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December 2016
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February 2017

January 2017

We've all got skin in this game

This HND piece takes a look at our largest organ...our skin. We start off with a bit of anatomy, and then segue into a few ancient remedies that are still very much in use today. Aloe, for example, goes back a staggering 6,000 years—to the Egyptians. Another golden oldie—Saffron Oil—is identified with Cleopatra.

And, then there's one from Africa: Shea butter, which is attracting plenty of attention from academic research labs, in light of it seemingly "cure-all" benefits to the skin.

Read the complete article.

Fake news comes to addiction treatment

This HND piece examines how the widely-publicized notion of "fake news" has now crossed over into the relatively obscure world of addiction treatment. We focus on story run in the Washington Post, that merited something beyond elementary fact checking.

The bare facts—as stated by the writer (a resident physician with a fancy academic background)—were true enough. The problem is that he has no appreciation of the context, and betrays a shocking ignorance into the basics of addiction treatment, let alone simple pharmacology.

Like much of what's published in the WaPo, this one was heavy on agenda, and light on reality.

Read the complete article.

A look at probiotics and prebiotics

This HND piece covers familiar (probiotics) and not-so-familiar ground (prebiotics). Probiotics, of course, are the good microorganisms living in your gut. Prebiotics are particular plant fibers that favor the growth of good bacteria. By some accounts, they also retard the growth of the bad actors.

We introduce you to the visionary Nobel prize-winning biologist from more than 100 years ago who first promoted the idea that supplementing good bacteria could improve both digestion and immunity. Even though this guy was a Nobel laureate (in a related field), he was going against the "settled science" of his day, and didn't exactly get a lot of love.

But, he shouldn't feel too bad. The importance of the colon in matters other than digestion has only very recently stopped being a tough sell. As it is, there are more neurons in the gut, than in the spinal cord.

Read the complete article.

Some old wives’ tales regarding health—unpacked

This HND piece starts off by examining the science behind a few popular health-oriented old wives' tales. It then segues into a more detailed look at why cold and damp weather really does promote aches and pains.

Thanks to an interview with NYC orthopedic surgeon Armin Tehrany, MD we gain some understanding on this matter. For one thing, heat loss DOES tend to cause tightness and loss in range of motion. Another factor is that the generally lower barometric pressure—typical of cold and rainy weather—has been documented in studies to exacerbate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Useful tips on how to beat this phenomenon are included.

Read the complete article.

Post-traumatic stress disorder and...Ecstasy

This HND piece describes one more example of bringing "eee-ville" psychedelics into mainstream medicine. A few months ago, we covered the marijuana extract, CBD.

Although the term "PTSD" is relatively new, the condition goes back to antiquity, and I discuss how it is even mentioned, or at least implied, in The Iliad. Conventional treatment for PTSD—to be kind—has not been particularly successful.

The psychedelic MDMA, better known as "Ecstasy," had been used by certain psychiatrists until it was "scheduled" by the FDA in 1985. Given the intractability of PTSD, clinical trials with MDMA finally started a few years ago. The results seem promising, and who knows, maybe by some miracle, the drug will be removed from Schedule I.

Read the complete article.