointestinal distress.”

It is very apparent that those who are conducting what would otherwise be considered valid and scientific research at extremely impressive and recognized institutes are in fact guilty of the highest malfeasance with the models they have chosen to use regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture. Unfortunately, the general public and the scientific community regard research from these sources as gospel and would never question the validity of these studies.

Acupuncture research conclusions cannot be accepted as long as the research is being conducted as shown in the examples I cited. True blind or double-blind studies may essentially be impossible within acupuncture research due to the fact as long as a patient is able to feel a sensation at the point of needle contact (whether actual or simulated), it cannot be considered a valid blind study. The methods utilized in most acupuncture research are without question, a “sham.”

The full article can be read here:
http://acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=32013

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The reason the author knew that their results would be flawed is that Chinese Medicine does not aim to treat symptoms as its primary goal.

The primary goal is to recognize the root cause of the symptoms and direct treatment to the root, even if the treatment must concurrently address the symptoms directly.

Yet the cause of Diverticulitis is not understood by WM, and Colitis has many different causes.  Different causes require different acupuncture points.  Yet the researchers want simply to use Acumoxa points to treat gastrointestinal distress.  Further, even under the same single cause, different patients may require different point protocols depending on a variety of factors about the individual.

I believe the root problem here is that WM wants to use Acupuncture like a Western drug, instead of use Acupuncture as it has been used for 3,000 years.

Depression, for example, can be addressed in WM by administering Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s).  This allows for the brain’s serotonin levels to remain higher than they normally do.  Yet low serotonin levels are not the cause of the patients depression; they are a symptom, an expression, of a root pathology.  Chinese Medicine looks at “depression” as one symptom of an underlying pathology – not the pathology itself!

Just as WM uses single-action drugs to handle symptoms, so too they would like to use acupuncture as a single-action modality for addressing symptoms.  This is antithetical to the foundations of the CM theories and ethics.  Of course the research will be flawed.

Let’s say you asked a top chef to advice you on cooking a good stew for your family.  You spend millions of dollars setting up the kitchen, buying the best pots and pans and stoves.  Finally you’re ready to prepare and cook the stew, and you’re only question to the chef is,  “Now, where’s your ‘Good Stew Spice’?”

There is no such thing as a Good Stew spice in medicine.  Good stew is the culmination of frying the vegetables, slicing the meat, cooking with the right temperature for the right duration of time, etc.  All of that combined, holistically, creates a good stew.  So too with a patient’s health.

Just as spices alone do not make good stew, treating symptoms alone does not make true treatment.  Yet this is how the top research organizations are approaching acupuncture.  Not only is this a sham, it is a shame of great proportions.

Breastfeeding Duration and Weaning Diet May Shape Child’s Body Composition

Modern studies continue to support principals of Chinese Medicine.  This time in the area of pediatrics.

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(source: Eurikalert.com)

Chevy Chase, MD—Variations in both milk feeding and in the weaning diet are linked to differences in growth and development, and they have independent influences on body composition in early childhood, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Previous studies suggest that the early environment may be a significant factor in childhood obesity. This study used dual x-ray absorptiometry to make direct measures of body composition in children at four years of age whose diets had been assessed when they were infants. The findings showed that children who had been breastfed longer had a lower fat mass which could not be explained by differences in family background or the child’s height.

“Most studies linking infant feeding to later body composition focus on differences in milk feeding, but our study also considered the influence of the weaning diet,” said Dr. Siân Robinson, PhD, of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study. “We found that, independent of the duration of breastfeeding, children with higher quality weaning diets including fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods had a greater lean mass at four years of age.”

In this study, researchers assessed the diets of 536 children at six and 12 months of age. Diet was assessed using…(read the original report.)

Why bottle-fed babies grow faster

(Source: Newspost Online)

London, Apr 24 (ANI): Breast milk has less protein than formula, a new study has claimed.

It has been believed that formula-fed babies, who tend to be bigger, are “programmed” to store fat and so have a higher risk of childhood obesity.

Now, an international study of 1,000 babies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has suggested that protein levels in formula should fall.

The study, which was carried out in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain, included babies born between 2002 and 2004.

Parents were recruited to take part in the first few weeks of their babies” lives, reports The BBC.

To reach the conclusion, a third were given a low protein content formula milk, a third had a formula with a higher level of protein, while the rest were breast-fed during their first year.

In order to qualify as breast-fed, kids had to be either exclusively given breast milk, or have a maximum of three bottles per week.

Then the infants were followed up to the age of two with regular weight, height and body mass index measurements taken.

At the age of two, there was no difference in height between the groups, but the high protein group were the heaviest.

The researchers suggest lower protein intakes in infancy might protect against later obesity.

The children are being followed up further to see whether those given the lower protein formulas have a reduced risk of obesity later on.
… continue reading full article:
http://www.newspostonline.com/world-news/why-bottle-fed-babies-grow-faster-2009042451786

TV Causes Learning Lag in Infants

TV Causes Learning Lag in Infants
Jeanna Bryner
Senior Writer
LiveScience.com jeanna Bryner
senior Writer
livescience.com Mon Jun 1, 4:05 pm ET

Even infants zone out in front of the television, and it turns out this translates into less time interacting with parents and possible lags in language development, a new study finds.

“We’ve known that television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays and attentional problems, but so far it has remained unclear why,” said lead researcher Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages television watching before the age of 2, a time when critical development, such as language acquisition, occurs. (Christakis said a baby’s brain triples in size during the first two years of life, so there’s a lot going on in that little noggin.)

To figure out the TV-language link, Christakis and his colleagues rounded up 329 2-month to 4-year-old children and their parents. The kids wore digital devices on random days each…

Full article here:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090601/sc_livescience/tvcauseslearninglagininfants

Mothers’ talk is key to kids’ social skills, study says

Mothers’ talk is key to kids’ social skills, study says

* Story Highlights
* Study followed 57 families as children grew from 3 to 12 years
* The effect of social skills was strong until age 9, weaker from ages 10 to 12
* Researchers are now interested in what effect training would have
* Expert: Labeling child’s feelings, as well as others’, is important

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN

(CNN) — Mothers often get blamed for the way their children turn out, and a new study gives additional weight to that accusation.

Research from the United Kingdom shows that the way mothers talk to their children at a young age influences their social skills later in childhood.

The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, found that children whose mothers often talked to them about people’s feelings, beliefs, wants and intentions developed better social understanding than children whose mothers did not.

In the first part of the study, mothers were asked to talk to their 3-year-old children about a series of pictures depicting scenes such as a child coming out of school looking happy and people waiting in line. Children whose mothers talked about the mental state of characters in the picture tended to perform better on social understanding tasks, the researchers found.

The effect persisted when the researchers revisited the families — 57 of them remained in the study until the end — on an almost yearly basis. The authors controlled for socioeconomic status and IQ of the mothers and found that these factors were not as relevant.

“You can predict even from when the children are 3 or 4 what their social understanding will be like when they’re 8 or 9,” said Nicola Yuill, lead author and senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex in England.

This effect becomes weaker from ages 10 to 12, perhaps because as children get older, they spend less time at home, and their peers and teachers influence them more, she said.

The 12-year-olds, however, generally did as well as their mothers on…

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/05/15/mother.children.social.skills/index.html

Acupuncture Beats Aspirin for Chronic Headache

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acupuncture works better than drugs like aspirin to reduce the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

A review of studies involving nearly 4,000 patients with migraine, tension headache and other forms of chronic headache showed that that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to 45 percent of people taking medications, the team at Duke University found.

“Acupuncture is becoming a favorable option for a variety of purposes, ranging from enhancing fertility to decreasing post-operative pain, because people experience significantly fewer side effects and it can be less expensive than other options,” Dr. Tong Joo Gan, who led the study, said in a statement.

“This analysis reinforces that acupuncture also is a successful source of relief from chronic headaches.”

Writing in Anesthesia and Analgesia, they said 53 percent of patients given true acupuncture were helped, compared to 45 percent receiving sham therapy involving needles inserted in non-medical positions.

“One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used, it is not a painful experience,” Gan said. “It is a method for releasing your body’s own natural painkillers.”

(NOTE: I think Dr. Gan is dumbing down the mechanisms of pain relief that Acupuncture uses.  There are a variety of types of pain and within that variety come a variety of treatment principals.  It’s definitely not just about releasing endorphins – although that does occur and is a significant benefit to the patient.

Unfortunately, many in the Chinese Medicine community continue to simply give the Western mind what the Western mind wants to hear.  We, the practitioners of CM, are the culprits in dumbing down our medicine in the media. -DK)

They found it took on average five to six visits for patients to report headache relief.

Other studies have shown that acupuncture helped alleviate pain in patients who had surgery for head and neck cancer, can relieve hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms and can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen)