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From Our Readers - Comments & Suggestions 07-20-11

  [ 4 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 20, 2011

US Weight Loss & Exercise Class Database - Search by Zip Code

ProHealth now offers an easy-to-use tool to help you locate and contact all kinds of exercise, weight loss, mind-body and healing classes & services in your area. You'll find options including yoga, pilates, spin and more. You can even book a spa or massage appointment. Just enter your zip code to search, locate a class, and book online. It’s listed in our COMMUNITY resources center and you can try it here -

- ProHealth


German Researchers Report XMRV Findings

Re: "XMRV - A New Retrovirus" by Dr. Wilfried Bieger, et al.

This is a translation from the German original report ( of preliminary results in XMRV testing of ME/CFS patients. Key statement: "Our own study of 110 [CFS] patients, conducted in cooperation with the Institute for Immunology of the Heidelberg University (R. Wallich), has so far found the XMRV virus or XMRV antibodies (Western Blot) in about 20% to 40% patients." It also states, "the viral load in the blood of infected people is extremely low because of the replication of retroviruses in blood cells is almost completely blocked." They indicate they're also looking at XMRV in other diseases. - J


NEJM Report on Placebo Effect of Caring

Re: "A Fibromyalgia Doctor's Thoughts on the 'Placeo Effect'" - reflecting on the doctor-patient dynamic

This placebo-controlled study of asthma patient treatments in the New England Journal of Medicine seems to highlight the positive human response to attention (caring).  Although the sham interventions given to asthma patients didn't produce physically measurable (FEV1) improvements, placebo patients said they felt helped about as much as those medicated with albuterol. The conclusion, patient self reports are complicated.  - H


Antibacterial Soaps are Toxic, Especially for People with Chronic Illness

Especially if you're chemically sensitive, read this guest blog on The Canary Report ( - "Research shows that individuals who are chronically sick and use antibiotic soap get sicker," by Susie Collins. Apparently the soap doesn't help healthy people, either. And even if you don't use it, the chemical - triclosan - is being used as an anti-mildew anti-bacterial coating on everything from chopping boards, refrigerators and lunchboxes to toys and clothes. How do you escape the stuff? - W


Fast, Easy Drug Interaction Checker

The Drug Interaction Checker at AARP’s Health Tools site ( lets you enter any list of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbals and supplements to see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Type in each item or pick them from an alphabetical list of drugs, and scroll down. There you can “view info” about each possible combination the database identifies.

Other tools at this site are a symptom search, a pill identifier, drugs A-Z, and a health encyclopedia.

- AARP (


Using the Right Words to Discuss Pain will Reduce Stigma

The American Pain Foundation has developed a printable guide with "Tips for Using Language to Communicate Effectively, Empower People and Create Change About Pain and Its Management" ( There is a list of words to avoid using, and a list of words to use instead. Doing this consistently can help break down the barriers faced by people who live with chronic pain.

- American Pain Foundation (


Medical School Recruiters Try 'Speed Dating'

Re: "New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test" - New York Times, Jul 10, 2011

According to this report, at least 8 U.S. medical schools and 13 Canadian ones are putting candidates through what the article describes as “the admissions equivalent of speed-dating: nine brief interviews that force candidates to show that they [have] the social skills to navigate a healthcare system in which good communication has become critical.... [They] "are trying to weed out the students who look great on paper but haven’t developed the people or communication skills we think are important.” They put candidates in situations designed to pick up failure to listen, opinioned or know-it-all tendency, etc. - B


Widespread But 'Hidden' Flu-like Illness, Prevalent in the Southwest

Re: "Epic dust storm kicks up danger of 'hidden disease' valley fever" - Phoenix East Valley Tribune

Valley fever is a lung infection caused by a fungus – Coccidioides immitis (commonly referred to as “cocci” – that grows in the soil of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and southern portions of Utah and Nevada, according to the CDC. The fungus is carried on the wind and small enough to pass through a face mask. It causes flu-like symptoms, fatigue, fever, is hard to diagnose by blood tests, can lie dormant for decades and is widespread but not obvious or ‘huge’ enough to attract pharmaceutical industry excitement. 12,000 cases were diagnosed in Arizona last year but it is often misdiagnosed and mistreated as pneumonia, etc. Infected people often see multiple doctors trying to find a diagnosis. PubMed has more on this. [] - S


Military Developing New, More Useful Pain Rating Tool

A recent news item in the Army Times - "Army on brink of new ways to fight pain" - talks about pain research the Army is doing, including a new pain rating scale they're now validating. It "replaces the commonly used 11-point chart that asks patients to rate their pain. This new scale retains the 11-point scale but adds functional language to each rating. For example instead of just choosing a number from zero to 10, patients can rate their pain based on the language accompanying each number. A rating of 4 would mean the pain is distracting but the patient still can conduct normal activities. An 8 would represent awful pain that makes it hard to do anything, while a 10 signifies pain so excruciating that nothing else matters... In addition... patients will be asked supplemental questions about their general activity, stress level, mood and sleep patterns." - Y

"FibroTV" is a Biweekly WebTV Podcast

"FibroTV," produced by Jen Reynolds, is a biweekly podcast designed to bring the Fibromyalgia community and those with Chronic health issues together in a POSITIVE way. It is a place to educate family, friends, the public about fibromyalgia and chronic illnesses!"

- FibroTV


Toni Bernhard's Advice on "How NOT to Treat Yourself"

Toni Bernhard's Psychology Today Blog, "Turning Straw Into Gold," is inspiring and entertaining. In this post she says, "don't blame yourself for not recovering, as if it were a failure of will, somehow." And "don't be embarrassed that you aren't the picture of health - trying to hide your condition and failing to take action to care for yourself properly." The piece is based on a story Toni tells in her five star-rated new book, How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers.

- ProHealth


More Soluble Fiber, Less Bad Belly Fat

Re: "Soluble Fiber Is Bad Belly Fat's Nemesis - Wake Forest Discovery"

Q: This reminded me of an article ProHealth ran a couple of years ago on a weight loss diet using fiber. Could you help me locate that?  - L

A: You may be remembering Dr. Brenda Watson's article describing a diet recommending 35 grams of fiber daily to lose weight ("Fiber - The Simple, Healthy Weight Loss Tool Anyone Can Learn to Use.") According to her research, fiber actually absorbs calories - "the fiber flush effect." So "for every gram of fiber you eat, you eliminate 7 calories." She rates foods according to grams of fiber per 100 calories, and links to a chart showing the grams-per-100 content of many foods. Four grams per 100 foods are best. And according to the Wake Forest study, we know that gentle, soluble fiber provides significant benefit in terms of internal belly fat loss.


Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and anecdotal and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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