Is breast cancer being over-diagnosed?

There is no question that the advent and spread of mammograms led to an increase in early detection of breast cancer, and that early detection and diagnosis of cancer has been proven to result in better treatment outcomes and longer survival times.

However, when reviewing statistical information for breast cancer something about the numbers doesn’t quite add up.

According to research published in the November 22, 2012 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, screening mammography correlated with a doubling of cases of early-stage breast cancer detected each year (from 112 to 234 cases per 100,000 women). At the same time there was only an 8 percent decrease in the rate at which women are diagnosed with late-stage cancer (from 102 to 94 cases per 100,000 women).

There are only two ways to explain these numbers: either the incidence of breast cancer is growing at an alarming rate – which does not appear to be the case – or many women who do not have cancer at all are told they have it.

Read More »

Fructose and obesity

There is no question that we have an obesity epidemic in our country. When wondering what could be the cause, it’s easy to conclude that people are just eating too much. While there is no question that portion size has something to do with this crisis, there must be other and more subtle factors at play that prevent people from knowing when they’ve had too much to eat.

According to recent research, one such factor could be fructose, increasingly used as a sweetener for drinks.

In this study researchers used MRI scans to track blood flow to different parts of the brain.

What they found is that, when people had a drink sweetened with fructose or high-fructose corn syrup containing 55% fructose, areas of the brain that have to do with feeling like we’ve had enough to eat were not getting stimulated like they were when regular sugar was used.

I am not saying this to promote the use of sugar which, I believe, is a metabolic poison in all its forms except if consumed only occasionally and in tiny amounts. However, when looking at studies like this one – and others like it – it becomes very clear that fructose presents problems for health and weight regulation that go beyond those of regular sugar or glucose. Read about this research here:

Natural solutions that work for childhood asthma, allergies, skin conditions, and many autoimmune diseases

Through my years in practice I have been blessed to be able to help many children with asthma, allergies, eczema, and related conditions – as well as adults with the same conditions or autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

All of these health challenges share a common trigger: a malfunction of the immune system causing the body to react – sometimes violently – to a benign substance like pollen or a tissue or organ of the body itself that does not normally pose a threat to health.

Conventional medicine addresses these conditions by using a wide range of drugs all of which work by suppressing the immune system. While suppression can manage the symptoms of an out of control immune reaction, it can also open a door for some very bad things to happen. Reading the potential side effects of some of these medications can be a chilling experience. Listed side effects often include cancer, antibiotic-resistant infections, and even death.

Read More »

Reassessing the benefits of chelation for children with autism

Chelation is a therapy aimed at removing toxic and neurotoxic metals from the body. It can be done by IV administration of various substances, or by giving the same products orally.

When I started to work with autistic children more than twelve years ago, oral chelation with a substance named DMSA was very common. At the time it was considered a potential cure for many children and, almost all the doctors and nutritionists who treated autistic children recommended it.

Then it became apparent that it could cause intestinal side effects, sometimes attributed to yeast overgrowth, and doctors switched to other forms of chelation, sometimes intravenous, or abandoned this treatment altogether.

I felt all along – and still feel today – that DMSA is very beneficial for children on the autistic spectrum. Side effects were often a result of doses that were excessive and therefore poorly tolerated, and more aggressive forms of chelation with stronger agents administered intravenously failed to show better results.

A new study published in “Maedica, A Journal of Clinical Medicine” Vol. 7, No.3 2012, p. 214-221 found that ongoing chelation therapy with low-dose DMSA produced significant benefits in the 44 children who participated in the study. Areas of greatest improvement included verbal and nonverbal communication; taste, smell and touch; and relating to people. This study confirms something I have been observing all along, that chelation works for these children. Read More »

Flu shots: to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

As flu season has arrived once again, this question is bound to be in many of my readers’ mind. Every year people ask me what I do and my answer has not changed in decades, I take vitamin C. In fact, I have never had a flu shot in my life and have no plans to start doing so now.

I can be accused of being quite the vitamin C fan, but I can report in all honesty that the only times when I got the flu in my entire adult life are times when – for one reason or the other – I had stopped taking my vitamin C.

In fact I take vitamin C all year long. My usual dose is 1 gram per day in addition to what is in my multivitamin, but I increase that to 4 grams per day when the weather turns chilly and parents start to bring by my office their children with runny noses and a high temperature. Not only does vitamin C seem to protect me from the flu, it also keeps me from catching whatever it is that children with their runny noses, coughs, and fevers are bringing to my office.

When it comes to flu shots many people still think that – in spite of potential negatives – they do at least guarantee that you will not get the flu. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact I have known many people who got the flu from the vaccine or right after being vaccinated. Read More »

MSM Rejuvenator: a great find for winter dry skin

If you are like me, when the weather starts to get chilly your hands also dry up. Drinking extra water, taking fish oil, or using most body lotions never seemed to make any difference.

Finally, years ago I found a cream called MSM Rejuvenator and that is the first thing that really made a difference for me by taking the dryness right out of my skin. The theory behind its effectiveness is that it provides the skin with the sulfur compounds necessary for skin to retain moisture.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, it is available from my office or can be ordered online from my website. If it works as well for you as it does for me, please let me know. Though “Rejuvenator” is part of the name I cannot say whether it does anything for wrinkles or aging skin, but if you find that it does, please inform me of that as well.

Cholesterol, life expectancy, and children: the link to toxins

When it comes to cholesterol, even many alternative-minded people see it just as something bad, a killer to be avoided as much as possible in the diet. The story seems simple enough: too much cholesterol in the diet coming from egg yolks, butter, red meat, and so on, causes cholesterol in the blood to go up. That in turn causes clogging of the arteries and, given enough time, heart disease and even early death.

While it has been shown that high blood cholesterol in young to middle aged but otherwise healthy individuals often leads to heart disease, the link between blood cholesterol levels and cholesterol in the diet has never been conclusively established. For example, when studies of the Atkins diet were finally released, they showed that blood cholesterol levels went down – not up – in people following this notoriously high cholesterol diet.

At the same time, studies of people on vegan or other very low or no cholesterol diets failed to show dramatic drops in blood cholesterol levels. In my own professional experience I have known several people over the years who switched to a vegan diet containing no cholesterol only to see their blood cholesterol levels go up rather than down.

We also hear increasingly from mainstream medical sources that high cholesterol is a problem that originates in childhood and that, conceivably, is when the foundation for heart disease later in life is laid. Read More »

Salt: friend or foe?

Just recently, a long-time patient of mine brought me a copy of an article on salt and asked me to read it. The article, entitled “Health advice takes a pinch of salt” was from a publication named The Costco Connection that I had never heard of or seen before.

My patient told me that reading the article felt to him like listening to me talk, and he was sure that I would enjoy it as well. As it turns out I did. I found the article well-written and well-referenced, and it reminded me of a similar article I had read just a few months earlier in the New York Times.

The point of the article was that salt is widely believed among medical professionals and the public at large to cause high blood pressure, which then leads to heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular ailments.

However, the link between salt consumption and high blood pressure has never been proved conclusively. The belief that there is such a link stems more from medical bias than scientific evidence. It is true that an observational study published in 1972 showed that among populations that used little added salt in their food high blood pressure was rare. One minor detail that was overlooked was that these same populations also did not eat sugar or processed food – two far more likely culprits in my opinion, than salt. Read More »

Curcumin, Krill Oil and the risk of diabetes

Metabolic Syndrome is a recently identified and increasingly common health condition. It is characterized by an increase in abdominal fat. Blood tests show elevated triglycerides as well as cholesterol and often borderline high blood sugar.

Metabolic Syndrome is associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and other diseases of aging.

It has been my standard practice over the past several years to recommend a moderately low-carbohydrate diet for people with this condition. Certain supplements, to help normalize blood sugar, increase detoxification, and other products based on individual circumstances can also be of use.

Following these simple steps, my patients often notice rapid and significant improvements and blood tests quickly normalize. Recent studies show that two simple and readily available supplements can further enhance the process of reversing Metabolic Syndrome. Read More »

Repair the membrane, restore the body: innovative approaches to regaining optimal health and the science behind them

At one time cell membranes were believed to just be envelopes surrounding cells. However, it has been nearly forty years since the structure of the cell membrane was deciphered leading to the development of the Lipid Bi-Layer Fluid Mosaic Model. In this model cell membranes are no longer seen as merely envelopes, they become dynamic structures that play critical roles in the health and detoxification of cells, and the cells’ unique ability to work in concert – thus keeping us in good health.

Lipids – or fats – are the main component of cell membranes. Lipids in cell membranes are actually phospholipids – or a combination of fats and phosphorus – and not just fats. They don’t just sit idly by doing nothing; they contribute to every aspect of cellular energy, detoxification, and optimal function.

Healthy cell-membranes lead to healthy cells, a healthy body, plenty of energy, healthy aging, and so forth. Among other things, cell membranes incorporate hormone receptors that, if sound, will promote healthy hormone activity throughout the body.

Unfortunately the fats (or phospholipids) in cell membranes can be degraded leading to deterioration in cellular – and, overall – health and wellness.

A major reason why cell membranes become damaged is poor diet. When highly processed fats are a major component of an individual’s diet, they will be incorporated in cell membranes and cause their function to deteriorate. Excessive intake of sugars, refined carbohydrates and other processed foods will have the same negative effect.

The fats in cell membranes are very vulnerable to oxidation, so a lack of antioxidants in the diet is also a primary cause of damage to cell membranes.

Last but not least, environmental toxins like mercury and an almost endless list of chemicals present in our everyday lives can also harm cell membranes, and thus have far-reaching adverse effects on health.

The first symptom of cell membrane damage could be described as decreased energy levels or vitality, although other common symptoms include intestinal and digestive problems, chronic pain, and weakened immunity. Damaged cell membranes have also been linked with neurological disorders, autism, problems like depression or anxiety, ADHD and – ultimately – cancer, heart disease, mental decline, and more.

Forty years of research on cell membranes have significantly enhanced our understanding of their central role in health. Ultimately much of what is recommended today, like fish oil supplements, is aimed at improving cell membrane health whether we know it or not.

Meanwhile, forward thinking researchers and physicians developed the concept of Lipid Replacement Therapy (LRT) – a way to actually “change the oil” in the body. Damaged fats in cell membranes are replaced with healthy ones, gradually restoring health. Read More »

Must Read Gluten-Free Books

Contributed by Allison Medford-Plesko

Going gluten-free can be extremely overwhelming. Below is a list of books that are helpful, especially when beginning a gluten-free diet. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Going Against the Grain by Melissa Smith
This is the book Dr. Volpe recommends to all his patients who are switching to a gluten-free diet. It is easy to read and extremely informative.

Gluten Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap by Nicole Hunn
Gluten-free food is pricey. This book gives great advice and tips for saving money.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating by Eve Adamson
This is a very extensive guide to being gluten-free. It has everything from a week’s worth of menus to a list of foods you can and cannot eat.

The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, 5th Edition (2012) by Triumph Dining
This guide makes shopping easier and a little less overwhelming.

The Essential Gluten Free Restaurant Guide, 5th Edition by Triumph Dining.
This is really good for traveling with kids. It lists restaurants with gluten-free menus by state and city.

Living Gluten Free for Dummies by Danna Korn
Everything is in this one book. It includes tips to help your child transition into the gluten-free lifestyle as well as many more helpful tools.

Vaccines, allergies and asthma. Is there more?

Vaccines are rightfully credited for bringing about major advances in public health. People of my age still remember growing up with stories of children who suffered horribly because they had polio. I grew up in Italy, and these stories were common. When the vaccine finally arrived and became available to all, parents were elated.

Is it possible that a good thing – if overdone – could lead to adverse results? Is it possible that lifesaving vaccines are now causing more harm than good?

For many parents of children with autism or ADHD who read this newsletter, there is no denying that too many vaccines can cause harm. So many of these parents witnessed a severe deterioration in their children’s ability to communicate or even function normally after they received a battery of vaccines, often to face denial or even ridicule from the medical establishment. Read More »

Can autism be prevented?

I have been associated with the Defeat Autism Now! group for many years now. I attended my first conference with them in 2000 when a desperate mother almost begged me to go because she felt that no one knew how to treat children with autism in Houston, and there was a dire need for this type of expertise. Since then I attended many more conferences with them and plan to go to more in the future.

I have the greatest respect for this organization, but often wondered over the years why so little time was devoted at their meetings and conferences to discussing the topic of autism prevention, rather than just treatment. This has changed completely with an outstanding article on this very topic authored by David Berger, MD.

Dr. Berger is a board certified pediatrician who has been a long-standing member of Defeat Autism Now! and a regular speaker at their conferences. His article was accepted for publication and will appear in issue 4 (2012) of Autism Science Digest.

In it, Dr. Berger describes strategies he has been implementing for more than 10 years to prevent the birth of a second child with autism, in families who already have one. Statistically, parents with an autistic child are at much greater risk than the general population of having a second child with this same condition. Although more than 500 couples implemented Dr. Berger’s protocol, to the best of his knowledge, none had a second child with autism. Read More »

Amla, an ancient remedy from India making a major comeback on the wings of modern science

Amla is a berry that is native to the Indian subcontinent and neighboring areas. It has a long history of medicinal use as a remedy for everything from vision problems, to almost every digestive complaint, allergies, low immunity, and even hormonal imbalance in women.

A flurry of recent research has given a new scientific validation to this unique healing berry. Among other things, it was found to be one of the most potent antioxidants known. When compared to 1,000 herbs with well-established antioxidant properties, it was found to be among the top four in terms of beneficial effects and the ability to prevent cell-damaging effects from the strongest oxidants and carcinogens.

Amla was found to protect the liver from oxidative damage caused by chemicals or alcohol. It was found to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation, thus slowing aging of the skin and – of course – preventing skin cancer. In studies performed on diabetics, it was found to protect the heart as well as the kidneys. Read More »

Nutritional treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

People often ask me if I can be of help for conditions like OCD, in addition to depression, anxiety, ADD, and so forth. My answer is always a resounding “yes!” although as with everything else results can vary from person to person.

When results are good, everyone is satisfied, and the next referral is just around the corner. However, when results fall short of expectations, it can lead to a lot of soul searching and disappointment on my part, and the patient often feels that there is no good alternative to drugs.

Recently the topic of natural treatments for OCD was discussed on an email list to which I subscribe. Most subscribers to this list are medical doctors, including many psychiatrists, and all have an interest in natural or integrative medicine.

The opinions expressed greatly validated my own beliefs and approach to healing this challenging condition. Current scientific opinion holds that OCD is the result of an imbalance between the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, whereby there is too much dopamine activity in relation to serotonin. Read More »

Cilantro: The Little Plant That Packs a Really Big Punch

contributed by Allison Plesko

 The many benefits of Cilantro include:

  • Helps eliminate from the body heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and aluminum from the body
  • Oils contain digestive enzymes assisting with digestion and nausea
  • Anti-Bacterial properties- contains Dodecenal which has been shown to fight salmonella
  • Anti-Inflammatory effects
  • Naturally contains iron, magnesium and dietary fiber
  • Immune boosting properties
  • Raises good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol
  • Assists with urinary tract infections
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Contains phytonutrients and flavonoids such as Quercetin, which helps the body fight free radicals


Cilantro Pesto


Enough cilantro (not packed down) to fill blender

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons or limes, juiced

2-5 cloves garlic, pressed

sea salt to taste

1/2-1 cup walnuts (or preferred nut or seed)

How to make it:

1. Put in blender and process until course.

2. You may have to stop it and push it down with a spatula.

3. Enjoy with gluten free crackers or chips.


Apple-Pear-Cilantro Smoothie


1 small, ripe, organic red apple of your choice

1 small, ripe, organic pear of your choice

2 large handfuls of organic cilantro leaves

1 large handful of organic mixed greens

1-2 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

2 cups pure water (can use coconut water)

1 tablespoon of protein powder- gluten free (Pro Zone Vanilla)

(Optional- honey or agave nectar to taste)

How to Make:

1. Wash and core pear and apple, leaving the peels on them.

2. Wash cilantro well and place all ingredients in a blender.

3. Add protein powder and ice if needed.

4. May add honey or agave to your preferred taste.

5. Blend, pour into a glass and enjoy.

TV Interview: Can foods help children with ADD, ADHD?

Dr. Volpe was interviewed concerning his work with children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and an improved diet. The interview was aired in Houston on the 10 pm news of the local NBC affiliate on January 20, 2012.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Can foods help children with ADD, ADHD?

Excerpts from the interview:

“Volpe is a chiropractor and nutritionist but over the years, solving health problems naturally became his passion. He doesn’t advise his patients on whether to medicate their children, he just looks at their diet and their health history to help. Volpe says some children are very sensitive to certain foods.

Volpe warns, “Children today have a very poor diet — a lot of sugar, a lot of processed foods, a lot of what we would call empty calories.”

He says don’t expect food to reproduce that laser like focus that Adderral, Ritalin or Concerta brings.

Volpe worries the drugs are just a band-aid — they never correct the problem, just the symptoms.”

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Valid through December 31, 2011

Auditory Integration Training: New therapy available

I am now offering a new therapy called Auditory Integration Training or AIT. I first heard about this therapy from parents who raved about it and also told me that it was hard to find in the Houston area.

AIT was developed by French physician Dr. Guy Berard. Although it was originally developed to treat hearing disorders, over his 30 years of practice Dr. Berard discovered that it was beneficial also for children with the disorders listed below. While these children do not have hearing loss, they suffer from distortions in the way their brains process different sounds and these distortions contribute to their symptoms.

This therapy has proven benefits for:

  • Sensory Integration issues
  • Autism
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia
  • Depression
  • Other communication disorders or developmental delays
  • Non-verbal disorders

Read More »

The vitamin critics are at it again…

The headlines have been everywhere and it seems that we are back in the dark days of vitamin bashing, perhaps prompted by reports that even in these hard economic times vitamin sales are booming. As in the past, for every negative study on vitamins there are many positive ones, except that only the research with negative findings gets reported, no matter how poorly designed or unreliable it is! Among the latest news you may have heard or read about, vitamin E was supposedly found to cause prostate cancer. As simple as that, or maybe not…

Let’s take a closer look at the data that prompted this “finding.” (1) When taking low-quality synthetic vitamin E or a placebo, the risk of prostate cancer was found to be higher in people taking vitamin E with no other supplement by an astounding 0.63%! Whenever the difference is less than 1% it is hard to attribute much significance to it, because any study done on a sample of the population will have a margin of error. To conclude that vitamin E causes prostate cancer based on a 0.63% rate increase in a single study is preposterous.

There is more. In this very same study, when people took Vitamin E plus Selenium the increased risk fell to just 0.24%. Selenium does only one thing: it makes vitamin E more effective. So if vitamin E causes cancer, the rate should go up, not down, when it is taken with selenium. In reality, it has been common knowledge for years that antioxidants like vitamin E should not be taken alone but in a balanced complex containing all the major antioxidants. When taken alone they can be counterproductive and even lead to worse health. Read More »