Daily Archives: February 1, 2011

Larimore Family Newsletter – February 2011

World-wide attention focused on Shell in January 1956 at the news of the disappearance of Saint and four other missionaries – Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian. They had been trying to reach the Huaorani tribe, and had been making aerial reconnaissance missions. When they landed in Huaorani territory they were killed by the natives, their bodies thrown into the Curaray River. Once again, Shell served as a base of operations, this time for the families of the victims and rescue workers.
Two years later, in 1958, the Hospital Vozandes Del Oriente opened its doors as the first hospital in that region of Ecuador. The hospital was the dream of Nate Saint, who donated both land and time to work on its construction before his death in 1956. It served an estimated 65,000 people who lived on the eastern side of the Andes and in the jungle. In 1985 a new Hospital Vozandes was opened on the other side of the Motolo River, and the old hospital was converted to a guest house, lasting until 2007 when weather and termites forced it to be torn down.
In August 1964, Nate Saint Memorial School opened in Shell for missionary children. The school was the realization of an idea Saint had of starting a mission school. He believed it was important for children to go to school close to home. The school was started by MAF, and later was transferred to HCJB who now operate it.

Here are the contents of this month’s Family Newsletter:

  • Family Update
  • Broadcast Update
  • FamilyTalk Programs on Immunizations aired last month
  • Grounded Radio Program on the Immunization Debate
  • Publication Update
  • His Brain, Her Brain may be saving our marriage
  • Blast from the past
  • Events of the last month
  • Upcoming Events

Family Update

Well, winter arrived with fury in the last day. Snow, blowing snow, howling winds, ice, low of minus 17 degrees, and a wind chill of 40 below zero. I’d call that winter for sure!

Barb and I just returned from a week in Ecuador. I taught two days at an International Medical Conference in Quito that had over 1200 attendees. My talks were simultaneously translated into Spanish. Barb said I sounded pretty good in Spanish. Since Quito sits at 9500 feet above sea level, the temperatures were cool to chilly. We enjoyed visiting the city a great deal. Also, our time spent with the HCJB missionaries at Hospital Vozandes – Quito was very fruitful.

We also spent two days on the edge the Amazon jungle at a mission outpost, Hospital Vozandes del Orient (Voice of the Andes), in a small village named Shell. We had a fabulous time visiting a small group of committed missionary doctors, nurses, and staff. I especially enjoyed rounding with the doctors and spending most of one night in the OR with the incredibly skilled missionary surgeons (thanks to Stan Pletchett, MD, and David Graham, MD, for allowing me to be with them in the OR).

We also enjoyed touring the Nate Saint house. Nate was one of the five missionaries martyred along with Jim Elliot in the Amazon jungle. The five men flew into the jungle from Shell. Here are some of the details.

  • World-wide attention focused on Shell in January 1956 at the news of the disappearance of Saint and four other missionaries – Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian. They had been trying to reach the Huaorani tribe, and had been making aerial reconnaissance missions. When they landed in Huaorani territory they were killed by the natives, their bodies thrown into the Curaray River. Once again, Shell served as a base of operations, this time for the families of the victims and rescue workers.
  • Two years later, in 1958, the Hospital Vozandes Del Oriente opened its doors as the first hospital in that region of Ecuador. The hospital was the dream of Nate Saint, who donated both land and time to work on its construction before his death in 1956. It served an estimated 65,000 people who lived on the eastern side of the Andes and in the jungle. In 1985 a new Hospital Vozandes was opened on the other side of the Motolo River, and the old hospital was converted to a guest house, lasting until 2007 when weather and termites forced it to be torn down.
  • In August 1964, Nate Saint Memorial School opened in Shell for missionary children. The school was the realization of an idea Saint had of starting a mission school. He believed it was important for children to go to school close to home. The school was started by MAF, and later was transferred to HCJB who now operate it.

Back in Quito, we visited community development projects, taught students and residents, visited the equator, and toured the old town and cathedrals–all of which were fun side trips.

Overall it’s a beautiful country from the beaches, to the lush vegetation, to the amazing diversity of birds and butterflies, to the towering spine of the Andes with peaks above 20,000 feet, to its many volcanoes (we say one huffing some threatening smoke and ash), to delicious fruits and vegetables and juices, to its ancient haciendas and barrios, to its many native tribes … all in all a delightful trip.

After a couple of days rest, we’re off again. In toto, we’ll only be home 6 out of a 30-day stretch. We’re thankful for the opportunity, but also quite enjoy when we’re home.

When I can, I’ve been working hard on two current writing projects: (1) my first solo novel, Hazel Creek, and (2) Guy Talk: A Christian physician answers your not-so-stupid questions about your body, which is a book for guys going through puberty. #1 is due to the publisher on March 15, while #2 is due February 15. I think I’ll make both deadlines.

Broadcast Update

  • FamilyTalk Programs on Immunizations aired last month

The programs I recorded with Dr. James Dobson on immunizations will aired on Wednesday and Thursday, January 26-27, 2011. You can listen to or download the programs from the FamilyTalk Web site. Part One on childhood vaccinations is here. Part Two on adult immunization is here.

  • Grounded Radio Program on the Immunization Debate

FamilyTalk received so many comments about the programs mentioned above, that Dr. Dobson’s son and co-host, Ryan Dobson, and I went on his Internet Radio Show, Grounded, to continue the discussion. You can listen or download the program, after registering for free here.

Publishing Update

  • His Brain, Her Brain may be saving our marriage

There are few things more gratifying to an author than to learn that his or her book has impacted a life. Barb just received this email about the book we coauthored, His Brain, Her Brain: How divinely designed differences can strengthen your marriage:

His Brain, Her Brain

I have to tell you that I believe your book might be in the process of saving our marriage. I truly was beginning to wonder if my husband had lost his mind … did not understand WHY in the world he didn’t see the situation as I am seeing it.

And I have since learned that he TRULY IS NOT SEEING it the way I am, because he isn’t processing it as I am !!

Cannot thank you enough for putting it down on paper in black and white so we can both digest that we ARE different and it’s ok, God made us that way!!)

  • Blast from the past

Barb and I received this nice note from an acquaintance from our Bryson City days:

Walt, we want to thank you for all you do for so many; Focus on the Family, Bryson City books—all 3, your work in the medical field. Please thank Barb also, we appreciate the value of a marriage team effort.

It is our prayer that God will continue to bless you all in great abundance of health, happiness, and prosperity. We miss seeing around Bryson City.

We enjoyed having you and Eric eat @ Mom’s Swain Hotel (Mildred).

Thanks again Walt.

Keith’s words were an affirmation and encouragement to me.

Events of the last month

  • Jan 6, we celebrated Barb’s birthday (she’s quit counting, but still looks like she’s somewhere south of 39!).
  • Jan 7-9, we flew to Tulsa to be at the Winter Retreat of In His Image Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Richard Swenson (futurist and best-selling author) presented some stimulating lectures we enjoyed. But, we were most blessed to be able to visit with the residents and candidates for this year’s intern class.
  • Jan 22-29, we were in Equator ministering through HCJB Global at a conference for health professionals. I’m deeply enjoyed the honor and privilege to be able to share three presentations with the attendees, who came from all over South America. My teaching was on the principles of incorporating one’s Christian faith into medical practice—and seemed very well received.

Upcoming Events

  • Feb 2-6, we’ll fly to Ft. Myers, FL, and then drive to Naples for the AMA’s RUC meeting.
  • Feb 4, Barb will speak at a luncheon at the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs on our book, His Brain, Her Brain: How divinely designed differences can strengthen your marriage,” and also do a book signing.
  • Feb 4, that night Barb and I will speak at the evening Book Club of the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs. I’ll do a reading from “TSI: The Influenza Bomb,” my second novel, discuss current and future writing projects, answer questions, and do a book signing.
  • Feb 6-10, we’ll be in Atlanta visiting Scott, Jen, and their two girls. We’re looking forward to our time with them.
  • Feb 10-13, we’ll be in Orlando for the wedding of a dear friend and all the associated festivites.
  • Feb 17-20, Barb and I will be in Scottsdale, AZ, where I’ll speak at a medical CME event on “Childhood Obesity.” Barb and I will also speak together on “His Brain, Her Brain” at the same event.

Past Issues

You can get more information on many of my upcoming events here.

Prayer May Help Victims of Domestic Abuse

Patients use prayer as part of healing process

Prayer teaches coping methods for the victims of domestic abuse and allows an outlet for dealing with a wide variety of emotions, according to a recent small study. This is just one of many, many studies showing the benefits of prayer in both physical and emotional health. Here are the details from HealthDay News:

Prayer can help victims of domestic violence deal with their situation and emotions by using coping methods such as venting, a small new study suggests.

It included dozens of people in abusive relationships who were interviewed by Shane Sharp, a sociology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The racially diverse participants came from different regions of the United States, were mostly from Christian backgrounds and had varying levels of education.

One finding was that prayer offers “a readily available listening ear” to people who were boiling with anger.

“If they vented their anger to their abuse partner, the result was likely to be more violence. But they could be angry at God while praying without fear of reprisal,” Sharp said in a university news release.

Prayer also offers domestic abuse victims an opportunity to see themselves as God views them.

“During prayer, victims came to see themselves as they believed God saw them. Since these perceptions were mostly positive, it helped raise their senses of self-worth that counteracted their abuser’s hurtful words,” Sharp said.

For some, folding their hands and focusing on what to say while praying provides a reprieve from the anxiety of their situation. The experience is similar to having a conversation with a close friend or a parent.

But prayer isn’t always beneficial.

“For some, through prayer they told me they learned to forgive their abusive partners, to let go of their anger and resentment,” Sharp said. “But that’s a double-edged sword. It’s good for those who are out of that violent relationship to let go of it to a certain extent. But if they’re still in their violent relationship, it may postpone their decision to leave, and that can be bad.”

Many of the participants said they believe in God but don’t belong to a specific church.

The study appeared in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly.

Here are some of my other blogs on prayer:

DHEA for Anti-Aging or other purposes … what’s the truth?

Here is my review of DHEA from my book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely.

Alternative Medicine - 2009

Recommendations

At this point, research does not conclusively support the use of DHEA supplements for most of the purposes for which they are marketed. Although it may not be unreasonable for a health care provider to use this supplement while monitoring blood or salivary levels, there is still virtually no compelling evidence that this type of intervention is effective — and there are significant theoretical risks from DHEA since it is a steroid hormone that can impact numerous biochemical processes in humans and may stimulate cancer. Therefore, some researchers have commented that use of DHEA outside of a carefully monitored clinical trial is unwarranted. Those interested in eternal youth should look elsewhere (Revelation 21:4).

What It Is

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone, meaning it is a chemical messenger carrying information around the body. It is found in high concentrations in the brain. Our bodies produce it in particularly high quantities during two periods of our lives.

The first is during fetal development, with the production almost stopping at birth.

The second period begins around the age of seven and rises to a maximum in the mid-twenties before gradually dropping off.

By the time you are in your sixties, you will typically have only 10 to 20 percent of your youthful peak values of the hormone.

This drop-off rate has led people to speculate that DHEA may be the elusive fountain of youth. Yet the actual function of DHEA is unknown. All that is certain is that our bodies normally use it to make many of the other hormones we need.

Claims

Daily DHEA supplements are supposed to slow aging, burn fat, and build muscle mass, strengthen the immune system, treat lupus, and help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

DHEA allegedly boosts libido, alleviates depression, and increases general feelings of strength, stamina, and well-being.

It is said to be able to slow down the mental deterioration that can accompany aging and improve memory.

The latest claim is that it will be a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women and will treat vaginal dryness and increase bone strength.

Other alternative medicine providers promote DHEA supplements for conditions such as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome.

Most of these providers will first check either serum or salivary levels of DHEA and then supplement with small amounts of DHEA (10 to 50 mg per day) and monitor DHEA levels.

Study Findings

The last couple of decades have produced studies suggesting that DHEA may actually play a role in many of the conditions listed in the above claims.

However, most of these studies were done on animals.

In general, animal studies are an important step to developing safe and effective treatments for humans. However, there is a very significant caution needed with animal studies — and those with DHEA in particular.

Humans and a few primates are the only species known to produce DHEA naturally and to have such high blood levels.

This means that the results of these animal studies are not directly applicable to humans.

They help move research along but should not be used to make confident claims about the effect of DHEA in humans.

Unfortunately, because marketers have seized on the results of early studies that may or may not turn out to be applicable to humans, abundant unfounded claims circulate about the benefits of DHEA.

Since 1994, it has been widely advertised and freely available as a dietary supplement, which has helped to promote widespread use before its effectiveness and safety have been fully investigated.

These early, positive studies stimulated research into DHEA in humans, the results of which are starting to appear.

Some studies in older people have shown preliminary evidence that DHEA can enhance people’s mood and can have antidepressant effects.

A 2001 Cochrane review examined studies using DHEA to improve mental function and boost memory. The review found four studies with inconclusive results and concluded there was no evidence to support the use of DHEA in normal older people to improve mental performance.

Research results released in 2000 showed that low DHEA levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease in middle-aged men—those with the lowest DHEA levels had a 59 percent higher risk.

However, these data do not answer the question of whether taking DHEA will bring up these levels or reduce cardiovascular risk in men.

DHEA has been recommended for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects many tissues, especially the skin, joints, kidneys, nervous system, and mucous membranes. The symptoms come and go in intensity.

Research showed that those with SLE had reduced DHEA levels. DHEA was then used to treat SLE in a small number of clinical trials. Although preliminary, the results have been generally positive with flare-ups being less severe and less frequent.

Patients were also able to reduce the doses of other medications they were taking.

None of these studies lasted more than one year, which is an important limitation given the cyclic nature of SLE. This means that the improvement may have been due not to DHEA but merely to the normal course of the disease.

Some athletes who use DHEA claim it increases testosterone levels to allow muscle building and more vigorous training.

Very few studies have examined these claims, but one study with young, healthy men given DHEA found that it neither increased testosterone levels nor gave the men any more muscle or strength gains than when they took a placebo.

Overall, DHEA has some useful therapeutic actions. However, it has been proposed to treat a huge range of conditions.

A search for research studies carried out on DHEA shows that it has been tested for many conditions but often with only one or two studies on each illness.

Until a clearer picture emerges of what DHEA helps and what it doesn’t help, only tentative recommendations can be made for most indications.

Cautions

One of the biggest concerns about DHEA arises from it being a natural steroid.

These compounds are powerful, with a wide range of actions. When taken orally, at doses of 50 mg per day or less, adverse effects with DHEA are infrequent and generally mild.

At doses of 200 mg per day, DHEA frequently causes adverse effects.

High blood levels of DHEA have been linked to a number of cancers, especially breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

DHEA can be converted in the body into testosterone, estrogen, and other sex hormones. This leads to fears that high doses will have negative effects on the many functions influenced by these other hormones.

High levels of these hormones have also been implicated in a number of cancers and heart disease. This is of special concern if DHEA is used for extended periods of time.

In addition, DHEA use is associated with acne, increased facial hair, loss of scalp hair, deepening of the voice, weight gain, decreased HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), abnormal liver tests, insulin resistance, and mild insomnia.

Mania is rarely reported in people taking daily doses ranging from 50 to 300 mg. However, the mania may not begin until two to six months after starting DHEA.

DHEA is not considered safe for use in children or in women who are pregnant or lactating.

Another problem with DHEA arises from its availability since 1994 under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. These products are no longer regulated by the FDA or any other federal agency.

So, for example, a 1998 study of DHEA products found that fewer than half of them contained the amount of DHEA stated on the label; some contained none at all.

Other products claim to contain plant steroids that can be converted into DHEA. However, this chemical conversion process does not occur within the human body!

ConsumerLab.com tested seventeen DHEAcontaining supplements. Fourteen products were DHEA only, and three included other herbal, vitamin, or mineral ingredients.

The tests found that three of the seventeen products (18 percent) contained significantly less DHEA than claimed. One product claimed it was “Pharmaceutical Quality” yet was found to have only 19 percent of what its label claimed.

Another product had only 79 percent of the claimed DHEA yet indicated that it met “USP standards.”

You can find the most recent ConsumerLab tests of DHEA in my blog “DHEA Supplements, Touted For Anti-Aging And Strength, Reviewed By Consumerlab.Com.”

DHEA Supplements, Touted For Anti-Aging And Strength, Reviewed By Consumerlab.Com

Recent tests of DHEA supplements by ConsumerLab.com showed that most products contained their claimed amounts of the controversial ingredient, but one provided only 14.7% of its listed amount.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid hormone now banned from use by certain athletic organizations and not permitted to be sold in Canada without a prescription, has been touted for its potential to “reverse the aging process” and “increase strength.” You can read my blog, “DHEA for Anti-Aging or other purposes … what’s the truth?” to learn more about DHEA. This is taken from my book, Alternative Medicine: The claims, the options, the evidence, how to choose wisely.

Alternative Medicine - 2009

ConsumerLab.com’s new Product Review of DHEA Supplements reviews these claims as well as the quality of products on the market. Sales of DHEA were $55 million in 2009, up 10% from the prior year according to figures from Nutrition Business Journal.

“Levels of DHEA decrease with age, which is why it has been promoted as a ‘fountain of youth,’ said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com.”Several studies have shown that it does not improve strength or general well-being in seniors. But DHEA may improve skin condition, sexual function and libido, and osteoporosis in older individuals.”

Dr. Cooperman warned, however, that, “DHEA has potential side effects and should be used with caution.”

In addition to testing the quality of DHEA supplements, ConsumerLab.com compared the cost to obtain an equal amount (25 mg) of DHEA from the products that passed testing. The cost ranged from 4 cents to as much as 46 cents.

Had the product that failed testing contained its listed amount of DHEA, it would have been the most economical product (3 cents per 25 mg of DHEA). However, based on the amount of DHEA actually found, the cost was 23 cents. “If the price of a supplement seems too good to be true, be wary of it,” Dr. Cooperman added.

The new DHEA report is now available here. The report provides results for twelve products, of which ConsumerLab.com selected ten. Two products were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors through CL’s Voluntary Certification Program and are included for having passed testing.

Also listed is one product similar to another that passed testing but sold under a different brand name.

Products included in the report are:

  • Amerifit DHEA,
  • AST Sports DHEA,
  • Enzymatic Therapy Youthful You DHEA,
  • KAL DHEA,
  • Natrol DHEA,
  • Nature’s Bounty DHEA,
  • Physiologics DHEA,
  • PhysioMuscle dhea mass,
  • Schiff DHEA Plus,
  • TriMedica DHEA,
  • Ultimate Nutrition DHEA,
  • Vitamin Shoppe Specialties DHEA, and
  • Vitamin World Youth Guard DHEA.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online.