The inherited disease: sickle cell anemia and its latest treatments

Advancements in medicine continue to stem the tide of life-threatening illnesses, allowing people to live longer, healthier lives. A blood disorder known as sickle cell anemia once caused the death of many at an early age, but thanks to medical research, that is no longer the case. In the early 1970s, the average lifespan of a person with sickle cell anemia was 14 years.  Today, it ranges from 40 to 60 years of age.

In the United States today, approximately 100,000 people are afflicted by this disease, most are of African ancestry.  Each year about one in 13 African- American babies are born with the sickle cell trait.

“Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia, a condition in which there aren’t sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout the body,” says Dr. Gregory Mears, a Columbia University Medical Center hematologist/oncologist with  NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cortlandt Manor. “Normally, certain genes signal the body to make the red, iron-rich compound that gives blood its color – hemoglobin – that carries oxygen and nutrients to other parts of the body. Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation to those genes, such that the red blood cells become rigid, sticky and misshapen, losing their ability to function correctly. The end result is that patients tend to accumulate damage to vital organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and brain, as well as bone and skin damage.”

The defective sickle cell gene is passed from generation to generation, but both the mother and the father must pass it on for a child to be affected. “In this country, newborns are regularly tested for the gene and if they test positive, they will be continually monitored and need treatment throughout life based on when and how the disease manifests,” says Dr. Mears.  Certain ethnic groups are particularly at risk for this disease. These include people whose family origins are from Africa, parts of India and the Mediterranean, South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.


Symptoms of sickle cell anemia vary from person to person and can change over time; the most common of which include:

• Persistent severe anemia: leading to light fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath with exertion.

• Pain: the result of loss of oxygen to tissues of the body. There are many serious problems that can arise from this, including cell death within the bones, and bodily pain.

Frequent infections: sickle cells can damage the spleen (an organ that fights infection), leaving the patient prone to illness.

Potentially serious complications from having sickle cell anemia require medical attention.  According to Dr. Mears, they include “episodes of severe pain, swelling of the hands, feet or abdomen, or frequent fevers. One of the most serious complications of sickle cell anemia is stroke. Call 911 immediately if stroke-like symptoms appear, such as one-sided paralysis or weakness in the face, arms or legs; confusion; trouble walking or talking; sudden vision problems or unexplained numbness; or a headache.”


“One of the frustrations of this disease is the unpredictability of the painful episodes and the accumulation of damage to vital organs,” says Dr. Mears. While there are medications designed to decrease the incidence of painful crises, he said the only cure is a procedure known as stem cell transplantation. “This technique eliminates the patient’s bone marrow stem cells that are producing sickle cells and replaces them with healthy stem cells from a donor. While it does come with some risk, the best outcomes are when stem cells are provided by a sibling who has a similar immune system. At NYP Hudson Valley Hospital, we closely collaborate with our stem cell transplant team at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center[link: http://www.hiccc.columbia.edu/aboutus] at NYP/Columbia University Medical Center to treat patients who require transplantation.”

Research to improve treatment continues. New drugs are showing promise in managing the disease and most notably, gene therapy. Notes Dr. Mears: “Gene therapy involves transplanting normal genes into the blood cells in place of defective ones. This might prove to be an effective treatment of sickle cell anemia, but more time and further research is needed to perfect the technique. Studies will continue to advance our understanding of the mechanics of sickle cell anemia, which will ultimately help us eliminate this dreadful disease once and for all.”

Dr. Mears also notes that couples in high risk populations, who are planning to have children, should consider being tested to see if they carry the abnormal hemoglobin gene that leads to sickle cell disease. A genetics counselor can assist those who test positive to answer questions about risk and available choices.




Rocker Dan Reynolds ‘grateful’ for struggles of arthritis condition

The singer wants fellow pain sufferers to realise things will get better.

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds has drawn strength from his debilitating battle with chronic arthritis pain and used it as inspiration for the band’s new material.

The Radioactive singer spoke candidly to People magazine in November (16) about his struggles with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a type of arthritis which causes long-term inflammation of joints in the spine.

Dan admitted the illness had plagued him during the group’s rise to fame, and really left him in a “bad place”, especially as the rockers worked on their 2015 album Smoke + Mirrors.

“Right at the beginning of Smoke + Mirrors was really when A.S. was rearing it’s head in a big way,” he recalls in a new interview with People. “It was the beginning of the disease in a lot of ways for me and learning to manage it. So physically I was in a quite a lot of pain, and mentally I was in a very bad place as well.”

Dan has since gotten to grips with the condition, which now allows him to better manage his symptoms, and as a result, he has been enjoying “a very healthy year” after much “physical and mental work”.

Fighting through the health struggle has made him a more positive person, and now he’s able to recognise it has only made him stronger.

“I’m grateful for it,” he says. “Looking back in this last year from a place of health, you’re able to have greater perspective and I’ve had more perspective to see that a lot of the great things in my life are due to struggle.

“A lot of my greatest strengths are due to my greatest weaknesses or flaws or physical ailments. It brought me discipline, gratitude and compassion.”

Dan channelled his emotions about his illness into the band’s new single Believer, making it a really personal track to perform.

“The song is about how pain made me a believer,” he shares. “It’s made me a believer in myself, it’s made me a believer in my art and work. I wouldn’t have my art if it wasn’t for pain. It takes somewhat of a healthy place to appreciate it because when you’re in the midst of it you don’t appreciate it. You’re just upset.”

Despite Dan’s health turnaround, he insists there are still days when he struggles with severe pain, but he is urging others suffering from similar ailments to keep pushing through.

“With depression or A.S., it’s not just a pit for the rest of your life or this downward spiral. It’s the beginning of something that is going to cause you to have to grow to make changes,” he concludes. “While it can seem bleak right when you’re diagnosed, there are management plans so that’s why it’s so important for it not to remain a hidden disease and that awareness is raised.”



Trichotillomania Sufferers Regain Confidence with Permanent Cosmetics

The staff members at a permanent and corrective cosmetic business are helping bring back some confidence for those suffering from an impulse control disorder.

For over two decades the team at the Beau Institute of Permanent & Corrective Cosmetics have been leaders in their field, but it was one patient who opened the founder’s eyes. Rose Marie Beauchemin, who is the president of the practice, remembers the first time a patient cried during a consultation and opened up about her struggle with Trichotillomania. According to Mental Health America, the disorder, categorized as an impulsive control disorder, causes those who suffer from it to pull their hair out, and in this one patient’s case – caused her to pull out her eyebrows and eyelashes.

After that meeting, she wasted no time educating herself on this disorder. Soon she began treating more and more cases of women who suffered from Trichotillomania with up to four new cases each week.

“I realized how alone they had to feel so I developed a method of handling, never attempt to diagnose, never ask them if they didn’t know it had a name, there was material sitting there,” said Beauchemin.

Now Beauchemin and the Beau Institute help those afflicted with the disorder by offering customizable procedures to hopefully restore some of their lost confidence.

Fixing eyelash loss is usually solved by permanent eyeliner, while eyebrows can be fixed by a hair by hair movement.

First the practitioner figures out what the client wants by drawing everything on first so the client can see what shape options are available and what they are most comfortable with. The permanent and corrective cosmetic procedure is the carried out after a color test, and is followed by witnessing the client’s reaction to their new look.

“I can’t even describe it. It’s so exhilarating to think that you were a part of that confidence,” said Beauchemin.

Beauchemin encourages everyone to check out the TLC Foundation at BFRB.org which helps educate and raise awareness on Trichotillomania. She has even created a support group which will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. on February 28th at the institute.

Beauchemin hopes to see more professionals like herself join her in bringing back confidence to anyone suffering from Trichotillomania

“A professional needs to recognize what is happening and be able to support these people who are suffering silently,” said Beauchemin.




Inside the Mind of a Chronically Ill Person Debating If They Should Post on Facebook

Nobody is “normal.”

Everyone is unique.

That said, long-term illness can change a person; it can change your mind, your emotions, your perspective, your way of thinking… (to say nothing of your body).

And the places in your mind that change can be impossible to perceive; what is caused by the physical (hey come on, literal viruses and bacteria in our brains) or the changes that come from long-term isolation, suffering, frustration, loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness…. (trust me, even with the deepest introspection, lines are blurry).

So when you are in this bubble of misery and feeling desperate, many of us reach that crossroad decision of whether to reach out publicly or not. Now, some do so all the time and some seldom do so. I want to share with you, the healthy person, the “normal” person, what may be going on in our heads and where the need to reach out comes from. Because to you, (sometimes frequent) posts regarding how someone is feeling physically and mentally can come off as:

  • Desperate
  • Attention-getting
  • Overly dramatic
  • Whiny
  • Ungrateful
  • Lacking faith
  • Hypochondriac
  • Lacking strength
  • Emotionally unstable
  • Or “_____” fill in the blank

And honestly maybe some people with chronic illness are. But I am asking you to consider grace, and here is why:

Imagine you are living a fairly normal active life; you work, you socialize with friends a few times a week, maybe you are also busy with kids. You do stuff! You go out to movies, you eat out at restaurants, you meet friends for coffee, you have a lot of human interaction at work, you sometimes take day trips or mini vacations, and your life may not be perfect or exciting, but it is full.

One day your body starts to betray you. Suddenly all the daily things that were no big deal become as hard as lifting heavy boulders. Your entire body is tired, tired to the point it feels like you have lead in your veins. You swear Earth’s gravity just dialed it up a notch as you struggle to go up the same staircase you have been bounding up the last five years.

You start sleeping a lot more, so much more that you start to feel guilt over your “laziness.” Even after a full night’s sleep your body starts to shut down in the middle of the day and you need to nap. The thing is all this extra sleep doesn’t help and you are just as tired and fatigued when you wake up in the morning as the night before. Even worse, you feel hungover, even without alcohol: toxic, heavy, foggy, headache, basically like sludge.

So of course you pump yourself full of caffeine because you have a life and things to do… only the caffeine is a quick fix that doesn’t last, so you have more. After a few cycles of this you start to blow out your adrenals, and things get worse…. You start to feel like you are letting the people in your life down as you can’t be there for them in the capacity you were only a short while ago. Oh, and did I mention the pain? You are dealing with pain that has no business in your body at your age! You feel old and achy. Joints and tendons, muscles and tissues that you never even “felt” at all before, are making their presence known by infusing non-stop pain.

Along with all of this (and a myriad of other symptoms I could mention) is the fact that your mind and your thinking are as foggy as your body. You know that feeling when it’s past your bedtime and you feel your brain trying to shut down for the night? How everything becomes difficult if you are fighting sleep? Trying to just finish that chapter, watch the last 10 minutes of that movie as your brain wants to sleep… Now it feels like that all the time, all hours of the day as your brain is constantly trying to go down as you are trying to get it to go up. Every waking moment is a battle.

Normal conversations become difficult because it feels like you are fighting through fog to both process what you are hearing while trying to formulate the appropriate response. You never knew until now that it actually takes energy to communicate and be with people. You frustrate yourself as word recollection fails you and you can’t seem to formulate articulate conversation.

As time goes on all this takes a toll and you start saying no to things. The energy it takes even to get ready, drive places, prepare for things… becomes too much, and you start having to pick and choose what you are able to do in a day, or even in a week or month as things get worse.

You start realizing that every activity also requires recovery time, and one afternoon out may mean you need two days in bed afterward.

Your world grows smaller.

As time goes on mentally and emotionally you for through all kinds of cycles that can be up and down and all around. These can swing extremely even over the course of one day from crying to anger to apathy.

At first all the people in your life are supportive, but as time goes on and you don’t get better, and you have seen this specialist, and that specialist and tried every suggestion of every caring friend from acupuncture, to massage, to “this amazing doctor that helped my friend who had the same problem!” you have read every article ever sent to you on any condition that even sounds similar, you have done crazy alternative things you would never have thought you would ever try…
But slowly friends start to drop away, check in less and less, and stop inviting you to things because they know you will just say “no.”

Life moves on without you and as the years go by your world gets smaller and smaller and smaller until you find you are alone most of the time.

You probably at this point have little to no money because it’s been spent trying to figure out what’s wrong with you and/or trying to get better. You also probably either can only work very little or not at all, and if you can work it drains you so much you have nothing left for any semblance of a life.

Remember when I mentioned the muddled place of your mind and your emotions caused by both the physical and psychological? This is where you are now. You may feel desperate and sad and lonely. Since you don’t see people in person so much anymore you might reach out to your friends online; both your real-world friends and your friends who you met in chronic illness forums and such.

So I am speaking to you, “normal” person, who I love and admire. When you see this chronically ill person prolifically posting, “wanting attention,” talking about what they are going through very publicly, and (sometimes) going into TMI territory… know that this did not happen overnight. This is the same person you know and love and they are beyond desperate to be the person they once were.

They may post because:

  • They want fellowship,
  • They want friendship,
  • They want to both hear and be heard,
  • They need a sounding block,
  • They want to feel normal,
  • They don’t want to disappear and be forgotten,
  • They want to have a glimpse of normalcy and online may be all they have,
  • They don’t see people much face-to-face so “Face”-book is their life.

Hear me now as I write this for my sick brothers and sisters: Everyone needs people! When you are sick and isolated, online is your people!

I don’t believe we are grand-standers or attention getters (at least not most of us). I think we are people just like you whose lives have changed and been shaped by illness and circumstances. All we want is to be normal and healthy. We may covet the little things that most people take for granted, even just taking a walk on a sunny day.

One more thing I want you to know: Worry about the chronically ill people who don’t post and instead stay quiet. They may be experiencing everything the communicators are but internalizing their pain versus reaching out.

It’s about having an outlet, versus internalizing everything. Isolation, versus reaching out. Honesty, versus putting on a happy face. I have seen too many of the “quiet one’s” obituaries online. Please also know the anxiety a person may go through on what to post and what not to post. It is so hard to judge because (especially) on a bad day, perspectives may be askew… and the reactions from people can also vary greatly.

You get the positive feedback from the chronic illness community: “Thank you so much for sharing, I am not alone.” “So glad to hear another person’s perspective.” “Thank you for being honest and blazing a trail for others that will come behind you.” This community supports you and your difficulties as you support them. And this is a safe and honest place to be raw and real in your times of pain.

But, you also may get the negative reactions of people who think you’re a drama queen, or are sick of hearing about your pain, or… (see list at beginning of post). So you may get the negative feedback, or the stony silence of family members, or the snubs and shuns of people who used to support you.

In closing: why am I posting this? I will tell you it’s not for attention or sympathy. I want to give a voice to the silent struggling ones. I want to advocate for those whose families don’t believe them. I want to open a window into a world (I hope and pray) you will never experience so that you can have a better understanding of your sick friend or family member. So consider grace and understanding first when encountering someone who has been struggling for a long time. We have so much to learn from each other.



Heartbeat to soon unlock electronic health records

What if your heartbeat can safeguard your electronic health records in the near future? Researchers from Binghamton University believe so and have used the heart’s electrical pattern as an encryption key for electronic records. The cost and complexity of traditional encryption solutions prevent them being directly applied to telemedicine or mobile healthcare.  ‘Those systems are gradually replacing clinic-centered healthcare, and we wanted to find a unique solution to protect sensitive personal health data with something simple, available and cost-effective,’ said Zhanpeng Jin, assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. Binghamton researchers encrypted patient data using a person’s unique electrocardiograph (ECG) as the key to lock and unlock the files. ‘The ECG signal is one of the most important and common physiological parameters collected and analysed to understand a patient’s’ health,’ said Jin.

‘While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption,’ Jin added. The identification scheme is a combination of previous work by Jin using a person’s unique brainprint instead of traditional passwords for access to computers and buildings combined with cyber-security work. ‘This research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation secure, personalised healthcare,’ Jin noted. Since an ECG may change due to age, illness or injury, researchers are currently working out ways to incorporate those variables. Through this strategy, the security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum cost will be added, the researchers told the gathering at the IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM 2016) in Washington, DC, recently



How a Few Drops Changed My Whole Life !

ot long ago, I was up to my neck in hefty medical bills, sick kids missing school, and wasted days feeling sick and cruddy. I’m not the type of mom who races her kids to the doctor, but on several occasions that’s what we had to do with sick kids who were not getting better. “Flu season” can wipe out a family for weeks, in more ways than one.

Our youngest little daughter really had a tough time with this season’s illnesses. 🙁 🙁 🙁

But honestly, a huge blessing came as the result of all of it. My super nice neighbor had been sharing with me about how she was using essential oils for this and that. She was excited (and always smelled nice), but I just nodded nicely. I’m all for alternative methods of healthcare, but I never thought of essential oils as anything more than making things smell nice.

That is until one morning I was over at her house to pick up our one healthy child who had been over to play. As we chatted, I mentioned to my neighbor that I’d been so congested with a sore throat for a couple days. Her eyes lit up and she handed me a little bottle and said, “This will kick it’s butt!” She told me to rub a couple drops on my feet or chest and it would help. Yes, I did want to roll my eyes when she said that. But I was the sick one, and she stood there perfectly healthy and holding out a small bottle. So I graciously accepted the bottle and went home and did what she said.

(I tested a small amount first. Some people may be more sensitive to it.)


Like a good mom, I grabbed all my sick kids (and poor, sniffling husband), and did the same thing for them. It worked for them as well! Within a few days, our home was free of aches, sniffles, and sneezes, including my teenager, who’d had a very stubborn cough for what seemed like an eternity.

A few weeks later, I began coming down with what felt like the flu, and within hours of using this special little bottle, I was fine. Nothing ever came of the sore throat, chills, and aches I was experiencing. Another miracle.

Immunity Blend

Who knew that a few drops of oil could change a family’s life so quickly?


Not only were we quickly eliminating cold and flu symptoms, but we were also nipping things in the bud before they exploded into an illness. Not only that, we were doing it safely and naturally, no harsh drugs and chemicals. This essential oil blend has the power to fight viruses, bacteria, fungus, and more. Not bad for a tiny little bottle, right?

But what I didn’t understand was this: If this worked so well, then why do so many of us keep depending solely on pharamaceuticals and factory derived medicines when we get sick? I don’t want to get into conversations about “big pharma” and all that. What I DO think, however, is that most people think the exact same thing that I thought when my neighbor first told me about essential oils, that they’re for smelling good and feeling nice, without any real therapeutic or medicinal qualities.

I’m not sure how our culture decided to trivialize the power of essential oils, because other cultures have not. The people of Japan, for example, use essential oils regularly. Not only is the country of Japan reputable for overall health, but the Japanese government currently has on record over 50,000 people living over the age of 100! That’s one healthy country! Can we learn something from them?

Essential oils are basically the highly concentrated essence of the plant. We know plants are vital sources of antioxidants, antivirals, antibacterials, vitamins & minerals, phytonutrients, and more. So think of a drop of essential oil as the ultra-concentrated, highly potent, antioxidant-rich, power punch from the plant. There’s much more to it than just that, but thinking of it that way is a great start!


The little miracle bottle is called Pure Blend™ Immunity Blend. It contains oils of clove, cinnamon, lemon, lime, eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, spearmint and oregano. According to the company, this unique blend has been formulated to boost immunity and eradicate germs, viruses, and other toxins.

I did some research on Pure Blend™ Immunity. They’re basically a small group of people who were intimately familiar with the power of essential oils, but also disturbed that the essential oils market was just a mess of overpriced, low quality oils. The industry has no real standard or quality control, so you can go buy oils from Wal-Mart or Whole Foods, but you have no clue about the quality of the actual oil in the bottles. And the quality of the oil—from planting, to harvest, to extraction—is critical.

So this company created their own internal grading quality system, and adhere to it strictly. They call it their 100% PURE Promise. They even went a step further and had it tested by a 3rd party and it passed strict GC/MS Testing with flying colors and is probably one of the most pure blends you can get today. Their first product is actually the Immunity Blend that has literally pulled my family out from the sick house. They have plans to soon produce more oils and blends, but the overnight success of the Immunity Blend has overwhelmend their production, and they refuse to cut corners to get products out quicker.

Roll on

The cool thing about their Immunity Blend Kit is that it not only comes with the pure Immunity blend, but it also comes with a pre-diluted roll on oil that you can roll on you or your kids skin for maximum absorption of the all natural immunity benefits!

So I recommend you pick up the Immunity Blend Kit RIGHT NOW, while it’s still available. Here’s a link to their discount offer.Immunity BlendPure Blend™ Immunity Essential Oil Blend

I think it’s odd that they’re offering a trial of Pure Blend™ Immunity, because I don’t think they need to. You can try the trial kit if you’d like, but I would recommend you get the full-bottle package. Basically you get the Immunity Kit and after you buy it you will see a 100% pure carrier oil that you can add to your order for cheap. It is a much better price than the one he told me they would begin with. (I think they start at $60 for a one-month supply.)

So take advantage of either the trial bottle with a monthly autoship, or the full-bottle package for $30.



Thanks to Pure Blend™ Immunity, I have my family back! 🙂 🙂 🙂


P.S. Just to be clear, this is a retail company. It isn’t a network marketing company, or an MLM, or anything like that. You don’t have to become a distributor, or pay a membership fee. They just make a great product and sell it. It will even be on Amazon.com soon!

P.P.S. Essential oils are powerful and highly concentrated. Therefore, be sure to reduce the amount you use on kids under 12. And don’t use it on kids 6 and under unless you’ve talked with your doctor.

UPDATE: OK, someone from Pure Blend™ Immunity read this article and sent me an email to clarify a few things. He wanted to make it clear that the trial bottle is only temporary until they get a larger base of happy customers and more positive testimonials about Pure Blend™ Immunity. He also said the three-bottle package is only available at that website, and not anywhere else. Also, it is formulated in a GMP certified facility using 100% natural ingredients. I hope that clarifies any questions you have. Better get them at these prices while you can.



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Man Eats 2 Tbs of Coconut Oil Twice a Day for 60 Days and This Happens to His Brain!

At present, some 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.1

By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Since treatments are few and rarely effective, early diagnosis and prevention become all the more important.

Interestingly, simple tools like a tablespoon of peanut butter and a ruler could potentially be used to confirm a diagnosis of the disease in its early stages. As reported by Medical News Today:2

“Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the University of Florida (UF) McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and her colleagues reported the findings of a small pilot study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.3

Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, one of the world’s best known behavioral neurologists, from the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.

…The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline… She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a ‘pure odorant’ that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.”

The pilot study tested the ability to smell of 24 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. To perform the test, the patient was asked to close their eyes and mouth, and hold one nostril closed while breathing normally through the other.

Using a ruler, the clinician measured the distance between the open nostril and the peanut butter, marking the distance at which the patient was able to detect the distinct odor. After a 90 second delay, the procedure was repeated with the other nostril.

They discovered that those diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s (which was done through other clinical testing) experienced a significant difference in their ability to detect the odor between the two nostrils. According to the featured report:

“[T]he left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 cm closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.”

Of course, it’s too early to tell whether this test might be reliable enough to become widely used. More research needs to be done. But according to Stamps, the test can be used to confirm a diagnosis. The team is planning to study patients with mild cognitive impairment next, to assess whether it might help predict a future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

In related news, Florida researchers are also looking into whether coconut oil might be of benefit against Alzheimer’s. Three years ago, I published Dr. Mary Newport’s theory that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body makes when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

At the time I said that, should her theory turn out to be accurate, it could be one of the greatest natural health discoveries in a long time. Now, Dr. Newport’s research is being used to launch one of the first clinical trials of its kind to test her theory. The research is being done at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Benefits of Coconut Oil Make Headlines Again

Sixty-five patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled to evaluate the effects of coconut oil on the disease, compared to a placebo. Dr. Newport hopes to have the results within a year.

This issue strikes close to home for Dr. Newport, whose husband has been battling the disease for years. As reported by CTV News:4

“While there is currently no clinical data showing the benefits of coconut oil on the prevention and treatment of dementia, Newport — whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51 — said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil per day.

‘Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait… That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again.

He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory,’ Newport said. Prior to starting him on coconut oil, Newport said none of the existing medications were working.”

Coconut Oil Appears to Be an Ideal Brain Food

There are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Again, ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that are not processed by your body in the same manner as long-chain triglycerides. Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system.

But medium-chain triglycerides go directly to your liver, which naturally converts the oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel.

While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat.  This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

How Much Coconut Oil Might You Need?

Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. According to Dr. Newport’s calculations,5 just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or seven level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.

While more research certainly needs to be done in this area as well, I see no reason not to incorporate coconut oil in your diet, or the diet of a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of brain degeneration. Coconut oil has so many profound health benefits; it’s not going to do any harm.

It’s worth noting that people tolerate coconut oil differently, and you may have to start slowly and build up to these therapeutic levels. My recommendation is to start with one teaspoon, taken with food in the mornings. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate about four tablespoons. It’s best to take it with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Low-Fat Craze Has Likely Contributed to Dramatic Rise in Alzheimer’s

A number of seriously flawed nutritional guidelines have contributed to more than a few health problems in the US, and the low-fat craze (aimed at preventing heart disease) is toward the top of that list. Not only does avoiding healthful fat promote heart disease, it also promotes brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, fat avoidance and carbohydrate overconsumption are at the heart of the Alzheimer’s epidemic—which is an entirely preventable disease, driven by lifestyle factors such as diet. Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, provides a powerful argument for eliminating grains from your diet to protect your brain health. Another major factor is the development and increased consumption of genetically engineered (GE) grains, which are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US. Unfortunately, despite dire need, there’s little money available for research into treatments using regular food items. As Amanda Smith, Medical Director at University of South Florida (USF) Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute told CTV News:

“The pharmaceutical industry is in this — of course to make money for their companies, and of course they want to help people theoretically — but at the end of the day it is about dollars and cents, and so money gets invested in things that are new or patentable rather than things that are sitting on the shelf already.”

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function and Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease

Knowing that Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease, predicated on your lifestyle choices, puts the power into your hands.  Diet is paramount, and the beauty of following my optimized nutrition plan is that it helps prevent and treat virtually ALL chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

People who experience very little decline in their cognitive function up until their deaths have been found (post-mortem) to be free of brain lesions, showing that it’s entirely possible to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place… and one of the best ways to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle. The following guidelines will help you protect your brain health well into old age:

    • Avoid sugar and refined fructose

      Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin resistance or any related disorders.

    • Avoid gluten (primarily wheat)

      Research shows that your blood-brain barrier, the barrier that keeps things out of your brain where they don’t belong, is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

    • Optimize your gut flora

      Regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high quality probiotic supplement helps optimize the good bacteria in your gut.

    • Increase consumption of all healthful fats, including animal-based omega-3.

      Beneficial health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic butter from raw milk, clarified butter called organic grass-fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil are GREAT source of ketone bodies, because coconut oil is about 66 percent MCTs. In fact, ketones appear to be thepreferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s.

Also make sure you’re getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because, although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.) High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.

    • Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast

      As mentioned above, ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. A one-day fast can help your body to “reset” itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, I prefer an intermittent fasting schedule that simply calls for limiting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. By restricting your eating to a 6-8 hour window, you effectively fast 16-18 hours each day. To learn more, please see this previous article.

    • Improve your magnesium levels

      There is some exciting preliminary research strongly suggesting a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.

    • Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure

      Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.

    • Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3

      This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However, other sugars (sucrose is 50 percent fructose by weight), grains and lack of exercise are also important factors. Lowering insulin will also help lower leptin levels which is another factor for Alzheimer’s.

    • Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate

      such as the one described in my nutrition plan. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.

    • Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body

      Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

    • Avoid aluminum,

      such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.

    • Exercise regularly.

      It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,6 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains7and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.

    • Avoid flu vaccinations

      as most contain mercury, a well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agent.

    • Eat blueberries.

      Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Like any fruit though, avoid excesses here.

    • Challenge your mind daily.

      Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

    • Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs.

      Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.

Other Natural Treatments for Your Anti-Alzheimer’s Arsenal

Finally, there are a few other nutritional recommendations worth noting for their specific benefits in preventing and treating dementia. So, although your fundamental strategy for preventing dementia should involve a comprehensive lifestyle approach, you may want to consider adding a few of these natural dietary agents to your anti-Alzheimer’s arsenal. These four natural foods/supplements have good science behind them, in terms of preventing age-related cognitive changes:

1. Astaxanthin is a natural pigment with unique properties and many clinical benefits, including some of the most potent antioxidant activity currently known. As a fat-soluble nutrient, astaxanthin readily crosses your blood-brain barrier. One study8 found it may help prevent neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress, as well as make a potent natural “brain food.”

The molecules of astaxanthin neutralize free radicals and other oxidants without being destroyed or becoming pro-oxidants themselves in the process. It’s is a unique molecule whose shape allows it to precisely fit into a cell membrane and span its entire width. In this position, astaxanthin can intercept potentially damaging molecules before they can damage your cells.

You can get some astaxanthin by taking krill oil, which is a fantastic omega-3 fat supplement. But you can boost your astaxanthin even MORE by adding a pure astaxanthin supplement to your nutritional regimen. For optimal absorption, make sure to take krill oil and/or astaxanthin with a fat-containing meal, since both are fat-soluble.

2. Ginkgo biloba: Many scientific studies have found that Ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia. Ginkgo, which is derived from a tree native to Asia, has long been used medicinally in China and other countries. A 1997 study fromJAMA showed clear evidence that Ginkgo improves cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Research since then has been equally promising. One study in 2006 found Ginkgo as effective as the dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s type dementia. A 2010 meta-analysis found Ginkgo biloba to be effective for a variety of types of dementia.

3. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): ALA can stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer’s patients and may slow the progression of the disease.

4. Vitamin B12: A small Finnish study published in the journal Neurology9 found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by two percent. Remember, sublingual methylcobalamin may be your best bet here.



When You’re ‘Too Functional’ to Be Chronically Ill, but Too Sick to Be Healthy

Last week, I went to a doctor’s appointment and all I could think about in the days leading up was how I wasn’t sick enough to see that doctor. All I could think about was that her other patients can’t work or drive and so I must be too healthy to have the same diseases as them. But then I thought about the days when I am that sick, and I realized it doesn’t have to be constant to be valid, it doesn’t have to be as bad to be really bad.

Feeling too much like a functioning adult to identify as “chronically ill,” but feeling too chronically ill to identify as “healthy…” It has taken the last few months for me to come to the realization that this is how I identify. Trapped between two worlds, neither of which quite fit me. On one hand, I feel so lucky that I am able to work a full-time job and do many of the things I want to do even while living with multiple chronic illnesses. On the other hand, I am constantly frustrated by the construct of trying to live in a “healthy person’s” world, knowing that I truly am not functioning on the same level as everyone around me. Living day to day with several “invisible” illnesses that aren’t always so invisible (dysautonomia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, severe allergies and Meniere’s disease, among others) means that I am constantly adapting to living and working with people who don’t always understand what I do and think about on a daily basis just to keep up with them.

I’ve thought a lot about the fact that even on the good days when I do feel like a functioning member of society, my illnesses are still like a backpack strapped onto me at all times. I think that almost everyone with chronic illness gets used to all of the annoying interferences — they become so normal. It is very safe to say that I am never surprised or caught off guard by sudden high-pitched noises and stabbing pain in my ears, or extreme hot flashes that make my face turn bright red, or my hip dislocating when I turn my chair, or blacking out when I stand up to grab something off the printer. But I constantly have to remember that all of these things aren’t normal for the healthy people around me. And because I work the same job as them and because I’m really good at pretending to be fine, these everyday things are shocking when they actually notice them.

Perhaps the hardest part of living in the middle of a sick/healthy spectrum is the balance.

One day, I might work an eight-hour shift, go to the gym, run errands, meet friends for dinner, clean the house and go to bed feeling accomplished and ready for tomorrow. And then tomorrow will come and I’ll be trapped in a day full of vertigo, dizziness, full-body pain and disorienting fatigue that leaves me completely disconnected from the world I lived in the day before.

One minute, I may be fully engaged in conversation with coworkers, laughing about the current drama and not thinking about anything else that’s going on. And the next minute, I’ll be overtaken by a wave of heat and nausea, a heart rate of 180, and muffled hearing that leaves me completely disconnected from the world I was living in the minute before.

I may not get to choose when I have good moments or bad moments or “healthy” days or “oh yea, I have a disease” days. But I do have an incredible opportunity to both live days in a “normal” world (whatever normal may mean), and also to know a world full of unbelievably encouraging and supportive people that survive each day with chronic illness. And I hope each day I can come closer to bringing those worlds together.

The strength and empathy that comes from living with chronic illness can empower us to be amazing human beings on the days that we feel healthy and “normal” and good. And on the days that we don’t, we still have a safety net to fall back on in the chronic illness community. Though it’s weird and hard and unpredictable, I feel pretty dang lucky to get both worlds, even if I don’t know when and where I’ll get which.

And so to all of you out there who feel the same sense of “too functional to be sick, but too sick to be healthy,” I hope you know you’re not alone out there.




Blend Turmeric + Ginger With Coconut Milk. Drink Before Bed To Flush Liver Toxins While You Sleep

You surely remember that you had a glass of warm milk before going to sleep when you were a child, and it helped you sleep like a baby!

We will reveal the recipe of a similar drink which will soothe and calm your body and mind before going to sleep, and it will provide numerous nutrients.


The mixture of turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and coconut milk, or also known as “golden milk”, is extremely tasty, aromatic and healthy potion. You can sweeten it with some raw honey.

It will treat stress and anxiety and help you quickly fall asleep. Yet, this is not the end of its miraculous effects: as it will act during the night and cleanse your system of toxins and dangerous chemicals, and restore the balance and health.

Therefore, the daily consumption of this drink provides innumerate health benefits.

First of all, turmeric is an incredibly effective natural spice which has been used for millennia due to its extraordinary health benefits. Due to its medicinal properties, it is probably the most studied plant on the planet.

Over 8 000 evidence-based studies have provided evidence which confirmed what the ancient civilizations discovered centuries ago: it is effective in the treatment of almost all health issues.

The main bioactive compound of turmeric, curcumin, has more than 150 medicinal properties and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It effectively hinders the inflammatory passages and counteracts the release of a protein that activates swelling and pain.

Inflammation leads to numerous chronic illnesses, like stroke, obesity, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, migraines, and thyroid disturbances.

Studies have confirmed that curcumin can:

  • Detoxifies the liver
  • Promotes heart health
  • Promotes the healing of wounds
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Soothes the nervous system and promotes cognitive capacities
  • Regulates blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes
  • Regulates cholesterol levels
  • Fights bacteria and microbes
  • Destroys cancer cells and prevent the formation of tumors

Turmeric can be added to any meal, and it is affordable, inexpensive, and delicious!

On the other hand, ginger is an incredibly healthy spice as well, as it effectively prevents cancer, regulates the high blood pressure, helps digestion, regulates the secretion of insulin, destroys microbes, relieves pains and nausea, and promotes circulation.

Its power in curing respiratory illnesses is unmatched.

Additionally, the coconut milk contains medium-chain fatty acids which are extremely healthy, regulate blood sugar levels, protect the heart, promotes weight loss, and provide body and brain energy.

Also, this milk is high in vitamins E, C, B, antioxidants, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. It prevents colds and flu, strengthens the immune system, fights bacterial infections, promotes teeth and bone health, and soothes the nervous system. It also helps the absorption of nutrients in the body.

This is how to prepare this healthy drink:


  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small piece of sliced ginger
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (it helps the absorption of turmeric)
  • Raw honey (optionally, to taste)

*Note: You should avoid black pepper in the case of colitis and other intestinal issues.

Method of preparation:

In a saucepan, whisk all the ingredients, except for the honey. Cook over medium heat, until you notice bubbles on the surface. Then, lower the heat and leave the flavors to blend for 5 minutes on minimum heat. Then, add the honey, and stir.


Drink this golden milk in the morning to provide energy for the day. You can also add cinnamon to sharpen the senses. Also, if you drink it before going to sleep, it will detoxify your liver during the sleep!

Despite its delicious aroma and creamy texture, this drink will provide numerous other health benefits as well!



26 Things People With Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Wish You Understood

Hemophilia is a rare condition where a person’s blood has a reduced ability to clot. About 400,000 people worldwide are living with hemophilia, and 400 babies are born with it each year, according to the Hemophilia Federation of America.

Perhaps because they are rare, hemophilia and bleeding disorders are often misunderstood conditions. With that in mind, The Mighty worked with two organizations, the Hemophilia Federation of America and Stop The Bleeding, to find out what people with the condition wish the world could understand.

This is what they had to say:

1. “Bleeding disorders are confounding and annoying when they act up. You can have months of no trouble, and then suddenly look as if you’re trying to avoid every outing, get together and birthday party… But I promise, it’s not personal.” — Carri Nease

2.“Hemophilia and incest are not related in any way… Also, we won’t bleed to death from a paper cut.” — Jeff Johnson


3. “We know our disease and conditions better than the average doctor does.” — Karen Guertin

4. “It’s more common than you think.” — Deana J Woods

5. “If my son falls off a tree, he will need treatment… but the most important thing is that he still gets to climb trees.” — Jennifer Empson


6. “Although hemophilia is often known as the ‘royal disease,’ it doesn’t mean everyone living with it is directly related to royalty.” — Rich Pezzillo

7. “Many of us in the community are willing to discuss our condition, and it does not prevent us from contributing to our communities.” — Donald Robert Fox

8. “It’s not only a male disease. I am a woman who is affected by the condition, along with two sons and a daughter.” — Yashica Washington


9. “As a mom, I’m trying to let my baby be a ‘normal,’ active 2-year-old. However, if I seem to be on edge, it’s because every time he runs, jumps, falls or hits something, I get that gut-wrenching feeling — the feeling right before a car wreck.” — Brandi Alsip

10. “I love the question, ‘You still have that?’” —  David Melendez

11. “Our kids have bruises because they have a chronic disorder and not because they’re being beaten.” — William Wilson


12. “No, your child cannot ‘catch it’ from my son.” — Gina Morris

13. “Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And, it can be painful.” — Misty King Woodhall


 14. “It’s different than necrophilia. (True story — I actually had to clarify this to a poor soul.)” — Rachel Miller Kroouze

15. “No, my boys won’t grow out of it.” — Theresa Laureen

16. “I don’t fake my injuries nor do I milk the fact that I’m hurt. I am as normal as the next person and only wish to be treated as such… I do not want pity.” — Justin Wallace


17. “We have some of the best people in our community. We can do anything together.” — Luke Vannicola

18. “You have to be prepared for an emergency at all times.” — Katie Hoagberg Masog


19. “My son doesn’t need to be bubblewrapped nor treated differently than my other son… don’t be scared.” — Samantha Francesca Costa

20. “That the impact of a bleeding disorder is so much more than the disorder itself and its physical complications. The impact is also emotional, psychological, educational, financial and relational.” — Rebecca Nastasia


21. “It is hard to live with, and you cannot just take a pill to make it go away.” — Theresa Schuman

22. “Having hemophilia does not automatically prevent you from being active. It’s actually good for hemophilia patients to be active. Being active gains muscles, which protects joints, which helps [prevent] bleeds.” — Christy Reyes

23. “I’ve lived with ‘significant’ pain most of my life, and I’ve learned to manage it. Having a bleeding disorder doesn’t weaken me, it toughens me.” — Patrick James Lynch


24. “Hemophilia isn’t being in a wheelchair, but it’s also not being immune to wheelchairs. It’s a complicated disorder that can randomly determine what life is like. One week can be spent resting in bed and using wheelchairs. Another can be running around playing soccer. I wish people understood that because it’s difficult to explain to strangers in chance encounters.” — Mark Kenny 

25. “It may have conquered my body but it shall not have my soul or my mind. Those remain mine.” — Marcus Lamarr Smith II