|LE Magazine November 2001|
Achieving Maximum Health
You may not have heard of a man named Oz Garcia, but you will soon. For the last twenty years, Oz has been a health consultant to the rich and famous of New York City. He has helped thousands of people stave off the effects of aging through his encyclopedic knowledge of nutrition and health. His growing reputation has resulted in even conventional medical professionals seeking his expertise.
Oz Garcia’s new book, The Healthy High Tech Body, is just hitting the book stores. Based on national media interviews, the expectation is that Oz’s book will become a best-seller.
In his book, Oz attributes The Life Extension Foundation as one of his most important sources of credible scientific information. Oz uses many of The Foundation’s recommendations to provide practical approaches to help his clients to remain youthful and vigorous.
In this issue of Life Extension, we introduce Oz Garcia and his “maximum health” program in an article entitled “The Wizard Is Oz.”
Are body scans safe?
Advertisements for “Heart Scan,” “Virtual Colonoscopy” and “Whole Body Scan” are appearing everywhere. These screening scans are becoming popular because they can detect early-stage pathology and enable people to obtain treatment before a disease becomes irreversible.
At first glance, these scans would appear to be modern medicine’s answer to catching diseases before they reach a lethal stage. But our investigation shows that the centers offering body scans are not telling you all you need to know before you walk in the door.
In order to take a picture of your colon, coronary arteries, pancreas, etc. a lot of radiation has to be put into your body. How much radiation? Some estimates are that one whole body scan is equivalent to the radiation received during 900 chest x-rays. Radiation damages cellular DNA thereby increasing the risk of cancer and premature aging.
CT (computed tomography) scans are fancy x-ray machines attached to computers. While the ads use such words as “non-invasive,” the reality is that these machines emit hundreds of times more radiation than x-rays. Some studies suggest that if you were to get several “body scans,” the radiation exposure could double your risk of certain cancers.(1)
The most troubling aspect of our investigation was our inability to get a straight answer about CT scan radiation. Neither the scan centers nor the manufacturers were forthcoming. Answers like “it’s like an airplane flight across the country” or “it depends on too many factors to give you an answer” are not the kind of responses the public deserves to hear.
No safe dose of radiation
Our investigation confirms what John W. Gofman and others have been saying for years—that there is no safe dose of radiation. Gofman, a nuclear scientist, quit as the nation’s first director of research into the health effects of radiation in order to pursue his own research on the effects of radiation on health. He has written numerous books, including Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease and Radiation-Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure.(2)
Radiation is cumulative over a lifetime, and studies show that repeated low-dose radiation significantly increases the risk of cancer. This danger is downplayed by doctors who tell us, “it’s safe, don’t worry.” It’s not as safe as most people think. That’s why it’s important to think twice about getting scanned unless it is absolutely necessary. Safe radiation is a myth, as new research shows that one single particle of radiation— the lowest dose that can be given— causes damage to DNA that cannot be easily repaired. It takes only one mutation to occur in one cell under the right conditions to produce cancer.
Gofman points out that when it comes to radiation, the usual informed consent that accompanies most medical procedures is thrown out the window.
As a late development in this story, we got a call from Siemens (a CT scan manufacturer) telling us that the company is testing a new device that reduces CT radiation exposure up to 50%. This is something to look forward to, as evidence shows that modern CT scans are exposing people to far more radiation than necessary.
Companies promoting CT scans don’t mention the radiation exposure, but Life Extension members will learn the startling facts in this month’s article entitled “Body Scans: Do you know the risks?”.
The value of knowledge
A growing number of Americans are joining The Life Extension Foundation to learn what they can do to stay healthy. Each month, we deliver scientific information that is ignored or covered up by the medical establishment.
Our objective is to convey knowledge that even health-conscious people may not be aware of. In other words, articles appearing in Life Extension are designed to tell you something you did not already know. Assembling this complex scientific data every month represents an enormous challenge, but we consider our search for new information to be indispensable in our quest to achieve a radical extension in the healthy human life span.
For longer life,
1. Based on data related to breast cancer from studies on women undergoing repeated fluoroscopies as part of a treatment for tuberculosis and women exposed to radiation from the atomic bombs dropped on Japan (see, e.g.,, Boice JD, et al. 1977. Breast cancer in women after repeated fluoroscopic examinations of the chest. J Natl Cancer Inst 59:823-32).
2. Available from The Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, see www.x-raysandhealth.org
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