Emily Bazelon, a senior editor at Slate, said the following in an NPR interview:
"It used to be that the assumption was that every time you had evidence of the shaking -- medical evidence -- that you knew, you assumed that the baby would immediately stop breathing and go into a coma ...
Now doctors acknowledge ... that in at least a few cases it's possible for a child to remain conscious for some amount of time."
This throws into question whether the last caretaker was always the abuser. In addition, says Bazelon, the symptoms that used to be considered an assurance of shaken-baby syndrome could possibly be caused by bleeding disorders or certain accidental falls.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
In some ways it's hard to believe it's taken so long for major media like NPR and the New York Times to question the blanket-diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome (SBS).
For too long, too many parents and child caretakers have been accused of murder or manslaughter by a system that assumes that any baby with retinal hemorrhages, bleeding around the brain, and/or brain swelling has been shaken.
Signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome Sometimes Lead to False Accusations
They call it the "triad," and as the NPR and New York Times examples show, if your baby is limp and unresponsive ? or dead ? and exhibits even one of the triad symptoms, you may find yourself handcuffed and behind bars, and accused of killing your baby.
It's a serious form of child abuse, and child protective services (CPS) have been put on notice through numerous state and federal laws that they are to report it immediately if they suspect that a baby has been shaken.
Other SBS injuries can include blood spots in the eyes, lethargy, semi-consciousness, seizures, vomiting, extreme irritability, bruises on the body, and broken bones. But even when none of these other symptoms are detected, it's almost a given that once an SBS report is made, the suspect ? usually a parent or a caretaker ? is assumed guilty.
According to the National Shaken Baby Coalition (NSBC), as many as 1,500 babies a year are shaken by their parents, and either severely injured or killed.
It's true that there are parents who shake their babies, like the Florida mother who was so obsessed with playing an online game that she admitted shaking her baby to death when the baby's cries interrupted her.
But it's also true that more and more parents are claiming that they are innocent, that they didn't shake their babies, and that they could never do anything to hurt them.
Cries of Innocence Escalating
The cries of innocence have led to websites and blogs that question how SBS is defined, including The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic that fights for the rights of people who have been wrongly accused of a crime.
The New York Times tippy-toed into this area last year, with an opinion piece by Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor and former assistant district attorney who questioned how SBS is defined.
"Despite the shift in scientific consensus, debate about the legitimacy of the shaken baby syndrome diagnosis continues," Tuerkheimer said.
"Some scientists point to studies using dummies modeled on the anatomy of infants as evidence that shaking cannot possibly generate sufficient force to cause the triad of symptoms ? or that it could not do so without also causing injury to the infant's neck or spinal cord."
Citing instances of where science is eroding the medical basis of shaken baby syndrome, Tuerkheimer cautioned prosecutors, judges and juries to exercise greater skepticism when finding people guilty of shaking a baby.
"The triad of symptoms alone cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an infant has been fatally shaken," Tuerkheimer said.
While neither Tuerkheimer nor the New York Times offered any ideas on what else could cause a baby to die unexpectedly with SBS-like symptoms, the fact that they are finally questioning the blanket diagnosis is a step in the right direction.
What Else Could Cause this Kind of Harm?
So if Shaken Baby Syndrome is a questionable diagnosis in these cases, what else could explain the symptoms that these babies die with?
The answer isn't as hard to root out as some people might think.
Dr. David Ayoub is a clinical radiologist and physician whose work I admire, and whose expertise I often rely on. He also has extensive experience in identifying lesions caused by vitamin deficiencies such as rickets.
And vitamin D deficiency is a hidden problem that Dr. Ayoub has found that can cause bones in X-rays to appear as if they had been broken ? and a sure diagnosis of abuse to the inexperienced eye.
But vitamin D deficiency is only one possible explanation for a child who has multiple injuries. Others include:
- Injury at birth can later appear as swelling on the brain, or bleeding on the brain
- Vaccines have known injuries that are acknowledged by the vaccine makers, and they include encephalopathy (brain damage), thrombocytopenia (bruising and bleeding on the brain, and/or hemorrhaging), and hyptonic-hyporesponsive episodes (muscle limpness and unresponsiveness) ? all symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome!
Probably the most poignant example of this is the introduction of legislation in Oregon that was proposed because of a baby who was harmed by the hepatitis B vaccine.
- Vitamin deficiencies such as metabolic disorder can cause lethal symptoms if left untreated. Also, numerous studies have also shown that deficiencies in vitamin C, D, and K can result in conditions that mimic SBS, including the appearance of broken bones in an X-ray!
- Genetic disorders such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as "Brittle Bone Disease" or "Lobstein Syndrome," can cause similar symptoms.
- Bleeding disorders such as coagulopathy can cause swelling and bleeding on the brain if left untreated.
- High bilirubin levels can also be suspected.
- Even heparin doses given when a baby's body is being held as an organ donor can cause internal swelling and bleeding.
- Non-abuse injuries, including falls from a very short distance, can cause bleeding on the brain.
Shaken Baby Syndrome has Become an Industry
It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about the topic of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and how it's become an industry of its own, with government funding that actually encourages CPS to label parents as abusers.
It is an industry that permeates the legal system, from judges to lawyers to the expert witnesses who testify on behalf ? or against ? an accused parent in a shaken baby case.
"It's an idea that has been added to and added to, but does not stand to science," said Dr. Edward Yazbak, a physician who has devoted the past 10 years to studying the issue and testifying as an expert witness on behalf of parents he believes are innocent of this crime.
"This shaken baby business has come out of nowhere and become an epidemic, and it's the other side that's making money ? the child protective services, the funding, the grants that all these people get.
"It's obviously a very popular and passionate thing with them. But they're literally convicting people before they're even accused. It's the only crime in the world like this, and many of these parents are perfectly innocent."
You might think I'm overdoing it by repeating Dr. Yazbak's thoughts here, or you might even think that I'm going off on a tangent with too many shaken baby stories lately. But the truth is, there are too many parents who all of a sudden are being faced with these charges.
And the truth is that there are so many things that could mimic Shaken Baby Syndrome, that it's very possible that you or someone you know might be the next innocent person to be accused.
A Safe, Healthy Baby is Everyone's Goal
I can't think of anyone who doesn't want the best for their baby, and I don't want anyone to think that I'm negating the possibility that some parents would ever harm their children ? because I know they do. What's important here is honesty. It's time that CPS and attorneys and prosecutors and judges ? and juries ? get honest with the way these cases are handled.
It's time to stop judging a person guilty from the ill-defined and unscientific definition that SBS has come to be.
My message to parents and caretakers is to read these articles and the links I've provided, and to be aware of all the symptoms that could mimic SBS, so that if something like this happens, you'll know how to protect yourself.
And my message to investigators is instead of assuming that a baby's been deliberately harmed, check for vitamin deficiencies. Check to see if a vaccine that has these types of symptoms as side effects might have been given to the child recently.
Check to see whether the child recently had a fall, even a small one.
And instead of automatically accusing a parent or caretaker of murder, make sure that the checklist is complete before the accusation is made.
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Glucose and fructose are both simple sugars, but scientists have long suspected there are differences in the way your body processes them.
In a new study, researchers scanned the brains of nine subjects after they got an infusion of equal volumes of glucose, fructose or saline. The brain scans were looking at activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain which plays a key role in setting appetite levels and controlling production of metabolic hormones.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
?The researchers ... found that ?cortical control areas? -- broad swaths of gray matter that surrounded the hypothalamus -- responded quite differently to the infusion of fructose than they did to glucose. Across the limited regions of the brain they scanned ... glucose significantly raised the level of neural activity for about 20 minutes following the infusion. Fructose had the opposite effect, causing activity in the same areas to drop and stay low for 20 minutes after the infusion.?Sources:
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
People everywhere are finally waking up to the indisputable fact that all simple sugars are not the same when it comes to the physical end results they create. The latest Public Service Announcement warning New Yorkers about the dangers of excessive soda consumption is a powerful illustration of this increasing level of awareness.
When these differences are understood, it's easy to see how and why fructose?mainly in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)?is in large part responsible for the meteoric rise of obesity and its related health problems.
It's a staple ingredient in a vast majority of sweetened beverages and processed foods of all kinds, from pre-packaged meals to baked goods and condiments. And the number one source of calories in America is soda, in the form of HFCS!
Your Brain Reacts to Fructose and Glucose in Very Different Ways
This latest study is intriguing, as it shows that the difference between fructose and glucose is not just limited to how they're metabolized in your body; your brain also reacts to these two sugars in entirely different ways.
Nine healthy, normal-weight subjects received either glucose, fructose, or saline (as the control). Their brains were then scanned to evaluate activity around the hypothalamus, which is a key player in appetite control and production of metabolic hormones.
Interestingly, the researchers discovered that the "cortical control areas" surrounding the hypothalamus responded very differently to each substance:
- Glucose significantly raised the level of neural activity for about 20 minutes
- Fructose reduced neural activity in the area for about the same amount of time
- Saline had no effect on neural activity
So, what does this mean?
At this point, the implications of these differences are unclear. The Chicago Tribune reported that:
"At this point, said [lead researcher] Purnell in a phone interview, it means nothing more than that the two substances did prompt different responses in the brain--that the brain did not respond to them identically.
Within some of the "cortical control areas" where differences were seen, lie some important neural real estate, including regions where notions of reward and addiction are processed.
As scientists have a closer look in future studies, they should be able to zero in on which specific areas are affected differently by the two forms of sugar."
So, time will tell what these latest findings really mean, but we already know that fructose has a detrimental impact on two hormones involved with satiety and hunger, namely leptin and ghrelin, and that this influence sets in motion a vicious cycle of hunger, increased food intake, and increased fat storage.
Fructose Packs on the Pounds Faster than Any Other Nutrient
Part of what makes HFCS so unhealthy is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. The entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver, and it promotes a particularly dangerous kind of body fat, namely adipose fat. This is the fat type of fat that collects in your abdominal region and is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Additionally, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (i.e. soda and sweetened beverages of all kinds), its negative metabolic effects are magnified. Because while HFCS has about the same amount of fructose as cane sugar, the fructose in HFCS is in its "free" form and not attached to any other carbs.
The fructose in fruits and in cane sugar is bonded to other sugars which results in a decrease in its metabolic toxicity.
Consuming foods that contain high amounts of fructose?even if it's a natural product?is, to put it bluntly, the fastest way to trash your health. Among the health problems you invite with a high-fructose diet are:
- Obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
- Elevated triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
- Elevated blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Depletion of vitamins and minerals?Unbound fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart's use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.
- Cardiovascular disease, arthritis, gout, and cancer
Adding insult to injury, HFCS is most often made from genetically modified (GM) corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns, from an increased risk of developing food allergies to the risk of increased infertility in future generations.
Beware: Mixing Fructose with Glucose Increases Destructive Effect
Fructose consumption clearly causes insulin resistance whereas straight glucose does not. However, it's worth knowing that glucose accelerates fructose absorption! So when you mix glucose and fructose together, you absorb more fructose than if you consumed fructose alone...
This is an important piece of information if you are struggling to control your weight.
Remember, sucrose, or table sugar, is exactly this blend -- fructose plus glucose. So, the key to remember is to not get too nit-picky about the names of the sugars. ALL of these contribute to decreased health:
- Sucrose (table sugar)
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Crystalline fructose, and any other high-fructose sweetener they may dream up
- Natural fructose in the form of fruits, fruit juices, and natural sweeteners such as honey and agave.
Is Fructose from HFCS Worse than Fructose from Table Sugar?
High fructose corn syrup is about 55 percent fructose while table sugar is about 50 percent. The fructose in the corn syrup is also dissociated from the glucose, unlike table sugar which has it attached. So HFCS is clearly worse than table sugar, but not orders of magnitude. It is only marginally worse.
The MAIN reason why fructose and HFCS are so bad is that in the mid 70s two things happened. Earl Butz changed the US Agriculture policy to massively subsidize corn production in the US, and scientists also figured out how to make HFCS in the lab from corn.
The combination of these two events made fructose VERY cheap. So cheap that it's put in virtually all processed foods because it is virtually free and massively improves the flavor of most foods. So if you are a processed food producer there are virtually no downsides.
So it becomes a QUANTITY issue, and the average person is now consuming 600 percent more than their ancestors did, and some are consuming 1500 percent more. So the massive increase in this toxin is what is causing the problem. If table sugar was as cheap and used as much it would cause virtually identical side effects.
Fructose Metabolism Basics
Without getting into the very complex biochemistry of carbohydrate metabolism, it is important to understand how your body processes glucose versus fructose. Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has been a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. His work has highlighted some major differences in how different sugars are broken down and used.
Here's a summary of the main points:
- After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. With glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent.
- Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is "burned up" immediately after you consume it. By contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat.
- The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
- Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. In other words, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p), which is directly used to turn FFAs into triglycerides. The more g-3-p you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not do this.
- When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Consuming fructose is essentially consuming fat!
- The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.
- Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain's communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.
So, if anyone tries to tell you "sugar is sugar," they are way behind the times. As you can see, there are major differences in how your body processes each one. The bottom line is: fructose leads to increased belly fat, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome -- not to mention the long list of chronic diseases that directly result.
If you, like so many others, have struggled with your weight for years; examined your diet; avoided fat and counted your calories, yet not getting anywhere and wondering what you're doing wrong, please pay very close attention to this issue!
In many cases the primary culprit is an excessive intake of hidden sugar in the form of fructose, whether natural fructose (such as agave syrup or 100 percent fruit juice, for example), or in the form of corn syrup (or high fructose corn syrup), which is a main ingredient in countless beverages and processed, pre-packaged foods.
It's extremely easy to consume high amounts of fructose on a daily basis, especially if most of your foods are processed in any way, or if you drink sodas or any other sweetened beverages such as ice-teas, fruit juices and sports drinks. As previously discussed, even seemingly "health-conscious" beverages like Vitamin Water, Jamba Juice and Odwalla SuperFood contain far more added sugar and/or fructose than many desserts!
So please, understand that it's not dietary fat that's making you fat. It's fructose.
My Recommended Fructose Allowance
As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.
For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you're virtually guaranteed to consume "hidden" sources of fructose if you drink beverages other than water and eat processed food. Remember, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, so one can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment.
Fifteen grams of fructose is not much -- it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or two Medjool dates. In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Johnson includes detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods -- an information base that isn't readily available when you're trying to find out exactly how much fructose is in various foods. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this excellent resource.
Here's a quick reference list of some of the most common fruits that you can use to help you count your fructose grams:
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose Limes 1 medium 0 Lemons 1 medium 0.6 Cranberries 1 cup 0.7 Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9 Prune 1 medium 1.2 Apricot 1 medium 1.3 Guava 2 medium 2.2 Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6 Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8 Raspberries 1 cup 3.0 Clementine 1 medium 3.4 Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4 Blackberries 1 cup 3.5 Star fruit 1 medium 3.6 Cherries, sweet 10 3.8 Strawberries 1 cup 3.8 Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0 Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
4.0 Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6 Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8 Nectarine 1 medium 5.4 Peach 1 medium 5.9 Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1 Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3 Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7 Banana 1 medium 7.1 Blueberries 1 cup 7.4 Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7 Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5 Persimmon 1 medium 10.6 Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3 Pear 1 medium 11.8 Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3 Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4 Mango 1/2 medium 16.2 Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4 Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0
The Way Toward Better Health Begins Here...
There is nothing benign about the fructose consumption inherent in our modern diet. It is literally supercharged with fructose, and we're seeing the consequences of this type of eating in our skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cases of non-fatty liver disease.
Fortunately, there's plenty of good news here.
There IS a way out of this evil circle, and that is a return to a more holistic diet based on whole foods, along with physical exercise and safe sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels.
One of the easiest things you can do to quickly improve your health is to eliminate all soda and sweetened beverages from your life. I say ALL soda, because even though HFCS is clearly something you want to avoid, it is still not as bad as artificial sweeteners, which damage your health even more rapidly than HFCS.
Then, since most processed foods also contain HFCS, avoiding as many processed foods as possible is your next step.
If you want an occasional sweetener, I recommend using:
- The herb stevia
- Dextrose (pure glucose)
I do not recommend agave syrup since it is a highly processed sap that is almost all fructose. It is one of the more seriously mismarketed foods in the natural food world. We actually did an informal study and found the most popular agave brands ranged from 59 to 67 percent pure fructose, far worse than HFCS.
Once you realize the hazards of fructose and begin to avoid it in earnest, your diet will significantly improve, which is an essential factor for a long, healthy life.
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Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Thyroid disease, or inadequate thyroid hormone regulation, is extremely common. According to estimates, anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of Americans have suboptimal thyroid function.
The Difference between Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Hormone Resistance
Hypothyroidism occurs when you produce insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone or when you have thyroid hormone resistance. As a result, your body cannot maintain normal metabolism, and your ability to convert tyrosine to dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine is impaired. This can cause a ripple effect of symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction.
A common give-away that you may be hypothyroid is feeling cold most of the time. This is because your body cannot generate enough ATP molecules to keep the core temperature of your body high enough.
Thyroid hormone resistance began being investigated in the 1950s, yet many endocrinologists still have never heard of it, or believe it?s a rare condition.
?The difference between hypothyroidism where there is a deficiency of thyroid hormone, and thyroid hormone resistance, is that the same amount of thyroid hormone?within the laboratories? reference range?that would maintain normal metabolism in cells don?t do so adequately.
Those people [with thyroid hormone resistance] need a much higher dosage of hormones?a dosage that would cause most endocrinologists to scream, ?You?re going to die of heart attack if you don?t get off that,? Dr. Lowe explains.
Why Lab Testing is NOT the Most Useful Tool for Diagnosing Thyroid Disease
Unfortunately, many if not most conventional doctors do nothing but look at lab test data when diagnosing thyroid disease, and typically ignore signs and symptoms revealed by the patient, such as dry skin or hair loss. Dr. Lowe and I often refer to these as extremist medical technocrats.
However, Dr. Lowe says he?s noticed a revival of sorts of the practice to listen to the patient; getting a list of the symptoms; looking at the patient and touching them.
This can be particularly valuable in the case of diseases like thyroid disease, which is littered with clinical symptoms.
The exclusive reliance on lab tests is actually NOT advisable in this case. In fact, Dr. Lowe discusses why these tests may at times be completely useless for diagnosis. For example, based on three decades worth of work in this area, and two rigorous studies, Dr. Lowe has concluded that the traditional testing used does not correlate with the far more powerful assessment of thyroid hormone in your body, which is your basal metabolic rate.
For more information about that, please listen to the interview, or read through the transcript.
A Forgotten Sign of Thyroid Disease
Dr. Lowe?s interest in the thyroid was ignited about 25 years ago. At the time he used myofascial trigger point therapy to treat pain, taught by Dr. Travell who used it on John Kennedy. Most patients responded favorable to this treatment, but some did not get the typical relief and he started wondering why.
?I went to Travell and Simon?s textbooks and found a huge section on perpetuating factors,? Dr. Lowe says.
?What can make a patient resistant to usually effective myofascial therapy? Among those were nutritional deficiencies. If patients don?t take enough B complex vitamins, various ones can cause neuromuscular hyper-excitability that has to be dealt with. I would give injections of B complex vitamins and would immediately get them on megadoses?
[R]ather than three treatments it might take eight or 10, but I was able to release them as ?recovered?. But there were some patients for whom none of those usual tactics worked. They kept coming back. The reprieve from pain might be only six hours.?
He finally discovered information that linked myofascial pain and trigger points to hypometabolism, especially due to inadequate thyroid hormone regulation.
The standard tests used today to diagnose inadequate thyroid hormone regulation due to hypothyroidism are the free T3, free T4 and TSH. There?s also a test called TRH (thyroid releasing hormone) stimulation test. Using these tests, Dr. Lowe was able to determine that many of those patients could be diagnosed with central hypothyroidism.
?They didn?t have a thyroid gland problem per se where the thyroid gland wasn?t producing a thyroid hormone, but they had either a problem with the hypothalamus or with the pituitary,? he explains.
Some of the clinical symptoms presented by these patients were primarily pain, such as headaches and cervical- or back pain. One such patient became pain-free once she started taking thyroid hormone. That?s what got Dr. Lowe started on the path of treating thyroid disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
So, if the conventional lab tests are unreliable, what are the signs and symptoms to look for? As stated earlier, there are some 60 different symptoms (including many that correspond to symptoms of fibromyalgia) that are indicative of thyroid disease?although, remarkably, you won?t find these in the newer endocrinology books.
Dr. Lowe?s web site, www.DrLowe.com, contains a full list of all the signs and symptoms. Here are a few of the most common:
- Fatigue?If you don?t have enough dopamine or have too few dopamine receptors due to inadequate thyroid hormone regulation, you end up with extreme fatigue, which is also a common complaint in fibromyalgia patients
- Hair loss
- Weight gain--Thyroid hormone controls gene transcription for lipolytic enzymes, which lower cholesterol and break down triglycerides and fatty tissues. If you have enough of these enzymes, they will reduce fat tissues in your body even if you do not diet and exercise
- Dry skin, hair, eyes and other mucous membranes
- Excess muscle tension and trigger points?For muscles to completely relax, filaments must lengthen and separate, which requires energy (ATP molecules). Low thyroid hormone reduces ATP
- Delayed deep tendon reflexes (slow relaxation phase of the Achilles reflex)?Thyroid hormone controls gene transcription for calcium ATPase. When you hit the Achilles tendon and your foot goes down rapidly and then raises back slowly, it?s a sign of hypothyroidism or thyroid hormone resistance. This is due to lack of ATP molecules to provide the energy for the contractual filaments to separate and relax, hence you get a visibly slow relaxation phase of the Achilles reflex.
Here again is a classic thyroid indication that does not correlate with high TSH values. Unfortunately, this test (which used to be an established gold standard in thyroid testing) is no longer used because endocrinologists assume high TSH values must be present for hypothyroidism, which is not the case?but lab testing, like drugs, is big business, brining in billions of dollars
Thyroid Disease and Fibromyalgia, and the Treatments that Work for Both
Interestingly, inadequate thyroid hormone regulation may be one of the primary underlying factors in many patients with fibromyalgia.
Dr. Lowe explains:
?I had prior training as a research psychologist and was able to pull forth that training and enlist physicians on the research team. It was a loose net research team until it eventually became a non-profit organization called the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation.
Seven or eight years ago, I gave a presentation at the Fibromyalgia Coalition International based in Kansas City? I got there late and heard none of the other presentations.
When I gave my presentation, people began saying, ?Dr. Lowe, you?ve used the word ?integrative metabolic therapies? for getting patients free from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It just so happens, every single one of the -- at that point, considered alternative doctors -- have said exactly the same things.?
Through their personal, clinical experiences they had come to the same conclusions we had. If they used metabolic integrative therapies, nutritional deficiencies, anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, getting off medications that impede metabolism, and possibly treating cortisol deficiency, possibly balancing sex hormones, and treating the patients with effective thyroid hormone therapy... They got the patients well.
I said the same thing they had said, but my experience was based on rigorous scientific testing. Their experience was based on intuition and the wisdom that comes from listening to patients and working with them.?
This is yet another potent testimony to the truthfulness of the theory that health is based on a few fundamental principles, and although you will typically address specific aspects of a disease, the bulk of the therapy is the same for ALL diseases:
- Eating a nutritious diet (a low-sugar, low-grain, mainly raw organic diet is optimally nutritious and anti-inflammatory)
- Normalizing hormones
- Avoiding medications (virtually all medications create further imbalances, hence the side effects and deterioration of health)
Creating health really isn?t rocket science. It?s just ?returning to basics,? and although it may not be easy, it?s rather simple.
Logic and Deductive Reasoning in Medicine?A Novel Idea
Dr. Lowe?s research team came to the conclusion that the thyroid was involved with fibromyalgia through the use of a method called ?deductively formulated theory,? which he calls the ?ultimate logic of problem solving.? Unfortunately, this method is virtually never used in medicine, and it?s a rare scientist who truly understands it.
Dr. Lowe explains it as follows:
?[Y]ou take competitive theories or hypotheses about what causes something, then use the methods of mathematical physicists to show which hypothesis tops them all out.
Well, there simply is no competitor to inadequate thyroid hormone regulation that accounts for about 43 of the 46 subjectively verified findings in fibromyalgia -- reduced brain blood flow, inhibitory alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, platelets that cause constriction of arterials and cold fingers... The list goes on.
If anybody looks at the method of deductively formulated theory and compare the inane serotonin deficiency hypothesis, which has been thoroughly refuted, there are no competitive theories.
? Hippocrates wrote about people with these symptoms and said, if these people will get a reasonable amount of physical activity, stop eating the trash the aristocrats eat and start eating vegetables and fruits, they?ll recover. Nothing has really changed there.
What we learned about fibromyalgia patients is that one set of symptoms: chronic aching and pain that lasts for three months or longer, and abnormal tenderness with associated symptoms (there are 12 of them), are all classic hypothyroid symptoms. It?s just another of what we call a clinical phenotype?
[M]ost [fibromyalgia] patients are either hypothyroid or thyroid hormone resistant.?
Thyroid Hormone?The Missing Ingredient in Fibromyalgia Treatment
Dr. Lowe?s extensive experience with treating patients with both thyroid disease and fibromyalgia has led him to come to some startling conclusions. One, that thyroid dysfunction is a component of fibromyalgia, and second, that the conventional thyroid test is typically useless in making a diagnosis.
Instead, he recommends simply treating fibromyalgia with thyroid hormone until the symptoms improve.
?We give patients monitoring forms. One of those forms is the 20 most common symptoms of thyroid hormone over-stimulation,? he explains.
? [P]atients record their basal body temperature and their basal pulse rate. The pulse rate in most of these patients is too low for their levels of cardiovascular conditioning. It?s under-regulation of the thyroid. Some of them are bradycardic (less than 50-60 beats per minute).
If weight is an issue, they measure their weight after getting out of bed before consuming any liquid or solid, along with temperature and pulse rate. We have a lot of symptom severity scales where they estimate the intensity of their symptoms. They fill out this form at least three times a week.
Then, it?s easy for us to chart the data on line graphs. We can see, as the dosage increases, are the data points moving in the right direction? Is the temperature rising properly? Is the pulse rate coming up so that it?s more appropriate to that person?s level of cardiovascular conditioning??
A one-line summary of Dr. Lowe?s research would be that thyroid hormone is the missing ingredient in the treatment of fibromyalgia that is nearly universally overlooked.
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Are you having trouble losing weight because of an addiction to sugary foods? ABC News shares Dr. Mehmet Oz's four steps for beating those cravings by detoxing your liver:
- Step 1: Replace grains with broccoli or cauliflower for one week, and eat garlic, chives and leeks
- Step 2: During withdrawal, take a Vitamin B complex and 1,000 mg a day of chromium picolinate
- Step 3: Eat meat in a 4:1 ratio, limiting it to a quarter of your protein; also eat leafy greens and citrus.
- Step 4: Address emotional eating -- emotional hunger is sudden, while physical hunger is gradual
To read more about Dr. Oz's theories, click on the link below.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
It's estimated that up to 100 percent of women and 70 percent of men experience food cravings in any given year. Entirely separate from hunger pains, which can be satisfied with a variety of foods, food cravings make you yearn for a taste of something very specific, usually a food rich in sugar, salt or fat.
And when you're in the middle of a craving, it feels like nothing else will do to satisfy that urge.
Food Cravings Rival Drug Cravings in Intensity
It may sound extreme to compare a craving for chocolate to a craving for heroin, but the same brain regions are actually involved in both cases. During both types of cravings, three regions of your brain -- the hippocampus, insula, and caudate, which are related to emotion, memory and reward -- are activated.
Sugar in particular, which is one of the most common food cravings, is also one of the most addictive food ingredients, as it triggers production of your brain's natural opioids -- a key to the addiction process. Your brain essentially becomes addicted to its own opioids as it would to morphine or heroin.
Refined sugar may be even more addictive than cocaine -- one of the most addictive substances currently known.
In one study, when rats were allowed to choose either sweetened water or cocaine, an astonishing 94 percent of rats chose the sweet water. Even rats that were addicted to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar once it was offered as a choice.
The researchers speculated that the sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on your tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when the diet was very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times' high-sugar consumption.
Therefore, the abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar-rich diets generates excessive reward signals in your brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms, and thus lead to addiction.
What's Leptin Got to Do With It?
There are a variety of reasons why you may crave a particular food at any given moment. Seeing a commercial for a food, imagining it, or getting a whiff of it can all certainly contribute, as can emotional triggers like boredom, loneliness and even happiness.
Chronic exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, yeast/Candida overgrowth and hormonal imbalances can also lead to cravings, especially for sugary foods.
But often food cravings, and particularly sweet cravings, are the result of a complex hormonal reaction, one that is often triggered by the very same foods you crave.
Here's how this works: The hormone leptin has been shown to target taste receptors on your tongue, thereby increasing or reducing cravings for sweet foods. It is believed that leptin is a sweet-sensing modulator (suppressor), and therefore a contributor to the process that regulates food intake.
It is likely that either a lack of leptin, or your body's failure to respond to the hormone due to defects in your leptin receptors, contributes to the so-called 'sweet tooth' or sweet cravings that affect so many people.
It's already been discovered that animals and humans with low leptin levels, or with defective leptin receptors, tend to become obese. Leptin -- a hormone produced by your fat cells -- is directly involved in weight regulation by signaling your brain when your fat cells are full -- instructing your body to reduce hunger, increase fat burning, and reduce fat storage.
So, in addition to increasing cravings for sweets, low leptin levels (or conversely, excessive leptin levels due to leptin resistance) also diminish your feelings of satiety, leading to continued intake of sweet foods.
What Causes Your Leptin Levels to Go Haywire?
If you eat a diet that is high in sugar and grains, the sugar gets metabolized to fat (and is stored as fat in your fat cells), which in turn releases surges in leptin. Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it (just as your body can become resistant to insulin).
And when you become leptin-resistant, your body can no longer "hear" the messages telling it to stop eating, burn fat, and maintain good sensitivity to sweet tastes in your taste buds -- so you remain hungry, you crave sweets, and your body stores more fat.
Leptin-resistance also causes an increase in visceral fat, sending you on a vicious cycle of hunger, fat storage and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more.
"Sugar acts directly in the brain to inhibit the effect of leptin and increased appetite so you never feel full. So then you keep eating, and you become leptin-resistant ? What you need to do is break the addiction by detoxing the liver, which has stopped metabolizing fat properly. Sugar consumption causes fat to build up in liver cells, which decreases the liver's ability to metabolize fats and sugars and detoxify your body."
Dr. Oz actually recommends replacing grains with broccoli or cauliflower for one week, along with eating garlic, chives and leeks, as the fist step to beating a fat and sugar addiction by way of detoxing your liver.
Indeed, "cleaning" your palate of grains to eliminate your body's learned response to sugar is important, but I recommend you limit or eliminate grains and sugars in your diet for longer than one week, and do so according to your nutritional type as well.
The Other Major Component of Food Cravings
Along with supplements to help with sugar withdrawal and carb cravings, Dr. Oz also mentions the need to address emotional eating, and I couldn't agree more.
Research suggests about half of adults turn to food in times of boredom, stress and loneliness. And for people who said stress often drove them to eat, the comfort food of choice tended to be greasy, salty or sweet. Not surprisingly, such "stress-driven" eaters, particularly women, weighed more on average, and among women those who felt a lack of emotional support in their lives had a greater tendency to eat to cope with stress.
So your emotional health, whether you're eating as a distraction, a reward or to help fill a missing void in your life, must be dealt with in order to successfully resist cravings for unhealthy foods.
When your body's energy system is disrupted, you are more likely to experience distractions and discomforts related to food, and more likely to engage in emotional eating. Instead, if you engage your body's subtle energy system with EFT, the distracting discomforts like food cravings and hunger pangs often subside.
Another Simple Trick for Warding Off Food Cravings ?
Anyone who exercises intensely on a regular basis will know that significant amounts of cardiovascular exercise is one of the best "cures" for food cravings.
It always amazes me how my appetite, especially for sweets, dramatically decreases after a good workout. I believe the mechanism is related to the dramatic reduction in insulin levels that occurs after exercise. Elevated insulin levels are another primary contributing factor to food cravings, and if insulin levels are reduced many of these cravings will simply fade away.
A regular exercise program will help make food cravings less likely in general, but you can use it therapeutically too. If you're hit with a strong craving for sweets, for instance, a session of Peak 8 exercises, which takes just 20 minutes, will likely make the craving disappear.
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Becker's ASC Review reveals nine widely held myths about washing your hands. Here are a few of them:
Hot water is better than cold water for effective handwashing
Scientists have found that various temperatures had "no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction." Not only does hot water not show any benefit, but it might increase the "irritant capacity" of some soaps, causing dermatitis.
Hand sanitizers kill germs more effectively than soap
Using alcohol-based hand-hygiene products is in general not more effective than washing your hands with plain soap and water.
Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers promotes healthy skin
In fact, contact dermatitis can develop from frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products, exposure to chemicals and glove use.
Soap with triclosan is an effective antimicrobial for handwashing
A recent study compared an antibacterial soap containing triclosan with a non-antibacterial soap. The results showed that the antibacterial soap did not provide any additional benefit. In addition, concerns have been raised about the use of triclosan because of the potential development of bacterial resistance.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Did you know that antibacterial soaps are tied to a public health crisis? It's true. The fervent use of antibacterial soaps and other antimicrobial products significantly contribute to a growing scourge: antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic-resistant disease is a problem that few pay attention to, despite the fact that it's been a known, growing phenomenon for several decades. It's now become one of the most serious public health threats of the 21st Century. Antibiotic-resistant infections now claim more lives each year than the "modern plague" of AIDS, and cost the American health care system some $20 billion a year.
According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 18,600 people died from invasive MRSA infections in the United States in 2005. And that's just ONE antibiotic-resistant bug. The list of resistant microbes is steadily growing.
What will it take before it's taken seriously?
A Shift in Thinking is Required to Quell Growing Health Threat
It may seem like there's nothing you, as an individual, can do about the rise in antibiotic-resistant disease, but that's not true. You're either part of the solution or part of the problem when it comes to the rampant over-use of antibiotic drugs and antibacterial products.
Drug companies keep pushing the use of antibiotics; doctors keep prescribing these drugs for viral infections they can't treat; patients keep asking for them for every ill; parents and schools keep insisting on using antibacterial cleansers and wipes; and the food industry keeps injecting them into their livestock, which eventually ends up on your dinner plate...
But you can be part of the solution in each and every one of these scenarios.
You can turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to drug advertisements; you can question your doctor's prescription; you can resist asking for an antibiotic unless absolutely necessary and appropriate; you can avoid buying conventional farm-raised beef; and you can avoid using antibacterial products in your own home.
The last recommendation in particular is one of the easiest, and it will save you money to boot. Proper hygiene does NOT require you to use harsh antibacterial agents. On the contrary, they can cause far more harm than good, both in the long- and short-term.
Handwashing?Your First Line of Defense Against Infectious Disease
Washing your hands is your number one protection against the acquisition and spread of infectious disease. But you do not need to use antimicrobial soap to get the job done. Studies have shown that people who use antibacterial soaps and cleansers develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who use regular soaps.
Part of the reason for this is because most of these symptoms are actually caused by viruses, which antibacterial soaps can't kill.
But even for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which may be caused by bacteria, those who used regular soaps still had no greater risk than those who used antibacterial products. So, the rational conclusion is antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary for the purpose of washing away bacteria.
A 2007 systematic review published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases confirmed that antibacterial soap containing triclosan did not provide any additional benefit compared with a non-antibacterial soap.
The authors concluded:
"The lack of an additional health benefit associated with the use of triclosan-containing consumer soaps over regular soap, coupled with laboratory data demonstrating a potential risk of selecting for drug resistance, warrants further evaluation by governmental regulators regarding antibacterial product claims and advertising."
There have been no changes made to the claims products are allowed to make, or how they're allowed to advertise these products, but why wait for federal regulation that may or may not come? It's been repeatedly shown that washing your hands with plain soap and water can kill germs that cause:
- The common cold
- Hepatitis A
- Acute gastroenteritis
- Stomach infections such as salmonella, campylobacter and norovirus
- Other contagious illnesses and surgical wound complications, including MRSA
Proper Hand Washing Technique
However, it's important to use proper hand washing technique. To make sure you're actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:
- Use warm water
- Use a mild soap
- Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, for at least 20 seconds
- Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails
- Rinse thoroughly under running water
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry
- In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor
Also remember that your skin is actually your primary defense against bacteria, not the soap, so resist the urge to become obsessive about washing your hands. Over-washing can easily reduce the protective oils in your skin (especially in the winter and dry desert environments) and cause your skin to crack?offering easy entry for bacteria and viruses into your body.
Instead, simply wash your hands when they look dirty, and prior to, or after, performing certain tasks that could spread infection, such as in these instances:
- Before and after preparing food, especially when handling raw meat and poultry
- Before eating
- Before and after treating wounds or taking/giving medicine
- Before touching a sick or injured person
- Before inserting contact lenses
- After using the toilet or changing a diaper
- After touching an animal, its toys, leashes, or waste
- After blowing your nose or coughing/sneezing into your hands
- After handling garbage or potentially contaminated waste
Antibacterial Products Pose Several Health Risks
Once you understand that good-old-fashioned soap and water are just as effective as modern antibacterials, the second issue becomes that of side effects. Traditional soap will not harm your health, other than perhaps dry your skin if used too frequently, whereas antibacterial products like triclosan comes with an array of potentially dangerous side effects.
In a recent press release, Dr. Sarah Janssen of the Natural Resources Defense Council is quoted as saying:
"It's about time FDA has finally stated its concerns about antibacterial chemicals like triclosan.
The public deserves to know that these so-called antibacterial products are no more effective in preventing infections than regular soap and water and may, in fact, be dangerous to their health in the long run."
This truth may be tough to swallow for some people because of highly successful advertising, but it's true nonetheless. Please understand that the idea that "clean" equals sterile is not based in reality. A massive, highly profitable market has been created based on the premise that germs must be eradicated and that they're hard to kill.
As a result, many, particularly the younger generations, have been brainwashed into believing that regular soap isn't good enough; you need that "magic ingredient" that will ensure your safety and cleanliness. Unfortunately, you're just paying extra for the privilege of having been hoodwinked by slick advertising.
You're also paying more while putting your health at risk in a number of ways, including:
- Contributing to the creation of hardier, more resistant bacterial strains. The antimicrobial triclosan, for example, is known to promote the growth of resistant bacteria. Even the American Medical Association (AMA) does not recommend antibacterial soaps for this very reason.
- Adding to your body?s toxic burden.
- Triclosan, the active ingredient in most antibacterial soap, not only kills bacteria, it also has been shown to kill human cells, and has been shown to act as an endocrine disrupter.
- In addition, these products kill both bad AND good bacteria, which is another explanation for how they contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and potentially also to allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever.
- A child raised in an environment devoid of dirt and germs, and who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the good and bad bacteria in his gut, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life. This theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, is likely one reason why many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades.
Antibacterial Soap Mixed with Chlorinated Water is a Dangerous Mix
As if that wasn't enough, when triclosan mixes with the chlorine in your tap water, chloroform is formed, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified as a probable human carcinogen. I warned about this compounding danger over five years ago.
In tests that closely mirror typical dishwashing habits and conditions, researchers have found that triclosan reacts with free chlorine to generate more than 50 parts per billion (ppb) of chloroform in your dishwater. And, when combined with other disinfection byproducts (DBPs), the additional chloroform could easily drive the concentration of total trihalomethanes above the EPA's maximum allowable amount.
As I've discussed before, trihalomethanes are some of the most dangerous chemical byproducts there are. The maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb (parts-per-billion), but there really is no "safe" level of these chemicals.
Trihalomethanes (THMs) are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they've been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Disinfection byproducts (DPBs) have also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans.
Furthermore, once these antimicrobial chemicals flow down your drain, they contaminate the environment and become part of the food chain. Researchers have determined that about 75 percent of another popular antimicrobial, triclocarban (TCC), resists water treatments meant to break it down and ends up in surface water and in municipal sludge used as fertilizer.
TCC is also known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.
So, the release of antimicrobials into the environment is yet another way that these products contribute to the increase in resistance of pathogens to clinical antibiotics.
Why Use Something that Has NO Clear Health Benefits and Plenty of Health Hazards?
The research clearly shows that you do not need antimicrobial soap to effectively protect yourself from germs. All you need is plain soap and warm water. Ditto for your dishes and your laundry.
So please, avoid using antibacterial soaps and other products containing these hazardous ingredients. They're just harming you, the environment, and adding to a significant public health problem. They also cost more.
Instead, just use a gentle, chemical-free soap. Local health food stores typically carry a variety of natural soaps that will do the trick without harsh chemicals.
WARNING: Antibacterial Soap Linked to Altered Hormones and Antibiotic Resistance
Why You Don't Want to Use Antibacterial Soap Anymore