April 2012
Issue: 3





This has been a remarkable few months visa a vis attitudes in traditional medicine.  I don't think it would be an exaggeration to call it a "sea change."  We're seeing the medical establishment backing off of decades old screening recommendations, standard imaging protocols, and certain treatments from antibiotics to stents to statins.  
In this email I will outline some of these stunning recent developments. There is a tacit admission in the new recommendations that there are some inherent hazards to too much exposure to the medical system.  In case you might be wondering "don't you do acupuncture?" next month I will return to acupuncture and your health.  But I wanted to alert my patients to these important developments to help you stay healthy and happy!

Thanks and take care!
Kristen Sparrow
Link to an interview with me in the Examiner.  If you know anyone interested in acupuncture, this may be a reasonable introduction.
When Less Medicine is More, From CT Scans to Antibiotics
issued a set 45 new guidelines recommending fewer tests for patients from low back imaging, to head CT's, to pap smears. Less treatment from GERD medications, to antibiotics to NSAIDS.
It turns out that both doctors and patients are comfortable with less treatment.
New guidelines have shown mammograms not to be as helpful as once thought.
As we covered in a previous newsletter, PSA testing may be of  more limited value, also.
This article  looks at the scaling back on Breast Cancer treatment in women over 70 with less aggressive cancers 
We've covered statins before, but there is evidence for statins causing difficulty exercising, problems with cognition, and their link to Diabetes, so some physicians recommend raising the normal cholesterol range to 240.
There is also evidence that U.S. patients are getting overdosed with radiation from so many diagnostic tests. 
On the positive side, there is this  Dutch Study showing that MD's with alternative medicine background, including acupuncture, have patients who live longer and incur lower costs.

Believing in Treatments that Don't Work

This is a another topic I've dealt with over the years. A nice article from 2009 that discussed bogus treatments from Back Surgery to antibiotics for ear infections.
But we've recently seen cement for Vertebral Fractures 
debunked, as well as Stents for Heart Disease,  as well as guiding cancer treatment with Genomic Cancer Resting. 
And if that wasn't all depressing enough, in this Article
"Lies, Damn Lies and Medical Science" Dr. Ioannidis exposes the faulty science behind many, many accepted treatments such as Anti-depressants and Colonoscopies. 
When Treatments Cause Illness

And then the most dispiriting of all, when treatments make you sick.
Medication Injuries on the Rise  Medication related injuries leading to hospitalizations has increased by 50% in recent years. (No mention of those treated as outpatient.) Go to the article to see culprits.
Two examples of this phenomenon being Fosamax (for Osteoporosis) and Avandia (for Diabetes.)
Even Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause problems leading to Asthma and Renal Failure.
Cortisone shots may make Tendonitis worse.
And stents can lead to Heart Attacks.
I am a firm believer in Western Medicine, but  I think it's high time to carefully assess the risk/benefit of treatment and to consider alternatives where applicable.
In This Issue
Cutting Back on Standard Treatment and Screening
Believing in Treatments that Don't Work
When Treatments Cause Illness

Ancient Wisdom Made Modern

Using both science and time honored teachings to ensure your health of body and spirit. Live long and be well!
photo me
Kristen Sparrow, MD
2000 Van Ness Ave Ste 506
San Francisco, CA  94109