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Unintended Consequences: Marijuana Use Tied to Changes in the Brain

Unintended Consequences: Marijuana Use Tied to Changes in the Brain

Over the past few decades, growing numbers of people in the U.S. have come to think about marijuana as harmless. Others have even embraced it as beneficial under certain circumstances, pointing to its purported medical value. So it’s not too surprising that long-running legalization efforts in some states have recently led to marijuana’s decriminalization and increased availability.  However, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience sheds new light on the subject—and its findings come out against the commonly held belief that marijuana use is completely innocuous. Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found that even casual use of marijuana can cause structural changes to areas of the brain that control emotion, motivation, and reward.

The study analyzed 40 students between the ages of 18 to 25 in the Boston area. Half of the subjects used marijuana recreationally—at least once a week—and the other half did not use it at all. Psychiatric interviews and tests revealed that none of the students met the criteria for drug dependence, and their cannabis use did not interfere with their studies, work, or social habits. However, when using MRI scans to study the students’ brains, the researchers found changes to the volume, shape, and density of the neurons in two important areas: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. The changes were found to be more pronounced in people who reported using marijuana more frequently during an average week. Study leader Dr. Hans Breiter said of the findings, “There was a direct, consistent relationship between how much marijuana they used and the abnormalities we saw.”

While the brain abnormalities and their relationship to marijuana use are clear, it’s less clear what these changes to the brain’s structure might actually mean for these individuals. Breiter continues, “These are two brain regions you do not want to mess around with. All parts of the brain are important, but some, like these, are more fundamental. It raises a very serious issue, given that we saw these changes in casual marijuana users.” Previous studies had revealed similar changes in brain structure among heavy users of cannabis, but this is the first study that indicates that even casual use can alter a person’s brain.

“The earlier the onset of marijuana use in a kid, the worse potential implications you could be seeing,” Breiter said. Another study author, Jodi Gilman of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine, says, “We just don’t know how much is safe. It’s not harmless. We don’t know the harm, but it’s not free from harm.”

Breiter also commented that the concentrations of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) are not the same as they used to be: “Levels of THC are about sevenfold what they used to be. That’s a substantial change in the dosing of THC that these young people are getting. The experience of people in the ’60s and ’70s may not be the same experience as people today.”

Interestingly, some proponents of cannabis decriminalization have welcomed the research findings. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the pro-marijuana advocacy group NORML, says that his group presents an argument for legalizing marijuana but tightly regulating it, as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are. He says, “It’s precisely because of these consequences that these products are legally regulated, and their use is restricted to particular consumers and specific settings. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail adult sale of marijuana but restricts its use among young people—coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about cannabis’ potential harms—best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s consumption or abuse.”

Marijuana consumption in the Netherlands—where cannabis use has been condoned but controlled since the 1980s, just as Armentano recommends for the U.S.—certainly supports his case. Despite its availability, fewer than 26% of the Dutch population has ever tried marijuana, compared with 41.9% of Americans, and the Netherlands has the lowest problem drug rate in Europe.

But this is a touchy subject, with scientific and humanitarian arguments often clashing with economic interests and many people’s moral judgments about any type of drug use. The trend toward marijuana decriminalization in America—for both medical and recreational use—seems at this point to be irreversible. The one new issue this study brings to the already heated debate is that cannabis use is NOT necessarily without long-term impact, especially on young people. More studies are needed to determine exactly what the effects of this drug actually are so that society can balance the risks and manage the costs that will inevitably come with decriminalization. Whether it’s legal or illegal, though, it’s critical for people to understand the potential consequences of marijuana use.

 

How Does Chiropractic Promote Overall Wellness?

How Does Chiropractic Promote Overall Wellness?

Chiropractors know that adjustments are good for your general health. Millions of satisfied patients cannot be wrong. But what do chiropractors know that the rest of us do not?

They know the nervous system is the one system in the body that directly affects every other system. This is because nerves conduct sensory information from every part of the body and then delivers this information to the brain. Once there, the brain analyzes the information to determine what the body needs to maintain a healthy state. So the health of this system is paramount to the good health of the rest of the body.

Chiropractors recognize that misalignment in the spine can interfere with proper nervous system function. More specifically, chiropractors study the effects of vertebral subluxations – conditions of the spine where align- ment and/or movement patterns of the vertebrae are abnormal. When this occurs, imbalances cause irritation and inflammation. In turn this can cause interference with information that is transmitted along nerves and spinal cord. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained to locate and correct spinal subluxations.

This is the principal reason why chiropractors should be called wellness doctors. Every time a chiropractor corrects a vertebral subluxation, the positive effects are felt in multiple systems simultaneously.

Where’s the Proof?

For decades, scientific research has focused on the use of chiropractic adjustments for low back pain, neck pain and headaches. In fact, there is now clear evidence to recommend chiropractors as the go-to professionals for spinal pain syndromes. However, with the rising popularity of wellness-based philosophies focused on non-traditional approaches to health, chiropractors are being asked to justify their role.

The traditional medical model of symptom-based healthcare is rapidly waning. We no longer feel we have to be sick to call upon a health professional for advice. Instead, we are focusing more on the detrimental effects stress has on our bodies, and the therapies that address the mind-body connection are getting much more attention.

In a recent report from the Center for Disease Control, the four most popular forms of alternative and complementary medicine were listed as: natural products, deep breathing, meditation and chiropractic!

People are casting their votes with their healthcare dollars and chiropractors are taking a leadership role in this new wellness model. As a profession whose core philosophy is about the optimization of the brain-body communication network, chiropractic can be viewed as a therapy with an emphasis on whole body health and wellness

Research is catching up to what chiropractors have known for years. In a recent study that reviewed all the available research to date, investigators found that “chiropractic adjustments, often for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxation, confer measurable health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.” More people are seeking what chiropractic offers: optimization of health and an improved quality of life, with a spine free of vertebral subluxations!

In a multi-nation study involving hundreds of chiropractors and thousands of chiropractic patients, researchers sought to measure the incidence of non-musculoskeletal responses to chiropractic therapy. What they found was that a number of patients experienced systemic benefits from their chiropractic treatments whether or not they mentioned any symptoms in these areas at the onset of care. The most common benefits reported in this study were breathing (27%), digestion (26%) and circulation (21%).

In yet another ground-breaking study, chiropractic adjustments were shown to actually decrease blood pressure, one of the leading causes for preventable death in North America (in relation to the incidence of heart-attacks and strokes). The study stood up to medical scrutiny and showed unequivocally that vertebral subluxations – of the upper cervical vertebra in this case – can be detrimental to the health of the individual, and not just a pain in the neck.

From these research results, chiropractors clearly have a greater role in your health and wellness than just treating sore backs. Chiropractic care should be considered an invaluable tool for you to not only help you feel well, but to also help you be well.

References and sources:

1. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD & Mayer JM. NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain. Spine Journal 2010 (Oct.); 10(10): 918-940.

2. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJJ, Evans R, Haas M & Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Headache: A Systematic Review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sept.); 24(7): 457-466

3. Thiel HW & Bolton JE. Predic- tors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar.); 31(3): 172-183.

4. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. December 10, 2008.

5. Hannon SM. Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiro- practic Adjustments in Asymptom- atic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. J Vertebral Subluxation Research 2004 (Apr.): 1-9.

6. Leboeuf-Yde C, Pedersen EN, Bryner P, Cosman D, Hayek R, Meeker WC, Shaik J, Terrazas O, Tucker J & Walsh M. Self-reported Nonmusculoskeletal Responses to Chiropractic Intervention: A Multi- nation Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jun.); 28(5): 294-302.

7. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C & Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21(5): 347-352.

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Chiropractic Patients Recover Faster, Spend Less Money

Back pain is an expensive health problem for both patients and businesses. A 2012 study reported that we spend about $635 billion on pain every year, with a significant amount of that spent on back pain. Over the years, quite a few studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective for back pain than medical care, plus chiropractic patients spend less money on their care than medical patients do.

Because back pain is such a common problem, a group of Canadian researchers recently investigated the role that the type of primary caregiver has on financial compensation.

This was a large study of 5,511 patients who experienced a work-related back injury in Ontario, Canada. The patients saw the following providers for their first visit:

  • 85.3% saw a medical doctor
  • 11.4% saw a chiropractor
  • 3.2% saw a physical therapist

The authors set out to “compare the duration of financial compensation for back pain” among patients from each care group.

The study found that chiropractic patients had the shortest amount of time receiving compensation for their pain and also were less likely to have a recurrence.

In addition, chiropractic patients didn’t need to see other healthcare providers for their pain. 75% of chiropractic patients saw no other provider, while 58.6% of physical therapy patients also saw a medical doctor.

The authors conclude:

“The type of healthcare provider first visited for back pain is a determinant of the duration of financial compensation during the first 5 months. Chiropractic patients experience the shortest duration of compensation, and physiotherapy patients experience the longest.”

Blanchette M, Rivard M, Dionne CE, et al. Association between the type of first healthcare provider and the duration of financial compensation for occupational back pain. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2016 Sep 17.

Today’s article was written by Michael Melton and is shared from the following website: https://www.chironexus.net/2016/09/chiropractic-patients-recover-faster-spend-less-money/

The Human Longevity Project – Such Good Information and So Much Beneficial Information!

The Human Longevity Project – Such Good Information and So Much Beneficial Information!

This is not a short video but it has such important information! We hope all of you will take the time out of your busy lives to watch it! We will continue to share this series of videos as it is released. The information shared here is vitally important to understand for positive physical and mental health!

Do You Know the Top Foods for Healthy Joints?

Do You Know the Top Foods for Healthy Joints?

Keeping our joints healthy is one of the most important things we can do to remain independent and active as we age. Life can become quite challenging for individuals who are immobilized by joint pain, since it can result in reduced physical and social activity as well as a higher risk of psychological and emotional problems.

When it comes to joint health, exercise is very important, but what you EAT also plays a significant part. Here are some of our favorite joint-friendly foods:

Water — Perhaps the single-most important “food” is water. This liquid is essential for maintaining every system within the body. Water helps in the elimination of toxins, including those poisons that can create joint pain. Water also helps in the delivery of nutrients to the various parts of the body and—like the oil in your car—is essential for joint lubrication. Drink plenty of water every day!

Fish — Cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, white tuna, halibut and trout can deliver healthy doses of omega-3 from the fish oil in each serving. Omega-3 fatty acid is known to reduce inflammation that can cause or increase joint pain. Fish oil can also slow down cartilage degeneration. Cartilage is the rubbery substance between bones that allows for smooth movement. When this wears out, movement becomes extremely painful.

Dairy products — In addition to contributing to bone health, dairy products (and particularly low-fat ones) such as cottage cheese, yogurt and milk can also help eliminate painful gout symptoms.

Flax Seeds — Flax is another source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for great joint health. Flax seeds and flax seed oil are high in antioxidants, which help to prevent or delay some effects of aging. Flax also contains lots of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for a longer time, reducing the likelihood of snacking. Frequent snacking can lead to obesity—a condition frequently associated with joint pain.

Spices —Curry, ginger and cinnamon also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help your joints. Turmeric has been shown to be particularly effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. With these spices in the mix, a joint-friendly diet certainly doesn’t have to taste bad or be bland.

Papaya —The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases published a 2004 study showing a strong correlation between low vitamin C intake and rheumatoid arthritis. Those with the lowest vitamin C consumption were 3 times more likely to develop the disease. Though orange juice has a good dose of vitamin C, papaya has nearly twice as much. Not only that, papaya also includes a good dose of beta carotene for even more anti-oxidant joint support.

Tart cherry juice — The anthocyanins contained in this juice are powerful anti-inflammatories that have been shown to reduce arthritis-related inflammation even better than aspirin. In addition, cherry juice is effective in reducing the painful symptoms of gout.

Do You Know all of the Health Benefits of Onions?!!

Do You Know all of the Health Benefits of Onions?!!

10 Health Benefits of Onions

Onions are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods and given that there are  varieties of onions, how you use them could be different each time! Grown all over the world, the first record of using onion for health purposes and healing was in the 17th century. The truth is, onions are therapeutic, which is lucky, seeing as Americans eat over 20 pounds of onion per capita, per year. Want to know what is so good about them? Read on!

1. Improved Immunity

Onions contain powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are flavonoid compounds, which delay or help repair oxidative damage to different cells and tissues in the body. Eating onion regularly can also protect the body and help regenerate the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which the body needs as a fat-soluble nutrient. Plus, onion contains allicin. Allicin, a plant derived nutrient, is a killer of various viruses and bacteria, which means it’s a good thing if you eat some raw onion when you feel the onset of a cold or flu, this way the immune effect will be the strongest.

2. Reduce inflammation

When inflammation in the body is working properly, it fights against the disease or protect a wound, gets rid of the virus and then leaves the body, It’s when it goes a bit wrong and doesn’t leave the body, that your immunity is compromised. Naturally anti-inflammatory, onions can help fight inflammation, when the inflammation is the problem. Quercetin, found in onion, has proven to inhibit inflammation-causing leukotrienes and the prostaglandins and histamines that are in rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. So it can help inflamed joints and chronic inflammation pain.

3. Regulate blood sugar

There has been extensive research into how onions affect blood sugar. This is good news for the 29 million people in the United States who have diabetes. The tests showed that people, who were diagnosed with type 1, and those with type 2 diabetes, had a lower blood sugar level (glucose reading) after eating onions, and it remained low for up to four hours after eating. This means onion could be very helpful in the management of diabetes. This is because of the sulfur compounds in onions that work to increase insulin production and, therefore, lower glucose levels.

4. Cancer preventer

Onions are the richest natural sources of Quercetin you can find. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been linked to inhibiting certain kinds of cancers. Research and clinical trials have been undertaken to learn more about the effect of the quercetin in onions have on cancer, and it is not considered a drug to combat cancer. Eating onions will simply give you many good benefits that could lead to preventing cancer, because of the dietary source of quercetin it contains.

5. Healthy heart

These antioxidants such as quercetin, work to thin the blood and ward off blood clots. This is particularly the case if you eat raw onion. Raw onion lowers the chanced of bad cholesterol (LDL) which keeps hearts healthy. Not just for lowering your cholesterol, eating onions regularly can also lower blood pressure, and keeps the risk of heart attack and heart diseases or heart risks low. Heart risks including arterial hardening and gallstones. Any foods that support heart health are usually recommended by any heart foundation and are part of a balanced diet.

6. Vitamins and minerals

Onions are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, not surprising as they contain multiple vitamins and minerals. First up there is a rather decent amount of vitamin C in onions, and we all know vitamin C is good for you. Onions also contain vitamin B6. B6 is great for red blood cell formation, Potassium, which is important for low blood pressure, and general heart health and Folate B vitamin bodies need for metabolism and cell growth. Not only the above but they are also a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, low sodium and have no fat.

7. Free radical killer

Free radicals are molecules that attack healthy cells in the body. These free radicals want to steal all the good stuff from healthy cells, like electrons and rebalance, which cause damage to the good cells, this, in turn, affects the body in regards to aging and deterioration. And if your body is overrun with free radicals, oxidative stress is created. You can combat free radicals by eating foods that are high in antioxidants. Onions do this by eliminating free radicals, they even search them out and kill them, and therefore, reducing the aging process and your risk of developing other related diseases.

8. Onion cough syrup

You can make your cough syrup at home from onions, and it does, in fact, taste better than it sounds, and some may say, better than over the counter cough syrups. Using a red or yellow onion, slice it evenly and place at the bottom of a jar. Pour a layer of honey over it, then repeat layering onion slices, and honey until you are out of the onion. (You can use raw or brown sugar instead of honey if you like but it will be much sweeter) Cover the jar tightly and let it sit overnight. After up to 12 hours the liquid in the jar becomes your cough syrup. Take one spoonful, three times an hour. This concoction will begin to break up and mucus, its natural antibiotic properties begin to take effect and the honey works to soothe the throat.

9. Bee stings

The soothing properties of applying a freshly cut slice of onion directly onto a wasp or bee sting can immediately begin to take effect. The enzymes in onions can help break down the compounds found in the venom of a bee or wasp sting. This is what causes the inflammation and subsequent pain and even swelling. Applying onion can reduce all of these things initially. It also helps in the length of time the sting takes to heal. This ‘home remedy’ was once thought to be an old wives tale. Now it is commonly known to be correct, and more importantly, actually work!

10. The healthiest onions

Western yellow onions and shallots are considered the healthiest because of their phenolic and flavonoid content. In general, consuming these versatile vegetables is only ever a good thing, no matter what kind of onion. These two kinds of onions are both from the allium family, and they can be pretty easily interchanged in recipes. They have a slightly different taste in regards to pronounced sweet flavor (shallot) and bite (yellow onion). That does not make them unusable. If anything, it makes them more desirable to the palate, and to the health system.

Today’s article was written by Charmaine and is shared from the following website: http://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-onions/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=health%20benefits%20of%20onions&utm_campaign=f-h-10-health-benefits-of-onions&msclkid=57e38f7f3d051891d8f5d5c259ba940f

Exercise, Chiropractic More Effective Than Medicine

Exercise, Chiropractic More Effective Than Medicine

You may remember your grammar school gym class where the PE teacher would lead you in jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups and arm circles. If you’re like a lot of baby boomers, you probably look back and assume it really didn’t do much for the health of the students — just kept the class busy for an hour.

Elementary school days may be way behind you, but exercise carries many benefits now that it couldn’t offer a younger you, especially if you’re battling pain from an injury or chronic condition.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics published a report on randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, looking at the result of exercise as treatment for patients experiencing intense pain from soft tissue injuries in the hip, thigh or knee. Success was measured by the following factors:

  • Intensity of pain
  • Recovery
  • Quality of life
  • Psychological outcomes
  • Adverse events

“One RCT found statistically significant improvements in pain and function favoring clinic-based progressive combined exercises over a ‘wait and see’ approach for patellofemoral (anterior knee) pain syndrome,” the study says. “Patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome or groin pain had the best results with clinic-based exercise programs.”

Head to Head to Head

An ABC News blog posted study results comparing the outcome of three different forms of treatment for pain. Results show that patients treated by chiropractic professionals and the individuals who received home exercise advice, referred to as HEA, had higher rates of success than those who turned to medication for relief. Just 13 percent of the patients who took medication reported a satisfactory reduction in pain, whereas, about two-thirds of those who were treated through either chiropractic care (32 percent) or HEA (30 percent) said they were pain-free.

A total of 272 patients, ages 18-65, who were suffering from recent-onset neck pain took part in the study, which the National Institutes of Health spearheaded.

“I always prescribe exercises and/or physical therapy for neck pain,” wrote Dr. John Messmer from Penn State College of Medicine. “I also tell patients that the exercises are the treatment and the drugs are for the symptoms.”

Dr. Lee Green, professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, also talked to ABC News. “Doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Dr. Green said. “Neck pain is a mechanical problem, and it makes sense that mechanical treatment works better than a chemical one.”

The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, singles out the effectiveness of spinal manipulation therapy, or SMT, to provide relief for patients with neck pain. Researchers found that in both the short-term and long-term statistics, SMT had the most effective outcome. The report adds that HEA proved equally effective at some points in the study.

Participants rated their pain at several intervals: 2, 4, 8, 26, and 52 weeks. This enabled scientists to draw specific conclusions, such as the evidence showing that 12 weeks of SMT provided greater pain relief than up to one year of medication.

Chiropractic Benefits

Your chiropractor can not only provide pain releif and preventatiive therapies, they can also guide you in choosing exercises that target the areas you need treating. Chiropractic visits, in addition to home exercise practices, are a way to double down on your odds of successful treatment.

The Mayo Clinic website says there are multiple benefits to using exercise in addition to chiropractic care for your joints, as well as improving general wellness. In combination they serve to:

  • Strengthen the muscles around your joints
  • Help you maintain bone strength
  • Give you more energy to get through the day
  • Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
  • Improve your balance

We’re not talking about the kind of punishing calisthenics that win you the Presidential Physical Fitness Award, but something to just curb your symptoms and add some range of motion. Consulting with a chiropractor and incorporating some exercise seems to be the best way to get a passing grade in pain relief.

This article was written by Martha Michael and is shared from the following website: exercise-chiropractic-more-effective-than-medicine

Why Do Chiropractors Use “Palpation”?

Why Do Chiropractors Use “Palpation”?

Palpation is the most frequently used diagnostic technique in chiropractic care and is a clinical cornerstone of most physicians’ practice. It is a manual, non-invasive method of determining where a patient has structural or functional problems in the body.

In palpation, chiropractors use their hands and their detailed knowledge of anatomy to effectively see what is happening in the spine and its supporting structures, such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments. As your chiropractor palpates your spine, he or she will look for subluxations in your vertebrae, which are misalignments that may be causing pressure on spinal nerves, or other abnormalities that may be causing problems in your musculoskeletal system.

There are essentially two forms of palpation—static and motion. As the name suggests, in static palpation the patient remains still while the chiropractor palpates the spine and tissues to identify any misaligned vertebrae, protruding disks, and areas of pain or inflammation. In motion palpation however, the patients joints are mobilized, bending and flexing under the expert eye and hand of the chiropractor. He or she will move various joints through different planes, observing the patient’s range of motion and where a joint may “lock up.” They will also measure the patient’s amount of flexibility, muscle strength, stiffness, reflexes and general neurological function.

Palpation may be used at every visit to your chiropractor so they can quickly determine whether your condition has improved or not since your last visit and they can see which areas need the most care and attention. Based on what your chiropractor finds during palpation, he or she may then order additional diagnostic tests—an x-ray, MRI or CT scan, for example—to get a more detailed view of your condition.

Your chiropractor will also perform a visual examination to detect any swelling or abnormal curvature of the spine, and will observe your gait to see the coordination of your head, neck and pelvis as you move. They will also take a full medical history and ask about the location, frequency and severity of any present and past conditions.

Based on all these diagnostic tools, your chiropractor can better determine the type and frequency of treatment necessary to resolve your condition in a way that is holistic, drug-free and non-invasive. Palpation is simply another tool in the chiropractor’s arsenal of techniques to keep you moving well and pain-free.

With all of the snowy weather we have had, you may need your back palpated! Be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oblander by calling 406-652-3553.

 

What is REM Sleep and Why is it Important?

What is REM Sleep and Why is it Important?

Our sleep cycle is separated into two main components: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (NREM). We cycle between the two all night, with four stages of NREM sleep preceding one stage of REM sleep. NREM sleep is the stage at which our body repairs itself, energy is replenished and our immune system is boosted. A complete cycle of sleep takes between 90 and 110 minutes in total, with approximately a quarter of that time being spent in REM sleep. It is also the stage during which dreaming almost always takes place. Scientists are still trying to discover the extent to which REM sleep affects our health and mental well-being, but they do know that REM sleep is important for the development of creativity and problem solving ability, and is how we learn to adapt to our world.

REM sleep was first formally observed by the scientists Aserinsky and Kleitman in the 1950s, who noted the rapid, jerky movements of the eyes through closed lids, as if the sleeper were seeing something, and noticed that breathing and heart rate increased. Another feature of REM sleep is that the voluntary muscle groups become temporarily paralyzed by the base of the brain “shutting off” the neurons in our spinal cord so we do not act out the dreams we are experiencing as we sleep. The electroencephalogram (EEG) that was attached to the sleepers showed levels of brain activity nearly identical to those who were awake. Contrary to what was previously believed about sleep as being a state in which the brain slows down, during REM sleep, the brain is actually very active. Why may this be?

According to French scientist Michel Jouvet, REM sleep is also a way of programming our brain to adapt to the world around us. Much as a computer can be reprogrammed when it is off-line, Jouvet believes our brain can take information it has received during the day and program the central nervous system to organize or maintain instinctive behavior.

The percentage of time spent in REM sleep is the greatest among babies and children. Babies can spend as much as 50% of their sleep time in the REM stage. And while it has been thought that the dreams we experience during REM sleep are a consolidation of the memories that we have experienced during the previous day, babies in the womb (who experts believe have few or no real world memories) spend most of their sleep time in a state of REM.

Professor of psychiatry emeritus at Harvard University, J. Allan Hobson, says of the purpose of REM sleep, “It’s a reinforcement of basic knowledge—knowledge that precedes any waking-state learning: how to be a person, how to be an ego, how to exist in a space, how to move in a space, how to feel. It’s not environmental memory; it’s genetic memory.”

 

Zinc Levels Tied to Osteoarthritis

Zinc Levels Tied to Osteoarthritis

We’ve all heard that calcium is crucial for preventing bone and joint problems, but new research suggests there may be another mineral we need to be mindful of: zinc. In particular, a study suggests that levels of zinc within the cartilage cells may help to explain why tissue destruction occurs in patients with osteoarthritis.

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the world, affecting 52.5 million adults in the US alone. Despite the prevalence of osteoarthritis, there are currently no cures to stop the progression of cartilage destruction that takes place in individuals with the condition. Researchers are still attempting to understand what happens at a molecular level to cause the tissue degradation.

Osteoarthritis results in the break down of cartilage between the bones, causing joint stiffness and swelling. Tissue destruction is caused by proteins called matrix-degrading enzymes, which are produced by cells within the cartilage. Matrix-degrading enzymes need zinc to survive, which led researchers to hypothesize that zinc levels play an important role in osteoarthritis.

Using lab mice, the researchers found that a protein called ZIP8 is responsible for transporting zinc within the cells, setting off a chain of events that eventually results in cartilage destruction. Their findings suggest that treatments to deplete zinc in the cartilage cells or inhibit this ZIP8 function may help to stop osteoarthritis. If the research is confirmed in future studies, keeping zinc levels in check could become an integral part of osteoarthritis treatment.

Many patients with osteoarthritis find that it can be successfully managed by a conservative, multimodal treatment, including exercise, nutrition, and chiropractic care. Research suggests that a combination of chiropractic and exercise can significantly ease symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis in the knees, hip, and hands.

Article was written by Marissa Luck and is shared from www.chironexus.net

 

References

Zinc may be missing link for osteoarthritis therapies. Medical News Today. February 17, 2014. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272658.php.

Cell, Kim et al. Regulation of the catabolic cascade in osteoarthritis by the zinc axis.

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