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Pregnancy Stress Can Have Life-Long Effects on a Child

By Lara Pizzorno, MDiv, MA, LMT
August 31, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Medical Care, Pregnancy

What happens during a woman’s pregnancy can have life-long (or potentially life-shortening) effects on her child.

When 94 healthy young adults were tested, those whose mothers had experienced severe stress during their pregnancy (for example, the death or sudden severe illness of an immediate family member, loss of their home) were found to have much shorter telomeres than those whose mothers had had a healthy, uneventful pregnancy.

Why does telomere length matter?

Telomeres are like a string of little protective beads that cap off the ends of the chromosomes in our cells, protecting them — and the DNA of which they are composed — from damage. …read more of Pregnancy Stress Can Have Life-Long Effects on a Child here

 
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Learning More About Niacin

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
June 7, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Illness Prevention, Medical Care, Supplements

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A major clinical trial that added niacin to statin treatment for people with a history of heart disease was closed early due to lack of clinical benefit, according to a news release from the American Heart Association. These results are being interpreted as a disappointment in some early media reports.

The trial was based on a belief that simultaneously lowering bad LDL cholesterol (with a statin class medication) and increasing good HDL cholesterol (with niacin) would be superior to simply increasing LDL alone. This combination treatment has been associated with promising outcomes in previous studies, including one published just over a year ago in the New England Journal of Medicine. …read more of Learning More About Niacin here

 
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A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
May 24, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Medical Care, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements

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An article scheduled for publication in the next issue of the Lancet looks at the efficacy of a new class of antidepressant. This medication class includes a number of new melatonin-like molecules, none of which are currently approved for therapeutic use in the United States.

But melatonin is widely available over-the-counter in this country. Would melatonin supplements potentially have the same therapeutic effect as the pharmaceutical versions? Maybe, but let’s take a little detour first.

For the past 50 years, drug therapies for depression have focused on a group of neurotransmitters called monoamines. In particular, serotonin has been the major therapeutic target, so much so that many modern theories about the cause of depression focus on disruptions in production of this chemical. …read more of A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement here

 
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A Hard Lesson To Learn

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
April 19, 2011
File under: Medical Care, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements, Uncategorized

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One of the reasons that being a doctor is hard is that patients want to feel better RIGHT NOW. There is a natural temptation toward intervention vs conservative treatment, more medication vs less.

But there is a problem with this. Every time a doctor makes a health intervention, there can be a potential downside. Sometimes, the downside is immediate and obvious (think major surgery). Other times, the risks may come much later, and may not even be known.

Every once in a while, we see a research study that highlights this uncertainty. …read more of A Hard Lesson To Learn here

 
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In Homeopathic Medicine, Is the Doctor the Treatment?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
March 14, 2011
File under: Homeopathy, Medical Care, Natural Health

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A recently published clinical trial raises a difficult question about a popular alternative medicine treatment modality. This study was designed to ask a critical question that has bothered researchers for some time – is the benefit that patients report with homeopathy due to the remedy treatment, the interaction with the doctor, or the placebo effect?

In this new study, a group of 56 rheumatoid arthritis patients went through one of five diagnosis and treatment paths: 1) no meeting with a doctor and a placebo pill, 2) no meeting with a doctor and a multiple remedy homeopathy pill, 3) full homeopathic workup plus a remedy chosen by the doctor, 4) full homeopathic workup plus a multiple remedy homeopathy pill, or 5) full homeopathic workup plus a placebo treatment. At the end of a roughly 6 month followup, the researchers collected objective and subjective symptom data on each patient in the study.

Overall, there were only minor differences seen in the most important measures of disease activity. There was some evidence, however, of statistically significant improvement by several of the measures used. …read more of In Homeopathic Medicine, Is the Doctor the Treatment? here

 
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