Clinical Pearls, 13-Mar-1998. The big news in medicine this week was the publication of a study that found high salt intakes to be correlated with longevity. This contradicts standard medical advice to decrease dietary salt intake in order to lower blood pressure. This study contained a lot of confounding variables, and the effect was small. Those with salt intakes in the highest quartile had a death rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 person-years, compared with 23 deaths per 1,000 person-years in those people in the lowest quartile of dietary salt intake. Guess what? Moderation seems to be the best advice! This age old wisdom continues to stand the test of time.
In a related issue challenging standard medical advice, scientists are wondering whether a low cholesterol level is associated with violent behavior. Evidence continues to support the notion that low cholesterol levels are actually harmful. Cholesterol acts as a cell membrane stabilizer, and the theory is that when cholesterol levels are too low, cells in the brain are adversely affected. The result, according to the theory, is a lowered brain serotonin activity, leading to a higher rate of death from violence (usually defined as homicide, suicide, or accidents). But just what is a "low" cholesterol level? That remains mysterious, but some studies have defined it as a level below 160 mg/dL.
The number of new cases of cancer in the US population declined by an average of 0.7% annually from 1990 to 1995. This compares to an average annual INCREASE of 1.2% yearly from 1973 to 1990.
Recommended reading this week is Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D. This classic book on using your mind as a tool in the healing process was written by a plastic surgeon. Dr. Maltz found that even after facial scars and other deformities had been surgically corrected, many patients continued to complain of being ugly or unattractive in some way. He realized that the person's self image often played a bigger role in the healing process from plastic surgery to correct deformities from facial trauma. Over and over again, we are finding that the mind has a significant influence upon the healing process, and Maltz's book describes practical and effective ways to use and control your mind. An update of this book written by one of his students is also highly recommended. In Psycho-Cybernetics 2000 by Bobbe Sommer, Dr. Maltz's techniques are further refined and new methods of making your thoughts work for you are introduced in an easy to read and understand manner.
Another great book on human cybernetics by U.S. Anderson is Success Cybernetics. This is a hard hitting, down to earth book on cybernetics written by a former professional football player. The best work on how the mind can be your greatest ally in the healing process, however, is the landmark book by Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness. If you are challenged by any physical illness, you should make reading this book a top priority. Norman Cousins book is a true classic, and on my required reading list for doctors, nurses, and everyone involved in the healing professions. Get the hardback edition since the cost difference is minimal and because this is a book you'll want to keep in your personal library.
Now for the pearls of the week---
Low dose aspirin has been recommended by the American
Among smokers who want to quit, sustained release
In men who ate fish at least once a week, compared
In this study of 742 adults with signs and symptoms
In this study of 612 patients with an acute pulmonary
Antibiotics are of little to no benefit in the
In this study of elderly white women not on hormone
In this rehash of the NHANES data, those in the highest
Children of smokers have both an increased rate of
In this study of 3397 Swedes, the use of calcium
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