Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Embrace Change

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress
– Charles F. Kettering

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
- Socrates

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step."
- C. S. Lewis

An investment in life is an investment in change... When you are changing all the time, you've got to continue to keep adjusting to change, which means that you are going to be constantly facing new obstacles. That's the joy of living. And once you're involved in the process of becoming, there is no stopping.
- Leo F. Buscaglia

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another."
- Anatole France

"Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant."
- Anthony D'Angelo

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The grinding ongoing msery of multiple sclerosis makes the sufferer subject to getting depressed and it is good to have some techniques to balance your thoughts...

Published on May 31, 2012
(Visit: Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores alternatives to treating depression that include cognitive therapy and cognitive mindfulness-based therapy, a new technique that blends mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy techniques to lessen depression, particularly in individuals with recurrent episodes. 

Series: "UCSF Osher Mini Medical School for the Public" [6/2012] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 23799]
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MS Society-funded research aims at helping repair nerves damaged by MS

MS Update

September 4, 2013

Background: What do we know about repair in MS?

The majority of therapies for MS specifically target components of the immune system that are believed to cause damage to tissues in the brain and spinal cord.
Although these ‘immunomodulatory’ treatments are successful in reducing myelin injury, they are unable to repair or regrow myelin that has already been stripped away from nerve cells.
The absence of myelin repair can lead to further deterioration of the exposed nerve cells, which is often the first step towards progressive MS.

Two new publications add to understanding remyelination

Research into how myelin can be repaired following an attack in MS, a process termed remyelination, is gaining momentum. Two recently published MS Society-funded studies show headway in the effort to understand remyelination and the key cellular players involved.
One study comes from the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. First author Dr. Veronique Miron is a MS Society Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee whose research is focused on myelin repair.
The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveals an association between MS and a group of cells called macrophages. Important members of the immune system, macrophages have the ability to recognize foreign invaders and signal the white blood cells to find and kill the invaders.
Recent evidence suggests that macrophages may play a role in promoting inflammation which exacerbates MS disease. Interestingly, other studies demonstrate that macrophages are also capable of boosting regrowth of myelin. Dr. Miron and colleagues are trying to better understand the two-sided role of macrophages in MS.
The second study looks at remyelination from a different angle. Doctoral Studentship recipients Ryan O’Meara and John-Paul Michalski, who work under MS Society-funded senior research Dr. Rashmi Kothary at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, published an article in The Journal of Neuroscience which breaks down the mechanism of oligodendrocyte development.
This information is critical to understanding the capacity for myelin repair in MS as oligodendrocytes are the cells which produce myelin.
In the article, researchers identify the unique role of integrin-linked kinase (ILK), which is a protein essential for oligodendrocyte development and hence myelin production.

Study methods and results:

The study by Dr. Miron and colleagues incorporated a series of advanced animal and cell experiments allowing the researchers to observe, in detail, how macrophages influence MS disease.
They discovered that macrophages can transform into a specific macrophage subtype which promotes repair of myelin.
They also discovered that following loss of or damage to myelin, macrophages release a compound called activin-A, which activates production of more myelin.
Also using animal and cell experiments, O’Meara and colleagues tested the role of ILK in oligodendrocyte development and ability to produce myelin. Data revealed that loss of ILK disrupts the formation of oligodendrocytes and their capacity to produce myelin around nerves. The researchers took the study one step further by determining the mechanisms that are affected by loss of ILK, thus identifying important pathways by which oligodendrocytes produce myelin.


Studies in basic science at the most detailed biological level are imperative in understanding MS. Information from such studies paves the way for the development of treatments that will stop MS in its tracks and lead to improved health. Much work has been done to date to understand the autoimmune nature of MS, but treatments that are designed to curb the effects of immune cells are only partially effective.
“Approved therapies for multiple sclerosis work by reducing the initial myelin injury – they do not promote myelin regeneration. This study could help find new drug targets to enhance myelin regeneration and help to restore lost function in patients with multiple sclerosis.” – Dr. Miron
Decoding the complex process of myelin repair can result in significant changes in the way we treat MS. First, it will help in the development of a new class of therapies designed to enhance the repair process. Such therapies would result in less disruption of communication between neurons in the brain and improved function in the body Second, therapies focused on repair will slow down or halt progression of disability, preventing individuals with MS from entering the progressive stage of the disease. Overall, these two recently published MS Society-funded studies reveal new biological components that, when targeted therapeutically, could potentially rebuild the myelin that has been lost in MS.
“In order to address the goal of remyelination, we must understand how myelination occurs in the first place. Our study has identified ILK as a mediator of myelination, and this knowledge will be useful when considering therapeutic avenues aimed at promoting remyelination.”
– Ryan O’Meara

Miron, VE et al. M2 microglia and macrophages drive oligodendrocyte differentiation during CNS remyelination. Nature Neuroscience 2013 July 21 [Epub ahead of print]
O’Meara, RW et al. Integrin-linked kinase regulates process extension in oligodendrocytes via control of actin cytoskeletal dynamics. The Journal of Neuroscience 2013; 33(23):9781-93

Disponible en fran├žais.
National Research and Programs

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is an independent, voluntary health agency and does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy, but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions.

line Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
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Mild cognitive impairment


Drug nixed for mild cognitive impairment: study

By Sheryl Ubelacker The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Cognitive enhancers — drugs given to Alzheimer’s patients to improve concentration, memory, alertness and moods — do not improve mental function in people with mild cognitive impairment, researchers say.

Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is marked by memory lapses and problems with language, thinking and decision-making that go beyond what’s expected with normal aging, but are not as pronounced as the changes that would signal the decline of dementia.

However, up to 17 per cent of MCI patients do go on in time to develop a dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Doctors sometimes prescribe cognitive enhancers to people with mild cognitive impairment in the hope of helping improve their memory and day-to-day functioning. In Canada, physicians need special authorization to give the medications to people with MCI.

“More and more patients and their families are requesting these medications,”
said Andrea Tricco, a scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who led a study looking at the drugs’ effects on MCI patients.

“It is a form of medication creep in that a lot of people seem to be going to their doctors and asking for them.”

In a review of international studies that tested cognitive enhancers in people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, the Toronto researchers found the drugs had no benefit over the long term and had numerous side-effects.
The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, assessed the results of eight clinical trials that involved almost 5,000 MCI patients, aged 66 to 73. Patients were given one of four cognitive enhancers — donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine — or a dummy pill.
“We found that they weren’t helpful and that actually they also caused harm,”
said Tricco. 

“So they caused significantly more headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, compared to patients who received placebo.”

“Patients and their families should consider this information when requesting these medications,” the authors write. “Similarly, health-care decision makers may not wish to approve the use of these medications for mild cognitive impairment, because these drugs might not be effective and are likely associated with harm.”

Dr. Serge Gauthier, director of the Alzheimer’s disease research unit at McGill University’s Centre for Studies in Aging, said the authors’ conclusions are in line with recommendations of the 2012 Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia.

“We reiterated that this is the wrong stage (of dementia) to treat,” said Gauthier, noting that there are no medications at this point to slow the process of mild cognitive impairment.

“Frankly, the kind of drug you need is often an antidepressant more than an Alzheimer’s-specific drug because (patients) realize there’s a change in their cognitive ability,” he said Monday from Montreal. “They worry it’s going to get worse, and if you need a pill it’s often an antidepressant or something for anxiety.”

However, eventual dementia isn’t a given for all people with mild cognitive impairment; some never get worse, and a few eventually get better, depending on the underlying cause.

Doctors now are able to predict with greater accuracy which MCI patients will go on to develop a full-fledged dementia, using brain scans and tests looking for specific proteins in spinal fluid, said Gauthier.

That has changed how doctors classify patients within the spectrum of mild cognitive impairment and how they should be treated.








You are not your disease

This list of things that Cancer cannot do the the sufferer could just as easily be applied to multiple sclerosis and the limits of the disease.  Some of the ideas are religious and are not an attempt on my part to impart a religious message.  The list was reported as per the original.

Because m.s. can be very isolating, I believe it takes a big toll on your social, love and work life.  I don't believe a chronic, progressive disease leaves many areas of your life and your mental attitudes untouched.  It is up to you to manage your responses to the continual loss of the physical and mental energy required for living well as an active member of our community.

What strategies have you developed to maintain hope in face of a disease that never gets better?


Cancer is limited

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode Faith.

It cannot eat away peace.

It cannot destroy confidence.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut out memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot invade the soul.

It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quenchy the Spirit.

It cannot lessen the power of the Resurrection.

- Author Unknown
(seen on a board at Mayo Clinic)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dean Ornish book 'The Spectrum'

Dean Ornish Diet At a Glance

Our Reviewer Says ...

"Despite its low-fat flaw, the Ornish Diet has a lot of great advice that could help dieters not just lose weight, but learn a series of lifestyle changes that could improve their overall health in general."

At a Glance

The Ornish Diet can be summed up in just three little words: "fat is bad." 

Instead of reducing calories or counting grams, dieters are taught to divide foods into three categories: Foods that you can 'eat freely', 'eat moderately' and foods that the diet bans or 'discourages' you from eating.

The foods that are banned are typically those that are higher in fat, including dairy products, meats, nuts and other foods that have average to high amounts of fat and/or cholesterol.

There are no "phases" or "stages" in the Ornish Diet's "eat more, weigh less" strategy.

Dieters simply begin eating the low-fat foods recommended and avoiding fatty foods in general-your daily caloric intake from fat is kept at around 10 percent. 

The program also delves into showing dieters how to add other healthy habits into their lifestyle, from exercise, meditation, imagery, breathing exercises, etc.


  • Cost: Below average. There aren't any meals and supplements to buy or programs to join, so the diet will only cost you whatever the going rate is for fruits, vegetables and other assorted healthy, low-fat foods at your supermarket.
  • Meals Provided: None.
  • Diet Duration: There are no phases or stages to follow. Dieters being eating whichever foods are good and voiding those considered bad right from the start. The other aspects f the diet-which include recommending exercise, meditation, etc.-are lifestyle changes that the diet makes gradually, but not after any specific amount of time. The Ornish Diet is meant to be a lifetime commitment.
  • Fitness Requirements: The program encourages dieters to gradually increase their activity levels until they are doing some form of moderate-intensity activity for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Time Commitment: Minimal. Because dieters don't have to count or measure their foods as much as other diet plans, the time required to devote to it each day is slightly less than other diets.
  • Eating Out: Easy or difficult, depending on where you go. Eating ala carte can help you pick and choose the right types of foods that match the diet's principles. However, finding actual dishes on the menu that are in line with the diet's strict low-fat, vegetarian-inspired philosophy can be a challenge.
  • Alcohol: Dieters are told to limit their intake as much as possible.
  • Vegetarian-Friendly: Very. In fact, because the diet limits many types of meats-yet pushes dieters to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole-grains-it's probably one of the most vegan-friendly diets out there.
  • Strict/Flexible Eating Plan: Both! The program doesn't really ask dieters to worry about portion sizes or counting calories, making it fairly easy to follow. However, it does divide foods into certain categories, banning certain types of foods for good, including meats

The Dean Ornish Website
Eat More, Weigh Less
Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease
Everday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish


Fitness expert Myatt Murphy is the author of the best-selling books, The Body You Want in the Time You Have, Ultimate Dumbbell Guide and The Men's Health Gym Bible.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Practice meditation for wellness.

*Meditation is an always-available gift of replenishment that we can give to ourselves anytime during our harried work schedule.

Researchers are exploring the benefits of meditation on everything from heart disease to obesity. Sumathi Reddy and Dr. Aditi Nerurkar join Lunch Break.

Doctor's Orders: 20 Minutes Of Meditation Twice a Day

At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, doctor's orders can include an unlikely prescription:

"I recommend five minutes, twice a day, and then gradually increase," said Aditi Nerurkar, a primary-care doctor and assistant medical director of the Cheng & Tsui Center for Integrative Care, which offers alternative medical treatment at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. "It's basically the same way I prescribe medicine. I don't start you on a high dose right away." 

She recommends that patients eventually work up to about 20 minutes of meditating, twice a day, for conditions including insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Integrative medicine programs including meditation are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Recent research has found that meditation can lower blood pressure and help patients with chronic illness cope with pain and depression.  

In a study published last year, meditation sharply reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke among a group of African-Americans with heart disease.

At Beth Israel Deaconess, meditation and other mind-body therapies are slowly being worked into the primary-care setting.

The program began offering some services over the past six months and hopes eventually to have group meditation classes, said Dr. Nerurkar.

Health experts say meditation shouldn't be used to replace traditional medical therapies, but rather to complement them. While it is clear that "when you breathe in a very slow, conscious way, it temporarily lowers your blood pressure," such techniques shouldn't be used to substitute for medications to manage high blood pressure and other serious conditions, said Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health. In general, she said, meditation can be useful for symptom management, not to cure or treat disease.

Dr. Briggs said the agency is funding a number of studies looking at meditation and breathing techniques and their effect on numerous conditions, including hot flashes that occur during menopause. If meditation is found to be beneficial, it could help women avoid using hormone treatments, which can have detrimental side effects, she said.

The most common type of meditation recommended by doctors and used in hospital programs is called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which was devised at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  

Dr. Nerurkar said she doesn't send patients to a class for training. Instead, she and other physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess will demonstrate the technique in the office. "Really it's just sitting in a quiet posture that's comfortable, closing your eyes and watching your breath," she said.

Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., says it isn't clearly understood how meditation works on the body. 

Some forms of meditation have been found to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the body's relaxation response, improves blood supply, slows down heart rate and breathing and increases digestive activity, he said. It also slows down the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol.

Dr. Doraiswamy says he recommends meditation for people with depression, panic or anxiety disorders, ongoing stress, or for general health maintenance of brain alertness and cardiovascular health.

Thousands of studies have been published that look at meditation, Dr. Doraiswamy said. Of these, about 500 have been clinical trials testing meditation for various ailments, but only about 40 trials have been long-term studies. 

It isn't known whether there is an optimal amount of time for meditating that is most effective. And, it hasn't been conclusively shown that the practice causes people to live longer or prevents them from getting certain chronic diseases.

Some short-term studies have found meditation can improve cognitive abilities such as attention and memory, said Dr. Doraiswamy. 

Using imaging, scientists have shown that meditation can improve the functional performance of specific circuits in the brain and may reduce age-related shrinkage of several brain centers, particularly those that may be vulnerable in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

Recent research found that meditation can result in molecular changes affecting the length of telomeres, a protective covering at the end of chromosomes that gets shorter as people age. 

The study involved 40 family caregivers of dementia patients. Half of the participants meditated briefly on a daily basis and the other half listened to relaxing music for 12 minutes a day. 

The eight-week study found that people who meditated showed a 43% improvement in telomerase activity, an enzyme that regulates telomere length, compared with a 3.7% gain in the group listening to music. 

The participants meditating also showed improved mental and cognitive functioning and lower levels of depression compared with the control group.  

The pilot study was published in January in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Government-funded research also is exploring meditation's effect on dieting and depression.

Write to Sumathi Reddy at

A version of this article appeared April 16, 2013, on page D1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Doctor's Orders: 20 Minutes Of Meditation Twice a Day.

More About the Mind and Body
Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain 11/15/2011
Anxiety Can Bring Out the Best 6/18/2012

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