February 2021 Health Newsletter

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Current Articles

» Broccoli - The Cancer Fighter
» "Mind-body" Therapy Shows Promise For Fibromyalgia
» Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act Means Chiropractic Care Just Got More Affordable
» Whole Grains Benefit Blood Pressure
» Excess Protein - A Diabetic Risk

Broccoli - The Cancer Fighter  
What if a few servings of broccoli a week could help prevent, even fight off prostate cancer? New research indicates there may just be truth to this. A team of British researchers from the Institute of Food Research found dietary broccoli consumption of 400 grams per week activated genes that control inflammation and cancer formation in the prostate. According to researchers, when people get cancer some genes are switched off and some are switched on, and, what broccoli seems to be doing is switching on genes which prevent cancer development and switching off other genes that help it to spread. Thus, dietary broccoli consumption was able to affect the expression of cancer formation/inflammation/spreading genes in a positive manner. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men with approximately 680,000 men diagnosed worldwide.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:PLoS One. July 2, 2008.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2008


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"Mind-body" Therapy Shows Promise For Fibromyalgia  

A form of 'mind-body' therapy that focuses on the role of emotions in physical pain may offer some relief to people with fibromyalgia, a small clinical trial suggests.

The study, of 45 women with fibromyalgia, found that those who learned a technique called "affective self-awareness" were more likely to show a significant reduction in their pain over six months. Overall, 46 percent of the women had a 30-percent or greater reduction in their pain severity, as measured by a standard pain-rating scale.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome marked by widespread pain -- including discomfort at specific "tender points" in the body -- along with symptoms such as fatigue, irritable bowel and sleep problems. It is estimated to affect up to 5 million U.S. adults, most commonly middle-aged women.

The precise cause of fibromyalgia is unknown -- there are no physical signs, such as inflammation and tissue damage in the painful area -- but some researchers believe the disorder involves problems in how the brain processes pain signals.

Standard treatments include painkillers, antidepressants, cognitive- behavioral therapy and exercise therapy. However, many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms -- pain, in particular -- persist despite treatment.

Part of that, according to the researchers on the new study, may be because standard treatments do not specifically address the role psychological stress and emotions can play in triggering people's pain.

That is not to say that the pain people with fibromyalgia feel is "all in their head," stressed Dr. Howard Schubiner, of St. John Health/ Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Michigan.

"The pain is very real," Schubiner said in an interview. But, he explained, pain and emotions are "connected in the brain," and emotional factors may act to trigger "learned nerve pathways" that give rise to pain.

Past studies have found that compared with people without fibromyalgia, those with the disorder have higher rates of stressful life events, such as childhood abuse, marital problems and high levels of job stress. There is also evidence that they are relatively less aware of their own emotions and more reluctant to express their feelings, particularly anger.

For the new study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Schubiner and his colleagues tested the effects of affective self-awareness -- a technique Schubiner developed and uses in treating certain chronic-pain conditions -- on fibromyalgia.

They randomly assigned 45 women with the condition to either undergo the therapy or go on a wait-list for treatment, serving as a control group. Women in the treatment group each had a one-on-one consultation, then attended three group meetings to learn the affective self-awareness techniques so that they could carry them out on their own.

The therapy involves an educational component where patients learn about the emotion-pain connection. They learn specific techniques -- including mindfulness meditation and "expressive" writing -- for recognizing and dealing with the emotions that may be contributing to their pain. Patients are also encouraged to get back to any exercise or other activities that they have been avoiding due to pain.

Schubiner's team found that six months later, 46 percent of the treatment group had at least a 30-percent reduction in their pain ratings compared with scores at the outset. And 21 percent had a 50-percent or greater reduction.
None of the women in the control group had a comparable improvement.

The study is only the first clinical trial to test affective self-awareness for fibromyalgia, and it had a number of limitations, including its small size. In addition, the control group received no active therapy to serve as a comparison.

That is important because it is possible for patients to benefit from simply receiving attention from a healthcare provider, or being part of small-group sessions with other people suffering from the same condition, for example.

Schubiner also acknowledged that this general "model" for understanding and addressing fibromyalgia pain is controversial.

He said that he and his colleagues have applied for funding to conduct a larger clinical trial comparing affective self-awareness with standard cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Affective self-awareness and cognitive-behavioral therapy have similarities, according to Schubiner. Both, for example, try to show patients that they have the power to improve their own health.

A key difference, Schubiner said, is that affective self-awareness asks people to "directly engage" the emotions that may be helping to drive their symptoms.

Another difference is that, right now, only a small number of healthcare providers practice affective self-awareness, according to Schubiner.

Some components of the technique, such as teachings in mindfulness meditation, are more widely available. But whether those practices in isolation would help fibromyalgia patients' pain is not clear.

Author:Reuters
Source:Journal of General Internal Medicine, online June 8, 2010.
Copyright:Reuters 2010


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Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act Means Chiropractic Care Just Got More Affordable  

On January 13, 2021, Congress passed the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, something that levels the financial playing field in the insurance industry, including the affordability of chiropractic care.

"The American Chiropractic Association advocated for this important change for many years. The passage of this bill is an essential step toward increasing competition in health insurance markets and lowering prices for consumers," said ACA President Robert C. Jones, DC.

Previously, insurance companies were considered exempt from federal antitrust laws. Said laws served the purpose of eliminating monopolies and fostering a competitive market. Insurance companies have been able to establish monopolized territories and cherrypick what healthcare services they decide to cover, including chiropractic.

The American Chiropractic Association explains in their article that, "It levels the playing field between a doctor and a health insurance company. Doctors have long been subject to federal antitrust scrutiny… Health insurance companies […] have been free to exchange among themselves suggested price information, terms of service and criteria for the reimbursement of doctors of chiropractic.

"They also have been free to obtain and utilize reimbursement criteria from various 'medical consultants' who often are direct competitors of doctors of chiropractic and have anticompetitive intent. With certain limited exceptions, this ability of insurance companies now ends with the elimination of the ‘business of insurance’ exemption to the federal antitrust laws."

The Act has finally been signed into law after years and years of being struck down by previous legislations. There are mixed reactions to the new law. The bottom line is that it means change in the insurance industry, and potentially change in the cost of specialized healthcare.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:American Chiropractic Association. January 20, 2021.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2021


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Whole Grains Benefit Blood Pressure  
Consuming plentiful amounts of whole grain foods appears to ward off high blood pressure according to the latest research. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a new study found men with the largest consumption of whole grain foods (52 grams/day) were 19 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure as compared with men consuming just 3 grams of whole grains daily. The process of refining grains results in the removal of their outer coating making them more quickly absorbed by the body (and thus, potentially turning into body fat more easily) as well as removing many beneficial nutrients. Thus, when purchasing grain products, it’s better to choose whole grain foods as compared with refined foods. Another finding researchers noted was that men who consumed more whole grain foods also tended to gain less weight. Of course, everything in moderation.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2009.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2009


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Excess Protein - A Diabetic Risk  

According to new research, individuals consuming excess protein, especially animal protein, are putting themselves at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have also shown higher levels of protein intake, especially red meats and processed meats, to be tied to long-term diabetes risk. Approximately 26,000 individuals were included in the study who on average ate 90 grams of protein per day. Those individuals who consumed the most overall protein, approximately 111 grams per day, increased their odds of developing diabetes by 17% as compared with those who ate the least amount of protein daily - 72 grams. When evaluating specifically animal based protein, those who consumed the most were 22% more likely to become diabetic compared with those eating the least amount; 78 grams vs 36 grams, respectively. According to researchers, plant based protein was not linked to diabetes. In fact, plant based proteins such as nuts, whole grains and legumes have been associated with a lower incidence of diabetes in past studies. Researchers recommended minimizing red meat consumption to no more than twice per week and keeping poultry and fish consumption to no more than 4 times per week. They also recommended minimizing cheese and processed meats and avoiding the consumption of skimmed milk and yogurt on an everyday basis.

Author:ChiroPlanet.com
Source:Diabetes Care, online April 10, 2014.
Copyright:ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2014


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