Dr. Norman Allan's

Vol 1, No. 3,
March/April 2005


*   newspaper clippings
*  herbs for the immune system
*   Archives
what's new in my "practice".


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Newspaper clippings



"Diet lowered cholesterol as much as drug therapy

A diet rich in fibre and vegetables lowered cholesterol just as much (more, in fact) as taking a statin drug, Canadian researchers reported yesterday ... writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Globe and Mail 8 Feb 2005

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"Sudden Stress Breaks Heart..."
New York Times 10 Feb 2005

"Sudden emotional stress - from grief, fear, anger or shock - can cause heart failure, in a little known and poorly understood syndrome that seems to affect primarily women...
     A death in the family, an armed robbery, a car accident, a biopsy procedure and a surprise party were among the events that sent 18 women and one man to coronary care units...
     Most were older: their median age was 63, but one was 27, another 32...
     The new research on the condition, nicknamed broken heart syndrome by the doctors, suggests there may be some truth to the old idea that people can be scared to death or die from sorrow...
     ...patients had unusually high levels of stress-related chemicals and hormones like adrenaline...
     The researcher's scientific name for the condition is stress cardiomyopathy. It is not a heart attack... The patients recovered fully and ... did not suffer lasting damage to the heart muscle.
     ... Emotional stress can bring on a heart attack in someone who has coronary disease. But with stress-induced heart failure patients do not have ... patches of dead heart muscle. They have a weakening of the heart that decreases its ability to pump, but it is temporary.
     The prognosis seems to be excellent...
     How often the condition occurs is not know. But the severity seems to range from mild to deadly.
     ... researchers measured adrenaline and related stress hormones in 13 patients with the syndrome, and found the levels to be 2 to 3 times those in people having severe heart attacks and 7 to 34 time normal levels.
     ... so far, none of the patients describes in the article had had repeat episodes...

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Toronto Team Uses Brain "Pacemaker"… (to) Ease Depression
Toronto Star 1st March 2005

In patients with depression the subgenual cingulate nucleus is often seen to be over active. Doctor Andres Lazano of the Toronto Western Hospital and Helen Mayberg of Toronto's Baycrest Center implanted electrodes into the subgenual cingulate nucleus, in 6 patients debilitated by severe depression and non-responsive to drugs, cognitive therapy, or electric shock treatment. By electrical stimulating the nucleus they were able to regulate, and reduce, its activity. 4 of the 6 patients showed dramatic improvement in mood. The electrodes and pacemaker are implanted, the stimulation/regulation is continuous, and the benefits have persisted for over a year in those patients who responded positively.
This research was published in the journal Neuron.

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Acid Indigestion and the Pharmacy.

I've recently come across three articles of the commonly used "heartburn" medications called proton-pump inhibitors. (Acidity is the presents of excess protons - hydrogen ions. Proton pumps create this excess, so inhibiting them blocks acidity.)

"Side Effect: Pneumonia?"

A large Dutch study (360,000!) of medicines used for acid-reflux, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that proton-pump inhibitors, Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, increased the incidence of pneumonia by 89%, while the less potent drugs, Pepcid and Tagamet, raised the risk of pneumonia by 63%.
Time magazine, 8th Nov 2004

Marketing Issues

The New York Times on 22nd Feb 2005 reports that: of the five popular proton-pump inhibitor heartburn drugs, only Prilosec is sold without a prescription, but, the manufacturer, AstraZeneca (associated with Merck, and now with Procter & Gamble), appears to be keeping Prilosec in very short supply, so that people will have to use there more expensive "purple pill", Nexium, on which they spent $110,000,000 in television advertising last year.
Americans spent $13,500,000,000 last year of proton-pump inhibitors, second only as a class to the cholesterol reducing statins.

An article in the New York Times on the 2nd Mar 2005 enlarges on, and confuses the Prilosec story. Some shenanigans with the FDA leaves AstraZeneca's Prilosec as the only proton-pump inhibitors that can be sold over the counter, and yet it is kept in short supply. Proctor & Gamble and AstraZeneca say that they underestimated the demand for the drug. Prilosec cast 70 cents a pill; Nexium cost $4 a bill. AstraZeneca spent $260,000,000 in 2003 promoting Nexium. Thanks largely to Nexium, AstraZeneca's profits rose from $3,000,000,000 in 2003 to $3.800,000,000 in 2004.

Proton-pump inhibitors account for 6% of all drug costs.

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Herbs for the Immune System

(this article appeared in Healthy Dimensions February/March edition.)

Winter may turn our thoughts to skiing and skating and colds and flu. Beyond the proverbial chicken soup (or miso soup for vegetarians) what can we do? Of course, improving our general health is the fundamental. Fortunately, with the immune system, there are a whole bushel-full of useful herbs.

Surface Immune Stimulants
(SIS) can be used where we want an immediate benefit with acute infections. The best known SIS is Echinacea, the Purple Cone Flower. Echinacea can be used at the onset, or during the course of a cold or flu, or for other infections.

As I was saying, the most effective way to take most herbs is as "tinctures". Tinctures are made by immersing the fresh chopped herb in alcohol to extract both the fat soluble and water soluble constituents. The volatile essential oils are often contribute to the plant's medicinal activity and they can be easily lost in dry preparations.
1 to 2 ml (milliliters) three times a day, on an empty stomach (away from food), is a reasonable dose. A milliliter is roughly a teaspoon. Most herbs are safe and we are rarely trying to give an exact dose. You must use your intuition and your common sense.

Echinacea, rather uniquely, needs to be "pulsed". You can use it intensely for a few days and then take a break. This is not on account of any toxicity, but because it is more effective when pulsed.
Another SIS is Taheebo or Pau d'Arco. I believe that Taheebo works quite well as a tea or infusion. Taheebo is also a weak deep immune tonic (DIT).

Deep Immune Tonics (DIT) subtly strengthen the immune system. They need to be used over a relatively long period of time: six weeks, for example. Some Russian researchers investigating Siberian Ginseng observed that this DIT seemed to generally aid the body in dealing with stress and coined the term "adaptogen" to describe this property. All the DIT are adaptogens. Most famous is Asian Ginseng, Panax ginseng. Asian Ginseng is a "hot" remedy best used for "cold" conditions. North American Ginseng is a "cold" remedy best used for "hot" conditions. When in doubt, consult!
In Chinatown Ginseng is often found as soluble "extracts" in glass vials. My friend Dr. Xiao advises that you get a brand that claims to have at least 2000 mg of extract. Observing Dr. Xiao drinking her extract I asked, "Isn't Ginseng suppose to be a herb for men, being very "yang"?" "Oh, it is very "yang", and this is good for women too. But some men do not approve of ballsy women," said the good doctor.

Siberian Ginseng, a cousin of the Panax species, is neither hot nor cold, but is balanced between yin and yang. Siberian Ginseng is useful under almost any conditions.

Well contrived formulations of several complementary herbs work much better then "simples". To put a formula together intelligently takes a little knowledge, so again you might want to consult a herbalist. Meanwhile, taking Siberian Ginseng as a "simple" would certainly be safe and helpful.

In a season where the recent shortage of flu vaccine has focused some attention on winter infections, the DIT (Deep Immune Tonics) can offer us some help in strengthening our immune systems and coping with stress.

see also "immune tonics

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

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


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  What's new in my "practice":- same old, same...  

Office Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday

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

Open House
most Thursdays
2:00 to 6:00 p.m.

  As of December first 2004 chiropractic was "delisted". Provincial health insurance no longer pays us the pittance it used to ($9.65 per visit up to $150 per year), so I'm biting the bullet and will not raise my fees at this time.

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)




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