About Len Saunders

Len Saunders is an award winning / best-selling author, motivational speaker in the fight against childhood obesity, and nationally recognized for his innovative wellness events. Recently, you may have seen Len on such media giants as CNN, Good Morning America, CNBC, The Today Show, ESPN, Nickelodeon, MSNBC, The Fox Channel, as well as the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

SRC-1 Gene Variants Linked To Human Obesity

Share Button

From The Baylor College of Medicine…..

BaylorCollegeMaintaining a healthy body weight is no simple matter. A better understanding of how the body regulates appetite could help tip the scale toward the healthy side. Contributing toward this goal, a team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Cambridge reports in the journal Nature Communications that the gene SRC-1 affects body weight control by regulating the function of neurons in the hypothalamus – the appetite center of the brain.

Mice lacking the SRC-1 gene eat more and become obese. SRC-1 also seems to be involved in regulating human body weight. The researchers identified in severely obese children 15 rare SRC-1 genetic variants that disrupt its function. When mice were genetically engineered to express one of these variants, the animals ate more and gained weight.

“The protein called steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) is known to participate in the regulation of body weight, but its precise role is not clear,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Yong Xu, associate professor of pediatrics and of molecular and cellular biology and a researcher at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. “Here we explored the role of SRC-1 in the hypothalamus, a brain area that regulates appetite.”

The researchers discovered that SRC-1 is highly expressed in the hypothalamus of mice, specifically in neurons that express the Pomc gene. Pomc neurons are known to regulate appetite and body weight.

Further experiments showed that SRC-1 is involved in regulating the expression of Pomc gene in these cells. When Xu and his colleagues deleted the SRC-1 gene in Pomc neurons, the cells expressed less Pomc and the mice ate more and became obese.

The researchers also explored whether SRC-1 also would play a role in regulating human body weight.

“We had identified a group of severely obese children carrying rare genetic variants in the SRC-1 gene,” said co-corresponding author Dr. I. Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow.

Working together, Xu, Sadaf Farooqi and their colleagues found that many of the SRC-1 variants in the obese children produced dysfunctional proteins that disrupted the normal function of SRC-1. On the other hand, SRC-1 variants in healthy individuals did not disrupt SRC-1 function.

saladheartsmallFurthermore, mice genetically engineered to express one of the human SRC-1 genetic variants found in obese children ate more and gained weight. This is the first report of SRC-1 playing a role in the hypothalamus in the context of body weight control.

“By providing evidence that bridges basic and genetic animal studies and human genetic data, we have made the case that SRC-1 is an important regulator of body weight,” Xu said.

Other contributors to this work include Yongjie Yang, Agatha A. van der Klaauw, Liangru Zhu, Tessa M. Cacciottolo, Yanlin He, Lukas K.J. Stadler, Chunmei Wang, Pingwen Xu, Kenji Saito, Antentor Hinton Jr, Xiaofeng Yan, Julia M. Keogh, Elana Henning, Matthew C. Banton, Audrey E. Hendricks, Elena G. Bochukova, Vanisha Mistry, Katherine L. Lawler, Lan Liao, Jianming Xu, Stephen O’Rahilly, Qingchun Tong, UK10K consortium, Inês Barroso and Bert W. O’Malley. The authors are affiliated with one or more of the following institutions: Baylor College of Medicine; University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories; Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science; Huazhong University of Sciences & Technology, China; Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge; University of Colorado – Denver and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

For a complete list of the sources of financial support for this project, visit this link.

 

Study Reports Emerging Triggers Of Rare Food Allergy In Infants

Share Button

News from the Baylor College of Medicine…..

BaylorCollegeA study led by the section of immunology, allergy and rheumatology in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine researches an uncommon food allergy known as ‘food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome’ (FPIES) that occurs mostly in infants. The findings of the study determine the responsible foods triggers, as well as the characteristics and management of FPIES. 

“One of the main problems with FPIES is that it can be challenging to diagnose,” said Dr. Aikaterini Anagnostou, associate professor of pediatric allergy at Baylor, director of the food immunotherapy program at Texas Children’s Hospital and the lead researcher in the study. She stressed that FPIES symptoms can mimic other illnesses, such as viral gastroenteritis or sepsis in infants.

“I often find that this condition is misdiagnosed and that many people are not aware of it,” Anagnostou said. “There is also a significant delay in the diagnosis, and I have heard many stories from patients coming into my clinic and raising all of these concerns. The aim of our study is to further investigate FPIES, and to raise awareness of this uncommon food allergic disorder.”

The main symptoms of FPIES include vomiting, lethargy, pallor and diarrhea, which are triggered by typical weaning foods such as cow’s milk, soy, rice and oats. Anagnostou explains that weaning foods are introduced to infants when they are being weaned off breast milk or formula and onto solid foods. In contrast to other food allergies, FPIES presents with a delayed reaction two to four hours after ingesting the food.

The study took place over a three-year period from 2015 to 2017 and included 74 infant cases of FPIES in the area. The findings reveal that rice is the most common trigger amongst children affected by FPIES in Houston (cow milk is the most common cause in other U.S. geographic locations). Rarer triggers such as banana and avocado also were identified as more common for this population. Anagnostou also reported that a significant percentage of children had multiple food triggers, an unusual observation for FPIES-related studies.

“It is difficult to ascertain why we see different triggers in this area,” Anagnostou said. “We suspect that this observation is related to different dietary and weaning habits, with certain foods preferred as weaning foods in our area compared to other areas in the United States.”

Additionally, Anagnostou reported a six-month delay in the diagnosis of FPIES in the Houston population. “This finding highlights once more how challenging FPIES can be to recognize and diagnose,” she said. “For instance, we found that 22 percent of infants in our study received a sepsis work-up because it is often difficult to differentiate between FPIES and sepsis in young infants, especially at initial presentation.”

Due to the profuse vomiting caused by FPIES, infants can experience dehydration or in more severe cases, go into shock during the acute phase of the disease. In more chronic cases, Anagnostou said failure to thrive and malnutrition may occur if parents do not seek medical help.

“Another new finding of our study was the significant percentage of infants at risk for malnutrition because the parents become worried about introducing other foods,” Anagnostou said. “As a result of this, infants may suffer from a very limited and restricted diet.”

Anagnostou said that consulting a dietitian is one of the crucial parts of managing the disease so that families can receive education on proper food introduction. Also key to managing the condition is fluid resuscitation for severe dehydration and oral rehydration for mild cases. Anagnostou notes that giving epinephrine will not work for this type of allergy.

After a diagnosis of FPIES is made, Anagnostou recommends avoiding the triggering food. Subsequently, the food may be tried in the hospital setting under medical supervision, every 12 to 18 months to assess whether FPIES is outgrown.

“Different people outgrow FPIES at different time points,” Anagnostou said. “The food can be tried in a controlled environment and if there is a reaction, it will be treated appropriately. If the food is tolerated and there is no reaction during the observation period, then it can be reintroduced into the diet.”

mombabyAnagnostou advises parents who notice repeat reactions (usually profuse vomiting) after introducing a new food into their child’s diet to seek medical help and potentially consider this diagnosis. “I am not suggesting that for every child that vomits after a food introduction the diagnosis will be FPIES,” she said. “Of course, there are several factors at play here and many other diseases to consider, but this is something to keep in mind if the reaction is consistent with certain food triggers.”

One of the reassuring facts about FPIES is that most children outgrow the disease once they are older and that it rarely carries into adulthood. Anagnostou said there have been a few recorded cases of adult FPIES, with the main triggers being nuts and shellfish.

“There is a lot of information that is still missing,” Anagnostou said. “We don’t know much yet about the disease’s mechanism or any specific risk factors that could predispose an infant to having FPIES. What is clear is that we need to raise awareness about FPIES so that we minimize the delay in the diagnosis, which can be a significant source of anxiety for families.”

The full study was published this month in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology journal.

High-fructose Corn Syrup Boosts Intestinal Tumor Growth In Mice

Share Button

Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

BaylorCollegeDoes sugar directly feed cancers, boosting their growth? The answer seems to be ‘Yes’ at least in mice according to a study led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medicine. Their study, published in Science, showed that consuming a daily modest amount of high-fructose corn syrup – the equivalent of people drinking about 12 ounces of a sugar-sweetened beverage daily – accelerates the growth of intestinal tumors in mouse models of the disease, independently of obesity. The team also discovered the mechanism by which the consumption of sugary drinks can directly feed cancer growth, suggesting potential novel therapeutic strategies.

“An increasing number of observational studies have raised awareness of the association between consuming sugary drinks, obesity and the risk of colorectal cancer,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Jihye Yun, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor. “The current thought is that sugar is harmful to our health mainly because consuming too much can lead to obesity. We know that obesity increases the risk of many types of cancer including colorectal cancer; however, we were uncertain whether a direct and causal link existed between sugar consumption and cancer. Therefore, I decided to address this important question when I was a postdoc in the Dr. Lewis Cantley lab at Weill Cornell Medicine.

First, Yun and her colleagues generated a mouse model of early-stage colon cancer where APC gene is deleted. “APC is a gatekeeper in colorectal cancer. Deleting this protein is like removing the breaks of a car. Without it, normal intestinal cells neither stop growing nor die, forming early stage tumors called polyps. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer patients have this type of APC mutation”, Yun said.

Using this mouse model of the disease, the team tested the effect of consuming sugar-sweetened water on tumor development. The sweetened water was 25 percent high-fructose corn syrup, which is the main sweetener of sugary drinks people consume. High-fructose corn syrup consists of glucose and fructose at a 45:55 ratio.

When the researchers provided the sugary drink in the water bottle for the APC-model mice to drink at their will, mice rapidly gained weight in a month. To prevent the mice from being obese and mimic humans’ daily consumption of one can of soda, the researchers gave the mice a moderate amount of sugary water orally with a special syringe once a day. After two months, the APC-model mice receiving sugary water did not become obese, but developed tumors that were larger and of higher-grade than those in model mice treated with regular water.

“These results suggest that when the animals have early stage of tumors in the intestines – which can occur in many young adult humans by chance and without notice – consuming even modest amounts of high-fructose corn syrup in liquid form can boost tumor growth and progression independently of obesity,” Yun said. “Further research is needed to translate these discovery to people; however, our findings in animal models suggest that chronic consumption of sugary drinks can shorten the time it takes cancer to develop. In humans, it usually takes 20 to 30 years for colorectal cancer to grow from early stage benign tumors to aggressive cancers.”

soda“This observation in animal models might explain why increased consumption of sweet drinks and other foods with high sugar content over the past 30 years is correlating with an increase in colorectal cancers in 25 to 50-year-olds in the United States,” said Cantley, co-corresponding author, former mentor of Yun and professor of cancer biology in medicine and director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The team then investigated the mechanism by which this sugar promoted tumor growth. They discovered that the APC-model mice receiving modest high-fructose corn syrup had high amounts of fructose in their colons. “We observed that sugary drinks increased the levels of fructose and glucose in the colon and blood, respectively and that tumors could efficiently take up both fructose and glucose via different routes.”

Using cutting-edge technologies to trace the fate of glucose and fructose in tumor tissues, the team showed that fructose was first chemically changed and this process then enabled it to efficiently promote the production of fatty acids, which ultimately contribute to tumor growth.

“Most previous studies used either glucose or fructose alone to study the effect of sugar in animals or cell lines. We thought that this approach did not reflect how people actually consume sugary drinks because neither drinks nor foods have only glucose or fructose. They have both glucose and fructose together in similar amounts,” Yun said. “Our findings suggest that the role of fructose in tumors is to enhance glucose’s role of directing fatty acids synthesis. The resulting abundance of fatty acids can be potentially used by cancer cells to form cellular membranes and signaling molecules, to grow or to influence inflammation.”

To determine whether fructose metabolism or increased fatty acid production was responsible for sugar-induced tumor growth, the researchers modified APC-model mice to lack genes coding for enzymes involved in either fructose metabolism or fatty acid synthesis. One group of APC-model mice lacked an enzyme KHK, which is involved in fructose metabolism, and another group lacked enzyme FASN, which participates in fatty acid synthesis. They found that mice lacking either of these genes did not develop larger tumors, unlike APC-model mice, when fed the same modest amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.

“This study revealed the surprising result that colorectal cancers utilize high-fructose corn syrup, the major ingredient in most sugary sodas and many other processed foods, as a fuel to increase rates of tumor growth,” Cantley said. “While many studies have correlated increased rates of colorectal cancer with diet, this study shows a direct molecular mechanism for the correlation between consumption of sugar and colorectal cancer.”

“Our findings also open new possibilities for treatment,” Yun said. “Unlike glucose, fructose is not essential for the survival and growth of normal cells, which suggests that therapies targeting fructose metabolism are worth exploring. Alternatively, avoiding consuming sugary drinks as much as possible instead of relying on drugs would significantly reduce the availability of sugar in the colon.”

didyouknowWhile further studies in humans are necessary, Yun and colleagues hope this research will help to raise public awareness about the potentially harmful consequences consuming sugary drinks has on human health and contribute to reducing the risk and mortality of colorectal cancer worldwide.

Other contributors to this work include Drs. Sukjin Yang, Yumei Wang and Justin Van Riper with Baylor, Marcus Goncalves (lead author), Changyuan Lu, Jordan Trautner, Travis Hartman, Seo-Kyoung Hwang, Charles Murphy, Roxanne Morris, Sam Taylor, Quiying Chen, Steven Gross and Kyu Rhee, all with Weill Cornell Medicine, Chantal Pauli with the University Hospital Zurich, Kaitlyn Bosch with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, H Carl Lekaye with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Jatin Roper with Duke University and Young Kim with Chonnam National University.

– This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Stand Up 2 Cancer, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and the National Cancer Institute.

Infrared For Health

Share Button

By Francis Bangayan

healthywordsInfrared for health an extremely effective process. Infrared heat energy is a form that allows you to penetrate deeper in your body than heat and other types of thermal energy. Infrared red heat can be used more broadly with infrared light therapy device locally or with infrared sauna. We know that before the event of exercise or sports, the body must be warmed, then it also knows that heat increases blood flow and increases muscle strength.

Seniors suffer more lasting fatigue, fall and injury, back and joints, chronic pain, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and many other complex problems. Lifestyle and dietary changes are often part of the overall treatment of these conditions. However, the latest version of the heat-therapy or Far Infrared Therapy, FIR Treatment, is the effective process of natural pain relief supplements.

Infrared Sauna For Health

Infrared is a type of bath that uses light to create heat. Sauna is such a remote infrared snack that goes far away, where infrared waves fall into the spectrum of light. A traditional sauna uses heat to heat the air and also emphasizes your body. An infrared sauna heats your body directly without heating the air around you.

Saunas application is usually increased by normal exercise, such as strong sweating and heart rate, as well as the same reaction. An infrared sauna translates into real health benefits to people who can not stand with temperature. Most studies have found evidence of beneficial use of infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems like long blood pressure, congestive heart failure, headaches, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Infrared For Cardiovascular Health

Infrared heat utilizes certain risks such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Infrared heat can help cardiovascular health, which makes it easier to control the temperature on your body with physical activity on a moderate pace.

Infrared Heat For Muscular Injuries

Infrared heat helps improve your muscular healing by increasing blood flow to the injured muscles and increasing muscle strength. Physical therapists have explained that as well as providing deep heating to your muscles, infrared heat releases nitric oxide. Increasing the circulation of oxygen and other nutrients to improve the nitric oxide circulation in the injured area. Physical therapists use infrared light therapy devices to produce infrared heat and treat a specific injury like strained hamstring and muscle wounds.

Conclusion

sunSunlight is needed for life and health. The safest segment of the sun’s energy comes from infrared light, which extends medical benefits for various health conditions. Studies show that far infrared increases circulation on the skin, changes sleep, prevents pain, prevents oxidative stress, and ensures recovery by removing inflammation. About 80% of solar energy produces many infrared rays. Far infrared radiation extract all of the sun’s beneficial healing properties when removing its harmful effects such as ultraviolet radiation.

Therefore, researchers have shown that many infrared radiation can create strong benefits, which can be applied to numerous medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes as well as for its treatment conditions.

– Francis Bangayan is the creator of the Infrared Heating Biomat for Health. The infraredforhealth.com provides information, methods and ways in using the technology of infrared heating mattress to improve your biochemistry, your body and your mind to reclaim your health.

 

The 31st Anniversary Of Project ACES

Share Button

The 31st anniversary of Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) will be taking place on May 1st, 2019.  Come join the fun.

Project ACES is a signature program of the Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc. Project ACES was created by physical education teacher Len Saunders in 1989 as a method of motivating children to exercise. ACES takes place on the first Wednesday in May as part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month along with National Physical Education Week. It has been labeled as “the world’s largest exercise class” by the media. Since 1989, millions of children from all over the world exercise together to promote proper health and fitness habits. With the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world, children’s fitness plays a major role in fighting heart disease. Project ACES hopes to address these issues with its big event in May, as well as schools that participate in daily Project ACES Clubs throughout the year.

To learn more, visit the Project ACES website at:  projectaces.com

PLEASE SHARE!

5 Types Of Insurance For Independent Consultants And Business Owners

Share Button

By Jade Sohn

workdeskBe prepared and opt for the right insurance policies to safeguard yourself against unpredictable hazards or issues that may pop up while running your business.  Choosing suitable insurance plans can prove to be a challenging task. Chief among them is a general liability and professional liability insurance.

Also, individual consultants and married entrepreneurs only qualify for individual health insurance, leaving room for very few Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) options. Further, if you miss an HMO open enrollment period, your organization may have to survive an entire year without coverage. What would you do if an unpredictable event occurs during that time? This post talks about various options that can work as great alternatives in such a situation. Read further to explore them in detail.

1. Professional Liability Insurance

Did you know that if you are a sole proprietor of a business consultancy, you can be held legally and financially liable for any financial loss to your client resulting from your advice or occurring during your involvement? This means that you need to be prepared for the legal and financial fallout of such a situation. Even if your business is billing in the hundreds of thousands, being taken to court could cause you financial hardship, so you may benefit from subscribing to an insurance policy designed for consultant businesses.

If allegations of errors, bad advice or delay in providing a service threaten a consultant’s business, then consultant professional liability insurance can cover costs of hiring an attorney and any settlement or damages arising from the lawsuit.

2. General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects consultants against allegations of bodily injury, property damage, and advertising and personal injury. If your client suffers a slip and fracture at your firm, or if you accidentally damage an expensive artifact on your client’s premise, the general liability insurance will cover the medical costs and costs of replacing the artifact respectively.

General liability insurance also covers any legal challenges arising from advertising or personal injuries such as slander, libel, and defamation. If a consultant publishes any material containing false statements about a competitor or makes derogatory comments about a client before others in a way that can cause the client grief or suffering, or causes harm to his professional reputation, then a personal injury lawsuit can be brought against the ‘perpetrator’.

No matter how carefully or conscientiously you may run your consulting business, there is at least a small window of error that can potentially pose financial or legal hurdles. General liability insurance safeguards against such contingencies, allowing you to focus on challenging unfair cases and staying focused on your business rather than stressing about paying attorney fees and financial damages from your business or personal funds.

3.Short-term health insurance

If you’re hard-pressed for time and don’t have enough resources to consider or purchase long-term health insurance, you can opt for short-term health insurance. The advantage of short-term health insurance is that it’s relatively inexpensive. It also holds you to low standards of commitment, so you can always revisit the decision and choose another, better-suited health insurance for your business. Short-term health insurance, however, is not completely reliable. You may be refused coverage if the event involves a chronic health disorder. Plus, coverage earned by short-term health insurance is for low amounts.

4. Insurance through associations

healthyheartbpSome industry associations offer health insurance as a side-benefit of joining. If you are starting a consultancy business, you may want to join networking or co-promotion organizations in your city or town. These organization of which NASE is an example, offer benefits such as health insurance. However, studies by journals such as WSJ have claimed that the ROI (Return on Investment) that you receive from joining such an organization doesn’t justify the enormous joining fees that they charge. However, you may want to consider all benefits such as networking, exposure, and new leads that you get from the organization when weighing the benefits.

5. Health cost sharing

People with good health can consider health cost sharing networks as an option for health insurance. There are companies such as Liberty Healthshare, CHM, and New Health that have started up to provide affordable and no-fuss health insurance for those who can’t afford to go with regular, long-term health insurance. However, such insurance networks tend to reject many applicants on the grounds of having existing health disorders.

When starting a consultancy business, there are many factors that you have to consider. If you can’t manage all of that by yourself, you can work with smart alternatives or hacks that work just as well. This post describes various types of health insurances that can help you fight against unpredictable health hazards or issues that may crop up when running your business. After all, it’s best to be prepared than suffer expensive consequences of ignorant decisions.

To Fish Oil Or Not To Fish Oil

Share Button

Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

didyouknow?We’ve all heard the advice to take a fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids to improve heart health, but are you actually getting the benefits they claim to provide? One Baylor College of Medicine cardiologist says probably not, and that goes for most over-the-counter supplements.

“They may not be bad for you, but you also may not know exactly what you are getting. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and the benefits haven’t been fully investigated,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of the section of cardiology at Baylor. “If you are at high risk for heart attack or stroke and decide to add an over-the-counter fish oil pill to your diet and you think you are getting a benefit, there is a good chance you are not.”

Ballantyne is lead researcher on the REDUCE-IT trial that investigated the effects of icosapent ethyl, a highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester, which is an omega-3 fatty acid purified from fish oil. People who were at high risk of cardiovascular events despite being on a statin treatment were given a dosage of 4000 mg daily and the results (read more about REDUCE-IT here) did show a decrease in cardiovascular events; however, Ballantyne said an important distinction is the amount and the type of omega-3 fatty acid used and the amount.

“What we use in the REDUCE-IT trial is prescription grade and FDA approved. It is a highly refined form, not what you find in a dietary supplement capsule,” Ballantyne said. “Even if the amount listed on the supplement label is, for example, 1000mg, you should read the ingredients. 1000mg doesn’t mean pure fish oil; there are other elements included and the usual amount of omega 3 fatty acids – EPA and docosahexanoic acid, or DHA – is usually only a total of 300 mg. So, to get the benefits we saw in the trial, you would have to take an enormous number of capsules.” 

Reading the ingredient list is important on all supplements. Not all items are listed on the front label, so make sure to check the small print. In some cases, the added items might actually hurt your health, Ballantyne said. For example, losing weight is a way to improve heart health, but there have been effective weight loss supplements that include ingredients that have been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular events. Also make sure that you purchase a reputable brand as there are some protein powders that claim to be all natural and enhance muscle strength, but include synthetic steroids.

“The ingredients might not be harmful, but if you already have some type of health issue, it could add complications. You should know what you are putting in your body, and you should talk to your doctor about any type of supplements you are taking,” he said. “And if you still want to add certain supplements to your body, the best way to start is to eat healthy and get your required vitamins and health benefits from whole foods.”

Ballantyne also is the director of the Maria and Alando J. Ballantyne Atherosclerosis Clinical Research Laboratory at Baylor, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center and co-director of the Lipid Metabolism and Atherosclerosis Clinic at Houston Methodist. He also holds the J. S. Abercrombie Chair in Atherosclerosis and Lipoprotein Research at Baylor.

The Art Of Mindfulness

Share Button

brainSubmitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

The practice of mindfulness has been a hot topic recently, but what does mindfulness actually mean and how does one practice it? One Baylor College of Medicine expert discusses this.

“Mindfulness is the art of paying attention with a purpose and without judgement,” said Dr. Monica Alzate, licensed clinical social worker and assistant professor of family and community medicine. “Essentially, the idea is to be in the moment and become aware.”

Research has shown that mindfulness techniques work to help prevent, reduce and even eliminate physical and mental health symptoms, Alzate explained. These techniques also have been proven to be very helpful for people with anxiety and depression as well as those with anger management and concentration issues. Research is being done to study why mindfulness works.

“We still do not know exactly how or why mindfulness techniques work, but we know that they do,” she said.  

For example, one experiment showed that a group of people who practiced mindfulness based stress reduction for eight weeks had positive changes in the structure of the brain, such as increase in hippocampal thickness (involved in memory, learning, and modulation of emotional control), and decrease in brain cell volume in the amygdala (responsible for fear, anxiety, stress). Other studies have shown changes in gray matter volume and density, as well as in activation levels of the insula, which is involved in the process of awareness. These changes have been observed through neuroimaging studies using Electroencephalogram and Functional MRI.  

There are several types of mindfulness exercises that Alzate recommends practicing. They include:

Five senses exercise: For this exercise, you decide which of the senses you want to focus on for five minutes. For example, if you choose sight, then you would focus on picking out five objects you have never noticed before or if you choose hearing, you would then listen to five things you have never paid attention to before. You can do this exercise while simultaneously practicing abdominal breathing.

Body scan exercise: For this exercise you use your mind to scan your body all the way from the crown of your head to your toes. When doing this exercise you should try to exhale through your nose as it helps relax you more. This exercise can be as short as five minutes or as long as 30 minutes.

Mindful eating exercise: This technique involves focusing on the food you eat and can be helpful for people with eating issues. For this technique, you take a small piece of whatever you are going to eat in your hand and observe it without judgment. After observing it, you pick it up, put it close to your ear and move it around so you can hear the sound that might come from the food’s texture. Eventually, you put the piece of food in your mouth and you slowly feel the food as it breaks down and, lastly, you swallow it. The idea of this technique is to help people slow down and pay attention to what they are eating and to be present while doing so.   

brainthinkingAlzate emphasized the importance of practicing mindfulness techniques before you need to use them and suggested practicing with a mindfulness expert so you can learn how to properly execute different techniques.  

“You have to learn the exercises and practice them properly when you are not experiencing stress, that way when you need them you know how to do them,” she said. “Many people wait until the moment that they need to use a technique to start using it, but this will not work. Training helps the brain get used to how you are going to react when you practice a mindfulness technique. You cannot learn a new thing in a moment of stress.”

She added that although abdominal breathing is not a mindfulness technique in itself, it is the first step of many mindfulness practices, and many people do not do it correctly. To help practice abdominal breathing, Alzate said you should start by lying down and putting a very light pillow or a stuffed animal on your abdomen with a pillow behind your head so you can see if the pillow or stuffed animal goes up and down when you are breathing. If it does, then you are breathing correctly. Once you have mastered this, then you can put a hand on your chest and a hand on your abdomen so you can actually start feeling your body when you are breathing. After you are able to do this comfortably, you can start practicing your abdominal breathing while you are sitting, standing and walking. It is important to be able to do abdominal breathing in all situations because you may find yourself needing it when you are sitting in your car stuck in a traffic jam or standing in the back of a long line.  

Once you have mastered how to properly practice mindfulness techniques, Alzate suggests downloading a mindfulness app so you have access to mindfulness resources at any time.

She cautions that for some people with higher anxiety levels practicing mindfulness alone may not be enough and she recommends seeking help from a mental health professional.

“Practicing mindfulness can be a great first step for any kind of change that you may want to accomplish whether it is a short-term change like refocusing during a meeting or a long-term change like managing an anger problem,” Alzate said.

The Difference Between Home Genetic Testing And Carrier Screening

Share Button

familywalk2Home DNA testing kits have become increasingly popular in recent years and there are now many different companies, like 23andMe, Ancestry, and National Geographic, that offer this service to consumers commercially. Without ever leaving their home, people can order a genetic testing kit, take a DNA sample, and send it back for testing. The results offer detailed data about ancestry, migration, and personal physical or character traits. Some of these companies are even offering health testing that includes carrier status information for some diseases. But how does this compare to other, more established forms of genetic carrier screening?

Genetic Carrier Screening

All methods of genetic carrier testing can give you an idea of how likely you are to pass a certain genetic trait or condition on to your offspring. There are hundreds of possible variants or genetic diseases that can be tested for in any individual. The likelihood of your child developing a genetic condition depends on a variety of factors, such as how it is inherited (what chromosome the genetic mutation is associated with) and what genetic variants your partner has. Carrier genetic testing can be performed with a saliva sample, a buccal swab, or a blood test.

Testing Criteria

Most commercially available at-home testing kits are only intended for autosomal recessive carrier screening. When a baby is conceived, they inherit a gene from each parent for every trait. An autosomal recessive disorder occurs when a person inherits two genes that cause the disorder, one from each parent. A person can also be a carrier, which means that they only inherited one of these genes, and therefore do not have the disorder but are at risk of passing it on to their offspring. If one partner tests positive as a carrier for a particular genetic disorder, the other partner will also need to be tested to determine if their child has a risk for being born with the autosomal recessive condition.

In reality, there are many different kinds of inherited disorders. Genetic diseases that are inherited in other ways (like X-linked inheritance, when there is a mutation on the X chromosome) usually can only be tested for with more thorough forms of carrier genetic testing, performed through a blood test at a healthcare provider’s office.

If you are interested in a comprehensive list of genetic conditions that you should consider getting screened for, your best bet is speaking to your doctor about the different carrier screening tests. The tests recommended by your doctor can often provide more information and information about additional genetic diseases not found in today’s at-home DNA testing kits. Before you decide what kind of genetic test is good for you, you should have a good idea of what genetic diseases or variants should be tested for and make sure your selected test meets these criteria.

Accuracy

At-home DNA tests are done precisely that way, in your own home and under your own supervision. It is obvious that their accuracy may be affected by many environmental factors such as human error during sample collection. A huge benefit of getting a blood test for carrier screening is that your sample is taken by a professional and is handled by laboratory-trained technicians throughout the process. These laboratories have many years of specialized experience dealing specifically with DNA carrier screening. This can lead to higher quality samples and therefore, higher quality results.

Consult Your Doctor

It can be fun to find out about your ancestry and where your family came from, but when you are also testing for risk or carrier status for certain health conditions, it is best to consult with an expert. If you have questions about which kind of genetic carrier screening to perform, you should consult your doctor for more information. When you receive your results, you will likely bring them to your health professional or genetic counselor for guidance on next steps, so it makes sense to consult them beforehand about which kind of testing they prefer.

Additional Testing

If you move forward with the at-home carrier screening kit, it’s important to note that depending on your results, additional testing may be recommended. Your doctor may order additional tests, like a carrier DNA screening or panel (performed via blood draw) to confirm your at-home results.

SOURCES:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genetics/inheritance/

https://www.23andme.com/

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/testing/uses

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gynecology_obstetrics/specialty_areas/fertility-center/infertility-services/genetic-screening.html

Chiropractic Care for Arthritis – Rockville Chiropractors Advice

Share Button

doctorRockville Chiropractors Answer Common Questions…..

Today, when we are always busy and hurried, numerous diseases can slow us down and stop us from reaching the desired goal. Life’s span is longer than ever, but the quality of our lives has decreased, although we have all the commodities and predispositions to not be like that. But sometimes, the modern way of life prevents us from taking more care of ourselves.

Arthritis is a surprisingly common disease, even in a younger population. The inflammatory process that damages the joints can greatly aggravate our movement, doing everyday activities, and in general, affect the quality of our lives. In the text below, Healing Hand Chiropractic experts resolve the doubts most patients have about chiropractic as an alternative form of treatment for this disease.

Does Arthritis Affect Our Life?

Rheumatoid disorders, including arthritis, are the leading cause of reduced mobility and chronic pain throughout the body. Due to less movement, many people feel like they’re limited. Not to mention this condition significantly affect their working abilities. If patients neglect the disease, it can severely damage their skeletal system, and ultimately lead to permanent disability.

Arthritis can appear in several hundred different types, but the most common division is on chronic and acute forms. Other forms are available on this link. Every fourth person with diagnosed arthritis has a severe form of this condition, which should be treated as soon as possible. Patients should ask for a chiropractor’s help when their doctor suggests this method as an addition to conventional therapies in the treatment of arthritis.

Will the Treatment Hurt?

We won’t lie to you. This method is not completely painless, especially if the cause of your suffering is in the area of the spine. However, this is a quite bearable pain. The rule all chiropractors follow is not to harm the patient, so do not worry about some sudden moves and breakages that will cause more pain.

The professional will try to place your spine or ankle by slowly massaging the painful place and returning it to its initial position. When you feel it hurts, let your chiropractor know. Chiropractors will stretch you gently, to place your body in a position where the spinal cord, hips, and shoulders are unburdened.

Arthritis in the back is one of the most common types which chiropractors can treat. More about this disorder find on this page: https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/back-pain/causes/back-arthritis.php.

If there is some inflammation of the surrounding tissues, returning to the initial position brings great relief to the patients, as they feel immediate cessation of the pain.

How Often You Should Visit a Chiropractor?

doctorThe number of chiropractic treatments depends on many factors, such as the severity of the condition, the patient’s age, the level of physical activity, and also the compatibility with conventional therapies. As for the treatment of arthritis, the adjustment of the spinal cord and joints usually occurs during the first visit, after the chiropractor gets insight into your medical documentation and the physiotherapist’s opinion.

Once the doctor set the diagnosis, a patient should start the therapy as soon as possible. If, after treatment, the patient feels the improvement, in agreement with the doctor decides on the continuation of chiropractic therapy. Frequent visits are usually recommended to chronic patients, for pain relief. The body needs continuity to regain balance and start the process of self-healing.

Can We Live with Arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis vary. People with the same diagnosis do not have to feel pain in the same place and the same intensity. If arthritis patients work on improving the quality of life, the impact of this disease can be decreased.

However, if the healing of arthritis is neglected, the daily functioning in patients can be threatened because of the pain, the deformity of the joints, etc. Besides the regular therapy, arthritis patients have to introduce a number of changes in the previous way of life. They have to move, be physical activity, stay in the fresh air, but also to introduce healthier nutrition. Avoiding stress can significantly ease life with arthritis too. On this webpage, you can read how our body responses to stress.

After the first visit to the Chiropractor, many patients feel better. But to achieve lasting and better results in their fight with arthritis,   different treatments should be combined and conducted consistently.