In this issue:

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the November 2007 issue of True North's Tune-Up. We continue to emphasize "up stream" strategies for health in the areas of nutrition, mind-body, and lifestyle. Studies are from peer-reviewed scientific journals. Archived prior issues of the Tune-Up may be found at

To your health,

B. Joseph Semmes, MD
Director of Research, True North
Diplomate, American Boards of Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine (ABIM) and Emergency Medicine

Intensive lifestyle modification for 12 weeks improves blood pressure, lowers "bad" cholesterol, and improves diabetes risk

This 2004 study is included this month because it refutes the notion that one must take medication to achieve real gains in reducing the risk for these common chronic disease. At True North, this approach, called First Line Therapy is yielding good results based on preliminary observational research.

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Mushrooms in the diet may lower breast cancer risk

360 women with breast cancer were compared to matched controls. Among post-menopausal women, those who consumed mushrooms in the highest 1/5 (quintile) experienced half the rate of breast cancer. Mushroom ingestion might be a marker for some other protective behavior, though the investigators looked at the usual suspects such as smoking, folate, and soy.

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Chronic low back pain: Non pharmacological approaches are helpful

Back pain is the fifth most common reason for physician visits in the U.S. A good history and physical exam is key. Therapies with good evidence include cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, and spinal manipulation. Experts with the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians found fair evidence showing effectiveness of massage, acupuncture and yoga.

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Whole grain consumption may protect us from being overweight or obese

This study of over 5000 Dutch men and women aged 55-69 found that whole grain and fiber intake were associated with significantly lower weight. The study design could not show for certain that this was a causal relation. Whole grains are thought to provide nutrients stripped from processed food and to provide a sense of satiety sooner (at a lower calorie intake) than refined foods. (True North's Medical Director, Bethany Hays MD points out that the study was done in Europe where there is considerably more genetic variation to grains than in the US. So these Dutch results may not apply here.)

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Information provided in the True North Tune-Up is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The information and links in this e-publication are intended to provide general education on the topics listed, but you should not use the information or links to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner. True North advises you to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioner prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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