Genetic Effects of Maternal Care

July 30, 2018

A few weeks ago we looked at the epigenetic effects of maternal licking and grooming on animals with Dr. Moshe Szyf's research. This year in the Journal Science Dr. T. Bedrosian and colleagues looked at the effects of environmental inputs on the actual genetic code of a human's brain cells. These changes are unique to the brain and further provide evidence that the brain is plastic and adaptable.

The research was performed in mice, but instead of looking for epigenetic changes as Dr. Szyf did in his

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE VI

July 30, 2018

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Epigenetics and chemicals

10 Americans Study: the story continues

In the last few chapters, we have looked at stress and chemicals as two of the major epigenetic triggers to childhood disease risk. Randy Jirtle's work with the Agouti mouse opened the door for a greater understanding of how our genes can be environmentally manipulated for good or bad.

in 2004, Ken Cook and the senior researchers at the Environmental Working Group undertook a project

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE V

July 23, 2018

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Epigenetics and pregnancy part III - Fathers

From the last two weeks discussion, we have concentrated on mothers and their offspring's DNA being read or silenced by environmental inputs during pregnancy. What about dad's? Do they matter?

Kinship theory is a principle of understanding that there is a battle going on between maternal genes and paternal genes and that they are represented in

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Weight Gain

July 16, 2018

We need new ways of dealing with the obesity epidemic, says David Katz, professor of preventative medicine at Yale University. In an editorial article in the June 2018 Infectious Diseases in Children, he lays out the problem at hand.

"In preventative medicine, we have long expressed to one another in words and at times images, too, how little sense it makes to mop a flooded floor and not turn off the running faucet. No crisis of modern public health better typifies such systemic dysfunction than epidemic, and indeed hyperendemic, obesity in children and adults alike."

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE IV

July 16, 2018

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Epigenetics and pregnancy part II

From last weeks discussion, we have shown that a mother's offspring can have their DNA read or silenced by environmental inputs during pregnancy. The research has been exploding over the last decade and it is clear that almost any environmental signal can potentially have an effect on our genetic codes interpretation at the cellular level.

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Disease Prevention

July 9, 2018

How do we reduce our risk when it comes to disease burdens like asthma or sickle cell disease? I had an excellent discussion with a close friend and hematologist, Dr. Carla West Roberts, yesterday that gave me an idea for this post.

When we historically think of diseases like asthma and sickle cell disease, we have been taught to think in terms of a fixed problem that pharmacological based

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE III

July 9, 2018

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Epigenetics and pregnancy.

Humans, like most organisms on earth, grow and maintain their biological systems through a complex interplay between the environment and their genes. Epigenetics is the study of the ability of environmental signals to silence or activate genes, thus effecting cellular function and species survival. I was once given the analogy that your genes are like a computer hard drive.

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Hepatitis A

July 2, 2018

We have had a Nationwide outbreak of Hepatitis A for over a year. It finally reached the Carolina's this past month. The current NC outbreak has been traced to an employee at a Hardees in Charlotte. This is a potential problem for many unvaccinated Americans.

Hepatitis A is a virally induced inflammatory disease of the liver. It is transmitted from an infected human to another via unclean hands or from contaminated water and food. It is a self limited infection and does not cause chronic liver disease. However, in the acute

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE II

July 2, 2018

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Stress and Women's ability to conceive or the healthy mind is key.

I have long wondered what it takes to reach the mind of a healthful person heading down the wrong path toward disease. I have unfortunately found that the vast majority of people refuse to hear the word of health until disease hits them hard and even then a subset still refuse to listen.

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THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND DAYS FOR YOUR NEW LOVE I

June 25, 2018

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You are ready! You want a baby! Awesome!

In order to do the best job that you can to prepare for your little bundle of joy, we need to do something. We need to understand why and how this system works. In essence, we need to understand the science behind the natural order of things in order to properly conceive, carry a baby to a term gestation birth and ultimately make it to the toddler years where

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Drugs & Depression

June 18, 2017

The association between prescription medication use and depression was analyzed in a study by D. Qato and colleagues in JAMA this week.

Here is the question that they asked: "How frequently do US adults use prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect and is use of these medications associated with concurrent depression?"

Over a 10 year period measuring 2 year cycles they reported that of the over 27,000 people studied 37%

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1,000 Days

June 18, 2018

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Institute for Functional Medicine's Autoimmune conference in Florida. The speaker list was a who's who in the cutting edge world of autoimmune disease understanding. To say that I was inspired is a significant understatement. My personal favorite, Dr. Alessio Fasano, gave a rousing talk about the microbiome and immune function. During the talk, he discussed how the first 1000 days of life for a child are critical as it is the time to which the intestinal

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The Overprotected American Child

June 11, 2018

The Wall Street Journal has an article that is excellent entitled The Overprotected Child. Culturally, we are starting to rebel against the insanity of the overprotected child.

Master Yoda from the Star Wars saga had many great quotes that are appropriate for this discussion.

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Train yourself to let go of everything that you fear to lose

Luke: I can't believe it. Yoda: That is why you fail.

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Surgery and Metabolic Changes

June 11, 2018

Obesity is a complex problem with many contributing factors including a dysfunctional consumer food system that maximizes taste and calories over health benefits coupled with a sedentary American lifestyle and frequent contact with obesogenic chemical toxins. The problem is that the medical system has been relatively ineffectual at moving the needle on obesity towards a healthier paradigm. Americans are very tied to their food choices and emotionally find it very difficult to move away from high calorie sugar, salt and fat laden foods towards whole anti-inflammatory food types like vegetables and fruits. This follows in line with the fact that medicine has been woefully ineffective at curing or even controlling most chronic lifestyle related diseases.

What the American medical system has been very good at over the last few decades is acute disease management and especially surgical interventions. When Dr. Eric Malico and I first started discussing the benefits of gastric surgery to control the obesity epidemic, I never expected to learn that this procedure is wildly beneficial to obese

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Allergies

June 4, 2018

Here is a review of an article that is hot off the presses. My friends at Allergy Choices dropped this in my inbox last week.

Dr. Smit and colleagues found that people that live close to a farm with animals had a 20% reduction in allergy symptoms.

"From the study participants' blood samples, the research team measured allergy antibodies to house dust mites, grass, cats, and dogs.

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Prenatal and Teenage Micronutrients

June 4, 2018

This weeks article is written in collaboration with Dr. Mike Stadler. He is an Obstetrician with a passion for his patients and a preventative bend to his care. Like his partner, Dr. Grey, he is always looking for ways to enhance health with small actionable changes.

Since the early 1990's, the American medical community has recommended prenatal vitamins with folic acid as a supplement for mother's to be prior to and during the first 3 months of pregnancy. The thought was that this synthetic vitamin would be specifically targeting a group of congenital disorders called neural tube defects. These disorders are problems where the spinal cord does not form correctly and causes much childhood morbidity. Later on in the 90's, the government went a little further by adding folic acid to shelf stable foods like breads and cereals with the goal of increasing young women's exposure to the synthetic micronutrient. .

The initial effect of this program was a significant reduction in neural tube defects from 25% to 50% in different studies in different countries.

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The Chain Method

May 28, 2018

When we think about change in ourselves and our children, we need to think about the process of putting one foot in front of the other. In May 16th's piece in The Daily Stoic, there is a a quote from Epictetus that discourses on change.

"If you don't wish to be a hot-head, don't feed your habit. Try as a first step to remain calm and count the days you haven't been angry. I used

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Aggressive Behavior

May 28, 2018

When a parent is faced with aggressive behavior, what should they do? Do you allow the child to holler and carry on? Do you sit there stoic and unresponsive?

Children by nature want to be loved by their parents and to explore the world. They want to make mistakes, be forgiven and loved again. It is really that simple for most kids. The evolutionary advantage of this childhood/teenage mind is the ability to buck social norms that may lead to newer and better ways to live. They see our way but are often looking for better ways to achieve the same or better goals. However, when they feel mistreated or unfairly judged they can often resort to verbal or physical aggressiveness to level the playing field.

Fear is often another genesis of anger and aggression. When a child is scared of losing a sense of self, position in a group, material object that serves a purpose emotionally or others, they may resort to lashing out emotionally.

As a parent, it is our job to stay grounded as the adult in the room and not get emotional as well. Let them have their moment as long as it is not physically

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Obesity Article

May 21, 2018

Over the past 40 years or so, we have seen such a dramatic rise in obesity in young children and teenagers that society is now normalizing the problem into its fabric. We are no longer sure as a populace what size our body should be to be healthy or optimal based on the significant misinformation published by medical and lay press alike.

We are currently trying to fit everyone into nice little boxes based on body mass indexes, appearance and family history.

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Screenagers

May 14, 2018

I have talked many times about the benefits and also the detriments of even moderate amounts of screen time for teenagers as well as the very young. Here is an article that captures many of my thoughts in one concise piece.

It is a quick read.

The take-home point is that for every hour that you spend with a screen is an hour less towards your 10,000 hour goal to be an expert at X.

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