Given the ongoing discord within the scientific community regarding the short-term and long-term efficacy and safety of the different types of anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, their experimental nature, and the availability of other therapeutic approaches, such information should be universal and should be provided to every potential vaccine recipient. The safety and tolerance of COVID-19 vaccines must be carefully considered and studied even when the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages.Continue reading “Weighing the Risk-to-Benefit Ratio of COVID-19 Vaccines”
Inflammation is an essential part of our body’s immune defense. When we encounter pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites, our body responds with inflammation to fight the invaders and increase immune response. In these instances, inflammation is beneficial. But inflammation has a dark side—left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on cells, tissues, and organs. For example, it’s well established that chronic inflammation is a powerful force in the initiation, growth, and spread of cancer.
There are three essential points to consider: First, a chronic inflammatory state can, over time, initiate cancer development. Second, we still need to find the cause of the chronic state of inflammation—for example, pathogenic (chronic infection), life-style, stress, years of poor eating, or a combination of the above. And third, it is important to keep in mind that the cancer energy, as it gains in intelligence, manipulates our immune system, creating a cancer-favorable, pro-inflammatory micro-environment.
Research indicates that the systemic manifestations of inflammation can provide a valuable biomarker for prognosis and treatment stratification. Numerous studies indicate that a simple indicator of systemic inflammation—based on neutrophilia and/or lymphocytopenia—can provide prognostic information in a wide range of cancer types. In particular, the value of one index (the dNLR) derived from total white cell and neutrophil counts, is enabling large retrospective studies to be carried out.
Although not informative from a biological standpoint in distinguishing cause from effect, the results of these studies are likely to be of significance in how we approach cancer. In my practice, I always consider the role of inflammation in cancer and tailor protocols for patients accordingly. The following markers are among those I consider most important:
- Tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs)
Bio-Markers: CD11b+, CD66b+, CD63+
Tumor-associated neutrophils (TAN) play a major role in cancer biology. Neutrophils are the most abundant circulating leukocyte in humans, and are phenotypically plastic. Neutrophils, as a key component in inflammation, often play a crucial role in inflammation driven tumorigenesis. TAN can take an anti-tumorigenic (what we are calling an “N1-phenotype”) versus a pro-tumorigenic (“N2”) phenotype. The anti-tumor activities of N1 TANs include expression of more immuno-activating cytokines and chemokines, lower levels of arginase, and more capability of killing tumor cells. N2 neutrophils are pro-tumorigenic, and secrete T2 cytokines.
Over the last few months, headlines around the world have focused on the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa. In early August of this year, the World Health Organization defined the outbreak as a Public Health Event of International Concern. Closer to home, the focus has been on the recent outbreak in the US, with calls for special hospitals equipped to handle Ebola and for specialists to recognize and treat the disease as well as to be trained in monitoring travelers at airports.1
I’ve recently had numerous inquiries from people who are concerned about Ebola. It’s important to understand that the possibility of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is extremely low.2 However, because of increasing concern about the disease, I’m presenting information from my research and guidance as far as what I personally would do if I was inadvertently exposed to the virus, or if I actually contracted the disease. Although I have no factual scientific data on any of these recommendations, based on the etiology of Ebola, I would look to the herbal toolbox I have used for decades as my first line of defense.
As an herbalist with 25 years of clinical experience, I witness on a daily basis the remarkable healing properties of plants. Although the foundation of my healing approach is deeply rooted in traditional medical philosophies and practices, I draw extensively upon modern scientific research as a vital cornerstone for my work.
The majority of my patients have been diagnosed with cancer, and many turn to me after they have exhausted all that modern medicine has to offer. Merging traditional nature-based medical systems with modern, scientifically based conventional medical knowledge enables me to significantly help the difficult cases I so often encounter. I have an inner drive to do anything and everything I can for each person I work with to utilize all lens and tools of the various toolboxes, finding the pieces that fit together to promote and sustain healing. It is a true integration of the mind and heart, thinking and praying together. Researching and reviewing the latest scientific studies is part of my daily routine, and this continual stream of research contributes to the rationale for my clinical recommendations.