Call us today!!
Public release date: 28-Dec-2011
CORVALLIS, Ore. – New research has found that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood had better performance on mental acuity tests and less of the brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer's disease – while "junk food" diets produced just the opposite result.
The study was among the first of its type to specifically measure a wide range of blood nutrient levels instead of basing findings on less precise data such as food questionnaires, and found positive effects of high levels of vitamins B, C, D, E and the healthy oils most commonly found in fish.
The research was done by scientists from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore., and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. It was published today in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"This approach clearly shows the biological and neurological activity that's associated with actual nutrient levels, both good and bad," said Maret Traber, a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and co-author on the study.
"The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers," Traber said. "I'm a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better."
The study was done with 104 people, at an average age of 87, with no special risk factors for memory or mental acuity. It tested 30 different nutrient biomarkers in their blood, and 42 participants also had MRI scans to measure their brain volume.
"These findings are based on average people eating average American diets," Traber said. "If anyone right now is considering a New Year's resolution to improve their diet, this would certainly give them another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables."
Among the findings and observations:
The epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease has suggested a role for nutrition, the researchers said in their study, but previous research using conventional analysis, and looking in isolation at single nutrients or small groups, have been disappointing. The study of 30 different blood nutrient levels done in this research reflects a wider range of nutrients and adds specificity to the findings.
The study needs to be confirmed with further research and other variables tested, the scientists said.
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
These symptoms contribute to computer vision syndrome, which the American Optometric Association defines as "the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use."
Sitting at a computer generally causes a person to look straight ahead for long stretches, work in a dry office or home environment, and to blink less often. These factors can lead to vision problems. Additionally, computer use requires specific vision skills, which add further demands to the visual system and contribute to eye and vision discomfort. These skills include:
Computer work places various demands on the visual system. Each of these factors can play a part in computer vision syndrome.
While decreasing time spent at a computer may not be an option, there are ways to maximize healthy vision for comfortable use of the computer.
After you have had a comprehensive eye examination, there are a number of things that you can do to arrange and use the elements of your workstation to eliminate or minimize discomfort.
Is Your Work Station Properly Arranged?
Although the visual system faces considerable challenges when using a computer, most issues can be solved. Remember that problems with the use of the computer cause needless discomfort and may rob productivity. Heeding the suggestions made here along with those made by your doctor of optometry, will enable you to use your computer comfortably and productively.
You may have heard the saying, "the eyes are the window to the soul." There is another saying in the world of chiropractic, "your spine is the window to your health." How can the condition of your spine divulge so much information about overall health? Your spine is the central support column of your body and its primary role is to protect your spinal cord. Think of it like the foundational frame of a house holding everything together. If the frame becomes dysfunctional many problems will begin to manifest themselves. The house begins to develop cracks, shifts, and structural problems. When your spinal foundation becomes dysfunctional you develop aches, pains, injuries, and other health related issues. The good news is you can do a simple spinal health checklist to determine if you may benefit from the expert intervention of a chiropractor or other healthcare professional. Becoming familiar with simple spinal anatomy, structure and function will help empower you to take control of your health.
Your spine is composed of 24 bones (vertebrae); 7 in the neck (cervical spine), 12 in the middle back (thoracic spine), 5 in the lower back (lumbar spine) and the base tailbone (sacrum). Your soft spinal cord is encased inside these 24 moveable hard vertebrae to protect it from injury. Your spinal column has three natural curvatures making it much stronger and more resilient than a straight design. There are cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves designed with precise angles for optimum function. However, these curves are different than the abnormal curves associated with scoliosis and postural distortions. You may remember getting screened in school or your doctor for scoliosis when they had you bend over and touch your toes. This was an early checklist for spinal abnormalities. Through life's stresses, genetics, trauma, injuries, and neglect the spine can develop dysfunctions in these curvatures and the body must compensate by changing posture as a protective mechanism.
What are some of the compensations your body develops and what can they tell you about spinal health?
Rounded Shoulders: This is a very common postural distortion resulting from more sedentary lifestyles. Hunching over in front of a computer screen hours on end simply feeds this dysfunction. This poor posturepattern adds increased stress to the upper back and neck because the head is improperly positioned relative to the shoulders. Common effects are headaches, shoulder, pain, neck pain and even tingling and numbness in the arms because of nerve compression by tight muscles.
Uneven shoulders: One shoulder higher than the other is indicative of a muscular imbalance or spinal curvature. You probably see this one on most people where one shoulder is migrating up towards the ear. Stand in front of a mirror and you can easily see if this asymmetry is present. You may also notice that one sleeve is longer than the other when you wear a shirt. This asymmetry is a common precursor for shoulder injuries, headaches, neck pain, elbow injuries and even carpal tunnel syndrome (tingling in the hands).
Uneven hips: Hips that are not level are like the foundation of a house that is not level. You begin to develop compensations further up the body so you remain balanced when walking. You develop altered spinal curvatures, shoulder positions, and head tilts. Your body has one primary purpose of maintaining symmetry and balance and it will do it whatever way is necessary. Signs of unbalanced hips may manifest in abnormal shoe wear typically on the outside edges and pants will fit unevenly in the leg length.
When you visit a chiropractor for a spinal evaluation some of the things they will search for during your evaluation are underlying signs of spinal damage that you can't see. Spinal x-rays are a safe and effective way to get look at your spine for damage or potential problems. Just like a dentist takes an x-ray of your teeth to see if you have cavities or problems with the bones below gum line. If problems are detected, corrective or preventive measures can be implemented to help your body function at optimum.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD): This is not a real disease in the terms of how we think of them. DDD is term used to describe degeneration and excessive wear on the soft tissue disc structures between the spinal bones. It may come with age or from biomechanical asymmetries in movement causing excessive wear from overuse. Sort of like uneven treads on a car with imbalanced tires, one may be worse than the other. Although the degeneration cannot be reversed, once discovered there are strategies your chiropractor can implement rebalancing exercises and therapies to help prevent further damage.
Osteoarthritis: The breakdown of the tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints. Arthritis often leads to painful swelling and inflammation from joints rubbing together. The increase in friction causes a protective pain response and excessive swellingwhere the body attempt to add artificial cushioning via swelling.
Herniated disc: A herniated disc is an abnormal bulge or breaking open of a protective spinal disc or cushioning between spinal bones. Patient's may or may not experience symptoms with a herniated disc. Disc diagnosis is conformed via a special imaging study called an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which observes soft and hard tissue structures. You cannot see or confirm a suspected disc herniation via normal spinal x-rays.
Spinal stenosis: The narrowing of the spinal canal the open space in the spine that holds the spinal cord. Stenosis is a more severe form of arthritis that typically causes radiating (referred pain down the arms or legs) from an irritated or compressed spinal nerve.
If you experience spinal pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, muscles spasms or swelling near your spine or arms and legs consult a healthcare professional. These are all warning signal signs from your body that something is wrong and needs your attention. Pain is how your body communicates its function with you. A car has dashboard warning lights that tell you when the car has a problem. If you chose to ignore the signals bad things are going to happen. Your body has its own warning light system. Start checking for the warning lights. Ignore them at your own risk.
We all want to look young and beautiful, no matter what our age, and keeping your skin in good condition goes a long way toward that goal. There are a number of things you can do to keep your skin looking supple and glowing that don’t involve expensive treatments or surgery!
As autumn turns to winter and the days become shorter, do you find yourself suffering from symptoms of depression that mysteriously seem to disappear once the days have become longer? Do you feel like you would just like to hibernate until spring? If so, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is estimated to affect around seven percent of the population, though the number can be higher, particularly among those who live greater than 30 degrees north or south of the equator.
Symptoms appear slowly as the autumn begins, and build up as the winter progresses. These symptoms include:
The more darkness the brain’s pineal gland receives, the more the hormone melatonin is produced. Melatonin is responsible for helping regulate the body’s hormones and maintaining its circadian rhythm. It particularly affects hormones produced by the pituitary gland, which is the main regulator of the entire endocrine system, including the thyroid gland, the gland responsible for producing the energy regulating hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Melatonin is called the “sleep hormone,” as the pineal gland produces it when it gets dark to lower our body temperature and induce us to sleep, but as soon as sunlight hits our eyes in the morning the melatonin switch is turned off and is replaced by a surge in serotonin, which wakes us up and provides us with feelings of happiness and calm.
Though SAD can mimic the symptoms of depression, they are two different things. The symptoms of depression usually include insomnia and decreased appetite, while the opposite is the case in those with SAD. SAD also tends to occur primarily in the autumn and winter, whereas depression is experienced year-round.
If you have SAD, there are a number of treatments that can help ease your symptoms. These include light therapy, medication and/or timed melatonin supplementation.
Light therapy involves regular sessions of sitting before a bright white “full-spectrum” lightbox from 30 to 60 minutes. Studies have shown that 92 percent of those suffering from SAD experienced relief from their symptoms after this therapy.
The administration of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has also proved to be helpful to some, with an effectiveness rate of 67 percent.
Supplementation with melatonin, administered at particular times of day, has also been shown to be effective in some cases, as it re-synchronizes the person’s circadian rhythms, affecting the timely release of the body’s other metabolic hormones.
So don’t suffer in silence! Consult with your health care provider if you feel you have symptoms of SAD, as effective treatment is easily available.
Chiropractic/Manipulation Therapy for Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain is a common complaint that patients present with to both primary care physicians and chiropractic practitioners. There are several underlying conditions that may cause discomfort in this area, many of which may be assisted by chiropractic treatment and manipulation. A proper diagnosis is important in order to determine what kind of treatment is indicated in each case.
Commonly observed causes of shoulder pain include:
The precise nature of chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain depends on which of the above diagnoses is made by your practitioner, but will likely include some degree of manipulation to ensure correct spinal alignment (especially in the neck) and improved shoulder mobility and function. Additional measures such as heat and ice packs, stretching and strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatory medication, rest and cortisone injections may also be discussed. Furthermore, your chiropractor will want to look at your overall health, diet and lifestyle to see if any improvements can be made to assist with your healing process. Chiropractors are specialist health care professionals who deal with shoulder pain on a daily basis.
Signs that you should your chiropractor about your shoulder include the following:
What are Spinal Pelvic Stabilizers?
Spinal pelvic stabilizers are specially designed orthotics that help stabilize and balance your feet. They can have a significant effect on your entire body’s performance and efficiency, reduce pain, and contribute to an overall sense of well-being.
How can something made just for your feet accomplish all this?
Our feet form the foundation of our entire body. They provide support for walking, standing, running, jumping, and reaching. In addition, your feet help protect your bones, spine and tissues from stress while moving around. It seems quite logical that your feet can perform these tasks better when their bones, muscles, and arches are in their proper, stable positions. For example, neck pain could be the result of a spinal misalignment that is caused by an imbalance in your feet. Your body’s joints and muscles work most efficiently when they are in balance, and balanced feet provide the foundational balance needed to support many of our daily activities.
Your feet contain three arches that support the weight of your entire body. If one arch is compromised, the other arches try to compensate. This results in additional stress, leading to pain, discomfort, and further compromise. Another common foot problem is flattening of the arches, which is known as pronation, which leads to rotation of the legs.
Spinal pelvic stabilizers balance the foundation of the pelvis and spine and help address structural problems of the feet. If they are properly fitted they can control pronation and supination. In this way they reduce unnatural stress and abnormal forces, and promote healthy functional and structural relationships between your feet and the rest of your body.
These devices also provide improved shock absorption. This reduces repetitive stress on your muscles and joints, allows better function, and reduces arthritic symptoms as well.
Pelvic stabilizers are a cost effective and long-term intervention for many kinds of foot and posture problems. They are worn inside your shoes, and they guide your feet into a more normal pattern as they are used for moving around.
Your chiropractor will use impression images of your feet to create custom-made flexible spinal pelvic
stabilizers for your feet and your feet alone. You may wish to ask your chiropractor about the flexibility of the stabilizers that will be created for you. Some technologies use more rigid materials to force the foot into a supposedly ideal position, while most people prefer some flexibility for comfort, controlled support, and better movement from the feet on up through the body.
In the Sept. 27, 2011 posting of the Biomedical Central Journal: Family Practice, R.J. Adams and colleagues commented on concerns raised by the common prescribing of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, particularly with respect to their important and sometimes fatal adverse side effects. They state, "Non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most common causes of reported serious adverse reactions to drugs, with those involving the upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT), the cardiovascular system and the kidneys being the most common. Much of the focus on NSAID adverse effects has been on GIT consequences, with good reason. A U.S. study found the rate of deaths from NSAID-related GIT adverse effects is higher than that found from cervical cancer, asthma or malignant melanoma."1 They also point out that frequent use of NSAIDs increases risk for high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, as well as serious cardiovascular events (with certain NSAIDs).
Studies show that the risk of suffering these adverse side effects is increasing among the elderly and those with co-morbidities. The researchers cite recent evidence suggesting that the burden of illness resulting from NSAID-related chronic heart failuremay exceed that resulting from GIT damage.1
Adams, et al., also cite evidence from a recent Danish population study, which suggests increased cardiovascular mortality among people without a prior history of heart disease, but who frequently useNSAIDs. This seems to be particularly true for diclofenac and ibuprofen. However, the baseline cardiovascular risk of people in this study was not reported. The researchers also note that NSAIDs promote the rapid deterioration of renal function. As such, national medical guidelines recommend avoidance of nephrotoxic drugs, including NSAIDs, in people with chronic kidney disease.1
It's not only NSAID medications, such as drugs containing aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin, diclofenac, COX-2 inhibitors, that raise concerns regarding frequent and significant side effects, but also foracetaminophen-containing medications. The National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health) posted the following precautionary notes about acetaminophen on its Web site:
"Kidney Disease From Acetaminophen and NSAIDs - A form of kidney damage, called analgesic nephropathy, can result from taking painkillers every day for several years. Analgesic nephropathy is achronic kidney disease that over years gradually leads to irreversible kidney failure and the permanent need for dialysis or a kidney transplant to restore kidney function. Researchers estimate that four out of 100,000 people will develop analgesic nephropathy. It is most common in women over 30.2
A review article in Life Extension provides scientific references outlining the dangers of acetaminophen use over long periods. The authors state, "Acetaminophen is a leading cause of liver failure in the Western world and the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure in the United States (Bartlett D, 2004). People who have liver disorders or who consume large amounts of alcohol are advised to avoid acetaminophen, which can damage both the kidneys and the liver, even at therapeutic doses (Bromer MQ, et al., 2003). People who use acetaminophen on a regular basis double their risk of kidney cancer (Kaye JA, et al., 2001; Gago-Dominguez M, et al., 1999; Derby LE, et al., 1996). Most cases of acetaminophen poisoning occur because people take smaller doses over a long period of time. In this setting, doses of 4000 mg daily can be toxic."3
Drugs for Autoimmune Patients
Many people with autoimmune diseases also have inflammation of joints and other tissues. Some novel medications have been developed to inhibit the overstimulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) on target tissues in these cases, as well as anti-metabolite medications, such methotrexate and purine inhibitors, which decrease proliferation of the immune cells involved in the inflammatory and hyperproliferative signalling cascade.
The potential side effects of TNF-inhibitors such as infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), or etanercept (Enbrel), include lymphoma, infections, congestive heart failure, demyelinating disease, a lupus-like syndrome, induction of auto-antibodies, injection-site reactions, systemic side effects and opportunistic infections.4 The most common side effects of methotrexate include acne, chills and fever, dizziness, flushing, general body discomfort, hair loss, headache,infertility, irregular periods, itching, loss of appetite, lowered resistance to infection, miscarriage, nausea, sensitivity to sunlight, sore throat, speech impairment, stomach pain, swelling of the breast, unusual tiredness, vaginal discharge, and vomiting.5
Common side effects of purine-synthesis inhibitors include increased risk of infection, nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and rash. Azothioprine has been listed as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its 11th Report on Carcinogens.6
Corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone)
Long-term use of corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone and dethamexasome, are known to cause weight gain – with redistribution of body fat to the upper back and neck (Buffalo hump), glucose intolerance, hypertension, increased susceptibility to infections and cancer from immune suppression, osteoporosis from demineralization, easy bruising, mood swings, insomnia, depression upon withdrawal, avascular necrosis of bone, abdominal striae, cataracts and acne.7
It's not realistic to eliminate all anti-inflammatory drugs from the market due to the risk of serious adverse side effects. In some cases, these drugs are life-saving (e.g., acute flare-ups of lupus and other autoimmune diseases), or have been shown to improve the management of various inflammatory conditions and improve quality of life for certain patients when no other forms of therapy or treatment have been useful. However, there are a number of dietary and supplementation practices that should also be implemented in these cases. (I have described these practices in detail in "Nutrition and Supplementation Management in Autoimmune Diseases," "The Clinical Use of Natural Anti-inflammatory Herbs and Supplements" and "The Research Status of Glucosamine Sulfate.")
The problem is that most medical doctors fail to teach patients who suffer from joint inflammatory diseases how important it is for them to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and to use natural supplements that have proven anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects to help manage their condition (as well as the use of glucosamine sulfate to support joint cartilage in osteoarthritis and cartilage injury management). These dietary practices and ingestion of anti-inflammatory and cartilage-supporting supplements can be taken concurrently with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and autoimmune medications. Their inclusion in the comprehensive management of these conditions can reduce the patient's need and dependency on synthetic medications, and thus reduce the risk of significant side effects over the patient's lifetime.
The responsibility to educate patients on this subject often falls to doctors of chiropractic and other evidence-based holistic practitioners. Chiropractors are aware that many patients with inflammatory joint conditions respond well to chiropractic care, in addition to exercise and various ancillary modalities. Educating patients on the value of an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory supplements as part of the scope of management of these cases can further help to reduce the patient's dependency on NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatory, analgesic and autoimmune medications. These measures are an important step in reducing the patient's risk of serious drug-related adverse side effects and organ damage over their lifetime.
Click here for more information about James P. Meschino, DC, MS.
Study: Spinal manipulation and exercise are more effective than OTC pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants.
A study published in the Jan. 3, 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine and widely reported by mainstream media suggests conservative care consisting of either spinal manipulation or home exercise is more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving acute and subacute neck pain. Spinal manipulative therapy was more effective than medication in both the short and long term, as was home exercise in the form of self-mobilization of the neck and shoulder joints – a point media outlets were quick to emphasize in a classic attempt to downplay the value of the chiropractic intervention.
The study involved 272 adults ages 18-65 with nonspecific mechanical neck pain of two to 12 weeks' duration. Participants were recruited from a university research center and a pain management clinic in Minnesota. Other inclusion criteria included pain equivalent to grade I or grade II according to the Bone and Joint Decade's Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders; and neck pain score of 3 or greater on a 0-10 scale. Exclusion criteria included cervical spine instability, fracture, neck painreferred from peripheral joints or viscera, progressive neurologic deficits, diffuse idiopathic hyperostosis, inflammatory or destructive changes of the cervical spine, previous cervical spine surgery, and blood-clotting disorders, among other criteria.
Subjects were randomized at their second baseline appointment to one of three groups for 12 weeks:
Self-reported outcomes, including pain, were measured six times during the 12-week treatment period in all three groups: at both baseline appointments; two, four, eight and 12 weeks after randomization; and on two occasions post-treatment (weeks 26 and 52). Objective measures of cervical spine motion were measured at four and 12 weeks by seven trained examiners blinded to treatment assignment.
Of the 272 participants, essentially equally assigned to the three treatment groups (91 SMT, 91 home exercise and 90 medication), "improvement in participant-rated pain significantly differed with SMT compared with medication at 12 weeks ... and in longitudinal analyses that incorporated pain ratings every two weeks from baseline to 12 weeks. At 12 weeks, a significantly higher proportion of the SMT group experienced reductions of pain of at least 50% [compared to the medication group]. Differences in participant-related pain improvement between the SMT and [home exercise] groups were smaller and not statistically significant."
Specifically, at week 12, more than 82 percent of the SMT group reported a 50 percent or greater reduction in pain; 57 percent reported at least a 75 percent reduction and 32 percent reported a 100 percent reduction. By comparison, the home exercise group reported pain reductions of 77 percent, 48 percent and 30 percent, respectively, while the medication group reported reductions of only 69 percent, 33 percent and 13 percent.
In terms of long-term improvement, 75 percent of the SMT group reported at least a 50 percent reduction in pain after 26 weeks, while nearly 81 percent reported at least a 50 percent reduction at 52 weeks. At 26 and 52 weeks, 71 percent and 69 percent of the home exercise group, respectively, reported at least a 50 percent reduction in pain. In long-term follow-up, the medication group's improvement fluctuated from 59 percent reporting pain reduction of 50 percent or more at 26 weeks to 69 percent reporting the same reduction at 52 weeks.
"Spinal manipulation therapy and [home exercise advice] led to similar short- and long-term outcomes," stated the authors, "but participants who received medication seemed to fare worse, with a consistently higher use of pain medications for neck painthroughout the trial's observational period."