Allergies - what happened in the last 50 years



   Why your grandparents didn't have food allergies...but you do

Did your grandparents have food allergies? Mine sure didn't. A stark comparison to the growing epidemic of  food allergies, worsening with every generation.

So why didn't your grandparents have food allergies? It's really quite simple...

1. They ate seasonal real food.

Food came from farms and small markets in the early 1900′s, and because food preservatives were not widely used yet, food was fresh. Because of the lack of processed food, their diets were nutrient dense allowing them to get the nutrition they needed from their food.


For babies, breast milk was valued and it was always in season.

2. They didn't diet, and play restrictive games with their body and metabolism. They ate food when food was available.

Our grandparents did not fall victim to fad diets, food marketing, calorie counting, and other detrimental dieting habits that are popular today (in part because the marketing infrastructure didn't exist yet). Because of this they had a healthy metabolism, and ate according to their body's needs and cravings.

3. They cooked food at home, using traditional preparation methods from scratch.

Buying processed food was not an option, and eating out was a rare luxury. Lucky for our grandparents these habits actually increased their health.

In the past, lunch and dinner were moments of socializing with family and friends. Foods approached with love and traditionally. Today, the hustle and bustle of life makes us anxious and under stress so much that sometimes we do not even remember to eat

4. They didn't eat GMO's, food additives, stabilizers and thickeners.

Food was not yet treated with additives, antibiotics and hormones to help preserve shelf life and pad the pockets of food producers in the early 1900′s at the expense of the consumer's health.

5. They ate the whole animal that included mineral rich bone broths and organ meats.

Animal bones were saved or bought to make broths and soups, and organ meats always had a special place at the dinner table. These foods were valued for their medicinal properties, and never went to waste.

6. They didn't go to the doctor when they felt sick or take prescription medications. Doctor visits were saved for accidental injuries and life threatening illness.

When they got a fever, they waited it out. When they felt sick, they ate soups, broths and got lots of rest. They did not have their doctor or nurse on speed dial, and trusted the body's natural healing process a whole lot more than we do today. Their food was medicine, whether they realized it or not.

Most of us like spring after cold and depressing winters, but sadly many of us suffer from allergies that completely disable us to enjoy the flowering of meadows or walking through the woods

7. They spent lots of time outside.

Our grandparents didn't have the choice to stay inside and play on their phones, computers and gaming systems. They played on the original play-station: bikes, swing-sets and good ol' mother nature!

And what do these things have to do with food allergies?


Nutrition affects EVERY cell in our body. The health of our cells is dependent on diet and lifestyle. Cells create tissues, tissues create organs, and we are made up of a system of organs. If your nutrition is inadequate, the integrity of each cell, tissue and organ in your body will suffer, thus you may be MORE sensitive to certain foods.






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Health Benefits of the Natural Squatting Position



   The truth about poo: We're doing it wrong

Who knew sitting on the toilet was bad for you? In her best-selling book Charming Bowels, microbiologist Giulia Enders explains how to go to the loo. 

In my large Italian family, I grew up with the subject of poo, bottoms and constipation readily - and far too frequently - discussed at the dinner table. I'd be about to raise a ravioli to my mouth, only to hear how someone's piles had popped, just that morning. 

This doesn't mean I'm anal (sorry) about the subject. It's fascinating away from the lunch table. Late last year, I read that we are pooing all wrong: we should be squatting, not sitting, on a toilet bowl. Then a book called Charming Bowels by Giulia Enders caused something of a storm in its native Germany and I got fully immersed in the subject. 

Enders is studying in Frankfurt for her medical doctorate in microbiology. She is utterly, charmingly obsessed with the gut, gut bacteria and poo. She writes and talks about her subject matter with such child-like enthusiasm, it's infectious. And, yes, we have been pooing all wrong. Enders tells me about various studies that show that we do it more efficiently if we squat. This is because the closure mechanism of the gut is not designed to "open the hatch completely" when we're sitting down or standing up: it's like a kinked hose. Squatting is far more natural and puts less pressure on our bottoms. She says: "1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms." Lovely. 


But not to worry. Although you can climb on your toilet seat and squat ("It might be fun!"), we can iron out the kink by sitting with our feet on a little stool and leaning forward. The book even has a helpful drawing by Enders' sister. 

Then there are the sphincters. One of them we probably all know about - the one we open consciously - but there is also another, inner one, which is operated unconsciously. This ani internus sends a sample into the chamber between the inner and outer sphincter for the sensor cells to analyse and decide if it's "safe" to fart or poo: "Yes, you're at home. No, you're in the office." If it's not safe, the sensors send it back in. But, if the inner sphincter is ignored enough times - say, because we are too shy to go to the loo for fear of being overheard - it sulks and can switch off. That's one of the reasons constipation can occur. 

Enders loves her inner sphincter. "Learning about those two sphincters really changed my perspective on life," she says. "Those inner nerves don't care for other people; they have no eyes or ears. Finally, something that only thinks of me! So, now I can go to the toilet anywhere. I worship that muscle!" 


But the gut - and Enders' book - is about far more than poo (although there is plenty there, about consistency, frequency, buoyancy, colour and laxatives, to keep the most forensic of scatologists happy). Enders' big thing is bacteria. Our gut, which comprises two-thirds of our immune system, is full of the stuff. Two kilos' worth, in fact. Our bacteria fight pathogens, are involved in blood-group development, digest our food, extract energy, produce hormones and can affect our mood. This gut/brain connection is a fairly new area of medicine, which Enders is very excited about. And she's not alone: the American biochemist Rob Knight told science journal Nature that the field "offered at least as much promise as stem-cell research". 

"There is an increasing interest in the gut microbiota and health and disease," confirms Dr Ayesha Akbar, consultant gastroenterologist at St Mark's hospital in London.

"There is a huge number of gut bacteria which, in health, maintain a balance. However, an imbalance has been linked to many chronic disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. There is a suggestion that they may also be linked to psychiatric disorders and mood, with the majority of evidence coming from animal studies. Further research needs to be performed in humans in this area."

Enders' own interest in this link started when she was a new student. She met a man at a party whose breath was "the worst I have ever smelled - almost faecal". The next day, he killed himself. "Could a diseased gut," she wonders, "also have affected his psychological state?" She is keen, though, to point out that depressive disorders are multifactorial and not always connected to the gut; much more research is needed. The first human study of the effect of intestinal bacteria on the brain was only conducted only two years ago. 

Enders admits that writing about a possible connection between our psychological state and the gut was "the hardest part of the book for me. A professor would have been scared of putting it in the book, but I feel people are being robbed if they don't know about this research."


As well as some serious issues, there are plenty of entertaining nuggets in the book. Did you know that our spit contains a painkiller more powerful than morphine: opiorphin? We have it only in minute quantities, so that we're not off our heads all the time. Eating, though, releases more of the chemical and Enders wonders if this is one factor in comfort eating. And guess what? Your appendix - that bit of people always say is of no use - is actually made entirely of immune tissue and is a veritable larder of the best, most useful bacteria for the gut. 

Enders' book is full of stuff like this. I hate to say it, but it is the perfect toilet book. Thankfully, it has also been translated into Italian, so that's Christmas sorted. 




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Problems and diseases of the human eye



   Structure of the human eye and how it works

The human eye belongs to a general group of eyes found in nature called "camera-type eyes." Just as a camera lens focuses light onto film, a structure in the eye called the cornea focuses light onto a light-sensitive membrane called the retina. 


   Structure of the eye

The cornea is a transparent structure found in the very front of the eye that helps to focus incoming light. Situated behind the pupil is a colorless, transparent structure called the crystalline lens. A clear fluid called the aqueous humor fills the space between the cornea and the iris.


"The cornea focuses most of the light, then it passes through the lens, which continues to focus the light," explained Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Behind the cornea is a colored, ring-shaped membrane called the iris. The iris has an adjustable circular opening called the pupil, which can expand or contract to control the amount of light entering the eye, Fromer said.

Ciliary muscles surround the lens. The muscles hold the lens in place but they also play an important role in vision. When the muscles relax, they pull on and flatten the lens, allowing the eye to see objects that are far away. To see closer objects clearly, the ciliary muscle must contract in order to thicken the lens.


The interior chamber of the eyeball is filled with a jelly-like tissue called the vitreous humor. After passing through the lens, light must travel through this humor before striking the sensitive layer of cells called the retina.

   The retinaLayer in Human Eye Discovered

Fromer explained that the retina is the innermost of three tissue layers that make up the eye. The outermost layer, called the sclera, is what gives most of the eyeball its white color. The cornea is also a part of the outer layer.

The middle layer between the retina and sclera is called the choroid. The choroid contains blood vessels that supply the retina with nutrients and oxygen and remove its waste products.


Embedded in the retina are millions of light sensitive cells, which come in two main varieties: rods and cones.

Rods are used for monochrome vision in poor light, while cones are used for color and for the detection of fine detail. Cones are packed into a part of the retina directly behind the retina called the fovea, which is responsible for sharp central vision.

When light strikes either the rods or the cones of the retina, it's converted into an electric signal that is relayed to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain then translates the electrical signals into the images a person sees, Fromer said.

   Vision problems/diseases

The most common problems with vision are nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness, (hyperopia), a defect in the eye caused by nonspherical curvature (astigmatism) and age-related farsightedness (presbyopia), according to the National Eye Institute.

Most people will develop presbyopia in their 40s or 50s, and start needing reading glasses, Fromer said. With age, the lens gets denser, making it harder for the ciliary muscles to bend the lens, he said.

The leading causes of blindness in the United States include cataracts (clouding of the lens), age-related macular degeneration (deterioration of the central retina), glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve), and diabetic retinopathy (damage to retinal blood vessels), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other common disorders include amblyopia ("lazy eye") and strabismus (crossed eyes), the CDC says.


   Layer in Human Eye Discovered

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown layer lurking in the human eye.

The newfound body part, dubbed Dua's layer, is a skinny but tough structure measuring just 15 microns thick, where one micron is one-millionth of a meter and more than 25,000 microns equal an inch. It sits at the back of the cornea, the sensitive, transparent tissue at the very front of the human eye that helps to focus incoming light, researchers say.



The feature is named for its discoverer, Harminder Dua, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Nottingham. Dua said in a statement that the finding will not only change what ophthalmologists know about human eye anatomy, but it will also make operations safer and simpler for patients with an injury in this layer.

"From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea, which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer," Dua said in a statement.

Dua and colleagues, for example, believe that a tear in the Dua layer is what causes corneal hydrops, which occurs when water from inside the eye rushes in and leads to a fluid buildup in the cornea. This phenomenon is seen in patients with keratoconus, a degenerative eye disorder that causes the cornea to take on a cone shape.

Dua's layer adds to the five previously known layers of the cornea: the corneal epithelium at the very front, followed by Bowman's layer, the corneal stroma, Descemet's membrane and the corneal endothelium at the very back.

Dua and colleagues found the new layer between the corneal stroma and Descemet's membrane through corneal transplants and grafts on eyes donated for research. They injected tiny air bubbles to separate the different layers of the cornea and scanned each using an electron microscope.

 
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How to Sleep Better



   Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

How you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for daytime fatigue and sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine and lifestyle choices. Experiment with the following tips to find the ones that work best to improve your sleep and leave you feeling productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.


What you can do:

1. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday
2. Get as much natural sunlight as possible
3. Move vigorously during the day—don't sit for more than an hour
4. Limit caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and big meals at night
5. Take time for relaxing activities before sleep
6. Create a calm and restful sleep environment


How can I get a better night's sleep?

Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as “sleep hygiene"—that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.

Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality.

Source: Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine




Tip 1: Keep in sync with your body's natural sleep-wake cycle


Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better. If you keep a regular sleep-wake schedule you’ll feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times, even if you only alter your sleep schedule by an hour or two.

Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock, you may need an earlier bedtime.

Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.

Be smart about napping. While napping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make things worse. Limit them to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.

Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.


Tip 2: Control your exposure to light


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark—making you sleepy—and less when it’s light—making you more alert. However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm.

Tips for keeping your sleep-wake cycle on track


During the day:

Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. The closer to the time you get up, the better. Have your coffee outside, for example, or eat breakfast by a sunny window. The light on your face will help you wake up

Spend more time outside during daylight. Take your work breaks outside in sunlight, exercise outside, or walk your dog during the day instead of at night.

Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.

If necessary, use a light therapy box. This simulates sunshine and can be especially useful during short winter days.


At night:

Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime. The blue light emitted by your phone, tablet, computer, or TV is especially disruptive. You can minimize the impact by using devices with smaller screens, turning the brightness down, or using light-altering software such as f.lux.

Say no to late-night television. Not only does the light from a TV suppress melatonin, but many programs are stimulating rather than relaxing. Try listening to music or audio books instead.

Don't read with backlit devices. Tablets that are backlit are more disruptive than e-readers that don’t have their own light source.

When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark. Use heavy curtains or shades to block light from windows, or try a sleep mask. Also consider covering up electronics that emit light.

Keep the lights down if you get up during the night. If you need some light to move around safely, try installing a dim nightlight in the hall or bathroom or using a small flashlight. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.


Tip 3: Exercise vigorously during the day

Regular exercisers sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
~ The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality.
~  It can take several months of regular activity before you experience the full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and focus on building an exercise habit that sticks.

For better sleep, time your exercise right

Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature, and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. This isn’t a problem if you’re exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to bed and it can interfere with sleep.

Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.


Tip 4: Be smart about what you eat and drink

Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime.

Limit caffeine and nicotine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Similarly, smoking  is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.

Avoid big meals at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

Avoid alcohol before bed. While a nightcap may help you relax, it interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out.

Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.




Nighttime snacks help you sleep

For some people, a light snack before bed can help promote sleep. For others, eating before bed can lead to indigestion and make sleeping more difficult. If you need a bedtime snack, try:

~ Half a turkey sandwich
~ A small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
~ Granola with milk or yogurt
~ A banana



Tip 5: Wind down and clear your head

Do you find yourself unable to sleep or waking up night after night? Residual stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it very difficult to sleep well.

~ If anxiety or chronic worrying dominates your thoughts at night, there are steps you can take to learn how to stop worrying and look at life from a more positive perspective. Even counting sheep is more productive than worrying at bedtime.
~ If the stress of work, family, or school is keeping you awake, you may need help with stress management. By learning how to manage your time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you’ll be able to sleep better at night.
~ The more overstimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be slow down and unwind at night. During the day, many of us overstress our brains by constantly interrupting tasks to check our phones, emails, or social media. Try to set aside specific times for these things, and focus on one task at a time. When it comes to getting to sleep at night, your brain won’t be accustomed to seeking fresh stimulation and you’ll be better able to unwind.

Relaxation techniques for better sleep

Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. Try:

Deep breathing. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.

Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head.

Visualizing a peaceful, restful place. Close your eyes and imagine a place that’s calming and peaceful. Concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.


Bedtime rituals to help you relax

Create a “toolbox” of relaxing bedtime rituals to help you unwind before sleep. For example:

~ Read a book or magazine by a soft light
~ Take a warm bath
~ Listen to soft music
~ Do some easy stretches
~ Wind down with a favorite hobby
~ Listen to books on tape
~ Make simple preparations for the next day
~ Dim the lights in the hours leading up to bed


Tip 6: Improve your sleep environment

A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.

Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet

Keep noise down. If you can't avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help.

Keep your room cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support.

Reserve your bed for sleeping and sex. By not working, watching TV, or using your computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex and make it easier to wind down at night.


Tip 7: Learn ways to get back to sleep

It’s normal to wake briefly during the night but if you’re having trouble falling back asleep, these tips may help:

Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall asleep again, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, “Ahhh.” Take another breath and repeat.

Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. If you find it hard to fall back asleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed. Even though it’s not a replacement for sleep, relaxation can still help rejuvenate your body.

Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. If you’ve been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity, such as reading a book. Keep the lights dim and avoid screens so as not to cue your body that it’s time to wake up.

Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve. Similarly, if a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive after a good night’s rest.


I hope you now know all the little secrets that will help us to sleep peacefully. Good night!



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Chemo Kills up to 50% of Patients within 30 days



SHOCKING STUDY: Chemo Kills up to 50% of Patients within 30 days in Some Hospitals

For decades now, many scientists have been raising red flags that chemotherapy can oftentimes do more harm than good, and in a surprisingly large number of cases, it simply does not work.

Dr. Hardin B. Jones, a former Professor of Medical Physics and Physiology at Berkeley, California, studied the impact of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery on the survival rates of cancer patients, and found that instead of prolonging lives, these treatments actually make the patients die almost four times sooner. This was found more than 40 years ago, and yet not much has changed in the way the hospitals treat cancer.

For terminal patients as well, a recent 2016 study in the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society CANCER found that living at home instead of being treated at the hospital prolonged their lives by about 45%.

And now, a new study was just published earlier this month that analyzed 30-day mortality rates caused by the treatment itself: chemotherapy and chemotherapy plus radiation.


 

   Study: Early Mortality Rate Caused by Chemotherapy

The study, published in The Lancet’s Oncology, looked at 23,228 breast and 9,634 lung cancer patients in England.

The results showed high death rates linked to the treatment, increased use of SACTs (systematic anticancer therapies – cytotoxic chemotherapy). The researchers stated it was due “poor clinical decision making.”


“Patients dying within 30 days after beginning treatment with SACT are unlikely to have gained the survival or palliative benefits of the treatment, and in view of the side-effects sometimes caused by SACT, are more likely to have suffered harm,” states the study.

The researchers write that while there a few patients who may have benefited from SACTs, there were too many who were harmed by it, or even killed by the treatment.

Chemotherapy is toxic, and new research points out to just how many patients die from it in the first 30 days of treatment.

In 2014 , the year the study was researched, almost 1,400 patients in England died within 30 days of their first chemotherapy treatment. In some hospitals, the mortality rate was significantly higher than in the others: up to 51% of breast cancer patients died in Milton Keynes (although the number of total patients was small), and up to 29% of lung cancer patients died in Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.


“Simply reducing doses of or avoiding SACT altogether would reduce or eliminate instances of treatment-related early mortality.”


The study was done after noticing a clear lack of data analyzing the risk versus gain of using chemotherapy and mortality rates caused by it in the first 30 days of treatment. As the researchers state, this is the first time this topic has been brought up and investigated at a national level.

The “million dollar questions” (or perhaps “billion dollar” since this is the cancer treatment industry we’re talking about) raised by the researchers included: is chemotherapy use still advocated based on small clinical studies — most sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry?

And it has never been fully studied how well it works in a real hospital setting?


   Do Most Hospitals Know What They Are Even Doing?

The study points out two problems. One is that mortality rate is high due to poor clinical decisions. Perhaps because in most hospitals chemotherapy is given in a one-size-fits all manner or a fixed-dose with no consideration to a patient’s health history, and characteristics such as weight and age.

In England’s database, it was found that for many patients, the doctors did not include why the chemotherapy was given, and the overall health of the patient and the severity of their cancers was never recorded.

Both of these factors, as the study points out, could significantly change the outcome for these patients.

In America, another study found that doctors gave palliative chemotherapy to terminal cancer patients, and in at least two-third of cases, the patient did not know that the treatment could not cure them, but it only alleviated some symptoms, such as pain.

Knowing that the treatment could not help them in the end, would they have searched for alternative options that may have worked better?


  Death Rates from Chemotherapy Are Rarely Properly Documented

The second issue the study found is that mortality rates are hard to analyze because they are not well or properly recorded.


In England’s case, many dates of deaths were simply missing from the national database. Some were documented twice, and the two dates did not match.

This death certificate of a cancer patient states lung cancer as the cause of cancer. Unfortunately, for many cancer patients their death is improperly classified to other conditions.

In America, the national statistic of cancer mortality comes from the death certificates. This is what the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) along with the doctors use to see how many people are die from cancer, and how many people die from the treatment. Unfortunately, the National Cancer Institute reports “cancer” as the cause of death for almost all cancer patients, regardless of what actually caused it, as pointed out in a 2002 article.

This death certificate of a cancer patient states lung cancer as the cause of cancer. Unfortunately, for many cancer patients their death is improperly classified to other conditions.

This article raised concern that “cancer death rates are systematically underestimated, in that many patients who die as a result of cancer treatment do not have cancer recorded as the underlying cause of death.”

For example, they studied patients who died within one month after a cancer-surgery between 1994 and 1998, and 41% of these deaths were not properly recorded. The authors write that cancer treatment was the likely cause of death.


“…Many deaths subsequent to 1 month after cancer-directed surgery may be similarly miscoded.”

Unfortunately, even though the study points out that many death certificates quote some condition other than cancer as the cause of death (such as liver failure), they want the cause of death to be just “cancer.” That would lead to further incorrect data as many patients do die from cancer treatments, and liver failure that would not happen from cancer, is often caused by the toxic chemo drugs. But what this study does show us, is that because of a 1999 revision in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), instead of a cancer or cancer-related death, death certificates now have to show the “underlying” cause of each death, such as: thromboembolism (blood vessel obstruction), infections, organ failures, and hemorrhage (excessive bleeding).

This leads to improper classification and underestimated cancer death rates and statistics.

How many patients die from the treatment instead of cancer?

That is hard to say until every doctor and hospital begins classifying the causes of deaths correctly. Until then, it is important to keep studies like this in mind when considering pros and cons of starting a chemotherapy treatment.

There are more and more alternative options out there – and for many, they do work.


“I think it’s important to make patients aware that there are potentially life threatening downsides to chemotherapy. And doctors should be more careful about who they treat with chemotherapy,” writes one of the study’s co-authors, Professor David Dodwell, Institute of Oncology, St James Hospital, Leeds, UK.



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