Friday, February 7, 2014

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery No Better Than Sham Surgery

Left knee-joint from behind, showing interior ...
Left knee-joint from behind, showing interior ligaments. (Lateral meniscus and medial meniscus are cartilage.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Mercola
Arthroscopic knee surgery is one of the most common unnecessary surgeries performed today—along with back and hip surgeries, pacemakers, cardiac angioplasties, hysterectomies, and Cesarean sections.
Several studies over the past decade have highlighted questions about arthroscopic knee surgery, and now, you can add one more to the pile. The meniscus inside your knee is a thin crescent-shaped disc of cartilage that serves as a cushion between your femur and tibia and helps stabilize your knees.
Over time, your meniscus can develop tears, especially if you have arthritis. The standard orthopedic surgeon's intervention for meniscal tears is performing an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy—trimming the torn meniscus and smoothing the jagged edges of what remains, which assumes the tear is what's causing your pain. However, that may be a faulty assumption.

Knee Surgery No Better Than Sham

This latest study, conducted in Finland, examined 146 patients with degenerative meniscal tears (caused by "wear and tear," not acute injury).1 Researchers divided patients into two groups.
One group received the standard surgery, and the other received a "sham surgery"—in other words, a fake or placebo intervention where no actual surgery takes place. The study excluded people with knee arthritis, because they tend not to benefit as much from meniscus surgery and the researchers wanted to ascertain if the surgery helps under "ideal circumstances."2
The sham surgery involved the physician's making an incision and poking around without any actual cartilage shaving or cutting. Many of the patients were given epidural anesthesia, so they were awake, making it necessary for surgical staff to use their "theatrical talents" to pull off a believable sham surgery.
The outcome? One year later, both groups reported equally favorable responses to the procedure—primarily, reduction in knee pain. In the end, the researchers concluded that the real knee surgeries offered no better outcomes than the sham surgeries.
Arthroscopic surgery on the meniscus is the most common orthopedic procedure in the US, and according to this study, is performed about 700,000 times a year to the tune of $4 billion. Any surgeon who tells you this is the best or only option for your osteoarthritic knee pain will not have a leg to stand on when you show him or her all of the evidence to the contrary.

Arthroscopic Surgeries Have an Embarrassing Track Record

Prior to the Finnish study, there were already three prior studies of note that should have orthopedic surgeons rethinking how they treat their knee patients:
  1. landmark study in Texas set the ball rolling back, over ten years ago, in 2002. The study involved 180 participants randomly assigned to either have the real operation or sham surgery, in which surgeons simply made cuts in their knees. The real surgery turned out to have no benefits over the sham procedure.3 This was a classic multi-center (including Harvard) double blind controlled trial that clearly showed the surgery was a $3 billion waste.
  2. In 2008, a Canadian study compared the benefits of physical and medical therapy to arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee. Researchers concluded that physical and medical therapy provided equal benefit to surgery.4
  3. In 2013, researchers compared the functional outcomes of physical therapy versus arthroscopy for patients with meniscal tears. They found that arthroscopy followed by postoperative physical therapy had no benefit over physical therapy alone.5
See the pattern emerging here? It's hard to miss! Eighty percent of meniscal tears develop from wear and tear over time.6 If you have pain in your knees from ordinary activities or arthritis, you may be better off skipping the surgery and going straight to physical therapy.
Or better yet, get some treatments with an infrared laser that I discussed in detail with Dr. Harrington.
Of course, there are other non-invasive therapies that can be helpful as well. But it's becoming quite clear that a torn meniscus—at least, the wear-and-tear variety—is not going to be helped by a "surgical trim." Surgeries come with all sorts of risks, and there is no point in exposing yourself to these without some clear advantage.
If you have a torn meniscus from an accident or injury, the scenario may be different, but I would still recommend you getting a second or even third opinion before going under the knife.

The Power of Placebo

With TWO studies now highlighting the benefits of placebo knee surgeries, the power of placebo just can't be ignored. Placebos typically have far fewer side effects (if any) than prescription drugs, injections, or actual surgeries—and they often work just as well as the standard of care.

Studies have shown that if you think you're receiving a treatment, and you expect that treatment to work, it often does—even if you know you're receiving a placebo.
This was beautifully demonstrated in the Finnish study—the knee surgery patients knew they might be having a sham surgery, yet they experienced the benefits anyway. But how do placebos work? How can your brain produce healing just because you believe it should be happening?

Although the exact mechanisms of the placebo effect are not well understood, it seems related to changes in your brain in response to different psychosocial stimuli. Areas of your brain associated with expectations, anxiety, and rewards seem to be involved. Scientific American reported:7
"In recent decades reports have confirmed the efficacy of various sham treatments in nearly all areas of medicine. Placebos have helped alleviate pain, depression, anxiety, Parkinson's disease, inflammatory disorders and even cancer.
Placebo effects can arise not only from a conscious belief in a drug but also from subconscious associations between recovery and the experience of being treated—from the pinch of a shot to a doctor's white coat. 

Such subliminal conditioning can control bodily processes of which we are unaware, such as immune responses and the release of hormones… Researchers have decoded some of the biology of placebo responses, demonstrating that they stem from active processes in the brain."
You can tap into your own placebo effect with techniques such as EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. This is a new way of thinking about healing for most people that can be extremely powerful, especially when combined with a positive outlook and a proactive, disease-preventive lifestyle.

Your Secret Weapon Against Knee Pain: Exercise

Exercise is the real medicine for pain in your joints. Exercise helps prevent and relieve joint pain through a number of mechanisms, including strengthening key supportive muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion, improving bone strength, and helping you optimize your weight. The notion that exercise is detrimental to your joints is a serious misconception; there is no evidence to support this belief. It's simply a myth that you can "wear down" your knees just from average levels of exercise and/or normal activity.
This is not to say that traditional pavement-pounding, like distance running, is going to be of any benefit to your knees—I'm talking about low-impact but effective exercise, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), high-intensity cardio, weight training,stretching, and core work. If you find you're in pain for more than an hour after your workout, you should slow down or choose another form of exercise—there really are plenty to choose from.
If you've already developed osteoarthritis in your knees, you'll want to incorporate exercises that strengthen your quadriceps muscle at the front of your thigh. And, rather than running and other high-impact activities, you may be better off with non-weight-bearing exercises like swimming and cycling. Strengthening and stretching the areas around, above, and below your knee is key to reducing most knee pain, which is the goal of the exercises I demonstrate in the video above. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear for all of your daily activities. Spiked heels and very flat soled shoes place unnatural stresses on your knees. Goodposture is important as well.

Tips for Natural Pain Relief and Growing Healthy Cartilage

For joint pain, many physicians commonly recommend anti-inflammatory drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs) and analgesics (such as Tylenol) to their osteoarthritis patients. I don't recommend the chronic use of these drugs due to significant side effects, which may include kidney and/or liver damage. There are safer and more effective natural options for relieving joint pain. Although popular, I am also not much of a glucosamine and chondroitin fan because studies have failed to demonstrate their effectiveness. However, there are some very effective natural remedies that are truly backed up by science. The following are my favorites:
  • Vitamin D: Cartilage loss in your knees, one of the hallmarks of osteoarthritis, is associated with low levels of vitamin D. So if you're struggling with joint pain due to osteoarthritis, get your vitamin D level tested, then optimize it using appropriate sun exposure or a safe tanning bed. If neither of these options is available, you may want to consider oral vitamin D3 and K2supplements.
  • Sun exposure is your best option, because your skin produces two types of sulfur in response to sun exposure: cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D3 sulfate. Sulfur plays a vital role in the structure and biological activity of both proteins and enzymes. If you don't have sufficient sulfur in your body, this deficiency can create a number of health problems, including negative impacts on your joints and connective tissue. Which brings us to the next item...
  • Sulfur/Epsom salt soaks/MSM: In addition to making sure you're getting ample amounts of sulfur-rich foods in your diet, such as organic and/or grass-fed/pastured beef and poultry, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, recommends soaking your body in magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) baths to counteract sulfur deficiency. She uses about 1/4 cup in a tub of water, twice a week. It's particularly useful if you have joint problems or arthritis.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (known as MSM) is another alternative you might find helpful. MSM is an organic form of sulfur and a potent antioxidant naturally found in many plants, and is available in supplement form. For more on the benefits of MSM, I recommend listening to this interview.
  • Infrared laser: Infrared laser treatment (also called K-Laser) is a relatively new type of therapy that speeds healing by increasing tissue oxygenation and allowing injured cells to absorb photons of light. This special type of laser has positive affects on muscles, ligaments and even bones, so it can be used to speed the healing of traumatic injuries, as well as chronic problems like arthritis of the knee.
  • Astaxanthin: An antioxidant that affects a wide range of inflammation mediators, but in a gentler, less concentrated manner and without the negative side effects of steroidal and NSAID drugs. Astaxanthin significantly reduces inflammation in many people—in one study, more than 80 percent of arthritis sufferers improved8.
  • Eggshell membrane: The eggshell membrane is the unique protective barrier between the egg white and the mineralized eggshell. The membrane contains elastin, a protein that supports cartilage health, and collagen, a fibrous protein that supports cartilage and connective tissue strength and elasticity.
  • Eggshell membrane also contains transforming growth factor-B, a protein that helps with tissue rejuvenation, in addition to other amino acids and structural components that provide your joints with the building blocks they need to build cartilage.
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA): Hyaluronic acid is a key component of cartilage required for moving nutrients into and waste out of your cells. One of HA's most important biological functions is the retention of water. Unfortunately, as you age, your body produces less and less HA. Oral HA supplementation may improve your joint cushioning in just two to four months.
  • Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," I've found this Indian herb to be particularly useful in treating the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. With sustained use, boswellia may improve the blood flow to your joints, which may boost their strength and flexibility.
  • Turmeric/curcuminA study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine9 found that taking turmeric extracts each day for six weeks was just as effective as ibuprofen for relieving knee osteoarthritis pain. This is most likely related to the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin—the pigment that gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color.
  • Animal-based omega-3 fats: Omega-3 fats are excellent for arthritis because they are well known for reducing inflammation. Look for a high-quality, animal-based source such as krill oil.
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Gloucester, VA School Board Budgets

Open Letter to the Citizens of Gloucester County Virginia

The Virginia Constitution was written for us to limit the government intrusion into our lives.  Have you ever read the Constitution of the United States? How about the Constitution of Virginia? How about the County Code?

"The Land of the Life Worth Living" for everyone in the county.

I was watching your February meeting and had to stop after listening to the discussion started by Mr. Meyer about a 31 January Daily Press story.

Mr. Meyer referred to a Dr Kiser and cutting the School Board Budget.

Is this The Kiser that is bringing us a $28 million Swamp School?

Is this The Kiser that did not listen to citizens to repair the existing school for less than $10 million?

Is this The Kiser that allows his staff to illegally use government vehicles for personal use?

Is this The Kiser that closed a school to make it an Administrative Building?

Is this The Kiser that is spending a large amount of money to refurbish a school, not suitable for our children, into an office complex for the School Administration?

Is this The Kiser that promised us good teachers and schools 10 years ago? Is this The Kiser that is administrator while we lose VA School Accreditation?

Mr. Meyer why would you listen to him?  The School Board Budget should be cut if this is the best they can do?  The funding should be going to students and their needs to succeed in life not the School Administration that is not in the schools.  The Administrative Staff should be co-located in our schools not in an Ivory Tower located away from the students and teachers.  No funding from the county should be used to support such facilities for the School Board.

I listened with great interest to the school teacher that spoke during the citizen comments time.  I heard what he was saying “The School Board is taking the funding away from our students and spending it on The School Board Administration.”  I think he is telling you the Board of Supervisors should take more control of the School Boards funding to bring this under control.

I think Ms. Garton is a good magician trying to pass herself off as an accountant? Make sure you get a line item budget and not a bottom line budget that cannot be figured out?  We are looking forward to the new board getting out spending under control.

I have a request; please take the kool aid away from Mr. Hutson if he keeps making irresponsible comments like he did during the school board budget discussion he will have a difficult time when he comes up for re-election.

Bring back the rule of legal laws and responsible budgets and make this "The Land of the Life Worth Living" for everyone in the county.

I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice.  Our founding fathers used common sense and Christian scripture when establishing our founding documents. 

“For the Common Good. “

Alexander James Jay

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." --John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of the Government of the United States, 1787

"It will be remembered, that a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is solemnly enjoined by most of the state constitutions, and particularly by our own, as a necessary safeguard against the danger of degeneracy, to which republics are liable, as well as other governments, though in a less degree than others." --James Madison, Report of the Virginia Resolutions

The above video clip is from the Board of Supervisors meeting and is from one of Gloucester's own teachers.  How he can stand there and make the statements he made is beyond us.  Mr Jay is right.  We can not have an out of control school administration that seems to make money disappear before it even goes towards education is a crime.  It's not about the children.  It seems to be more like how much can they pocket before they have to spend any money towards education.  Here is the latest on pure waste from the Gloucester Public School System.

This series of pictures comes from Monday, February 3rd, 2014 at between 11:30 AM and 12:00 PM.  It was taken at the Hess gas station along route 17, south in the Courthouse area.  No mistake that it's a county school board vehicle.  It's there because whomever is driving it is using it for personal use.  A violation of School Board code as stated by the Kiser, a violation of county policy and a violation of State Code.  Yet the Kiser sees nothing wrong with the pure waste of taxpayer money.  He also saw nothing wrong with rigging the system for the new Page Middle School either that is costing everyone millions of dollars.  How much kick back did he get?

  Cut the budget on the school board and not by a little.  Cut it by a lot and do not give them any more.  Force them to live within their means and stop wasting our money.  If they cut teachers and programs, cut them.  Outsource them to China.  We need to force out the criminals and get the school board back under control.  
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Will this cause Bitcoin's fall?

An American Gold Eagle.
An American Gold Eagle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do NOT buy Bitcoin
until you watch this
public message

Here is information on a very secret currency that is so secret that not even this website can tell you about it.  It's used by all the world's old money billionaires.  It's better than gold and or silver and is backed by gold and silver.  But it's a secret.  It gives you returns that are better than gold and it's the secret how the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  

  How dumb are you to buy into this?  Well this guy is betting heavily that you are really dumb and would buy into this crap that he is not willing to share with you because it's a secret.  He even goes through all the trouble of showing you pictures of a bank in Switzerland and another picture he claims is a vault in that bank to try to convince you he knows something you do not know.

  Why he just didn't put up pictures of himself sitting next to his new Rolls Royce or Bentley because he knows what you do not know is beyond us.  Oh, but for taking the time to jump through a ton of hoops, he is willing to share some very secret information with you as long as you are willing to spend some money first.  (There is the secret).  This guy knows that everyone loves inside information and the lure of having something the ultra rich are supposed to have.  Can you say that yes, I am a fool and want to blindly give you my money?  

  We have checked into e-gold and there is nothing secret about it.  Is it the currency of the future?  No.  To many regulations and you have to file all kinds of private information on your ownership of it.

We have said it before and will say it again, the only real value of either gold or silver is in it's industrial or decorative use.  Lead is worth more.  Put two guys in a room.  One has a gun with a lead bullet and the other guy has a pocket full of gold.  They have to argue which one has more value and only one can walk out.  Guess who will walk out.  Gold and silver as an exchange was only created because the metals do not rust or corrode.  Other than that, no value unless you get to the monatomic value which is another story in and of itself.

This guy works for a brokerage house so he has something to sell.  Are you really willing to buy into it based on his need to make money for the business he is working for?   
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More Men In Prime Working Ages Don't Have Jobs

From the folks over at the Wall Street Journal This Morning.  More men in prime working ages do not have jobs.  Wait.  Aren't we being told that the economy is going along just fine and that everything is just hunky dorey?  Didn't CNN just tell us that Obamacare is not causing the loss of jobs?

  Wait, jobs having been shifted overseas is part of the problem we are being told?  Wait, they failed to mention all the illegal immigrants that American citizens have to fight against to try and get a very lousy job?  Wait.  The costs of everything have gone so sky high that even looking for a job is now a major expense when you have no money coming in?  Wait, these folks say that the experts, (whomever they are) do not have any answers?  Why are they called experts then?

  Maybe, just maybe, we should outsource all of our politicians, corporations and banks to other countries and while they are not looking, reinstall a constitutional government back?  Nah, that would just make sense.

If you really want a job, outsource yourself to China.
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Gerald Celente - The People's Voice - February 4, 2014

Old version of monthly People's Voice
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest updates from Gerald Celente.  Up in arms as usual and rightfully so.  He is rough and raw and has great reasons to be.  He calls the politicians of this country nothing more than criminals and killers and no better than the gangs of this nation.  Can you argue against this guy?  News you do not find in most places.
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