Posts by Dr. Robert Hedaya

Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) is No Laughing Matter

I was wandering around the internet last night, looking for scholarly articles on something called ‘methylation pathways’, when I came across a very disturbing article on the potentially quite toxic interaction between nitrous oxide (NO2) and certain states of B12 deficiency. Before getting into the nitty gritty, bottom line, let me give you some background. Nitrous Oxide (NO2)-commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas’ was used for years in the practice of dentistry.  It is used currently as part of general anesthesia, and recently has been gaining popularity as a ‘recreational drug’.  An article in Popular Science in the late 1940’s
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Light Therapy & Health

Your Biologic Clock Your Biologic Clock keeps our body rhythms and sleep –wake cycles in synch with the light-day cycle of the earth. It is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hormone control center of the brain, the hypothalamus.  When light enters the eye, it activates this part of the brain and reduces production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) produced in the pineal gland of the brain.  The light also acts to the release of a variety of other hormones and affects body temperature. Interestingly, we are programmed to cycle every 24.2 hours―but our exposure to light on
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Can a Brain Be on Fire?

Yes! Over the last 20 years, ample evidence has accumulated to prove that inflammation in the body causes changes in the brain that lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and memory problems. Inflammation comes from the Latin  ‘inflammare’ — to set on fire.  Our brain is ‘on fire’ when it is inflamed, or when our body is inflamed. What sets your brain on fire? Your body experiences inflammation the way your skin reacts to a cut:  The area becomes swollen, warmer, and it may hurt.  (This happens because there is increased blood flow, increased immune activity, and a change in
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Highest Rates of Bipolar Disorder in the United States: Why?

According to a new study discussed on Health.com about 2.4% of people around the world have had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the first comprehensive international figures on the topic. The United States has the highest lifetime rate of bipolar disorder at 4.4%, and India the lowest, with 0.1%”. Bipolar disorder has a strong genetic component. Depending on which studies you look at, the genetics account for anywhere from 40-60% of the vulnerability. While that seems like a high number it also means 40-60% of the risk of developing the disorder  despite having the same
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Nutrition and Depression: Nutrition, Neuronal Protection, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D and Depression, Part 3

Nutrition, Neuronal Protection and Depression Neuronal protection (protection against cognitive decline) requires glutathione peroxidase (a crucial enzyme which requires selenium, cysteine, carotenoids, zinc,  and vitamin E) is an important aspect of the treatment of mood disorders both because they tend to be recurrent over one’s life, and because they are associated with neuronal loss in specific parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. R-lipoic acid, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids are also critical to neuronal protection. Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, and Depression There are numerous studies of the efficacy of omega 3 EFA’s in depression.  A recent large-scale
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Nutrition and Depression: Nutrition, Methylation, and Depression, Part 2

Nutrition, Methylation, and Depression Nutritional support for the methylation cycle is another area in which nutrition plays a critical role.  The methylation cycle is essential for mental and physical health.  It is critical to the metabolism of catecholamines in the synapse via an enzyme (COMT) as well as the synthesis of ‘depression-relevant’ compounds such as melatonin, myelin basic protein, carnitine, CoQ10, etc.  Methylation is required to inactivate histamine. Basic nutrients necessary for normal function of this cycle include B12, glycine, serine, activated B6, selenium, cysteine, methionine and folic acid. Several studies have shown the utility of folic acid as an adjunct to medication
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Nutrition and Depression: State of the Science and Treatment, Part 1

Efficacy and Use of Medications in the Treatment of Depression It is becoming widely recognized that the current treatment of mood disorders (such as depression), while offering better outcomes than several decades ago, leave much room for improvement. The remission rate at the end of the first phase of the well-publicized STAR-D study (1) was only 25%. In fact, a recent review of 4 meta analyses of the effectiveness of anti-depressants by PIGOTT(2) found that of the 4041 patients initially started on citalopram in the STAR=D study, (after 4 trials of medication combinations and psychotherapy), only 108 of those who
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“Are there Benefits to having Bipolar disorder?”

Let me start by acknowledging what is well known: Manic Depression or Bipolar disorder can be a devastating illness. Affecting at least 1% of the population, it can, untreated, result in suicide, ruined careers and devastated families. Bipolar disorder is often accompanied by alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, criminal and even violent behavior. I acknowledge this, because I do not want to make light of the burden this illness places on people’s lives, their families and communities. On the other hand, the history of the world has been influenced very significantly by people with manic depression – from actors and
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More on ‘Medicine Masquerading as Science’

In a previous blog, I talked about how many doctors and patients do not know the full story about their drugs or medical treatments because of a widespread problem involving unpublished or biased clinical trials. Here is an update on what is happening. As I mentioned, frequently, medical journals or pharmaceutical companies that sponsor research will report only positive results, leaving out the non-findings or negative findings where a new drug or procedure may have proved more harmful than helpful. “A new review of research about this problem points to hidden or misleading studies for all sorts of conditions, including
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Scrub the Soap to Save Your Thyroid?

There are over 900 ‘new to nature’ chemicals in our environments, in our blood, and many are even in the blood of unborn children. Now, following the heightened concern regarding bisphenol A (in clear plastics, such as baby bottles), the FDA is beginning to set its sights on Triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial preservative used in “76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps”. Aside from soaps, triclosan is also used in toothpastes, cosmetics, shoes, socks, workout clothes, and many personal care products. Triclosan has been detected in the urine of 75% of Americans, 60% of US streams, and
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