Dr. Paster: Greetings and salutations. Love the radio show. I love your advice, but you missed the mark when you told the woman it was OK to place her pedometer in her bra rather than on her waist. A pedometer counts a step every time you shake your hips. A jiggly breast is not the same as a jiggly hip.
Keep up the good work. – Dave from Out East
Dear Dave: I stand corrected. Pedometers, first envisioned by Leonardo DaVinci and brought back from France by Thomas Jefferson, work when an internal ball moves up and down, triggering a count. If you have one, you can see how this works by shaking it.
Straight and vertical is the most accurate way to wear them. Inside a bra doesn’t pass muster.
You can get a fine pedometer for about $15, or you can go whole-hog and get a high-tech one called FitBit for about $99. It fits on your wrist and claims to be as accurate as the hip ones. It also can monitor your sleep.
The idea that we should aim for “10,000 steps a day” was introduced by a Japanese company in the 1960s to sell its product. It’s a good number to shoot for because it’s about 5 miles a day of walking.
Dear Doc: I have a lady friend who has breast cancer that has metastasized to her liver. She takes chemo but tops it off every night with blackberry brandy, which she read helps to shrink tumors.
I have a theory that a tumor’s high metabolic rate incorporates the alcohol toxin, causing the tumor to die. The brandy’s antioxidant compound, resveratrol, then keeps the tumor from growing back. Could this be true? – Santa Fe Jason
Dear Jason: Every cancer sufferer needs a good friend. You sound like one. We doctors know only so much about cancer, which is why I’m a fan of both medical therapy and alternative therapy. In my mind, it’s not either-or, but both. But not all doctors have the same opinion.
I have a patient with metastatic breast cancer who came to me because her first oncologist refused to treat her because she was using marijuana oil, which she got from a friend in California. She wanted a referral to a new oncologist who would “allow” her to take it, along with traditional treatment.
“Allow” is an interesting word here. You are in charge of your body. You should be the one making the decision. This oncologist didn’t want her to take a drug that, despite being illegal in Wisconsin, would have been allowed in any one of 20 other states.
I wonder if he would have said the same thing if he lived in Colorado? Does this mean we’re getting substandard medical care in New York and Wisconsin? Perhaps we are.
Now back to your question. Brandy is a folk remedy never studied scientifically. Therefore, science is mute on the subject.
What’s the downside? Not much. What’s the upside? It might work. And most importantly, it might allow the patient to think it works. Hopefulness is a critical part of any cancer treatment – ask a survivor and they’ll tell you.
Now, what about the resveratrol? My dear friend Dr. Oz touts resveratrol, but the data on it doesn’t exist.
Dr. Zorba Paster is a physician, university professor, author and broadcast journalist. He also hosts a radio program at 3 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7; email questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.