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12 October 2013

Unexplained Post-Op Pain in Adolescent Scoliosis Cases

Unexplained pain after the six-month postoperative period occurs in 7% of patients undergoing surgery for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of Spine.

Tracey P. Bastrom, from Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, and colleagues reviewed data from a prospective registry to identify AIS surgical patients with minimum two-year follow-up and two-year Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) scores. Results from the SRS-22 outcomes questionnaire were compared for patients reporting pain or not to the surgeon/clinical team postoperatively.

The researchers found that, of the 584 eligible patients, 11% reported pain at sometime between two weeks and two years postoperatively. Of the 48 patients reporting pain between six and 24 months postoperatively, 41 (7% of the total cohort) had no obvious cause for their pain. They also had significantly decreased two-year SRS scores in the domains of Pain, Self-Image, Mental Health, and Total score despite referral for physical therapy, a pain specialist, or further imaging in 26 of the 41 cases. There was significantly greater pain preoperatively in the patients with postoperative pain, so for this group the pre- to postoperative SRS pain scores did not significantly change.

7 September 2013

Researchers Find Online Scoliosis Info Is Poor Quality

The quality of web-based information on scoliosis is poor, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The quality of web-based information on scoliosis is poor, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of Spine.

Shaun Wellburn, from Teesside University in Middlesbrough, U.K., and colleagues evaluated seven websites for scoliosis-related content. Three reviewers used DISCERN, a validated information assessment tool, to evaluate the sites. Websites were also assessed for quality assurance certification with the Health On the Net code.

The researchers observed significant correlations with the DISCERN scores between reviewers 1 and 2 and reviewers 2 and 3. Forty-nine was the highest mean cumulative score for all items achieved by any of the evaluated websites (range, 15 to 80). The Health On the Net code was displayed by only one site.

"Health care professionals should be aware of the content of websites that they recommend to patients," the authors write. "Websites should be maintained such that content is up to date, evidence-based, impartial, and written in plain language."

19 August 2013

Starving Cancer to Death by Removing one Food: Refined Sugar

While all of our cells need glucose (a form of sugar which is turned into energy), cancer thrives on a body full of simple carbohydrates (which become sugar in the body) and refined sugars that come from processed foods and overly sweet goodies. If you or someone you know is suffering from cancer, one of the best things they can do is take away the disease’s favorite food – sugar.

Sugar – Cancer’s Fuel
Dr. Otto Wartburg and other health experts have been talking about how cancer loves sugar since the 1920s, but surprisingly many doctors don’t tell their cancer patients that as long as they continue to eat processed foods full of the stuff, they will likely have a more difficult time fighting this disease.

The German physiologist, leading biochemist, medical doctor, and Nobel laureate was convinced that you could starve cancer right out of the body. While it may not always be that easy, this is something that could significantly change the game.

26 July 2013

Scientists Finally Discover The Function of the Human Appendix

It has long been regarded as a potentially troublesome, redundant organ, but American researchers say they have discovered the true function of the appendix.
The researchers say it acts as a safe house for good bacteria, which can be used to effectively reboot the gut following a bout of dysentery or cholera.
The conventional wisdom is that the small pouch protruding from the first part of the large intestine is redundant and many people have their appendix removed and appear none the worse for it.
Scientists from the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina say following a severe bout of cholera or dysentery, which can purge the gut of bacteria essential for digestion, the reserve good bacteria emerge from the appendix to take up the role.
But Professor Bill Parker says the finding does not mean we should cling onto our appendices at all costs.

12 July 2013

Deficient vitamin D levels result in early aging of bone

Friday, July 12, 2013. In an article published online on July 10, 2013 in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers from University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report a link between deficient levels of vitamin D and premature aging of the bone. The vitamin is needed for the absorption of calcium by bony tissue, as well as playing a role in many other processes.

Björn Busse and his associates compared bone obtained from 15 normal individuals and 15 men and women with deficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels of less than 20 ng/mL and bone surface osteoidosis indicating the transition to osteomalacia. "The hallmark of osteomalacia is an excessive amount of unmineralized collagen matrix," Dr Busse and his colleagues explain. "The cause of this pathological accumulation of osteoid is difficult to determine and may result from a combination of an increased rate of bone formation, low serum calcium and phosphorus, and/or direct effects of the excess osteoid on osseous cells accompanied by changes in the bone matrix, either in the collagen or in the ground substance. As a consequence of the marked reduction in mineralized bone mass and increased amounts of osteoid, vitamin D–deficient bone represents a complex composite structure that is highly susceptible to fracture."

Bone quality was analyzed on a scale ranging from nanometers to micrometers via the use of micro computed tomography. The researchers found that the increase in osteoid-covered surfaces in bone derived from deficient subjects impaired the remodeling of mineralized bone tissue underneath due to isolation from osteoclasts. These areas of bone continued to age and mineralize, exhibiting the structure of older bone tissue, which is more brittle than young bone. Further testing revealed that being deficient in vitamin D increased the initiation of cracks by 31% and their growth by 22%.

"The assumption has been that the main problem with vitamin D deficiency is reduced mineralization for the creation of new bone mass, but we've shown that low levels of vitamin D also induces premature aging of existing bone," stated coauthor Robert Ritchie of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's Materials Sciences Division.

"Our study expands the current clinical understanding of the pathophysiology of vitamin D deficiency and helps explain why well-balanced vitamin D levels are essential to maintain bone's structural integrity," the authors conclude.

Beyond Calcium and Vitamin D—How to Really Build Strong Bones

By Dr. Mercola
One of the important strategies for healthy bones is to eat the right kind of foods. A diet full of processed foods will produce biochemical and metabolic conditions in your body that will decrease your bone density, so avoiding processed foods is definitely the first step in the right direction.
Eating high-quality, organic, biodynamic, locally-grown food will naturally increase your bone density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis. Along with your foods, your omega-3 fat content also has a major role in building healthy bone. I recommend krill oil, as I believe it’s a superior source of omega-3s.
Other nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and K2, and magnesium, are also critical for strong bones—as is exercise, especially weight-bearing exercises.
Recent research presented at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco suggests that the timing of calcium and vitamin D supplementation may actually influence how your bones adapt to exercise, and help decrease exercise-induced calcium loss.
As reported by Medical News Today:1
"The timing of calcium supplementation, and not just the amount of supplementation, may be an important factor in how your skeleton adapts to exercise training... Previous research has shown that a year of intense training is associated with substantial decreases in bone mineral density...
Experts believe that this kind of exercise-induced bone loss could be related to the loss of calcium during exercise. As blood calcium levels drop, the parathyroid gland produces excess parathyroid hormone, which can mobilize calcium from your skeleton."

How Bone Adapts to Exercise May Be Affected by Timing of Supplementation

The featured research study indicated that taking calcium prior to hitting the gym may help keep your blood levels of calcium more stable, compared to taking calcium after your workout. However, the study did not assess the long-term effects this might have on your bone density, and this, of course, is of utmost importance for anyone interested in building healthy bones.
According to the featured article:
“[E]xercise-induced decrease in blood calcium occurred whether calcium supplements were taken before or after exercising. Pre-exercise supplementation, however, resulted in less of a decrease.
Although not statistically significant, parathyroid hormone levels increased slightly less among cyclists who took calcium before exercising... The timing of calcium supplementation did not cause a difference in blood levels of a compound that is a biological indicator of bone loss. Both the before- and after-exercise groups exhibited 50 percent increases in the level of this compound, called CTX...”

The Critical Role of Vitamin K2 for Bone Health

There’s plenty of controversy on the issue of using calcium supplementation to ensure strong healthy bones. It’s important to realize that calcium works synergistically with vitamins D and K2, so taking calcium supplements alone may actually end up doing more harm than good. Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue has authored a comprehensive book on this topic titled: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.
Dr. Robert Thompson M.D. also addressed this important issue in his book, The Calcium Lie. One of the tenets of his book is that bone is composed of at least a dozen minerals, and if you focus exclusively on calcium supplementation you are likely going to worsen your bone density.

Additionally you will actually increase your risk of osteoporosis. Interestingly, he proposes that one of the best practical alternatives is the use of natural, unprocessed salts, such as Himalayan salt, as they are one of the best sources of a wide variety of trace minerals.
So, while the featured research is interesting, I believe it falls far short in terms of making a health recommendation that will result in improved bone health. And while the researchers argue that timing, and not just dosage may play a significant role in bone adaptation to exercise, I would add that nutrient ratios and combinations may be even more important...
The researchers did combine calcium with vitamin D, which is important, but they did not address vitamin K2, which is critical. I say critical because the biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.
Furthermore, if you take supplemental vitamin D, you also need to increase your intake of vitamin K2, because when you take vitamin D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins—the proteins that help move the calcium around in your body. But you need vitamin K2 to activate those proteins. If they're not activated, the calcium in your body will not be properly distributed and can lead to weaker bones and hardened arteries. In fact, vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries.
In a nutshell, it’s important to maintain the proper balance between all three of these nutrients: calcium, vitamin D and K2, as well as magnesium. Lack of balance between these four nutrients is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke...
The optimal amounts of vitamin K2 are still under investigation, but it seems likely that 180 to 200 micrograms of vitamin K2 daily should be enough to activate your body's K2-dependent proteins to shuttle the calcium to and from the appropriate areas. Most Americans get nowhere near this amount though. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of Americans do not get enough vitamin K2 in their diet to activate their K2 proteins, which is similar to the deficiency rate of vitamin D.

How Can You Tell if You're Lacking in Vitamin K2?

There is no test for vitamin K2 deficiency, but you can get an idea of whether or not you may be lacking in this critical nutrient simply by assessing your diet and lifestyle. If you have osteoporosis, heart disease or diabetes, then you're likely deficient in vitamin K2 as these conditions are all associated with K2 deficiency. If you do not have any of those health conditions, but do NOT regularly eat high amounts of the following foods, then your likelihood of being vitamin K2 deficient is still very high:
  • Grass-fed organic animal products (i.e. eggs, butter, dairy)
  • Certain fermented foods such as natto, or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria. Please note that most fermented vegetables are not really high in vitamin K2 and come in at about 50 mcg per serving. However, if specific starter cultures are used they can have ten times as much, or 500 mcg per serving.
  • Goose liver pâté
  • Certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda (these two are particularly high in K2, containing about 75 mcg per ounce). While cheese from grass-fed milk would be an added boon, it’s not necessary for the cheese to be grass-fed because the K2 is not derived from the milk itself; it’s derived from the bacteria in the cheese. So what’s important is how the cheese was made.
Fermented vegetables, which supply beneficial bacteria to your gut, can also be a great source of vitamin K if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We recently had samples of high-quality fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture tested, and were shocked to discover that not only does a typical serving of about two to three ounces contain about 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, but it also contained 500 mcg of vitamin K2.
Note that not every strain of bacteria makes K2. For example, most yoghurt has almost no vitamin K2. Certain types of cheeses are very high in K2, and others are not. It really depends on the specific bacteria. You can't assume that any fermented food will be high in K2, but some fermented foods are very high in K2, such as natto. Others, such as miso and tempeh, are not.

Mind Your Sodium-Potassium Levels as Well

Two additional nutrients that play an important role are sodium and potassium—you want the optimal ratio between these two in order to maintain your bone mass. If you eat a diet loaded with processed foods, there's a good chance your potassium to sodium ratio is far from optimal, which is typically done by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium.
An imbalanced sodium to potassium ratio can contribute to a number of diseases, including osteoporosis. To ensure you get these two important nutrients in more appropriate ratios, simply ditch processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients. Instead, eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, ideally organically grown to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium, which is optimal for your bone health, and your overall health. If you find it difficult to eat the recommended amount of vegetables, give vegetable juicing a try.

Exercise Also Builds Strong Bones

The other component you can’t ignore if you want strong, healthy bones is weight bearing exercises like strength training. Bone-building is a dynamic process, so you want to make sure you exert enough force on your bones to stimulate the osteoblasts to build new bone. Further, bone is living tissue that requires regular physical activity in order to renew and rebuild itself, so you should make exercise a lifelong commitment.
Peak bone mass is achieved in adulthood and then begins a slow decline, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass as you get older, without having to resort to dangerous bisphosphonate drugs.
Weight-bearing exercise is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone. In addition, as you build more muscle, and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you also put more constant pressure on your bones. A good weight-bearing exercise to incorporate into your routine (depending on your current level of fitness, of course) is a walking lunge, as it helps build bone density in your hips, even without any additional weights.
Ideally, though, your fitness program should be comprehensive, providing the necessary weight-bearing activities for bone health while also improving your cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities with high-intensity exercises. For a more complete, in-depth explanation of my Peak Fitness regimen, please review my previous article, The Major Exercise Mistake I Made for Over 30 Years. Implementing Peak Fitness -- with its array of weight-bearing exercises for bone health and Peak Exercises for disease prevention, fat loss and more -- may be one of the best lifestyle changes you could ever make.

The Power Plate—A Valuable Exercise Tool for Prevention and Treatment of Brittle Bones

Acceleration Training, a.k.a. Whole Body Vibrational Training (WBVT) using a Power Plate has also been shown to be a safe, natural way to ward off osteoporosis, and it’s gentle enough even for the disabled and elderly. For example, in one six-month long study, WBVT was found to produce a significant increase in hip area bone density in postmenopausal women, while conventional training was only able to slow the rate of deterioration.2 A total of 90 women, aged 58 to 70 years old, were divided into three groups:
  1. The first group did up to 30 minutes of WBVT three times a week. Static and dynamic exercises for the upper leg and hip area included squats and lunges.
  2. The second group did 60 minutes of conventional weight training three times per week.
  3. The control group did not exercise at all.
The researchers concluded that Acceleration Training might be a solution for reversing bone loss and eliminating osteoporosis, stating that:
"The whole body vibration group got positive results: strength increased as much as 16 percent in upper leg muscles, while bone density at the hip increased by 1.5 percent. In addition, the whole body vibration group showed an improvement in postural control and balance, increased muscle strength and lean mass while losing body fat and fat mass. The conventionally trained subjects were able to slow the rate of bone loss, which is consistent with previous published studies on weight training and bone loss. The control group subjects continued to lose bone mineral density at the average rate."
NASA has also tested vibration platforms to help prevent the bone loss that occurs during space travel. According to a 2001 article in NASA Science:3
"...NASA-funded scientists suggest that astronauts might prevent bone loss by standing on a lightly vibrating plate for 10 to 20 minutes each day... The same therapy, they say, might eventually be used to treat some of the millions of people who suffer from bone loss, called osteoporosis here on Earth.
...Although the vibrations are subtle they have had a profound effect on bone loss in laboratory animals such as turkeys, sheep, and rats. In one study (published in the October 2001 issue of The FASEB Journal), only 10 minutes per day of vibration therapy promoted near-normal rates of bone formation in rats that were prevented from bearing weight on their hind limbs during the rest of the day."

Build Strong, Healthy Bones the Natural Way

To recap, your bones are actually composed of several different minerals, and if you focus on calcium alone, you will likelyweaken your bones and increase your risk of osteoporosis as Dr. Robert Thompson explains in his book, The Calcium Lie. Remember, calcium, vitamins D and K2, and magnesium work synergistically together to promote strong, healthy bones, and your sodium to potassium ratio also play an important role in maintaining your bone mass. Ideally, you’d get all or most of these nutrients from your diet (with the exception of vitamin D). This includes:
  • Plant-derived calcium: raw milk from pasture-raised cows (who eat the plants), leafy green vegetables, the pith of citrus fruits, carob, and sesame seeds
  • Magnesium: raw organic cacao and supplemental magnesium threonate if need be
  • Vitamin K2: Grass-fed organic animal products (i.e. eggs, butter, dairy), certain fermented foods such as natto, or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria. Goose liver pâté, and certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda
  • Trace minerals: Himalayan Crystal Salt, which contains all 84 elements found in your body, or other natural, unprocessed salt (NOT regular table salt!)
  • Vitamin D: Ideally from appropriate sun exposure (or a safe tanning bed), as it’s virtually impossible to get sufficient amounts from food. As a last resort, you could use a supplement, but if you do, you may also need to supplement with vitamin K2 to maintain ideal ratios
The bottom line?
One of the best ways to achieve healthy bones is a diet rich in fresh, raw whole foods that maximizes natural minerals so that your body has the raw materials it needs to do what it was designed to do. In addition, you need healthy sun exposure along with regular, weight-bearing exercise.

31 May 2013

Scoliotrack is a Safe and Innovative Way to Track One's Scoliosis Condition: Now Available for Android and 17 Languages!

23 May 2013

Announcing to a global audience, innovation, technology, and clinically proven method of tracking your Scoliosis condition.  Scoliotrack who’s technology and innovation was recognized and invited to the Wall Street Journal 2011 Asia Innovative Awards, is now in the hands of those that need it.  By consumer demand, easy, affordability, and designed for patients, Scoliotrack has now been released as an App.  

28 May 2013

An Alternative Scoliosis Treatment Seem too Good to be True are Often Scams

Alternative scoliosis treatment options vary greatly and can offer promising results but buyers beware. Websites that offer exciting new methods of treating scoliosis demonstrating results that seem too good to be true are often scams. The best way to discover whether or not a website offering alternative scoliosis treatment which is defined as treatment other than a medical standard of care such as rigid bracing or surgery is to conduct further research. A great place to start is to determine who is selling the treatment. If the treatment is not provided by a licensed healthcare professional such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist then quickly move on your child's health is not worth the risk. The next step is to do a personal Google search of the provider of these scoliosis treatment methods to see what their background is and what kind of training or education is involved. In addition search any publications by the provider and read their material which is an excellent way to familiarize you with their approach. The last step is to forward your clinical information directly to the provider and ask for a phone consultation to determine whether or not you feel confident in choosing this person to care for you or your child. In some instances you may even request to speak with others who have received scoliosis treatment and see if they had a good experience and outcome.

The interesting thing about healthcare is that when it comes to procedures and not just prescribing a medication, there is a significant difference in results based on skill level and knowledge of the clinician. This couldn't be truer when choosing an alternative scoliosis treatment provider for your child. The majority of alternative therapies are performed outside the medical profession by chiropractors and physical therapists. So digging pretty deep and trying to find the most experienced leader of the pack is worth the extra time rather than just settling for the clinic next door that may provide that treatment method. Practitioners who have leadership and teaching roles are more likely to be up to speed on the latest advances in procedures and have more experience in general.

When choosing an alternative technique check to see if case studies are available, some methods may not have published research based on many obstacles like funding and length of time data has been collected. The fact that they are not published in a journal doesn't necessarily mean the program of care is not valid. Look for doctors and therapists that have innovated new procedures or equipment relative to scoliosis, again this sets them above the general pack that may have just gotten the certificate for completing the required courses and aren't as invested in their name remaining reputable, especially nationally. Clinics that have clients from outside their region are also a good indicator that they may know more than other centers closer to you and may be well worth the drive or flight.

13 May 2013

Researchers identify link between GPR126 gene and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan have identified the first gene to be associated with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (also called AIS) across Asian and Caucasian populations. The gene is involved in the growth and development of the spine during childhood.

Their study is published today in the journal Nature Genetics.

AIS is the most common pediatric skeletal disease, affecting approximately 2% of school-age children. The causes of scoliosis remain largely unknown and brace treatment and surgery are the only treatment options. However, many clinical and genetic studies suggest a contribution of genetic factors.

To understand the causes and development of scoliosis, Dr Ikuyo Kou, Dr Shiro Ikegawa and their team have tried to identify genes that are associated with a susceptibility to develop the condition.

By studying the genome of 1,819 Japanese individuals suffering from scoliosis and comparing it to 25,939 Japanese individuals, the team identified a gene associated with a susceptibility to develop scoliosis on chromosome 6. The association was replicated in Han Chinese and Caucasian populations.

The researchers show that the susceptibility gene, GPR126, is highly expressed incartilage and that suppression of this gene leads to delayed growth and bone tissue formation in the developing spine. GPR126 is also known to play a role in human height and trunk length.

"Our finding suggest the interesting possibility that GPR126 may affect both AIS susceptibility and height through abnormal spinal development and growth," explain the authors.

"Further functional studies are necessary to elucidate how alterations in GPR126 increase the risk of AIS in humans," they conclude.

Source: RIKEN

2 May 2013

Is There a Orthopedic Conflict of Interest?

Do orthopedists fail to suggest early-intervention or alternative scoliosis treatments because of a conflict of interest?

Why do orthopedists discourage alternative scoliosis treatments even if patients show improvement from them?

      The medical approach to scoliosis treatment is to watch and wait, brace and then operate. During the “wait and see” period Orthopedists generally do not advise patients of alternative treatment options and some even laugh or scoff at the slightest suggestion. Patients are made to feel absurd if they want to pursue proactive or preventative treatments during this pre-brace/pre-surgery period and instead are advised to just sit idly while their curves progress until bracing or surgery become “necessary”. Some parents choose to research treatment and opt to try alternative treatments anyway and upon re-evaluation by their doctor are told they are wasting their time! Parents are belittled and made to feel negligent and are even harassed by their orthopedist.
      If there are far less risks involved with alternative treatments, they are received while patients are in the “wait & see” period, and if these treatments show improvement to the patient’s scoliosis, then why is the medically community so against them?
      In Scoliosis and the Human Spine, a book written by Martha C. Hawes, Ph.D, Dr. Hawes (a research scientist  who herself has a large scoliosis) outlines what appears to be a “conflict of interest”. The conflict of interests center around the medical community’s lack of regard for an exercise based program of scoliosis care and correction.
      Martha C. Hawes, Ph.D, author and patient. 

20 April 2013

Straightening Out the Problem: King Richard III Went Through Traction Torture Treatments to Fix Hunchback

Let's set the record straight: King Richard III may not have been a hunchback, as commonly portrayed by Shakespeare. However, scientists believe that he did suffer from scoliosis, a spine-curving condition that can cause complications standing or sitting for long periods of time. Scientists now think that he may have undergone painful medical treatments to straighten out this health problem.
In February, archaeologists excavated bones from underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, that belonged to the medieval king. Since his confirmation, examiners have continued to look for bones and historical records.
Previous work showed King Richard III likely developed severe scoliosis, a painful condition, in his teen years. [Image Gallery: Photos Reveal the Discovery of Richard III]

9 April 2013

Randomized controlled trial: Vitamin D and gene expression

We know that vitamin D controls from anywhere between 0. 5% of the human genome to up to 5%, depending on what review one reads. New genes are being discovered every day that vitamin D either upregulates or down regulates. That is, vitamin D either increases or decreases the protein that gene transcribes.
However, no one has ever done a gene microarray analysis (a way of looking at a large number of genes) of patients before and after vitamin D administration. That is, no one had ever done it until Professor Michael Holick’s lab reported such a study recently in the Plos Onejournal.

22 March 2013

Physical capacity of girls with moderate scoliosis is considerably lower than girls without scoliosis

Thursday, 01 Dec 2011 11:29 
A new study in the European Spine Journal, published ahead of print, shows that girls aged 10–18 years with moderate scoliosis have considerably lower physical capacity scores than girls of the same age without scoliosis. However, girls with mild scoliosis do not appear to have lower physical capacity scores. 

The purpose of the new study was to assess the impact of curvature angle value, the number of vertebrae in curvatures, and the number of curvatures on the physical capacity (by measuring maximum oxygen input and output during the PWC170 test) of girls aged 10–18 with mild or moderate idiopathic scoliosis. This is because, at present, while studies have shown that untreated severe thoracic scoliosis is associated with increased mortality (related to right heart failure due to congestive lung disease), the effect that the earlier stages of scoliosis have on respiratory function is not fully understood.

15 March 2013

Pregnancy and Scoliosis

Since idiopathic scoliosis is common in girls there are concerns about the effects it may have on pregnancy or becoming pregnant. Over the past 40 years, several studies have been conducted with hundreds of women that showed no difference in pregnancy, labor, delivery and fetal complications for women with scoliosis compared to women without. In most cases there are very few risks to becoming pregnant with scoliosis. There is no evidence that scoliosis damages fertility or leads to an increased number of miscarriages, stillbirths or congenital malformations. It does not provide any adverse effects on the pregnancy nor ability to deliver children.

Another major concern is increased risk of progression of the scoliosis. Some studies have shown that patients lost 2, 6, and 18 degrees of correction during their first pregnancies, but curves stayed the same or improved with later pregnancies. Generally, scoliosis does not increase during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones decrease the activity of the immune system and scoliosis is often stabilized during pregnancy. As long as the curve is not still progressing, the weight gained during pregnancy does not increase the curvature.

Aside from a mild degree of restricted lung capacity, individuals with idiopathic scoliosis rarely experience breathing problems during pregnancy. Breathlessness on exertion is common in the early months of pregnancy for all women, to some extent. Shortness of breath is partly caused by the rise in progesterone, which stimulates breathing by increasing respiratory rate and the depth of each breath. Blood volume also increases. These normal physiological changes are well tolerated and only likely to prove a problem if the vital capacity is low or heart function is compromised. Scoliosis that occurs in the thoracic (middle) spine may affect breathing. Bladder and bowel problems may be an issue for women with scoliosis who already have urinary or bowel dysfunction

11 March 2013

Probiotics are not only powerful gut-healers - they improve bone density, study shows

A doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) once told this author that "disease begins in the gut." Ayurvedic medicine also has a similar premise. Bad or sub-optimal digestion leads to all sorts of disease. That includes disease beyond the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and others in Western medicine have taken this premise beyond physical ailments into the mind-body relationship with GAPS, or Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by treating mental disorders from ADD to Autism.

Their success has come from altering the diet to allow the gut to heal and good bacteria in the intestinal flora to thrive.

So there's more to the good bacteria in the gut than most think. Even more than digestion, as important as that is. These supportive bacteria in the gut also signal different parts of the immune system in other areas of the body. It's estimated that up to 80 percent of the immune system is involved with the gut's good bacteria.

28 February 2013

Most People Can Skip Calcium Supplements, Prevention Panel Says

Women have been told for years that if they don't take calcium supplements religiously, they're putting themselves at risk of crippling hip fractures in old age. Now the word from a major government panel: Why bother? There's no evidence that taking calcium supplements reduces the risk of fractures for most people, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said. The recommendations were published online Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine. That applies to postmenopausal women, the target audience for calcium supplements. "We're not saying don't use it," says Linda Baumann, a member of the task force and a professor emerita of nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But think about it, because we're not sure it has the benefit you think it has." The task force said that taking up to 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium supplements and up to 400 international units of vitamin D daily did nothing to prevent fractures in healthy people, while slightly increasing the risk of kidney stones.

11 February 2013

How Whole Body Vibration Exercises Can Help Improve Fitness in the Elderly

By Dr. Mercola
Exercise is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle, and it can be a part of your life no matter what your age. In fact, staying active becomes increasingly important as you get older.
Even frail seniors of advanced age can improve muscle strength and agility with exercise, which is important for preventing falls and injuries.
For seniors who have a hard time performing aerobic exercise, using a Whole Body Vibration (WBV) platform (such as The Power Plate) can help them improve performance, allowing them to become stronger, faster and more agile, according to recent research1.
As explained by Dr. Keith DeOrio, M.D2., WBV stimulation affects your entire body musculature, as well as your internal organs and glands. 
Your muscle spindles fire secondary to the mechanical stimulation produced by the vibrating plate, and this rapid firing of the muscle spindle causes a neuromuscular response that leads to physiological changes in your brain as well as your entire body.  

How Whole Body Vibration Can Improve Fitness in Those Over 65

Surprising Health Hazards Associated with All-Fruit Diet

By Dr. Mercola
Fruits are loaded with healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which is why eating them in moderation is fine for healthy people. However, many benefit by restricting their fruit intake.
Fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit, is preferentially metabolized to fat in your liver, and eating large amounts has been linked to negative metabolic and endocrine effects. So eating very large amounts – or worse, nothing but fruit – can logically increase your risk of a number of health conditions, from insulin and leptin resistance to cancer.
For example, research has shown that pancreatic tumor cells use fructose, specifically, to divide and proliferate, thus speeding up the growth and spread of the cancer.
As a general health rule, I recommend limiting your total fructose consumption to about 25 grams per day on average, and that includes fructose from fruit. However, if you have insulin resistance, heart disease, cancer or high blood pressure, you may want to cut it down to 15 grams or less.

Kutcher Lands in Hospital After Adopting All-Fruit Diet

Actor Ashton Kutcher recently disclosed health issues brought on by following an all-fruit diet,1 adopted in preparation to play the character of Steve Jobs in the upcoming film “Jobs,” due out April 19.
Jobs had adopted an all-fruit diet in his younger days, and even the brand he co-founded – Apple – was a nod to his dietary obsession. Kutcher recently told USA Today:2
"First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to like severe issues. I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack. It was really terrifying ... considering everything."
The “everything” is likely a reference to pancreatic cancer – the disease that killedSteve Jobs on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56. Even though Jobs consumed a fruitarian diet years before he contracted his pancreatic cancer, there could be some relationship.

Why Large Amounts of Fruit May Not Be Healthy

7 February 2013

Richard III, scoliosis and me

Seeing Richard III's skeleton, I felt a shiver of empathic pain. Scoliosis twisted both our spines


UK - King Richard III Discovery
The remains of King Richard III, found beneath a Leicester car park. Photograph: University of Leicester/Corbis
The discovery of the bones of Richard III, lying quietly under a Leicester city council car park for 500-odd years, is historically fascinating and imaginatively compelling. But, inspecting the newspaper photograph of those meticulously laid-out, gingery and desiccated human remains, I am startled by another sensation: that of raw, physical connection. Because Richard and I share not only our height – a surprisingly tall five foot eight – but also our skeletal deformity: scoliosis. Though his was far more pronounced (and therefore disabling) than mine, still, just like him, my adult life has been dogged by an "S" curvature of the spine.
I was in my late teens, an energetic ballet and swimming type, when one day without warning my back went into spasm and I found myself crunched over in agony. I think I saw a chiropractor and that was that. Except that over the next few years, it only took one wrong move – sneezing, laughing, reaching for a drink of water – and I'd be suddenly skewed, immobile and in pain for days.

11 January 2013

Prevent Back Pain and Other Common Problems by Sitting Correctly

By Dr. Mercola
From smart phones to computers to iPads, our beloved electronic devices are crippling our posture and contributing to weight gain, back pain, and joint problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies and exercises – such as changing your position often and “reorganizing” your torso – that can address a lot of these potential problems and help keep you more fit and properly aligned.
As miserable as back pain is, that may be the least of your worries if you spend a significant portion of your time on your duff. Sitting may actually cut years off your life. Lack of exercise is sitting’s evil accomplice. The more you sit, the less your body wants to move.
According to a study in the British Medical Journal,1 reducing the average time you spend sitting to less than three hours per day could increase your life expectancy by two years, which is a significant decrease from the 4.5 to 5 hours per day the average American now spends on a chair or sofa.
An analysis of 18 studies showed that people who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least.2 Sitting has actually joined smoking and obesity as an important risk factor for chronic disease.