Posts Tagged christopher maloney maine

What To Feed Your Paleo, Vegan, Raw Food, Fruitarian, and Vegetarian Guests.

English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko N...

English: Alaska wild berries from the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you’re having a get together.  And you lost your mind and invited all these different dieters.  Or maybe you got back your invitations and read with an ever sinking stomach:  “we’ve gone Paleo,”  or “we’ve decided animal flesh is immoral,” or even “I’m on a true raw kick.  Would it be alright if I brought steak tartare?”  So what can you give all these people as a host without permanently damaging your friendship?  Not to mention avoiding the problem of having your guests try to kill each other as one of the skirmishes of the diet wars.  What can you feed them?

Berries.  That’s right.  Lots of berries.  Tell everyone to bring their own dish of raw meat or whatever, but provide them with clean, washed berries of various sizes and assortments.  All of the diets eat berries, and I remember thinking that berries were where Dr. Robert Atkins and Dr. Dean Ornish finally met on a common ground.

I recently did another piece on Dr. Oz’s cancer fighting foods, and I was amazed that again, all your guests with cancer would do fine having berries.  They don’t need the Noni, Goji, Hippity-Hoppity berries either.  Your standard blue, black, straw, and raspberries will work just fine.

So bring out the berries and hide the steak knives.  Keep everyone focused on the game and away from the ins and outs of what they’re eating.  If they look around at everyone else chowing down, they might even realize we’re all one big dysfunctional family after all.  Or they’ll maintain the delusional that everyone else is a paleo-raw-forager like themselves.  Whatever avoids bloodshed.


, , , , , , , , , , , ,


Blowing Out Your Bowel: The Truth About Nuts, Seeds, and Diverticulitis.

English: Diverticulitis in the left lower quadrant

Image via Wikipedia

Warning:  only mildly funny, quite educational, and gross.

Ok, the following will be graphic.  Leave now if you don’t want to change the way you view your poo.

Right, all you coprophiles, here goes.

We like to think of ourselves as a single entity.  In fact, we are a hotel, and not a very upscale hotel at that.  The number of bacteria in our gut outnumber the number of cells in our bodies by about ten to one.  These bacteria provide, on average, about a third of our daily protein.  They manufacture a number of our essential vitamins.  And they change the color and consistency of our poo.

If you don’t go poo very often, this is a problem.  It means the type, nature, and aggression of your bacteria changes.  Sometimes they get downright mean and nasty.  If they do, the body flushes them out (diarrhea) and sometimes empties both ends (vomiting).  Barring things like cholera and parasites, the body does a pretty good job of cleaning things out.  But sometimes bacteria manage to swell up the inside of the colon and cause outpouching or diverticula.  They can be helped by years of not going poo enough (how much is enough?  Let’s try for once a day, not once a week).

When the diverticular outpouchings occur, we have preliminary studies than show switching around bacteria makes a difference in how much pain and outpouching occurs.

Given the effect of bacteria on poo, what about the diet?  What diet would be best for, say, people recovering from having diverticulitis surgery?  Would, say, nuts and seeds be a problem for someone recovering from this surgery?  Do you know?

Of course you do.  Nuts and seeds would be a big no-no.  They tear up the bowel like big boulders, absolutely not.  And better keep it low on the roughage as well.

So, what do the surgeons think?  They all gave antibiotics, but all different ones.  Most of them recommended a low fiber diet, some said the regular diet is fine, and ten percent recommended a high fiber diet.  In terms of nuts and seeds, half of them said they weren’t a problem.

Horrendous, right?  How could half the surgeons not know nuts and seed are a problem?

Because they’re not.

In a free article by JAMA, 47 thousand men were followed from 1986 to 2004.  Those eating the most nuts and seeds had less risk of getting diverticulitis.   That’s right, more nuts and seeds, less problems.

In an article on how to prevent the return of diverticulitis, the author states that fiber is the only proven effective solution.  A recent UNC study found the opposite, that too many bowel movements and too much fiber also caused problems.  The UNC study surveyed 2,000 people, so we would still use the 47 thousand person study above to say that nuts and seeds aren’t a problem.

As late as April of 2011, a review was still trying to bury the dinosaur of a low-fiber diet: “Historically, low-residue diets have been recommended for diverticulosis because of a concern that indigestible nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn could enter, block, or irritate a diverticulum and result in diverticulitis and possibly increase the risk of perforation. To date, there is no evidence supporting such a practice. In contrast, dietary fiber supplementation has been advocated to prevent diverticula formation and recurrence of symptomatic diverticulosis, although this is based mostly on low-quality observational studies.” (Nutr Clin Pract. 2011 Apr;26(2):137-42.)

So, despite the “common wisdom,” we should all enjoy our nuts and seeds.  The real question is why half the surgeons treating diverticulitis still believe the myth?

Oh, but don’t believe me.  Here are the studies.

Nutr Clin Pract. 2011 Apr;26(2):137-42.

Low-residue diet in diverticular disease: putting an end to a myth.

Tarleton S, DiBaise JK.


Division of Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, 13400 East Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


Residue refers to any indigestible food substance that remains in the intestinal tract and contributes to stool bulk. Historically, low-residue diets have been recommended for diverticulosis because of a concern that indigestible nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn could enter, block, or irritate a diverticulum and result in diverticulitis and possibly increase the risk of perforation. To date, there is no evidence supporting such a practice. In contrast, dietary fiber supplementation has been advocated to prevent diverticula formation and recurrence of symptomatic diverticulosis, although this is based mostly on low-quality observational studies. This report focuses on the evidence that fiber intake may be beneficial in the prevention and recurrence of symptomatic and complicated diverticular disease and provides recommendations regarding fiber supplementation in individuals with diverticulosis.

PMID: 21447765

JAMA. 2008 Aug 27;300(8):907-14.  Free Full Article

Nut, corn, and popcorn consumption and the incidence of diverticular disease.

Strate LL, Liu YL, Syngal S, Aldoori WH, Giovannucci EL.


University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.



Patients with diverticular disease are frequently advised to avoid eating nuts, corn, popcorn, and seeds to reduce the risk of complications. However, there is little evidence to support this recommendation.


To determine whether nut, corn, or popcorn consumption is associated with diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.


The Health Professionals Follow-up Study is a cohort of US men followed up prospectively from 1986 to 2004 via self-administered questionnaires about medical (biennial) and dietary (every 4 years) information. Men reporting newly diagnosed diverticulosis or diverticulitis were mailed supplemental questionnaires.


The study included 47,228 men aged 40 to 75 years who at baseline were free of diverticulosis or its complications, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease and returned a food-frequency questionnaire.


Incident diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding.


During 18 years of follow-up, there were 801 incident cases of diverticulitis and 383 incident cases of diverticular bleeding. We found inverse associations between nut and popcorn consumption and the risk of diverticulitis. The multivariate hazard ratios for men with the highest intake of each food (at least twice per week) compared with men with the lowest intake (less than once per month) were 0.80 (95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.01; P for trend = .04) for nuts and 0.72 (95% confidence interval, 0.56-0.92; P for trend = .007) for popcorn. No associations were seen between corn consumption and diverticulitis or between nut, corn, or popcorn consumption and diverticular bleeding or uncomplicated diverticulosis.


In this large, prospective study of men without known diverticular disease, nut, corn, and popcorn consumption did not increase the risk of diverticulosis or diverticular complications. The recommendation to avoid these foods to prevent diverticular complications should be reconsidered.

Comment in

J Fam Pract. 2009 Feb;58(2):82-4.

PMID: 18728264

Dig Dis. 2007;25(2):151-9.

Diverticular disease in the elderly.

Comparato G, Pilotto A, Franzè A, Franceschi M, Di Mario F.


University of Parma, Parma, Italy.


There are few diseases whose incidence varies as greatly worldwide as that of diverticulosis. Its prevalence is largely age-dependent: the disease is uncommon in those under the age of 40, the prevalence of which is estimated at approximately 5%; this increases to 65% in those > or =65 years of age. Of patients with diverticula, 80-85% remain asymptomatic, while, for unknown reasons, only three-fourths of the remaining 15-20% of patients develop symptomatic diverticular disease. Traditional concepts regarding the causes of colonic diverticula include alterations in colonic wall resistance, disordered colonic motility and dietary fiber deficiency. Currently, inflammation has been proposed to play a role in diverticular disease. Goals of therapy in diverticular disease should include improvement of symptoms and prevention of recurrent attacks in symptomatic, uncomplicated diverticular disease, and prevention of the complications of disease such as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is the most usual clinical complication of diverticular disease, affecting 10-25% of patients with diverticula. Most patients admitted with acute diverticulitis respond to conservative treatment, but 15-30% require surgery. Predictive factors for severe diverticulitis are sex, obesity, immunodeficiency and old age. Surgery for acute complications of diverticular disease of the sigmoid colon carries significant rates of morbidity and mortality, the latter of which occurs predominantly in cases of severe comorbidity. Postoperative mortality and morbidity are to a large extent driven by patient-related factors.

Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.

PMID: 17468551

Drugs Aging. 2004;21(4):211-28.

Epidemiology and management of diverticular disease of the colon.

Kang JY, Melville D, Maxwell JD.


Department of Gastroenterology, St George’s Hospital and Medical School, London, England.


Colonic diverticula are protrusions of the mucosa through the outer muscular layers, which are usually abnormally thickened, to form narrow necked pouches. Diverticular disease of the colon covers a wide clinical spectrum: from an incidental finding to symptomatic uncomplicated disease to diverticulitis. A quarter of patients with diverticulitis will develop potentially life-threatening complications including perforation, fistulae, obstruction or stricture. In Western countries diverticular disease predominantly affects the left colon, its prevalence increases with age and its causation has been linked to a low dietary fibre intake. Right-sided diverticular disease is more commonly seen in Asian populations and affects younger patients. Its pathogenesis and relationship to left-sided diverticular disease remains unclear. Diverticular disease of the colon is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western world and its frequency has increased throughout the whole of the 20th century. Since it is a disease of the elderly, and with an aging population, it can be expected to occupy an increasing portion of the surgical and gastroenterological workload. It is uncertain what symptoms uncomplicated diverticular disease gives rise to: there is an overlap with irritable bowel syndrome. Diagnosis is primarily by barium enema and colonoscopy, but more sophisticated imaging procedures such as computed tomography (CT) are increasingly being used to assess and treat complications such as abscess or fistula, or to provide alternative diagnoses if diverticulosis is not confirmed. Initial therapy for uncomplicated diverticulitis is supportive, including monitoring, bowel rest and antibacterials. CT is used to guide percutaneous drainage of abscesses to avoid surgery or allow it to be performed as an elective procedure. Surgery is indicated for complications of acute diverticulitis, including failure of medical treatment, gross perforation, and abscess formation that cannot be resolved by percutaneous drainage. Complications of chronic diverticulitis (fistula formation, stricture and obstruction) are also usually treated surgically. However, the indications for, and the timing and staging of operations for diverticular disease are often difficult decisions requiring sound clinical judgement. Factors such as the number of episodes of inflammation, the age of the patient, and his/her overall medical condition play a role in determining whether or not a patient should undergo surgical resection. Laparoscopic surgery may be associated with less pain, less morbidity and shorter hospital stays, but its exact role is yet to be defined. Diverticular disease of the colon is the most common cause of acute lower gastrointestinal haemorrhage, which can be massive. Although the majority of patients stop bleeding spontaneously, angiographic and surgical treatment may be required, while the place of endoscopic haemostasis remains to be established.

PMID: 15012168

J Fam Pract. 2009 Jul;58(7):381-2.

Clinical inquiries: How can you help prevent a recurrence of diverticulitis?

Weisberger L, Jamieson B.


University of Illinois/Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, Chicago, IL, USA.


EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER: A high-fiber diet may help; available evidence does not support other interventions. A high-fiber diet is often prescribed after recovery from acute diverticulitis, based on extrapolation from epidemiologic data showing an association between low-fiber diets and diverticulosis. No direct evidence establishes a role for fiber in preventing recurrent diverticulitis, however. No evidence supports the common advice to avoid nuts and seeds to prevent diverticulitis. Eating nuts, corn, and popcorn does not increase the risk; in fact, nuts and popcorn may have a protective effect. There is not enough evidence to recommend the anti-inflammatory drug mesalamine or a polybacterial lysate for immunostimulation. Retrospective data do not support routine prophylactic colectomy after 1 or 2 episodes of acute diverticulitis.

PMID: 19607778

Dis Colon Rectum. 1999 Apr;42(4):470-5; discussion 475-6.

Management of uncomplicated acute diverticulitis: results of a survey.

Schechter S, Mulvey J, Eisenstat TE.


Department of Surgery, The Miriam Hospital/Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.



A survey was conducted to document current medical treatment of patients with uncomplicated acute diverticulitis.


A survey was mailed to 667 fellows of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Queries were based on a clinical scenario of a patient with uncomplicated diverticulitis.


Three hundred seventy-three surveys (56 percent) were returned completed. The majority (66 percent) chose an abdominal computed tomographic scan as the initial diagnostic test. One-half used a single intravenous antibiotic with second-generation cephalosporins (27 percent) and ampicillin/sulbactam (16 percent) being the most common. Oral antibiotics given at discharge were ciprofloxacin (18 percent), amoxicillin/clavulanate (14 percent), metronidazole (7 percent), and doxycycline (6 percent). Combinations chosen were ciprofloxacin/metronidazole (28 percent) and metronidazole/trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (6 percent), whereas 21 percent chose a variety of other antibiotics. The majority (74 percent) prescribed oral antibiotics for 7 to 10 days. Dietary recommendations at discharge were low residue (68 percent), regular (21 percent), and high residue (10 percent). Half of those surveyed believed avoidance of seeds and nuts were of no value. Follow-up examinations chosen included sigmoidoscopy and barium enema (29 percent), colonoscopy (25 percent), sigmoidoscopy (17 percent), barium enema (13 percent), and other (16 percent). Sixty-five percent of colon and rectal surgeons claim to handle more than half of their patients with uncomplicated diverticulitis on an outpatient basis.


Variations in the management of uncomplicated sigmoid diverticulitis are noted among colon and rectal surgeons, especially in terms of antibiotic choice, discharge instructions, and follow-up outpatient studies. The survey results are compared with the conclusions reached in The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons practice parameters. Documentation of practice pattern variation may serve as an educational tool for physicians to improve their quality and cost of medical care. Consideration should be given to better publicize already existing American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons practice parameters for this common entity.

PMID: 10215046

, , , , , , ,


What To Buy With 70 Million In Lottery Money: A Good Used Car.

English: The winners parking spots at the Atla...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, some lucky person has won the 70 million dollar Powerball.  So that person’s life is going to be golden from now on, right?

Not so fast.  Haven’t we all heard about the whole “bankrupt lottery winners” rumor?  Sort of a sour grapes version of “he’ll just blow it anyway.”

So is that true?  Are people really better off getting wicked rich overnight (Mainerism intentional)?

The people selling financial advice to lottery winners definitely think so.  You win the lottery, you need these guys.  Otherwise you’ll go ape and start buying every beanie baby ever made or something.  Here’s their scary quote: The reality is that 70 percent of all lottery winners will squander away their  winnings in a few years,” the Connecticut financial advisers said in a news  release. “In the process, they will see family and friendships destroyed and the  financial security they hoped for disappear.”
Read more:

Ouch!  But wait a minute.  You can’t lump all lottery winners in together.  Yeah, the five dollar winners definitely “squandered their winnings.”  It probably didn’t even take them to the end of the week, much less a few years.  And even the ones who made twenty grand probably plopped it down against some debt.  So no fair.  What we really want to know about are the REAL winners, the million plus crowd.

Turns out, that’s more of a mixed bag.  Some of them definitely hit the skids.  They forget to pay their taxes (oops!) and can’t deal with people asking them for money.  But a good many of them are happier, primarily due to increased financial security.  Amazingly, only one percent got cosmetic surgery.  Some gained weight, some lost weight.  My favorite statistic is that 52% of those with 2 million plus in winnings still consider themselves working class.  Hello, one percenter?  Time to face facts.

All of these fun facts have been supplied by a google answerer who made an extra twenty bucks as a tip.

But what should we all really do?  Take a deep breath and realize that much money isn’t going to change who we are.  It just makes us more intensely who we already are, without poverty as a moderating buffer.  If you were a spendthrift before, now you’re out of control.  If you were a little paranoid before, guess what?  Now they really are all watching you.  If you were having fights about money with your spouse, dump on a million plus in kindling.  And if you have that secret little habit of collecting weird bottle caps from around the world, now you can live the dream.

Here’s a great story about how one guy handled his winnings.  He set up a foundation, and bought a used car.  How did it change him?  He’s the same guy.  “I still teach a spinning class there twice a week. I took some time off after the whole thing because everybody had investment opportunities that were the greatest thing since sliced bread, and there were 100 of them every day. So I had to get out of there for a while, but when I went back, the people I’d been teaching for the last 8 years were still the same people, and I was still the same instructor.”

He also gives you tips on the numbering system he used to beat the odds and win.  Yep, the article appears in Fortune magazine, not Vegan Monthly, or Bellybutton Gazers United.  Those people pride themselves on not being interested in money until they have that sweaty, guilty moment at the lotto machine.



, , , , , , ,


Reiki, Human Touch and Other Silly Things That Work.

So, when you’re five, and you get a boo-boo, what happens?  You might get a bandaid if it’s bleeding but otherwise… That’s right!  Mommy kisses it and makes it better. We all know this.  It does make it better.  How many times did I go face first into a door and start shrieking in agony.  I was convinced my brain was coming out of my forehead.  But three minutes of cuddling and a kiss, and I was back in whatever imaginary battle was going on, ready to slay the dragon.

I think it was a nasty 13th century king who provided a bunch of orphans with food and water but divided them up and deprived them of human touch.  They died.  We know that premature babies do better when held.  Every teenage boy knows that the touch of a girl is second only to full body Tasering in terms of response.

But according to the skeptic crowd, once we reach adulthood, human touch is no longer an effective treatment to help people feel better.  Really?  Being touched gently for forty-five minutes by a caring member of the human race does nothing for these guys (and they are all guys- except for one).  Ok, that’s a lot of therapy necessary and maybe some good old-fashioned primal screaming at their parents.  But a little introspection might go a long way for them, and it’s not a strong point.

But of course touching works.  In technical terms we call it “chronic pain suppression”  or “less screaming like a harpooned banshee so the other patients can sleep without resorting to Thorazine or a hammer.”  Bring on the Reiki nurses.

When you start the arguments, the skeptics usually back off and say something like, well, yes, human touch can help with pain (even they remember boo-boo land).  But that Reiki stuff isn’t even touching.  No, it’s an extended period where another human being is caring about you and gives you undivided attention.  Hello?  It’s therapy without having to discuss the loss of your rubber ducky.  It’s psycho-analysis with a more comfy chair and the ability to just fall asleep like you always wanted to.  For goodness sake, it’s nap time.

What happened to nap time?  Let’s bring it back.  I want Google to spearhead this, because it’s right up their alley.  Institute nap times, with Reiki masters and kindergarten teachers patrolling the Googleplex. (is there a difference? When they are good, not really.  My kindergarten teacher could sense misbehavior with her back turned.  She would watch Bruce Lee movies and scoff at “the amateur”). How about in the hospital?  Right now we have inspection police who patrol to make sure people wash their hands.  Just increase the job description.  “Did you wash you hands?  Good.  Did you touch your patient with your washed hands (no non-latex funky purple nitrile glove touching please, that’s just sad)?  Good.  Did you listen to how your patient is feeling for at least twenty seconds?  No?  Go back and do it, stat!”

Let’s bring back touching.  The guys who say it doesn’t help need it the most.



, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Morgellons In Your Mind Or In Your Skin? Also in cows?

English: This 1992 photograph shows three form...

Image via Wikipedia

One of my favorite cop-outs is the term “somatoform disorder.”  It says that you do have actual physical symptoms from something, but that those symptoms are coming from the stress in your mind.  “It’s all in your head.”  In other words, go take an antidepressant and/or sedative and stop bothering us because we don’t think anything is really wrong with you.  It’s the medical equivalent of giving someone the finger.

Morgellons Disease has just received the medical bird.  A CDC study found absolutely nothing in common with sufferers and lumped them in with the delusional infestation folks.

The reason for this treatment is clear.  It wasn’t named by an M.D., but by Mary Leitao, a mom, found something like it in a 17th century French medical record.  Clearly this was a doomed disease because we simply cannot have laypeople naming diseases.  That would lead to names like “crotch itching disease” and “wanting chocolate all the time disease.”  If people can diagnose themselves, then most of them won’t come to their doctors and get the latin equivalents.

So the Morgellans community is now suffering from:  “punch the CDC in the face disease.”  They lobbied hard to get their illness investigated, and the investigators pulled on their non-latex gloves and gave them the bird.

Ok, now the internet has had a laugh at the Morgellons’ folks, let’s look a little farther than our own high church of we’re in charge of medicine, so there!

An interesting study found that evidently cows are almost as stressed as people and capable of the same level of “delusional infestation.”  Bovine digital dermatitis also has similar filaments to Morgellons, but unlike the humans, the cow fibers did not seem to be due to cotton clothing.  Darn, a slight hole in the “all in your mind” conclusion.

Did the CDC have any gaps to truly consider Morgellons as anything but delusional?  I think not.  They never truly seriously considered any other possibility.  Look at the literature on Morgellons dating back to 2008.

So is there ANY possibility that the Morgellons’ folks are NOT just bell tower crazy and MIGHT have some legitimate concern?  Well, yes.

See, the way we view the body is pretty darn elementary.  Doctors are taught that each organ does its thing and that such-and-such happens over here and that organ generates that goop.  But it isn’t the case.  The body isn’t like an office building, it’s more like Burning Man (hip reference?  check.)  Everything is happening everywhere, all at once.  Most of it might be happening most of the time in this general area, but it can all happen anywhere.

SO, is there any possibility that being really stressed about life/your skin could ACTUALLY, FACTUALLY generate skin changes like filaments and other weirdness?  Yep.  Welcome to the brave new world where the skin ” acts as a true peripheral endocrine organ.”  That’s right, it’s making hormones and reacting to hormones, especially stress hormones.  We know that drug stress hormones (the steroids that don’t make you look like a certain ex-governor) will basically kill the skin, so what’s so far fetched about the skin having lesions, itching, and even scarring (looking like filaments) from very high chronic stress?  Oh, and if you drop the stress, they get better.  Not because it was all in their mind, but because the steroids are no longer wreaking havoc.

Ok, end of lecture (here’s the study) back to the mayhem.

In other news, the IRS has reported that there will be tax refund delays.  They cited identity theft concerns.  Those waiting for refunds are taking the IRS to court to sue for interest and penalties.  Good luck with that.



, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Wind May Cause Disease.

English: Moon over San Diego. Français : San D...

Image via Wikipedia

In a turn around from “common wisdom,”  scientists are now thinking that wind currents might affect a disease called Kawasaki Syndrome.  In science speak:  “it was possible from their analysis to identify the major anomalous yearly peaks of KD cases occurring in San Diego from 1994 to 2008 as belonging to two main atmospheric configurations.”  In English that would be:  “much wind raises much dust and makes your nose run more.”

In other news. scientists are researching the idea that really cold air might in fact make one more susceptible to stay inside with coughing people and so might be a causal factor for colds.  They also discovered that chicken soup might be helpful.

Luckier researchers have discovered that when mommy kisses a boo-boo, it does make it feel better.

I want to research the possibility that sugar makes children hyper and how much chocolate it takes to stay up all night.  Where’s my government grant?

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Hallelujah Chorus Virus Breaks Out In Mall, Experts Advise Vaccination

In this disturbing footage, we see a spontaneous outbreak of great joy and brotherly love, manifesting itself as Hallelujah Syndrome.  Mall authorities were quick to quarantine the area and vaccinate all present.  Despite this, sporadic outbreaks of joy and even occasional singing were reported throughout the area.  Hallelujah

, , ,

1 Comment