What I’m Reading This Month: Light at Night and Depression, Lifestyle Changes to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk, and New Vitamin D Guidelines

July 2017

The sheer volume of health, wellness, and medical news and commentary available on the internet can be overwhelming. Every month, get a taste of what integrative medicine leader Dr. John Gannage finds interesting (and digestible) on the web.

1. Traces of Glyphosate in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Virtually any food item that contains non-organic soy, canola oil and corn is likely to contain glyphosate. These ingredients are extremely common. #ReadLabels

2. The Lead Crisis: Tackling an Invisible, Dangerous Neurotoxin
Research has shown that blood lead levels start to rise when an infant begins to crawl. There should be targeted screening for children living in high-risk areas at the ages of 6 months, 12 months, 24 months and three years.

3. Which Children with Autism Respond to Oxytocin Treatment?

Research into oxytocin is gaining momentum, for children with autism and for whom improvement in reciprocal social interaction is a goal of treatment.

4. Vitamin D Guidelines May Be Changed Following Study 

Why I recommend D3 … in conventional medicine most recommend D2: “The study found that vitamin D-3 was twice as effective at raising vitamin D levels in the body as vitamin D-2.Participants who received the D-3 in a biscuit raised their levels of vitamin D by 74 percent, while those receiving the vitamin in juice saw a 75 percent increase. Those receiving D-2 had a 33 and 34 percent increase, respectively. The placebo group experienced a drop of 25 percent across the same period.”

5. Oxygen Therapy Revives Brain of Child Who Almost Drowned
A misunderstood and under-utilized treatment.

6. Reflections upon the Death of a Hero, Dr. Needleman

“Dr. Needleman’s assertion was that the long term effects of lead, especially on the brain, remained.

For this he was persecuted.

In children most lead exposure occurs during the first years of life when nearly all of human brain growth occurs; that is when new cells and synapses are developing. After that time, new growth of the brain cells diminishes and the overall wiring architecture is established.

Dr. Needleman’s idea was dismissed, sometimes ridiculed, in particular by those who were responsible for the vast quantities of lead saturating the environment, largely in paint and in gasoline. When lawsuits were brought about the damage to individual children, attorneys and mercenary toxicologists working for landlords and polluters asserted that if the children had low functioning, failing in school and behaving poorly, it was because they had ‘single mothers who were poor, uneducated, and often black’.

In 1979 when Dr. Needleman reported his study findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, substantial lead levels have been present in American children for 60 years. For us pediatricians, Needleman’s findings were earthshaking.

Children who had high levels were performing poorly in school, even after cancelling out the effects of poverty and parental education levels. In essence, the report showed that all of us were functioning with about 5 fewer IQ points than we should have.

His findings were subsequently corroborated by studies around the world. Damage to children’s brains was worldwide. Sadly, the damage he found in young school children, perdures in the individual. Young adults with too much lead are more likely to learn poorly, be impulsive, drop out of school, have higher rates of unwanted pregnancy, get into trouble, and to be incarcerated.

He was attacked by the lead industry, hounded by columnists, snooped after by hired investigators, had his files endlessly combed over by high priced consultants, and was indifferently supported by many of his colleagues at his university.”

7. Lifestyle Changes, Starting in Childhood, That May Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

Healthy lifestyle choices … the key to preventing any chronic illness, even neurodegenerative ones.

8. Hashimoto’s
This is a really good summary about how to approach Hashimoto’s disease, and autoimmunity in general, from a holistic, integrative medicine perspective. The impact of the gut, toxins and genetics are the focal point. And we can’t talk about the gut without addressing dietary needs and microbiome balance; or toxins without dealing with oxidative stress and its role in inflammation as well. The role of stress is paramount, and often an acute psychological event can herald the onset of an autoimmune process. Lastly, the message of not suffering in silence, while paying attention to symptoms, is a good one. On the latter point, so is finding a practitioner that will listen too.

9. The Link Between Light at Night and Depression
This is such a concern. Astounding really how electronic devices have infiltrated the lives of children so rapidly and without regard to short or long term effects. The science is all pointing in the same direction … limit screen time, especially after the sun goes down.

10. 2600% Increase in Tick-Borne Babesiosis Infections in Wisconsin in 12 Years 

“This report and physical observations of ticks on hunter-harvested deer, support the finding that the range of the black-legged tick has expanded rapidly, and will continue to do so with a warming climate and clearance of forest stands.”

 

11. How The Psychology of Cyberbullying Explains Trump’s Tweets

It takes a village to raise a child, as the saying goes, perhaps now more than ever. Our children are growing up in cyber-world, where the threat of online bullying is real and the psychological damage that can ensue is potentially devastating. A child’s self-esteem can evaporate, while the bully him/herself is usually coming from a place of insecurity, lack of empathy and low self-worth. To stop it requires a concerted, focussed effort from adults in the community to confront adolescent cyberbullies and clearly state that the behaviour is unacceptable (even if they are adults, or the “most powerful” adult on the planet, behaving like adolescents).

“A bully’s power has everything to do with social status. If a community—a school, a Congress, a country—accepts and tolerates a bully’s actions, those actions usually continue.”

Still hungry for information? Find previous month’s picks here.

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