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A Simple Protocol for Holiday Stress
It's winter, a time when we should be deep in reflection, eating warming foods and sleeping long hours. Following nature's rhythms, we restore our bodies and minds in preparation for the renewal of spring.
6 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet
People often ask me what defines success. Success, for me, is simple: doing exactly what you want to do in life. Whether it's the kind of practice you run, your life at home, your hobbies or something else, it's achieving anything you put your mind to.
Meshing TCM With Environmental Pediatrics: Where's the Overlap?
Pediatrics has a long history within Chinese medicine dating back to the late Han dynasty (i.e., the late 200s CE), with the two primary areas of emphasis being herbal medicine and xiao er tui na (pediatric massage).
DVT: Know the Signs and You Could Save a Life
I lost a friend several months ago. He died from a pulmonary embolism (PE) secondary to a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) that originated in his lower leg. Bobby was in his mid-60s, soft-spoken and had a big heart.
Southwest Acupuncture College Brings It to Division 1 Athletes
When Michael Phelps' photograph with the distinctive round marks left by cupping went viral, the Division 1 student athletes treated through the Dal Ward Athletic Center at the University of Colorado (CU) could relate.
Can a Multivitamin Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence?
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multivitamin supplements in cancer prevention. However, with respect to preventing breast cancer recurrence, an important study was published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment in 2011 by Kwan ML, et al.
Another Chance to Make a Difference
Just a few months ago, "the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy" hit Louisiana. During this storm, one area experienced 31 inches of rain in 15 hours as almost 7 trillion gallons of water rained down in just one week across the state.
Dedicated to Defending Chiropractic
Whether you're a veteran DC or a first-trimester student, the name George McAndrews should be part and parcel of your professional vernacular, as familiar as the word chiropractic.
A Letter to the Profession from the New President at AAAOM
Volunteering for a national, nonprofit organization brings with it such highs, lows, and accomplishments, as well as a steep learning curve.
Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion. For example, aperitifs – drinks consumed before a meal to stimulate appetite and digestion – were originally derived from bitter herbs.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Pt. 2)
Most overuse injuries are benign, but there are some high-risk injuries that, if unrecognized or inappropriately treated, can result in significant loss in time from the sport or even require leaving the sport.
Assessing Core Stability and ROM: 5 Basic Checks
One of the first steps in addressing core stability is assessing static posture, ranges of motion, and motion of the pelvic bones, sacrum, femurs, lumbar spine and thoracic spine.
News in Brief
New President / CEO Takes Office at Yo San University. Electroacupuncture for Constipation?
A First for the Profession: CCE Accredits First Chiropractic Residencies
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has awarded accreditation to all five chiropractic residency programs currently administered at Veterans Administration facilities, "the first residency programs in the nation ever to be awarded this distinction, a significant advancement in the evolution of chiropractic education," according to a VA press release announcing the milestone.
Molecular Motors: Tiny Machines Behind the Rhythm of Life
In the clinic, we aim to restore healthy patterns of movement for qi that has gotten trapped or misdirected, or may have even collapsed. We may be focused on freeing stagnation, releasing heat or redirecting counterflow qi, but it often comes down to helping re-establish a flow of sorts.
Little Sticker, Big Impact
It's the end of an election year. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were the subject of conversation for everyone, everywhere for the entire 2016 calendar year. I don't think any of us can deny that this election affected us all very deeply on a personal level.
Chiro School Reunion: Whatever Happened to...?
I opened the door to the closet slowly, carefully, since I knew it contained a large number of precariously stacked file boxes. It also held numerous outdated gizmos with electrical cords of various lengths that could trip or strangle a person.
A Q & A About Updated Codes
Yes, indeed there was an update to ICD-10 on Oct.1, 2016. This is a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and this type of update will occur every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
2016: A Year in the Life of Acupuncture
Happy Holidays, may you, your family and friends have peace, joy and blessings throughout this special time of year. As 2016 comes to a close, we can look back and celebrate the many events and accomplishments for the profession of acupuncture.
All Fiber Is Not Created Equal
Sometimes the best place to start is at the end. So, the conclusion of this article is that all fiber is good ... but some fiber is better. Let's break it down. There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
What We Can Learn From Spine Surgery
Patients with lumbar stenosis presumably present for conservative care to improve their quality of life and avoid surgery. However, providing clear guidance to these patients can be difficult for a number of reasons.
Branding: Set Your Practice Apart
Dr. Brad started his practice seven years ago on a shoestring budget. He created his generic logo in five minutes using a website because he didn't have the time to figure out how to make something special.
June, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 06
Cholesterol: Friend of Foe?
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As a physician who is passionate about all aspects of the human body, I frequently get questions about situations outside of the realm of CranioSacral Therapy. One such topic that has come up a lot over the last few years is that of cholesterol.With all the talk about the evils of cholesterol, you might think it is a dangerous substance that should be avoided at all costs. But is it really as terrible as it seems? Let's take a look.
Cholesterol is what is called a sterol molecule, which is any of a group of solid, mostly unsaturated polycyclic alcohol molecules. There is one hydroxyl (OH) group on carbon 3 that makes cholesterol an alcohol. If you aren't savvy in chemistry, don't worry; I'll make it as simple as I can.
Cholesterol is abundant in a wide variety of animal tissues, including human tissue. It is especially abundant in brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous tissues. It is a generous constituent of the myelin sheathes that serve as insulation for all of the white nervous tissues. Without adequate cholesterol, the myelin disintegrates and the conduction of impulses in all nerve tissues, including the brain, is impaired. So when cholesterol is not present in adequate amounts, brain function is proportionately compromised.
In addition to cholesterol's contribution to myelin, it has more recently been discovered that cholesterol molecules are essential for nerve cells to communicate with each other. It seems that for a message to be successfully sent from a presynaptic neuronal axon to the receiving neuron, on the postsynaptic side of the gap between the two neurons (the gap is the synapse), there must be an abundance of cholesterol molecules on the presynaptic side of the gap (synapse). We don't yet know precisely how this works, but we do know that cholesterol is necessary for the nerve impulse to be transmitted from one neuron to the next.
We also know that cholesterol is the primary molecule from which all of the corticosteroid hormones of the adrenal glands are derived. Without these adrenal corticosteroid hormones, we would live in pain. These hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands. They mitigate the inflammatory responses that are induced and continually produced under any circumstances that stimulate an inflammatory response by the immune system. Without the proper level of corticosteroid hormone being produced by the cortices of the adrenal glands, we probably wouldn't survive attacks of various bacteria, viruses, fungi, molds, allergies, and more. We would simply inflame our lives away.
Another arena in which we would get a tremendous amount of pain is in the area of muscle, tendons, ligaments, fascia, bone wear and tear, etc. The corticosteroids reduce the inflammatory responses in those tissues and bones tremendously. I could go on and on with what inherently produced corticosteroids do for our creature comforts. Yet another arena that requires cholesterol as a primary substance is that of the sex hormones. Cholesterol is the essential basic substance from which our bodies manufacture both male and female sex hormones, i.e., testosterone and the various estrogen- and progesterone-related hormones. Where would we be without cholesterol? We would be asexual and childless. The aforementioned are only some of the things that we know require cholesterol.
Here's one other thing we know for sure about cholesterol: In our skin, in the presence of sunshine, cholesterol is converted to vitamin D, which is necessary for health. Lack of vitamin D in children results in rickets, in which the bones are very soft and easily become misshapen.
In the category of cholesterol functions, there is an argument that I believe began in the 1950s. From 1960 through 1963, I was attending osteopathic medical school and concurrently participating in a biochemistry teaching and research fellowship. I was selected as the award recipient by the biochemistry department chairman, Dr. Stacy F. Howell, who had great experience in the field of biochemistry, and was due to retire at the same time I graduated. Dr. Howell's PhD was from Cornell University where he helped establish proof that enzymes were proteins. His mentor, Dr. J. Sumner, received a Nobel Prize for establishing that same proof.
Dr. Howell and I spent many hours together, and he mentored me several nights. I recall that his friend, Ancel Keyes, PhD, from the University of Minnesota, discovered that there was abundant cholesterol in the plaques that form in arteries. These plaques serve to partially and sometimes completely obstruct the flow of blood through the involved arteries. The medical community immediately took this information from Ancel Keyes and decided that cholesterol was the demon that caused the plaques because when they formed in the arteries to the heart (coronary arteries), a "heart attack" (myocardial infarction) was the result. So it was simple: Cholesterol in the blood was the cause of ischemic (not enough blood) heart disease.
Within a year following his discovery, Ancel Keyes tried to reason with the "powers that be" that simply because cholesterol was present in the plaques did not mean it was the cause of the plaques. It struck Dr. Howell that the medical community was eager to find a cause for ischemic heart disease, a.k.a. coronary artery disease, and it could be treated by lowering blood cholesterol. The simplicity of the concept overcame scientific scrutiny. I listened to Dr. Howell and respected his wisdom; I also felt that Dr. Keyes should be listened to very seriously.
A few years later, a heart surgeon from Texas named Michael DeBakey hypothesized that the artery became infected by a bacteria, virus, etc., first, and that part of the body's defense might be to isolate the infected and inflamed area in the artery so that it would not spread throughout the arterial system and become lethal. Dr. DeBakey suggested that the cholesterol deposits might be part of the body's attempt to isolate the inflamed/infected part of the artery before it spread. Shortly after hearing Dr. DeBakey's ideas, I went to Mexico City to study with Dr. Demetrio Sodi-Pallares, a well-known cardiologist. Dr. Sodi agreed with Dr. DeBakey. I performed several autopsies with Dr. Sodi while I was there, and he showed me some instances in which plaque was not present, and the inflammatory response to a spreading infection in the coronary arteries was the cause of death.
With this information, I offer the idea that cholesterol is not the demon that it is touted to be. First, I believe that Mother Nature would not have the liver manufacturing cholesterol in response to physiological need if the cholesterol molecule were indeed such a menace to our well-being, and it would not have the intestines absorbing cholesterol from our food intake. If cholesterol were that bad for us, it would mean that Mother Nature wants us dead, and I just cannot accept that idea.
When I was in general practice from 1964 through 1975, a normal blood cholesterol level was 250 to 300 mg% (mg% being the number of milligrams of cholesterol per 100 milliliters or cubic centimeters of blood). Now doctors want it to be at 125mg% or less. I believe that cholesterol is an effective part of the immune system's armament against disease invasions. When we starve our bodies for cholesterol, we get sick and taken over by depressive moods more often. Frankly, I believe that the statin medications that are used to lower cholesterol production by the liver are far more toxic than blood cholesterol of 300mg%. As far as "good" and "bad" cholesterols are concerned, I believe that Mother Nature can deal with that better than medicine can.
Editor's note: This article has been written for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for personal medical advice. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have about your health.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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