Tom Ballard, ND's blog

Osteoporosis in a Pill
October 28, 2010, 9:18 am
Filed under: Medications | Tags: , , , , ,

In the twisted logic of our dominant medical system it makes since to treat osteoporosis with a drug that interferes with normal bone development rather than providing bone-supporting nutrients.

Osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, and Boniva have been found to actually increase bone fractures, as well as cause loss of jaw bone calcium, irregular heartbeats, incapacitating musculoskeletal pain, and esophageal cancer.

A New York Times analysis of found that patients are widely dissatisfied with these drugs. If only their doctors knew as much.

Yes, these bone-damaging drugs are still commonly prescribed – instead of calcium, magnesium, vitamins D and K, omega-3 oils, and weight-bearing exercise.

Who is your doctor listening to?

The drug companies or basic bone physiology?


Hospitals are sick houses
October 21, 2010, 11:59 am
Filed under: Commentary | Tags: , , , , ,

Where I have my car worked on the mechanics place a paper mat on the floor and seat to prevent the transfer of grease from the engine compartment to the upholstery. If our hospitals were as cautious about transferring germs, about 100,000 lives could be saved every year. That’s the number of people that are known to die of hospital acquired infections every year.

The death rate from hospital infections is probably much higher than this since it is well known that most hospitals do not monitor or keep accurate statistics. According to Peter Pronovost, MD, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, there are no measurable, achievable and routine strategies to prevent patient harm in our nation’s hospitals. Dr Pronovost blames doctor arrogance for much of the problem.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 5-10% of those admitted to hospitals will acquire an infection. It is estimated that hospital infections are the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and cost 6 billion dollars a year.

How could this be? Yes, hospital patients often have compromised immune systems.  More importantly, there is a lack of what is known as “hand hygiene.”  According to a 2003 study by the CDC, 52% of doctors did not wash their hands between patients. They also found that hand hygiene was only practiced by 29-48% of hospital employees.

In spite of all our knowledge, nothing much has changed about hospitals since the Middle Ages where people knew they were going to die. Arrogance, according to Dr Pronovost, plays a role. I would add; disregard for basic science.  If your model for treating disease is to give a drug, then you neglect such basics as hand washing.

Genetic or Diet Inheritance?
October 14, 2010, 11:36 am
Filed under: Commentary | Tags: , , ,

Disease used to be blamed on evil spirits – mysterious forces that no one knew how to control. These days, fingers often point to evil genes.  Truth is, genes are rarely the cause of disease.

Experts estimate that only about 10% of diseases have direct genetic causes. The other 90% are the result of outside, or environmental, influences. If you’re never exposed to small pox, you’ll never get it. If you’re exposed to toxic pesticides your nervous system will be impacted. If you don’t eat protein, your body will steal it from your muscles. If you don’t exercise, your heart muscles will wither. If you smoke, you increase your chances of cancer and lung diseases. The list is long for negative influences that you have control over.

Unfortunately, most people are told their problem is genetic, inherited, inevitable, and uncontrollable. You’ve heard it. You’ve seen the shrug that goes with the verdict. Fate. Kismet.

There is rarely, however, one gene responsible for disease. If you inherit several specific genes you may then have a tendency toward a disease, but there is abundant research showing that things like exercise, diet, and exposure to toxins change the expression of genes.

There are about 4000 single gene diseases, but most are quite rare (Huntington Disease, Hemophilia). Of the 3-6 percent of birth defects that occur every year, only 50% of those have a predominant genetic contribution. The most common singe gene disease is familial hypercholesterolemia (genetically high cholesterol) which affects one in 500 people. Yet even in this condition only 10-20% of those with the gene will develop early heart disease and only 50% will have a heart attack before age 50. In other words, other issues influence the outcome of those who inherit this condition. And, implementing cholesterol-lowering treatments reduces the risk even more.

Continue reading

Cholesterol, Walnuts and the FDA
October 7, 2010, 9:33 am
Filed under: Commentary | Tags: , , ,

Whose side is the FDA on? Yours or the pharmaceutical industry?

Thousands of drugs are approved for your use by the FDA based on studies conducted and controlled by the pharmaceutical companies. Once a drug has been approved, it can take years for it to be pulled from the market in spite of clear evidence that it is dangerous (Vioxx, Avantra, to name two recent examples).

Meanwhile, multiple studies have shown that walnuts lower cholesterol. If the FDA had your best interest at heart, they’d be shouting that from the rooftops, since walnuts do not have the side effects of cholesterol drugs.

Instead the FDA threatens walnut companies with fines if they use the results of scientific studies in their promotion. The companies cannot even provide a web link to a scientific websites.

Why is the FDA so harsh on walnuts?

Are they afraid you’ll overdose?


The FDA is using your tax money to promote the interests of the drug companies over your health.

There are many other examples of natural product research being suppressed by the FDA. They are part of the medical-industrial complex that tries to keep you in the dark and hooked on drugs.