Daily Archives: March 10, 2016

Polly Gotschi’s life-changing product for people with vitiligo warmed everyone’s heart on Dragons’ Den

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For people suffering from vitiligo, Polly Gotschi’s new product could just change their lives.

The entrepreneur managed to bag some investment after appearing in tonight’s episode of Dragons’ Den.

This Dragons’ Den product could actually change vitiligo sufferers' lives

Gotschi won the approval of the Dragons for her product Vitiliglow, a camouflage spray to help people with vitiligo, a skin condition which causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to the lack of melanin.

She revealed in a blog post on her Vitiliglow site: ‘I’ve turned having Vitiligo into something positive and I feel so strongly that people with the condition should have a good quality product to cover their patches evenly, if that’s what they choose to do.

‘Luckily, the Dragons saw this and I liked my honesty and passion for the product, which was what I wanted to achieve. Saying that, I wasn’t given an easy ride and I was asked lots of tricky questions. Luckily the prep I did paid off and I held my own.

5 Ways to Get Your Unwanted Emotions Under Control

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Emotions are a vital part of our everyday lives. Whether you’re having a good laugh over a text message or feeling frustrated in rush hour traffic, you know that the highs and lows you experience can significantly affect your well-being.

Your ability to regulate those emotions, in turn, affects how you’re perceived by the people around you. If you’re laughing at that text during a serious meeting, you’re likely to get resentful looks from others in the room. On the other hand, if you react with rage at a driver who cuts you off in traffic, you can engender unwanted attention, and perhaps even risk your life.

 

The study of emotions is not an exact science. Psychologists still debate the body-mind connection in emotional reactivity; don’t have a complete taxonomy of emotions; and are even uncertain about whether emotions are the cause or result of the way we construe the world. However, there are advances being made in understanding the concept of emotion regulation, the process of influencing the way emotions are felt and expressed.

Stanford University psychologist James Gross (2001) proposed a 4-stage model to capture the sequence of events that occurs when our emotions are stimulated. In what he calls the “modal model,” a situation grabs our attention, which in turns leads us to appraise or think about the meaning of the situation. Our emotional responses result from the way we appraise our experiences.

Some emotional responses require no particular regulation. If the emotion is appropriate to the situation and helps you feel better, there’s no need to worry about changing the way you handle things. Laughing when others are laughing is one example of an appropriate reaction that helps you feel better. Expressing road rage may also make you feel better, but it’s not appropriate or particularly adaptive. You could express your frustration in other ways that allow you to release those angry feelings, or instead try to find a way to calm yourself down.

Calming yourself down when you’re frustrated, of course, may be more easily said than done. If you tend to fly off the handle when aggravated, and express your outrage to everyone within earshot (or on the other end of an email), your emotions could be costing you important relationships, your job, and even your health.

An inability to regulate emotions is, according to Gross and his collaborator Hooria Jazaieri (2014), at the root of psychological disorders such as depression and borderline personality disorder. Although more research is needed to understand the specific role of emotional regulation in psychopathology, this seems like a promising area of investigation. For example, people with social anxiety disorder can benefit from interventions that help them change the way they appraise social situations, as shown by research on cognitive behavioral therapy. Many others functioning at a less than optimal level of psychological health, Gross and Jazaieri maintain, could similarly benefit from education about how better to manage their emotions in daily life.

Fortunately, you can handle most of the work involved in regulating your emotions well before the provoking situation even occurs. By preparing yourself ahead of time, you’ll find that the problematic emotion goes away before it interferes with your life:

  1. Select the situation. Avoid circumstances that trigger unwanted emotions. If you know that you’re most likely to get angry when you’re in a hurry (and you become angry when others force you to wait), then don’t leave things for the last minute. Get out of the house or office 10 minutes before you need to, and you won’t be bothered so much by pedestrians, cars, or slow elevators. Similarly, if there’s an acquaintance you find completely annoying, then figure out a way to keep from bumping into that person.
  2. Modify the situation. Perhaps the emotion you’re trying to reduce isdisappointment. You’re always hoping, for example, to serve the “perfect” meal for friends and family, but invariably something goes wrong because you’ve aimed too high. Modify the situation by finding recipes that are within your range of ability so that you can pull off the meal. You may not be able to construct the ideal soufflé, but you manage a pretty good frittata.
  3. Shift your attentional focus. Let’s say that you constantly feel inferior to the people around you who always look great. You’re at the gym, and can’t help but notice the regulars on the weight machines who manage to lift three times as much as you can. Drawn to them like a magnet, you can’t help but watch with wonder and envy at what they’re able to accomplish. Shifting your focus away from them and onto your fellow gym rats who pack less punch will help you feel more confident about your own abilities. Even better, focus on what you’re doing, and in the process, you’ll eventually gain some of the strength you desire.
  4. Change your thoughts. At the core of our deepest emotions are the beliefs that drive them. You feel sad when you believe to have lost something, anger when you decide that an important goal is thwarted, and happy anticipation when you believe something good is coming your way. By changing your thoughts you may not be able to change the situation but you can at least change the way you believe the situation is affecting you. In cognitive reappraisal, you replace the thoughts that lead to unhappiness with thoughts that lead instead to joy or at least contentment. People with social anxiety disorder may believe that they’ll make fools of themselvesin front of others for their social gaffes.  They can be helped to relax by interventions that help them recognize that people don’t judge them as harshly as they believe.
  5. Change your response. If all else fails, and you can’t avoid, modify, shift your focus, or change your thoughts, and that emotion comes pouring out, the final step inemotion regulation is to get control of your response. Your heart may be beating out a steady drumroll of unpleasant sensations when you’re made to be anxious or angry. Take deep breaths and perhaps close your eyes in order to calm yourself down. Similarly, if you can’t stop laughing when everyone else seems serious or sad, gather your inner resources and force yourself at least to change your facial expression if not your mood.

This 5-step approach is one that you can readily adapt to the most characteristic situations that cause you trouble. Knowing your emotional triggers can help you avoid the problems in the first place. Being able to alter your thoughts and reactions will build yourconfidence in your own ability to cope. With practice, you’ll be able to turn negatives into positives, and, each time, gain emotional fulfillment.

Good and Bad News on the Heroin Front

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Here is some of the data that firefighters and police officers are seeing in Concord when it comes to opioid issues.

Good and Bad News on the Heroin Front

The numbers have been staggering and both local and state officials are in crisis mode when it comes to the heroin epidemic in New Hampshire.

The jump started a couple of years ago when officials began noticing in 2013 that the opioid issue in the Granite State had become an urgent public health problem. Deaths in 2013 doubled in the state – from 37 specifically designated to be overdoses in 2012 – to 63 connected to heroin and another 30 to 40 to a mix of drugs and other issues.

At the same time, Concord Police were seeing a major uptick in heroin related arrests as well as deaths.

The next year, the number in Concord tripled to 13 deaths.

Earlier this month, NHPR pegged the number of deaths due to drugs, so far in 2015, at 342, according to state officials, with 260 of those being heroin and fentanyl.

In Concord, there’s both good news and bad news.

First, the good news. According to Lt. Timothy O’Malley, the commander of the criminal investigations unit for the Concord Police Department, fatal overdose have dropped by about 43 percent.

O’Malley noted that Detective Wade Brown has been keeping track of the data for the department and found that, so far, there have been eight overdoses connected to opiates, down from 14 in 2014 (the numbers for 2014, first reported as 13 by Patch earlier this year, were revised up, according to O’Malley, after Brown started compiling the data).

Police recorded 67 non-fatal overdose reports that resulted in a charge or arrest so far this year. More data will be available later this year.

Now, for the bad news. Fire Chief Dan Andrus met with Concord’s Public Safety Committee earlier this month and reported calls for service ending in September of this year is up significantly in every category during the past few years.

Overdose/intentional misuse of medication rose a staggering 470 percent from the same period in 2012. Alcohol abuse and Narcan administrations are also up.

Andrus noted that the department was working with police and other government and community organizations in order to take “a collaborative approach to the complex issue of drug addiction.”

Fruits Depict Breast Cancer Scars In This Clever Video Inspiring Survivors To Embrace Them — VIDEO

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In honor of October 19, the official Fight Against Breast Cancer Day, thisvideo inspires women to embrace their breast cancer scars. Made by Totuma and “Dedicated, with love, to all those whose lives have been touched by cancer”, the video uses vibrant images as metaphors for breasts, some symmetrical, and some not so much so. The video, created for a Breast Cancer awareness campaign for LIFETIME Latin America, emphasizes that beauty still exists even after a mastectomy has been performed. As women reveal scars behind perfectly round fruit, you’ll be moved, perhaps like I was, to tears, thinking about the ways we judge our bodies, when really, we are so lucky just to inhabit them.

The caption with the video reads,

“It has been an intense journey, full of strong emotions and feelings. We only hope our little campaign contributes somehow to educate and create awareness on the overwhelming statistics: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer over their lifetime. Please take care of yourself, make monthly breast self-exams to help you be familiar with how your breasts look and feel, so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Early detection is key.”

The video ends on an extremely moving note: “Never be ashamed of a scar. It just means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Here are some beautiful moments from the video:

1. The Colorful Fruit!

2. It’s All Pretty And Symmetrical

3. Until It’s Not

4. And Things Start To Hurt

5. But Scars Are As Beautiful As The Fruit

9 Reasons Why People Use Drugs and Alcohol You Should Know

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The reasons why people use drugs – A quick overview

Many people have never experienced addiction of any sort. For these people it can be very hard to understand and grasp the logic behind drug abuse. But with drug use getting more and more prevalent in America, it’s now common for people to dig deeper and look for the reasons why people use drugs and alcohol. This is not meant to be a complete list, nor is is meant to be medical advise, but I feel this article can shed some light for addicts or family members of addicts dealing with this burning question…

 “Can someone please explain to me the reasons why people use drugs?”

This list has been compiled from 13 years of personal experience watching my close family member struggle with the darkest moments of addiction. Many times I asked and prodded to get answers from my sister who was addicted to drugs. She didn’t always have the answers – but she still taught me. The important thing that I learned is that drugs alter the thinking patterns in your brain which can distort logic and rationality. Therefore an addict may not fully understand what a sober person can. So most of my analysis came from observing her behaviors. So here is my list regarding the reasons why people use drugs and alcohol.

1. People suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression or other mental illnesses use drugs and alcohol to ease their suffering.
Mental illness is such a burden for some people they will try just about anything to relieve the pain. Drugs or alcohol can temporarily make that person feel ‘normal’ again, like they remember feeling in the past. Mental illness is scary for the individual experiencing it, so they are afraid to go to a doctor or family member for help and instead turn to drugs or alcohol to try and solve the problem on their own.

2. People see family members, friends, role models or entertainers using drugs and rationalize that they can too.
As teenagers and young adults, it’s very easy to think that drug and alcohol use can be handled and controlled, especially if they see others they know doing the same thing. It can become easy to rationalize like: ‘hey my friend’s been doing this for a couple years and he seems fine to me.’ Entertainment and music is full of drug references and that can add to the rationalization that drug use is ok sometimes. Individuals with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse are far more likely to develop an addiction than an individual with no family background of addiction.

3. People become bored and think drugs will help.
Boredom is a big factor in drug abuse in teens and young adults. People in this age bracket generally don’t have bills, jobs and all the stresses that go along with adulthood. So it’s easier to become bored and want to try something new and exciting. Drug use is often thought of as a way to escape the mundane world and enter an altered reality.

4. People think drugs will help relieve stress.
Our modern world is full of new strains and stresses that humans have never experienced in the past. Although many things in life are now easier than ever, the burdens are also very high. Simply having a family, maintaining a household, and holding a job are huge stress factors. Some drugs are viewed as a means of relaxation – a way to calm the storm in your mind. Although drugs can be very effective at doing that, there can be serious side effects.

5. People figure if a drug is prescribed by a doctor, it must be ok.
It is easy for an individual to rationalize using a drug because it came from a doctor. The thinking goes like this ‘it was prescribed to someone I know for the same problem I am having, so it makes sense it should work for me too.’  The dangerous part about this rationalization is that this can lead to mixing of drugs, overdose, unintended side effects and/or dependency.

6. People get physically injured and unintentionally get hooked on prescribed drugs.
The people at risk for this are physical laborers, elderly, and anyone with pre-existing injuries. Some people are born with chronic pain due to deformities – others get injured. Doctors then prescribe drugs for what they are intended for and a person can quickly build a dependency. Especially if that drug is making them feel all better, they rationalize that it must be ok to keep taking the drug, which can result in dependency.

7. People use drugs to cover painful memories in their past.
Many people go through extremely traumatic events in their life, many times as children, and turn to drugs to cover the horrible memories. Children are extremely susceptible to trauma, whether physically or emotionally, and those feelings can haunt them into their adulthood. These people could benefit from working with psychologists to help repair their damaged mind. Drugs usually only deepen the issue.

8. People think drugs will help them fit in.
When hanging out with friends, it’s easy for people to want to fit in and seem like one of the crew. If others are drinking or doing drugs, it’s very likely for someone to fall into that trap. Peer pressure can be a tremendous force causing someone to try things they would normally not try on their own.

9. People chase the high they once experienced.
Ask anyone who has tried drugs and they will tell you that it is one of the best feelings of their life. The highs from drugs are so much more extreme than regular everyday joys because most drugs overload the pleasure sensors in your brain. Once a person feels this extreme pleasure, it’s common for that person to become hooked on a drug simply chasing the initial high they once felt. As we all know, this is a viscous cycle that is extremely difficult to break. The highs are equally as powerful as the lows felt when coming off of the drugs.

New hope for vitiligo sufferers as DRDO drug goes on sale

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A traditional drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for treating vitiligo or leucoderma is now available for commercial sale in India. 

The herbal drug, called Lukoskin, was developed by scientists of the Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER) centre at Haldwani in Uttarakhand.

DIBER transferred the technology for the drug, which is being showcased at the ongoing Arogya Expo 2014, to AIMIL Pharmaceuticals India for commercial production and sale.

The herbal treatment will soon be available in Indian markets (Photo for representation)

The drug, developed in 2011, is also on sale at the expo that is being held alongside the World Ayurveda Congress.

Dr Mohammad Junail of AIMIL said his company had signed an agreement with DRDO for the commercial launch of three herbal products.

“Lukosin has been launched. The two other products will soon be commercially launched in Indian markets,” he said.

Leucoderma is generally considered an incurable skin condition, but Lukosin has been extremely effective against it, DRDO scientists said.

“The quest to cure leucoderma has finally ended with the development of the new herbal product with extensive studies by scientists of DIBER,” said Dr W. Selvamurthy of DRDO.

Worldwide incidence of leucoderma is reported to be 1 to 2 per cent. In India, it’s around 4 to 5 per cent, while in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat it is as high as 5 to 8 per cent.

“This skin disorder is considered a social stigma in our country and people confuse it with leprosy. Affected individuals always remain in constant depression with the feeling of being socially outcast. There are many remedies for this disorder, such as allopathic, surgical and adjunctive. None of the therapies satisfactorily cure this condition.

“Secondly, these are either costly or single component based, with very low level of efficacy. People develop blisters, edema or irritation of the skin, and as a result, most patients discontinue the treatment,” said a senior official of DRDO.

Vitiligo affected hands. The condition  is defined by a loss of pigmentation in the skin

DIBER scientists focussed on the causes of leucoderma and came up with a comprehensive formulation for the management of the condition by using Himalayan herbs. Clinically, Lukoskin is quite effective and helps in restoring the normal complexion in the affected area.

Indian medicinal plants are said to be rich in disease-curing properties. An ethno-botanical survey on medicinal plants used for leucoderma by Sugali tribes of Yerramalais forest in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh was carried out in 2011-2012.

Twenty-one plant species were found to be used specifically to treat leucoderma. Similarly, the Allahabad University established the efficacy of traditional treatment of leucoderma by Kol tribes of Vindhya region of Uttar Pradesh during a study.

The traditional treatment used the latex of a plant called Telosma pallid (Roxb) Craib and the study found that the application of the paste of the bark treated the condition to 90 per cent in six months.

Brain Restoration: ‘Too Good To Be True’ for Addiction and Disease?

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Could megadoses of energy-giving NAD—which allegedly relieves withdrawal symptoms, flushes out stored drugs in the body and replenishes balance in the brain—really be the cure-all for addiction as well as many other diseases and mental health disorders?

brain repair.jpg

When Paul decided again it was time to do something about his drug addiction, he knew the usual routes wouldn’t work. While using a variety of substances for at least two-thirds of his life – injecting heroin in the last 20 years of it – he also became a veteran of just about every traditional rehab/detox program in the book. Twelve to be exact; with no permanent results or positive outcomes to speak of.

Hearing the remarkable claims from a Brain Restoration Therapy outpatient clinic immediately sent him into skeptic mode: This is too good to be true. How can I kick drugs with just an infusion of some concoction?  What about withdrawal?  Side effects?  And, if it really works, will it last? Sounded far too simple for this jaded, somewhat cynical, pushing-60 drug addict.

Figuring he had nothing to lose, he called and arranged a free consultation. After listening to details of their success rate and impressed with assertions of little or no withdrawal symptoms, he signed up for the treatment – albeit with some reluctance. His wife’s divorce threat had something to do with enrolling, but it was more about life hitting bottom one more time.

Groggily arriving at the crack of 9 am the next day, a warmly friendly nurse in navy blue scrubs hooked him up to an IV. Told that all he needed to do was relax, he settled into the oversize leather lounge chair. If nothing else he’d be able to listen to music, watch a few videos, and read a bit, he thought. Observing the slow drip of clear liquid entering his veins, he listlessly wondered what he would do next if this latest treatment failed.

At the end of the first eight-hour treatment, Paul says he already felt different. He couldn’t quite explain it, he recalls, but his mind was clearer. He felt energized. More alive. And definitely more present.

Returning daily for nine more treatments, he noticed a growing list of undeniable and rather dramatic changes. His outlook was more positive and he was optimistically able to imagine a future for himself, one he’d stopped envisioning years ago. His mind was as sharp as it had been prior to years of drug use.   

The best part, he says, true to the claims, there were few or no withdrawal symptoms, therefore no need for a replacement drug to get him through yet another grueling detox. He also realized he had no cravings, the primary cause of his continued bouts of relapse. His disbelief completely gone, he recalls, he concluded he was drug free.

But would it last?

Ann Rodgers, the Director of Brain Restoration Therapy, meets me at the door of the Center for Health and Wellbeing in San Diego, CA., where the clinic operates under medical supervision. It’s difficult to not get caught up in her animated explanation of the benefits of this program. “The treatment utilizes a megadose of NAD [Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide is a co-enzyme of niacin that is the key fuel for energy production in every cell of the body] in an IV form, and it’s clinically proven with a 90% no-craving statistic,” she excitedly offers.

Listening quietly as she rapidly fires glowing statistics in my direction, my skeptical mind revs into full gear. “With literally no reported side-effects,” she says, “the protocol reduces withdrawal symptoms by 70-80% without using replacement drugs, and restores the patient’s clarity and well-being to pre-use levels. Six to ten days of treatment is like a seven or eight month jump-start to recovery.” All this expounded with the tone of a bragging parent.

Rodgers tells me that although relatively new to America, NAD treatment has been successfully used in South Africa since 1961, with centers there reporting more than 22,000 people treated. [Rodgers could not provide any research report from South Africa to confirm this, only a report from individual clinicians who treated patients with NAD. Separately, I could not confirm the 22,000 figure.]

The first NAD clinic to open in the States was in Springfield, Louisiana, founded by psychotherapist Paula Mestayer, M.Ed, LPC, FAPA, along with her psychiatrist husband Richard. The couple discovered the treatment when their 16-year-old adopted daughter became addicted to alcohol and found her way into NAD treatment. Thrilled to see her positive results, they conducted their own research and in 2001, putting aside their cumulative years of treating addicts with therapy, they opened the Springfield Wellness Center on a private 500-acre estate. They claim to have treated more than 1,000 patients since then with NAD.

Springfield Wellness Center’s ten day addiction detox, Mestayer asserts when I contact her, has been used successfully on people hooked on prescription drugs, alcohol, opiates, benzos, stimulants, cocaine, marijuana, suboxone, and methadone.

Mestayer noted in our interview that “like a thumb print, all brains are unique, so this protocol is more like an art than a science.” Each patient, she pointed out, responds differently to NAD, with one factor being their type of addiction. She therefore adjusts the dosage and prescribes booster NAD treatments when necessary, especially when a patient feels vulnerable or if any cravings return. “I always emphasize that there may be a period of time where they need maintenance, either by an occasional booster or other means of support. Some patients have gone nine years without needing a booster, but many do.” Mestayer generally prescribes oral NAD as a supplement to the IVs, on the grounds that the more NAD that builds up in an addict’s system, the less prone he or she is to succumbing to cravings.

Mestayer emphasizes that the treatment is “not a cure, but rather maintenance,” and notes that it remains a mystery as to why NAD works more successfully on some addictions than others. “The highest success rate is on alcohol and opiate users,” she says. “The only failures are people who were using during the treatment or not committed to their maintenance.” Even so, she like Rodgers encourages all patients to seek therapy and support groups to address underlying psychological issues.

In California, I asked Rodgers if the treatment is just a substitute “high.” Rodgers countered with “it’s a state of well-being that allows the client to feel content with their life, so many don’t even consider going back to being an addict, no desire for that miserable life anymore. It’s as if they become themselves again, back to their natural state, seeing themselves as a different person, separate from being an addicted person. It’s not just a detox; it’s a total state of sobriety.”

With only a handful of other U.S. clinics in existence, the technology has yet to become familiar to most of the recovery community. Even so, Ann Rodgers says she is certain that once knowledge of NAD spreads, it will be seen as a revolution in addiction treatment. “[Members of] the AA community have been resistant to it at first, but once they read the evidence and witness the results, they embrace it,” she claims.

Her San Diego clinic is modern, serenely comfortable and well-appointed. Located on the first floor of the larger health center, it’s been open for over three years and has treated nearly 40 patients. Rodgers recently opened another facility in Los Angeles, CA, at the Center for Optimum Health.

HOW THE TREATMENT WORKS

Dr. Janette Gray, a California licensed internist and a pioneer in combining allopathic and holistic medical approaches, is the center’s medical director. Board certified in Holistic Integrative Medicine, she worked for years in the prison system helping inmates get off drugs and has extensive experience with the agonies of drug withdrawal. “Seizures, nausea and vomiting, intense sweating and physical pain are standard, but that is greatly minimized with this program,” she tells me. “The most common withdrawal symptom is feeling a little bit flu-ish…[which] passes quickly.”

Gray rattles off to me a scientific explanation behind the BR treatment. The protocol, she says, employs a proprietary NAD formula administered by IV. NAD is an element that reacts with oxygen in the cell’s mitochondria in order to create energy for movement, breathing, heartbeat, blood pumping, digesting food, brain functions, and generally living life. It is available in low doses over the counter.

Studies have found that those with extremely low NAD levels (which can be present even at birth) are far more vulnerable to addiction as well as other diseases and to chronic physical conditions. There is a preponderance of low levels of NAD present in Western society as it is mostly lost in cooking and food processing. What little remains is broken down by stomach acid, degraded before it’s absorbed from the digestive tract.

When the clinic’s all-natural NAD is received directly through an IV, the nutrients bypass the stomach and go directly to the receptors in the brain, Gray tells me. According to Gray, this immediately produces palpable positive results as the nutrients bathe the brain in a continuous pool of natural and highly therapeutic co-enzymes.

Since NAD is a detoxifier, it takes days (rather than weeks or months), to flush out stored drugs from the body and its organs, replenish balance in the brain, and reverse damage. Results can be mental clarity, cognitive function increase, focus and concentration returns, more energy, better mood, positive outlook. And this happens cold turkey.

“We find that one of the big reasons this treatment works is because it’s so rapid,” Gray says. The majority of drug addicted individuals, she claims, need about ten days of infusions, sometimes less. “It keeps people inspired when they see fast results,” she adds, “especially when they feel better than they did before, or perhaps ever in their life.”

Based on each individual, Gray like Mestayer sometimes recommends a periodic “booster” which can be one or two days of IV to support the results achieved in the initial treatment. She also prescribes a co-enzyme that, she says, helps maintain higher levels of NAD in the body. If a client relapses, she claims, one or two treatments can quickly get them sober and craving-free again.

The clinic also offers a four day “Tune Up” treatment for those suffering from stress, anxiety, irritability, low energy, PTSD and depression. The clinics also address other non-substance related addictions such as gambling.

NAD was first discovered in 1936, but World War II stopped the research. It was patented for treatment of drug addiction and schizophrenia in 1961 based on an 11,000 patient study. Sloughed aside with the discovery of methadone – a far more lucrative choice at the time for drug companies – NAD went “underground.”

Research has shown that NAD increases the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters in the brain known to be effective in correcting specific chemical imbalances. Some of these chemical imbalances underpin addiction, mental illness, anxiety, aggression, depression, despair and hopelessness. Fatigue is often the first signal of NAD deprivation; other clues may include depression and anxiety in children. Almost any chronic disease, including Parkinson’s, can also be indicative of deficiency.

There is some research and other reports indicating that NAD might be effective treatment for a host of other ailments including schizophrenia, PTSD, chronic fatigue, weak immune system, memory disturbance, sleep problems, concentration defects, blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, sugar metabolism and diabetes, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain and stiffness, headaches, fevers, sore throats and swollen lymph glands. Clinical research has shown it is a potent biological antioxidant which can aid in preventing cell damage and a variety of diseases, cancer included.

There is also some evidence that NAD therapy can help with aging. Dr. David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, in a paper published in the journal Cell, describes a compound naturally made by young cells that is able to revive older cells, allowing them to be energetic and youthful again. With adequate amounts of NAD, aging can theoretically be reversed, he asserts. “When we give the molecule, the cells think oxygen levels are normal and everything revs back up again,” Sinclair wrote.

Pondering these claims raises the un-researched theory of whether NAD deficiency might be an unrecognized epidemic disease of our time.

THE BIOCHEMICAL PATH TO PERSONAL DEFICIENCY

Before I interviewed patients of the two clinics to determine whether they validated the positive assertions of Rodgers, Gray and Mestayer (they do, as you will read below), I decided to research more carefully the biology of the NAD process to determine whether there is a basis in science for their claims even in the absence of double-blind long-term studies. What I learned is relevant to the health, mental vitality and even possibly, as Sinclair asserts, to the aging of each of us, not only to addicts.

I learned that a range of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats from our diet provide the building blocks to create what medicine refers to as the “Citric Acid Cycle,” which names the energy it takes to produce NAD and link it with hydrogen (NADH). NADH enters the electron transport chain in the mitochondria and is sparked with oxygen – and the outcome is energy. This in turn fuels the 86,000 daily beats of the heart, enabling muscles to contract, and provides the cellular energy requirements of the 100 trillion cells of the body. The brain consumes about one-third of all the energy produced, so if the NADH is low, brain functions suffer. If any of the nutritional factors that produce NAD are low, energy production is weakened.

Often NAD deficiency is first evident in brain-related symptoms of poor concentration, difficulty focusing, and attention deficit disorders. If the energy shortage lasts long enough, brain neurons cannot synthesize neurotransmitters. When this occurs, the molecules of consciousness (such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline) are affected. Anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and other mood changes can then arise.

Also important to know is that the crucial enzymes that catalyze the Citric Acid Cycle are inhibited or destroyed by chemical toxins that create oxidative, or free radical damage. Sources of the damage include cigarette smoke, drugs, chronic stress, sedentary living, as well as the accumulation of the myriad toxins found in daily life such as in pesticides.

Along with acquired NAD deficiency, there may also be a genetic disorder that is present at birth. Symptoms can appear in young children as difficulty sleeping, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, impaired concentration, academic stress and underachievement.

Moreover, NAD deficiency that induces fatigue and depression increases a propensity to use drugs and alcohol in order to improve energy and mood – simply to feel better. The self-medicating cycle is a common story reported by many addicts, and leads to even lower NAD. A vicious cycle ensues.

There is some history to using megavitamins as potential cures for addiction, including dating back to Bill Wilson’s (aka “Bill W.” the revered co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) ideas and experience. In 1960 Wilson underwent a major shift in his beliefs about the value of nutrition in achieving sobriety when he met Dr. Humphry Osmond, who introduced him to the concept of megavitamin therapy. Curious, Wilson became a guinea pig, taking 3,000 mg of niacin daily. Within a few weeks, fatigue and depression (symptoms of low NAD) which had plagued him for years, were gone.

Seeking to share this exciting discovery, Wilson gave the same doses to 30 of his close friends in AA, hoping it could be replicated. Of the 30, 20 he later reported became free of anxiety, tension and depression in one or two months. This dramatically reduced their alcohol consumption.

Wilson wrote a detailed report called “The Vitamin B 3 Therapy” and distributed thousands of copies as a pamphlet. Because the information was controversial, way ahead of its time and ran counter to the precepts of the 12-Step Program, Wilson became unpopular with the board of directors of AA International and the information was squelched

THE PATIENTS HAVE THEIR SAY

Unfortunately, newer in-depth scientific studies in the U.S. on the long-term benefit of NAD treatment on addiction and alcoholism have never been financed. That leaves largely the claims of clinic operators and their patients to bear out the assumption that, by virtue of its catalytic role in the body, NAD might in fact be an effective agent in addiction and alcohol treatment.

Rodger’s California centers are too new to have meaningful data on the long-term effects of NAD treatment based on follow-up interviews with patients, though Rodgers says she intends to set up a formal study of her patients in the near future. Mestayer’s Louisiana clinic did collect data for some years which was lost when their clinic was hit hard during hurricane Katrina. She has been collecting more recent statistics on the long-term effects of the NAD formula her clinic uses which, she claims, show an even higher success rate than the earlier formula.

In fact, the statistics if true are astounding, with some earlier participants in the Louisiana clinic achieving, according to Mestayer, nine years of sobriety.

“Statistically,” Rodgers claims, “70% of patients are craving-free by day five; 90% by day ten.” She adds that some reported having no physical memory of how drugs even felt, clearing their desire for them.

As testimonials, Rodgers provided me several video-taped former patients, each boasting tremendous success. One was from a man who claimed he had been taking 30 Oxycontins a day for 12 years. Another was from a woman who had been suicidal, shot speed for 20 years. Another woman reported a personal trauma that threw her into deep depression. Each claimed to have maintained a drug free life since their treatment.

I inquire about Paul who went through treatment three years ago: Is he still clean and sober?  

“Not only is he clean and sober, he paid for two of his friends to do the treatment,” Rodgers tells me, with tears in her eyes. “He no longer defines himself as an addict since his thought patterns have shifted and he sees life so differently.”

Separately, I interviewed four people who have gone through treatment at either the San Diego or Springfield, Louisiana centers. Their stories:

 • Doug, a health-conscious personal fitness trainer who experienced CTS (Chronic Traumatic Encylopathy) from several football injuries, would drink copious amounts of vodka at night to allow his amped-up body and mind to relax and shut down. He tried exercise and nutrition to get past anxiety-based insomnia; nothing worked. He knew that a 12-step program or therapy that dealt with past history wouldn’t work for him given that his issue was clearly a chemical imbalance. After just 20 minutes with his first NAD IV, he experienced a state of well-being he hadn’t felt in his entire adult life. His angst was gone, and the neuro-transmitters that lay dormant in his brain felt alive again.  After the first day of treatment he was able to sleep soundly, and he told me he’d been craving-free for more than four months. He takes an NAD supplement and goes back monthly for a booster.

 • After several tours of duty in Iraq, Patrick, a Marine, became a heavy heroin user after trying many other ways to self-medicate his PTSD and resulting insomnia. He admitted himself to two traditional inpatient treatments, one lasting 57 days. The first day out of each, he relapsed. After day four of the NAD treatment, during which he experienced no withdrawal symptoms, he felt completely clear and now sleeps without nightmares. He gets boosters once a month and has been drug free for several years.

 • Steve, also an Iraq veteran, had nine neck surgeries in five years. He used pain pills and opiate drugs to deal with constant physical pain as well as intense PTSD. He entered the NAD program out of a desperate desire to be free of his addictions in that he has children and perceived a good life ahead of him. Starting the NAD program with a pain scale of eight, within ten days the pain eased down to a one. On bad days, he says, it now goes up to a two, but is easily managed with a couple of Aleve. With only slight withdrawal symptoms, he told me he is now 100% craving free and his PTSD is also gone. He continues to take the oral NAD supplement but has not needed any booster treatments. He did the program in November, 2013.

 • Sandy is a young woman whose addiction to pain killers and amphetamines spiraled from recreational use to a full-on necessity. For three years she was not able to get out of bed without drugs, the lowest point of her life. She researched various other programs and told me she was baffled by the concept of replacing one drug addiction with another as a “cure.” After eight days of NAD treatment, she no longer thinks about using at all. Her mood is good, her energy is up, and she’s happy, she reported. Clean for a year and a half, she believes it was the combination of the in-home IV treatment she received and the warm caring from the clinic staff that made the difference. She has had two boosters and believes she won’t need any more to remain addiction free.

I ask Ann Rodgers if the treatment works for everyone and if not, is there a typical profile of the person for whom it doesn’t work?  “No, it doesn’t work 100% of the time,” she replies. “Interestingly, sometimes it doesn’t work for young heroin addicts. It could be because they aren’t emotionally mature enough to deal with their issues, or perhaps they don’t have a good support system in place yet.”

One young man, Rodgers notes, went through the program a year ago and did extremely well until he entered an intimate relationship. “That triggered emotional issues,” Rodgers says, and he returned to the arms of heroin. The Center then refused to treat him again as he refused to enter rehab, an essential aftercare resource in which clinic patients are encouraged to participate.

“Patients often feel like a fish-out-of-water when out of the drug culture they are accustomed to, and they need to find a structure to help them live drug free,” Rodgers explained. Accordingly, patients are informed of the importance of addressing any long-standing psychological issues and of re-learning how to live life as a non-addicted person, and they are encouraged to enter after-care programs that provide such support. “Rehab programs work so much better after doing NAD therapy since the person is so clear, more willing to make it work in their lives,” Rodgers says. “Their confidence allows them to make significant shifts in other areas of life so they are far less likely to relapse when they re-enter society.

“We really see ourselves reversing the customary order of mind/body to body/mind… by addressing the bio-chemical issues first it makes it so much easier to shift other areas of an addict’s life.”

The staff advocates other follow-up support groups that can include 12-step programs and/or conjunctive therapies such as outside psychological and spiritual counseling. As part of one of the largest integrative medicine centers in California, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, its own related therapeutic center offers intensive psychotherapy along with a recovery coach. Patient options include an IOP, sober living, or simply going home. The center also offers a full menu of complementary programs including massage therapy, cranial sacral therapy, naturopathic, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, marriage and family therapy and chiropractic, all of which Dr. Gray prescribes on an individual basis.

Separate from after-care, could NAD itself turn out to be something of a miracle cure or at least pre-cure for addicts? As more people go through the programs, there will be more statistics on permanency of results but no fully authenticated research until some serious independent and double-blind studies are undertaken by scientists, medical professionals or companies who can attract the funds to finance research. Meanwhile, NAD figures to remain something of a blip on the treatment scene attracting people like Paul who said simply: “There is just nothing to lose.”

Patient information: Early stage breast cancer treatment in postmenopausal women (Beyond the Basics)

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Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the United States. Finding and treating breast cancer in the early stages allows many women to be cured.

After surgery, systemic (body-wide) anticancer treatment may be given to eliminate any tumor cells that might remain in the body. This type of therapy is called adjuvant therapy, and it is a very important component of breast cancer treatment. Adjuvant therapy significantly decreases the chance that the cancer will return (or recur), and it also improves a woman’s chance of surviving her cancer.

There are three options for systemic adjuvant therapy of breast cancer: endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, and trastuzumab (Herceptin). The first of these, endocrine therapy, is used in women who have what is called hormone-responsive cancer, meaning it grows in response to the female hormone estrogen. This article will focus on adjuvant therapy forpostmenopausal women with hormone-responsive breast cancer. Adjuvant treatment for premenopausal women with hormone-responsive breast cancer is discussed in a separate monograph. (See “Patient information: Early stage breast cancer treatment in premenopausal women (Beyond the Basics)”.)

Adjuvant treatment for women with hormone-nonresponsive breast cancers, as well as a discussion about the side effects and indications for chemotherapy and trastuzumab in women with HER2-positive breast cancer, is presented elsewhere. (See “Patient information: Adjuvant medical therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer (Beyond the Basics)”.)

DEFINING HORMONE-RESPONSIVE BREAST CANCER

Some breast cancers require the female hormone estrogen to grow, while other breast cancers are able to grow without estrogen. Whether a tumor is hormone responsive is determined by checking if it contains hormone receptors, namely estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR), or both.

If you have a tumor that contains hormone receptors (called hormone responsive), you are more likely to benefit from treatments that lower estrogen levels or block the actions of estrogen. These treatments are referred to as endocrine or hormone therapies.

ENDOCRINE THERAPY OPTIONS

The goal of endocrine therapy is to prevent breast cancer cells from being stimulated by estrogen. In postmenopausal women with early hormone-responsive breast cancer, the two endocrine treatments most often used are the class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) or another class called aromatase inhibitors (AIs). Among the SERMs, tamoxifen (brand name: Nolvadex) is the most commonly prescribed.

The SERMs were the first agents used as a treatment for breast cancer, and while both SERMs and AIs reduce the risk of recurrence and death due to breast cancer, research indicates that AIs are more effective than tamoxifen and should be preferentially administered. That said, multiple options exist, and you should talk with your doctor about the one that is most appropriate for your situation.

Aromatase inhibitors — Aromatase inhibitors are a type of medicine that block estrogen from being produced in postmenopausal women. Examples of these medications include anastrozole (brand name: Arimidex), letrozole (brand name: Femara), and exemestane (brand name: Aromasin).

Studies comparing the effects of tamoxifen with those of AIs as a primary treatment when taken for five years find that AIs are superior. In addition, studies show that for women who have been on tamoxifen for two or three years, there is also a benefit of switching to an AI. Finally, for women who have completed a five-year course of tamoxifen, there are benefits to taking an AI as compared with stopping all treatment. In all cases where an AI is used, treatment with AIs should last five years regardless of whether it is preceded by tamoxifen treatment.

Side effects — Side effects of aromatase inhibitors include bone loss and bone fractures, pain in the muscles and joints, blood clots, and cardiovascular events (heart attack, heart failure). Unlike tamoxifen, it does not increase the risk that one could develop cancer of the uterus.

Tamoxifen — Tamoxifen (brand name: Nolvadex) is a SERM and prevents estrogen from binding to the estrogen receptor, thereby preventing estrogen from stimulating the growth of the breast cancer cells. Although it has typically been recommended that women remain on it for five years, studies now show that for women who choose to take tamoxifen rather than an AI, treatment should be for 10 years. However, whether all women require a 10-year course of tamoxifen is unclear, and you should talk with your doctor about whether a longer course of tamoxifen is advised.

Side effects — Tamoxifen may increase the risk of the following, particularly in women over age 50 years:

Cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer and sarcoma)

Blood clots within deep veins (deep vein thrombosis), usually in the legs, which can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) (see “Patient information: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (Beyond the Basics)”)

There has been some suspicion that tamoxifen might also increase a woman’s risk of stroke, but studies have not confirmed this.

For most women, the benefits of tamoxifen in preventing a recurrence of breast cancer far outweigh the risks of uterine cancer, blood clots, or other long-term effects. However, the risks may be higher for women with risk factors for blood clots or a stroke (eg, prior history of blood clots in the leg or lung, history of smoking) and for those who take tamoxifen for longer than five years.

Tamoxifen may cause other side effects, particularly hot flashes and vaginal discharge.

CHEMOTHERAPY IN ADDITION TO ENDOCRINE THERAPY

Chemotherapy provides benefit for some women with ER-positive early breast cancer, especially women with positive lymph nodes. It is less clear which women with ER-positive and lymph node negative breast cancer need chemotherapy.

Two tools are available to help determine what your chances are of having a recurrence (ie, your prognosis), in which case your doctor may feel chemotherapy is indicated. Ask your doctor or nurse if these tools would be helpful:

Adjuvant! Online is website (http://www.newadjuvant.com/default2.aspx) that can help to determine your risk of a breast cancer relapse and the possible benefits of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy.

Oncotype DX assay, also known as 21 gene recurrence score assay, can help to estimate your risk of a breast cancer relapse, which can help to predict if there is a benefit of having chemotherapy.

CLINICAL TRIALS

Progress in treating breast cancer requires that better treatments be identified through clinical trials, which are conducted all over the world. A clinical trial is a carefully controlled way to study the effectiveness of new treatments or new combinations of known therapies. Ask for more information about clinical trials, or read about clinical trials at:

www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/

http://clinicaltrials.gov/

Videos addressing common questions about clinical trials are available from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (http://www.cancer.net/pre-act).

FOLLOW-UP AFTER TREATMENT

A summary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s recommendations for doctors that covers what may be components of surveillance after breast cancer treatment is provided in the following table (table 1).

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION

Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your medical problem.

This article will be updated as needed on our web site (www.uptodate.com/patients). Related topics for patients, as well as selected articles written for healthcare professionals, are also available. Some of the most relevant are listed below.

Patient level information — UpToDate offers two types of patient education materials.

The Basics — The Basics patient education pieces answer the four or five key questions a patient might have about a given condition. These articles are best for patients who want a general overview and who prefer short, easy-to-read materials.

Patient information: Breast cancer (The Basics)
Patient information: Breast reconstruction after mastectomy (The Basics)
Patient information: Choosing treatment for early-stage breast cancer (The Basics)
Patient information: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) (The Basics)

Beyond the Basics — Beyond the Basics patient education pieces are longer, more sophisticated, and more detailed. These articles are best for patients who want in-depth information and are comfortable with some medical jargon.

Patient information: Breast cancer guide to diagnosis and treatment (Beyond the Basics)
Patient information: Adjuvant medical therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer (Beyond the Basics)
Patient information: Early stage breast cancer treatment in premenopausal women (Beyond the Basics)
Patient information: Lymphedema after cancer surgery (Beyond the Basics)

Professional level information — Professional level articles are designed to keep doctors and other health professionals up-to-date on the latest medical findings. These articles are thorough, long, and complex, and they contain multiple references to the research on which they are based. Professional level articles are best for people who are comfortable with a lot of medical terminology and who want to read the same materials their doctors are reading.

GOOD NEWS: HIV/AIDS CURE FINALLY FOUND, DOCTORS CONFIRM

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Doctors in Barcelona, Spain consider they’ve discovered the remedy to HIV – the AIDS-causing virus that impacts the lives of greater than 34 million individuals worldwide, in line with WHO.
By utilizing blood transplants from the umbilical cords of people with a genetic resistance to HIV, Spanish medical professionals consider they will deal with the virus, having confirmed the process profitable with one affected person.

A 37-year-old man from Barcelona, who had been contaminated with the HIV virus in 2009, was cured of the situation after receiving a transplant of blood.

While sadly the person later died from most cancers simply three years later, having developed lymphoma, the Spanish medical workforce continues to be massively inspired by what it considers to be a breakthrough within the struggle towards HIV and associated circumstances, in accordance with the Spanish information supply El Mundo.

Doctors in Barcelona initially tried the method utilizing the precedent of Timothy Brown, an HIV affected person who developed leukemia earlier than receiving experimental remedy in Berlin, the Spanish information website The Local reported.

Crystal Harris Reveals She Has Lyme Disease: I Have a Long Road Ahead of Me

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Crystal Harris is hoping her recent diagnosis will urge you to get tested.

The 29-year-old revealed through Instagram today that she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, the same illness that also struck Yolanda Foster and Avril Lavigne“If you have EVER GONE HIKING, please get tested for #LymeDisease. The best lab to do this is called ‘Igenex’ they are based out of Palo Alto. I was diagnosed a few days ago and have a long road ahead of me,” Hugh Hefner‘s wife writes.

Crystal Hefner

“Supposedly you get it from ticks but I have absolutely no recollection of being bit or having a rash or ANYTHING,” she continued. “Most importantly there are SO MANY of you carrying Lyme that don’t even know you have it. Probably because the ticks can be the size of specs. I always thought of ticks to be big and noticeable. The symptoms are vast and when it has been left untreated for a long time can turn into MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia and ALS.”

Harris adds that, “Symptoms can range from sore muscles, sore back, sore neck, anxiety, fatigue, heart palpitations, muscle twitches, bladder pain, vision or hearing problems, swollen lymph nodes, flu like symptoms, brain fog, memory problems. Having just one of these could mean you have Lyme. Please please get tested.

“It is a disease so many people are living with and is becoming an epidemic. I always thought I was a hypochondriac. Doctors told me it was just ‘stress’ or ‘all in my head’ but I finally figured it out and you can too. Lyme is also related to syphilis and can be sexually transmitted and also passed from mother to child during pregnancy. #LymeDisease #lymewarrior please tag some friends to raise awareness for this illness not many people know about,” she concludes.

Lyme disease was brought to the forefront when the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills began speaking out about her illness both on the show and with fans online. Not too long afterward, Lavigne revealed she was bedridden for five months after being diagnosed.

Both stars have been continuing treatment, and also hope to raise more awareness about the disease.