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Can Light Therapy Save a Diseased Brain?

Nov 16th 2021

Can Light Therapy Save a Diseased Brain?

Neurodegenerative disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain or nervous system lose function over time and ultimately die. Alzheimer’s disease, which affects as many as 6.2 million Americans, is the most common neurodegenerative disease, but there are hundreds of others, including other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).Although conventional medical treatments help relieve some of the physical and mental symptoms associated with neurodegenerative diseases, there is currently no way to slow disease progression and no known cures.But our friend Dr. Len Saputo, MD, who has been practicing functional medicine in Walnut Creek, California, with a special emphasis on light therapy for more than twenty years, has been getting remarkable results using light therapy. His state-of-the-art photobiomodulation device called the Firefly combines infrared, red and blue light of many frequencies and is more powerful…

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Vitamin B6 and Other Levodopa-Related Deficiencies

Nov 4th 2021

Vitamin B6 and Other Levodopa-Related Deficiencies

Like many drugs, levodopa, the most common drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD), can create nutrient deficiencies with serious side effects taken over time.PD is a progressive neurological disease in which brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine gradually die off. Low levels of dopamine cause various movement and non-movement related dysfunctions. The drugs that treat PD either replace or enhance dopamine, and central among these drugs is levodopa. Levodopa is converted into dopamine in your body. It is usually combined with another drug, carbidopa, which prevents levodopa from being converted into dopamine too soon, before it reaches the brain. The combination of levodopa and carbidopa is called Sinemet.Past studies have linked carbidopa with low vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) levels. In a recent study, Spanish researchers measured vitamin B6 levels in 24 patients being treated with levodopa/carbidopa. Six of these patients were being given the drug…

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Treating Parkinson’s Disease with High-Dose Thiamine (HDT)

Nov 1st 2021

Treating Parkinson’s Disease with High-Dose Thiamine (HDT)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disease. Although it may start out with something as simple as a tremor in a single finger, it can progress over the years to complete disability. Its hallmark is the dying off of brain cells that make the neurotransmitter dopamine. Without sufficient dopamine, movement becomes increasingly difficult and finally almost impossible. PD’s non-motor symptoms include anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia and other sleep disorders, hallucinations, cognitive impairment and dementia.Although dopamine replacement and enhancement drugs can control motor symptoms for a while, they don’t reverse or stop the underlying disease process. When these medications lose their effectiveness, a surgery may be done to control symptoms. But again, because the surgery doesn’t address the underlying disease process, it too becomes less effective with time. However, a novel therapy addresses both symptoms and the disease process. Italian neurologist Anton…

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Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Oct 26th 2021

Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease in which brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine gradually die off. The result is an increasing loss of control of motor functions and other non-motor symptoms.Although it doesn’t usually show up until after the age of sixty, PD can afflict younger people too. A case in point is the popular actor Michael J. Fox, who noticed the first signs of PD when he was only thirty years old. Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease (PD) is done on the basis of symptoms and excluding other diseases. But by the time the classic motor symptoms of PD begin to manifest (tremor, rigidity, balance and posture problems, and slowness of movement/difficulty in initiating movement), 60-80% of your 400,000 or so dopamine-producing brain cells have already died. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know that they were dying off years before a large percent of them were already gone?While research scientists are working to find predictive…

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A Five-Arm Treatment Plan for Parkinson’s Disease

Oct 21st 2021

A Five-Arm Treatment Plan for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disease second only to Alzheimer’s as a thief of brain cells and quality of life.Although everyone’s PD journey is different in terms of the appearance and intensity of symptoms, and how quickly the disease progresses, the central feature of PD is that brain cells responsible for producing the neurotransmitter dopamine begin to die off. The resulting dopamine deficiency produces PD’s characteristic symptoms, including tremors, rigidity, posture and balance problems, slowed movement and difficulty initiating movement, and non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and other sleep disorders, cognitive impairment and dementia. Allopathic medicine manages PD motor symptoms by replacing or boosting dopamine production. Most PD patients will need these drugs because by the time PD can be diagnosed, 60-80% of dopamine-producing brain cells are already gone. There is also a surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation that…

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An Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease

Oct 18th 2021

An Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is our most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and one of the world’s fastest growing neurological disorders. About a million people had PD in 2017, costing the nation more than $51 billion. It is expected that more than 1.6 million will be living with PD by 2037.Although symptoms and symptom severity vary among individuals, PD generally starts with a tremor in the hands or arms. Other early symptoms include:1) Bradykinesia—slowness of movement in which the patient feels like they’re glued to the ground or chair and it’s hard to get going; this progressively erases body language and facial expression.2) Rigidity—stiffness and jerkiness in movement.3) Posture and balance problems—instability, stooped stance, impaired gait.However PD is a relentlessly progressive disease of neurological deterioration. In its most advanced stage PD is totally disabling. It makes your legs so “frozen” and stiff that it’s impossible to walk or even stand. At this st…

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Do You Enjoy or Dread Exercise?

Oct 12th 2021

Do You Enjoy or Dread Exercise?

Regular exercise usually increases vitality, but a lot of people just don’t have the energy or motivation to get started on an exercise program. Although different factors can be involved, such as low thyroid, inadequate nutrition, or trying to force yourself into a boring exercise routine, a 2013 study showed that genetics can encourage either a love of movement or for your favorite recliner. Fortunately, there are ways you can compensate for couch potato genes.Rats given running wheels usually put them to good use, but scientists observed that some rats choose to run more than others. They separated high voluntary exercising (HVE) rats from low voluntary exercisers (LVE), and bred them through ten generations to produce final generations of super-HVE and super-LVE rats. The primary differences found between the two groups had to do with genes that control the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The researchers believe that humans have similar genes that make them avid exercisers…

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Deepening Relationships

Oct 7th 2021

Deepening Relationships

“Self care is really important in tough times, but I think we often get the self care wrong. We think it’s only about a nice bubble bath or a glass of wine alone, but the research shows that effective self care often looks a lot more like community care.” — Laurie Santos, PhDThe importance of friends and community is often omitted from discussions about self care, but apparently that’s changing. According to Well+Good, a website devoted to wellness, these troubled times of pandemic, hate-politics, and reckoning with our history of systemic racism have increased our need for reaching out to others for mutual support.Dr. Laurie Santos, PhD, a professor at Yale University, whose course, “The Science of Well-Being,” has been seen by nearly 3.5 million viewers since it went online in mid-March, cites research showing that relationships are a vital part of self-care, for example, buying gifts for others yields more happiness than buying things for oneself. The Well+Good a…

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The Lying Flat Movement Challenges Our Imbalanced Work-Rest Norms

Oct 4th 2021

The Lying Flat Movement Challenges Our Imbalanced Work-Rest Norms

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”—a quote attributed to Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne—is great for those times when you want to pull out all the stops to meet a challenge and attain a worthwhile goal, but what about when every day is tough, and it keeps getting tougher?That’s life for a lot of us in the age of COVID. And when stress is unrelenting, it goes from being eustress—stress that’s challenging and beneficial, to distress—stress that wears you down and causes all kinds of disease.The challenge is to balance stress with relaxation; switching off the “fight or flight” mode, and switching on the recuperation mode.One problem is that our culture values and rewards the “fight or flight” mode far more, and most of us are even addicted to it. Our American culture teaches us that anyone can and should be “a winner” by trying harder and working smarter, so like caged rats on a running wheel we keep plugging away hoping to come out on top. Rarely are we encourage…

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Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing)

Sep 28th 2021

Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing)

Years ago we heard an intriguing story. A frail, elderly gentleman in India, bent over with age, left his village to wander into the woods to die. Several years later he returned, vigorous, upright and tanned from the sun, claiming he had been rejuvenated by communing with the rocks, the trees, and the mountain streams.This story came out of Asia’s ancient tradition of nature therapy recently revived in Japan under the name of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.” Forest bathing is immersing yourself in a forest environment. This means leaving your cell phone and daily concerns behind and spending several hours deep in the woods, walking on trails or sitting with no other purpose than to experience your surroundings through all five senses: smelling the woodsy air; feeling the ground beneath your feet or the bark of a tree or the texture of a leaf; tasting a blackberry or wild mint; listening to bird calls and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees; and taking in the varied si…

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Nature and Greenery: For Relieving Stress and Preventing Disease

Sep 23rd 2021

Nature and Greenery: For Relieving Stress and Preventing Disease

When I first found the second-floor flat in San Francisco that I’ve called home for the past 25 years, I was thrilled that it had a backyard and that I could see neighboring yards with trees and gardens as well as distant green hills from my back windows. I didn’t know then that scientists had begun investigating the benefits of nature and greenery to the human body and psyche. I just knew that looking out on or being in my backyard fed my soul.More recently, when a Chinese Massage (Chi Nei Tsang) therapist found my liver was tight and congested, she recommended a daily practice of looking at something living and green—as close as possible to the color of new grass—with my palm over my liver, and visualizing inhaling the color into my liver to soothe and heal it. Was it just my imagination or could I actually feel the color filling my liver, releasing and revitalizing it?As the world’s population has exploded, cramming more and more of us into crowded cities, we’re getting less and les…

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Welcoming Unpleasant Feelings

Sep 20th 2021

Welcoming Unpleasant Feelings

Most of us spend a lot of energy avoiding uncomfortable feelings. Why on earth should we welcome them?Well, for one thing, suppressing anger, guilt, envy, fear, shame, grief and other painful feelings doesn’t really work; the more we try to numb them, the more demanding they become, draining our energy and creating tension, stress and dis-ease!Another reason for welcoming feelings is that they convey information that’s helpful to hear and digest.Finally, the strategies we devise for suppressing them—our various addictions to food, drink, exercise, overwork, shopping, TV-watching, internet surfing, or just getting into our heads and losing touch with our body and senses—create additional problems.So how can we welcome our various feeling “guests,” even the unpleasant ones?Psychologist Abby Seixas, who recommends “befriending feelings,” says: “Befriending a feeling means neither indulging nor repressing, nor trying to manipulate it in any way.” Rather she recommends the following step…

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Kindness and Stress

Sep 14th 2021

Kindness and Stress

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” — Dalai LamaIn these distressing times, kindness and gentleness can be an antidote to stress, a balm for body and soul. When someone is kind to us, especially when we’re feeling vulnerable or it’s unexpected, it feels like Grace. We breathe a sigh of relief and begin to release accumulations of tension that have built up throughout our tissues. We can even feel ourselves expand from a contracted state and resume our natural shape, come alive in our senses and become more fully present, more fully who we really are. As we release inner tensions, air and blood circulate more freely throughout our bodies, bringing fresh nourishment to our cells and removing toxic debris. If lack of nutrients and the presence of toxins are the two sources of all disease, tension and stress increase both. No wonder stress is linked to so many diseases. Dis-ease is the absence of ease. Ease comes with that sigh of relief that we are not deserving of…

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A Winning Combination:  Intuitive Eating and Never Be Fat Again

Sep 9th 2021

A Winning Combination: Intuitive Eating and Never Be Fat Again

Beyond Health’s approach to weight loss, presented in Raymond Francis’ Never Be Fat Again, (NBFA) is based on the theory of one disease and two causes. We say there is really only one disease—malfunctioning body cells, and two reasons why cells malfunction—they are deficient in needed nutrients and/or they are being poisoned by toxins. Overweight is a type of disease, and as better health is achieved, the body will naturally lose excess weight.Intuitive eating (IE) is an anti-diet approach to weight loss which seeks to help people regain a lost or weakened ability to “hear” and respond to body cues relating to hunger and satiation. Regaining this ability, it is hoped, will lead to losing excess weight. Both IE and NBFA agree that diets don’t work. Thought they can lead to short-term weight loss, most of this weight is regained over time. They also agree that diets are usually harmful and enforce the bad habit of overriding internal body cues. Following the strategies of IE that we…

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Slow Food Challenges our Harmful Food System

Sep 7th 2021

Slow Food Challenges our Harmful Food System

Slow Food, an anti-Fast Food movement that originated in Italy in the late 1980s, now has 1,500 Chapters in more than 150 countries and millions of members.Although Slow Food is about slowing down to enjoy good meals, it’s about a lot more. It asks of us to slow down from our fast-paced culture and take a good look at how crazy, unsustainable and inhumane our food system has become. And then to participate in changing it. Our relationship with food is being corrupted by the speed of modern life that forces many of us to grab “fast food” on the fly. It’s also being corrupted by agricultural, processing and distribution systems that devitalize, standardize and restrict our food options (for example, franchise restaurants that make one town look like every other) and are even changing the very nature of food.Conventional food today is much less nutritious (grown in nutrient-deficient soils) and more toxic (with pesticides and GMOs) than it was even decades ago. But more than that, vario…

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Regaining the Ability to Eat Intuitively

Aug 31st 2021

Regaining the Ability to Eat Intuitively

Our bodies are designed to maintain us at a weight that is perfect for us (although perhaps not perfect by fashion model standards) by telling us when we’re hungry, what we’re hungry for, and when we’ve had enough. But while some people just naturally eat this way, many of us have become desensitized to our body’s signals and need to relearn Intuitive Eating (IE).In the past twenty years, IE has been the subject of many of scientific studies. They’ve found that rejecting diets, being supported to love and accept ourselves as we are and learning to trust our own intuition when it comes to food choices lead to substantial gains in emotional well-being and quality of life. IE also greatly reduces risks for compulsive eating, binge eating and other eating disorders, and it’s been linked to lower weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels independent of weight loss, and increased glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. For those who are re-learning IE, Dr. Steven C. Straus, MD, sugge…

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A Buddhist Approach to Taming the “Wanting Mind”

Aug 26th 2021

A Buddhist Approach to Taming the “Wanting Mind”

Have you ever stood before an open refrigerator feeling you need something but not knowing quite what? Then you zero in on that leftover chocolate cake and eat the whole thing only to still feel dissatisfied only now you feel guilty and sick to your stomach as well.Psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher, Sasha T. Loring, author of Eating with Fierce Kindness: A Mindful and Compassionate Guide to Losing Weight, gives this as an example of “the wanting mind,” a state of fundamental dissatisfaction that leads to cravings. Cravings can be caused by different things, such as allergies, lack of sleep, and nutritional deficiencies. But, as Loring observes, there is also something in our nature that leads to cravings. And once it gets a toehold a craving is difficult to tame. However, she gives three steps for gaining release craving’s grip:1. Examine the Wanting Mind. If you can identify and name the “wanting mind”—that sense of being fundamentally unfulfilled even when basic, ordina…

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Mindful Eating: Being More Present at Mealtime

Aug 24th 2021

Mindful Eating: Being More Present at Mealtime

Do you find yourself eating most of your meals and snacks in front of a TV or computer screen?Do you grab food on the go, gulping it down with a beverage before you’ve had a chance to chew it?During meals, are you also talking on your smartphone, or is your mind preoccupied with your next project or concern so much that you barely notice what you’re eating?All of the above are examples of “mindless eating,” the opposite of “mindful eating.”“Mindful eating” is a concept that comes from Buddhism, a religion that cultivates mindfulness not just in eating but in all aspects of everyday life. Although books have been written about mindfulness, very simply it is noticing, in a relaxed, nonjudgmental way, what is happening in the present moment. Although it’s called mindfulness, it necessarily includes the senses, because it is through the senses that we experience the present—through what we see, smell, touch, hear and taste. The practice of mindfulness requires that we slow down, quiet our…

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One Woman’s Successful Journey to a Healthy Relationship with Food

Aug 19th 2021

One Woman’s Successful Journey to a Healthy Relationship with Food

The year was 1968. The watershed event: a protest march at the Miss America beauty contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, launches feminism as a national movement. Inspired by the civil rights movement in the American South, American women had begun to question the limiting roles assigned to them as “the second (and unequal) sex.” Women in the crowd were invited to dump their bras, hair rollers and pots and pans into a “freedom trash can.” Some women burned their bras.In this environment, it was probably inevitable that women would turn their attention to the oppressive fear of fat and preoccupation with body size that permeated most women’s lives.In New York City, a young woman named Carol Munter used her awakening feminist consciousness to adopt a new approach to a problem that had plagued her for most of her life—compulsive eating. She threw out her diet books and her scale, and decided to eat whatever she truly wanted. More than 50 pounds over her ideal weight, s…

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In Search of a Healthy Relationship with Food

Aug 16th 2021

In Search of a Healthy Relationship with Food

Do you eat to live or live to eat? Neither could be called a healthy relationship with food. Eating to live—using food simply as fuel—takes the joy out of one of life’s great pleasures. On the other hand, giving food too much importance, either by living only for our next meal or obsessing lest we eat too much or eat the wrong things, isn’t a joyful or healthy relationship either.In a healthy relationship, we would look forward to our encounters with food. We would respond appropriately to our hunger cues by supplying ourselves with nourishing and tasty food (in the words of nutrition expert Mark Hyman, MD, “foods we love that love us back”), and we would eat until satisfied and no more. We would trust our body cues to maintain a weight that is perfect for us (although it might not conform to the latest fashion). But according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), almost 10% of our population is struggling with one or more of the thre…

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Setting Healthy Boundaries with Tech Devices

Aug 10th 2021

Setting Healthy Boundaries with Tech Devices

"Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours"  – William Wordsworth, from his poem “The World is Too Much With Us”The English poet William Wordsworth wrote these lines around 1802 at the time of the first industrial revolution, when he felt himself and the people around him to be out of tune with nature. If “the world”—the worldly world of making money so we can spend it to buy more things—was too much with him in 1802, what would Wordsworth have thought about life in the 21st century?Not only are we immersed in overwork and commercialism, but we choose to spend a good part of our discretionary time glued to mobile phones, smartphones, computers and TVs. A 2018 Nielson report found the average US adult spends 11 hours a day listening, watching, reading or interacting with electronic media.Studies have shown that heavy tech use can be addictive, and that it increases stress and anxiety levels, interferes with sleep, and fosters depressi…

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Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.