This past week, I sent an E-blast out to my essential oils subscribers
discussing some cool studies on rosemary oil. Below is the E-blast revised
preview provided online as an exclusive to my Saratoga.com readers. I then
expand more on the topic of this beautiful aromatic oil on my current homepage
Serendipitous Event Leading to Rosemary Exploration
I am an avid follower of some of the pioneers in natural medicine, such
as Dr. Mercola, and more recently, Dr. Eric Z. Recently, both of these health
warriors happened to visit my inbox via their articles on rosemary oil in quick
succession. (See the
links below.) Whenever something like
this happens, I pay attention to it. I feel it could be a prodding to explore
deeper on a subject and share what I learn with my readers. As it so happened,
I found that this popular oil was, in fact, missing from my essential oil database!
(I do; however, at least reference it for brain health here).
So, as with any blog or article on essential oils, I went through all the
references listed at the end. I do this in order to dig deeper into my
understanding and improve my clinical expertise with these precious secondary metabolites.
I found some great studies and did some more research myself.
One thing that can get confusing with essential oils blogs is when
references to studies are on the extracts of the herb verses the essential oil,
which may have different active constituents. I have been caught in this
mistake a few times myself. Therefore, these blogs will continue to focus on
the oil itself.
Another prod for me to dig into rosemary oil happened just a few hours
prior to my writing this. It was an article in Science Daily. It reported on a study that showed reversal of
Alzheimer's disease in 10 subjects! The treatment was personalized medicine
that consisted of a "complex, 36-point therapeutic personalized program that
involves comprehensive changes in diet, brain stimulation, exercise,
optimization of sleep, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple
additional steps that affect brain chemistry."
The connection was strengthened. We know that essential oils have a
profound effect on the brain, which you can read more about here and here. I then remembered a 2009 study in Psychogeriatrics
which demonstrated how aromatherapy can help those who need brain support, and
it used rosemary as one of the oils in the trial.
The abstract from the full study reads:
OBJECTIVE: Recently, the importance of non-pharmacological therapies for dementia
has come to the fore. In the present study, we examined the curative effects of
aromatherapy in dementia in 28 elderly people, 17 of whom had Alzheimer's
METHODS: After a control period of 28 days, aromatherapy was performed over the
following 28 days, with a wash out period of another 28 days. Aromatherapy
consisted of the use of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and
lavender and orange in the evening. To determine the effects of aromatherapy,
patients were evaluated using the Japanese version of the Gottfries, Brane,
Steen scale (GBSS-J), Functional Assessment Staging of Alzheimer's disease
(FAST), a revised version of Hasegawa's Dementia Scale (HDS-R), and the Touch
Panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale (TDAS) four times: before the control
period, after the control period, after aromatherapy, and after the washout
RESULTS: All patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation
related to cognitive function on both the GBSS-J and TDAS after therapy. In
particular, patients with AD showed significant improvement in total TDAS
scores. Result of routine laboratory tests showed no significant changes,
suggesting that there were no side-effects associated with the use of
aromatherapy. Results from Zarit's score showed no significant changes,
suggesting that caregivers had no effect on the improved patient scores seen in
the other tests.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological
therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving
cognitive function, especially in AD patients.
Thought from Dr. Sarah
I have seen profound effects with integrating aromatherapy and essential
oils in my practice. This holds true in all areas of wellness and in those who
complain of memory issues and mood imbalances. I find diffusing, inhalation,
and topical applications particularly effective for brain support, as the sense
of smell is powerful for emotions and cognition.
Here's a link to a
previous blog with some applications on using essential oils for emotions and
brain health. (Note, make sure you read the labels to determine which oils are
safe for ingestion).
Pre and post testing show reversal of memory loss from Alzheimer's
disease in 10 patients. Science Daily. June 16, 2016. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160616071933.htm
Dr. Eric Z. 4
Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits and Uses. http://drericz.com/4-rosemary-essential-oil-benefits-and-uses/
Refreshing Rosemary. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/rosemary-oil.aspx
Kimura Y, Tangiguchi M, Inoue M, Urakami K.
Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer's disease. Psychogeriatrics. 2009; 9: 173-179.
The power of food as medicine is profound. I've written previously about
of factors involved in brain health. Although the list can be quite long
and confusing, one of the most powerful ways to preserve and support our
cognitive function is found at the end of our forks.
For example, there is now research that shows that improving blood
sugar by dietary measures could protect the brain and that diet quality
modulates thought and mood. Furthermore, different nutrients such as healthy
essential fats, vitamins, and minerals have all been shown to contribute to
supporting mental processing. In the same
blog mentioned above, I summarized several specific studies that support the
importance of the quality of the diet for keeping our mental faculties.
Recently, there have been some headlines in the current research that highlights how certain
nutrients and foods are powerful for brain health. Below is a brief summary of
some of them.
Supplement Could Save the Aging Brain
A recent rodent study confirmed that a dietary supplement containing a
blend of thirty vitamins and minerals exhibited anti-aging properties that
could prevent and even reverse brain cell loss. The researchers believe that
this mixture could be applicable in the future to neurological diseases such as
Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's.
In this study, the little mice were bred to have widespread loss of over
half of their brain cells. They munched on this mixture of nutrients on tiny
bagel pieces fed to them by their caretakers. Science Daily reported:
researchers found that it completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and
abolished cognitive decline.
research suggests that there is tremendous potential with this supplement to
help people who are suffering from some catastrophic neurological
diseases," says Lemon, who conducted the work with co-author Vadim
Aksenov, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McMaster.
Interestingly, the rodents also exhibited improvement in vision and
smell. In the abstract of the original article, the authors concluded, "We know
of no other treatment with such efficacy, highlighting the potential for
prevention or amelioration of human neuropathologies that are similarly
associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and cellular dysfunction."
and Minerals for Potential Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury
This month, in Brain Research,
researchers reviewed several nutraceutical therapies for brain injury in
experimental models, "including vitamins (B2, B3, B6,
B9, C, D, E), herbs and traditional medicines (ginseng, Gingko
biloba), flavonoids, and other nutrients (magnesium, zinc, carnitine,
omega-3 fatty acids)."
They concluded, "While there is still much work to be done, several of
these have strong potential for clinical therapies, particularly with regard to
for Improving Cognition in Combination with Training for Down Syndrome
Down's syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual
disability. Science Daily reported on
a recent study in which a compound in green tea combined with cognitive
training produced better outcomes than cognitive training alone in young adults
with Down Syndrome:
just published by the researchers in The
Lancet Neurology presents the results of a clinical trial led by the
Integrative Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Research group of Dr. Rafael
de la Torre with 84 persons with Down's syndrome aged 16 to 34 years. "The
results suggest that individuals who received treatment with the green tea
compound, together with the cognitive stimulation protocol, had better score in
their cognitive capacities," states Dr. de la Torre. However, studies in
larger populations have still to be done.
The component in green tea, ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate) was previously
shown to inhibit the excess of the DYRK1A gene in mice, which is associated
with many of the deficiencies of cognition and neuronal plasticity in Down's
Deficiencies Common in Young Migraine Sufferers
According to Health Day:
people who suffer from migraines have vitamin deficiencies, new research finds.
studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in
migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are
more likely to benefit from supplementation," said lead study author Dr.
Suzanne Hagler in a Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center news release.
She is a headache medicine fellow in the hospital's division of neurology.
included children, teens and young adult migraine patients who were treated at
Cincinnati Children's Headache Center.
percentage of them had mild deficiencies in vitamin D, riboflavin and coenzyme
Q10 -- a vitamin-like substance used to produce energy for cell growth and
maintenance, the researchers said.
As our population ages, many are concerned with their memory and
maintaining cognitive function. Lifestyle measures and nutrition have been
shown to modulate brain health, even improving mental function at the genetic
level! Isn't it nice to think that when you feed your body healthy, you could
be nourishing your brain power as well?
Speaking of keeping our bodies healthy, I just wrote another blog on
clove essential oil. Read all the benefits of this oil here.
Improving blood sugar control could help prevent dementia in patients
with type 2 diabetes, study suggests. ScienceDaily. 14 September 2015.
Barnes JN, Joyner MJ. Sugar highs and lows: the impact of diet on
cognitive function. The Journal of Physiology. 2012;590(Pt 12):2831.
Harvard Health Publications. Blood sugar on the brain. April 1, 2015.
Deans E, Ramsey D. Medscape Psychiatry: Commentary-How Diet Influences
Mental Health: New Findings, New Advances. Medscape. UPI. February 11, 2016.
Psaltopoulou, T., Sergentanis, T. N., Panagiotakos, D. B., Sergentanis,
I. N., Kosti, R. and Scarmeas, N. Mediterranean diet, stroke, cognitive
impairment, and depression: A meta-analysis. Ann Neurol. 2013; 74: 580-591.
Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.
Nature reviews Neuroscience.
Sugar in the Blood! How Essential Oils
Can Support Balance
Can essential oils really help with supporting healthy blood sugar
levels? Previously, I discussed how flavonoids could be used to modulate sugar
in the blood. For example, rodents imbibing grapefruit extract and helichrysum
demonstrated positive changes in measurements of insulin resistance, oxidative
stress, inflammation, and weight. (Note:
remember to be careful of medication
interactions with grapefruit oil.)
Recently, I wrote an article on sugar addiction to be published in the Natural Path. It inspired me to publish
this blog that was originally sent as a E-blast to my essential oils subscribers.
In it, I will focus on the use of essential oils for blood sugar support.
(Well mice and rats)
The following is a list of several studies that support how certain oils
modulate blood sugar in rodents:
1. In one study with rats, cinnamon oil of the linalool chemotype
(specific secondary metabolite at the highest levels in the oil) was shown to
have a benefit on blood sugar and relieve oxidative stress at a certain dose.
2. In another study, a specific type of lavender had blood sugar lowering
effects and also decreased oxidative stress in our four-pawed rodent friends.
3. In a well-done study, which even analyzed the oil constituents (a lot
of them don't), little diabetic rodents exhibited very impressive results
regarding the use of lemon balm oil (Melissa
off.) The study demonstrated that lemon balm alleviated many of the
damaging effects that high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause. Specifically,
the lemon balm positively impacted lipids, insulin response, liver enzymes, and
various cellular signaling pathways.
4. In another study, the synergistic effects of essential oils for blood
sugar were tested. For the trial, researchers combined several blends of essential
oils and tested them in hypertensive and diabetic rats. The researchers found
beneficial effects on blood sugar with the oil blends.
5. A mouse study reported blood sugar lowering effects, oxidative stress
protection, insulin enhancement, and a decrease in alpha-amylase using Korean
6. One study that compared the use of Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium
graveolens L'Hér.) to an antidiabetic medication reported that the oil could be
more effective in decreasing glucose and effecting liver and kidney antioxidant
functions than the drug:
administration of two doses of essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L'Hér. together with glibenclamide which
is known by its antidiabetic activities and used as reference (600 μg/kg b.w.),
for four weeks, the serum glucose significantly decreased and antioxidant
perturbations were restored. The hypoglycemic effect of P. graveolens at the dose of 150 mg/kg b.w. was significantly (p< 0.05) more effective than that of glibenclamide. It
is through the histological findings in hepatic and renal tissues of diabetic
rats that these beneficial effects of geranium oils were confirmed.
Remember the effect of stress on blood sugar and how essential oils can
modulate this response and hormones (cortisol-insulin connection)? This can impact blood
sugar levels. One study also listed potential uses for oils to use as support
in those who were struggling with blood sugar issues. These included using the oils to cleanse wounds,
support for the stress response, and supporting mood.
Essential oils have been shown in rodent models to modulate pathways
related to blood sugar and the damaging effects of too high amounts in the
blood. In human trials, essential oils have prolific evidence for modulating
stress and hormonal response. Taken together, there is good evidence that
essential oils support healthy glucose levels.
If you want more on essential oils and their clinical use, click here.
Shih-Chieh Lee, et al., Chemical Composition and Hypoglycemic and
Pancreas-Protective Effect of Leaf Essential Oil from Indigenous Cinnamon
(Cinnamomum osmophloeum Kanehira). J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013: 61 (20), pp
J Buckle. Diabetes and Aromatherapy. Diabetes
Spectrum. August 2001; 14(3). 124-126
Sebai H, Selmi S, Rtibi K, Souli A, Gharbi N, Sakly M. Lavender
(Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect
against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and
Disease. 2013;12:189. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-189.
Chung MJ, et al. Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis)
essential oil on glucose- and
lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jul;104(2):180-8.
Talpur N, et al. Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on
glucose-insulin metabolism in diabetic
and hypertensive rats: a pilot study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Mar; 7(2):193-9.
Anti-Diabetic Potential of the Essential Oil of Pinus koraiensis
Leaves toward Streptozotocin-Treated Mice and HIT-T15 Pancreatic β Cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.
Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic
and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens
L'Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and Disease.
Essential Oils and Medication Interactions:
Dr. Z: http://drericz.com/diabetes-oils/
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential
oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been
tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in
the United States, and oils labeled as "100% pure" need only to contain 5% of
the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes
toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to
diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your
doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
May 2016 was a month that inspired health and inspiration to many
integrative doctors. This is because there were many articles that supported
the transformation of medicine into a more broad-based and inclusive model.
In my latest blog on my homepage, I discuss the topic of the "Re-connection
and Integration of the Mind-Body in Modern Medicine- May 2016 Top Holistic and
Integrative Health Reads."
In the past,
I discussed how another topic, the microbiome, may be a
discovery that unites the conversations between conventional viewpoints and
missed any of the important news on the tiny inhabitants that line our inner
tubes and outer
layers, you will want to skim through this
is finding that these critters have an impact on almost anything you can think
of in regards to modulating health!
a May 4th article in Science Daily
from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute reports:
Scientists have grown and catalogued
more than 130 bacteria from the human intestine. Imbalances in our gut microbiome
can contribute to complex conditions and diseases such as obesity, inflammatory
bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies. This research will
enable scientists to understand how our bacterial 'microbiome' helps keep us
healthy and start to create tailor-made treatments with specific beneficial
mentioned article published in Nature,
researchers were able to come up with a unique method to study the behavior of
our little buggy friends (via a combination of whole-genome phenotypic
analysis, culture methods, and fecal specimen study of six healthy
individuals). The goal was that this method would allow ways to accomplish
microbe transfer between humans via their encapsulation into a pill,
potentially replacing the "yuck factor" of those fecal transplants (more on
that later). The research may also allow the scientific community to better
understand these critters by finding ways to culture them and keep them alive,
as most are not oxygen loving. The answer was speculated to be via spores!
the way we
treat our "bug forest" in our bodies (mostly by lifestyle choices such as
diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc.) has major implications. This is not only related
to our own health, but potentially using our healthy bugs to help others with a
less desirable mix of friendly-crawly-friends.
it was also recently found that our bug residents are also fighting to keep us
flexible in stressful circumstances. They don't only respond to their
environment but also offer resilience when food is scarce, changing the
diversity in our bellies. (Another explanation for how diet modulates our
health). Science Daily reported:
In a recent paper in the journal Nature Microbiology, researchers
working with Frank Schreiber have shown that individual cells in bacterial
colonies can differ widely in how they respond to a lack of nutrients. Although
all of the cells in a group are genetically identical, the way they process
nutrients from their surroundings can vary from one cell to another. For
example, bacteria called Klebsiella oxytoca preferentially take up nitrogen
from ammonium (NH4+), as this requires relatively little energy. When there
isn't enough ammonium for the entire group, some of the bacteria start to take
up nitrogen by fixing it from elementary nitrogen (N2), even though this
requires more energy. If the ammonium suddenly runs out altogether, these cells
at least are prepared. While some cells suffer, the group as a whole can
continue to grow. "Although all of the bacteria in the group are
genetically identical and exposed to the same environmental conditions, the
individual cells differ among themselves," says Schreiber.
of focusing on the progress we are making, I wanted to review some more of the top
articles in May 2016 that focused on our buggy foods and summarize them here
Speaking of the Yuck Factor...
stool transplants are approved for treatment of an infectious gastrointestinal
disease caused by Clostridium difficile. Health
Day reported on another application of fecal transplant:
Stool transplants helped ease
debilitating symptoms and heal the colons of tough-to-treat ulcerative colitis
patients, new research shows.
Australian scientists said the
findings could pave the way for such transplants to be used on a more
widespread basis. Transferring fecal matter from healthy donors into these
patients alters the composition of their gut bacteria, circumventing one of the
drivers of ulcerative colitis, experts said.
Immunizing with Bugs
study published in PNAS demonstrated
that vaccinating with a specific strain of bacteria modulated the immune
response in stress-induced pathology.
The hygiene, or "old friends,"
hypothesis proposes that lack of exposure to immunoregulatory microorganisms in
modern urban societies is resulting in an epidemic of inflammatory disease, as
well as psychiatric disorders in which chronic, low-level inflammation is a
risk factor. An important determinant of immunoregulation is the microbial
community occupying the host organism, collectively referred to as the
microbiota. Here we show that stress disrupts the homeostatic relationship
between the microbiota and the host, resulting in exaggerated inflammation.
Treatment of mice with a heat-killed preparation of an immunoregulatory
environmental microorganism, Mycobacterium
vaccae, prevents stress-induced pathology. These data support a strategy
of "reintroducing" humans to their old friends to promote optimal health and
Why Use Bugs, Because Killing Them
with Antibiotics Have Negative Effects
a new study reported in Science Daily
Antibiotics strong enough to kill off
gut bacteria can also stop the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a
section of the brain associated with memory, reports a new study in mice.
Researchers also uncovered a clue to why -- a type of white blood cell seems to
act as a communicator between the brain, the immune system, and the gut.
Our Baseline of Skin Bugs
A new study,
reported in Health Day relating to an
article in Cell, discussed that our
skin may have a "baseline" of buggies. Although it has been found previously
that our skin microbiota can be disturbed by cleansers and environmental
factors, it appears that there does exist a population of critters on our skin
that stay put:
The skin's "microbiome" --
containing bacteria, fungi and viruses -- is thought to be important to human
health. Segre said it can help the body resist nasty germ invaders and maintain
the barrier between the skin and inner organs. The new study aimed to discover
how stable these skin germs are over time. This can help researchers understand
what happens when skin disease develops, Segre said.
For the study, Segre and colleagues
analyzed 17 skin sites of 12 healthy volunteers three times over two years. The researchers found that skin germs as a
whole remained fairly steady, although individuals have their own
"One person had a higher amount
of fungi on their skin, another person had a lot of bacterial viruses on the
side of their nose," Segre said. She thought these collections of germs
might be temporary, but "when we examined the person's skin community a
year later, it was still true."
Germs on the feet were the most
variable of all, but it's not clear why. One possibility, Segre said, is that
the feet encounter a lot of temperature differences. Dr. Stanley Spinola, a
scientist who praised the research, said the variation seen in feet may have
something to do with moist areas between the toes or differences in footwear --
from sneakers to leather shoes to flip-flops or none at all.
How is this research useful?
"The study shows over a long
period of time, our skin microbiome stays pretty stable although we encounter
different environments," said Spinola, who is chair of microbiology and
immunology at Indiana University School of Medicine. This is helpful because it gives researchers
insight into the normal variation, allowing scientists to better study how
disease causes differences, he said.
Next Time Some One Tells You to 'Eat
Worms", You May Want To!
a recent article in Science Daily
intestinal worms may assist with immunity in a surprising way. Yes, our belly
bugs also contains worms that modulate our health, not just bacteria. Science Daily states:
In order to fight invading pathogens,
the immune system uses "outposts" throughout the body, called lymph
nodes. These are small, centimeter-long organs that filter fluids, get rid of
waste materials, and trap pathogens, e.g. bacteria or viruses. Lymph nodes are
packed with immune cells, and are know to grow in size, or 'swell', when they
detect invading pathogens. But now, EPFL scientists have unexpectedly
discovered that lymph nodes also contain more immune cells when the host is infected
with a more complex invader: an intestinal worm. The discovery is published in Cell Reports , and has significant
implications for our understanding of how the immune system responds to
The Intelligence of Nature and
Nurture- How Mamma's Hormones Effect Baby's Food
write-up by Science Daily from the
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, researchers explored the "role
of human milk hormones in the development of infants' microbiome, a bacterial
ecosystem in the digestive system that contributes to multiple facets of
A new study finds that hormones in
breast milk may impact the development of healthy bacteria in infants' guts,
potentially protecting them from intestinal inflammation, obesity and other
diseases later in life.
studied were insulin and leptin. The authors analyzed the stool samples of
thirty infants exclusively breastfed- 18 were from normal weight moms and 12
were from obese mom to determine the bacterial population and the metabolic
effects. They found the following:
In addition, researchers found
significant differences in the intestinal microbiome of breastfed infants who
are born to mothers with obesity compared to those born to mothers of normal
weight. Infants born to mothers with obesity showed a significant reduction in
gammaproteobacteria, a pioneer species that aids in normal intestinal
development and microbiome maturation.
Gammaproteobacteria have been shown in
mice and newborn infants to cause a healthy amount inflammation in their
intestines, protecting them from inflammatory and autoimmune disorders later in
life. The 2-week-old infants born to obese mothers in this study had a reduced
number of gammaproteobacteria in the infant gut microbiome.
some other noteworthy briefs:
The Microbe-Gene Connection Found in
study found a connection between a gene variation found in Crohn's disease
patients and a certain bug that modulates inflammation in the gut. The study
has implications for treatments that effect bacteria in our bellies versus
focusing on drugs, which have a poor efficacy rate for Crohn's disease.
According to this study summary by Science
Investigators found that the
beneficial effects of Bacteroides fragilis bacterium, one of billions of
microscopic organisms that normally inhabit the human gastrointestinal system,
were negatively impacted by variations in the ATG16L1 gene.
These genetic variations increase the
risk of developing Crohn's disease, one of the two common forms of IBD. As a
result, the bacteria were prevented from carrying out one of their critical
functions: suppressing inflammation of the intestinal lining...
"Given the low percentage of IBD
patients who respond to drugs directed at the immune system, these results
could point the way to improving treatment by identifying patients who might
best respond to manipulation of bacteria in their digestive tract," said
study co-author Stephan R. Targan, MD, director of the F. Widjaja Foundation
Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute.
The Microbiome Transfer to the Next
gene-microbe interaction study, Science
A genome-wide association analysis of
over 1,000 twins in the UK supports that some parts of our microbiomes are
inherited and shaped--not through a spread of microbes from parent to child,
but through our genes. The results, revealing new examples of heritable
bacterial species--including those related to diet preference, metabolism, and
immune defense -- appear May 11 in Cell
Host & Microbe's special issue on the "Genetics and Epigenetics
of Host-Microbe Interactions."
the article abstract:
Repeat sampling of subjects showed
heritable taxa to be temporally stable. A candidate gene approach uncovered
associations between heritable taxa and genes related to diet, metabolism, and
olfaction. We replicate an association between Bifidobacterium and the lactase (LCT) gene locus and identify an association between the host
gene ALDH1L1 and the bacteria
SHA-98, suggesting a link between formate production and blood pressure.
Additional genes detected are involved in barrier defense and self/non-self
recognition. Our results indicate that diet-sensing, metabolism, and immune
defense are important drivers of human-microbiome co-evolution.
Finally....the Announcement of a New Gut
the HuMiX, and it supposedly works like the "real thing". Science Daily states:
Scientists have now proven that a
model of the human gut they have developed and patented -- HuMiX -- is
representative of the actual conditions and processes that occur within our
intestines. With HuMiX, the researchers can analyze the complex interactions
between human cells and bacteria, predict their effects on health or disease
onset, and study the action of probiotics and drugs.
microbiome has profound impacts on our health and disease risks. What I love
regarding research with the microbiota (our critter populations in and on our
body) and the microbiome (genes of the buggies) is that it proves there is a
connection between our environment and lifestyle (exposures, food choices,
exercise, stress, etc) by how both modulate these critters. Furthermore,
there's ways in which our genes can modulate our microbiota and how our
microbiome modulates our genetic expression. All of this research is proving
the important concept of personalized healthcare- not just our biochemical
individuality, but our unique bug blueprint as well!
Make sure to
read more on the new healthcare here.
'Bugs' as drugs: Harnessing novel gut bacteria for human health. Science Daily. May 4, 2016.
Hilary P. Browne,
Samuel C. Forster, Blessing O. Anonye, Nitin Kumar, B. Anne Neville, Mark D.
Stares, David Goulding, Trevor D. Lawley. Culturing of 'unculturable' human
microbiota reveals novel taxa and extensive sporulation. Nature, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nature17645
EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Science Daily. May 9, 2016.
Stool Transplant Soothes Tough-to-Treat Colitis in Study. Health Day. May 23, 2016.
Immunization with a heat-killed preparation of the environmental
bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae promotes stress resilience in mice. PNAS. May
2016. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1600324113.
Cell Press. Antibiotics that kill gut bacteria also stop growth of new
brain cells. Science Daily. May 19, 2016.
The Skin Microbiome.
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald Web Site. April 14, 2016.
Your Healthy Skin Germs
Stay Put, Despite Cleaning-Findings suggest your 'microbial fingerprint' is
important to well-being. Health Day.
May 4, 2016.
Fédérale de Lausanne Intestinal worms boost immune system in a surprising way. Science Daily. May 5, 2016.
Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Breast
milk hormones found to impact bacterial development in infants' guts:
Intestinal microbiome of children born to obese mothers significantly different
from those born to mothers of healthy weight. Science Daily. May 4, 2016.
Medical Center. Genetic variants in
patients with crohn's disease prevent 'good' gut bacteria from working. Science Daily. May 6, 2016.
Cell Press. Twin
study finds that gut microbiomes run in families. Science Daily. May 11, 2016.
Goodrich, Emily R. Davenport, Michelle Beaumont, Matthew A. Jackson,
Rob Knight, Carole Ober, Tim D. Spector, Jordana T. Bell,
Andrew G. Clark, Ruth E. Ley. Genetic
Determinants of the Gut Microbiome in UK Twins. Cell Host
& Microbe, 2016; 19 (5): 731.
University of Luxembourg. New human microbiome research tool: Gut model
HuMiX works like the real thing. Science
Daily. May 11, 2016.
How Many People Really Are
I reviewed the various problems regarding the current diagnostics and estimates
of number of people affected by Lyme disease. As far as surveillance, the CDC lists
the limitations of their methods on their website which includes:
under-reporting, lack of state funds to classify and monitor cases, different
times of closing of estimates per year (between the CDC and different states), changes
in case definitions throughout the years, and surveillance by county of
residence, not county of exposure. (So, is it really 300,000?) Due to the fact that
our biodiversity of deer, rodents, and mammalian creatures is declining due to
our environmental fingerprint, we will probably see a continued rise in cases
in the years to come.
Then, There's the Issue of Testing...
This is a huge controversy. Actually, for any
diagnosis and lab use, there are issues with validity and reliability. I discussed
that more in previous blog (http://dr-lobisco.com/the-problem-with-lab-numbers-labels/).
According to one article in the Journal
of Clinical Microbiology (1999), the following issues crop up in diagnosis
using the CDC's two-tier diagnostic system for Lyme disease. These can occur within and among different labs on
the immunoblot testing due to:
- Subjective interpretation by the lab
extract validity (measurements vary with different forms of B. burgdorferi and different antigens
can be read and misinterpreted due to their same molecular mass)
- The expression of the antigen is related to how it is cultured in the lab and the growth
phase of the critter, this can vary between labs and specimens
argue that this method is meant to be for surveillance only. In fact, the National
Notifiable Disease Surveillance Data System for Lyme Disease (Borellia burgdorferi) CSTE Position
Statement(s) states on the CDC site, "This surveillance case definition was
developed for national reporting of Lyme disease; it is not intended to be used
in clinical diagnosis." (https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/lyme-disease/case-definition/2011/)
The Diagnosis Issues and More
diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on a test that many feel is inadequate.
Furthermore, even if the tests were 100% valid and reliable, different people
have different immune responses. This makes one single test relating to one aspect
of the immune response lacking in usefulness for many. I discussed why this
critter is so hard to catch previously. Here is a review of these factors:
agents with entry of the tick saliva, making it hard to detect at "first
phase, and antigenic variation makes the critter the "master of
disguises" using unique mechanisms to evade antibiotics and the immune
system's detection. Furthermore, most tests only look for one species, but
different species with differing genetics can lead to different symptoms and
differing immune responses (Borellia
garini, Borellia afezlii, Borellia hammseli, Borellia miyamotoi)!!
some evidence that Borellia is
becoming resistant to antibiotics in vitro, meaning the bug may be getting
smarter to our attempts to kill it.
seclusion which means not only can spirochetes and bacteria change forms and
trick our immune system, they can also hide in our bodies by binding to certain
substances in the body. This makes them "invisible" to the immune
5. Borellia can
secrete proteins to adhere to cells and pierce through their walls so they can
"hibernate." Then, they come out of hiding when the immune system least
bug has become so smart it can go around iron poor environments and thrive on
manganese. It can also produce a DNA base critical for its survival!
read more about this in this blog,
where I gave a brief summary of Lyme disease, its complex and various symptoms
(it is known as "the great
mimicker"), the problem with its "posse" of co-infections, the controversy
with treatment, and the existence of chronic Lyme disease (which I get into more below).
there are some new methods and tests for Lyme disease which offer some promise.
These new methods are evaluating the person's genomics, searching for the actual protein in
the serum (verses the immune response to it), a urinary antigen test, and more. I
wrote about some
of these on this site here. This may help with finding the critter faster, which
could prevent chronic issues. However, will it help with treatment? I do not
know for sure.
you can see there are a lot of "issues" and many factors involved for one
little bugger, right?
The Big One... Controversy That Is...
of chronic Lyme disease, there is a schism about this that runs pretty deep in society
and in medicine. It ranges from indifference or lack of knowledge of the
disease to those afflicted and suffering hopelessly. On the medical forefronts,
there are many "Lyme literate physicians" (LLMDs) who have education in the chronicity
of Lyme disease and dig into the treatment and pathology of the critter
with antibiotics and other methods. The opposing position is one in which some
physicians feel that Lyme cannot be chronic and that other factors are at play
related to the symptoms:
These facts would seem to support
that individuals with different genetic variations and immune robustness will
respond differently to an infection with the spirochete. Still, the
Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) does not believe in chronic Lyme
and typically will not treat a Lyme patient beyond acute management. On the
other hand, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
group does believe that Lyme can and often persists beyond a few weeks, and are
willing to treat someone beyond the four-week period. These two groups
represent the schism in LD and differ in treatment.27
According to Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious
Disease, the evidence for chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) is robust, 28-35
and recognizing it could facilitate efforts to avoid diagnostic delays of two
years and durations of illness 4.7-9 years...
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also acknowledges a chronic form of Lyme
disease called "Post-Treatment Lyme
Disease Syndrome." Their website states here:
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also acknowledges a chronic form of Lyme
disease called "Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome." (http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/postlds/index.html)
The Power of Holism: A
Naturopathic and Functional Medicine Perspective
complexity in diagnosis, various symptomology, immune evasion by the critter,
and chronicity, many Lyme disease sufferers struggle with finding solutions and
physicians who will understand their concerns. My method is to treat the whole
person and balance their body, mind and spirit, not just go after the bug.
here to learn about a new model and integrative perspective on my homepage blog where I go into detail about treating the whole person versus killing the bug.
for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/
Clin Microbiol. 1999 Dec; 37(12): 3990-3996.
Infect Dis. 1997
Jul;25 Suppl 1:S31-4.
BMJ. 2007 Nov 3; 335(7626): 910-912. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/Halperin_2012_Chap4_JohnsonB.pdf
Dis Clin North Am.
2008 Jun; 22(2): 217-234.
APM: Immune Module. Lyme Disease. Rancho Mirage, CA. March 2015.
and Drug Resistance.
disease clinics of North America. 2008;22(2):217-234.
of Biological Chemistry, 2013.
ScienceDaily. March 21, 2013.
The Difference Between Quality Control and Standardization with Essential Oils
In my homepage blog, I discussed the importance of
essential oils quality and safety. Essential oils are regulated by their
intended use in the United States; therefore, they can be regulated under the category
of cosmetics, fragrances, or "others." This makes consistency and quality an
important consideration when using them for wellness purposes.
In this blog, I want to help you understand the
differences between standardization and quality more. Let's first look at an
industry which has both, pharmaceuticals. I reviewed several reasons previously
on how standard of care does not necessarily mean it
is without risk. For example, medications are regulated, have standardization,
yet still can lead to medical
effects, and toxicities.
In regards to safety of regulated, standardized, and approved drugs, the FDA
(Food and Drug Administration) states the following limitations on their own
site in approval of safety for drugs (bold emphasis mine):
provides guidance to companies during the various phases of the human clinical
trials. Even so, the number of people in
a clinical trial of a new drug is usually small in comparison to the number of
people who may take the drug if it reaches the market. This makes it
difficult to detect rare side effects.
though data from human trials are analyzed by a team of experts before a drug
is approved, it can be impossible to
anticipate all bad reactions--especially very rare safety risks--unless they
had also happened with use of a similar drug.
matters is the fact that after they are
approved, drugs are often taken by sick people who are on other medications at
the same time, making it difficult to predict how they will react to the drug.
And the drug's effect on the patient may change over the course of years.
are hundreds of thousands of adverse
events reported via MedWatch each year, but this reporting system is voluntary
and there are serious drug reactions that are never reported.
Because the nation's healthcare system is not
integrated, there is no standard way to track the adverse effects of a medicine
in any given health system or across different health systems. Health insurance databases can be helpful in this
regard, but they are only accurate as long as a patient has the same job and is
enrolled with the same insurance system since many people are insured through
their employer. This limits FDA's ability to monitor the safety of
medications taken over many years. However, FDA, through its Sentinel
Initiative, is currently working to develop capabilities to use data from
different health systems to better understand the safety of drugs in clinical
Interesting, isn't it?
in Essential Oils
Currently, there are some sets of standards and
certifications regulating essential oils through the agencies of ISO (which is
the International Organization for Standardization) and the Association
Française de Normalisation (AFNOR).
According to the ISO website: "ISO is an
independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of
161 national standards bodies. Through its members,
it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary,
consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support
innovation and provide solutions to global challenges."
AFNOR is the French national organization for
standardization and its International Organization for Standardization member
body. They develop their international standardization activities, information
provision, certification and training through a network members of the
association. According to their
the French standardization organization, directs and coordinates the
establishment of national standards (NF) and participation in the definition of
European standards (EN) and International standards (ISO and IEC). It is the
French member of European and international non-governmental standards
organizations such as CEN and CENELEC in Europe, and ISO and IEC
internationally. Thanks to the investment of all the players in the French economy,
AFNOR is one of the most influential members of these organizations,
strategically and technically.
Quality Caveat with Standards and Essential Oils
Unfortunately, ISO standards exist for only approximately
50 EOs. According to a source I had with one well known company, the ISO
standards for EOs were created, in most cases, because an AFNOR standard
existed. If an EO meets the ISO/AFNOR standard, it will probably be a high
quality oil; however, this is not always the case. There is a difference
between standards and quality. Standardizations can imply quality, but they
don't necessarily have. They can exist solely for consistency in labeling and
selling across manufacturers. The AFNOR does claim to seek to ensure quality.
To complicate matters more, different companies
consider different constituents as "quality" essential oils. This may make them
not "standardized" but still "quality" in regards to raw materials,
distillation technique, testing, manufacturing, and distribution.
The bottom line- know and trust your supplier and
ask about quality control, then do some of your own research.
more about essential oil safety on my homepage here and get more references.
Food and Drug Administration. Aromatherapy. FDA
Web site: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm127054.htm.
Accessed December 28, 2015.
Food and Drug Administration. Fragrances in
Cosmetics. FDA Web site:
Accessed December 28, 2015.
Food and Drug Administration. CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. FDA
Food and Drug Administration. How FDA Evaluates Regulated Products: Drugs.
FDA Web site: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm269834.htm
Food and Drug
Administration. Pharmaceutical Quality/Manufacturing Standards (CGMP). FDA Web
International Standardization Organization. ISO/TC
54 - Essential oils. ISO Web site:
Association of French Normalization Organization.
Standards- All Published Standards. AFNOR Web site:
Association of French Normalization Organization. ISO 9001 Certification - Quality. AFNOR Web
Association of French Normalization Organization. Normes. AFNOR Web site: http://www.boutique.afnor.org/recherche/resultats/categorie/normes/ics/huiles-essentielles-71.100.60%20?utm_source=portail&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editions.
In my homepage
blog, I discussed the flaws and biases in supplement and drug trials. This is
part II of the discussion.
A 2005 review tilted, "Why Most
Published Research Findings Are False," provides a good summary of factors that
influence conclusions of studies (bold emphasis mine):
increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The
probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and
bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the
ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each
scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely
to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes
are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested
relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions,
outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other
interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field
in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study
designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than
true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings
may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I
discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation
of research." (http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124)
So, Do We Ignore the Data?
No, no, and no...there's
ways to use this information to make informed decisions about what the "evidence"
is actually saying. But, it takes a lot of detective work. Most of my research and looking into studies
has come from my own review of studies reporting on biases and lessons learned
from my mentors and teachers. In no way am I methodology whiz, but I do have a
basic grasp of why our model and interpretations need to be interpreted with caution.
These are some of
the considerations that I always review when applying studies to my clients:
1. Read the
actual study and be wary of media spin. In one cross-sectional analysis of 130
studies of health news reported on google and found the following:
In total, 78% of the news did not
provide a full reference or electronic link to the scientific article. We found
at least one spin in 114 (88%) news items and 18 different types of spin in
news. These spin were mainly related to misleading reporting (59%) such as not
reporting adverse events that were reported in the scientific article (25%),
misleading interpretation (69%) such as claiming a causal effect despite
non-randomized study design (49%) and overgeneralization/misleading
extrapolation (41%) of the results such as extrapolating a beneficial effect
from an animal study to humans (21%). We also identified some new types of spin
such as highlighting a single patient experience for the success of a new
treatment instead of focusing on the group results. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608738/)
were the participants/what population was studied (differences in gender/ethnicity/health
status)? What were their characteristics? What was the dropout rate? Who was
excluded and why? What were the factors controlled for in the subjects?
Type of study:
Was it observational and correlational study which look for relationships
verses cause-and-effect or was it a case-control randomized trial? Was there a
control or was it a comparison trial? (Too much or too little control both have
weakness. For example, too much control prevents extrapolation of the
intervention to the real world and too little prevents interpretation that the
intervention caused the change.)
is the form of intervention? Was it the appropriate dosage? How long was the
study? How was it taken? What was the placebo effect?
3. Search the
results for inconsistencies:
How are the
results reported? For example, is it the use of an odds ratio, is it relative
or absolute risk? What is the NNT? Is the
p-value of significance truly reflective of compatible data with the
Do the charts
and statistics match the author's conclusions?
4. More can be found here for the geeks...
study interpretation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3077477/)
to search for (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18582622)
Design, analysis and interpretation of
method-comparison studies (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944826/)
Quasi-experimental study designs (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1380192/)
Where to Go
1. Physicians and practitioners need to be honest about interventions and
be transparent about what they have experience with. Both parties should look
up the NNT and find a few studies to examine if the intervention is new.
2. Consumers and patients need to be aware that some of the studies and
standard of care physicians are using could be flawed. Don't just accept
treatment that isn't helping without studying the data or asking your doctor
for more information. Most importantly, look for if you're getting results with
an intervention (nutrient, herb, oil, supplement, medication) and use that in
your basis for the final decision.
Get the references
here on my homepage.
Gifts of Giving and Her Impact & Some Stress-Free Relief for Her
When you think of May, does it remind you of your mom? In case you forgot,
May 8th is the day to celebrate the important mother figures in our
lives. Unfortunately, in our society we can sometimes tend to blame our mom
more than praise her for certain traits and health issues.
Although our mothers can affect our health outcomes, as I wrote about here, we do have
the power to modulate this... even at the level of genetics! It can also be
soothing to realize that regardless of the characteristics our mom provided in
her genes (and dads too) and personality, this combination makes us unique individuals.
We can use these experiences and knowledge to understand ourselves better, give
gratitude to our past, heal wounds for the future, and rise to better health.
Furthermore, the healing and profound power of a mother's
touch as something which is vital for optimal development. If someone
didn't receive it when we needed it, there are ways to soothe ourselves now
through understanding, epigenetics,
Regardless of if your mother was amazing (like I am fortunate to claim),
if you learned lessons from your parental relationship and grew, or if your mom
is no longer with you, celebrating love and the strong women in our lives is very
healing for our own physical health. In fact, you can read 10 science-based
reasons gratitude will benefit you
here. (Did you know "an attitude of gratitude" can even help student's
More on the Mom-Body Connection
A few studies this month also
highlighted the importance of mom's impact on our future generations. One study
showed that the risks associated with a later birth in moms was outweighed by
the environmental benefits. This means, a mom's attitude and here resources
impact her child's development. Science
Daily reported on this change as follows:
Both public health and social conditions have been
improving over time in many countries. Previous research on the relationship
between maternal age and child outcomes has ignored the importance of these
macro-level environmental changes over time. From the perspective of any
individual parent, delaying childbearing means having a child with a later
birth year. For example, a ten-year difference in maternal age is accompanied
by a decade of changes to social and environmental conditions. Taking this
perspective, this new MPIDR-study shows that when women delay childbearing to
older ages their children are healthier, taller, and more highly educated. It
shows that despite the risks associated with childbearing at older ages, which
are attributable to aging of the reproductive system, these risks are either
counterbalanced, or outweighed, by the positive changes to the environment in
the period during which the mother delayed her childbearing.
Still, it's not just about
money and environment. The gift of love is free. Science Daily also cited a study that showed that moms who nurtured
their little ones had babes with bigger brains:
Children whose mothers were nurturing during the
preschool years, as opposed to later in childhood, have more robust growth in
brain structures associated with learning, memory and stress response than
children with less supportive moms.
According to the study
researchers, the children of moms who were viewed as more nurturing exhibited growth
in the hippocampus region as determined by three MRI scans. This area in the
brain is associated with emotional regulation, memory, and learning. In this
study with 127 youths, emotional regulation was the key factor reported on for
It's Not Just Mom's Love- It's Community
Another recent study showed the
impact of children's friends and social connections on their stress. We all
health impacts of stress! The researchers indicated by studying different
aspects of the stress response, they had a better comprehensive view of how our
environment and connection modulates our physiology. Science Daily states:
For this focused study, Ponzi and Flinn chose a
sample of 40 children ranging in ages from 5 to 12 and who represented about 80
percent of the total children in the village. Each child was asked a series of
questions about their friends to measure their perceived density and closeness
of their social networks. Three samples of saliva were collected before, during
and after the interview and cortisol and alpha-amylase levels were measured.
"We found that, using the data we collected
from the one-on-one interviews, children who were stressed about the size and
density of their perceived social networks had elevated anticipatory cortisol
levels, and responded by secreting more alpha-amylase," Flinn said.
"Our study was in line with past research on stress, loneliness and social
support in adults, but we strengthened past research by applying it to
children. Future research should consider a multi-system approach like this one
to study cognitive and biological mechanisms underlying children's perception."
Supporting Mom's Health with Aromatherapy
Now, time to give our moms or
mother figures some hints on self-care, because they do so much for us! Here
are some abstracts on the use of essential oils and aromatherapy to soothe moms.
1. Improving Sleep During the Postpartum
What mom doesn't need more
sleep? This study in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal evaluated
the impact of aromatherapy on moms in the postpartum period:
This study was a randomized clinical trial with the
control group. A total of 158 mothers in postpartum period (with certain
inclusion criteria) were enrolled in the study and assigned randomly to two
groups of control and intervention. Lavender fragrance (made by Barij Essence
Pharmaceutical Co.) was used by participants in the intervention group nightly
before sleeping. The fragrance was dropped on cotton balls, which were placed
on a cylindrical container at mothers' disposal. Keeping the container at a
projected distance of 20 cm, the participants inhaled 10 deep breaths and then
the container was placed beside their pillow until morning. This procedure was
done 4 times a week for 8 weeks. For the control group, the same intervention
was done with the placebo. The instrument for collecting data was Pittsburgh
sleep quality index, which was completed at the baseline, fourth, and eighth
weeks after the intervention. Data were analyzed using independent t test and
repeated measures analysis of variance calculated by SPSS16....
Considering the effects of aromatherapy on the improvement of mother's
sleep quality during postpartum period, aromatherapy has been suggested as a
non-pharmacological method for the improvement of the maternal health.
2. Calming Anxiety in Labor and Reducing
Blood Pressure Readings with Geranium
Methods: In study, was
carried out on 100 nulliparous women admitted to Bent al-Hoda Hospital in the
city of Bojnord in North Khorasan province of Iran during 2012-2013. The women
were randomly assigned to two groups of equal size, one experimental group
(geranium essential oil) and one control (placebo) group. Anxiety levels were
measured using Spielberger' questionnaire before and after intervention.
Physiological parameters (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiratory
rate, pulse rate) were also measured before and after intervention in both
groups. Data analysis was conducted using the x2 test, paired t-test,
Mann-Whitney U test, and Wilcox on test on SPSS 11.5.
Results: The mean
anxiety score decreased significantly after inhalation of the aroma of geranium
essential oil. There was also a significant decrease in diastolic blood
Conclusion: Aroma of
essential oil of geraniums can effectively reduce anxiety during labor and can
be recommended as a non-invasive anti-anxiety aid during childbirth.
3. Burnout Relief
A small randomized, controlled,
double-blind pilot study that included 14 participants was done to "determine the effectiveness of a mixture of
essential oils (peppermint, basil, and helichrysum) on mental exhaustion, or
moderate burnout (ME/MB) using a personal inhaler." The study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine abstract reads:
DESIGN: This was a randomized, controlled,
double-blind pilot study. Data were collected 3 times a day for 3 weeks
(Monday-Friday). The first week was baseline for both groups, the second week
was intervention (aromatherapy or placebo), and the third week was washout...
INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomized to
receive a personal inhaler containing either a mixture of essential oils or
rose water (as used in Indian cooking).
OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome measures were a 0-10
scale with 10=worst feeling of burnout, 0=no feeling of burnout. There was a
qualitative questionnaire rating aroma and a questionnaire listing perceived
RESULTS: While both groups had a reduction in
perception of ME/MB, the aromatherapy group had a much greater reduction.
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that inhaling
essential oils may reduce the perceived level of mental fatigue/burnout.
Further research is warranted.
A One Sentence Summary
Therefore, our health can start
with our moms, be impacted by our own attitude and behaviors, and supported by
Catch the Latest News
This week, on my homepage, I
wrote about the need for change in healthcare from sick-care to well-care. Just
as I was in my writer's flow, an article on how Medical
Errors are the Third Cause of Death in the United States popped up in my inbox.
Serendipity!! You can read all about how this is connected to empowering
patients' health and changing our approach to medicine.
My blog also provides
lots of nerd-out opportunities for your skimming pleasure on the Top Holistic
and Integrative Health News for April 2016.
Be sure to read it here.
10 Reasons Why Gratitude is Healthy. Huffington Post.
July 12, 2014.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2003;
Gratitude and the Reduced Cost of Materialism in Adolescents.
J Happiness Stud. 2010; 12:289-302.
Advanced Maternal Age and
Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends. Population
and Development Review, 2016; 42 (1): 69.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Children of older mothers do
better: The benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the
biological risks associated with being born to an older mother. ScienceDaily,
12 April 2016.
Washington University School of Medicine. Nurturing during
preschool years boosts child's brain growth: Mothers' support linked to robust
growth of brain area involved in learning, memory, stress response. ScienceDaily,
25 April 2016.
Luby JL, Belden A, Harms MP, Tillman R, Barch DM.
Preschool is a sensitive period for the influence of maternal support on the
trajectory of hippocampal development. PNAS.
University of Missouri-Columbia. Children react
physically to stress from their social networks: A 28-year study reveals that
the social relationships nurtured in childhood may have physiological
consequences. ScienceDaily. 2 May 2016.
Cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase and children's
perceptions of their social networks. Social Neuroscience, 2015; 11 (2):164.
Keshavarz Afshar M, Behboodi
Moghadam Z, Taghizadeh Z, Bekhradi R, Montazeri A, Mokhtari P. Lavender
Fragrance Essential Oil and the Quality of Sleep in Postpartum Women. Iranian
Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2015;17(4):e25880.
Fakari F, Tabatabaeichehr M, Kamali H, Rashidi Fakari F, Naseri M. Effect of
Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters
during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Caring Sciences.
Varney E, Buckle J. Effect of
inhaled essential oils on mental exhaustion and moderate burnout: a small pilot
study. J Altern Complement Med. 2013
Jan;19(1):69-71. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0089.
blog on my homepage discussed the downfalls of basing healthcare on diagnosis
and managing diseases and sickness symptoms. In it, I reviewed the importance
of individualizing treatment and considering the interplay between genes and
environment. In fact, I reported on a pivotal study that provided evidence that
even in those with a genetic mutation that could result in disorders such as
cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs disease, there were individuals found who were
healthy in spite of them.
We have a
current epidemic now in painkiller abuse. Recently, Health Day reported:
The Obama administration announced
Tuesday additional measures in its $1.1 billion funding request to expand
medication-based treatment for Americans addicted to prescription painkillers
President Barack Obama is scheduled to
propose the measures at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in
Atlanta. The White House said the increased initiative could offer hope to tens
of thousands of Americans addicted to prescription painkillers, such as
OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
reliance on medications to soothe our pain has financial and social implications.
For example, it has been shown that opioids may cause changes in the brain in a
small 2010 study, though the authors hypothesized this may be reversible:
Following the month of morphine
administration, reduced gray matter was observed in the right amygdala. The
amygdala, together with the hippocampus, drive reward-related learning
processes via modulatory influences on the nucleus accumbens [17, 21]. The
amygdala is involved in drug-induced associative learning, drug craving,
reinforcement, the development of dependence, and the experience of acute
withdrawal... Gray matter increase was widely-distributed throughout the brain and, in
contrast to regions demonstrating volumetric decrease, was located outside of
it isn't just a concern for heroin and other painkillers. Many are using common
over-the-counter medications to control pain that may have negative side
effects, such as harming the brain. According to a recent article in Science Daily:
It's been known for more than a
century that acetaminophen is an effective painkiller, but according to a new U
of T study it could also be impeding error-detection in the brain.
The research, authored by a team
including postdoctoral fellow Dan Randles and researchers from the University
of British Columbia, is the first neurological study to look at how
acetaminophen could be inhibiting the brain response associated with making
"Past research tells us physical
pain and social rejection share a neural process that we experience as
distress, and both have been traced to same part of the brain," says
Recent research has begun to show how
exactly acetaminophen inhibits pain, while behavioural studies suggest it may
also inhibit evaluative responses more generally. Randles own past research has
found that people are less reactive to uncertain situations when under the
effect of acetaminophen.
It's a sad
state in America when
interventions which may be effective and have positive side effects are
overlooked. For example, I discussed how
mindfulness practices can assist with low back pain. A 2013 study reviewed some
of the evidence on how meditation may affect pain processing looking at more
than just the physical aspect of pain perception:
The cognitive modulation of pain is
influenced by a number of factors ranging from attention, beliefs,
conditioning, expectations, mood, and the regulation of emotional responses to
noxious sensory events. Recently, mindfulness meditation has been found
attenuate pain through some of these mechanisms including enhanced cognitive
and emotional control, as well as altering the contextual evaluation of sensory
events. This review discusses the brain mechanisms involved in mindfulness
meditation-related pain relief across different meditative techniques,
expertise and training levels, experimental procedures, and neuroimaging
methodologies. Converging lines of neuroimaging evidence reveal that
mindfulness meditation-related pain relief is associated with unique appraisal
cognitive processes depending on expertise level and meditation tradition.
Moreover, it is postulated that mindfulness meditation-related pain relief may
share a common final pathway with other cognitive techniques in the modulation
recent study showed how mindfulness may also be helpful in emotional pain. HealthDay reported:
This study included 23 U.S. veterans
of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who all received some form of group therapy.
After four months of weekly sessions, many had reductions in their PTSD
However, some of the participants
received mindfulness training, and only those veterans showed brain activity
changes that could be detected on functional MRI brain scans. Before
mindfulness training, when the veterans with PTSD were resting quietly, they
had extra activity in brain regions involved in responding to threats or
outside problems, the study authors said.
isolating and can have implications in other diseases, such as an increased
risk of heart disease. This cycle continues of not looking at the need for
connecting all the dots and the whack-a-mole medicine game of suppressing
may not ask you about another tool used in healing by more than half Americans-
prayer. Shouldn't faith and belief be factored in and incorporated into the art
of medicine along with the science? Maybe then we'd really have true holistic,
integrated, healthcare. I think it's coming, but we still have a way to go.
Augliere B. Mystery
factors protect lucky few from severe genetic disorders: Massive genomic study
picks up disease-linked mutations in otherwise healthy people. Nature. 11 April 2016. http://www.nature.com/news/mystery-factors-protect-lucky-few-from-severe-genetic-disorders-1.19719
Steele M. Obama
Administration Steps Up Efforts to Beat Painkiller, Heroin Epidemic. Health
Day. March 29, 2016. http://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/addiction-news-6/obama-steps-up-efforts-to-beat-painkiller-heroin-epidemic-709474.html
Toronto. Is a popular painkiller hampering our ability to notice errors? ScienceDaily. 8 April 2016.
Chu LF, D'Arcy N, Trott K, Jastrzab LE, Mackey SC. Prescription opioid
analgesics rapidly change the human brain. Pain. 2011;152(8):1803-1810.
Rettner R. Mindfulness
Meditation May Reduce Low Back Pain. Huffington Post. March 24, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mindfulness-meditation-may-reduce-low-back-pain_us_56f4279de4b04c4c37619965
Zeidan F, Grant JA,
Brown CA, McHaffie JG, Coghill RC. Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief:
Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain. Neuroscience
letters. 2012;520(2):165-173. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2012.03.082.
Preidt R. Mindfulness
Training May Ease PTSD. HealthDay. April 1, 2016. http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/brain-health-news-80/mindfulness-training-can-ease-ptsd-709555.html
Reinburg S. Lonely,
Isolated People May Be Prone to Heart Disease, Stroke. Health Day. April 19,
Preidt R. Most
Americans Turn to Prayer for Healing, Survey Finds. Health Day. April 22, 2016.
Many of us heard that stress is "bad for us." It is
true that long-term, chronic stress can have many negative
effects on all systems of the body.1 In my current blog on my homepage, I
review what happens in the body when someone has an allergy or experiences respiratory
symptoms. I also discuss how the body's immune response is intricately
connected to all systems. In this blog, I review the connection between the
nervous and immune systems.
and Allergy Flares
A study with 179 university employees suffering
allergic symptoms and the influence of lifestyle factors on their manifestation
findings suggest that individuals with persistent emotional stress have more
frequent allergy flares. Furthermore, those with more flares have greater
Of course, there is also direct biochemical
evidence of this link.3-5 Modern Healthcare Practitioner reported on how stress can
impact immune function:
sympathetic fibers descend from the brain into both primary and secondary lymph
tissue. These fibers release substances that bind to receptors on white blood
cells. Second, the adrenal hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol
bind to specific receptors on white blood cells and have regulatory effects on
their distribution and function. Finally, one's efforts to manage the demands
of stress often result in coping strategies that have a secondary negative
effect on the immune system - such as alcohol use or changes in sleeping
patterns. Thus behavior can be an important pathway linking stress with the
A two-part study was done to assess the effect
of stress on symptoms from exposure to a virus. The first part of the
experiment consisted of 125 men and 151 women. The subjects were quarantined
for 24 hours and then were given "nasal drops containing a low infectious dose
of either RV21 (N = 129) or RV39 (N = 147)."
In the second study, there were 39 men and 43 women
who were also quarantined and then given the virus strain, RV39. All
participants were paid $800 for getting infected.
The authors concluded the following in relationship
to glucocorticoid receptor resistance (GCR), which occurs as a result of
chronic stress hormones "hitting the receptors":
1: After covarying the control variables, those with recent exposure to a
long-term threatening stressful experience demonstrated GCR; and those with GCR
were at higher risk of subsequently developing a cold. Study 2: With the same
controls used in study 1, greater GCR predicted the production of more local proinflammatory
cytokines among infected subjects. These data provide support for a model
suggesting that prolonged stressors result in GCR, which, in turn, interferes
with appropriate regulation of inflammation. Because inflammation plays an
important role in the onset and progression of a wide range of diseases, this
model may have broad implications for understanding the role of stress in
There are various ways to mitigate the stress
response. I wrote about some overlooked ways here and
how essential oils not only impact stress through olfaction, but also
through biochemical responses. In other words, essential oils can modulate our
immune response while calming our brain.
In another article, Dr. Rosen also reviews some
integrative approaches to allergies. These include eating an anti-inflammatory
diet, the use of fish oil, and supportive herbals.7 These are all also important for
To read more about supporting your immune system,
make sure you check out my blog here.
1. American Psychological Association. Stress
Effects on the Body. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx
2. Patterson AM, Yildiz VO, Klatt MD, Malarkey WB.
Perceived stress predicts allergy flares. Ann
Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014 Apr;112(4):317-21
3. Labrix. Stress and Immune Function. Modern
Healthcare Practitioner. October 30, 2015. http://www.modernhcp.com/stress-and-immune-function/
4. Hussain D. Stress, Immunity, and Health: Research
Findings and Implications. International
Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. 2010. 15(1) 94-100.
5. Segerstrom SC, Miller GE. Psychological Stress
and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Psychological bulletin.
6. Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Doyle WJ, Miller GE,
Frank E, Rabin BS, Turner RB. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor
resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. PNAS.
2012 109 (16) 5995-5999. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118355109
7. Rosen D. Seasonal Allergies: An Integrative
Approach to Atopic Disorders. Integrative Practitioner. http://www.integrativepractitioner.com/topics/environmental-health/seasonal-allergies-an-integrative-approach-to-atopic-disorders/
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As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.
"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle."