resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
July, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 07
A Natural Approach to Degenerative Diseases of the Central Nervous System
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As a complementary care practitioner with a long history in the medical field, I tend to look at trends in medicine with a broader eye than some mainstream physicians. With all the press these past few years on degenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) - Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, senile dementia, and the like - I'd like to weigh in on noninvasive options in therapeutic care.It's vital for clients to have choices.
Research indicates that a significant number of degenerative brain diseases are caused by the accumulation of waste products generated by physiological reactions that involve brain proteins. This particular waste product is called "beta amyloid peptide" (BAP). The peptide is formed from a protein called "amyloid precursor protein" (APP), which is a constituent of the neural cell membranes of the brain, spinal cord and spinal cord roots. Toxic levels of the peptide can also be formed from the accumulation of heavy minerals such as mercury, aluminum and cadmium. (Some authorities suggest this abnormal accumulation of BAP results from genetic mutations. The jury is still out on that concept.)
Beta amyloid peptide products accumulate at toxic levels more often in the brain than in the spinal cord and its roots. Yet when abnormal accumulation does occur in the cord or roots, degeneration that histologically resembles that of the brain does occur. In any case, the formation of BAPs from APPs is physiologically normal; however, when BAPs are neither removed as waste nor neutralized by normal biochemical reactions, CNS diseases can occur.
No matter the reason, the abnormal accumulation of BAPs may result in the formation of extracellular amyloid plaques. The presence of these plaques can then induce the inflammatory response, which facilitates the hyper-phosphorylation of a protein named "TAU." While still under study, we know TAU forms intracellular fibrillatory tangles. Between the plaques and the tangles, the neurons become dysfunctional and may die. In addition to producing plaques and tangles, BAPs can: 1) interfere with the proper functioning of voltage-dependent calcium channels, usually causing neuronal hyperexcitability and ultimately death, and 2) enhance the activity of an enzyme known as "GTPase," the hyperactivity of which then interferes with long-term potentiation at the synaps, which results in memory failure.
The production of BAPs depends on the presence of APP, which is an integral cellular-membrane protein. It has three different isoforms made up of either 695, 751 or 770 amino acids. It also has a large domain outside of the cell. The extracellular portion is connected to a smaller intracellular portion by a part of the molecule that passes through the cell membrane, thus forming a connection between the extracellular and intracellular parts of the molecule. Since both parts have receptors, APP passes information between the extracellular and intracellular domains of the molecule; hence, between the extracellular and intracellular regions. In view of all this, it's clear that the major causes of degenerative diseases of the CNS include the incomplete removal of BAPs and excessive inflammatory responses.
Certainly, biochemicals that have been used to treat these conditions (neprilysin, insulin degrading enzyme, endothelial-converting enzyme and plasmin) have been moderately successful in terms of slowing the disease processes. But what about approaching the situation by using hands-on therapeutic techniques that physiologically remove the culprit molecules, namely the beta amyloid peptides?
It seems to me that using approaches such as massage and CranioSacral Therapy (CST) to enhance the flow of fluids that pass through the interstitial spaces of the central nervous system would be of great therapeutic value. If we could help the body obtain a proper balance through these techniques, the accumulation of BAPs would naturally be reduced. One of the major goals of CST in particular is to enhance the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the craniosacral system, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. We accomplish this by releasing any membranous tensions that restrict the easy, natural, rhythmical motion of the craniosacral system. When the craniosacral system is operating at a high level of efficiency, the accumulated BAP waste is flushed from the interstitial spaces of the central nervous system and excreted from the body. Thus, a major contributing cause of degenerative diseases of the brain or spinal cord is eliminated.
Yet even preventing further degenerative changes will not restore neurons, neuronal circuits and glial cells that have already been lost. How can manual therapists help restore these losses? Personally, I incorporate CST with SomatoEmotional Release and dialogue techniques to "talk" with the stem cells that are already numerous in the brain and spinal cord. First, I humbly and respectfully describe the functional losses of the central nervous system to the stem cells.
Next, I politely request that these stem cells replace lost neurons, circuits or what have you, as they see fit. It's important to understand that I do not tell them how to do it. I only describe the problem and ask that the stem cells apply their wisdom and ingenuity to do whatever they feel is appropriate and necessary to restore normal function to the brain and spinal cord.
For those of you willing to venture with me into new areas of thought and therapeutic care, you'll find yourself able to render valuable services to clients afflicted with a wide range of degenerative diseases of the brain or spinal cord. And isn't that where the true value lies?
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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