Shorts. . .briefed
by Jule Klotter
Tuberculosis kills more people than any other infectious
discase. One third of the world's population is carrying the opportunistic
tuberculosis bacillus; about 10% of these people will develop clinical
TB. AIDS and the rising incidence of drug use, which weakens the immune
system, are being blamed for the unexpected increase of TB in the US.
In addition, malnutrition and crowded conditions encourage its spread
among the homeless, prison population, and inhabitants of inner cities.
"The World Health Organization estimates that new cases will have
increased from 7.5 million per year in 1990 to 10.2 million by the year
Because few research laboratories had expertise with
TB, US public health officials asked the Laboratory Research Branch
(LRB) of G.W. Long Hansen's Disease Center (Carville, Louisiana) to
begin research on the disease when TB cases suddenly increased. Although
the two diseases are very different, Hansen's disease (leprosy) and
tuberculosis are caused by related bacteria: Mycobacterium leprae
and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. LRB tested seven drugs in two
and three drug combinations for effectiveness. It has also screened
thousands of synthetic and natural compounds for anti-TB activity.
Their research is important because new strains of M.
tuberculosis have developed. Patients treated with the wrong drugs
and those who do not complete the full six-month treatment regimen can
develop drug-resistant strains of the bacteria. Not only do these patients
continue to suffer from TB, they also spread drug-resistant organisms
to others, organisms that do not respond to current drug combinations.
"Tuberculosis Research in the Laboratory Research
Branch" by James L. Krahenbuhl, PhD. The Star September
1996. The Star is published quarterly by patients of the Gillis
W. Long Hansen's Disease Center, P.O. Box 325, Point Clair Br., Carville,
The MCS Simon Study
A few years ago, the Simon Study on multiple chemical
sensitivities reported no immunological difference between MCS patients
and its controls. This finding supported the hypothesis that MCS is
a psychologic disorder, not an immunologic one. Half of the study's
funding came from a major aerospace company; that does not automatically
make the findings suspect. What does compromise the study's conclusion
is a piece of information that one of the study's authors stated at
a public forum: "reliability on most of [the lab's] measures is
no better than chance." The researchers had sent pair-blinded specimens
from 10 subjects to the lab used for the study. There was no "statistically
significant" relationship between specimens from the same person.
This vital bit of information was not included in the study itself.
MCS Referral & Resources, a patient advocacy group,
complained to the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) that the
Simon Study's authors "knowingly failed to disclose all data relevant
to their findings, i.e. the pair-blinded immunologic tests." At
least two University of Washington faculty members who reviewed the
case recommended a full investigation, but the final review committee
decided not to investigate further. Even before its publication, the
Simon Study was being cited in depositions by the aerospace company's
What sets the Simon Study apart from other weak studies
that have been used to support powers-that-be: is the reaction to MCS
Referral & Resources' complaint. Several publications, including
the New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times, Regulatory Toxicology
and Pharmacology and the Seattle PI, contained articles calling
for "more protection for scientists who make discoveries that threaten
Ôvested interests.'" The vested interests to which the articles
referred included the tobacco industry, lead industries, pharmaceutical
companies, and patient advocacy groups; the complaint filed by MCS Referral
& Resources was given as a specific example. If a scientist reports
a discovery that (s)he knows is based on inaccurate data - "reliability...no
better than chance" - who needs protection from whom?
"Simon Study Continues...." New Perspectives
Spring 1997. New Perspectives provides Washington MCS support
and information. Its address is P.O. Box 532, Carlsborg, Washington
Stress-Relieving Therapies & Health Costs
Insurance companies, HMOs, the NIH, and businesses are
finding ways to incorporate mind-body strategies to reduce stress and
improve health. Regular use of yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques,
biofeedback, and other similar practices have fostered improvements
in several conditions, including arthritis, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension,
insomnia, pain, and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
Dean Ornish's heart disease program, proven to reduce coronary artery
blockage and the need for surgery, relies on a low-fat vegetarian diet
and mind-body therapies: yoga, meditation, and group support. Studies
have found that health care costs drop an average of 33% among people
who regularly practice stress-relieving techniques or who take part
in a support group. The evidence has convinced Norman Anderson, PhD,
associate director of the NIH and director of its Office of Behavioral
and Social Sciences Research, to set up a committee that will decide
how to integrate mind-body therapies into regular medical care.
Some insurers and HMOs are already integrating behavioral
strategies to lower medical costs. In addition to offering some of the
stress-reducing techniques already mentioned, several health plans are
promoting health education. Kaiser Permanente (Southern California),
for example, started an education program for parents. By improving
their understanding of fever and how to cope with it, Kaiser experienced
fewer office visits for childhood fevers.
One company, Texas Instruments (TI), is seeking ways
to modify the work environment so that its employees have less need
for stress-reducing techniques in the first place. Many studies have
shown that high-demand, low-control jobs cause stress, stress that damages
health and reduces productivity. A committee is looking at how the TI
physical work environment and job design aids or hampers well-being.
Its observations on the correlation between stress reduction, wellness,
and sustainable job performance may encourage other businesses to take
an active role in the prevention of ill-health.
"The mind, the body and the benefits budget"
by Jan Ziegler. Business & Health, February 1997.
Integrating Holistic Principles
Slowly but surely, complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM) is being integrated into the health care insurance programs. Some
proponents of alternative medicine worry, however, that holistic principles
will be distorted or discarded as CAM practices become part of a reimbursement
system that focuses solely on the diagnosis and repair of physiological
dysfunctions. Insurance forms require a designated code for a specific
complaint and another code for its treatment. They ignore the complex
and individual interactions of a patient's mind-body-soul. Healers -
whether they use conventional or unconventional treatments - find themselves
hog-tied by the impersonal nature of the current reimbursement system.
In his article "Reinventing Primary Care,"
Elliott S. Dacher, MD, suggests that, rather than let the insurance
system strip CAM of its holistic principles and reduce it - as conventional
medicine has been reduced - to a mechanical, prescribed treatment of
disease, primary care practitioners can shift the focus from diseased
conditions back to the art of medicine. The art of medicine balances
the reductive and holistic perspectives. It is based upon the quality
and character of the caring relationship that a practitioner has with
him/herself, with his/her patients, and with his/her community. Dacher
says that the essential component of a healing relationship is empathic
listening, during which one seeks to fully and non-judgmentally understand
another's experience. Empathic listening cannot occur unless one silences
his/her own inner dialog and personal perspectives. Dacher also suggests
that practitioners seek an expanded biographical history for each patient,
one that includes the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual.
Such a history prevents primary care practitioners from reducing the
people who come to them to mere physical complaints and honors the humanity
of both parties.
"As healers again begin to approach their clients
and the healing process using both intellectual, sensory-based knowledge,
and empathic, intuitive knowledge," writes Dacher, "the practice
of medicine will be revitalized.
"...The art will return to medicine. And what exactly
is this art of medicine? It is the creative capacity to enter into the
experience of another human being, understand from the client's perspective
the nature of that life and its forces (by empathic listening) and participate
with this individual in composing a healthy life, involving recovery,
healing, and health - the fully lived life."
"Reinventing Primary Care" by Elliott S. Dacher,
MD. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine November 1995.
For subscription information, call 800-345-8112.
Kaiser's Grievance Procedure in Action
A case in California illustrates the drawback of relying
upon health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to address the grievances
of clients who have complaints about their care. When Wilfredo Engalla
joined Kaiser Permanente of California in 1980, he had to sign a contract
agreeing to submit any medical malpractice claim to binding arbitration
instead of filing a lawsuit. Arbitration is supposed to be less expensive
and quicker than a court trial. According to the Kaiser Service Agreement,
the opposing parties argue their case before a panel of three experts
and submit to the panel's decision. One expert is chosen by Kaiser,
one by the member, and a third neutral party is selected by the two
In 1986, Engalla was troubled by a constant cough and
shortness of breath. A 1986 lung X-ray revealed abnormality, but no
diagnostic tests for lung cancer were given. Over the next five years,
the Kaiser diagnosis was that Engalla suffered from allergies and common
colds. A new set of X-rays taken in 1991 showed that Engalla had inoperable
lung cancer. Believing that the Kaiser physicians had been negligent
in failing to diagnose the cancer sooner, Engalla and his family asked
for arbitration of their grievance.
According to the service agreement, the first two experts
were to be chosen within 30 days; and, they in turn were to select the
third expert within another 30 days. Kaiser's outside attorney did not
name an expert until 47 days after Engalla's lawyer had filed for arbitration
on May 31, 1991. In mid-August, the Engalla family learned that Kaiser's
expert would not be available until late November. Engalla's death was
expected long before then. Under California law, the complainant could
receive up to $500,000 for non-economic damages - if (s)he were alive.
Upon the complainant's death, the limit drops to $250,000. When, after
repeated requests from Engalla's counsel, Kaiser finally selected an
alternate, Kaiser continued to stall by ordering its appointed arbitrator
to reject neutral arbitrators proposed by the other side. It took 144
days, not 60 days, before all the arbitrators were selected. On the
145th day after his claim for arbitration had been filed, Engalla died.
Despite a request from Engalla's counsel to ignore the
$250,000 award limit, Kaiser was determined to take advantage of its
delay tactics; so, the Engalla family took their case to court. The
court ruled that the Engalla family's charge that Kaiser had committed
fraud had enough merit to be decided by court trial. Court records showed
that it took an average of 674 days for a neutral expert to be
named in Kaiser arbitration cases between 1984 and 1986 - well beyond
the 60 days put forth in Kaiser's Service Agreement. If the court finds
Kaiser guilty of fraud, the Engallas will not be bound by the service
agreement. Their medical malpractice claim will be resolved by yet another
trial instead of through Kaiser's arbitration system.
"HMO's Arbitration Process Provides Delay, Not
Justice" Public Citizen Health Research Group Health Letter
September 1997 (no address available)
Removing Amalgam Fillings
The American Dental Association refuses to admit that
mercury amalgam fillings can affect health even though scientists have
known for decades that mercury harms the immune system, reproductive
system, central nervous system, kidneys, and beneficial mouth and colon
bacteria. Dentists who advocate removing mercury amalgams risk censure
and delicensure for promoting a costly procedure that, critics say,
has no scientific basis.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular
Medicine, proper amalgam removal reduced or eliminated 80%
of the symptoms associated with chronic mercury poisoning in 118 patients.
Before the fillings were removed, a survey listing 38 symptoms revealed
that 83% of the patients experienced fatigue, 76% poor concentration,
65% poor memory, 64% irritability, 62% muscle fatigue, and 61% metallic
taste. In addition, over half of the patients complained of bloating,
headache, joint pain, throat pain, allergies, and poor appetite. Before
amalgam removal, researchers tested each patient's serum globulin reaction
to 34 different metals and dental materials so that replacement fillings
would be biocompatible with each individual.
Filling removal followed the protocol recommended by
Hal Huggins, DDS (Colorado Springs, Colorado). The protocol includes
the use of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary guidelines
to support the immune system and the use of proper ventilation and oral
suction to lessen contamination from the mercury and mercury vapor during
its removal. One to four years after mercury (and, in some cases, other
metal) fillings were removed, the subjects were given the same list
of 38 symptoms and asked to indicate whether their complaints had improved,
disappeared, or remained unchanged: 48% of symptoms were reduced, 31%
were eliminated, and 21% were unchanged. Patients whose blood serum
test showed a strong globulin reaction to amalgam metals "did not
recover as favorably as those with mild reactions."
"Symptoms Before and After Proper Amalgam Removal
in Relation to Serum-Globulin Reaction to Metals" by H. Lichtenberg,
DDS. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Fourth Quarter 1996.
Phone 416-733-2117; Fax 416-733-2352.
Schizophrenia and Omega 3
An excerpt from Leo Galland, MD's book The Four Pillars
of Healing (Random House), reprinted in the newsletter Health
Perspectives, recounts the case of a 16 year-old patient who had
been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic two years before. Catherine
was deeply troubled and frightened by voices that told her to kill schoolmates.
When Galland first met her, she was taking Thorazine, a tranquilizer,
to help control symptoms. On physical examination, Galland noticed that
"[h]er skin had the texture of rough sand, visibly peeling, from
her arms and legs; her hair had the texture of a rusty Brillo. She was
about the driest teenager I had ever seen!."
That dryness made him wonder if Catherine had an omega-three
essential fatty acid deficiency, which can cause abnormalities in the
development and function of the nervous system. According to Galland,
a small Nigerian study indicated that some people with schizophrenia
metabolized omega-3 EFAs very slowly and seemed more prone to EFA deficiency.
Also, Dr. Donald Rudin reported several cases of schizophrenia that
responded to flax oil while performing research at the Pennsylvania
Psychiatric Institute during the 1970s. Flaxseed oil and fish oil contain
high concentratians of omega-3 EFAs.
Galland asked Catherine to take 3 tablespoons of flaxseed
oil each day, along with a multivitamin. He recommended the multivitamin-mineral
supplement because the body needs certain vitamins and minerals - especially
E, C, A, B3 (niacin), selenium, zinc, and manganese - in order to use
EFAs. When Galland saw Catherine one month later, he noticed that her
skin and hair were less dry and that her behavior had changed. Instead
of being withdrawn, Catherine smiled, made eye contact, and had opinions.
She asked to stop taking Thorazine since the voices had disappeared.
At her next month's appointment, Catherine's skin and hair appeared
normal. "[S]he was attending school every day, doing well in her
class work, engaging in sports, and visiting friends with whom she hadn't
spoken for two years." She was no longer taking Thorazine. Galland
recommended that she reduce her intake of flax oil to one tablespoon
per day. Catherine and her parents believed that she was cured. Telephone
follow-up by Galland over the next two years confirmed that "she
had no further problems."
"Flaxseed Oil: Pillar of Health" by Leo Galland,
MD. Health Perspectives Sept/Oct 1997. Health Perspectives, 315
S. Coast Hwy. 101, Suite U6, Encinitas, California 92024. Phone 800-200-9931.
Yeasts & Mental Illness
In an interview for the newsletter Mastering Food
Allergies, Richard G. Jaeckle, MD discusses the role of yeasts in
causing mental disturbances. "[E]very psychiatrist has probably
treated patients whose schizophrenia, psychosis, and/or depression just
wouldn't respond no matter how many potent psychotrophic drugs they
tried," says Jaeckle. "This is the patient population I think
we're finally able to help: I'm suggesting that we achieve mood improvement,
improved self-control when necessary, and so on, by vigorously and aggressively
addressing those patients' yeast infections."
Jaeckle relates the case of a periodically violent,
12 year-old girl who did not respond to anti-psychotic drugs. When the
girl's symptoms cleared up for 24 hours after receiving Milk of Magnesia
to clear her gut, Jaeckle focused on gastrointestinal allergies. Because
psychotic symptoms flared up even with rotated single-food meals, Jaeckle
convinced her to take gastrocrom, a medication that blocks the release
of histamine. Gastrocrom enabled her to eat foods without reacting to
them. Jaeckle used provocative neutralization to treat her food allergies;
but, although she improved, symptoms continued to persist. Then, Jaeckle
tested the girl for antigens of the body yeasts Tricophyton, Monilia,
and Epidermophyton. Within minutes she became uncontrollable; it took
two injections of benedryl to stop the reaction. Jaeckle gave her regular
T-E antigen injections for several months along with nystatin, supplements
of lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamin C, magnesium citrate, and diet
suggestions used to treat candida. As long as this treatment continued,
she displayed no symptoms and behaved normally. After several months,
her platelet neurotransmitter levels, which reflects brain activity,
Because of the link between body and mind, the biologic
and the psychiatric, Jaeckle does thorough physicals on new psychiatric
patients. He takes time to ask questions and look for signs of physical
illness that may be linked to the patient's mental symptoms. Elevated
white blood count, uric acid and CPK enzymes in patients' lab work may
indicate yeast-induced psychosis, but not all patients reacting to yeast
will be suffering from an overgrowth large enough to show up in lab
"Yeast-Related Mental Disturbances: An interview
with Richard G. Jaeckle, MD." Mastering Food Allergies January-February
1995. Mast Enterprises, Inc. 2615 N. Fourth St. #616, Coeur d'Alene,