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December 5, 2009

Can Cancer Go Away Without Treatment?

The USPSTF has recognized that by treating tiny, early stage breast cancers so aggressively, doctors may also have unknowingly subjected hundreds of thousands of American women to unnecessary procedures, leading to needless complications including disfigurement and even death, all the while assuming they were saving people’s lives.
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November 27, 2009

Tiger Woods’ Concussion: What kind of recovery can he expect?

Tiger Woods recently had a single car accident--a nasty one. Reports say he was out for as long as six minutes when his wife found him. When a doctor hears that a patient has suffered a brain injury severe enough to alter consciousness, they get concerned. Loosing consciousness altogether suggests a significant insult to the brain. With an injury like that, I would tell a patient to expect between six weeks and six months of after effects, including headaches, irritability, and concentration deficits. This can be frightening and frustrating for both patient and the people they live and work with.…

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November 4, 2009

Is the H1N1 flu vaccine safe?

The two big questions I've been getting about the flu this year are, Should I get the H1N1 vaccine? and Is the H1N1 flu as scary as people seem to be saying? Let's start with the second question first. Is the N1H1 flu especially dangerous? The N1H1 swine flu virus is, like any other flu virus, potentially deadly -- particularly to very young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases, like diabetes. But this particular flu has the potential to pack a little more punch than other flu viruses because, to put it simply, our immune…

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August 16, 2009

Does Caloric Restriction Prolong Life?

You may have heard Oprah’s Dr. Oz talking about an amazing new diet that, he claims, might allow us to live 150 years. I noticed that Dr. Oz seemed to be doing his best to highlight the benefits of this diet and downplay any risks, though he wasn't following the diet himself - and I think I know why. The diet he’s referring to is called “the calorie restriction diet,” a diet that requires you to limit your calories to 20 or 40 percent fewer than what’s currently recommended as a healthy amount, often as low as 1200 calories per…

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August 9, 2009

Who Should Get Vitamin D Testing?

We all know our skin makes vitamin D during sun exposure, so you’d think that most of us here in Hawaii would have plenty of vitamin D, right? Wrong. A study done on prototypical surfer-dudes in Honolulu, titled: Low Vitamin D Status Despite Abundant Sun Exposure (Binkely, 2007) found that, amazingly, more than half (51 percent) had less-than-optimal blood levels of vitamin D and were therefore putting their bodies at risk. At risk for what? Low vitamin D has been associated with overweight and obesity, as well as a variety of serious medical conditions, including cancer, heart failure, mental illness,…

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May 18, 2009

Is Coffee Bad For Your Health?

Coffee: Friend or Foe? Coffee is one of the most popular breakfast items on the most popular diet (a Paleo Diet) menu. Indeed, I've read reports claiming that coffee has antioxidants that may prevent heart disease, and other compounds that may help to prevent certain cancers. At the other end of the argument, many natural health newsletters treat coffee like it's worse than cocaine--blaming coffee for everything from "burning out" our adrenal glands and harming our kidneys, to mood swings, fatigue, and depression. So is starting you day with coffee really going to make you "Bulletproof"? Moderation is the key. …

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May 3, 2009

Recommended Vitamin D Intake Overdue for an Increase

“Vitamin D’s star is on the rise and researchers say it’s about time.” –AMA News, April 27, 2009 The government’s recommended intake (RDA) for D may underestimate the true amount we need by a factor of ten, according to Michael Holick MD, PhD, at Boston University Medical center. Current recommendations are for 200-400 I.U. per day, depending on age. But Dr. Hollick suggests that our true needs may be on the order of 2,000 I.U. Since studies show that most people consume very little D and don’t get enough from sun exposure, there is a nearly universal shortfall of vitamin…

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April 12, 2009

Thermograms versus Mammograms: Which test is best?

Thermograms detect infrared rays to show patterns of body temperature. What most people I know who have gotten a thermogram don't seem to have been told is that thermograms only detect surface bloodflow, so any cancer growth deeper than a few millimeters may not be detected unless it also happens to be large enough to disturb the surface blood flow patterns. Mammograms use radiation to find calcifications hiding anywhere in the breast tissue, even deep ones. What most people who've gotten mammograms don't often hear is that mammograms are really difficult to interpret. The true power of any diagnostic image…

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April 12, 2009

Breast Cancer: Is Early Detection A Good Thing?

When it comes to breast cancer, not all “cancer” is really cancer, study says. According to the ACS, something like one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. That’s scary, not only for women but for the family and friends who love them. But a recent study from the well-respected Cochrane Commission says that there is reason for hope. According this meta-analysis (a meta-analysis is a study of many studies), many growths often presumed to be deadly cancers based on mammogram and biopsy results may not be as life threatening as we once thought. They…

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