What I’m Reading This Month: Olive Oil and the Brain, Heavy Metal Exposure and Autism Risk, and the Effectiveness of Yoga for Back Pain

June 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. Study: Exposure to Heavy Metals May Increase Risk of Autism 

New research? Been writing about, talking about and treating for it for over 15 years. But the method of testing, i.e. looking for historical exposures in baby teeth knowing that assessing blood for metals misses the entire point of the exercise, is ingenious. “A recent study explores a new factor that may contribute to the risk of developing ASD: the concentration of heavy metals in a child’s body.” And the study is a good reminder, as many are focused on mercury, that lead should never, ever be forgotten.


2. Study: Yoga Just As Good as Physical Therapy for Back Pain

I can personally attest to this. The benefits of yoga are far-reaching. What’s cool is that the findings were published in the medical journal “Annals of Internal Medicine”. The research determined that yoga was “statistically as effective” as physical therapy for alleviating low back pain, helping patients to be more functional, and to reduce their pain medication.


3. Vitamin C + Antibiotics Destroy Cancer Stem Cells

“This is further evidence that vitamin C and other non-toxic compounds may have a role to play in the fight against cancer … Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials, and as an add-on to more conventional therapies, to prevent tumor recurrence, further disease progression, and metastasis.”

4. Seattle Approves Tax on Soda, Sugary Drinks

Loving the tax on sugar-laden beverages, including soda pop, this time in Seattle. #TaxSugar #TaxSoda Not loving the exemption for diet drinks #TaxArtificialSweetenersToo

5. Brain Cancer Could Be Prevented With Olive Oil Compound

While more studies are needed looking at olive oil consumption and brain cancer prevention, it is difficult to argue against the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. The food plan is characterized by a high intake of olive oil (I get the organic version from Costco), fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals. Known more for its role in cardiovascular disease risk reduction, a systematic review ranked the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease (NEJM). For brain health, it also makes plenty of sense (although many would need to be careful with the “cereal” component).

6. Extensive Review Supports Safety of Fish Oil Supplements

For brain, for heart, for joints, for eyes, fish oils are important for mental and physical health across the life span … and no need to discontinue before surgery according to this extensive review and research.

 7. Al Gore: The Green Revolution is “Unstoppable”

The Green Revolution is “natural medicine” for the planet. It dovetails with human health, and illness prevention. The “revolution” is also how I feel about the expansion of holistic, functional, integrative medicine: unstoppable.

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

 

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