Warning: Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics May Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Story at-a-glance

US FDA recently issued a warning that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, taken by mouth or injection, carry a risk for permanent peripheral neuropathy; Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Levaquin (levofloxacin) are examples

This is not the first warning issued for this class of antibiotics; in 2008 the FDA issued a black box warning about Continue reading

Psychiatric Medication Effects on Brain Structure

Biological Psychiatry article provides insights from animal studies

It is increasingly recognized that chronic psychotropic drug treatment may lead to structural remodeling of the brain. Indeed, clinical studies in humans present an intriguing picture: anti psychotics, used for the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis, may contribute to cortical gray matter loss in patients, whereas lithium, Continue reading

Which Foods Are Best for the Brain?

Diet is inextricably linked to conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. However, what we consume also seems to have significant implications for the brain: Unhealthy diets may increase risk for psychiatric and neurologic conditions, such as depression and dementia, whereas healthy diets may be protective.

Make for Malta in Depression, Stroke, and Dementia

A 2009 study published in Archives of General Psychiatry found that people who follow Mediterranean dietary patterns — that is, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and unsaturated fat (common in olive and other plant oils) — are up to 30% less likely to develop depression than those who typically consume meatier, dairy-heavy fare.[1] The olive oil-inclined also show a lower risk for ischemic stroke[2,3] and are less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease, particularly when they engage in higher levels of physical activity.[4,5] Continue reading

Laughter Helps Keep Alzheimer’s Symptoms Away

It’s not very often that health news has a genuinely positive message to impart. Today’s health e-letter is going to do just that, however. Researchers in New South Wales have discovered that laughter — yes, that’s right — could be just as effective as mood drugs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

The Aussie researchers noted at the outset of their study that between 70% and 80% of dementia patients experience anxiety, distress or agitation. These symptoms can manifest themselves in aggressive, repetitive behaviors. The researchers then decided to find out if humor could help. They looked at 399 nursing home residents with dementia. All the patients had lived in their respective facilities for at least three months. However, none was considered to be in an end-of-life situation or suffering from severe psychosis. Continue reading

Bipolar Disorder – The Roller-Coaster Disease

New research suggests that between 4 and 6 percent of the population have bipolar disorder.

Many people, children and adults alike, love to go to amusement parks and ride on roller-coasters and other fast rides. These rides can scare the living daylights out of some, as they go through their bolting ups and downs, and even sometimes turning the rider upside down as they whip along their way. Riders describe an exhilarating adrenalin rush that is combined with accompanying anxiety, panic, and all-out fear as they go through the experience. Once the ride is over and one’s adrenalin lift comes back to normal, equilibrium sets back in, the highs and lows of this experience subside Continue reading

Why Use Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are identical to what the human body makes. Why do drug companies seldom make and sell bioidentical hormones?

The reason is – since the late 1800’s, U.S. laws allowed medicines to be patented ONLY if they were NOT naturally occurring substances. If a drug company discovered a natural substance that could be used medically, anyone else could also use/make/sell that substance.

So what the drug companies do is to create synthetic hormones that are intentionally different. Examples are Premarin, Prempro and Provera – these synthetic drugs are different in their molecular structure from the estrogens and progesterone found in the human body.

And the problem with synthetic drugs is – since they are different from what occurs naturally in the human body, the body treats them differently and the result is often harmful side effects.

Even though bioidentical hormones have been around for a long time, the majority of doctors are not familiar with them. Today’s doctors are ordinarily schooled and trained in synthetic drug therapy, not natural medicine.

Finding bioidentical doctors and bioidentical hormone doctors can be done. For example, holistic doctors and naturopathic doctors are regular medical doctors with additional training and experience in using bioidentical hormones.

A holistic medical doctor uses a combination of conventional Western medicine and alternative medicine. A holistic doctor incorporates one or more types of complementary medicine into their medical practice.

This complementary medicine could be acupuncture, herbal therapy or homeopathy. For instance, while undergoing treatment for cancer using radiation, the patient might receive herbal therapy to strengthen the immune system.

Naturopathic physicians are medical doctors that work to restore and support the body’s systems by using medicines and techniques that are in harmony with natural processes.

A naturopathic physician will prefer treatments which keep the risks of harmful side effects at a minimum. Naturopathic doctors will use bioidentical hormones when appropriate, which are safer and with few or no side effects when used correctly.

They are trained to know which persons they can treat – they also know which patients should be referred to other health care practitioners. Since every illness has an underlying cause, a naturopathic physician is trained to find and remove the underlying causes of a disease.

That may include adjusting the diet or lifestyle of the patient, for example. A naturopathic physician will treat the whole person, taking all the factors into account.

Natural progesterone is necessary for the appropriate and balanced supply of all steroids hormones and the increase of energy production.

Bioidentical hormones like natural progesterone supplementation, high quality vitamins/supplements and good Omega-3 fish oil supplements will provide you great health benefits and are a regular part of their recommendations.

Vitamins are essential to improve men and women’s health. This will give you a increased sense of wellbeing, more energy, increase your sex drive, will give you a healthier heart and can help you with some hormone imbalance symptoms.

Genetic Link Between Psychosis and Creativity Revealed

BUDAPEST -A new study seems to have established a link between psychosis and creativity.

Szabolcs Keri, a psychiatrist at Semmelweis University in Hungary, focused his research on neuregulin 1, a gene that normally plays a role in a variety of brain processes, including development and strengthening communication between neurons.

Writing about the study in the journal Psychological Science, he has revealed that a variant of this gene is associated with a greater risk of developing mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For the study, Keri and his colleagues recruited volunteers who considered themselves to be very creative and accomplished.

The participants underwent a battery of tests, including assessments for intelligence and creativity.

To measure the volunteers’ creativity, the researchers asked them to respond to a series of unusual questions, and scored them based on the originality and flexibility of their answers.

The subjects also completed a questionnaire regarding their lifetime creative achievements before the researchers took blood samples.

According to the researchers, their findings showed a clear link between neuregulin 1 and creativity, for volunteers with the specific variant of this gene were more likely to have higher scores on the creativity assessment, and also greater lifetime creative achievements, than volunteers with a different form of the gene.

Keri claims that his study has for the first time shown that a genetic variant associated with psychosis may have some beneficial functions.

He says: “Molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively.”

His findings also suggest that certain genetic variations, even though associated with adverse health problems, may survive evolutionary selection and remain in a population’s gene pool if they also have beneficial effects.