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CHRONIC NECK PAIN
WHAT DOES THE JANUARY 2018
SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE SAY?
- WHAT'S IT LIKE TO LIVE WITH CHRONIC WHIPLASH (WAD)? A month ago, researchers for BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (Living with Ongoing Whiplash Associated Disorders: A Qualitative Study of Individual Perceptions and Experiences) talked about what it's like to live with chronic whiplash. "Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) are the most common non-hospitalized injury resulting from a motor vehicle crash. Over the past few decades, recovery rates have remained unchanged with approximately 50% of individuals experiencing on-going pain and disability. Results from intervention trials for individuals with chronic WAD are equivocal and optimal treatment continues to be a challenge. ll participants described navigating the healthcare system after their whiplash injury to help understand their injury and interpret therapeutic recommendations. Participants highlighted the need to find the right healthcare practitioner to help with this process. Many participants also described additional complexities in navigating and understanding healthcare incurred by interactions with compensation and funding systems. Participants in this study had been living with WAD for an average of 6.5 years and continued to find it challenging and exhausting." It's called the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND folks, and unfortunately, it's dog common to watch people going round and round until it literally destroys them. One of the situations that these authors spoke of was the reluctance of doctors to believe these patients, instead, seeing it as a ploy for a legal / financial settlement, or getting their disability.
- WAD SCREWS UP THE BRAIN: In the brain and spinal cord, the gray matter is the inner portion, where most of the nervous system's chief functions take place. The white matter (it's white because it's cells are covered by a fatty substance called myelin) is made up of cells that connect the gray areas to each other. Although there are numerous studies showing that whiplash affects the brain, this month's issue of Human Brain Mapping (Differences in White Matter Structure and Cortical Thickness Between Patients with Traumatic and Idiopathic Chronic Neck Pain: Associations with Cognition and Pain Modulation?), concluded that, "Cortical thinning in the left precuneus was revealed in WAD compared with CNP (chronic neck pain) patients. The extent of white matter structural deficits in the left tapetum coincided with decreased conditioned pain modulation efficacy in the WAD group. This yields evidence for associations between decreased endogenous pain inhibition, and the degree of regional white matter deficits in WAD." Thin the precuneus and you'll end up with memory, visuo-spatial processing, and self consciousness issues. The tapetum is important because it's associated with the Corpus Collosum --- the connection between the brain's two hemispheres. Mess with the tapetum and the two sides cannot communicate properly.
- WAD & NECK PAIN BOTH CAUSE IMPAIRMENT OF MOTOR FUNCTIONS: When there is enough damage to the brain, not only does this affect the sensory side of the brain (PAIN, paresthesias, LOSS OF PROPRIOCEPTION, etc), but it's becoming increasingly clear that it affects the motor side of the brain as well. The journal Spine (Motor Impairment in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: Does the Traumatic Event Play a Significant Role?) recently concluded that, "Motor impairment was observed in both patient groups (CNP & WAD) with a higher degree in patients with chronic WAD. These impairments were linked to self-reported disability and were in most cases associated with pain, fear-avoidance, and symptoms of central sensitization." Click the link if you are not sure what CENTRAL SENSITIZATION is. This was confirmed visually (DIAGNOSTIC ULTRASOUND) in a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Alterations in the Mechanical Response of Deep Dorsal Neck Muscles in Individuals Experiencing Whiplash-Associated Disorders Compared to Healthy Controls: An Ultrasound Study), which concluded that "the mechanical responses of the deep dorsal neck muscles differ between individuals with WAD and healthy controls, possibly reflecting that these muscles use altered strategies while performing a neck extension task." Just realize that when you start down the road of ALTERED SPINAL / FASCIAL BIOMECHANICS, degenerative arthritis isn't far behind.
- WAD TURNS NECK MUSCLES TO FAT: Although we've known about this phenomenon in the low back for decades (THORACOLUMBAR AREA), not surprisingly, the same thing occurs in necks. After comparing "Thirty-one subjects with WAD and 31 age and sex matched controls, twenty-one (68%) patients had mild/moderate disability and 10 (32%) were considered severe. Statistically significant differences in regional MFI (Muscle Fatty Inflitration) were particularly notable between the severe WAD group and healthy controls." This study was found in the journal Spine (The Qualitative Grading of Muscle Fat Infiltration in Whiplash Using Fat/Water Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and is why strength training is so critical, not just for chronic neck pain, but in general.
- PREDICTING WHO'S GOING TO GET OVER THEIR WAD: As I have shown you in the past, predicting who is going to improve after having a whiplash injury is difficult to determine, although there are a few things we know --- women and the elderly almost universally have a much tougher row to hoe than young, healthy, males. Just days ago, the journal Spine (The Potential and Perils of Prognosticating Persistent Post-Traumatic Problems from a Post-Positivist Perspective) stated that, "Predicting recovery following traumatic neck pain has become an active area of research but is moving in several different directions with currently little consensus on the important outcomes to predict or relevant variables to predict them." The Journal of Physiotherapy confirmed this with a paper that reviewed 46 studies of 99 models used to predict whiplash severity and subsequent improvement. The study's title tells the story, Few Promising Multivariable Prognostic Models Exist for Recovery of People with Non-Specific Neck Pain in Musculoskeletal Primary Care: A Systematic Review.
- WHAT IS THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY DOING ABOUT WAD? Not to sound harsh, but who do you think brought us the opioid epidemic? (Doctors were not the sole culprits; THE GOVERNMENT was in on this as well.) In this vein, we can't be shocked that THE BIG FIVE still rules the day (along with a round-robin of ever-changing novelties). A few weeks ago the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders published a study called Management of Whiplash Associated Disorders in Australian General Practice that stated, "Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) are common and costly, and are usually managed initially by general practitioners (GPs). Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs) are the cause of 50 million injuries worldwide and nearly four million emergency department (ED) consultations annually in the US. After being medically evaluated, approximately 90% of those who present to ED after MVC return home. Only around 50% of those with WAD will fully recover, with 30% remaining moderately to severely disabled, creating significant personal, economic, and social distress. Worldwide, chronic pain following MVC is a significant burden and a frequent and expensive public health problem. Current clinical guidelines recommend that the most important aspect of management of acute WAD is providing assurance and encouragement to return to normal activities and exercise, but GP provided advice/education was only documented in 5.8 per 100 WAD problems in our study. Local injections, muscle relaxants, anti-convulsants, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants, for which there is no evidence for efficacy and which are not recommended, were overused. Non-recommended treatments were used in a total of 34.4 per 100 WAD cases."
- WHAT IS THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY DOING ABOUT CHRONIC WHIPLASH PART II? LYRICA is a terrible drug (not my opinion, but verified by studies and the majority of those who have tried it). It is essentially second generation Neurontin (gabapentin) --- one of the FOUR DRUGS that Pfizer was fined 2.3 billion dollars for promoting "OFF LABEL" (they were fined 430 million dollars for the same thing with Neurontin itself). Just last week, Australian officials announced plans for a study to see if Lyrica could prevent chronic WAD if given in a prophylactic manner in the ER, post-accident (Pregabalin Versus Placebo in Targeting Pro-Nociceptive Mechanisms to Prevent Chronic Pain After Whiplash Injury in At-Risk Individuals - A Feasibility Study...).
WHAT'S BEING DONE TO SOLVE
CHRONIC WHIPLASH PAIN (WAD)?
- THE RIGHT KIND OF PATIENT EDUCATION: One thing we are seeing again and again in peer-review is the need for quality patient education (by "patient education" I do not mean trying to convince patients they will require MASS QUANTITIES OF ADJUSTMENTS). In a Disability and Rehabilitation study from a year ago (What Information do Patients Need Following a Whiplash Injury? The Perspectives of Patients and Physiotherapists), the consensus seemed to be that those with WAD need to be reassured as well as educated. "Reassurance can be an effective communication tool to decrease patients concerns about their injury and help strengthen the patient-health practitioner relationship. Although clinical guidelines for the management of whiplash injuries recommend that individuals must remain physically active post-injury, statements from the patient group indicate that this information is not always provided and clearly explained to patients." A brand new study from Physiotherapy Theory and Practice (The Effects of Pain Neuroscience Education and Exercise on Pain, Muscle Endurance, Catastrophizing and Anxiety in Adolescents with Chronic Idiopathic Neck Pain) talked about the need for both pain neuroscience education (PNE) and exercises for those with chronic neck pain. What is PNE? It's essentially explaining to patients that their pain may no longer be arising from damaged tissue, but might be coming from the brain itself. In other words, the pain may have become "centralized" (CENTRAL SENSITIZATION), which is never a good thing.
- EXERCISES PLUS MOBILIZATION / MANIPULATION IS BETTER THAN EITHER ONE ALONE: Yet another study (The Effects of Neck Mobilization in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain), this one from Monday's issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, provided evidence to this thought process. Stick around and in just a moment I will show you why ADJUSTMENTS work like magic for many sufferers of WAD --- but only under certain specific circumstances.
- DIRECTION-MOVEMENT CONTROL TRAINING MAY PROVE EFFECTIVE FOR CHRONIC NECK PAIN: It's unsettling when a journal (in this case, this month's issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies) makes this sort of statement. "There is low level evidence that cervical interventions are effective on pain and range of motion at the immediate follow up, but no evidence on the effectiveness of the direction movement control intervention especially on the effectiveness of long term follow up." The study (Long-Term Effect of Direction-Movement Control Training on Female Patients with Chronic Neck Pain) concluded, however, that "Direction-movement control training is likely to be an effective training program to enhance body functionality through improvement of pain, function, endurance, head repositioning accuracy, range of motion, and cervical flexor endurance." If you want to see what Direction-Movement Control Training looks like, the study is free online.
- PILATES FOR CHRONIC NECK PAIN: Earlier this week, the same journal published yet another study on chronic neck pain (Is Pilates an Effective Rehabilitation Tool? A Systematic Review) showing that after reviewing 23 studies on the subject, "The majority of the clinical trials in the last five years into the use of Pilates as a rehabilitation tool have found it to be effective in achieving desired outcomes, particularly in the area of reducing pain and disability." I've shown you in the past that the same thing is true of yoga.
What kind of conclusions can we make from this mish mash of research? I'm honestly not quite sure. As the very first study discussed stated, part of the process is about each individual figuring out their own unique situation and what works for them. "A process of trial and error by participants was used to identify suitable strategies. Specific but different strategies were employed to prevent pain or to alleviate pain. Establishing these strategies took time, and several participants felt that an early lack of awareness of the potential for on-going pain led them to underestimate the importance of early management and ultimately contributed to their chronic condition. Individuals with acute WAD have also expressed a desire for more realistic expectations of recovery." What makes it so darn difficult is that when it comes to the tests, you're not likeely to have anything to show for them (all tests and imaging are usually normal / negative after whiplash-like injuries; even the more serious ones).
My opinion, especially when it comes to those dealing with chronic or long-term WAD, is that there are frequently some missing links. One of these is dealing with SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION. And related to it, dealing with SCAR TISSUE as well (inflammation always leads to formation of scar tissue that the medical community refers to as "fibrosis" --- HERE). As I wrote about a couple of years ago, the first step in solving chronic neck pain is to restore normal cervical range of motion (HERE), which must involve both sectional and segmental motion of the neck (HERE). These points provide the basis for PHASE I and PHASE II of effectively addressing chronic neck pain and/or issues related to WAD.
Bear in mind that when I talk about dealing with inflammation, I am not simply talking about (as is usually the case with the medical community) making sure you have plenty of the "BIG FIVE" class of drugs on hand. I am talking about the need to effectively deal with whole body inflammation that can arise from numerous sources and be magnified by the effects of the WAD. To get a better idea of what I mean, take a look at THIS POST.
DEATH BY INFLUENZA
CYTOKINE STORMS AND INEFFECTIVE FLU VACCINES
"About the flu family of vaccines, sorry, flu shot doesn't work. Zilch, zero, nada. After 29 years and reading the research, it's bullshit. Tamiflu, LOL, I was part of the FDA then, and their data that I looked at, zilch, zero, nada, again. It was crazy this drug ever got approved like Rezulin did. I voted against both, because I read. But those people said buy stocks. [#@%$] them, I have been in [I've seen what it's like on the inside]. Never again [I'll never be a part of that system again]."
"O.K. O.K. O.K. Just a little pin prick. There'll be no more... aaaaaaaah! But you might feel a little sick." From Pink Floyd's 1979 classic, Comfortably Numb (The Wall)
The middle quote above came from a friend of mine who happens to be an elite MD. He has worked as an ICU physician and OB/GYN as well as a researcher in multiple specialties. He is a two time professor-of-the-year at one of the largest universities in the US. He also happens to be one of the foremost experts in sports nutrition on the planet and lectures around the globe on a regular basis). He currently runs a practice that specializes in figuring out what's wrong with people whom no one else has been able to figure out what's wrong with. The quote above comes from his final message-board reply to the hundred or so members of his mastermind group concerning a recent online discussion about Oseltamivir / Tamiflu and the flu vaccines themselves.
Not to toot my horn, but I'd looked at the same evidence years ago AND COME TO THE VERY SAME CONCLUSIONS (about TAMIFLU as well). And not only has my brother come to the same conclusions (HERE --- he's a practicing MD), but when I quizzed a patient just last week who is an ICU nurse, here is what she had to say (roughly quoting). She sheepishly told me, "The doctors I work with love Tamiflu and prescribe it all the time. But, the pharmacists I work with hate it, say it's worthless, and have warned me not to ever give it to my kids under any circumstances due to its side effect profile." But what about the dying kids? What can be done to prevent children from dying?
Fortunately, children dying from the flu is rare --- really rare. And as far as I can tell, there's no relationship to their vaccination status (a local Springfield station ran a story on a 10 year old autistic boy who just died of the flu --- his father said he had been immunized). The fact that kids get the flu despite being vaccinated is terrible, but not at all surprising (HERE). But dying from the flu is an entirely different matter. It's one thing for the "frail elderly" to succumb to the flu (HERE), but what is it that turns some flu from a self-limiting nuisance --- essentially a bad cold --- into a raging inferno with the potential to kill young and "healthy" individuals? Although every case is different, the common denominator is something called a "Cytokine Storm."
Cytokines are cellular chemical messengers that are an important part of your IMMUNE SYSTEM (the biggest part of which resides in the Gut --- HERE), and are usually thought of as inflammatory, although they can anti-inflammatory as well (HERE). The journal International Anesthesiology Clinics published a scientific paper called Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain, that said.....
"Cytokines are small secreted proteins released by cells have a specific effect on the interactions and communications between cells. Cytokine is a general name; other names include lymphokine (cytokines made by lymphocytes), monokine (cytokines made by monocytes), chemokine (cytokines with chemotactic activities), and interleukin (cytokines made by one leukocyte and acting on other leukocytes). Cytokines may act on the cells that secrete them (autocrine action), on nearby cells (paracrine action), or in some instances on distant cells (endocrine action). There are both pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There is significant evidence showing that certain cytokines/chemokines are involved in not only the initiation but also the persistence of pathologic pain by directly activating nociceptive sensory neurons. Certain inflammatory cytokines are also involved in nerve-injury/inflammation-induced central sensitization, and are related to the development of contralateral hyperalgesia/allodynia."
I've written extensively about ALLODYNIA, HYPERALGIA, and CENTRAL SENSITIZATION on my site, and you may have heard of some of the specific cytokines associated with these and other painful, INFLAMMATORY OR DEGENERATIVE / NEURODEGENERATIVE CONDITIONS (IL-6, and TNF-α -- Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha --- are two of the biggies, but there are dozens of others). Be aware, however, that pain and disease are not the only problems associated with inflammatory cytokines. In large enough amounts, these compounds can actually kill you. How do they accomplish this?
When people are seriously attacked by bacteria they can go into septic shock --- a condition in which one's immune system becomes overwhelmed to the point that organs shut down and fail. Death is imminent if not dealt with immediately. With viral infections (yes, they can "go viral"), people tend to have an over-reaction to said virus. Listen as retired Neurosurgeon, RUSSELL BLAYLOCK explains the basic mechanics of this phenomenon in a cherry-picked article called Do Viruses Kill People?
"Most people think that viruses kill people directly. But, in fact, recent studies have shown that most viruses kill by causing the body to overreact to the infection. Studies have shown that in many cases the virulence of a virus is actually based on its ability to trigger immune overreaction. In a high percentage of cases, a person’s immune system is not operating normally. Part of the immune system, usually the cellular immune system, is weakened either by heredity, other illnesses, poor nutrition, or aging. And the intact parts of the immune system overreact to correct the defect."
Notice here that he is talking about an imbalance of THE TWO SIDES OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM (and is the basis for warning you about "boosting" your immune system indiscriminately) The cellular immune system (Cell-Mediated Immunity) is the part of the immune system that makes cytokines, and Blaylock goes on to describe the name of this phenomenon when it is tipped far enough to be considered out of control --- the "Cytokine Storm". A 2012 article in the Washington Post by David Schultz (Flu’s Lethality is Attributed to Immune Systems Overreacting to the Virus) said almost the same thing.
"New research about how the virus works on the cellular level has uncovered what makes influenza so deadly: It destroys its host — you — by using your body’s own defenses against itself. 'This is where the science is right now,' said Trish Perl, a senior epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 'That’s what happens with a lot of severe infections. . . . It’s almost like the system goes into overdrive.' While trying to destroy flu-infected cells, your immune system also destroys legions of perfectly healthy cells all over your body. This is why, even though the virus itself rarely ventures outside the lungs, the symptoms of the flu are so widespread."
In a Cytokine Storm, the two sides of the immune system are out of balance (see previous link). And although we typically think of immune system dysfunction as a 'weakened' response, all too often it's just the opposite. Not only does this imbalance lead to varying degrees of the situation described above (the Cytokine Storm), it can also lead to longer-term dysfunction in the form of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES --- the body losing immune inhibition to the degree it starts to attack itself.
Nowhere is this process seen more clearly than with POLIO. What if I told you that during the polio epidemic of the 40's and 50's, virtually everyone had polio. The crazy part is that only about one in twenty had any symptoms (usually they had something akin to a cold or flu), and of that five percent with symptoms, about one in ten developed varying degrees of what we call "polio". And what's doubly crazy is that the epidemic was largely over before the vaccine(s) came into use (HERE). The culprit in paralytic polio? Not the virus itself, since most people didn't react at all --- at least visibly. The Cytokine Storm was the culprit. Allow me to give you a couple of examples showing that the severity of viral disease is often directly proportional to the severity of the storm.
- A 2012 study from the Journal of Infectious Diseases (Host Cytokine Storm Is Associated With Disease Severity of Severe Fever With Thrombocytopenia Syndrome) concluded --- as might be ascertained from the title --- that "Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging viral disease in China, caused by SFTS virus (SFTSV). The study demonstrates that SFTSV infection induces a cytokine storm with abnormally expressed cytokine profiles, which are associated with the disease severity." The worse the storm, the sicker you get.
- A year later, Cell Host & Microbe (Virus Infections in the Nervous System) revealed that "Virus infections usually begin in peripheral tissues and can invade the mammalian nervous system (NS), spreading into the peripheral (PNS) and more rarely the central nervous systems (CNS). Patients infected with H5N1 virus die, not because of robust virus replication, but because of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) triggered by the cytokine storm. Poliovirus infection begins with the ingestion of virus particles followed by replication in the intestinal mucosa and secretion of new virus particles in feces, typically with no CNS infection. However, about 1–2% of poliovirus infections result in the infection of motor neurons that leads to the well-known motor dysfunction, poliomyelitis. Viral infections can spread to other tissues where they can cause more serious problems due to... overreacting immune response. This latter reaction is sometimes called a `cytokine storm` because cytokines are elevated in the serum leading to vigorous systemic immune activity. Such a response in the brain is usually devastating and can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, meningoencephalitis or death." The worse the storm, the sicker you get.
- In an article called The Vaccine Argument, Dr. Roby Mitchell (MD) says about polio virus, "What causes the paralysis of polio is the immune system response (inflammation) to an enterovirus in nerve cells of the spine. The response could be to one specific enterovirus, labeled polio. However, the exact same reaction can happen when a different enterovirus (D68) invades spinal nerve cells (Acute flaccid paralysis is simply polio by a different name). Your immune system causes polio, not the virus. This makes it impossible to eradicate polio unless you eradicate the immune system." Did you catch that? An over-reactive immune system causes polio, not the virus itself.
Writing for DAVID GORSKI'S Science-Based Medicine site, DR. MARK CRISLIP invoked articles from about 15 vaccine-choice MD's (Medical Voices: Always in Error, Never in Doubt), telling his readers that, "No. Sorry. Wrong. 'Cytokine storm' refers to the massive release of cytokines that accompanies an overwhelming and often rapidly fatal disease. It is a hurricane. Vaccines are, in comparison, a light spring shower that is comes right after you have sown the grass seed. Cytokine storm: I do not think it means what you think it means. There is zero evidence that vaccines cause a cytokine storm, much less a storm that lasts for years." Once you understand vaccine adjuvants (substances added to vaccines to purposefully make the virus more reactive since in vaccines they are often not reactive on their own to create an antibody reaction), you start to see that in susceptible individuals, vaccines can and do cause Cytokine Storm. And although the storm itself may be rather brief; like a tornado that may be gone in a matter of seconds, the consequences can be both devastating and long term (I have a post in the works to address this particular issue).
VACCINE ADJUVANTS (the most common by far being aluminum) are increasingly being implicated in abnormally strong cytokine responses in the scientific literature --- simply because this is exactly what they have been designed to do. Furthermore, controlling these adjuvant reactions can be difficult (impossible) due to the individual differences in both genetics and environment (think HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS and EPIGENETIC FACTORS here) as well as the multiple (multiple / multiple / multiple / multiple / multiple) exposures.
Back in July I discussed JB Handley's article from Health in America (Did Chinese Scientists Find Autism’s Missing Puzzle Piece?). Listen to what he wrote about cytokines? "The study also found amazing increases of certain cytokines in the brain, and of others in the cerebro-spinal fluid. This is is a landmark paper, in my opinion, because it presents the first evidence that there’s an ongoing, permanent immune-system activation in the brains of autistic people. It’s a subclinical state, because there’s no overt infection..... If you’re an autism parent, you’ve probably heard the expression cytokine storm." After a great deal of similar discussion, he went on to show that IL-6 is not only intimately related to AUTISM, but that high levels have been experimentally kown to be induced by aluminum since the early 1980's.
A quick glance at the title of a 2010 study published in the Journal of Immunology should wake you up (Long Peptide Vaccination Can Lead to Lethality through CD4+ T Cell-Mediated Cytokine Storm). And we see once again that there's nothing novel about this phenomenon (adjuvant-driven storms), which is clearly seen through the cherry-picked quote from Micro and Nanotechnology in Vaccine Development (an extremely pro-vaccine book by a pair of renowned Australian chemists).
"The role of an adjuvant in a vaccine is to stimulate a rapid and robust immunological response to the presented antigen. This can be achieved through a number of mechanisms... including cytokine activation and activation of the inflammasome. Safe adjuvants require a balance between immune stimulation and immune toxicity. Consequently, all adjuvants have the ability to exert unwanted side effects to susceptible individuals through hyper-activation of the immune system. More severe adjuvant responses such as hypercytokinemia are not uncommon and have led to the withdrawal of a number of vaccines from the market. Hypercytokinemia or "cytokine storm" is the unregulated release of cytokines following an acute immune response. It usually involves prior exposure to the causative agent [can anyone say multiple vaccinations?] and can result in key organ failure and eventual death."
Listen to what Dr. Helen V. Ratajczak, a retired senior scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and leader of the Immunology Group at the IIT Research Institute, had to say about the effects of this storm on the brain. "In the case of the immune system’s attack on brain microglia and astrocytes, there is a cross reaction of the antibody against the antigen and the brain cells. (The configuration of the brain cells or parts of them is similar to the antigen.) Therefore, the immune system attacks the brain cells. Besides eliciting an immune response that is specifically against the antigen, the vaccine elicits a number of cytokines or factors, which enhance or regulate the immune response. The cytokines caused by the vaccine cause the secretion of harmful chemicals including two excitotoxins, glutamate and quinolenic acid. These chemicals elicit an excitatory reaction in the neurons, and create cellular toxicity and inflammation if too much accumulates." In case you are not sure what MICROGLIA are and why they are a critical part of you brain and immune system, click the link. And as for excitotoxins, go back and click the link on Russell Blaylock (he wrote the definitive book on the subject back in 1994).
Although the government claims that in an average year the flu vaccine is about 50-70% effective, it's important to realize that these (exaggerated) figures are for seasonal flu vaccines only. When it comes to various virulent strains (this year's flu is a good example) or influenza pandemics, flu vaccines provide almost zero protection (this year's vaccine is admittedly less than 10%). And because the antivirals (Tamiflu / Osmalivir) are equally as ineffective, it means that a PANDEMIC FLU such as that seen in 1918, could prove freakishly devastating. What made the 1918 flu so bad? The Cytokine Storm of course.
Listen to what retired astronaut, surgeon, and family doctor, Duane Graveline said in an article called Flu, SARS, Ebola and Cytokine Storms. "With the 1918 flu pandemic, unlike other flu outbreaks, it was not the very young, the very old and the sick that were most at risk, but young, previously healthy adults. The stronger the individual’s immune system, the greater the chance of death. This particular strain of flu — influenza A (H1N1) avian (bird flu) — caused the infected individual’s immune system to go out of control in what has come to be known as a cytokine storm. The healthier the individual and the stronger their immune system, the more robust the response and the more damaging it is to the host. This amplified immune response was what made the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic so deadly. In common with other types of the flu, the immune response was concentrated in the lungs. The overwhelming immune response destroyed lung tissue and caused the lungs of the infected host to fill with liquid." Part of what led Graveline to write this article is that researchers are attempting to use STATIN DRUGS to fight these storms, and he's written several books on their dangerous SIDE EFFECTS.
So, the question becomes, if you have a Cytokine Storm, what can you expect from the medical community and how effective are current methods of stopping said storm? Writing in last July's issue of the American Laboratory (An Effective Treatment Strategy for Cytokine Storm in Severe Influenza), Erin Murphy revealed just how desperate the situation really is. After mentioning Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which we already know is terrible, and before mentioning several novel "experimental" treatments, Murphy spilled the beans about the most commonly used treatments for Cytokine Storm.
"Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs have not been successful in treating cytokine storm and improving survival. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, are used commonly to treat mild to moderate inflammation, but have not demonstrated the ability to control cytokine storm. Similarly, corticosteroids have also had mixed results, and their use for treating severe influenza is not recommended due to an increased risk of hospital-acquired infections and death. Other experimental approaches, such as the use of statins, have shown some success when used with other agents to alter the body’s immune response."
If you want to look at some of these novel and experimental treatments, look no further than the paper Targeting the 'Cytokine Storm' for Therapeutic Benefit found in a 2013 issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. The bottom line, it's rather a crapshoot. Which raises the question of whether or not there are things that one can do on their own in the event of another flu pandemic --- something that the experts (rightly) believe will happen again (probably sooner rather than later), and something that even the most ardently pro-vaccine advocates admit flu vaccines will provide no protection against --- at least in the early stages (most experts say a year). In other words, how would you protect yourself against a "Storm" potentially so severe that it once killed 6% of the world's population?
STAYING ALIVE IN THE EVENT OF A FLU PANDEMIC
WEATHERING A CYTOKINE STORM
"The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died. Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people, while current estimates say 50–100 million people worldwide were killed. This pandemic has been described as 'the greatest medical holocaust in history' and may have killed more people than the Black Death. It is said that this flu killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS killed in 24 years, and more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century." From Wikipedia's entry, 1918 Flu Pandemic
"Sir, When H5N1 avian gains human to human transmissibility, its lethality will probably be related to the ability of the virus to induce a cytokine storm, a positive feedback loop between cytokines and immune cells such as macrophages and T cells. Since we will have no vaccines for the first 6 months of a pandemic, since the effectiveness of the effectiveness of the neuraminidases [Tamiflu] is in doubt, and since H5N1 influenza viruses are resistant to the antiviral effects of interferons and tumour necrosis factor alpha, we would do well to look at other approaches to treatment." From a letter to the editor of the editor of the BMJ (Treating the H5N1 Cytokine Storm) by one Dr. Richard Lawson
Ridin' the storm out
Waitin' for the thaw-out
REO Speedwagon from 1973's Riding the Storm Out
The idea that diet affects and modifies one's immune system is nothing new. Two decades ago our military (Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition and Immune Function in the Field --- Cytokines and Nutritional Status: Possible Correlations and Investigations) was looking into this issue with a paper written by Dr. Jeff Rossio, a biology and immunology professor at Maryland's Hood College. After discussing the problems and side effects associated with administering cytokines intravenously, he discussed using diet to modify cytokine profiles to prevent or reverse certain types of diseases common on the battlefield (or possibly the result of biological warfare). Truthfully, the study didn't come to any concrete conclusions; and let's be honest, do we really want advice on vaccines or food from our military?
Like any number of other researchers / physicians, Dr. Lawrence Helson's career reads like a Who's Who list. His main area of research just happens to be CURCUMIN (he's a professor, a researcher, a board member of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's Research Foundation, as well as owing his own pharmaceutical company that specializes in manufacturing --- you guessed it --- a patented type of curcumin). Three years ago next month, he and his team published a paper in In Vivo called Curcumin Suppression of Cytokine Release and Cytokine Storm. A Potential Therapy for Patients with Ebola and Other Severe Viral Infections. The paper is free online and concluded...
"The activity of curcumin in suppressing multiple cytokines, and its activity in experimental models of diseases and conditions associated with cytokine storm, suggest it may be useful in the treatment of patients with Ebola and cytokine storm. Curcumin is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract; however, intravenous formulations may allow therapeutic blood levels of curcumin to be achieved in patients diagnosed with cytokine storm."
A year ago next month, Scientific Reports published a study called Interleukin 10 Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Responses and Killing of Burkholderia Pseudomallei. The gist of this study was that the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10, could be potentially used in a drug-like fashion suppress the cytokine storm and save lives. The problem with this approach is that there happen to be a number of diseases associated with high levels of IL-10. "IL-10 is a potent anti-inflammatory immuno-suppressive cytokine with a broad range of effects both directly and indirectly on innate and adaptive immunity. It is important in dampening inflammatory responses but can contribute to pathogen persistence." In the specific disease these authors were talking about (melioidosis), increasing levels of IL-10 "actively inhibits both pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial responses of the host." While this might be a good thing in certain cases, they admitted that "it's likely to increase the susceptibility of the host to infection" with a caveat --- it stated that it might be beneficial for those in a Cytokine Storm. I mention this only because there are websites promoting ways to increase your own levels of IL-10.
Since pharmaceutical drugs do such a poor job of effectively strangling a Cytokine Storm, there are any number of articles online dealing with non-pharmaceutical ways to accomplish this. The scary truth is that in many cases, we may not talking about avoiding the disease altogether, but simply blunting it's lethal effects by taking the edge off of the Cytokine Storm. Although I highly recommend a HIGH FAT, PALEO-LIKE, NO SUGAR diet, made up of WHOLE FOODS, there are some things that you could do in addition. One of these is to become better-versed in herbology.
Some of the specific herbs / plants I've seen mentioned for helping suppress a Cytokine Storm include Astragalus, Garlic, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Quercetin, Black Pepper, Curcumin, Ginger, Tumeric, Boneset, Elderberry, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Skullcap, Cannibis, St. John's Wort, Licorice, Salvia Milthiorrhiza, Pleurisy Root, Butterfly Weed, Wild Cherry, Peach Pit, Lobelia, Catnip, Peppermint, Honeysuckle, Andrographis, Panax Quinquefolium, Platycodon, Hyssop, Iodine, Selenium, Magnesium, Rhodiola, Isatis, Lespedeza Bicolor, Angelica Keiskei, Amorpha Fruiticosa, Alpina Zerumbet, Erythrina Addisoniae and Cleitocalyx Operculatus, Senega, Houttuynia, Cordyceps, Knotweed, Kudzu, Mullein, Horehound, and my head is literally swimming (no, I don't claim to be an expert on herbs).
Bottom line, it's just a matter of time until another flu pandemic hits. The CDC mentions four pandemics specifically on their website, the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957, the Hong Kong Bird Flu of 1968, and the never-before-seen virus of 2009 (not sure you could call it a pandemic but it was certainly hyped that way). Along the way there have been others that you may have heard of (Swine Flu, Russian Flu, and any number of others). Your best bet is to stay as healthy as possible, and as always, avoid DRUGS THAT SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. For those of you who may be currently struggling with your health, take a look at some ideas for getting back on track (HERE). And as always, if you have a serious illness, make sure to contact your physician or local ER/ED as today's post was not meant to diagnose, treat, or heaven-forbid, cure, any diseases.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE FOR CHRONIC PAIN?
"The medical knowledge we gained in the 20th century had very narrow goals: stop people from dying. It was focused on treating short bouts of illness caused by a specific disease often localized to a particular organ or organ system. However, the CDC estimates that over half of adults in the U.S. suffer from one or more chronic diseases that cannot be cured, only managed. The costs of treating these diseases now represents 75 percent of the $2 trillion in U.S. annual healthcare spending. While we will always need acute care, managing chronic illness requires a different mindset. It is no longer enough to simply treat the most pressing symptom and wait for the patient to return when the condition gets worse." From RX: The Quiet Revolution (How Disease-Based, Doctor-Centered Medicine is Failing Us)
"A 2012 study found that almost half of the practicing physicians surveyed had one or more symptoms of burnout. An online poll in the same year of more than 24,000 physicians found that only 54 percent would choose medicine again as a career, compared with 69 percent in 2011." From Dr. Diane Shannon's article on Common Health (Why I Left Medicine: A Burnt-Out Doctor’s Decision To Quit). You can read my piece on BURNOUT simply by clicking the link.
"The US spends more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Australia, yet the US ranks last in health and mortality when compared with 17 other developed nations. Sadly, 30 cents of every dollar spent on medical care in America is wasted, which amounts to $750 billion annually. That is the same amount the Department of Defense estimates we spent on the ENTIRE Iraq War! This $750 billion of waste is made up of inefficient delivery of care and excessive administrative costs, unnecessary services, inflated prices, prevention failures, and outright fraud. The largest defrauder of the federal government is the pharmaceutical industry." From Dr. Joe Mercola's Top Ten Ways the American Health Care System Fails. If you want to see how Big Pharma is defrauding the American Taxpayer, simply click THIS LINK.
"American's high rates of chronic disease are a massive cost-driver, attributable, according to research, for about 2/3rds the rise in health spending over the past few decades. So given the high prevalence of such diseases, and the pressures they exert on our system, you'd hope our system had evolved so as to treat these diseases more effectively. Not so." From the American Prospect (Ten Reasons Why American Health Care Is so Bad)
I worked hard, but not for the money. Did my best to please.
I used to think it was funny, til I realized it was just a tease.
Looking for the next best thing. Looking for the next best thing.
I appreciate the best, but I'm settling for less, cause I'm looking for the next best thing.
Warren Zevon from 1982's The Envoy (Looking for the Next Best Thing)
A pair of doctors working with the VA (Osteopath, David Schaefer and Psychologist, David Cosio) wrote an article for Practical Pain Management called A Model to Incorporate Functional Medicine into Chronic Pain Care. In the article's synopsis (just under the title), the authors made sure to let readers know that this program requires "patient participation". The point? Functional Medicine is not the same old, same old. It's not the kind of care that you can receive without taking an active part in. In fact, a failure to engage patients to take responsibility and "actively participate" in their own intervention has historically been a huge failure of the standard medical model. In other words, far too many people have been led to believe that what we today refer to as "healthcare" is something that someone else does for them; not something that they largely have to do for themselves.
It is very common for Americans to numb themselves with low-quality foods, reality TV, and a variety of socially acceptable addictions, which may be ascribed to the idea that 'ignorance is bliss."'
These authors hit the nail on the head with this statement. People are "medicating" (drugging / numbing) themselves with foods --- some of which have been shown to be more addictive than hard drugs (HERE). Another common non-pharmaceutical medication is media (TV, video games, porn, cell phones, computers / internet, or even reading, HERE). But what are some of the other "socially acceptable addictions" they might be talking about? Alcohol and tobacco are probably the most obvious, but there are any number of others. I've seen things like shopping, gambling, caffeine, ADERALL / RITALIN, work / ambition, etc, mentioned here, but even "healthy" habits like EXERCISE can become problematic for some people.
The next topic touched on was EPIGENETICS. Although these authors never mentioned it by name, they described it thusly. "Two factors --- genetics and the environment --- have an infinite number of combinations with a potential to support health or yield to disease." In English, this means that you are not nearly as much a product of your genetic makeup as you have been led to believe. Sure, you can't change the color of your eyes or hair without contacts or dye, but as far as chronic sickness and disease are concerned, most can be changed. This is because few chronic illnesses are largely genetic, although most treating doctors seem to heavily promote this myth. Why? Because when your health problems can be blamed on someone else (your ancestors in this case), everything is easier. Your doctor doesn't have to confront you, and you can continue to live the same old self-destructive lifestyle in the "blissful ignorance" that put you in this condition in the first place, not having to take any responsibility for you actions because after all, it's not your fault --- IT'S THOSE PESKY GENES!
Epigenetics is one of the most important aspects of your health that you've probably never heard of. It means that one of the biggest goals of following the diagram above is not simply to lose weight, get your blood sugar right, or lessen your body's inflammatory load (noble goals one and all), but the fact that accomplishing these things actually helps prevent "bad" genes from being "epigenetically" turned on or activated. We all carry genes for any number of nasty diseases, but in many cases (hopefully most cases), we never express those genes because the trigger never gets tripped. And even though you might not be familiar with this term, most of you already intuitively know what these triggers are --- bad habits, bad lifestyles, bad diets, bad sleep habits, too many bad medications, etc, etc, etc.
One thing I must mention is that this post talks about something that cannot be measured, but is critical to one's health; love. The power of love has similar healing properties and is intimately related to the healing power of touch that I wrote about on Christmas Day (HERE). And interestingly enough, decades before Bernie Siegel and Patch Adams were talking about this concept, Dr. Jim Parker was teaching thousands of chiropractors the importance of what it means to LLL (Lather Love Lavishly). The problem is that in today's "corporate" medical environment, love is frequently left by the wayside. In fact it's frequently so non-existent in today's students that medical schools are actually hiring actors to teach soon-to-be physicians HOW TO FAKE IT. Get real folks. True empathy can't be faked (HERE) --- patients know whether or not you give a rip.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE is all about helping restore HOMEOSTASIS (the medical word for balance or equilibrium) to every area of the patient's life (spirit, soul, and body). Thus, the quote below should be a no-brainer, and realizing that it's not --- that it's "novel" in the field of medicine --- is rather disconcerting. It should also help you understand the difference between gross pathology and the "functional" health problems that so frequently occur in its absence (HERE).
"Rather than seeking to alleviate a symptom, the practice of functional medicine aims to identify the root cause of the disrupting symptoms. A functional medicine provider is trained to recognize an underlying clinical imbalance and then seek the best approach to restore balance or a health equilibrium. The functional medicine specialist usually relies on the health matrix, which compiles information from each of the seven nodes, which work in unison, rather than individually. The interconnectedness of the nodes aims to reinforce the impact that each will have on the others, which will ultimately reflect as health or dysfunction, which may manifest as pain and disease."
If there is one thing our medical profession is good at it's finding gross-pathology. In fact, current "evidence" clearly shows how far out of balance the practice of medicine has been tipped in this direction (HERE). Lest some of you accuse me of being mean or over-exaggerating the problem, bear in mind that this is common knowledge. You can't even call it a dirty little secret (or even an open secret) because it's not a secret at all. If you wanted, you could find dozens of articles and studies showing that while our medical profession is fantastic in dealing with trauma or life-threatening events, when it comes to CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, we are failing miserably. Why? Mostly because with standard care, the COMMON DENOMINATORS of almost every chronic disease you can think of are not being addressed (the link is the proof, and as you'll see if you click, many chronic issues are actually being caused by medical interventions --- the best example being our love affair with IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION).
What's really cool is that Drs. Schaefer and Cosio saw the beauty of the Functional Medicine model and put it into practice. What's doubly cool is that they have actually used this system in a trial to see whether it could outperform standard medical care in veterans (the study is through the VA). Rather than me go through each and every circle in the diagram above, you can read their article free online if you desire. Although I added and shifted things around just a bit from their diagram, my "matrix" remains essentially the same as theirs, and is covered step by step in the post I wrote back in the summer of 2014 (HERE), with the biggest difference I see being my emphasis on BLOOD SUGAR and BIOMECHANICAL ISSUES. The best news of all is that making the right kinds of changes works!
"According to the American College of Preventative Medicine, most chronic diseases are preventable and reversible if a comprehensive, individualized approach that addresses genetics, diet, stress, physical activity, sleep, and relationships is implemented through integrated functional medicine teams and based on empirical research."
If you are into research, my site is loaded. Although I tend to be rather opinionated, I try to back everything on my site with research. What's truly shocking is that the research is now showing that when it comes to taking care of patients, we've been going about things bass ackwards for decades (HERE). Not surprisingly, the number one way mentioned by these authors to achieve the things set forth in the quote above is by changing your diet. Failing to consume a diet BASED ON WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION is not only why drug therapy so often fails (you can't overcome a poor diet with MONOTHERAPIES), but is usually the reason people are given SO MUCH MEDICATION in the first place --- medication that completes this self-perpetuating cycle by screwing their systems up even further (HERE and HERE).
As far as the results of the study itself, the trial lasted one year, had four (educational) group-sessions to kick things off, and then focused heavily on using an ELIMINATION DIET to determine what foods your IMMUNE SYSTEM might be reacting against. And remember when I said that Functional Medicine was something that you had to play a participating role in? Unfortunately, half of the veterans enrolled dropped out (they chose to swallow MORPHEUS' BLUE PILL). The other half saw a change in their weight, but failed to see changes in "waist/hip circumference, walking speed, and insomnia." They did score better on some of their blood work as well as joint pain, HEADACHES, and PERCEIVED STRESS, although they failed to change overall pain scores.
Why weren't the results better? For one thing it's the VA. It's a real challenge to take 50 veterans with chronic illnesses and try run true Functional Medicine protocols in a VA setting. Because of this (and not to pick on the authors) it was, as I referred to it in the past, "FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE LITE". For another, I thought their Elimination Diet could have been better (among other things, ALL GRAINS --- not just the gluten-containing grains ---must be eliminated in the beginning). Looking at their Elimination Diet made me realize I probably need to redo my post on the topic. But overall, it was a definite improvement over the norm, as the authors concluded.
I still think that it all boils down to education and motivation. And while educating patients is critical, unless the treating physician is excellent at extracting from each patient what truly and deeply motivates them, making the sort of connection that will help drive them to want to get healthy will, in many cases, remain difficult. My hope is that this is the beginning of some real changes in our veteran's healthcare, and not simply a case of government placating TICKED OFF CITIZENS, while looking for the next best thing.
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I applaud the individuals who did this study. If you --- my readers --- are looking to break out of the prison that is your health, I've got the perfect post for you (HERE). And if you know others that could benefit from this information, be sure to get it in front of them. The easiest way is to like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK.
HOW IMPORTANT IS FASCIA TO THE FIELD OF BIOMECHANICS?
FASCIA IS EVERYTHING!
Whether running, lifting weights, playing tennis, or throwing a baseball, proper biomechanics are paramount. I recall years ago listening to an interview with the half-crazed, four time Superbowl winning middle linebacker, Bill Romanowski (he's on everyone's Top Ten dirtiest players of all time list). It seems that after his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Romanowski was worried about not being able to pick up with another team because his time in the 40 had dropped so much. If I recall the story correctly, Romanowski found a kinesiologist in Denver, who figured out that he had a mechanical problem with his big toe, corrected said problem, allowing Romanowski to go on to not only play, but play at a high level, winning two more SB rings with the Elway-led Denver Broncos.
Bottom line; when your biomechanics are fouled up, you get the same result(s) you would get when the mechanics of your vehicle are fouled up --- things wear out much faster than they otherwise would. Think about a car with a misaligned front end. Sure, it will get you to where you want to go. But the steering wheel vibrates and shakes in your hands, and you end up going through tires significantly faster than you otherwise would.
Today I would like to take just a few minutes to discuss a paper (Fascia – The Unsung Hero of Spinal Biomechanics) that was published just days ago in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies by Dr. Mark Driscoll, a researcher and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Montreal's McGill University.
FASCIA AND BIOMECHANICS
Because there are multiple muscles that accomplish very similar movements, fascia must be removed from the mathematical equations in order to make them "solvable". "This often results by tossing fascia aside, so to speak, perhaps analogous to how anatomist did so during dissections. Nevertheless, over the last decade fascia has gained acknowledgement as a player in biomechanics by way of conveying mechanical forces directly or indirectly." The way that fascia transmits forces directly is by moving said forces from one attachment point to the other (remember that fascia has the ability to contract -- HERE). Indirectly, fascia swaddles the muscle, wrapping it tight and essentially 'directing' its forces and pressures. Dr. Driscoll goes on to talk about the way that this affects spinal mechanics. Here are some cherry-picked highlights of his next paragraph.
"The spine is a biomechanical marvel in regards to its intricate control and performance. However, because of such complexities many things can go wrong, perhaps why the spine is responsible for plaguing so many with pain. The role of fascia in spinal stability has yet to be fully understood but several novel and valuable discoveries have been made. Clinically, many researchers have shown and alluded to the role of the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) in spine stability. The TLF is believed to play a role in transferring forces during coordinated activities and, consequently, such important function may be coupled with pathologies and clinical observations of TLF dysfunction. Mechanically, the tension in the TLF is regulated by many muscular attachments spanning the spino-pelvic region and by the intra-abdominal and muscular pressures. These notions further complicate the task of rehabilitation practitioners who attempt to decipher the culprit(s) when TLF related pain or spinal stability issues are present."
For those of you who follow my site, you're already up on this (HERE are the side-by-side videos of healthy -vs- unhealthy fascia). I have given you any number of incredible posts on the thick, tough, diamond-shaped Thoracolumbar Fascia, including HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. It's why spinal posture matters (HERE and HERE). It's why strength matters as well (HERE), and why coordination and motion are also part of the equation (HERE and HERE). It's also why you cannot ignore your abdominals and core (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) And the cherry on the sundae is that unlike some muscles / tissues that can be exceedingly difficult to access (psoas for instance), the Thoracolumbar area is easy to get to.
Dr. Driscoll goes on to admit that rehabbing a problematic back can be difficult because everyone is so different (I believe this is at least part of what makes some athletes or individuals 'injury prone,' while others never seem to miss a lick). Because of these differences, the fact that spinal biomechanics (especially as related to fascia) are so poorly understood, and because abnormal biomechanics rapidly set up "compensatory" patterns, "where, when, and how to rehabilitate is a difficult task for any, and an even more challenging task is to systematically present a turnkey rehabilitation program to alleviate symptoms such as back pain." He's right you know. A "turnkey" or cookie-cutter rehab program is a pipe dream for any number of reasons, one of the biggest being something that he did not mention here --- inflammation.
As many before me have said, we are THE PROVERBIAL INFLAMMATION NATION --- arguably the most INFLAMED society in history, despite being the most prosperous. As I have talked about on my site until I am blue in the face, we can do all the mechanical rehab in the world, and unless we are doing the chemical rehab (inflammation is a chemical issue), it will all ultimately be for naught. Allow me to show you a few of the heavy-hitter inflammatory problems related to the spine and fascia.
- DIABETES: I've shown you HERE that it's an inflammatory problem and that it seriously affects connective tissues, fascia included. BTW, bones are connective tissues also, and are affected by inflammation (HERE). And unfortunately, the meds used to treat diabetics suck (HERE).
- OBESITY / OVERWEIGHT: Yep; it's inflammatory as well (HERE), and as you might suspect, it is intimately related to fascia. If you click the link, you'll see that this relationship is more than just mechanical stress due to excess weight.
- ARTHRITIS: Anything with "itis" is a dead give-away as it is the Latin term for inflammation (HERE, HERE and HERE). Abnormal mechanics cause wear, and the wear causes abnormal mechanics. Now add in the inflammation that occurs due to perpetuated tissue damage and you have a real problem on your hands --- a vicious cycle that few doctors are addressing effectively. Why not? Because the brutal truth with this bullet (not to mention all of the previous bullets) your doctor can't do it for you (HERE) --- it's largely up to you.
- AUTOIMMUNITY: Autoimmune diseases are legion, are caused by inflammation, and frequently affect fascia (HERE).
- CANCER: Cancer is inflammatory and in many cases affects or is affected by fascia (HERE).
- DISEASE IN GENERAL: There are increasing numbers of people far smarter than me saying that the root of all sickness, disease, and pain can be found in fouled up fascia (HERE).
In my free SELF-HELP PROTOCOL, I try to address, at least on some level, the many areas of physiology that will have to be accounted for so that real healing can take place wherever you need it to take place (spine included). You can meet Dr. Driscoll at the Fifth Fascia Congress, which will be held in Berlin, Germany on November 13-15. If you are looking for more information on fascia, I have a list of nearly 150 posts on my FASCIA SUPER-POST.
WHAT "THICKENED" FASCIA REALLY TELLS YOU
"Because of injury, illness, stress, aging and repetitive use, this tissue will shorten, thicken become more unyielding and twist according to the pattern of strain to which the body is subjected. As the fascia thickens and hardens where chronic tension is present, the fibers begin to solidify creating structure that no longer feel like soft tissue but rather tendons or ligaments. In addition to hardening tissues, severe pain begins to arise and blood and lymph now fight to get through to the blocked area causing poor circulation and nutrition. In situations such as these, exercise can exacerbate the areas due to blood and lymph being unable to circulate and flush out old fluids." From Ron Thompson's article, More About Fascia. Thompson, of the Tampa area, trained with Ida Rolf and has been treating patients for half a century.
"And your wise men don't know how it feels... To be thick... As a brick." Jethro Tull from 1972's Thick as a Brick
Many people come to my clinic, get treated, GET GREAT RESULTS, and never take things to the next level. In other words, most never modify their inflammation levels by changing their lifestyles or diets. This is unfortunate because at least briefly, I mention the importance of this to everyone I that I treat with Tissue Remodeling, as well as giving them THIS HANDOUT with THIS ARTICLE circled (THIS ONE also) for them to read. I also frequently mention doing an ELIMINATION DIET in order to empower people to start addressing any diet-based inflammation that may be present. Why is addressing inflammation such a big deal? Because the end result of inflammation is always the same thing --- fibrosis (HERE) --- America's leading cause of death (HERE).
Please remember that even though you frequently see them together, used in the same sentence, swelling and inflammation are not synonymous terms. INFLAMMATION is the collective name given to a large group of the body's chemical messengers; messengers that sometimes attract swelling to them. What's important to grasp here is that not only is inflammation a normal part of your immune system response, without it your body cannot heal damaged cells or tissues. However....
When there is too much inflammation present, not just locally but even more critically, SYSTEMICALLY, the healing process will be hindered. Significantly hindered. Many people are aware that "itis" is the medical term for inflammation, but I'm not sure that they realize that the biggest portion of sickness and disease (according to current research about 85-90%) is not, as you have been led to believe, due to your particular genetic makeup (genetics), but is instead predicated on whether or not you are triggering these so-called "bad" genes to do "bad" things by living a "bad" lifestyle and eating "bad" foods (EPIGENETICS).
One of the problems with fibrosis is that it is thicker than normal tissue --- in most cases much thicker --- a fact I have shown you previously (HERE). The problem with abnormal or pathological thickened connective tissues is that they hinder function. A simple way to think about it is that as long as everything else is equal, a thin piece of elastic is going to be stretchier than a thick piece. The key is to have enough thickness so that the tissue is strong enough to resist being pulled apart, but not so much thickness that it looses elasticity. Because FASCIA is so naturally thin anyway, the differences between thick and thin, as you'll soon see, are often subtle.
Historically, these differences in normal fascia and fibrotic fascia could not be measured because MRI, contrary to what millions of people have been led to believe, does a poor job of imaging fascia, particularly at the microscopic levels needed to show the "adhesions" responsible for TETHERED RANGES OF MOTION. What is being used to visualize some of these restrictions besides Tissue Remodeling? Although ultrasound technology is still not to the point where it is going to show everything that desperate and hurting people hope it will, it has improved dramatically, to the point where FASCIAL ADHESIONS of heavy fascia (such as that of the Thoracolumbar Fascia) and TRIGGER POINTS can be imaged (HERE).
And while the newest of this newer technology (sonoelastography) was verified just a couple of weeks ago in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (Reliability of the Upper Trapezius Muscle and Fascia Thickness and Strain Ratio Measures by Ultrasonography and Sonoelastography in Participants With Myofascial Pain Syndrome), a good overview of the technique can be found in the abstract of a 2012 issue of the Journal of Medical Ultrasound (Musculoskeletal Sonoelastography: A Focused Review of its Diagnostic Applications for Evaluating Tendons and Fascia).
"Sonoelastography is a diagnostic ultrasound technique that provides a noninvasive means of estimating soft tissue elasticity and stiffness. It is based on the principle that the compression of soft tissue produces strain that is greater in tissues that are softer and more elastic than in harder, more rigid tissues. Pathological and healthy tissues can present with similar echogenicity and morphology on conventional ultrasound. However, alterations in tissue elasticity often occur with degeneration or other pathological changes that involve the soft tissues."
If you have ever BUTCHERED ANYTHING, you've seen fascia. It's the super tough cellophane-like membrane that covers virtually all the tissues in your body (it has different names according to which specific tissue), but is most commonly associated with being the covering of MUSCLES. When this tissue is injured, it thickens, hindering it's ability to slide and glide on whatever tissue, nerve, blood vessel, or muscle it covers. The end result is not only pain and restricted motion, but the LOSS OF PROPRIOCEPTION that an increasing number of elite researchers believe could be the cause of all sickness and disease (see link).
- Back in 2012, one of the world's leaders in soft tissue problems, Dr. Warren Hammer, showed in an article for D.C. (Fascial Thickening Is Responsible for Musculoskeletal Pain) that a number of studies have proved that fascia thickens in response to mechanical or biochemical insults, and that this thickened fascia adversely affects numerous tissues, causing "abnormal proprioception, incoordination of muscle function, and pain." It also leads to degenerative changes of said joints.
- In an article by DR. HELENE LANGEVIN that I previously mentioned in my post on FASCIA & AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES; she states in What Role Does Fascia Play in Rheumatic Diseases? that "Recent studies describing thickening and decreased mobility of the thoracolumbar fascia in patients with chronic back pain suggest the presence of inflammation and/or fibrosis." How much did the tissue thicken? If you take a look at my numerous posts on the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA (including some of her work), you'll see that it thickened by about 25%.
- Because I've dabbled a bit with fascia work on horses (HERE), this piece caught my eye. Listen to these cherry-picked sentences from a 2014 Facebook post on Dr. Kerry Ridgway's (DVM) page. Ridgway runs the Institute for Equine Therapeutic Options in Aiken SC and says, "Fascial thickening has been held responsible for chronic pain in both the neck and lower back. It is therefore probable that if spindle cells are embedded in thickened, densified fascia, its ability to be stretched would be affected and normal spindle cell feedback to the CNS would be altered."
- Less than a month ago, Amanda Oswald of England's Pain Care Clinics, wrote an article for her blog called An Introduction to Fascia in which she said of fascial thickening, "Fascial thickening in the wrong places can lead to restrictions which change posture and balance, reroute tensional forces and overload pain sensitive structures. It is these restrictions that can lead to many of the common chronic pain conditions that baffle the medical profession as they are unable to find an attributable structural cause. This is often because even thickened restricted fascia cannot be identified using common diagnostic tests such as MRI scans. And even if it was identified, many medical professionals have not yet been trained to understand the significance of the fascia they are identifying. The reason lies back in their student days when dissected fascia was stripped away as being medically insignificant." My anatomy class at KSU was one of the only undergrad programs in the US to use cadavers, and Logan had a brand new, state of the art dissection lab. I can vouch for the veracity of the last sentence of the quote above.
- Leon Chaitow has been in practice as an osteopath / naturopath since 1960. He has lectured worldwide, authored over 70 books (including Fascia; The Tensional Network of the Human Body that he co-authored with Drs. Schleip, Findley, and Huijing, as well as Fascial Dysfunction: Manual Therapy Approaches) and is widely considered one of the world's foremost experts on the subject. A few years ago he wrote an article called What Happens When Fascia Stops Sliding….? in which he stated "Ultrasound imaging suggested that there was a thickening of the loose connective tissue relating to key cervical muscles in individuals with chronic neck pain. Following treatment (Fascia Manipulation or a combination of massage, electrotherapy and laser) symptomatic improvement was noted – along with reduction in the previously noted thickening – with the FM approach producing more lasting benefits." He went on to talk at length about the role of HA in this phenomenon.
AREAS, DISEASES, AND COMMON HEALTH ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH PAIN RELATED TO THICKENED FASCIA
- BOTTOM OF THE FOOT: No anatomical area has had more research on thickened fascia than the bottom of the foot -- the plantar fasica. Although this is typically referred to as "FASCIITIS," it seems that in similar fashion to what we see with TENDINITIS / TENDINOSIS, this term is not as accurate as it could be (remember that "itis" indicates inflammation). The website of an Australian podiatry clinic (Podantics) explains this in an article called What is the Difference Between Plantar Fasciitis and Plantar Fasciosis? "One is an inflamed plantar fascia, the other is a degenerated plantar fascia. After some time of injury and re-injury, the plantar fascia can begin to deteriorate (plantar fasciosis), which is represented by a disorganisation and fragmentation of the collagen fibers and death of surrounding cellular tissue. The collagen fibers are separated by a myxoid substance, a semi-solid gel intermixed with waste products, which thickens the fascia, decreases cohesion between the fibres and further decreases it’s strength. The initial increase of oxygen, nutrients and cells to the injured area during the inflammatory process is replaced by a decrease in small blood vessels and a lack of oxygen, nutrients and growth factors." There are, in fact, numerous studies attesting to this very thing.
- THE PALM OF THE HAND: Known as DUPUYTREN'S CONTRACTURE or Dupuytren's Disease, Northwest Orthopedic Associates in Spokane WA had this to say about Dupuytren's on their website, "This condition is a thickening of the fascia on the palm of the hand. This thickened fascia can form lumps or nodules under the skin, or long thick cords of tissue that extend from the palm to the fingers. Often, this thickened tissue contracts." And while these surgeons let their readers know that the people who get this problem tend to be older males of Scandanavian or European decent, they also listed a host of epigenetic factors that trigger the thickening --- including diabetes. Speaking of diabetes...
- THOSE WITH DIABETES: I RECENTLY WROTE A POST on what sugar diabetes does to connective tissues (as you may have already guessed, it thickens them). Since then I found a very cool study that shows a correlation between the thickness of the fascia on the bottom of the foot (the Plantar Fascia) and the amount of tissue glycation taking place in collagen-based connective tissues by measuring something called advanced glycation endproducts or AGES. The study (Plantar Fascia Thickness, A Measure of Tissue Glycation, Predicts the Development of Complications in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes) in an ADA journal Diabetes Care, concluded that, "In patients with diabetes, hyperglycemia-mediated synthesis of new collagen and accumulation of glycation products accelerate age-related changes to the skin, connective tissue, and joints, including decreased elasticity, increased collagen cross-linking, and loss of enzymatic digestibility of the extracellular matrix. AGE residues in skin collagen are associated with severity of hyperglycemia as well as the presence of long-term complications. Limited joint mobility of the interphalangeal joints in the hands is also associated with increased risk of retinopathy [blindness] and nephropathy [kidney failure]. Plantar fascia thickening is a significant predictor of the subsequent development of complications in type 1 diabetes, suggesting that glycation and oxidation of collagen in soft tissues may be independent risk factors for microvascular complications."
- SHOULDER FASCIA: A Dutch publication, The Journal of Medicine, published a letter to the editor titled Ultrasound Imaging of Shoulder Fasciitis Due to Polymyalgia Rheumatica. POLYMYALGIA RHEUMATICA is an autoimmune disease that among other things, attacks connective tissues. "Fascia and soft tissues, which are rich in collagen, receptors of pain, and capable of significant distention, may be targets of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, causing morning stiffness, swelling, severe pain and limitation in movement." The point of the study was that ultrasound technology could image the thickened fascia in the affected shoulder(s). A similar study, this one from Muscle & Nerve (Increased Fascial Thickness of the Deltoid Muscle in Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis: An Ultrasound Study) found an almost identical scenario when looking at diseases in the "MYOSITIS" family.
- ABDOMINAL FASCIA: Although I've previously written about Scar Tissue in the ABDOMINAL WALL -VS- ABDOMINAL CAVITY, the biggest and baddest problem associated with abdominal wall thickening would be CANCER and a wide array of tumors (many malignant, but not all). I also found any number of studies indicating other problems that can cause thickening of the abdominal fascia --- COPD, ENDOMETRIOSIS, hernia repairs, hematomas and ABDOMINAL MUSCLE TEARS, CHRONIC LOW GRADE INFECTIONS, IBD, along with dozens of others. Dr. Morton Meyer's book Dynamic Radiology of the Abdomen: Normal and Pathologic Anatomy stated that, "The normal thickness of the fascial planes is 1-2 mm thickness on CT. A fascia that is focally thickened or greater than 2-3 mm width is usually abnormal." Just bear in mind that CT is not worth a flip for finding run of the mill FASCIAL ADHESIONS.
- PELVIC FASCIA: When I talk about Pelvic Fascia, I am typically referring to the fascia around the pelvis (PIRIFORMIS, CUTANEOUS NERVE ENTRAPMENT, HIP FLEXORS, GROIN, and/or TFL / ITB). Although there are tons of articles and studies on pelvic fascia, these are typically in reference to either cancer or PELVIC FLOOR PAIN (or HERE). California's Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Centers had a great article on this topic called Sitting on Painful Fascia: Connective Tissue and Pelvic Pain. "Fascia has become quite the buzzword for treating everything from chronic neck pain, ACL repair surgery, plantar fasciitis, and yes—even pelvic floor dysfunction. Superficial and deep fascia act as padding and covering for protection of delicate structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and bones. The composure of a layered system allows for sliding mechanisms, as multiple sheaths separated by a unique fluid primarily composed of hyaluronic acid; and it is also considered a part of our nervous system. When thickening, or densification, occurs at a particular point in the connective tissue of the shoulder, the calf muscle, or the groin, where vital layers of connective tissue must glide, a pain response is usually created as the tissue pulls and rubs irregularly. The fascia uses a sliding structure to enable smooth movement; the fluid-like substance between layers contains hyaluronic acid is found to be more viscous is denser points of fascia—it begins to act more like honey, with the layers sticking together, creating faulty movement and faulty messages back to the spinal cord and brain." The authors go on to talk about what it takes to RESTORE PROPRIOCPTIVE POWER to fouled fascia. And yes, fascia is a second nervous system (HERE).
- CONGENITAL THICKENING OF FASCIA: Discovered in 1970, Congenital Fascial Dystrophy (Stiff Skin Syndrome) is just that, a non-inflammatory thickening of the fascia that can lead to some serious problems. But fortunately, it's rare. What's far more common are the various diseases that fall under an autoimmune category collectively referred to as "SCLERODERMA" --- the abnormal growth and thickening of various connective tissues, and frequently associated with, or giving sufferers the impression of, being in the skin. Scleroderma can be severe enough to actually affect not only the musculoskeletal system, but one's organs as well. Bear in mind that most autoimmune diseases, while certainly having a genetic component, are far more affected by EPIGENETIC FACTORS than the average doctor lets on. In other words, you may not be able to "cure" the stuff, but by golly, in most cases you can keep it in check (more to come momentarily). And while it might not totally fit here, this is as good a place as any to mention LIPEDEMA.
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DEAL WITH YOUR THICKENED FASCIA
Firstly, because 99% of the problems we discussed today share a common denominator (INFLAMMATION), you have no choice but to address it if you truly want to get better. While changing your diet is the lowest of the low-hanging reparative fruit, there are numerous underlying problems that can potentially drive inflammation (HERE; important since most disease processes share several universal characteristics). Secondly, for many of you, BRAIN FUNCTION will need to be addressed as well. This is because a significant amount of CHRONIC PAIN (TYPE III PAIN) is not caused by tissue damage, but instead by ABNORMAL BRAIN LOOPS that have been "learned" by repetition. In similar fashion to the way you learn to do anything, do it enough and you tend to get good at it. Unfortunately, pain can work the same way.
So, although there is no way that every person will be able to solve every health issue they struggle with on their own, the cool thing is that they can improve most of them. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and suggest that when it comes to CHRONIC DEGENERATIVE INFLAMMATORY DISEASES (including AUTOIMMUNITY), not only can people usually do better on their own than they could using standard medical fare (i.e. PRESCRIPTION), getting out of the box and attacking your problem yourself is the only way that most of you will have a prayer at solving, not just 'improving' your problem (the topic of an upcoming post --- on FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE). If you want to see a "Big Picture" approach to improving / solving your health problems, HERE IS ONE that has the potential to help the majority of you pull yourselves out of the pit that is your health.
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I certainly hope that today's post was helpful for someone out there struggling to cope with their chronic issues. If you feel this information needs to be shared, by all means share it. The best way to reach those you love and care about most? Try liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.
THIS WEEK IN FLU VACCINE PROPAGANDA
TRUST OUR GOVERNMENT'S MEDICAL EXPERTS? NOT A CHANCE!
But the piece that really caught my eye came from one of the many 'medical dailys' that I get in my inbox every morning. Medpage Today carried a story (it would be more accurate to call it a propaganda piece or advertisement) called This Flu Season, Don't Forget About Tamiflu. The article was the transcript of a short video by one Arnold Monto, a Professor of Global Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan (his stated area of interest and expertise, "prevention and treatment of influenza"). Here are a few of the cherry-picked highlights of the transcript of his video.
"Despite recent controversies about its effectiveness, clinicians should not forget about using the antiviral, oseltamivir (Tamiflu), to help shorten the course of influenza among patients during the coming flu season. What's happening is that we are about to have an influenza outbreak, or it's already starting. We know that this influenza outbreak in the U.S. is mainly H3N2, which is the one that's the most severe in terms of causing severe morbidity and mortality. We also know that the vaccine doesn't work as well against this kind of influenza, and what we really need to remember is that we should be using Tamiflu as the one licensed antiviral that we have which is commonly available. We should not hesitate to use what we've got because these drugs are not super drugs."
Although, as you will soon see, the last part of the last sentence is an understatement of epic proportions, Monto went on to talk about the "strong" recommendations by the CDC for Tamiflu, as well as the "controversy between two journals in terms of how they view Tamiflu". That would be two of the oldest and most prestigious journals on the planet --- the Lancet and the British Medical Journal. We'll talk about these in a moment, but allow me to throw a third entity into this scrum. Although it's not a journal, COCHRANE (a loosely-knit group of about 40,000 physicians, scientists, and researchers from around the globe) is considered the gold standard for taking large amounts of data from dozens --- or even hundreds --- of similar studies, throwing it all together, and then "crunching the data" so as to make sense of it all, with an objective of coming to some useful "evidence-based" conclusions.
The point of today's post is to warn you to take everything (even what you read on my site) with a grain of salt. As an example of what I'm talking about, I'd like to provide you a timeline, along with some highlights of the studies and stories that were published over the past couple of decades concerning the multi-billion dollar drug known as Tamiflu and its relationship to Dr. Monto --- the above-mentioned researcher / physician. Bear in mind that Dr. Monto is widely considered one of the leading experts in Flu Vaccines and antiviral medications in the United States, and possibly the world.
- 2000: Although Y2K didn't turn out to be the electronic apocalypse so widely predicted by the experts, it did give us the antiviral drug Tamiflu (a drug meant to be taken if you get the flu, or as a prophylactic / preventative if someone in your home or workplace gets the flu). Hoffmann-La Roche and Gilead Sciences put out a PRESS RELEASE to let the world know it would be a better place with Tamiflu. "The results of several clinical studies show that Tamiflu is up to 92% effective in preventing influenza illness in adolescents, adults and the elderly when taken once daily. The studies examined Tamiflu’s ability to prevent the development of flu in three different settings: households, communities and residential nursing homes." Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Stick around because it gets better --- before it gets worse.
- 2002: Nearly two dozen experts got together in October in Geneva, Switzerland (home of the World Health Organization or WHO --- not to be confused with PETE TOWNSEND'S BAND --- and only a two hour drive from Basel, home of Roche) in order to create some "GUIDELINES" for Flu Vaccines and the antivirals to be used if the vaccines didn't work (As I discussed in the previous bullet, people were also encouraged to take these if they thought they may have been exposed).
- 2003: Without any co-authors, Monto published a paper in the journal Vaccine (The Role of Antivirals in the Control of Influenza) touting the benefits of antivirals (zanamivir aka Relenza made by GSK, and oseltamivir aka Tamiflu made by ROCHE). "70-90% efficacious" was touted, and there were strong recommendations by Monto concerning the need for stockpiling these drugs in advance of the ever-looming flu pandemic.
- 2004: The long-awaited flu anti-viral guidelines finally came out.
- 2005: The year we CRUNCHED THE DRUNK saw another study authored by Monto, this one in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology (Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: Should Hospitals Stockpile Oseltamivir?). To answer the rhetorical question posed in the study's title; of course they should! "The outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Asia has reignited concerns about an influenza pandemic. It is clear that influenza vaccine will be in short supply (or nonexistent) early in an influenza pandemic. Without vaccine, the role of antiviral agents, especially oseltamivir, in treatment and prophylaxis is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the government cannot possibly stockpile enough oseltamivir to provide long-term prophylaxis or treatment for every healthcare worker in the United States. We think that hospitals should consider stockpiling oseltamivir...." If you think that this sounds more like a sales pitch than a study, stick around. I almost forgot, the NYT ran a story (Pressure Rises on Producer of a Flu Drug) about that ultra-trustworthy head (KOFI ANNAN) of that ultra-trustworthy agency (the UN), who was hollering that there should be enough Tamiflu / Oseltamivir produced for everyone (that would be everyone as in all of the billions of people on the planet). This was a wet dream come true for industry, and as you'll soon see, if BIG PHARMA can create fear and panic, they can scare you into wanting / buying drugs you don't really need.
- 2006: The journal Emerging Infectious Diseases carried still another plea to stockpile Tamiflu in the form of another singularly-authored paper by Monto (Vaccines and Antiviral Drugs in Pandemic Preparedness) saying that, "While measures such as closing schools and social distancing may slow the effects of pandemic influenza, only vaccines and antiviral drugs are clearly efficacious in preventing infection or treating illness. Unless the pandemic strain closely resembles one already recognized, vaccine will not be available early. However, studies can be conducted beforehand to address questions concerning vaccine dose, frequency of inoculation, and need for adjuvants. In contrast, antiviral drugs will be effective for treatment and available if stockpiling takes place." Another fear-laden sales pitch? Read it again and you tell me. And if you are not sure what ADJUVANTS are, just click the link.
- 2006 PART II: This was the year that things started unraveling (or at least fraying around the edges) for Doc Monto and some of his buddies. After looking at over 50 studies, authors from Cochrane published a piece for Lancet called Antivirals for Influenza in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review that concluded "The use of amantadine and rimantadine [zanamivir and oseltamivir] should be discouraged. Because of their low effectiveness, neuraminidase inhibitors should not be used in seasonal influenza control and should only be used in a serious epidemic or pandemic alongside other public-health measures." Get ready folks because the fur is going to start flying and the S is going to HTF! Monto fired back with a similarly-named letter of his own (not a study, but a letter to the editor) called Antivirals for Influenza in Healthy Adults. The debate centered on a topic I myself have covered here --- the difference between flu -vs- flu-like. After making his case for both Tamiflu and Relenza, Monto admitted in print (for the first time that I have been able to ascertain) that he'd been taking money from the manufactures of both drugs, Roche and GSK.
- 2007: Tamiflu apologists hit back and hit back hard --- with another press release. EurekAlert published an article / news release (it carried the caveat, "EurekAlert is not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert") called Experts Predict Tamiflu Could Halve the Pandemic Influenza Death Toll Versus No Intervention, which stated "Treatment with the oral antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and prophylaxis for people exposed to infected patients could be one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing illness and death during an influenza pandemic. According to modelling research, a stockpile of Tamiflu sufficient to cover 65% of a country's population could cut deaths by approximately half." The battle is heating up because one side (the pharmacide) is warning that we are inviting disaster if we don't stockpile, while the other side (Cochrane and their followers) are becoming increasingly vocal that said stockpiling is an expensive waste of taxpayer dollars.
- 2008: Yet again, Monto single-handedly authored a "scientific" paper, this one for the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal called Antivirals and Influenza: Frequency of Resistance. Although as far as I could tell from the abstract he was not out and out calling for these drugs to be used on children and infants, what are you supposed to think when a paper such as this one is published in a journal read almost exclusively by pediatricians? Oh; and as you might expect, he continued to tout the 70-90% effective statistic. Monto also admitted here that stockpiling is taking place and that this is a good thing.
- 2009: Dr. Monto and a partner from the University of Michigan published a study in Expert Review of Vaccines (Seasonal Influenza Vaccines: Evolutions and Future Trends) that talked about some of the numerous problems associated with the flu vaccine (and subsequent need for antivirals). "For some time, the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines [the ones most used today] have been recognized as having deficiencies. These deficiencies are now being addressed by a number of innovative approaches in vaccine development. Each new vaccine will need to be evaluated carefully, ideally against placebo as well as against a standard vaccine, to determine absolute and relative efficacy. Such data will be necessary to inform decisions on making selections for use." Obviously this pie-in-the-sky feel good stuff is not happening because Cochrane looked at scores of studies on flu vaccines for the elderly and concluded they were no better than placebo (HERE). So much for the evidence. This was also the year that a group of researchers (including Monto) published Protecting the Herd From H1N1 in the journal Science. For the record, H1N1 is aka Swine Flu. It was around this time that swine flu paranoia was beginning to sweep across the United States in earnest.
- 2010 PART I: 2010 was a monster year in the field of flu vaccine corruption. Medpage Today --- the site that provided the fodder for today's post --- published a story called Investigation Raises Questions About WHO's Handling of Pandemic that talked about Monto receiving speaking monies from industry. I don't have the slightest idea of how much he received, but I do know that 'speaking fees' for pharma can work in similar fashion to the way Bill & Hillary took "speaking fees" from numerous corporations, earning them as much as a million dollars for a 45 minute speech ("money combines with the cash receptors in your doctor's wallet to provide fast-acting financial relief...." HERE). Not bad work when you can get it!
- 2010 PART II: We start to see why Monto may have been so hot to trot to promote Tamiflu and Relenz, as 2010 was the year we started to see the bigger picture. On his site, Natural News, Mike Adams wrote, "After months of stalling, the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally revealed the names of key pandemic advisors who influenced its decision to declare a phase six pandemic last year - a decision that resulted in a financial windfall for vaccine manufacturers. That list includes at least five expert advisors received money from vaccine companies. Here's who received money from Big Pharma and then influenced the WHO decision to declare a pandemic: Arnold Monto is a professor from the United States who has received money from virtually all the major vaccine manufacturers: GSK, Novartis, Roche, Baxter and Sanofi Pasteur. He has specifically been given grant money by Sanofi Pasteur to study influenza vaccines." These sorts of payments are nothing new, and are characteristic of the "pandemic" (no pun intended) of corruption within Big Pharma (again, see earlier link on "guidelines").
- 2010 PART III: The Townsend Letter published an expose by one Len Saputo (MD) called The Infection Deception: Deep Politics, Global Health Policy, and the Swine Flu Debacle that not only mentioned Monto for taking money from industry, but talked about a number of sordid facts pertaining to the entire vaccine industry. The British Medical Journal even got into the act with an article called Conflicts of Interest: WHO and the Pandemic Flu Conspiracies. Although I am not going to delve into it (it's more of the same old same old we've been talking about), Dr. Monto was mentioned by name ten (10) times. The authors accused him of taking money without declaring any FINANCIAL COI.
- 2013: Part of what was earlier exposed by Cochrane was that Roche had chosen not to publish something like 60% of their studies on Tamiflu (I WROTE ABOUT THIS BACK IN 2013). This phenomenon has become so popular with big pharma (approximately half of all trials are buried) that they have been given a special little name (INVISIBLE & ABANDONED). If you never report your failures, your product --- in this case Tamiflu --- looks much better than it is. Shhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone but this is how I came to be the world record holder for consecutively made free throws (HERE). 2013 was also the year that something that came to a head only recently (HERE) started being exposed and talked about --- the fact that if you had a flu shot last year, this year's shot will be significantly less effective. In fact, Monto and a colleague wrote a letter in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease (Reply to Sullivan and Kelly and Skowronski) explaining why they thought this research was incorrect. Oh; and that meta-analysis by Cochrane a few years earlier saying that flu vaccines for the over-65 crowd were essentially a placebo (something like 76 people would have to be vaccinated to prevent a single case of flu); Monto wrote another letter to the editor (this one in the journal Vaccine --- Cochrane Re-arranged: Support for Policies to Vaccinate Elderly People Against Influenza) arguing that he was right and Cochrane --- the "gold standard" of medical meta-analysis --- was wrong.
- 2013 PART II: In February of 2013, Roche put out another press release promising, as have many politicians, to be more "transparent," and release the data from the studies (at least some of the studies) that they had previously chosen not to publish. BMJ published an article (Re: Tamiflu Correspondence with Roche) that asked hard questions like, "Why has Roche not given all the Tamiflu (oseltamivir) data to the Cochrane Collaboration, as they requested?" "Is Roche refusing to share the Tamiflu data with other independent researchers?" and "What does Roche say about claims that Tamiflu is not effective?" You can read their answers online, but suffice it to say, their responses would have made even the most vague politicians proud. An article by a mainstream pharmaceutical news source (Eye For Pharma) published an article (Window Dressing: Roche Launches New Process for Accessing Clinical Trial Data) showing how bogus this entire process really was.
"An ‘independent’ body will assess requests for patient-level data on drugs that have completed the regulatory review process in the US and the EU, which may be released upon agreement starting this year. Roche invited other pharma players to consider whether this could be an industry-wide initiative. However it is also worth noting that the four-man ‘independent’ body includes three consultants who have all received consulting fees from Roche in the past. Pharmalot originally uncovered this development, stating that Albert Osterhaus, Arnold Monto and Richard Whitley have all worked with the company previously, raising the question of whether this panel is truly independent and leading some to ask whether this is a victory for clinical trial transparency at all. The Cochrane Collaboration and the British Medical Journal launched in 2009 a campaign to access data from all the trials for independent assessment, and despite a promise made by the company in December that year to make 'full study reports' available, none of them have been released to date."
- 2015: 2015 proved to be one of those schizophrenic who-the-heck-are-you-supposed-to-believe? years ---- if you had not already been following the debate. In January of that year, the Pharmaceutical Journal spilled the beans with the title of their article, Tamiflu Shortens Flu Symptoms by a Day. Monto and a team of researchers shot back with Oseltamivir Treatment for Influenza in Adults: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials that was published in the January issue of the Lancet. You can figure out what they concluded by looking at a news release from Reuters that was published on the 30th of that month, Study Supports Roche's Disputed Blockbuster Flu Drug Tamiflu (Pharmafile's headline read Government Spending on Tamfilu is Justified). Of course it does and is; unless it doesn't and isn't. Case in point, one of Oxford University's many journals (this one from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine) published a revealing article called Dobson Lancet Tamiflu Re-Analysis: Independent Review Group. Really? that showed exactly what the title implies --- a continued conflict of interest and coverup. Monto and crew struck back with still another letter; this one published in the September issue of Lancet called Oseltamivir for Influenza – Authors' Reply, in which he and his team defended their research saying that they, "strongly disagree that our article reported simply 'new interpretations of already public data.'" Bottom line; whether interpreted by Lancet or BMJ, one showed Tamiflu to shorten the course of the flu by a half day and the other by an entire day. There were, however, an array of "pesky" SIDE EFFECTS, including a serious uptick in vomiting --- a symptom often associated with, but rarely actually seen with influenza. If you are throwing up, you have stomach flu, not flu --- they're different (HERE).
- 2017: And of course there was the piece from a few days ago that we are talking about right now. But just six short weeks previous, a team of researchers, including Monto, were back promoting Tamiflu for your babies in an article for Clinical Infectious Diseases (Efficacy and Safety of Oseltamivir in Children: Systematic Review and Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials). "Oseltamivir has been used to treat children with influenza for nearly two decades, with treatment currently approved for infants 2 weeks of age or older, but efficacy and safety remain controversial." We shouldn't be surprised that he continues to hype this drug both in the media (Medpage) and in peer-review. All I can do is shake my head. I mean really; how much more proof is needed to show this drug is at worst, a sham / scam, and at best, sucks? It seems that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. My brother, an ER Physician at a large Midwest hospital, wrote a letter to the editor of one of his journals this past year in response to an article that a fellow doctor had written about Tamiflu (suffice it to say that the Tamiflu article was not flattering). My brother responded with his own letter, agreeing completely, but also making the point that the same charade that's going on with Tamiflu is going on with the flu vaccines themselves (HERE is his very short letter).
And just today, STAT's Megan Thielking wrote a little ditty called The CDC's Planned Nuclear Prep Talk is now a Flu Prep Talk, which stated, "The CDC has postponed plans to hold a teaching session today on the public health response to a nuclear detonation. Today’s grand rounds session will instead focus on the severe flu season. Health officials want to prep public health professionals on how to reduce the spread of seasonal flu and deal with medicine shortages due to high flu rates in some communities. Hospitals in many parts of the country have been swamped in recent weeks as a severe flu season has taken hold, spurring concerns about whether hospitals are prepared for the next flu pandemic." There really is nothing new under the sun --- it's all recycled madness.
If you want to read more on the subject, information abounds online. I've shown you time and time again that when crazy big money is at stake, things frequently turn into a no-holds-barred Texas Death Match. It's really no different than the government's efforts (both here and in Mexico) to take out the drug cartels. The problem is that the money is so big that if you cut off one of Hydra's heads, two others take it's place.
The biggest difference is that posts like today's deal with cartels that are completely legal. Until they get caught. Scratch that. About the most these folks can ever expect is a slap on the wrist (maybe) and possibly some scorn from a small segment of their peer group who sees them as industry shills. But what can you say? It's the nature of so much of today's oxymoronically-named EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.
ARE YOU LOOKING TO "BOOST" YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?
READ THIS FIRST!
"The role of the gut microbiome in models of inflammatory and autoimmune disease is now well characterized. Renewed interest in the human microbiome and its metabolites, as well as notable advances in host mucosal immunology, has opened multiple avenues of research to potentially modulate inflammatory responses. The complexity and interdependence of these diet-microbe-metabolite-host interactions are rapidly being unraveled. Importantly, most of the progress in the field comes from new knowledge about the functional properties of these microorganisms in physiology and their effect in mucosal immunity and distal inflammation. This review summarizes the preclinical and clinical evidence on how dietary, probiotic, prebiotic, and microbiome based therapeutics affect our understanding of wellness and disease, particularly in autoimmunity." The abstract of a study (The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Systemic Inflammatory Disease) from the issue of the British Medical Journal that was published less than 48 hours ago.
The very first thing you need to do is grasp the fact that when it comes to the immune system, 80% of it lives in your Gut (HERE). And as you are going to see throughout today's post, it's impossible to talk about autoimmunity without simultaneously discussing the health of your Gut (as I have shown you before, most disease processes are slightly different manifestations of the same fouled up metabolic processes that all seem to start with screwed up Gut Health --- HERE).
To kick things off, take a look at what Harvard researchers published in a 2016 issue of the Journal of Autoimmunity (Rethinking Mechanisms of Autoimmune Pathogenesis). Although several theories were mentioned concerning why people become autoimmune, the study talked at length about "the role of the intestinal microbiome in influencing helper T cell polarization and the development of autoimmunity." What's funny about this study is that the author was beating the "genetics" drum. Why do I say "funny". Only because we have seen time and time again that the field of epigenetics is far more responsible for health, good or bad (cancer included), than genetics are (HERE and HERE) --- a fact discussed in Dr. Seyfried's very cool video at the end of THIS POST as well as Dr Marr's in her guest post on mitochondrial dysfunction.
The gist of this study is that you are either training your T-cells or polarizing your T-cells. It's not really a new idea and is something you would have seen back when I showed you that a certain kind of T-cell actually prevents your immune system from running away from itself (T-REG), because it is "trained" by your gut bacteria. Speaking of T-Cells and the immune system, let's take a moment to review the two main parts of your immune system; TH-1 and TH-2 (you can find more in the link at the very top of the page). Remember that TH stands for T-Helper.
- TH-1: TH-1 is often referred to as cell-mediated immunity and is designed to deal with threats inside the cells and tends to be associated with excess inflammation (remember that INFLAMMATION is an immune system response). It also happens to be a chief mechanism responsible for perpetuating autoimmune responses. TH-1 is the part of your immune system associated with the killer T cells, T helper cells, and T suppressor / T regulator cells we call Tregs (remember Tregs for future reference and make sure to check out the link in the previous paragraph). It is the part of the immune system designed specifically to deal with chronic viral infections and gram negative bacteria infections (the CDC says that "Gram-negative bacteria are resistant to multiple drugs and are increasingly resistant to most available antibiotics"). People with TH-1 dominance often show extremely low levels of Vitamin D and will frequently exhibit food sensitivities (GLUTEN is one of many you can read about HERE).
- TH-2: TH-2 is often called humoral or antibody-mediated (B-Cell) immunity, and is designed to address extracellular (outside the cell) threats. It also happens to be anti-inflammatory (remember that inflammation is a good thing, and only when it goes haywire is it bad). The TH-2 part of the immune system is designed to deal with gram positive bacteria (strep and staph are the biggies) and allergens (hay fever type stuff) as well as parasites (TH-2 dominant people will sometimes react against their own "good" gut flora as well). Another unique characteristic of TH-2 dominance is that these folks tend to react against "toxicity" such as CHEMICAL EXPOSURES, POLLUTION, CIGARETTE SMOKE, or almost anything with an artificial or chemical smell. It's a well known fact that women have far greater issues with autoimmunity than men, part of which is likely due to their body becoming TH-2 dominant during PREGNANCY so as not to attack the baby growing inside of them (this is why TH-1 dominant women feel great during pregnancy, while TH-2 dominant women feel terrible). The TH-2 side also happens to be the side of the immune system associated with sedentary lifestyles, negativity, and STRESS.
In similar fashion to the way that people's Autonomic Nervous System can unbalance (usually leaving them with Sympathetic Dominance --- see previous link), either part of the immune system, TH-1 or TH-2, can likewise become dominant and thus tilt the balance of power away from center to one side or the other. This is not always a bad thing depending on the type of threat or invader your body may be dealing with. In fact, this information can be used to your advantage if you build on the basics found in today's post (as you will soon see, there are certain HERBS / SUPPLEMENTS that stimulate only one side of the immune system). In other words, there are actually advantages, depending on what sort of health issue you may be dealing with (particularly when talking about chronic health issues), of doing things to tip the immune system one way or the other.
TH-1 DOMINANT DISEASES
THYROID PROBLEMS (Graves / Hashimoto's), 90% of thyroid issues are autoimmune.
Type I Diabetes
Chronic viral infections (PANDA, CMV/EBV, or HERPES are good examples)
ROSACEA or Vitiligo
TH-2 DOMINANT DISEASES
ALLERGIES & ASTHMA, including ECZEMA, histamine intolerance, hives, hay fever, nasal drip, massive mucus production, IgE / eosiniphil response, etc
COPD not caused by smoking
IBD / IBS (Ulcerative Colitis, not Crohn's)
MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)
CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (or HERE)
THE TH-17 SYSTEM
A decade ago, a group of rheumatologists published a study (TH17 Cells in Human Disease) in the journal Immunology Review (their bibliography contained 300 books and studies) which concluded... "Our understanding of the role of T cells in human disease is undergoing revision as a result of the discovery of T-helper 17 (Th17) cells, characterized by production of interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 is a highly inflammatory cytokine. Inflammation and pathogenesis induced by Th17 cells is a result of the pro-inflammatory cytokines these cells produce." Some of the specific diseases mentioned in this study that are affected by TH-17 include "psoriasis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), allergic asthma and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic sclerosis / fibrosis, lupus, reactive arthritis, MS, endometriosis [yes, it's autoimmune], VKH, type I diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis, asthma, allergic disease, atopic dermatitis, eczema, contact hypersensitivity, atopic rhinitis, IBD, periodontal disease, and cancer." The authors also mentioned almost every type of infection (fungal, bacterial, viral, parasitic, mycobacteria, etc, etc) you care to mention.
A very cool study from a 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Pouring Fuel on the Fire: Th17 Cells, the Environment, and Autoimmunity) had more to say on the topic. From the title, we already know that epigenetics is going to play a huge part in this study. "Unfortunately, the incidence of a number of autoimmune diseases, particularly those in which the IL-23/IL-17 axis has been implicated, has risen in the last several decades, suggesting that environmental factors can promote autoimmunity." What are some of the "environmental" factors specifically mentioned by these Harvard researchers? Whether or not your body is in a state of HOMEOSTASIS, Gut health (MICROBIOME), and yes, diet. "Both obesity and dietary fat intake can alter the production of cytokines involved in Th17 differentiation and potentially predispose to the development of autoimmunity." It's why your choice of fats you eat is critical if you want to get healthy and stay healthy! Bottom line concerning TH-17......
"Interactions between diet, the microbiota, and intestinal immune cells can markedly alter both systemic immune function and host metabolism, and this appears to be largely mediated by cytokines, particularly those in the IL-23/IL-17 axis. While the past several decades have seen marked changes in diet, it is also likely that improvements in hygiene, the development of antibiotics, and widespread vaccination have resulted in significant changes in the intestinal microbiota. This raises the possibility that altered regulation of cytokines as a consequence of changes in diet, metabolism, and commensal microbes, particularly in the intestinal microenvironment, may contribute to the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, especially those involving the IL-23/IL-17 axis."
Re-read that paragraph if you didn't quite grasp it's importance. Researchers from Harvard said (in a round about way of course --- they likely value their careers as much as you or I) that both HYGIENE and VACCINES play a big role in developing autoimmunity. This is why genetics is a dying science --- eipigenetics is where everything is headed (see earlier link). This means that the things you do to your body and put into your body have the power to either turn on or turn off the genes that experts tout as the root of sickness and disease. In other words, you are not nearly as defined by your genetics as you have been led to believe.
THE AUTOIMMUNITY, DIET, GUT HEALTH, VACCINE, CONNECTION
A 2008 issue of Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology (Infections and Autoimmunity: A Panorama) verified exactly what I showed you earlier; that "Chronic and multiple infections with viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus, and bacteria, such as H. pylori, may, in susceptible individuals, play a role in the evolvement of autoimmune diseases." Interestingly enough, I've also provided you plenty of information on chronic infection from ROOT CANALS as well as the relationship between H. PYLORI INFECTIONS AND WEAK STOMACH ACID (GERD).
Listen to what the Journal of Autoimmunity had to say about this relationship in a late 2016 study called A Clinical Update on the Significance of the Gut Microbiota in Systemic Autoimmunity. After revealing to us that "in recent years," incidence of certain autoimmune diseases has tripled, the authors revealed why. "...The increasing incidence of autoimmune disease is due to considerable shifts in the bacterial communities resident the gut, collectively known as the gut microbiota, following a change in diet and the widespread introduction of antibiotics. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence suggests that the gut microbiota plays a role in the development of a range of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis." If you follow my site you already know all this.
After looking at over 150 studies, researchers from Europe published their review in September's issue of Frontiers in Immunology (Modulation of Multiple Sclerosis and Its Animal Model Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis by Food and Gut Microbiota), stating that, "Although the cause of MS is not known, the infiltration of peripherally activated immune cells into the CNS has a key pathogenic role. Accumulating evidence supports an important role of diet and gut microbiota in immune-mediated diseases." These authors went on to discuss the fact that MS can be caused, or better yet modulated, by factors that can largely be controlled (ANTIBIOTICS, DYSBIOSIS, MICROBIOME, and even FMT).
Two years ago this month, a Spanish study (Antibiotics and the Human Gut Microbiome: Dysbioses and Accumulation of Resistances) carried by Frontiers in Microbiology showed just how big a factor antibiotics are in the destruction of Gut Health and subsequent development of autoimmunity.
"The human microbiome is overly exposed to antibiotics, due, not only to their medical use, but also to their utilization in farm animals and crops. Microbiome composition can be rapidly altered by exposure to antibiotics, with potential immediate effects on health, for instance through the selection of resistant opportunistic pathogens that can cause acute disease. Microbiome alterations induced by antibiotics can also indirectly affect health in the long-term. The mutualistic microbes in the human body interact with many physiological processes, and participate in the regulation of immune and metabolic homeostasis. Therefore, antibiotic exposure can alter many basic physiological equilibria, promoting long-term disease. Atopic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases have been linked to gut microbiota dysbiosis, and, in some cases, significant associations have been established between these diseases and the intake of antibiotics during early life. Clearly, the effects of antibiotic-induced dysbiosis will be even more relevant if they occur early in life, a critical period for maturation of the immune system and establishment of immunological tolerance."
July's issue of Microbiome (Control of Lupus Nephritis by Changes of Gut Microbiota) published a study by a team of 20 authors showing that the same thing is likely true of LUPUS. "Systemic lupus erythematosus, characterized by persistent inflammation, is a complex autoimmune disorder with no known cure." But after treating people with Lupus with certain "good" bacteria, the authors concluded that said treatment, "Inside the kidney skewed the Treg-Th17 balance towards a Treg phenotype." If you recall what both of these systems do (Treg -vs- TH-17), it's easy to see why this is huge.
And just last summer, the journal Nature published a collaboration between one of the Ivy League schools (Columbia) and a lab in California (La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology --- an institution whose chief goal is new and improved vaccines) called T Cells from Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Recognize α-Synuclein Peptides that concluded that yes, PARKINSON'S is in fact an autoimmune disease.
I've shown you how big a factor antibiotics are in starting the body down a path to autoimmunity, but now let me talk about diet. I've said forever that in the average chronically sick or chronically inflamed American, antibiotics typically cause the dysbiosis (the ratios of commensal bacteria or other micro-organisms are out of whack), but the situation is propagated by our collective HIGH CARB LIFESTYLES. This thought process is not coming from thin air (although many would claim that's what resides between my ears)
Six years ago, authors from the University of British Columbia published a study in the journal Nutrients called Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Although the gist is readily seen from the title, here are their conclusions.
"The GI tract functions as a major immunological organ as it must maintain tolerance to commensal and dietary antigens while remaining responsive to pathogenic stimuli. If this balance is disrupted, inappropriate inflammatory processes can result, leading to host cell damage and/or autoimmunity. Evidence suggests that the composition of the intestinal microbiota can influence susceptibility to chronic disease of the intestinal tract including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as more systemic diseases such as obesity, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, a considerable shift in diet has coincided with increased incidence of many of these inflammatory diseases. It was originally believed that the composition of the intestinal microbiota was relatively stable from early childhood; however, recent evidence suggests that diet can cause dysbiosis, an alteration in the composition of the microbiota, which could lead to aberrant immune responses."
This is why the very earliest microbial exposures --- VAGINAL BIRTHS and BREAST-FEEDING YOUR BABIES --- is so darn important! And beyond diet, when you notice that they mention how susceptible the immune systems are in babies and young children, we need to realize that this issue of aberrant immune responses and abnormal tolerance goes beyond diet to the increasingly ridiculous VACCINE SCHEDULE being promoted in Westernized nations. It should concern you that the number of studies on ALUMINUM and it's potential to foul both the microbiome and the brain are increasing exponentially. In fact, I would say that this issue is at critical mass and virtually impossible to hide any longer (although BIG PHARMA continues to try).
Another study from two years later (a collaboration between Yale, MIT, and several European institutions) was published in Current Asthma and Allergy Reports --- Role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases. The authors started out by saying, "Developed societies, although having successfully reduced the burden of infectious disease, constitute an environment where metabolic, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases thrive." This, folks, is exactly what I have been harping on by continuing to beat my "HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS" drum. Thanks to any number of factors (vaccines included), we see that we have traded acute infectious diseases (FLU is a great example) and most particularly the childhood diseases that everyone used to get, for CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY AND NEUROLOGICALLY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES (not to mention autoimmunity).
"Living in westernized countries has not fundamentally changed the genetic basis on which these diseases emerge, but has strong impact on lifestyle and pathogen exposure. In particular, nutritional patterns collectively termed the 'Western diet,' as well as frequent consumption of processed and ‘fast foods’, promote obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. These factors have also gained high interest as possible promoters of autoimmune diseases. This review discusses the current knowledge relative to the association of “Western diet” with autoimmunity, and highlights the role of T cells as central players linking dietary influences to autoimmune pathology"
I would suggest you read these last two studies as they are free online. But reading alone isn't going to solve your problem. What do you plan on doing to get better? The first thing to do is understand that pharmaceutical drugs are not going to solve this problem. But then again, neither are supplements. In the same way that many churchgoing folk would rather give money than time (it's way easier), many chronically ill people --- maybe the majority of chronically ill people --- are looking for a magic bullet in the form of a supplement. In other words, they want to continue with the same detrimental lifestyle that helped get them to this point in the first place, but somehow counteract / antidote it by taking supplements (many of which are touted as "immune system boosters"). In case you haven't heard, MONOTHERAPIES in the absence of lifestyle changes are meaningless for anything other than short term responses.
There are certain foods, however, that settle the immune system. First and foremost among these are good fats --- things like COCONUT OIL, OMEGA THREES, EVOO, avocados, and even SATURATED FATS that come from grass-fed livestock (this would include BUTTER and EGGS as well as meat and poultry). Vitamin D is critical as well (along with two of the other fat soluble vitamins, A & E). And don't forget about GLUTATHIONE. In many cases, fermented foods can also be beneficial. As for probiotics, just remember that while potentially extremely beneficial, they can also cause real problems (HERE, HERE, and HERE).
And while I am not going to list them for you (the internet abounds with lists), it's critical that you grasp the fact that certain herbs tend to stimulate TH-1, while certain herbs stimulate TH-2. What does this mean? Allow me to give you an example of how this could actually work against you. A person who is TH-2 dominant (see the earlier list of TH-2 diseases) gets all excited about anti-inflammatory herbs such as THE YELLOWS, resveratol, dark chocolate, green tea, pycnogenol, quercetin, and who knows what else. Little do they realize that these are all TH-2 stimulants. In other words, if you are chronically ill, study up on this issue and use it to your advantage instead of your detriment.
I get it; the whole thing can get very complex. Bottom line, as your Gut goes, so goes your immune system. It's why natural healers were talking about healing the Gut long before it was popular or supported by mountains of peer-review. How do you solve the two sides of the coin that make up most common Gut problems (DYSBIOSIS and LEAKY GUT)? For starters, take a look at THIS POST.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
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