About Me

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Deep South, United States
Consultant, inventor, mentor, chess coach,. Current projects involve No Till Farming and staving off blindness due to cataracts among other projects. I also do confidential ghost writing (without taking any published credit. My current blindness makes me put this on hold for a while. I should have one eye working again in about four months. Fact, fiction, all subjects considered. I have heard My daughter Jennifer is alive. I would love it if she were to contact me here. I understand she would like to know me. I have sent a message by circuitous route. I can only hope. My posted Email works as well. We have four decades to catch up on.

This blog has been up for more than a year. The intent was to generate dialogues about serious problems and ideas. It has been almost exclusively a monologue. I have not been looking for large numbers of participants.

I would be quite happy with a few dozen imaginative, creative, thoughtful and inventive people who wish to address serious problems and issues. If anyone has any ideas about how to attract such a talented group I will certainly pay attention. I am not as computer conversant as I would wish. Anyone who could help in this regard would find me receptive to sharing my skills in other areas.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bell's Palsy & Medical Controversy

There is a thread on Skin Cell Forum about Bell’s Palsy, a facial paralysis which looks very much like what often happens during a stroke. I am only going to include my own comments here. Those who are curious may see what I am responding to on Skin Cell Forum.

Bell's Palsy looks very much like a stroke. One half of the face becomes entirely immobile due to a cranial nerve getting infected with a virus. Some think it's a variety of herpes like zoster and perhaps it is, sometimes. Whatever the virus, the infection swells a cranial nerve that governs the face. It almost invariably only affects one side of the face. The nerve swells and pinches itself off from the swelling in a tight spot which does not allow enough room for the swelling. I am conversant with the disease because I am one of the very few people who have had it twice. It is important to put a pad over the affected eye and keep it closed. If he does this he is very likely not to have much difficulty. There are some who have residual effects well beyond two or three months, but they do not comprise many of those afflicted. I chose to get some crude liver and B-12 injections.

My two episodes were at least a decade apart. Both occurred during times of heavy stress. I definitely think stress plays a role in helping set up the conditions for the illness. Adequate rest (and by this I mean sleep), a positive attitude, and good nutrition will increase his chances of a speedy recovery without complications.

In my two cases, recovery was swift and there were no residual problems. I would supplement vitamins and minerals with emphasis on C, B complex, with extra B-12, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink adequate fluids, and refrain from substances of abuse like tobacco, alcohol, etc.

I never used ointments or drops. I jut kept the eye patched closed until it began blinking properly again. I took no steroids of any sort. Since my recovery was very quick, I have concluded that steroidal medication is probably usually not indicated or advisable. If the boy is under the care of a physician, he might want to chat with the doctor about the pros and cons of steroid use.
It wouldn't hurt to gently massage the affected side of the face, and even add a warm wet cloth (not HOT) Remember there is a loss of sensation. You need to be really careful about that. Gentle massage will increase circulation. Using a vibrator on the area is not bad either.
Ralph Nader, many years ago, also had Bell's Palsy, a case that went on for the better part of a year, if memory serves. The viewpoint back then was "let's just observe it for a while and see how it goes." I expect Ralph did what his doctor told him. With many things I would agree with the "wait and see" perspective. But with half a face paralyzed, I'm inclined to be a bit more proactive. There is no downside to using B-Complex and B-12.
The downside of taking supplements (I mostly refer to vitamins, macro and trace minerals in reasonable and studied proportions) under the typical allopathic physician's advice is that so few of them have gone deeply into the subject of nutrition. Nutrition really gets short shrift in medical schools.

"There is no downside" is a sweeping generality. With all such generalities there are exceptions. Leber's is one of these, a disease so rare perhaps orphan disease is not quite sufficient to describe it. And if you have Leber's disease perhaps B-12 is not going to be near the top of the list of things to worry about. This disease is so rare that most doctors have never even seen a case. As with vitamin C, scientific and medical opinion is hardly uniform.

Your first snippet from the NIH points out that the elderly are the most at risk (of B-12 deficiency). Bell's Palsy strikes old people more often than young people. Being old is not an orphan condition. The population of the aged is growing fast.The second snippet implies that medical and scientific opinion is universal, and may be referring to "minimun adult daily requirement," (the amount which will prevent the appearance of clinical deficiency disease). The third snippet is vague and very self-serving of the medical profession. We hear the same sorts of propaganda in the myriad commercials for pharmaceutical products every day if we turn on the TV. I have had a stroke. I took all the B vitamins including B-12 in substantial quantity, before, during and after the stroke. Oh Gawd! I supplement my folic acid too! I'm going to croak! Am I going to cut my intake of these offending substances? Not at this time, and not without considerably more concretely persuasive information than I have seen so far.


Sixth snippet. See snippet #3 and multiply by two. This is the most standard of the disclaimers. The first sentence is the meat of it all. It says the FDA plays almost no role. The rest of it says to get the help of a "healthcare provider" if some sort of "side effect" should occur. Hard to find fault with such a vague and all-embracing statement There is a grain of truth in there somewhere. I just know it.
The likelihood of our finding common ground on the issue of exactly how much dependence to have on doctors and how much we should work at a more self reliant approach is slim. My perspective is in the extreme minority. You hold the majority opinion.
Quote from: anthropositor on Tuesday December 11, 2007, 11:24:02 AM (I think if you click on this quote line it may take you directly to the thread on the Forum.)
"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

More than half the world population do not have the luxury of access to medical treatment of any sort. Nor do they have resources for acquiring sufficient knowledge and understanding to be able to make reasoned and educated health decisions. They are by our standards, abjectly poor and may be illiterate and unschooled in any meaningful way. Yet they are FORCED by their circumstances to fend for themselves when it comes to health care, even though they are the least capable of doing so. Virtually no one is addressing this crisis. It is pivotally important to us all.
I add plenty of caveats about being fully informed, to study with great care, and to REASON OUT one's possible options with care, NOT jumping to unfounded conclusions and trying every flakey idea promulgated by some airhead or spammer.

Quackery is NOT confined to naturopaths, homeopaths, crackpots, sociopaths and psychopaths. Mainstream doctors too, contribute SUBSTANTIAL amounts. And mainstream medicine and science in general back an INCREDIBLE number of really faulty and extremely dangerous notions and procedures. The incredible OVERUSE of antibiotics and steroids for many decades is the result and responsibility of mainstream doctors.And all these highly praised facilities and treatments that pervade our health environment are NOT an unalloyed blessing. I have written about the INCREDIBLE OVERUSE of CT scans and CAT scans. VERY expensive. VERY easy. VERY profitable. (Almost) none of the people for whom these tests are ORDERED are advised that these scans EACH dose us with the radiation dosage of ONE TO TWO HUNDRED chest X-rays.

MANY, MANY other medical procedures which were once MAINSTREAM are now recognized as dangerous, not advisable, efficacious or prudent, AND are no longer in fashion.

But doctors themselves cling to these long held assumptions more tenaciously than any segment of our society than perhaps ultraconservative politicians, and it often takes many years and overwhelming and utterly incontrovertible evidence to get mainstream medicine to turn around.

The notion that standard bloodwork will identify a deviation from OPTIMUM intake of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients is not supportable with logic. The fact is that most doctors have a knee-jerk, thoroughly unfounded notion that most of us who eat "normally" (whatever that means) get ALL the nutrients we need in something approaching the correct proportions is just patent nonsense. When clinically apparent deficiencies show up on the standard tests the doctor employs, much of the damage has already been going on for a considerable time.

In my trips to the supermarket, I an constantly amazed and dumbfounded by the choices of imitation food the typical consumer DECIDES to buy for the family.

I am not saying that I never eat food that is not good for me. I do. But at worst, my junk-food consumpion amounts to 10% or less of that of the typical consumer. And it IS advisable to counsel the general population that they can do MUCH more to take a hand in their own health and wellbeing, and REDUCE their fawning worship of the medical establishment. I notice that you yourself supplement an extreme level of belief in your doctors with a considerable amount of effort, research and thought. That is an enigma to me. You have a deep abiding trust in them (while noting for the record that they are sometimes wrong and nobody is perfect.) But then you spend hundreds and hundreds of hours studying and double checking every aspect of the healthcare options you are presented with. There seems to be a contradiction.

Yet I am frequently roundly castigated and otherwise faulted for the general advice that people can do much more for themselves to govern their health, and need not be so slavishly dependent on their medical "authority figures."The truth is, the most difficult segment of society to assist in their health are the dabblers and those who who are not overly equipped or motivated to sort between the wheat and the chaff. They will always be with us. I have spoken frankly, sometimes even sharply to people with... problems other than only those they thought they had. But I never started out with sharpness (clearcut spammers excepted).

And in at least a couple I first offered to withdraw because what I had to say might not be... entirely comfortable. I advocate more self-reliance, more attention, more effort, more PREVENTION, more questions, more precision, more reason and logic, more innovation (with caution and care). A fairly holistic approach.

Try the simplest things first, those with the least prospect of unforeseen problems. Develop some notion of the variety of different emergencies that might befall you and design some sort of gameplan for the more likely ones that could occur.

I advocate less recourse to doctors. I admit it. We are inundated in our society with advice to see the doctor. The health sciences, biology, chemistry, these can be daunting, and even at the high school or college level, innaccessible to many. So much, in a concentrated time, with insufficient grounding in the sciences in the earlier grades.

It is not just commercial advertising of doctors, hospitals, drugs, medical supplies, procedures and services. Society as a whole has become deeply, almost hypnotically conditioned to consume medical services and products. We are all affected. We must collectively be more self-reliant. The ramifications go well beyond medical issues. Anybody know how much electrical power goes into nuclear magnetic resonance tests? That power is generated somewhere.

Come to think of it, I could probably establish that many, if not most health products have environmental consequences that are not easy to predict in their complexity.

Regardless of all the miracles, medicine is in a state of megacrisis. And widespread over-dependency on titled experts is not part of the answer. It is part of the problem.
I think even the experts are with you on that. "Take two placebos and call me in the morning." The power of positive thinking. I am a firm believer in positive thinking, but I do think that positive thinking works much better and most reliably when it is on a foundation of demonstrable truths and good sense.

Feeling lucky, optimistic, happy and content even in the face of obstacles and adversity improves your likelihood of success. Depression on the other hand, has a whole cascade of negative effects which reduce successful possibilities.
I know that I never said that B-12 or the other B vitamins would prevent stroke. Bell's Palsy, more often than not LOOKS like it could be a stroke. There the similarity ends. Some of the experts opine that B-12 may be helpful in viral infections. I GOT the advice from a doctor over twenty years ago, a fully licensed and practicing physician. I took the advice. I got better unusually quickly. I got Bell's Palsy again, years and years later. I didn't go to the doctor. I took B-12 once again in larger than usual amounts. Once again, my recovery was unusually swift.

But from your perspective I was right the first time because a doctor told me to, and the second time I was wrong because I did it on my own. You say, "Why take it if you don't need it? That surely is wasting money." That is not at all the case. B-12 and the B complex vitamins cost perhaps a dime a day. One visit to a doctor costs what?... a few hundred to a thousand times that? It doesn't make the slightest sense to me. I call it being penny wise and pound foolish.

I have often lamented that so many people ask for advice and information without including various pertinant details of their background and history. Even gender, approximate location and age are conspicuously absent.

The truth is we can do nothing about that. And when I speak to a specific problem, my true message is to a larger audience which might benefit by the general advice, not just to the flighty individual who has left out singularly important information.

But if my last visit to the ophthalmologist is any example, it provides a concrete case of a doctor who did not fully read or comprehend the history I provided. An isolated instance? Probably not.

As to the tests. They are often exceedingly expensive, often provide false positives, false negatives, or are in other ways faulty, overused, or pose dangers to the patient which are NOT mentioned, and which are ROUTINELY done, because they are CONVENIENT and HIGHLY LUCRATIVE. CAT and CT Scans and NMR images are wonderfully interesting. Compelling. Sometimes they are useful. Many times they are not. My wife had a CAT scan about ten years ago. $1700+. A lot of money! Know what? The test provided no reason for the abdominal pain she sufferred. Turns out the GP, according to the radiologist, made a minor mistake in the parameters of the test which he ordered. He didn't actually call it a mistake. He just said he did the test the doctor ordered and that was all he could do. So we never did find out what was causing my wife's pain, and more than $1700 went down a rathole.

The good news is, my wife got better. Not because of any treatment she got. She didn't get any. The doctor who ordered the test? He died. He looked to be maybe fifty. At one and the same time, you castigate me for a general recommendation that even without "expert" opinions weighing in, all the B vitamins, prudently and judiciously used, have an absolutely excellent track record of safety, even at doses many, many multiples of the MDAR. You jumped on the possibilities of problems with Leber's disease, an incredibly unusual condition, and one which would very likely have a very specialized doctor in attendance, at least in the affluent world. Steroids are very, very overprescribed by doctors, most notably to professional athletes, but even at the high school level our youngsters in sports are using them like candy, often with recommendations as vague and insubstantial and without foundation as your own on this subject.

The scandals abound across the whole spectrum of the sporting world. Doctors play a central role in these disasters. You have the firm faith that as long as the doctor-gods are making the educated decisions, that steroids are fine. I am of the opinion that they have their uses and that sometimes their prudent use may be a lesser evil than what they are treating. But they have serious inherent dangers and should be avoided if at all possible.

I believe your remarks on this particular subject inspire a dangerous complacency which by far, outstrips the trivial potential dangers that might attend the prudent and thoughtful use of the B vitamins.

Heroin was, early on, used to treat and cure morphine addiction BY DOCTORS. Then a few decades later it was realized that heroin addiction was at least as serious a problem as morphine or opium. But now we had a whole new, and much larger, population of addicts. Guess what? The cure was found! Methadone CURED heroin addiction. Oops. Now we have a whole generation of methadone addicts going to the clinics and getting their maintenance dose. You see, methadone too is highly addictive. Of course they are not going out and committing as many crimes of profit to pay for their desperately needed drugs. Because the drugs are FREE. Totally subsidized by the general taxation.Now as it happens, there IS a drug that is NOT addictive, which WILL cure the addict who has reached the bottom and who wishes to survive. It WILL cure morphine addiction, it WILL cure heroin addiction, it WILL cure methadone addiction. And it WILL do so comfortably, relatively speaking, and with NO new addiction. THAT will NEVER do! Coddling these rotten addicts! They should all be languishing for years and years living in cells with the other obvious dregs and criminals of society (largely blacks and Latinos).

Why not force them to quit "cold turkey!" A form of extreme torture right up there with "waterboarding" interrogations. Then after the torture of days and days of cold turkey withdrawal, we let them languish in a hellhole for years at a cost of over $30,000 a year per inmate. These are LONG MANDATORY SENTENCES. That'll teach them!

We have MILLIONS of convicts behind bars, most for drug related violations of the law. What kind of idiocy is that? Why are none of your highly praised experts weighing in on this important issue?

There is a problem with the curative drug I mentioned, and it is of legislative origin. In spite of apomorphine having no addictive properties, it has been made as illegal as heroin or morphine.

Any doctor who prescribed it would probably have to explain his actions to the Feds and might lose his license to practice. He could conceivably even go to prison. Know why? The NAME of the drug. APOMORPHINE. Duh, that stuff can't be good! There's morphine in there! See? Look at the word. Do the math.

Uh, to prevent opening up another can of worms, I guess I should mention that the doctors who wish to treat addiction to the whole range of opiates can lawfully do so. He need only LIE about what he is doing. He needs to prescribe it for one of its' clearly useful medical purposes, like CURING HOMOSEXUALITY. Of course that was back when homosexuality was a serious medical problem. A disease! Now of course, it is just a life style. Ah, the miraculous advances of medical science!

Oh yeah, apomorphine has also been used to treat "erectile disfunction." So an addict who can't wank successfully can get treated and get over his addiction as a side effect. Sort of unfair for the female addicts and the males who can get it up. (I wonder if the doctors perform a simple diagnostic test to determine if the erectile disfunction actually exists, to be sure that no dastardly addicts are underhandedly curing their own heroin. addiction by deceit. That would never do!

Did I use the word wank correctly? Foreign languages can be so difficult. Wank seems so much more discreet that the various American euphemisms. On the other hand medical words are sometimes not precise in their implications. The first portion of the word for it, "master" indicates some one quite skilled at bation. Apparently most people are highly skilled. Otherwise wouldn't we have the word amateurbation?
It is possible for some residual damage to remain for a considerable time, but it is not likely. I believe it is still a fairly typical medical stance just to watch it for a number of weeks with no intervention. Certainly that is better than immediately giving antibiotics, but from my own personal experience, B-12 in one form or another and the other B-complex vitamins are helpful. I doubt that his doctor will object to their use, and may even "order" a "free" B-12 injection. In this case I don't think he would be squandering the publics money. I would hate to see him still with residual effects after many months. This does happen to some people. Perhaps other factors in their lives are playing a role.
It has been about two and a half months since the lady began the thread, asking for advice on behalf of her brother with Bell’s Palsy. I suspect that she did not absorb much of importance from the thread. The following is her report:
Latest update my bros been to the hospital and theyve said theres a very small chance of improvement basically they rnt holding much hope. they r refering him for a scan and then they will see him in 4 months if the scan shows nothing and then talk about operations to make his face less droppy. i have tried everything everyone has suggested if anyone thinks of anything could u please let me know.

Frankly I cannot fathom the notion that the doctors would even be speculating about surgical intervention, or that they would tell her that there is little chance for improvement at this stage. She gives no clue what sort of “scan” they were talking about. I feel no urge to contribute to this thread further.

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