Recently, I was
training in the windy city of Chicago, totally engrossed in learning all about
hormones. One of the big tenants of all my training in functional medicine is “to
treat the matrix.” This means, doctors are challenged to not just think of a
pill or supplement to suppress a symptom or disease process, but to dig deeper
and look at the interconnectedness of all the organ systems, lifestyle, environmental
impacts, and genetics that influence the patient. By doing this, an integrated and individualized plan of action
that treats the person, not just the disease, can be implemented for holistic and humanized healing.
training on how to have healthy hormones, one of the hot topics was the impact
of environmental exposures. Many people who are interested in wellness are
familiar with the importance of changing from toxic, chemical-laden personal
care and cleaning products to natural and organic versions. This is due
to the endocrine disruptors present. Here, the name says it all.
This month, I
was gathering information for my Top
Holistic Health Reads and came across some of these commonly thought of environmental
exposures and some not often mentioned ones that can trump our health in many other
ways as well.
Here is my summary of articles and abstracts (bold emphasis mine):
1. How Your Smart Phone May Be Changing
Your Brain & Making You Depressed
Smart Phones On the Brain
According to a
recent article in PLoS One that included 31 healthy females, your cell phone may be impacting your brain
activity related to where it was on the body and radiation exposure, “The aim of this study was to investigate
whether a 15-minute placement of a 3G dialing mobile phone causes direct
changes in EEG activity compared to the placement of a sham phone. Furthermore,
it was investigated whether placement of the mobile phone on the ear or the
heart would result in different outcomes. Thirty-one healthy females
participated. All subjects were measured twice: on one of the two days the
mobile phone was attached to the ear, the other day to the chest. In this
single-blind, cross-over design, assessments in the sham phone condition were
conducted directly preceding and following the mobile phone exposure. During
each assessment, EEG activity and radiofrequency radiation were recorded
jointly. Delta, theta, alpha, slowbeta, fastbeta, and gamma activity was
computed. The association between radiation exposure and the EEG was tested
using multilevel random regression analyses with radiation as predictor of main
interest. Significant radiation effects were found for the alpha, slowbeta, fastbeta,
and gamma bands. When analyzed separately, ear location of the phone was
associated with significant results, while chest placement was not. The results support the notion that EEG
alterations are associated with mobile phone usage and that the effect is
dependent on site of placement. Further studies are required to demonstrate the
physiological relevance of these findings.”
van Os J, Viechtbauer W, Lousberg R. EEG Changes Due to Experimentally Induced
3G Mobile Phone Radiation. Akiba S, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6):e0129496.
Ji, Sayer. Brain
Wave Warping Effect of Mobile Phones, Study Reveals. GreenMedInfo. July 12,
Depression and Smart Phones
Depression can be detected from your
smartphone sensor data by tracking the number of minutes you use the phone and
your daily geographical locations, reports a new study. The more time you spend
using your phone, the more likely you are depressed. Spending most of your time
at home and most of your time in fewer locations also are linked to depression.
The research could lead to monitoring people at risk of depression and enabling
health care providers to intervene.
University. Your phone knows if you’re depressed: Time spent on smartphone, GPS
location sensor data detect depression. ScienceDaily. July 15, 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150715112605.htm
Sohrab Saeb, Mi
Zhang, Christopher J Karr, Stephen M Schueller, Marya E Corden, Konrad P
Kording, David C Mohr. Mobile Phone
Sensor Correlates of Depressive Symptom Severity in Daily-Life Behavior: An
Exploratory Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2015; 17
(7): e175 DOI: 10.2196/jmir.4273
2. Kids, Detergent, & Chemicals
THURSDAY, July 16, 2015 (HealthDay News)
— Consumer Reports said Thursday that it has removed liquid laundry pods from
its “recommended” list because of the dangers they pose to small
The nonprofit organization, which rates
a wide variety of consumer products for safety and reliability, also urged that
the convenient laundry aids be avoided altogether in homes where children
younger than 6 years of age live or ever visit.
In most injury cases, children try to
bite or poke through the pods, and the highly concentrated detergent gets into
their eyes or goes down their throats. Once ingested, vomiting and coughing are
common, but comas, seizures and breathing problems can occur in rare cases, the
Health Day News. July 16, 2015. http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/poisons-health-news-537/consumer-reports-takes-liquid-detergent-pods-off-recommended-list-701421.html
3. The Chemicals in Fracking
to be exact, according to the newly released executive summary by the EPA. Terrifyingly,
many feel the impact may have been underreported in their summary of findings. Check
out the reason this is scary below.
Fracking and Hospitalizations
WEDNESDAY, July 15, 2015 (HealthDay
News) — People who live near “fracking” sites may be at increased
risk for hospitalization for heart problems, neurological disorders and other
conditions, new research suggests. Hydraulic fracturing — widely referred to
as fracking — is a form of oil and gas drilling that has increased
dramatically in the United States over the past decade, raising concerns about
water and air pollution.
Pennsylvania is a hotspot for fracked
wells, the researchers said. In this study, hospitalization rates in three
northeastern counties in Pennsylvania were tallied. Two of the counties —
Bradford and Susquehanna — had a significant increase in fracked wells between
2007 and 2011. No fracking was allowed in the third county — Wayne — due to
its proximity to the Delaware River watershed.
The researchers looked at the top 25
specific medical categories for more than 198,000 hospitalizations among
residents of the three counties between 2007 and 2011. They found that rates of
hospitalizations for heart and neurological problems were much higher among
people who lived closer to active fracked wells.
News. July 15, 2015. http://consumer.healthday.com/environmental-health-information-12/environment-health-news-233/hospitalization-rates-jump-near-fracking-sites-study-701340.html
Gerton GL, Neidell M, Chillrud S, Yan B, Stute M, et al. (2015) Unconventional
Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates.
PLoS ONE 10(7): e0131093. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131093
4. Wildfires and Heart Health
Wildfires create air
pollution that fuels the risk for heart hazards, including heart attacks,
especially in older adults, researchers report.
Wildfires that raged in Victoria,
Australia, for two months several years ago were associated with a 7 percent
increase in sudden cardiac arrests — an electrical malfunction that causes the
heart to stop beating. Hospitalizations for heart disease rose nearly 2 percent
and emergency room visits for heart disease increased more than 2 percent,
July 15, 2015. http://consumer.healthday.com/cardiovascular-health-information-20/misc-stroke-related-heart-news-360/wildfires-sparks-heart-hazards-for-miles-around-study-finds-701373.html
5. No Safe Plastics?
The phthalate compounds in question –
di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) – are
replacements for another chemical, di-2-ethylhexylphlatate (DEHP), which the
same researchers proved in previous research to have similar adverse effects.
The phthalates are meant to strengthen
plastic wraps and processed food containers, among other household items.
The two new pieces of research are
published in the journals Hypertension
and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology
and Metabolism. In the Hypertension study, for every 10-fold
increase in the amount of phthalates consumed, there was a 1.1 millimeters of
mercury (mmHg) increase in blood pressure.
In the other study, one in three
adolescents with the highest DINP levels had the highest insulin resistance,
while for those with the lowest concentrations of the chemicals, only 1 in 4
had insulin resistance.
News Today, July 9, 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296504.php
Five Things You Can Do:
1. Don’t wear
your cell phone on your body and use speakerphone or earpieces that decrease
2. Buy safe,
organic, cleaning products.
3. Avoid living
by areas of fracking. If you do, practice as many positive lifestyle factors
you can to offset the stress on your body.
4. Don’t play
5. Use glass not plastic.