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suffering from anxiety and depression may be more at risk of dying from cancer

Anxiety and depression may raise risk of dying from cancer, research suggests

Adults struggling with anxiety or low moods see their risk of being killed by a tumor rose by 32 per cent, a study found. And for some cancers the chances of death soar by 286 per cent.Those who are most distressed are at greater risk of cancer of the bowel, prostate, pancreas and esophagus and of leukemia. Experts from University College London followed more than 160,000 men and women who were initially free from cancer.By the end of the decade-long study, published in the British Medical Journal, 4,353 went on to die from the disease.After examining levels of psychological distress – such as anxiety or depression – they found it had a significant impact.

Those with the greatest levels of unhappiness were more likely to be killed by cancer. Dr David Batty, of UCL, said: “The results show that compared with people in the least distressed group, death rates in the most distressed group were consistently higher for cancer of the bowel, prostate, pancreas and esophagus and for leukemia.”The data shows the most depressed saw their risk of bowel cancer rise 84 per cent, prostate 142 per cent, pancreas 176 per cent, throat by 159 per cent and leukemia by 286 per cent. Researchers said the study did not definitely prove distress increased the chances of cancer death.

Instead, the researchers said it may mean diagnosed cancers could cause the depression.But further analysis of the data, excluding those who died in the first five years of the study, found the link between distress and cancer death remained. Dr Batty added: “Our findings contribute to the evidence that poor mental health might have some predictive capacity for certain physical diseases but we are a long way off from knowing if these relationships are truly causal.”

More than 330,000 Brits are diagnosed with cancer each year, with around 160,000 dying. Professor Peter Johnson, from Cancer Research UK, said: “This interesting study suggests a link between a person’s mental health and their risk of dying from cancer.“But we need more research to see if this is really the case, or if anxiety and depression are linked to known cancer risks such as smoking, overweight and high alcohol intake.“Better mental health may be another way in which we can reduce our risk of developing cancer, and this deserves serious attention.”


Light Therapy May Aid Traumatic Brain Injury


Two patients with long-term deficits from traumatic brain injury (TBI) have shown substantial improvement in cognitive function with transcranial light therapy, investigators reported.A TBI patient on medical disability returned to work as a technology consultant after four months of nightly, at-home treatment with near-infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed on the forehead and scalp,Seven years after a closed-head TBI, another patient experienced improved sustained attention capability from 20 minutes to three hours with ongoing LED treatment.

Both patients regressed with discontinuation of the light therapy, Margaret A. Naeser, PhD, of Boston University and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and colleagues reported online in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.”Results from the two chronic TBI cases described here, along with those from previous [light therapy] studies with acute stroke patients and chronic, major depression cases, suggest that further, controlled research with this methodology is warranted,” Naeser and her co-authors wrote in conclusion.

“Transcranial red/near-infrared LED may be an inexpensive, noninvasive treatment, suitable for home treatments, to improve cognitive function in TBI patients, as well as to reduce symptom severity in post-traumatic stress disorder,” they added.

In patients with closed-head, mild TBI, CT or MRI scans usually show no evidence of focal lesions, but more often, diffuse axonal injury in the anterior corona radiata and frontotemporal regions.PET scans of the brain have shown reduced regional glucose metabolism in bilateral frontal and temporal lobes in chronic TBI, the authors wrote. Other studies have shown abnormal frontal-lobe activation.

Frontal-lobe regions susceptible to TBI-related damage include the prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate gyrus. The former is involved in maintaining working memory, especially sustained attention. The anterior cingulate gyrus has been implicated in divided attention, working memory, and memory retrieval among other functions.

Low-level laser therapy has been shown to have beneficial cellular and physiologic effects in controlled trials, the authors continued.Absorption of laser light has been associated with increased cellular respiration, intracellular calcium flux, increased ATP synthesis, increased nerve-cell proliferation and migration, and NF-κB activation.

Transcranial infrared light has been shown to reduce brain damage in preclinical models of stroke, improve memory in middle-aged mice, and improve outcomes in clinical stroke . Low-level light treatment has stimulated neuronal repair in an animal model of spinal-cord injury.



Low-level laser therapy also increases expression of various growth factors that could induce neurogenesis in TBI. Studies involving patients with chronic major depression showed significant improvement in depression and anxiety for two weeks after a single light treatment.Given the experimental and clinical evidence supporting therapeutic benefits of light therapy in TBI, Naeser and colleagues have evaluated transcranial near-infrared/LED light as a means of improving cognitive function in patients with chronic TBI.
















Scientists Find Molecular Link between Anxiety and Metabolic Disorders

Metabolic syndrome holds a growing stance in the population world-wide, with a prevalence reaching 35% in the United States. It is characterized by abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes, conditions often accompanied by proinflammatory and pro-thrombotic states.

This syndrome is a global epidemic, not an entity limited by geography or ethnicity, as shown by studies in India, South Korea and China. Other countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Ireland also suffer from a high disease burden, affecting 20–25% of the population.

The family of microRNA genes is part of the human genome, which was considered until not too long ago as ‘junk-DNA.’However, microRNAs are now known to fulfill an important role in regulating the production process of proteins by other genes. These small, highly conserved molecules act as suppressors of inflammation and are able to halt the production of proteins.A new research paper, by Prof. Hermona Soreq, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her colleagues from Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, details the evidence linking microRNA pathways, which share regulatory networks in metabolic and anxiety-related conditions.

In particular, microRNAs involved in these disorders include regulators of acetylcholine signaling in the nervous system and their accompanying molecular machinery.

“We already know that there is a connection between body and mind, between the physical and the emotional, and studies show that psychological trauma affects the activity of many genes,” said Prof. Soreq, whose new study was published in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine.“Our previous research found a link between microRNA and stressful situations — stress and anxiety generate an inflammatory response and dramatically increase the expression levels of microRNA regulators of inflammation in both the brain and the gut, for example the situation of patients with Crohn’s disease may get worse under psychological stress.”


“In the present study, we added obesity to the equation,” Prof. Soreq explained.“We revealed that some anxiety-induced microRNA are not only capable of suppressing inflammation but can also potentiate metabolic syndrome-related processes.”“We also found that their expression level is different in diverse tissues and cells, depending on heredity and exposure to stressful situations.”

Metabolic syndrome holds a growing stance in the population world-wide, with a prevalence reaching 35% in the United States. It is characterized by abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes, conditions often accompanied by proinflammatory and pro-thrombotic states.

This syndrome is a global epidemic, not an entity limited by geography or ethnicity, as shown by studies in India, South Korea and China. Other countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Ireland also suffer from a high disease burden, affecting 20–25% of the population.

Anxiety disorders are harder to quantify than metabolic ones. They encompass the severe but uncommon obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), as well as milder common phenomena such as phobias.

The newly-discovered link offers novel opportunities for innovative diagnoses and treatment of both metabolic and anxiety-related phenomena.“The discovery has a diagnostic value and practical implications, because the activity of microRNAs can be manipulated by DNA-based drugs,” Prof. Soreq said.“It also offers an opportunity to reclassify ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ anxiety and metabolic-prone states, and inform putative strategies to treat these disorders.”


Breathing And Your Brain: Five Reasons To Grab The Controls

The advice to “just breathe” when you’re stressed may be a cliché of Godzilla-sized proportions, but that doesn’t make it untrue. The substance behind the saying is research-tested—and not only to manage stress.

Breathing is an unusual bodily function in that it is both involuntary and voluntary. Other major functions—take digestion and blood flow, for example—occur without conscious influence, and for the most part we couldn’t influence them if we tried. They are involuntarily managed in the vast processing system of the unconscious mind.

Breathing is also managed in the unconscious, but at any moment we can grab the controls and consciously change how we breathe. We can make our breathing shallow or deep, fast or slow, or we can choose to stop breathing altogether (until we pass out and the unconscious takes over again).

Since we are breathing all the time, the oddness of this dual-control system doesn’t usually dawn on us—but it’s this control flexibility that makes breathing especially worthy of attention. We can change how we breathe, and to an extent change how breathing affects our bodies.

Controlled breathing, also known as “paced respiration,” “diaphragmatic breathing” and “deep breathing,” has long been a feature of Eastern health practices. It became more visible in the West after Dr. Herbert Benson’s book,“The Relaxation Response”, hit shelves in the mid 1970s. Whatever you choose to call controlled breathing, the dynamic at work is full oxygen exchange: more oxygen enters the body and more carbon dioxide exits.

The basic mechanics of controlled breathing differ a bit depending on who is describing them, but they usually include three parts: (1) inhaling deeply through the nose for a count of five or so, making sure that the abdomen expands, (2) holding the breath for a moment, and (3) exhaling completely through the mouth for a count longer than the inhalation.


1. Managing Stress.

This is the most direct application of controlled breathing and the one we hear about most. Our brains are routinely on high alert for threats in our environment—we’re wired to react defensively to anything that hints of imperiling us physically or psychologically.

Controlled breathing may be the most potent tool we have to prevent our brains from keeping us in a state of stress, and preventing subsequent damage caused by high stress levels.  The relaxation response is a built-in way to keep stress in check.

2. Managing Anxiety.

The means by which controlled breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system is linked to stimulation of the vagus nerve—a nerve running from the base of the brain to the abdomen, responsible for mediating nervous system responses and lowering heart rate, among other things.

The vagus nerve releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that catalyzes increased focus and calmness. A direct benefit of more acetylcholine is a decrease in feelings of anxiety.Stimulating the vagus nerve may also play a role in treating depression, even in people who are resistant to anti-depressant medications.

3. Lowering Blood Pressure and Heart Rate.

Research suggests that when practiced consistently, controlled breathing will result in lower blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn results in less wear and tear on blood vessels.  As described above, the vagus nerve plays a key role in this response.

Over time, using controlled breathing to lower blood pressure and heart rate can help prevent stroke and lower risk of cerebral aneurysm.

4. Sparking Brain Growth.

One of the more intriguing research developments involving controlled breathing is that when it’s used to facilitate meditation, the result can be an actual increase in brain size. Specifically, the brain experiences growth in areas associated with attention and processing of sensory input.

The effect seems to be more noticeable in older people, which is especially good news because it’s the reverse of what typically happens as we age—gray matter usually becomes thinner.  The result is consistent with other research showing an increase in thickness of music areas of the brain in musicians and visual-motor areas in the brains of jugglers. As in those cases, the key is consistent practice over time.




Go Gluten FREE

More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed. It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?

If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.

2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.

5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.

6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

7. Migraine headaches.

8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.

9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

How to test for gluten intolerance?

I have found the single best ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.

The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them. In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet.

How to treat gluten intolerance?

Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.The 80/20 rule or “we don’t eat it in our house, just when we eat out” is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.Still unsure?Seek out an integrative practitioner or functional medicine physician to help to guide you, or check out my