Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Suicide is a major problem in the Untied States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it was the tenth leading cause of death in 2007, accounting for nearly 35,000 deaths. And it is estimated that there are 11 attempted suicides for each suicide death.
Now, things just seem to be getting worse. A new study has determined that there was a 55 percent increase in emergency room hospital visits for prescription drug-related suicide attempts in men between the ages of 21 and 34 from 2005 to 2009.1 Perhaps not shocking, given the ever increasing numbers of people on prescription medications and the suicidal ideations sometimes related to them, it is nevertheless upsetting that this preventable problem is so big and escalating.
The research, which took place through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland, compared the data across four years. In 2005, 19,024 ER visits took place due to drug-related suicide attempts among 21- to 34-year-old men. In 2009 -- a mere four years later -- that number rocketed to 29,407. Overall, there were 77,971 trips to the ER for drug-related suicide attempts in men of any age. So these 21 to 34 year olds were a large proportion of them, accounting for well over one third of the visits.
The largest increase was shown to come from men taking antidepressants, which rose a whopping 155 percent among men 21 to 34. But those taking anti-anxiety or insomnia medications didn't fare much better: their ER visits for suicide attempts grew by 93.4 percent.
In older age groups of men, the most significant problem appears to arise from narcotic pain relievers. Men between the ages of 35 and 49 taking these meds had almost twice as many ER visits for suicide attempts in 2009 as they did in 2005. And in men 50 and older, the number nearly tripled in that time frame. The researchers were also very clear to draw a distinction in all of these cases between unintentional overdoses and actual suicide attempts in which the medication was a major factor or the cause of the attempt.
The study outlines the increasing toll our society is paying for overuse of prescription medications. And it's not just men who are being dosed up pharmaceutically. Since 1996, adult prescriptions for mental illness have risen by 73 percent, and prescriptions for children went up by 50 percent. Among seniors over the age of 65, psychiatric drug prescriptions have doubled. In fact, one in every 10 adults has a mental health prescription (including ADHD medications, antipdepressants, Alzheimer's drugs, and antipsychotics), and one out of every 20 kids.
To what effect are we putting so many people on these mental modulators? If the drugs actually worked, there might be some excuse for occasional excess. But in fact, a study in 2008, published in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine, found that antidepressants work no better than placebos for most patients with mild or even severe depression. Another study published in 2008 found that inexpensive magnets work at least as well as meds in treating depression.
And yes, there may indeed be a place for psychotropic medications. But given the potentially serious side effects (especially this new information on drug-related suicide attempts), the cost, the fact that they don't necessarily work very well, and the fact that there are other methods that might achieve the same results without the health risks -- particularly for mild anxiety and depression -- psychiatric drugs should probably be considered a last-resort measure and only for truly serious mental health disorders. In an ideal world, the results of this research would lead doctors to cut back on prescribing so much medication and hopefully that would keep tragic visits to hospital emergency rooms down and lower the suicide rates for everyone.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Considering that over the past several decades psychiatrists have been prescribing ever greater amounts of psychotropic medication and yet society keeps getting more stressed, more depressed, and more suicidal -- doesn't that qualify as insane behavior? Or to put it another way: aren't the inmates truly running our asylums now?
1 undefined. "The DAWN Report." Dawn Drug Abuse Warning Network. 16 June 2011. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 30 June 2011.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
A Five-Pronged Approach to Chronic Joint Pain and Inflammation
Joint pain is an interesting animal. Everyone has it at some point. For many people, it's only an occasional problem -- easily taken care of by a single aspirin or some Ben Gay (or buy someEssential Relief™ for that matter). For others, though, it's a chronic problem, reducing them to a lifetime of dependency on high doses of NSAIDS or prescription drugs.
Over the years, I've formulated and recommended a number of products for pain. Years ago, before they were all the rage, I recommended Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate. Also, over the years, I've recommended CMO (cetyl myristoleate), MSM, Fish oil, Boswellia, and Proteolytic Enzymes, among others.
Why so many things?
Because no one solution works for everyone! That's so important, I'm going to repeat it one more time. No one solution works for everyone!
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
I don't care what advertising statements you've read or how hard someone has tried to sell you a magic bullet, no one formula works for everyone. Each person is unique. Their bodies are different. And the causes of joint pain and cartilage destruction are varied.
If Glucosamine and Chondroitin already work for you, then this report is not for you (necessarily). If CMO does the trick, same thing. If you're happy with Proteolytic Enzymes or Essential Relief™, this probably is not for you (most likely). But if they haven't worked, or if you still suffer from chronic pain, and the only help you've been able to find is from daily doses of aspirin or prescription drugs, or if you're concerned about more than just the pain issue and are looking to prevent further degradation of your joints, then read on.
Updating a Formula
Messing with a successful formula is always a risky proposition, but so is thinking that good enough is good enough.
Back in 2005, I developed a formula which incorporated some extraordinary new research on natural pain relievers -- 3 substances that not only relieved pain, swelling, and stiffness, but that when used in combination also helped rebuild damaged joints and tissue.
This formula offered a three pronged approach to systemically relieving chronic joint pain and inflammation.
- It incorporated ASU to increase aggrecan levels, thereby helping to repair and rebuild damaged cartilage in the weight bearing joints.
- It made use of the unique ability of the undenatured type II chicken collagen found in UC-II™ to train the body's immune system to stop attacking joint cartilage.
- And it made use of ginger's ability to directly reduce pain and inflammation.
This formula worked so well that even though it was not inexpensive, it became one of the best selling formulas at Baseline Nutritonals, and had one of their highest reorder rates. And on top of that, it not only was successful at relieving pain, it also turned out to be spectacular at protecting against periodontal disease. Which brings up the question: why mess with success?
The answer is that it only works for about 68% of the people who use it (keeping in mind that glucosamine and chondroitin only work for about 30% of the people who use them). Now economically, 68% is a huge hit for Baseline, but as a formulator, I obsess over the 30% who are being left behind. I realize that nothing will work for 100% of people, but what about 80-85% -- rates we see for formulas like Essential Relief™ pain oil?
Anyway, ever since the formula was released, I've been looking for ways to improve its rate of effectiveness. One of the problems, of course, with changing a formula is that there's only so much room in a capsule. If you put something new in, you have to take something old out to make room for it. The trick, then, is making sure that the trade off produces a more effective formula, not just a different formula; and after two years of constant experimentation, I've been able to do that with this formula. I've found a way to add two ingredients to the formula that early research indicates may produce an effectiveness rate approaching 80-85%. The two new ingredients are CMO (a special Omega-9 fatty acid variant) and 5-LOXIN® (a very special boswellia serrata extract).
With that in mind, let's look at the formula from top to bottom.