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Monday
Jan072019

Moving lymph

Lymph circulation is the waste management system of our bodies. It transports waste materials (toxins, dead bacteria and cells, cancer cells, dietary fats from our digestive system, interstitial fluid, etc.) out of our bodies. Lymph travels just under the skin through vessels. It is cleaned in the nodes and eventually returns to the whole blood in the circulatory system. Unlike blood, which has the heart to pump it, the lymph has no pump to keep it flowing. It is entirely dependent on external factors in order to operate optimally. Here are some ways to keep it moving:

  • pumping action of your gastrocs through walking or running
  • massage, particularly the light, directional, rhythmic lymph drainage massage
  • jumping, particulary on a rebounder or trampoline
  • skin brushing
  • hydrate
  • deep breathing
  • hot & cold treatment
  • stillingia tincture
  • Qi machine
It's terribly important not to restrict lymph flow with tight clothing, especially bras. If you wear a bra make sure it's well fitted and doesn't leave long-lasting grooves in your skin when you take it off.
Saturday
Nov242018

Placebo research by Ted Kaptchuk

Very exciting research this past year by Harvard's Ted Kaptchuk, author of a primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine called The Web That Has No Weaver. He has identified the Placebo Spot in the brain--a region of the frontal lobe--and mapped genetic variations in neurotransmitter pathways that affect individuals' responsiveness to placebos--a system referred to as the placebome. Placebo is a complex neuro response by an individual, involving one's dopamine and/or opioid reward centers, to a caretaker's loving attention. It seems that some people are genetically predisposed to be responsive to loving attention, causing a healing cascade due to changes in neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and opioids. This calls into question decades of research that pulled small sample sizes, perhaps flawed by genetic bias as it is unknown what percentage of the population is prone to placebo effect. While we have always known that placebo works (much to the disappointment of the western medical establishment), its mechanisms have been shrouded in mystery.

Here's a TED Talk that Kaptchuk did on Placebo in 2014.

Thursday
Nov082018

Recipe for apple cider vinegar water

So many of us have systemic inflammation. It's an underlying factor in chronic pain, chronic stress, weight gain, and aging. If you have systemic inflammation use the vinegar water for a month or two to get your pH balanced and your gut restored. If you needed it, if you really had systemic inflammation, you'll feel a drastic difference in four or five days of drinking the concoction. Discontinue use when your symptoms are under control. Diet and lifestyle changes will keep those changes in place.There are powerful tools you have at home to battle this monster--sleep, exercise, cleaning up your diet, eating greens. None of these are to be underestimated.

Here's an amazing tool for short-term use:

6x/day:

16 oz. water

1 Tbsp Bragg's apple cider vinegar (for the mother)

1 Tbsp lemon juice (not from concentrate)

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch turmeric

The water is an important part of the recipe; you can't put all the other ingredients into a smaller amount of water and think that you will get the results you want. Water is needed for hydrating and flushing. It also dilutes the acids which is critical for your tooth enamel.

I put the question of eroding tooth enamel to my dentist, Dr. Joe Grayden, a professor at the University fo MN Twin Cities campus. He took the quesiton to about a half dozen of his colleagues and here's the consensus:

  • The acidic level and its effects would land somewhere between drinking coffee with sugar (coffee alone, without sugar, is not very worrisome) and sipping on Coka Cola throughout the day.
  • While there's no research on vinegar water, there's a lot of research on caffeinated sodas and carbonated water. Sipping is worse than drinking it down faster. People who drink caffeinated pop tend to sip it thorughout the day while people who drink noncarbonated pops tend to drink it down quickly. Those drinking the caffeinated pop have tooth enamel wear at a much greater rate than those drinking the noncaffeinated pops. Don't sip; drink it down quickly.
  • Your tooth enamel is most vulnerable the hour after eating/drinking. It takes a half hour before you start producing enzymes that will neutralize the acids and they take about two hours to do their job. Don't brush your teeth immediately after eating/drinking, especially acidic foods/drinks. Wait about an hour before brushing.
  • Using a straw does not mitigate the risk of erosion.
  • As a side: Dentists also see tooth enamel loss in bartenders who put slices of lemon in their mouths and in Gen Y-ers who grew up using electric toothbrushes but use them as though they are regular toothbrushes, placing pressure on the brush bristles against the teeth. An electric brush does all the work and there should never be pressure placed on the brush against the teeth.

 

Saturday
Jun232018

Vitamin D may protect against cancer

A meta-study involving 5038 women aged 55 and older, as reported in Science News, found that higher levels of vitamin D were protective against breast cancer and indicate that a higher minimum recommendation may be warranted. While most women in the studies were white and while these studies don't necessarily prove cause and effect,

"Nonetheless, this paper reports the strongest association yet between serum vitamin D and reduction in risk of breast cancer," Garland said.

But not just breast cancer. In earlier research Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health found positive assoications between higher levels of vitamin D and reduced occurence of colon, breast, lung and bladder cancers, multiple myeloma and adult leukemia.

To reach 25(OH)D levels of 60 ng/ml, said Garland, would generally require dietary supplements of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) per day, less with the addition of moderate daily sun exposure wearing very minimal clothing (approximately 10-15 minutes per day outdoors at noon). He said the success of oral supplementation should be determined using a blood test, preferably during winter months.

The article warns not to exceed 10,000 IU/day as serious adverse effects may occur.

Tuesday
May292018

Mammograms of questionable benefit.

The Harvard Medical School published this video as part of their blog describing the overuse and misuse of mammography. The blog states:

They [JAMA Insights article co-authors Keating and Pace*] further point out that the USPSTF [U.S. Preventive Services Task Force] reiterated its recommendation in 2016 and that the American Cancer Society joined the task force in 2015 in advocating less routine use of mammography and a more individualized approach to screening.

 

“One of the greatest harms is overdiagnosis, which can subject some women to harmful treatment without any benefit,” Pace said. “Additionally, high rates of false positives and unnecessary biopsies should be considered as likely outcomes of breast cancer screening.”

Personally, I use thermography. It, too, is criticized as producing too many false positives but it doesn't expose patients to radiation so they can be done frequently and checked against a baseline. Those false positives, in my mind, are Qi Stagnation or Blood Stasis and can be treated with massage and acupuncture.

It baffles me that they end by saying that doctors know best. What physician has the time to spend counseling a patient or has the skill to do it?

 

*Nancy Keating is a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Lydia Pace is HMS assistant professor of medicine and an internist at Brigham and Women’s