Posts by Dr. Robert Hedaya

The Teenagers Brain

If you are reading this, you are probably a parent, a teacher, or perhaps even a teen yourself. In any case, you feel confounded by unpredictable and volatile behavior, emotions which seem to arise like tornados from out of the blue, and a parade of identities which seem to change as fast as a runway model’s wardrobe. What causes all this chaos and confusion? In this article I will summarize some of the new research findings, which shed light on this most vibrant phase of life in the teen brain. The structure of the brain I often describe the overall
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Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

The New York Times had a front page article on May 12th, 2010 entitled: “Doubt is Cast on Many Reports of Food Allergies“. The article reviewed a government report on the concept and prevalence of food allergies. From the NY times report (I have not read the article, as it is not available yet) there are some valid points (e.g., a food allergy must involve the immune system, certain food reactions are not true allergies, such as lactose intolerance). However my concern is twofold: The NY Times summary of the article, and perhaps the publication itself, seem at this point
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Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Mental Health: Part II

As I mentioned in part I of this blog, there is a strong association between insulin resistance, diabetes and mental health. Caught and treated early, insulin resistance is reversible in >90% of patients, and there is a clear improvement in well-being associated with this reversal. To get to the foundation of the problem, you must do a diagnostic work-up, to identify and deal with the layered factors which promote insulin resistance and diabetes. Factors to be assessed include: a) Cortisol-levels which are too high, (as might be the case in anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders) cause insulin to
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Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Mental Health: Part I

Insulin resistance is a fully reversible condition in which the cells of the body become insensitive to the insulin signal, which itself is designed to take glucose (sugar) out of the blood and into the cells (for energy). If insulin resistance becomes severe enough, it progresses into type II diabetes. Diabetes is more difficult to reverse, and is associated with frequent urination, increased weight, increased thirst, and a host of other problems. The connection between obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and mental health problems is no longer questioned. There are number of reasons for the association, including the use of psychotropic
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Fractured Families – a good thing?

I was thinking about the high rate of fractured families and the lack of community in the US, when I began to look at the issue from a different perspective. Fractured families may not be pathological from the planet’s point of view. The earth’s limited resources, or at least the way we are using them, cannot sustain the increasing numbers of human inhabitants. These days, it is clear that the tide has changed; we are not living in a time of easy expansion, which has been present for years. We are now at a point where resources are becoming scarce,
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PMS and Insomnia: What to do?

Insomnia, an all too common problem, is usually attributed to stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol or caffeine use, poor sleep hygiene, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea. Hormonally, thyroid abnormalities, and unusually low levels of melatonin can cause insomnia as well. While all of these syndromes should be considered in evaluating insomnia, the role that PMS and female hormones (progesterone, estrogens) play in insomnia is rarely discussed. Background In healthy women sleep disturbances occur twice as often as they do in men. Insomnia is also often more common in the 1-2 weeks before menstruation begins (the luteal phase of the cycle),
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Mitochondria and inflammation

New research indicates that in cases of closed crush injury, runaway inflammation is not due to infection, as previously thought. Never able to find the source of the supposed infection, doctors and researchers were baffled until now. It turns out that when there is such an injury, the mitochondria, which are the energy powerhouses of the body, are released into the circulation. Since mitochondria are thought to be energy producing bacteria-like organisms it’s not surprising that the immune system would mount a response to these usually cell bound parts of us. Mitochondria are not usually present in the blood stream,
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5-Day Energy Rebalancing Diet

Most people (except those with liver and kidney disease) do not get enough protein (fish, meat, eggs) for breakfast and lunch. Try increasing your protein at breakfast and lunch for five days and see if you don’t notice a difference in your energy, reduced cravings at night, improved mood, and less of an afternoon slump within five days. I was so impressed by this effect that it was part of the motivation for my second book.
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The Effects of Thyroid Function and Mental Health

A recent study known as the Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study, found that 13 million Americans may have undiagnosed thyroid conditions, and suggested that more widespread thyroid testing is needed. Among their findings are the fact that 9.9 percent of the population had a thyroid abnormality that had gone unrecognized. An underactive thyroid — hypothyroidism — affects more women than men, and the risk increases with age for both men and women. Clearly, there is a need for more widespread thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) testing and more aggressive treatment, especially for subclinical patients. Additionally, another study, called the NHANES study,
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Traditional Medicine and You

Yet despite these limitations, if I break my arm, or have an acute illness, I want a really good traditional doc. They do a pretty good job with acute illness. And if I have a chronic illness, I want a really good integrative medicine person. My advice: On a day-to-day basis always be your own doctor-eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, meditate, have fun and build good relationships. When you need to see a health care practitioner you must work hard to be an active and full partner in the process. Learn as much as you can. Investigate, think, and
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