Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Natural is Not Always Better for Tick Borne Illness

https://globallymealliance.org/natural-isnt-always-better-getting-real-pharmaceutical-medication  by Jennifer Crystal

OUR SOCIETY’S FOCUS ON LIVING NATURALLY HAS CREATED A STIGMA AROUND THE “DANGERS” OF PHARMACEUTICAL MEDICATIONS. BUT FOR PATIENTS WITH COMPLEX ILLNESSES, LIKE LYME, IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE.

One of the most challenging symptoms of neurological Lyme disease is insomnia. I’ve wrestled with it on and off throughout my two-decade battle with tick-borne illness. During my very worst point, I was literally awake for weeks. In extreme distress, I cried that I didn’t want to die but couldn’t live another second if I didn’t sleep. My doctor prescribed a short course of a heavy-duty sleep medication to knock me out.

“Don’t take it,” a friend cautioned. “It’s such strong medication. Your body has the natural resources to get the sleep it needs. Try some lavender oil or breathing exercises.”

I was way past the point of being helped by natural remedies, yet I shared my friend’s concern. We’d both fallen under the common belief that natural is better. In a society where people are focused more and more on living naturally, a stigma has grown around the “dangers” of pharmaceutical medicine. The message seems to be that “natural is good, medicine is bad.”

But for patients with complex illnesses, it’s not that simple.

Sure, there are benefits to living naturally. It’s healthy to put organic food into our bodies and environmentally-friendly fuel into our cars. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices are great ways to naturally center ourselves. In Lyme treatment, natural supplements often complement our medication regimes.

But natural methods are not always better. For example, some people use the mineral colloidal silver to combat infection. Just because it is a mineral doesn’t mean it’s safe, though. High levels of colloidal silver can permanently turn the skin blue, or cause liver damage. I know one patient who wound up hospitalized in renal failure. Another friend took colloidal silver for bronchitis, which turned into a severe case of pneumonia that required stronger antibiotic treatment than she would have needed if she’d taken conventional medicine.

When you’re fighting a multi-system bacterial infection, pharmaceutical medication is life-saving. Antibiotics kill spirochetes, plain and simple. Some Lyme patients are eventually able to wean off antibiotics once their infections are cleared up, and continue with homeopathic or naturopathic treatments. No one wants to be on medications any longer than their body needs them.

To avoid them when your body does need them, however, is dangerous. A new study by psychiatrist Dr. Robert Bransfield, published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, found that there were over 1,200 suicides per year1 related to tick-borne illness. Had I not taken the heavy duty sleep aid to get through the worst of my insomnia, I might have become part of that disheartening statistic.

I didn’t stay on the medication forever. In fact, I only used it for a few days. Then my doctor slowly moved me to a less potent medication, which worked in tandem with my neurofeedback therapy, a non-invasive treatment that relied on my body’s own internal signals to help me heal. My sleep doctor wisely reminded me that Western medicine helps you get through crisis, while Eastern medicine gets at the root of a problem and deals with more long-term effects. Both, he said, are necessary for proper healing.

This can be a hard pill to swallow for people intent on only going the natural route. Take the case of Luitha K. Tamaya, a shamanic practitioner who shunned conventional medical treatments—until she suffered post-partum depression. Her traditional techniques were not enough to see her through this condition. Reluctantly, Tamaya turned to pharmaceutical medication, “a decision that has since had surprising and beautiful results.” The medication helped her heal and, moreover, led her to a new understanding of her more natural beliefs: “I now understand that shamanism can encompass and enrich all of our modern sciences, instead of standing apart from them.”

I have come to the same opinion. What’s needed is a balance of Western and Eastern medical philosophies. I have been on a non-narcotic sleep aid for years. I’ve never had to increase the dose, and it has not caused any adverse side effects. “That’s effective use of medication,” my doctor told me, when I worried I’d been on the medication too long. I continue to complement this conventional treatment with neurofeedback therapy. Similarly, I continue to battle spirochetes and other tick-borne infections with a mix of pharmaceutical, naturopathic and homeopathic remedies.

Only you and your Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) can decide what course of action is best for treating your one or more tick-borne illnesses. Your doctor should monitor your reaction to all treatments, whether they are pharmaceutical or naturopathic. As you decide together what’s best for you, just remember, natural is not always better.


1 Bransfield RC. Suicide and Lyme and Associated Diseases. Neuropsychiatric Diseases and Treatment. 2017 Jun; Volume 2017(13):1575—1587



Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Jennifer Crystal is a writer and educator in Boston. She is working on a memoir about her journey with chronic tick-borne illness. Contact her at jennifercrystalwriter@gmail.com

**Comment**

I could not agree more.  I’ve posted articles about sick shaming Lyme/MSIDS patients, but there’s another type of shaming going on within Lyme Land – pharmaceutical shaming.  Patients can do this to one another and even medical professionals are guilty of it.  We recently changed doctors because our LLMD stated we were his longest treated patients at 3 years and made us feel guilty about it.  When symptoms steadily returned after being on a herbal regimen for a year, he refused to believe it was active infection and tried to blame it on “old age.”  Yeah right.  I know my body and have a Masters in Exercise Science.  I know a few things and I certainly know MY body.  My husband, an athlete and avid runner, also can tell what is active symptoms versus the aches and pains of living.

I’ve noticed another trend as well.  Many pure “naturalists,” don’t tell you that they often started with antibiotics that lessened the pathogen load considerably, but give all credit to herbs or some other natural treatment.  This wrongly gives the impression that they only used natural treatments.

I always tell patients to be willing to use everything AND the kitchen sink.  This stuff is beyond surreal.  It has side-lined the strongest, and left successful professionals in a heap.  It causes needless divorces, suicides, and family upheaval of the worst kind with the unbelievable kicker of not being believed and validated.

If I’ve learned anything on this nightmarish journey it’s to be open-minded.

Stevia – Clinical Trial Underway

http://www.newhaven.edu/news/releases/2016-2017/professor-and-her-students-may-have-found-a-cure-for-lyme-disease.php#.WYxm4eOZNkI.linkedin

University of New Haven Professor and Her Students May Have Found a Cure for Lyme Disease

July 07, 2017

Could a common sweetener that’s already in the kitchen cupboards in many American homes — stevia — prove to be an effective treatment for a disease as debilitating and persistent as Lyme disease?

It’s too early to say that for sure, but research by Eva Sapi, a University of New Haven professor of cellular and molecular biology, and the students in her Lyme Disease Research Group looks promising.

In a paper published in the European Journal of Microbiology & Immunology, Eva Sapi and her students found that the most antibiotic resistant form of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease — called biofilm — actually increased in mass with individual antibiotics.

But liquid, whole-leaf stevia extract — not the powdered varieties that people most commonly use — reduced the biofilm mass by about 40 percent, they found.

UNH professor could have cure for Lyme disease

“Is it the one?” Sapi asked. “I don’t know.” But in confirmation test after confirmation test, “that is the one that jumped out.”

A small clinical trial based out of New York got underway just a few months ago, and researchers there are using stevia along with antibiotics to try and treat Lyme disease, while others are taking the extract themselves.

“I’ve got emails from people saying they’re getting better, but again, we need to have double-blind clinical trials before we say ‘yes’. Everybody is holding their breath to see if it helps, and let’s hope for it. That would be wonderful.” 
– Professor Eva Sapi, Ph.D

WFSB 3 CT News (Go to link at top of page for News video)

For more on Stevia:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/11/19/stevia-and-bb/

Study excerpt:

In this study, we provided evidence that Stevia A, as an individual agent, was capable of eliminating the spirochetes and the persisters of Borrelia similar to the reported three-drug combination treatment. Our data also showed that the antibiotics in combination on the persist- ers of Borrelia was indeed consistent with the previous study [30]; this result further confirms the effectiveness of Stevia A.

**Please note Sapi tried numerous forms of Stevia and only some were effective.  The exact Stevia product is not mentioned.  Also, please remember all of this was done in vitro (test tube).  How that plays out in vivo (the human body) has yet to be determined.

Also:

In a study using a sugar alcohol, it was reported that xylitol acts as an antiplaque agent by disrupting the formation of biofilms in the oral cavity [54]. In another study, they showed that xylitol affects the production of adhesive polysaccharides of Streptococcus mutans [55].

It was previously shown that sugars prime the uptake of antibiotics in Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli [56]. Based on these previous findings, we hypothesize that Stevia could act as a sugar derivative, which might prime the uptake of the phytochemicals responsible for the antimicrobial effect and, thereby, disrupt the biofilm structure.

I know of certain LLMD’s who use Stevia or Xylitol in their Lyme treatment regimens.  As always, work with your medical professional if you want to try it as some report significant herxes.

In one case, they take 2 tsp of Xylitol once daily along with 500 mg of Lactoferrin.  This regimen tells patients not to use any Stevia/Xylitol related products for the duration of treatment.  Dr. Mary Ross advises starting with 1 drop of Nutramedix brand liquid Stevia twice a day and increasing by 1 drop per dose until at 5 drops twice a day.  http://www.treatlyme.net/treat-lyme-book/stevia-lyme-disease/  Others have stated to build up to 7 drops of Stevia in a glass of water on an empty stomach daily.

Dr. Horowitz has a blog on his Facebook page where patients compare notes on their use of Stevia:  https://m.facebook.com/drrichardhorowitz/posts/926372540784878

 

 

Artesunate on Short Term Memory in Lyme Borreliosis

http://www.medical-hypotheses.com/article/S0306-9877(17)30288-8/fulltext

Lyme borreliosis is associated with memory deficits. While this may be related to cerebral infection by Borrelia bacteria, it may also be caused by concomitant co-infection by Babesia protozoa. The anti-malarial artemisinin-derivative artesunate has been shown to be effective against a number of Babesia species and to have efficacy against human cerebral malaria. We hypothesised that concomitant administration of artesunate in Lyme borreliosis patients would help alleviate the severity of self-reported short-term memory impairment. This hypothesis was tested in a small pilot study in which patients were treated with both an intravenous antibiotic and oral artesunate (20 mg four times per day); treatment was associated with a reduction in the severity of short-term memory difficulties (P ≃ 0.08). In light of these findings, we recommend that a formal randomised, placebo-controlled study be carried out.

 

For more on Babesia:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/01/16/babesia-treatment/

More on Lyme:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/

Chronic LD Summit #2

http://chroniclymediseasesummit2.com/?idev_id=11577&idev_username=Summit3  Please register at link.

Lyme disease is quickly spreading across the entire globe — very few are enlightened on this troublesome condition — that’s why Dr. Jay Davidson has urgently created the second summit on this topic (with only 2 repeat speakers from 2016). 300,000+ people per year contract Lyme, and 2017 is predicted by some to be an incredibly risky year!

The Chronic Lyme Disease Summit 2 is online and FREE from June 19-26, 2017.

Speakers and Topics:

Wayne Anderson, ND
Overview of Lyme and Its Evolution

James Maskell
Evolution of Medicine and Lyme

Scott Forsgren, FDN-P
Maximizing Lyme Disease Recovery

Philip Blair, MD
Col. US Army, ret.
Lyme Recovery with CBD

Jay Davidson, DC, PScD
Improving Lyme Disease Protocols

Jonathan Streit, DC
Testing for Functional Neurological Issues

Tyna Moore, ND, DC
Strength Training to Optimize Stem Cells

Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
Diet/Lifestyle as a Complementary Approach

Leslie Douglas, PhD
DNA Connexions PCR Assay

Greg Lee, MAc, BS
GoodbyeLyme™ Treatments and Remedies

Dave Ou, MD
Things Missed in the Treatment of Lyme

Evan H. Hirsch, MD, ABOIM
Coinfection Bartonella Treatment

Katie Dahlgren, ND
Helping Lyme Through Parasites

Shayne Morris, PhD, MBA, CNS
The Omics of Borrelia
Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD
Latest on Lyme Testing and Treatments

Amy Derksen, ND
Non-Antibiotic Approaches to Treating Children

Dan Pompa, DPSc
Is Chronic Lyme Linked to Heavy Metals?

Todd Watts, DC
Killing Parasites to Kill Lyme Disease

Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc
Biofilm and Galectin-3 Breakthrough Strategies

Darin Ingels, ND
Herbal Therapy and Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI)

Jerod Bergman, DC, CCSP, CSCS
Stopping EMFs and Geopathic Stress

Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP
Thyroid and Lyme Disease

Tim Jackson, DPT, CNS(c)
Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Inflammatory Cytokines

Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom
Homeopathic Approach to Lyme Disease

David A. Jernigan, DC
Unique Approach to Healing

Gerry Curatola, DDS
Microbiome of Your Mouth

Jonathan Landsman
Fixing Toxic Teeth and Gums

Jill Carnahan, MD, ABFM, ABIHM, IFMCP
CIRS and Lyme Disease

Christine Schaffner, ND
Healing Your Brain from Lyme Disease

Diane V. Capaldi, MAP
Consciousness as It Relates to Healing

Jon Butcher
Repairing Relationships After Illness

Keesha Ewers, PhD, ARNP
Feeling Betrayed by Your Body?

Kim D’Eramo, DO
Mindsets That Impair Immune Function

Dana Walsh & Brent Martin
How to Lyme Less and Live More!

Sarah Schlichte Sanchez
Fighting as a Mindset

5th Annual Madison 420 Fest

https://www.facebook.com/events/1827145537527605/

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WHY:  to CELEBRATE all things cannabis and put on a benefit for Madison NORML and Madison Hempfest.

WHEN:  Friday, April 21 from 4:20 PM – 1:30 AM CDT and Apr 21 from 4:20 PM to Apr 22 at 1:30 AM CDT

WHERE: Brinklounge Madison 701 E Washington Ave, Ste 105, Madison, Wisconsin

WHO:  12 bands on 2 stages at the Brink Lounge and Nightclub. Also vendors, sponsors, education and community gathering to spread awareness and change WI laws.

Featured bands:

The Family Business (rock ‘n roll, roots rock)
The Grasshoppers (rock/jam/pschadelic)

Dub Foundation (original roots/dub all stars)
Tani Diakite and the Afrofunksters (world, Malian blues-funk)

Dogs In a Pile (Grateful Dead tribute feat. former members of New speedway Players)

Beefus (uncouth experimental gorilla boogie)

Sweet Delta Dawn (jam rock, blues, psychedelic)
The Material Boys (acoustic/Americana/bluegrass)

Mudroom (tasty jams and funky grooves)

Gary David and the Enthusiasts (jam rock, cookie rock)
The Woods (Madison/Fox Valley/Milwaukee jam, rock)

Anima (Original Alt-Indie-Folk from the hills of the Driftless)

**Complete band schedule, sponsor list and more info coming soon!

**Please support the Sponsors and Vendors:

Ignite Glass & Gifts
6717 Odana Rd, Madison, WI
https://www.igniteglassandgifts.com/

Classy Glass
438 N Frances St, Madison, WI
http://www.madisonglassacademy.com/

Maximum Ink
http://www.maximumink.com/

WIJAM
http://www.wijam.net/

NASEM Report on Cannabis

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=24625

Jan. 12, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nearly 100 Conclusions on the Health Effects of Marijuana and Cannabis-Derived Products Presented in New Report; One of the Most Comprehensive Studies of Recent Research on Health Effects of Recreational and Therapeutic Use of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products

WASHINGTON – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a rigorous review of scientific research published since 1999 about what is known about the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products – such as marijuana and active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids – ranging from their therapeutic effects to their risks for causing certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report considered more than 10,000 scientific abstracts to reach its nearly 100 conclusions. The committee also proposed ways to expand and improve the quality of cannabis research efforts, enhance data collection efforts to support the advancement of research, and address the current barriers to cannabis research.

“For years the landscape of marijuana use has been rapidly shifting as more and more states are legalizing cannabis for the treatment of medical conditions and recreational use,” said Marie McCormick, chair of the committee; the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health, department of social and behavioral sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass. “This growing acceptance, accessibility, and use of cannabis and its derivatives have raised important public health concerns. Moreover, the lack of any aggregated knowledge of cannabis-related health effects has led to uncertainty about what, if any, are the harms or benefits from its use. We conducted an in-depth and broad review of the most recent research to establish firmly what the science says and to highlight areas that still need further examination. As laws and policies continue to change, research must also.”

Currently, cannabis is the most popular illicit drug in the United States, in terms of past-month users. Based on a recent nationwide survey, 22.2 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using cannabis in the past 30 days. This survey also reports that 90 percent of adult cannabis users in the United States said their primary use was recreational, with about 10 percent reporting use solely for medical purposes. Around 36 percent reported mixed medical and recreational use. In addition, between 2002 and 2015, the percentage of past-month cannabis users in the U.S. population ages 12 and older has increased steadily from 6.2 percent to 8.3 percent.

Therapeutic Effects

One of the therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoids is to treat chronic pain in adults. The committee found evidence to support that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms. For adults with multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, there was substantial evidence that short-term use of certain “oral cannabinoids” – man-made, cannabinoid-based medications that are orally ingested – improved their reported symptoms. Furthermore, in adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, there was conclusive evidence that certain oral cannabinoids were effective in preventing and treating those ailments.

Injury and Death

Evidence suggests that cannabis use prior to driving increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Furthermore, evidence suggests that in states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children. In one study, ingestion was the most common route of unintentional pediatric exposure, accounting for 78 percent of all incidents. Another study reported that from 2000 to 2013, the annual rate of poison center calls related to cannabis exposures among children younger than 6 years of age was 2.82 times higher in states that had legalized medical cannabis prior to 2000 than in states where medical cannabis remained illegal as of 2013. The committee called for more research to determine whether and how cannabis use is associated with death or with occupational injury.

Cancer

Regarding the link between marijuana and cancer, the committee found evidence that suggests smoking cannabis does not increase the risk for cancers often associated with tobacco use – such as lung and head and neck cancers. The committee also found limited evidence that cannabis use is associated with one sub-type of testicular cancer and insufficient evidence that cannabis use by a mother or father during pregnancy leads to a greater risk of cancers in the child.

Heart Attack, Stroke, and Diabetes

The committee said that more research is needed to determine whether and how cannabis use is associated with heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. However, some evidence suggests that cannabis smoking may trigger a heart attack.

Respiratory Disease

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that smoking cannabis on a regular basis is associated with more frequent chronic bronchitis episodes and worse respiratory symptoms, such as chronic cough and phlegm production, but quitting cannabis smoking is likely to reduce these conditions. The committee stated that it is unclear whether cannabis use is associated with certain respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or worsened lung function.

Immunity

There is a lack of data on the effects of cannabis or cannabinoid-based therapeutics on the human immune system, as well as insufficient data to draw overarching conclusions concerning the effects of cannabis smoke or cannabinoids on immune competence, the committee stated. There is also insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis or cannabinoid use and adverse effects on immune status in individuals with HIV. Nevertheless, limited evidence suggests that regular exposure to cannabis smoke may have anti-inflammatory activity.

Mental Health

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, other psychoses, and social anxiety disorders, and to a lesser extent depression. Alternatively, in individuals with schizophrenia and other psychoses, a history of cannabis use may be linked to better performance on learning and memory tasks. Heavy cannabis users are more likely to report thoughts of suicide than non-users, and in individuals with bipolar disorder, near-daily cannabis users show increased symptoms of the disorder than non-users.

Problem Cannabis Use

The evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that with greater frequency of cannabis use, there is an increased likelihood of developing problem cannabis use. There is also evidence to suggest that initiating cannabis use at a younger age increases the likelihood of developing problem cannabis use.

Cannabis Use and the Abuse of Other Substances

The committee found limited evidence that cannabis use increases the rate of initiating other drug use, primarily the use of tobacco. However, the committee found moderate evidence to suggest that there is a link between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or a substance abuse disorder for substances including alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs.

Psychosocial

The committee found that learning, memory, and attention are impaired after immediate cannabis use. Limited evidence suggests that there are impairments in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention in individuals who have stopped smoking cannabis. In addition, there is limited evidence to suggest that cannabis use is related to impairments in subsequent academic achievement and education as well as social relationships and social roles. Adolescence and young adulthood are when most youth begin to experiment with substances of abuse, including cannabis, and it is during these periods that the neural layers that underlie the development of cognition are most active. The committee also found limited evidence of an association between cannabis use and increased rates of unemployment and low income.

Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Exposure

Smoking cannabis during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight in the offspring, some evidence suggests. However, the relationship with other pregnancy and childhood outcomes is unclear.

Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis Research

In addition to recommending more research on the beneficial and harmful effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use, the committee emphasized several challenges and barriers in conducting such research. For instance, specific regulatory barriers, including the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, impede the advancement of research. Researchers also often find it difficult to gain access to the quantity, quality, and type of cannabis product necessary to address specific research questions. The committee said a diverse network of funders is needed to support cannabis and cannabinoid research.

The study was sponsored by Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Arizona Department of Health Services, California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Foundation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mat-Su Health Foundation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse, Oregon Health Authority, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, Truth Initiative, and Washington State Department of Health. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.

 

Dr. Zhang on Persisters

 

  24 Min.

Made possible by Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation:  https://canlyme.com

Published on Oct 7, 2016

Ottawa Conference:  Dr. Ying Zhang MD PhD
Challenges of Post-Treatment of Lyme Disease
Syndrome (PTLDS); Will Persister Drugs Help Cure

Excellent presentation by Dr. Zhang on the importance of specific drug combinations to effectively kill all forms of Lyme (borrelia).

For more information on Lyme (borrelia) research and treatment:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/02/13/lyme-disease-treatment/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/07/07/promising-new-research-for-persisting-lyme/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/05/09/leprosy-drug-for-lyme/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/10/09/mycobacterium-drugs-for-ld/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/11/14/10-million-for-lyme-research/

***If you are seeing a doctor that is not a part of ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) I highly recommend you get this crucial information into their hands and encourage them to become members, where they will learn the most cutting edge research and treatments.  Your very life depends upon it.