Part of me tends to think that despite his support for this bill, President Obama has an excellent educational background, shows good intellectual abilities, fine moral values, a good father model and family leadership to millions of young men regardless of color, and so I hope there is more depth to our president than is apparent in this faulty and wrong-headed bill. He did not take strong leadership in this bill, but he did support it.
And so here is my hope. I am hoping that the Obama's gave a silent and symbolic "shot across the bow" when they planted a large and prominent vegetable garden on the White House grounds soon after his taking office. They have clearly expressed their belief in the importance of a plant enriched diet. I am hoping that we have not heard the last about gardens, greens, vegetables, and healthy nutrition.
Now, just in case Obama is smarter than he is letting on about health, and just in case he really understands the importance of vegetables and nutrition, and understands the dangers of our present medical system and how and when it is controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, Obama would not yet have been able to go out very far on a limb and criticize four major industries when the unemployment rate is at 10%.
It is possible that President Obama understands the serious flaws presented in the medical, pharmaceutical, insurance, and agribusiness industries. And if this might be the case, then he could not have criticized all of them during his first year in office. If President Obama's values are such that he is willing to take on the problems of health, nutrition, and our present medical system, it would have been political suicide to do this in the first months of office with all the other problems facing him.
I know it's a long shot, but I am hoping that President Obama is being "dumb like a fox" and is waiting for the right time to talk about nutrition, prevention, green food, and the change in our infrastructure that we must face in the coming decade or so. After all, these four industries represent tens of millions of workers, and this change can not and will not take place over night. It would make sense that he plans to do this if he can be elected to a second term, because once he does this, he would likely not win re-election to office....not ever again.
President Obama has talked about prevention several times, and so, that garden may have been a silent and subtle message to 30 million Americans who are interested in alternative health and more enlightened medical leadership. We can always hope.
Meanwhile, although it's a terrible health bill, there is always a small chance that our First Family's White House vegetable garden will be the first in many statements, increasingly stronger, that they will make to America and the world. Only time will tell.
WHAT IS BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS?
Barrett's esophagus is an acidic pre-cancerous condition where dietary and/or metabolic acids affect the lining of the esophagus, the swallowing tube that carries foods and liquids from the mouth to the stomach.
- In a study published in 2005, Barrett's esophagus prevalence was estimated to affect approximately 3.3 million adults over 50 years of age in the United States2,3,14
- Patients with Barrett's Esophagus are 30-125 times more likely to develop adenocarcinoma (esophageal cancer) than the general population7
- The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has risen approximately six-fold in the U.S. It is rising faster than breast cancer, prostate cancer, or melanoma4,15
- According to Dr. Robert O. Young, Director of Research at the pH Miracle Living Center, "esophageal adenoccarcinoma has increased in direct relationship to the acidic levels of the diet and lifestyle."
|Stomach acid backs up into the esophagus from acid reflux or GERD, causing injury to the esophageal lining.|
HOW DOES BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS DEVELOP?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a disorder in which stomach acid and acidic enzymes causing injury to the esophageal lining, producing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. In some patients with GERD, the normal esophagus cells are damaged directly by dietary acid. Over time, this damage can result in inflammation and genetic changes that cause the cells to become altered or cancerous. The tissue takes on a different appearance and microscopically is no longer esophagus tissue, but rather becomes intestinal tissue. This is called “intestinal metaplasia” or Barrett’s esophagus. If a patient has GERD symptoms more than 3 times per week, they should immediately eliminate ALL acidic foods and drinks and start drinking alkaline water with sodium bicarbonate.
- Approximately 13% of Caucasian men over the age of 50, who have chronic reflux, will develop Barrett's esophagus5
- In a study conducted by the Veteran Affairs Healthcare System and Stanford University, 25% of patients over 50 years old without GERD symptoms were found to have Barrett's esophagus14
- GERD is common in the U.S. adult population. Symptoms of GERD, including heartburn, occur monthly in almost 44% of U.S. adults and weekly in almost 18%16
Cameron AJ, Zinsmeister AR, Ballard DJ, et al. Prevalence of columnar-lined (Barrett’s) esophagus. Comparison of population-based clinical and autopsy findings. Gastroenterology 1990; 99:918-22.
“Study provides first estimate of U.S. population affected by Barrett’s esophagus.” Gastro.org. 2006. American Gastroenterological Association.
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Ronkainen J, Aro P, Storskrubb T, et al. Prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus in the general population: an endoscopic study. Gastroenterology 2005; 129:1825-1831.
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G.M. Eisen. Ablation therapy for Barrett's esophagus. Gastrointestinal Endosc. 2003; 58: 760-769. 5
"What Are the Key Statistics about Cancer of the Esophagus?" Cancer.org. 2006. American Cancer Society.
Accessed October 2007.
Ganz RA, Utley DS, Stern RA, et al. Complete ablation of esophageal epithelium with a balloon-based bipolar electrode: a phased evaluation in the porcine and in the human esophagus. Gastrointest Endosc 2004; 60:1002-10.
Dunkin BJ, Martinez J, Bejarano PA, et al; Thin-layer ablation of human esophageal epithelium using a bipolar radiofrequency balloon device. Surgical Endoscopy 2006; 20: 125-130.
Sharma VK, Wang KK, Overholt BF, et al. Balloon-based, circumferential, endoscopic radiofrequency ablation of Barrett’s esophagus: 1-year follow-up of 100 patients. Gastrointest Endosc 2007; 65:185-194.
Fleischer DE, Overholt BF, Sharma VK, et al. Long-term (2.5 year) follow-up of the AIM-II trial for ablation of Barrett's esophagus: results after primary circumferential ablation followed by secondary focal ablation. Gastrointest Endosc 2007; 65: AB 135.
Smith CD, Bejarano PA, Melvin WS, et al. Endoscopic ablation of intestinal metaplasia containing high-grade dysplasia in esophagectomy patients using a balloon-based ablation system. Surg Endosc 2007; 21:560-569.
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“Fastest Rising Form of Cancer in the U.S.” Webmd.com. 2005. WebMD.
Accessed October 2007.
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Possible complications may include: mucosal laceration, perforation of the esophagus requiring surgery, infection, bleeding, and stricture formation requiring dilation. The overall complication rate reported for this procedure is approximately < .19%.
Spechler SJ. Barrett’s esophagus. N Engl J Med 2002; 346: 836-842.
Gondrie JJ, Rygie AM, Sondermeijer C, et al. Balloon-based circumferential ablation followed by focal ablation of Barrett's esophagus containing high-grade dysplasia effectively removes all genetic alterations. Gastroenterology. 2007; Supplement S1: 132: A-64.
Inadomi JM, Madanick RD, Somsouk M, Shaheen NJ. Radiofrequency ablation is more cost-effective than endoscopic surveillance or esophagectomy among patients with Barrett's esophagus and low-grade dysplasia. Gastroenterology. 2007; Supplement S1: 132: A-53.
Ganz RA, Overholt BJ, Sharma VK, et al. HALO360+ circumferential ablation is safe and effective for the treatment of Barrett's esophagus and high-grade dysplasia: A U.S. multi-center registry. Gastrointest Endosc 2007; 65: AB 147.
Sharma VK, Kim HJ, Musil D, Crowell MD, et al. Circumferential ablation of Barrett's esophagus with low-grade dysplasia: One and two year follow-up of the AIM-LGD Trial. Gastrointest Endosc. 2007; 65: AB155.
Pouw RE, Gondrie JJ, Sondermeijer C, et al. Novel combined modality therapy for Barrett's esophagus containing high-grade dysplasia: Endoscopic mucosal resection followed by circumferential and focal ablation using the HALO system. Gastrointest Endosc 2007;65: AB111.
Gondrie JJ, Pouw RE, Sondermeijer C, et al. Optimizing the technique for circumferential ablation of Barrett's esophagus containing high-grade dysplasia using the HALO360 system. Gastrointest Endosc 2007;65:AB 151.
Rothstein RI, Chang K, Overholt BJ, et al. Focal ablation for treatment of dysplastic and non-dysplastic Barrett's esophagus: safety profile and initial experience with the HALO90 device in 508 cases. Gastrointest Endosc 2007;65: AB 147.
Gondrie JJ, Peters F, Curvers WL, et al. Radiofrequency ablation of Barrett’s esophagus containing high-grade dysplasia. Gastrointest Endosc 2007;65: AB 135.
Beaumont H, Bergman JJ, Pouw RE, et al. Preservation of the functional integrity of the distal esophagus after circumferential ablation of Barrett’s esophagus. Gastroenterology. 2007; Supplement S1: 132: A-255.
Sharma P, Falk GW, Weston AP, et al. Dysplasia and cancer in a large multicenter cohort of patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006; 4:566-572