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Articles in Category: Health & Wellness

Sleep Issues Linked to Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Sleep Issues Linked to Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
Published Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Nation of Poor Sleepers

Insufficient sleep affects 50-70 million adults in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call poor sleep a “public health problem”, and many studies demonstrate that sleep problems increase one’s risk for diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, many side effects of Alzheimer’s disease are sleep-related, including insomnia and nighttime wandering. However, poor sleep many not only be a side-effect of Alzheimer’s disease, but also a contributing factor to its development. Over the past decade, numerous studies have indicated a correlation between disrupted sleep in middle-aged life and the onset of Alzheimer’s later in life.

Studying Sleep and Alzheimer's Disease

  • In 2009, researchers from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis found that sticky amyloid plaques built up in the brains of sleep-deprived mice. Alzheimer’s experts regard deposits of amyloid plaques as the first known preclinical stage of the disease, occurring before any signs of memory loss begin to appear.
  • While observing mice, scientists determined in 2013 that animals’ brains enter into a cleansing process during deep sleep, in which many toxins, including amyloid plaques, are cleared out of the brain tissue by the glymphatic system. They theorized that human brains undergo a similar process.
  • More recently, studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference reported that participants who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and similar sleep-related breathing disorders had greater increases in amyloid deposits over a three-year period.
  • In early July, the journal, Neurology also published a study of 101 participants who all had known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, including family history and the presence of the APOE gene. The participants underwent a lumbar puncture and self-reported their sleep habits throughout the length of the study.
  • After analyzing participants’ spinal fluids, researchers found that those who reported frequent sleep issues were more likely to have brain cell damage and inflammation associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hope for Early Detection

"Our findings align with the idea that worse sleep may contribute to the accumulation of Alzheimer's-related proteins in the brain," Dr. Barbard Bendlin of Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center said to CNN. "The fact that we can find these effects in people who are cognitively healthy and close to middle age suggest that these relationships appear early, perhaps providing a window of opportunity for intervention." Brendlin suggests that these findings could help reduce the number of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s by 5.7 million over the next 30 years.

Get Some Rest!

A good night’s sleep can do wonders for a person’s mood, performance, and health. While scientists need more research and studies to determine which comes first, insufficient sleep or Alzheimer’s disease, the data illustrates that there is a definite correlation between the two. So do yourself a favor and try to get a solid eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Give your brain time to rest and cleanse itself.

For some tips on getting a good night’s sleep, check out this list from the National Sleep Foundation.

Taking Care of Yourself with Mental Health Days

Taking Care of Yourself with Mental Health Days
Published Tuesday, 01 August 2017

In late June, Madalyn Parker, a web developer working at the company Olark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, decided to take a few mental health days away from the job. The surprising part: she actually told her boss exactly why she would be missing work. Even more surprising, the company CEO, Ben Congleton was completely supportive of her decision.

It would probably be safe to assume that most people have taken a mental health day or two or five in their lives. Again, it would be safe to assume that most people don’t tell their bosses this. They call in sick or come up with another excuse that is not as stigmatized as admitting you need some time to take care of your mind. Clare Miller, director of the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a division of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation says, “We know from literature that there is a huge amount of calling in sick because of mental health issues.”

Mental Health and the American Workplace

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in 2014 about 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health problem, and 1 in 25 American adults had a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
  • Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 18% of American adults.
  • In 2013, 1 in 6 Americans reported taking psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants or sedatives.
  • A 2016 study by the American Psychological Association, found that only 44% of American workers believe that “the climate in their organization supports employee well-being.” 1 in 3 of those workers also reported being chronically stressed at work.
  • Ninety percent of employers now offer employee assistance programs that deal with mental health issues. Charles Lattarulo, the head of American Express’ Healthy Minds campaign told CBS News, “Our global mental health strategy is the belief that we can reduce stigma, that we can make this a safe place to have a mental illness. We embed mental health into the fabric of our culture.”

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Many different factors contribute to mental illnesses, including biological (physical illness, brain chemistry), social (trauma, abuse), and genetic (family history of mental illness) issues. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health urges employers to “Encourage employees to seek care when they need it by educating the workforce that mental illnesses are real, are medical illnesses rather than conditions of weak character or willpower, and can be effectively treated. Short- and long-term psychological treatment has been shown to improve work abilities in people with anxiety disorders.”

While the stigma around mental health is gradually lessening, many of the responses to Parker’s now-viral tweet demonstrate that society still has a long way to go when it comes to understanding and treating mental health and self-care.

Self-Care and Wellness

Depending on your situation, there are many ways to start taking care of yourself if you are suffering from a mental illness. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two often are dependent on each other. Organizations like Mental Health America and GoodTherapy.org offer many examples of self-care, including eating right, exercising regularly, meditating, attending therapy, and connecting often with good friends. Even maintaining good posture has been shown to improve the moods of those suffering from mild to moderate depression!

Physical health is only one facet of your overall well-being. In order to be your best self, it is necessary to take care of your mind as well as your body, and tweets like Madalyn Parker’s show that society is starting to understand how important self-care is to lead a happy and productive life.

[VIDEO] How Can I Tell If I Have A Subluxation?

Dr. Levine describes the surprising signs of having a subluxation

[VIDEO] How Can I Tell If I Have A Subluxation?
Published Thursday, 27 July 2017

Video Transcript - How Can I Tell If I Have A Subluxation? 

You know what? I wish I knew. I wish I knew if I had a subluxation or not. The fact of the matter is that we gauge our health based on how we feel. How we feel is not necessarily how we function. How do you know the difference whether your functioning well or you're not? I mean, I wish I had a red light in the middle of my forehead that lit up that said, "Steve, you've got a sub ... you have a subluxation and it needs to be corrected." Fact of the matter is, is we don't know when we have a subluxation, and that's why checkups are so valuable.

The other question is, what is a subluxation? It's not necessarily a pinched nerve. Because the term pinched nerve has the connotation that there's pain, but pain is always the last thing to occur and the first thing to go away of any disease process. I catch a cold long before my sneeze. Your back problem has occurred long before you feel back pain. Why wait for the pain? Why not treat the problem before the pain comes out? The beautiful part about it is we have technology that allows us to see where the subluxation is before you have a crisis. Would you rather take care of the problem early or late? The answer to the question is, we don't know, but we can find out.

PET Scans Show Stress-Relieving Changes in the Brain after Chiropractic Adjustments

PET Scans Show Stress-Relieving Changes in the Brain after Chiropractic Adjustments
Published Tuesday, 18 July 2017

What’s got you stressed today? Crazy traffic? A lengthy to-do list? A needy family member or friend? You’re not alone. In everyday life, there’s good and bad stress. Good stress, also termed eustress, challenges you to adapt to situations in order to succeed. Bad stress, or distress, activates the “fight or flight” response in your brain, gets your heart pumping, promotes confusion, and often causes performance anxiety.

 

Stress and Chiropractic Care

A 2008 study demonstrated that chronic stress can attack and weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to some diseases, such as diabetes mellitus or ulcerative colitis. Some people are easily able to reduce their stress and cope due to their personalities, genetics, or support system, but it’s not always that simple. Luckily, researchers have found that chiropractic adjustments are a great way to naturally help reduce stress in the body and promote wellness overall.

  • A 2011 study, “Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain,” used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to record brain activity in men before and after chiropractic spinal manipulation (CSM).
  • The PET scans found that the CSM altered brain activity in the areas of the brain responsible for processing pain and stress, as well as greatly reduced cortisol levels, the chemical that is released in response to stress.
  • More recently, a 2017 study expanded on this research. Researchers tracked the PET scans of 21 male participants taken before and after spinal manipulation therapy (SMT).
  • The PET scans showed metabolic changes in brain and skeletal muscles.  These changes are associated with reduced sympathetic nerve activity, which induces relaxation.
  • The results of this study shows that the chiropractic adjustments actually reduced patients’ stress by changing their brains, and that regular chiropractic care could boost the body’s natural defense against chronic stress and disease.

Healthy, Drug-Free Stress Relief

“Millions of people receive medical advice that links stress relief to pharmaceutical drug use. Safe, long-term health care demands that attention be turned to the proper reduction and management of stress using science and research that point to a healthy alternative,” says an article on dailyrx.com.

Chiropractic care could be that ultimate healthy alternative. Stress is a natural part of life, but when it starts to consume your life, it quickly becomes threat to your health, physically and mentally. Chiropractic adjustments can help return the skeletal system to a more balanced, relaxed state and quiet the “fight or flight” impulses in your mind, relieving stress and keeping you healthy in the long run.

You can read the full 2017 study, “Glucose metabolic changes in the brain and muscles of patients with nonspecific neck pain treated by spinal manipulation therapy” here to learn more. 

[VIDEO] How Does Chiropractic Work?

Dr. Levine talks about how chiropractic care fits into healthcare and how it helps promote wellness

[VIDEO] How Does Chiropractic Work?
Published Thursday, 13 July 2017

Video Transcript - How Does Chiropractic Work? 

If you have not gotten the Searching for Health booklet from South Orange Chiropractic, this will explain what we do and why it works. Because the most beautiful thing is the definition of health. If you don't know what health is, how can you achieve it? We go into great detail on what health is. My question to you is, would you rather be healthy or just not sick? Well, a lot of people just don't want to be sick. They say they want to be healthy but their behavior is, "I just don't want to be sick." Because they do nothing. I'm not exercising more, I'm not watching my diet, I'm not supplementing, I'm not getting my nervous system checked. It's a false sense of health.

To be health you have to be proactive. Right? That's why we talk about consistency and frequency and anything that we do will breed success. You never get to the end of the book unless you read a little bit each day, or go from chapter to chapter. You never are successful in a gym unless you're going there frequently. You're never successful in your golf, getting your score down, if you're not practicing and hitting hundreds of balls each week. The things that we put our attention to and where our energy goes, the success will flow.

I always say be healthy by choice, not by chance. Too many people leave it to chance. I always say that be healthy by choice, choose to be healthy and do not leave it to chance. Too many people leave health to chance, that I'm okay today, I'll just wait till I break down tomorrow.

Daily Yogurt Consumption Improves Bone Health

Daily Yogurt Consumption Improves Bone Health
Published Tuesday, 04 July 2017

Many people do not realize that bone is living tissue. Over a lifetime, the body removes old bone tissue to make way for new bone tissue.  When the creation of new bone slows and can’t keep up with the removal of the old bone, bones become weak and brittle, causing them to break more easily. About 54 million Americans deal with this condition, osteoporosis, and studies suggest that 50% of women and 25% of men age 50 and up will break a bone due to osteoporosis. This condition can cause significant physical and emotional troubles for those who suffer from it. Luckily, by making one addition to your daily meals, you may be able to considerably improve your bone health and reduce your risk for osteoporosis.

  • Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin conducted a study of over 4,000 Irish adults, age 60 and up, which determined a positive association between daily yogurt consumption and increased bone health.
  • Researchers measured the bone mineral density (BMD) as well as the physical function of the participants in order to determine their results. Traditional risk factors of osteoporosis including age, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption were taken into account when finalizing their conclusions.
  • Women who ate yogurt every day had a 39% lower risk of developing osteoporosis when compared with those who did not eat yogurt. The study authors observed a 52% lower risk in men.
  • Researchers also noted a 31% lower risk in women of osteopenia, a condition which is often a precursor to osteoporosis and involves the old bone being reabsorbed into the body faster than new bone can be created.
  • Vitamin D supplements were also associated with markedly reduced risks in the participants, though other dairy products did not seem to produce similar effects.

Eamon J. Laird, the lead author and a research fellow at the Centre for Medical Gerontology, Trinity, said, “Yogurt is a rich source of different bone promoting nutrients and thus our findings in some ways are not surprising. The suggest that improving yogurt intakes could be a strategy for maintaining bone health, but it needs verification through future research as it is observational.”

Besides promoting bone health, yogurt has numerous other health benefits. A 2016 UCLA study found that a Lactobacillus strain of bacteria, which you can find in yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut, can help reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Some yogurts can contain a lot of sugar, however, so it’s important to look for servings that contain 20 grams or fewer, according to Fitness Magazine.

Read more about the study in Osteoporosis International. 

[VIDEO] What Interferes with Nerve Impulses

Dr. Levine presents different factors that interrupt normal nerve function

[VIDEO] What Interferes with Nerve Impulses
Published Thursday, 29 June 2017

Video Transcript - What Interferes with Nerve Impulses

Nerve impulses, life energy is affected by stress. Stress is huge. We think of stress generally in something that's bothering us or that we're thinking about. Stress comes in three forms. It's physical, it's chemical, it's emotional. Many of us have all three forms in play. Those three forms of stress will breakdown the nervous system. Increases the adrenal function. Increases blood pressure. Increases cortisol into the system, and that will break down neural function and your immune system. It's important that we identify the stresses.

Here in the office, not only are we dealing with the effects of stress which might be neck pain, back pain, headaches, but we're also identifying the causes of that stress. Maybe it's poor diet. Maybe it's lack of exercises which is probably number one. Maybe it's an old injury or fall that wasn't treated properly. Family stress especially around the holidays. Financial stress.

Either you live within your means or you don't. There's many people, regardless of their income, that have a great deal of stress and has no bearing on the dollar amount. It's how they manage it. Emotional, physical, chemical stresses. That's why our job is to get to the cause of the problem. Not just functionally, but on an emotional level, physical and chemical level.

There is good stress. Stress forces us to wake up every day and make a difference in society. The time I spent working with Seton Hall University and their basketball team, there was stress every time there was a tournament game. It was stress before each game. When that bell rang at the end and the two hands were over, the stress was over until we prepared for the next game. In sports, there's stress. In life, there's stress, but that forces us to produce and it forces us to rise to the occasion. Sometimes, we need to get uncomfortable in ourselves to grow to the next level.

An Apple a Day Keeps Diabetes at Bay

An Apple a Day Keeps Diabetes at Bay
Published Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Need another reason to eat some fruit every day? A new study from British and Chinese researchers shows a definite correlation between eating fresh fruit and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Many diabetics tend to avoid consuming fruit, opting for vegetables instead because of some fruits’ high sugar content. However, the results of this study share a different story.

  • Published on April 11th of this year, the study followed a half million Chinese adults between the ages of 30 and 79 for seven years.
  • About 19% of the participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily.  Participants who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes were three times as likely to report never or rarely eating fruit.
  • At the end of the study, researchers found that those participants without diabetes at the start had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes when compared with those who ate no fruit. Across the study, more frequent consumption of fruit was associated with a lower risk.
  • For participants who were already diabetic when the study started, those who consumed fruit at least three times a week had a 17% lower risk of fatality and a 13%-28% lower risk of developing of complications associated with diabetes such as heart and kidney disease.
  • This study was purely observational, so there is no clear reason why this correlation exists and results may have been affected by other factors such as the participants’ dietary and behavioral habits. Further research is needed.

The lead author of this study and a research fellow at the University of Oxford, Dr. Huaidong Du said, “The sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in manufactured foods and may be metabolized differently. And there are other nutrients in fruit that may benefit in other ways.”  So despite some fruits’ high sugar content, this study shows that a daily dose of sweet, fresh fruit could actually prove beneficial for those already diagnosed with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association website recommends fruit as a healthy dessert option for those with diabetes, and Diabetes.co.uk offers a handy guide for choosing fruits with low carbohydrate/sugar content. With its high fiber content and nutrients, fresh fruit is always a good choice!

You can read more about the study in PLoS Medicine

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