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ADHD and Chiropractic Care?

27 Aug

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a controversial diagnosis, as there are no clear objective clinical tests that can establish whether or not a patient has the condition. ADHD belongs to a spectrum of neurological disorders with no physiological basis (no clear lab tests exist) and often include other conditions such as learning disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or Tourette’s syndrome. Early-onset mania or bipolar mixed state can be difficult to differentiate from ADHD or they may co-exist with ADHD.

To complicate matters with regard to diagnosing ADHD, some kids may simply be at the high-end of the normal range of activity or have difficult temperaments. Poor attention may be caused by altered vision or hearing, seizures, head trauma, acute or chronic illness, poor nutrition, insufficient sleep, anxiety disorders, depression, and/or the result of abuse or neglect. Various drugs (such as phenobarbital) may interfere with attention as well.

Since the 1990s, the number of prescriptions to treat ADHD has skyrocketed 700%, possibly due to the increased awareness of the symptoms associated with ADHD and/or an increase in the diagnoses for ADHD, often demanded by frustrated teachers and/or parents. The classic medical model has embraced the use of Ritalin (methylphenidate) to treat ADHD. For parents who would like to explore other avenues of treatment, what can Chiropractic offer?

In a recent study involving 28 children aged 5-15 years with a primary diagnosis of ADHD, investigators randomly assigned 14 participants to a spinal manipulation (SM) group with conventional care and the other 14 to a control group (conventional care only). The researchers found the patients in the SM group experienced better outcomes based on several assessments and that a larger scale study would be necessary to verify their findings.

Nutrition may also have a role to play in the management of ADHD. In a 2015 study, researchers provided Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (a probiotic) to infants at six months of age and then followed them for the next 13 years.  At age 13, six of the children in a placebo group had been diagnosed with either ADHD or Asperger syndrome while none of the kids in the probiotic group had been affected by either condition. The researchers concluded that probiotic use early in life may reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorder development later in childhood. We’ll cover this more in a future article…

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.
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Smoking – Is It Really That Bad?

30 Jul

Smoking tobacco causes more than 480,000 deaths annually, which makes it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States (US)—that is nearly one in every five deaths in the country! Smoking causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, car accidents, and firearm-related deaths COMBINED. More than ten times as many US citizens have prematurely died from cigarette smoking than American soldiers have died in ALL the wars fought by the US over its 240+ year history.

Tobacco use increases the risk of death from all causes in men and women. Smoking causes approximately 90% of all lung cancer deaths and 80% of all COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)-related deaths. Smoking also elevates the risk for coronary heart disease (2-4x), stroke (2-4x), and lung cancer (25x). Cigarette use diminishes overall health, increases absenteeism for employment, and increases healthcare utilization and cost.

Regarding the lungs, smoking damages the airways starting with the small air sacs (alveoli), leading to COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Most cases of lung cancer are caused from smoking cigarettes. Tobacco smoke can trigger an asthma attack and/or make an attack worse.

In a reproductive capacity, smoking can increase the risk for preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ectopic pregnancy, orofacial cleft in infants, and miscarriage.

Smoking harms virtually EVERY organ of the body. Hence, it’s the cause of many diseases. Smokers have an increased risk for osteoporosis, gum and tooth decay, and cataracts. This does not take into consideration the harmful effects that second-hand smoke inflicts to the innocent bystanders.

Cigarette smoking can cause cancer almost ANYWHERE in your body: bladder, blood (acute myeloid leukemia), cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), esophagus, kidney and ureter, larynx, liver, oropharynx, pancreas, stomach, trachea, bronchus, and lung. Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases among those who have or have had cancer.

If this article scares you, GOOD! Take home message: Don’t Smoke, and if you are already a smoker, QUIT!

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Are Probiotics Necessary? (Part 2)

25 Jun

As discussed previously, probiotics can benefit patients with gut complications such as enteritis, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotics may also help decrease allergic inflammation, treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and fight immune deficiency diseases. Ingesting probiotics can improve calcium absorption and bone calcium accretion to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. They may even have a role in the management of obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Most probiotics are oligosaccharides and can be synthesized or obtained from natural sources including asparagus, artichoke, bamboo shoots, banana, barley, chicory, leeks, garlic, honey, lentils, milk, mustards, onion, rye, soybean, sugar beets, sugarcane juice, tomato, and wheat. Foods rich in probiotics include kefir, kimchi, yogurt, sweet acidophilus milk, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, aged soft cheese, and more.

Some probiotics include an ingredient called a “prebiotic.” This is a non-digestible carbohydrate that acts as food for both the probiotic and the good bacteria already residing in the gut. Prebiotic stimulates the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of genus/species in the gut, making the probiotic more effective and longer lasting.

Here are some of the various types of probiotics…

  1. Lactobacillus naturally occur in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems and can treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
  2. Bifidobacteria are found mostly in the colon. They help improve blood lipids and glucose tolerance and can alleviate IBS and IBS-like conditions such as pain, bloating, and urgency.
  3. Saccaromyces boulardii is the only yeast probiotic. It’s used to treat C-Dif (an antibiotic complication), traveler’s diarrhea, acne, and more.
  4. Streptococcus thermophilus helps prevent lactose intolerance.
  5. Enterococcus faecium supports the intestinal tract.

Are there side effects? Generally, side effects are rare and if they occur, they tend to be mild and usually relate to the digestive system and include symptoms such as gas or feeling bloated.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Are Probiotics Necessary? (PART 1)

28 May

We all know that bacteria can cause disease, so it makes sense to be at least a little leery about taking a supplement that is loaded with bacteria. There is however, a growing volume of scientific support that probiotics (PBs) can both treat as well as prevent quite a few illnesses.

Probiotics literally means “for life” (pro biota), which suggests these must be “good” bacteria and indeed, our digestive system’s health depends on maintaining a balance between the good and bad flora. Since the 1990s, clinical studies have shown that PBs can effectively treat a number of condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, H. pylori (causes ulcers), bladder cancer recurrence, C-Diff (Clostridium difficile)—a dangerous gut infection associated with antibiotics, pouchitis (post-surgical complication after colon removal), eczema in children, and more.

Probiotics are not all the same, as different strains of bacteria have different functions and therefore, help us in different ways. For example, some organisms protect our teeth from getting cavities but can’t survive in the highly acidic environment of the stomach.

Solid evidence exists for probiotic therapy in the treatment of diarrhea. Lacotbacillu GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (but not adults). The Harvard.edu website describes two large review studies that suggest PBs can reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60% when compared with a placebo.

Vaginal health is also improved by PB use, as it can reduce and/or eliminate recurring yeast infections. Lactobacilli can help treat bacterial vaginosis, which can potentially complicate pregnancies and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This bacteria can also be used to treat UTIs, especially in women.

Come back next month for more much-needed information regarding probiotics…

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Can Diet Affect Acne?

30 Apr

Acne most commonly affects us during our adolescent years, but it can strike at any time during our adult lives. Unfortunately, usual treatment seems restricted to taking oral antibiotics along with some form of topical agent such as benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids, or topical antibiotics. This begs the question: Is there a safer and equally effective method to treat acne? Let’s take a look…

Though it’s not particularly well understood, researchers know that hormones (androgens), bacteria (P. acnes), and an overproduction of sebum (oil) all play important roles in acne causation. Recently, oxidative stress and inflammation have gained more attention, as some researchers report that inflammation may even start the acne process.

Opinions regarding the function that diet plays in acne care range between having no role at all to diet being a vitally important player. However, recent studies show that diet may be very important with regards to both cause and treatment. One such study placed subjects on a diet high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids from fish and seafood, and total protein, and low in sugar and saturated fats. After twelve weeks, the researchers observed a clinically significant improvement in acne with an average of 22 fewer acne lesions in those consuming the special diet vs. participants who maintained their normal diet.

Similarly, in a one-year study, 87% of over 2,200 acne sufferers reported improvements in their acne after switching to the South Beach diet, which is similar to the findings from the study mentioned above. Of the total, over 80% reported that their acne improved within three months of starting the diet and 91% reported either discontinuing or reducing their acne medication use.

What about milk? Harvard University-based researchers published three important studies involving over 60,000 individuals that concluded avoiding dairy products, with the exception of fermented yogurt, can help manage acne.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY (Please consult with your doctor before starting any diet): 1) No dairy; 2) Omega-3 (1-4g/d); 3) Anti-oxidants such as vitamins A and E (20mg/d), selenium (400mcg/d), and curcumin; 4) Zinc (oral 15mg/d and topical); and 5) Chromium (200-400mcg). Many doctors of chiropractic can assist with nutritional counseling to help guide those with acne in deciding which dietary approach may work best for them.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Which is Better: HIGH or LOW Cholesterol?

29 Mar

While many of us have been told we need to take steps to lower our cholesterol levels, it turns out that having high cholesterol may actually be a good thing.

As far back as 1994, Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University reported that older people with low cholesterol died TWICE AS OFTEN from a heart attack as those with high cholesterol. While this finding sparked debate due to being inconsistent with the belief that high cholesterol levels lead to atherosclerosis, there are now several studies that challenge the lipid hypothesis of heart disease. In fact, a Medline database search revealed 11 studies that concluded high cholesterol did not predict all-cause mortality in older adults (about 90% of all cardiovascular disease occurs in people over the age of 60).

Even better, in 6 of the 11 studies, researchers observed an inverse relationship between all-cause mortality and high total cholesterol or LDL (bad) cholesterol OR BOTH. Other studies have noted that having low triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels are also tied to an increased mortality rate.

So how does high cholesterol improve longevity? It appears that high cholesterol helps improve the immune system, protecting us from infections. In 19 large-scale studies including 63,000 deaths, a research group from the University of Minnesota, Division of Epidemiology reported that low cholesterol predicted an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.

Were the patients’ low cholesterol levels caused by an infection or did having low cholesterol predispose the patients to infection? To find out, researchers followed more than 100,000 healthy subjects for 15 years. At the conclusion of the study, those who had lower cholesterol had more hospital admissions due to an infectious disease vs. those with high cholesterol.

In two very large-scale studies of men infected with the HIV virus, the mortality rate in those with low cholesterol (<140) was four times higher than it was in those with high cholesterol (>240). A range of 200-240 and even higher in older women appears to be a good target for improving longevity.

Other studies have found that chronic low-grade inflammation may be the real culprit when it comes to atherosclerosis. In other words, worrying about cholesterol levels may not be more important than engaging in a lifestyle aimed at reducing inflammation: get regular exercise, don’t smoke, get plenty of sleep, and eat an anti-inflammation diet, among other things.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.