Report highlights potential dangers of complementary and alternative medicines for children

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Parenting
In my evidence-based book on alternative medicine, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, I wrote a cautionary chapter on the risks and dangers of many alternative therapies and natural medications in children in which we concluded, "In general, we believe that alternative medicine isinappropriate for children. The potential risks are too high. Until high-quality studies show clearlythat a particular alternative therapy is safe and effectivefor children, that therapy should be avoided." Now a new report highlights the many potential dangers of complementary and alternative medicines for children. (more…)
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Chiropractic Care: an evidence-based evaluation

Alternative Medicine, General Health
I've had several questions from readers about my views on chiropractic care. It's a topic I reviewed for my evidence-based book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, that was co-published and endorsed by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) as "medically reliable and biblically sound." Here's an excerpt from our chapter on chiropractic care: (more…)
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U.S. spending millions to see if herbs truly work

Alternative Medicine, Medical Economics
People have been using herbal supplements for centuries to cure all manner of ills and improve their health. But for all the folk wisdom promoting the use of such plants as St. John's wort and black cohosh, much about their effect on human health remains unknown. Therefore, I'm delighted that the federal government is spending millions of dollars to support research dedicated to separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to herbal supplements. Here are the details from USA Today: "A lot of these products are widely used by the consumer, and we don't have evidence one way or the other whether they are safe and effective," said Marguerite Klein, director of the Botanical Research Centers Program at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "We have a long way…
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FDA announces crackdown on chelation therapy — finally!

Alternative Medicine, General Health
I’ve written about chelation for many years. In my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I conclude, “Evidence against (chelation’s) effectiveness in heart disease is so clear, its continued use raises serious ethical questions. The therapy is very expensive and can be very lucrative for providers. But, it's virtually worthless for consumers." Some of my past blogs on chelation have included: Chelation therapy for autism not only potentially harmful, it’s based on faulty premise and Federal investigators uncover major problems with chelation study. Now, finally, comes news that the FDA is going to crack down on these quacks. The Washington Post reports that officials from the Food and Drug Administration have "announced a crackdown on" chelation, "a controversial therapy widely hawked on the Internet and elsewhere as an alternative treatment for conditions such as autism,…
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Yoga: Should Christians Be Concerned?

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
Yoga is an alternative therapy that raises difficult questions for Christians. The physical and breathing exercises taught in yoga classes may improve general well-being. However, as a deeply religious practice with the goal of union with the divine, it is antitheti- cal to biblical Christianity. In spite of its reputation as a simple calisthen- ics program, reports of physical and spiritual harm continue to surface. A debate between Christian practitioners and opponents of yoga was triggered by Holly Robaina’s 2005 article in Today’s Christian Woman. The author interviewed a woman who was introduced to destructive beliefs through yoga. Ro- baina noted that terms commonly used in “secu- lar” yoga have religious meanings. The “salute to the sun” posture used to begin many classes pays homage to the Hindu sun god,…
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Study: Shark cartilage does not help patients with lung cancer

Alternative Medicine, Cancer
The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reports that shark cartilage may not benefit patients with lung cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators "enrolled 379 patients with non-small cell lung cancer that could not be treated surgically." All of the participants "received standard radiation and chemotherapy," while 50% of the participants were also given a shark cartilage extract known as AE-941. The Time "Wellness" blog reported that "after nearly four years, patients taking shark cartilage ... showed no better survival from their cancer than those swallowing a placebo -- on average, the shark cartilage group lived 14.4 months after treatment began, while the control group lived 15.6 months." If you want to learn more about alternative medicine and natural medications (herbs,…
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Homeopathic Cobra Venom for Pain? Watch out!

General Health
According to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Cobroxin and Nyloxin are new homeopathic products used for chronic pain. They come as an oral spray and topical gel. The bad news is that these products contain a "5X homeopathic dilution" of cobra venom. This means that they contain a concentration of about 0.001% cobra venom. As I discuss in my chapter on "Homeopathy," in my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, although virtually all homeopathic products contain no detectable active ingredient (no even a single molecule), these two chronic pain products contain a small amount that could potentially have some effect. Preliminary research has evaluated cobra toxin given as an injection. But there is no reliable evidence about this homeopathic dose when taken orally or applied topically.…
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Acupuncture found lacking for fibromyalgia

Alternative Medicine
Reuters Health is reporting on a new study examining the treatment of fibromyalgia with acupuncture. Indeed, acupuncture may provide some temporary pain relief for people with fibromyalgia, but does not help with fatigue, sleep problems, or physical function, according to a new research review. However, the results are too inconsistent to recommend acupuncture as a treatment fibromyalgia, the reviewers conclude. Fibromyalgia, a debilitating pain syndrome that affects an estimated 2 to 4 percent of the population, is characterized by chronic pain, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. It's a somewhat mysterious condition with no clear-cut cause. Winfried Hauser of the Klinikum Saarbrucken in Germany and colleagues reviewed seven randomized controlled trials of acupuncture that included a total of 385 people with fibromyalgia. The study subjects were mostly white middle-aged women. All of…
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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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Many autism therapies are unproven and risky

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Parenting
In a gripping series exploring autism and its treatments, the Los Angeles Times reports that "after reviewing thousands of pages of court documents and scientific studies and interviewing top researchers in the field, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune found that many of these treatments amount to uncontrolled experiments on vulnerable children." According to results of the investigation, "the therapies often go beyond harmless New Age folly," with many being "unproven and risky, based on flawed, preliminary or misconstrued scientific research." Moreover, "lab tests used to justify therapies are often misleading and misinterpreted," and "the few clinical trials conducted to evaluate the treatments objectively" have yielded "disappointing results." The  Times reports that "up to three-quarters of families with children who have autism try at least some alternative therapies." While some…
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Newly released test show most Milk Thistle supplements are substandard

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
White Plains, New York — December 2, 2009 — A recent review by ConsumerLab.com of ten milk thistle supplements showed that only one met ConsumerLab.com’s quality standards.  Two products failed to properly list the part of the milk thistle plant used -- a FDA requirement.  Among the remaining supplements, only one contained the expected amount of silymarin compounds, which are believed to be the active constituents of milk thistle. Studies suggest silymarin may be helpful in type 2 diabetes and, possibly, certain liver conditions.  While most products claimed that their milk thistle extracts were standardized to 80% silymarin, ConsumerLab.com found actual amounts to range from 47% to 67%.  Sales of milk thistle in the U.S. have climbed for several years, reaching $95 million in 2008 according to the latest figures…
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Herbal remedies need real regulation

Alternative Medicine
In my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I explain the reasons that natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) received so little regulation in the United States, and the many problems this causes for health consumers. Now, David Frum, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the author of six books, including "Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again," and the editor of frumforum.com, has weighed in with a thoughtful article on CNN: Did you know that there exists an all-natural remedy for memory loss? Weight gain? Macular degeneration? Prostate enlargement? These products are so successful that clinical testing has already begun! Just listen to the following testimonial from an unidentified person ... As these ads blare at you from your favorite AM radio station, perhaps you wonder: How…
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Physician calls for increased FDA regulation of dietary supplements

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
In my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, I lament the lack of regulation of dietary supplements in the U.S. Because of this lack, it's very difficult for consumers to know, when it comes to herbs, vitamins, and supplements, if what they purchase actually contains what the label says. It's almost impossible to know if the natural medication is contaminated or not. As a result, there are now other voices beginning to call out for at least some regulation of these substances. (more…)
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The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 8 – Alternative Medicine

Children's Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
In my latest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize these ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, teach what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine. Here’s the eighth installment of this ten-part series. (more…)
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Larimore Family Newsletter – June 2009 Edition

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Medical Missions, Men's Health, Mental Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Family Update Dr. Walt Named in “Guide to America’s Top Family Doctors” Dr. Walt Finally on Facebook Publication Update New Title for Dr. Walt’s First Novel: The Gabon Virus Dr. Walt writes chapter for Joe Gibbs’ new book: Game Plan for Life Nice Blog Review of Bryon City Seasons and Bryson City Secrets Nice Blog Review of Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook Broadcast Update Dr. Walt and Barb to be featured on the Focus on the Family Radio Broadcast in July Events of the last month and Upcoming Events  More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 12 – Biblical Principles on Which to Base Medical Decisions and The Power of Faith

Alternative Medicine
This is the last entry in this series -- which has been one of the most popular I've written. I hope it’s been helpful for you and hope you recommend this blog series to your friends as the Bible gives clear principles on which we can rely when making decisions about alternative therapies with spiritual roots. Some have noted that most of the passages condemning occult practices come from the Old Testament. Most theologians teach that Christians are not bound by many of the Old Testament laws, such as those related to worshiping in God’s temple. Does that mean that prohibitions of divination and magic no longer apply to Christians? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 11 – Look to the Bible, Not Inner Voices, for Guidance

Alternative Medicine
When investigating an alternative therapy, be concerned about those that involve listening to other spirits. But what about listening to an inner guiding voice? Guidance by intuition and inner voices has become more in vogue today than guidance through reason and objective evidence. Postmodernism has contributed to this acceptance with its notion that we all create our own reality, that whatever we believe is OK. But, is it? More Information: (more…)
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Faith-Based Health and Healing – Part 8 – Illegitimate Spiritual Practices.

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Marriage and Family Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
Alternative medicine as a whole is not rooted in any particular religious tradition, but some therapies are. A number of healing rituals and traditions are part of the Wiccan religion (also called “white witchcraft”). Eastern religions often view healing as dependent on the movement of “life energy” through nonphysical channels that coincide with the physical body. Native-American religion uses herbs as part of its healing rituals. In a number of nature religions, shamans contact spirit beings or guides to get advice on how to treat and heal those under their care. Should Christians be concerned about these practices? More Information: (more…)
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Study Agrees with Dr. Walt – St. John’s Wort effective for depression – with caveats!

Alternative Medicine, Health Headlines, Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
The herbal remedy St. John's Wort effectively treats symptoms of major depression, an analysis of previous studies found on Wednesday. St. John's Wort extracts tested in the different trials were better than placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants with fewer side effects, the researchers reported in the Cochrane review, a journal that analyses medical and scientific studies. My Take: (more…)
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