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Are Probiotics Doing More Harm Than Good?
Considerable controversy exists concerning the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Very few human studies show any real positive impact on the microbiome or health. The "promise" of probiotics is based on the few animal studies that suggest a positive effect.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists more than 80 common autoimmune diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
What are the Meridians?
The meridian and collateral system (jing luo, hereinafter referred to as "Meridians") is comprised of the main meridian channels (jing mai) and the collateral vessels (luo mai). Jing takes from meaning of the Chinese word pathway (also jing) and are the main branches of the system.
MPA Media Wins More Publishing Awards
The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Dynamic Chiropractic with a national award and two regional awards for editorial excellence, and sister publication DC Practice Insights with two regional awards for graphic design excellence.
Don't Ignore the Lower Half of the Pelvis (Part 1)
When your patient complains of lower back or pelvic pain, but your usual treatments are not getting the job done, what do you examine and treat? You may be missing important structures in the lower half of the pelvis.
Work Stress and Musculoskeletal Health: Do Your Patients Get the Connection?
Most people underestimate the impact their job has on their health, especially if that job isn't particularly physically demanding. Big mistake.
Less Time Than Required
Q: When is it appropriate to use a modifier -52? Can I use it for a timed service when I do less than the time required by the code?
International Congress on Integrative Medicine
"Bridging Research, Clinical Care, Education and Policy" was the theme for the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2016 (ICIMH).
Chiropractic in the Eyes of the Public: 2nd Gallup-Palmer Poll
The second Gallup / Palmer College poll has been completed, yielding significant additional data regarding Americans' experiences with and perceptions of chiropractic care.
Time to Fight for Your Medicare Right
I have heard a lot of noise and a lot of debate about what is going on with Medicare. As an ACA delegate, I often get asked: 'What is the ACA even doing?'
Adventures with the Pericardium
My previous column on the San Jiao deserves equal time for SJ's loving partner, the pericardium. I nicknamed SJ the travel meridian – but pericardium can also play a crucial role in air travel.
What's New in the NCCIH Strategic Plan
The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) released its draft strategic plan 2016-2021 for public comment in early spring of 2016.
Know Your Research: Tips for Evaluating Literature Reviews
Clinical and experimental studies are not the only types of published research we might encounter as we look for evidence to inform our practices. One of the most useful types is the literature review, which summarizes a group of studies.
Analyzing Acupuncture Case Studies
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Take this case study as an example. After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse during cold weather.
Lessons from Functional Neurology
Chiropractic neurology, also known as clinical neuroscience or functional neurology, is moving the chiropractic profession forward by leaps and bounds.
Let's Talk About Biceps Injuries at the Elbow
While most muscles cross over only one joint, the biceps crosses two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. Injuries to the lower biceps cause considerable elbow pain. Here's how to assess and treat an injury to this area conservatively.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Part 1)
More than 45 million children ages 6-18 participate in some form of organized athletics, and 75 percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.
The Professional and Practice Benefits of Political Activism
Welcome to election season, a vital part of our American culture. Every two years, without fail, we are bombarded with TV, print materials and phone messages seeking our vote.
A Study of Relationships
Sa-Ahm's five element acupuncture method is known to be one of the most effective acupuncture techniques in Korea because it gives an instant response at the time of treatment and has a high success rate in resolving chronic problems.
Guidelines for the Use of Modifier -52
Modifier -52 identifies that a service or procedure has been partially reduced or eliminated at the physician's discretion. This is to indicate the basic service described by the procedure code has been performed, but not all aspects of the service have been performed.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in Taiwan Hospitals
This spring, a team of Western medical doctors and TCM practitioners from Cleveland Clinic traveled to Taiwan to visit Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co. (KP), and China Medical University (CMU), Taiwan's leading integrative medicine hospital.
Illuminating the Hidden, Freeing the Source
Amongst the Primary Channels, from a classical point of view, the small intestine is perhaps the most important channel to understand. It is one of the least used acupuncture channels in modern acupuncture, yet it within it can be found a wealth of theories from the Ling Shu.
March, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 03
What About My Brain? Part 2
Bulking Up Your Brain
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
There is so much we can do to keep our brains healthy, I had to create a part two to share the wealth of the information I came across when researching this topic, including such diverse activities as volunteerism, the study of foreign languages, working with essential oils and meditation.While each of these separately do not have a lot in common, research now shows us that they can help the brain to function at optimal levels.
I discussed some of the many ways we can attempt to delay Alzheimer's in my previous article (MT, December 2010). This information complements those ideas, and proves that the brain is not static. It can be shaped, and it can change for the better; even in senior years, the time when most people (let's face it) give up on change of any sort. Well, I'm here to tell you: DON'T! Doing fun, simple things can really help keep your brain stay young and active longer than anyone might have thought possible.
More Chatter = Brain Matter
We've all been told that being or becoming bilingual is beneficial for job hunting, but it also makes us smarter, literally. Not only are people who learn a second language before the age of five more fluent than those who learn later in life, but they also have denser gray matter in their brains. In 2004, researchers at University College London conducted a study on gray matter in three groups of people: those who learned a second language prior to turning five, those who became bilingual between the ages of 10 and 15, and those who only spoke one language.
The results showed those who spoke a second language had denser gray matter than those who did not. Specifically, the younger a person was when becoming bilingual, the more advanced their gray matter was. So it really does make a difference when children start learning a foreign language in school. It also means that it is never too late to learn a new language, as the study also shows that gray matter was denser even in those who were adults when they became bilingual.
Good Samaritan = Good Brain
Research recently published from Johns Hopkins University demonstrates that seniors who participate in volunteer activities can improve their brain function. This study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, followed two groups of senior women: one who signed up for Experience Corps - a national program in which older adults volunteer to tutor school children - and another group who was put on a wait-list for Experience Corps. After six months, fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain were performed on both groups. The fMRIs showed enhanced abilities in the regions of the brain dedicated to planning and organizing daily activities in the volunteer group. While preliminary, this research supports the idea that volunteering and being socially active is necessary in order for seniors to maintain their mental health.
Since retirees are the largest growing group of people in the United States, it is crucial that we take their well-being seriously. On a personal note, I was excited to learn about the results of the volunteers in Experience Corps, since most of my professional work revolves around the aging population. I know how common it is for them to suffer from depression and Alzheimer's, and I am always looking for ways to help address those issues. While none of this information will "cure" ADD or Alzheimer's, it does give hope that we will continue to find ways to help us make choices that will lead to healthier, more satisfying lives.
Good Smells = Good Smarts
Smell this! As practitioners, most of us are familiar with the benefits of using essential oils and aromatherapy during massage. What I found interesting was the fact that essential oils can also be used as a treatment for ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder). This is a growing problem in the U.S., with an estimated 20 percent of children suffering from one of these two conditions. For those who seek an alternative treatment to prescribed medication, certain essential oils have proven to calm people down and increase concentration. In 2001, Dr. Terry Friedmann conducted a study, in which he treated three groups of children with ADD/ADHD with three different essential oils: lavender, cedarwood and vetiver.
According to the reported study, "Vetiver was found to be the most effective in observations and brain wave scans - showing improvements in 100 percent of subjects. Cedarwood essential oil was 83 percent effective, and lavender 60 percent." Even if one does not have ADD or ADHD, using some of these oils that can cross the blood-brain barrier can help brain function.
Focus: It Does a Brain Good
Richard Davidson, PhD, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, conducted a study in 2004 that confirms meditation alters the chemistry and physical makeup of the brain. Using students who were not trained in meditation as the control group, and Buddhist monks with years of practice meditating as the experimental group, Davidson used brain scans and electroencephalographs (EEGs) to examine the brain while meditating.
In particular, Davidson was interested in the activity of gamma waves, important electrical impulses that produce the highest frequency. The gamma wave activity of the monks was some of the highest ever recorded, showing a correlation between years of meditation practice and strength of gamma waves. Gamma wave activity increased slightly in the control group of students, but movement of the waves through the brain in the monks was far better organized and coordinated than in the students. The monks also had more gamma wave activity than the students prior to starting the meditation.
Davidson believes this illustrates that meditation can permanently change the way the brain functions, and hopes future research will confirm this belief. His research confirms that the brain is "elastic", and can be trained to function more efficiently. It also supports the saying, "It's never too late to learn"!
Of all the fascinating articles I read on recent research on brain function, I found Davidson's article on meditation the most promising. After all, meditation does not require you to buy anything or go anywhere; it can be done wherever you are, whenever, and without money or wearing any particular outfit.
As long as you can find a place to sit quietly - or at least somewhere you can focus - you can practice meditation.
To maintain acuity - keep your brain stimulated. Involve new approaches in as many of the senses as possible. "Mental muscle" improves with exercise, so put your brain through its paces as often as possible. Select brain exercises that are challenging and fun, and try 20 minutes of exercise three times daily. Brain exercises can be found at Web sites such as Braingle.com or Billsgames.com/brain-teasers.
With these suggestions in mind, this is just a gentle reminder to take care of your noggin as well as your body.
Sharon Puszko is the owner/director/educator for Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute. She may be contacted at
or through her Web site: www.daybreak-massage.com.
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