Archives for Health Matters Blog

Response to NY Times Opinion Column: "Don’t Take Your Vitamins"

The New York Times article “Don’t Take Your Vitamins” (Opinion, June 8) puts readers at real risk by presenting an unbalanced, over-generalized perspective and selective attention to the body of evidence.  First, the title gives a directive about the general category of vitamins, when the body of the article only addresses a subset of vitamins: anti-oxidants.  Second, the article draws on studies with arguable design flaws (e.g., the vitamin E used did not contain the full vitamin E complex), when there are many vitamins and antioxidants whose benefits are supported by current research.  Third, genomic science is proving that the
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Top 5 Things to Know about Teenage Depression

Depression is a syndrome, not a disease. While we in the western world are trained to think of depression as a disease, in fact, it is just a collection of signs and symptoms whose causes vary widely.  Just like all pneumonia is not caused by one thing (i.e., pneumonia may be due to HIV, tuberculosis, fungi, or bacteria; all are treated quite differently.) so all depression is not ‘one thing’.  Therefore, it is important to look ‘under the hood’ of your child’s depression, so that you can uncover root causes and personalize the treatments accordingly. Depression is a NOT a
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Categories: Health Matters Blog and Miscellaneous.

Health Perils of Sitting for Extended Periods

What we do all day with our bodies has consequences. Many of us sit during our working hours and leisure time and that directly affects our body chemistry. The New York Times article, Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics, details some of the changes: “scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sittin, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the level of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease
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Categories: Health Matters Blog and Miscellaneous.

Useful News in Endocrinology: Things that Are Harmful to Your Thyroid Gland

Things that Are Harmful to Your Thyroid Gland CT Scans and Contrast Die First, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (1) reveals that imaging studies which use Iodide as a contrast agent in CT scans and cardiac catheterizations increase the risk of over active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) by two to 2.5 times. The risk of severe low thyroid states (severe hypothyroidism) in increased 3-fold. Doctors and patients should take these risks into consideration when ordering these tests, as these tests use anywhere between 90 to several hundred-thousand times the recommended daily dose of iodine (150 micrograms). What to
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Categories: 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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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

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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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

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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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

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 The Center for Whole Psychiatry + Brain Recovery. 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
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

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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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

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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