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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ignorance by Health-Care Providers of CT Scan Cancer-Risk Is Widespread │ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Related to Abnormal Gut Bacteria Populations │ Risky New Corneal Implant

If recollection is sure, I may have been in bed last night by 11:14 p.m.  That nightly bathroom break was to arrive just after 3:00 a.m., marking the commencement of broken or fragmented sleep.

By 6:00 a.m., it felt like I mightn't manage any further snatches of sleep, but I persevered and remained abed until about 7:00 a.m.

My youngest step-son Pote has the day off work, so his girlfriend ─ whom he sleeps with approximately five nights a week ─ has remained here with him.

They tend to spend much of the day in bed, rising only to get something to eat.  They'll probably take advantage of my older step-son Tho's car once he is home from work, which is generally just after 3:00 p.m. if he comes directly home.

The day has been solidly overcast thus far, and cool.  Occasionally there have been very light showers of rain overnight and this morning.

It certainly has been a far cry from last year's months of Sun and heat.

I spent a fair bit of the morning working upon a new post at my Lawless Spirit website.  I've just been laying the foundation, and will begin tomorrow compiling references into the post in the morning.

A check of the website's performance over the past 28 days shows that it had absolutely no visitors on each of June 14, 23, and 24.

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I am here going to post an old photo from an album belonging to my younger brother Mark.

The description that is beneath the scanned image is what I left with the image in the Google album where I have it housed:

The photo is likely from 1974 or 1975.

I believe that the woman may be Marjorie, the mother of my younger brother Mark's girlfriend back then, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.

Jeanette came from Saskatchewan, and had gone back home for a visit ─ possibly Mark went, too.  However, I do not really know.

I have no idea who the youngster is.
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I hope the following report gives you a bit of a shock ─ it speaks of just how pervasive radiation ignorance is by the specialists involved in giving patients various types of scans:

When it comes to CT scans, most mainstream docs have itchy trigger fingers.

They'll order one up for just about anything.

But how much does the mainstream really understand about all the risks and radiation they're exposing you to?

A new study on mainstream doctors and radiologists... the same people behind the CT scan craze... has yielded some shocking results.

And it's proven just how important it is to ask three crucial questions before you or anyone you love agrees to a scan.

Around 29,000 Americans develop cancers that can be traced back to CT scans every single year.

But that doesn't seem to be slowing the mainstream one bit. In 1980 around 3 million scans were done a year -- now, we're up to over 80 million!

And recent research has found that around a third of them are done for no good reason at all.

So why would the mainstream put us through the risks of CT scans -- over and over again -- for little or no benefit?

Well, you can bet money is a big part of the equation. But researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada have stumbled upon another big issue.

It turns out that some mainstream docs aren't as educated about the dangers of CT scans as we'd like to think.

A research team surveyed health providers, and found they were consistently uninformed about how much radiation you're getting from a CT scan.

In fact, they were badly underestimating the total amount.

That's bad enough -- but, unfortunately, the misinformation didn't stop there.

Many of the docs, radiologists, and imaging technicians surveyed mistakenly thought that safer scans -- like MRIs and ultrasounds -- deliver ionizing radiation, even though they don't.

Amazingly, a full 20 percent of the participating physicians, as well as 6 percent of the radiologists, and 7 percent of technicians surveyed mistakenly believed MRIs caused patients to be exposed to radiation.

In addition, 11 percent of the doctors and 7 percent of techs were under the impression that ultrasounds were a source of radiation.

The lead author of the study, Dr. David Leswick, called the results "troubling" -- and you can say that again.

The fact that some of the very people ordering CT scans don't realize how dangerous they are -- or that there are safer alternatives -- is an outrage. It's practically criminal.

Along with CT scans, we can also get doses of radiation from PET scans and, of course, X- rays, (which include mammograms and dental X-rays). Dr. Marvin Lipman, the Consumer Reports' chief medical advisor says that while the risk from a single scan is small, "the effect of radiation is cumulative," the more you get, the higher your cancer risk.

So the next time your doctor says a CT scan (or other radiation imaging) is needed, here are three important questions you need to ask:
#1: Is the test is really necessary? I know, that may sound crazy but remember that experts found a third of them aren't needed. If he's just playing it safe, remind him that sometimes the safer alternative is no scan at all.

#2: Can an MRI or ultrasound be substituted for a CT scan?

#3: Are you getting the lowest effective CT scan dose? If your doc or radiologist don't know, make sure they find out. The amount of radiation from a CT scan can vary quite a bit, and that's even at the same hospital and for the same medical reason. A recent study in JAMA Pediatrics found that avoiding the highest doses could cut radiation-related cancers by 50 percent.

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There is some encouraging news for chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers:

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, there's a big chance that somewhere along the line, someone told you it's all in your head.

Some mainstream docs have actually called it the "yuppie flu" -- even while countless people continue to suffer.

How callous is that?

But now, a simple test for CFS might be closer than ever before.

It's all thanks to a group of researchers from Cornell University who may have found the key to a fast diagnosis.

And better yet -- what may turn out to be an effective and easy treatment.

In the many years that I've been researching and writing about health, I've been shocked by how many illnesses can be traced back to our gut bacteria.

And now, a new study has uncovered yet another reason to take care of these trillions of gut microbes.

Cornell researchers analyzed the blood and stool of 48 confirmed CFS patients, comparing the results to healthy volunteers. And the folks with CFS had major differences in gut bacteria -- the kind of differences that can cause serious and health-wrecking inflammation.

In fact, there were many similarities between the CFS sufferers and people who have Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Researchers say they can use gut bacteria to quickly diagnose CFS in about 80 percent of patients who have it.

And that's pretty important, because right now, getting a mainstream diagnosis of CFS is like throwing darts with two hands tied behind your back... blindfolded.

First, of course, you have to find a doctor who isn't going to tell you that it's all in your head and you need to see a shrink.

Then, the hoops CFS sufferers are made to jump through include documenting "unexplained, persistent fatigue" for at least six months, along with at least four more symptoms that include things such as pain that jumps from one joint to another, a new "type or pattern" of headache, and enlarged lymph nodes.

And while you're waiting for the mainstream to check off all the right boxes, you keep suffering.

The researchers hope these findings will finally help the mainstream understand that "CFS is not psychosomatic." Senior author Maureen Hanson even said that the notion that CFS is psychological is "ridiculous."

And believe me -- there are lots of people with CFS who agree 100 percent.

Now it would be bad enough if getting properly diagnosed was all CFS patients had to suffer through. But, no, I guess you figured that drugs would enter in here somewhere -- and they do.

Even though you may have to move heaven and earth to get a mainstream doctor to listen to you, they can still whip out that Rx pad in the blink of an eye. While there are no FDA-approved meds for CFS, that hasn't stopped the mainstream from prescribing antidepressants and sleeping meds to treat it.

That's right, sleeping pills. As if the illness will be solved by drugging yourself to sleep.

And that's another good thing that came out of this new research -- a possible treatment.

Things such as "changing diets, using prebiotics (which are basically dietary fiber) or probiotics," said one of the authors.

And, really, there's no reason to wait. You don't need a prescription or even a doctor's visit to improve your diet, or to take prebiotics or probiotics, for that matter.

Giving these simple changes a try makes a lot more sense than waiting for the mainstream to come around on CFS.

Because where mainstream medicine is concerned, good news travels slowly!
I don't suffer from this condition, but I definitely find myself lacking far too often enough.

I can easily imagine what it must be like when a sufferer doesn't even have support at home.  

That's a heartfelt and unfunny cartoon.  I actually found it at the website of a woman who suffers from something called complex regional pain syndrome.  It was in a February 9, 2011, post titled CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION

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I used to have to put a little extra distance between myself and whatever it was that I was trying to read, but that has not become a reliably workable option any longer unless my eyes are unusually rested and the lighting is brilliant.

I had to give up reading books quite a few years ago because so-called reading glasses strained my eyes far too much for me to bear much more than a page or two of reading.

Certainly there are supplements and possibly even therapies out there, but I cannot afford them on my retirement pension.

The last thing I would ever do would be to submit to voluntary surgery on the corneas of my eyes, but there are dupes out there who won't research anything and will just believe every bit of teaser that's tossed their way.

They fall off your face, they're easy to lose, and every year or so, you seem to need a stronger pair.

There's no doubt about it -- life with reading glasses can be annoying.

But are they such an annoyance that you'd be willing to risk excruciating eye pain, infections and even a detached retina to be rid of them?

Believe it or not, that's the very offer that could be coming your way, thanks to the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay.

It's a device just approved by the FDA to "cure" a common eye condition known as presbyopia -- where you have to hold things farther and farther away to read them.

But for lots of aging Boomers, this new eye apparatus could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Buying into the latest technology can be fun when you get a new laptop or phone.

But not so much when you're talking about your eyes.

Especially when that involves cutting a flap into your cornea and placing -- in perfect position -- an itsy bitsy device that an expert compares to "a little piece of Saran Wrap."

The whole idea of these corneal inlays to fix presbyopia has been tinkered with for over 50 years.

And despite the fact that the early experiments weren't turning out so great, researchers forged ahead. After all, with millions of prospective patients out there, there was a literal pot of gold at the end of that presbyopia rainbow!

Now, we've got the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay. And it's been tested in all of 373 people. But since the FDA gave ReVision Optics, the company that makes the device, the green light to sell it last week, soon the real experiment will be starting up on millions.

Despite the paltry number of people the device has been tested on, the FDA already has a handle on what can go wrong, which includes:
  • Developing an infection, worsened glare, halos, or feeling like there's something stuck in your eye.
  • Decreasing your distance vision (myopia), which could affect your ability to perform important tasks like driving a car.
  • Causing corneal scarring, swelling, clouding, "melting," or even a detached retina.
The FDA also warns that you may need another operation to fix your eye if tissue starts to "grow into the cornea," or more surgery to have the device removed.

And that sounds a lot like the first one of these devices the FDA allowed on the market, the KAMRA inlay.

Last year I told you how people were begging to get them removed so they could go back to their reading glasses. The KAMRA inlay, like the new Raindrop device, can also make your vision worse, cause dry eye, give you halos and cloudy vision.

Even a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology said that while we all would love to throw away our reading glasses, to remember that all eye surgeries have a risk of "complications or side effects."

And that's something ReVision Optics probably prefers didn't cross your mind. The company is now recruiting people for the second phase of its billion-dollar plan to implant the device in the eyes of people who have had cataract surgery (which is currently not allowed by the FDA).

Look, most of us who have presbyopia can fix it with a cheap pair of reading glasses that can be found just about anywhere.

And that sure beats risking any of the side effects that could come along with Raindrop, KAMRA, or any other similar device that the FDA unleashes on an unsuspecting public.
I don't understand why that report I quoted in full would use a reference that is only reproducing an article from HealthDay ─ let's link to the original source:


So these corneal inlays can even cause corneal "melting" ─ can you imagine?  The following is from Wikipedia describing the condition in its section on corneal ulcer:
Melting ulcers are a type of corneal ulcer involving progressive loss of stroma in a dissolving fashion. This is most commonly seen in Pseudomonas infection, but it can be caused by other types of bacteria or fungi. These infectious agents produce proteases and collagenases which break down the corneal stroma. Complete loss of the stroma can occur within 24 hours. Treatment includes antibiotics and collagenase inhibitors such as acetylcysteine. Surgery in the form of corneal transplantation (penetrating keratoplasty) is usually necessary to save the eye.
No thank you!  ReVision Optics can get rich buggering up someone else's eyes ─ it sure ain't gonna be mine.

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Now to close out today's post is an entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

My room was being rented in a house located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.

You will notice that I made entries in several sittings.  I might be speaking of something I planned to do; and then in the next sentence, I would be telling of how things had turned out.
SATURDAY, July 5, 1975

I slept discontinuously and arose before 5:30 a.m., but do not feel unrested.

It looks like another hot day (low 30° C.).  

I am going to make my Whalley circuit before confronting Bill on the smorgasbord issue, leaving a note on his car if he is at his new residence.

Well, his car wasn't there (at most, 9:00 a.m.), so I left no note.

On returning, I saw yet no car, but buzzed thrice anyway; nothing.

I was home before 11:40 a.m.  If he doesn't appear by noon, I'm eating here.

I recall a dream.  In a park at dark at least once prior, I had seen or noticed a woman in a particular car.  Then this one night, she approached me; she was middle-aged and married, but was on the make.  I forget the particulars, but Mark learned of her and her designs, and posed as a possibility for her.  She laid her scheme bare, and he just laughed at her, reporting her unsalubriousness to me so as to spare me.  But I was weak in that once more she found me and pleaded for my attentions; Mark was nearby, so I denied her openly, while surreptitiously consenting to meet her at a later time, not wishing to be cruel.  But I did not lie to her.  Always it was dark, it seems.  Anyway, we met at the appointed time.  But Mark suspected me.  Just as I was within her clutches, he appeared and aborted the developments, she leaving.  And he and I walked away relishing our brotherly union.  Pretty puritan.

I had 4 slices of bread with peanut butter for lunch, and loved it!

Was it 2:15 p.m. when Bill came?  He'd smorgasborded already, but brought a 3 pt. container of Lucerne chocolate marble ice cream which we ate.

I went to his new place; then we went to the Newton Inn where I blew $1.60 as we watched a sloppy dame dance.

We decided to try Mark's after this; at a light in Whalley, I noticed ahead of us in the next lane Norman with a bearded guy; I called out, and as the light changed, he said to come over tomorrow.

Mark & Cathy were out.  

We decided to cruise by Nell's, but everyone was on the porch ─ including our quarry.

We stopped, and the boozing began.

After dark, toward 10:00 p.m., I and Randy went with Charlie who was to pick up a couple & kids town; but they had changed their minds.

So we went to the liquor store, stopping homeward at the Newton Inn where I blew $1.60 again (but got a double round).

Then to Nell's, where I sat beside Cathy all night.

I might babysit their dog next week if they go to Edmonton.

I got drunk.  The party broke after sun-up, as I caressed Cathy's feet with some assist from Bruce & Bill.

He & I stopped at 7-Eleven where I gave him $1.40 or so in return for a long bun sandwich and a dozen wieners, these latter which I ate at home with 6 bread slices and raw mushrooms.

Bedtime was 8:45 a.m. or so, I guess.
It's a little peculiar to me now that I don't remember making any habit of those circuits to Whalley and back to my room.    

If I had to speculate on my actual route, I rather think that it would have involved ─ after walking over the Pattullo Bridge ─ taking to the old B.C. Hydro railway tracks that were close by, and then following them as far as where they crossed 104th Avenue.

After that, I likely turned left onto 104th Avenue, and walked to the King George Highway in Whalley, and then followed it back to New Westminster.

Or maybe I would have done that route in reverse.  Whatever the case, on this day it took me well over 2½ hours to complete the hike.

My old friend William Alan Gill and I often visited the smorgasbord (Family Smorgasbord?) located in a shopping plaza at Eighth Avenue and McBride Boulevard in New Westminster.

I have no idea now where it was that Bill had moved to in New Westminster, but he was closer to where I lived than he had been before that move.

I was hoping to read that my dream turned out to be an erotic experience.  Maybe it would have been if I had not included my younger brother Mark in it.

I was still prudish enough that sexual activity with a married woman was something forbidden, so it was likely why I subconsciously made Mark a component of the dream.  He was there to thwart anything and save me from those consequences of interaction with her.

Still, I cannot believe that it ended with he and I walking off together in mutual congratulation at a very close call that I had been saved from.

Bill was notorious for showing up well into the afternoon for our smorgasbord trysts, so I wasn't going to fast just for his sake.

However, it developed that he had eaten without me.

A glass of beer at this time must have been priced at 40¢, so when we drove out to the Newton Inn in Newton, I bought four.

Just about all of the hotel beer parlours or pubs had stripper entertainment at this time.

Incidentally, the Newton Inn has been gone now for many, many years.

My younger brother Mark was sharing a rented home with his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther ─ the house was located on Bentley Road in Whalley, very close to the intersection of 108th Avenue and King George Highway.

On our way to try and visit them, we saw another old friend in a vehicle just ahead of us that was stopped at a traffic light ─ it was Norman Richard Dearing.  He had been away upcountry, and was now back for awhile at the family home.

Upon finding Mark and Jeanette gone, Bill and I headed over to 64th Avenue to drive past my maternal Aunt Nell's rented home ─ it was usually the scene of lots of weekend partying. 

And there we espied Mark and Jeanette with a number of the household, congregated out on the porch.

Later in the evening, I went off with my cousin Randy (Nell's son) and their friend Charlie Little to collect some other couple and their kids ─ did they live in "town?"  And if so, did I mean New Westminster?

I have no idea now.

By then, the couple had lost interest, so on the way back to Nell's the three of us stopped in at the Newton Inn for awhile ─ I may have spent $1.60 on four beers, but it sounds like the waiter gave me double that amount without charge.

A nice guy?  Or was he just careless?  Again, I don't know now after all of these years.

Back at Nell's I found myself seated beside Jeanette the remainder of the night ─ I adored and loved that lovely young woman!  At some point, I apparently had the thrill of rubbing her bare feet ─ a sensual chore that my cousin Bruce (another of Nell's sons) and my friend Bill were quick to get in on.

But the new day was nigh, and so Bill and I finally left for home ─ stopping for grub at a 7-Eleven.

Lord, I miss those good times and loved ones!
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