Summer Fun in the Sun and Water

There is nothing better than to start the summer with a lot of time spent at your favorite water sport or play in the SUN. It is the continuation of lots of memories that begin in childhood. There is always the excitement of dangers in the waters like sharks at the beach. When I was a child, my parents used to give me a very hard time about not splashing in mud puddles. They told me that I could get a very serious disease that might even kill me. I was sure they just did not want me to not get my clothes dirty and splashed anyway. I should have known that the wisdom of generations of farmers fostered realities that were beyond the grasp of my childhood desire for fun. You should also be very, very aware when enjoying your favorite water fun for the same concerns of my parents – toxins in the water.

You may be familiar with algae blooms and the sometime warnings by your local government to not go into the water. A lot of time you ignore this warning and decide to go into the water regardless of the danger. Or you may have your favorite back water kayak site just waiting your return to explore the dark wonderful pools and bright sun splashed lakes. Before you go on your water adventure, be sure to look for algae blooms or the possibility of algae blooms. Of course I am not talking about algae per se, but blue green algae or cyanobacteria.  I know the pools that my parents kept me out of would always get blue green algae tint before they dried. It is not a plant at all but bacteria. This is the same thing that goes on in our water ways, in particular with the higher amounts of nutrients from modern activities.

“The first published report that blue-green algae or cyanobacteria could have lethal effects appeared in Nature in 1878.” Cyanotoxin Wikipedia. Did my parents read Nature or was it experience? I am sure that it was experience. An illness after coming in contact with the blue green bacteria and the rest is holistic knowledge. There are two major concerns with contact of cyanobacteria: liver toxicity and nervous system damage. The liver toxicity and the neuron damage can both cause death. There are many cases of animal deaths in the Midwest after drinking from pools with blooms. As far as human deaths, there are not many documented cases. What is the concern?

New evidence for neurological diseases has been identified from contact with the neurotoxins. The problems were first identified in Guam from a cluster of ALS. It was determine that this cluster was caused from consumption of eating a local food source that was contaminated with cyanotoxins. There have since been clusters of neurodegenerative diseases within ten miles of lakes in the US that are known for blue green algae blooms.  Other neurological diseases that have not been completely identified may be from the cyanotoxins. This includes ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and perhaps MS, Guillain Barre, and other neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases. Protein or amino acid mimics from the cyanobacteria get incorporated into human biology that the immune system starts to attack. This is sometimes identified as autoimmune diseases. This destroys the myelin sheath of the neurons axon or may cause issues with neurotransmitters.

There is presently a study ongoing for treating ALS with L-serine. It was found that this protein used by neurons may have become compromised from the cyanotoxin. There is even one amazing story of a boy magically getting better after being in a wheelchair for years when treated with L-serine. From my reading of research, the best things you can do if you have issues with neuromuscular/degenerative diseases are to be sure you are getting enough micro nutrients. This includes copper and zinc (presently an ongoing trial for ALS), boron, manganese, sulfate, vitamins D, C (perhaps liposomal C), and A. The minerals are for various biological functions that are absolutely necessary. I am really surprised there is not a clinical trial for ALS and manganese. Manganese is required for the generation of sulfate esters for detoxifying the body as well as making super oxide dismutase for mitochondrial health. ALS sufferers have been identified as having high sulfate content. It is interesting to note that most MS sufferers have low sulfate content. I do believe that the clue is in the manganese, copper, zinc, and iron. Of course and vitamin D3 as this is necessary for the sulfate transporter throughout the body.

I do not mean to go off on cyanobacteria as all bad. There are many healthful benefits from the use of cyanobacteria. It is used by biotech companies to make drugs and vitamins and other nutrients because of its ability to produce proteins and amino acids. This bacterium has also been credited with allowing the earth to develop its oxygen rich atmosphere because of its photosynthesis effects.  It was also thought to be a great food source because of the high protein content ( forty percent) in 1930’s to solve the issue of increasing population.

When headed to your favorite water play source, check it out for any signs of “algae bloom”. Also be sure to observe any warning signs including ones from your parents regardless of your age. Also, kayakers should be very careful as some of the most toxic bacteria live at two to three feet below the surface in calm waters and cannot be realized until they bloom and the blooms are forced to the surface. Have fun in the sun and water this summer, but watch out for the sharks and bacteria. – Pandemic Survivor

Further Reading:

Cyanotoxin BMAA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMAA

Cyanotoxin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanotoxin

Spirulina http://nutritionfacts.org/2014/04/29/toxin-contamination-of-spirulina-supplements/

Microcystin LR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcystin-LR

Germany Blue Green Algae http://www.bio-pro.de/magazin/index.html?lang=en&artikelid=/artikel/09387/index.html

CDC http://www.cdc.gov/hab/cyanobacteria/pdfs/facts.pdf

http://www2.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/cyanobacterial-harmful-algal-blooms-cyanohabs

Austrialian news release http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/news/2013/09/breakthrough-discovery-links-blue-green-algae-with-motor-neuron-disease

The Emerging Science of BMAA: Do Cyanobacteria Contribute to Neurodegenerative Disease, Wendee Holtcamp   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295368/

Sulfate Transporters http://physrev.physiology.org/content/81/4/1499.long

L-serine http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-443249/Miracle-boy-paralysed-rare-infection-cured-vitamin-pills.html

Motor Neuron Disease Association http://www.mndassociation.org/what-is-mnd/different-types-of-mnd

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Vitamin D3 Significantly Reduces Asthma Flare-Ups

In recent news headlines, there is the story of a published research paper for vitamin D3 and a steroid inhaler.  The headlines read like this one from MedNews: “Vitamin D3 flops as asthma therapy booster.”  I was amazed at the conclusion of the writer for the paper: “Effect of Vitamin D3 on Asthma Treatment Failures in Adults with Symptomatic Asthma and Lower Vitamin D Levels” Castro, et. Al. JAMA May 18, 2014, Conclusion: “Vitamin D3 did not reduce the rate of first treatment failure or exacerbation in adults with persistent asthma and vitamin D insufficiency. These findings do not support a strategy of therapeutic vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with symptomatic asthma.”

I am not sure why he decided to use the rate to the first flare-up or exacerbation.  I suppose the aim of the steroid inhaler is to eliminate flare-ups.  The test was run by dividing the test participants into two groups.  One group was given vitamin D3 and the steroid.  The other group was given a placebo and the steroid.  The vitamin D group had serum levels above 40 ng/ml while the placebo group was 20 ng/ml or less.

It is interesting to look at the design of the experiment.  It was obviously about using the steroid as a treatment for asthma with vitamin D3 as an aid.   I do believe that the title of the trial should have been the same as the title of this post.  If you look at figure 3 in the paper, it shows that there was a significant reduction in the total number of exacerbations in the vitamin D3 group.   The paper states: “The adjusted hazard ratio for cumulative number of exacerbations that occurred over the course of the trial was 0.63 (95% CI, 0.39-1.01; P = .05).”  This represents a 37 percent reduction in total accumulated exacerbations in the vitamin D group.  To me, this is really exciting news, but then, the writer is working for the pharmaceutical industry.

It should also be noted how the delivery of the vitamin D3 was made.  I agree with the initial dose of 100,000 IU.  However, I do not believe the 4000 IU of D3 was adequate for treatment of asthma.  The mean BMI of the test subjects was 32 or borderline obese.  It would have been better if the participants were given 10,000 IU of D3 per day to try to get the serum levels of vitamin D > 60 ng/ml.  This is the level that most doctors agree is necessary for treating disease and within the clinical standards of 30-100 ng/ml.

Also, I would not have given the steroid inhaler to the vitamin D group.  I would have used a placebo inhaler.  The purpose of not using the steroid in the vitamin D group is the reduction of vitamin D receptors from steroid use.  Treatment of an overdose of vitamin D is to use steroids to reduce the effect of vitamin D.  I would also be sure the participants were given at least 5000 IU of vitamin A as fish liver oil with the control group getting placebo fish oil.  It is well known that vitamin D/vitamin A dimers are very significant in the expression pathways for DNA and immune system boosting. Don’t do this without talking to your doctor first.

To further assure the use of the best available vitamins, I would not allow any synthetics to be consumed during the trials.  That is in particular synthetic beta carotene or synthetic vitamin E, both known to have negative effects in the lungs.  I would also not allow any vitamin or the steroid for that matter to be processed using blue-green algae or cyanobacteria.  This is to assure that there is no contamination by microcytins or protein mimics.  I will write more about this cyanotoxin later.

I do believe the result of this trial would show significant reduction in exacerbations, if not elimination after many weeks.  Why the rate to first exacerbation was used should be self-evident after looking at the disclosure for conflicts of interest.  But then the press has no clue and would not want to lose pharmaceutical advertising.   – Pandemic Survivor.

Iodine Mimics Ousted

Fluorine and bromine are starting to be taken seriously as toxins in the body. Coca Cola recently announced that it would no longer use BVO, bromated vegetable oil, in its soft drink products. Now, the city council of Dallas is considering the end of fluoridation to the city’s water supply. Dr. Mercola recently reported that over 135 communities have stopped the use of fluoridation since 2010.

Fluorine has been shown to be a neurotoxin and bromine has been shown to be a class 2B cancer agent. We have both high rates of cancer and neurological disorders in the US. However, you still get writers for the press slamming people trying to have a conversation about science and medicine. Consider how Ms Jacquielynn Floyd, The Dallas Morning News, characterizes the opposition from people concerned about toxins forced into our water supplies – “Anti-fluoridation quacks should know there is no debate.” Wow! She goes on to say, “I don’t want to give deliberate offense, but the truth is, these are not issues of “perspective” or “debate.” They’re about the danger posed by abandoning our faith in science and our confidence in reputable institutions.” This kind of statement is not about debate, it is about trying to ‘shut up’ people with a different view point. Ms Floyd would have been entrenched in the group aligned with the mainstream of the fifteenth century that denied the earth rotates around the sun. We should not have FAITH in science or confidence in institutions that do not have empathy for the individuals they serve. Science is not a religion or should not be and institutions can be evil when acting without empathy. I suspect Ms Floyd gets paid well to maintain the pleasure of the advertisers for the Dallas Morning News. The dangers that are posed to society are the people that don’t understand the process of science and institutions. Anytime debate is stopped, then both science and institutions have failed.

Shut up all you mothers of children with autism, ADD, ADHD, and riddled with cancer! You are just stupid and don’t understand science and have no faith. This is so typical of how people with the bully pulpit try to prevent conversation about things that need to be changed. But then again, there are jobs to protect and advertisers that need to be pleased. Not a conspiracy, but follow the money. – Pandemic Survivor

Health or Health Insurance

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

“He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

I don’t think Ben was talking about health or health insurance; or was he? We learned from last post that health insurance is just another “protection racket” that is legal. You will buy health insurance or we will “hurt” you! – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Health on the other hand is what we would like to have as no one wants to be ill. However, no amount of money will stop the inevitable. That is; death will ultimately catch up to us. Have we traded our liberty for safety?

There are multiple questions now weighing on us like a load of rock on our backs in a slave quarry. How does only about fifty cents out of every dollar we spend on health insurance actually comes back to us for provider care? In other words, why do we give away fifty cents out of every dollar to someone for managing our health dollars? How did we get to this insurance economy? Why does government allow this type of protection racket to continue?

After a bit of research, how we got to this economy is easy. It was through government’s rules and laws. During the forties, wages were fixed for WWII. The labor market was short of workers. In order to draw qualified people to jobs, companies started to offer benefit packages. Then during the early fifty’s, the government passed a law that allowed these benefit packages to not be taxed for employees and were allowed as an expense by companies. After this, insurance was driven by employers because this was the best deal created by tax structure. Laws were also passed allowing states great leeway in setting laws and practices within states. This created a monopoly by states as health insurance was not transportable state to state.

Health insurance then became a significant portion of the economy. Jobs were created to handle money for health insurance. This segment, health insurance, became as large as the health industry. To hide this from voters, this segment of the economy was all lumped together. The desire for health between birth and death became a desire to maintain this segment because it drove campaign funds. Now, there is over a trillion dollars spent every year solely for health security. Combined with the cost of health providers, this is now about two and one half trillion dollars that we spend each year.

Does this type of economy build wealth? I really do not think that it does. It transfers wealth from the middle class to the upper class. As a member of a country club from the mid-80’s until I could no longer afford it from my own economic health disaster, members that were the wealthiest all were in insurance. From the 1960’s through the 2000’s, the real wealth creators of the economy, farming and manufacturing, were driven from the country. It became the burden of government to maintain jobs. Health and Human Services under the Administration and funded by Congress begin to protect health insurance jobs through the policy of “markets before mandates.” In other words the economy is more important than your health. “To valued life” became the last of the priorities for principles of government health services.

It is truly amazing to take a drive from Buffalo, NY to Toronto and observe all the manufacturing plants along the highway. The decision of locating a plant in the northern part of the US has become a no-brainer as to whether it goes into Canada or the US. Health is covered by the Canadian government and taxes are less. The Canadians have made significant policy corrections since the 1980’s. Their economy is much more stable than the US because it is based on manufacturing and not insurance.

So what did this US policy toward health do to American’s life expectancy? It made us about fortieth in the world. Look at Mary Meeker’s State of USA, Inc. graph from last post. We have the best health care for acute disease, but one of the worst for chronic disease. We have separated the practice of medicine into only drugs for treating illness because of the government policies. We have to keep a relatively ill population to support the economics of large health and health insurance sector. Does keeping the population riddled with chronic disease build wealth? I do not think so.

The correction is going to be hard. We spend 2.5 trillion annually on health insurance and health while spending only 1.5 trillion on food. This ratio of food to health should be turned upside down. For a healthy US, farming and manufacturing have to be brought back to this country. The practice of stealing from family farms and causing them to fail through death taxes while allowing health insurance to bloom through tax protection has to stop. The maintenance of the health insurance complex has truly become a burden as well as a dilemma – health insurance jobs versus health. I believe at this point, term limits in Congress is the only solution so that people will be put first and not institutions. My own health was caught up in this practice of health insurance and would have killed or kept me in a significantly ill state if not for nutritional intervention. How about your health? – Pandemic Survivor

Health Insurance Companies Deliver Your Dollar

 

Over the last year I have seen several commercials by health insurance companies saying that the issues in health cost are not their fault. I tend to agree with them. It is the ineptness of our governing bodies or if you prefer, the desire for large campaign contributions from health insurance companies. If you search on the web anywhere for how your health insurance dollar is spent you will typically find something that looks like this:

”Most for-profit insurance companies spend 87 cents out of every dollar to pay physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other medical providers for medical care. This number is disputed somewhat by some experts, who put it at 82 cents, leaving five more cents for overhead and profit, but in a typical scenario, here is how your insurance company spends each dollar of your premium.

  • 33 cents goes to paying physicians
  • 20 cents goes to paying for inpatient hospital costs
  • 15 cents goes to paying for outpatient facility costs
  • 14 cents goes to pharmaceutical companies for medications
  • 5 cents goes to other medical services (this is the disputed amount since it isn’t transparent as to how it is spent)
  • 6 cents goes to government payments, compliance, claims processing and other administrative costs
  • 4 cents goes to consumer services, provider support and marketing
  • 3 cents goes to insurer’s profits”See more at

After examining this, it appears that the health insurance company only gets about thirteen percent of every dollar for handling your money. I know this is not correct from my years of experience in business. Typically most businesses operate on forty percent internal cost, forty percent external cost, and twenty percent gross margin with General, Selling, and Administrative in the gross margin. This translates to about seven to eight percent profit, with about four percent of that going to the government in taxes. This looks like the last four lines of the above analysis.  I also noted that Nancy Pelosi made great claims of how at least eighty percent of your health care dollar is going to provider payments. It turns out that for large groups this number is calculated as 85% and 80% for small groups. But the question is; how is this calculated? After much sweat and tears in searching in the last six months, I found Uwe E. Reinhardt, Economist and Professor at Princeton. Here is his comment from his blog in the NY Times:

“Up to half the premium can go for these non-medical items. It is the reason why that market urgently needs to reform.” Uwe E. Reinhardt, Political Economist, “How much money do health insurance companies make? A Primer”

Reinhardt gives the formula for calculating the number that Ms. Pelosi was describing as:PP

This is not really a complicated formula. Having years of experience in math related to engineering, in particular ratios, it is easy to see how this formula can be manipulated to fit Ms. Pelosi’s requirements of 85% and in the Obamacare law. So, how is it that Reinhardt is right that as much as fifty percent goes to administrative cost or health insurance cost? This can be answered by determining what is OUTLAYS TO IMPROVE HEALTHCARE QUALITY? If this is truly part of the ratio, then I should be able to find it in the federal register. Sure enough: FR 158.150 Activities that Improve Healthcare Quality

Activities that improve healthcare quality – what an interesting definition. Are trips to the tropics for rest and relaxation by health insurance professionals in this number?  The answer is yes. Take some time and go look at what is listed. It is the internal cost of the insurance company that can be almost anything. So we are depending on the health insurance companies to determine healthcare quality and not based on our expectations. After all, quality is defined as meeting the customer’s expectations. I personally expect at least eighty percent of my insurance dollar to go to provider care as Ms. Nancy stated. So where is the rub? Let’s play with the numbers.

My expectation is that only the provider payments should be on top and the cost of the insurance companies to be under the line. Let’s take a typical insurance company in one state with the numbers shown in billions of dollars. Total premiums collected 18 billion. Let PP = 10 and on top with the rest on the bottom as QQ = 5, SG&A=2, Profits = 1 or 28%, 11%, and 6% respectively. This gives us a ratio of 55% or payments to medical providers. This is very typical of a business loss ratio. Let’s do it the way that Obamacare defines it: 10+5/10+5+2+1= 83% – Right in line with policy. But wait, what if we reversed provider payments versus the outlays to improve healthcare quality? The ratio is still the same but provider payments are cut in half and the health insurance company gets twice as much.  Delivering your money in the tropics with feet in the sand.  The government has decided that health insurance companies are concerned about your health, the quality of healthcare, and not their profit – yeah, right.  This explains why when compared to the rest of the world we spend twice as much for healthcare with low expectations for life.  Mary Meeker’s State of the USA.

cost14

Ms. Pelosi, we passed it; we have seen what is in it; and we have determined that it is amazingly stupid to allow the people handling our money to have their way with us. – Pandemic Survivor

On Mother’s Day

Mom2 cleaned

My mother was a lovely beautiful woman who had nine children.  She worked both hard in the kitchen and hard in the fields.  She promoted the characteristics of commitment, integrity, and character.   We celebrate mother’s all over the world for without them, we would not be.  Mother’s effort:

ThanksFamily1

It is important to remember the children as well on this day.  Sometimes infants are born with hearts that do not thrive.  It is important, along with standard treatment to be sure they are getting enough vitamin D.  Read about this at he Vitamin D Council, Infant Heart Failure.

As we forgive and ask for forgiveness for the number one cause of death in the US, a mother’s right to choice, we celebrate life.  – Pandemic Survivor

Arogance Intruding on Peace

I was off to enjoy the afternoon at one of the local vineyards. We had taken a picnic as this particular vineyard had set up tables for just that purpose. After the tasting, you could go out and take in the panoramic views of the mountains while enjoying cheese and grapes with the wine of choice. This particular afternoon, the mountains had taken on the many breathtaking colors of blue for which they are named. The interplay of sun and clouds danced off the sides of the mountains bringing shades of Italy to the Piedmont of North Carolina. The Tuscany stone building set in the middle of the vineyard in combination with the infusion of Chianti grapes with the local wild cherry set a peaceful relaxation.

blue vine1The people next to us were chatting incessantly about this or that and I allowed the beauty of the afternoon drown out any intrusive thoughts. Then I started to hear that their patients were idiots who were taking vitamins and minerals. I could not separate the joy of the surroundings with the intrusion of lambasting individuals who were trying to stay healthy. It was obviously a table of doctors from the local medical institutions building up their egos; how smart they are and how stupid their patients are. Even if they believed this, could they not hold their voices down so as not to intrude on others?

The first thought that came to mind; why did you go to medical school to serve the masses if you have no compassion for the ones you serve. There must be empathy for sick, otherwise, you are just trying to make enough money to pay off your school loans, buy a large home on top of a mountain, and perhaps a yacht for the Chesapeake. Why would they let the disgust for their patients efforts destroy such a beautiful afternoon? Worse, why would you believe that twelve years of school was any better than millenniums of common practice for chronic medical conditions? After all, is medicine not an art to relieve the ailing by weaving science and centuries of common practice into a balm for suffering? We all know the eventual outcome – death. It is the living of the years between birth and death that we want to be filled with love, joy, and peace. Why would you want to give such arrogance an opportunity to destroy this tranquility?

blue

After the beginning of another tirade about how stupid his patient was for taking vitamin D3 and MSM to lower his blood pressure, I took another sip of Sangiovese and separated myself from this delusion of grander. – Pandemic Survivor