Archives for August 2011

Research Shows Heat In Chili Peppers Can Ease Sinus Problems

Hot chili peppers are known to make people “tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers (Capsicum annum) may help people “clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.

The study, which appears in the August 2011 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, compares the use of the Capsicum annumnasal spray to a placebo nasal spray in 44 subjects with a significant component of no nallergic rhinitis (i.e., nasal congestion, sinus pain, sinus pressure) for a period of two weeks.

Capsicum annum contains capsaicin, which is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief. It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available over the counter.

“Basically, we concluded that the spray was safe and effective on non-allergic rhinitis,” Bernstein says of the study which showed that participants who used a nasal spray with Capsicum reported a faster onset of action or relief, on average within a minute of using the spray, than the control group.

Non-allergic rhinitis is an upper respiratory condition not caused by allergies but instead caused by environmental factors such as weather, household chemicals or perfumes; however, there are some people who have no triggers or don’t know what triggers are causing the inflammation, Bernstein says.

This is the first controlled trial where capsaicin was able to be used on a continuous basis to control symptoms. It is considered a significant advance, “because we don’t really have good therapies for non-allergic rhinitis,” says Bernstein, adding that in previous trials the ingredient was too hot to administer without anesthesia.

 

Reference 

Bernstein JA, Davis BP, Picard JK, Cooper JP, Zheng S, Levin LS. A randomized, double-blind, parallel trial comparing capsaicin nasal spray with placebo in subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2011; 107 (2): 171-8.

 

Poison In The Mouth

Startling documentary shows evidence of brain damage from mercury in silver amalgam fillings. Most dentists who deny mercury is harmful, will remove them without precautions and can cause a relapse or an equivalent of over 10 years mercury exposure in one go if they drill them out, so if you think you need to remove and replace them, be sure to search out a qualified dentist who uses correct procedures to remove & replace them with safe alternatives like ceramic fillings, or else leave them in until they need replacing if you have had them for ages, and get ceramic ones or a safe alternative to mercury amalgam.

The IAOMT gives guidelines for the removal of mercury amalgam fillings in a safe way, as you will need to go on a mercury detox program before and after taking them out to rid your body of the amount of mercury you will absorb during extraction, as no matter how many precautions taken, you will still be exposed to very high levels, so will need detox, but be careful, research this well if you decide to take action, as you can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing, you have been warned.

BBC – PANORAMA – Poison in the Mouth (1994)

 

Nutrition and Behavior (Lecture)

In this lecture, Dr. Russell Blaylock explains one of the most important connections between nutrition and our health, how nutrition affects our behavior. Citing a series of important studies, he shows that good nutrition can powerfully enhance our memory, mood, and behavior in a socially desirable way. Likewise he shows us that poor nutrition can lead our youth into a world of violence, crime, depression and suicide. By using an impressive array of studies on both juvenile and adult prisoners, Dr. Blaylock demonstrates these principals and outlines specific measures you can take to protect your children from these detrimental effects. Most importantly, he shows us that it is never too late to make these nutritional changes.

 

 

Study Identifies Chemical Changes In Brains Of People At Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Kejal Kantarci

A brain imaging scan identifies biochemical changes in the brains of normal people who might be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published in the August 24, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study of 311 people in their 70s and 80s with no cognitive problems, from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, used an advanced brain imaging technique called proton MR spectroscopy to see if they had abnormalities in several brain metabolites that may be biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. They also had PET scans to assess the level of amyloid-beta deposits, or plaques, in the brain that are one of the first signs of changes in the brain due to Alzheimer’s disease. The participants were also given tests of memory, language and other skills.

“There is increasing evidence that Alzheimer disease is associated with changes in the brain that start many years before symptoms develop,” said Jonathan M. Schott, MD, of the Dementia Research Centre, University College London in England and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “If we could identify people in whom the disease process has started but symptoms have not yet developed, we would have a potential window of opportunity for new treatments—as and when they become available—to prevent or delay the start of memory loss and cognitive decline.”

The study found that 33 percent of the participants had significantly high levels of amyloid-beta deposits in their brains. Those with high levels of amyloid-beta deposits also tended to have high levels of the brain metabolites myoinositol/creatine and choline/creatine. People with high levels of choline/creatine were more likely to have lower scores on several of the cognitive tests, regardless of the amount of amyloid-beta deposits in their brains.

“This relationship between amyloid-beta deposits and these metabolic changes in the brain are evidence that some of these people may be in the earliest stages of the disease,” said study author Kejal Kantarci, MD, MSc, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “More research is needed that follows people over a period of years to determine which of these individuals will actually develop the disease and what the relationship is between the amyloid deposits and the metabolites.” At the present time, MR spectroscopy cannot be used for diagnosis.

 

Reference

Kantarci K, Lowe V, Przybelski SA, Senjem ML, Weigand SD, Ivnik RJ, et al. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy, β-amyloid load, and cognition in a population-based sample of cognitively normal older adults. Neurology 2011 Aug 24 [Epub ahead of print].

 

Omega-3s Reduce Stroke Severity

A diet rich in omega-3s reduces the severity of brain damage after a stroke, according to a study conducted by Université Laval researchers. The team, co-directed by professors Jasna Kriz and Frédéric Calon, showed that the extent of brain damage following a stroke was reduced by 25% in mice that consumed DHA type omega-3s daily. Details of the study can be found on the website of the journal Stroke.

Researchers observed that the effects of stroke were less severe in mice that had been fed a diet rich in DHA for three months than in mice fed a control diet. In mice from the DHA group, they saw a reduction in the concentrations of molecules that stimulate tissue inflammation and, conversely, a larger quantity of molecules that prevent the activation of cell death.

“This is the first convincing demonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA in the brain,” underscored Frédéric Calon of Université Laval’s Faculty of Pharmacy. This protective effect results from the substitution of molecules in the neuronal membrane: DHA partially replaces arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known for its inflammatory properties.

“The consumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective environment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke,” summarized Jasna Kriz, of Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine. “It prevents an acute inflammatory response that, if not controlled, is harmful to brain tissue.”

Professor Calon believes that this anti-inflammatory effect is likely transferable to humans. “Since DHA is readily available, inexpensive, and reduces the risk of a number of health problems without causing significant side effects, the risk–benefit ratio tends to favor the regular consumption of fish or DHA,” he concluded.

 

Reference 

Lalancette-Hébert M, Julien C, Cordeau P, Bohacek I, Weng YC, Calon F, Kriz J. Accumulation of Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid in the Brain Attenuates Acute Immune Response and Development of Postischemic Neuronal Damage. Stroke 2011 Aug 18. [Epub ahead of print].

 

Food Matters

Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food – Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.

With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker.

Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer.

The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

 

 Learn More

Hungry for Change, the latest ‘Food Matters’ film, exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?

The Food Matters Detox and Rejuvenation Guide (e-Book) is an informative guide that will teach you how to apply the principles addressed in the film. This instantly downloadable e-Book will help you find better alternatives for the foods your body might not agree with, giving you the tools and skills necessary to prepare more nutritious meals.

Food Matters the Recipe e-Book. If you’ve watched Hungry For Change and Food Matters and you are looking for ways to incorporate the lessons from these films into your daily life then this book is for you. The idea is that once you start adding these recipes into your life on a daily basis you will start feeling better and this will encourage you to keep eating this way!

Chocolate Is A ‘Super Fruit’

It is widely known that fruit contains antioxidants which may be beneficial to health. New research published in the open access journalChemistry Central Journal demonstrates that chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and contains more polyphenols and flavanols than fruit juice.

When researchers at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition™ compared the antioxidant activity in cocoa powder and fruit powders they found that, gram per gram, there was more antioxidant capacity, and a greater total flavanol content, in the cocoa powder.

Similarly when they compared the amount of antioxidants, per serving, of dark chocolate, cocoa, hot chocolate mix and fruit juices they found that both dark chocolate and cocoa had a greater antioxidant capacity and a greater total flavanol, and polyphenol, content than the fruit juices. However hot chocolate, due to processing (alkalization) of the chocolate, contained little of any.

Dr Debra Miller, the senior author of the paper, says that, “Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit” providing nutritive value beyond that of their macronutrient composition”. Which is great news for chocolate lovers.

 

Reference

Crozier SJ, Preston AG, Hurst JW, Payne MJ, Mann J, Hainly L, Miller DL. Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal 2011, 5: 5.

 

Coriander Oil Could Tackle Food Poisoning And Drug-Resistant Infections

Coriander oil has been shown to be toxic to a broad range of harmful bacteria. Its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

The researchers from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Of the tested strains, all showed reduced growth, and most were killed, by solutions containing 1.6% coriander oil or less.

Coriander is an aromatic plant widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Coriander oil is one of the 20 most-used essential oils in the world and is already used as a food additive. Coriander oil is produced from the seeds of the coriander plant and numerous health benefits have been associated with using this herb over the centuries. These include pain relief, ease of cramps and convulsions, cure of nausea, aid of digestion and treatment of fungal infections.

This study not only shows that coriander oil also has an antibacterial effect, but provides an explanation for how it works, which was not previously understood. “The results indicate that coriander oil damages the membrane surrounding the bacterial cell. This disrupts the barrier between the cell and its environment and inhibits essential processes including respiration, which ultimately leads to death of the bacterial cell,” explained Dr Fernanda Domingues who led the study.

The researchers suggest that coriander oil could have important applications in the food and medical industries. “In developed countries, up to 30% of the population suffers from food-borne illness each year. This research encourages the design of new food additives containing coriander oil that would combat food-borne pathogens and prevent bacterial spoilage,” said Dr Domingues. “Coriander oil could also become a natural alternative to common antibiotics. We envisage the use of coriander in clinical drugs in the form of lotions, mouth rinses and even pills; to fight multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that otherwise could not be treated. This would significantly improve people’s quality of life.”

 

Reference

Silva F, Ferreira S, Duarte A, Mendonça DI, Domingues FC. Antifungal activity of Coriandrum sativum essential oil, its mode of action against Candida species and potential synergism with amphotericin B. Phytomedicine. 2011 Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print].

 

Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Epilepsy

You might have heard the term “brain food” used to describe food that’s good for you. Doctors at Mayo Clinic say there really is a diet that benefits the brain. But this diet is not for everybody. It’s for kids who have epilepsy, and it’s based on extremely high fats and very few carbs. More on how the ketogenic diet is helping some kids with epilepsy become seizure free.

Video from Mayo Clinic, USA

 

High-Fat Ketogenic Diet Effectively Treats Persistent Childhood Seizures

The high-fat ketogenic diet can dramatically reduce or completely eliminate debilitating seizures in most children with infantile spasms, whose seizures persist despite medication, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study published in 2010 in the journal Epilepsia.

Infantile spasms, also called West syndrome, is a stubborn form of epilepsy that often does not get better with antiseizure drugs. Because poorly controlled infantile spasms may cause brain damage, the Hopkins team’s findings suggest the diet should be started at the earliest sign that medications aren’t working.

“Stopping or reducing the number of seizures can go a long way toward preserving neurological function, and the ketogenic diet should be our immediate next line of defense in children with persistent infantile spasms who don’t improve with medication,” says senior investigator Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet program at Hopkins Children’s.

The ketogenic diet, made up of high-fat foods and few carbohydrates, works by triggering biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-causing short circuits in the brain’s signaling system. It has been used successfully in several forms of epilepsy.

A small 2002 study by the same Hopkins team showed the diet worked well in a handful of children with infantile spasms. The new study is the largest analysis thus far showing just how effective the diet can be in children with this condition.

Of the 104 children treated by the Hopkins team, nearly 40 percent, or 38 children, became seizure-free for at least six months after being on the diet for anywhere from just a few days to 20 months. Of the 38, 30 have remained so without a relapse for at least two years.

After three months on the diet, one-third of the children had 90 percent fewer seizures, and after nine months on the diet, nearly half of the children in the study had 90 percent fewer seizures. Nearly two-thirds had half as many seizures after six months on the diet.

Nearly two-thirds of the children experienced improvement in their neurological and cognitive development, and nearly 30 percent were weaned off antiseizure medications after starting the diet.

Most of the children continued taking their medication even after starting the diet, the researchers say, because the two are not mutually exclusive and can often work in synergy.

Researchers also used the diet as first-line therapy in18 newly diagnosed infants never treated with drugs, 10 of whom became seizure free within two weeks of starting the diet. The finding suggests that, at least in some children, the diet may work well as first-line therapy, but the researchers say they need further and larger studies to help them identify patients for whom the diet is best used before medications. Hopkins Children’s neurologists are actively using the ketogenic diet as first-line treatment in children with infantile spasms with promising results.

Side effects, including constipation, heartburn, diarrhea and temporary spikes in cholesterol levels, occurred in one-third of the children, with six percent of them experiencing diminished growth.

Despite these side effects, a recent study by Kossoff and his team showed that the ketogenic diet is safe long term.

Conflict of interest disclosure: Dr. Kossoff has received grant support from Nutricia Inc., for unrelated research. The terms of these arrangements are being managed by the Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.

 

Reference

Hong AM, Turner Z, Hamdy RF, Kossoff EH. Infantile spasms treated with the ketogenic diet: Prospective single-center experience in 104 consecutive infants. Epilepsia 2010; 51 (8): 1403–1407.

 

Related on the Web

High-Fat Ketogenic Diet to Control Seizures Is Safe Over Long Term (16.02.2010)

Infantile Spasms Information (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Daily Potassium Citrate Wards Off Kidney Stones in Seizure Patients on High-Fat Diet (20.07.2009)

High Cholesterol Levels Drop Naturally in Children on High-Fat Antiseizure Diet (15.08.2010)

Modified Atkins Diet Effectively Treats Childhood Seizures (05.12.05)

Carson Harris-A Patient Story