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What’s New! – A Healthy Living Newsletter

December, 2001

My patients frequently ask my opinion about new health books on the market. And there's certainly no shortage of experts peddling their advice! While many of these books are excellent, others are written by people who don't have a clinical background in the subject. Simply put - they're inaccurate.

The people writing the books either don't regularly use the medicines they write about or they're presenting theories as if they are facts. Others can be valuable tools for improving the quality of your life.

If you find this newsletter useful, please forward it to a friend!

Why Women Live Longer Than Men
…and What Men Can Learn from Them
By Royda Crose, Ph.D.


The first half of the title intrigued me; the second half seemed a little patronizing. I almost put the book down when a man standing next to me at the library glanced at the title and said "that's easy - women live longer because men have more stress than women." I decided to read it.

The first few chapters are weakened by political overtones, but then Royda Crose hits her stride and the book gets interesting. She explores differences in in men's and women's lives. How each gender handles the problems life sends their way. She poses interesting theories based on her years of studying the geriatric population.

For example, ask the average man who he is or what he does? He'll talk about his job. Ask the same question to a woman and you'll get a different response. She will tell you about her job, her kids, her pets, her hobbies, and/or her voluteer work. The average woman identifies herself as more than her paying job. This flexibility in identity helps when she retires and the job portion of her identity is over. This may be one reason why men have a harder time making the adjustment to retirement.

Closely tied to identity issue is problem solving. According to Crose, men solve problems; women discuss problems. Men rarely engage in lengthy discussions over how to handle the situation with a minimum of hard feeling. This may work when you are employed and have money/power, but after retirement getting along with others often requires the more diplomatic skill of women.

Another theory is women are more connected to others and have a stronger emotional support system. In a survey of both men and women, the author asked about confidants and friendships. Most women had 3-5 close friends often including a daughter. Men generally had one confidant - their wife. This may explain why men have a more difficult time with the loss of their spouse than women do.

As a sidenote, the book is fun to read. Crose hits the nail on the head with her many similes. For example, "when it comes to emotions, men need solvent (to learn to cry); women need glue (to keep it together). Or, "men are caretakers; women are caregivers". Followed up by, "women collaborate; men compete."

When I finished the book, I understood the second half of the title. Crose is genuinely concerned about the health and longevity of her husband, son and all the other men in her life that she loves and respects. It's not that she wants men to lose their masculinity, but rather to gain the "women's qualities" of interdependency, flexibility, resilence and the ability to express joy and affection that seem to keep women living longer. Reading Why Women Live Longer Than Men within this context, one can really appreciate the warm intent of this book.

As a final observation, I was taking a break from reading this book when I bumped my shin. My teenage son watched me flinch and promptly advised me to "walk it off". I ignored this suggestion, went to the freezer and pulled out some ice.

Ritalin Free Kids
Safe and effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADD
and other Behavioral and Learning Problems

By Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman

I knew I was in trouble when a teacher saw my then 2-year-old daughter dancing around the store instead of staying in the checkout line with me. She pointed her finger at my very active cherub and said "mark my words, that child will be on Ritalin as soon as she starts school".

I remember muttering something about her only being two, but I knew that I had a very active child. Forget naps, in fact, she slept only 7 hours a night and always had energy. She was impatient and didn't get along very well with other children. She fidgeted constantly. I would give her backrubs during church so she would sit still for 45 minutes. I wasn't sure what to do. That's when I learned about treating hyperactive kids with classical homeopathy. Yes, I thought it was nuts, but I decided to have my daughter treated anyway. And to my surprise, it worked. She calmed down, made friends and could sit still for the first time. In the subsequent 20 years, she has never needed Ritalin or other similar type drugs. She's still active, but she's able to channel that energy in a productive manner. What does this have to do with Ritalin Free Kids? Ritalin Free Kids is all about children like my daughter and treating them with classical homeopathy.

In the first part of the book, the Ullmans, both with backgrounds in the field of psychology, discuss the various behavioral and learning disorders. Witnessing first hand the benefits and side-effects of pharmaceuticals to treat AD(H)D (attention deficit <hyperactivity> disorder) and other behavioral disorders like oppositional disorder and depression, they came to the conclusion that there must be a better way that wouldn't leave the child potentially dopey or anxious or with Tourette's syndrome. After all, the goal isn't to sedate your child, just turn him or her down a couple of notches on the hyperactive scale.

The second part of the book is actual cases. That's the fun part. Reading through other parents' and their children's struggles, recognizing your own child and knowing that there's hope.

The final part of the book is advice on selecting a classical homeopath and understanding what the process will be like. Homeopathy requires patience. This book tells in wonderful detail all the things the classical homeopath doesn't have time to say in the office. Such as, the more candid you as the parent are, the sooner the homeopath can get the correct remedy. Details, such as grinding teeth, craving lemons, waking at 2am every night are extremely important. Homeopathy is an interactive form of medicine. And that there are over 2000 remedies and it often takes more than one or two tries to get that remedy

Ritalin Free Kids is about hope and options. And, it's about letting you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you aren't going to have to go to anymore parent teacher meetings to discuss what to do with your hyperactive child.

Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks
Lose 10 years worth of Fat and Gain 10 Years Worth of Muscle
Erase 10 Years Worth of Wrinkles, Crow's Feet, and Tired, Worn-Out Skin
Sharpen Your Thinking, Regain Your Mental Edge

By Julian Whitaker

Several months ago, one of my patients brought in Julian Whitaker's newsletter/mail order catalog. Enthusiastic about his claims for his products, she wanted my opinion before she purchased these expensive supplements. I couldn't really give one as the quality of the products wasn't clear from the literature. However, I was intrigued from a marketing angle. So when I saw this book written by Whitaker, with its title that sounded more like an infomercial speel on television than legitimate medical advice, I wondered if it could really help people. I'm happy to say that it's a great book - with one major flaw. But we'll get to that later.

Dr. Whitaker focuses on the 40ish person who is gaining weight, losing muscle, developing aches and pains, and who is moving and thinking a little slower. Hyping his program as the "ultimate tune-up for your body and mind" his book is a comprehensive plan that works on diet, skin, exercise, mental acuity, libido, sleep, immune system and stress levels. The ten weeks schedule is the marketing hook. It's a short enough time to maintain the program, but a long enough time to see dramatic changes in your health and appearance.

Why did I like it? Because despite the hype, 90% of the advice was extremely worthwhile. Take his section on sleep. "Do you feel alert and reinvigorated in the morning?" If not, you may not be getting enough sleep. He then delves into ways to improve your sleep. I've heard it before, you may think. Well, have you heard of the "worry break" before bed? Whitaker recommends taking a worry break. Sit down alone with pen and paper, worry intensely for a period of time, try to come up with solutions and then put aside the problems you are worrying about until the next day. In each section, he offers a wide variety of solutions, so that if one doesn't work, you can move onto the next.

What didn't I like? As I read the first few chapters, I kept thinking, who can afford this? I started adding up his basic recommendations. They totaled around $150.00 to $200.00 a month. And that was before all the additional recommendations. He called CoQ10 an inexpensive supplement. It's about $45.00 a month retail at the doses he recommends. That doesn't sound all that inexpensive to me. I figure his complete program, including the skin care products would cost about $400.00 a month - and that doesn't figure in any exercise equipment or gym membership, etc.

Another complaint I had is in regard to his advice on hormone replacement for men. Why get men running in the same hamster wheel that women are? A decrease of testosterone is normal, and like female hormones, testosterone should be prescribed only for medically necessary situations.

Two small observations concerning his recommending Kava for anxiety and peppermint tea for gastrointestinal problems. Kava is effective at the first dose and doesn't need to build up over time as he indicates, and his suggestion about using peppermint tea didn't include a strong warning to those with GERDs (gastrointestinal reflux disorder), a very common condition in the U.S. Peppermint aggravates reflux.

Some patients come in wanting a quick fix - some magic pill that will decrease their stress levels, arthritis or backache, improve their libido, take off ten pounds and get rid of some of their wrinkles. Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks isn't quick, but if followed faithfully - is a fix.

Health Tip: How to help your teenager who has just decided to become a vegetarian.
Somewhere around the ages of 12-15, some children, usually females, decide to become vegetarians. Unfortunately, they don't know how to do this in a safe healthy manner. They eat more pasta and cheese, and don't get enough protein. Here are a few guidelines.
1) Replace the meat with other sources of protein such as beans, nuts, and eggs. There are vegetarian burgers made of soy derivatives that are not as good, but more convenient. Beans can be purchased in cans and added to salads.
2) Don't overdo the cheese. New vegetarians generally eat way too much cheese. Unless otherwise indicated on the package, American cheese contains bovine growth hormones - a substance that is outlawed in many countries. And for good reason. It has been linked to different medical conditions such as cancer in medical literature. Get the European or Canadian brands or buy organic cheese.
3) Increase the vegetable intake. 3-5 ½ cup servings a day is important. If this doesn't fit into their schedule, make sure they have a good multivitamin.
4) Go to the library and get your teen a book on becoming a vegetarian. Make sure that one of you read it.
5) Support the decision. The quickest way to get a rebellious teen from being a vegetarian is to be supportive. And if your teen is making a thoughtful and personal decision, then support is a wonderful sign of respect.

Herb Tip: Last month, I wrote about the medical effectiveness of the different parts of the plant and how you may think you are getting one part, but may instead be getting a less helpful part from that store with the great prices.

This month, it gets worse. Not only may you not be getting the part of the plant that is medically beneficial, you may not be even getting the correct plant! I've seen several reports from watchdog groups like Consumer Report who test the products. It is rare to get in the bottle what is on the label. The herb manufacturers get look-alike substitute herbs from the suppliers and frequently don't test them to verify their identity.

Further, one prominent herbal company puts 260mg. on the front of their label next to the name of the herb. Most of us would think that the 260mg figure refers to the amount of that herb in each capsule. Wrong. It means that altogether there is 260mg of something in each capsule. The something is often the herb plus fillers.

Again, buyer beware. You get what you pay for.

Copyright 2001 Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton, LLC

 

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Dr. Suzanne C. Lawton
11825 SW Greenburg Road, Suite A2
Tigard, OR 97223
503-443-2332