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Archive for November, 2008

The title of a video I came across on YouTube is “Headache Stay Gone Cures and Prevents Migraines.” After I watched the video, I visited their web site.

Their web site brazenly promises:

  • “Headache Stay Gone will cure your headaches; even migraines and end your nightmare.”
  • “Headache Stay Gone is formulated using all-natural herbs and vitamins. To date; we know of no side effects after thousands have taken Headache Stay Gone.
  • “Headache Stay Gone has been on the market since May 2006 and was used by people who chose to try it even before that; for a couple of years. We have NEVER heard of even one Headache Stay Gone customer having a problem taking Headache Stay Gone when he or she was taking prescription drugs.”
  • “Even migraines are cured. After you have been headache free for 3 months, you can stop taking Headache Stay Gone and still be headache free. “

Pretty bold statements, and there’s nothing on their site other than “testimonials” to back their claims. No study results or anything like that.

A glance at the ingredients makes me wish this was believable:

  • rosemary
  • peppermint
  • ginger mint
  • blue vervain
  • slippery elm
  • nettles
  • meadowsweet
  • basil
  • hops
  • white willow bark

Those ingredients look so “natural,” so “safe.” And that’s a problem. These “natural” substances are durgs, but since this type of prroduct is so looselly regulated by the FDA, they can get away with making these claims.

I didn’t take time to look up all the ingredients, but here’s what I found out about a few of them:

White willow bark:

“Because willow bark contains salicin, people who are allergic or sensitive to salicylates (such as aspirin) should not use willow bark. Some researchers suggest that people with asthma, diabetes, gout, gastritis, hemophilia, and stomach ulcers should also avoid willow bark. If you have any of these conditions, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) regularly or blood-thinning medication, be sure to consult your health care provider before taking willow bark. Willow bark should not given to children under the age of 16.”

Side Effects
“Side effects tend to be mild. However, gastrointestinal irritation and ulcers are potentially associated with all compounds containing salicylates. Overdoses of willow bark may cause skin rash, stomach inflammation/irritation, nausea, vomiting, kidney inflammation, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).”

“Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Salicylates are not recommended during pregnancy, so pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take willow bark.”

“Interactions and Depletions
Because willow bark contains salicylates, it has the potential to interact with a number of drugs and herbs. Talk to your doctor before taking willow bark if you take any other medications, herbs, or supplements.”

“Willow bark may interact with any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) — Willow bark may strengthen the effects of drugs and herbs with blood-thinning properties.
  • Beta blockers — including Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL), Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA). Willow bark may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.
  • Diuretics (water pills) — Willow bark may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Taking willow bark with these drugs may increase risk of stomach bleeding.
  • Methotrexate and phenytoin (Dilantin) — Willow may increase levels of these drugs in the body, resulting in toxic levels.
    (Drugdigest.org)”

Hops:

“Although Hops has sedative effects it is not recommended for administration to infants and children. Individuals who suffer from major depression or who use medication for insomnia or anxiety such as: carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, alprazolam, diazepam, Ambien, diphenhydramine, doxepin and nortriptyline are advised to avoid taking hops due to it sedative properties as well.”

“Because Hops has diuretic properties which may affect certain enzymes in the liver, individuals using prescription drugs such as Allegra, Sporanox and Nizoral, etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine , lovastatin and oral contraceptives should contact their health care provider before start using Hops. Combining Hops with other sedative herbs such as: Catnip, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, or Kava Kava may result in excessive sedation.”
(University of Maryland Medical Center)

Meadowsweet:

“When should I be careful taking it?
Meadowsweet has been shown to cause tightening of the air passages in the lungs. Such tightening–known as a bronchospasm–can cause or worsen an asthma attack. Therefore, individuals with asthma should avoid using meadowsweet.”

“Because of its aspirin-like component, meadowsweet should not be given to children. Although no cases involving meadowsweet have been reported, aspirin may cause a rare but potentially dangerous condition called Reye’s syndrome in children. Reye’s syndrome usually develops as a patient is recovering from a viral illness such as flu or chickenpox. The first signs of Reye’s syndrome include intense vomiting and drowsiness. Behavior changes, confusion, seizures, and coma may follow.”

“Individuals with allergies to aspirin or sulfites should also avoid taking meadowsweet due to its similarities to aspirin.”

“In animal studies, meadowsweet showed a slight possibility of causing uterine contractions, therefore women who are pregnant should avoid taking meadowsweet.”

“Some laboratory studies appear to show that meadowsweet flowers and seeds (which not usually included in medicine) contain a chemical similar to heparin, a drug used to prevent blood clotting. The salicylate component found in meadowsweet may also have some inhibiting effect on blood clotting. Individuals with disorders of blood clotting should avoid using meadowsweet.”
(Drugdigest.org)

So…

  • There’s no proof that Headahe Stay Gone can “cure” headaches and Migraines.
  • They claim not to know of any side effects,  yet there are clearly possible side effects for some if not all of the ingredients.
  • They claim not to have heard of even one drug interaction, yet there are clearly possible interactions.

Shouldn’t they have to reveal possible side effects and interactions. I certainly think so. How do they get away with not doing it? Well, that’s a question for the FDA.

Best,
Arabella

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thanksgiving200How about a change of pace from my usual posts about Migraine information or misinformation?

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, and I think we could all use a break from all of this. So, about Thanksgiving. This year, I’m thankful for many things:

  • My wonderful family and friends.
  • The progress I’ve made in managing my Migraines this year.
  • The internet for all the information that’s available to us.
  • You! I’m very grateful for the way this blog has bee received, for all of you who read it, and for all of you who comment.

What are you thankful for this year? Migraines can make it really hard to remember to be grateful for anything, but I think that’s all the more reason to give it some serious thought.

So, I toast you all as Thanksgiving approaches! May your day be blessed, full, and joyful; and may you be as Migraine free as possible.

Gobble, gobble!
Arabella

Pilgrim Girl

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migrainetruth21I realize that on the 21st, I said I wasn’t going to write my Part II about Glenn Stewart Coles. But after reading an exchange between Coles and a Migraineur about his comments about Migraine blogger Megan Oltman, I’ve changed my mind.

To Leloo Minai, Coles said in the comments section of his blog:

Yes, I recognize that my approach has created barriers rather than broadening perspectives. Leeloo, thank you for your wisdom and comments. I shall try harder.

I will also publicly state that I recognize both Teri Roberts and Megan Oltman as compassionate educated people who make great efforts to help those with migraines deal with a difficult condition…

Sounds good, does it not? At first blush, yes; but when you read more you’ll spot some problems if you’ve read much of what he’s written on his blog and in comments on other blogs.

You see, this is not the first time Coles has apologized or promised to try harder. I don’t know how you view an apology, but to me, an apology carries with it an implicit statement that the person will not repeat the offending behavior. If you continue reading his reply to Minai on his “Mind Games” blog post, you’ll see that he goes from “I shall try harder” right into another attack on Teri Robert, leading writer and patient advocate in the field of Migraines and headaches.

He says he knows that he doesn’t know it all. If that’s so, why does he feel qualified to attack others?

In October, Coles wrote a blog entry titled “Fear and Deception.” In it, he quite viciously attacked both Teri Robert and Diana Lee (Diana writes the blog Somebody Heal Me.) Interestingly enough, although he spends an inordinate amount of time writing about her, Coles can’t even spell Robert’s name right. Her last name is Robert, not Roberts.

Now, I’ve done some research on Robert. In fact, I’ve followed her work for some time now. A Migraineur herself, with children and grandchildren with Migraines, Robert has been working full-time since about 2000 to help other Migraineurs. She GETS IT. She knows what it’s like to have Migraines that are so severe and frequent that you have no life. Unlike Coles, who simply sits back and criticizes others, Robert attends medical conferences on a regular basis and works to stay current on the research in the field.

Coles has accused Robert of trying to scare people into taking medications. The truth is, in fact, the opposite of that. While the news media indulge in sensationalistic headlines about stroke risk, cardiovascular disease risk, and so on, Robert tells her readers that such things are ot reason for panic.

In an August article, “Gene Linked to Migraine and Increased Stroke Risk, Robert offers this near the end:

Summary and comments:
As with other studies that have shown a correlation between Migraine and stroke, this one gives reason for thought and caution, but not panic. If you have Migraine with aura, speak with your doctor about how you can reduce stroke risk factors. Work with your doctor toward the best Migraine treatment regimen for you. Develop nutrition and exercise lifestyle habits that will benefit your overall state of health. And, keep learning. The more we know about our health and issues such as Migraine disease, the more we can do to reduce our risks.

Maybe Coles would say that she shouldn’t have written about the study at all. That would fit his pattern. However, as a Migraineur, I was thankful for her article. I’d read the news stories and they WERE frightening. Many readers count on Robert to explain such research in terms that we can understand and to put them in perspective for us. And she delivers. Every time.

So, Mr. Coles, if you “recognize that my approach has created barriers rather than broadening perspectives,” why do you repeat the offending behavior? Oh, and before you decide to attack me, Mr. Coles, know that I really don’t care what you say or think about me. And, no, I probably will not publish any comments you attempt to post here. You’ve proven that you can’t be believed. When, and only when, I see a change in your attitude when you comment on other blogs, will I consider allowing you to comment here.

Best,
Arabella

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Here’s hoping you’re enjoying a beautiful fall Saturday free of Migraines!

You may be surprised at one of the comments I allowed to show on my last post. Normally, I wouldn’t let name calling, let alone such language stand. I let it stand as an example of one type of person who tends to comment. This is a person who may well have some theory of their own that they can’t get others to readily accept. Or, they may just be some crackpot. Still, there’s some reason they came to a blog about Migraines.

People who post this kind of comment are relatively easy to ignore because their comment shows such a deplorable lack of intelligence, humanity, and good sense. If they really had anything of worth to say, they wouldn’t resort to name calling and profanity.

Realist, if you have something of worth to say, you’re welcome to comment here any time. However, you’ve had your one free pass to post an idiotic, worthless comment. Now, be a good little person and go play. Somewhere else.

Best,
Arabella

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When I wrote about Coles yesterday, I had intended to write a second part in defense of some other writers he has attacked with no reasonable foundation.

At this point, I’ve changed my mind. As I read a bit more of his writings and his attacks on others, I began to pity him too much to write more. The people he goes after are well respected, revered, and loved by their readers. In three lifetimes, Coles couldn’t understand why, nor could he gain a fraction of the respect paid to these other writers.

The point of this blog is to point out misconceptions, misunderstandings, lies, theories with no foundation, frauds, unproven theories, etc. Yesterday’s post should serve the purpose of letting you know that his theory is unproven and that he is so insecure in it that he feels the need to attack others rather than focusing on himself and his “work.”

“Nuff said.

Best,
Arabella

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On his blog, No More Headaches, Glenn Stewart Coles boldly states:

Welcome to my blog, written by Glenn Stewart Coles. Here you can discover articles that discuss the elimination of migraines and repetitive headaches without the use of medications. For twenty-two years I suffered from migraines and cluster headaches. Now I don’t. I do not require any medications or special treatments. I have simply eliminated migraines from my life.

There are a few problems with Coles and his writings, mainly that his theory is totally unproven and makes no sense. The bigger problem, however, is his total contempt and lack of respect for anyone who writes about Migraines and dares subscribe to beliefs other than his or — heaven forbid! — actually dare to write about any “traditional” or even many complementary treatments. He also has a huge problem with anyone who dares to actually have any type of paying job that offers information or support for sufferers of Migraines or other headache disorders.

His victim yesterday was Megan Oltman of Free My Brain. The title for this poor excuse for a blog post (which he calls an article) was “Mind Games.” He calls Oltman the “self-proclaimed Ann Landers of Migraines.” Now, Oltman has never proclaimed any such thing. Maybe Coles thinks he’s witty, but his attempts at wit fall as flat as his “cure” for Migraines and headaches.

Coles also has a web site, modestly named after himself. On that site, he claims:

I have learned that while headaches have an obvious physical outcome, there are other aspects that contribute to repetitive headaches. If these other aspects are identified and changed, the outcome can change as well. Basically it is possible to learn how to not have headaches.

Oh, right. Give me a freakin’ break. If it were that easy, someone other than Coles would have discovered this long ago. Oh, wait. That’s right. Nobody was enlightened or smart enough to realize this until Coles came along. He’s the messiah of Migraine and headache sufferers. Well, that IS the attitude he projects, and believe me, he tries to project it — A LOT.

Coles is another of those people who can’t resist posting comments on the blogs of others. Comments that are arrogant, rude, and derisive. But he can’t let it go at that. He then just can’t resist running to blog about some of these people to criticize them. Does it make him feel like a big man? Maybe. Of course, maybe it will get him sued for libel someday.

To Megan Oltman — Keep up the good work! Being attacked by G.S. Coles puts you in good company!

Oh, and something else about Coles. He’s a time traveler. Yep! HE says so. In July, he wrote an article called “Time Travel.” In that article, he states:

I have learned how to travel through time without requiring a device. Once I get there I can influence the outcome. Traveling to the past and making changes alters my present day status. Much like the Butterfly Effect, small changes to your past can have great influence on your future.

Time travel can be achieved through focused intention. Instead of traveling physically to another time, I get there through meditation…

So, why is it I think I hear the them from The Twilight Zone?

Best,
Arabella

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On November 2, I wrote A Migraine Cure in a Bottle – Complete with Video! As I told you, a young woman named Jessica was proclaiming that MonaVie had cured her Migraines.

It turns out that the web site referred to in the video belongs to Jessica and Daryl Woods, and I began getting daily emails from them trying to sell me MonaVie. After a few days of this, I replied to their email, pointing them to my blog post with their video and telling me to remove me from their mailing list. Daryl replied almost immediately saying,

Go **** yourself!

I’m sure you can fill the blank. How very eloquent and professional. Just the kind of person we’d all love to do business with. NOT! That kind of comment is generally the defense of a person lacking the intellect to say anything worthwhile.

I found the web site for the company that franchises the MonaVie distributorship that Jessica and Daryl have and filed a complaint. Someone I know who manages a Migraine web site that has been spammed by them multiple times also filed a complaint. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that neither of us received a reply.

Well, coincidence or not, that video is no longer avialable on YouTube. BUT, there are plenty of other Jessica videos there. Some, if I remember correctly, are the exact same video. Some send you to the same URL as the video that was taken down; some to another URL. My guess would be that they’re for the same product, but I have no way of knowing with certainty because they’re sites where you register to receive information.

Was that video taken down because of my little exchange with Daryl? I doubt it. But, for anyone who might be missing Jessica in all her drama and pathos, here are a couple of her others:

Judging by their blog, which I found HERE, I’d guess there might be big money in selling “cures.”

Enjoy her pretty, smiling face, but remember — There is NO cure for Migraines!

Best,
Arabella

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