Journal

In this section you will find any interesting information I have come across which I think is timely and at least somewhat urgent to know.

Flu season is clearly upon us, as of the last 2 weeks. Please refer to my flu article on my website for the usual strategies.

I see that last year’s flu notice also contained references to cellphone radiation.  Since then, more information has surfaced regarding electromagnetic field radiation in general.  This would include cellphones, blue-tooth devices, wireless networking, and other sources of radiation, such as electrical “smart” meters used by the power company.  One of my sensitive patients could tell that my meter, unbeknownst to me, had been “upgraded” to the newer meters which cause more trouble for sensitive patients.  I don’t have time right now to make a list of current research validating this point easy to get to, but if anyone is curious, email me and I’ll put it together and post it.

As of the week ending 5/21/2016 (latest data available), Flu is no longer widespread in Connecticut or the other New England states (although it is still is in New York).  We were the last region to to be hit by this season’s epidemic, and are the last region for it to wind down in.  At this point we can consider it to be on it’s last legs, if not pretty much over.

Regarding the adverse health effects of cell phone and wireless radiations, I urge you to go to this posting at Natural News, which should give us all something to think about.

It has become common for women to hold their phones in their bra.  Men tend to place it in their front pockets.  If we don’t use the speaker function or ear-buds or (which emit electromagnetic frequency radiation as well), then the cell phone is right next to our brain when in use.

These all seem like bad ideas, and especially for children and teenagers, whose reproductive organs and brains are still developing.

I have several patients for whom both cellphone and wireless frequencies are very poorly tolerated.  They are probably like the “canaries in the coal mine,” more susceptible than the rest of us, but we are all being affected.

4/5/2015 — About a week ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates all drug products in this country, including homeopathic medicines, announced a 2 day public hearing which will take place on April 20th and 21st in Maryland.

The announcement can be found here:  www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/27/2015-07018/homeopathic-product-regulation-evaluating-the-food-and-drug-administrations-regulatory-framework.

In the announcement, a number of issues have been raised.  The homeopathic community has been preparing for this for some time, and since the announcement there has been quite a bit of additional preparation taking place.

There are some in the community who believe that there is an unstated agenda, and even if this is not the case, there are virulent anti-homeopathic medicine detractors out there who will seize any opportunity to denigrate homeopathic practice.

I’m writing you in the hopes that you will take the time to send written comments on your experience with homeopathy to the FDA.

I think that what is important to be said by homeopathic patients is that they have experienced benefit from these medicines (only if that is true for you, of course), and that you consider your access to bona-fide, regulated products at the “over-the-counter” level as well as from your homeopathic practitioner.

These do not need to be long or detailed.  It is by sheer volume that such letters may succeed.

To submit electronically, go to:  www.regulations.gov

To submit written comments, send them to:  Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305),

Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061,

Rockville, MD 20852

In both cases, refer to [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0540] in the header of your email or at the top of your written comments.

The announcement itself also contains information on the live webcast of the event, as well as on the availability of transcripts.

Please circulate this notice to anyone whom you think may be interested in responding.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Dr. Shevin

As of mid-January 2015, I will be discontinuing my subscription to TelehealthConnect.com which has been providing my patients with a secure messaging platform (as required by the federal HIPAA statutes).

PracticeFusion (my electronic health record [EHR]) now has a functioning secure messaging platform, that all my patients have access to provided that they create an account through PatientFusion, Only my patients have access to this platform.

To date, 624 people have done so. This undoubtedly represents more people as there are many families in my practice, but since I have approximately 1300 people in the electronic system (which I started in 2010), some of you have not signed up.

When I message you thruough the EHR, a notification will appear in your regular email in-box.  Unfortunately, as of now, no such notification appears in my regular email inbox when you message me.  This may change in the future, but for now there may be certain situation when I cannot access my EHR’s messaging system.  An example would be that when I am out for the evening, with only my cellphone, and do not have access to a computer.

It is also a lot easier for me to check email than it is my EHR messages.

Please remember that email, including the PatientFusion messaging system, is not the proper way to reach me in any kind of urgent situation.  In such cases, call my office number, press “O” during the voice message, and leave a message with the human operator who answers.  For a less urgent situation, if you send a report through PatientFusion that  you need me to read before the office opens next, also send a regular email to drshevin@drshevin.com.

If you need help registering with PatientFusion, Donna will be happy to help you out.  She can be reached at the office or at her email:  donna@drshevin.com.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Some day this system will replace my health alerts, but for the moment, if you haven’t signed up for that, please let Donna know and she will help you.

There is not much to report since the last alert.

This year’s epidemic has not begun in the Northeast yet, but you can see from the CDC flu site, especially the map at the bottom of the page, that flu is widespread in parts of the southern US and the next several weeks will certainly be showing flu advancing around the country.

There are concerns about this year’s vaccines, as are described here.  Although the future is difficult to predict, a worse than usual season is certainly possible.  The CDC is warning physicians to be alert to flu-like illness and to consider prescribing anti-viral drugs (Tamiflu, for example) to young infants and anyone who is immunocompromised.  Although the effects of such medications are relatively minor in healthy persons (an illness which is shortened by one day), in the immunocompromised population the drug can be lifesaving.  For a clear description of what constitutes the immunocompromised population, please see this article

So, as usual, during the epidemic practice good sense (avoid crowded places where exposure to people with flu is more likely), use good hygiene (hand washing in particular, sneezing into your elbow rather than your hands), stay up on your vitamin D (5000 – 10,000 units a day during the season) unless you know that your levels are already in the high normal range), good nutrition, adequate sleep, etc.

The flu article on my website is still relevant, although I have not updated it since 2009’s swine flu scare.

Influenza October 2014

October 20, 2014

As I have had at least one patient with confirmed flu, and a couple of others whom I suspect may have had it, it is time to raise awareness of the coming epidemic. Those of you who use the homeopathic preparation Influenzinum should begin now. The protocol hasn’t changed — once a day for 3 days, and then once a week for the duration of the epidemic.

It is not clear as yet whether we are going to see occasional cases for a while, with the real epidemic to come later (the usual scenario) or whether the epidemic will peak early this year.

Please refer the flu article on my website for more basic information regarding flu. I haven’t updated this article for several years, but the basic information is still valid.

Don’t forget to maintain Vitamin D status, to use proper hygiene, and in the event of a widespread epidemic, to use common sense.

I will write further as time permits, and will also comment on Ebola virus.

Influenza 3/24/2014

March 24, 2014

Flu season is winding down everywhere but southern New England, New York and New Jersey.  Perhaps our wonderful weather has something to do with it.  I have seen (mostly over the phone) about 10-20 people who have had what I gather is the flu, usually starting with some nausea, vomiting and sometimes with diarrhea, and then sometimes going on to moderate respiratory complications.  There have been no hospitalizations or severe cases.

 

It might be too early to stop Influenzinum.

I will keep watching the data.

It will end here soon…

One of my patients sent the following post, from the Alliance for Natural Health USA, regarding at threat to the availability of 5-Methylfolate, which is has become very useful in my practice.  In a previous alert and post (December 2013) I briefly discussed that technology has made available extremely useful information for a relatively low price.

As of this writing (3/23/2014) I have reviewed 93 such genetic analyses obtained through 23andme.com and geneticgenie.org. I’ve chosen people to test who have chronic fatigue syndromes, severe environmental allergies, autoimmune disease, and mood disorders (anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, attention deficit disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders). While the US population as a whole is said to show problems in the MTHFR gen in 30% of people, in the “cohort” (the group of people meeting the criteria / diagnoses mentioned) 93% of the reports demonstrate problems in the MTHFR gene, and in every case there are also issues with other genes.

Furthermore, treatment with 5-Methyl folate and other nutrients (primarily forms of vitamin B12) has been very helpful in most of the patients that I’ve been able to treat and to follow.

It is obvious, therefore, that I would not like to see the availability of 5-methylfolate restriced.

I hope that you will read this post carefully and take appropriate action:

Breaking News: FDA’s Sneak Attempt to Ban Another B Vitamin
March 11, 2014
You can’t live without this vitamin. But the FDA wants to reserve the natural form for monopoly drug companies, leaving only the synthetic form for supplements. Urgent Action Alert!

The FDA has just released a new 109-proposed rule on the revision of nutrition and supplement labels. (You can read more about the implications of the new labeling rules in our other article this week.)

On page 69, the agency slipped in two little paragraphs that could risk the health of millions of people who desperately need folate. It’s a sneak attack so quiet and unobtrusive that few people will even realize it’s there.

According to the guidance, the word “folate” will be banned from the Supplement Fact labels—only the term “folic acid” will be allowed.

Folate is the naturally occurring form of the water-soluble vitamin B9. It is found in foods such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas and other beans, lentils, spinach, turnip greens, asparagus, avocado, and broccoli, but is also available as a supplement.

The human body needs folate to synthesize and repair its DNA. It’s especially important during the kind of rapid cell division and growth seen in infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require folate to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia among many other vital functions.

Folic acid, on the other hand, is synthetically produced, and refers to just one member of the folate group: pteroylmonoglutamic acid. While folic acid occurs only rarely in whole foods, it’s extremely stable, which is why it’s widely used in dietary supplements and to fortify processed foods.

The important thing to remember is that folic acid is not itself biologically active, though for most people the liver can convert it to the folate we need. Most, however, does not mean all. It’s estimated that 30% to 40% of the population can’t efficiently convert synthetic folic acid into folate.

In other words, about a third of the human population has two potential problems: a deficiency in folate (because it is hard to get enough from a diet full of processed foods), and possibly even an excess of folic acid (because their body can’t metabolize what could become an overabundance of folic acid present in “fortified” foods):

According to Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, folate deficiency is one of the most dangerous medical conditions, leading to Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. If pregnant women are deficient in it, it can also lead to spina bifida and other neural tube birth defects in their children.

On the other hand, too much unmetabolized folic acid can build up in the blood, which could lead to an increased risk of prostate, lung, and colon cancer, or worsen already present cancerous lesions. This refers to large amounts of folic acid, larger than in current supplements, but more research is needed to account for individual differences.

Note that the FDA is not exactly banning the inclusion of folate and requiring the inclusion of folic acid in supplements. As usual, it is playing a much more subtle insider’s game. It is simply banning supplement producers from using the word folate on their labels and conversely only allowing the word folic acid on their labels. But it would of course be fraudulent to put folic acid on your label and then use something else. The FDA understands that perfectly.

So on what grounds is the agency banning the use of the word folate on the label? Believe it or not, it is arguing that folate can only be found in “conventional” (whole or minimally processed) foods.

Before we examine this absurd claim, we must first explain that limiting a folate claim to food would not prevent drug companies from becoming the only source of folate outside of food. Drug companies don’t care what a chemical is called so long as they can create a high priced monopoly in it. Ironically, the FDA’s position that folate can only be used to describe what is in food would still turn folate over to the drug companies—so long as supplement labels can only use the term folic acid.

So what about the agency’s assertion that “folate” can only be found in food? “Folate” is actually a term for a whole B vitamin group. The term “folate” we see on dietary supplement labels refers to “dietary folates,” members of the folate group that can be naturally found in foods. Folinic acid (5-FTHF), calcium methylfolate, and various other tetrahydrofolates can be found in dietary supplements. Many brands feature dietary folate.[1] It would be completely inaccurate and misleading to refer to these dietary folates as “folic acid.” Legally, it would be fraudulent.

Why did the FDA do this? One can only guess. But it would not be surprising if it eventually turns out to be a blatant attempt to reserve for drug companies the use of dietary folates. After all, B vitamins are not only essential for life. They are also proven therapeutic agents. Drug company research programs have been coming up short for years; new drug therapeutic agents are in very short supply.

Moreover, the drug company Merck already holds patents on Metafolin, which the body recognizes as a bioavailable dietary folate. Metafolin is licensed by dietary supplement companies for some of their products.

If, according to FDA “logic,” dietary supplements can’t contain folate like Metafolin, it would only be available from whole foods…or drugs, and only from drugs in higher doses. Since Merck would have exclusivity for a Metafolin “drug,” our guess is that they would make billions. And other forms of patentable folate could then follow.

Sound unlikely? It’s not—both forms of fish oil and vitamin D have already been turned into patented drugs. Imagine if competition from supplemental forms of fish oil or D could be wiped out at one stroke by saying no supplement label could use the term!

Let’s also keep in mind the case of pyridoxamine, one of the natural forms of vitamin B6, another B vitamin critical to human health. In 2009, Biostratum, the manufacturer of a proposed pyridoxamine-based drug called Pyridorin intended to prevent the progression of diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), filed a petition with the FDA asking to ban the natural form. The agency agreed to do so. It announced that pyridoxamine dihydrochloride was a “new drug”—which means the FDA effectively prevented any substance containing pyridoxamine from being marketed as a dietary supplement.

Never mind that the fish on your lunch salad and the chicken on your dinner table both contain pyridoxamine, as does brewer’s yeast! Never mind that vitamin B6 in general has been in supplements for decades and therefore ought to be grandfathered under federal supplement legislation. The agency simply stated that because supplement bottles in earlier decades had not distinguished between the particular type of B6 included, they could ban it!

The natural alternative to pyridoxamine, one with similar health and anti-glycation properties, is another B6 compound called pyridoxal-5′-phosphate, or P5P. This is the only form of B6 that can be used directly by the body without conversion. While everyone needs B6 to live, some people have difficulty converting other forms of B6 to P5P.

P5P exists in food, and has been available as a supplement for years. But even P5P has been under threat! The FDA has a petition from Medicure Pharma to ban P5P. Thanks to grassroots activists like you, the FDA hasn’t acted on that petition yet—but if the petition is approved, we will have to wait until we get sick enough to obtain a prescription for the drug. We’ll no longer be able to maintain good health and prevent aging and diseases like cancer by proactively keeping P5P at the optimal level. It would be a complete travesty if P5P disappears from the market as pyridoxamine did.

The attempt to ban folate is being done differently, through a proposed FDA rule, which carries the full force of law. So it’s critical that we stop this now.

All of these attacks on your access to B vitamins are scandalous. Natural vitamins belong in food and supplements. Banning them in order to potentially benefit drug companies is just another egregious example of the crony capitalism that infests the FDA.

Please take immediate, urgent action on this. It may have to go to court. In the meantime, we lay the groundwork for court action by sending our complaints to the FDA. We need a lot of responses on this one to get the agency’s attention.

URGENT Action Alert! The FDA must not be allowed to implement this change in its Supplement Facts rules. It will in effect ban folate and allow supplement producers to use only synthetic folic acid. Consumers who are less able to convert folic acid to the safe and bioavailable folate we need will have no choice. For women of childbearing age, folate is recommended by the CDC, WHO, and most practitioners as an essential tool in preventing neural tube defects—and supplementation with folate is vital, since women may not be able to get enough folate in their diet. Send your message to the FDA today, and tell them not to convert a critical, natural B vitamin from a supplement to a drug through bureaucratic labeling sleight-of-hand!

Take-Action11

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[1] At press time, we have been able to confirm that the following companies have dietary folate (not folic acid) in their nutritional supplement products: BioGenesis, Complementary Prescriptions, Daily Essentials, Designs for Health, Doctor’s Best, Douglas Labs, Europharma, Innate Response, Jarrow Formulas, Kirkman Labs, Life Extension Foundation, MegaFood, Mercola, Metabolic Maintenance, Metagenics, Physician’s Preference, Priority One Vitamins, ProThera, Pure Encapsulations, Solgar, Thorne, Vitacost, and Xymogen. This is not intended to be a complete list.

http://www.anh-usa.org/fdas-sneak-attempt-to-ban-another-b-vitamin/

Secure Email

December 21, 2013

TelehealthConnect:  This is my secure email platform, which most of you have not elected to use.  People with Macs have had difficulty using it, and in truth it is cumbersome and expensive (for me).  Fortunately, my electronic health record, Practice Fusion, is currently instituting a secure message system.  It is not quite ready, yet, and I don’t know how well it will function.

To use it, you will have to log onto your patient portal through PatientFusion.com, which I have invited everyone to participate in.  However, I suspect that very few of you have acted on the invitations.  Now, however, I think that it is more important that you do so.

If you didn’t activate your account within 30 days of us giving you a temporary PIN, you will need a new invitation.  Donna can do this for you but you have to let us know that you need it.

While there is no question that regular email has been and will probably continue to be simpler than the secure platforms, if my email every gets hacked (which has never happened so far), then I will have to inform everyone of a potential data breach and possible HIPAA violations, which is a scenario that I most certainly DO NOT want to have to enter into.  Accordingly, I may be forced to change my current policy and to  not respond to regular email with patients.

The office is currently closed until January 2nd, but if you need to be re-invited to PateintFusion, please call or preferably send her an email at donna@drshevin.com and request another invitation.

Influenza  12/21/2013:

The flu is certainly moving northwards.

As of a week ago (the most recent data available at the time of this writing) Connecticut is marked as showing “local disease” but is “regional” (the next more intense category) in Massachusetts, and “widespread” in New York.