Dr. Norman Allan's

Vol 1, No. 5,
June/July 2005

  *   newspaper clippings
   open house
*   archives
*   what's new in my "practice".
Again, the bulk of this newsletter is made up of items I seen in the press, related to health, that you might have missed, that might be of interest.

It's also an opportunity for me to tell you about my
open house on Thurs. from 3 to 6 pm.
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Newspaper clippings
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"Drug data opens up"
Toronto Star, 26 May 2005

    "Patients and doctors can now learn more about possible side effects of medications. Access to that information, restricted for years by Health Canada, was opened to the public for the first time yesterday through the health ministry's website. ... anyone can now view Health Canada's national database of reported adverse reactions ...

    "The reports cover everything from cancer treatments to heartburn pills, as well as nonprescription drugs and natural health products.
    "With some 5,300 prescription drugs on the Canadian market and roughly 9,000 adverse drug reactions reported annually...
    " ... The government now relies on periodic reports from drug manufacturers and voluntary reporting of adverse events from doctors and hospitals for its data. Experts estimate only 1 to 10 percent of adverse drug reactions are ever reported. (My underlining)

    Prof. Bruce Pomeranz published a report in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in 1998 showing correctly prescribed pharmaceuticals to be the fifth leading cause of death in America (falling between traffic accidents and homicide) with 80,000 to 120,000 fatalities per year. (Incorrectly prescribed medicines account for half as much again, 40,000 to 60,000.)
    At lunch, in the mid-nineties, Bruce was telling that he and Julian, his assistant, had found that papers on adverse drug reactions (ADCs) fell into two distinct populations. Most estimated ADRs at about 1% of prescriptions, but there was a small population of papers that clustered around 15%. On scrutiny, the 1% papers were "retrospective" - you prescribe, and then you see what's reported back to you. The 15% group were "prospective" - you prescribe and then you follow all those patients. Proscriptive studies are much more reliable. Indeed, we can ignore the retrospective studies as underreported and unreliable.

Item in the New York times, 31 May 2005: "According to a study published last week in Archives of internal Medicine... Among 937 randomly selected admissions .. at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs medical center, researchers found 483 drug events that they considered significant"!

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"Injecting on wart eradicates many more"
Toronto Star, 20 May 2005

Injecting a wart with "substance used to test a person's immunity" to mumps, candida, and trichophyton (athlete's foot) caused the wart to disappear (60% of the time), and about half of those with multiple warts saw all their warts disappear. "...because the injection pricks the immune system into mounting a defense against mumps, candida, and trichophyton, at the same time it stirs up white blood cells to take care of the human papilloma virus that causes warts."

This use of one pathogen to treat another is reminiscent of the work of Virginia Livingstone, who in the 1960s and 70s used the Tuberculosis vaccine, "BCG", as a treatment against cancer. While BCG was ineffective against TB, it did seem, at times, to turn on the body's immune system and to help with cancer.

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There were many articles this month on the cholesterol reducing drugs, the statins. Not too surprising as the statins are now the number one money producing drug category. And, shoot! I've mislaid the latest piece on ADRs with the statins. It's muscle damage and, consequently, kidney damage, and also liver damage. It's in the range of 20 per million (but multiply that by 10 to 100 - see above).

Several widely reported studies suggest that statins may cut the risk of cancer.

"Pfizer Stirs Concern With Plans To sell Heart Drugs Only as Pair" New York Times 7 March 2005
    Pfizer are working on a new drug, torcetrapib, which raises "good cholesterol", HDL levels. They plan to market torcetrapib only in combination with their leading statin, Lipitor. (Statins lower "bad cholesterol", LDLs.) Critics say it is a marketing ploy to extend their patent protection on Lipitor. Pfizer says it makes good medical sense. (But is Pfizer your doctor?)
    "Lipitor's importance to Pfizer is hard to overstate. The company had sales of $10.9 billion for the drug last year worldwide, and its pretax profit from the pill topped $8 billion, analysts say. ...
    "The combination pill may also protect lipitor from generic competition after Pfizer loses its patent on Lipitor in 2010. ...

    Much later in the article: "Dr. Taylor, a cardiologist... noted that patients who wanted to raise their HDL already had one proven alternative, the vitamin niacin (vitamin B3). Studies have shown that niacin can raise HDL by more than 30%. ... Pfizer is not require to test torcetrapib against niacin."
    "Dr. Brown ... said he wished that doctors would use niacin more often to raise HDL cholesterol."
    Niacin is indeed a wonderful remedy (for instance, it may be useful for anxiety), however, niacin causes dramatic "flushing" - you turn lobster red for an hour or two - and while this is not "pathological" and causes you no harm, it can be a social problem, and many find it unpleasant.
    Niacin will also directly lower blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure), but to get these effects rather high doses of B3 are needed.

I believe that the best way to raise HDL (and lower LDL) is to ingest lots of omega-3 oils - flax seed and hemp oil, for instance - and if you are not a vegetarian (why not?), then fish and fish oils.



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"The more fast-food outlets, the higher the death rate"
Toronto Star 12 May 2005

The study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science, published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, looked at 380 regions in Ontario and found nearly twice the heart attacks, chest pains, and death in areas with high densities of fast-food restaurants. This not surprising study, not surprisingly, raised the ire of the Canadian Restaurant and food association which, not surprisingly, called the report flawed.

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"Cold cuts, red meat boost odds of cancer in men: Study" Toronto Star 21 April 2005


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"Perils of Pain Relief Often Hid in Tiny Type"
New York Times, 3 May 2005

   "... Each year, more than 100,000 calls related to acetaminophen (Tylenol) are made to poison control centers in the United States, and about 150 acetaminophen-related deaths are reported. Some cases result from deliberate overdoses by people trying to commit suicide. But many others are accidental, like the one described in the journal: an 18-month-old child with a fever and cough for three days who had been given acetaminophen every two to four hours.
   "Other cases result when people whose livers are damaged by other diseases (or medications!) take acetaminophen..."

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Acupuncture points: specificity questioned.

A German study reported in JAMA, 4 May 2005, studied migraines suffered and acupuncture. 51% of patients who were treated with authentic acupuncture points reported at least 50% improvement, 53% of patients needled at sham points, and 15% of controls (patients waiting for treatment). (Source" New York Times

I would take this study with a pinch of salt. I will need to go and look at the original article.

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"Does a low-fat diet foil breast cancer?
New study says it cuts risk by 24%
Some experts urge caution on findings"

    The caution that I would urge on this study is that it wasn't really much of a low-fat diet at all - "The low-fat group averaged 33.3 grams of fat a day compared to 51.3 grams for the others". We might expect that a diet that is really low in saturated animal fat will give much more protection.

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"Some Extra Heft May Be Helpful, New Study Says" New York Times, 20 April 2005

A study by statisticians and epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the centers for Disease control and Prevention published in AMA found/claimed that moderately overweight people lived longer than "normal weight" and that, while the moderately obese had more than the nor weight group, they faired better than the under weight. Only the extremely obese did worse than the under weight.

"Study tying Longer life To Extra Pounds Draws Fire" New York Times, 27 may 2005

Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health and the American cancer Society challenged the study claiming that other studies have found that the death risk from excess ponds increases continuously from normal weight to overweight to obesity.

Well at least now you get your choice. The journalist noted that one of the authors of the heft is best study, a Dr. Williamson, was overweight.

Opinion amongst most holistic practitioners is that lean is healthy. I recall a snippet on one of David Susuki's Nature if things CBC TV show where three groups of mice were established. One ate normal kibble. One group, the "gourmet mice", had constant access to kibble, but also frequent access to all sorts of treats. A third group ate kibble two days and fasted the third. All the gourmet mice perished quickly. One the show they showed a fat, inactive tumorous "normal" mouse, with a sleek lean fasting mouse scooting around it. (Note: a mouse one day fast might be equivalent to a human seven day fast.)

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"Calcium cuts colon cancer risk, study finds"
Toronto Star, 19 April 2005

"The long-term use of calcium supplements produces a protective effect that lasts for years against developing pre-cancerous colon polyps. a new study", presented at the American Association of cancer Research, shows.

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"Adult obesity linked to weight gain as newborn, study finds" Globe and Mail 19 April 2005

"The amount of weight an infant gains in the first week of life appears to establish a pattern that will mark them for life, according to a new study.
   "In fact, the faster a newborn gains weight in the first few days, the more likely the infant is to end up overweight as an adult."

   The study was published in Circulation, the journal of the American Hearty Association.
   "The new research was conducted exclusively on formula-fed children. It is well established that babies who breastfeed put on weight much more slowly and steadily. ...
   "Animal studies have shown that overfeeding in the first few days of life leads to long-term obesity, possibly from programming in the developing brain or the endocrine system."

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Dr. Norman Allan's Newsletter, May 2005: snippets from newspapers, various, which I hope are of interest.

Dr. Norman Allan's Newsletter, March/April 2005: an essay on immune tonics published in "Healthy Directions" - and snippets from newspapers, various, which I hope are of interest.

Dr. Norman Allan's Newsletter, February 2005: snippets from newspapers, various, which I hope are of interest - and a discussion of "C Reactive Protein" as an indicator of risk for heart disease.

Dr. Norman Allan's Newsletter, January 2005: snippets from newspapers, various.

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  What's new in my "practice":-  

Office Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday

8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Open House
Thursdays, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Dr. Allan is available on Thursday afternoons to answer questions and to demonstrate techniques.

Treatments are available during these times on a donation basis.

  As of December first 2004 chiropractic was "delisted". I am biting the bullet: I am not raising my fees. We still offer acupuncture, chiropractic, counseling, craniosacral therapy, herbs, homeopathy, trigenics... at the same cost to patients ($30 for 15 minutes, $120 per hour: brief chiropractic sessions - 5 minutes, simple adjustments - $15)  
  visit Dr. Allan's home page at