agave, fructoseMany people interested in staying healthy have switched to agave as a safer “natural” sweetener. They want to avoid well documented dangerous sweeteners like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) but are unaware that most agave is

In this 60 Minutes report, you’ll learn about a handful of Wall Street outsiders who realized the subprime mortgage business was a house of cards and found a way to bet against it. Michael Lewis talks about the current situation on Wall Street, the large bonuses still being paid and his predictions for the future of the industry.

Michael Lewis was also interviewed on Charlie Rose on March 16th. To see that video, please see this link.

The second video details the tactics employed by Lehman Brothers to effectively hide their crumbling financial status.

I’d like to note that the 60 Minutes report was sponsored by Pfizer, and features a prominent ad for Lipitor off to the side of the Web page. Isn’t it interesting that one of the largest industries responsible for the collapse of the economy is sponsoring this?

This is the company that has distorted and manipulated the truth so that people will pay hundreds of dollars for worthless and dangerous drugs that in no way, shape or form address their health issue, yet they are hoodwinked into believing that if they don’t take them their life is at stake.

So they have to sacrifice, in many cases, being able to purchase wholesome foods and even pay their mortgage, as they believe they will suffer if they fail to take their drugs.

The ad claims that “when diet and exercise are not enough, adding Lipitor can help lower cholesterol.” Of course, adding Lipitor also doubles your risk of a deadly stroke.

I’ll stick with diet and exercise, thanks.


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birth, childbirth, new mom

Pregnancy-related deaths appear to have risen in the U.S. over the past decade, nearly tripling in California, the state with the most careful count. The maternal mortality rate is four times higher than a goal the federal government set for this year.

Maternal mortality gets little public attention in the U.S. Among the leading preventable causes are hemorrhage, DVT-caused pulmonary emboli and uncontrolled blood pressure.

It’s not clear what’s fueling the overall increase, but there are some suspects:

  • A jump in cesarean deliveries that now account for almost a third of births
  • One in five pregnant women is obese, spurring high blood pressure and diabetes
  • More women are having babies in their late 30s and beyond

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

If you didn’t already know this, American medical care is the most expensive in the world.

The U.S. spends more than twice as much on each person for health care as most other industrialized countries. And yet it has fallen to last place among those countries in preventing avoidable deaths through use of timely and effective medical care — and this includes among new moms.

In the last decade, pregnancy-related deaths have gone up a concerning amount. In California, such deaths have tripled in the last 10 years, and overall the maternal mortality rate is 13.3 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births — over four times the U.S. government’s 2010 goal of 3.3.

Why are So Many New Moms Dying?

There are likely a number of contributing factors, but one glaring contributor is most certainly the excessive number of cesarean childbirths.

A woman’s risk of death during delivery is three to five times higher during cesarean than a natural delivery, her risk of hysterectomy four times higher, and her risk of being admitted to intensive care is two times higher.

There are other risks that come with this major surgery as well, including:

  • Infection to various organs including the uterus, bladder or kidneys
  • Increased blood loss
  • Increased risk of complications in future pregnancies
  • Decreased bowel function
  • Respiratory complications
  • Longer hospital stay and recovery time
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Risk of additional surgeries such as hysterectomy or bladder repair

Despite the steep risks, cesarean section is actually the most common operation performed in the United States, and accounts for a whopping 31 percent of births.

This is a rate that even The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists admits is worrisome. It’s also the highest rate ever reported in the United States, and a rate higher than in most other developed countries.

For comparison, according to the World Health Organization, no country is justified in having a cesarean rate greater than 10 percent to 15 percent!

If the cesarean rate were to go down, it’s virtually guaranteed that the maternal death rate would follow.

Obesity Poses Another Risk

Along with the overuse of cesarean surgery, obesity is likely another risk factor. One in five pregnant women is obese, according to USA Today, and other statistics show that over half of women between the childbearing ages of 20 and 39 are overweight or obese.

Obesity can wreak havoc on your health under normal circumstances, but during pregnancy that havoc will affect your unborn child as well as your risks after delivery.

Among the complications associated with obesity during pregnancy are:

  • Increased rates of hypertensive disease, cesarean section and infections
  • Higher rates of blood clots and respiratory complications
  • Independent risk factor for neural tube defects, fetal mortality and preterm delivery
  • Increased risk for having a child who may have an increased risk of subsequent childhood obesity and its associated morbidity

Studies also show that overweight or obese women have a greater tendency than normal-weight women to produce children who will also become overweight.

So it’s important to your health and to your baby’s to keep your weight within reasonable parameters, so you can both avoid problems down the road.

One Simple Way to Help Avoid Cesarean Birth and Other Pregnancy Complications

researcher, money

Dr. Poul Thorsen, a central figure behind the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism and other neurological disorders has disappeared after officials discovered massive fraud involving the theft of millions in taxpayer dollars.

Thorsen was a leading member of a Danish research group that wrote several key studies supporting the CDC’s claims that the MMR vaccine and mercury-laden vaccines were safe for children.

One of his studies has long been criticized as fraudulent, since it failed to disclose that the increase was an artifact of new mandates requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry.

Despite this obvious chicanery, the CDC has long touted the study as the principal proof that mercury-laced vaccines are safe for infants and young children. The mainstream media has relied on this study as the basis for its public assurances that it is safe to inject young children with mercury — a potent neurotoxin — at concentrations hundreds of times over the U.S. safety limits.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long stated there is no evidence that the MMR vaccine, along with other mercury-containing vaccines, cause neurological disorders like autism.

Most recently, in February 2009 the U.S. “vaccine” court rendered judgments on three “test” cases alleging that a combination of thimerosal-containing vaccines and MMR vaccine caused three children to regress into autism, and ruled there was no connection once again.

Now, Dr. Poul Thorsen, who was involved in several key studies that the CDC uses to support their claims that MMR and mercury-containing vaccines are safe, has disappeared — amidst serious fraud charges and with nearly $2 million that was supposedly used for research.

A Fraudulent Study from the Beginning

In 2003, a Danish study that Thorsen was involved with reported there was a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after mercury-based preservatives like thimerosal were banned from vaccines. The conclusion the team came to was that this meant mercury-containing vaccines were safe.

But the study was actually a masterfully done example of lying by omission, because at the same time the autism increase took place a new law had been put into place that required autism cases to be reported on the national level. There was also a new clinic dedicated to autism treatment opened. These two factors were likely the driving forces behind the sudden increase in reported autism cases, but the researchers failed to disclose them.

Despite the obvious ramifications of these omitted “details,” the CDC has relied on this study to “prove” their case that MMR vaccine and mercury are safe for your kids.

Who is Dr. Thorsen, Really?

Dr. Thorsen’s relationship with the CDC stretches much further than just one often-quoted study. As reported by the Huffington Post, “Thorsen, who was a psychiatrist and not a research scientist or toxicologist, parlayed that study into a long-term relationship with CDC.”

Thorsen’s research center, the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA), has received $14.6 million from the CDC since 2002, according to the Huffington Post. Many of the resulting “research” studies from NANEA have been used to support supposed vaccine safety.

It’s not clear when the CDC began to suspect something was fishy, but an investigation by Aarhus University and the CDC uncovered that Thorsen had not only falsified documents but was also receiving salaries from two universities (which is a violation of the universities’ rules). Now, he has vanished, along with $2 million that was released to him for research purposes.

Given the fraudulent nature of Dr. Thorsen’s activities, autism groups and others are demanding the CDC take a second look at Thorsen’s research.

But as you might expect, the CDC is hearing none of it. According to a CDC statement:

“CDC is aware of the allegations by Aarhus University against Poul Thorsen, a Danish doctor who participated in CDC funded research.

For the past 10 years, CDC has had a cooperative agreement with the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI) and Aarhus University in Denmark to conduct research studies on issues such as cerebral palsy, autism, alcohol use in pregnancy and Down syndrome.

Dr. Thorsen was one of many co-authors on these research projects. All of these were subject to extensive peer review and we have no reason to suspect that there are any issues related to the integrity of the science. The allegations that are fiscal in nature against Dr. Thorsen are being looked into by appropriate authorities.”

Do Your Own “Research” Before You Vaccinate

Conflicts of interest run rampant when it comes to vaccine research studies. Sometimes, such as with the MMR vaccine, the conflict is blatant. Other times it takes a more discerning eye to uncover.

Either way, I strongly encourage you to read between the lines when it comes to deciding on whether or not to vaccinate yourself or your children. Whenever you hear or read something in the news, it is so important to examine the source and look for any hidden agendas.

This is especially true when it pertains to your health or the health of your children.

It appears the truth may just come out in the debate over the MMR vaccine’s link to autism. In the meantime, if you’re looking for information to help clear up the whole vaccine controversy in your own mind, the Related Articles below are an excellent starting point.

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back pain

Back pain affects about 8 out of 10 people. But there are many steps you can take to avoid it. One of the best things you can do to prevent back pain is to exercise regularly and keep your back and abdominal muscles strong.

Here are some quick pointers to prevent back problems:

  • Always stretch before any strenuous physical activity (in fact it would be wise to engage in a regular stretching program like active isolated stretching, which is what I use every day)
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting
  • Sit in chairs or car seats with good lumbar support
  • Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension
  • Don’t bend over without supporting your back
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes
  • Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine, and always sleep on a firm surface
  • Lift with your legs, keeping your back straight
  • Try to control your weight
  • If you smoke, quit; smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes the spinal discs to degenerate

Also, to keep your spine strong, as with all bones, you need to get enough vitamin D every day.


Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

According to statistics from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), approximately 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Fifty percent of all working adults say they have back pain, and it’s one of the most common reasons for missed work.

The ACA also estimates that Americans spend at least $50 billion annually on back pain treatments!

So what causes back pain?

Naturally, accidents and sports injuries can be the cause of the pain, but a number of other factors can contribute to back pain, including:

  • Poor posture
  • Obesity
  • Poor physical conditioning facilitated by inactivity.
  • Psychological/emotional stress
  • Internal disease, such as kidney stones, infections, blood clots
  • Osteoporosis (bone loss)

Here we’ll take a look at several all natural, non-drug, non-surgical remedies for this common problem.

Pain in the Back? Look to the Front!

Many people fail to realize that many times the pain actually originates from the opposite side of where it hurts.

For example, the very act of sitting for long periods of time ends up shortening the iliopsoas muscles that connect from your lumbar region to the top of your femur, at the front.

When these muscles are shortened, it can cause severe pain when you stand up as they will effectively pull your lower back (lumbar) forward. Many people end up going through drastic medical procedures to “fix” this type of pain, or end up taking pain killers for extended periods of time, when in fact it can be easily remedied by massaging the iliopsoas muscle to release it.

(Please note that this type of massage should ONLY be done by a qualified massage therapist, as your vena cava – a large diameter vein – runs nearby. In rare instances, if a person is prone to aneurisms, pushing on the vena cava could cause an aneurism. This massage technique is a deep one, but should be done gently.)

You can also use mild stretching to counteract the shortening of your iliopsoas, especially if you sit for long periods of time every day.

Likewise, having firm abdominal muscles is like having a built-in internal corset that not only holds your gut in, but also stabilizes your spine, vertebrae and discs. Many can completely eliminate their back pain simply by developing stronger abdominal muscles.

Chiropractic as a First Line of Defense for Acute Back Pain

Seeing a qualified chiropractor is certainly a wise option if you suffer from back pain. I am an avid believer in the chiropractic philosophy, which places a strong emphasis on your body’s innate healing wisdom and far less reliance on band-aids like drugs and surgery.

Chiropractic, osteopathic, and naturopathic physicians receive extensive training in the management of musculoskeletal disorders during their course of graduate healthcare training, which typically lasts from 4-6 years.

Due to their comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management, numerous sources of evidence have shown that chiropractic management is much safer, and less expensive, than allopathic medical treatments, particularly for low-back pain.

One such study, published in 1993, found that chiropractic management of low-back pain is superior to allopathic medical management in terms of safety, effectiveness, and cost, concluding:

“There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of LBP (low-back pain) was transferred from medical physicians to chiropractors.”

In addition, researchers have also found that chiropractic adjustments affect the chemistry of biological processes on a cellular level!

What that means is that chiropractic care can affect the basic physiological processes that influence oxidative stress and DNA repair, so in addition to addressing any immediate spinal misalignment that might cause pain, it can also address deeper dysfunction in your body.

Many people do not realize that there’s a whole lot more to chiropractic care than just pushing bones into place. In fact, “vitalism” is a basic foundation of chiropractic philosophy. It’s the recognition that your body has an intrinsic, innate life force that guides and directs your body’s healing process.

I previously published an article on this topic, written by Dr. Ben Lerner, the chiropractor who developed The Center for Maximized Living, and I encourage you to read through it for more information.

But getting back to back pain specifically, a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2007 titled Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society concluded the only recommendation for active treatment of acute low back pain in people who do not improve with other self-care options is spinal adjustment.

For chronic or subacute low back pain, they recommend using “intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation, exercise therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, yoga, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or progressive relaxation.”

If you need help finding a chiropractor near you, this easy-to-use online resource can help you locate a chiropractor in your area.

This Little-Known Technique Can Work Wonders for Many

If you suffer from back pain and you’ve never heard of neuro-structural integration technique (NST), now’s the time to bone up.

Unlike massage or other manipulations that try to force a change, NST simply “resets” your body to heal itself. The results are profound and lasting, and usually apparent within two or three sessions.

NST is a gentle, non-invasive technique that stimulates your body’s reflexes. Simple movements are done across muscles, nerves and connective tissue, which helps your neuromuscular system to reset all related tension levels, promoting natural healing.

It is completely safe and appropriate for everyone from highly trained athletes, to newborns, pregnant women, and the elderly and infirm.

I will be offering a great NST DVD shortly, which can teach you more about this exciting system. For a more in-depth explanation of NST, please see this previous article written by Michael Nixon Levy who developed the technique.

To find an NST therapist near you, see our NST Therapists Page.

The Psychological Factors of Back Pain

Few people want to be told that their pain is psychological or emotional in origin, but there’s quite a bit of evidence that backs this up. Underlying emotional issues and unresolved trauma can have a massive influence on your health, particularly as it relates to physical pain.

In a 2004 study, 100 patients were followed over the course of four years. None of them had back pain at the onset of the study. The participants instead underwent psychological tests, which were then compared to see which types of people remained pain free and which developed back pain.

Not surprisingly, those who did poorly on the psychological tests were three times more likely to report having experienced back pain by the end of the study.

I certainly believe that your emotional health and your ability to effectively address your stress is an essential component of optimal health, and can have a major influence on whether or not you’re effective in eliminating your pain. And so do many other doctors and scientists from various fields of medicine.

Dr. John Sarno, for example, is a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain. His specialty is those who have already had surgery for low back pain and did not get any relief. This is one tough group of patients, yet he has a greater than 80 percent success rate using techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping Technique (EFT/MTT).

It’s unfortunate that so many people dismiss these types of treatment strategies simply because they seem “too simple to be effective” – just like NST mentioned above. We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that getting well involves radical, often painful treatment, when in most cases the complete opposite is true.

Your body is constantly striving to achieve and maintain equilibrium in all aspects, and oftentimes all it needs to heal is a gentle reminder of what “normal” is.

Massage for Pain and Stress Relief

Massage is yet another simple method that can help ease both pain and anxiety.

Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline — reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.

Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps your lymphatic system flush away waste products.

It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility.

It is a particularly effective therapy for stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 to 90 percent of disease.

Final Thoughts

With such successful alternatives available, there are few good reasons to turn to pharmaceutical or surgical band-aids that do nothing to treat the underlying causes of your pain, but might cause additional harm in the process.

Last but certainly not least, as this Live Science article above states; keeping your spine strong also requires sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D. But I don’t agree with the author’s recommendation to get your vitamin D from your diet if you’re unable to get sufficient amounts of sunshine.

Sure, milk and many other foods are fortified with vitamin D, but they’re far from good sources of this essential nutrient. Pasteurized milk and other processed milk products, for example, are detrimental to your health for several reasons, and fortified foods are clearly inferior, if not downright hazardous to your health.

For more information on how to optimize your vitamin D levels, please refer to this previous article.

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