Posts Tagged ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Essential Facts About West Nile Virus

mosquito-200-300West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that has become an increasing problem since it first appeared in the United States in 1999. Over 30,000 people have reportedly become ill with the virus, and outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified WNV as a seasonal illness that tends to flare up in the warm summer months (when mosquitoes are most prevalent) and continues into autumn. It is a serious illness that can lead to death if not properly treated. Following are some essential facts about West Nile virus so you know what to look for and how best to avoid it.

Symptoms of West Nile virus:

  • About 4 out of 5 people (80 percent) infected with WNV will show no symptoms at all.
  • As many as 20 percent of those infected with WNV will experience flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. They may also develop swollen lymph glands and a rash on the back, chest and stomach. Symptoms may persist from only a few days to several weeks, even in those who are normally healthy.
  • A few people (approximately 1 in 150) will develop a more serious illness that may be life-threatening. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, disorientation, stiff neck, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, loss of vision, numbness, paralysis and coma. The symptoms can last for several weeks, often with permanent neurological damage.
  • Symptoms develop from 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.


Risk of becoming ill from WNV:

  • People over age 50 are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from WNV and should be sure to take extra precautions when outdoors.
  • Those who work or spend a lot of leisure time outdoors are at greater risk of contracting WNV.
  • There is a very small risk of contracting WNV through a blood transfusion or organ transplant, but the risk is negligible.
  • There is no risk of getting WNV through casual contact, such as touching or kissing someone who has the virus.


Prevention of WNV:

  • Preventing mosquito bites is the best way of avoiding West Nile virus. Some areas of the country have implemented programs for mosquito control to help keep the number of mosquitoes to a minimum.
  • Check to ensure that the screens on your doors and windows are in good shape and adequate to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
  • At dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long sleeved shirts and pants and use an effective mosquito repellent.
  • Remove as many areas of standing water as possible, which is where mosquitoes breed. Empty out any standing water in the bottoms of flowerpots or in buckets and barrels, and change the water in pet dishes and birdbaths often.



Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t

If there is one thing that Americans are obsessed with, it’s dieting. Just turn on any television and you are bombarded with ads for weight loss drinks, programs and foods that are guaranteed to have you looking slim and trim in a matter of weeks. But given the enormous amount of money spent on the quest for a smaller waistline (upwards of $69 billion each year), the growing obesity epidemic suggests measuring waistthat diets generally do not generally work.

Following are a few facts about dieting in the US:

  • At any given time, 50% of women and 25% of men are on a diet.
  • Dieters lose between 5% and 10% of their starting weight within the first six months, but 66% of them gain it back within a year, and 95% of them have regained all the weight they lost, and more, within 5 years.
  • The average diet costs 50% more than what the average American spends on food each week.
  • Between 40% and 60% of American high school girls are on a diet at any given time.
  • Both men and women who participate in a formal weight loss program gain significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who do not participate in a formal program.

Dieting is actually unhealthy. Studies have shown that repeatedly gaining and losing weight causes damage to the immune system and increases rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. This is not to say that there is nothing you can do to lose weight, but it’s important to find a way of eating that does not involve dieting.

What does seem to work, according to the most recent research, is changing what we eat. In contrast to what we have heard for years, a calorie is not just a calorie. One calorie of sugar is not metabolized by the body in the same way as one calorie of broccoli. The first raises insulin levels, causing that calorie to be stored as fat, and the second does not, so it gets used as immediate energy, along with providing important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the effects of three different types of diet consisting of the same number of calories: a standard low-fat diet (60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat), an ultra-low-carb (Atkins) diet (10% carbs, 30% protein, 60% fat) and a low-glycemic diet (40% carbs, 20% protein, 40% fat). The low-fat dieters fared worst. The Atkins dieters burned 350 more calories per day than the low-fat dieters, and those following the low-glycemic diet burned 150 more calories per day than their low-fat diet counterparts. However, the Atkins type diet causes inflammation and raises cortisol, which can damage the heart, so your best bet is to follow a diet consisting mostly of low-glycemic foods.

Although the percentage of carbs in the low-glycemic diet were just slightly less than those in the low-fat diet, those carbs consisted of vegetables, fruit, legumes and minimally processed grains, whereas the low-fat diet included processed foods. Processed foods have had many of the compounds removed (such as fiber) that slow the release of sugar into the blood. A diet consisting of whole foods, minimally processed grains and moderate amounts of fat is still delicious, and you won’t have to feel that you are starving yourself. Over time you will find that you are slowly losing weight, and in a way that is healthy and more likely to become permanent.


Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.


Diet and the Hyperactive Child

Having a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be a challenging—and sometimes heartbreaking—experience, and it’s one that affects many families.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7school-children-eating-lunch-200-300 million children in America have been diagnosed with the condition.  Approximately 9.5% of children between ages 4 and 17 have at some point in their lives been diagnosed with ADHD, which has increased 5.5% on average each year between 2003 and 2007.

Why the sudden upsurge in the prevalence of ADHD?  A few years ago, a number of studies found a strong association between ADHD and diet, and there was a strong push to try treating ADHD with diet modification.  This approach has met with very mixed results.  In the end, no conclusive evidence was found of a direct cause-and-effect link between specific dietary factors and ADHD.  As a result of the contradictory and inconclusive data, diet modification lost a lot of its support within the medical community as a possible treatment.  However, that started to change with the 2007 publication of a seminal British study now commonly referred to as the “Southampton Study”.

In the Southampton Study, a drink containing a mixture of artificial food coloring and the preservative sodium benzoate was found to aggravate hyperactivity in three-year-olds and did the same thing to a lesser extent in eight- to nine-year-olds.  A 2010 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry found similar results, and suggested that children made more hyperactive by food additives were likely to have problems with the genes that regulate histamine release (in response to potential allergens).  In February 2011, another follow-up study was published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, which found that nearly two-thirds of the children who were following an elimination diet (in which food additives were eliminated in favor of fresh grains, meats, vegetables, and fruit) experienced significant reduction of their symptoms of hyperactivity and defiant behavior.

This research was strong enough to restart discussions about the possible role of food additives in causing or aggravating ADHD, and has led to the British government requesting that manufacturers remove most food dyes from their products.  The European Union now requires warning labels on products that contain any of six food dyes that “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

There has been a recent resurgence in interest in “elimination diets” as a possible approach to treating ADHD.  Even though they may not work for all children with ADHD, they may work in a significant enough percentage of cases to warrant their use.  Basically, such a diet consists of eating more protein (meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc.), eating fewer simple carbohydrates (candies, corn syrup, breads made from white flour, etc.) and eating more complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits).  Proponents of such diets also recommend taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and a general vitamin supplement.

The real “elimination” part of the diet involves trying to remove from it ingredients or food additives suspected of causing or aggravating ADHD to see if not eating them results in fewer symptoms.  These additives include sodium benzoate and food dyes Yellow Nos. 5, 6 and 10, Red Nos. 3 and 40, and Blue Nos. 1 and 2.

Naturally, if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, consult with a qualified physician before trying any type of elimination diet.  He or she may be able to perform tests to help determine which dietary changes might be the most beneficial.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.



Prescription Painkiller Addiction—Warning Signs and Prevention

It seems that every day we see a story on the evening news about another celebrity who is in treatment for addiction to prescription painkillers.  What you may not know is that this type of addiction is a widespread and growing problem for Americans from every walk of life, most of whom will never see their names in a newspaper article.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15,000 people die this way every year.  That’s more than die from overdoses of all illegal drugs combined.

There are many facts and fallacies surrounding prescription drug addiction.  The central truth, however, is that this is a very serious condition that can lead to deadly consequences if not recognized and treated.  And the longer it goes on without being confronted, the more dangerous the addiction becomes.  Why?  Studies of the brain suggest that these types of drugs (called “opioids”) can cause long-lasting changes that rewire some parts of the brain to crave more of the painkillers while at the same time damaging the parts of the brain that would normally fight the cravings.  So patients begin using them for legitimate medical reasons but may later become addicted.  It’s a pattern that’s becoming much too common.

Many people mistakenly believe that they are addicted if they have physical withdrawal symptoms when they miss a dose of their medication or begin to need higher and higher doses of their drug.  However, physicians and specialists in ????????addiction know better than this.  They point out that physical dependence can be part of addiction, but that it isn’t always.  Similarly, you can experience these things without being addicted.  Scott Fishman, MD, who is chief of the division of pain medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine says of these symptoms, “They occur in drugs that aren’t addictive at all, and they occur in drugs that are addictive.  So it’s independent of addiction.”  But if these symptoms are reliable warning signs, what are?

Most people who take prescription painkillers as instructed by their doctor do not develop an addiction.  Those who have had a previous addiction to a substance or who have a family history of addiction are at greater risk.  Following are signs to look for if you feel you or someone you know may have an addiction to prescription medication:

  • Taking medication that has been prescribed for someone else
  • Continuing to use the drug even after the pain it was prescribed for has stopped
  • Using medication for reasons other than pain, for instance, when depressed
  • Taking medication more frequently than was prescribed
  • Having complaints about vague symptoms in order to be prescribed more medicine
  • Changes in personality and behavior, such as increased hostility or anxiousness
  • Social withdrawal from friends and family, particularly if their addiction has been mentioned
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to obtain drugs
  • Disinterest in other treatment options that do not involve drugs
  • Neglecting responsibilities such as not going to work or paying bills
  • Acting secretively or deceptively, such as visiting multiple doctors to obtain more prescriptions
  • Acting defensive, even to relatively innocent questions

The single best way to prevent prescription painkiller addiction is to avoid them in the first place.  However, if this is not possible, always take the drugs exactly as prescribed by your doctor.  Be completely honest with your doctor and tell him or her if you have any history of substance abuse or addiction.  He or she may be able to prescribe a less addictive drug.  Tell your doctor of any other medications you are currently taking (including any herbal or dietary supplements) so as to avoid any drug interactions.  Remember never to stop taking the drug or change the dosage as prescribed without first consulting with your doctor.  Dispose of your painkillers when you are finished with them and never give them to anyone else.  If—for any reason—you feel you may be becoming addicted to your prescription painkiller, seek help immediately from a physician.

If you’re suffering from back, neck or joint pain and are looking for a safe, drug-free treatment alternative, please call or visit our office!

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment Options

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) in the US and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in the UK, is a disease characterized by persistent, disabling fatigue, often made worse by exercise.  CFS sufferers also commonly complain of muscle and joint

CFS is believed to affect between two and four people in every thousand, and has been responsible for many hours of lost workplace productivity.  It has even resulted in the premature end of promising professional careers.  The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies CFS as a disease of the neurological system.  However, it is also typical for CFS patients to display symptoms of endocrine disturbances, including a form of adrenal fatigue.  The medical community is uncertain about the precise cause of the disease, and many believe that CFS will eventually be viewed as a number of distinct conditions with similar symptomology rather than as a single illness.

There are several criteria employed for the diagnosis of CFS, but the most commonly used is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1994 definition, which sets out the following conditions for confirmation of the illness:

  1. Ongoing severe fatigue for more than six months that is not the result of another medical condition and which significantly affects work and daily life.

2.   The presence of at least four of the following eight symptoms:

    • post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours
    • unrefreshing sleep
    • short-term memory or concentration problems
    • muscle pain (myalgia)
    • joint pain
    • headaches
    • tender lymph nodes
    • frequent or recurring sore throat

Other commonly observed symptoms that are not included in the diagnostic criteria include digestive disturbances (constipation and diarrhea), chest pain, bloating, nausea, weight loss, night sweats, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

Some CFS patients go on to make a full recovery, although many never retain their previous level of wellness and experience some or all of the symptoms for the remainder of their lives.  Age at onset and time until diagnosis are believed to be key indicators of recovery success.

Mainstream treatments tend to focus on the management of behavior and negative thinking to assist recovery.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Graded Exercise Therapy (GET), consisting of controlled, gradually increasing levels of activity, are examples of this kind of approach, both of which have also been subject to a large amount of scientific research.

Given the lack of conventional treatment options, many CFS patients turn to complementary health therapies for help with both individual symptoms and overall recovery.  Widely used treatments include herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, nutritional advice, gentle yoga, meditation, massage and chiropractic manipulation.  None of these is believed to provide an outright cure, but can help the body to effect its own healing.  The UK physician, Paul Sherwood, author of the book “Your Back, Your Health”, has suggested that some cases of CFS may result from poor spinal health, which can be successfully treated using spinal manipulation techniques.  Since there are many anecdotal accounts of CFS onset following physical trauma such as that resulting from traffic accidents, this is not an outlandish proposal.

Recently, a series of related mind-body treatments such as Reverse Therapy, The Lighting Process and the Amygdala Retraining Technique have been developed with promising results.  Since CFS is known to affect both mind and body, it would not be surprising to learn that these therapies can be effective.

For most patients suffering from CFS, the best treatment options are still those that provide their bodies with the best possible conditions for recovery to occur, including healthy eating, gentle exercise and maintaining good posture and movement.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.



Salt: The Latest “Stealth Threat” to Children’s Health

It’s not that surprising that a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that children were eating almost as much salt as adults every day.  Whether it’s McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets (540 mg per 6-piece serving) or a serving of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (560 mg), the foods that many parents find most convenient and palatable to feed their children contain very high amounts of sodium.  And it’s leading to an increase in rates of high blood pressure at an early age.

The CDC study examined the sodium intake of 6,235 children between the ages of 8 and 18.  The study subjects had their blood pressure measured, their weight taken, and they provided detailed information about what they ate each day, from which researchers calculated their sodium intake.  The children were found to eat an average of 3,387 mg of sodium every day, only slightly below the adult average of 3,466 mg per day, which itself is far above the government’s recommended daily intake of 2,300 mg.

Approximately 15 percent of the children were found to have either pre-hypertension (slightly elevated blood pressure that is the precursor to hypertension) or high blood pressure.  Obese children who ate the most salt were three times more likely to have high blood pressure than children with low sodium intake.  High blood pressure is a major contributor to the incidence of heart disease and stroke, and when combined with obesity, it significantly raises the risk of contracting these diseases.

The typical American diet is full of processed food, which is where much of the sodium is concentrated.  Only about 10 percent of our daily sodium intake comes from the salt shaker.  Food manufacturers add sodium to their products to increase their flavor and extend shelf life, and this done whether that food is for adults or children.  Oscar Meyer’s Lunchables contain 870 mg of sodium, more than a third of the recommended daily salt intake.

The best way to protect your children from getting too much sodium in their diet is to avoid feeding them processed food, whether it’s packaged snacks or fast food.  Have cut-up fresh fruit or veggies like carrot sticks on hand for when they come home, and keep snacking to a minimum.  The more meals you cook from fresh ingredients the better.  Preparing fresh foods for your children’s meal does not have to be labor-intensive and it will guarantee that your child is not one of the 15 percent who is at greatest risk of contracting a chronic disease before they reach adulthood.

While it is important to keep the sodium from processed foods to a minimum, you should also be sure you do not cut too much salt from your child’s diet.  Salt is integral to the healthy functioning of the body, but buying a different kind of salt may help reduce your sodium intake.  Almost all salt in processed food is refined, meaning that it is pure sodium chloride that has had the potassium, magnesium, calcium and other trace minerals stripped from it.  It’s precisely these trace minerals (that are not removed in unrefined salts such as celtic sea salt or gray salt) that add significantly more flavor, which allows you to use less of it to achieve the same effect.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.


Do Back Support Belts Really Help Prevent Injuries?

Many people work in professions that require them to lift heavy objects on a regular basis.  Baggage handlers and construction workers, for instance, are increasingly working with the help of a back support belt in the belief that using it can reduce the likelihood of a back injury.  In fact, many companies require it of their workers so as to reduce the number of days spent out of work recovering from an injury.  But are back support belts really effective? The experts are skeptical.   

Reducing the number of back injuries is an important goal.  Almost 20% of all illnesses and injuries in the workplace are due to an injury to the back.  The cost of treating these injuries is estimated at between 20 and 50 billion dollars each year.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is responsible for workplace safety, has researched the subject extensively by examining the available scientific literature on the effectiveness of back belts.  Based on their staff’s research and analysis, NIOSH believes that companies should favor instituting sound ergonomic programs as opposed to the use of back belts for preventing injury.

Back belts (also referred to as abdominal belts or back supports) are being purchased in greater numbers than ever.  However, after examining the evidence, NIOSH found there was no support for the claim that the use of back belts prevents back injuries in those who have never suffered a back injury.  In fact, in many cases it may promote injuries to the back.

A study performed by researchers at Ohio State University found that people were just as likely to injure their backs while wearing a support belt as when they were not wearing one.  The study subjects wore one of three different kinds of back belts: elastic, leather or orthotic.  The elastic belt lightened the load on the subjects’ back by only 10%.  The other two belts were found to have no effect whatsoever.  Professor William Marras, lead author of the study said, “You can lift about 20 percent more weight when you wear a back belt, but that doesn’t mean that you have 20 percent more protection on your spine.  So you may try to lift more than you can handle and hurt yourself.”

Dr. Chad Henriksen, a chiropractor specializing in issues related to health in the workplace, feels that support belts can weaken the back.  “Too often, employees will wear the back support throughout an entire eight-hour workday,” Henriksen says, “and in that situation, I think we’re getting some de-conditioning of the muscles in the lumbar spine which sets them up for back troubles later on.”  Regular use of support belts also raises blood pressure, which can be an issue for those with hypertension.

Unless you have suffered a back injury that requires the use of a back support belt for rehabilitation, it is better to avoid them and instead learn the proper techniques for lifting heavy objects.  You can also employ the use of hand trucks, chutes, slides and hoists to help take a greater part of the load off your back.


Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst hispatients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levelswho benefited from his chiropractic care.

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