Gluten and Glyphosate

“Is this gluten-sensitivity business just the latest fad among food fanatics?” An older man shopping at the local health food store recently asked me this question, knowing that I was a doctor. When I first began to practice medicine in 1983, I rarely encountered patients with serious gastrointestinal problems or food allergies and sensitivities. Since the early 1990s, various gastrointestinal conditions have become increasingly common. In recent times, about half of the patients in my medical practice have one or more abdominal symptoms, ranging in severity from chronic diarrhea or constipation, chronic gas and bloating, and gastro-esophageal reflux, to multiple … Continue reading

Vaccines—Are the Safety Studies Credible?

We know that the concept of vaccination is valid and has saved lives. But do we know for sure that the additives in the vaccines made by the vaccine-manufacturers—and endorsed by the CDC—are as safe as they claim? Most of the studies on vaccine safety that get published are designed and funded by the pharmaceutical industry—an inherent conflict of interest. Does the CDC, with CEOs of the vaccine manufacturing companies on its board, deserve our trust when it comes to the safety of vaccines? Let’s look at the information we have available.  Long-term vaccine safety studies Astonishingly, no long-term safety … Continue reading

Vaccines for Newborn Infants—Are They Safe?

In the US, shortly after babies are born in the hospital, they are taken from their mothers and subjected to a number of interventions in the newborn nursery, including antibiotic ointment in the eyes, an injection of synthetic vitamin K to prevent internal bleeding, and often an injection of the hepatitis B vaccine. Three hepatitis B shots are part of the standard government-recommended childhood vaccination schedule, with the first dose given to newborns before discharge in most US hospitals. Even premature infants are given the hepatitis B vaccine while in neonatal intensive care nurseries. What do these injections do to … Continue reading

Vaccines for Pregnant Women—Are They Safe?

The concept of vaccination is brilliant. Minute amounts of infectious particles (antigens) in the vaccines stimulate the immune system to make antibodies to the infectious substances and can thereby potentially prevent specific illnesses. However, vaccines that are used commercially contain other substances besides the infectious agents, such as preservatives, immune stimulants, and culture mediums. These additives have the potential to cause harm. Women who are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant in the future, will be faced with important decisions regarding vaccinations that could significantly impact the health of their unborn babies. Pregnant women have to make these important decisions … Continue reading

Pneumonia—An Unusual Treatment

Rachel began her life with the deck stacked against her. She has had serious medical problems since birth, most of which are related to the genes she inherited from her parents, and then exacerbated by environmental factors, like the food she eats and the air she breathes. With persistence and determination, Rachel has managed to navigate her way through life, overcoming one challenging health obstacle after another—all the time maintaining her inimitable Jewish sense of humor even in the bleakest of times. We actually laugh together during her appointments with me—even when she is in serious distress. Rachel’s long list … Continue reading

Monks in My Living Room

“I can’t believe what just happened,” she said breathlessly, as she repeatedly raised and lowered her arm, free of all pain and limitations. A few weeks ago, Sydney Coates, a 67 year-old advocate for the elderly and the dying, called me to ask if she could be seen right away, saying that she had torn her left rotator cuff tendons. While squatting on the floor to remove a stain, Sydney reached her left arm around to pick up a large bowl of water. As she brought her arm back, she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. After standing up, … Continue reading

Mammogram Screening Under Scrutiny—Part II

A good friend of mine wrote to me that approximately twenty years ago his wife had what was diagnosed as an aggressive type of breast cancer, discovered on routine mammogram screening. Both he and his wife feel that early detection was lifesaving and that the current diagnostic protocols are not aggressive enough. He wrote, “It’s one thing to speak globally about over diagnosis leading to over treatment, but there’s little consolation in being a statistic, the exception that proves somebody else’s rule.” Many of us have a friend or family member with breast cancer, and some of us have lost … Continue reading

Mammogram Screening Under Scrutiny—Part I

Would you believe me if I told you that a growing number of researchers have come to the conclusion that routine mammogram screening for breast cancer in women who are not in a high risk category does not reduce the overall death rate from breast cancer in the general population and can even be harmful? And would it surprise you to learn that the Swiss Medical Board no longer recommends routine breast cancer screening and that they are actively dismantling their mammogram screening programs? These statements will surely raise some eyebrows because they fly right in the face of what … Continue reading

Genetic Testing—Is it Worth it?

Who would have imagined that a simple outpatient procedure would result in a potentially life-threatening experience? At twelve years old, my son’s wisdom teeth had grown in sideways. The impacted teeth needed to be removed surgically to give more space in Barrett’s mouth and prevent crowding of his other teeth. The oral surgeon I chose for Barrett’s difficult dental extractions, Dr. Andrews (not his real name), had an excellent reputation. He had done consistently good work on the patients I had referred to him in the past for dental surgery. After filling out all the paperwork on the clipboard, Barrett … Continue reading

Fecal Transplants—The Power of Poop

In the 1990s, about twenty years before the topic of fecal transplants entered into polite conversation, my friend, Kate, made a comment that stopped me in my tracks. One sunny afternoon while we walked along the Santa Fe River, Kate bent over to examine the pile of poop her dog deposited among the willows. She said, “Erica, come look at this shit. I wish mine looked this healthy. Do you think it would help my chronic gut problems if I ate some of my dog’s shit?” I had held Kate’s intelligence and creative problem solving in high regard. But eating … Continue reading

Microbiomes—Making Friends With Your Colonies

When you look in the mirror, you might think that the entire image reflected back to you represents a human being exclusively, but that is not the case. Only 10% of the cells in your body are human, the rest are made up of billions of microorganisms that colonize your body. We are literally walking ecosystems, miniature versions of the Amazon rainforest. My son, Barrett, went through a short-lived phase of germ phobia around the time he turned four years old. He refused to wear second-hand clothing from other children, washed his hands frequently, and did not want to use … Continue reading

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury—Lying on the Earth

Martha was in her mid forties. Her face appeared pale and distraught, with disheveled hair. The red and swollen eyelids suggested she had been crying. Before she sat down, she opened her fist and handed me three crumpled fifty-dollar bills. “Three of my friends got together and each donated fifty dollars for this hour with you. I lost my job as a therapist at the Counseling Center after a car accident. I have no savings and no place to live. My friends are helping me survive.” It was 1996. I had been practicing environmental medicine in my little in-home clinic … Continue reading

Mold Misdiagnosed

Mold toxicity is a frequently misdiagnosed medical condition. Marissa—the poster child for misdiagnosis—had consulted over twenty different healthcare practitioners in Santa Fe and had received nearly twenty different explanations for her constellation of debilitating symptoms, along with multiple remedies. By the time Marissa came to me, she had nearly depleted her retirement funds in her desperate attempt to find answers. When she called to make her initial appointment, I could detect a slight accent. Her voice sounded soft and tentative. “Doctor, I want to make an appointment to come in and see you, but I first need to ask if … Continue reading