How Did You Sleep Last Night?

... a dash of stupidity and 30 cc's of gullibility ...

… a dash of stupidity and 30 cc’s of gullibility …

In a ground-breaking new study, Swedish researchers have reached this startling conclusion:

“A new study finds that sleep deprivation affects facial features such as the eyes, mouth and skin, and these features function as cues of sleep loss to other people. Results show that the faces of sleep-deprived individuals were perceived as having more hanging eyelids, redder eyes, more swollen eyes and darker circles under the eyes. Sleep deprivation also was associated with paler skin, more wrinkles or fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth. People also looked sadder when sleep-deprived than after normal sleep, and sadness was related to looking fatigued.”

I’m no scientist, but my layman’s understanding of this information is that tired people look tired and other people can see that they look tired.

Thank you, Swedish researchers. I anxiously await the results of your follow-up study, “To what extent can scientists dupe others into funding scientific studies designed to prove the painfully obvious?

 

 

Rx

Bullshitia is a prescription medication for the treatment of symptoms of Hypochondragullability. Hypochondragullability is a serious medical condition. Symptoms include the strong belief that you have one or more health problems created and propagated by the marketing executives of Pharmaceutico and the willingness to take absolutely any medication your doctor may randomly prescribe for you.

Bullshitia is not for everyone. Patients who are pregnant, nursing, may become pregnant or who are the product of a pregnancy, should not use Bullshitia. Do not take Bullshitia if you have experienced an allergic reaction to Bullshitia in the past or if you are averse to adverse side effects. Call your doctor to find out if Bullshitia is right for you.

Bullshitia is safe and effective when taken as directed. Side effects have been reported and may include upset stomach, dizziness, flatulence, drowsiness, insomnia, rashes, unwanted hair, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sensitivity to sunlight and total darkness, confusion, nervous tics, numbness of the extremities, heavy sweating, and hallucinations especially hallucinations involving a green butterfly fluttering around you as you sleep. These side effects are mild to moderate and may or may not decrease over time. If you experience any of these side effects, tough it out, you sissy. Do not stop taking Bullshitia unless directed to by your doctor because stopping Bullshitia may cause a precipitous drop in Pharmaceutico’s profit margins.

Serious side effects are rare because Bullshitia is safe and because when serious side effects are reported to Pharmaceutico, we take them seriously but pretend they were caused by something else. Rarely, if ever, do we report such side effects to the FDA, which rarely, if ever, takes any action even if we do. Stop taking Bullshitia immediately and call your doctor if you experience a sudden loss of consciousness or the cessation of all vital signs.

If you cannot afford Bullshitia, Pharmaceutico may be able to help. This generosity is made possible by the kindness of Pharmaceutico’s cold, soulless, corporate heart, and by charging obscenely inflated prices for Bullshitia to everyone else who takes it. We do this because we believe nobody, and we mean nobody, should have to go without Bullshitia.

Bullshitia should be taken with food and as many other Pharmaceutico medications as we can convince your doctor to prescribe for you. Do not operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery or perform surgery until you know how Bullshitia affects you. Bullshitia is not known to be addictive, but severe withdrawal symptoms are likely if you dare to ever stop taking Bullshitia.

If you experience a worsening of the symptoms of Hypochondragullability while taking Bullshitia, contact your doctor as you may need a stronger dose of Bullshitia or may require additional Pharmaceutico medications.

There Are Mutants Among Us

No, not those mutants.

It’s not often that I have the privilege of sharing information that may save a life, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do today. Despite the goofy title to this post (the reason for it will become clear), this is the real deal and I urge you to take the time to read it and share it.

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional and I’m not providing medical advice. I’m sharing information from personal experience that I hope will shed light on a very important health-related discovery. So, here goes.

A close member of my family* has struggled with a number of health issues for several years, including food allergies and sensitivities, anxiety and just plain not feeling well.  He/she sought help from a number of medical professionals and tried a variety of treatments, with very little improvement. More recently, he/she consulted with an integrative doctor (an M.D. who takes a more holistic and nutritional approach).

The new doc whipped out a big chart showing a complicated set of biochemical processes. He explained that through the Human Genome Project, researchers have discovered a common but not yet widely known genetic mutation that has far-reaching implications for dozens of health conditions. It can’t be “fixed” but it can be treated. Treatment can improve or prevent all sorts of health problems.

So, while I have about a 3rd grade understanding of all things scientific (for which I place a large part of the blame on my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. L., who came to class stoned every single day), I’m going to give you the basics and point you toward resources for more information.

What’s the mutation?

We all have 2 copies of the MTHFR** gene.  MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The purpose of this gene is to produce the MTHFR enzyme, which the body needs for a myriad of functions including production of neurotransmitters, immune system function, cardiovascular health and much much more. It does this through a multistep process that converts folic acid and vitamin B12 into methyl folate and methyl B12, which are the forms required to make the enzyme. (This is often called the methylation process or methylation pathway and there is much more to it than this one gene, but the MTHFR gene is critical.)

There are many variations of the mutation and since we each have 2 copies of the gene, there are a number of possible combinations. For instance, you can have 2 healthy MTHFR genes, one healthy copy and one mutated copy or 2 mutated copies. Generally, people with 2 mutated copies will have more significant health problems than people with one mutated copy. Overall, some studies suggest that as much as 40 percent of the population has an MTHFR mutation.

What health issues are related to MTHFR mutations?  

Are you ready for a truly astounding list? Here’s an abbreviated list (more available at www.mthfr.net):

  • Autism (a whopping 98% of autistic children test positive for the MTHFR mutation)
  • Addictions, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol
  • Depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Miscarriages
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Stroke
  • Spina bifida
  • A variety of cancers, including colon, rectal and gastric cancer
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Blood clots
  • Congenital Heart Defects
  • Deficits in childhood cognitive development
  • Migraines with aura
  • Low HDL
  • High homocysteine
  • Post-menopausal breast cancer
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Potential drug toxicities including methotrexate, anti-epileptics
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Increased bone fracture risk in post-menopausal women
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
  • Nitrous Oxide Toxicity
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Impaired ability to detoxify heavy metals and other common toxins

I suspect you or someone close to you has one or more of these conditions. If not, then you are clearly from a genetically superior pool and we would like to begin cloning you immediately.

How do I know if I have an MTHFR mutation?

A simple blood test will tell you if you have the mutation. It will tell you if you have one or two copies of the mutation and identify which variation(s) of the mutation you have. The test is sometimes covered by health insurance and sometimes not.

The bad news is that it’s likely your doctor has never heard of MTHFR and if you ask about it, you will risk getting that I-wish-my-patients-would-stop-reading-crap-on-the-internet-and-think-they-know-more-than-me look. If that’s the response, you have a few choices: insist on being tested; find a more open-minded doctor; or get the test on your own (details available through the resources listed below).

What’s the treatment for an MTHFR mutation?

The basic approach to treating an MTHFR mutation is to simply supplement with l-methyl folate and methyl B12, which are available without a prescription. This by-passes the conversion process that is impaired by the MTHFR mutation.  The dosage you’ll need will vary, but it’s generally a good idea to start small and work your way up to higher doses. (IMPORTANT: Taking folic acid, which is a synthetic form of folate, can make the condition much worse.)

Of course, nothing in the world is THAT simple. There are many other factors at play. For instance, if your digestive system is a mess, you may need to fix that before the supplements can help or you may need to take additional steps to detoxify an accumulation of heavy metals from your body.

There are many other supplements that may be helpful depending upon your individual health issues.  The best case scenario is to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about MTHFR, but they are few and far between. If you can’t locate one near you, the resources below include doctors who will consult with you by phone.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

The family member I referred to above tested positive for one copy of the MTHFR mutation. He/she began treatment about a month ago, using a supplement that comes in the form of a topical cream.

Within days of starting the treatment, there was a noticeable reduction in anxiety symptoms and an improvement in mood and energy levels. However, there continue to be some episodes (lasting several days or more) when he/she feels pretty bad. I believe this is a sign that his/her body is detoxifying. Overall, however, he/she has shown more improvement during the past 4 weeks than he/she had in the previous 4 years.

Since this is a close family member, there’s a good chance that I have the mutation as well, along with other family members. While we have not yet been tested, we have begun supplementing with l-methyl folate, methyl B12, and a variety of other supplements (there is no downside to doing this, even if you don’t have the mutation).

Want to know more?

If you have any of the health conditions listed above, have chronic health issues that doctors have been unable to help you resolve, or are just curious to know more, here are some places to start:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mthfr-Support/301594793192098 

http://mthfr.net/ 

http://www.mthfrsupport.com/index.html

http://mthfrmd.com/ 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA8GUIRqIkE  (4 part lecture from Dr. Neil Rawlins, about an hour total, well worth watching from beginning to end)

http://www.neurobiologix.com/category-s/12.htm (very informative videos and also a great source for supplements to treat MTHFR)

I’m tired of reading – is there more?

My apologies for the lengthy post, but after immersing myself in all the information about MTHFR and seeing first-hand that it’s the real deal, I genuinely believe that identifying and treating people with this genetic mutation will save lives and improve health tremendously.

The biggest challenge is to spread the word and educate people, especially doctors, about the condition. Please share this information in as many ways as you possibly can.

Class dismissed :-D

*I’m not identifying this individual because while some relish the opportunity to over-share personal information, there are still a few people out there who prefer not to reveal their personal information to the world.

**Bet you thought that was a vowel-less expletive, didn’t you?

The United States of Obesity

We’re fat, really fat. We are rapidly becoming the United States of Obesity. But of course, you already know that. Having spent my pre-teen years shopping for clothes in the Chubette department at Korvette’s, a thoroughly demoralizing experience, I understand a little something about the subject.

Still, however alarming our collective fatness may be, I’m equally alarmed at the lengths we’re willing to go to become un-fat. There’s the multi-billion dollar diet industry, with options ranging from the sensible to the insane; mystery supplements with potentially life threatening side effects; radical risky surgery; and that old stand-by, wiring the jaw shut.

The pharmaceutical industry continues its quest for a magic drug to treat fatness. (Note: they’re not searching for a cure because that would have a limited pay-off. Ideally, they’d like to find yet another pill that millions of people will need to take every day for life – it’s much more lucrative. Yeah, I’m cynical – so what?)

Nature offers a virtually limitless source of potential treatments for al l sorts of ailments. For instance, the active ingredient in aspirin is derived from the bark of a willow tree and fish oil has been proven to have tremendous health benefits. Some “natural” substances, however, are best left at their source and should probably not be manipulated into medications. Remember the infamous Premarin, a hormone replacement therapy given to millions of menopausal women, which was later proven to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes? It’s derived from pregnant mares’ urine. Natural? Yes. Good idea? No.

This brings me to the latest scientific findings with respect to potential obesity medications. Researchers have discovered a naturally derived substance that drastically reduces cravings for food. The source of the substance? The saliva of the Gila Monster. Do I hear doubters out there? It’s true: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515165405.htm. I’m confident the pharmaceutical industry is already hard at work coming up with a name (Gimova, Salgimo?) and a marketing campaign.

I know obesity comes with a host of serious health risks, but I’m certain that Gila Monster Spit pills are not the answer. Let’s just leave the spit in the Gila Monster where it belongs, just as we ought to leave the pee of pregnant horses where it belongs. Agreed?

Sunday Specials

Companies are in business to make money and that often means creating products that solve common problems. I’m cool with that.

On the other hand, I couldn’t help noticing certain themes while flipping through the pile of coupon inserts in the Sunday paper, themes I’m not so cool with.

Theme #1: We have bladder control issues. On one page, Kirstie Allie is pushing Poise light bladder leakage pads. Take it from the Poise Fairy, period pads are for your period. Flip the page and there’s actress Lisa Rinna looking sexy in a curve-hugging black dress despite the fact that she’s wearing Depends adult diapers underneath (no word on whether or not she shimmied her diapered self into a pair of Spanx before putting on the dress).

Theme #2: We have a multitude of health problems. Heartburn? Save $3 on Pepcid! Allergies? Save $4 on Zyrtec! Itchy red eyes? Save $2 on Visine! Painful gas? Save $1 on Gas-X! Painful Feet? Save 50% on Therapeutic Cozy Toes – good for bunions hammer toes, toe cramps, plantar fasciitis and more! Arthritis pain? Save $2 while you put your pain to sleep with Pain Bust RII!

Theme #3: We must never ever succumb to reality by looking our age. Color your hair for 8 weeks of luminous shine and fade-defiance; slather on Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition for firmer, more supple and resilient skin; don’t forget Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming with stimuplex technology, followed by Visible Lift foundation and concealer for 5, yes 5, anti-aging benefits. But wait! How about saving $5 on DermaSilk 5 Minute Face Lift which exhorts us all to STOP LOOKING YOUR AGE (undoubtedly a deadly sin that will send you straight to hell)?

Theme #4: We exist on a diet of total crap. Want to save money at the grocery store this week? Clip coupons for Chips Ahoy cookies, Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars (don’t assume “nutri” equates to nutritious), ice cream, Ball Park franks (you don’t want to know what’s in hot dogs – trust me on this), candy, frozen Chinese food, and Grande tortilla chips.

Admittedly I ripped out a few coupons (I’m too lazy to cut them out neatly with a scissors and usually forget to bring them to the store) – I color my hair, pop antihistamines during pollen season, and sometimes eat stuff for reasons that have nothing to do with nutrition. Still, I refuse to believe I’m as pathetic as the coupon inserts suggest.

Here’s an idea. Instead of saving a little bit of money by using those coupons when buying those products, let’s save a lot of money by not buying the products at all! Who’s with me?

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors

Ah, remember the days before pharmaceutical companies saturated the airwaves with commercials for prescription drugs, when commercials featured more benign products, like Buster Brown shoes, Froot Loops, and unfiltered camel cigarettes?  

The never-ending drug commercials are disturbing on so many levels. First, I find it hard to believe that our collective health is so bad that we need a pill for every part of our body. Second, we’re clearly sending a message to our children that no matter what the problem, there’s a pill to fix it. Finally, in the event someone might actually benefit from a prescription drug, the list of possible side effects may lead a logical person to conclude that the risks outweigh the benefits. 

Let me summarize my understanding of possible side effects so you can make an informed decision (oh, and don’t forget to ask your doctor, your pharmacist, your mother-in-law, and your astrologer too).

  • This drug may cause parts of your body to swell up, fall off, or break out in a rash.
  • You may do things in your sleep that you do not remember upon awakening and you may find yourself sleeping with a glowing green butterfly.
  • This drug may cause irrational thoughts and behaviors.
  • This drug may make you more susceptible to the bubonic plague, monkey pox, and a variety of other rare deadly diseases.
  • Rarely, there have been reports of webbed feet, spontaneous combustion, and severe irreversible twitching.
  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, walk and chew gum, or apply your make-up until you know how this drug affects you.
  • This drug may not be suitable for women who are pregnant, nursing, may become pregnant, or who are female.
  • If you can no longer see, hear, smell, or speak, call your doctor right away.
  • If you are unconscious, dying, or already dead, stop taking the drug and call your doctor right away.

 Now, I know this is scary stuff, but we should all be reassured by the expertise, research, and massive amounts of marketing that back up each and every drug. And, if you take multiple prescription drugs that may or may not help you and may or may not harm you, at the very least your purchase of those drugs is helping to support the economy.  So, thanks for that and I wish you the best of health.