Daily Archives: July 29, 2015

PCOS Treatment Success

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Is It Possible To Heal PCOS Naturally?

Getting PCOS treatment early on is vital to a woman’s success with the disorder. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a serious threat to women’s health. This is especially true when the condition is left untreated for a long period of time. It can hit women at almost any age range– from teenagers to middle aged, and the severity of its devastation can vary wildly from one woman to the next. PCOS does not discriminate, and therefore must be taken very seriously. Therefore there are numerous treatments for PCOS available. The healing method you choose depends on a number of different variables– from age, to health status and everything in between.


It greatly helps when you are afflicted with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome; to understand exactly what this condition is all about, as well as what effects it may have on your body, and how long you can expect to be fighting this issue. PCOS is also known under the name Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, and it is a hormonal imbalance which typically results in the growth of tiny sacs, filled with fluid, what we know as cysts, to form around one’s ovaries.

Polycystic ovary syndrome can reveal itself with an array of symptoms like acne, abnormal growth of hair (Hirsutism), hair loss (male pattern baldness), irregular menstruation, infertility, prolonged PMS, depression and sleeping disorders. As stated before, this condition can affect a wide range of people, though typically it will not strike until a woman has hit puberty.

PCOS most commonly affects females that are in the height of their childbearing years, on average between the ages of twenty and forty– as many as 5% to 10% of all women in this age bracket suffer from this disease and must seek help…and the numbers are growing. This unfortunate trend has made PCOS treatment a huge priority in the western healthcare industry.  If you suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome you thankfully have a great many options for finding the appropriate natural remedies that fits your specific needs.

The first, and most important step in your journey is to find a certified and experienced physician, and secure regular consultation. Make sure he or she is someone you can get along well with, and someone you can trust. Only an accurate and professional diagnosis will determine the correct treatment options for you. Keep in mind that this condition is serious, and the symptoms of pcos, severity and other variables can be as different as night and day with each and every patient. Therefore, you absolutely have to figure out which PCOS treatment plan will deliver the best possible results.

Weight Loss & PCOS

In many, many cases, PCOS therapy can begin as simply as the patient being asked to lose some weight. Exercise and weight loss have been a tried and true method used to combat and even eliminate many of the symptoms of PCOS. It will probably be the first thing your doctor prescribes for the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome. This has a lot to do with the hormonal shifts that occur when you gain extra weight. This means that someone who is only slightly overweight will most likely show less sever signs of PCOS whereas a morbidly obese patient will suffer significantly more. This is caused, in part, by the over-production of hormones such as androgens (hyperandrogenism)which are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. The primary goal in battling PCOS is to get these hormones back in balance!


In the last few decades there has been a connection between polycystic ovarian disease and insulin resistance.  The fact that obesity and insulin resistance are also closely related is another reason why pcos and weight loss is critically important. Achieving healthy weight loss can help a great deal in these cases and will prevent other complications like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease!


Need help kick-starting your weight loss journey?  I started with these 3 easy exercises which helped me with conquering PCOS

  • Walking – That’s right start your way to PCOS recovery with something simple like walking.  Walking at a fast pace will raise your heart rate, improve your circulation and burn fat!  Not to mention, exercise helps release endorphins which are natural occurring hormones that make you feel good and have a euphoric affect which can help with pcos symptoms like depression.  You can eventually try advancing to jogging which should get you even better results…So grab a friend and start walking!
  • Yoga – There is an infinite list of good things to say about Yoga and how it can  help with weight loss and PCOS.  Yoga is not only good for increasing flexibility, it tones muscles, burns fat and improves your concentration making you focus on the task at hand.  Remember,  weight loss is essential in controlling Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Yoga is a great way to take control and do just that!
  • Tai Chi – You may at first feel silly as a woman taking Tai Chi…believe me I did!  But the truth is Tai Chi is used to help with an array of disorders and illnesses because of its ability to calm and the effects it has on overall mental well-being.  Try to understand that treating PCOS isn’t about popping a pill to make it go away…not to mention one doesn’t exist!  It’s about restoring the body’s natural hormone balance and get it functioning the way it was intended to.  Tai Chi’s focus is on the mind and body with the theory that what the body does the mind will follow. Since stress can have a significant negative effect on the body’s ability to heal itself, Tai Chi is a great way to help you relax and eliminate stress which in turn will help your body heal itself naturally.

These are 3 easy exercise steps that can have significant effects on improving your PCOS.  Give them a try and see how you feel!

Start a Healthy PCOS Diet


Many other lifestyle changes may turn out to be effective healing remedies for PCOS. Dramatically changing certain aspects of your eating routines and overall diet, such as increasing your protein intake with healthy lean meats, turkey and fish to lowering your cholesterol or sugar intake can have drastic results. If you combine this with frequent and regular exercise you will almost guarantee yourself improvement!

4 powerful herbs that helped me when I was dieting with PCOS….

  • Tribulis – This potent pcos herb has been known to help with irregular menstruation and ovulation.
  • Gymnena – Another powerful natural pcos treatment herb that helps stave off sugar and carb cravings as well as reducing insulin resistance.  Gymnena is a great herb to add to your supplement plan and can help with your overall weight loss goals.
  • Licorice – Probably one of the more popular herbs for PCOS is licorice.  Licorice has been known to help with reversing hormone imbalances which ultimately reduces the amount of androgens in the process.
  • Saw Palmetto – Another anti-androgen herb, saw palmetto is commonly used to treat pcos naturally in women because it can help with acne and Hirsutism (hair on chin or upper lip).  It has also been reported to increase breast size in women, which is why it has become a popular supplement for women who want to increase breast size naturally.  Don’t worry,  it doesn’t always have that effect!


By implementing these PCOS herbs in your diet, it is possible to start seeing positive results with your PCOS therapy.

Warning!  Always check with your primary care doctor before incorporating herbs and supplements into your overall treatment plan to make sure they are safe and won’t negatively interact with birth control pills or other meds!

The Old Reliable – Conventional Meds

Often even the most ardent efforts to change your diet and lifestyle will still not be enough to fully cure PCOS, and that’s where medication comes into play. There is a place for both non-conventional (alternative) and conventional medications like birth control and Metformin to assist in treating. There are numerous other medications for ladies who suffer from PCOS and still desire a normal life, which of course, all females do!

Women who plan on trying to get pregnant, despite this debilitating condition will need to take a different course of action than a young woman who wants the opposite. In fact, birth control itself can often be a great alternative, but obviously the pill and other hormonal options aren’t for everyone. Women who want to take fertility treatments are especially vulnerable to PCOS symptoms and may need a radical plan of attack. For these ladies the only option may be alternative and holistic methods such as herbal supplements, vitamins or acupuncture.

The Surgical Approach

The most drastic but often effective PCOS treatment is usually surgery known as ovarian drilling. This is normally only considered for the most extreme cases, such as malignant cysts or benign cysts that are growing at an accelerated pace, which may interfere with a woman’s bodily functions. Occasionally these cysts can grow so large that they may block one’s bowels or urinary tract, or even impede on blood circulation, which could lead to heart attack or stroke!

These surgical treatments, as stated before, are incredibly accurate and effective, and can often leave the patient’s body free from PCOS and its symptoms for many years, but there is always a chance of the disorder returning. During this procedure, which can vary from case to case, the surgeon will literally scoop out the growths affecting the ovary or ovaries. Your physician will specifically look for the most severe and deformed cysts. Often these cysts can grow incredibly large and become twisted. He or she then removes as many cysts as they can before closing you up so you can recuperate. Depending on the type of surgery your downtime could be as short as a few days and as long as six weeks.

Surgery is of course the last resort, when nothing else has worked, or cancerous cysts are threatening your life. Fortunately these cases are rare, and typically a less intense approach will suffice. Talk to a reputed doctor about which treatments are best for you, RESEARCH online. You’ll get to know a lot about PCOS when you visit reputed sites devoted to curing it or alleviating the symptoms. Gather as much information as possible, knowledge is power!

Effective Naturopathic PCOS Treatment Alternatives

More and more people are seeking naturopathic healing methods for all forms of illness.  This is partially due to the increased risks, side effects and dangers of prescription drugs which seemed to be popping up more in on TV. PCOS sufferers are no different. From vitamins, minerals and supplements to herbs, acupuncture and more recently reflexology, these homeopathic remedies for PCOS are quickly increasing in popularity.  I have spent endless hours researching various holistic treatment programs for PCOS available both online and offline and have tried just about every one there is.  These are the 2 that gave me the best results.source


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pcos Diagnosis
More and more women have been shocked when their doctor provides them with a diagnosis of PCOS, short for polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you have recently learned that you have PCOS, you shouldn’t think that your world is over, that the entire course of your life has changed. It hasn’t. You also shouldn’t walk around thinking that PCOS makes you some kind of freak of nature, nothing could be further from the truth. Lots of women happen to be in the exact some situation. PCOS is actually on the rise; some doctors see it every single day. It’s estimated that approximately 1 out of every 10 women has PCOS.
pcos Diagnosis

Do You Have PCOS?

Even though you might have only just now received the official PCOS diagnosis, there’s a good chance that you’ve had the PCOS for quite a while. In most cases, the condition will be developed during the teenage years. Instead of the teenage hormones and angst that your parents used to blame for your mood swings and acne, there’s a good chance that these symptoms actually indicated the presence of PCOS.
polycystic ovarian syndrome

What Causes PCOS?

The fact that you have been told you have PCOS means that your doctor has discovered that for some reason the hormones in your body aren’t at the proper levels. Most doctors believe that this starts out with the body not producing a high enough level of estrogen, which than triggers a chain reaction and pretty soon nearly all the hormone levels are either too high or too low. One of the most devastating parts of PCOS is the high levels of testosterone. In this case your body will have a high level of the typically male sex hormone.  As a result of the incorrectly balanced androgen, you could experience:

  • Severe acne
  • The development of unwanted facial hair or body hair
  • Irregular of missing periods
  • Lack of ovulation and Infertility
  • Weight Gain or difficulty losing weight

High Risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease

As irritating as the overproduction of the androgen is, that isn’t what really worries doctors. The greater concern is the fact that the PCOS makes it very difficult for the body to properly use the insulin it produces. This makes weight loss difficult, and puts you at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Other Frustrating PCOS Symptoms

Small cysts develop on the ovaries when you have PCOS. These are seen as a “string of pearls” on ultrasounds and they are usually the first indication that a doctor finds to suggest a PCOS diagnosis. Oftentimes, these cysts will rupture causing extreme pain.

Many women who have PCOS also struggle with depression. After all, who wouldn’t be depressed by suddenly growing unwanted hair, gaining weight, and having endless acne break outs. And that’s not to mention a terrifying diagnosis that could mean infertility.

Wait… There is Some Good News

Your doctor might tell you that PCOS is incurable and that your only option is to take birth control pills. Don’t be quick to cave because that’s not your only option. The good news about the PCOS diagnosis is that the condition can be treated, though you will have to commit yourself to making a lifestyle change.

The first thing you need to do will be working out. Not only will the movement help you battle any depression issues you might be having, it will also help you lose some weight. Shedding a mere ten pounds can make a huge difference when you’re trying to regulate your hormonal levels. Many women who have been diagnosed with PCOS have discovered that by working with a dietician to come up with a PCOS meal plan goes a long way towards helping your lose weight, and also balance your body’s hormonal levels. Staying away from starches and heavy carbohydrates and gluten in particular will have the biggest impact on the way you feel. PCOS supplements can help too.

Once you have adjusted to the changes in your life, you will get your PCOS under control. Tell us about your PCOS diagnosis in the comments. What made you realize something was wrong? What steps are you taking to fight back and regain your health?source

Legal landscape changing for kids fighting seizures with cannabis oil

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fighting seizures with cannabis oil

For families of kids fighting seizure disorders, cannabis treatment means move to Colorado.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Swann family moved from Alabama to Colorado last fall to try save their daughter’s life with marijuana. It appears to have worked. And in the process, the Swanns and others like them have changed laws across the country so more children can have the same chance.

fighting seizures with cannabis oil

Fourteen-year-old Allie Swann was having up to 100 seizures per day that years of treatments, including surgery to remove part of her brain, and debilitating drugs had not helped.

“She was on the same stuff they use for lethal injections in Alabama,” her father, Butch Swann, said. “It couldn’t go on.”

So they came to Colorado. Like 115 other marijuana refugee families, as they call themselves, from 43 states, they left family, jobs and homes so they could try oil made from a special strain of cannabis that reportedly quelled the seizures in a handful of kids in Colorado Springs.

With federal laws making medical marijuana research nearly impossible, none of the oil’s healing properties have been scientifically verified, and the families have sometimes been dismissed as desperate kooks.

Now, six months after the first big group of children started using the oil, many families like the Swanns say they see remarkable improvements. A handful of families have returned home, some because of the strain of having uprooted to move here, others for other reasons.

For many of the kids, their seizures are dropping in number and intensity, and kids long lost to their medical conditions — or the powerful drugs used to treat them — are rediscovering the world.

News of the success has spread across the country, prompting the medical establishment to reassess cannabis and legislators to rewrite laws.

This spring, 18 traditionally conservative states, mostly in the South and Midwest, introduced medical marijuana bills narrowly tailored to epileptic children. Seven have been made law, including in Mississippi, with several more close to passing.

The Tennessee legislature last year approved a bill allowing for controlled production of cannabis oil, an extract of marijuana plants, and four years of clinical studies by Tennessee’s medical colleges of its use as a treatment for intractable seizures.

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter, R-Chattanooga, said Tennessee will be the only state in the nation that provides for both the production of the oil, under federal guidelines, and for the study on its efficacy as a treatment. It is against federal law to transport the oil. Under the state law, the oil must contain less than nine-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and it will be produced at Tennessee Tech University.

“We want to make sure that everyone who wants to participate in this program can so we get the widest possible results,” Carter said. Physicians across the state with patients who want to participate in the study will have to enroll with one of the state’s medical schools — the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

At the end of the study, results will be reported to the state Department of Health and to the legislature.

“There are an awful lot of people across Tennessee, both young and old, who are very interested in this potential treatment,” Carter told a legislative committee last month. “The anecdotal evidence from what I’ve heard is it is an amazing result. My greatest fear is that it won’t work because there are parents and grandparents who are really putting their hearts and souls into hoping this works. But I’m here to find the truth and if it works, that’s great.”

Butch Swann spoke repeatedly to radio and TV stations in Alabama about how the oil, which cannot get users high, has helped his daughter and could help thousands of others in the state. State legislators approved a bill giving children access to the oil unanimously.

“I hope this Alabama-led medical study can bring relief to children,” Alabama’s governor said at the signing.

Butch Swann laughs when asked about it.

“I wouldn’t have thought in a million years Alabama would pass medical marijuana in any form,” he said.

Maybe soon, he said, his family can return to Alabama. But in the meantime, he is enjoying a new life with his daughter.

Allie, who has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old, used to fly into rages daily, screaming for hours and biting her hands until they bled. Now she has a new air of calm contentment. Her hands have healed. An EEG brain scan from a year ago showed a nonstop quake of seizure activity. An EEG done a few weeks ago in Denver shows none.

On a recent evening she sat on the front steps of the family’s rented house in Fountain, Colorado, with her father, watching her younger brothers play ball.

“This is something we could never do before, just sit and enjoy life. Her life was just a storm,” Butch Swann said. “Now we can take her shopping, go out to eat, just be a family together. It’s the answer to our prayers.”

Allie leaned over and silently gave him a kiss.

There are now 180 children in Colorado taking the oil, with thousands more on a waiting list. Other kids in Colorado and 19 other states where medical marijuana is legal are using similar oils made from other cannabis strains.

The oil is not a magic potion that suddenly returns kids to perfect health, but many parents say it controls seizures better than anything they have tried.

Though a handful of kids who tried the oil saw no benefit, the vast majority have seen seizures significantly reduced with no negative side effects, said Dr. Margaret Gedde, a Colorado Springs physician who is tracking the young marijuana patients. Of the 47 patients who started taking the oil this fall, 28 percent reported more than 80 percent reduction in seizures, she said. Another 49 percent reported some reduction in seizures and enough other benefits, including improved mood and awareness, that they continue to use the oil. Another 23 percent either stopped using the oil because it made seizures worse, was ineffective, or because they moved back to a state where the oil is banned.

“This is what is called anecdotal evidence, but it is also very real,” said Gedde, who now has 195 pediatric marijuana patients. “We have 78 percent of patients benefiting from this. Often it allows them to get off more dangerous medications. Clearly it has a role in treating epilepsy.”source

AT&T awards $100K for tech to help people with disabilities

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ms multiple sclerosis

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, AT&T teamed up with New York University’s Ability Lab to challenge app developers to use their network and technology to make life easier for people with disabilities.

ms multiple sclerosis

Together they launched the Connect Ability Challenge, designed to spur innovation for people with physical, social, emotional and cognitive disabilities. Winners of the contest, which saw a total of 63 submissions, were announced Monday.

In total, AT&T awarded $100,000 in cash. That included a $25,000 grand prize for Kinesic Mouse, software that uses Intel’s Real Sense Web camera to detect facial expressions and head rotations, enabling people to operate their personal computers hands-free. Other winners include a smartphone app to help visually impaired shoppers find their way around a store using existing beacon technology, and one that uses Bluetooth to connect sensors to a smartphone preprogrammed with stock phrases to enable nonverbal individuals to push a button to communicate basic needs.

The ADA, signed into law on July 26, 1990, was monumental legislation intended to ensure that people with disabilities could participate fully in the workforce and their communities free from discrimination. The most visible legacy to the law has been the changes in infrastructure from cut-outs in sidewalks to ATMs marked with Braille to widespread closed captioning to fire alarms that can be seen as well as heard.

But advocates for people with disabilities say more needs to be done, as many disabled Americans still find it difficult to participate meaningfully in their communities. Technology, including AT&T’s efforts to encourage more development in this area, can help bridge the gap between public policy and real life, said Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T New York.

“The promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act was to remove barriers that people with disabilities face. It’s clear from these extraordinary submissions that technology can play an important role in fulfilling the law’s mission,” she said. “The winning solutions address specific challenges that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in our society. We hope that this unique competition spurs further innovation in this area and highlights how much mobile technology can improve people’s daily experiences.”

The contest

The purpose of the contest was to challenge developers to use off-the-shelf technology already in existence to help solve problems for people with disabilities. While the ADA helped pave the way for an entire industry dedicated to assistive technology, the products developed have primarily been tailored to niche audiences and have been expensive. AT&T’s vision for the contest was to encourage developers to use mainstream technology, such as smartphones, tablets, voice-recognition software, Web cameras, and 4G LTE wireless networks, to create affordable apps and software.

“The beauty of the contest is that the solutions the developers came up with are super simple, affordable and use technology, like the Android and iOS operating systems, that everyone is already using,” said Neil Giacobbi, executive director for public affairs for AT&T. “The truth is that people with disabilities are already using this technology — just like everyone. So why should they have to use a separate device to get the help they need in their everyday lives?”

Putting it all together

To find out what solutions people with disabilities were looking for, AT&T enlisted the help of four people to consult with the app developers participating in the contest.

For Gus Chalkias, who is blind, that meant sharing with developers his deepest anxieties about going out in public on his own.

“For me the biggest issue I face when going somewhere new is just figuring out where everything is,” he said. “I usually have to ask for help, which I’m very willing to do. But it would be nice to not have to ask a stranger where the bathroom is.”

The developers at Enlight, which won a $10,000 prize for the “Best Solution Impacting Policy and Society,” created a smartphone application that leverages existing iBeacon technology in stores and other public places. The app enables people who can’t see to scan their surroundings with their mobile devices to help them navigate.

For Jason DaSilva, an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a decade ago, the Kinesic Mouse software — which won the grand prize — allows him to control his PC completely hands-free, using Intel’s Real Sense 3D camera that detects facial expressions and head rotations. With a tilt of his head or a pucker of his lips, he can control the PC, joystick or keyboard, helping him regain some independence that had been lost to the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Over the years, DaSilva has lost the ability to walk and to dress himself. As of about nine months ago, he lost control of the motor function in his hands necessary to work a mouse and trackpad on his computer, which he uses to edit his films. He said he has been forced to rely on his assistant to click his mouse during the edit process as he dictates editorial direction.

DaSilva said the process of relying on a middleman to operate the computer’s editing tools has helped him become a better film editor and director. But he admitted the added step is hugely time consuming. Using the Kinesic software, he’s learning how to make those edits on his own again. He’s also able to check email and browse the Internet without the help of someone else.

“All of a sudden, I’m regaining some independence,” he said. “It’s huge. It’s a small thing that helps make life more normal for me. And it makes me more productive.”

While other software exists that offers similar functionality, DaSilva said Kinesic Mouse works better than anything else he’s tried. And it costs less than most other solutions. Markus Proell, founder of Kinesic Mouse, said his solution adapts software and hardware originally developed for gaming. As a result, Proell said his solution, which costs about $400, is priced far below that of software created specifically for the special-needs community.

In fact, he said, the cost of the software is so low, some customers in the US may not be able to get it covered by federal Medicaid insurance, which typically picks up the bill for assistive technology for people who have disabilities.

Only the beginning

AT&T’s Giacobbi said that the technology industry is still in the early days of figuring out ways to leverage existing technology to help people. As mobile technology becomes more pervasive and less expensive, he said it will also be easier for developers to create solutions for people with disabilities. And he said that AT&T hopes it can encourage developers to innovate and create solutions for this underserved group.

“It doesn’t take a computer scientist to realize that something like a fitness tracker with GPS could be used to help someone with a disability,” he said. “We’ve just scratched the surface in terms of using existing technology to help people with disabilities.” source

Fighting Dementia From the Front Lines

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dementia fighting success stories

When the general public thinks of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, they don’t envision that person creating organizations or movements to make the world a better place. And that’s a problem.

dementia fighting success stories

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with dementia are currently helping unite the world against dementia. People with debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s are in fact often at the forefront of such initiatives. Harry Urban is no exception.

Harry has been living a successful and active life with Alzheimer’s for more than a decade. When you meet Harry, or any one of the millions like Harry, you don’t want to believe they have dementia. That’s because they don’t want to show what Harry refers to as their “dark side,” the invisible foe they do battle with every day.

Other people’s ignorance can be hurtful. “People don’t come out (share their diagnosis) because they are judged,” Harry explains. But Harry is at the forefront of changing this stigma. He has established an online support group and co-founded a mentoring program for people with dementia. Now, he is putting his vision of a world that is United Against Dementia (UAD) in motion.

“UAD isn’t an organization and there’s nothing to join,” Harry points out. It’s a movement to bring dementia advocates together. Such as volunteers to help caregiver’s get respite or people with dementia mentoring the newly diagnosed.

Harry like most people with dementia is very aware of the strain family members experience when a loved one has dementia. This awareness is exemplified in a quote from Harry’s blog, mythoughtsondementia.com. He says, “Why am I working so hard in getting United Against Dementia off the ground? Just read the posts in any dementia support group and you will see the answers.”

To lend a hand to these caregivers, Harry envisions a volunteer corps that routinely visits a family’s home or a care facility. He compares this to the candy stripers of the past who would visit hospitals to perform non-medical tasks such as walking or talking with patients. This aid is greatly needed to help families get a break from caregiving. Harry says, “In order for you to care for me, you have to care for yourself.”

Volunteers can also reduce the strain on staff in dementia-care communities or hospitals by freeing them to focus on medical needs.
These facilities who often state that they don’t have the funds to do more should be excited about enlisting volunteers.

But complex state regulations seem to cause them to be over cautious when it comes to accepting volunteers. To this, Harry responds, “Let’s put aside the politics, lets put aside the fears. I’ll sweep the floors for you to free up staff.”

Harry’s United Against Dementia attitude is helping him open doors at some of these facilities. They are starting to warm up to the idea of volunteers and mentoring programs.

In fact, Harry has partnered with a local hospital to speak to newly diagnosed patients. He’s driven by the fact that when he was diagnosed, he received the “Here’s a prescription, see you in 6 months” response from his doctor.

Consequently, he understands the fear of a diagnosis. But he’s the first to assure you, “There is life after diagnosis.” As part of this mentoring, the newly diagnosed are invited to attend a 6 – 8 week support group.

At the completion of this program, individuals are encouraged to attend a local Memory Café. Harry tells us that these cafes are invaluable because, “There’s no place we can go and enjoy ourselves without being judged.” These “cafes” which can also be attended by a loved one, help provide an important support network for people with dementia who may not be able to get the proper support elsewhere.

Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is an epidemic for which there is very little support outside of the dementia community. Today’s heroes are those like Harry who are working to unite us against dementia. These pioneers are breaking down stigmas and opening doors to make this a better world for the millions of people who will be diagnosed with dementia in the near future. source

Watch below to see the conversation in its entirety and look for #United Against Dementia on social media:

Fighting insomnia one night at a time

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fighting insomnia

College students are some of the most sleep-deprived people in the world. Getting the eight hours of sleep that doctors recommend is almost unrealistic due to the busy schedules most college students balance.

fighting insomnia

According to a study at Brown University 73 percent of college students have occasional sleep problems. Eighteen percent of males and 30 percent of females report that they suffer from insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia wake up feeling tired and often awaken during the night and struggle to fall back asleep.

There are simple ways to beat insomnia and build good sleep habits:

  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine later in the day. Stimulants like these can keep you from falling asleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but avoid working out late at night. Endorphins are stimulating and will make it hard for your body to relax and fall asleep. It is a good rule of thumb to not work out three or four hours before the time you plan on going to bed.
  • If you stay up late at night worrying, make to-do lists before bed. It can help ease your mind if you have a plan for the next day.
  • Try not to take naps during the day, because that will make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Don’t watch TV or look at you phone screen in the dark. Looking at bright screens or artificial light can suppress melatonin secretion, therefore affecting sleep patterns. Melatonin is a major hormone involved in sleep and waking cycles.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals late in the day or at night.

Insomnia may or may not be related to other health conditions and can last for months. Insomnia can be caused by life stresses such as moving or a serious break up. Certain types of medications can lead to insomnia or major changes to normal sleep schedule, like pulling all-nighters.

Insomnia can be caused by more serious problems though. Chronic stress, depression and anxiety can all be causes of insomnia. If insomnia persists and interferes with day-to-day functioning, seeking medical help is recommended. The SMU Health Center is a good place to start if you are suffering from insomnia. source

Crohn’s Disease is a Life Changer… But So is SCD

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Shock and awe.  Followed by waves of inspiration.

That’s the series of emotions that I experienced reading the story below.  It’s something I feel each time I read about someone who’s overcoming their health challenges.

The following story was written by Cristin.  She put a ton of effort into it, so I published it in its entirety.  It’s a heroic story of a busy mom who said no to drugs and yes to health.  A woman who endured lots of complications, fired plenty of doctors, and yet offers great advice to those of us who are fighting for our health.


To understand why my journey with the SCD diet started, you have to go back to the beginning and how one night changed everything.

“Who has time for this?” Yep, that’s what I thought on the drive to the emergency that Saturday evening in December 2011.  Earlier in the afternoon, I told my husband I was going to rest for a bit, as the pain in my lower abdomen was a little worse, I felt feverish, and I was “pretty sure I had the flu or something.”  If only…..

While I curled up in a ball on the bed, I called to my husband, asking him to Google “appendicitis.” He read me some things and knew I was serious when I replied, “You better call my doctor.” After a brief phone call, we made arrangements for a close friend to stay with our two-year old and eight month old, thinking this would be a quick removal of the appendix and back to life as normal in a couple days.

We Could Not Have Been More Wrong.

This was the beginning of what would become our new normal.

Fast forward twenty months to today and the controversy of that December night is still fresh in my mind, but not as consuming as it was back when I was told, “You have Crohn’s Disease.”  You see, beside the five days of increasing abdominal pain, I was healthy, no symptoms of Crohn’s, super active, a runner, no diarrhea, no pain.

It didn’t make sense… unless you go back to that night and what happened at the ER… 

Our local hospital has a reputation for being less than qualified to take care of the injured or sick, but we thought an appendix was pretty routine so we would be okay going there.  Wrong.  The short version is that the on-call surgeon would not come in to evaluate me after blood tests indicated, and a CT scan showed, a ruptured appendix.  We were told I would be put on antibiotics and morphine until morning when the surgeon would come in to check my progress.  Thanks to the help and knowledge of friends in the medical profession, we decided I needed to be transferred to another hospital about an hour away.  We had no idea the ER doctor and nurses would make it so difficult for a transfer to occur.

To say it was a nightmare is an understatement.

Finally, after five days of increasing pain and ten hours after entering the first ER, I was on the operating table having my ruptured appendix removed.  When I left the hospital a day later with my antibiotics in hand, I was ready to heal and move on from what had happened.  Unfortunately, that was not going to happen; at least not yet.

I was able to enjoy Christmas with my family with some pain and a feeling of, “not quite right,” but I was ok.  I assumed that was normal after surgery, right? A few days after Christmas, my “not quite right feeling” began to get worse, much worse.  Finally, on New Year’s Eve, I told my husband it was time to take me back to the ER.  And this is where the story gets good…

That afternoon they changed my antibiotics and sent me on my way.  Great, I thought, another week of meds and this will be over.  Not so much. I ended up back in the hospital for a week of IV antibiotics, followed by a week home, only to return again for another stay and IV antibiotics, followed by two weeks of IV antibiotics that my husband administered at home.

As long as I was on the IV, I was clinically doing well…

But as soon as I went to oral antibiotics my body couldn’t fight the infection inside me.

Finally, seven CT scans over a seven week period of time later, I was going in for another surgery so they could, “clean out the infection.”  During the surgery, the doctors ended up performing an oophorectomy , as well as putting a stent in my damaged kidney; all from the infection.  How in the world did a ruptured appendix turn into this?  If that surgeon had gotten off his couch, would I being experiencing this?

Three weeks after my surgery I was feeling pretty well and started coaching track again.  Throughout the spring season I had some twinges of pain, but nothing terrible.  And then, it started.  At the end of March.  I could not put anything in my mouth – not food, not drink, not gum, nothing – without a horrible pain above my belly button.  So I stopped eating.  I lost thirty pounds and I was starving.

Finally a colonoscopy was ordered

And that’s when I heard those words, “You have Crohn’s Disease.”

Of course, I was in denial.  ‘I had no symptoms. I had just had two “kinda” major surgeries.  This was just pain from the healing.  There were reasons for the pain, and Crohn’s Disease was not one of them.’

I was given a prescription and told to start taking it so I would feel better in a week or two.  I had a million questions, but I’ll just say it, the doctor was a cocky jerk.  My favorite was when I asked him how he knew it was Crohn’s and he responded with, “I’ve done this for thirty years.  If I say it’s Crohn’s, it’s Crohn’s.” Sure. Ok, but can you please be a little more specific and discuss this disease with me???

He did not have time for my questions about the disease

Nor did he have time for questions about the medications, or the long term plan, and he made sure I realized that his time was more valuable than my concerns.  This was the last time I would be seeing this doctor.  I did not start the medications and I found a new doctor, this time at the Cleveland Clinic.

The new doctor wanted another colonoscopy because, “the one he did was lazy and sloppy.” While waiting for that appointment, I started reading anything and everything I could about Crohn’s Disease and slowly started to eat again because the pain was gone after the colonoscopy.  Just as quickly as the pain arrived, it darted away completely. I was still in denial, especially since I did not have any pain, but I was going to be ready this time to ask questions and find a way to treat this disease without these rotten medications.

I must have atrocious doctor luck

Because when I went back to discuss the results of my colonoscopy and the plan for treatment she told me, “There is no doubt you have severe Crohn’s Disease. You will need to pick one of these four medications.”  When I asked her about treating the disease naturally she responded with a firm, “You will take one of these medicaitons or you will be back here within a month on the operating table so I can remove your colon.” How about that for bedside manner?  As I continued to ask questions, she finally stopped me, informing me I was only scheduled for a thirty minute appointment, and she had other patients waiting.  I looked at my husband as we walked out of her office and stated, “I’m finding a new doctor and I am not taking her drugs.”  “I know,” he said.

And our journey with SCD began…

That August I started cold-turkey.  Well, I had a friend bring a large strawberry malt over as a parting gift to myself, and the next day I started.  It. Was. Hard. There was so much to think about, to plan for, to organize, to prepare, but I was in and, in my competitive mind, I was going to win.  The most difficult part for me was that I never had any “trigger” foods.  Literally one day, one bite, I had pain and couldn’t eat, but I never had the classic “Crohn’s” symptoms.  How would I ever know if this SCD diet was working? It didn’t matter to me, I wasn’t going to slip up, I wasn’t going to sneak a bite here or there, I was going to beat this disease naturally.

In September I saw my newest doctor for the first time.  He reviewed all my medical records starting with the appendectomy and was convinced from the colonoscopies that it was Crohn’s Disease with “significant damage”.

He recommended TNF blocking medications

But felt comfortable waiting to start them since I was clinically in remission.  I liked this doctor!  Not because I was told what I wanted to hear, but because he was patient.  He listened.  He understood my concerns even if he didn’t agree with them.  He respected my feelings.  He was very clear on what he felt should be the proper protocol for someone with my level of disease; he wasn’t going to tell me what I wanted to hear, but he was willing to work with me and see where things would go, as long as I understood the risks.

I had no pain, I was eating, I was maintaining weight, I was running, other than adhering to this diet, my life was pretty normal.  He gave me four months until a follow-up appointment.  More than once he told me he wouldn’t say that what I was doing was the reason I was in remission, but he wouldn’t say it wasn’t the reason either.

“I’m a medicine doctor. I prescribe medicine.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but he thought I would be back before the four months was up.  I wasn’t…

I don’t like the SCD diet.  Honestly, who would? In my opinion it’s brutal mentally, but all I could think about was staying off those medicines.  On a run one day, a friend asked me about a commercial he saw and wanted to know if that was one of the medications the doctor wanted me to go on.  When I told him yes, he responded, “No wonder you’re willing to eat like this.  Is there anything good about that drug?”

January arrived and I returned for my appointment.  Other than one little spot of discomfort in my lower abdomen (scar tissue from the second surgery?), I was doing well.  A colonoscopy was scheduled for June, a year after my first one, to see what was going on inside me. I was sent on my way after another informative and patient visit with my doctor.  Have I mentioned I really like him, his willingness to listen, to explain, and to take the time I need to feel comfortable with what we are doing to my body?

Slowly, I started to add non-SCD foods to my diet

However, I follow a strict all natural diet, eating only whole foods.  If I eat something that is non-SCD and feel anything (gas, bloating, a twinge of pain) I eliminate it immediately and go 100% SCD until things feel normal again.

I would say I am 80% SCD – 20% whole foods and doing very well; however,  my June colonoscopy was not as promising as I had hoped. The damage had not gotten any worse, but it had not gotten any better.  Was it because I wasn’t adhering to a strict SCD diet anymore or was there so much damage that I could not repair it?  I thought for sure my doctor would want me to go on the TNF medications, but after two long phone conversations with him, it was decided that I would continue doing what I was doing and see what happens.

See what happens because he feels that with or without medication a resection is “inevitable” due to the damage and risk of a blockage at some point, but since I have clinically been in remission for a year with no outward signs of the disease, he is comfortable with waiting.  It is a gamble; I thought about caving and going on the medications mainly so I could eat whatever I wanted and enjoy a beer again, but after my second conversation with my doctor, I was fired up to beat this disease naturally.  If the question was not if, but when would I need a resection, why risk the side effects of the medications if I was doing well without them?

The million dollar question is…

Did I always have Crohn’s Disease and was asymptematic my whole life, or did that ER doctor’s decision to stay home, prolonging the removal of my ruptured appendix, in turn change the course of my health and my life?  Did the weeks of strong antibiotics cause this disease or was it always there and I didn’t know it?  It’s a question we will never know the answer to and I am finally getting to the point that the answer doesn’t really matter.

It’s no longer, “Why me?” but, “Why not me?”

I’m strong enough to do this.  I have an amazing, supportive husband who tries my crazy SCD recipes and although he misses the ease of eating “crap food” he is willing to continue this SCD journey because it works.  Because his wife is getting well.  And because, even though this is not the normal we knew sixteen months ago, it’s the normal we know now.

I know how to go to a cookout, or a family gathering, or a meeting and work my way around food.  I got over the judging eye of others who thought I was just being a “health nut.” I know how to cook for my family and myself, meshing all of our dietary needs.  My husband claims, “You ruined me.” because when he does he processed food it no longer satisfies his taste buds the way it once did.  SCD is our normal now.

To those thinking about starting SCD, I say this – what do you have to lose?

At worst you are going to have to work a little; ok, a lot, harder at planning and preparing food, but you can do it. It is possible.  Healing is possible.  SCD is not some quick and easy fix or a pill to pop to mask your symptoms.  It’s a new way of life.  And you can do it, as long as you remember what it was like to be miserable each day so that you can keep the wrong foods from entering your body.  That memory and thinking about “the green light” (the light that would come on after my second surgery so I could push the morphine button) has made this change a little easier.  I don’t EVER want to feel that way again, and I don’t want to put my family through another battle for my health.

Plan a day at a time. Live a day at a time.  Breathe.

You can’t look too far ahead because you’ll go crazy, but you can look down the road and know that you are giving yourself the chance to be healthy again for a long time. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not going to be that hard either.  You have to take control of your health and with a disease that seems to always be in control, I like being able to feel in control of my body again.  SCD gave me back control of my body, my life.  Surround yourself with positive people who may not understand what you are doing with your diet, but support it.  Put yourself in an environment that allows you the best opportunity to continue to live. There is nothing you can’t do, as long as you believe you can.  Crohn’s Disease doesn’t get that.

Sometimes when I am running I think about making a commercial for SCD the way they make commercials for the TNF medications.  The majority of the drug commercial involves listing all the complications and possible side effects of the drug. They are scary commercials camouflaged with calming music and happy faces.

What would I list for side effects of SCD? Feel good again, eat again, don’t map out the bathrooms when you leave the house, have energy, look like a healthy person again, have regular poops again, be you again just a little different.  And the best part is, you wouldn’t have to camouflage the side effects.

Crohn’s Disease is a life changer.  But so is the SCD Diet.  Which one are you going to let change your life?source

Secret to former VP Cheney’s success fighting heart disease? Being a good patient

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fighting heart disease

Dick Cheney has been vice president of the United States and Secretary of Defense. He’s been a member of Congress and CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

fighting heart disease

He wouldn’t have been able to do any of it if not for another role in which he’s excelled: patient.

From the first indication of a heart problem -– a middle-of-the-night tingling sensation in the last two fingers on his left hand when he was 37 –- Cheney has acted promptly whenever he noticed that his body might be failing him.

Living by the mantra, “When in doubt, check it out,” he’s overcome five heart attacks and a sudden cardiac arrest. He’s been through a litany of cardiac procedures, the most recent -– and most challenging –- being 20 months with an external device pumping his heart until he received a transplant.

“Virtually everything that could happen to a heart patient had happened to me,” Cheney said.

Cheney detailed his medical journey Monday in a series of interviews at Scientific Sessions, including a panel discussion and a private chat with American Heart Association President Elliott Antman. Cheney was accompanied throughout by his cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Cheney’s high-profile career has given him access to high-quality care, and he’s had extraordinarily good timing; many of the greatest medical advancements over the last 40 years arrived just when he needed them. Yet the big takeaway from hearing his tale is how ordinary it is. The real secret to his longevity turns out to be that he followed his mantra, as well as some basic advice every heart patient gets:

Don’t smoke. Cheney became a regular smoker after high school but kicked his habit the day the tingling sensation sent him to the hospital with his first heart attack.

Find doctors you trust and stick with them. He picked a cardiologist in 1984, following his second heart attack. Reiner was that doctor’s protégé, so he’s been with the same team for 30 years. He’s also used the same team of surgeons for many years, with Dr. Alan Speier (who also was part of Monday’s panel discussion) implanting Cheney’s left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and doing his transplant.

Let doctors make suggestions, but ask questions and make informed decisions together. Heart disease isn’t something you can control. How you respond to it is, and a powerful personality like Cheney wants to feel in control: “If you’ve got somebody who doesn’t want to answer questions, then you’ve probably got the wrong doc. Jon Reiner’s been very open, very knowledgeable, but very good at presenting me with the relevant facts. I want to know why we’re going to do what we’re going to do, or what we’re thinking about doing.”

“He’s an unusual example of almost everything we do every day,” Reiner said. “The fact that he’s incredibly compliant –- I don’t think that’s unique, but it is very, very admirable. It certainly has impacted his success. … What I hope (other) patients get from the Vice President’s experience is that you can have heart disease and succeed in life.”

Heart disease roared into Cheney’s life when he was just 14.

His maternal grandfather -– a beloved, colorful character who had taught Cheney and his brother how to fish, and had rescued a mongrel that became the family’s pet dog -– already had overcome two heart attacks. Granddad had another while visiting Cheney’s family at their home in Casper, Wyoming, with young Dick the only person around at the time. He fetched his parents, who called for an ambulance, then he flagged down the paramedics when they arrived.

“I will always remember as they carried him out on the stretcher holding the screen door to get him out,” Cheney said. “That was the last time I saw him alive. He died within the hour.”

That was 1955. Fast forward to June 1978. Cheney was staying at a friend’s house during his first campaign for Congress when he awoke with the strange tingling sensation. He asked his hosts to take him to the hospital and passed out when he arrived.

Upon Cheney’s recovery, a doctor said he was healthy enough to continue his campaign, adding, “Hard work never killed anybody.” Cheney would cling to that notion for decades, no matter how stressful his jobs were.

Cheney also figured his heart problem was a one-time thing, that by quitting smoking he’d live happily ever after. That false sense of security lasted six years. His next heart attack came four years later prompting a quadruple bypass and a regiment of cholesterol-lowering drugs. A few months later, he was skiing, proving he was healthy enough to become Secretary of Defense under President George Bush.

When George W. Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate in 2000, Cheney responded that health was his priority -– that if he felt anything during a vice presidential debate, he’d immediately go to a hospital. Indeed, during his tenure, Cheney had a small heart attack and needed an angioplasty and astent. He received a defibrillator, and later needed another operation to replace the batteries.

“As we were leaving the office, in January 2009, the president got the White House medical unit together one day in the Rose Garden,” Cheney said. “He and I went out to thank them for all they’d done for us over those eight years. He said they really did a fantastic job. Then he turned to me and said, `Frankly, I never expected you to be able to get him through these whole eight years.’ He laughed and everybody else laughed, and I was thankful.”source

What Every Woman Should Know about Breast Cancer?

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breast cancer question and answers

Today’s breast cancer treatments are more successful than ever, and awareness of the importance of breast exams, mammograms, and early detection is high. Yet women are still dying of this highly curable disease. Dennis Citrin, MB, ChB, PhD, medical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Zion, Illinois, answers three questions that everyone should know about breast cancer.

breast cancer question and answers

Q. What is breast cancer?

A. Breast cancer is not one disease but many. Understanding the biology of breast cancer is critical to making any treatment decisions. Most breast cancers originate from the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast. There is a wide spectrum of breast cancers that range from very slow-growing cancers, which are easily treated and pose little threat to the patient’s life if properly treated, to highly malignant, very aggressive and fast-growing cancers.

Q. What are some of the risk factors for developing breast cancer?

A. Unfortunately, there is no single factor identified as the cause of breast cancer, but there are some factors that do increase the risk for developing breast cancer. These include gene mutations (BRCA and others); family history of breast or ovarian cancer, previous history of breast cancer, reproductive factors (early onset of periods, late menopause, no full-term pregnancies), estrogen therapy, previous radiation to neck or chest as child or young adult (e.g. for Hodgkin’s Disease), fibro-cystic disease of the breast with abnormal cells present (doctors refer to this as atypical ductal hyperplasia or ADH) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).

Q. What three things should women diagnosed with breast cancer know?

A. First, it’s natural that every woman who is told that she has breast cancer will be fearful, but it’s important to remember that breast cancer is a highly treatable disease and most patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer can confidently expect to be totally cured. Second, don’t delay seeking medical advice if you feel a lump in your breast or have any other concerns about your breast. Third, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, follow your doctors’ recommendations and complete your treatment plan. source

Scientists Find Off Switch for Autoimmune Diseases like Multiple Sclerosis

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Scientists Find Off Switch for Autoimmune Diseases like Multiple Sclerosis

In autoimmune conditions, the body turns against itself. Now, researchers are trying an age-old trick to teach the immune system that the body’s cells and proteins are not the enemy.

Western medicine has struggled to find effective treatments for autoimmune diseases. Grave’s disease, lupus, and multiple sclerosis: None has a cure or a simple, universally effective treatment.

For 100 years or more doctors have hoped that the kind of desensitization used to treat allergies — where the immune system learns to tolerate larger and larger doses of the problem substance — would also work for autoimmune diseases. Unable to get the idea to work in practice, doctors have turned to dampening the patient’s entire immune response with medications.

But a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, reports significant progress in retraining the immune system not to turn on itself.

University of Bristol researchers proved their method in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). They started with a “miniscule amount” of myelin, the nerve-insulating protein that the immune system mistakenly attacks in MS. Then they gradually added more, said Graham Britton, a biologist and one of the paper’s authors.

The immune system became progressively less reactive to the myelin. The same cells that had attacked myelin were retrained to recognize it as a friend, rather than a foe.

“You can convert these cells, which are being aggressive and attacking part of the body, to being protective and acting in a way to communicate with the other parts of the immune system to dampen the attack and hopefully lead to an improvement in the disease symptoms,” Britton said.

Scientists Find Off Switch for Autoimmune Diseases like Multiple Sclerosis

A New Take on an Old Idea 

The concept is straightforward, but the devil is in the details, according to Britton and Dr. Bruce Bebo, associate vice president of research discoveries for the National MS Society.

“That concept of introducing very specific immune tolerance to myelin targets is a leading technology for trying to help reduce the symptoms of MS,” said Bebo. “This paper is not definitive, but it is adding to our knowledge about strategies for reducing immune responses to myelin and could ultimately result in strategies to help stop MS.”

The key to success was precision dosing and the way the researchers prepared the myelin.

“The main hurdle up to now is the way that you give that molecule, the form that you give it in,” said Britton. By slicing off bits of the myelin protein small enough to be water-soluble, Britton’s team made them more manageable for the immune system.

Read About Desensitization Treatments for All Types of Allergies »

A Universal Approach to Autoimmune Diseases?

The study has kindled hopes that the same method could work for other autoimmune diseases. There’s reason to think that the same technique would work for other conditions where doctors know exactly what triggering substance, or antigen, the immune system is attacking by mistake.

“For MS, the target of the attack is really well observed. But with some diseases it’s a lot less clear what those antigens are,” Britton cautioned.

Read more About Autoimmune Disease:

Even in MS, getting the method to work for individual patients might pose additional problems, according to Bebo.

“We know the target is myelin and probably proteins, but the target is probably different in different people with MS, and it changes over time. It’s a moving target,” he said. That would mean that each patient might require a slightly different regimen to retrain their immune system.

Even so, the method is likely to lead to much more research into treatments for MS, Grave’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. And that’s what patients are waiting for.Source