Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

Archive for the ‘0304’ Category

Welcome, Andrea!

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Some of you may have recognized our most recently hired employee, Andrea Ramaglia-Ginn, as she worked at GSMC for a year about two years ago. Andrea, a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), brought her great venipuncture skills back to GSMC. In addition, Andrea serves as webmaster for our website: We think she does a terrific job and are pleased to have her back in our employ! Andrea enjoys her mountaintop home in Fairview with her husband Travis and two daughters. Her passions include animal rescue and sculpting. With Andrea’s wonderful spirit, we suspect she is here to keep us all young at heart. Welcome back, Andrea!

Blinded by Double-Blind Scientific Studies?

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is the latest buzzword used to describe an emerging model of healthcare that advocates applying data from scientific double-blind studies to "real" patients in clinical practice.

The double-blind study, the gold standard of scientific research, is a process by which two similar groups of people are studied. One group is given an actual treatment, while the other is given a placebo or "sugar pill." Neither participants nor researchers know which group is which until after the study is completed, hence the term "double-blind."

Proponents of EBM believe that applying research in practice will result in better treatment outcomes.

However, some physicians have concerns about applying scientific research data in their practices. They recognize the limitations of scientific research and thus don’t want to risk over-reliance on it, because doing so could expose their patients to both known and unknown risks.

What are some of the limitations of scientific research?

For starters, study participants may not be representative of people who will be likely to take the drug in real life. Study participants may be younger or healthier, and elderly or sick people do not respond to drugs in the same way their younger, healthier counterparts do.

Also, considering the potential for huge profits in drug sales, the pharmaceutical industry’s funding of research has been shown to buy biased results that, in the opinion of some, resemble paid advertising more than scientific research.

Additionally, even in the most scientifically-sound studies, group statistics do not apply to individuals, because people aren’t test subjects, but are complex and dynamic individuals. Furthermore, contractual agreements between clinical researchers and drug companies can take away the scientific independence of researchers and tie their hands from freely reporting unfavorable data.

Also, the very treatment a patient needs may never be researched. For instance, natural substances cannot be patented and thus don’t have the potential to produce the huge profits necessary to recover research costs, which are routinely in excess of $300 million.

The reliability of scientific research is regularly questioned. Many drugs have passed rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials and gained FDA approval only to be taken off the market because of side effects that became apparent only when the drug was given to "real" patients. Indeed, there is less risk when taking "tried-and-true" drugs that have withstood the test of time than there is from taking newer drugs that have been in the marketplace for only a short time. According to a report released by the General Accounting Office of the U.S. government in 1990, of the 198 drugs that the FDA approved between 1976 and 1985, a staggering 52 percent proved to have “serious post-approval risks.”

Practicing doctors can end up being spoon-fed whitewashed research data, unwittingly becoming the third "blinded" group.

Historically, most major advances in medicine have not resulted from scientific research, but instead from reasoning of individual physicians and their basic observations of the patient and his disease.

Throughout history, the real movers and shakers in medicine have been free-thinking individuals who were unbound by the influence of research money and restrictive political-based regulations.

What’s a patient to do? Cautiously walk, don’t run, toward the latest research. Get second, and third, opinions when needed. Go to physicians who practice integrative medicine, who utilize treatments other than drugs, who get to know their patients as individuals, and who value both the science and the art of medicine.

In Their Own Words: Healing Stories

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

When a reader recently suggested sharing GSMC patients’ stories of health recovery in a future issue of Health Matters, we thought it was a great idea. We hope you find something helpful in the following stories written in our patients’ own words:

My son is a child with vaccine-induced mercury toxicity. Upon learning of his diagnosis we tried every treatment possible with no results. Dr. Wilson suggested chelation therapy. The results we have seen in the last six months have been incredible. My son is now able to feel the cold with his hands. At almost eight years old he is now potty trained. You can have a conversation with him and even ask questions and get appropriate responses. For the first time in his life, he did not scream, cry, or get “unreachable,” to have his hair cut. He actually behaved in Dr. Wilson’s office and allowed us to have a conversation without slapping me, crawling on the floor, etc. The child he was meant to be is slowly starting to emerge.
A. C., Asheville, NC

I was referred to GSMC in May 2000 by my dentist after extensive dental revision (amalgam removal, root canal extractions and cavitation surgery). I was near death physically and emotionally. Depression/anxiety/fear, cognitive deficits, chronic fatigue, hypothyroidism, menopause, candida, and food sensitivities were among my diagnoses. I’ve taken multiple supplements and am now off all prescription meds except thyroid through Dr. Wright’s diligent handling of my healing journey. After only one day on neurotransmitter supplements, I wanted to get out of bed and do something. That has progressed to increased energy and the motivation to take control of my life again. I thank the Lord for my healing and the wisdom and knowledge he’s given this compassionate staff. My friends have commented that my whole personality has changed. It’s so wonderful to have my life back.
M. G., Wilkesboro, NC

I am one of those people who became very deficient in stomach acid, didn’t realize it, went through a horrible fatigue, and then magically got better once I started taking hydrochloric acid supplementation. How it started is the weird part, because it was so gradual that I really didn’t notice it. I blamed it on aging, being busy, diet, stress, etc. Once it got severe, I wondered if I was losing my mind; all I wanted to do was go to sleep. When I started taking HCl, it was like spring creeping into my body and mind after a very long winter. HCl revived, strengthened, and stabilized me. B12 shots also helped in the first few months of recovery. Each month that I took HCl, I felt better. Now I can look back, and see how powerfully this deficiency can undermine one physically and emotionally. Not on my life would I leave home now without it!
M.A., Asheville, NC

Fibromyalgia, whiplash trauma and unrelenting spinal pains left me unable to be up and about with the family for ten years. Finding the underlying causes of my condition was left to Dr. Wright, an “enlightened detective.” She found lead toxicity and “got the lead out” with chelation. My fibromyalgia and spinal pains were improved with injection therapy, craniosacral therapy, energy work and massage. Meridian Stress Assessment testing further revealed problems with root canals, diet and digestion inadequacies. Every aspect of my life was connected to the whole. It was like peeling an onion, layer by layer and finally the core me could be seen more clearly and heal. I have gone on to study and now practice some of the modalities that helped me heal.
J. K., Valdese, NC

I had become a patient at GSMC for unrelated problems and just in passing asked Dr. Wilson if he had any experience with atrial fibrillation of the heart. It turns out he had. He found the cause of it was a long-standing cavitational infection where a lower left wisdom tooth had been removed over 50 years ago. Cynthia confirmed it by MSA. The cavitational necrosis was surgically removed and cleaned. I had been experiencing an episode of atrial fibrillation that lasted several hours every day for the 9 months prior to surgery. Since surgery 2 1/2 months ago I’m steadily improving and have only had two very short episodes in the last month.
H. C., Weaverville, NC

When I first saw Dr. Wright in February of 2001, I had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 12 years and had seen several well-known CFS researchers/clinicians, but had steadily gone downhill. I spent many days bedridden. I weighed 95 pounds due to serious maldigestion and malabsorption. Liver tests were bad, thyroid and adrenal glands were failing, hormones were drastically out of balance, cognitive ability was almost nonexistent, etc. Six months later, I had gained 30 pounds, liver tests normalized and I was steadily gaining energy. For the last two years, I have been helping with secretarial work at my husband’s business and am able to travel to visit family and go out with friends. I can never adequately thank Dr. Wright for her compassion and intelligence. I have an enjoyable life again!
J. W., Greensboro, NC

As the mother of a child with autism, it is very frustrating and depressing to work with him for two years and see very little progress in his development. I prayed and asked the Lord to lead me to any treatments my son needed to reach his full potential. We were led to GSMC and Dr. Wilson who recommended testing and treatments including vitamins, minerals, chelation, and neurotransmitter support. It has been five months now and my child’s teachers and therapists are giving us glowing reports, especially in the area of speech and language development, which is so hard for autistic children to grasp. Even his bus driver has commented on how much more he is talking. I finally feel the knot in my stomach loosening when I think about my son’s future. I believe he will be able to fulfill his destiny and do whatever he chooses to do in life.
L. H., Knoxville, TN

A resolution to many years of severe pelvic pain was the first and immediate result for me after receiving natural hormone replacement therapy as a patient at GSMC. To have received preventative healthcare and be pain free over the last 3 1/2 years has been exceptional and life-changing. Issues that had overwhelmed me with fear throughout my life caused me to hold life at bay, until I began the Family Constellation work with Sheila Saunders that was recommended to me by Dr. Wright. This has been and continues to be the most transforming and life-affirming help I’ve ever received.
K. R., Black Mountain, NC

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