Monthly Archives: November 2011

What’s Causing Your Back Pain?

An EMG, or electromyogram, is a test that’s been around for decades, but doctors have only recently started using it again on patients with back pain, thanks to new research showing its effectiveness as a diagnostic tool. Unlike an MRI that simply takes a photograph of the spine, the EMG registers electrical activity in the muscles surrounding the spine. This method can more accurately identify the source of pain, says Andrew Haig, a physician and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Health System. “Taking a photo of a car with a dent in it isn’t going to tell you whether the radio works, and taking a photo of an old spine isn’t going to tell you if it hurts,” Haig says.

Why Suffer? Find out 5 Secrets to Easing Back Pain

In fact, having an MRI could even be bad for you, Haig says. Most older spines have some sort of disc degeneration or other problems, and surgeons often identify those issues as the source of the back pain and a reason to operate. But studies have found that people with disc problems aren’t necessarily in pain. And fixing disc problems isn’t a sure way to relieve pain.

Is Weight Loss an Early Warning Sign of Alzheimer’s?

Non-overweight individuals in their late 60s, 70s, and early 80s who have no outward symptoms of Alzheimer’s are more likely than their heavier peers to have biological markers (or biomarkers) of the disease, the study found. This finding raises the possibility that weight loss or a low body mass index  (BMI) later in life may be an early warning sign of mental decline, the researchers say.

“Weight changes or body composition changes may actually be a manifestation of disease, which would explain the obesity being an apparent protective factor,” says Jeffrey M. Burns, MD, the lead author of the study and the associate director of the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, in Kansas City.

Well before memory loss and other symptoms appear, Alzheimer’s may trigger metabolism changes that promote weight loss, Burns says. “In general, we think of Alzheimer’s as a brain disease, but this is evidence that there are systemic problems throughout the body in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.”

Are We Iodine Deficient?

Many physicians would be surprised to learn that more than a hundred years ago, iodine was called ‘The Universal Medicine,’ and was used in several clinical conditions,” according to Guy E. Abraham, M.D.,

While iodine deficinecy can be caused by a number of things, the main reason is the lack of iodine in our ‘Standard American Diet.’ To make things even worse the toxic halogens bromine, flouride, chlorine, and perchlorate interfere with the absorbtion of iodine by the thyroid and other iodine deficient tissues in our body

For years, many people relied on the iodine in the salt they poured into their salt shaker. Once iodine deficiency was discovered as the cause of goiter, these clever folks stuck it in an inferior refined product labled as salt to prevent goiter. Then of course more recently the use of refined salt was deemed to be unhealthy so many people stopped using salt all together and switched to salt substitutes.

You do not want to rely on table or refined salt for your daily iodine needs. If your salt is pure white that means that it is refined salt, even salt labeled as sea salt can be refined, which means all of its natural minerals have been removed in the bleaching process. This bleached white salt can then have aluminum, ferrocyanide and bleach in it.

Fight High Blood Pressure With Music

Don’t you feel better when you hear your favorite song? With 85 percent of primary care visits attributed in part to stress, it’s pretty exciting that stress symptoms such as high blood pressure, pain and more can be improved with music.

Japanese researcher Eri Eguchi followed people ages 40 to 74 that participated in twice-monthly hour-long sessions designed to provide either a person’s favorite type of music, humorous story telling (they were also encouraged to listen to music often at home), or no therapy at all. By the end of three months, the individuals listening to music or humor lowered their average systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 5-6 points. Those people who didn’t listen to music or increase their laughter didn’t budge their blood pressure.

This study and other ones like it don’t suggest you can listen to music and not take blood pressure medication if your blood pressure is high. But lowering your blood pressure even 5-6 points might lower the amount of medication you require and small reductions in blood pressure of this amount can lower your risk of death from heart disease or stroke by 5 to 15 percent

The pH Diet and Your Fertility

If you’re like most people you probably have vague recollections of boring high school chemistry classes when you hear the word, “pH.”  Don’t let chemistry class stop you from accessing one of the greatest factors for health, including your reproductive health.

All you need to know about pH to start reaping the health benefits of a more balanced body chemistry, is that it is a measure of acidity (think vinegar) or alkalinity (think baking soda) from 0 to 14.  Zero is the worst level of acidity possible and 14 is the highest level of alkalinity possible, with neutral being in the middle.  Your body maintains much tighter reins than that and will work diligently to balance your blood at a just slightly alkaline rate of 7.36.  However, our highly acid-forming diet (meat, dairy products, sugar and other sweets, wheat and white flour baked goods and pastas, coffee, tea, trans fats, and food additives found in most packaged and prepared foods) and our high stress lifestyles can take their toll on our body’s pH balancing mechanisms, leading to acidity.

Microorganisms like yeast, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and others thrive in an acidic environment.  Some of these nasty critters interfere with enzyme and co-enzyme production in the body, including ones that are essential to hormone health, as well as many other health concerns.  If a particular coenzyme is depleted, hormones that are critical to fertility and reproduction, in both men and women can become imbalanced.  Additionally, many of the microorganisms that begin to thrive in an acidic body can begin to feed on hormones, causing deficiencies.

How Does Stress Affect Your Body?

The effects of stress on the body are caused by the emotional and physical (hormonal) response to demands placed upon an individual.  Demands great and small generate stress according to those levels.  Stress can be a good thing.  If you are in a life or death situation, it can jumpstart your body for exceptional demands – to run or jump to avoid danger, to give you “super human” strength to lift a car off of a loved one.  There are many stories of people doing seemingly impossible feats under extreme duress.

While stress can be helpful in dangerous situations, it strains the bodily systems.  It is essentially a fight or flight self preservation reaction with primordial origins.  The immediate bodily reactions are a release of adrenaline, cortisol, thyroxin, testosterone and other hormones, rise in blood pressure and directs bloodflow to the extremities for physical peak performance.  Long term stress inflicts strain and damage to the adrenal glands, creates free radicals as a byproduct that wreak havoc on every organ and cell of the body.  Damage from stress accumulates until something gives.

Stress has many sources; financial, career or job, relationships, health and mortality and imagined threats.  The mind is extremely powerful and can cause life or death stress levels from a perceived threat.  A phobia is a good example of this, an exagerated response to a threat or even non-threat will put your body through as much as a truly life ending experience.  A non-poisonous spider or snake for instance can cause a complete panic or anxiety attack that could cause a heart attack or stroke or aneurism in an individual with the phobia, where a non-phobia person’s reaction to the same situation is unaffected.  The difference is the person with the phobia has an unreal ”perception” or false belief (highly exagerated) and the “normal” person does not share this particular false belief with the individual with the phobia.

Demands an individual places upon themselves can be stressors.  The desire to achieve, be loved, acknowledged, appreciated, accepted, fame or other demands one places upon themselves (or others) creates stress.  The body doesn’t know if it is a real threat or an unreal expectation, it reacts the same stressful ways.  One’s outlook or mindset plays into how one perceives and reacts to these situations.

What are the Effects of Stress on the body?

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Nervousness (nerves are shot)
  • Increased blood presssure
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Weight Loss or Weight Gain
  • Declining Health
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • heart attack
  • Anxiety and panic attacks

The stress effects on physical and mental health are many more than are listed above.  Stress and disease go hand in hand.  It is an accumulating process that will eventually lead to major health and mental problems and even death.  Without any other predispositions, stress can manifest into any number of terminal health conditions.   Stress must have a release to stop the accumulating negative effects.

Stress reducer tools and stress management techniques are the best way to deal with stress.  Take action and relieve your accumulated stress levels.