Tuesday, August 30, 2016

They'll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks

What parents have long agonized over is coming to the forefront of medical research---and Mom, you were (are) right!  The connection between the gut and the brain is being revealed in research at breakneck speed.  A few of the most momentous (and my personal favorites) are:
   From Johns Hopkins University---research on the enteric nervous system (two thin layers of 100 million nerve cells) and its effect on the brain could revolutionize treatment for both neurological and gastrointestinal conditions.  While the association between IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and depression have long been known, it was assumed anxiety/depression contributed to bouts with IBS---and now it is understood that it is likely the other way around.  And this begs the question:  Does it have to be one way or the other?  Is it possible the IBS affects anxiety/depression AND the anxiety/depression affects IBS?  Is there a two-way street happening here?  Regardless of the answer, nutrition is highlighted for improvement in these and many other conditions previously considered strictly “mental.”  Click here to read more.

·    Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have uncovered a connection between bacteria living in the digestive system and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.  “For the first time, we’ve been able to identify that food has some sort of remote control over central nervous system inflammation,” said a lead researcher in the study.  Results were published in Nature Medicine  in May 2016. Once again, nutrition is shown to have a profound, perhaps causative and/or curative affect for debilitating conditions once thought incurable.  Click here to read more.

·   The University of Virginia’s School of Medicine reports they have discovered structures PREVIOUSLY UNDETECTED which link the gut and the brain.  I repeat---structures within the body which were not known to exist have been discovered.  This is as stunning as it is exciting.  “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role,” said a professor from the Neuroscience Department.  This shifts the entire approach to diseases from Alzheimer’s to autism to multiple sclerosis.  Click here to read more.

    These studies, and many more, can be summed up in the words of Kevin Lee, who chairs the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Virginia, “They’ll have to rewrite the textbooks.”  And thank goodness. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


As the mother of four Texas high school football players, the subject of concussions has always been one of frequent sideline conversations.  Will Smith's movie of the same title highlights the need for a SERIOUS conversation about the reality of brain injury in sport.  

I have a friend whose child was receiving repeated concussions in their chosen sport (NOT football and one that doesn't have any protective headgear).  My friend told me about their experience with the "traditional" concussion treatment at a Dallas hospital acclaimed for their "cutting edge" protocol.  Their daughter was seeing a physician sought after throughout the southwestern United States. This "cutting edge" protocol consisted of a computer test to measure response times and appropriate answers.  Based on the results, this physician would recommend time periods of rest from school, driving, sports, etc.  And that was all.  They offered no real treatment other than rest.  I was truly surprised.  Rest isn't treatment---rest is just the absence of potential for additional injury.

Their child was suffering from headaches, was photosensitive, could not focus to read and was lethargic.  I offered my expertise and recommended hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  I referred them to Texas Sports Hyperbarics, where their child received 10 sessions of hbot (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) within two weeks.  

After only the third session, I received a tearful phone call from the mom.  She had her child back---no headaches, energy restored, reading up a storm and catching up with missed schoolwork easily.  

This is not an isolated incident.  Concussions are one version of a traumatic brain injury.  Dr. Paul Harch has been working with veterans at his clinic in New Orleans and achieving miraculous results.  Various clinics around the country have many of the same stories to tell.  Hyperbarics has no side effects---in fact it will help heal the other bumps, bruises and inflammatory responses that are part of athletic competition.  

Professional athletes have been using hbot to speed healing for decades---Joe Namath even has a treatment center working on this very issue.  However, most amateur athletes do not have the resources afforded to the pros.  And it is time for hbot to move out of the realm of the rich and famous and within the grasp of everyday players.

What bothers me is all the ballyhoo about concussions with NO MENTION of possible treatments.  Why do we have a feature-length film about concussions starring Will Smith, but not any time given to help?

YES, we do need to take every precaution to protect our athletes.  YES, we need coaches/players/parents to be more educated about the possible symptoms of concussions.  But why are we stopping there?  Let's please educate physicians about treatment for concussion!  If you or someone you know sustains a concussion, please point them to the links in this blog.  They will be glad you did!