Ear Infections and Antibiotics

In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman’s position on treating childhood ear infections certainly deviates from common medical practice. How so? I’ll let him explain:
Studies also point to the fact that most ear infections early in life are viral, not bacterial.1 The vast majority of ear infections resolve nicely on their own, whether bacterial or viral, without an antibiotic. It is a common practice in this country to treat all ear infections with an antibiotic. Whether bacterial or not, our children get a routine prescription for an antibiotic at every minor illness. This cycle often is repeated many times, which may beget other medical problems in adulthood.
What, no antibiotics? For some this is hard to believe. Hey, it shocked me too. As a kid I got tons of ear infections, and each time my doctor prescribed antibiotics. Now, Dr. Fuhrman believes antibiotics should only be administered if the condition lingers or worsens. Not a bad idea considering all the news about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses.


Julie’s Health Club shares this concern. Today she’s taking a look at a recent study published in Journal of the American Medical Association advocating a wait-and-see approach for treating ear infections. Here’s a quote from the study that sounds awfully familiar:
"In this country, 96 to 98 percent of physicians treat ear infections immediately with antibiotics, even though most cases will resolve on their own without treatment," lead researcher David Spiro told Web MD, an on-line source of health information.
Julie points out that approximately 15 million prescriptions for antibiotics to treat childhood ear infections are written each year.


For more on ear infections and antibiotics, check out this previous post: Childhood Ear Infections: A Multibillion-Dollar Industry
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Eating Fewer Calories

Reducing caloric intake, by filling up on foods with lots of nutrition and not a lot of calories, is a pretty big deal to Dr. Fuhrman. In his book Eat to Live he explains it is an important part of increasing life span:
The evidence for increasing one’s life span through dietary restriction is enormous and irrefutable. Reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique to consistently extend maximum life span. This has been shown in all species tested, from insects and fish to rats and cats.
In Eat to Live he provides a detailed list of the many benefits calorie restriction has to offer:
  • Resistance to experimentally induced cancers
  • Protection from spontaneous and genetically predisposed cancers
  • A delay in the onset of late-life diseases
  • Nonappearance of atherosclerosis and diabetes
  • Lower cholesterol and triglycerides and increased HDL
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Enhancement of the energy-conservation mechanism, including reduced body temperature
  • Reduction in oxidative stress
  • Reduction in parameters of cellular aging, including cellular congestion
  • Enhancement of cellular repair mechanisms, including DNA repair enzymes
  • Reduction in inflammatory response and immune cell proliferation
  • Improved defenses against environment stresses
  • Suppression of the genetic alterations associated with aging
  • Protection of genes associated with removal of oxygen radicals
  • Inhibited production of metabolites that are potent cross-linking agents
  • Slowed metabolic rate1
Impressive, but it looks like we should add Alzheimer's prevention to this list. According to HealthDay News a new study shows consuming fewer calories may ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Krisha McCoy reports:
In the November issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a team of researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City maintained a group of squirrel monkeys on either calorie-restrictive or normal diets throughout their lifespans.

Compared to those on a normal diet, the monkeys that were fed the reduced-calorie diet were less likely to have Alzheimer's disease-type changes in their brain.

The reduced-calorie diet was also associated with increased longevity of a protein known as SIRT1, which influences a variety of functions, including age-related diseases.
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Exercise and Bone Strength

This report is a month old, but certainly worth mentioning. According to Reuters new research suggests men who participate in athletics during their late teens obtain bone-building benefits that last for many years:
The researchers followed 63 athletes and 27 non-athlete "controls," whose average age was 17 at the study’s outset, for nearly 8 years.

At the beginning of the study, all the athletes — who were either ice hockey or badminton players — were actively training for an average of about nine hours a week, with workouts including soccer, long distance running, weight training and other activities. They had been training for an average of 10 years previously, and had a greater average bone mineral density (BMD) than the controls.
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