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Can a Massage Be Beneficial for Your Health?

from NCCAM

Massage therapy has been around for centuries and continues to be increasingly popular. We know from our research that massage is among the top ten most frequently used complementary health practices by adults and by children. Researchers have been investigating the effects of massage therapy on a number of wide-ranging conditions, and while a lot of the research is preliminary or conflicting, there is scientific evidence that points toward beneficial effects on back pain. In fact, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society have issued joint clinical practice guidelines that include massage therapy as one of the nonpharmacologic treatment options that should be considered for patients with low-back pain who do not improve on their own. There is also some evidence that massage may help improve quality of life for people with conditions such as depression, cancer, or HIV/AIDS.

We have some information about the evidence base of massage therapy for health purposes on our Web site. If you or a loved one is considering massage therapy for a particular health condition, I encourage you to take a look at this information and talk it over with your health care provider. Although massage therapy appears to be safe when performed by a trained professional, some people with certain health conditions should take precautions. As always, take care and be well!

FDA study shows pertussis vaccination spreads pathogenic bacteria

from NaturalNews

In a failed attempt to explain away why vaccinated individuals seem to be the
only ones contracting and spreading whooping cough
during major outbreaks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched an inquiry aimed at better understanding how the controversial vaccine works. But what the agency ended up discovering is that the vaccine for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, spreads the very same pathogenic bacteria that causes whopping cough in the first place, which in some people can lead to serious infections.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the new FDA study claims to demonstrate that vaccines for acellular pertussis are effective at preventing the disease in those who are vaccinated. But at the very same time, the agency admits that, based on its findings, the vaccine itself spreads Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria responsible for triggering the highly contagious respiratory disease.

“[A]cellular pertussis vaccines licensed by the FDA are effective in preventing the disease among those vaccinated,” claims the agency in a recent announcement, “but… they may not prevent infection from the bacteria that causes whooping cough in those vaccinated or its spread to other people, including those who may not be vaccinated.”

In other words, the whooping cough vaccine is definitely effective at preventing the whooping cough, except that it’s not. This is the essence of what the FDA is claiming here with this dichotomy — people who are vaccinated for whooping cough are somehow protected against the disease, but they might still develop it as a result of contracting the bacterium responsible for triggering whooping cough, which is contained in the vaccine.

This type of meaningless equivocation is nothing new for the FDA, of course, which two years ago tried to pull the same
say-something-while-not-actually-saying-it stunt with bisphenol A
, the plastics chemical that has repeatedly been shown in scientific literature to damage hormones.

FDA admits whooping cough vaccines diminish immunity, increasing likelihood of infection

Besides putting those who receive it at a higher risk of developing pertussis infection, the pertussis vaccine also admittedly lowers immunity. In a recent press release about its study, the FDA spills the beans about how decreased immunity is a common adverse effect of the childhood pertussis vaccine, and that health experts have never really understood why those who are vaccinated against pertussis still contract the disease.

“While the reasons for the increase in cases of whooping cough are not fully understood, multiple factors are likely involved, including diminished immunity from childhood pertussis vaccines, improved diagnostic testing, and increased reporting,” says the FDA. “With its own funds plus support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FDA conducted the study to explore the possibility that acellular pertussis vaccines… might not prevent infection.”

Based on this assessment, it is astounding that any parent would ever agree to having their baby injected with a chemical solution that just might cause the very same disease that it is supposed to prevent. We now know for a fact that children vaccinated for pertussis can still develop whooping cough and are, in fact, carriers that can spread the disease to others.

“This research suggests that although individuals immunized with an acellular pertussis vaccine may [emphasis added] be protected from disease, they may still become infected with the bacteria without always getting sick and are able to spread infection to others, including young infants who are susceptible to pertussis disease.”

You can read the full FDA announcement here:

Sources for this article include:

New study says ADHD, autism may be due to fluoride, pesticides

from PsyWeb

A new study published in The Lancet has implicated six new chemicals that may be contributing to the development of childhood mental disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. The study follows on a study conducted by its authors in 2006 which identified “developmental nerutoxicants.”

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai added six new chemicals to a growing list of what they call “developmental neurotoxicants.” This study adds manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, and DDT to the list. The last two are pesticides and all on the list are chemicals often found in industrial use or waste.

The study was co-authored by adjunct professor of environmental health Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School and Dr. Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai.

The new study can be found on the Lancet’s website.

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Supported Employment is a gateway to wellness

from PsyWeb

There is ample evidence showing that supported employment works well. Programs such as the one offered at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) help the severely mentally ill transition into the workplace through supportive therapy and work programs. They improve lives, self-esteem, and the financial prospects for many who are disabled by mental illness.

These programs usually do not interfere with the patient’s disability income, if any, as they are considered therapy by the Department of Defense’s disability program and the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Most programs focus on a combination of therapy, work capability, and transition into private employment.

Work therapy (supported employment) is not covered by most insurance, however, and is most often done through social programs, private trusts, or other funding. One VA program the author surveyed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, pays tax-exempt minimum wage to employees for up to forty hours per week for up to three months. It then transitions the patient into private jobs with continued therapeutic support. Some of the private jobs are also tax-exempt, falling under the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, while others do not. The goal of the VA’s program is to help disabled veterans find employment and the fulfillment and control it gives their lives.

Other programs from other services offer similar programs, often in cooperation with private companies or charities in need of workers.

A recent survey of the evidence for supported employment found that not only is the evidence overwhelmingly positive:

“Supported employment consistently demonstrated positive outcomes for individuals with mental disorders, including higher rates of competitive employment, fewer days to the first competitive job, more hours and weeks worked, and higher wages. There was also strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of individual elements of the model.”

That survey was published in the January issue of the journal Psychiatric Services, which is conducting a twelve-part series of literature reviews commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Molecular Biologist Explains How THC Completely Kills Cancer Cells

from WorldTruth.TV

Below is a video of Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain, clearly explaining how THC (the main psychoactive constitute of the cannabis plant) completely kills cancer cells.

Not long ago, we published an article examining a case study recently published where doctors used cannabis to treat Leukemia, you can read more about that  here. To read more articles and view studies about how cannabis is an effective treatment and cure for cancer, click here.

Cannabinoids refer to any of group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces  compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment. I think it’s also important to note that cannabis has been shown to treat cancer without any psychoactive effects.

Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. Although not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis. Contrary to popular  belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to go about getting the necessary ingredients, the cannabinoids.

The world has come a long way with with regards to accepting this plant as a medicine rather than a harmful substance. It’s a plant that could benefit the planet in more ways than one. Cannabis is not something offered in the same regard as chemotherapy, but more people are becoming aware if it, which is why it’s so important to continue to spread information like this. Nobody can really deny the tremendous healing power of this plant.

Application of Complementary and Alternative Medicine on Neurodegenerative Disorders 2013

Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are characterized by progressive loss of neurons in sensory, motor, and cognitive systems. Based on limited knowledge on the pathogenic mechanisms of the diseases, some drugs have been developed. For example, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist have been widely used for treating Alzheimer’s disease. However, these drugs have not shown promising results and tolerance may be developed after a short period of treatment. The etiopathology of neurodegenerative diseases is extremely complex and has not been fully revealed. It is reasonable to expect that drugs acting on multiple targets can provide better treatment results than those acting on a single target for these diseases. Some herbal remedies have been used traditionally for improving cognitive function and treating mental diseases for many years. These drugs contain a number of active ingredients and can be the potential candidates for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

In the special issue of “Application of Complementary and Alternative Medicine on Neurodegenerative Disorders” published last year, we have collected papers on the application of complementary and alternative medicine for treating Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. In this year, Alzheimer’s disease is still a hot topic of investigation. Alzheimer’s disease is a well-known neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive deterioration of cognitive function and memory. Although the pathological mechanism of the disease is not fully understood, the deposition of beta-amyloid and the generation of reactive oxygen species are believed to play important roles in the pathogenesis of the disease. Therefore, neurotoxicity induced by beta-amyloid or oxidants has been commonly used as a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease. In this issue, C.-F. Ng et al. reported that a decoction of Gastrodiae Rhizoma (rhizome of Gastrodia elata Bl.) was able to protect against in vivo and in vitro neurotoxicity induced by beta-amyloid through the inhibition of apoptosis and oxidative damage. A similar study by M. Maiwulanjiang et al. showed that Song Bu Li decoction, a herbal remedy prepared by boiling with Nardostachyos Radix et Rhizoma, protected against cellular toxicity induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide in cultured PC12 cells. They suggested that the protective effect of the herbal drug was mediated by activating the transcriptional activity of antioxidant response element.

Previous studies by Y.-F. Xian et al. have identified an active ingredient (isorhynchophylline) from Uncariae Ramulus cum Uncis by bioassay-guided fractionation which is effective in inhibiting neurotoxicity induced by beta-amyloid. In this special issue, the authors suggested that the protective effect of isorhynchophylline against beta-amyloid-induced cytotoxicity in PC12 cells was associated with the enhancement of p-CREB expression via PI3K/Akt/GSK-3? signaling pathway.

Apart from bioassay-guided isolation, high-throughput screening is another commonly used method to search for novel drugs. In recent years, a new method of drug discovery (in silico virtual screening) has been adopted by many researchers. By modelling the laboratory processes such as the binding of molecules to a receptor via computer algorithms, potential drugs can be identified and then confirmed by biological testing. This approach will greatly reduce laboratory works in high-throughput screening. In this special issue, Y. Wang et al. have identified twelve phytochemicals as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors by using in silico screening method. Subsequent biological tests conducted by the research team showed that acetylshikonin was the most effective compound among these acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in preventing apoptosis induced by hydrogen peroxide in neuronal SH-SY5Y and PC12 cells.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder which is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of ventral midbrain area. Tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability are the typical symptoms observed in patients suffering from the disease. 6-Hydroxydopamine is a neurotoxin which can selectively destroy dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Therefore, neurotoxicity induced by 6-hydroxydopamine is commonly used as a model of Parkinson’s disease. By using this model, X.-B. Meng et al. demonstrated that notoginsenoside R2, a triterpenoid isolated from Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma (root and rhizome of Panax notoginseng), protected against neurotoxicity through the enhancement of phase II detoxifying enzymes which were triggered by the activation of MEK1/2-ERK1/2 pathways. Besides, a literature review by S.-V. More et al. indicated that a lot of chemical ingredients isolated from herbal medicine could be the potential drugs for treating Parkinson’s disease.

The prevention of illness by maintaining homeostasis and enhancing body’s defense is a major goal of herbal medicine. K.-Y. Zhu et al. showed that Kai-Xin-San, a herbal formula prescribed traditionally to treat stress-related psychiatric diseases, was able to stimulate the expression and secretion of neurotrophic factors in cultured astrocytes. These neurotrophic factors are playing important roles in maintaining the survival, growth, and differentiation of neurons. The depletion of neurotrophic factors can lead to neuronal death which contributes to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. By using similar techniques, S.-L. Xu et al. demonstrated that a lot of flavonoids isolated from herbal materials were able to induce the synthesis and secretion of neurotrophic factors, including nerve growth factor, glial-derived neurotrophic factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

In the last special issue, we have mentioned that clinical trial is needed to provide supporting evidence for the application of herbal medicine on neurodegenerative disorders. In this issue, a clinical report by W. Pan et al. showed that Jiawei Sijunzi decoction, a six-herb herbal formula, delayed the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in some patients. We still hope that large-scale, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial can be collected in the coming issues.

Read more here.

Studies show that spirulina can help prevent cancer, boost brain function and more

from NaturalNews

Spirulina is a type of green algae that grows in fresh water bodies. It is a survivor plant which, unlike most flora, is able to withstand considerable temperature variations and still thrive. It is cultivated worldwide and has been harvested as a food source for thousands of years.

According to David Wolfe, author of the book, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, spirulina is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. In fact, it has become synonymous with the “superfood” label. This article contains an overview of spirulina’s health benefits and the studies that confirm them.

Research into spirulina
Rich in nutrients – Spirulina’s biggest attraction is its incomparable levels of nutrients. According to spectral analysis provided by Self’s “NutritionData,” a 28 gram (1 ounce) serving of dried spirulina contains 44 percent of our RDI of iron, 32 percent of our RDI of protein, 60 percent of our RDI of riboflavin, 44 percent of our RDI of thiamin and a whopping 85 percent of our RDI of copper. The same serving size also contains smaller amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, numerous other B-vitamins and trace minerals, and essential fatty acids. This astonishing nutritional profile makes spirulina a near-perfect food, lacking only in vitamin D.

Cancer prevention – According to a 2004 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology, spirulina contains a protein, C-phycocyanin, that can significantly reduce the proliferation of cultured leukemia cells by causing the cells to undergo apoptosis (“cell death”). A later 2009 study published in the Cancer Science journal found that mice that were fed a spirulina extract had increased activity of natural killer cells (immune cells that kill cancer cells) than those fed the placebo. The researchers concluded that “NK activation by spirulina has some advantage in combinational use with BCG-cell wall skeleton for developing adjuvant-based antitumor immunotherapy.”

Antiviral properties – A 2005 study published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology has shown that spirulina’s “high concentration of natural nutrients” can improve white blood cell activity and stimulate antibodies. These properties make spirulina an excellent guard against many serious viruses. “[Spirulina preparations] have been found to be active against several enveloped viruses including herpes virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza virus and HIV,” claim the researchers. “They [...] inhibit carcinogenesis due to anti-oxidant properties that protect tissues and also reduce toxicity of liver, kidney and testes.”

Liver protection – Though consuming spirulina can boost the health of all our organs, research has shown that it is especially beneficial for our livers. An Indian-Malaysian study published in the December 2008 issue of International Journal of Integrative Biology, for instance, found that mice that were fed spirulina extracts experienced elevated liver enzymes, protecting them from liver damage. The researchers noted that spirulina’s antioxidant concentrations were responsible for this benefit.

Boosts brain function – A 2005 study published in the Journal of Experimental Neurology has demonstrated that a spirulina dose of 180 milligrams per kilogram of weight had the ability to reduce brain damage and aid the recovery of neurons in rats who had suffered strokes. The researchers acknowledged a connection between improved brain function and a “diet enriched in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.”

Sources for this article include:

Learn more:

Effect of Wasabi Component 6-(Methylsulfinyl)hexyl Isothiocyanate and Derivatives on Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells


The naturally occurring compound 6-(methylsulfinyl)hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MITC) was isolated from Wasabia japonica (Wasabi), a pungent spice used in Japanese food worldwide. The synthetic derivatives 6-(methylsulfenyl)hexyl isothiocyanate (I7447) and 6-(methylsulfonyl)hexyl isothiocyanate (I7557) are small molecule compounds derived from 6-MITC. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of these compounds on human pancreatic cancer cells. Human pancreatic cancer cell lines PANC-1 and BxPC-3 were used to perform an MTT assay for cell viability and Liu’s stain for morphological observation. The cell cycle was analyzed by DNA histogram. Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity was used as a marker for cancer stem cells (CSC). Western blotting was performed for the expression of proteins related to CSC signaling. The results showed that compounds 6-MITC and I7557, but not I7447, inhibited viability of both PANC-1 and BxPC-3 cells. Morphological observation showed mitotic arrest and apoptosis in 6-MITC- and I7557-treated cells. These two compounds induced G2/M phase arrest and hypoploid population. Percentages of ALDH-positive PANC-1 cells were markedly reduced by 6-MITC and I7557 treatment. The expression of CSC signaling molecule SOX2, but not NOTCH1, ABCG2, Sonic hedgehog, or OCT4, was inhibited by 6-MITC and I7557. In conclusion, wasabi compounds 6-MITC and I7557 may possess activity against the growth and CSC phenotypes of human pancreatic cancer cells.

Read more here.

Does Olive Oil Cure Breast Cancer?


Back in 2008-2009, a lot of buzz was heard about olive oil and breast cancer. A study published in an open-source journal was spread widely through the Internet and media as “proof that olive oil could cure breast cancer”. The reality is a little more complicated than that and not nearly as headline-friendly.

The study was published in BMC Cancer in December, 2008 and actually followed a few studies before it and was in turn followed on by more studies afterward. The study specifically looked at how olive oil interacts with HER-2-positive breast carcinomas in vitro. Knowing what that means enlightens us to two things about the study:

1) HER-2 cancers are cancers that are responsive to the HER-2 hormone, which make up about 30 percent of breast cancers globally.

2) “In vitro” means the study was basically in petri dishes with specific amounts of cultured cancerous tissue and specific amounts of olive oil (or its compounds).

Knowing those two things, we can extract that the study proved that certain concentrations of olive oil extract (specifically EVOO polyphenols, a specific component of most olive oil) would inhibit or kill the cultures for about thirty percent of breast cancer types. In other words, it doesn’t “cure” all breast cancer and the study actually didn’t prove that it “cures” any of them. It did prove that a compound common to olive oil could play a role in preventing or halting breast cancer growth, but only in specific concentrations.

Those concentrations are another rub. They had to be in such high amounts that even the most Italian of Italian eaters isn’t likely to have ingested enough.

You can find out more about that study and the actual results, along with the cautions the study’s own authors gave (which were generally ignored by media) at WebMD here.

Does this debunk the idea that olive oil can help prevent or fight breast cancer? No.

Other studies have shown that olive oil intake, when done regularly, is linked to lower rates of cancer. These are often cited to “prove” the so-called “Mediterranean diet.” Other compounds in olive oil have other health benefits including even more apparent cancer-fighting properties. From this, we can deduce that at the very least, olive oil is a healthy addition to any diet. See here and here.

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Mixed-Methods Research in a Complex Multisite VA Health Services Study: Variations in the Implementation and Characteristics of Chiropractic Services in VA


Maximizing the quality and benefits of newly established chiropractic services represents an important policy and practice goal for the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ healthcare system. Understanding the implementation process and characteristics of new chiropractic clinics and the determinants and consequences of these processes and characteristics is a critical first step in guiding quality improvement. This paper reports insights and lessons learned regarding the successful application of mixed methods research approaches—insights derived from a study of chiropractic clinic implementation and characteristics, Variations in the Implementation and Characteristics of Chiropractic Services in VA (VICCS). Challenges and solutions are presented in areas ranging from selection and recruitment of sites and participants to the collection and analysis of varied data sources. The VICCS study illustrates the importance of several factors in successful mixed-methods approaches, including (1) the importance of a formal, fully developed logic model to identify and link data sources, variables, and outcomes of interest to the study’s analysis plan and its data collection instruments and codebook and (2) ensuring that data collection methods, including mixed-methods, match study aims. Overall, successful application of a mixed-methods approach requires careful planning, frequent trade-offs, and complex coding and analysis.

Read the study at this link.

Copyright © 2013 Raheleh Khorsan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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