Monthly Archives: August 2010

The next epidemic?

I’m not a doctor, but I’m convinced we’re in the midst of an epidemic.  Our subscribers are selecting Gluten free diet on their profile more than any other dietary description.    When subscribers approach me, I ask about the symptoms that led to diagnosis.   The symptoms are varied from little sleep, to stomach pains,  thyroid irregularity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but the one consistent symptom is exhaustion.   This has made me reach out to  friends who told me they were diagnosed with Epstein’s Barr Virus, which is known to frequently deliver false positive results, or Candida, and press them to seek another opinion.  Such diagnoses seem to be a physician’s catch all for a persistent complaint  or symptom  he/she cannot diagnose, believes is imagined, or can’t find a treatment for.

Often these patients wind up at  an un-licensed/questionable professional,  touting questionable dietary product lines, for which they receive a sales commission-no question there.   Much of their recommended products consist of laxatives, ‘colon-cleansers’, stuff you see on infomercials, with spokesperson’s in outdated wardrobes and hairstyles;  merely their appearance should raise the suspiscions on their validity and that of their advertised products. These products are not covered by any health plan  so they are costly to boot.

With increasing frequency, these patients seek assistance from chiropractors, holisitic/homeopathic medicine practicioners, acupuncturists.   Often such providers are a consortium of partners.  Such partnerships among disciplines have flourished lately since pooling  insurer-covered practices can be necessary in the survival of the business, and once-covered costs are no longer allowable. Any remaining gap in coverage is born by the consumer.   In practice, what was previously a chain of referrals to treat a patient, has morphed into a chain of revenue.

That’s why it is so important if you, or someone you know, are exhausted, particularly after meals,  insist on blood work and digestive tests to determine, not only Celiac disease, but a host of other digestive failings/allergies, as per an earlier post on Jonathan Papernick’s illness , http://blog.scanavert.com/2010/07/21/the-fine-line-between-illness-and-allergy

You may also find it worthwhile to check out a NYC Celiac Disease, and their upcoming meetup on 8/28 in LI,

http://www.meetup.com/Celiac/calendar/13799207/?a=mr1p_grp&rv=mr1pceliac

The best story tellers can be found anywhere, often at home

Forgive me if tonight’s post strays from my usual health and nutrition territory, but I had to share this.   Last week, I visited Jones’ Beach with my out of town relatives and, as is our usual tradition, we stayed until evening, when the breeze warrants sweatshirts, and made our way to Friendly’s on the Boardwalk, a misnomer since they were out of every desirable flavor and outrageously expensive, an unfortunate “tradition’ as well!    I was gazing over the deserted pool area when Dot, a complete stranger,  and I struck up a conversation.   She told me how as teenage girl she would come to the pool, and watch synchronized swimming acts from the diving end “”over there”.   Now, 60 years later,  the pool almost didn’t re-open  this season due to cost.    She pointed out how the once open stairs are now ‘bricked off’ so you can’t enter unless through the lower level at the fee gate.    The pictures in Friendly’s capture the beach and pool in its heydays of glamour so I already knew about the swimming shows,  but if I had interrupted her, I might have missed out on her telling me about the roller blading rink at the other end of the boardwalk.   Not being a “Lawn Gylander” I was not familiar with all Jones’ Beach had once offered.   So listening to her tell it, I felt transported back and I could see, in telling it, so was she, to a time when joy was discovered in simpler things.   Recalling my own parents reminisce about Coney Island, and remembering an almost melancholy awe that I was not born in time to ride the steeplchase horses,  I remained her captive audience until she finished.

Dot had met her husband at the roller rink.    He was not your average a teenage boy on skates, but a performer in the roller rink shows.  They were introduced through her friends “who knew a fella he knew”.   He was part acrobat and part dancer; he could spin and lutz and in those heavy prehistoric skates of yesteryear, swept her off her clumsy wheeled feet.   He competed professionally and after they married, she accompanied him to competitions throughout the country.      They settled in Huntington and had 3 kids, and one whose birth nearly killed them both, as they both contracted ‘the staph’ while in the hospital.    His affliction was on his skin, requiring huge doses of anti-biotics and hers attacked her kidney which had to be removed to save her life.   That ‘birth’ stood before us, now a 50 year old man with 3 kids of his own.  Just then, her teenage grandkids approached for a view of the pool and she pointed them out along with her daughter, all visiting her for the week, but no husband.   She confirmed my assumption by telling me how she lost him 22 years ago to cancer.    I  felt an unbelievable wave of grief engulf me,  the kind of feeling you might experience for someone you know, and yet I never learned his name.   I only saw him through her pride filled eyes.   So while Dot and I were strangers, and to the outward observer,  little in common with several generations between us,  I feel forever connected to her and her husband.   Never again will I visit  just Jones’ Beach, but the very site and sand at the epicenter of  Dot’s life, and generations of Dots and Dots’ husbands.    No internet site could ever be such an embedded fabric of people’s lives;  just the term “on-line community” has an oxymoronic ring to it.

I’ve been told I have the ‘gift of gab’, but instead I just listened and a beautiful story was told.   Don’t forget to tell yours, or your parents’.

Fast food is a fast track to puberty for a 7 year old!

Today’s NYTimes reported that girls are maturing as early as 7 years old.   Maturation, or the onset of puberty, was determined by “breast growth” .     The study subjects were 30% each Black, White, Hispanic, and 5% Asian, I guess the remaining 5% were “other”?  The percentage of 7 year olds considered “at puberty” were,  10.4 percent of white, 23.4 percent of black and 14.9 percent of Hispanic, and at age 8, those percentages were nearly double for each race.   All of which is viewed as earlier onset of puberty than previously believed.  Not surprising when 16% of our kids are classified Obese,   overweight girls are likely to have breasts, and body fat can produce sex hormones.

But this is telling for what is lacking; where were the statistics on the Asian subjects?  Perhaps their statistics do not support this trend?  I assume that will be known when the study is published next Monday in Pediatrics, but unlike the other races cited,  the Asian diet does NOT include a high percentage of fast food.    The researchers in the study are alarmed by ‘environmental factors’  but I’m unconvinced that early onset of puberty is related to a punctured ozone layer, or aerosol use.    So if diet is considered ‘environmental’ then I concur.

As consumers in a grocery store, we can avoid hormonally induced, genetically modified, injected produce/products.  Fast food chains however, do not disclose where their resources are derived.   The fast food industry profits from our complacency and ignorance.  Why are we eating anything without knowing precisely, what’s in that? and where’d it come from?

Perhaps McDonalds will offer a bra with your preschooler’s next Happy meal!  Or a brand new marketing campaign for women wishing to be  more “endowed’;  a whole new spin on the phrase, “want to super size that?