This is an article by John Mandrola, MD which was published in Medscape on January 18, 2016. I am reproducing it here in whole. He argues that if you really look at the evidence that there is no increased life expectancy from all the cancer screening that is being done. That includes mammography for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colon cancer, chest x-rays for lung cancer, etc. His conclusion is based partly on the recognition that the only thing that really matters is overall mortality, not disease-specific mortality. And it makes sense because staying alive is the thing; it's the goal; it's the reason for doing anything.  If the whole medical process which begins with screening and then goes on to definitive testing and then treatment, often radical treatment, is not going to result in you staying alive longer, what's the point? If a man can live just as long with untreated prostate cancer as he can by having it treated and going through the trauma, the pain, the disability, and often the impotence that results from treatment, why not just leave it be? Even just ignore it, although I'm not really recommending that. I think there are nutritional and lifestyle measures that can influence the course of prostate cancer a lot. But, let me put it this way: for a man my age or older (65) who is feeling fine, who is urinating fine, who has good sexual function, and is not in any pain, I certainly wouldn't let anyone cut on my prostate. What for? I am going to die anyway, but if there is no evidence that I am likely to live one day longer by operating, why do it? They say that 80% of men get some cancer in their prostate before they die anyway, and that if a man lives long enough, he's almost sure to get it. But, prostate cancer is usually very slow-growing and non-invasive. Operating just for good measure isn't necessarily a good measure.

So, read this article by Dr. Mandrola. I salute him because it took a lot of guts to write this.  

Dr. John Mandrola:

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous. This is fear. This is cancer.

The motivation to screen for cancer, therefore, is easy to understand.

 

The problem: cancer screening has not worked. Recent reviews of the evidence show that current-day screening techniques do not save lives. Worse, in many cases, these good-intentioned searches bring harm to previously healthy people.

I realize this sounds shocking. It did to me, too. Millions of women and men have had their breasts squished, veins poked, lungs irradiated, and bowels invaded in the name of "health" maintenance. I've been scolded for forgoing PSA tests and colonoscopy — "you should know better, John."

I know what you may be thinking. We have all heard the anecdotes — cases that are often celebrated in local news reports and hospital marketing material. People saved by early detection, and the opposite: the unscreened felled by late-stage disease.

Anecdotes, however compelling, are not evidence. When you pull up a chair, open your computer, take a breath, suspend past beliefs, and look for the evidence that screening saves lives, it simply isn't there.

One reason that this many people (doctors and patients alike) have been misled about screening has been our collective attachment to the belief that if screening lowers disease-specific death rates, that would translate to lower overall mortality. That is: breast, lung, and colon cancer are bad diseases, so it makes sense that lowering death from those three types of cancer would extend life.

It is not so.

Facts, Not Fear

In a comprehensive review of the literature[1] published in the BMJ, Drs Vinay Prasad (Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland) and David Newman (School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York), along with journalist Jeanne Lenzer, find that disease-specific mortality is a lousy surrogate for overall mortality. They report that when a screening technique does lower disease-specific death rates, which is both uncommon and of modest degree, there are no differences in overall mortality.

The authors cite three reasons why cancer screening might not reduce overall mortality:

  • Screening trials were underpowered to detect differences. I'm no statistician, but doesn't the fact that a trial requires millions of subjects to show a difference, mean there is little, if any, difference?

  • "Downstream effects of screening may negate any disease-specific gains." My translation: harm. Dr Peter Gøtzsche (Nordic Cochrane Center, Copenhagen) wrote in a commentary[2] that "screening always causes harm. Sometimes it also leads to benefits, and sometimes these benefits outweigh the harms." To understand harm resulting from screening, one need only to consider that a prostate biopsy entails sticking a needle through the rectum, or that some drugs used to treat breast cancer damage the heart.

  • Screening might not reduce overall mortality because of "off-target deaths." An illustration of this point is provided by a cohort study[3]that found a possible increased risk of suicide and cardiovascular death in men in the year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. People die — of all sorts of causes, not just cancer.

Let's also be clear that this one paper is not an outlier. A group of Stanford researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analyses[4] of randomized trials of screening tests for 19 diseases (39 tests) where mortality is a common outcome. They found reductions in disease-specific mortality were uncommon and reductions in overall mortality were rare or nonexistent.

Drs Archie Bleyer and H Gilbert Welch (St Charles Health System, Central Oregon, Portland) reviewed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data from 1976 through 2008 and concluded that "screening mammography has only marginally reduced the rate at which women present with advanced cancer and that overdiagnosis may account for nearly a third of all new breast cancer cases."[5] Likewise, a Cochrane Database Systematic review[6] of eight trials and 600,000 women did not find an effect of screening on either breast cancer mortality or all-cause mortality. This evidence caused the Swiss medical board to abolish screening mammography.[7]

These are the data. It's now clear to me that mass cancer screening does not save lives. But I'm still trying to understand how this practice became entrenched as public-health gospel. It has to be more than fear.

How We Say It Matters

Dr Gerd Gigerenzer (Max Planck Institute, Berlin, Germany) offered a clue in his editorial[8] accompanying the recently published literature review and analysis by Prasad and colleagues. He pointed to language and the ability of words to persuade. Instead of saying "early detection," advocates might use the term "prevention." This, Dr Gigerenzer says, wrongly suggests screening reduces the odds of getting cancer. Doesn't looking for cancer increase the odds of getting the diagnosis of cancer?

Gigerenzer noted two other ways language is used to emphasize screening benefits over harms:

  • The reporting of benefits in relative, not absolute terms.

  • The equating of increases in 5-year survival rates with decreases in mortality.

I would add to this list of word misuse, the practice of referring to women sent to mammography screening as patients. They are not patients; they are well people.

 

Dr Gigerenzer agreed with the commonsense notion that overall mortality should be reported along with cancer-specific mortality. His editorial included a fact box on breast cancer early detection using mammography provided by the Harding Center for Risk Literacy. I challenge you to tell me why such text boxes should not be shown to people before they undergo screening,

Fixing a Public-Health Problem

Given these revelations, I conclude that we have a massive public-health problem. Any expert in problem solving will tell you the first step of getting out of hole is to stop digging. I see three obvious next steps:

 

The first action healthcare experts should take is to spread the word that there is nothing about the mass screening of healthy people for cancer that equates to health maintenance. Embrace clear language. Saying or implying that screening saves lives when there are no data to support it and lots to refute it undermines trust in the medical profession.

The second action healthcare experts should take is to stop wasting money on screening. If the evidence shows no difference in overall mortality, why pay for it? I'm not naive to the fact that use of clear language will decrease the number of billable procedures. I am not saying this will be easy. One first move that would be less painful would be to get rid of quality measures or incentives that promote screening.

I want to be clear; I'm not saying all cancer screening is worthless. People at higher baseline risk for cancer, such as those with a family history of cancer or environmental exposures, might derive more benefit than harm from screening. Prasad, Lenzer, and Newman say this group of patients would be a good place to spend future research dollars. That sounds reasonable. I also acknowledge that some people, even when presented with the evidence, will want to proceed with screening. We can argue about who should pay for non–evidence-based medical procedures.

 

The most important action that all of us (patients, nurses, doctors, and healthcare writers) should take is to learn from this revelation. There's nothing bad about the fact that current-day screening tests don't save lives. Cancer is a tough disease, and in some ways, it may be the natural order of cell biology. What's bad about this medical reversal has been our blindness to the evidence.

We let what we believe become what we know. In clinical medicine, that should be a never event.

 

The above title actually isn't mine. It's that of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, from his most recent newsletter. Uffe  is a Swedish internist and nephrologist (kidney specialist) who has made it his mission to expose the truth about statin drugs and cholesterol. The news about statin drugs has always been bad because there has never been any clearcut evidence of benefit. The only thing clearcut about them is that they do harm, increasing the risk of cancer and diabetes. But now, the latest research shows that they are virtually of no value in preventing heart disease. You might as well take a placebo. But, it's even worse than that. Some of the research is showing that statins actually increase the risk of heart attack and heart disease. What follows is from Dr. Ravsnkov's latest newsletter: 

"Do you know that on average statin treatment is unable to prolong your life by more than a few days? This was what Danish researchers found out after having analysed all statin trials, where the authors had recorded the total number of deaths. You can read more about it in Canada Free Press. The very article is freely available in BMJ Open."

"A curious fact is that the authors of several statin trials did not report on the total number of deaths in their trials. Why not? Most likely, it was because there was no difference between the treatment group and the untreated control group. Or perhaps because more had died in the treatment group? Instead they have reported the number of ”heart events”, a diagnosis open to many interpretations and statistical manipulations. You can read more about that issue in The People´s Pharmacy."
 
"About a year ago Professor Harumi Okuyama,  published a paper in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology together with six coauthors. (Three of the authors, including Professor Okuyama, are members of THINCS). In that paper they presented strong evidence that statin treatment may cause both atherosclerosis and heart failure. As you probably know there has been an epidemic rise of heart failure during the last 10-15 years, most of all in the US, and their information strengthens the view that the cause is the widespread use of statin drugs."
 

"In 2004 new penal regulations on clinical trials came into effect in the EU. It was decided that no drug trial could be published unless the trial directors had reported about it before its start. In figure 1 of the paper by Okayama and coworkers the authors have shown that although the trials reported that statins were effective in lowering LDL-C, no significant benefits were observed in the trials published after 2004. The only conclusion from that finding must be that the drug companies have  only published trials with a positive outcomes."

 
"These findings should have stopped statin treatment immediately, but nothing has happened, although their paper was published almost a year ago, and although it has been observed and commented on by many. A search on Google with the title of the paper results in more than 1300 hits! Read for instance the article published in Express a few weeks ago."
 
"In my November Newsletter I told you about the paper by Edward Archer, where he described the many errors that are associated with studies of people´s diet. Luckily the press has been more and more critical to the dietary recommendations. For instance, you can now read about Archer´s paper in Washington Post and in Medical Express."
 
Dr. Cinque: The only proven effect of statin drugs that can be construed as positive is that they do lower cholesterol. But, I say "construed" because cholesterol is a vital and essential substance which you could not possibly live without. It is the precursor to many hormones. It is cholesterol that enables animal cells to maintain their integrity at the cell membrane. Cholesterol is extremely vital to the brain, and there is more cholesterol in the brain than anywhere else. We now know that cholesterol is vital to the immune system, and it may have an anti-cancer effect. And we now know that cholesterol is a major antioxidant. So, it's no wonder that the human liver produces vast amounts of cholesterol. But, when a person takes a statin drug, the main effect is that it cripples the liver and prevents it from doing what it wants to do, which is, to make cholesterol. That's considered a good effect, but is it? How likely is it that crippling your liver is going to result in anything good?
 
I am very much in favor of people eating "plant-based" diets. And naturally, since plants do not make cholesterol (every plant food is a cholesterol-free food) it is going to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. I don't say that people have to be strict vegetarians. But, what I am saying is that if people have sense, they will realize that they have no need to be eating vast quantities of meat and other animal foods. If you have sense, you are going to know that filling up on fruits and vegetables, including salad greens and cooked vegetables like broccoli, kale, etc. is a very good idea. Including other plants foods, such as raw nuts and cooked beans, is also a very good idea because of the proven protective effect of these foods- and I don't mean just nutritional effects but real therapeutic effects in preventing age-related disease from eating these powerhouse foods. So, if you are loading up on those foods, which are all bulky, high-fiber foods, unless you are an extremely big eater, how much room are you going to have left in your diet for animal foods? What I'm saying is that if you just hone in on the foods that offer the most promise for vigorous health and vitality, then you will automatically wind up eating mostly vegetarian, and your cholesterol will stay right where it belongs automatically.
 
It is quite true that when people start eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and other natural plant foods, their cholesterol tends to go down and land in the range that is considered healthy, and for two reasons: the first is just that every mouthful of plant food is a mouthful of food without cholesterol. And the second is that the fiber in plants tends to bind cholesterol in the digestive tract and prevent it from being re-absorbed. So, you have all this bile coming out into your gut from your liver, and it contains a lot of cholesterol which can be easily re-absorbed. But, the fiber in natural plant foods traps that cholesterol and helps convey it into the toilet. So, any extra cholesterol that you don't need gets pooped out. You don't need drugs for that.
 
Any time a person takes a drug, there is always the question of whether the benefits are going to outweigh the harms. It's called the "risk/reward profile". In the case of statin drugs, are the potential benefits from taking them greater or less than the potential risks and proven harms? Well, I would have to say that, with statins, the harms are much greater and the benefits are vanishingly small. It's just not worth it.
 
I've never even considered taking statins, and I've never had to consider taking them because my cholesterol has always been good; it has never been high. But, even if it was high, I would not consider taking statins.  At most, all statin drugs can do is pretty-up your blood test; produce more attractive numbers as per the conventional wisdom.  Well, what if the conventional wisdom is wrong?  And what-if the cholesterol-lowering from taking statins is not equivalent to the natural cholesterol-lowering that results from healthy eating and healthy living? Just because you can push your blood test numbers around by taking a drug doesn't necessarily mean that you are making yourself healthier in the process. It just might be all smoke and mirrors.
 
I repeat: Taking statins just amounts to poisoning your liver so that it can't do what it wants to do: which is, to make cholesterol.  And I don't expect anything good to come out of poisoning my liver. That is not how I am going to go about safeguarding my health. There has got to be a better way. In the words of the vernacular, thanks but no thanks.
 
 
   

 

After reading her autobiography, I have to wonder why they never made a movie about the life of the 1940s legendary screen goddess Lana Turner.

 

She was born way up in the remote Idaho panhandle in 1921 as Julia Turner, and her circumstances could not have been more disadvantaged.  That was mining country, and her father was a miner. but, they always struggled financially.  It seems her parents only married because of her conception, and they had no other children. They separated when she was 9, and she and her mother moved to San Francisco. But, it was such a struggle for her mother, that she had to place Lana in foster care briefly, which Lana hated. Her father, who remained in Idaho, died in a knife fight over a card game. She was just 11 at the time, but, she had only good memories of her father.

 

After that, her mother and she moved to Los Angeles- in fact, Hollywood- where her mother sought work as a beautician.  More devoted to her, her mother could not have been, and that was true for life. Her mother never remarried, and she lived for Lana.

 

When she was 16, Lana was discovered in a Hollywood ice cream parlor drinking a Coke. Taken with her beauty, the man who discovered her was the publisher of a Hollywood magazine, and he referred her to Zeppo Marx- one of the Marx brothers who, by then, had become a Hollywood talent agent.  Reportedly, she, herself, chose the name “Lana.” That year (1937) she was cast in her first film as a sexy tight “sweater girl” who wound up a murder victim.  Then, she signed a contract with MGM for $100 a week, which was a lot of money in those days.  And from then on, her mother’s career became that of mother of Lana Turner. In other words, from then on, she lived off Lana, but believe me, she earned it.

 

From the very beginning, Lana Turner became synonymous with sex, even though she was only 16.  She defined “sultry.”  She soon starred in a Mickey Rooney movie in which she played the bad girl offsetting Judy Garland’s good girl, and there is a famous photo of the three of them together doing schoolwork on the set, as required by law, which enabled Lana to finish high school.

 

And speaking of sex, there were two revelations that Lana made at the start of her autobiography. The first was that she was terribly shy, and her greatest fear was public speaking. Like many stars, she contributed to the war effort during WW2, and in her case, it meant visiting the troops, including on some of the Bob Hope tours, but also on tours to sell war bonds, where she was expected to get up and speak as Lana Turner. Well, she could do it easily enough as somebody else, a character, but not as Lana Turner.  But, the second revelation was that she never really enjoyed sex that much, that in real life, she wasn’t sultry and sexy like her characters.  She said she enjoyed romance and tenderness and courtship, but sex itself was no big thrill for her. And her most enduring quote is: “A gentleman is just a patient wolf.”

 

But, if I had to characterize her 1982 autobiography, written 12 years before her death, I would say it oscillated between her movie career, film by film, and her marriage career, husband by husband.  And, there were 7 in total.

 

But, oddly enough, the man whom she declared to be the “love of her life” was one she never married but almost did, the actor Tyrone Power. Today, he is remembered for being bisexual, although she claimed to never see any inkling of that side of him.

 

Her first marriage at the age of 19 was to band-leader Artie Shaw, but that was undertaken so compulsively (after one date) that it was doomed from the start. Her second marriage was to businessman Stephen Crane, and it was with him that she had her one and only child, Cheryl Crane. Husband number three was a millionaire socialite whom she wasn’t even attracted to, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that she married him for his money. Next came an actor who played Tarzan in the movies several times, Lex Barker. Daughter Cheryl would later write in her memoir that Barker sexually abused her during their marriage, but, that wasn’t mentioned in Lana’s autobiography.

 

That marriage was followed by Lana’s harrowing relationship with mobster Johnny Stompanado.  He was a real-life monster who beat her and abused her, and she literally feared for her life.  She went to England to make a movie with Sean Connery, and Stompanado followed her there and stormed on the set, where Sean Connery had to physically subdue him. Then, they got Scotland Yard to deport him back to the US. And when Lana returned, it was Oscar time, which she attended with her mother and her daughter. Lana had been nominated for her role in Peyton Place, although she stood no chance of winning. (I should mention that Lana’s mother is the one who really raised Cheryl. Lana set them up in a house with another older woman who was like a second grandmother to Cheryl. Lana paid for everything, but she was more like a doting aunt than a mother.) But, that night, after the Oscars, Johnny stormed into her house, enraged that she didn’t take him to the Oscars. That resulted in a severe beating, and while she was being beaten, Lana kept worrying that 14 year old Cheryl, who was staying over that night, would be awakened in the next room. Well, Cheryl was awakened, and she did come into the room, but not before going into the kitchen and getting a carving knife. When she entered, she saw her mother bloody, battered, and bruised, and she saw Stompando approaching her mother with a wooden clothes hanger in his raised hand.  It looked to Cheryl like he was about to hit her mother again. So, she shoved the knife into his belly.  The blade really didn’t go in that far, but as luck would have it, it hit the abdominal aorta, and he bled out very fast. (Was that good luck or bad? I’d say good.)

 

The first thing Lana did was call a doctor friend. He came over and tried to resuscitate Stompanado, unsuccessfully. Next, she called her lawyer, who came right over. And that’s when they called the police.

 

The legal system never came down very hard on Cheryl. She did have to remain in custody for several weeks until the grand jury hearing.  But even by then, Lana still had bruises left from the beating Stompanado had given her, which she displayed to the jury. And mercifully, they declared it a “justifiable homicide.” However, the judge, rather wisely in my opinion, didn’t let Lana off so easy. He pointed out that she’s the one who put Cheryl in that deplorable situation. So, he removed Lana’s parental rights and made Cheryl a ward of the state. But, he also made Lana’s mother Cheryl’s court-appointed guardian. So, nothing really changed in regard to the living situation.  But, it involved regular probation visits for Cheryl, and court-ordered psychiatric visits for both Cheryl and Lana, which they did. Lana was so grateful that Cheryl got off without prison that she didn’t care about the rest. She gladly cooperated.

 

Lana’s next husband was a rather nice guy, compared to the others: the actor Fred May. And she was a little vague as to why they divorced, although she did say that him dipping into her money had something to do with it.  But, they remained lifelong friends, and she always spoke well of him.  But, the last two marriages which followed were awful; expensive and awful; including one to a much younger man who was serially unfaithful, a pathological liar, and an out-of-control spendthrift with her money,  and the last one to a nightclub hypnotist who stole from her- cash, jewelry, whatever he could get his hands on. And that did it. After that, Lana finally stopped getting married.  Thank God.

 

I won’t go into her movies too much because I want to focus on her health.  But, I will point out that one of her early roles was Ziegfeld Girl in which she played a Broadway star who rises fast but then falls hard to alcoholism.  But, in the movie, there was a song written for her by Nacio Herb Brown, You Stepped out of a Dream, which became Lana Turner’s theme song for the rest of her life.  Whenever she entered a club or walked on stage, they played that song, and it is a fabulous song. Her most celebrated movie is The Postman Always Rings Twice, also considered her most sultry role. In Peyton Place, she played the single mother of a lone daughter- which mirrored her real life.  Although she was nominated for Best Actress, it was really more of a supporting role than a leading role.  The Bad and the Beautiful with Kirk Douglass was and is very highly acclaimed, but I’ve never seen it. And Imitation of Life was about a white woman who climbs to the top as an actress while raising her only daughter, while also living with a black woman who also had an only daughter. So, the relationship among the four of them is the story of the movie.  And it was a very important project for Lana Turner because it was the first movie she made after the Stompanado killing, when it was uncertain whether her movie career would survive at all.  

 

But now, let’s talk about her health because there are some interesting observations I can make.

 

First I want to point out how interrelated health and beauty are, how dependent beauty is on good health.  Sparkling eyes, peaches and cream complexion, lustrous hair, svelte tone, etc. are the products of good health. And since her beauty was her stock in trade, you would think that health would have been a top priority for her, but it wasn’t. Lana Turner was a smoker; a heavy smoker, and she started young.  In fact, she got in trouble for smoking on the sets as a teenager, and she complained bitterly about it because she wanted to smoke, and she felt she had as much right as anybody.  There are quite a few photos of Lana Turner holding a cigarette, but, I learned that there would have been quite a few more if they hadn’t airbrushed them out.  

 

She also drank. In the book, she played down her drinking, saying that she was more of a “sipper” than a “drinker”.  But, others said otherwise.  Most of her husbands were big drinkers, and she drank with them. Often, her husbands would get mad if she didn’t drink as much as they did. But, the fact is that women cannot handle alcohol as well as men. The female liver does not process alcohol as fast- doesn’t convert ethyl alcohol into acetaldehyde as rapidly.  The result is - that for a given amount of alcohol- women experience a higher blood level of alcohol than do men, and it persists for a longer period of time. It is true across the races; women of all races cannot handle alcohol as well as men. And in the book, she admitted that she often self-medicated with alcohol. For instance, during the time that she was tormented by Johnny Stompanado, she drank heavily.  And others who knew her said that she was, in fact, a big drinker and at times an alcoholic.  

 

The only other drug she mentioned in the book as one she took was marijuana, but that was mainly during her brief marriage to Artie Shaw because he was a big pot smoker. But, like many people, she often took sleeping pills.

 

Regarding her diet, it wasn’t very good. Just the standard American diet, with an emphasis on meat.  In the book, she mentioned steaks, chops, burgers. Fried chicken was mentioned as a favorite. Otherwise, it was the usual things; they had a barbecue; they had a birthday cake;  they ate doughnuts on the set, etc. etc. Not a single fruit or vegetable was mentioned as being a favorite of hers. 

 

Lana Turner developed appendicitis at the age of 17 and underwent surgery. But, that surgery was botched, and she had to undergo a second surgery for it at the age of 18 to fix it. Realize that people don’t develop appendicitis for no reason. It isn’t normal. It really shouldn’t happen to anybody.  There has to be a morbid and abnormal condition in the digestive tract for appendicitis to happen, and it’s due, of course, to faulty diet: specifically: not enough fruits and vegetables; not enough fiber; and too much meat.

 

Lana Turner was lucky in that she had a nice figure, a nice shape, with dazzling proportions (36-23-36, reportedly) despite conventional eating habits.  But, she was physically active; she enjoyed tennis and swimming; and it’s fair to say that she was naturally athletic. 

 

But, she kept having miscarriages, so what does that tell you? She had at least 3, and she may have had more. That is, she may have had some miscarriages without knowing it- before she realized she was pregnant. So, all was not well inside her. It’s a bad sign if a young woman can’t carry a baby to term. She also had two abortions. The first was with first her husband Artie Shaw, but she didn’t realize she was pregnant until after they split up. It was a back alley thing because abortion was illegal then, and she almost died. The second abortion resulted from her relationship with Tyrone Power, but at least that one went well without complications.

 

I had read previously that Lana Turner really didn’t age well in the face, that the luster faded from her rose early, meaning in her 30s, and that what kept her going was one thing: makeup.  And, she kind-of alluded to it in the book. She said that she brought her own makeup person on the sets to work with the studio’s.  But, she said that there were instances in which, because of stress, lack of sleep, too much drinking, etc., they just couldn’t capture her look. They would try different angles, different lighting, but in the end, they just had to shut down production for the day because Lana Turner was nowhere to be found.  

 

And it was the same way in her private life. She said that during her marriage to Fred May, what irked him about her is how long it took her to get ready to go somewhere. And he got sarcastic about it. He would tell her: “Now look: we’re going out with friends tonight at 6 PM, and I want you to be ready.  It’s 10 AM, so you should get started: hair, nails, make-up, clothes; whatever. Just be ready by 6.” Invariably, she wasn’t.

 

But, it was the 1980s that her health really started falling apart. She was in her 60s and still acting some- not in movies, but on television and in live theater, when she started losing weight and getting very weak. Her weight plummeted to 95 pounds.  I don’t know that she was diagnosed at that time, but for the first time, she stopped what she was doing and started focusing on her health.  She spent much time at a health retreat in Hawaii where her daughter Cheryl was living.  And she claimed to undergo a spiritual awakening that involved her renewing her faith as a Roman Catholic.  She recovered well enough to return to the public eye, but mainly at charity functions and award presentations.  Then, in 1992, at the age of 71, she was diagnosed with throat cancer- which was surely the result of a lifetime of smoking and drinking.  She quit doing both, but it was too late. And, the last three years of her life were miserable, preoccupied with debilitating radiation treatments and chemotherapy.  She really clung to life- she wanted to live- but it was to no avail. Her weight sank to 85 pounds, and she died, skin and bones, on June 29, 1995 at the age of 74.

 

Lana Turner hasn’t enjoyed the spectacular posthumous career that Marilyn Monroe has.  But, I think Lana was lucky to make it to 74 considering how she lived and all the stress she had.  It’s a shame that she was so unlucky in love. Her memoir does not speak well for the male gender, and I’ll point out (since it’s public knowledge) that her daughter Cheryl became a lesbian. Hmm. I wonder if it was because of what she saw and heard and experienced at the hands of the men in her mother’s life. I just have to hope that Lana Turner has found more peace in the next life than she found in this one.

 

I received this from Medscape. It concerns changes in prescription drug use among Americans from the turn of the century to 2012. As you might have anticipated, prescription drug use went up, way up. Why would that be? A big reason, I suspect, is that prescription drugs are now advertised directly to consumers- in newspapers, magazines, and particularly on television.

The percentage of adults taking prescription drugs has risen to 59%, but realize that is an average, where it is lower among young adults and rises to 90% among seniors age 65 and older.  

The bestselling prescription is still a statin drug to lower cholesterol: simvastatin otherwise known as Zocor. I agree with Dr. Uffe Ravnskov of Sweden who says that very few if any patients should be taking this drug or others like it.  The statin craze is mostly just a racket. That's what he says, and I agree with him. I am lucky to have corresponded with Dr. Ravnskov, and he sends me his monthly newsletter.  Dr. Ravnskov, who is a board-certified internist and nephrologist, is a medical maverick of the highest caliber.

http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm

Statins definitely do more harm than good, and it's not clear that they do any good at all. They increase the risk of both diabetes and cancer, and that's proven. There are big class action lawsuits going on right now over statins, including Zocor.

The next best-selling drug, lisinopril,  an ACE inhibitor, which is usually given for high blood pressure, but I don't like it either. It is a dangerous drug. Right now, there are class action lawsuits being organized concerning liver damage and liver failure from lisinopril- where people have to get liver transplants.

https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/lawsuit/lisinopril-liver-damage.html#.VlTKvziFOM8

There are better ways to lower blood pressure than taking that stuff.

The next drug, levothyroxine, is actually beneficial, and millions need it. It is thyroid replacement. The fact is that millions of people reach the point in life, sooner or later, in which they need thyroid hormone replacement. So, I'm not opposed to it.  However, I think the natural desiccated thyroid, such as Armour, is superior because it contains T3 as well as T4, plus it's closer to bio-identical than the synthetic.  It's also cheaper. Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is outrageously expensive, especially for a drug that has been around for as long as it has.

Next on the list is metropolol, which I do not like at all. It's a beta blocker, and they give it for high blood pressure. Do you really want to lower your blood pressure by weakening your heart? I don't know about you, but I want my heart to be as strong as possible, as strong as it can be. Yes, inhibiting the contractile strength of your heart may lower the stroke output and reduce your blood pressure a little, but so what. It's not worth it. By the way, people also take this drug for "social anxiety" and "performance anxiety" such as by musicians. It's actually very popular with musicians, but not with this musician. 

Next on the list is metformin, which is the best drug in all of Modern Medicine. It is the best and safest diabetes drug- by far. And, it has widespread health benefits beyond that with very low risk of harm. The risk/reward profile of metformin is outstanding. Metformin lowers the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease- the three biggest killers. I'm sure there are many thousands of people taking metformin who aren't even diabetic- just to get the anti-aging/life-extending benefits that are quite proven. So yes, metformin is good.

http://www.antiaging-systems.com/articles/116-metformin-as-a-safe-effective-weight-loss-drug

Next is hydrochlorothiazide which is a diuretic. Diuretics are given for all kinds of reasons including to lower blood pressure. Whenever there is excess fluid anywhere they prescribe a diuretic. But, taking it does not remove the cause of the fluid retention. So, it's just a symptomatic treatment.  I am very negative about diuretics. There may be emergencies where people have no choice, such as if your lungs are full of fluid and you can't breathe, but there is altogether too much prescribing of diuretics in this country. I wrote an article about it years ago that is very well read, and I actually hear from people from all over the world who have seen and read this article:

http://www.drcinque.com/article.html

Next on the list is omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor for acid reflux. Nexium.  I don't like it. I don't like it for its side effects, and I don't like it for its intended effect of killing stomach acid. You need your stomach acid. Everybody does. You need it to digest your proteins, and it protects you from infection. Think of the acid like a sterilizer for your stomach. So, I reject that drug too. There are other ways to deal with heartburn that don't involve destroying your stomach acid.

Next is amlodipine which is a calcium channel blocker, among the most dangerous of hypertension drugs. I don't like it. It's actually been shown to increase the risk of heart attack. Again, there are class action lawsuits going on over this drug. I do not feel good about it, and I would never take it- even if I had high blood pressure, which I don't.

The next bestseller is atorvastatin (Lipitor) which used to be the best-selling statin, but they refused to lower the price, so Zocor is outselling it.  Lipitor is even stronger than Zocor. You should read: Lipitor: Thief of Memory by Dr. Duane Graveline, a NASA physician.

http://www.amazon.com/Lipitor-Thief-Memory-Duane-Graveline/dp/1424301629

And finally, the tenth best-seller is albuterol,  which is definitely necessary. Asthmatics use it as a broncho-dilator, to open up their airways.  It does have problems, and in the long run, it may actually worsen asthma.  So, asthmatics should definitely try to minimize their use of it.  However, I don't dispute the need for it.  When you gotta breathe, you gotta breathe.  

So, that's the top 10 list of best-selling prescription drugs in America, and most of them I disdain.  But fortunately, there are a few exceptions and two of them: thyroid replacement (which I prefer in the natural porcine form) and metformin are truly outstanding.

What follows is the article as I received it from Medscape:  

 

In this study, researchers retrospectively analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database to determine if the prevalence of prescription drug use changed from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012. Household interviews with approximately 38,000 people were included. During the interviews, people were asked if they had taken prescription drugs over the prior 30 days and, if they answered yes, were asked to show the medication containers.

The main findings include:

  • The percentage of adults reporting use of any prescription drugs increased from 51% in 1999-2000 to 59% in 2011-2012.

  • The use increased as people became older. For example, for those aged 40-64 years, the use of one or more prescription medications increased from 57% in 1999-2000 to 65% in 2011-2012, whereas the use increased from 84% to 90%, respectively, in those older than 65 years.

  • Polypharmacy (use of five or more prescription drugs) increased from 10% to 15% among those 40-64 years old and from 24% to 39% for those over 65 years.

  • There was increased use of antihypertensives (from 20% to 27%); antihyperlipidemics (6.9% to 17%), primarily driven by statins; and antidepressants (from 6.8% to 13%), especially selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

  • Narcotic analgesic use increased from 3.8% in 1999-2000 to 5.7% in 2011-2012.

  • Among those interviewed, 4.6% took antidiabetic agents in 1999-2000, which increased to 8.2% in 2011-2012, mainly due to greater use of biguanides, insulin, and sulfonylureas.

  • Prescription proton-pump inhibitors increased from 3.9% to 7.8% and anticonvulsants from 2.3% to 5.5%.

  • The 10 most commonly used individual drugs in 2011-2012 were simvastatin, lisinopril, levothyroxine, metoprolol, metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole, amlodipine, atorvastatin, and albuterol.

All of the reported increases from 1999 to 2012 were not explained by changes in the age distribution of the population.

 

That’s the title of a new research report that was recently published on Medscape. Just think: after all those years, all those decades, of saying that alcohol was good for you, that it protected your heart, prevented heart disease, and helped you live longer, it turned out that it was all lies.

 

It turns out that Dr. Herbert Shelton was right when he called alcohol a “protoplasmic poison” meaning that it’s poisonous to all forms of life.

 

How can alcohol be used as an antiseptic? Because it kills bacteria.

 

So, how did they get it wrong for all that time? It’s because they started with the objective of looking for benefits from alcohol. They were severely biased.

 

And who do you think paid for those pro-alcohol studies? If you think it was the alcohol industry, you are partly right. But, they’re not the biggest one. The biggest one was: the US government.

 

Why would the US government want to promote the health benefits of alcohol?

 

It’s because the US government has got this War on Drugs going on- in earnest for the last 60 years- and they have to have a way to justify it.

 

After all, if one guy gets home from work and likes to relax by drinking a glass of wine, that’s OK; it’s legal. But, if another guy prefers to smoke a marijuana cigarette, that’s not OK. That’s a crime for which he could be made to forfeit his whole life.

 

Keep in mind that I’m not interested in doing either one. I don’t want the wine, and I don’t want the marijuana. But, I’m sane enough to recognize the utter insanity of saying that one is criminal and the other is not.

 

So, to justify their persecution of Americans for doing what they want to do, which is to indulge in recreational drugs (a popular pastime) they had to create this false dichotomy that: drugs bad/alcohol good.  How else could they justify throwing potheads in prison?

 

How did they do it with the research? One of the tricks they resorted to was to classify former drinkers, including those who drank so much it led to complete ruin of their health, as non-drinkers. That helped produce the numbers they were trying to generate.

 

I don’t drink alcohol at all, and I advise you to avoid it completely. If you can’t avoid it completely, then avoid it as much as you possibly can. Don’t nurse the popular delusion that a moderate amount of alcohol is good for you.  Nobody is getting away with that on my watch. Here’s the report:

 

 

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/851459?src=wnl_edit_medn_wir&uac=80234FX&spon=34&impID=839380&faf=1#vp_2