Posted by: Chris Maloney | July 27, 2016

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome: Is There A Cure?

Quick, what disease affects 25% of the world’s women? Chronic pelvic pain. What’s the cause? We don’t know. But we have a treatment.

Surgeons have decided that chronic pelvic pain is caused by varicose veins in the pelvis. The disease has been termed pelvic congestion syndrome, pelvic venous congestion, or pelvic vein incompetence. Specifically, these veins tend to be around the ovaries. Ignoring that women without any pain also have these varicose veins, surgeons are currently cutting or blocking the veins with some success.

The number of studies on Pelvic Congestion Syndrome makes it almost non-existent (242 studies, bunions have 3,000 studies). We don’t have definitive studies that show that the varicose veins cause the pain, but we do have pain relief for patients who’ve had the surgery. This varies from half to 75% of women, which is a good number unless you realize that almost half of the women undergoing blockage of their veins continued to experience pain. If the venous congestion causes the pain, and you resolve the congestion, wouldn’t we expect a near-universal decrease in pain?

Pain is the symptom most likely to respond to a useless intervention. A recent acupuncture study found that almost half of the placebo group felt pain relief for chronic pelvic pain (compared to 92% of those actively treated). For placebo response, surgery is particularly likely to give a high response rate (see Huffington Post discussion). And without large-scale trials, blocking the veins in the pelvis may not be that effective.

But what if it is? Other studies show that an imbalance in estrogen may make the difference in whether or not a woman experiences pelvic pain. Surgery blocking the veins to the ovaries doesn’t just affect pain. According to one case report “(a)fter the treatment, all subjects experienced a dramatic decrease in pelvic pain, as well as an improvement in two or more preexisting symptoms, including extremity swelling, dyspareunia, external varicosities, constipation, and emotional disturbance.” All that from a little vein blocking? Yes, because blocking the flow from the ovaries would also affect the amount of estrogen they secrete into the body.

It may seem backhanded to apply a surgical solution to a hormonal imbalance, but for women with chronic pain the payoff may be worth it. Especially if they have searched for years for a diagnosis and hit upon something that sounds official. We have a diagnosis: Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. We have a solution: a low risk surgical blockage of those veins. We have outcomes: a great number of women experienced pain relief.  And we have very few other options being offered. The lack of randomized trials or high quality trials means little to someone in chronic pain.

 

 

 

 

Anyone who has read Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air can feel how deeply he loved his young daughter. I found myself wondering at the time if it was the right thing for him to have gone back to his residency. Could he have gotten a few more precious months?

I just read a report from a low carb diet site about a patient with brain cancer who got two years from a diet change. Perhaps Dr. Kalanithi could have gotten a few extra months by making the shift as soon as he found out about his metastatic cancer.

In my own research on colon cancer, which I published as The Colon Cancer Diet, I found that lowering sugar intake reduced cancer recurrence. While I make modest requests of other colon cancer folks, I myself have gone sugar-free.

Wouldn’t it be strange if, after fifty years of fighting the war on cancer, we were to find the simplest solution is a different diet?

Posted by: Chris Maloney | July 19, 2016

Utah Zika Case Mystery: Passed By Saliva Or Blood?

When I saw the news about the Utah caregiver contracting Zika far from any mosquitoes, I thought: “haven’t we been here before?”

We have. Remember Ebola? It was thought to be only transmitted with difficulty, from direct blood contact. Then we realized, too late, that bloody droplets were infectious as well. Caregivers went from surgical masks to separate breathing systems and the spread finally slowed.

In Utah, a caregiver came down with Zika virus. It’s a mystery, but one with only a few possible conclusions.

  1. The caregiver did have sexual relations with her dying charge. While this is possible, it is unlikely.
  2. A mosquito, carried by the man in his luggage, found a way to get into a stagnant water source with sufficient nutrients to carry it through the larval stage. It then grew to adulthood in the Utah house, biting the caregiver and infecting her. While this is possible, it is extremely unlikely.
  3. Another vector, a tick or a flea, drank the patient’s blood and then later bit the caregiver, transferring the infection to her. While this is possible, it would involve a previously unknown carrier of Zika virus.
  4. Zika virus is spread by bloody droplets, particularly in individuals who have a very high viral count, as this sick man did. During the process of caring intimately for him, the caregiver was exposed to a bloody droplet that reached a mucus membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth) and infected her. We know that Zika is spread by blood, and I’m not sure why this wouldn’t be the most likely scenario.
  5. Zika virus is spread by saliva or urine in individuals. We know that both saliva and urine contain the virus, but we aren’t sure if they are infectious. In an individual with a very high viral count, it is possible – if very alarming – that he infected his caregiver with either of those secretions.

In my book, The Bare Essentials of Zika Virus, I note that we’ve had documented blood transmission of Zika for nearly a decade. I also point out that the focus on how mosquitoes spread the illness ignores the reality that humans are the most likely to spread Zika to a new region. I also point out that serious and severe side effects (microcephaly, guillain-barré) are much more likely to be autoimmune cross-reactions rather than Zika alone.Zika full cover

The Bare Essentials of Zika Virus on Amazon and Kindle.

Posted by: Chris Maloney | July 14, 2016

How Do We Stop Mothers From Aborting Zika Babies?

It’s a terrifying time for expecting mothers with Zika running wild. A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine shows that requests for abortion pills (RU486) have doubled in many affected countries, and gone up 30% in others. 

We need to stop this from happening. It is unlikely that Zika alone is causing the epidemic of microcephaly. The best data we have from previous outbreaks is that only 1% of mothers will be affected. Of those, we should be able to predict the chances of microcephaly by using existing testing for antibodies to dengue.

From my research, detailed in the short book I just published, it is clear that microcephaly is a cross-reaction between Zika and a previous infection with dengue. Only those mothers with multiple infections are at risk. Please spread the word and help prevent unnecessary abortions.

The Bare Essentials of Zika Virus by Dr. Christopher J Maloney N.D.
The Bare Essentials of Zika Virus
by Dr. Christopher J Maloney N.D.
Link: https://amzn.com/1535183012
Posted by: Chris Maloney | May 23, 2016

Moving To Naturopathicmaine.com

I’m been posting on wordpress for quite some time, and I’m going to be posting more on my own website.  You can read the latest post on allergies here.  http://naturopathicmaine.com/2016/05/itchy-eyes-a-few…hts-on-eye-drops/Edit

Posted by: Chris Maloney | May 13, 2016

Can Acupuncture Help Weight Loss?

Maybe. In a small study researchers found that acupuncture increased Leptin levels. And it really was the acupuncture points, because patients receiving sham acupuncture didn’t get the same increases.

What I really like about the study was that researchers did the acupuncture with electoacupuncture. By using electricity rather than needles, the research opens the way to having patients see their acupuncturist a few times a month but continuing daily treatment with their own electoacupuncture machines. The machines are relatively simple to use if the point is marked on the body, are cheap, and typically run on a single nine volt battery.

 

Posted by: Chris Maloney | April 29, 2016

Standard Process, Supplements, And Feminine Bleeding

One of the basic responses we should have to anything that makes us bleed, whether it be a knife, a nail, or a supplement, would be to take it out of our environment so that we stop bleeding.

But, while a knife and a nail are pretty straightforward, a supplement causing us to bleed can be confusing. Supplements are inherently “good for us” in the same way that many other things used to be good for us. If you read between the lines of supplement advertisements, all supplements can do is make you feel better. And if a little bit makes you feel better, then a lot should make you feel a lot better.

Supplements get this reputation because they fall into an odd blind spot in modern healthcare. No one taking a prescribed drug would think that swallowing the bottle would be a good idea. We respect the power and potential dangers of drugs. But a patient asking her doctor about a supplement will usually get either, “that doesn’t work,” or a shrug, “I don’t know anything about that.” The doctor thinks the patient won’t use the supplement without a recommendation, but the patient has just heard it might help from the manufacturer and it probably doesn’t work from her doctor. A common conclusion is that it is much less powerful than a drug and she’ll be safe using it even in large quantities.

In the absence of medical guidance, the patient will rely on the recommended dosages printed on the bottle. Most manufacturers are understanding that a patient may not want to spend her day swallowing pills, so they will limit the recommended dose to two or three tablets a day. But some recommend much more.

Standard Process is a very good manufacturer. I want to be clear that they jump through far more hoops than most and I’ve been impressed by the rigor of research behind their Mediherb brand. But, they are the most outrageous offenders when it comes to supplement dosage.

For example, individuals taking SP cleanse will consume seven capsules three times a day. And that is one of four different supplements they are expected to consume daily during Standard Processes’ twenty-one day cleanse. For a company that was founded on whole food as the basis for healing, that seems like a lot of supplements.

Admittedly, most Standard Process supplements  only list one capsule per meal, but they are sold by practitioners who often prescribe much more. The practitioners are encouraged by Standard Processes’ own tapes to use the supplements in quantities that would be equal to if a patient was eating that organ meat or consuming that herb. That’s a lot of supplements.

My own difficulty with Standard Process began when I was researching Mad Cow Disease, and I wanted to know if Standard Process tested their products for prions. In response, I was told that Standard Process uses restaurant grade meat, which wasn’t terribly reassuring. I don’t know of many restaurants that intentionally add dried cow brain and other glands to their meals. When I checked again on the issue, Standard Process is still standing behind the recommendation of the USDA and doesn’t undergo any separate testing. My concern in this area was mirrored by many other manufacturers who took the step of only using glandular tissue from New Zealand. We in the U.S. do not live in a Mad Cow free zone, and in my research I’ve found disturbing reports of other prion diseases similar to Mad Cow.

But let’s get to the specific issue at hand. Standard Process has a glandular mix they call Symplex F, which they introduced in 1965. (page 109 of the product guide) That’s over fifty years on the market. But there have been no studies done. I’m not even asking for a human study, a rat study would do. After fifty years we have no idea what this complex does to human patients because Standard Process does not collect or publish any response to the compound.

Standard Process produces a proprietary mix of four glands, so we have no idea how much of any gland is involved. The idea of a proprietary secret patent formula is very prevalent in Chinese medicine, but in the U.S. more recently introduced products will list out the amounts of each gland. Let’s pick on the bovine ovary gland bit, because that the part of the mix is likely to cause bleeding. Since the quantity and activity level of the gland will vary from batch to batch, we wouldn’t know the activity level even if they listed out the exact amounts. Keep in mind that cows also go through dramatic hormonal shifts, particularly when transitioning from pregnancy to lactation. As far as we know, Standard Process is grinding all of those stages up together, but changes in the herd may alter the composition dramatically throughout the year.

If you look for bovine ovary online, you will see it being used to grow breasts, grow bottoms, and as a support for the transgender community. So doubling or tripling one’s dosage might be a very poor idea unless one is looking to alter one’s metabolism. But patients will take triple the dosage if it prescribed by their Standard Process salesperson. Most practitioners use muscle testing to prescribe, which is complicated in its results (separate post here). More appropriate blood testing is not commonly done.

Beyond simply avoiding taking too much supplemental bovine ovary, patients need to aware that other deficiencies can profoundly alter hormonal balances. Here in Maine we have a common Vitamin D deficiencies that can modify how the female hormones relate to the body. And essential fatty acids form both the basis of and the cushion for female hormonal metabolism in the body.

 

Posted by: Chris Maloney | April 29, 2016

Applied Kinesiology, Muscle Testing, What Does It Really Do?

Typically what I have seen is that a practitioner will prescribe Standard Process using a method called applied kinesiology or arm testing. The practitioner will had a patient a bottle, tell them to hold their arm out, and then push down on the arm while calling out an amount of capsules. When the arm is strongest, that’s the number of capsules the patient needs.

Now, kinesiology is a very legitimate science. Applied kinesiology should be that science applied widely, but it’s come to mean only muscle-testing as a diagnostic tool. Again, testing muscles for strength and weakness is completely valid when assessing a strain or sprain. But it’s not as accurate a tool for diagnosis of supplement needs.

Let me say that I was a big fan of muscle testing as a diagnostic tool when I first encountered it. It seemed to work, and you could see a great many patients very quickly. Then I got an urinary tract infection and my applied kinesiology doc told me I had a kidney stone. I explained that the symptoms didn’t match a kidney stone, the onset didn’t match a kidney stone, and my urinalysis didn’t match a kidney stone. He was adamant that my arm strength trumped any other test. I left him, treated myself for a urinary tract infection, and never looked back.

When I researched muscle testing, I found that when the supplement was applied to the tongue of the patient, the test could be validated. At least it matched the blood tests when muscle testing was done for allergens. But evidently along the way someone thought that opening up the bottles was unhygienic and much more expensive. Which brought on the current model of someone holding the closed supplement bottle in their hands while being tested.

We’ve known for years that different practitioners have different results. Different practitioners can’t even agree on the strength or weakness of the muscles themselves. So it’s likely that different practitioners would come up with different results with supplements. But when blinded to what is being tested, practitioners cannot consistently use muscle testing to determine whether something is good or harmful to the patient. In the most recent study, the two female testers did test significantly higher than chance, but only for male patients. This odd result was dismissed by the researchers, who had already concluded that there was nothing there to test before they began.

Most practitioners engage in an open test with patients, in which both the practitioner and the patient are participants. So in combination the practitioner may be finding how many capsules the patient is willing to take or pay for rather than how many the patient needs. But since the patient is involved, the muscle test also tests likely compliance which does directly correlate with end results. Despite not being an accurate double-blind test, muscle testing may well tell a practitioner how successful his or her treatment will be.

It is this collaboration, a non-verbal discussion between the patient and the practitioner, which everyone should acknowledge is going on in clinical practice. As a patient returns for future visits, muscle testing may become increasingly accurate. The patient’s body now knows the product it will be ingesting and the patient herself has a better sense of what she can tolerate. Rather than disregarding muscle testing for diagnosis, doubting practitioners may well get a better sense of their patients’ compliance by having them stick out an arm and pressing down on it.

 

 

Posted by: Chris Maloney | March 21, 2016

The Colon Cancer Diet

So, what have I been doing on leave to recover from colon cancer? Beyond gibbering in terror and re-evaluating my life, I went looking for a diet book written for people who’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer.  It turns out no one had written one, so I wrote one. It is cleverly entitled “The Colon Cancer Diet.”

In honor of the last week of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, I’m giving half off electronic copies at Smashwords517gliy9uol-_sx331_bo1204203200_ (coupon code WH58AIf you didn’t know that March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, count your blessings.

Some of you have not asked me the question you want to ask, “why did you get colon cancer?” and I’ve partially answered it in the book. But I also wrote up a fairly lengthy explanation, cleverly entitled, “Why Did I Get Colon Cancer?” which can also be found at: http://naturopathicmaine.com/books/the-colon-cancer-diet/

As we come out of a mild winter and my lawn flowers start blooming, I am tremendously grateful for the life that I have been given and for all the daily joy that life provides.

Wishing you and yours a tremendous day!

From my press release

THE COLON CANCER DIET: Diagnosed N.D. Writes For Fellow Patients

A Maine Naturopathic Doctor has written The Colon Cancer Diet about simple diet changes that dramatically lower the chances of recurrence for colon cancer patients.

Diagnosed with colon cancer himself last October, Dr. Christopher Maloney, N.D., is on leave to recover from surgery. He went looking for a diet book specifically designed for patients who already have a colon cancer diagnosis.

“There’s nothing out there,” Dr. Maloney noted. “I contacted the national advocacy groups, and they had no book recommendations. It’s like once you get the colon cancer diagnosis diet and lifestyle no longer matter.”

Dr. Maloney wanted to simplify the medical literature for other patients. “When you’re in pain and terrified of dying, you don’t want to read a long book full of statistics. My goal is to give patients four basic guidelines that will lower their chances of dying. If they can tell me what they need to do in a minute or less, then my book has been a success.”

Prior to his diagnosis, Dr. Christopher Maloney was in family practice in Augusta, Maine for over a decade. He received his Naturopathic Medical degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and his diploma of Premedical studies from Harvard University.

“As a Naturopathic Doctor, my patients expect me to be healthy,” Dr. Maloney relates. “But colon cancer isn’t a reflection of where we are now. It takes colon cancer a decade to grow. I think it’s important for patients to look at me and understand that you can be doing everything you can do to be healthy now and still have things go wrong. Negative self-judgment has no place in a plan for healing and recovery.”

The Colon Cancer Diet is on sale electronically at smashwords in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. The book is also available from Amazon and kindle. While Dr. Maloney is on leave, other licensed Naturopathic Doctors can be found at: mand.org.

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Posted by: Chris Maloney | March 16, 2016

Free John Grisham Book: The Tumor. Is It Real?

I had some difficulty believing that John Grisham would give away a book for free. But he really is, and he’s doing it for an alternative cancer therapy. Raising attention and money for focused ultrasound is his goal.

Since many of you simply came here for the book, here’s the link to the focused ultrasound foundation where you can get it. HERE

For the rest of us, what is the evidence for focused ultrasound as a cancer treatment? It depends. If the basic idea is to heat the tumor, then focused, prolonged ultrasound can definitely do that. But it does beg the question of why you’d use ultrasound to effectively “burn” a tumor when you might use radiation more effectively.

If the goal is to lower  pain and prolong survival in otherwise hopeless metastatic cancer, then a small study of pancreatic cancer patients supports this use.

But should focused ultrasound be used widely by the cancer population? The early data on prostate cancer is promising, but the whole paradigm around prostate cancer has changed recently. For breast cancer, there is difficulty determining clear margins and the dead cells are left in the breast after the treatment. In liver metastasis, focused ultrasound can be used to prolong survival. The same can be said for metastatic and difficult-to-remove tumors throughout the body. So focused ultrasound should be widely used in the palliative later stages of cancer as an alternative to radiation.(All studies here)

I’m not a big fan of “nano-bubbles” to enhance the effectiveness of focused ultrasound. Injecting a patient with something that you then want to vibrate seems like a poorly thought out scheme. But maybe the bubbles will increase the effect?

Far from promoting an “alternative cancer therapy” John Grisham is lighting a fire under oncologists to add a useful tool to their palliative quiver.

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