Category Archives: Case Profiles

A Commentary

08/29/17

The article enclosed “Looking For the Contradictions” is an outstanding commentary that not only challenges the status quo but makes an extremely sound case for reviewing current medical thinking and practice, encompassing all areas from nutrition to cancer therapy. Medical education has not been reviewed since the Flexner report funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, composed between the years 1915 to 1925. This would clearly indicate that further review would be appropriate at this point in time.

Health care systems today are largely controlled by governments, insurance companies, and Wall Street corporations with additional and often adverse influence exerted from the pharmaceutical sector.

It takes a great deal of courage for people such as Dr. Kendrick and others to attempt to bring logic into the many false concepts currently in vogue. Many myths are disseminated on the basis of conscious or subliminally motivated greed.

Personally, I take this opportunity to compliment Dr. Kendrick for writing this article, which everyone concerned with healthcare should read. It is apparent that our culture has deviated sharply from the concepts of integrity, creativity and independent thought. In essence the individual has been destroyed and replaced by governments whose main objectives are to get elected and increase taxes, insurance companies whose primary interest is the bottom line and pharmaceutical companies that are similarly motivated, having long given up the challenging task of developing specific curative products.

When will all this stop and how can the negative process going forward be reversed? I welcome your suggestions and trust that you will enjoy the article by Dr. Kendrick.

https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2017/08/09/what-causes-heart-disease-part-xxxiv-part-thirty-four/

Arthritis

08/4/17

There are many forms arthritis, the most common being degenerative osteoarthritis. Some facts excerpted from The World Health Organization literature indicate a number of shocking realities.*

  • Arthritis is considered to be the nation’s number one crippling disease and the most common chronic disease of people over the age of 40.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 46 million adults in the United States have been told by a physician that they have some form of arthritis, including degenerative osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or psoriatic arthritis.
  • By 2030, a startling 67 million Americans age 18 years or older are projected to have arthritis—a 45% increase from current statistics.
  • The average age that arthritis begins is 47 years, with 1 in 2 Americans over age 65 dealing with some form of arthritis.
  • The cost of arthritis due to lost wages, medical treatment and other related expenses can run an individual over $150,000 in expenses over their lifetime.

These facts are significant–the solutions less so. Physicians are prone to prescribing analgesics, anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants or inject cortisone, xylocaine and a variety of lubricating solutions. All of these mask symptoms temporarily, however they do not provide a permanent solution.

Laser Therapy, a relatively new technology perfected by Meditech International Inc. in Toronto, Canada currently offers up-to-date, professional therapeutic systems along with Home Units for utilization by individuals who have not had their problems resolved by conventional and traditional methods, including surgical procedures. Symptoms generally improve immediately following the institution of Laser Therapy. Applying treatment in a cumulative fashion stimulates the reduction of symptoms over time resulting in the patient’s return to a normal range of activities without the utilization of analgesics or other medications.

Unfortunately Laser Therapy is seldom mentioned as a solution as it is not covered by the codes, insurance programs, national health care systems and other mainstream regulatory bodies. The reasons: medicine is slow to change and vested interests will go to great lengths to provide protection for their products, regardless of the lack of value induced.

At this point in time, it must be clearly understood that the BioFlex Laser Therapy Systems offer ongoing relief of symptoms of arthritis in all areas of the body by restoring the normal morphology and function of the cells. In addition the therapy provides a potent anti-inflammatory effect and boosts the immune system while restoring the integrity of the cells. Regeneration of cartilage is also a part of this process, which is administered in a pain-free and completely safe manner. Comparatively speaking, the cost is minimal and each treatment stimulates the healing process to a higher level, making surgical interventions such as arthroscopy, joint replacements and spinal surgeries in the majority of instances redundant. As time
progresses the patient can discard all pharmaceuticals and focus on a healthy diet and activities such as swimming, stretching, walking to achieve a complete recovery.

The facts regarding the efficacy of Laser Therapy are undeniable. At our Meditech Rehabilitation Clinics, this reality can be seen many times many times over the course of each day and the changes which patients often describe as “a miracle”, have come to be the standard outcome.

A recent example of results achievable is the case of Jerome Williams, also known as “].Y.D.” or Junk Yard Dog, a brand label that he has acquired over a stellar ten year career in the NBA. Jerome presented for treatment at one of our clinics in April and immediately noted improvement. He acquired a Home System and a month later, a Professional System for stationary therapy at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. The results achieved have been so dramatic that at the age of 44, he has returned to a professional career in basketball in the newly formed 3D League.

Once again, his play is outstanding and in addition he is continuing his long-standing career with the NBA as a good will ambassador of the league. J.Y.D. is also involved in many charitable and educational organizations in his post-NBA career. I am pleased to state that he is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with the intelligent application of BioFlex Laser Therapy, a technology that can replace all current and conventional treatments for arthritis. For additional information, contact Meditech International Inc., Toronto, Canada (416-251-1055), or review our website (www.bioflexlaser.com).

Traumatic Brain Injury– A Commentary

07/21/17

RETHINK-REDO-REWIRED-BOOK-COVER-1150x1721Anthony Aquan-Assee, M.Ed. recently presented me with a book titled “Rethink, Redo, Rewired”. The book is an excellent treatise devoted to the course of recovery from a series of major brain injuries. The book describes Anthony’s prolonged struggles to regain his life, along with the many impediments and inappropriate therapies that litter the path to recovery.

On pages 65-68, he describes his experience with Laser Therapy, which played the major role in his return to normal health. Personally, I can state unequivocally that all cases of traumatic brain injury treated at our clinic, more than 80% achieve this level of recovery and the remainder are improved in varying degrees. During the year 2016, we treated over 500 cases of traumatic brain injury and this year, our expectations are that we will exceed 800 patients treated at the Meditech Rehabilitation Clinics.

The book confirms that Anthony has made a relatively complete recovery from the injuries sustained during the past decade. He is fully functional and once again making contributions to our society in a normal fashion.

His case is just one example of the numerous patients that we return to a normal health status after struggling for many years in the black void of traumatic brain injury.

To learn more or purchase a book, visit https://anthonyaquan-assee.com

Case Study: Erythromelalgia/Reynaud’s Phenomenon

07/18/17

The patient is a 71-year-old female Ph.D. who presented at our clinic 18 months ago complaining of edema, pain and multiple ulcers of both feet. The lower extremities demonstrated a marked erythematous/cyanotic discolouration that existed at all times.
The pain was frequently excruciating and ambulatory activities were minimal.

The diagnosis of her condition had been established at age 20 years. Over time, painful nodules developed on the skin of the lower extremities and these would periodically rupture, leading to the formation of recurrent ulcers. Symptoms were aggravated by elevation of ambient temperatures above 19°C.

The patient was unable to wear socks, shoes or tolerate any piece of clothing that had prolonged contact with the skin. She was forced to keep the ambient temperature at her home at a constant 20°C in order to be relatively comfortable. She was unable to take walks, particularly during the summer, as she was not able to tolerate elevated temperatures and the resulting induced pain.

The formation of multiple ulcers of the lower extremities complicated her condition. Her hands were only minimally to moderately affected and demonstrated mild erythema. The dermal ulcers were most pronounced over the plantar aspects of the feet and sometimes involved the toes and the dorsum also.

The patient is a non-smoker and worked as a principal researcher in the field of psychology.

Periodically she took Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Lyrica (pregabalin) in titrated dosages.

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: At the time of her initial presentation, both feet were cold to the touch and demonstrated marked tenderness to palpation.
Multiple ulcers were noted over the plantar aspects of both feet and some of these showed marginal epithelialization.
There was significant acute inflammation over the soles of both feet.
A moderate degree of edema, extending to the ankle, was present.
The erythematous/cyanotic disolouration was pronounced.
Peripheral arterial pulses were within normal limits.

TREATMENT: A course of treatment was initiated using the BioFlex Laser Therapy System. This was continued in the office three times per week using the Professional System. Treatment included application to the lumbar spine (autonomic nervous system), and locally in circumferential fashion around the ankles and feet.

Appropriate protocols were developed over 2.5 months and these were transferred to a Home Unit for application at the patient’s home two more times each week. The patient was last seen in our office on July 4, 2017. The edema had disappeared completely, along with the sensitivity. Discolouration was minimal. There were a few areas of thickening of the dermis over the plantar aspects of both feet but there was no tenderness and no evidence of ulceration.

The patient is now able to walk normally, work in the garden and activity levels are relatively normal. She has some minor sensitivity to temperature changes but she is able to control that to a significant degree. In essence, there has been over 90% overall improvement with regard to both symptoms and physical findings. Prior to the institution of Laser Therapy, numerous medications and other therapies had been utilized, none of which provided any benefit.

This case demonstrates what can be achieved utilizing the correct application of Laser Therapy to a compliant patient.

Erythromelalgia, also known as Mitchell’s disease, is a rare vascular peripheral pain disorder in which blood vessels, usually in the lower extremities or hands, are episodically blocked (frequently on and off daily), then become hyperemic and inflamed. There is severe burning pain (in the small fiber sensory nerves) and skin redness. The attacks are periodic and are commonly triggered by heat, pressure, mild activity, exertion, insomnia or stress. Erythromelalgia may occur either as a primary or secondary disorder (i.e. a disorder in and of itself or a symptom of another condition). Secondary erythromelalgia can result from small fiber peripheral neuropathy of any cause, polycythemia vera, essential thrombocytosis,[1] hypercholesterolemia, mushroom or mercury poisoning, and some autoimmune disorders. Primary erythromelalgia is caused by mutation of the voltage-gated sodium channel α-subunit gene SCN9A.
In 2004 erythromelalgia became the first human disorder in which it has been possible to associate an ion channel mutation with chronic neuropathic pain; when its pathophysiology was initially published in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Primary erythromelalgia may be classified as either familial or sporadic, with the familial form inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Both of these may be further classified as either juvenile or adult onset. The juvenile onset form occurs prior to age 20 and frequently prior to age 10. While the genetic cause of the juvenile and sporadic adult onset forms is often known, this is not the case for the adult onset familial form.

The most prominent symptoms of erythromelalgia are episodes of erythema, swelling, a painful deep-aching of the soft tissue (usually either radiating or shooting) and tenderness, along with a painful burning sensation primarily in the extremities. These symptoms are often symmetric and affect the lower extremities more frequently than the upper extremities. Symptoms may also affect the ears and face. For secondary erythromelalgia, attacks typically precede and are precipitated by the underlying primary condition. For primary erythromelalgia, attacks can last from an hour to months at a time and occur infrequently to frequently with multiple times daily. Common triggers for these episodes are exertion, heating of the affected extremities, and alcohol or caffeine consumption, and any pressure applied to the limbs. In some patients sugar and even melon consumption have also been known to provoke attacks. Many of those with primary erythromelalgia avoid wearing shoes or socks as the heat this generates is known to produce erythromelalgia attacks. Raynaud’s phenomenon often coexists in patients with Erythromelalgia. Symptoms may present gradually and incrementally, sometimes taking years to become intense enough for patients to seek medical care. In other cases symptoms emerge full blown with onset.

Primary erythromelalgia is a better understood autosomal dominant disorder. The neuropathological symptoms of primary erythromelalgia arise from hyperexcitability of C-fibers in the dorsal root ganglion. Specifically, nociceptors (neurons responsible for the sensation and conduction of painful stimuli) appear to be the primarily affect neurons in these fibers. This hyperexcitability results in the severe burning pain experienced by patients. While the neuropathological symptoms are a result of hyperexcitability, microvascular alterations in erythromelalgia are due to hypoexcitability. The sympathetic nervous system controls cutaneous vascular tone and altered response of this system to stimuli such as heat likely results in the observed microvascular symptoms. In both cases, these changes in excitability are typically due to mutation of the sodium channel NaV1.7. These differences in excitability alterations between the sympathetic nervous system and nociceptors is due to different expression of sodium channels other than NaV1.7 in them.

Erythromelalgia is a difficult condition to diagnose as there are no specific tests available. However, reduced capillary density has been observed microscopically during flaring; and reduced capillary perfusion is noted in the patient. Another test that can be done is to have the patient elevate their legs, and note the reversal (from red to pale) in skin color. Tests done at universities include quantitative sensory nerve testing, laser evoked potentials, sweat testing and epidermal sensory nerve fiber density test (which is an objective test for small fiber sensory neuropathy). Due the aforementioned factors, patients may face delays in diagnosis.

Some diseases present with symptoms similar to erythromelalgia. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), for instance, presents with severe burning pain and redness except these symptoms are often unilateral (versus symmetric) and may be proximal instead of purely or primarily distal. Furthermore, attacks triggered by heat and resolved by cooling are less common with CRPS.
Primary erythromelalgia management is symptomatic, i.e. treating painful symptoms only. Specific management tactics include avoidance of attack triggers such as: heat, change in temperature, exercise or over exertion, alcohol and spicy foods. This list is by no means comprehensive as there are many triggers to set off a ‘flaring’ episode that are inexplicable. Whilst a cool environment is helpful in keeping the symptoms in control, the use of cold water baths is strongly discouraged. In pursuit of added relief sufferers can inadvertently cause tissue damage or death, i.e. necrosis. See comments at the end of the preceding paragraph regarding possible effectiveness of plastic food storage bags to avoid/reduce negative effects of submersion in cold water baths.
One clinical study has demonstrated the efficacy of IV lidocaine or oral mexilitine, though it should be noted that differences between the primary and secondary forms were not studied. Another trial has shown promise for misoprostol, while other have shown that gabapentin, venlafaxine and oral magnesium may also be effective,[5] but no further testing was carried out as newer research superseded this combination.

Strong anecdotal evidence from EM patients shows that a combination of drugs such as duloxetine and pregabalin is an effective way of reducing the stabbing pains and burning sensation symptoms of erythromelalgia in conjunction with the appropriate analgesia. In some cases, antihistamines may give some relief. Most people with erythromelalgia never go into remission and the symptoms are ever present at some level, whilst others get worse, or the EM is eventually a symptom of another disease such as systemic scleroderma.

The patient elected to have treatment with the BioFlex Light Therapy System. The technology is utilized to treat a multitude of conditions that require healing along with the relief of pain and the reduction of inflammation. In addition, Laser Therapy attempts to restore normal cell function. Her condition responded to Light Therapy during which the photons emitted are absorbed by mitochondrial chromophores within the cell. Consequently electron transport, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) nitric oxide release, blood flow, and reactive oxygen species increase and diverse signaling pathways become activated. Stem cells can be activated to permit tissue repair and result in healing. In dermatology, Laser Therapy has beneficial effects on scarring, burns, and other damage to the dermis. Furthermore, Laser Therapy can reduce ultraviolet damage both on a preventative and therapeutic basis. In pigmentation disorders such as vitiligo, Laser Therapy can increase pigmentation by stimulating melanocyte proliferation and reduce deep pigmentation by inhibiting autoimmunity. Inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and acne can also be helped to a significant degree. The non-invasive nature and almost complete absence of side-effects encourage therapeutic benefits in dermatological practice.

Laser therapy has also been shown to reduce inflammation and edema, induce analgesia, and promote healing in a range of musculoskeletal pathologies. The peripheral nerve endings of nociceptors, consisting of the thinly myelinated A∂ and unmyelinated, slow-conducting C fibers, lie within the epidermis. This complex network transduces noxious stimuli into action potentials. Moreover these nerve endings are very superficial in nature and thus are easily within the penetration depths of the wavelengths used in Laser therapy. The cell bodies of neurons lie within the dorsal nerve root ganglion, but the elongated cytoplasm (axons) of the neurons extends from the cell body to the bare nerve endings in the surface of the skin. The direct effect of Laser therapy are initially at the level of the epidermal neural network, but the effects move to nerves in subcutaneous tissues, sympathetic ganglia, and the neuromuscular junctions within muscles and nerve trunks. Laser therapy applied with a sufficient level of intensity causes an inhibition of action potentials where there is an approximately 30% neural blockade within 10 to 20 minutes of application, and which is reversed within about 24 hours. The laser application to a peripheral nerve does have a cascade effect whereby there is suppressed synaptic activity in second order neurons so that cortical areas of the pain matrix would not be activated.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the source of energy for all cells, and in neurons this ATP is synthesized by mitochondria while they are located in the dorsal root ganglion. These mitochondria are then transported along the cytoskeleton of the nerve by a monorail system of molecular motors. Laser therapy acts like an anesthetic agent, in that both Laser therapy and anesthetics have been shown to temporally disrupt the cytoskeleton for a matter of hours as evidenced by formation of reversible varicosities or beading along the axons, which in turn cause mitochondria to “pile up” where the cytoskeleton is disrupted. The exact mechanism for this effect is unknown but it is not a thermal action. It has been shown that Laser therapy at the correct dose decreases mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in DRG neurons and that ATP production is then reduced so perhaps the lack of ATP could be cause of this neural blockade. The most immediate effect of nociceptor blockade is pain relief which occurs in a few minutes and has been shown by the timed onset of a conduction blockade in somatosensory-evoked potentials (SSEPs). This inhibition of peripheral sensitization not only lowers the activation threshold of nerves but also decreases the release of pro inflammatory neuropeptides (i.e. substance P and CGRP). In persistent pain disorders this reduction of tonic input to activated nociceptors and their synaptic connections, leads to a long-term down-regulation of second-order neurons. The modulation of neurotransmitters is a further possible mechanism of pain relief, as serotonin and endorphin levels have been shown to increase in animal models and following laser treatment of myofascial pain in patients. Thus Laser therapy can have short, medium and long term effects. Fast acting pain relief occurs within minutes of application, which is a result of a neural blockade of the peripheral and sympathetic nerves and the release of neuromuscular contractions leading to in a reduction of muscle spasms.

In the medium term there is a decrease of local edema and a reduction of inflammation within hours to days. The action of Laser therapy in reducing swelling and inflammation has been well established in animal models as well as in clinical trials. The numbers of inflammatory cells has been shown to be reduced in joints injected with protease, in collagen-induced rheumatoid arthritis, and in acute pulmonary inflammation. The expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been shown to be reduced by Laser therapy in burn wounds, in muscle cryo lesions and in delayed type hypersensitivity. The long term effects of Laser therapy occur within a week or two and can last for months and sometimes years as a result of improved tissue healing.
This case profile has demonstrated marked improvement of symptoms since the patient commenced Laser Therapy. There are no lesions existing currently and the toenails of both feet have grown back normally and appear to be healthy. She has a mild degree of discomfort with elevated ambient temperatures but can now tolerate wearing open-toed sandals and is able to engage in most physical activities without discomfort. She continues to use a Home Laser Therapy System periodically and finds this to be a most satisfactory arrangement.

Case Study

06/30/17

June 30, 2017

This patient is a 61-year-old retired geophysicist who resides in Texas. She has a long history of pain in the cervical and lumbar spine pain areas, with severe sciatica on the left side and moderate pain in the left upper extremity for an extensive number of years. Her symptoms have been relatively acute since 2013.

Prior to initiating treatment, an MRI of the lumbar spine was performed by her family physician on March 31, 2014. The radiological diagnosis, aside from degenerative osteoarthritis in both areas, describes a large paracentral disc herniation at L3 causing severe left lateral recess effacement and impingement at the L3 nerve root. This would appear to account for the patient’s severe left-sided radiculopathy.

The patient presented at the Meditech Clinic on June 17, 2016.

The diagnosis established reads as follows: Degenerative Osteoarthritis of the Cervical and Lumbar Spine Complicated by a Disc Herniation L3-4.

The patient had 10 therapeutic sessions on successive days at the Meditech Clinic between June 17-27. She then continued periodic therapy at home utilizing the LED Large Surface Array known as the Duo +180.

By the end of last year, her symptoms has largely disappeared and an additional MRI of the lumbar spine was performed in December 2016. The result—no evidence of any disc herniation. The patient was relatively asymptomatic with only minor pains following excessive activity. She had not required any analgesics in over one year.

Conclusion: This case demonstrates a classic example of the healing effects of Laser Therapy in cases of osteoarthritis with disc herniation resulting in complete resolution of the pathology confirmed by the pre and post treatment MRI’s.

F. Kahn, MD, FRCS(C)

Patient Consultation

06/23/17

November 4, 2016

I think that this case best demonstrates what Laser Therapy can accomplish. It truly has unlimited potential and once again this patient is typical of what can be achieved. Needless to say, nothing can be accomplished if you don’t attempt to change the therapeutic approach.

CLINICAL HISTORY: The patient is a female student and a competitive swimmer who sustained a severe contusion injury of the left foot in March of this year. She was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome and she now has extreme sensitivity to touch, extending to socks and shoes. She is unable to walk without a pneumatic boot, which holds the lower extremity in a rigid position involving the terminal portion of the left lower extremity.

She has seen multiple specialists including orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and is attending the Regional Pain Management Clinic at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto.

Since March, she has been on gabapentin, pregabalin, acupuncture, TENS, physio, massage, chiropractic, etc. She has received no benefit from these therapies.
Pain and generalized discomfort in the left foot and the lower portion of the leg is present 24/7. It is accompanied by a pins and needles sensation, numbness, and excruciating pain on any contact. She is a competitive swimmer, but now is unable to swim at all and even walking is problematic.

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:

  • The patient holds the left leg below the knee in a fairly rigid position.
  • The right mid-calf is 32 cm in circumference and the left mid-calf is 30 cm.
  • There is marked atrophy of the calf muscles and the small muscles of the left foot. (Photographs taken).
  • Range of motion of the left knee is within normal limits, but also enhances the pain. Range of motion of left ankle is zero.
  • She is unable to dorsiflex, plantar flex, invert or evert the foot, even 1 mm.
  • There is extreme hypersensitivity from a point approximately 3-4 inches above the ankle including the entire foot and toes.

IMPRESSION: Regional Pain Syndrome — Left Foot (Secondary to Trauma.

DISCUSSION:The cause of symptoms could be located anywhere from the cerebral hemispheres to the spinal cord or locally in the left lower extremity. The fact that no improvement has been accomplished with many therapies, the patient’s outlook at this point is bleak indeed.

Some thoughts on this problem: It would appear that the nature of this problem is local, but also involving the neurological system. At some point, the motor nerves to the lower limb have turned off, which brings into play the parasympathetic nervous system.

Therapy must include BioFlex Laser Treatment of local tissue damage in addition to the neurological source including the spinal cord and parasympathetic nervous system. Treatment will therefore be applied locally and over the lumbar spine where the ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system are located.

Summary
Over the course of March to October, approximately 8 months in duration, the patient had extensive visits with a number of- medical specialists, underwent radiological and other studies, and utilized approximately seven different medications along with physiotherapy, etc. She was studied extensively at a University Children’s Hospital and was reviewed by several teams of specialists.
The cost of these therapies were in the $10,000 range and did not improve her status.

At our Laser Rehabilitation Center, she had treatments of the lumbar spine and the extremity involved on a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. At this point, her symptoms were resolved over 90%. Over the next 2-3 weeks, she received some additional therapy with a complete resolution of all symptoms.

The patient has been able to resume her swimming as previously and is functioning in a normal manner in all respects. There has been no recurrence.
it should be noted that at Meditech, we treat at least one patient daily with what her mother has termed as “a miracle”.

Commentary On Health Care Today

12/20/16

The following article was recently forwarded to me by a highly intelligent patient.

I have placed it on my blog in order that everyone should be aware on how important it is to have an advocate when it comes to the administration of medical care today, particularly with regard to the utilization of pharmaceuticals and nutrition.

It demonstrates in an almost confounding manner the cycle of problems that occur with the complex inter-relationships between physicians, nutrition, pharmaceuticals and clinical outcomes.

At times the article is almost incomprehensible, however the author should be complimented for her persistence in saving the life of her husband despite the many counterproductive events described in the article.

THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE AND AN IMPORTANT WARNING

Judy Barnes Baker

I thought the life I knew was over early Friday morning on October 28. My husband, Dean, got up complaining of chest pains, but he had none of the classic symptoms of a heart attack so we didn’t think it was anything serious. After a while he started to feel a little better and decided to come back to bed. I turned off the light and snuggled up to him because he said he was cold. I don’t know if I went to sleep or not, but I remember hearing a few gurgling sounds that I somehow recognized as not normal. When I turned the light back on, his eyes were open and he was not breathing. I somehow managed to dail 911 without my glasses. A woman’s voice told me to unlock the front door and then get him on the floor. I couldn’t lift him, so I pulled him off the bed and tried to break his fall. She told me how to do CPR and had me count each compression aloud to be sure I got the timing right. “Faster,” she said, “you have to go faster.” There was no response. I put the phone on speaker mode and said, “I’m losing him…tell them to hurry!” He made three slight gasps during the whole time I was doing compressions that gave me hope that he was still alive.

After what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics rushed in and took over. They asked me to hold the IV bag while they took turns doing manual CPR. Another team of paramedics arrived a little later. They worked on him for over an hour, maybe two, trying to get his heart to beat so they could transport him to the ER. I lost count of how many epi-pens and paddle shocks they used, but at one point, the team leader said they had maxed out the number they could give him and there was no point in trying more. When I asked what his chances were, he said, “I don’t want to give you false hope. It’s bad, really bad.”

They eventually got him loaded into the emergency vehicle and headed for the hospital. I put on my pants and shoes and called my daughter who came up and we followed in her car. I called my son who booked a flight for the next day, but after we got to the hospital, the cardiologist told me to call him back and tell him to come now, that tomorrow would be too late. He cancelled his flight and caught another one that got him here that evening. Although the order of events is now somewhat blurred in my memory, I remember being asked at one point if I would consent to a “do not resuscitate” order. When I asked about his chances, they told me it didn’t look promising but “sometimes we get a miracle.” I’m sure they were trying to give us some comfort, but the cardiologist told me later that the survival rate in such cases was 1%.

After the ER doctors completed the diagnostic tests, they moved Dean to the Intensive Care Unit. The room was lit up like a Christmas tree with flashing lights, beeping alarms, and he was attached to all sorts of monitors, tubes, and hoses. They cooled him down to 33 degrees C for 24 hours and kept him in a coma. Then they slowly warmed him up for 12 hours before attempting to wake him up. We wouldn’t know the extent of the damage for another day or two, but he was alive so we continued to cling to hope.

It turned out he had not had a heart attack at all–he had no clots or blockages and his arteries were not damaged. A brain scan showed no swelling or bleeding, which they found surprising after such a serious event. The only possible cause they found for the heart stoppage was a low potassium level. When I asked what caused his potassium to be low, several of the doctors and the hospital’s pharmacist said the likely culprit was his blood pressure medication.

I was impressed with the paramedics and the hospital personnel and thought they were doing a fantastic job of caring for my husband. They were kind, professional, and efficient, and they used the latest advances in emergency treatments and equipment. I have no doubt they saved his life in those first few hours, but it was a rude awakening when I found out what is in some of the drip bags and the feeding tube.

They were giving him intravenous glucose, insulin, and a statin along with about 40 other drips on two huge, multi-tiered racks across the room that almost blocked the doorway. When I explained that we ate a low-carb, high-fat diet and that Dean was insulin resistant and fat adapted, the nurse tried to reassure me that he was getting some fat through his feeding tube–but it was soy oil. I asked to speak to the dietician, who bought me an ingredients list for the mixture they were giving him. The main ingredient was corn sugar. I said, “This is just processed junk.” She said, “I know, but there are only two formulas that I am allowed to use.” The other formula also listed corn sugar as the main ingredient, but it had some MCT oil in it; of course the hospital insisted that she use only the very low-fat, low-salt, high-carb version for heart patients. Their standard protocols employed near-miraculous emergency treatments, like the cold therapy that was pioneered here in Seattle, to save lives, but they lose 99% of the patients anyway because of their outdated dietary beliefs. I had come face to face with the shocking reality of our current medical establishment: a dichotomy of high-tech, life-saving treatments combined with nutrition advice based on faulty epidemiological research from the 1950s. They are so deeply invested in fat-phobia and the diet-heart hypothesis of heart disease and that they have rigid rules in place to insure that the dogma is enforced.

I tried my best to convince the cardiologist on duty to at least give him some MCT oil that would nourish his brain in spite of all the sugar he was getting, but to no avail. She said, “I am a cardiologist, I would NEVER do that.” She said they have their tried and proven methods and can’t experiment. She also said she wouldn’t know how to do it anyway.

I have never felt so powerless and frustrated in my life. I knew how important those first few hours could be when dealing with brain trauma. Dave Asprey was among the many experts and doctors who offered their advice in response to my plea for help on Facebook; he told me what he gave his father in a similar situation, but I was helpless to do anything unless the hospital staff would allow it. What option did I have? There was no way I could move him somewhere else in his condition, even if I knew of a place that used different methods, which probably didn’t exist. Even some friends and family members were telling me there was nothing I could do and that I should just calm down and let them do what they do; meanwhile the time ticked by. I didn’t know if he would live long enough to come home where he could get what he needed to heal his heart and preserve his brain. Even though I didn’t think he could hear me, I kept telling him, “Please just come back; we can fix this.”

The first cardiologist I spoke to in ICU was the least receptive to any input. I persisted and eventually found two others as the hospital’s shifts changed who were more open. One of them (I’ll call him, Dr. G.) said his field of expertise was lipids. He knew what I was talking about when I said the brain functions better on ketones than sugar, especially for those who are insulin resistant. I told him about new research that was showing the diet-heart hypothesis to be flawed and that we need a lot of natural fat, including saturated fat. He said, yes, he had been hearing a lot about that lately. He agreed with me on some issues but stuck firmly to the current “standard of care” on others. I gave him some articles that I had printed out and he agreed to read them. He also agreed to make some of the changes that I requested and one other doctor did as well. They switched Dean to the feeding formula that contained MCT oil and added Co-Q10 and they took away the statin, which would have blocked his brain and heart from getting essential nutrients, saying that he didn’t need it anyway.

After reading the ingredients in the feeding formula they were using, I concluded that the hospital’s policy was to not spend a dime for anything they could get for a nickel, so I asked if they could use a higher quality MCT oil, like the 8-chain, Brain Octane Oil I put in my coffee every morning. Dr. G. gave his approval, but said it would first have to be added to the hospital’s pharmacy and he would have to find out where to get it. I said, “It’s in my purse.” I gave him my bottle and the pharmacist put a label on it and sent it to the ICU where the nurses added it to Dean’s medications. He was still being pumped full of sugar, but I didn’t want to press my luck on that issue for fear the helpful doctors’ orders would be overruled or they would be censured and those in charge would revert back to the standard treatment for heart patients. I was lucky to have found two doctors who were willing to break the rules for me, and I will be forever grateful to them.

On Sunday, they made their first attempt to get Dean off some of the life support. It didn’t go well and they had to put him back on. They tried again later that day and the second time it worked. In the meantime, he had started getting the MCT formula plus the Brain Octane Oil. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. He moved his toe and squeezed the nurse’s hand when she told him to. The doctor asked him if he was in pain and he shook his head, “no,” prompting tears and hugs all around. There was hope.

By Monday, the 31st, he was talking a little and even smiling at us. He drifted in and out of consciousness and asked repeatedly about what was wrong with him, but didn’t remember what we told him. He was still on potent pain killers that probably made things seem worse than they were, but he had 12 broken ribs from the CPR and a very sore and swollen throat from the big breathing tube they had just removed.

There is an African proverb that says, “When an old man dies, a library burns down.” Many people, including me, depended on all the knowledge stored in Dean’s remarkable mind. I wondered aloud to my son about why all the nurses wore such squeaky shoes. I didn’t know Dean was awake until he said, “Their shoes have anti-static soles because they work around oxygen.” Yes, that was my husband! He was still there! The next time the nurse checked his short-term memory by asking what year it was, he said, “The year the Cubs won the pennant.” They quit asking after that.

Surviving the hospital food was almost as big a challenge as surviving the heart stoppage. Seriously! The dietician had told me that once he started getting real food, I could bring in some things from home. They needed to be sure he could swallow before they removed the feeding tube (aka the sugar delivery system), so they started by giving him a few spoonfuls of syrupy liquids (even the water was thickened). When I had a chance to go home, I made some tastier things for him that contained good, natural fats. I bought a pate of foie gras and mixed it with bone broth to make soup and I made a thin chocolate pudding that contained good, natural fats. The nurse on duty allowed me to give him a spoonful or two of each. But the next day brought a different nurse who was on to me. She asked if what I had in my cooler was low-fat and low-salt, which of course it wasn’t, so that was the end of that.

Dean said the hospital food was so bad, he could hardly swallow it: pureed lean chicken breast with no salt and no fat; liquefied turkey meatballs; and worst of all, liquid broccoli. Even the yogurt, which he normally loves, was terrible. This probably explains why low-fat diets sometimes seem to show positive results—they are really just enforced fasts. Dr. Walter Kempner, creator of the Rice Diet, had to beat his patients to make them stick to his regimen. (1) They told Dean he couldn’t go home until he proved that he could eat enough calories for them to take out the feeding tube and they carefully watched and made note of how much he ate. He literally gagged down every last bite they served him because he wanted so badly to get out of there!

He had a pacemaker/defibrillator put in on Friday and they planned to release him on Tuesday. He was doing so well that they moved it to Monday and skipped the customary three- to five-day stint in rehab. One nurse told me they were referring to him around the hospital as Superman.

After six days in Intensive Care and a total of 11 days in the hospital, he was released. He now has a computer implanted in his chest that monitors his heart rhythm, reports any irregularities, and delivers shocks if needed. He also came home with nine new prescriptions, which scared me to death since it was a medication that he was taking that almost killed him.

At his one-week post-hospital appointment with the cardiologist, we passed very ill patients in wheelchairs being lifted out of vans as we came into the building and I thought, “There, but for the grace of God….” Dean walked in unassisted, filled out all the paperwork, and was joking with the receptionists just like always. We got mostly good news. The doctor removed two of the new meds and cut two others in half. He is stuck forever with the electronic paraphernalia and his heart beat was still a little wonky, but his memory and personality are 100% back and the doctor was amazed by his progress.

I asked Dr. G, who is now his personal cardiologist, if we needed to do anything to prevent his potassium from going so low again. He said, “If he stays off that drug, he will be fine.” To think that he went through all this because his GP gave him a drug to prevent heart attacks!! What a crazy world we live in.

Warning!
The blood pressure medication Dean had taken for 20 years was hydrochlorothiazide. It is the most commonly prescribed medication for blood pressure, not because it is safe or effective, but because it is the one insurance companies choose to pay for! Below is an eye-opening quote from an article sent to me by a reader. (Thanks, Joan.)

“In an article published in Postgraduate Medicine, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, leading cardiovascular research scientist, James J. DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., and cardiologist James H. O’Keefe, M.D., examined some of the most commonly prescribed blood pressure medications and their effectiveness in reducing heart attacks and mortality versus a placebo. In many instances, the research revealed that often the most popular medications are not only not the best, in many instances they are not any more effective than a placebo or may actually cause harm….The most commonly prescribed thiazide diuretic in the United States is hydrochlorothiazide, with more than 1 million people receiving a prescription in 2008. However, this medication increased cardiovascular death and coronary heart disease compared to both the placebo and control in two clinical trials. Alternatively, only 25,000 people received a prescription for chlorthalidone in 2008, even though this medication consistently demonstrated significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes compared to placebo….Currently there is no universal rating system in the United States where medications can be selected by clinicians based upon their effectiveness. Rather, insurance companies ‘pay for performance’ or ‘pay for service,’ but this does not guarantee the selection of effective medications.’”
Read the full article here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12291899.htm.

Low potassium is the first side effect listed for hydrochlorothiazide and doctors who prescribe it are advised to check blood levels and recommend potassium supplements. Dean’s doctor checked his potassium once a year and never mentioned a supplement. Both low and high potassium can kill you. (Veterinarians use potassium to euthanize dogs.) I have heard from many people who have had similar events linked to this drug as well as others. If you or a family member has had a bad experience with a medication, please report it. If you don’t know the exact answer to some of the questions, make your best guess, but do report it! Here is the number and the website to file a report with the FDA: FDA 1 800 FDA 1088 or http://www.fda.gov/med watch

Modern Medicine – An Independent Perspective

11/18/16

October 2016

Having practiced medicine for the past fifty years, periodically a number of innovative thoughts and concepts have come to my mind or to my attention. These may vary from time-tested procedures that have been traditionally accepted but are frequently less than effective, to more recently developed initiatives. Time does not necessarily dull the senses and indeed, may enhance one’s level of perception. An accumulated knowledge-base often becomes a source from which many concepts can be derived, particularly those that can provide significant benefit to patients in need of help.
As the judicial system, the insurance sector, managed healthcare and politicians increasingly dominate and regulate medical practice, the patient seldom, if ever, obtains benefit from their well-advertised “improvements”. Gatekeepers cling to perspectives that are outdated and coupled with a lack of understanding of illness and how to deal with it in a compassionate, humane and intelligent manner add to the already substantial impediments to the delivery of quality patient care.

Commissions and the ubiquitous high-priced consultants, who are frequently retained to fortify or maintain positions verging on ignorance, similar to the oppressions originating in the legal and accounting arenas, add nothing to the equation. Invariably, the majority of regulatory decisions are designed to “work” the system in order to advance the personal vested interests of the proponents only.

MD’s are human and therefore fallible. The pressure currently exerted on every aspect of their activities does not necessarily make them better doctors, indeed the reverse would appear to be the case. As I have often stated, all the legislation in the world cannot make bad doctors good, but can certainly make good doctors bad. Torn between the imposition of billing codes and the subtle unrelenting pressures of the pharmaceutical industrial complex to which they frequently appear to have outsourced their brains, they lose sight of the patient and their problems.
Needless to say, a thorough revision of the entire educational process should be mandatory to facilitate change. This includes training and education at all levels.

To be productive, the human organism must be allowed to think independently to engender the creativity required to facilitate progress, rather than to be suppressed by the rigid minds that seek to totally control how medicine and related activities are conducted. Codes are no substitute for passion and regulations can serve as major impediments to highly effective care.

Addressing these issues should be the predominant objective in current day healthcare systems; rigidity and over-regulation provide benefit to no one and negatively impact human endeavor, including treatment outcomes. In an era where with new technologies so much more is possible, less is being accomplished; moreover, accountability has literally disappeared.

Ethics committees, often composed of a cross-section of professionals and individuals selected ad hoc, theoretically presenting a cross-section of the community, all too often unite in order to repress the productivity of the individual human mind, which when left to its own devices, can often accomplish so much. The potent human factor is being destroyed by the so-called “logic” of those who would endeavour to enrich themselves through the misfortune of others.

One must always be aware of the tremendous and growing influence big pharma and other gatekeepers have on medical education, in addition to the impact on the actual practice of medicine. These influences serve only to strangle both intellectual and technical progress and in the cold light of day, can only be deemed regressive forces.

Just recently, I was playing golf with two acquaintances and one of them, a physician, had recently referred to me a patient for consultation. The latter was a 27-year-old individual who seven years earlier, was involved in a major automobile accident. Since that time, he had been suffering in what may best be termed “extremis”.

While taking his history, the patient held his head in his hands, stating that he had suffered from wrenching, excruciating headaches 24/7 since his accident. During the course of questioning, he actually broke down in tears. This condition made his life unbearable, despite the dozen or so medications that had been prescribed to him and which were no doubt compounding his pain and agitation. In my mind, no human being should be allowed to suffer in this manner, while insurance companies, lawyers and others decide his fate, totally failing to comprehend the anguish to which the patient is subjected on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the attending physician and other specialists, who from time to time are consulted, stand by, having given up in their efforts to advocate for improvement of the patient’s status.

I offered to treat this patient at my personal expense, but was forbidden to do so by the representatives of the judicial system and the insurance company involved.
The other member of our group happened to be the father of a 32-year-old who had also sustained a severe MVA at age 25 and had been in total limbo ever since; living at the family cottage in relatively acute distress and requiring the constant care and observation of another family member. All remedies available had failed him. His mental and physical condition had steadily deteriorated while the family went through three sets of legal representatives, none of whom provided any relief. Without question, the latter individuals are engaged in these endeavors purely to achieve their own mercenary objectives, sometimes even conspiring with each other for personal gain and invariably at the patient’s expense.

While the charts of these unfortunate patients “age”, physicians stand by helplessly and sometimes not even caring while making the patient’s condition worse by over-medicating. Meanwhile, the charts are maturing and legal fees continue to mount. Many diverse professionals derive profit from the never ending assessments requested by legal representatives and physicians working for the insurance companies; realistically haggling over what is best for them and seldom, if ever, with any real consideration of the patient. Clearly, these legal proceedings are not only reprehensible, but should be termed criminal activities. At the same time, politicians knowingly stand by without initiating drastic reforms to rectify these matters.

Why governments tolerate this untoward behavior is difficult, if not impossible to explain. At the same time, realistically, we all know those patently obvious reasons for this state of affairs – economics and greed.

The injured, who are suffering from symptoms that may be unbearable, are being literally destroyed without any reasonable or timely expectation of a normal life, while facing a society that is totally immune to their suffering. Not only is their own life intolerable, but also that of the families who attempt to care for them and are also being destroyed by these erosive events.
The patient, at the direction of the insurance company, may be shunted from specialist to specialist, each of whom prescribes additional medication, compounding the problem, masking the correct diagnoses and denying appropriate therapeutic solutions.

Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, around the globe are drowning in this ocean of neglect and who cares about this? No one except their own families, in the best of situations.
Unfortunately, the complexity of the problems involved is generally not understood, nor the simple solutions that exist and should be applied.

How long must this charade go on? Obviously forever, or until the patient loses their sanity or expires: a solution for everyone except the patient.

In a civilized society, these matters should be declared unlawful and it is long past the time that these injustices should be redressed.

A Final Note on the Statins?

11/11/16

A great deal more has been written in favour of the utilization of statins than papers opposed. Interestingly enough, all of the positive data has been produced by industry-sponsored studies, which should immediately raise concern with regard to bias. The negative opinions expressed in independent studies are generally suppressed or declared to consist of insufficient data; again by those retained by the pharmaceutical industry in their efforts to “condition” physicians to continue to prescribe statin pills without restraint. Sometimes it would appear that physicians have “outsourced” their brains to the drug industry.

The pharmaceutical industrial complex seldom focuses on the adverse effects of these drugs, including fatigue, muscle pain, GI upset, memory loss, the onset of diabetes, possibly ALS and other problems still undetermined. It is estimated that over 20% of all statin users have significant muscle pain alone; moreover, the fatigue resulting from the use of these drugs has resulted in individuals becoming more sedentary and subsequently obese and these factors are barely mentioned. It is important to note that many who have used the statin drugs for a long period of time are of the opinion that they no longer require a healthy diet or exercise as their problem can simply be cured by swallowing pills.

Realistically, the preferable way to avoid myocardial infarction, CVAs, etc. is to eat a healthy, balanced, Mediterranean-style diet, engage in regular daily physical activity, avoid smoking, use alcohol moderately and above all things, give every form of stress a wide berth.

Peer reviewers, specialists and metanalysis experts are proactive in publishing the positive pro-statin papers in the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and other highly respected medical publications. From my perspective and in light of our current culture, this practice is open to question.

Clearly, it is time to attempt to understand these matters. Today, all organizations and their practices are suspect. Unfortunately anyone who dares to criticize established organizations becomes unpopular with the voices of mainstream medicine and is therefore denied a public podium. This, by no means, erases the important questions that should be asked.
Balanced debate and more research would certainly be welcome and possibly even helpful. Certainly more transparency is required and all data should be open to question. Whereas the controversy is by no means over, personally, I would avoid the ingestion of statin medications in all of its formulations.

Duane Graveline

09/23/16

The enclosed article composed by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick once again focuses on the statin drugs, which are almost routinely prescribed by most practicing physicians.

In many instances this may be contrary to the patient’s best interests as evidence of adverse reactions continue to accumulate. Clearly this topic requires further analysis without bias.

I never met Duane Graveline in person, but we communicated regularly. He was a doctor who trained as an astronaut with NASA. Sadly, he never made it into space. He was also a dedicated researcher and aerospace doctor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duane_Graveline

Superficially at least, a very conventional doctor, he was found to have a high cholesterol and his doctor put him on statins. He was initially grateful for this, firmly believing that raised cholesterol caused heart disease.

He then suffered an episode of transient global amnesia (TGA). A scary event, where you forget who you are or where you are, for a short period. Initially, he feared that he had suffered a stroke, but he had not. He stopped his statin, then re-started, and suffered another episode of TGA. His doctor assured him that the statin could not have been the cause.

However, he began to research transient global amnesia and a possible connection with statins. He found many other people who had suffered exactly the same symptoms – whilst on statins. An adverse effect still not listed, or accepted, by the medical profession. The normal response is that… statins don’t do that.

Following this, and with his faith in statins and the cholesterol hypothesis, seriously damaged, he concentrated his efforts into looking at all of the potential adverse effects that these drugs may cause. He had been repeatedly told that statins were absolutely safe and side effect free. He had been confidently informed that his own adverse effects were nothing to do with statins. A sadly familiar story to me. However, he no longer believed such reassurances, and set about trying to discover the truth.

One area where he focussed attention, probably due to his background in aerospace medicine, was a growing concern that any airline pilot taking a statin could suffer an episode of TGA – and simply forget how to fly the plane [an issue he raised that worries me still].

Shortly after (I am not entirely sure on the timeline here) he developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Called Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US – I believe. This condition is normally fatal within a couple of years. But his syndrome did not develop that rapidly. He believes, and so do I, that his ALS was caused by statins, and was therefore not true ALS. Difficult to prove, but there have been many other recorded cases, and the WHO issued a warning about a possible association between statins and ALS.

In time Duane became the most outspoken critic of statins – that I know of. He wrote books on the subject, including ‘Lipitor, thief of memory.’ And ‘The statin damage crisis.’ He set up the website spacedoc.com where he collected an immense amount of data on statins and adverse effects data.

There was also ground-breaking research on co-enzyme Q10, trans-fatty acids and much else to do with CVD. In addition to this, he was gathering and compiling data from the FDA Medwatch database, and putting together an extensive and scary list of all the reported statin adverse effects [the tip of an iceberg]. For example, he calculated at least eight hundred recorded deaths from rhabdomyolysis.

He was not a zealot. He believed that statins do have benefits in CVD. He believed these benefits were due to anti-inflammatory actions – nothing to do with lowering cholesterol levels. Following from this, he thought that the beneficial, anti-inflammatory, effects of statins could be obtained at very low doses. Doses that would not cause severe adverse effects. We disagreed on the inflammatory aspect of CVD – but agreed on pretty much everything else. He sent me papers he had written, asking for my input and editing. I obliged when I could.

He was an energetic man, an honest man, and a man who was trying to do his best to help people, even into his ninth decade. He will be sorely missed.

https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2016/09/06/duane-graveline/