Dr. David Katz, epidemiologist and founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, writes a rebuttal in response to the Medscape Neurology interview given by David Perlmutter, MD on January 21, 2014 about that gluten being linked to dementia. Dr. Katz is the author of the book, Disease Proof: The remarkable truth about what makes us well and Nutrition in Clinical Practice: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Manual for the Practitioner. The third edition of his textbook has 10,000 citations. Read the rebuttal article here. James Hamblin writes an exceptional exploration of both ends of the field in his article for the Atlantic magazine where he interviews both authors to get straight answers, read it here.
At the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) 72nd Annual Meeting, presented March 22, 2014, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern in Austin and Allergan consultant (makers of Botox), Michelle Magid, MD presented research suggesting botox (botulinum toxin) injections improved symptoms of depression, even after the forehead wrinkles returned. The researchers were encouraged by this particular finding, suggesting that the anti-depressant effect isn’t just related to the cosmetic improvement of erasing wrinkles. Skeptics point out that although the study is interesting, the results are complicated because the subjects were able to see the cosmetic improvement from the botox injections.
Dr. Magid explained to Medscape Medical News that two possible reasons exist for the improvement in depressive symptoms. “The first is that the botulinum injections made it difficult for the subjects to frown. If individuals smile more and frown less, they are likely to have better social experiences, which could lift mood. The second possibility, favored by Dr. Magid, is a biologic explanation. MRI studies have shown that when people are unable to make angry facial expressions because of botulinum injections to the glabellar region, there is less activity in the amygdala than expected. Such a connection could be mediated by the trigeminal nerve, which links the glabellar region to the brain stem and amygdala and is the control center of anxiety, trauma, and the heightened fear response. If a person can’t frown, the brain does not register a frown, and the amygdala does not get the trigger that the person is upset”. It is interesting to note that patients with depression and anxiety were affected more significantly than those with strictly melancholic depression. Read the entire article written by Jim Kling for Medscape Medical News here.
Another informative and honest video from Sara Gottfried, MD about what’s going on with our stress hormones and how to talk to your general practitioner about getting your hormones tested. I know so many people in Austin who have had major hormones issues and hit their heads against the proverbial brick wall while talking with their docs about getting tested and what is considered “normal”. Some people I know have even gone out of town (to Dallas) to find someone, anyone, who can help. Thank you Dr. Sara for this educational Normal vs. Optimal Lab Ranges Related to Adrenals pdf!
From Medscape Neurology, January 21, 2014 issue, Bret S. Stetka, MD and David Perlmutter, MD discuss Dr. Perlmutter’s best selling book. “Medscape spoke with Dr. Perlmutter about his thoughts on the impact of carbohydrates and gluten on the brain. In his new book Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers, Dr. David Perlmutter, Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine, advocates that lifestyle modifications, starting with a high-fat, nearly carbohydrate-free diet, can prevent or greatly lower dementia risk and progression — and he’s armed with plenty of data to back up the claim. But detractors say the evidence isn’t quite there.” Read the interview here.
Chronic stress makes the aging process go wild and wreaks havoc on your skin. Acupuncturist and naturopathic practicioner, Carina Harkin, states that high stress hormones at night not only impedes restorative sleep, but also prevents the skin from regenerating.
According to Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D. on the Mayo Clinic website, adrenal fatigue is brought on by constant stress, “perpetual fight-or-flight arousal” of the adrenal glands which are unable to produce enough hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), resulting in feeling constantly worn out. Although not recognized by allopathic medicine as a legit diagnosis, complementary approaches do regard it as a something not to be ignored.
Take a quiz to see where you stand – adrenally.
- Do you feel tired for no reason.
- Are you having trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Do you feel rundown or overwhelmed.
- Do you have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
- Are you craving salty and sweet snacks.
- Do you feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
Fortunately, the treatment for adrenal fatigue is a common-sense approach. It boils down to self care basics – sleep, eat, breathe.
Sleep well by maintaining a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night, preferably before 10:30. Exposure to darkness and keeping a regular bedtime maintains melatonin production. According to Harkin, “melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and functions to regulate circadian rhythm and induce sleep. Melatonin circadian secretion in patients with adrenal-dependent Cushing’s syndrome was shown to be significantly lower compared to healthy control groups.”
Eat well by cutting out processed foods, refined sugar, and caffeine since they can stress adrenals to work harder, further depleting hormones. Harkin states, “An excessive ratio of carbohydrates to protein results in excess secretion of insulin, which often leads to intervals of hypoglycemia. Sugar and simple carbohydrates put stress on the adrenal glands due to rapidly shifting blood sugar levels.” Think vegetables and high quality proteins. Make it easy on yourself by having it delivered to your house from Johnson’s Backyard Garden or Farmhouse Delivery.
Live well by caring for yourself. Carina’s advice for stress reduction include calming exercise (yoga, tai chi, walking), aromatherapy, and massage therapy to relieve muscle tension. I also advocate scheduling a regular blow-out, facial, mani/pedi, or lash session!
In the Plos Medical Journal, University of York researchers led by Hugh MacPherson, published results from a randomized controlled trial of non-drug interventions for 755 clinically depressed patients. Their results suggest that acupuncture and talk therapy given in weekly sessions, were proven to be equally significant in treating depression over a 12 month period with a noticeable benefit occurring at 3 months and 6 months. This is awesome news for people who don’t like to talk! I laugh, but it’s true… Ok, talking is a good thing, I like talking, and am a big proponent of talking, but I know some people who just aren’t talkers. My dad told my mom, pre-divorce, “You can’t make me talk” – he was an introvert, an athlete, somewhat of a health-nut, and a goofball. Sometimes when life gets hard, you don’t want to focus on the negative by talking about it. If laying on a table, falling asleep with acupuncture needles can work just as well, then why not?
The Academy of Oriental Medicine (AOMA) is an amazing resource for acupuncture in Austin. I’ve had success for allergy treatments with them and have heard great results from clients who I’ve referred to AOMA for treating anxiety and depression.