Friday, May 31, 2013

Fewer Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms with Higher Vitamin D Levels

Recent studies report a reduction of brain lesions and disease activity in Multiple Sclerosis patients who had higher levels of vitamin D. There is decreased prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis in lower latitudes, which has led to suggestions of a protective effect of sunlight and the Vitamin D it produces in the body, which lowers the risk of developing the disease.
            Participants underwent a yearly blood test for Vitamin D and a MRI to evaluate disease progression. Results showed that with each 10 ng/ml increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D there was a corresponding 15% reduction in risk of new brain lesions, as well as a 32% lower risk of areas of active disease as indicated by white spots on MRI. The white spots reveal inflammation of nerve fibers myelin sheath, which provides insulation and facilitates transmission of electrical signals.
            This evidence suggests that people with Multiple Sclerosis should have their Vitamin D levels monitored regularly. If levels are below normal, or normal but on the low end, supplementation should be supplied. 
 Source:  Life Extension Magazine, January 2013 edition

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Added Sugar in Your Diet

      Recent studies show that Americans are consuming too many calories from added sugars.
Research data between 2005 and 2010 found that the consumption of sugar was substantially higher than the normal.
Past studies have already shown that too much sugar is associated with health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The recommendation is no more than 5% to 15% of daily calorie intake from both solid fats and added sugars.  
Sources of added sugar include both soft drinks and foods. Sugars from natural sources such as milk and fruits are not included as added sugars.
Recent reports showed that men consume more sugar than women on a daily basis (335 calories vs 239 calories). Men and women aged 20-39 consumed the most calories from added sugar, and it was revealed the amount of added sugar consumption decreased with age.
Studies also revealed that total calories consumed from added sugar varied by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic black accounted for 14.5% of calorie intake for men and 15.2% for women; and whites and Mexican Americans consumed less. Additionally, the lowest income category consumed more added sugar that the middle and high income categories.
            This research is helpful to enable healthcare professionals to target the populations at risk of consuming the highest amount of added sugars, and educating the population to change their dietary preferences in order to avoid future health issues that could have been prevented. Americans need to become more aware of what they are consuming and make educated decisions for the benefit of their future. 
Source: Medical New Today

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Friday, April 26, 2013

What Part of the Brain Does Pain Come From?

Researchers are making progress in determining the areas of the brain that pain is modulated. They are figuring out the neural mechanisms underlying modulation of cognitive acute pain and have demonstrated the involvement of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), which could have important implications for future research targets. The studies have been looking for the area specifically involved in cognitive modulation of pain.
In studies being conducted, the involvement of the ACC in cognitive modulation of pain is not surprising, because it is a region that shows up often in relation to pain, cognitive control, and self-regulation. The new aspect of this research was that a different area of the ACC was associated with pain perception during pain modulation.
One study conducted included 15 healthy men and women, who were able to modulate acute heat pain by at least 30%. The process included delivering moderate heat pain stimulus to the participant’s left inside forearm. They were then asked to use whatever cognitive strategies they wanted to increase and decrease pain, such as visualization strategies. During this process, the participants underwent fMRI that consisted of an initial 30-second stimulation block followed by 5 30-second increase and decreased modulation blocks. Each modulation block was followed by 10-second rating period and a 40-second rest period.
The conclusion showed that pain modulation was associated with activation in areas related to body awareness and cognitive regulation and deactivation in areas related to sensation and emotion. Activation differences were found in areas related to pain processing, self-regulation, and cognitive function. Midline frontal areas and rostral anterior cingulate showed greater deactivation during increase of pain; dorsal ACC and presupplementary motor areas showed greater activation during decrease pain; and signal increases in prefrontal cortex,  dACC, and thalamus predicted decreased pain ratings. Results showed that successful cognitive modulation of pain involves brain areas associated with pain processing and cognitive control. It was also shown that the dACC may be a key component in modifying pain perception. It was correlated with pain ratings and showed a difference in activation between conditions.  
Researchers now want to study the dACC in neuromodulation by using real-time fMRI to train participants to modify pain experience by directly controlling neural processes related to pain. This information could be used to develop new medications that act on specific parts of the brain that modulate pain and ideally be able to control pain more effectively.

Source: American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 29th Annual Meeting. Poster 227. Presented April 12, 2013.


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Friday, April 19, 2013

Osteopathic Manual Treatment and Ultrasound Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain

Recent studies conducted evaluated the efficacy of osteopathic manual treatment (OMT) and ultrasound therapy for chronic low back pain.
A double-blind design was used to study OMT and ultrasound therapy for short-term relief of nonspecific chronic low back pain. Six treatment sessions were provided to patients over 8 weeks. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed to measure moderate and substantial improvements in low back pain at week 12. Five secondary outcomes, safety, and treatment adherence were also assessed.
There were no statistical interactions between OMT and ultrasound therapy. Patients receiving OMT were more likely to achieve moderate and substantial improvements in low back pain at week 12.
Patients in the OMT group were more likely to be very satisfied with their back care throughout the study and used prescription drugs for low back pain less frequently during the 12 weeks.
The OMT regimen met or exceeded the Cochrane Back Review Group criterion for a medium effect size in relieving chronic low back pain. It was safe and well accepted by patients. 
Source:John C. Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, Dennis E. Minotti, DO, Robert J. Gatchel, PhD, Cathleen M. Kearns, BA, Karan P. Singh, PhD. Osteopathic Manual Treatment and Ultrasound Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain. Annuals of Family Medicine.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Best Options for Preschool Children at Risk for ADHD

Parent behavior training has shown to be more effective than medications and other interventions for preschool children at risk of ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Eight studies conducted of parent behavior training produced the best and most consistent results. Only one study of medical treatment with methylphenidate showed positive results, with combined home and school/daycare intervention results being inconsistent.
Parent behavior training improves parenting skills and children’s disruptive behavior, including core symptoms of ADHD. Family doctors play an important part in guiding this type of treatment, initiating required assessments, guiding parents to evidence-based programs, monitoring these conditions, and advocating for increased community resources.
Studies conducted evaluating interventions for these children where guided by a single question: "Among children younger than 6 years with ADHD or disruptive behavior disorder, what are the effectiveness and adverse-event outcomes after treatment?" The study was also limited to children younger than 6 with clinically significant disruptive behavior as determined by referral for treatment; reliable and valid screening instruments; and a diagnosis of ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder.
Interventions reviewed included pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment and excluded alternative/complementary interventions. Reviewed interventions were parent behavior training, psychostimulants, and combination of parent behavior training and day care or school-based interventions. A majority of the studies that have been conducted yielded positive results for parent behavior training and less positive results were achieved with pharmacological management. 

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Benefits of Vitamin D

Past research suggested that Vitamin D can assist in decreasing muscle and joint pain in cancer patients and improve muscle performance in the overweight population. A new study conducted, with 12 men and women with Vitamin D deficiency, monitored phosphocreatine recovery (a muscle fatigue marker) before and after Vitamin D supplementation. Results showed that a 10-12 week supplementation of Vitamin D significantly improved muscle phosphocreatine recovery in the subjects. All participants also reported an improvement in fatigue. The study authors write that: “[Vitamin D] therapy augments muscle mitochondrial maximal oxidative phosphorylation following exercise in symptomatic, vitamin D deficient individuals,” submitting that: “For the first time, we demonstrate a link between vitamin D and the mitochondria in human skeletal muscle.”
          This shows how important Vitamin D is to our musculoskeletal system as well as our overall well-being. Approximately 1/3 of the U.S population is deficient in Vitamin D and doctors are now monitoring the vitamin levels closer than ever and providing supplementation as needed. Talk to your doctor about checking your Vitamin D level at your annual check-up or sooner if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: bone pain, muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, symptoms of depression, sleep irregularities, and decreased immune function.

Sinha Akash; Hollingsworth Kieren; Ball Steve; Cheetham Tim.  “Improving the vitamin D status of vitamin D deficient adults is associated with improved mitochondrial oxidative function in skeletal muscle.”  Endocrine Abstracts, March 1, 2013.

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