Archives for Health Matters Blog

Should ‘Mother’s Day’ Be Replaced by ‘Women’s Day’?

Today women have more opportunities than at any prior time but still are expected to fill an almost comically large number of roles”, writes psychiatrist Anna Fels, author of the book “Necessary Dreams: ambition in women’s changing lives”. Fels notes that: Women view ambition as selfishness, self-aggrandizement, egotism, or manipulation of others for one’s own ends Women who deplored ambition in reference to their own lives freely admitted to admiring it in men Today’s women of accomplishment in the public eye often repeat the same self-abnegating stance of women of earlier times • Women’s source of identity and affirmation is
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How do you know when your thyroid function is low? Why is it important to know?

High Rate of Thyroid Dysfunction in Non-ill According to a very large study, the NHANES study (see reference below), conducted over 10 years, there is “a high rate of thyroid dysfunction in the general “non-ill” population (5.9%)*. Thyroid Dysfunction and Affective Disorders There is an increased rate of thyroid dysfunction in those with affective disorders (40%)** Additionally the mean TSH , in the healthy adult U.S. population is 1.4 units. Because the commonly cited reference range at most laboratories is very wide (about 0.5 to 4.5), there is considerable debate about whether this normal reference range is too wide. Endocrinologists’
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Japan and Radiation: What should you do?

With the ongoing release of radiation into the atmosphere from the damaged Japanese nuclear facilities, many people are wondering whether they should protect themselves as well as what they can do to protect themselves and their families.  Some authorities expect the radiation to spread from Japan in an easterly direction, to the west coast of the United States, while others state that the thousands of miles between Japan and the west coast, will protect the US population from any harmful effects. It seems very likely, that the thousands of miles will in fact dilute the radiation significantly. In the United
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Lying to Your Doctor Has Unitended Consequences

I am a bit naïve. Yes, I am a psychiatrist, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, and the founder of the National Center for Whole Psychiatry and Brain Recovery Center. Given my experience, I should, you would think, know better. Yet I was in practice for probably 20 or more years before I realized that some times my patients lie to me about how they are doing, and whether they are following our jointly agreed upon recommendations. I am prompted to write about this, because a week ago I had an experience where a patient told me that she was lying
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Institute for Functional Medicine

Being on the faculty of the Institute of Functional Medicine is a rewarding part of my professional life. On Sunday, I returned from an intense weeklong meeting with other members of the faculty and leadership of the Institute for Functional Medicine.  I’m excited to report that we brought the Functional Medicine Health Matrix (for diagnosis and treatment) protocol to a new level. One of the things that is so exciting about this is that this proceeds from the same structural premise found in the age-old Eastern approaches to health.  Thus, the Matrix is a marriage of the old and the
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Nutrition and Depression: Nutrition, Detoxification, and Depression, Part 4

Nutrition, Detoxification, and Depression An additional avenue through which nutrition can help mood disorders is via liver detoxification, which can influence mood via the modification of steroid hormone metabolism (e.g., DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, cortisol).Detoxification occurs in two phases:  In phase one the CYP 450 enzymes are supported by a variety of nutrients (B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12,Glutathione, branched-chain amino acids, flavinoids, phospholipids). Once these CYP450 enzymes have acted on the lipid soluble molecule, (drug, hormones, toxins), by adding an oxygen, these activated intermediates, (if not further detoxified via phase two, due to nutritional deficiency) can increase oxidative stress, and
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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the result of infection with the spirochete Borrelia Burgdorferi. It is generally thought that the infection is the result of a tick bite, which about 50% of the time results in a rash, often described as a ‘bulls eye’ rash, but which can vary in appearance. Symptoms of untreated Lyme disease typically include joint aches which seem to migrate from one joint to another over days), flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, body aches, headache), neuro-psychiatric problems (e.g., Bell’s palsy-paralysis of one side of the face; numbness, weakness, mood disorders, psychosis, cognitive impairment, even seizures). Some people report abnormal
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Memory Matters

Memory loss creates fear in the very core of one’s being because it threatens one’s identity, and raises the specter of losing one’s independence. Forgetfulness can be a signal that dementia is imminent, but it can also be a warning that other problems are present, which untreated, may develop into pseudo-dementia (a false dementia). The idea that it is normal to lose memory as one ages is not correct. Memory loss is always a result of some abnormal body processes. In this article I will review some basic information, which you can use for dementia and its prevention (yes, it
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Panic Disorders: Part 2

Biological Theory of Panic Disorder (Recurrent Panic Attacks) The prevailing theory of panic disorder states that there are two types of panic attacks, non-phobic spontaneous panic and triggered panic attacks. Nonphobic panic attacks are thought to be the result of abnormal, over- sensitivity of a brain alarm system whose function is to detect early signs of suffocation. This theory is called the suffocation alarm theory. The cardinal symptoms of nonphobic panic are respiratory: shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitations and choking or suffocation sensations. Normally, carbon dioxide, the waste product of respiration, is exhaled from the lungs. In the event of
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Panic Disorders: Part 1

The Spectrum of Disorders Associated with Panic Panic attacks are among the most terrifying experiences a person can have. Panic disorders include panic with and without agoraphobia, simple phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and perhaps social phobias. The controversy over whether these disorders are closely related, and in what way is not addressed, since the research in this area is inconsistent and inconclusive. The focus here is on the current understanding of the biological underpinnings of the panic attack itself, as well as the psychosocial aspects of panic disorder. Diagnostic Considerations Symptoms of panic disorder, according to the DSM IV, include
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