Another great article just came out in the JAMA on what we must do as a society to fix our broken Health Care system, “Bridging the divide between health and health care.”  I hope you look it up. Its main message has been poorly emphasized in the past for “marketing” reasons. Those who stand to make money through the dysfunctional state of affairs have been responsible for keeping these facts from the public. But, you be the judge:
“Health Care delivery accounts for only 10% of preventable deaths, with the remainder attributable to personal behaviors, social and environmental determinants, and genetic predispositions. As currently constituted the Health care delivery system has little direct control over these other factors. However, consensus is developing that truly controlling health care costs and improving the overall health of Americans will require a much closer partnership, permeable boundaries, and increased interdependence among the health care delivery system, the public sector, and the community development and social service sectors.”
“To create a culture of health will require creating a market for health, moving away from the current market for treating disease.”
“The medical establishment has become a major threat to health… All cultures have developed means to help people cope with death, pain and disease. Modern medicine has destroyed these cultural and individual capacities, launching instead an inhuman attempt to defeat death, pain and sickness. It has sapped the will of the people to suffer reality. People are conditioned to get things rather than do them… They want to be taught, moved, treated, or guided rather than to learn, to heal, and to find their own way.”
“Some doctors will now become the pioneers of de-medicalization. They can hand back power to patients, encourage self-care and autonomy, call for better worldwide distribution of health care, resist the categorization of life’s problems as medical, promote the de-professionalization of primary care. This is no longer a radical agenda.”
I hope to be one of those doctors. Hugo Rodier, MD
Finally, the long awaited study on chelation was concluded. It showed a modest improvement in mortality and cardiovascular events. The Intravenous EDTA chelation group had 26% of patients suffer those events compared to 30% in the placebo group. Both groups had ~15% of patients enrolled withdraw, which means that the side-effects of chelation were equal to those who took an inactive preparation. The editors and the researchers felt the results are not dramatic enough to recommend chelation at this point; they argue that more studies need to be done.
Sure, we can always use more studies, but, when EDTA and DMSA are available in pill form over the counter, and harmless if consumed with trace minerals, calcium and magnesium, patients will do what they feel is best for them, as they should. Still, I recommend that they seek a doctor familiar with the process. While I have not been happy with the exorbitant prices charged by IV chelating doctors, who are often are associated with boutique and anti-aging clinics that over-emphasize marketing themselves, I see no reason to keep oral EDTA/DMSA from the public, especially when we have very good evidence that heavy metals are harmful, not just to the cells lining our arteries,  but to practically all other cells, particularly neurons. I have included the cover issue if the journal Science to prove that point.  The JAMA article on EDTA did not look at neurologic problems,  which have been dramatically associated with heavy metals, as have been immunologic and hormonal  problems.
Think Alice’s friend, the Mad Hatter, who lost his marbles by using Mercury to harden the brim of hats. Mercury is quite prevalent in our society from coal and gold mining. It is still used as a preservative in some vaccines despite regulation to the contrary, and some still have Mercury amalgams in their dental fillings.
As far as the immune system goes, we only have to recall that syphilis, before the age of antibiotics, was treated with Mercury, hence the terrible but naughty refrain “Five minutes in the arms of Venus, an eternity in the arms of Mercury.”
If you suspect you may have problems related to heavy metals you may also try SAMe, NAC,MSM, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Selenium, Zinc, Methionine, Alpha tocopherol and Ascorbic acid. Helpful whole foods are chlorella or algae, cilantro, artichokes, asparagus, and of course, lots of fruits and veggies. And last, but not least, make sure that your intestines and kidneys are working well in order to eliminate the heavy metals that will be shaken up out of tissues and into circulation. In other words, don’t shake up rugs indoors with the doors closed. See the March 2013 issue for more on this topic.
Pollution and Autism
After considering the neurotoxic effects of heavy metals it is easy to understand, but disheartening to ponder the recent articles on air pollution increasing the risk of autism.  Sadly, my home state, Utah, leads the nation in frequency of autism, and, wouldn’t you know it, Salt Lake City is always in the top 5 of most polluted cities.
Not surprisingly, moms taking prenatal folic acid lower the risk of their children having autism.  I suspect this is so because folic acid and B vitamins are needed for detoxification of pollutants in the liver through the methylation pathway, and in the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
Expensive and unhelpful testing for Alzheimer’s?
Some doctors are now recommending an MRI to see if you might be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease; the MRI would show your White Matter having increased intensity signals.  While it only hurts in the pocketbook to comply, I find it difficult to justify since the expensive prescription drugs usually recommended for Alzheimer’s do not work all that well. In keeping with the spirit of the article at the beginning of this newsletter, I feel it would be best to emphasize health and prevention to all patients, particularly those who smoke,  and already have metabolic problems and heart disease.  Why? Because, that is the reason why we get those classical White Matter problems,  which has also been associated with poor detoxification of the neurotoxins discussed above. For more details review the March 2013 issue.
Other than eating lots of fruits and veggies, learn new skills (music, languages, etc.,) cultivate relationships, and avoid toxins, what else could you do? Eat more fermented milk products,  drink green tea,  and take Huperzine A. 
 “Effect of Disodium EDTA Chelation Regimen on Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Previous Myocardial InfarctionThe TACT Randomized Trial,” JAMA 2013;309(12):1241
 “Mercury, fish oils and risk of acute coronary events and cardiovascular disease,”
J. Arteriosclerosis Thromb Vasc Biol 2005;25:228
 “Metals: impact on health and the environment,” J. Science 2003;300:925
 “The toxicology of Mercury: current exposures and clinical manifestations,” NEJM 2003;349:1731
 “The effect of heavy metals on the immune system at low concentrations,” Int J Occup Med Environ Healt h 2001;14(4):375
 “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Public Health Protection: A Statement of Principles from The Endocrine Society,” J. Endocrinology 2012 153: 4097
 “Ambient Air Pollution and Autism in Los Angeles County, California,” J. Environ Health Perspect 2013;121:380
“Traffic related pollution, particular Matter, PM and autism,” JAMA Psy 2013;70:71
 “Regional White Matter Intensity Volume, not hyppocampal atrophy, predicts incident AD in the community,”
J. Arch of Neuro 2012;69:1621
 ” The Association Between Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels and Later-Life Dementia: A Cohort Study ,”
J. Ann Intern Med 2013;158(3):162
 “White Matter Alteration in Metabolic Syndrome: Diffusion tensor analysis,” J. Diabetes Care 2013 36:696
 “Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity,”
J. Gastroenterology published online 07 March 2013
 “Insights into antiamyloidogenic properties of the green tea extract (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate toward metal-associated amyloid-β species,” J. PNAS 2013;110:3743
 “Free energy landscape for the binding process of Huperzine A to acetylcholinesterase,” J. PNAS 2013 110 (11) 4273
 ” Acupuncture in Patients With Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Trial ,”
J. Ann Intern Med 2013;158(4):225