Britons beware of changes to the NHS. A Time Magazine article on the problems with private health care accross the pond.

Health & Family

Corrections Appended: February 26, 2013

1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then…

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Neurological Rock Stars 2 – Parkinson’s Nautrally blog by Fred Phillips

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/articles/healing-parkinsons-disease-naturally/#comment-615

Please follow the link to Fred Phillips Blog, and inspiring story of treating parkinson’s nautrally. Fred has taken the time and care to write about how he is using diet, yoga, meditation and emotional healing to treat his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

His diet advice in particular in relation to inflammation and the relationship between gut and immune system function are really useful (to me especially! 🙂 ).

Fred has a very good understanding of the physiology of the body and how it all inter-relates.

Fred has also written a book about healing.

Fred is also a KARATE TEACHER!!! 🙂

 

Karate and Neurogenesis – Articles by Rob Nielson

Following through with the theme of neurogenesis and exercise for brain health and development; here are links to two excellent articles by program director and chief instructor of karate Rob Nielson at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding school for troubled teens (1).

Karate is one of my favourite pass-times and I was very happy to read that it is being used in such a positive way to help young people.

1) Karate Black Belt Challenge Brain Development in troubled teens

Student Participation stimulates brain development (neurogenesis)

By Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Helpful in disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression. Increases self-confidence and mindfulness,

http://www.cedaridge.net/karate-black-belt-challenge.html

2) Karate Black Belt Challenge for brain development in troubled teens – Part II

an Holistic approach to therapy at Cedar Ridge
Academy Therapeutic Boarding School for troubled teens

by Rob Nielson, Program Director & Chief Instructor

Relationships between being physically fit and mentally fit, karate for attention deficit, anxiety, drug issues, impulse control, aerobic exercise and brain health.

http://www.cedaridge.net/black-belt-challenge-therapy.html

 

1) http://www.cedaridge.net/quick-facts.html

Epilepsy and Exercise Study and Epilepsy at the Olympics – ‘Exercise is good for the brain and the heart, and everything else’ Dr. Elinor Ben-Menachem from Göteborg University.

This week I was listening to the ETP (1) blog cast and was really inspired by the post on the work of DR Elinor Ben-Menachem on her project on exercise and epilepsy as discussed with Dr Joseph Sirven.(2)

Topics discussed:

Raising seizure threshold by exercising more.  Low cardiovascular fitness related to 79% higher risk of developing epilepsy after age 18.

Exploring the importance of exercise before the age of 18 in the importance of prevention of health problems in later life, including epilepsy. The possibility that exercise may be an inexpensive way of managing seizures is also mentioned.

Her message is that exercise is ‘good for the brain and the heart, and everything else’.

Full transcript (3)

Also of interest Dr Ben-Menachem’s Hot Topics Symposium Modulators of Epilepsy:  The Influence of Lifestyle and Environmental Factors (4)

This research presentation is interesting because it covers neuroplasticity, the hippocampus, the role of exercise in preventing central nervous system diseases, cardiovascular fitness and the future risk of epilepsy. Hormones are also discussed. The Hypothalamic Pituitary Testes and Ovarian axis is covered, together with progesterone treatment trial.

The hypothesis is: cardiovascular fitness could modulate brain plasticity by increasing amounts of circulating growth factors or beta endorphins or some other neuroactive molecule.

Dr Ben-Menachem discusses the Olympic silver medallist cyclist Marion Clignet (5) who was not allowed to race for America at the Olympics so she cycled for France instead. Marion has written a book called ‘Tenacious’ with a fellow sportsman yachtsman Benjamin Hovey who also has epilepsy see here (6) (7)

Further athletes with epilepsy at the Olympics can be found at (8) The Epilepsy Institute of North Carolina blog. Worthy of note in this blog post:

‘Dai Greene played football (soccer for us since he’s British) when he was a teenager.  He had to quit playing soccer in his late teens due to a growing spurt that causes knee pain.  It is called Osgood Schlatter Disease.  He now runs the 400m hurdler for Welsh and Great Britain.   Dai had his first seizure at seventeen.  He doesn’t take any medication; instead he doesn’t drink any alcohol and makes sure he gets the right amount of sleep needed.  Several medals have been won and he will be Captain for the Great British Athletics Team.’

This is very promising from the point of view of the possibilities of using alternative means to control seizures and giving people options beyond medication.

Dr Ben-Menachem has also written a book called Case Studies in Epilepsy (Case Studies in Neurology) [Kindle Edition] (9) This book looks very interesting and although it is out of my price range the initial ‘look inside’ was very promising so if you can find it at a library resource it may be very useful.

Dr Ben-Menachem covers barriers that prevent people with epilepsy from exercising such as; over protection, social isolation, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. She mentions that weight can be a problem.

I would add one other problem area facing people with epilepsy and exercise which is ‘stigma’; either because of society, weather it is because of lack of understanding of epilepsy or ignorance of what epilepsy is and that it is important to exercise no matter what the health problem.

Exercising in groups is recommended.

Some useful strategies for safely exercising with epilepsy are covered in this blog post from Rosewinelover epilepsy action media volunteer;

http://rosewinelover.com/2013/01/04/epilepsy-and-fitness-resolutions-for-2013/

For myself I can say that without exercise my personal seizure management is extremely challenging because I experience so many positive benefits from exercising. (10)

Happy Exercising Everybody!

1)http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/hallway_2013_podcasts?utm_source=Epilepsy+Therapy+Project&utm_campaign=535342f2b3-Epilepsy_News_2_20_13&utm_medium=email

Epilepsy Therapy Project

2) http://www.gu.se/english/about_the_university/staff/?languageId=100001&userId=6850

3) http://professionals.epilepsy.com/pdfs/Exercise%20and%20Epilepsy%20-%20HC%20-%201_9_13.pdf Epilepsy Therapy Project Blogcast Transcript

4) http://www.hope4harper.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/The-Influence-of-Lifestyle-and-Environmental-Factors.pdf

5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marion_Clignet

6) http://marionclignet.com/

7)http://marionclignet.com/tenacious

8) http://epilepsyinstitute.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/epilepsy-and-olympics.html

9) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-Studies-Epilepsy-Neurology-ebook/dp/B00A8GYWBO

Case Studies in Epilepsy (Case Studies in Neurology) [Kindle Edition] Hermann Stefan (Author, Editor), Elinor Ben-Menachem (Author, Editor),Patrick Chauvel (Author, Editor), Renzo Guerrini (Editor)

10) https://epilepsymeandneurology.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/what-do-epilepsy-autism-hormones-sleep-music-meditation-exercise-have-in-common-the-hippocampus-and-neurogenesis/

How do beliefs interfere with and prevent recovery? Is there a happily ever after to your fairy story?

I have been recovering from epilepsy for a long time and have become interested in reading a great deal about belief in relation to health and wellbeing. Other bloggers have touched on it recently, for example an excellent post from the http://workitwell.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/what-are-your-core-beliefs/

was titled ‘what are your core beliefs’.

Belief is a big word with few letters. Thinking about it might bring up ideas about your-self, others, religion, believing in something not believing in something, maybe even right and wrong.

So at what stage in your life did you start asking questions about the tooth fairy and Santa Clause?

Why do we believe what we believe and at what point do we begin to ask questions about these beliefs?

In the context of religion for example, asking questions about faith could be a welcome part of the discussion within a place of worship. Spiritual leaders may encourage debate about beliefs and use them as an opportunity to Shepard their flock to safer pastures.

However examples of how much resistance has been encountered in relation to changing beliefs can be found throughout history.

One such example of this would be the geocentric model (1) of the earth as the centre of the universe, and the resistance faced by Galileo Galilei (2) when he tried to present his case that things might be different.

Without reconsidering and changing beliefs such as the Earth as the centre of the universe, humans may never have made it to the moon. We could still be trying to leave the ground instead of taking into account new physics to take us upwards on an evolutionary path towards new technologies.

Can you imagine what would have happened if Galileo had suggested that you could communicate with people the other side of the world on an electric light box?

Bearing this in mind, how difficult is it for us to challenge or own beliefs and those held by people who are charged with our health care?

This type of difficulty is well illustrated by the distressing experience of Well Call me crazy here:

http://wellcallmecrazy.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/the-irony-of-it-all/

Having had experience of how difficult it can be to hold the ‘reflective mirror’ up to myself at what point do you question the beliefs of your doctors?

It is a sad fact that the men in white coats are often given great power by us. We look to them to answer our health problems but sadly don’t question their fallibility, and even if we do we can easily be put off by the sheer dazzling power of the white coat complex.

‘With great power comes great responsibility’ (star wars), which is sadly often abused. Pharmacy is big business and there are many millions of billions of motivations why modern medical culture doesn’t encourage us to ask questions about what is in our medication, how does it work, and what is it doing to the body?(3)

Great strides have been made by modern medicine in the mechanistic understanding of the body and yet the deities charged with our health care are only human. Why do we not ALWAYS ask what are you putting into my body?

A lot of people like my-self may have had the experience of being told that they would be on medication for life and that they need to be cured.

I prescribed to this belief for many years, despite experiencing side effects that were detrimental to my health and emotional wellbeing. This belief was driven simply by the fact that I thought my doctors new best. As a result of taking medication without question I didn’t get any better and ended up with significantly more health problems as a result.

I can’t remember exactly when I began to question the men in white coats, but I can remember that it was after I began to seek help from a white coat who went against the grain and decided to reduce my medication. The problem was it was turning me into a zombie – and zombies defiantly don’t think for themselves or ask questions.

My white coat was actually not convinced that I was epileptic at the time, so although I have to give him some credit for removing the medication it wasn’t because he had acknowledged that I am epileptic; although this did change once he had removed enough medication to find my EEG.

Whilst alternative therapies continue to be held up as many things (including the last resort for patients such as myself) there are a number of common denominators that I feel are important to mention.

The power of belief.

I have been following the work of Lissa Rankin MD.(4) You may have seen her TedX talk which I have posted at the bottom of the page. The placebo and nocebo effects are covered and Lissa speaks about the work of the institute of noetic Sciences (5) spontaneous remission project.(6)

Lissa’s blog has recently run a 4 part series http://lissarankin.com/is-it-your-fault-if-you-cant-heal-yourself-part-1 which asks is it your fault if you can’t heal yourself? This question in particular is relevant to recovery from ill health and was sparked as a result of the suggestion that we perhaps may be able to heal ourselves without medication and/or despite it.

Lissa’s work is an encouraging step towards introducing the notion that the body and mind may be intrinsically woven together in a more complex way than is currently outlined by modern Big Pharma medicine.

Would now be an appropriate time for Western medicine to start asking questions about how the mind is woven into the fabric of the body? Or is it too much of an expensive and painful prescription to swallow for Big pharma?

For me I it is not too late. I have had the lights turned on. The fog has lifted, and now I can ask questions.

For years I have been labouring under the impression I can’t learn, but last year I went to college and got 88%, 84% and 69% in exams in the same month as having seizures all month. I have spent this week twitching and seizing but I can still think.

The question had to be how?

All the time I couldn’t think I believed it was because I have epilepsy.

Now I have come to the conclusion that this isn’t so. I couldn’t think because I was on vast quantities of mind bending prescription medications.

I have had to address my core beliefs.

It has been very challenging and I still haven’t had time to integrate this new view of myself into my mind and body.

Socially epilepsy can be a very stigmatising health problem to experience. My experience has made me question how much society, attitudes, and beliefs play a part in recovery.

Thankfully I feel like I have been given a second chance. Realising that I can think and study has meant that I can go back to college to study with the support of my family.

Maybe one day we will all believe that the body, mind and environment are linked and that they are all as necessary for health as each other; just like we can now see we are only a small planet in a solar system in a universe that doesn’t revolve around us – or does it?

This post below illustrates how a different world view can influence recovery, and how diet is important to blood chemistry.

http://freeupliftingbooksonline.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/cup-of-green-juice-for-life-eating-light-with-michiyo-mori/

Why do we consistently reach for pills when diet can be so powerful?

It is sad to think that so many people may never know who they are without medication. I am glad that I found out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LWQfe__fNbs

Lissa Rankin MD TEDX

1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model#Historical_positions_of_the_Roman_Catholic_hierarchy  Geocentric model

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

3)http://www.alternet.org/story/147318/100,000_americans_die_each_year_from_prescription_drugs,_while_pharma_companies_get_rich

4) http://lissarankin.com/is-it-your-fault-if-you-cant-heal-yourself-part-1

5)http://noetic.org/library/publication-books/spontaneous-remission-annotated-bibliography/

6)http://noetic.org/research/program/consciousness-healing/

Neurological Rock Stars – Robert Sarpolsky

Some time ago YouTube started spitting lectures about human behaviour at me by this bloke called ‘Robert Sarpolsky’. (1)

Robert Sarplosky is a lecturer at Stanford University in the US.

In the interests of science I decided to investigate and watch.

Initially, I was really stuck by the ‘Slash’ hairdo (of Gun’s N’ Roses fame) with a beard for intellectual credibility. What really struck me was this curly chimp lover’s quirky teaching style.

Neurology and behaviour shouldn’t be so interesting, but he manages to make what could be a series of lectures that make as much sense as ‘Lost’ and go way over Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘24’ hours of viewing REALLY interesting and valuable time spent.

The lectures that are available to watch are Stanford’s Human Behavioural Biology Module from 2010.(2)

Personally, I find them gripping and if you are also interested in this kind of thing then all 25 lectures are available to watch online.

One of the benefits of this course is that if like me you do not have the kind of background and finances that can get you a place at Stanford, the online lectures are the closest you or I will ever get to this world class course.

Sarpolsky cover’s human behavioural biology in a way that is really broad. The first lecture mentions some of the reading list recommendations such as ‘Chaos: Making A New Science’ the best-selling book by James Gleick that first introduced the principles and early development of chaos theory to the public.(4) Apparently reading this could be so life transforming ‘you may never need to meditate again’ I quote.

What I like about the way the subject is presented is that as the introduction of chaos theory suggests, the course content is diverse. The subjects may be viewed separately, but once they are woven together this is the first time I have seen a full western science course try to piece together human behavior and neurology in a way that acknowledges everything is interconnected.

I have to warn you that although the course is a GREAT deal more interesting and makes more sense than ‘Lost’ I still haven’t finished watching all of the lectures and need to go away and do a PHD on every single one, but for those fortunate to have PHD in genetics, or biology, neuroscience or even if you like me went to the university of ‘life’ this is a really challenging and rewarding series. Don’t be put off by the titles just get stuck in.

It covers topics like, evolutionary behavior, molecular genetics, area’s of the brain, schizophrenia and neuroscience. Perhaps just grazing through them will give you an idea of their flavour.

Anyone who wants to have a look at Sarpolsky’s work in a more accessible way, check out ‘Stress, Portrait of a killer’ documentary 2008. (4)

Human behaviour can be baffling, but you may never need to get lost in ‘Lost’ again.

 

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sapolsky#Books

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=_KVWidu_sWo&NR=1

4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs&feature=endscreen&NR=1

interesting blog on brain injury – the post is relavent to neurology on lots of levels. Good links to sites.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Centre for Neuro Skills

Examining the influence of polymorphisms on TBI outcome has the potential to contribute to an understanding of variations in TBI outcome, aid in the triaging and treatment of TBI patients, and ultimately lead to targeted interventions based on genetic profiles.

Read article

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Epilepsy and Osteopathy – how did it help me?

My osteopath has been through a lot when it comes to treating my body.

I first went to him at the suggestion of a friend (her daughter is now married to him – the osteopath I mean).

At the time my back was in a particularly bad way, from seizures and there were some serious problems with my prescription medication (anticonvulsants wreck -havoc on the Central Nervous System, along with seizures and apparently my hormones like to party with my CNS now and again two!).

There was a time when I thought I was the only person that could feel the pins and needles that plagued my body. It was almost like white noise that would get louder in amplitude the more unwell I felt.

Apparently, the osteopath can feel a manifestation of this as well. I am held up as a good example of how not to treat epilepsy, because of the quantities of medication I have road tested before finding out that they screw up your liver and other parts of the endocrine system (my words not his).

I really wish I knew what my body would have felt like pre-medication, but I was too young and now I will never know. It is a continual fine tuning act to manage the problems. I feel like an expensive car with faulty electric’s – the type that spends its life in constant whirl of MOT’s and car washes. In my next life I will be a BMW.

Cranial osteopathy in particular I have found really useful to relieve the problems with muscle spasm, sleep and hormonal changes.

There was a time when my back was ‘crunched’ as well but he’s getting subtler in his old age using cranio- sacral treatments.

I tried to go without it but it just means that I start to feel like I’m going to go ‘POP’.

One of my worst episodes in recent years was unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) whilst I was waiting for treatment at my osteopathic surgery.

I woke up looking at into the worried faces of my osteopath, homeopath and the Tai Masseuse who also happen to work in the practice. Talk about alternative therapy over kill! 🙂

I felt so bad for them. I didn’t even get as far as treatment.

I had been feeling rough all day apparently my body had decided enough was enough.

I had a massive seizure. Thank goodness I was with people who cared about me and knew what to do (also who didn’t panic and call an ambulance because I didn’t go over 5 minutes, have another seizure, injure myself or remain unconscious) they knew me well so I was safe.

I wondered if anyone else is benefitting from Osteopathy or similar treatments.

I compiled a list of information sources. Here are some links if anyone is interested in reading up on how this type of treatment can be beneficial.

http://www.epilepsy.com/node/983522 good old Epilepsy Therapy Project comments

http://www.cayce.com/HealingEpilepsyByLindaCaputi.htm this one looked very promising, and this one:

http://jade-epilepsymynewlife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/cranial-osteopathy.html as it turns out – I am not alone!

Additionally there is a link to first aid for seizures in case anyone is interested in finding out what to do.

Basically DON’T PANIC and carry out the simple first aid steps.

http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/prisons/inmates/first-aid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4C-R52Ffy4  This one shows a video of first aid in the event of a seizure.

Now I’m going to go and see the osteopath to tell him my arm nearly fell off on Sunday. Wish me luck!