Publisher’s Words November – December 2022

The COVID-19 related lockdown has done a lot of damage to the economy along with negatively impacting mental health globally. Many countries have come to realize that COVID-19 restrictions are not sustainable and therefore have started to lift restrictions while accepting the fact that SARS-COV-2 virus will not vanish and will continue to mutate. Luckily, new CO- VID-19 variants appear to be getting less lethal with time because most people have developed some immunity against the virus either due to vaccination, contraction of the disease, or both. As SAR-COV-2 lost its momentum, the influenza virus appeared to have snuck back into our lives. Placebo’s potential therapeutic effects are well known. However, can placebos still have a therapeutic benefit even when the patients knew that they took a placebo? This appears to be the case according to a team of researchers from Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Dartmouth College1.Their study showed that there was a reduction in self-reported and measured emotional distress even though subjects were aware of the placebo administered to them! Maybe there is still more to be explored about the placebo effect than meets the eye.

Mercury is a well-known toxic heavy metal, and for many years doctors, re- searchers and consumers have argued for the removal of amalgam use in dentistry with limited success. Finally, in September of 2020, the FDA acknowledged that amalgam may put certain groups of people at a greater risk of mercury exposure: pregnant women, nursing women, children, people with pre-existing neurological disease, etc2. However, FDA would not issue an outright ban on the use of amalgam nor recommend people to remove existing amalgam fillings still in good condition. Somehow this news did not seem to catch too much media atten- tion at the time, likely overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic news. Still, this is a noteworthy small victory for those who have worked so hard to make this happen!

Dr. Martin Kwok, ND, Dr. TCM

1 Guevarra, D.A., Moser, J.S.,Wager,T.D. et al. Pla- cebos without deception reduce self-report and neural measures of emotional distress. Nat Com- mun 11, 3785 (2020). s41467-020-17654-y

2 munications/recommendations-about-use-dental- amalgam-certain-high-risk-populations-fda-safety- communication