- Brain Pains – Is it worth it?
In August every year, I am inundated by football. High school young men getting ready for the season, hype on the upcoming college season, and professionals getting prepared for the season are the stories in the media. Everyone has a story, comment or opinion on the upcoming games. Remember these are games. Yet we cannot get enough media coverage about football.
A study published July 25, 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the brains of deceased, former football players ranging from youth to pros. 88 percent of the individuals had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. This is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the skull. Trauma to any body part is not a good thing. Trauma to the organ responsible for controlling the body, including higher levels of thinking and functioning is a major stress.
The three-pound brain with 80-90 billion neurons and quadrillion interconnections enclosed in a protective casing needs to be protected. It is too valuable to be “banged around.” At younger ages as the brain develops, the impacts are more pronounced.
The latest study is the largest study to date and again suggests that football players may be at the greatest risk of developing neurologic disease. Of those pros examined 110 of 111 brains studied had CTE, of college brains examined 48 of 53, and 3 of 14 of high school brains had CTE.
Genetics, years played, amount of force and hits, hydration, and a host of other factors could affect the disease’s progression. Years ago, we did not fully understand the dangers of cigarettes, the same can now be said of football. We are just beginning to understand the impact on health that football is having.
Nationwide over one million youth participate in football each year. Concussion is the most obvious acute syndrome, but the repetitive trauma may produce symptoms of memory loss, depression, headaches, and dementia years later.
If a brain would normally begin to age at say at 80 years of age and undergoes stressors that changes the very DNA, known as epigenetics, the aging process accelerates and the organ wears out sooner. We do not have a good test to show the protein deposits, degenerative changes, and accelerated aging.
I applaud that precautions are now being set in place to lower the risks, but damage still occurs at some level. Is it worth it? This is a legitimate question. Dementia and depression are tough to see in anyone. Our society is still in love with football. We just cannot get enough. Society will pay a price. Will mothers get to the point where they will not let their children play because the risks outweigh the benefits? Brain pain, is it worth it?Read more »
- Physical Therapy – Dr Christopher Stewart
We’ve got a problem. We all do a lot of sitting. Is it affecting our health? Dr. Christopher Stewart, program director of the physical therapist assistant program at Southern Adventist University near Chattanooga, Tennessee, shares insights and suggestion for keeping our posture proper and strong.Read more »
- Quitting Sugar – Christina Grenga
“It’s just not fair,” some may say. “It’s important to me; to my happiness, my contentment, my sense of well-being?” This may be true. But it also may be contributing to your early demise. Christina Grenga, faith-based certified international health educator, reveals the troubling truth about processed sugar. (www.grengahealth.com)Read more »
- The Gift of Life – Aly Barraza
- The Respect Dare – Nina Roesner
Successful marriages require effort, understanding, and self-sacrifice—not exactly themes you’ll find depicted on the cover of romance novels. Nina Roesner, author of “The Respect Dare,” explains that there are steps we can all take to boost the chances for success of our relationships. (www.greaterimpact.org)Read more »
- Diastolic Dysfunction – Dr. James Marcum
Anytime a medical condition or diagnosis includes the word “dysfunction,” it’s time to talk to a professional. Dr. James Marcum, board-certified cardiologist and founder/director of Heartwise Ministries, examines “Diastolic Dysfunction” and demonstrates why we should care…or not.Read more »
- It takes time. Let’s make time.
If I were part of the physician led team treating George Washington years ago and suggested leeches were “not a good idea”, there is a good chance I would not be invited to the next meeting of the local medical society. Similarly if I were practicing dentistry and suggested that cocaine might not be the best anesthetic agent, dentists from that time would have thought that idea, “strange.”
Throughout the course of history new ideas and discoveries have often taken time to be accepted by leaders. This is not unique to medicine. This has been the case for scientific advancements, new business ideas, and even political discoveries. Unfortunately, taking time has cost lives. Even though new ideas took time to be accepted, did individuals make time to evaluate the evidence?
Smoking has been going on for years. In the 30’s it was suggested that smoking be used as a treatment for asthma. Now, years later, it is well known that smoking is a risk factor for heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. Smoking shortens life. Even thought this is well established, people still smoke. The good news is, we know the truth, and individuals can decide. Those promoting smoking cessation are no longer being looked on as strange. It just took time.
The American College of Cardiology has recently released new recommendations that urge hospitals to improve patient menus by adding plant-based options and removing processed meats which have been linked to 60,000 cardiovascular deaths a year (JAMA, online March 7, 2017).
This recommendation of one plant-based main dish at each meal with a variety of vegetables and fruit is not a new concept. Many have been recommending this for years and now those voices and research are being heard by professional organizations. Now lives can be saved. It took some time.
The American Medical Association has also passed a resolution calling on hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals and eliminate processed meats. Why is this happening? Finally voices are being heard. Evidence is being evaluated and disseminated. There will be much more to come. It took some time and effort. Now individuals are making time to evaluate this evidence-based information.
The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine has had a campaign to make hospital foods healthier. The World Health Organization has stated publicly that processed meats are carcinogenic to humans. Doctors including Ornish, Campbell, McDougall, Esselstyn, Diehl, Barnard, Greger and a host of others have been spreading this information for years. Organizations like, Nutrition Facts, Plant Pure Nation, Center for Nutrition Studies, and Food Matters, to name a few, have been spreading this information for a time, often against public opinion. To all, we say thank you. Sometimes it just takes time.
I am thankful that with the Internet and other forms of modern media, this information has spread. There will be pushback as history has proven. What individuals will do with this information is a personal choice. At least the word is out. It took some time.
We are going to hear much more about this issue as history progresses and someday we will look back and ask, “Why did this take so much time”? We will also be learning of more seemingly revolutionary ideas as history progresses. Let’s make the time to look at the evidence when evidence is available. Let’s learn from history.Read more »
- Deficiencies – Julieanna Hever
Our bodies, like automobiles, run on fuel. Just as there are certain things we wouldn’t pour into our car’s gas tank, there are certain substances we really shouldn’t pour into your stomachs. But you wouldn’t think so if you watched enough television or read enough magazine ads. Nutritionist Julieanna Hever examines what passes for truth. (www.plantbaseddietitian.com)Read more »
- Forgiveness – June Hunt
- Risks cause FDA to take action
The Washington Post has reported on June 9, 2017, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked a drug company to remove its opioid pain medication from the market. The FDA has concluded that the medication, Opana ER, has risks that outweigh the benefits. This drug was reformulated in 2012 to make it more difficult to snort, but now individuals are injecting this medication. The injections often occur with shared and unsterile needles.
The nation has an opioid crisis. In Tennessee in 2012-2015, the increased needle sharing of the drug has been linked to serious blood disorders and outbreaks of HIV and Hepatitis C in Indiana. Opioids have many side effects including addiction. From 2000-2015 nearly 180,000 Americans died of overdoses of prescription opioids and tens of thousands more have succumbed to heroin and fentanyl overdoses as the crisis has evolved. This is a crisis.
If the company declines, the FDA will take steps to formally require its removal by withdrawing agency approval. Last year Opana ER sales were around 158 million. I have written in the past about the dangers of narcotics in the book, Medicines that Kill (Tyndale Press). Medications pose dangers and all have side effects. In the case of narcotics, the numbers of deaths are staggering. Medications do have risks, some more than others.
This is a first step. We also need to, on an ongoing basis, assess the risks/benefits of all medications. If we can get at the causes of illness, this is far safer than treating symptoms. This discussion needs to start nationally and each individual needs to constantly evaluate medications. If you are interested in learning more about the risks of medications and an approach to use them more carefully, go to this link and get a copy of Medicines that Kill. I wrote this book a few years ago to give more information and another tool to help. Often in the doctor’s’ office or on the Internet, the information is too little or too complicated. If we wait for others to help alert of us the dangers it may be too late.Read more »
- Get the Lead Out – Dr Michael Greger
- Statins – Dr James Marcum
Wonder drugs were designed to work wonders, and many do. Trouble is, some wonder drugs have a bad habit of turning nasty over time. This includes one of the most popular drugs in history…statins. Dr. James Marcum, founder/director of Heartwise Ministries, explains.Read more »
- Legal Prescriptions Part 2 – Mark Kennedy
Poor people need good nutrition, too. This is one of the many messages promoted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. Mark Kennedy, vice president for legal affairs at PCRM examines SNAP, farm subsidies, and school lunches, looking for ways to enhance health across the nation. (www.pcrm.org)Read more »
- Legal Prescriptions Part 1 – Mark Kennedy
The sole purpose of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C. is to make us and our world healthier. Sometimes, to accomplish their goal, they have to take the government to court. Mark Kennedy, vice president for legal affairs at PCRM, talks animal welfare, Amtrak, and hotdogs. (www.pcrm.org)Read more »
- Eating Disorders – Melainie Rogers
Sitting down to enjoy a meal is a pretty standard event each day. But there are those who view food from a unique perspective and that can be deadly. Melainie Rogers, director of the Balance eating disorder treatment center in New York City offers insights and guidance concerning eating disorders. (www.balancedtx.com)Read more »
- Defeating Dementia – Dr James Marcum
It’s sad beyond comprehension. Someone we once knew is no longer the person we once knew. Something has happened to his or her ability to think and reason. They become strangers to us and to themselves. Dr. James Marcum, founder/director of Heartwise Ministries shares how we all can lower the risk of dementia.Read more »
- Finding Evidence & Understanding Truth
We frequently receive questions regarding information gleaned from the internet. Often the information is false and has no substance. Just because a phrase is repeated many times over and over, or someone in authority makes a claim, does not mean the information is true. This seems to be a growing problem as anyone can write anything and claim it is the truth. In the current era of free-flowing information, I see problems developing. Where is the evidence?
I also have noted that many people say something that is true and exaggerate that truth. For instance, pesticides are not good, but the dangers of pesticides do not equate to the dangers of not eating fruits and vegetables. Not everyone can afford organic. I also see the benefits of certain medications exaggerated while the side effects are sometimes minimized. Be careful to look at the big picture. Take time to research what you hear or read. Also look at the reason why the claim is being made. Take time to evaluate unbiased evidence.
Not long ago I received a question regarding microwaves. There was great angst that microwaving food was dangerous to our health. This person read something that claimed microwaving food was dangerous removing nutrients and contributing to cancer.
Ionizing radiation which includes medical X-rays, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet rays from tanning booths, and gamma rays are high energy. This means the waves have enough energy to vibrate atoms in a molecule to remove electrons, a process called ionization which changes the nucleus, damaging DNA and contributing to cancer. Non-ionizing radiation which includes microwaves, sound waves, and visible light, does not have the energy to remove electrons. In theory, releasing energy is referred to as radiation. Human bodies release heat, radiation. This energy is low energy. This is the case for microwave energy which warms our food.
The studies show that microwave cooking is comparable to other cooking. There is some nutrient loss in all cooking. Some studies show microwave warming might be better because of lower cooking temperatures and shorter cooking times.
Another false claim is that microwaved foods contain more cancer-causing chemicals than conventionally cooked foods. Not true. High heating of foods such as grilling, barbecuing, pan-frying cause the production of heterocyclic amines (HCA’s), polyaromatic hydrocarbons and nitrosamines all know to be carcinogenic. Less energy used in heating means less problems. Remember this, more heating, more energy, more chemical changes, more damage. This can be illustrated by going to the beach. Look around. Those exposed to more energy from the sun, more radiation, more heat, have the potential to have more damage.
The point I am trying to make, is look at the evidence and use common sense. Think for yourself. Do not be one that passes on unfounded information that may be damaging at some level to others. Evidence is important. I did not cite my sources for a reason. I want you to look it up yourself and use some common sense. Now if you trust the source, you might avoid some research.Read more »