Larimore Family Newsletter – February 2010

General Health
Here are the contents of this month's Larimore Family Newsletter: Publication Update Broadcast Update Events of the last month Upcoming Events Broadcasting Update Bryson City Secrets and sexual abuse The Larimores (Barb, Kate, Scott, and I) will be on a two-day Focus on the Family Daily Radio Broadcast discussing the topic “Finding Healing from Sexual Abuse” on Monday, February 1 and Tuesday, February 2. Information about the broadcasts can be found here: Monday, February 1, 2010, Finding Healing from Sexual Abuse (Part 1 of 2), Tuesday, February 2, 2010, Finding Healing from Sexual Abuse (Part 2 of 2). I first publically discussed the sexual abuse that occurred in our family in my book Bryson City Secrets. It was this abuse that led us to leave Bryson City back in 1985. Why…
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FDA shifts stance on safety of BPA in plastics

Cancer, Children's Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Health
Scientists link BPA in plastics to heart disease Wow. No sooner do I post a blog in which I say, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether any action needs to be taken (about BPA). And I would expect them to express a more cautionary tone in the future. There’s just too much evidence now to not do so," than the FDA announces a reversal of its position. In a front-page story, the New York Times reported, "In a shift of position, the Food and Drug Administration is expressing concerns about possible health risks from bisphenol-A, or BPA, a widely used component of plastic bottles and food packaging that it declared safe in 2008." The FDA is now saying it has "some concern about the potential effects of…
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Scientists link BPA in plastics to heart disease

Children's Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
#mce_temp_url#With disagreement over baby bottle chemical (bisphenol A), what’s a parent to do? Reuters Health in London is reporting that exposure to a chemical found in plastic containers is linked to heart disease. Scientists researching bisphenol A, known as BPA, have just confirmed earlier findings casting suspicion on BPA and adding to pressure to ban its use in bottles and food packaging -- not only for those containers of food or drink for infants and children, but also adults. British and U.S. researchers studied the effects of the chemical bisphenol A using data from a U.S. government national nutrition survey in 2006 and found that high levels of it in urine samples were associated with heart disease. Bisphenol A, known as BPA, is widely used in plastics and has been…
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Low levels of vitamin D may be linked to greater asthma severity

Nutritional Health
Study suggests 70 percent of children, young adults do not get enough vitamin D More reasons to consider having your vitamin D level checked – you may think better and have less arthritis Specific vitamins and a supplement (B vitamins, vitamin D, and calcium) may lower risk of stroke, blindness, and cancer Vitamin D tests soar as deficiency, diseases linked Lack of vitamin D raises death risk Vitamin D Recommendations for Teens May Be Too Low Vitamin D may protect against heart attack Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Artery Disease The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that researchers at the National Jewish Health in Denver found that "adult asthma patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had better lung function compared with people with…
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Pro-Life, Pro-Abortion Groups Clash on Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad

Bioethics, Children's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
The controversy over the coming Super Bowl ad from Focus on the Family about pro-life University of Florida football star Tim Tebow is generating as much, if not more, attention than it will when it runs before and during the championship game. Now, pro-abortion and pro-life groups are clashing on the ad with both sides lobbying CBS to allow or disallow the commercial. Here's LifeNews.com's full report on the story: LifeNews.com has reported on the ad several times and how the ad will likely feature the story of how Tebow's mom refused to abort him. The New York-based Women's Media Center has coordinated an attack on the ad -- launching a campaign with the pro-abortion National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups to persuade CBS not to run…
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Benefits of multivitamins called into question

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
The Washington Post (1/26, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012503128.html) reports that despite the multitude of varieties of multivitamins available, there is "little evidence that any of these products actually result in better health." A study http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/169/3/294 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine "tracked more than 161,000 post-menopausal women over eight years and found that multivitamins had no effect whatsoever in 10 health-related categories, from the rate of the most common cancers, heart attack and stroke to overall mortality." Myrtle McCulloch, a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Georgetown University, says that without FDA regulation, "manufacturers don't have to prove their effectiveness," which "makes an independent stamp of approval from the nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia essential to guarantee a certain level of quality." The Washington Post reports that despite the multitude of varieties of multivitamins…
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Heart patients lacking vitamin D more likely to be depressed

Mental Health, Nutritional Health
People with heart disease and similar conditions who don't have enough vitamin D are more likely to be depressed than their counterparts with adequate levels of the "sunshine vitamin," according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando. This link seems to be even stronger in the winter. Here's a full report from CNN: Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because the human body produces it only when exposed to sunlight -- although it takes just 10 to 15 minutes a day to make an adequate amount. Vitamin D, which helps the bones better absorb calcium, is also added to multivitamins and milk, and occurs naturally in fish. A second study by the same team of researchers found that people age 50…
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Vitamin D deficiency in kids is getting more attention

Children's Health, Nutritional Health
A recent cross country study sample suggests that MOST children in the U.S. have suboptimal vitamin D levels. Healthy blood levels of vitamin D are at least 30 ng/mL; but 2 out of 3 kids have levels below this, and about 1 in 5 kids ages 1 to 11 are deficient with a vitamin D level below 20 ng/mL. The problem is especially severe in Black and Hispanic children. HALF are deficient, with levels below 20 ng/mL. This is likely because their darker skin blocks out more of the sun's UV-B rays needed for making natural vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU/day of vitamin D, starting days after birth all the way through adolescence. A cup of cow's milk or baby formula contains only about 100…
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Mission Ethiopia

International Health
This blog will be silent from today until Wednesday, January 27. Why? Because Barb and I will be serving on a medical mission trip to Ethiopia. It's been three years since my last overseas mission trips (to China and Iran), and I'm excited about this opportunity to serve overseas once again -- and especially excited to be sharing this adventure with Barb. The trip is being led by my friend, Bob Cornuke, called the "Christian Indiana Jones." You can read more about his work and ministry here. In fact, my 2006 trip to Iran was with Bob when we traveled together to look for the remains of Noah's Ark high up on Mount Suleiman in Northern Iran (you can read about that trip here). As an aside, Bob and Col. Oliver…
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Could African Mango Help With Weight Loss?

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Irvingia gabonensis is becoming a popular natural ingredient for weight loss. It is now showing up in several weight loss products such as Integra Lean Irvingia, Vitagetics Vita Lean, Dr. Sears Private Label Primal Force Primal Lean, and others. But, does it work, and is it safe? Irvingia gabonensis, also known as "African mango" or "bush mango," is a tree from Africa that produces a mango-like fruit. The seeds have high soluble fiber content and function as a bulk-forming laxative. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD, one of my most favorite web sites for trustworthy information on herbs, vitamins, and supplements), there is some research that suggests that a seed extract from the plant reduces the accumulation of fat in fat cells called adipocytes. Clinical research shows that…
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Be Careful Using a Neti Pot Everyday

General Health
Nasal Irrigation using "neti pots" or rinse bottles are often used to clear the sinuses, soothe cold and allergy symptoms, and decrease sinus infections. But now preliminary research suggests that chronic use might actually INCREASE the risk for sinus infections. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD, one of my most favorite web sites for trustworthy information on herbs, vitamins, and supplements), researchers suspect that chronic irrigation might alter normal nasal secretions and wash away protective immune mediators. But some experts think that contaminated neti pots and rinse bottles might also contribute to increasing infections. So, here are my recommendations: Use boiled, bottled, or distilled water in the neti pot for irrigating. Wash your neti pot with hot soapy water after every use and never to share them with other…
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Time spent watching television may be linked to increased risk of death

General Health
The Wall Street Journal reports that there may be a link between the time an individual spends watching television and his or her risk of death, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. Bloomberg News picked up the story, reporting that investigators "tracked the TV-viewing habits of 8,800 adults and followed them for six years." The study findings indicated that "every hour of daily TV watching increased the risk of dying from any cause by 11 percent," HealthDay reported. The researchers found that "for cardiovascular diseases the increased risk was 18 percent, and for cancer it was nine percent." When "compared with those who watched less than two hours per day, those who watched TV for more than four hours each day had an 80 percent increased risk of…
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Active Girls Make Better Grades

Children's Health, Parenting
Girls who spend more time in vigorous physical activity may do better in school, even if they are not particularly fit, study findings hint. According to this report from Reuters Health, Dr. Lydia Kwak, at Karolinska Institute in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues examined associations between light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity and academic achievement in 232 students (52 percent girls) who were 16 years old on average and attending ninth grade in a Swedish school. They tallied students' grades in language, science, math, history, and other school subjects, Kwak's team explains in the Journal of Pediatrics. They assessed students' overall physical activity by having each wear an accelerometer - a physical activity meter similar to a pedometer - for 4 consecutive days that included at least one weekend day. The researchers determined…
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Obesity Outweighs Smoking as Life Expectancy Threat

General Health, Medical Economics, Nutritional Health, Obesity
When I wrote my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I predicted that if the obesity epidemic was not stemmed, that this generation of U.S. children would be the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parent. Now, new population-level predictions show the importance of tackling obesity for the nation's health. In other words, the gains we are making in improved life expectancy from lower smoking rates, especially over the next decade, will be offset by a great degree by reductions in life expectancy based on the rise in obesity. This report, from MedPage, tells us that if obesity and smoking rates had held steady, the average 18-year-old would have seen a 2.98-year increase in life expectancy over a 15-year period. At…
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Dr. Walt’s Testimony Before Congress on Faith-based Perspectives on the Provision of Community Services

Bioethics, General Health, Medical Economics
Back in 2004, while serving as Vice President of Medical Outreach at Focus on the Family, I was asked to testify before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources on the topic of “Faith-based Perspectives on the Provision of Community Services.” Recently someone asked me to post my comments, so here they are. You can also read them in the Congressional Record here. Mr. Chairman, I am Walter L. Larimore. Prior to joining Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado in February 2001 to become Vice-President of Medical Outreach, I practiced family medicine for over 20 years in small rural towns in North Carolina and Florida. In both practices, I was actively involved in teaching medical students and residents. I was also involved in medical research and writing…
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Adult Stem Cell Treatment Restores Sight to Partially Blind Man

General Health
The Guardian in England has an amazing story about a partially blind man regaining his vision. Russell Turnbull, 38, suffered massive damage to his right eye when he was caught in a scuffle after a night out in Newcastle in 1994. On the bus home, Turnbull had tried to intervene in a fight between two men but was injured when one of them began squirting passengers with ammonia. The chemical severely scarred Turnbull's cornea, the clear membrane that covers the front of the eye, and destroyed stem cells that usually help keep the cornea healthy. In an experimental treatment devised by doctors at the North East England Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle, stem cells were taken from Turnbull's healthy eye and grown on a layer of amniotic tissue, which is…
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Twelve Reasons Why the Senate Health Care Bill Should Alarm Each of Us

General Health, Medical Economics
My friend, family physician and U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, MD, has my undying respect and admiration. When he speaks, I listen. So, his most recent piece on the healthcare reform legislation being hammered out behind closed doors caught my interest. I thought you'd find it compelling and recommend you share this with others: As a doctor I swear to uphold the Hippocratic Oath, including to do no harm. As a Senator, I swear to uphold the United States Constitution. In the recent health care debate, principles from both have converged and I am sad to say that the Senate health care bill violates both of my oaths. Below are twelve major concerns that should have every American's attention: 1) Bailout for Insurance Companies It is potentially unconstitutional for the federal…
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Full-body scanners at airports pose no health risk

Cancer, General Health
ABC World News is reporting on whether radiation exposure from full-body scanners to be implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pose health risks for passengers. ABC's Betsy Stark noted, "Most of the scanners about to be deployed in the US use x-rays to look for objects hidden under clothes." While exposure to x-rays, to radiation, can increase the risk of cancer, according to the machine's manufacturers, and (even more importantly) an independent study ... the scanners pose little to no health risk. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that for its part, "the American College of Radiology has issued" an official statement that the group "is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for…
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National Cancer Institute Researcher Admits Abortion-Breast Cancer Link True

Bioethics, Cancer, Mental Health, Woman's Health
The National Cancer Institute gained a reputation for putting politics over science when it did everything possible to deny dissenting opinion during a meeting to establish whether or not a link exists between abortion and breast cancer. But now, the main NCI acivist who got the agency to deny the abortion-breast cancer link has co-authored a study admitting the abortion-breast cancer link is true, calling it a "known risk factor." Here's the story as reported by LifeNews.com. Scientists and educators about the abortion-breast cancer link point to a new study that shows a top NCI official may be re-thinking the refusal to acknowledge the link. The study, conducted by Jessica Dolle, appears in the April, 2009 issue of the prestigious cancer epidemiology journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. The Dolle study, conducted…
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More hospitals using new type of patient gown

General Health
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that approximately "1,700 facilities ... are now using" a new type of hospital gown. The new gown is known as Bair Paws. According to the Inquirer, "a machine blows warm air between layers of paper -- actually a DuPont fabric made of wood fibers, polypropylene, and polyester -- in the gown to keep patients toasty before, during, and after surgery." These "gowns, which ... cost about $15 each, not only make patients feel better -- doctors say they also help them heal better." Sales are soaring according to Jami Collins, a senior product manager at Arizant Inc., the company that makes the gowns.
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The latest drugs and supplements used for weight loss. Are any worth trying?

Nutritional Health, Obesity
As soon as the holiday goodies are gone, people begin to try various products to try to lose weight. Why? Because most of us gain weight over the holidays. So, pharmacies report a run on the over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss products. However, people typically lose just 5 to 10 pounds in a year with OTC orlistat (Alli, etc), or even with prescription sibutramine (Meridia) ... phentermine ... or diethylpropion. And, there are new concerns about increased cardiac risk with sibutramine ... possibly due to increased blood pressure and pulse. So many people are looking for new options. Here’s a brief review of these products by the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database - an evidence-based source of information I've frequently recommended to you: Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, Pregnyl, etc). Proponents say…
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Gingko biloba may not be effective in preventing cognitive decline or improving memory

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
In my best-selling book, co-written with Donal O'Mathuna, PhD, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I wrote a chapter on Gingko biloba and said this: While ginkgo looks promising as a means of delaying the memory loss related to a variety of diseases, some studies have found no benefit. Studies have found memory benefits only for about six months. Ginkgo may prove helpful for retarding age-related memory loss, dementia, and peripheral arterial disease. However, studies have not examined the benefits or safety of taking ginkgo long-term. Now we may have the answer. I was first informed of it by watching the CBS Evening News where it was reported, "Americans spend a quarter billion dollars a year on" gingko biloba supplements, "hoping to improve their memory and slow cognitive decline." NBC Nightly…
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Top 10 Good News Pro-life News Stories of 2009

Bioethics, Health Headlines
The following are the top ten good news stories of 2009, ranked according to popularity, from LifeNews.com. 1) 12-Year-Old Stuns Pro-Choice Teacher and School with Pro-Life Presentation 12-year-old "Lia" of Toronto become a star at her school and on Youtube with her five-minute pro-life speech, crafted for a school competition. A video of her speech has been watched over 800,000 times on Youtube. 2) List of Bishops Opposing the Notre Dame Invitation and Award to President Obama 83 U.S. bishops spoke out against Notre Dame's decision to honour the "most pro-abortion president in history." The widespread and public outrage from the country's bishops was considered by many to be an encouraging sign about the current direction of the U.S. Catholic Church on the life and family issues. 3) Florida Quarterback…
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Top 10 Pro-Life News Stories of 2009

Bioethics, Health Headlines
President Barack Obama, abortion, the Supreme Court, and healthcare dominated pro-life news in 2009. As we look back on 2009, the first with a new pro-abortion president, it seems to me that the pro-life movement essentially is on the defensive. Thanks to a pro-abortion president and Congress, pro-life advocates spent most of their time this last year attempting to hold back the opening of the floodgates ushering in an expansion of abortion and taxpayer financing of it. With the health care debate continuing into the new year, those efforts will be forced to continue -- although the potential for pro-life gains in the 2010 elections provides significant hope for the future. So, with that in mind, the following are the top ten pro-life news stories of 2009, ranked according to…
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The Top 10 Health Scares Of The Decade

General Health, Health Headlines
With disagreement over baby bottle chemical (bisphenol A), what’s a parent to do? While the past decade has seen great strides in medical technology, it hasn't seen solutions to all of our health problems. There were novel viruses that threatened to kill us all. There were toxins in our children's toys, and we were told to worry about the junk they were eating. Some of these threats turned out to be almost nonexistent. Others were arguably overblown. Some caused widespread harm. So what new threats have been robbing you of sleep since the annual odometer rolled over from 1999 to 2000? Here's a list from ABC News of the top ten new threats of the last ten years. 1) Swine Flu (H1N1) Since it came to public attention in the United States…
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Larimore Family Newsletter – January 2010

General Health
Here are the contents for this month's newsletter: Family Update Publication Update 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People available His Brain, Her Brain published in Spanish and in a new Audio Book Events of the last month Upcoming Events Family Update Barb and I had a lovely month at home together for the Christmas holidays. We enjoyed being off the road for a bit and fellowshipping with friends and our church family. During this time I was able to make significant inroads in finishing the manuscript for my first solo novel, tentatively called Hazel Creek. It’s a story about five young sisters who are orphaned in the Smoky Mountain wilderness of western North Carolina in the 1920’s and have to fend off their family farm from an unscrupulous lumber baron.…
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