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Hobbled with Medical Bills, Americans Turn to Crowdfunding

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer

Once the province of independent film-makers, rock bands, and start-up entrepreneurs, crowdfunding has now become a vital mode of financing healthcare for thousands of ordinary American families who lack insurance or savings.

AARM Conference to Highlight Gut-Gland Connections

By Erik Goldman

As the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM) gears up for its 12th annual conference this fall in Santa Fe, HPC caught up with AARM conference founder & director, Michael Friedman, ND, for a preview of what's on offer at this year's gathering.

HPC: Michael, are you most excited about in this year's AARM program?

MF: One of the key themes this year is gastrointestinal balance to mitigate GI and related diseases. Guiding a patient toward GI balance can often be an elusive and daunting task, with variable success rate. This conference will highlight new, cutting edge approaches that will finally offer solutions.

Dr. Jorge Flechas and Nathan Brya will be talking about the critical role of nitric oxide (NO) related to GI dysfunction. NO is a fundamental cell-signalling molecule involved in BP regulation, immune function and neurotransmission in the central nervous system and GI tract. NO levels are often overlooked despite being a major contributor to chronic disease. New research reveals that hormone balancing, nutrition and lifestyle strategies can significantly enhance NO production.

Another key aspect of GI health is the intestinal epithelial barrier. When compromised, leaky gut ensues, and that can lead to a sequence of autoimmune, inflammatory, and neopllastic disorders. Recent research has established that Zonulin is the main physiological modulator of intercellular tight junctions involved in trafficking of macromolecules and, therefore, tolerance and immune response balance. When elevated, Zonulin causes excess permeability. Dr. Eugene Zampieron will be sharing all the latest research on this fascinating topic. He will also be covering the latest on fecal transplant and its rapidly expanding role.

HPC: What's different about this year's conference program compared with previous AARMs?

MF: We're very excited that thyroid expert, Dr. Antonio Bianco, will be joining us this year. He's Chief of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at Rush University. His work is contributing significantly to our evolving understanding of thyroid hormone metabolism, which challenges outdated conventional medical beliefs. He also brings clarity to possible misconceptions about thyroid metabolism within the natural medicine profession.

Overall, this year's roster draws from a high-quality pool of MDs, PhDs, and NDs who are all experts in their fields, true to the cross-disciplinary nature of our organization. The location---the Eldorado Hotel in enchanted Santa Fe--is exquisite.

HPC: Where does Restorative Medicine fit into the spectrum of healing disciplines and how does it differ from 'Functional Medicine' or 'Integrative Medicine' ?

MF: Despite the use of different terminology between diverse organizations, i like to believe that we all have more commonalities than differences. Restorative Medicine, like the other disciplines, emphasizes evidence-based treatments rooted in science.

By default, natural medicine tends to attract patients with chronic, difficult-to-diagnose, and difficult-to-treat conditions, which adds extra challenges. That is why we developed a certification program for practitioners to learn how to optimize thyroid function using T3 hormone, nutrients and botanicals.

Because the protocols which were developed by Denis Wilson, MD, have excellent success rates, patients are searching for doctors who know how to provide this type of therapy. The Certification in Restorative Medicine empowers practitioners to use alternate methods for diagnosing hyperthyroidism, which identifies imbalances often missed by standard medical tests.

When patients discover that this is at the root of their illnesses, and they finally get relief, it is a very gratifying feeling.

AARM's annual conference is from  Oct 9-11, at the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, NM.

To Improve Calcium's Efficacy, Add a Side of Collagen

By Erik Goldman

A fixed-dose combination of calcium and collagen, when taken daily along with vitamin D slows bone loss to a greater extent than calcium and vitamin D alone, in post-menopausal women vulnerable to osteoporosis.

The combination, known commercially as KoACT, provides 5 g of calcium-chelated, hydrolyzed collagen, along with 500 mg of elemental calcium and 200 IU of vitamin D in each capsule.
Bahram Arjmandi, PhD, RD, and colleagues at the Department of Nutrition, Food & Exercise Sciences at Florida State University, randomized 39 osteopenic, post-menopausal women to daily supplementation with KoACT or with equivalent doses of calcium carbonate and vitamin D without the collagen.

The objective was to determine how the two supplementation strategies compare in terms of impact on bone loss, bone strength and flexibility.

The investigators measured both total Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and BMD of the lumbar spine and hip at baseline, and also at 6 and 12 months using duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry. They also collected blood to measure serum biomarkers of bone metabolism such as tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) 5B, a marker of bone resorption, and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), an indicator of bone synthesis.

Dr. Arimandi presented the data at the 2014 Experimental Biology conference in the Spring.
KoACT prevented the 12-month loss of whole body BMD to a greater extent than calcium and vitamin D alone (-0.004 vs -0.011; P < 0.05). The investigators observed an overall 1% increase in total body BMD in the KoACT treated patients, compared with those in the control group. The KoACT group also showed slower rates of lumbar BMD loss.

The women in the KoACT group also had reduced levels of TRAP5B, and higher BAP/TRAP5B ratios at 6 months, suggesting a slower rate of bone resorption (Hooshmand S, et al. J Food Nutr Disord).

The FSU authors note that, "The infrastructure of bone, especially in the trabeculae, is rapidly depleted following 5 to 7 years post-menopause. Our overall findings suggest that supplementing the diets of osteopenic post-menopausal women with this calcium-chelated form of hydrolyzed collagen can improve whole-body BMD in a period as short as 3 months."

The findings underscore the point that preventing or slowing progression of osteoporosis requires more than simply increasing availability of minerals like calcium. Clinicians need to look beyond BMD and consider interventions to slow the bone turnover process and to improve the health of the collagen matrix into which calcium is incorporated.



Stock Up on Potassium Iodide, NY Governors Urge

By Erik Goldman

Two former New York State governors joined with a group of prominent physicians and public health advocates to urge the state's residents to stock up on potassium iodide, just in case there's a disaster at of New York's nuclear power plants.

Of particular concern is the Indian Point Energy Center, located on the Hudson River, roughly 30 miles from New York City.

“We cannot minimize the gravity of concern we would have if there was some kind of disaster,” said former governor David Paterson at a news conference about a new report on the effectiveness of potassium iodide (KI) as prophylaxis against radiation-related illnesses such as thyroid cancer.

Paterson was joined by his predecessor, Gov. George Pataki, along with Drs. James Hurley, Irwin Redlener and Eric Braverman--all three of whom are well known within the state's public health and holistic medicine communities.

The group, under the AEGIS of Dr. Braverman's PATH Foundation, issued the report which reviews the science on KI in preventing radiation-induced cancers and outlines weight-based dosing guidelines.

They hold that New Yorkers living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant ought to keep an emergency supply of KI in their houses, much as they would flashlights, batteries or canned goods. It is extremely inexpensive and, if taken within 2 hours of radiation exposure, at the right dose levels (1-2 mg per 10-pounds of body weight), highly effective in protecting the thyroid against radiation-induced damage, especially in children.

The authors note that relatively few people are aware of KI and even fewer of the millions who live near Indian Point keep it handy.

“This is not, in my view, about frightening people,” Gov. Patak insisted.“But we do have to be prepared.”

Dr. Redlener, a pediatrician and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, believes that,
“In general the stability of nuclear power plants is not where it needs to be." He added that state-level response planning for potential nuclear errors, to say nothing of individual emergency preparedness are, “beyond inadequate.”

He said federal funding cuts as well as political resistance are the reasons that KI is not already widely distributed as a matter of course in states that host nuclear power plants. He also claims that the nuclear power industry actively opposes KI distribution because many nuclear power advocates perceive that such a move would amount to an admission that there are potential health risks associated with nuclear power.

Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for Indian Point Energy Center, said he was unaware of any industry resistance to KI distribution. “If this gentleman has any specific examples, then I would be happy to comment on them," he said referring to Dr. Redlener's allegation.

Nappi stressed that the Indian Point facility consistently receives excellent safety ratings from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the PATH Foundation's authors state that to the best of their knowledge there is no immediate threat of a nuclear disaster at Indian Point.

But in the long shadow of the Fukushima catastrophe, such government reassurances should not preclude intelligent and inexpensive precautionary measures.


For Depression, Try Rx'ing a Little “Yo-zac”

By Erik Goldman

Practicing those Downward-Facing Dogs can definitely lead to some upward-facing moods.

Childhood Hypertension Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels

By Erik Goldman

Hypertension in children—a troubling and increasingly common problem for the under-20 crowd—is related to low vitamin D status, a finding that suggests the condition may be reversible with a simple and inexpensive nutritional intervention.



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