Advice from Doctor Nice: I would be more than hesitant to knowingly accept medical recommendations from a gay-bashing physician who believes the use of birth control by women makes them "less attractive to men," and that when men suffer the loss of a testicle, "they have difficulty reading a map, performing math problems and making decisions" ["Doctor Nice," by Craig Malisow, July 21]. The public deserves to know from whom it is receiving advice.
Alternative medicine can help: I just read your article on Steven Hotze. While I do not agree with his politics, it has never been my position to know the political stance of my doctors. What they do with their money is their business. My business is to be as informed a consumer and patient as possible, and to decide if a doctor's position regarding my health care warrants my giving him my money in the first place. Having said that, if I had been a patient of Hotze's, I seriously would have had to reconsider paying him the rates he charges, knowing what I now know about the extreme nature of his beliefs.
Your article paints the use of alternative methods for treating hormonal imbalances with the same brush you used on Hotze. To do this is to oversimplify a complex issue. First of all, not having something "proven by science" doesn't mean much in light of the fact that science is only as good as the knowledge of the time. Synthetic hormone replacement therapy was considered safe and effective until women starting having serious health issues as a result. Drugs are routinely pulled from the market because they are proven to be unsafe. If you are curious about bioidentical progesterone, read literature by John R. Lee, the doctor who had a 30-year history of treating women with bioidentical progesterone, with much success. The use of these hormones is becoming more common, and I would certainly like to see studies done on their safety and effectiveness.
Regarding the reference likening Armour Thyroid to snake oil, I have been on thyroid hormones for years. I first took Synthroid and did not have optimal results. I read about Armour and fortunately had a doctor who was willing to prescribe it as a trial. I have been on it for five years successfully. I have read much literature -- mainstream and otherwise -- trying to understand my thyroid condition (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) and its causes, treatments and effects on my overall health. I am not a medical professional, but I have learned that treating any hormone condition (sex or thyroid hormones) is a delicate procedure, and proper testing and monitoring are essential. Diagnosing only by taking a basal body temperature reading is no worse than determining thyroid health by only performing a TSH test. Mary Shomon, in her books and newsletters and on her Web site, gives some excellent information regarding all facets of dealing with thyroid illness.
I understand that your goal in writing this article was to "expose" Hotze. But I know two intelligent, successful women who went to him when their regular physicians were offering them no health care options that were working for them. They have been helped greatly by his approach. Conversely, it is ridiculous that Hotze's patients are told that it is their fault if they do not get better using his methods.
Please do not belittle those of us who are proactive enough in our approach to the maintenance of our own bodies to search for alternative methods, if "mainstream" medicine is not working. Obviously, if Hotze has so many patients, something he's doing must be working (or maybe it's just the pretty flowers, fancy furniture and sympathetic listening). Too bad his political actions do not reflect the same care for women's issues.
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Pens aren't weapons: Thanks for the Music Showcase. It's an awesome opportunity to check out Houston's best music and the downtown club scene. And all for $7. The only thing that marred my experience was the security at the Verizon Wireless Theater. They confiscated my ballpoint pen and several hundred others as well. I was told that pens are dangerous. I've come to accept body searches as a fact of life, and I don't complain. But there needs to be some limits on what gets justified in the name of security. Pens are not weapons. I carry one everywhere I go, even on airplanes. Confiscating pens is arbitrary and insulting theft. What do they do with all those pens, anyway? I suggest that the Verizon Wireless Theater apologize and change its policy. Thanks again for the music.
Editor's note: A spokesperson for Verizon says it's company policy not to allow pens inside the theater because of safety and graffiti concerns.