Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Which type of vitamin D supplement is the safest and most effective?

Which type of vitamin D supplement is the safest and most effective?

Novel research published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has identified the effectiveness and differences between three forms of vitamin D3 supplements.

A multitude of evidence collected from previous clinical trials continues to support the use of dietary supplements as a safe and effective way to correct vitamin D deficiency, although the types of repletion strategies have shown great inconsistency in their effectiveness. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine published a report which emphasized the importance of evaluating the efficacy of high dose supplementation strategies.

Researchers at Bastyr University in California recently conducted a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness and differences between three different forms of vitamin D supplements in real-life routine practice conditions. The three forms of vitamin D were an emulsified oil drop (DROP), a capsule (CAP), and a chewable tablet (TAB).

They enrolled 55 healthy participants, aged 18-65 years of age, from three clinical health centers in Washington and Hawaii. Each of the three supplements were independently analyzed to measure vitamin D3 content prior to the trial and also at the end for degradation.

The 55 participants were randomized into one of three treatment groups:

  • 23 participants received DROP daily at 10,000 IU for 12 weeks.
  • 21 participants received CAP daily at 10,000 IU for 12 weeks.
  • 22 participants received TAB daily at 10,000 IU for 12 weeks.

The researchers wanted to see if there were changes in vitamin D levels between the three groups, if absorption and overall effectiveness differed between supplements, and if the labeled dosage corresponded with its actual vitamin D content.

Here's what the researchers found:

  • All treatments were safe to administer and increased vitamin D levels significantly between baseline and 12 weeks follow up (P< .0001).
  • The proportion of people who reached sufficiency was 100% for the CAP and TAB groups and 80% for the DROP group.
  • The CAP and TAB supplements both contained double the dose than what was stated on the label. Interestingly, DROP supplements were the most true to the dose claimed on the label, and it was also the most effective supplement evaluated.

The researchers were satisfied with their findings:

"We conclude that the strategy used in this PCT, dosing commercially available vitamin D dietary supplements at 10,000IU/d for 12 weeks, is another safe, effective, and well tolerated strategy for clinical vitamin D repletion in people with suboptimal 25(OH)D."

This study shows that all of the three common forms of vitamin D supplementation are safe and effective at a dose of 10,000 IU/day,

Procedures need to be established and enforced to ensure standardized and independent testing of dietary supplements to make sure that the dose given on the label matches the actual dose contained in the supplement when used in research and clinical practice.


Traub ML et al. Impact of vitamin D3 dietary supplement matrix on clinical response. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2014.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Blood Pressure and Lipid Guidelines for the Elderly? Useless.

Blood Pressure and Lipid Guidelines for the Elderly? Useless.
by David Brownstein, MD

At age 70–or 60, 50 or even 40– should you have the same blood pressure that you had at age 20?  Many conventional doctors and most of the Powers-That-Be feel that the answer to that question is “yes”.  Conventional medicine loves to issue guidelines.  They have issued guidelines concerning weight, lipid and blood sugar levels and blood pressure.   New guidelines inevitably result in millions of new patients requiring millions of new prescriptions.  Big Pharma loves new guidelines.   

To be fair, the Eighth Joint National Committee recently released a new report on hypertension where the guidelines for diagnosing hypertension were slightly relaxed.  The committee recommended that for those 60 years and older, the goal for blood pressure was to be less than 150/90mmHg, which is increased from the previous recommendations of 140/90.    I am happy the committee raised the numbers, but they did not go far enough. 

What is my opinion on these recommendations?  For a healthy sixty year old, a blood pressure of 150/90mmHg should not considered elevated.  In fact, it is an average blood pressure for someone age 60.  To release a guideline that states this is the highest it can go before a person needs medication is ludicrous.  What about someone who is 80 years old?  An 80 year old will generally have a higher blood pressure when compared to a 60 year old because his/her blood vessels are less pliable.  I do not think a healthy 80 year old patient with a blood pressure of 160/90 needs any antihypertensive medications.    

This blog post was written in response to an article in Family Practice News (February 15, 2014) titled, “Intensive blood pressure, lipid control didn’t slow cognitive decline.”  I would like to ask the question, “Why would anyone think that intensive blood pressure or lipid control would slow cognitive decline?” 

As we age, blood pressure naturally increases.  Why does that occur?  Blood pressure naturally increases as we age because the blood vessels are less pliable.  Therefore, as we age, we need an increased blood pressure to perfuse the body.  In the elderly, if the blood pressure is too low or they are overprescribed anti-hypertensive medications, they may not pump enough blood to the brain.  This can lead to brain fog, dizziness and falls. 

Similarly, aggressive lipid lowering with statins and other medications can (and should) be predicted to cause brain problems.  The brain has one of the highest concentrations of fat in the body.  Lowering lipid levels by using drugs that poison crucial enzymes should lead a reasonable person to predict that using these drugs will result in a decline in brain function.  That is exactly what happens with the use of lipid-lowering medications.   In fact, the use of lipid-lowering medications has never been shown to increase longevity in the elderly. 

What can you do?  Be cautious if your health care provider is prescribing too many medications.  And, if you are taking medications that are causing problems with your brain, seek another opinion.  Remember, you are ultimately in control of your own health care decisions.

Are there other options to control elevated blood pressures and lipid levels?  Yes!  Start by cleaning up your diet—avoid refined food including items made from refined sugar, flour, salt, and oil.  Eat a whole food diet free of hormones and pesticides.  Drink adequate amounts of water and exercise daily.  Walking is an excellent way to exercise.  Following these simple steps will lesson your chances of developing hypertension or lipid abnormalities.   


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Misdiagnosed bipolar: One girl's struggle to get the right treatment (PANS/PANDAS story)

Read 2 recovery stories of PANDAS using safe, natural homeopathic medicine at this link:

Misdiagnosed Bipolar: One Girl's Struggle to Get the Right Treatment


SAN JOSE, Calif. — One day, Tessa Gallo was a typical sixth-grader, performing in school plays, running on the track team, goofing around with her two sisters and giggling with girlfriends at sleepovers.

The next, said her mother, Teresa, "She was psychotic and mentally retarded."

In bizarre and frightening scenes, Tessa acted as frantic as a caged animal, darting out of the family car into traffic, jumping fences and hiding in neighbors' bushes. At times she seemed catatonic, with food falling out of her mouth because she somehow couldn't swallow. She repeated the same few sentences over and over, worried about her braces, wanting to go home.

And finally, she said nothing at all. For nine months, Tessa stopped talking. Not a word.

Doctors diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, prescribed psychiatric drugs that didn't work and sent the San Jose family on a nightmarish odyssey through psych wards, group homes and isolation rooms.

Then, suddenly, more than 10 months into the Gallos' terrifying ordeal, a pair of Stanford University doctors told the family that Tessa wasn't bipolar at all. She was probably suffering from a tragically misdiagnosed condition that mimics mental illness in a way doctors are only starting to understand.

"I've seen cases like this before," Dr. Jennifer Frankovich of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital told the Gallos. "I think I can bring her back."

What Frankovich, a pediatric rheumatologist, and Dr. Kiki Chang, a child psychiatrist, concluded was that Tessa likely had an infection or other trigger that caused her immune system to mistakenly attack her brain, dramatically changing Tessa's behavior overnight. It's a condition called PANS — pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome — that in some cases, if caught early enough, could be cured by commonly used antibiotics. Without early treatment, they say, children can suffer needlessly.

It would take a mother's stubborn devotion and the conviction of two doctors willing to stake their reputation on a controversial treatment to bring Tessa back from the brink. At the same time, they believe cases like Tessa's could help unlock the mysteries of the brain and reveal how something as common as an infection could be behind a growing number of psychological disorders.

PANS is so new and so misunderstood, that there are no reliable estimates of how many children are affected. A national PANS parent support group believes the number nationwide could be more than 150,000, or about a quarter of the children who have obsessive compulsive disorder or other tics.

But skeptics within the medical community question whether PANS even exists. At a symposium in Burlingame on Saturday, Teresa Gallo and Frankovich will try to dispel the lingering controversy that has thwarted efforts to legitimize the diagnosis, fund research and spread the word about possible treatments.

"To know how many patients are in mental institutions that have treatable diseases," Frankovich said, "we can't even wrap our head around this."

At the Gallo home in the east San Jose foothills, Teresa Gallo dumps out a shopping bag filled with half-empty bottles of Tessa's psychiatric drugs. Nothing worked. Not the Ativan or Lexipro for her anxiety. Not the Haldol to calm her and curb her aggression. Not the Ambien to help her sleep. They just made Tessa more manic. Her bright blue eyes turned dull and vacant.

Before Tessa's illness, life was good for the Gallo family: Teresa worked as a Weight Watchers leader, her husband as an engineer, their three daughters attended Catholic school. They loved to entertain in their backyard and keep up with Tessa's Girl Scouts and track meets. The household was happy and bustling.

That changed on July 8, 2011. The couple was on a vacation in New Orleans when Teresa received a call from her mother, who was watching the girls in San Jose.

"Tessa's not sleeping. She's not eating. She seems obsessed about her teeth," her mother, Kathy Downing, said. "You need to come home."

They took Tessa, who was 13, to the emergency room, where doctors asked whether Tessa had suffered something traumatic. Nothing, Teresa said. Tessa was given anti-anxiety medication and told to go home.

Day by day, Tessa's behavior grew worse. Riddled with obsessive behaviors, she wiped her hand across her face repeatedly. The teenager who was once so concerned with her hair and hygiene wouldn't bathe. When Teresa put Tessa in the shower and shampoo in her hand, Tessa would drop her arm to her side, the shampoo running down her leg. She cried nonstop. She started to hit her mother and family members until they were bruised. Teresa lay in bed with her all night, trying to calm her and make sure she didn't run out of the house. They were lucky to sleep two hours.

Tessa barely ate. She became dehydrated. Her lips cracked and bled.

So desperate after one month, Teresa begged the staff at Valley Medical Center in San Jose to admit her daughter. They were reluctant, saying all they had was an 8-by-8 windowless room. But they could keep her briefly, monitored and safe. It took five large male attendants to restrain the flailing, angry wisp of a girl.

"Stay back, stay back!" one of them yelled as they carried the kicking and screaming child away.

Teresa crumbled to the floor. "It was the first and only time in my life I just dropped," Teresa said, "the vision of her being taken away like that and hoping it was the right decision."

Across the Bay Area, four psychiatrists diagnosed Tessa with bipolar disorder and one suggested it might be schizophrenia. There were months at psychiatric wards and tortured stops at group homes, from Concord to San Mateo to Fremont. There were long stretches at home, locked with a caregiver in the family room so Tessa wouldn't escape. They shut off the water because Tessa was drinking obsessively. She even drank liquid soap and a bottle of nail polish remover.

Friends and neighbors carpooled her sisters, Briana and Julia, to their activities and brought over dinner casseroles to help the family cope.

"When someone is basically gone, it's hard to be positive," the youngest, Briana, said. "I just wanted my sister, to see her and have her back once again."

It's been so hard, Teresa's husband doesn't like talking about it and asked that his name not be included. Every Sunday, St. John Vianney parish would say Mass in Tessa's name. And every time, Teresa would break down in tears and run outside, sit on the steps and cry.

Finally, 10 months after Tessa's first episode and six months after Teresa first sought him out, Chang's office called. The noted pediatric bipolar expert could see Tessa. Heavily sedated, she curled up on the exam room floor and drooled.

Teresa explained how her daughter had changed overnight, how nothing helped, how hopeless they felt. Chang listened closely, studied Tessa, then told them something shocking.

"This is not bipolar," Chang said. "This is an autoimmune disease, and I'm so sorry it took me this long to see you."

He made her an appointment with Frankovich, the rheumatologist with whom he was working to help diagnose and treat PANS cases. When Tessa met Frankovich for the first time, she socked her in the arm.

It was 2012 and Chang and Frankovich were preparing to open the world's first PANS clinic, but the hospital provided only enough funding to operate a half-day a week out of a room in the rheumatology department. Soon, there were 60 patients and a five-month waiting list. The two doctors, plus their mostly volunteer staff, began working nights and weekends answering desperate calls from parents and pleading with insurance companies to fund novel treatments.

Since her medical school days at the University of Nevada in the 1990s, Frankovich had a hunch that a biological trigger could be underlying some psychiatric diseases. Once during her rotation through the psych ward back then, a boy who had the flu suddenly turned psychotic.

"I remember being on the ward and telling these families there's nothing we can do. Your child has a mental illness and has to go to the mental ward," Frankovich said in a recent interview. "It never felt right to me, but I had to say it because that was what I was trained to say."

But there had to be a connection, she thought.

About the same time, at the National Institute of Mental Health outside Washington, D.C., Dr. Susan Swedo was grappling with the same phenomenon. While many children exhibited signs of extreme anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, the ones who were particularly puzzling had symptoms that appeared almost overnight, within 24 to 48 hours. Parents described their children as acting like they were "possessed."

Swedo linked the sudden onset of these OCD symptoms to the strep infection and in 1998 coined the term PANDAS — pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with strep. But some children had all the signs of PANDAS without the strep infection, and in 2010 she broadened the diagnosis to include the possibility of other infections triggering psychosis, calling it PANS.

Critics, including some noted neurology experts, have long disputed the connection between strep and mental illness, and say the broader PANS diagnosis is no more than a hypothesis. "No one has established that it's true," said Dr. Roger Kurlan, a New Jersey neurologist specializing in Tourette syndrome. "No one has established what the infection is that brings it out or which antibodies bring it out."

In the meantime, the mainstream medical community remains largely unaware of PANS or reluctant to diagnose and treat it, waiting for the research to catch up and the controversy to quell.

Tessa's is an extreme case and Frankovich is the first to admit there's a lot she and Chang don't understand. But when she began treating Tessa with the same autoimmune and anti-inflammatory therapies she used on her lupus patients — whose immune systems become hyperactive and attack healthy tissues — Tessa started getting better.

"Nothing worked for 10 months in the psych wards," Frankovich said of Tessa, "but after three days of an infusion of steroids, it was a pretty dramatic improvement that was sustained."

At home in the Gallo house, Tessa was coming back to life. She could write and draw again. Her OCD symptoms calmed. And finally, after several months of silence, Tessa spoke.

"I'm hungry," she said next to a fountain outside Lucile Packard hospital. "I want to go home."

In her euphoria, Teresa called her family and summoned Frankovich, who came running from a nearby building and shared in the tears.

"I love you," Tessa told her mom, as the two tightly hugged.

But as surprising as it started, Tessa's ability to speak lasted only two hours.

"My husband missed it. My parents missed it," Teresa said. "It was heartbreaking and she didn't speak for another five or six months."

More heartbreak followed. Tessa regressed further, as doctors tried to wean her from steroids. For the first time, she started hearing voices.

Frankovich knew she needed more aggressive measures to bring Tessa back. In December 2012, after much debate within Stanford itself, agreement was reached to conduct a three-day treatment called plasmapheresis that would run Tessa's blood through a machine to clean out toxic antibodies, followed by a powerful immune-suppressing drug called Rituximab.

The goal was stop her immune system from attacking her brain, but suppressing the immune system leaves the body vulnerable to fatal infection, Frankovich said. "We can't justify using this medicine unless all the doctors involved say there's no hope for the child."

By that point, Tessa was in such a bad mental state she was living in a group home with five autistic boys and teens. When the Gallos brought Tessa in for the procedure, she was kicking and screaming. Teresa needed to hold her down while doctors strapped Tessa to the table.

"This was literally what we thought was Tessa's last hope," Teresa said. She prayed it would work.

The early signs of success were subtle. That first night, Tessa slept until morning for the first time in months. By February 2013, she was talking again, and singing. In June, she moved back home.

"Watching Tessa come out of this was like watching a child come out of a coma," Teresa said.

The once shy girl became an outgoing jokester.

The illness robbed Tessa of more than two years of schooling, but she remembered all her times tables. She attends a special education class at Mount Pleasant High School. She still gets mild cases of OCD, but they're manageable. Her family is vigilant about infections and wears medical masks at the first sign of sniffles. She had another flare in December, but more immunosuppressants brought her about 80 to 90 percent back. She is still a Girl Scout, plays softball on Sundays and joins a hip hop class on Wednesdays. A boy from her class invited her to the school prom. She plans to wear a light blue dress.

"I feel good," said Tessa, now 16, who explains that when she "lost her voice" she was "just tired. All I could do is hear what people were saying, but I couldn't talk back to them."

These days, Tessa hugs her mother a lot. "She's a loving person," Tessa said, "that I will love forever."

Frankovich and Chang believe their continued work with patients like Tessa will provide answers to the skeptics and build a body of research to help more suffering children get their lives back. But funding is needed for the kinds of scientific breakthroughs and clinical trials to better understand the connections between the psychological and the physical, to find the underlying causes of PANS and to prove their treatment is working. The road ahead is daunting.

"I have had lots of sleepless nights," Frankovich said. "But I have to tell you, every time Tessa comes to clinic, I feel somewhat validated that I'm doing the right thing."

When Tessa visited the clinic this month, she showed Frankovich and Chang two pictures she painted. One was almost totally black, created during one of her tortured, manic flares. The other, painted in February, was a bright green and blue heart with splashes of yellow and orange.

Chang asked about the dark one, how Tessa felt when she painted it. But Tessa avoided the question.

Then he pointed to the painted heart. "How were you feeling when you did this one?"

"I was feeling happy," Tessa said, happy like the song that sticks in her head.


To learn more about it: PANS Question and Answer:



Friday, April 11, 2014

Video: How Homeopathy Works and Why It Heals Us - 30 minute video by Roger Morrison, MD

 A new excellent video has been added to my website that explains how homeopathy works and how it heal is, and in a natural way.

This is ia 30 minute video interview with Roger Morrison, MD  - feel free to share this link with your friends and family who want to better understand homeopathic medicine.


Brain injury - Homeopathy Helps


Brain Injury – Homeopathy Helps

A study conducted in 2009 showed that homeopathy stimulated significant improvement in people with traumatic brain injury even though that injury may have happened many years previously.

The treatment group, classified as having mild traumatic brain injury, were entered into the study through their rehabilitationists and neurologists. In spite of their brain injury having happened many years previously, they still struggled with persistent problems such as short attention span; slowed thinking; reduced ability to learn and process information; headaches; fatigue; sleep disturbances; impatience; frustration; confusion; poor judgment; depression; mood swings; blurred vision, vomiting, and so on.

The treatment group reported significant improvements, especially in being able to: understand technical or work-related information, follow instructions, read newspapers or novels, do housework, and socialise in small and large groups. Some, who had been unable to work for years, were able to return to work.

The researchers noted that limitations in the study such as remedies and potencies able to be used and the short duration of treatment may have resulted in an underestimation of the actual benefits of treatment.

More Information: Homeopathic Treatment of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial



Consumer alert: GMO labeling to be outlawed by 'Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act' introduced today in Congress

Consumer alert: GMO labeling to be outlawed by 'Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act' introduced today in Congress


Thursday, April 10, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) A proposed new federal law just introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (a Democrat) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (a Republican) would outlaw state-enacted GMO labeling laws. The new law, ridiculously called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, is actually an last-ditch, desperate effort by the biotech industry and the GMA to forever bury the truth about GMOs so that consumers don't know they're eating poison.

According to mainstream media reports (1), the bill would require the FDA to mandate GMO labeling only if those foods "are found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without biotech ingredients."

Because the FDA and USDA have already decided, against all scientific evidence, that GMOs are "safe" and "not materially different" from other foods, this requirement is nothing but sheer sleight of hand and a pandering to idiocy. In truth, this new bill, if passed into law, would allow food companies to permanently and insidiously hide GMOs in all their products forever, nullifying the numerous state-based GMO labeling laws which are on the verge of passing.

The Environmental Working Group calls this proposed new law the "DARK Act" (Denying Americans the Right to Know), saying:

After two states have passed GE labeling bills and more than 30 others are poised to consider similar labeling bills and ballot initiatives, the food and biotech industry have goat-roped some members of Congress into introducing legislation to block state GE labeling laws.

Push for GMOs run by criminally-minded organizations

GMOs have already been restricted or banned in over 60 countries (2), and Americans are very close to achieving victory in state-based GMO labeling campaigns. The very idea that American consumers might find out they've been eating GMO poisons in most of their favorite foods is so horrifying to the biotech industry (and the processed food front groups) that its enforcers are now seeking this "nuclear option" to legally deceive consumers about GMOs with the complicity of the FDA.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America, the same criminally-run group that broke election laws in Washington State to funnel industry money into a campaign to defeat GMO labeling laws, predictably endorses this proposed new law. In fact, so does the American Soybean Association which would obviously love to see the U.S. government codify the industry-wide conspiracy to keep consumers in the dark about what they're eating.

Have no doubts that the criminally-run biotech industry, which already controls a well-funded group of intimidation operators, will pull out all the stops to threaten, intimidate and even blackmail U.S. lawmakers into voting for this bill. Biotech people play dirty, and they threaten everyone who dares question the safety of GMOs -- scientists, activists and journalists alike. Click here to see the massive backlash against biotech's engineered intimidation of Seralini.

Expect a massive grassroots backlash against the proposed law

Remember when Obama promised in 2008 that he would push for GMO labeling of foods? That fake promise has long since faded, of course, and now most of the people who voted for Obama are both extremely angry at the betrayal and extremely motivated to push for real change in Washington.

State-based efforts to label GMOs have been well-supported by activists but have been out-spent by the wealthy biotech industry and its ability to buy off scientist-whores who mislead the public with the most bizarre quack science imaginable (such as claiming "genetically engineering" plants are the same as "selectively breeding" plants).

The health-conscious public is wholly fed up with the deceptions, the betrayals and the intimidation tactics being deployed against scientists, speakers and authors who rightly question the safety of genetically engineered crops. Beyond the personal health effects, there's also the larger question of genetic pollution and the risk of systemic ecocide (ecological mass death).

GMOs are unfit for human consumption

There are no long-term studies showing GMOs to be safe for human consumption. There are no long-term studies showing GMOs are even safe to grow in the open air! Yet we are routinely told by GMO pushers and their media flacks that GMOs are safe because "they are no different" from other foods.

But then, somehow, Monsanto, DuPont and other companies have been awarded patents on many of these seeds. How can something be patented if it's "no different" than the other seeds? It can't, of course. If the seeds are patented, then they are obviously different.

Only in America, under the insanity of federal food laws, can something simultaneously be "unique" and "no different" at the same time.

The law should actually be called the "Dangerous and Deceptive Food Labeling Act"

Be prepared to fight hard against the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" which is specifically designed to support "Dangerous and Deceptive Food Labeling" from the outset. Most federal laws are, of course, named exactly the opposite of what they seek to achieve.

GMOs aren't safe, and if they aren't disclosed on food labels, then those labels aren't accurate, period. No amount of denial, intimidation and doublespeak can counter these simple, straightforward facts.


Learn more:


Friday, April 4, 2014

Phage 'cocktail' wipes out 99 percent of E. coli in meat, spinach

Phage 'cocktail' wipes out 99 percent of E. coli in meat, spinach,-spinach.html

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Treating food products with select bacteriophages - viruses that target and kill bacteria - could significantly reduce concentrations of E. coli, a Purdue University study shows.

An injection of bacteriophages - also known informally as "phages" - nearly eradicated a toxin-producing strain of E. coli in contaminated spinach and ground beef, in some cases decreasing E. coli concentrations by about 99 percent.

The study suggests that bacteriophage treatment could be an effective tool to help ensure the safety of food products, said Paul Ebner, associate professor of animal sciences.

"Phage treatment is a way of harnessing the natural antibacterial properties of phages to limit E. coli and other important food borne pathogens," Ebner said. "Applying this kind of therapy to contaminated foods will make them safer."

While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some can cause severe and potentially fatal illnesses. The strain used in Ebner's study - E. coli O157:H7 - caused more than 63,000 illnesses, 2,100 hospitalizations and 20 deaths in the U.S. in 2011. Ingesting as few as 10 colony-forming units of E. coli O157:H7 can result in serious illness.

Most E. coli infections are caused by eating undercooked meat contaminated with the bacteria, but outbreaks associated with fresh produce such as spinach are on the rise.

Ebner and Purdue graduate students Yingying Hong and Yanying Pan infected fresh spinach leaves and ground beef with about 10 million cells of E. coli, a far greater amount than typically found in contaminated food products, Ebner said. The researchers then treated the food with a "phage cocktail," a liquid containing three kinds of phages selected for their ability to quickly and efficiently kill E. coli. Using a variety of phages also helps prevent the bacteria from developing resistance.

After 24 hours, the treatment had reduced E. coli concentrations in the spinach, stored at room temperature, by more than 99.9 percent. E. coli dropped by more than 99.8 percent and about 99.8 percent in spinach after 48 and 72 hours, respectively.

In ground beef stored at room temperature, the phages cleaned up about 99 percent of E. coli bacteria within 24 hours. The number of E. coli in refrigerated and undercooked ground beef shrunk by about 68 percent and 73 percent, respectively.

"Bacteria have viruses just like we do," Ebner said. "We're taking what already exists in nature and concentrating it to have an impact on these bacteria."

The search-and-destroy methods of phages sound like the stuff of science fiction: Spaceship-like phages dock onto the receptor sites of a host bacterium cell and deploy a syringe-like device that penetrates the cell wall. They inject their own DNA into the host cell, transforming it into a phage-making factory. The cell assembles phages until it contains so many it explodes, releasing the next generation of phages to find new hosts. 

"Phages are the most abundant life forms on the planet - if you consider viruses to be alive," Ebner said. "You can eat thousands of phages just by licking your lips."

Ingesting phages does not pose a threat to human health because phages are highly host-specific, only targeting certain types of bacteria, said Ebner.

"Phage therapy is a way of using microbes beneficially, similar to using probiotics in yoghurt," he said.

Interest in using phages as antibacterial treatments has increased with the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The host specificity of phages can be an advantage over broad-spectrum antibiotics, which can wipe out both pathogenic and beneficial bacteria, Ebner said.

He said phage therapy is not a substitute for antibiotics, but "it can be very effective when used at specific time points and for shorter periods."

The paper was published in the Journal of Animal Science and is available at 

Writer:  Natalie van Hoose, 765-496-2050,


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Breakthrough Study Reveals Biological Basis for Sensory Processing Disorders in Kids

Breakthrough Study Reveals Biological Basis for Sensory Processing Disorders in Kids

The image shows areas of the brain that can be affected by sensory processing disorders. Using an advanced form of MRI, researchers at UCSF have identified abnormalities in the brain structure of children with SPD primarily in the back of the brain.

By Juliana Bunim on July 09, 2013

Sensory processing disorders (SPD) are more prevalent in children than autism and as common as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, yet the condition receives far less attention partly because it’s never been recognized as a distinct disease.

In a groundbreaking new study from UC San Francisco, researchers have found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders.

One of the reasons SPD has been overlooked until now is that it often occurs in children who also have ADHD or autism, and the disorders have not been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists.

“Until now, SPD hasn’t had a known biological underpinning,” said senior author Pratik Mukherjee, MD, PhD, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and bioengineering at UCSF. “Our findings point the way to establishing a biological basis for the disease that can be easily measured and used as a diagnostic tool,” Mukherjee said.

The work is published in the open access online journal NeuroImage:Clinical.

‘Out of Sync’ Kids

Sensory processing disorders affect 5 to 16 percent of school-aged children.

Children with SPD struggle with how to process stimulation, which can cause a wide range of symptoms including hypersensitivity to sound, sight and touch, poor fine motor skills and easy distractibility. Some SPD children cannot tolerate the sound of a vacuum, while others can’t hold a pencil or struggle with social interaction. Furthermore, a sound that one day is an irritant can the next day be sought out.  The disease can be baffling for parents and has been a source of much controversy for clinicians, according to the researchers.

“Most people don’t know how to support these kids because they don’t fall into a traditional clinical group,” said Elysa Marco, MD, who led the study along with postdoctoral fellow Julia Owen, PhD. Marco is a cognitive and behavioral child neurologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, ranked among the nation's best and one of California's top-ranked centers for neurology and other specialties, according to the 2013-2014 U.S. News & World Report Best Children's Hospitals survey.

“Sometimes they are called the ‘out of sync’ kids. Their language is good, but they seem to have trouble with just about everything else, especially emotional regulation and distraction. In the real world, they’re just less able to process information efficiently, and they get left out and bullied,” said Marco, who treats affected children in her cognitive and behavioral neurology clinic.

“If we can better understand these kids who are falling through the cracks, we will not only help a whole lot of families, but we will better understand sensory processing in general. This work is laying the foundation for expanding our research and clinical evaluation of children with a wide range of neurodevelopmental challenges – stretching beyond autism and ADHD,” she said.

Imaging the Brain’s White Matter

In the study, researchers used an advanced form of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which measures the microscopic movement of water molecules within the brain in order to give information about the brain’s white matter tracts. DTI shows the direction of the white matter fibers and the integrity of the white matter. The brain’s white matter is essential for perceiving, thinking and learning.

These brain images, taken with DTI, show water diffusion within the white matter of children with sensory processing disorders.  Row FA: The blue areas show white matter where water diffusion was less directional than in typical children, indicating impaired white matter microstructure.  Row MD: The red areas show white matter where the overall rate of water diffusion was higher than in typical children, also indicating abnormal white matter.  Row RD: The red areas show white matter where SPD children have higher rates of water diffusion perpendicular to the axonal fibers, indicating a loss of integrity of the fiber bundles comprising the white matter tracts.

The study examined 16 boys, between the ages of eight and 11, with SPD but without a diagnosis of autism or prematurity, and compared the results with 24 typically developing boys who were matched for age, gender, right- or left-handedness and IQ. The patients’ and control subjects’ behaviors were first characterized using a parent report measure of sensory behavior called the Sensory Profile. 

The imaging detected abnormal white matter tracts in the SPD subjects, primarily involving areas in the back of the brain, that serve as connections for the auditory, visual and somatosensory (tactile) systems involved in sensory processing, including their connections between the left and right halves of the brain. 

“These are tracts that are emblematic of someone with problems with sensory processing,” said Mukherjee. “More frontal anterior white matter tracts are typically involved in children with only ADHD or autistic spectrum disorders. The abnormalities we found are focused in a different region of the brain, indicating SPD may be neuroanatomically distinct.” 

The researchers found a strong correlation between the micro-structural abnormalities in the white matter of the posterior cerebral tracts focused on sensory processing and the auditory, multisensory and inattention scores reported by parents in the Sensory Profile. The strongest correlation was for auditory processing, with other correlations observed for multi-sensory integration, vision, tactile and inattention.

The abnormal microstructure of sensory white matter tracts shown by DTI in kids with SPD likely alters the timing of sensory transmission so that processing of sensory stimuli and integrating information across multiple senses becomes difficult or impossible.

“We are just at the beginning, because people didn’t believe this existed,” said Marco. “This is absolutely the first structural imaging comparison of kids with research diagnosed sensory processing disorder and typically developing kids. It shows it is a brain-based disorder and gives us a way to evaluate them in clinic.”

We are just at the beginning, because people didn’t believe this existed. ... [This study] shows it is a brain-based disorder and gives us a way to evaluate them in clinic.

Future studies need to be done, she said, to research the many children affected by sensory processing differences who have a known genetic disorder or brain injury related to prematurity.

The study’s co-authors are Shivani Desai, BS, Emily Fourie, BS, Julia Harris, BS, and Susanna Hill, BS, all of UCSF, and Anne Arnett, MA, of the University of Denver.

The research was supported by the Wallace Research Foundation. The authors have reported that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the forefront of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond. The hospital admits about 5,000 children each year, including 2,000 babies born in the hospital. For more information, visit

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.


In health,


Kari J. Kindem, CFHom, CEASE Practitioner, Classical Homeopath....Let Miracles Find You!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Vulnerable Are You To Stress?

How Vulnerable Are You To Stress?

Posted December 4, 2013 by Eric Bakker, ND

“It is not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.”  That quote is credited to Hans Selye, a pioneer in researching the effect of stress on the body. Stress is not inherently bad; in fact, some stress can even be good for you. How much a stressful situation or event affects your health depends on the stressor itself and your ability to respond to it.

So, how susceptible are you to the effects of stress? Read through each category and take note of each that apply to you.

Daily and Chronic Stress

Stresses that involve your daily life, such as a troubled marriage or difficult job, are more likely to cause severe distress. These stresses could also be chronic issues, such as an autoimmune disorder or depression.

Intense Crises and Trauma

A sudden and intense traumatic event, like being involved in a car accident or the sudden loss of a loved one, can be overwhelming and highly stressful. Without immediate intervention and treatment, like counseling or rehabilitation, this type of stress can be debilitating.

Accumulating Stress

Are you a stress collector? Stress is a problem that compounds. The more daily stresses and life changes you’re dealing with, the more intense the symptoms of stress can become. An accumulation of stressful events/habits with no resolution can lead to a weakened stress response, and even adrenal fatigue.

Your Stress Perception

How do you react to unavoidable daily stresses? Do you blow a little steam, take deep breaths and deal with it, or does it set you back for the whole day or even week? One of the most effective ways to lessen the stressful effects of an unavoidable, difficult situation is to reframe or refocus your perception of the situation. Do you get easily overwhelmed by unavoidable stress? Work on some daily stress management techniques, like making problem-solution lists and taking mental relaxation breaks.

Your Preparation and Knowledge

Heavy stress can make it difficult to concentrate, but the more you know about a stressful situation, the better prepared you’ll be to face it. Say you or a loved one has an upcoming medical procedure. Knowing the risks, what to expect afterward, and making preparations beforehand can go a long way in minimizing the effects of stress once it actually happens.

Your Tolerance for Stress

Do little stresses seem like big ones? Has it become easier to get frazzled from stress and bumps in the road, big or small? With stress, you have to be the duck; you’ve got to let it roll off your back. The more confidence you have in yourself and your ability to stand up to and overcome stress, the better. (Even if you have to ‘fake it until you make it.’)

Your Support Network

Communication allows a person to see their worries and concerns in a different light. You may notice that by talking about your worries and problems with somebody you trust you will often begin to see a clear path. When you’re under a lot of stress you may feel like withdrawing and isolating yourself from others, which actually makes things worse. You may be surprised by how quickly a big scary stress can deflate and become not so scary once it’s put into perspective by a friend or loved one.