Monday, May 13, 2024

INSIDE GENETIC PREDISPOSITION

PART 1: MUTAGEN HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER EXPOSURES
By: Lennard M. Gettz, Ed.D  /  Edited by: Roberta Kline, MD

First responders of every branch (police, firefighters, paramedics), as well as construction cleanup contractors, were exposed to the many toxic hazards around the World Trade Center (WTC) as a result of the events on 9/11/2001.  For the more than 91,000 individuals involved in this massive response and cleanup effort [1], exposure to the toxicants from dust, smoke, and incendiary chemicals has led to concerns for cancer, diseases, and other health injuries post-exposure.  The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act enacted the World Trade Center Health Program, a federal commitment to offer comprehensive care for 9/11-related conditions. [2]

Numerous environmental contaminants have been shown to have potential carcinogenic (cancer-causing) consequences. [3] Events such as 9/11 are just some of the scenarios that have alerted government agencies, the medical community, and individuals to study the types of common cancers from each scenario.  These exposures also bring new (and heightened) concerns for gene mutations that may be inherited or passed down to the next generations of those directly impacted.

"Learning about how cancer and other illnesses work... I would hate to contract this on the job and give this to my kids", states FDNY Ret. FF Sal Banchitta- 9/11 responder. "Firefighters get a lot of training and gear to protect us from exposure- but let's face it... part of the risk of the job is that there IS no 100% guarantee- ever!  Looking back on all this, from the local house fires of burning plastics and PVC's to the many chemicals and airborne poisons in ground zero-- exposure came from anywhere.  You can only hope that you're not someone who's predisposed, but you never know." 

According to the NCI (National Cancer Institute), up to 10% of all cancers may be caused by inherited genetic changes. Cancer itself (or genetic changes in tumor cells) cannot be inherited by children of cancer patients but a genetic change or mutation that increases the risk of cancer can be passed down (inherited) if it is present in a parent's egg or sperm cells. It is for this reason why cancer may sometimes appear to run in families.  [4]


WTC-RELATED CANCERS
There are now more than 15 cancers specifically associated with exposure to the WTC toxins, with prostate and breast cancer being among the top 3. [5]. Not only do survivors have higher rates of these cancers, but they are often more aggressive. Recent research has demonstrated that DNA mutations and epigenetic changes due to toxin exposures may play a role. [6, 7, 8] 

PART 2: TODAY'S GENETICS
In an exclusive interview about the science of gene expression, genomic specialist Dr. Roberta Kline, professor at the University of Western States, offered clarity on the fundamentals of the human blueprint: what DNA is, what it does, the impact of alterations to DNA on health, and how this is influenced by environmental exposures. 

Genes are specific regions of DNA that contain the code for all of the proteins that run our biology. Gene expression is the ultimate result of this complex process, and gene expression research has greatly accelerated the study of human biology and improved the practice of medicine. Up until the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, much of the focus had been on studying rare mutations linked to specific inherited diseases and cancers. We now know that these alterations of the DNA code are not the only ways people can be predisposed. 

The most common types of changes in DNA are called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), and we each have millions of these. These SNPs can alter our biochemistry and biology, but they typically have a much smaller effect individually than mutations. However, the additive effect of multiple SNPs can create significant predispositions to (or protection from) most diseases, including cancer. 

The latest gene expression research has added a third layer called epigenetics. Epigenetic changes don’t affect the DNA or genetic code itself. Rather, they respond to environmental cues to control when genes are turned on or off. Therefore, epigenetic changes can be easily modified throughout a person’s lifetime.

These processes all work together, and all of them can be inherited. Depending on diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, medications, and environmental exposures, their impact can be increased or decreased. For example, someone with mutations, SNPs, or epigenetic changes that impair their ability to detoxify environmental chemicals can have a higher risk of DNA damage that can lead to disease or cancer. Diet and lifestyle strategies can counteract some of this risk - or can make it worse. This can help explain why not everyone exposed to the same toxins is affected in the same way, and why the same dietary and lifestyle factors can affect people’s health differently.



GENETIC PREDISPOSITION TESTING
With the existence of cancers in the family, physicians may recommend genetic testing.  Inherited mutations account for approximately 10% of all cancers, and these tend to be more aggressive and occur at an earlier age. [8] Genetic mutations have been identified for certain forms of pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, or breast or ovarian cancer.  These tests for cancers such as Breast, Ovarian, and Pancreatic are known to target pathogenic/ly pathogenic (P/LP) variants associated with increased risk (including BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, PALB2, PTEN, and TP53, and recommended approaches to genetic counseling/testing and care strategies in individuals with these P/LP variants. [10, 11]

Genetic testing supports proactive prevention initiatives and active surveillance for these specific cancers that continue to prevail. Gene SNP testing can further support personalized prevention and screening strategies. While epigenetics is emerging as another tool in efforts to identify predispositions and personalize strategies, it is still more informative than prognostic at this time.



PART 3: "BOTH MY PARENTS HAD CANCER... I NEED TO TEST!
Samantha Hunt, 24 is a young cancer awareness advocate due mostly to the upbringing of two cancer survivors who are outspoken about environmental cancers and proactive testing ("Get Checked NOW!" program).  She is in a graduate program for social work and grew up in a household in support of prevention and early detection.
Since she was 9 years old, Samantha took on personal studies on breast cancer when she watched her mother (Jennifer) undergo a bilateral mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer.  Samantha's father was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, and her maternal aunt also had breast cancer. By her late teens into her college years, Samantha was convinced that she needed to have early screening, which is when she discovered she had dense breast tissue- a condition that is present in over half of women in the U.S.  [12]

Though currently testing negative for cancer, Samantha continues to undergo early detection through gene testing, ultrasound screening and maintains a significantly strict lifestyle of prevention (eating healthy/organic foods, no sugar, exercise, organic foods etc).  Early in life, she learned the value of staying proactive and getting a second opinion- never resting on reassuring words from physicians.  "Early on, my gyno didn't express any real sense of urgency about me getting an ultrasound test but gave me the referral just to make me happy...", stated Ms. Hunt.  "Even today (and sometimes even in the past with other breast exams), I often feel like they do it so quickly and carelessly, and I feel stressed out after...  I'm not convinced that I'm getting a proper examination!"


Samantha has received a total of 4 biopsies due to the "abnormally dense" breast tissue- a concern that scientists are now linking to breast cancer. [13] At an early age, Samantha took on a significant leadership role in her health to approve the biopsies despite the risk and concerns from her parents. "After my first sono, they found me to be 'very lumpy' and called on me to get a biopsy.  None of us were excited about this but if I was going to get any peace of mind, I made a decision to go for it and I'm glad I did. Honestly think I'd be more anxious knowing there's something that a doctor recommended that I should get a biopsy on!"


References:

1) https://www.nyc.gov/site/911health/enrollees/rescue-recovery-workers.page

2) The Toll of Heroism: Increased Cancer Incidence Among 9/11 Responders 

September 9, 2022 by Calley Jones, PhD  https://www.aacr.org/blog/2022/09/09/the-toll-of-heroism-increased-cancer-incidence-among-9-11-responders/

3) Tuminello S, Nguyen E, Durmus N, et al. World Trade Center Exposure, DNA Methylation Changes, and Cancer: A Review of Current Evidence. Epigenomes. 2023; 7(4):31. https://doi.org/10.3390/epigenomes7040031

4) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics

5) https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/ataglance.html#top15Cancers 

6) Yu, H., Tuminello, S., Alpert, et al/ (2022) Global DNA methylation of WTC prostate cancer tissues show signature differences compared to non-exposed cases. Carcinogenesis, 43(6), 528-537. https://doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgac025

7) Tuminello S, Zhang Y, Yang L, et al. Global DNA Methylation Profiles in Peripheral Blood of WTC-Exposed Community Members with Breast Cancer. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 22;19(9):5104. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095104. 

8) Jasra, S., Giricz, O., Pradhan, K., et al (2022). High burden of clonal hematopoiesis in first responders exposed to the World Trade Center disaster. Nature Medicine, 28(3), 468-471. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01708-3

9) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/genetic-testing-fact-sheet

10) Daly MB, Pal T, Maxwell KN, et al. NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast, Ovarian, and Pancreatic, Version 2.2024. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network 2023; 21(10):1000–1010. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2023.0051. 

11) Garber J, Offit K. Hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2005; 23(2):276–292. 

12) https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/dense-breasts.htm

13) Lester, S. P., Kaur, A. S., & Vegunta, S. (2022). Association Between Lifestyle Changes, Mammographic Breast Density, and Breast Cancer. The Oncologist, 27(7), 548-554. https://doi.org/10.1093/oncolo/oyac084











Monday, February 27, 2023

ADDICTION 2023- SMOKING CESSATION


Introduction: 

If it is to be human to recognize our weaknesses and to allow ourselves to indulge (for but a short while) in pleasures, releases and escapes, ADDICTION is the neuropsychological disorder that may result in the overuse and abuse of any specific substance.  Addiction is characterized as a disease that is driven by a persistent and intense urge to engage in compulsive behaviors including psychosocial, neurobiological, a preoccupation with substances or behavior, and continued use despite negative consequences. For many, a profound strategy in addressing addiction is tackling the patient's CRAVINGS.  It is for this that we asked Dr, Leslie Montoya (from Sta. Barbara, CA) to share her experiences and insights about her recent success with smoking cessation with her patients.  Learn about Dr. Valle-Montoya's custom approach to addressing addiction clinically and her non-invasive modalities of choice.


RECOGNIZING BRAIN HEALTH & ADDICTION  By: Dr. Leslie Valle-Montoya
It is well documented that tobacco increases the risk of different cancers such as lung, liver, and colorectal.  According to the National Health Interview Survey data from 2020, 47.1 million adults in the United States reported currently using tobacco products with 79.6 % of those being cigarette smokers [1].  If cigarette smoking continues to be one of the leading causes of preventable disease and deaths, why is cessation not easier to attain?

First, we must recognize the science behind nicotine addiction and its withdrawal effects.  Addiction is recognized to be a brain disease. Overcoming an addiction, whether it’s prescription pain pills, sugar, alcohol, nicotine or anything else, cessation is harder to exercise when the “pathways” or pleasure circuits of the brain have chronically been overstimulated. 

DOPAMINE is a neurotransmitter that is released and made in the brain as a chemical messenger.  It is known to play a central role in the effects of addictive drugs and natural rewards such as food and sex. When the reward system in our brain experiences a stimulation, a pleasurable surge of dopamine is released.  The increased changes in dopamine levels can lead to further neuroplasticity following repeated exposure to drugs of abuse. Neuroscientists discovered that addictive substances such as nicotine and cocaine could promote plasticity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain. 

Withdrawal symptoms as cessation begins - will cause irritability, increased eating, anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression, mood swings, and hedonistic homeostatic dysregulation.  Hedonic dysregulation is a disorder caused by a cycle of spiraling dysfunction of the brain reward systems which is increased by its compulsive use of addictive substances. Thus, neuropsychological behavior with any substance abuse makes cessation almost unattainable. 

 In modern days, there are different approaches to addressing addiction such as smoking cigarettes. Pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions may be the first line of treatment; although, the time frame to see results may not be fast enough to fight the urge to light up again.


NON-INVASIVE BRAIN STIMULATION TO TARGET SMOKING

In my experience, an effective treatment to address smoking cessation involves non-invasive neurostimulation to modify neural oscillations and change the patterns of addiction and support the psychoemotional state at the same time.  Down to a cellular level, changing the brain wavelengths of cigarette smokers is the start of the transition into cessation.  With the combination of ONDAMED - frequency medicine (pulsed electromagnetic field) and Binaural beats, we can remind the body to self-regulate.  My approach to smoking cessation is a nonpharmacological intervention, neurostimulation, brain entrainment, and lifestyle modifications.  It’s important to support the body, the mind, and the brain during cessation as the process can bring up withdrawal symptoms and unconscious emotions not expected to address. 

ONDAMED is a personalized and non-invasive approach using biofeedback that a medical practitioner uses to determine which frequencies of sound, as well as pulsed electromagnetic fields, cause a response to your autonomic nervous system.  ONDAMED has the ability to deliver specific resonant frequencies to the source of dysfunction.  For smoking cessation, a patient will undergo 8-10 sessions along with water “charging” treatment.  The session will last sixty minutes and must return the following day to maintain the frequency of the treatment session until the last day of protocol.

 



TEST SUBJECT BECOMES SUCCESS STORY: 
“SMOKE FREE” ONE YEAR LATER
By: IPHA Editorial Team

3/22/2023- In a recent in-depth interview, IPHA-TV presented Dr. Leslie Valle-Montoya (Sta. Barbara, CA) and the framework behind her Smoking Cessation program at the Biomed Life Center. This unique and specialized protocol addresses the core cravings behind “one of the hardest habits and health hazards to quit”.  She is joined by Mr. Howard Binney, (now) former smoker and ex-firefighter/EMT who volunteered to undertake Dr. Valle-Montoya’s rehabilitation and recovery project exactly one year ago today.

In a prior interview, “Dr. Leslie” describes her strategy and the technologies she applied to help address the smoking addiction- by first targeting the smoking urges and cravings. “What makes addiction such a battle to overcome is its habitual ability to recur”, she stated. “The reaction to smoke is muscle memory linked to mental triggers that are linked over time within the parasympathetic nervous system and the fight-or-flight response… to sever that connection is our entry point to removing the addiction from controlling the body and the mind.”

For this disorder, she implements ENERGY THERAPY by using BIOFEEDBACK, PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetism) and a guided meditation device called BRAINTAP®.  “A common advantage to energy therapy is managing ANXIETY. To introduce the BrainTap® device while on… the ONDAMED® session has opened up that possibility that they can be able to manage their anxiety, which is sometimes not easy to do with a counselor or a psychologist.   There are numerous ways to incorporate different methods of ‘biohacking’ your mind and body into your daily routine”.

 “I started working with Howard last year on this protocol about smoking cessation. I continually explored and re-designed a few protocols with different patients and this is my first success story. It was remarkable to see change in a little amount of time. I could say it, the protocol was only for 10 sessions but his progress began to show response after the third day.  This included evidence of his body rejecting the taste of a cigarette and he began to repel the smell of cigarette smoke in the air and on others.

One of the primary tools I used was frequency medicine (Ondamed) with a combination of binaural beats and guided meditation. The protocol also called for charging his DRINKING WATER with electromagnetism- so the patient can continue to receive the same frequencies that have been programmed in the 40 minute session at home.” (To be continued below)





Frequency Medicine: Historically Proven
Success in Addressing Smoking Addiction

As the former owner of one of the largest stop smoking franchises, I have firsthand experience with the challenges of quitting smoking and overcoming addiction. Quitting smoking is a complex process that requires a comprehensive approach. Frequency medicine, such as non-invasive brain stimulation, biofeedback, and BrainTap, can be a helpful tool in reducing the stress that comes with transitioning from being a smoker to returning to a natural state of being a non-smoker.

Frequency medicine can modify neural oscillations and change patterns of addiction by addressing the underlying psychological factors that drive addiction. By using guided imagery techniques and frequency medicine, individuals can eliminate negative thinking focused on addiction and focus on positive new behaviors. This approach can provide relief from physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms and help individuals build a greater capacity to handle stress as a non-smoker over the following year after stopping.

The most successful smoking cessation programs incorporate a combination of behavioral interventions, strong mental processes, and frequency medicine. This approach provides a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. However, it is important to remember that overcoming addiction requires a deep understanding of oneself and a strong willpower to change.

While frequency medicine can provide some relief from physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms, addressing the underlying psychological factors that drive addiction is essential for achieving lasting success. Positive strategies for healthy new thinking must be provided for a true permanent change to occur.

In conclusion, quitting smoking is a journey that requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to change. Frequency medicine can be a helpful addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, but it is important to address the psychological factors that drive addiction for long-term success.


Also see other related articles with Dr. Porter:






Contd. from part 1

REACTION 1: THE DETOXING PHASE
Upon the application of smoking cessation, a major reaction one may find is the physiological response from the DETOX that would occur from this protocol.  “To allow the progression of change toward wellness, we must first remove the chemicals that bind us to the habit and this needs to happen first”, Howard stated.  “I experienced a detox (probably) around the fifth day in between the two weeks where I brought myself to the ER thinking it was something worse.  We discovered dark stool and was given a low-dose medication for a slightly elevated BP. They ended up conducting an endoscopy and colonoscopy but found no issues whatsoever.  As a former EMT, logic dictated that this is a detox in action. Visually, it can be scary if you don’t understand it.”
 
Like so many, Howard Binney attributes the prevalence of his smoking habit to social exposures – having been surrounded by smokers at work in concert security and then a first responder for government installations. Having drinks in bars and social events also linked to smoking.  He began identifying headaches from three to five cigarettes and attempted to quit through the smoking patch, but eventually “it always seemed to come back”. On the job, Howard found much downtime working as a federal fire marshal in military installations where “everybody smoked… it became a habit of sitting around a lot where we used to smoke in the firehouse”.  His impetus to tackle smoking head on was having reached two packs a day during his retirement during the Covid-19 pandemic.  He earmarks having lost his wife and dear friends to cancer- which added inspiration for his targeting his addiction.

 “YOU HAVE TO WANT TO QUIT”
Howard shares his process and the evolution within him. “I think it's very important that people NOT let their minds play games with them and realize that you do have the power. (Dr. Leslie) has the stuff that can do it.  But you have to make that commitment to yourself.  I might still get cancer from it… but I'm giving myself a chance to live longer. If you want to drive that nail in the coffin, then keep smoking. If not, get ahold of somebody that could do this (treatment) for you and go into it with an open mind. You don't need drugs, gum or patches. Get yourself in a good spot and go for it. I think it works… or I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you smoke free one year later!”


WHAT IS “CHARGED” WATER?
With any addiction protocol I facilitate, such as smoking cessation, placing a “charge” (meaning frequency) is as important as the treatment session for addressing the addiction.  The same frequencies I program for a session are a version of what gets delivered to the glass bottle of water I prepare for a patient.

Patients experience a desperate bid to quench their thirst after sessions that can last days.  Therefore, having this added bonus of preparing “charged” water for them to take home is the highlight of their day and night when not in my office.

Besides extreme thirst, patients experience a sudden urge not to smoke by choice and find themselves consciously lighting up a cigarette out of habit to test if the first treatment session works.  Suddenly, a horrific taste of toxins surges the taste buds that force them not to finish the cigarette. What makes it hard to quit so abruptly is no longer the unpleasant taste but changing their habits of smoking. Most patients use it as an escape or break in their day and others have made it a ritual to always smoke while they start their coffee consumption in the morning and their beer in the evening. 

 And this is why just treating something at the physical level is not enough. The subconscious needs help, too.  Why I integrate the use of binaural beats to allow the body to absorb new brain entrainment not allowing to experience before while a brain in plasticity takes over your conscious decision making.

BINAURAL BEATS is a neuro-algorithm that produces brainwave entrainment, the synchronization of brainwaves to a specialized sound with no user effort. When two different tones, separated in frequency by only a few Hertz, one in each ear- the brain perceived a third, unique tone. These beats establish a deep meditative state within 3 minutes of use, in which, a person will fall into theta brainwave length and might fall asleep while listening to a guided meditation. 

Often, what comes out of the first session is a surge of emotions not expected.  Besides feeling a little “tingly” after neurostimulation and extremely thirsty, patients experience gradual loosening of their restraints of self-centeredness.  This experience of relaxation, calm and warmth, is the ‘natural high’ meditation entrains your brain in minutes passively with binaural beats and guided meditation. I expect patients to feel emotions without explanation and I invite them to release them in their safe space which I call the “Energy Room”. 

EPILOGUE: INNOVATIVE SCIENCE
“Years ago, I learned about biofeedback and electromagnetic field therapy. The market was robust with choices, but something called ONDAMED® won me over- largely due to the functional health strategy by design, indicating a heavy focus on a whole-body care. It combined the diagnostic abilities of biofeedback science to "communicate with the body" to monitor conditions and imbalances. Then the intuitive energy healing aspect comes in the form of its PEMF element (pulsed electromagnetic field) to 're-balance' the body or support the body to repair itself painlessly and non-invasively.  Treating patients showed many positive results including tissue stimulation for pain relief in soft tissue injuries and wound healing.”


1.     Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan CG, Neff LJ. Tobacco product use among adults—United States, 2020.  MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022 Mar 18;71(11):397-405. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7111a1. 

 

 


CONTRIBUTOR:

LESLIE VALLE-MONTOYA, MD is the Founder of Biomed Life and the Santa Barbara Longevity Center. After medical school, Dr. Valle focused on managing chronic disease starting with its links to poor nutrition and then introducing them into the world of energy frequencies.  She explores and includes non-invasive modalities such as: frequency therapies (including biofeedback), PEMF, proper detoxification, nutritional guidance and binaural beats as needed. - visit: www.biomedlifesb.com

Monday, January 2, 2023

BRAIN HEALTH REVIEW [Part 3]: POST-COVID BRAIN FOG & WORK PERFORMANCE

Written by: Marilyn Abrahamson, MA,CCC-SLP - CBHC

For some, Post-Covid brain fog can cause everyday cognitive tasks to be more difficult, causing the thought of returning to work to become daunting. Among the many symptoms of Long Covid, one study suggests that up to 80% of Covid-19 survivors suffer from neuropsychological symptoms such as memory impairment, attention deficit, executive dysfunction, difficulty with word finding, multitasking, and impaired visual/spatial skills. These are skills people need to properly perform their jobs, and without these skills, people can become overwhelmed by the smallest tasks.

Another study specifically measured the effects of brain fog on quality of life (QoL) at work. It showed that QoL at work was reduced for over 75% of study participants continuing to experience brain fog symptoms. There were many symptoms included under the umbrella term brain fog, however, in this study, memory problems and difficulty with multitasking had the most significant impact on QoL at work.


With this in mind, many employers are now being asked to help by making accommodations that include delaying deadlines, allowing more flexible work schedules, and reducing workloads.

HOW AND WHY COVID-19 CAUSES BRAIN FOG SYMPTOMS
Researchers have discovered multiple causes of persistent neurocognitive symptoms after having Covid-19.  Three of the most common are as follows:

NEUROINFLAMMATION: Increased levels of inflammatory cytokines (molecules produced by the immune system that help the body fight infection) have been found within the brain for weeks after a bout with Covid-19. When the immune system becomes uncontrolled, it can cause increased inflammation in the brain, resulting in poor communication between the brain cells and nerve pathways, causing the brain to feel foggy and slow.

REDUCED OXYGEN AND BLOOD FLOW TO THE BRAIN: Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory virus and can cause hypoxia (reduced levels of oxygen) in some patients. This reduction of oxygen and blood flow to the brain can result in a metabolic disturbance, disrupting the connection between brain cells and the blood vessels that supply them with nourishment. Imaging studies showed the same metabolic changes in both the brains of patients who had suffered from hypoxia as well as those with Long Covid brain fog symptoms. Notably, this is also a similar mechanism for lingering cognitive symptoms after traumatic brain injury.

DISTRACTION CAUSED BY THE PRESENCE OF OTHER LINGERING SYMPTOMS: This is not exclusive to Covid-19, but the symptoms of brain fog can be partially attributed to associated symptoms such as acute or long-standing bouts with headaches, fatigue, and body aches. The presence of any type of physical discomfort or emotional upset can make cognitive tasks more difficult due to distraction, causing the lack of attention, focus and concentration.


HOW TO COPE WITH SYMPTOMS
If brain fog symptoms are significantly affecting work performance, deep cognitive testing can be performed by a neuropsychologist (SLP). Evaluation and treatment for cognitive symptoms can also be offered by a speech-language pathologist. Treatment by an SLP will likely include brain exercises as well as instruction in compensatory strategies for memory and attention. There are also brain-healthy habits people can engage in on their own.

● Exercise is key. Both aerobic exercise and strength training are important for brain health.

● Puzzles or brain training apps like Brain HQ can be helpful.

Try to get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night.

Eat a brain healthy diet high in monounsaturated fats, plant protein, whole grains, and seafood.

Stay connected with others and socialize often.

Try mindfulness and meditation to help reduce stress and improve focused attention.

Learning and using both internal and external memory strategies. There are strategies for name recall, remembering lists and reminders, organizational systems and calendar management. These are compensatory strategies that help people work around the part of their brains that are not working as well as they did before.

Pacing oneself. If fatigue sets in, it can cause more fogginess. Taking a break is the best way to reset and recharge.

Aside from seeing their personal physician, consulting a mental health professional is crucial if a person is experiencing mood changes or depression. 





"5 NEGATIVE ANTIGEN TESTS DO NOT MATCH  HOW OFF I FEEL..."

In August of 2021, David (last name withheld) got hit with the Delta Variant, knocking him completely off his feet! With flu-like symptoms, he saw stars for most of his recuperation period while taste and smell were completely shut down. For 1 week, David quarantined in his office - armed with every super-food, every kind of soup and immune booster his support team could find.  Being fully vaccinated only meant he had a better chance of NOT DYING, but as the world was only a year into the data collection, there was still so much left to understand about the recuperation period as well as its long standing effects.  (see complete article)


THE SCIENCE OF THE MAGNETIC GAZE & THE HEALING POWER OF PAW-SITIVITY 
Written by: Dr. Roberta Kline

The relationship between dogs and humans began since the beginning of time when dogs looked to humans as a means of survival. Numerous studies have reported the significant benefits of pet ownership and interactive coexistence -  from stress reduction to social fulfilment to a healthier lifestyle.  Science is now providing insights into how this works, and the two hormones that are responsible: OXYTOCIN and CORTISOL.  A landmark study in 2015 revealed how dogs and their owners emotionally bond, and it’s related to the production of oxytocin – also known as the bonding hormone. When released, oxytocin creates a powerful social attachment between one person and another and creates that “feel good” sense of nurturing and closeness. 

It is known that a lengthy eye contact (or mutual gaze) forges a unique engagement between two individuals that somehow activates the release of our oxytocin, which also mediates a powerful emotional bond. One of the best-known examples of this is in the bond created between mother and infant. The oxytocin response is a feedback loop- a nurturing gaze from mom releases oxytocin in the infant, which stimulates production of oxytocin in the mother, then further stimulating nurturing behavior into a self-sustaining positive feedback loop. (See complete article)

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2022: THE EVER-ESCALATING RISE IN ANXIETY (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)  

By: Soraya Behzadi

Introduction (by: IPHA News Editorial Team): The medical community classifies Generalized Anxiety Disorder as "a condition of excessive worry about everyday issues and situations". It is identified as 'persistent worrying', over-thinking or recurring anxiety about specific matters and areas that are beyond actual proportion to their real impact. GAD encompasses irregular worrying, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, loss of focus and trouble sleeping.  This next feature is presented within our BRAIN HEALTH issue partly aligned with our post Covid-19 (Brain Fog) review due to the significant correlation between a global spike in anxiety disorder cases within our pandemic culture.  This mental health wave reflects many links between cognitive and physiological distress due to the biochemical effects of post-Covid issues - where amplified anxiety is reported as one of the many.

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses today, affecting individuals of all ages. Chronic anxiety, a condition where individuals suffer from excessive worry about everyday issues and situations, is increasing, affecting youths at an earlier age than anticipated. Despite knowing this chronic illness has affected many physically and mentally, there is still much to be researched and discovered.

Traditional stigmas of associating a mental health disorder with weakness and emotional dysregulation, has been one of the downfalls toward treatment advancement. Many articles speak upon the severity of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) but the common cause and basic treatment in order to help these individuals seem to lack an overall conclusion. This can lead patients feeling hopeless with their disorder, not knowing where to start when it comes to finding beneficial coping mechanisms. This article is set out to be informative regarding GAD and hopes to not only bring new information, but more clarity on individuals that struggle with chronic anxiety.


The DSM-5, categories GAD as excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days for at least 6 months. These worries can range from events regarding professional life to personal relationships. The symptoms that can arise from anxiety include restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, or sleep disturbances [2].

Many people struggle with GAD. One particular individual I observed, Patient X, is a twenty year old female. In her early adolescent years, the patient struggled with somniphobia, fear of worrying about dying in her sleep. This fear manifested into a period of vast anxiety that limited her from getting an adequate amount of sleep for a one month period. During her first semester in college, bullying by her roommate triggered her initial insomnia attack. Feeling out of control, she developed intense insomnia averaging 1-3 hours of sleep for the duration of the semester. Seeking treatment, 3 milligrams of Eszopiclone was prescribed, but was not effective. She went back home, hoping to ease her anxiety, but it manifested into distortions regarding body image, academic performance, and personal relationships.

The patient's symptoms included a resting heart rate of 110 bpm alongside a 25 pound weight loss (130 lbs to 105 lbs). For a period of 9 months, she encountered excessive anxiety and negativity about herself and the world around her. Reading self help books and engaging in intense exercise weekly was not effective. With lack of sleep and adequate nutrition, her academic performance declined.

The patient can be diagnosed with GAD. When reviewing the criteria from the DSM-5, the symptoms listed prior persisted for more than a period of 6 months[2]. The study, “The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress,” researchers described symptoms of GAD to include, “feeling restless, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance” [3]. She experienced feeling mentally and emotionally fatigued as her insomnia persisted. She lacked the ability to concentrate on her daily priorities, and became consumed with the possible negative outcomes of the future. Restlessness and decreased appetite was a result of having GAD.

Looking into the patient's family history, a genetic component could be a possible cause of her GAD. Researchers found that women have higher rates of anxiety disorders than men, “The National Comorbidity Survey found that rates for GAD were women: 6.6% vs. men: 3.6%” [5]

From a cognitive perspective, the patient developed GAD from feeling a disproportionate level of worry over an emotional trigger. If she focused on the negative outcomes of any situation, she would be able to gain more control having already predicted the outcome. Patient X experienced two types of cognitive biases to threat, attentional bias as well as interpretive bias (Rathus et al., 2017). Factors contributing to GAD include basic personality trait neuroticism in which she experiences a higher tendency towards negative emotions and moods. Anatomic or neurotransmitter irregularities can also cause a decreased hippocampal volume and cognitive abilities, where there are lower levels of the neurotransmitters that regulate mood like GABA and serotonin.

The standard treatment offered to patients with GAD is commonly (the gold standard) Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can also be known as talk therapy, in which “psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms.” [4]. In CBT, she would undergo fortune telling, catastrophizing and emotion regulation therapy (ERT). Reconstructing distorted cognitions will teach her how to imagine her most anxious thoughts and prove her ability to be able to handle the potential threat.

Weight loss and lack of sleep can be addressed with antidepressants, SSRIs, and benzodiazepines to help ease her back into a more regulated mental state. (Rathus et al., 2017). The importance of studying GAD can be supported in the article, “Achieving Remission in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Researchers speak about the remission rates patients have achieved while battling GAD, “Between 50% and 60% of patients respond clinically to therapy, but only one-third to one-half attain remission or realize full recovery during the acute phase of treatment. Patients who achieve a sustained remission are less likely to experience relapse” [1].  With treatments of CBT and anti-anxiety medications, the patient will be able to live a comfortable life with GAD. With this path, patients will not be defined by their diagnosis, but will learn to adapt to it over time with a proper treatment plan.


REFERENCES

1.) Laura A. Mandos, PharmD , Jennifer A. Reinhold, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP , Karl Rickels, MD. (2009). Achieving Remission in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Psychiatric Times. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/achieving-remission-generalized-anxiety-disorder.   (2.) American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Anxiety disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm05   (3.) Patriquin, M. A., & Mathew, S. J. (2017). The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Stress. Chronic Stress. https://doi.org/10.1177/2470547017703993   (4.) Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2017, October 13). Generalized anxiety disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20361045.   (5.) McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. Journal of psychiatric research, 45(8), 1027–1035. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006





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RECENT CONTRIBUTORS

MARILYN ABRAHAMSON, MA, CCC-SLP : As a Brain Health Education Specialist at Ceresti Health, Marilyn offers initiatives that supports education and empowerment of family caregivers. She also writes for and edits the Ceresti’s monthly newsletter and produces all brain health education and brain-health coaching programs for caregivers.  Marilyn's prior work is as a NJ Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 1987 and is an Amen Clinics Certified Brain Health Coach.

SORAYA BEHZADI is an aspiring medical student and researcher in neurological studies focusing on holistic practice to help alleviate mental health, like generalized anxiety disorder. She received a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology with a minor in biological sciences from Hunter College. 
 Aside from being a medical assistant at local urgent cares, her current field placement under affiliations with the Integrative Pain Healers Alliance/Brain Health Collective fuels her interests in brain health initiatives from imaging to holistic perspectives.

ROBERTA KLINE, MD (Educational Dir. /Women's Diagnostic Group) is a board-certified ObGyn physician, Integrative Personalized Medicine expert, consultant, author, and educator whose mission is to change how we approach health and deliver healthcare. She helped to create the Integrative & Functional Medicine program for a family practice residency, has consulted with Sodexo to implement the first personalized nutrition menu for healthcare facilities, and serves as Education Director for several organizations including the Women’s Diagnostic Health Network, Mommies on a Mission. Learn more at https://robertaklinemd.com/





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