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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cell Phones and Cancer--The Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

More from the Integrative Healthcare Symposium,  February  9-11 2012, Dr Devra Lee Davis, PhD, author of Disconnect

Cell Phones and Cancer--The Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence


As I mentioned in Cancer Tips, Devra Lee Davis, PhD delivered a powerful and frightening message presenting her research on the use of wireless technology.  Contrary to firmly held beliefs, invisible radio frequency radiation can alter living cells and create the same types of damage that we know increase the risk of cancer and neurological disease.  Davis spoke of her conversation with the late Dr David Servan –Schrieber, author of Anti-cancer, A New Way of Life.  His response to her research was disbelief.  “If that were true, we’d know about it!’ At the time he was a brain cancer patient in remission, and a heavy cell phone user.  After hearing her out, he joined her efforts in getting the word out.
Cell phones are two -way microwave radio that changes brain cells and alters glucose levels (the brain’s main fuel).  Since a brain tumor utilizes excessive amounts of glucose, changes in glucose utilization may be a key mechanism to support tumor growth.  Even short-term exposure to nerve cells from cell phones can increase glucose in the brain.  Thankfully, our DNA works to repair and prevent damage to our cells from becoming permanent.  So, if the body is capable of repairing itself, then why the worry? The system can fail, and cancers do develop.   Medical science now understands that because the causes of chronic diseases can take decades to be detected, we should not wait for the definitive human evidence.  If we want to prevent human harm, we have to rely on experimental studies to predict risk rather than using human studies to prove that harm has already happened.  In fact, there are a few dozen compounds that we know definitely cause cancer in humans, and these cancers developed after years of exposure.    Determined to prevent harm, rather than to confirm its occurrence, scientists experiment on animals in order to prevent future human harm, not in order to prove why past damage has already occurred.
Davis mentioned a study by Henry Lai, done with rats—the DNA from the cells of the brains of the radio-frequency-radiation-exposed rats was not normal, it was broken--the broken brain cells found in these animals were the same as those known to occur in cancer. To remain healthy, DNA needs to remain intact.  This, by the way, was in 1994.  Plus, if the same area is assaulted over and over again, repair may not happen as easily or at all, the impacts may not be fixable. While yes, DNA can often be repaired, and yes, we have anti-oxidants that can do this (another good reason to eat those fruits and vegetables…remember when I commented that diet can often trump environmental toxins? This is a good example), we need to address the carcinogens, not rely on band-aids and the hope that the DNA will be repaired.
While the long-term implications of cell phone use are still to be determined, Dr. Davis says there is particular reason for concern for children because cell phone radiation penetrates the skulls of children more deeply than those of adults, and that their brains are still developing until they are past the teen years. Children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head, and a longer lifetime exposure.  Keep in mind that cell phones were made for the SAM…standard anthropomorphic (average) male.  Children’s skulls and bone marrow are thinner and much more absorptive than those of adults—a fact that explains why children’s heads can absorb double or more the radio frequency energy of adults’ heads. Just as CT scans are supposed to be adjusted for children, likely so should other radiation-damaging devices. She also mentioned studies that show people who use the cell phones for ten years have double the risk of developing brain cancer. Children who start using the cell phone during their teen years have 4 to 5 times the risk of getting brain cancer by the time they hit their twenties; so what does that mean for young children? She stressed that the need for more research is not an excuse to use our children as guinea pigs.  Remember that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.  Just because it hasn’t been proven harmful doesn’t mean it is safe. 
The need for more research in this field is one fact upon which all parties have usually agreed.  The absence of research has become part of the rationale for making not changes in the meantime.  Plenty of research has shown that radiation from cell phones can disturb the DNA deep within the center of brain cells and in 1993, the FDA concluded that several studies showed that microwave radiation increased cancer risk.  Despite this having evidence of this in 1994, the FDA approved cell phones for general use without any safety testing at all.  The FDA took it upon themselves to ignore the risks and approve cell phone sales without so much as even a warning to users.  There have been numerous studies done since, and the debate continues.

These days you will find warning notices buried deep in tiny print in the owners guides that come with cell phones and laptops.   However, given the risks, should these warnings not be made sufficiently obvious?  After all, does not the name “laptop” infer that one might expect to use it on their lap?  The fine print suggests you do otherwise.  I recently bought a new Iphone.  I will not say I read the “important Product Information Guide”; the print was far too small.  However, after hearing Davis speak, I pulled it out, put it under a bright light, and sure enough, it recommends that you limit usage and not use or carry the device directly against your body. I then pulled out the three safety guides that come with the Verizon LG phones.  Again, I did not read these warnings when I purchased the phone, mostly as I figured what could be new?  However, looking at them now, they all basically say that there is no proof that cell phones pose a danger, but one might want to consider limiting usage and keeping the phone a safe distance from your body.  However, the information provided seems quite biased (perhaps we should look into who funded the studies they mention), and after all, these phones must be safe, they are FDA approved.  Need I say more? No, but I will.  In the Verizon booklet they do mention “that groups in other nations have advised that children be discouraged from using cell phones at all”. How long will it take for those in the US to suggest this…hopefully not another twenty years. One study that was cited in support of cell phones was one done in the UK, but clearly there are others in the UK that suggest otherwise.  
Davis also mentioned that in countries such as Italy and Israel where cell phone usage was more aggressive that that in the US, government warnings about the dangers of cell phone and WIFI are issued quite loudly.  She also said that insurance companies here in the US refuse to provide coverage to cell phone companies and operators in the case of claims of health damage from long-term operation of their devices, and that in other countries, companies are being sued for the health issues of employees whose jobs depended on cell phone use….and are losing.
The fact that we do not have clear answers to this question at this point is not an accident.  After all, there is big money in cell phone sales, and while early studies were funded by none other than the makers of the devices, when things started to look ominous for them, not surprisingly, funding for studies dried up.   Cell phones were exciting when they were introduced, and we can’t imagine living without them today.  They help us stay connected and help us in emergencies.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to find ways to make the devices less harmful?  But then again, they would have to acknowledge the need.  Thankfully, there are some interim solutions.

Recommendations:
·         Never put a cell phone to your ear, use a handset.  (Wireless and wired headsets may still conduct radiation but are better than nothing).  Try one of those new/old handsets instead (think the hand set of an old phone…retro-style, made by Moshi and others). Pong makes a case that claims to be protective and that Dr Devra recommends, but she strongly advises the use of a handset (I am now sporting a hot-looking royal blue Moshi, and oh the wonderful compliments I receive!)
·         Try to keep your cell phone at least 6-7 inches away from your body while it is on or when you are talking, texting, or downloading
·         Text more often and when doing so hold the phone away from your body or on some kind of barrier, such as a book.  Texting creates less radiation than talking on the phone
·         Face the front of the phone (the keypad) towards your body, as the antennas are at the back
·         Avoid using your phone when the signal is weak.  The weaker the signal, the more the exposure
·         Children and pregnant women should avoid talking on cell phones
·         Do not keep your cell phone near your head or use it to play games, movies, etc.  Turn it off when it is not in use
·         Never carry your cell phone in your pocket or in your bra, or on your hip. The bone marrow in your hip produces 80% of the body’s red blood cells and is especially vulnerable to EMR damage.
·         Men should keep their cell phone turned off when in their pockets.   Research has shown that putting the cell phone in the pants pocket is associated with reduction in sperm count and increased sperm damage
·         No wireless for kids
·         Do not place electronic toys in the laps of babies
·         Replace as many cordless and WiFi items as you can with wired, corded lines (phones, Internet, games, appliances, devices, etc)
·         Sit as far back from the computer screen as possible; flat screens are preferable.  Use wired Internet connections, not WiFi—especially for laptops
·         Do not put your lap top on your lap
·         Move your alarm clock radio at least three feet from your head or use a battery-powered clock; six feet is the recommended distance for you to be from all electronic devices during sleep
·         Avoid waterbeds, electric blankets, and metal frames, which attract electromagnetic frequencies.  Futons and wood-framed beds are better than metal-coiled mattresses and box springs.
·         Avoid using your phone on trains or in elevators as this may increase exposure
Dr Davis played a fun you-tube at the conference; it’s a quirky link, but if interested, the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZs6R9MgstI
Cancer is not the only issue here; cell phone radiation can also affect fertility by lowering sperm counts now, and for generations to come, which gets back to Jeffrey Bland’s trans-generational theory I mentioned in Cancer Tips . Neither the danger nor the safety of cell phones is yet certain.  How we manage that uncertainty is up to us.  

To learn more about the history and dangers of electronic pollution, as well as the studies done in the past 20+ years, please read:
Disconnect, by Devra Lee Davis or Zapped:  Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,238 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, by Ann Louise Gittleman
Elyn Jacobs
elynjacobs.blogspot.com
elynjacobs.wordpress.com

Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation, a certified cancer coach and a breast cancer survivor.  Elyn helps women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and educates to prevent recurrence and new cancers.  She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit:  http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cancer Tips from the Integrative Healthcare Symposium

I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Integrative Healthcare symposium, and want to share some information.  Dr Jeffrey Bland spoke on the clinical implications of epigenetics.  Dr Leo Galland spoke on Dysbiosis and the GI ecosystem.  Dr James Gordon spoke of importance of hope and also of the benefits of meditation, that meditation changes the structure of the brain. Dr Mimi Guarneri shared the opinion that Metformin may well be the most effective anti-cancer drug out there. Dr Dean Ornish spoke on the power of lifestyle changes.  Dr Tori Hudson spoke on women’s health, hormones, and botanicals that can help reduce stress and protect ourselves during harmful chemo and radiation. Dr Lise Alschuler made a compelling argument for embracing polyphenolic flavonoids.  Dr Mark Hyman spoke and entertained us with the perils of toxins and the benefits and strategies for detoxification.  Devra Lee Davis, PhD shocked us with the perils of using cell phones and other such devices, and encouraged us to practice safe-cell (a topic of its own and will get its own post).  There were many, many more and while I can’t possibly rehash all the valuable information, I’d like to share some key points and in the next few weeks will comment in more detail.

 Jeffrey Bland spoke of environmental epigenetics, the exposure and its relationship to chronic illness, and also the effect of specific nutrients on genetic expression.  He spoke of how phytochemicals “talk to our genes”.  Food is information, eat dead food, get dead information.  He encouraged us to eat for health.
What amazed me is transgenerational epigenetics, the effect on our future generations.  He explained that once the genes are marked, they carry to the next generations, already marked.  So, the lifestyle modifications that make you sick, such as radiation, stress, infections, drugs, diet, and pollution, will likely make generations forward sick.   He mentioned Moshe Szyf, whose concern is what happens in a world community where the children don’t feel safe. Will this emotional stress jeopardize generations forward?
 He then got into how the food a mother eats during pregnancy imprints the gene expression in her babies.  A lack of Folate or b-12 can have detrimental consequences.  He gave the example of childhood leukemia; that it has been identified to be associated with altered epigenetics, and in this case, he was especially concerned with the deficiency of B12 and Folate in those that carry the gene.  He also said that early-life environmental conditions can cause epigenetic changes in humans that persist throughout life.

 Leo Galland reminded us that it’s not that stress suppresses the immune system, it is because the stress directly affects the gut flora.  The gut has a brain of its own; an intact and independent nervous system containing over 500 million neurons.  The gut is also the largest organ of immune function in the body; 70% of our lymphocytes live here. (And we all know how important the immune system is in fighting cancer). He also commented that large bowel cancer is associated with high fat, high protein, low fiber diets.  He suggests probiotics and prebiotics, foods that support the growth of probiotics, such as bran, psyllium, inulin (think chicory and artichokes), resistant starch, and oligofructose (think onions, garlic, rye, blueberries, bananas and chicory).

Dean Ornish talked about how fear is not a sustainable motivator; that we might agree to a treatment plan or drug out the fear our doctors might instill, but real change comes from what you want to do, not on what someone says you should do.  If lifestyle changes make you feel better, you are more likely to stay with them as opposed to taking a drug that you fear of that makes you feel bad.  Lifestyle changes empower you to take control of your health, and this was Dean Ornish’s message.    He spoke of lifestyle and Prostate cancer risk and said that lifestyle had up to a 70% effect on risk.  He also said that only one in 49 patients treated for prostate cancer actually live longer, so it would likely be better to treat with lifestyle changes. He spoke of lung cancer. Telling patients that by quitting smoking they will reduce risk of lung cancer did not motivate them to quit, but telling them that it gives you wrinkles or makes men impotent, well yes, now that was motivation. 
He spoke of diet and like others, suggested that if it comes from a plant, eat it; if it is made in a plant, avoid it.  He also reminded us that what you include is just as important as what you exclude, so eat mindfully.
He also made us aware that Medicare is now paying for comprehensive lifestyle changes for patients wishing to reverse heart disease, so hopefully the same will soon be offered for cancer patients.
He embraced support groups commenting that meeting in a group once a week dramatically improved the five-year survival rate.  He asked us if we knew the difference between illness and wellness. (I also stands for Isolation, btw, and is not indicative of wellness).
     Illness
     Wellness

Lise Alschuler  explained that flavonoids exert powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune modulating, hormone balancing, blood sugar stabilizing and cancer prevention effects.  Flavonoids are one of the reasons why it is so important to consume a diet full of colorful vegetables and fruits.  She stressed that they can help your chemo work and protect you during radiation.  She also said you need to eat them every meal, as the effects last for about 1-4 hours.  
Trying to quit smoking?  Studies showed that smokers who ate plenty of vegetables and drank tea and red wine substantially reduced their risk for cancer.  So, while you are trying to quit, have some broccoli or a glass of wine with that cigarette.  However, she stresses that this does not give you permission to continue smoking.
She also showed the reverse relationship between flavonoid consumption and ovarian cancer (37%), and 47% for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as between isoflavonoids (Non GMO soy) consumption and ovarian cancer (49%). 
She explained the powerful properties in Delphinidin as a cancer prevention agent (think Maquai berries) and mentioned that they were also helpful in reducing the damage of radiation, and that in general, flavonoids should not be so quickly dismissed during chemotherapy as they can be helpful, not harmful.  She also mentioned the many benefits of Resveratrol, (heard this from many during the three days…)

Mark Hyman takes the approach that doctors shouldn’t treat disease; create health and the disease will go away.  He spoke of the hidden dangers of wheat, what he calls the new dwarf or FrankenWheat – a scientifically engineered food product developed in the last 50 years. Two slices of this new whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar.  For those of us trying to eliminate sugar from our diets, this was quite a shock. For more information, check out his new book, Blood Sugar Solution http://drhyman.com/bss-sneak-preview/. 
He also explained how toxins make you fat (toxins interfere with and slow down metabolism) as well as contribute to all chronic illnesses, including cancer. For more from Mark Hyman:  http://drhyman.com/downloads/Diabetes-and-toxins.pdf.  To detox your body, he suggests:
·         Eat more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, etc.) as well as garlic, green tea, turmeric, and whole eggs. They contain phytonutrient detox-boosting compounds.  Add them to your diet daily.  Other great detox foods are cilantro, celery, parsley, dandelion greens, citrus peels (not orange unless organic) pomegranate, artichokes and rosemary
·         Sweat regularly using saunas
·         Take glutathione-boosting and detox-boosting supplements NAC, milk thistle, and buffered vitamin C
o   NAC dramatically increases glutathione.  Glutathione helps eliminate pesticides and heavy metals and protects the body from oxidative stress
o   Milk thistle has long been used in liver disease and helps boost glutathione levels

For more information on any of the topics above, please comment to this post or email me at elyn@elynjacobs.com. 

Elyn Jacobs
elynjacobs.blogspot.com
elynjacobs.wordpress.com

Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation, a certified cancer coach and a breast cancer survivor.  Elyn helps women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and educates to prevent recurrence and new cancers.  She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services, please visit:  http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Financial Drain of Cancer /Applying for Disability

Battling cancer can be a financial nightmare for many people.  Cancer treatments can often leave people too sick or exhausted to continue working.  Below is some helpful information if applying for disability is something you are considering.

The Social Security and Disability Resource Center (SSDRC.com) is an informational website that provides answers to questions about how to apply for disability, how to appeal a claim in the event of a denial, how to navigate the federal system, and how to avoid certain mistakes that are commonly made by applicants. The site’s author is a former disability examiner for the social security administration.

Here is a link to the site's home page: http://www.ssdrc.com/
This page has information about how severe your condition must be in order to qualify: http://www.ssdrc.com/disabilityquestions1-37.html

Don’t qualify or need additional assistance?  Check for resources within the county and state that you live in.  There are many regional organizations that provide financial assistance as well as home care and meals during treatment.  A few examples:

The following is also an excellent resource for locating financial assistance:

Additional resources for financial assistance:



Elyn Jacobs
Elyn Jacobs is a certified cancer coach, a breast cancer survivor and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation.  She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs.  Elyn helps women to uncover the nutritional deficiencies and emotional stress patterns that may have contributed to their cancer and to support their body as it activates it own natural ability to fight the disease. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. To learn more about Elyn’s coaching services or to learn more about eating for life, please visit:  http://elynjacobs.wordpress.com. For information regarding grants for women utilizing integrative therapies for cancer, please visit: http://www.emeraldheart.org/.