How Doctors Stay Well While Treating Sick People All Day

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From: Daily Health News
Sent: Mar 5, 2005 4:55 AM
Subject: How Doctors Stay Healthy

March 5, 2005

How Doctors Stay Well While Treating Sick People All Day

Immunity-Boosting Secret You Can Use

By Michelle Jones, Editorial Director

Ever wonder how doctors stay well while treating sick people all day? Me, too.

To find the answer, I called one of the leading infectious disease specialists in the country.

He told me the reason doctors don't get sick is that they're constantly washing their hands. He added that frequent hand washing is the single best way for anyone to stay healthy.

Well, I'd heard all this before. I told him that what he said about doctors made a lot of sense – except for one small thing:

It's not true!

A recent study found that only 1 out of 4 doctors consistently wash their hands between patients.

Another study found that doctors almost never wash their stethoscopes. (Out of 150 stethoscopes tested, 133 were found to harbor staph bacteria!)

And still another study found that over 2 million Americans a year catch illnesses from the hospital or doctor's office!

Which brings us back to our original question:

If doctors are so riddled with germs that they're getting their own patients sick – then how on earth are they keeping themselves healthy?

And more importantly, what can you and I do to keep ourselves healthy?

Well, I finally uncovered the answer, and I think it's going to surprise the heck out of you.

You see, when it comes to their own health, many doctors take herbs, folk remedies and other "unproven" cures that are frowned upon by the medical establishment.

They use these remedies to keep from catching infections. They use them to lower their cholesterol and protect their heart. They use them to get rid of aches, pains and stiffness. And they use them to prevent strokes, Alzheimer's and cancer.

Yes, conventional MDs across the country are taking these alternative remedies with great results. And all the while, they're keeping it a secret from their colleagues and their patients!

In fact, a recent poll found that more than 60% of doctors take nutritional supplements regularly, even though they don't recommend them to their patients!

Sadly, that's the way most doctors are. They'd rather keep these remedies from you than risk facing ridicule from their colleagues or sanctions from the medical board.

That's why I'm eager to send you a Special Report we've put together called Healing Secrets Doctors Don't Tell You In compiling this Report, we interviewed over 100 forward-thinking doctors who weren't afraid to speak out. They revealed dozens of "forbidden" cures that they use themselves to cure everything from high cholesterol to migraine headaches.

The information this Special Report contains is priceless. But with your permission, I'd like to send you a copy absolutely free. I'd also like to send you a free 3-month subscription to
Bottom Line/HEALTH magazine.

Please understand that both these gifts are TOTALLY FREE. There are no strings attached. There's no obligation to buy anything, now or ever.

I'll tell you how to get your free gifts in a moment. But first, let me share some of these amazing healing secrets with you...

Doctors' Secret #1

The Cold and Flu Remedy That Fights Cancer

You've probably heard of natural cold remedies like echinacea, goldenseal and garlic. But here's one that's even better – one that many doctors take every day to ward off all kinds of illnesses.

This amazing remedy boosts your immunity against colds and flu. It kills all kinds of infections – from viruses to bacteria to fungal infections. It helps heal bronchitis and pneumonia. And it's one of the world's best ways to prevent cancer!

So just what is this miracle remedy? It's an ancient Chinese herb called Huang qi. But you probably know it by its more common name, astragalus.

Dozens of studies show that astragalus is a powerful immune booster that increases your body's production of T-cells, macrophages and NK (natural killer) cells. And recent studies show it's a potent cancer fighter, as well.

In one study, astragalus was able to restore immune function in 90% of the cancer patients studied! And in 2 other studies, cancer patients receiving astragalus had TWICE the survival rate of those who only received standard therapies!

That makes astragalus one powerful immunity booster! And unlike other immune-boosting herbs like echinacea and goldenseal, you can take astragalus every day, with no adverse side effects.

You can find astragalus in capsule form at most health food stores. Or, you can buy the whole root at Chinese markets and greengrocers, and use it when you're cooking.

Simply add the root to your favorite soup, stew or rice dish. Let simmer for 30 minutes, then remove the root and discard. It leaves no discernible taste, but packs plenty of medicinal wallop.

Doctors' Secret #2

The Unusual Pain Remedy That Works Faster Than Aspirin

Doctors spend a lot of time on their feet, so they know all about pain and stiffness. They know they can get relief with aspirin, Tylenol,ฎ and ibuprofen.

But they also know that prolonged use of these drugs can cause bleeding ulcers, liver damage, and other nasty side effects. That's why more and more doctors are avoiding these pills and relying on natural remedies like willow bark and cayenne.

And here's another pain remedy: One that involves no drugs or supplements whatsoever. It costs practically nothing – it's very effective – and it works in just minutes. What is it? It's static electricity.

Yes, static electricity. Medical science has long recognized that the human body is pulsing with tiny electrical currents. And "normalizing" this flow of electricity promotes healing.

Here's how to use static electricity for aches and pains: Go to your local hardware store and get an ordinary painter's mitt – plus a one-foot section of PVC pipe about an inch thick. Create an electric charge by rubbing the pipe vigorously with the mitt for 1 minute. Then slowly sweep the pipe over the painful area.

Move in a head-to-toe direction, about a half inch away from your skin. After 3 or 4 passes, recharge the pipe by rubbing it again with the mitt. Keep repeating the process until the pain subsides.

Most people get relief within a few minutes, and the relief is usually quite dramatic. Try it – you'll be amazed!

Doctors' Secret #3

The "Magic Pill" That Reverses Clogged Arteries In Just 2 Hours!

All over the country, doctors are secretly popping a little white pill.

Why? Because a recent study at Boston University found that this pill can reopen severely blocked arteries in as little as 2 hours! That's right. All you have to do is take one single pill, and your arteries can clear up in 2 hours!

What is this amazing pill? It's not one of the latest designer drugs. Instead, it's an ordinary nutrient you can find at any health food store.

You'll find complete details on this nutrient in your free copy of
Healing Secrets Doctors Don't Tell You. You'll also find out about:

The fastest way to clear triglycerides from the bloodstream. Just do this an hour before your next meal. Remarkable 2-second cure for fatigue. Just press these 2 spots on your leg and foot – and feel your energy come surging back! Amazing. How to tell if your body is filled with nasty toxins. Simple test you can do at home using a glass of water. The finger and thumb trick that relieves headaches in 90 seconds. Revealed by leading acupuncturist/MD. Prevent a heart attack or stroke with tomatoes? You'll read about what leading researchers are doing. The powerful antioxidant that's right on your spice rack. Has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples – and 12 times more than oranges. Build stronger bones by eating prunes! Proven in university study. Complete details. How to keep your mind sharp at any age. 7 easy ways to keep your brain young. How to clean the air in your home without buying an expensive air filter. Ingenious technique revealed. Lose weight by eating something most people throw away! Italian study finds that people who take this fat-blocking substance daily, lose TWICE as much weight as those who don't! Simple remedies for embarrassing health problems. What to do for bad breath... foot odor... itching... flatulence... and more.

7 out of 28 people scheduled for knee surgery got such effective relief from this treatment that they were able to cancel their surgeries. And much more! As you can see, this Special Report is chockful of ways to protect your health. And the Report is yours absolutely FREE. All you have to do is click here, and I'll rush you the Report, plus the next 3 issues of Bottom Line/HEALTH  FREE.


But that's not all. I'll also send you a second FREE Report called
21st-Century Health Breakthroughs. It contains dozens of cutting-edge cures for illnesses big and small. Like this one...

Medical Breakthrough #1

A Permanent Cure for the Most Common Form of Arthritis

If you suffer from osteoarthritis or joint injuries, here's astonishing news: You don't have to suffer any longer – you don't have to take drugs – and you don't have to take glucosamine, SAM-e or any other expensive supplements!

That's because scientists have discovered a new joint-healing breakthrough that works even when all else fails.

The breakthrough is called prolotherapy, and it's more than just a way to relieve pain and inflammation. It's an outright cure that rebuilds worn-out cartilage, ligaments, and even tendons! And the cure is permanent.

Here's how it works: Your doctor injects an irritant solution into the affected joint. This injection triggers a healing response called a sterile inflammation.

Almost immediately, blood rushes to the area, delivering much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Then, healing cells called fibroblasts make their way to the area. Blood vessels start to grow – collagen begins to form – and pain begins to dissipate. Before you know it, your body has actually grown new tissue!

Several studies prove that prolotherapy works. In one study, an astonishing 87.5% who took the therapy saw improvement. In another study, prolotherapy was found to actually increase the strength of ligaments and tendons by up to 40%!

Although prolotherapy is not well-known, it is practiced by about 300 doctors in this country, including former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD. To find a practitioner near you, just refer to your FREE Special Report,
21st-Century Health Breakthroughs

Medical Breakthrough #2

Cancer Patient Has Tumor Removed in Less Than an Hour – Goes Back to Work the Next Day!

Picture this: A man with brain cancer walks into an operating room to have a tumor removed.

There is no anesthesia – no scalpel – no incision. Instead, the man lies down and places his head in a tunnel-shaped device that looks much like a CAT scan machine. The surgeon then flicks on the switches, and in less than an hour, the man's tumor is gone.

Is this a scene out of some science-fiction movie? No, it's reality – and it's happening today.

The tunnel-shaped device is called a Gamma Knife, and it allows surgeons to remove tumors quickly, easily and without damaging the surrounding tissue. Here's how it works:

Using sophisticated computers, the Gamma Knife takes 201 separate sources of gamma radiation and focuses them into one pinpointed beam. This beam of radiation conforms precisely to the size and shape of the tumor, thus destroying it while protecting the surrounding tissue.

Best of all, the radiation actually destroys the DNA in the tumor cells so that they are no longer able to grow and reproduce.

But the most amazing thing about the Gamma Knife is that it allows the patient to leave the hospital the next day – and resume all his normal activities!

You can find out more about the Gamma Knife, including how to find a cancer center near you that has one, in your FREE Special Report

You'll also find out about breakthroughs like these:

The cholesterol treatment that helps prevent Alzheimer's! Proven in new study. Better prostate cancer detection. Typical biopsies miss cancer in 1 out of 7 patients – but this one is accurate over 97% of the time! New breakthrough in treatment of macular degeneration. Simple outpatient procedure actually stops the progression of the disease! Insomnia breakthrough: This simple bedtime routine gets you in sync with your biological rhythms so you get a refreshing sleep. Amazing new cure for ringing in the ears. Provides permanent relief in 70% of sufferers! Scheduled for hip surgery?

Postpone it until you've had a chance to read about this amazing new surgical technique from Israel. Most patients can stand up almost immediately after surgery! Breast cancer detection breakthrough. New method is over 95 times more sensitive than mammograms or MRIs! Available in many top hospitals in the US. How to slow down rheumatoid arthritis – or even halt it entirely. New class of drugs goes beyond COX-2 inhibitors to stop joint damage.

How to finally get to the bottom of your chronic fatigue. 7 little-known lab tests that pinpoint the root cause. Amazing new snoring cure. No surgery, no restraining devices and, best of all, it works permanently. Nature's Rogaineฎ! This topical cream, derived from apples, increases the number and thickness of hair shafts. Grows hair back in just a few months. How to detect heart disease years before there's a problem.

Amazing new artery-scanning technology detects tiny deposits. Takes just 5 minutes and is totally painless. And much more! Have you heard about any of these breakthroughs before? Probably not. They're rarely reported in the mass media – and are even missed by many of the leading health newsletters. But they're exactly the types of medical discoveries you'll read about in the pages of Bottom Line/HEALTH..

Every month, we pore through the medical journals – scan the wire services – and interview the world's greatest doctors, scientists and health professionals. We talk to founders of world-famous clinics – authors of best-selling health books – researchers at leading medical schools and hospitals. Then we take our findings and report back to you in brief, concise, easy-to-understand articles.
Bottom Line/HEALTH actually saves you hours of reading each month, because it boils down the information from hundreds of different sources.

And unlike other health journals, we don't stick to one particular topic or one particular healing philosophy. We give you valuable information on medicine, nutrition, supplements, surgery, alternative therapies, mind-body cures and exercise. We don't care where a particular remedy comes from. We just care whether or not it works.

One other way we differ from other publications is that we show you how to be a more effective consumer. We show you how to save money on vitamins and prescription drugs. How to avoid unnecessary surgery. How to avoid hospital overcharges and health insurance rip-offs. And how to protect yourself from prescription side effects, medical blunders and doctors' misdiagnoses!

We think this information is so important that no one should be without it. That's why we've prepared a third Special Report that we want to send you free. It's called
How to Beat Health Care Dangers and Rip-Offs,, and it includes vital information like this:

Prescription Errors That Kill!

You're not the only one who can't read your doctor's handwriting. In a recent survey, more than HALF of pharmacists admitted they'd filled the wrong prescription due to a doctor's sloppy handwriting!

In one real-life example, a doctor wrote an order for the blood pressure drug Cardura,ฎ but the pharmacist read the doctor's scrawl as the anticoagulant Coumadin.ฎ Luckily, the mistake was caught before it could kill the patient!

Many other patients aren't as lucky. In fact, drug errors account for a staggering 140,000 deaths per year!

To avoid errors on your prescriptions, bring a pen and paper to the doctor's office and ask your doctor to spell out the name of the medication. Write it down, along with the correct dosage and schedule. Then, when you pick up your prescription, compare the label with your note.

To further minimize the chance of errors, have the prescription filled between noon and 3PM. That's the slowest time of day, when pharmacist mistakes are least likely.

Is Your Sunscreen Blocking Only Half the Radiation?

If you think your sunscreen is protecting you from skin cancer, think again!

Research shows that while most brands of sunscreen do protect you from short-wave ultraviolet radiation, they do absolutely NOTHING to protect you from dangerous long-wave radiation!

So how can you tell if your brand provides the necessary protection? Simply look on the label to make sure it contains the one ingredient that's been proven to block long-wave UV rays. You'll find out about this ingredient, and the brands that contain it, in your FREE Special Report..

You'll also find out about:

What hospitals don't want you to know. Shocking facts about tainted equipment, staff cuts, doctor misconduct and more. Here's how to protect yourself. Expensive vitamins that pass through your body unabsorbed! To find out if your brand is bad, just look for this on the label. The popular exercise that can make you impotent! Millions of men do this, without even knowing about the risks. How to avoid unnecessary surgery.

Besides getting a second opinion, here are the 3 most important things to do. Get your HMO to cover alternative treatments. Secret revealed by HMO insider. Glucosamine is perfectly safe, right? Not if you have this common condition. When taking it can be hazardous to your health. How to avoid long waits in the hospital emergency room. Magic words that get you seen right away while others wait. What NEVER to do at the health club if you have high blood pressure. Can cause a stroke!

When a PSA test can be dangerous to your health. Before you let your doctor give you one, get all the details. When taking calcium can harm you! Toxic ingredient found in many popular brands. Here's how to tell if yours is safe.

Green tea is good for you, right? Not if you're taking this prescription drug! What to avoid. Foods that can cause cataracts! Protect your eyes by cutting back on these. How to find a good naturopathic doctor in your area. Simple way to tell the good from the bad. And much, much more! I could go on and on about all the health secrets you'll get in your FREE Special Reports. But what I'd like to do instead is to just give them to you.

So please
click here. When you do, you'll receive –





Think of all the benefits you'll get by having these publications in your home. First of all, you'll have the knowledge you need to protect your most precious gift, your health.

Secondly, you'll be able to protect your life savings from escalating medical costs, from insurance companies that don't pay up, and from a Medicare system that's going bust.

Third, you'll be able to look out for new cures for all the people you know who have an illness or disease. You see, every week there are new studies, new findings, new and better health solutions. As a
Bottom Line/HEALTH
 subscriber, you'll be able to share those new solutions with the people you care about.

Of course, you're under no obligation to subscribe. The decision is entirely up to you. So send for your free gifts. If you want to continue with
Bottom Line/HEALTH, we'll extend to you our special introductory rate. If you decide not to continue, pay nothing and owe nothing. The free issues and free Reports are still yours.

There's nothing to lose, so why not act now? Complete the Free Gift Certificate today, while it's still fresh on your mind. To delay may mean missing out on the excellent health you deserve!

Sincerely yours,

Michelle Jones
Editorial Director
Bottom Line/HEALTH

P.S. Read on for a sampling of some of the healthy secrets your FREE gifts provide...


The Hidden Heart Attack Trigger!

Obesity. High cholesterol. High blood pressure. Everyone knows these are some of the risk factors for a heart attack.

But did you know that fully half of all heart attack victims have absolutely NO advance warning symptoms? That's right. The first heart disease symptom they experience is the actual heart attack!

And did you know there's a little-known risk factor that doesn't even show up on ANY of the traditional tests? That's right. It doesn't show up on any blood test. You can't detect it with a stethoscope or EKG. And it doesn't show up on any high-tech medical scans, either.

So what is this hidden heart attack trigger? Simply this:

Several university studies have found that people who interrupt conversations are at greater risk for heart problems. In fact, one study at Duke University found that people who interrupt are up to 7 times more likely to get heart disease!

Why is this so? The researchers theorize that people who interrupt are excessively competitive and controlling – 2 hallmarks of the worst "Type A" personalities.

Now here's the amazing part: These high-risk people can lower their risk without totally altering their personalities – and without any drugs, exercise or dietary changes. All they have to do is practice being good listeners.

In one study, the test subjects focused on being silent while others talked.

Result: They lowered both their blood pressure and their stress hormone levels!


Shortcuts Doctors Take When Giving You a Checkup or Physical

Remember the good old days when doctors would make house calls? Those days are long gone. Today, we're in an era of assembly-line medicine. HMOs call the shots – and everyone feels the squeeze.

To make up for it, doctors' offices try to cram as many appointments as possible into a day. And to get to all those patients, doctors often take shortcuts during the physical – shortcuts that can seriously affect your health! Here are the steps most commonly omitted:

Blood pressure. This vital sign is typically checked in one arm while the patient is sitting. But for a more accurate reading, blood pressure should be tested in both arms, preferably while you're lying down. Why both arms? Because a difference in blood pressure between one arm and the other may indicate a blockage in one of the large blood vessels! (To be significant, this difference must be 15% or more.)

By the way, if you're taking blood pressure medication, your doctor should check your blood pressure a third time, immediately after you stand up. If the pressure drops by more than 10%, you may need to change your dosage.

Hamstrings. Few doctors test these muscles at the back of the thighs to identify potential back problems. To do so, the doctor should ask you to lie on your back and lift each leg to a 90 degree angle. If you can't perform the lift, you may need a stretching program to relax the hamstrings.

Lymph nodes. Doctors usually check the lymph nodes in the neck, but often neglect to check the nodes in the groin and underarms. But checking all the lymph nodes is important, since swollen lymph nodes may signal infection, and lumps could mean cancer.

Pulse points. Your doctor probably checks your pulse in your neck and/or groin – but may skip your feet. If pulse strength differs in these 3 areas, it can be a sign of peripheral arterial disease.

Thyroid. This butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck is often missed during the lymph node exam. By tapping on the thyroid, your doctor can screen for thyroid cancer. Laboratory Tests

Most doctors check your cholesterol... your liver and kidney functions... your blood sugar... and your white blood cell count. But today we know there are other blood tests that are just as important. These tests include...

Magnesium. Low levels of this mineral can cause fatigue, generalized pain and/or muscle spasms. It can also increase your risk of a heart attack! Zinc. A deficiency of this immune-strengthening mineral can lead to frequent infection. Iron. Elevated levels of this mineral cause iron overload (hemochromatosis). C-reactive protein, homocysteine and lipoprotein (a). Elevated levels of any of these 3 substances put you at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. In fact, increasing evidence suggests that these markers are much greater predictors of heart disease than cholesterol! Fortunately, these blood imbalances are easy to diagnose. You'll get additional details in your FREE Special Report..


How to Get All the Fiber You Nee Without Eating Stuff that Tastes Like Sawdust

We all know fiber is good for us. We know it keeps us regular, lowers cholesterol, prevents colon cancer and helps us stay trim. Yet most of us don't get anywhere near the 20 grams of fiber per day that doctors recommend.

One reason is that many high-fiber foods just don't taste very good. But here's good news: You can get all the fiber you need without eating any of that dry, tasteless stuff.

How? By eating avocados. One serving of avocado contains 9 grams of fiber – 33% more than a cup of shredded wheat cereal!

And avocados aren't the only tasty foods that are high in fiber. Some delicious high-fiber fruits include raspberries (8 grams) – blackberries (7 grams) – apples (6 grams) – and mangoes (4 grams).

As for vegetables, the best choices are acorn squash (9 grams) – black beans (8 grams) – artichokes (6 grams) – and sweet potatoes (5 grams).

So next time you're at the supermarket, make sure you load up on these delicious high-fiber foods. Your body will thank you!


The Truth About Sodium and High Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure is high, chances are your doctor will tell you to watch your sodium intake. Unfortunately, that advice is not always correct.

You see, it's not sodium intake per se that aggravates high blood pressure. Rather, it's an excess of sodium in relation to potassium.

Sodium and potassium are 2 of the body's major electrolytes – the minerals that conduct electrical flow in the body. Together, they regulate cell membrane activity, nerve transmission, and fluid retention.

But when you get too much sodium and not enough potassium, you get high blood pressure. You can also get muscle cramps, fatigue, irritability, confusion, muscle weakness, abdominal bloating and even heart disease.

So how much sodium and potassium should you get? The ideal ratio is to get 5 times as much potassium as sodium in your diet. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is backward – providing twice as much sodium as potassium!

Does this mean you need to take potassium supplements? Actually, you'll get better results by eating 3 servings a day of delicious high-potassium foods. These include bananas, apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, figs, pumpkin seeds, beans, potatoes, winter squash and unsalted tomato sauce. Enjoy!


Instant Relief from Bee Stings

If you, or someone you know, get stung by a bee, do this:

First, remove the stinger by gently scraping it away with a credit card or dull knife.

Next, grab a tablet of Alka-Seltzerฎ and moisten it slightly so that it starts fizzing when you apply it to the sting. Alka-Seltzer contains baking soda, which reduces inflammation – and aspirin, which relieves pain. And the fizzing allows both substances to travel beneath your skin, providing immediate relief!


Best Way to Remove a Splinter: USE AN ONION!

Put away that sewing needle! Next time you get a stubborn splinter, you can pull it out easily by doing the following:

Cut a small, postage-stamp-size piece of fresh onion and place it on the padded part of an adhesive bandage. Then wrap it around the splintered skin. By morning, the onion will have drawn the splinter to the surface, making it easy to remove with a pair of tweezers.


Get ALL These Healing Secrets... Absolutely FREE!

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Fall asleep faster by doing this to your feet before bedtime. (Not a massage!)

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When a headache means you're having a stroke. Call 911 immediately if you have any of these additional symptoms.

World's best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure you do this after you brush and floss.

Cut your risk of stroke by 50% – just by having your doctor do this during your next checkup! Amazing, but true.

Walking for 30 minutes a day is healthy, correct? Not always. Mistake many people make causes more harm than good.

Early warning sign of cancer. Just look at your fingernails.

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The best way to store your toothbrush. Helps prevent bacterial growth which can lead to dental problems.

Stretching before exercising reduces your risk of injury, right? Guess again. Mounting evidence suggests you're better off simply doing this.

Are you compromising your child's or grandchild's potential? Study of 4,000 children showed they scored lower on IQ tests when exposed to this at home. (No, it's not television!)

The cancer-fighting food that's 25 times stronger than broccoli!

Choosing a new primary-care doctor? Here's a clever way to find out who's any good.

How your good intestinal bacteria help fight cancer. And what you can do to help them do their job better.

Folic acid danger. Yes, you should take it. But not in this common form, which can cause nasty side effects.

How to save your own life during a heart attack. Doing this simple thing improves your chances by 1,200%!

When chocolate cravings can signal a dangerous hormone problem. Simple way to treat it without drugs.

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Canker sores? Your toothpaste may be making them worse. Avoid any brands that contain this ingredient.

Worst food for diabetics. Raises glucose levels well into the next day! (Hint: It's not sugar or fruit.)

Get rid of mosquitoes without noxious pesticides. Just a handful of this ordinary kitchen herb keeps them away for hours! Great way to protect against West Nile virus.

How to get an insurer to pay up after the claim has been denied. Secret tactic gets them to change their mind fully 50% of the time.

Early warning sign of a deadly aneurysm. Get to an emergency room immediately if you experience this telltale symptom.

Fight fatigue by making this one small change to your home. Takes just minutes, costs nothing, and it's so simple you'll be surprised how well it works!

Slash your risk of prostate cancer 70% with one amazing food. One serving a day is all you need.

All those secrets and many more are yours FREE. Simply complete the gift certificate and we'll send them on their way.

Be Well.


5 Memory-Boosting Pills That Really Work – Plus 4 Scams to Avoid

Do you sometimes forget where you put your glasses? Or where you parked your car? As we age, these and other memory lapses can make us feel like we're losing our mental edge. That's why brain-boosting supplements, herbs and drugs are so popular. But do the top sellers really work? Are they safe?

To find out, Bottom Line/HEALTH asked Dr. Jay Schneider, professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Here's how he rated the 9 best-selling pills:

Acetyl L-carnitine. This amino acid helps produce chemicals that power brain-cell activity. Studies show that taking it improves memory and attention, even in healthy young adults. Acetyl L-carnitine may also stave off the protein deposits that develop in the brains of early-stage Alzheimer's patients.

Recommended dosage: 1 to 3 grams a day.

B Vitamins. Clinical studies show that vitamins B-1 (thiamine), B-3 (niacin) and B-6 (pyridoxine) may improve memory and thinking.

How do they work? Thiamine helps the body burn carbohydrates, the primary source of energy for brain cells. Niacin appears to boost short-term memory and comprehension. And B-6 plays a role in the formation of several of the brain's neurotransmitters.

Recommended dosage: Follow instructions on the labels of B-complex and individual B vitamins.

Caution: More than 2 grams a day of niacin can cause peptic ulcers and may make cardiac arrhythmia worse. More than 200 mg a day of B-6 can be toxic to nerve cells and may interfere with Parkinson's disease drugs.

Fipexide. This over-the-counter stimulant is said to enhance thinking and learning by increasing levels of dopamine to the brain. In a single clinical trial, fipexide did improve mental functioning in a group of older patients with brain disease. However, it's been known to cause severe liver damage! Better to stay away from this one.

Gerovital. This supplement – marketed as an antiaging formula for body and brain – is nothing more than the local anesthetic procaine, combined with an antioxidant and a preservative. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that Gerovital rejuvenates the mind. And excessive use can cause tremors, unconsciousness, convulsions, low or high blood pressure, and respiratory and cardiac arrest! Avoid this one at all costs!

Ginkgo biloba. There's good reason this Chinese herb has become our most popular alternative remedy for memory impairment. It works.

Ginkgo has been shown to improve memory in Alzheimer's patients, as well as in otherwise healthy people. It also has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Recommended dosage: 120 mg to 240 mg a day.

Caution: Ginkgo inhibits blood clotting. Do not take it if you're taking aspirin or blood thinners. You should also avoid it if you're facing surgery or if you have a clotting disorder such as hemophilia or vitamin K deficiency.

Growth hormone. This protein, secreted by the pituitary gland, promotes cell growth. Sold as a prescription drug, growth hormone is said to prevent physical and mental deterioration.

However, its effectiveness as an antiaging drug is unproven – and the risks are considerable. Growth hormone can cause fluid retention, high blood pressure and blood sugar problems that can lead to diabetes. It may also stimulate the growth of existing cancer tumors, which means if you have a microscopic tumor somewhere and don't know it, you could be turning a treatable situation into a terminal cancer!

Phenytoin (Dilantinฎ). Commonly prescribed to treat epilepsy, this anticonvulsant is sometimes falsely promoted as an "IQ booster." There are no convincing studies to support this claim.

But there are plenty of data detailing the drug's potential side effects – everything from slurred speech and insomnia to potentially deadly disorders of the liver, blood and thyroid. Stay away from this one!

Phosphatidyle serine (PS). This fat-like substance is one of the few supplements that's been tested extensively on both healthy and senile adults. It has consistently proven to improve memory and attention, without causing serious side effects.

Phosphatidyle serine seems to enhance communication between chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. It also appears to lower the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that may interfere with thinking and memory.

Recommended dosage: 100 mg, 3 times a day.

Caution: Phosphatidyle serine may slow blood clotting. For this reason, it should be avoided by the same people who are cautioned against taking ginkgo.

Piracetam. This is the first brain-boosting drug to be marketed in Europe. In the US, it's available without a prescription – but only from mail-order or Internet retailers.

Studies show that when piracetam is combined with memory exercises, there is significant improvement in age-associated memory loss. To date, no serious side effects have been reported.

Recommended dosage: 2,400 mg to 4,800 mg, divided in 3 dosages. Ask your doctor if piracetam might be good for you.

Vincamineฎ. This herbal supplement, derived from the periwinkle plant, is said to enhance concentration in healthy adults, and boost memory and attention in patients with poor blood circulation to the brain.

Vincamine does increase cerebral blood flow, so it may be of some benefit if promptly administered after a stroke. But long-term use can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, as well as severe sleep disturbances. Bottom line: Take ginkgo instead. It provides the same benefits, without the dangers.

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