Health Corner

Dr Gupta's
Health Page

Modified Citrus Pectin

Gestational Diabetes

Tulasi Devi Cures devotee's Cancer

Benefits of Yoga Exercise

Spotlight on Back Pain

What Exactly is Diabetes?

Darvon and Darvocet pulled off market

Back Pain, Comfrey Root

In-home Hospice Care

Emergency Health Card

Breast Cancer in Men

Children, Abdominal Pain & Guided Imagery

Vitamin D Update

Possible Cure for Cluster Headaches

Drug Money?

Alarming Statistics and
one Woman Making a difference

Glucosamine Does Not Ease Lower Back Pain

Heart Attack & Stroke

Reduce Stress

Advance Directives

What is Modified Citrus Pectin?
September, 2012

Pectin is found in the peel of apples, citrus fruits and plums and is often used to make jellies.

But while ordinary pectin might make your dessert wobble, it won’t shake your cancer.

Why? Because it cannot be absorbed by the digestive system.

Modified citrus pectin on the other hand, comes from the pulp and rinds of citrus fruits – like oranges and grapefruits – which have been altered to produce shorter sugar chains. Thanks to these shorter sugar chains, the pectin is more easily absorbed through the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream.

MCP halts Metastasis

For cancer cells to metastasize, or spread, they must clump together. Substances on the surface of cancer cells called ‘galectins’ are thought to be responsible for this.

One specific ‘lectin’ called galectin-3 has been linked to cancer development.

Elevated levels have been found in tissue samples of thyroid cancer, breast cancer and pituitary cancer.

Galectin-3 has also been shown to play a role in metastasis.

Galectin Assassin

Research now shows that a substance in MCP called ‘galactose’, can block cancer cells from clumping-together and taking over.

Over the last ten years researchers have found that MCP can block metastasis in a myriad of different cancers including skin cancers, prostate cancer and breast cancer.

In one study involving melanoma cells, MCP decreased tumour metastasis to the lung by more than 90%.

Another study, published in the journal Oncology, found that 20.7% of patients with advanced solid tumours taking MCP, showed a clinical benefit.

Mopping up the Underlying Cause

MCP is also known as a powerful chelating agent, meaning it can draw toxins out of the body.

What does this have to do with cancer?

A lot.

‘Until toxicity is effectively addressed, no significant advance in cancer survival will ever happen,’ writes Dr Rashid Buttar says in The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away.

Dr Patrick Holford goes further: ‘ Possibly one of the most underestimated contributors to the epidemic of cancer is the combined effect of humanity’s exposure to man made chemicals.’ Say No to Cancer.

Chemical exposure is frequently cited as a risk factor for childhood cancers.

One US study found children with brain cancer were more likely to have been exposed to insecticides in the home.

It’s also been suggested that agricultural chemicals are responsible for the increase in certain cancers among farmers. (page 88 Say No to Cancer).

Read entire blog article

What is Gestational Diabetes?
March. 2011

(From the American Diabetes Association at:

Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes in the United States each year.

We don't know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues. The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother's insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother's body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.

Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia. You may also be interested in our book, Diabetes & Pregnancy: What To Expect, 4th Edition.

How gestational diabetes can affect your baby
Gestational diabetes affects the mother in late pregnancy, after the baby's body has been formed, but while the baby is busy growing. Because of this, gestational diabetes does not cause the kinds of birth defects sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes before pregnancy.

However, untreated or poorly controlled gestational diabetes can hurt your baby. When you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas works overtime to produce insulin, but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels. Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do. So extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood glucose levels. This causes the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.

This can lead to macrosomia, or a "fat" baby. Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth. Because of the extra insulin made by the baby's pancreas, newborns may have very low blood glucose levels at birth and are also at higher risk for breathing problems. Babies with excess insulin become children who are at risk for obesity and adults who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Video explaining more about gestational diabetes:


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Tulasi Devi Cures Devotee’s Cancer
By Madhava Smullen on 26 Feb 2011

Tulasi DeviToday, at 69 years old, Chaitanya Prema Dasa is a robust, healthy devotee, visiting the Potomac, Maryland ISKCON temple every Sunday and working at the Pentagon, where he has served for twenty-five years in the Department of the Defense Inspector General. He keeps a small altar with Srila Prabhupada and a large, beautiful picture of Lord Krishna in his office, so that his boss and co-workers see the Lord every time they have meetings there.

Seeing him, you would never guess that back in 1997, at age 55, Chaitanya Prema was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—or blood cancer—that had already reached stage four.

The disease spread to his bone marrow, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. His white blood cell count was high.

“The only thing we could do was to pray nonstop,” says his daughter Jahnavi Dasi, who is now doing her PhD in microbiology and holds weekly Krishna conscious programs at the University of Maryland. “I was so worried, I couldn't let go of my beads. I chanted all the time because I was extremely scared.”

Chaitanya Prema’s doctors wanted him to undergo chemotherapy, but Jahnavi was apprehensive. She knew that radiation treatment not only
killed the cancer cells, but also burned, scarred and damaged healthy
cells in the bone marrow and gastro-intestinal tract, and could cause
tissue and organ damage. They could even destroy our immune system’s
defence cells, known as Natural Killer Cells. In fact in the past, two
of her family’s friends had gotten chemotherapy for their cancer, seen
remission initially, and then died two years later when their cancer
returned more aggressively than ever before.

Jahnavi asked the doctors if, instead of doing chemotherapy, they
would let her try to boost her father’s immune system by natural means
to fight the cancer. She had beeen inspired by the movie Lorenzo's
Oil, a true story about parents who were determined to save their son
from an incurable brain disease. She felt that there must be powerful
medicines out there that had not yet been discovered or become

“I’ll monitor his blood counts the entire time,” she said. “And we’ll
always have chemo to fall back on.” All of her father’s doctors—the
oncologist, the surgeon, and primary care physician—were upset with
her, and told her she was making a big mistake. But Jahnavi felt sure
there was a way.

Then, on the holy night of Gaura Purnima 1998, Jahnavi dreamt that she
was in the Potomac ISKCON temple, looking into a miscroscope. Through
it, she saw Tulasi Devi, the personification of the famous sacred
plant, telling her father’s Natural Killer Cells to eat the cancer.
When she straightened up, she saw Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, the
spiritual grandfather of ISKCON’s founder Srila Prabhupada.

“Don’t take your spiritual dreams lightly,” he said. “Tulasi Devi is the cure.”

As soon as Jahnavi woke up, the tightness in her throat and the fear
in the pit of her stomach that had been there for so long faded away.
Now she knew what to do.

Jahnavi began to research Tulasi, also known as holy basil, or by her
botanical name Ocimum sanctum. She found and read many studies from
around the world explaining that Tulasi (as well as turmeric) was very
powerful and rich in antioxidants that kill cancer. She also read that
the sacred plant contained a phytonutrient called ursolic acid, which
has been found to cause the programmed cell death of human leukemia
cells. This she was excited by, since her father’s cancer, like
leukemia, was blood-related.

The studies she read were done by major Universities and published in
prestigious medical journals. There was a November 2006 study done at
the Center for Cancer Biology in Texas Tech University Health Sciences
Center; a 2009 study done in Texas and published in the International
Journal of Oncology; an October 2009 study conducted at the College of
Oriental Medicine in Seoul, South Korea; and a June 2010 study
published in the medical journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

They all showed how Tulasi causes cancer cells to self-destruct, and
repairs damaged DNA by activating MGMT repair protein. They also
proved how holy basil is radioprotective, and increases the activity
of Natural Killer Cells.

Jahnavi contacted devotees in Hawaii, who FedExed her large boxes full
of Tulasi Manjari garlands offered to the Deities. It wasn’t unusual
for them to have giant Tulasi plants growing everywhere on their
property, or to be making such large quantities of Manjari
garlands—the same is true for many temples located in warm climates.

“I began to get my father to eat several Tulasi leaves a day, and then
to munch on the Tulasi Manjari garlands,” Jahnavi says. “I also mixed
the dried Tulasi leaves with honey. He loved it!”

Along with Tulasi, Jahnavi also added many natural foods and
supplements to her father’s diet to help boost his immune system and
Natural Killer Cells to fight the cancer.

“I started giving him carrot juice, wheatgrass or spinach green juice
daily, which are all high in phytonutrients,” she says. “We switched
to a low fat diet, with whole grains, unrefined sweeteners, spring
water, and organic foods. We also made sure to avoid fried food,
artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.”

Jahnavi also gave her father ginseng, and ten grams of Vitamin C a day.

“Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling made many studies showing how
vitamin C is one of the key nutrients that are needed to give the
patient's body cancer-fighting ability,” she says. “He describes how
when he gave one patient with an inoperable brain tumor ten grams of
vitamin C every day, her tumor shrank in eight months. This daily dose
of Vitamin C was also found to significantly increase the life span
and enhance the quality of life in 100 terminal cancer patients.”

In addition to the Vitamin C, Jahnavi started giving her father 500 mg
of Vitamin B3 three times a day and 25,000 IU daily of Beta Carotene
and Vitamin E, as well as B complex, Selenium Zinc, and Coenzyme Q10.

Adding to his treatment, Chaitanya Prema also absorbed himself in
chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and meditating on God.

Within only six months, he showed marked progress. Eight months after
starting his new regimen, repeated CT scans and blood work
demonstrated that his body no longer showed any signs of cancer.

“It was all by Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada's mercy,” Jahnavi
says. “Tulasi Devi is our hero!”

She explains that all types of cancer grow due to deficiencies in the
immune system, and that the way to defeat cancer is to strengthen the
immune system.

“The immune system can be compared to the police department, and
cancer cells of any kind to criminals,” she says. “If we have weak
police officers that are thin and malnourished, then how will they
fight the criminals? But if we have lots of strong, powerful policemen
(Natural Killer Cells) that outnumber the bad guys (cancer cells),
then the policemen will defeat them. No more criminals—no more

Following Jahnavi’s footsteps, we can boost our immune systems by
taking vitamins and nourishing foods such as fresh fruit like grapes,
blueberries, acai berries and pomegranate, which are are loaded with
phytonutrients that have anticancer properties. Eliminating toxic
overload on our immune systems is also a must, including unnecessary
over-the-counter drugs, chemical additives, artificial colors, and MSG
in foods. Keeping away from second-hand smoke, pollution, and
intoxicants also helps to relieve the burden on your “police officers”
so that they can be at their optimal strength.

Keeping a positive mindset helps, too. Jahnavi believes in the
therapeutic power of hope, and feels that enhanced hope has a
considerable positive impact on the immune system and can contribute
to a much more favorable outcome in the fight against cancer.

“Our immune system is there for a purpose,” Jahnavi says. “It's
designed to kill cancer before cancer can spread. So let’s give it a

And of course, one of the biggest boost-givers is Tulasi Devi, the
sacred plant and beloved servant of Lord Krishna.

“It’s been fourteen years now since my father’s cancer went into
remission, and to this day, he’s still cancer-free—and he still takes
his Tulasi leaves every day!” Jahnavi says. “We pray that our story
can help others with cancer, too. Remember, there is hope. After all,
anything is possible by the power of Lord Krishna, and his miraculous
servant Tulasi Devi.”

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Study Shows Benefits of Yoga Exercise
By: Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, CHPN
December 1, 2010

yogaAccording to a study reported by the Boston University School of Medicine, participants who practiced (hatha) yoga three times a week were happier and less anxious than those participants who walked indoors the same amount of time. Results of the study showed that those who practiced (hatha) yoga poses achieved higher levels of GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid), the brain's main inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. In humans, it is also directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.

Regarding exercise in general and its effect on our mood, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., writes, "A large scale investigation of studies conducted on a total of almost 650 older adults showed beneficial effects of exercise treatment; this effect is found repeatedly in studies of young adults. Exercise gets the endorphins to kick in, raising your mood, and also helps you to feel better about your physical abilities. Ultimately the more physically competent you feel, the better your mood, and a positive cycle gets going."

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Spotlight on Back Pain
December, 2010

back painOf all the different types of aches and pains people experience, back pain is the most common. A majority of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. The American Pain Foundation has created a practical online guide to educate you about back pain and arm you with information to talk with your health care providers about prevention and treatment. As with other pain conditions, it can take time and patience to find answers, but these articles, worksheets and tips offer information to help you advocate for quality symptom management. If you or a loved one suffers with back pain, take some time to learn self-care strategies that can help you get well and build a stronger, healthier back to prevent future problems.

To read these articles and print out handouts for back health, visit:

December, 2010

What Exactly is Diabetes?

Bitter MelonType 1 diabetes: This is typically diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood. It develops when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to balance blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes affects about 5-10 percent of those with the disease.

Type 2 diabetes: This was previously called "adult-onset" diabetes and affects 90-95 percent of all patients with diabetes. This form typically begins with insulin-resistance, a condition in which cells cannot properly use the hormone insulin. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include age, obesity, family history, a sedentary lifestyle, and race or ethnicity. While this form of diabetes usually occurs in those over 45 years of age, an increasing number of children are also developing it, due in large part to a rise in childhood obesity.

Food Tips for Diabetes:
* In general, it is recommended to increase one's intake of whole grains, which improves blood sugar levels. It also reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

* Eating bitter melon, a Chinese vegetable, appears to significantly lower blood sugar. It can be taken twice a day as a tea, juice, or in capsules after meals.

* Cinnamon in one's diet can help balance blood sugar levels. Adding 1 teaspoon daily can help prevent blood sugar from quickly rising.

* Fenugreek stimulates the release of insulin. According to one study, 15 grams per day significantly reduces blood sugar levels after meals. Studies found that fenugreek seeds help treat both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.

*Vitamins C improves blood-sugar balance, vitamin D is needed for normal insulin secretion and is thought to keep diabetes at bay for adults with glucose intolerance, and vitamin E improves insulin activity.

Editor's Note: We, at VCARE, recommend you discuss these foods, as well as any need for medication to control your blood glucose levels, with your healthcare professional. A simple blood test can determine if you have uncontrolled blood glucose levels/diabetes.

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FDA Pulls Common Pain Med Off the Market in U.S.
By the CNN Wire Staff

Submitted by: Savitri Devi Dasi, ISKCON Philadelphia
November 20, 2010

Washington (CNN) -- The pharmaceutical company that makes the prescription pain medications Darvon and Darvocet has agreed to withdraw the drugs from the U.S. market at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA said Friday.

The FDA says the drug, propoxyphene, puts patients at risk of potentially serious or fatal heart rhythm abnormalities. Since 2009, 10 million people have been prescribed some form of the drug.
"We recommend to physicians stop prescribing the drugs. As for patients, do not stop taking it, but we urge you to contact your health care professional. Do not delay," said Gerald Dal Pan, director of the FDA's Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology.

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc. manufactures Darvon and Darvocet, two brand name versions of propoxyphene. The FDA also asked generic makers of the pain medicine to voluntarily remove their products.The decision to remove the drug came after the FDA reviewed a new trial study that looked at the drug's impact on heart rhythms.

"The drug's effectiveness in reducing pain is no longer enough to outweigh the drug's serious potential heart risks," the FDA said in a statement released Friday.
Propoxyphene, first approved by the FDA in 1957, is an opioid used to treat mild to moderate pain. It is sold under various names both alone, such as Darvon, or in combination with acetaminophen, such as Darvocet. Since 1978, the FDA has received two requests to remove propoxyphene from the market, but concluded that the benefits of propoxyphene for pain relief at recommended doses outweighed the safety risks.

November, 2010
For Back Pain, Comfrey Root Ointment

In a British study, ointment infused with comfrey root extract was shown to dramatically reduce back pain. In the double-blind clinical trial, 120 patients between 18 and 60 were given either a placebo ointment or an ointment containing comfrey root extract three times a day. After five days, those using the ointment with comfrey root extract reported an average of 95 percent less pain during movement tests, compared with 39 percent less pain reported by the placebo group.

Researchers concluded that comfrey root extract not only relieved pain quickly--after just one hour--but also was clinically significant in reducing acute back pain. Findings also showed that it was more effective than over-the-counter anti-inflammatory creams for the relief of muscle and joint pain.


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In-home Hospice Care and Better Physical and Emotional Outcomes
September 20, 2010

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study of 342 terminal cancer patients and their loved ones online on September 13. The study, by Dr. Alexi Wright and colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, showed that those receiving hospice services in their homes were less likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as were their caregivers. Patients who died in the hospital had more physical and emotional distress.

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September, 2010

TIP: Make an Emergency Health Card

In order to be sure that you get proper help in the event of an accident, Marie Savard, M.D., an ABC News medical contributor, advises that carrying your health insurance card in your wallet may not be enough. Dr. Savard suggests we write down the following information on a piece of paper and wrap it around your medical I.D. card:

1. Your regular medications and dosages
2. Any allergies
3. Chronic medical conditions
4. Emergency contact information

Simply fold the paper and wrap it around your medical insurance card. Slip it into your wallet, or secure it with a rubber band. Remember to do this for all of your family members as well, especially elderly relatives. In an emergency situation, you will be glad you did!

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Breast Cancer in Men

August 25, 2010

Breast cancer in men is rare. However, it does occur. The ratio between female to male breast cancer in the U.S. alone is 100 to 1. That is approximately 1,910 men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Roughly 440 men will die from it.

Since breast cancer is much more common in women, many men do not realize they can develop it causing many to be diagnosed after it has progressed to later stages. Survival rates between men and women with breast cancer, however, remain the same. Because the male breast is much smaller than the female breast, it is more likely the disease will spread to the chest wall. This is why it is crucial to detect the cancer early for a successful outcome.

Common symptoms include:

*A lump in the chest area
*Skin dimpling or puckering
*Changes to the nipple

Factors that increase a man's risk of breast cancer include:

*Family history of breast cancer (male or female), especially with a BRCA2 mutation
*A genetic condition such as Klinefelter's syndrome associated with high estrogen levels
*Chronic liver disorders, alcholism, and obesity
*Older age

Diagnosis method:

*Complete medical history by your physician
*Clinical breast exam

Treatment Options: Treatments for breast cancer in men are the same as for women. It generally involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy (usually with a medication called tamoxifen since most male breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive). The main treatment for male breast cancer is mastectomy or the surgical removal of the breast with the cancerous tumor. A lumpectomy (breast conserving surgery) is rarely used because of the small size of the male breast.

For more information on male breast cancer, please visit

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Children, Abdominal Pain, and Guided Imagery
August 17, 2010

According to a recent study performed by University of North Carolina and Duke University Medical Center, children with functional abdominal pain who used audio recordings of guided imagery at home in addition to standard medical treatment were almost three times as likely to show improvement with their pain. This was compared to children who received standard treatment alone. The benefits received from the guided imagery in combination with standard care were maintained six months after treatment was completed.

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Vitamin D update: Diabetes, cognitive decline, asthma, and heart attack

The newest research has found that vitamin D sufficiency is important for preventing type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.


Sent by: Savitri Devi Dasi
Philadelphia, PA (U.S.)
August 4, 2010

Vitamin D is continuing to make news. Although previously well-known for its effects on calcium absorption and therefore bone health, vitamin D has now emerged as a contributor to many nonskeletal physiological processes, and functions have been attributed to vitamin D in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, infections, autoimmune diseases, and more. There are vitamin D receptors in almost every cell in the human body, and vitamin D regulates the expression of over 200 different genes. It is not surprising that sufficient vitamin D is crucial to the proper function of so many of our body’s tissues.

Scientists estimate that 50% of the population of North America and Western Europe has insufficient blood vitamin D levels (as measured by 25(OH)D; sufficient is defined as greater than 30 ng/ml). Although recommended vitamin D intakes remain at only 200-400 IU per day, there is consensus among the scientific community that 2000 IU or more may be necessary for most people to maintain sufficient blood levels. 

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Possible Cure for Cluster Headaches
August, 2010

According to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more patients with a cluster headache (characterized by symptoms of excruiating pain usually near the eye or temple) reported being pain-free within 15 minutes of receiving treatment with high-flow oxygen therapy.

Link to article

Drug Money?
August, 2010

According to a recent study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., nearly 90 percent of the paper money circulating in the United States tests positive for traces of cocaine. To compare, researchers tested paper money in 30 international cities. Cocaine was found on about 90 percent of all money in the U.S. and Canada. In contrast, 12-20 percent of the paper money in China and Japan showed similar contamination. According to researchers, traces of the drug are miniscule so anyone handling contaminated money would not test positive if drug tested.  

Link to article

Alarming Statistics and One Woman Making a Difference

July, 2010

Presently, in 2010, there are 42 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide. This continues a global emergency, claiming about 8,000 lives every day in some of the poorest countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are 4.1 million people with AIDS who are in immediate need of life-saving antiretroviral drugs and an estimated 20 million children who have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS. As well, there were an estimated 9.4 million new cases of TB in 2008 with an estimated 1.8 million deaths (including 500,000 people with HIV), making this disease one of the world’s biggest killers. Malaria kills nearly 1 million people annually. Most are African children under the age of 5. On average, one child in Africa dies every 30 seconds of a malaria infection, caused by the bite of a mosquito. All of these communicable diseases require adequate healthcare delivery services — much of this by nurses — that remain lacking in these same parts of the world.
Katherine H. Murray Frommelt, RN, PhD, PDE, CGC, an Iowa nursing educator, traveled to South Africa with a U.S. delegation of nurses to help with the HIV/AIDS crisis. In an interview at a local radio station, she said, “If I could make a difference to even one person, if I could hold even one dying child, I would believe I had made a difference.” Before she returned home, Frommelt made a promise to a young South African man that she would tell the HIV/AIDS story to people back home. She continues to do so.

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Glucosamine Does NOT Ease Lower Back Pain--New Study Says
By: RICHARD KNOX (Posted on

July 7, 2010

Editor's Note: Since many of our readers are taking the over-the-counter supplement, Glucosamine, for joint pain, especially for lower back pain, we thought this latest study would be of interest to many of you. While it is true that Glucosamine comes from shellfish, some of our readers have stated they order a vegetarian form of this product online. Please note the following study for use of Glucosamine for lower back pain. Thank you!

Chronic low back pain is one of medicine's big mysteries. It's the second most-common reason patients see their primary care docs, after respiratory problems.

A popular dietary supplement doesn't stop the pain.
Yet most of the time it's not clear what's causing the pain, or what to do about it.

In the search for a magic bullet, it's not surprising that more than five million of the 20 million Americans with chronic back pain turn to glucosamine, a dietary supplement that's supposed to rebuild worn-out cartilage.

There's some evidence glucosamine offers a mild benefit for people with arthritis of the knee. There's dispute about whether it does any good for people with hip problems.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work for low back pain according to the first big, well-done study of glucosamine for that ailment.

Norwegian researchers randomly assigned 250 patients with chronic low back pain to daily glucosamine or a look-alike placebo for at least six monts. At the start, all of the study subjects had MRI evidence of spine degeneration.

At the start all the patients took a standard test that measured how painful and disabling their back pain was. They all scored between 9 and 10 on a scale of 24.

Six months later they took the test again. Both groups showed improvement – but the group taking 1500 milligrams of glucosamine every day didn't do any better than those on placebo pills. A year after the study started, there was still no significant difference.

"Based on our results, it seems unwise to recommend glucosamine to all patients with chronic low back pain," the researchers write in this week's Journal of American Medicine.

Dr. Andrew Avins of Northern California Kaiser-Permanente praised the new study as well-designed and well-conducted, in an editorial accompanying the study report.

The results, Avins says, are "disappointed but should not be discouraging." After all, it's useful to know what doesn't work – just as earlier studies led doctors to stop recommending prolonged bedrest for low back pain because it actually made things worse.

Still, Avins says a lot more research should be done to help doctors understand and treat low back pain. "In the competition for federal research dollars," he writes, "back pain has not been allocated funding commensurate with its societal cost and quality-of-life burden."

Part the reason, he says, is that, unlike breast cancer or heart disease, back pain has no organized advocates to demand attention.

So even though nearly every family has someone with back pain at one time or another, these victims tend to suffer in frustrated silence or don't get the care they need.

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Man with Heart AttackThe Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke

If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 or contact the emergency response system in your country immediately.

If you are with someone who is experiencing these symptoms and cannot reach 911 (or your emergency response system), drive them to the hospital immediately. Never drive if you are experiencing the symptoms yourself; have someone else drive you.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  1. Chest Pain, usually radiating toward the left shoulder and arm.
  2. The arm may be tingling or numb.
  3. Nausea, vomiting
  4. Cold sweats
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Lightheadedness/Dizziness
  7. Feeling of indigestion/Abdominal pain
  8. Weakness and possible fainting

Common Signs of a Stroke:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Woman with Heart AttackSymptoms of a Heart Attack Seen in Women:

Women are less likely to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and seek treatment right away. Women tend to have heart attacks about 10 years later than men do. By learning to recognize common symptoms, women can become more active in their own treatment. The most common symptoms of heart attack in women are:
  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Weakness
  3. Unusual fatigue
  4. Cold sweat
  5. Dizziness
  6. Pain or pressure in the back or high chest
  7. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
  8. Pressure, ache, or tightness which may come and go
  9. A burning sensation in the chest or upper abdomen
  10. Irregular heartbeat
  11. Nausea

If you experience these symptoms, call 911 immediately (or have someone else call if you are not alone) or call your country’s emergency response system. If you are with someone who is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 or your country’s emergency response system immediately. Every minute you wait may cause increased damaged to the heart. Do not hesitate to call! Call immediately!

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Tips and Techniques to Reduce Stress in Your Life:

As we know, there are often “stressors” that occur in our daily life that may be unavoidable. The following recommendations are meant to help decrease your heightened reaction to the stress you experience. The following suggestions are meant to help you deal with the common, daily stressors that often occur. Try them and see if they make a difference. *If you are having increased feelings of stress or find yourself feeling uncontrollable anxiety or depression, we recommend you see a healthcare practitioner who specializes in these conditions.

  • Try not to rush through your day. If possible, walk at a relaxed pace. If you allow yourself the time, you will get to where you are going more easily than walking quickly and experiencing shortness of breath.
  • Eat your meals at a relaxed pace.
  • Take a short break after meals to relax.
    (As devotees, we have been taught by Srila Prabhupada to lay on our left side for a few minutes after eating to aid in digestion.)
  • During the day, notice the tension you hold in your body, such as in the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Take a deep breath and relax your tense areas. Stretch your arms and legs. Genty roll your head three times in each direction. Take a deep cleansing breath and continue with your day.
  • Notice when your mind is dwelling on past, present, or future anxieties. Take a moment to clear your mind and focus on something that will relax you.
  • Find someone you can feel safe when speaking. Reveal your mind and anxieties within these "safe boundaries." Holding on to these stressful thoughts and feelings is unhealthy for you in many ways. Revealing your mind in confidence may help you to release these disturbing thoughts and move on in your life.
  • Be kind to yourself! If old patterns of thinking are difficult to change, be patient. Give these, and other, stress reduction techniques a chance to work.
  • Meditate. The recommended process for meditation in this present age is to concentrate on the Lord by chanting His Holy Names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

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Advance Directives: Controlling your future medical care

What medical interventions would you want to receive if you suddenly suffered a stroke that left you brain-damaged and unable to swallow – would you want physicians to provide you with artificial nutrition through a feeding tube? If you were injured in a car accident and unable to breath – would you want doctors to place you on a ventilator? If you suffered a severe heart attack and stopped breathing – would you want to be resuscitated?

These scenarios occur every day to people around the world. When these tragedies occur, the victim is unable to speak for himself and tell his doctor which treatments he wishes to receive or not receive.

Unless you have a written document to speak for you, your family will be faced with some very difficult decisions. If you prepare legal documents called “advance directives,” however, your family can be released from this burden. You can make your wishes known in writing, so that the burden of making these decisions are lifted from your family and you receive the exact care you wanted.

The path of Krishna consciousness is preparation for one moment – the moment of death. The most important preparation for death is the chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. But there are other preparations as well, to help make your death successful. In other words, there are practical steps you can take right now to ensure that at the end of this life, you will go back home, back to Godhead.

One of those practical steps is the preparation of legal documents called “advance directives.” Advance directives are so crucial in the United States that very nama hatta and bhakti vriksha group in the US ought to dedicate at least one session discussing them. If there is an attorney in your congregation who is qualified to speak on advance directives, you can invite that person to your class.

Advance directives are legal documents that give you some control over your future medical care. In the US, the most common advance directives are the “living will” and “health care power of attorney.” Most estate planning attorneys recommend both documents, in order to cover all situations.

A “living will” allows you to tell your health care provider what types of life-prolonging treatments you want or do not want. For example, your living will might discuss artificial life support, tube feeding, hydration, and resuscitation. Many states will also honor your wishes regarding organ donation.

A living will becomes active only when you are unable to communicate your medical preferences yourself. In other words, as long as you have the capacity to make your own decisions and communicate those decisions, you will be allowed to do so. Furthermore, a living will generally becomes active in only two specific circumstances: (a) you become terminally ill; or (b) you enter a permanent vegetative state. For example, if you suffer a heart attack, but otherwise do not have any terminal illness and are not permanently unconscious, a living will does not have any effect. You would still be resuscitated, even if you had a living will indicating that you do not want life prolonging procedures. A living will is only used when your ultimate recovery is hopeless.

If a living will is properly drafted and executed, it binds health care providers to its instructions. Find out ahead of time what your doctor's views are about advance directives and your specific wishes. If there is disagreement, you may wish to find a new doctor ahead of time.

A “health care power of attorney” is a second type of advance directive. It allows you to appoint a representative (“proxy”) to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. Some states call this document a “health care proxy” or “durable power of attorney for health care.”

This document gives your proxy a lot of control. The document does not expressly tell the proxy what to do. Therefore, you must have a lot of trust in this person. Your proxy must understand your desires, and have your best interests in mind. Your proxy should be well aware of the choices you have articulated in relevant documents, and should support those instructions. It is best to ask the person’s permission before appointing him as a proxy. You can explain your medical preferences and obtain his agreement.

Your proxy may need to argue your case with doctors or family members. Your proxy may even be required to go to court. Therefore, an assertive and diplomatic individual is preferred.

Whenever possible, name one or more alternate or successor proxies in case your primary proxy is unavailable. Preferably, do not name co-proxies, because it opens up the possibility of disagreement between them. If there is anyone whom you absolutely want to keep out of playing any role in your health-care decisions, you may be able to disqualify that person expressly in your document.

In Krishna consciousness, your life is a preparation for one moment – the moment of death. You hope to remember Lord Krishna at that crucial moment, and thereby gain entrance into the spiritual world.

It is crucial that you plan ahead for that moment. Your preparation should include preparing advance directives. You should appoint a proxy who understands the process by which Vaisnavas leave this world, and who will do everything in his power to make your departure successful.

Ideally, all preparations will be made. There will be a devotee on either side of you, reminding you to chant. You will be surrounded by devotees chanting the Holy Name. Another devotee will hold a picture of Radha and Krishna in front of you, so that your eyes can focus on Their beautiful forms. When the devotees see that you are about to leave, they will sprinkle Ganges water and Vrindavan dust on your head, and place Tulasi in your mouth.

In the United States, the law governing advance directives varies state by state. Therefore, nama hattas and bhakti vrikshas are the perfect forum for discussing these issues. Please talk to your local leaders and educate yourself. Do not leave this to chance.

Editor's Note for those who live within the United States:
Each state within the United States requires their own version of a Living Will/Advanced Directives. Please go to this link to click on your state and see a printable version of the document recognized where you live.

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This information is provided for educational and information purposes only. Vaisnavas C.A.R.E. does not engage in rendering medical advice. The information found on our website should not be used for diagnosing or treating any type of health problem. Vaisnavas C.A.R.E. makes no representations, expressed or implied. Similarly, Vaisnavas C.A.R.E. does not endorse the information or services provided by any referenced organization or link found on this site. Readers may wish to discuss any information on the Vaisnavas C.A.R.E. website with their doctor or other healthcare professional. Always consult with your healthcare providers before starting or changing any treatment.

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