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NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
July, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 07
Toxic Brain Injury (Encephalopathy)
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Health problems that occur secondary to the bodily absorption of toxic substances can come on acutely and result in life-threatening crises, or occur gradually over months or years. When symptoms present themselves one at a time, very slowly, the period of latency or incubation can be extremely variable in length.
During latency, the body's adaptational or defense mechanisms may be countering the effects of the toxic substances as best they can.Yet as toxins gradually overpower these mechanisms, symptoms may begin to appear slowly and increase in intensity as the body's adaptational or defense mechanisms founder and - perhaps - ultimately fail. Usually, acute responses to toxic substances occur either with large-dose exposure or when there is a severe allergic response to the toxin, no matter the dosage. Should the allergic response be severe enough to result in toxic shock, the situation becomes life-threatening.
In the case of slowly progressing symptoms, there may have been an acute dosage of the toxic substance. The body's resistance to the toxin input, however, may have been strong and appropriately tuned in, taking the edge off the exposure and resulting in mild symptoms that may or may not progress. The symptom pattern that progresses in severity over months or years, however, more likely resulted from ongoing exposure to smaller doses of toxic materials. The organs most obviously affected by toxic substances are the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver. Usually, we see less obvious effects in the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, spleen, and the bones and joints of the musculoskeletal system.
It generally takes longer to recognize the effects of toxic substances on the brain, spinal cord, autonomic nervous system and voluntary peripheral nervous system. The brain seems to be a keen competitor for the title of slowest responder with the most endurance. What we have been calling "senescent changes in brain function due to normal aging processes" may actually be due to slowly advancing toxic brain inflammation. I refer to that as toxic encephalitis, or toxic encephalopathy.
Recently, toxic substances have been traced through the blood-brain barrier into the hypothalamus, and from the hypothalamus into the pituitary gland, where they cause dysfunction. Should the toxicity compromise the posterior pituitary gland, the result can be diabetes insipidus, secondary to dysfunction of the posterior pituitary gland. This posterior part of the pituitary gland produces anti-diuretic hormone. When production of this hormone is curtailed, the tubular reabsorption in the kidneys is impaired.
This situation results in the passage of large amounts of urine, great thirst, and often a voracious appetite. The increased quantities of urine do not contain significant amounts of sugar. Thus, it is differentiated from diabetes mellitus, which is due to a deficiency of insulin, or a problem with insulin receptors in the cell membranes. There are large quantities of sugar in the urine of diabetes mellitus (type I) patients. In type II diabetes (maturity onset), there is also increased urine output that contains significant quantities of sugar (glucose).
It is clear that diabetes insipidus may be caused by toxic substances that were eaten, taken in with water, inhaled, absorbed through the skin, etc., and eventually wound up in the brain and affected the posterior pituitary gland. Presently, there is little, if any, evidence to support the concept that either type I or type II diabetes mellitus is caused by toxic substances, although the possibility may exist.
When toxic substances get into the hypothalamus, there is a strong possibility that they will also get into the anterior pituitary gland, the master gland of the total endocrine system. Imagine that the repetitive inhalation of organic solvents, such as those that vaporize in gasoline fumes and cleaning solutions, may be the underlying cause of anterior pituitary gland dysfunction that might easily result in hypothyroidism (low thyroid); hypoadrenalism (poor adrenal response to emergencies, stresses, etc.); abnormal menstrual cycles; infertility; poor lactation, with the inability to nurse; and poor immune response, resulting in increased vulnerability to infections caused by low-potency bacteria, viruses, fungi, and on and on. Any of these symptoms could result from toxic substance infiltration of the pituitary gland.
Also, consider that these toxic substances probably invaded the hypothalamus of the brain en route to the pituitary gland. What happens when hypothalamic function is disturbed? First, the hypothalamus more or less governs the anterior pituitary gland. It doesn't seem to have much say over the posterior pituitary gland. However, the hypothalamus has a private connecting system with the anterior pituitary, and the highways between the two run both ways.
There are both nerve- and blood-system highways connecting the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary; therefore, they intercommunicate by both nerve impulses and hormonal molecules that are transported through their connecting blood vessels.Besides its influence on menstrual function via the anterior pituitary gland, the hypothalamus also strongly influences appetite and satiation, and a wide range of emotions, including pleasure, aggressiveness and sadness.
Imagine the possibility that being around cleaning solutions that are organic (and many are) and breathing the fumes every few days can affect your emotions; your sexual and reproductive function (including sperm count and vitality); your appetite-satiety balance (and hence your weight); and other functions. Organic solvent fumes can change your whole life, and you wonder how it is happening.
I suspect we should seriously look for ongoing and possibly hidden sources of toxin input. Perhaps if the input is stopped, the body may be able to effectively clear the remaining toxic substances/molecules. I am also sure that CranioSacral Therapy (CST), in conjunction with some other modalities, such as lymph drainage therapy, can assist in the clearing process.
Exercising the craniosacral system enhances the ability of cerebrospinal fluid to flush unwanted toxic materials from the brain and spinal cord tissues. Since it is now known that cerebrospinal fluid carries small molecule-chelating agents, clearly the enhanced flushing may remove unwanted metallic deposits from brain and spinal cord tissues. CST may also remove traumatically induced obstructions related to the meningeal and myofascial systems that interfere with cerebrospinal fluid flow.
All in all, it's better to include a modality in your protocol that stimulates fluid flow and helps flush the tissues than to ignore the body of evidence pertaining to toxic encephalopathy.
For a more in-depth article on toxic encephalopathy, please call 1-800-233-5880 and ask for the Toxic Brain Injury monograph.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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