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How to Limit Your Exposure to Phthalates

Posted: January 11, 2020 at 9:21 am

Phthalates are ester compounds used to change the characteristics of plastic products and products containing plastic. Depending on the type and concentration of Phthalates in the product, it alters the malleability and strength of the product. Phthalates are in a wide variety of products. In addition to being “plasticizers” that impact the structure of plastics, they also act as lubricants in skin products like make-up.

Phthalates are incredibly useful and good at what they do. The problem is that they can be very bad for you. Phthalates belong to a class of chemicals known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. These are chemicals that have the ability to alter the way that your body produces or utilizes various hormones, like Testosterone, Estrogen, and Human Growth Hormone.

In particular, many Phthalates have the ability to reduce the ability of Testosterone to function in the body, leading to reduced Testosterone Levels and increased Estrogen dominance. Phthalates have been correlated with postnatal issues related to Testosterone inhibition, and in high enough concentrations, they can lead to birth defects (though these concentrations are very high). In adults and adolescent males, Phthalates have been clinically shown to reduce Testosterone Levels and sperm health in direct correlation to their concentrations in the blood stream.

What Are Some Examples of Phthalates?

There are a number of forms of Phthalates. Some of the most common Phthalates are BBzP, DEHP, DEP, and DBP:

BBzP – This chemical is used in many products, from artificial leather, to road cones, to PVC pipe. This product is associated with an increased risk of eczema in children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of the chemical.

DEHP – This is the most commonly used form of Phthalate, and is used primarily as a plasticizing agent. This chemical is widely used in medical tubing devices such as air tubes, dialysis bags, and catheters. It is also used in many food packages, although it is regulated that DEHP can only used in packaging for products that are water-based. Cheeses and other fats are particularly vulnerable to DEHP, because fat can draw the chemical into the food product under certain circumstances.

DEP – Whereas most common Phthalates are solid at room temperature, DEP is actually a liquid at room temperature, and this can be transmitted much more easily. DEP is popularly used in fragrances and cosmetics, to help the products stick to the skin more easily. They are often used as ingredients in pill coatings. There is evidence that high exposure to these chemicals can have adverse effects for people that work with them in high doses at a regular basis, but this form of Phthalate appears to have a low risk of toxicity, although more research is needed.

DBP – This form of Phthalate, like DEHP, is often used as a plasticizer, but its characteristics also make it well suited for printing ink and adhesive products. It is also often used as an ingredient in solvents that are designed to kill germs. This product was recently used in products such as kids toys and nail polish, but has been banned in the United States for this purpose due to concerns regarding the products Endocrine Disrupting characteristics.

How Are Phthalates Commonly Used?

If you have any knowledge regarding Phthalates, then you likely known that they are frequently used in drink and food containers, but they are in a lot of other products that you may use every day. Each year, there are about one billion pounds of this chemical manufactured around the globe on an annual basis.

This means that, although it can be incredibly beneficial to your health to limit your exposure to Phthalates, there really is no way to cut off your exposure completely. In fact, 95% of Americans are exposed to levels of Phthalate high enough to be detected in a urine sample.

Here is a list of products that commonly contain Phthalate compounds:

Medical Products, including IV bags and plastic medical tubing
Car Interior, including the gearshift, dashboard, and steering wheel
Childrens Toys
Raincoats
Shower Curtains
Wire Coating
Vinyl
Carpet
Pesticides and Repellents
Nail Polish
Most Products with Artificial Fragrances
Deoderant
Hair Spray
Perfume
Make Up

Phthalates in the Environment

We are not only exposed to Phthalates through man made products, but also through the water that we drink and the food that we eat. Dairy products are frequently laced with Phthalate products for example. Phthalates are drawn to fat, and do not react directly with water, and cheeses and meats often contain measurable levels of Phthalates.

Your tap water can even be tainted with Phthalates, resulting from exposure to agricultural runoff and industrial byproducts that may not be completely filtered out during the purification process. Also, since pesticides usually contain these Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, your vegetables and fruits are also exposed to these chemicals, unless they come from sources that explicitly do not use these products.

How Can Phthalates Effect My Health?

So, we basically live, eat, and breath Phthalates, at least to a certain extent. We take them in through the skin, through the air we breath, and through the products we eat and drink. After they are absorbed, they pass directly into our bloodstream.

There are some groups that claim that Phthalates are perfectly safe, but most of these groups are industry lobbyist groups, including the American Chemistry Council. In spite of the reassurances of these industry groups, there is a long history of research that says that many Phthalates are powerful Endocrine Disruptors. From the 1940s, we've had evidence that Phthalates have the capacity to inhibit hormone balance, specifically with regard to the body's use of Testosterone. This can affect both sexes significantly, but obviously has a greater impact men and boys.

Fetuses exposed to high levels of Phthalates prenatally are actually more likely to experience issues such as partially descended testicles or slightly under-developed sexual organs. Exposure during adolescence and adulthood reduces Testosterone Levels in the blood stream, which increases the risk of Low-T and the various conditions from hypertension to heart disease that are associated with the condition.

What Are Hormones and What Do They Do?

Hormones are chemicals that are produced by the human body that keep our systems functioning in sync. Hormones help organs throughout the body know what the others are up to, and encourage certain processes based upon the needs of the body.

As anyone who has ever met a teenager knows, hormones affect emotion and psychology as well as physical and physiological processes. The brain is the primary control center for hormone production and balance, although many hormones are produced by other parts of the body.

All of the glands that produce hormones are collectively referred to as the endocrine system, and any outside influence that alters the natural function of these hormones are known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

Phthalates almost universally belong to this class of compounds, because, when introduced to the human body in sufficient quantity, they block or copy the normal function of hormones present within the body and disrupt hormone balance, which leads to a variety of negative effects, dependent upon the specific chemical at play.

Examples of the Endocrine Disrupting Capabilities of Phthalates

A study in 2007 discovered that adult male patients with elevated Phthalate Levels were more likely to show signs of Insulin Resistance and Obesity.
A study in 2009 conducted in Taiwan showed that Elevated Phthalate Levels were associated with early puberty and breast growth in girls.
Women that work in an atmosphere with high levels of ambient Phthalates during pregnancy have up to triple the average risk of having a child with hypospadias, a urethral birth defect.
Boys that experience elevated levels of specific Phthalates prenatally show statistically significantly less masculine characteristics during childhood, as measured by their predisposition to play fighting and playing with toys gender-associated with boys, such as trucks.
Another Taiwanese study, conducted in 2009, showed that Phthalate exposure can alter normal sexual development in the womb.

What Plastic Products do Not Contain Phthalates?

Although Phthalates are present in many soft plastic products, they are not ubiquitous. For example, most food containers, water containers, and plastic wraps do not contain Phthalates. On the other hand, some of these products do contain chemicals which are closely related to Phthalates, which may also be problematic under certain circumstances or at certain concentrations of exposure. For this reason, if you are interested in limiting your exposure to Phthalates, you may wish to avoid plastics as much as possible.

Seven Way to Limit Phthalate Exposure

1. Be conscientious when buying perfumes and any products with fragrance. This can be difficult, because Phthalates are rarely listed directly on the list of ingredients. Instead, you'll likely see a blanket term such as Parfum or Fragrance. If you see these terms in the ingredients, this almost universally means that Phthalates are an ingredient in the product.

What To Look For—Products with labels such as Phthalate Free, or labels which reassure that they do not contain synthetic ingredients, or that they only use essential oils for for fragrance.

2. Did you know that the recycling code on the side of plastic containers refers to the ingredients used in the production of that product? Codes 1, 2, and 5 mean that the product does not contain Phthalates. 3 and 7 indicate that the product likely has Phthalates or Bisphenol-A, another potent Endocrine Disrupting Chemical which impacts Testosterone-Estrogen Balance.

3. If you have children, be wary of old toys made of plastic. Your stuffed animals and other non-plastic products will be just fine, but laws banning the use of Pthalates in children's products was only enacted in 2009, so many old toys made of soft plastic contain these Phthalates. Hard plastic toys like Legos and Transformers should be just fine, but soft-plastic products should be discarded.

4. Limit your use of plastic of any kind. Some exposure to plastics is inevitable, but the less that you interact with plastic products, especially those associated with food and drink, the more that you expose yourself to Pthalates. It's important to never cook your food in a plastic container, because the elevated temperatures speed up the leaching process.

If you must use plastics, opt for plastics which you know to be free of Phthalates, even if they contain Bisphenol-A. If you need a good, tough container for food or drink, use products made of glass, silicone, or stainless steel.

5. Go organic! In the past, this wasn't as useful of an option, as there were few regulations regarding what amounts to organic food, but today, there are trustworthy organizations which provide their seal of approval to true organic products. Organic-certified fruits, vegetables, and meats are not allowed to use pesticides or treated sewage as fertilizer.

Because so many of the Phthalates we are exposed to from day to day come to us through our diet, it is significantly important to choose foods wisely if you are looking to limit your consumption of Phthalates.

6. Buy a water filter! Many water pipes contain Phthalate, most commonly DEHP. Appropriate carbon filters have the ability to draw DEHP out of your drinking water, protecting you from Phthalates. There is some evidence that the filtration of DEHP might not be perfect, but it is still highly effective. If you are willing to make the investment, nano-filtration is a superior option.

7. Do your research and vote with your wallet. There are many companies that make a concerted effort not to use Phthalates. There are also companies that have bypassed these chemicals from the start!

Although there is no way to protect yourself entirely from Phthalates and other similar Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, you can take steps to limit your exposure. The body can handle a certain concentration of these chemicals without any significant issues, so if you distance yourself from these chemicals when possible you can keep their influence in a more acceptable range.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Testosterone Therapy and the Heart-Is It Worth the Risk?

Posted: January 7, 2020 at 12:38 am

Testosterone Hormone Therapy continues to grow in popularity. In fact, over the last decade, the number of patients using Testosterone has tripled in size, and the Low-T Treatment industry is a huge national and international enterprise, with over two billion dollars spent on Testosterone Therapy Products in the United States alone.

How Many Men Use Testosterone?

As of 2010, 1.3 million people in the United States were prescribed Low-T Therapy. In just three years, this number grew to 2.3 million. This suggests that patients and their doctors believe in the potential benefits of Testosterone, in spite of the fact that certain groups, including the FDA, have not made a definitive statement on the potential effectiveness of the treatment, nor its heart risks.

In spite of its great potential benefits for many men, there are some potential health risks associated with Testosterone. There is a large amount of debate in the medical community regarding the effect that Testosterone Therapy Treatments have on the heart. Some studies seem to suggest that Testosterone increases the risk of heart issues, whereas others provide evidence that Testosterone Therapy may actually promote heart health.

Research Unclear Regarding the Risks of Low-T Treatment

Even recent studies have been published whose results seem entirely at odds. One study produced in July by the University of Texas, for example, showed no evidence that Testosterone Treatments have any negative effect upon the heart, whereas a study produced by UCLA provided evidence that men with heart disease that take Testosterone have twice the risk of heart attack as compared to their healthier peers.

Furthermore, a review published just days ago by the Food and Drug Administration showed that it could not determine any benefit or risk associated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy. The research survey comes to the conclusion that, based on current available evidence, Andropause does not lead to changes in sexual ability and energy level. They do not rule out the potential for Testosterone Therapy to provide benefits for patients with Age-Associated Low-T, but they do not have the evidence to conclude that Testosterone Therapy for men with Andropause is a necessary treatment.

Though there are studies which seem to suggest that Testosterone Therapy may be associated with Cardiovascular issues, the United States FDA does not consider any of these studies to be ultimately convincing.

Because of this lack of concrete evidence, there are a wide variety of opinions regarding Testosterone Therapy. Many physicians have been providing the treatment for years or even decades, and believe that they have seen the benefits of the treatment firsthand.

Testosterone Study Results Depend on Their Design

Dependent on the way that the studies were designed, Low-T Studies have come to a wide variety of conclusions. Some studies show that Testosterone appears to be perfectly safe for the heart, or even somewhat protective. Other studies suggest the opposite, that Testosterone is a danger to heart health. Even among studies which present evidence that Testosterone negatively impacts the heart, some studies suggest this threat is minor, whereas other studies suggest that the danger is more significant. Still more studies provide evidence that this risk is connected to the underlying condition of the patient's heart.

UCLA Testosterone Heart Health Study

As we mentioned earlier, one study published by UCLA suggests that Testosterone Treatment is correlated with heart risk. This study analyzed the medical data of almost 56,000 males that used Testosterone. They found that in the first three months of therapy, patients experienced twice as many heart attacks as they did in the year previous to engage in treatment, if they were over the age of 65 or otherwise suffered from heart disease.

Of course, this could be the result of underlying health issues which encouraged the patients to seek Testosterone Therapy. Also, this could also simply be evidence that people that have had a heart attack in the last year are less likely to seek Testosterone Treatment.

University of Texas Testosterone-Heart Health Study

The study conducted at the University of Texas, on the other hand, evaluated 6000 males, all at least 66 years of age that were currently taking Testosterone Replacement Therapy. They evaluated that data in comparison to 19,000 males at least 66 years of age that did not use any form of Testosterone.

In this study, there was no significant evidence that suggested that Testosterone Restoration had any impact on heart attack risk among patients. In this study, the evidence even suggested that patients that are at an elevated risk of heart attack may actually have a lower chance of having a heart attack if they are on Testosterone. Future research will have to be conducted, of course, in order to corroborate this evidence.

Why Do Different Studies Reveal Different Results?

On it's face, it would appear quite strange that the results of these studies differ so significantly. However, there are some important differences. For example, the Texas Testosterone Study only evaluated the condition of older men that took Testosterone Therapy, whereas the UCLA research cast a wider net. Also, the Texas Study was limited to patients that were currently on Medicare, and monitored patients that were treated from the years 1997 and 2005.

One of the lead researchers of the UCLA study was doctor Sander Greenland, a professor of statistics and epidemiology. He explains that an important area of research with regard to monitoring the effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy is to look at how Low-T Treatment effects patients during various times. In his case, he and his associates were interested in how Testosterone potentially affects the heart in the initial three months of treatment.

By What Mechanisms Would Testosterone Therapy Impact the Risk of Heart Attack?

Another reason why there is debate with regard to how Testosterone Therapy might impact heart health is because there are competing hypotheses that simultaneously at least hold some merit. For example, there is evidence that suggests that healthy Testosterone Levels promote improved body composition, and also promote healthy cholesterol while reducing inflammation.

On the other hand, there are some mechanisms by which Testosterone could also increase the risk of heart disease. For example, men taking Testosterone Treatments may be more prone to fluid retention, which could possibly increase the risk of hypertension and other conditions.

How Does the Body of Research Stand with Regard to Testosterone Therapy and Heart Health?

It really depends on who you ask. The lead researcher of the Texas Study, Dr. Anawalt, says that there is no overwhelming evidence that shows that Testosterone Treatments, when administered appropriately, elevate the risk of heart conditions such as stroke and heart attack. There is also no strong evidence that Testosterone increases the formation of blood clotting.

Although the body of evidence is not complete, the Food and Drug Administration chooses to err on the side of caution, demanding that all Testosterone Therapy Products display a clear warning to inform the patient of the potential risk of blood clotting. Dr. Greenland feels that the FDA warning is justified, and that more research has discovered a link between blood clots and Testosterone than have given the all clear.

Of course, in spite of their disagreement with regard to the potential risk to the patient, most Hormone Therapy and Endocrinology experts do believe that Low-T Treatment can be incredibly beneficial for many patients, even with these increased risks.

What is Low-T, and How Common is the Condition?

The National Institutes of Health estimate that around five million American males suffer from Low Testosterone. Often, Low Testosterone is related to natural changes that occur during aging which suppress the production of the hormone. Testosterone is incredibly important for both sexes, especially men, who produce the hormone in much greater concentrations.

Testosterone is responsible for supporting reproductive health, and it is also a vital anabolic factor which promotes bone and muscle health while keeping fat in check. Testosterone also has a potent psychological influence, and Low-T is associated with low libido, anxiety, irritability and depression.

It is important to specify that Testosterone Deficiency is not a disease, but a condition which is a side-effect of underlying health issues which impede hormone health. Testosterone is produced via a complex mechanism which involves various organs, including the testes, adrenal glands, pituitary, and hypothalamus, and any disorder that disrupts this balance can lead to Testosterone Deficiency.

In order to be diagnosed with Low-T, the patient must display symptoms associated with Low Testosterone while also displaying clinically low levels of the hormone via blood testing. Because Testosterone Levels are variable, these levels should be measured twice, both in the morning, when Testosterone Levels are at their highest and most consistent.

Who Should Think About Testosterone Therapy?

Testosterone Replacement is available in a variety of FDA-approved forms, including Testosterone Injections, Testosterone Creams, and Testosterone Patches. Testosterone is approved for patients which are unable to produce sufficient Testosterone to meet the needs of the body as a result of underlying clinical issues.

Testosterone is often prescribed off-label for other non-FDA approved uses as well. Testosterone is not explicitly FDA-Approved for Andropause, but is widely prescribed for such purposes. Testosterone is also often prescribed to women as a treatment to restore libido and relieve the symptoms of Menopause.

How Low is Too Low?

Every patient responds to Low-T in his own way, but, according to the Endocrine Society, Low-T is associated with Testosterone Concentrations in the blood stream under 300 ng/dl. Of course, some patients may experience these Low Testosterone Levels without experiencing any issues associated with the disorder, so patients must also display symptoms of their diagnosed deficiency.

Who Should Use Testosterone Therapy?

Before being prescribed Testosterone, it is important to undergo blood testing to confirm the diagnosis. Often, physicians will prescribe their patients Testosterone without doing these important tests which can reveal the deficiency, which could potentially place patients at risk.

But, for men that suspect that they may be suffering from Low-T, there's no reason not to visit a doctor. If lab testing confirms Testosterone Deficiency, Low-T Therapy will likely produce real and significant results. For men that have been clinically diagnosed with Low-T that show no major risk factors for heart attack or other conditions which can potentially be exacerbated by Low-T Treatment, they should certainly think about taking advantage of the treatment option, although they should be evaluated by a medical professional at least once every six months to one year in order to make sure that the treatment is working as expected with no serious, unwanted side-effects.

Who Should Not Use Testosterone Therapy?

Of course, some men should avoid Testosterone altogether until the safety profile of the treatment is more clearly delineated. For example, men with a prior history of heart attack should avoid Testosterone.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Comprehensive Therapy Regimen Shown to Reverse Symptoms of Early Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Decline

Posted: January 5, 2020 at 11:04 pm

In a groundbreaking new clinical trial, three patients suffering from mild to moderate degenerative memory loss experienced a reversal of their misfortune as a result of a new medical regimen.

Alzheimer's was first outlined around a century ago, although it has surely existed throughout human history. And for one hundred years, scientists and medical professionals attempted without success to find treatments which would benefit Alzheimer's patients, leaving them resigned to neurological degeneration and the meager benefits of palliative care.

Fortunately, a new and revolutionary treatment regimen may be the beginning of a sea-change with regard to Alzheimer's therapy and treatment. In this study, ten participants were provided a comprehensive and personalized regimen with the ultimate goal of reversing their memory loss. In the end, nine out of the ten patients benefited from the treatment, experiencing enhancements in their memory capabilities in the first three to six months of treatment.

Memory Issues Significantly Impacted Patients

Out of the nine patients, six had major issues which made their work difficult, or forced them to quit their jobs. Every one of those six patients was able to either improve the quality of their work or get back in the work force as a result of the benefits provided by their treatment.

This clinical trial is long term, and 2.5 years after the first treatment regimen began, all patients have retained all of the benefits of their memory therapy. Patients in this preliminary study suffered from a few different forms of degenerative memory loss, including Subjective Cognitive Impairment, Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer's Disease. Although the personalized treatment was successful for patients suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, the one patient that did not respond effectively to treatment was deep into the progression of Alzheimer's, and was simply too far gone for the treatment to be successful.

How Were Patients Impacted by Memory Loss?

The following are three patient profiles, of the ten patients that were treated:

One patient had been struggling with a deteriorating memory for two years. She was still working, but issues with her memory were getting in the way of her ability to perform her job, which involved data analysis and creating reports. In addition to her issues at work, she was also beginning to have trouble correctly remembering the names of her pets, and she was starting to lose her sense of place and direction while driving.

A second patient was also having issues at work, specifically with regard to his schedule and his coworkers. He would often simply forget the names of the coworkers he spent extensive time with, and he also had trouble remembering the combination to his gym locker.

A third patient had significant memory issues. In order to keep track of her thoughts and her schedule, she had to record everything important into her iPad. Her kids started to notice problems as well. For example, she would often forget what she was saying in the middle of her thoughts, and she would frequently forget to request that her children perform certain tasks, while later on believing that she had done so.

As you can tell, all three of these patients were having major issues in their life because of their degenerating memory.

Comprehensive Therapeutic Approach First of Its Kind

This clinical research trial was the result of the combined efforts of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research. Of all of the studies conducted in the last century regarding Alzheimer's disease, this is the only study thus far that suggests that memory and neurological health can be maintained and improved in at-risk patients through the use of an intensive 36-point therapy regimen that focuses on a variety of aspects of one's life. The following is a short list of the aspects of this comprehensive approach:

  • Medications
  • Supplements
  • Sleep Optimization
  • Physical Activity
  • Mental Stimulation
  • Diet

Using this comprehensive approach, it appears possible to reverse the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's in at least some patients.

This study was released in the academic journal, Aging, and the lead researcher of the study is Dr. Dale Bredesen, the Director of the Easton Center and the University of California-Los Angeles. Dr. Bresdon is also an Augustus Rose Professor of Neurology at the University.

The following image is that of an Alzheimer's Patient. Patients with Alzheimer's have smaller brains than healthy patients, the result of deterioration of tissues within the brain.

Drugs Alone Ineffective at Treating Alzheimer's

For decades, researchers have attempted to find a pharmaceutical drug which effectively treats Alzheimer's Disease and its related memory degeneration, to no avail. There are a few drugs that have been found that can mitigate the symptoms very slightly, but no drugs have been effective at changing the course of the disease or even slowing its progression. Over the last ten years, there has been over a billion dollars spent worldwide in an effort to treat Alzheimers, and scores of clinical trials have produced little tangible benefit.

Of course, there are a variety of other chronic conditions which have been treated effectively through the use of combination therapy, but these approaches have not been thoroughly tested in the paradigm of memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Conditions such as HIV, cancer, and heart disease are not treated particularly effectively by one particular drug, but by a combination or medical approaches including pharmaceutical, nutritional, physical, and/or radiation therapy. By combining approaches, huge strides have been made in the treatment of these conditions. For example, HIV/AIDS, which was practically a death sentence in the 1980s, is simply a chronic condition for many men and women across the country that are able to live perfectly normal lives in spite of having a once life-threatening disease.

As We Learn More About Alzheimer's, Successful Treatments Are Just Around the Corner

The last two generations of Alzheimer's Disease research have changed the way that doctors think about the disease. It is apparent and obvious that genetics plays a central role in the disease, but a variety of other factors are also at play in how Alzheimer's Disease takes place and progresses. Some have even likened Alzheimer's Disease to other chronic and degenerative conditions such as Osteoporosis. As a result of this research, it has become apparent that a broad approach to Alzheimer's is likely necessary to produce real results, as no individual aspect of the ideal treatment will be as potent as the sum of its parts.

Although no “cure” or effective treatment has been previously found with regard to Alzheimer's, that is not to say that strides have not been made in the science of understanding Alzheimer's and similar degenerative neurological diseases. For example, a number of studies have implicated specific different factors which appear to contribute to the incidence and pathology of Alzheimer's, but no single treatment based off of that acquired knowledge has been effective at treating Alzheimer's.

No Single Approach Will Cure Alzheimer's

All science to this point suggests that Alzheimer's disease is brought on by a number of factors, and that, although one form of treatment may be scientifically sound, it may not produce significant benefit unless combined with other approaches which affect other aspects of the condition. It appears that combining treatment options into a synergistic program can provide real results for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Where previous studies failed, Dr. Bredesen found inspiration for his combination therapeutic approach. He feels that these “silver bullet” Alzheimer's treatment strategies don't take into account the full breadth of the causes of the disease, and that is why they don't benefit the patient sufficiently.

Alzheimer's a Degenerative Disease Related to Lifestyle?

In his clinical research, Dr. Bredesen has discovered significant evidence that the root cause of Alzheimer's Disease is the result of a malfunction in the way that nerve cells interact with one another to form a cohesive memory. In an optimally functioning brain, there are processes which support the maintenance of important memories while also allowing unimportant memories to be forgotten. It appears that some people have brains which malfunction over time, and the brain starts to suppress and delete memories that are important, from where you left your keys to the names of your coworkers or even your family members.

Previous Hypotheses Regarding Alzheimer's May be Incorrect

This goes against the current popular hypotheses regarding the source of Alzheimer's disease. It is commonly hypothesized that amyloid beta peptides are the source of Alzheimer's, believed to be proteins run-amok in the brain, degenerating brain matter, beginning in the areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function. Although many researchers believe that these proteins are toxic, they do provide vital functions in the healthy brain. They are proteins that are supposed to promote the deterioration of memories which are unimportant.

Dr. Bredesen hypothesizes that the issue isn't that these Amyloid Beta Peptides are toxic, per se, but because they are normal proteins in the brain that are functioning in overdrive as a result of other underlying factors, which contributes to the degeneration associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

This means that, in essence, Alzheimer's is the result of a collection of factors which cause these proteins to act in a degenerative fashion, and that these proteins specifically are not the root cause of Alzheimer's, but the way that those causes manifest themselves in the brain of the patient.

Alzheimer's Treatment Analogy

Dr. Bredesen uses an analogy to describe how his approach works—Say that you have a roof filled with leaks. Each leak needs to be patched to keep rain out of the house. The roof represents the brain, and each hole in the roof represents a single symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Each Alzheimer's drug has the capacity to patch one of these holes, but simply patching one hole isn't going to secure your roof, and you're still going to be in a heap of trouble. A comprehensive approach to Alzheimer's seeks to use a variety of different approaches in order to patch each individual hole, resulting in a leak-proof roof and a brain in recovery.

Therapeutic Treatment Regimen Designed to Meet the Patient's Needs

The approach that Dr. Bredesen has designed is specific to each patient and his or her needs. Each patient goes under thorough evaluation, in order to figure out exactly what is going on in the patient's brain, and what is leading to the cognitive and memory issues plaguing the patient.

Lets take one patient in particular, a patient that found herself getting lost on her way home from work. The following are the changes made to the patient's life that led to her cognitive recovery:

  • A nightly dose of melatonin
  • Twenty minutes of meditation, twice each day
  • Yoga classes to relieve stress
  • Increased consumption of wild-caught fish, fruits, and vegetables
  • Elimination of processed food, gluten products, and simple carbohydrates
  • CoQ10 supplementation
  • Fish oil capsules
  • Vitamin D3 Supplementation
  • Methylcobalamin Supplementation
  • Seven-eight hours of sleep each night
  • Daily use of electric toothbrush and electric flosser
  • Thirty minutes of exercise at least four times per week
  • No food for 12 hours after dinner and before breakfast, and no food three hours before she went to bed
  • Reinstatement of Hormone Replacement Therapy, which she had used in the past

All ten patients followed a unique regimen, but each regimen did take cues from the regimen listed above. By following the detailed and personalized program assigned to them, all of the patients but one experienced improved memory, and were able to sustain that improved memory over the course of an extended period of time. The patients are still under treatment, and still being followed to assess the long term effectiveness of the treatment.

Of course, Dr. Bredesen notes, that this study is the first of its kind, and was not fully controlled. In order to more fully assess the effectiveness of the treatment, a future study will be needed with a wider array of patients as well as a more controlled atmosphere. Of course, all signs point to the success of a program such as the one that Dr. Bredesen prescribed to his clinical patients, but the specifics need to be more sufficiently ironed out.

Alzheimer's Treatment Appears Effective, yet Complex

The main issue with this therapy regimen is that it is incredibly complex. Because of how many parameters the patients are supposed to follow, it is inevitable that the patients will have a difficult time sticking to every aspect of the regimen as prescribed. In fact, none of the ten participants were able to follow the therapy regimen perfectly. The two primary issues that the patients and their helpers had with the treatment was that they had to take so many pills each day, and that the lifestyle and nutrition guidelines were a huge change to their normal day-to-day routine.

However, Total Adherence Unnecessary for Alzheimer's Treatment to be Effective

In a way, both the complaints and the inability of the patients to follow their personalized programs to a T, is beneficial to proving the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease as described in Dr. Bredesen's hypothesis. That the patients had to undergo a significant lifestyle change showed that their current lifestyle was one that was not conducive to optimal health, both physically or psychologically.

Secondly, the fact that the patients were able to benefit greatly from the treatment without following it strictly provides evidence that Alzheimer's disease is not the result of any single factor, but a collection of factors which contribute to neurodegeneration. By treating multiple factors of that degeneration simultaneously, it is possible to produce real and significant gains in cognitive health and memory capacity, but each factor of treatment plays only a small, synergistic role. Even limited non-compliance specific to each patient still led to results.

Alzheimer's Treatment Benefits both Body and Mind

In addition to providing neurological and psychological benefits, it is also notable that this therapeutic regimen also led to a significant improvement in overall health as well as body composition. Many drugs which are currently used in an attempt to treat and mitigate Alzheimer's actually have negative side-effects which can deteriorate both health and body composition.

Dr. Bredesen is cautious, as any scientist should and must be, but he does admit that the results of the study are incredibly promising. And, given the lack of success with other Alzheimer's protocols, it makes a major statement that this study had a 90% success rate, with the only patient that did not respond being in a significantly poor neurological state.

Future Study Considerations

With the efficacy of the treatment illuminated, there are a variety of other questions that must be answered, and those questions can only be answered with a full-scale clinical trial. The following questions must be answered:

  • How deep into cognitive decline can this treatment regimen reverse Alzheimer's Disease?
  • Does this treatment regimen produce long-term or life-long results?
  • How much improvement can the average patient expect to see from such a treatment?
  • Is there a difference in effectiveness dependent upon a patient's family history of Alzheimer's Disease?

As men and women in the United States live longer and longer, preserving neurological health becomes one of the biggest concerns of aging patients. As treatments for cardiovascular disease and heart disease become more advanced and mortality rates from these conditions decline, the next big issue that must be tackled to achieve longevity is treating conditions like Dementia and Alzheimer's which become more common as a patient enters their seventies, eighties, and beyond.

Alzheimer's Is an American and Global Epidemic

Alzheimer's disease is common in America, with almost 5.5 million elderly patients with the disease. Across the world, there are more than thirty million patients with the condition. As populations worldwide continue to live longer and longer, it becomes more and more important to figure out a way to effectively treat or prevent Alzheimer's. In 36 years, it is believed that as many as 13 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease, a fraction of the 160 million people world wide that will likely experience the condition.

As men and women lose the ability to sufficiently take care of themselves as a result of cognitive degeneration, the societal costs of the condition become significant for a family, and across a society, the scale is astronomical. Finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's is one of the most important areas of study in medicine today. With no cure or effective preventative treatment, the cost of Alzheimer's treatment alone could leave Medicare bankrupt.

Most other chronic health conditions in America have peaked or have fallen in incidence over the years, but Alzheimer's continues to become more common, largely as a result of our extending lifespans and the improved treatment of cancer and heart conditions. Today, Alzheimer's is approximately the third leading cause of mortality in the United States, behind just cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Seven Traits Associated with Good Health and Longevity

Posted: January 3, 2020 at 8:49 pm

When we talk about what it takes to live a long life, we have a tendency to get hung up on the physical parameters associated with wellness, whether it be diet, exercise, or the myriad of other lifestyle factors associated with a healthy life. On the other hand, however, the way we live and enjoy our lives plays just as much of a role in longevity as our physical wellness.

Although smart nutrition and regular exercise both play a role in a healthy heart and a healthy body, when researching people that live long lives, especially those over the age of 100, there aren't a whole lot of factors that can be definitively associated with long life.

Longevity Not Always Associated with Health Choices

For example, two groups that have a tendency to live the longest are Okinawans from Japan and Ashkenazi Jews. Both have a tendency to have some habits that you might not associate with long life. For example, the Ashkenazi are more likely to drink to both be drinkers and smokers. They are also more sedentary than the average man. Okinawans, on the other hand, consume a lot of dairy and starches, and they also have a high-sodium diet.

There's one woman that's 107 years old, and she doesn't trust modern medicine, has never practiced a fitness lifestyle, and practically considers butter a food group. Furthermore, there are others that claim that their longevity is due to caloric restriction, whereas others that are able to reach the same age with a diet full of sweets, wine, pork, and liver.

So, based on these brief descriptions above, it is clear that there are a number of paths to longevity. Perhaps none are devoted to extreme excess, but different lifestyles can still be conducive to a long and healthy life.

Genetics and Longevity

One of the main factors associated with longevity appears to be genetics. Different people have different genetic predispositions which allow them to live longer than others. This is both with regard to individual-individual and culture-culture. Perhaps some cultures have lived a similar lifestyle for so many generations that their bodies have acclimated, allowing them to live a long life? Who knows? Of course, don't think of longevity as entirely predetermined, there's so much more to it than that, and there is a lot that you can do to maximize your lifespan.

Personality and Longevity

Diet, nutrition, and activity level play some role, but, perhaps surprisingly, it appears that your social profile and your personality play a significant and undeniable role. Are you happy? Do you feel like an active participant in your own life? Do you live with purpose? All of these are factors which keep your body primed and ready to take and enjoy what is thrown at you.

Your personality and your predisposition are factors which are engrained and genetically influenced, but you do have a huge amount of control over both. You don't have to resign yourself to the way you've been. You can make the concerted effort to facilitate such factors in yourself and improve both your quality of life and potentially your longevity! At worst, you won't live any longer, but you'll get more joy and pleasure out of every year that you have left!

The Following are Seven Social and Personal Characteristics Associated with Enhanced Longevity:

Social Connectedness is Important for Longevity

A big part of living a more profound and happy life is to cultivate bonds with your family and community and facilitate interconnectedness. When we live our lives solo, or don't reach out to others or maintain social contacts, it is a burden on us which inhibits health and wellness. Of course, don't think of connectedness as some sort of race. It's the quality of your relationships and their importance to you that matters over the quantity of connections that we make. Everyone understands in this Facebook culture how it feels to have connections to others which don't add meaning to your life.

One of the primary drives in our lives is to feel important to others and feel that we are making a difference—that we add something to someone else's life that makes you feel invaluable to them. And the best thing is that these are the types of relationship which are reciprocal and fulfilling.

In addition to this, people that are surrounded by those that they care about are more likely to reach out for help when they need it. If life gets tough they have someone to turn to. On the other hand, people that don't foster these relationships are more likely to develop habits which are conducive to poor health, such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. There is even evidence that being around people that you care about helps stressful situations have less of an effect upon cardiovascular response. These connections even appear to enhance the strength of the immune system!

What Can I Do to Foster Strong Social Relationships for Longevity?

Even though things like Facebook can create interpersonal distance when used passively, they can be a great way to actually set up and arrange to hang out with your friends and family. Make the concerted effort to arrange plans and actually follow through. It's easy to get locked into a pattern and even avoid the people that you love and care about because you get so fixed on not making waves, but understand that there are a lot of people out there that would love to see you, and they are just a text, phone call, email, or message away. You have to remember that the same reasons that you haven't reached out to your friends are why they haven't reached out to you. It's no one's fault. Just make the call!

Conscientiousness and Thoughtfulness Lead to a Long Life

Awareness plays a big role in longevity. People that are more rash and prone to impulsiveness are more likely to get into accidents, fights, or other activities that can put them at risk. In 1921, a massive study followed 1500 children from childhood to death, and they discovered that the children that took the time to plan out their actions and those that engaged in thoughtful persistence had the greatest chance of living deep into old age. On the other hand, the positive and happy children were less likely to do so.

The children that grew up thoughtful were more likely to have strong relationships and be health conscious, while less likely to take risks. Also, the conscientious children were more likely to have jobs in which they were successful and satisfied with. The four attributes which were most likely to lead to a long life were conscientious discipline, organization, industry, and persistence. People that are conscientious as children are most predisposed to thoughtful action and therefore most likely to continue that thoughtfulness throughout their lives. Happy, optimistic children were more likely to turn into adults that didn't pay enough attention to their diet, and were more prone to poor habits.

People that are prudent and thoughtful are more likely to retain their cognitive function deeper into the lifespan, and this may even be associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's Disease. People with these characteristics are also more likely to handle stress more effectively, or at least able to reach out for help more quickly. Of course, these attributes can also turn into negative factors. Prudence can easily become compulsiveness, and thoughtfulness can become anxiety, for example.

What Can I Do to Become More Thoughtful and Conscientious?

Although the study discussed above followed children from an early age without influencing their outcomes, there's no reason you can't make the effort to improve your thoughtfulness. Take the time to organize your life. Make plans and stick to them. Maintain a budget and keep track of it. Not everyone is a natural at this sort of thing, but by sticking your mind to it, you can make yourself organized and conscientious through a mix of want-to and brute force. It's also important not to rely solely on your own interpretation of your thoughtfulness. Get perspective from those around you and allow them to hold you accountable for your own desires and plans.

Don't Dwell on Anxiety and Worry to Live a Longer and Happier Life

While becoming more thoughtful and prudent can extend your life, getting worried and anxious can shave years off your life. When you dwell and focus too much on the negative, you put yourself on edge and increase the catabolic actions of depression and cortisol. If you obsess over things that cause you anxiety, you lose touch with the things that make your life enjoyable.

Emotional anxiety can even lead to physical stress, which can impact your health heavily in the short and long term. Stress can disrupt healthy sleeping habits, and it can increase your blood pressure. It can make you more likely to become obese as well as more likely to experience life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attack.

Don't let go too much, however. Anxiety is a tool that your body uses in its attempt to keep you on the right path, and if you throw it off your shoulders entirely, you could end up putting yourself in potentially risky and dangerous situations in which you could get yourself into some serious trouble! Acknowledge your stress and work to mitigate it, but don't cast it totally from your mind.

What Can I Do To Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Life?

 

Worrying is a subconscious activity that takes control of your conscious thought processes. When you start to feel anxious and stressed, take the time to thoughtfully process those feelings and take steps to mitigate that stress, either through action or by recognizing that what is causing you worry isn't nearly as big of an issue as your brain is making it out to be. Whenever you feel worried about something, Stop, think, and answer the question “Why is this worth worrying about?” More often than not, you'll realize that things that feel big are really not important or worth caring about when you really think about it.

People also have a tendency to worry about things that people have done to them, or worry that they might have done something wrong. Try to make the effort to maintain an open dialog with those around you. Also, don't be afraid to forgive. Holding grudges is a major source of anxiety and worry that is ultimately pointless.

Take what you learned from the previous step and take action to limit stress and worry. Grab a sheet of paper and write down the things in your life that make you worried. Stop and think clearly about all of those things and then rewrite the list according to which issues are most impactful upon your life and which are more minor. Strike out the minor issues that don't really matter, and make the effort to push worries related to these subjects out of your mind. Regarding the more major issues on your mind, use this time of reflection to plan out a course of action to make these larger worries less troublesome.

Other options include meditation and herbal supplements and teas which are designed for relaxation. Even scents can be beneficial. Lavender, for example, is scientifically proven to induce feelings of relaxation.

People that Are Optimistic Tend to Live Longer

This may seem a bit odd, given that optimism in children was linked to lower longevity, but it's important to recognize that optimism and positivity during adulthood is different that being born with optimism. There are a number of studies that show that optimism does a lot of powerful things to increase resiliency. As compared to pessimists, optimists are more likely to take care of themselves and brush off stress. Seeing the glass half full provides immense benefits to the individual.

In fact, there are scientists that hypothesize that evolution selects for positivity and optimism. People that are optimists are more likely to meet or exceed their expectations. When things get tough, they are more likely to keep a smile on their face. People that are optimistic are more likely to push harder to survive and persist. When faced with diseases like cancer, optimists are more likely to survive because of their will to fight.

How to Foster Optimism in Your Own Life

Like any other character trait, we have innate tendencies and predispositions, but they can be manipulated and adjusted. If you feel that you are not as much of an optimist as you want to be, take the time to take stock of your negativity or issues seeing the bright side of your life and your circumstances. Understand that even if things seem tough, you probably have things going alright in the big picture.

Hesitation breeds pessimism. If you are feeling down on yourself, and you have something that you want to do, just throw yourself out there and face your fear. You'll feel relief that you followed through on your impulse, and you'll see that things aren't as terrible as they seem. Optimism is bred through small victories, and those victories will get easier to come by over time.

People that Know How to Laugh Easy Are More Likely to Live Longer

Study after study has shown that laughter is powerful. It diffuses social situations of all kinds, and it even improves blood flow, circulation, and hormone balance. The feeling that you get when you laugh is great, and the inspiration for the laughter is often a comfort as well. There is even evidence that laughter increases the strength of the immune system, improving the ability of the body to fight off infection and cancer.

When you laugh, it acts as a switch to slow down the parasympathetic activity that burns you down and stresses you out. There is even evidence that laughter alters the way that your body uses Human Growth Hormone for the better. Although HGH has a number of widespread benefits, there is evidence that it can exacerbate rheumatoid arthritis. In these patients, laughter has been shown to limit the influence of HGH upon the joints.

How to Laugh Easier to Cultivate Longevity

Unlike the earlier character traits, it doesn't even take a concentrated effort to improve your ability to laugh. Just find a show, movie, podcast, or funny book that you like and relax. Laughter comes natural to human beings as long as you open yourself up to it. Get with your friends. Hang out. Cut up. Make some jokes yourself! Do whatever it takes to put a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart.

People That Are Happy Are More Likely to Live Long Lives

This may seem like a no-brainer, but people that self-report happiness are more likely to live a long life. A recent study, published in 2011, found that aging patients that reported themselves to be happy had a longer average lifespan. Surprisingly, the influence of happiness on longevity persists strongly even when a number of other variables were taken into account, such as their current health, age, and weight.

Like laughter, it is hypothesized that the feeling of happiness encourages positive physiological balance, and feelings of happiness have been shown to relieve the pains and struggles associated with many chronic medical conditions.

Of course, happiness and optimism are related, and they share many aspects in common. Like optimists, people that are happy are more likely to feel like their lives have meaning and purpose, and are more encouraged to engage in positive and enriching activities. There are a wide variety of influences that encourage happiness. A loving family, a fulfilling job, and enjoyable life experiences just to name a few. The feeling of happiness, divorced from its cause, is enough to facilitate a healthier life.

What Can I Do to Live a Longer and Happier Life?

One of the best ways to be happier is to get out and engage with life. It's difficult, if not impossible, to cultivate happiness just through want-to. If you struggle with depression, there are treatments available that may be able to help, but its still up to you to facilitate your own happiness. Just take the time to do things that give you joy and provide you with meaning. Happiness is largely the result of cultivating the other characteristics in this life. There are a million things in this world that can make you happy, you just have to go out there and find them.

Also, be willing to make short term sacrifices to enjoy more meaningful happiness. Take the time to create a world around you that allows you to be happy. Procrastination is a happiness-killer, because you spend your time dwelling on the things that you are supposed to do and don't give yourself the time to really appreciate what you want to do. Understand when to put your nose to the grindstone to fight through to the joy in your life!

Extraversion is Associated with a Longer Life

People that are extraverts tend to foster a lot of other character traits that are associated with long term health and survival. People that are extraverts are more likely to take positive risks, and do what they want to do in spite of the risks. They are more likely to remain impervious to negative influences in their life, thereby cultivating improved happiness and purpose.

This isn't to say that it's strictly bad to be an introvert. This is actually one thing that could be culturally specific to America and the West. The fast-paced world that we live in today naturally benefits the type of person that is willing to get out and participate, while leaving many introverts wanting more, or unable to actualize their wants and needs.

Extraversion makes it easier to simply do a lot of things that introverts tend to find exhausting or have trepidation about, such as presentations, business meetings, interviews, and flirting. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being an introvert. It's just important to either come to terms with that fact or make the conscious effort to take the dive.

What Can I Do to Be More Extroverted and Live Longer?

A big part of cultivating extroversion is to get yourself out of your comfort zone. If you are an introvert and don't like it, look at those around you that are more extroverted and try to emulate certain aspects of their social aspect. Sometimes just getting out there and putting yourself out in front of people is all you need to let the rush of endorphins carry you through the rest of your interaction.

Make the effort, at least once daily, to talk to someone that you wouldn't normally talk to. It's important to separate the concept of isolation wfrom that of introversion. You don't have to get out and be wild, you just have to get out and learn to enjoy yourself, even if you aren't as naturally gregarious as many of those that you find yourself in the company of.

Like all of the rest of the traits in this article—Learn to appreciate yourself while also facilitating incremental change!

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

The Ethics of the Future: Human Genetic Engineering and Human Immortality Medicine is Coming in 19 years!!

Posted: January 2, 2020 at 12:46 pm

The Ethics of the Future: Genetic Engineering and Immortality Medicine

2015 is Going to Be a Fascinating Year for Longevity Science

By Professor Mark

How do you feel about the potential for great advances in Human Longevity Science that have been occurring in recent years? Do you feel excited about the prospect of living a much longer life, or are you indifferent? Are you nervous about the prospects of what this sort of tinkering with genetics and human nature might bring?

Is the potential for a vastly expanded lifespan going to be something that everyone can enjoy, or will it be an advantage simply for those that can afford it? If you could live 100 years longer, would you want to? Would you care if the opportunity were afforded to you as an individual? Would such a huge opportunity lead to a new and beautiful life on earth, or would earth somehow take these momentous advantages and turn the world on its head?

My Beliefs Regarding Advanced Genetic Engineering

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at Penn State, our professor posited similar questions in our Genetics Class, which played a major role in affecting my beliefs toward the subject of hyper-longevity and Genetic Engineering. The class was large, with more than 100 students, and my professor asked the class what their opinions were regarding the use of genetic manipulation and engineering to alter human life.

Surprisingly, the class was completely silent. In response to this silence, the professor called up two students to debate the subject. One of my classmates volunteered to voice his opposition to genetic engineering, and I chose to volunteer, providing an argument in favor of it.

My opponent voiced his opinion to the class that genetic engineering for this purpose would be ethically wrong because it is not in man's best interest to play God. Most of our classmates seemed to agree, nodding subtly in agreement.

Personal Aesthetic: Choosing to Be Different

I felt as though I was standing upon a grand crossroads of history. As I looked around the class, it felt as though all of my classmates, for all of their cliquish differences, were being incredibly closed-minded, like they just accepted what they had been told all their lives and were afraid to think for themselves.

After the professor gauged the response of the students, I had my opportunity to argue in favor of this advanced human genetic engineering. I glanced around the class, and felt my argument come together cleanly in my mind. I saw white girls with bleached hair stretching down their backs, more than a few of which had fake breasts. I saw black girls with expensive weaves and complex and expensive hairstyles.

There were white students mimicking their hip hop and rap idols, and I even saw a young Asian student that had very obviously dyed her hair red. In my class I saw a great commingling of different styles. People both attempting to exemplify American standards of beauty and those taking on the aspects of other cultures, adopting them as their own.

As I looked around at all of this, recognizing the great diversity in my class, I had a strong feeling that there was not one person in the class that didn't have at least one thing they wanted to alter about the characteristics they were born with. I continued thinking to myself, that these students probably wanted to be different in a variety of different ways: some wanted to be smarter, some taller. Some girls wish they had larger breasts, and some guys wanted larger penises. Others probably wish that they didn't have to go through the trouble to put in contacts and hair dyes to look like the person they wish they were. For myself, I would have given anything just to be a few inches taller.

A Call for Genetic Freedom

After standing quietly for a moment, with all of these thoughts running through my at head a rapid place, I spoke from my position, in the back of the class, and suddenly stated loudly: Genetic Freedom!

I felt that just those two words spoke for themselves, but my professor threw a dejected glance in my direction, and I could detect her shaking her head almost imperceptibly. Her silence was a sign that she needed more. After the brief silence, I continued. I argued to the class that the individual should have full control to alter his DNA as he sees fit, so long as it doesn't negatively impact society or the rights of anyone else.

She seemed thoroughly unhappy with the argument, and the class began to chatter loudly, nearly in unison. After the short spate of controlled chaos, the class continued with liveliness and energy, but I felt that others in the class largely shunned me as a result of the fervent beliefs I expressed in regard to what legitimately amounted to the potential future of the human race.

Will People Be Able to Resist Genetic Alteration?

I still laugh to myself to this day about how my belief met such incredulity in the face of so many. In the future, once science makes it possible to make such powerful changes to humanity at the genetic level, I am confident that these same students, if given the actual opportunity to improve themselves through futuristic genetic methods, would absolutely jump at the chance with no second thought.

It wouldn't be Playing God. It wouldn't be unethical. It would simply be the new reality. In fact, once the time comes to pass when Genetic Alteration becomes a reality, the exact same people today that seek out plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery will clamor for these procedures as soon as they become available. In the end, I believe I made a B in the course, which is regretful, because I've always remained highly interested in genetics.

The Future of Humanity: The Organic and the Engineered

Another of my professors at Penn State, himself with a doctorate in genetics, explained an interesting aspect of human evolution, one which I had never thought of before. He explained that the many races that make up humanity as a whole developed their differences as a result of dispersing far from one another, and slowly adapting to their new environments over time.

After they migrated, geography, distance, and other factors kept them from interacting heavily with one another, which caused their minor adaptations to become more pronounced. In the same way that they developed their own habits and cultures, their aesthetic and physical makeup also changed. Some grew taller, others grew paler, and each individual culture became maximally resistant to the diseases which were prominent in their area.

Even though these physical and genetic changes were significant, any healthy woman on earth could still mate with any other healthy man, no matter how different he looked or acted. What he said that truly sparked my mind was that if the different races of human beings stayed geographically isolated from one another for longer period of time, eventually the different races could have changed enough to where they could no longer produce children with one another.

Could Genetically Engineered Humans Evolve Beyond Humanity?

This can also apply to the future of genetic engineering. The modern world is so interconnected that geography has no impact on the ability of humans to breed with one another, but genetic enhancement may lead to a point at which a human born today would not be able to mate with an individual that was the result of generations of genetically altered parents.

As Genetic Engineering becomes more advanced, humans may change enough at the genetic level to prevent interbreeding between lineages which have undergone these advancements and those that chose not to. This change would of course be gradual, first reducing the ability to conceive before denying that ability altogether. At this point, it would take genetic engineering just to create a viable child for two disparate humans. Interestingly enough, it may even come to pass that different species of humans evolve from such endeavors, as distinct from one another as they are from humans themselves.

The beginning of this story could begin sometime in the next hundred years, as scientists and medical specialists develop the ability to safely and effectively alter DNA to meet the specifications of the individual.

The Future is Coming: the Great Human Divergence and the Neo-Sapient

The people that choose to reject Genetic Modification and Advanced Longevity Treatments in the near future will create an interesting binary world. This could be the beginning of a grand human experiment. This could be the focal point of a genetic divergence so strong that it literally fragments the human race, creating a new class of post-humans that have advanced to a point where they qualify as their own unique species.

I think back to the genetics course I mentioned earlier. I remember the absolute ocean of diversity that was contained within the 100-student course, and I was able to visualize a future in which Genetic Modification leads to even greater diversity, and a uniqueness that has never existed in the history of the human race. It made me think of the diversity of the universe, and the unlimited options for diversity that it represents. As someone with an affinity for astronomy, I find it utterly inconceivable that planet earth is home to the only lifeforms in the universe.

Of course, along with my great optimism, I do recognize that there are risks and unknowns related to the future of Genetic Modification. There is even the potential that the science behind Genetic Modification could be used for Genetic Warfare. There is certainly the potential that the same science that creates a new humanity could be used to destroy large swathes of it. I can imagine an apocalypse that is not nuclear and grandiose, but genetic and nanoscopic.

Post-Humanism and the Search For Other Worlds

In the end, will humans be able to develop interplanetary travel and colonization in order to insure itself against such potential apocalyptic scenarios? It's a subject that I am particularly concerned with, and is the core reason why I support NASA and the United States Space Program. As the world moves faster and the dangers become greater, it is imperative that we are able to save humanity even in the case of a state of mutually assured destruction.

If there truly is a Genetic Revolution on the horizon, it is vitally important that we use all of the resources we have available in order to make our dreams of space colonization a reality. Imagine a future so spectacular: A future where a multitude of post-human species advance outward from earth in order to colonize space like a rainbow across the galaxy.

This journey will be arduous and epic, as earthlings spread across the cosmos in order to find new viable homes and potentially interact with other life forms.

What Would Aliens Be Like?

Can you imagine how literally otherworldly that would be? If we found advanced aliens, would they have unlocked the key to eternity? Would we have done the same? There is no doubt that the first time that we make contact with an extraterrestrial species, they will come from worlds and cultures which are absolutely unimaginable in the face of everything that we have experienced.

I may have delved a bit into the realm of science fiction, but the future of humanity in the face of Genetic Modification has the potential to be every bit as exciting and otherworldly as the potential future that I just described. It instills a tremendous sense of fear, awe, and most importantly, unlimited potential.

Do You Think That You Could Handle Immortality?

If you ask the average person out on the street about the potential future afforded by Genetic Engineering, Advanced Longevity, and Immortality medicine, you'll likely get a number of different responses, some positive, some negative, others simply incredulous. If you surveyed 100 people, I believe that you would find that the majority would ultimately reject the idea of immortality.

Some people think that eternity would take the excitement out of life. Others fear that they would eventually just become a broken shell of their former selves as their bodies physically decline in spite of science's ability to prevent death. For many, the concept of eternity is just as fearsome as the concept of death itself. It's not all that different from the way that people feel about retirement these days. They are frustrated because they have to work so hard all through the healthiest part of their lives only to be too frail and broken down by the time they retire to enjoy it.

Longevity Medicine and the Future

That's why Longevity Medicine is so important. We want our retirement years to last as long as possible, and we want to be able to enjoy them. Maybe one day, we will be retired as long in our lives as we are at work, or longer! That's what the approach to immortality will be like!

There are a growing number of people that are optimistic about a lengthy future. They understand that even with regard to a concept like immortality, life is the sum of individual experience. Some will take advantage of a life bordering on immortality, while others would simply choose to be boring. People that live lives full of happiness and vitality shouldn't be deprived the opportunity to extend that joy, simply because there are others who wouldn't appreciate it!

The arguments stemming from the subject of Human Immortality continue to become both more interesting and more complex, both for those that long for such a fate, and those that oppose the concept. No matter how you feel about the idea of Advanced Longevity, there is no doubt that such opportunities to live lives we now consider unimaginable will eventually come to pass.

As long as human beings are able to engage in scientific advancement without destroying ourselves or sending ourselves back to the stone age, such opportunities will present themselves to the human race in the near future.

Gene Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy: The First Steps to Hyperlongevity

The seeds of these future endeavors are being planted today, in the fields of gene therapy, genetic medicine, and stem cell therapy. This is also the core concept behind medical treatments which seek to optimize hormone production in the body in order to alleviate the medical conditions associated with hormone imbalance and aging.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Streamline Your Body for the Future!

Treatments such as Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Sermorelin Acetate Therapy, and Bio-Identical Human Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy seek to correct common hormonal imbalances that occur as a result of the aging process. There is even a strong argument that these hormone imbalances are actually the root cause of many symptoms of aging, including frailty, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline.

There are many Health, Wellness, and Longevity Physicians that believe that these forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy are some of the must effective means to prolong a healthy and active life when used in combination with a healthy and conscientious lifestyle. These medical treatments are the best way to decrease your mortality risk so that you are more likely to experience the next great advancement in Anti-Aging Medicine.

If you feel that your quality of life has been on the decline as a result of changes in your body and mind resulting from the aging process, I strongly encourage you to get your hormone levels checked, because there is a significant chance that you may be suffering from a reversible form of hormone deficiency.

The Future of Human Genetic Engineering

This is truly an exciting time to be alive. We are quickly approaching the point at which scientific breakthroughs in health science will continue to occur at an ever-increasing pace, with groundbreaking new health advances occurring on a regular basis. The following years will be incredibly interesting, because there are a multitude of clinical trials regarding the promise and potential effectiveness of both gene therapy and stem cell therapy.

By 2012, these studies, and other similar studies, were already displaying high levels of potential to both treat and protect both animals and humans from disease. Beyond Hormone Optimization and Genetic Therapy, the next stage of advancement will most likely be in the field of nanomedicine. Beyond nanomedicine is femtomedicine.

At this stage of scientific inquiry, this is as far as even the most forward-thinking physician or philosopher could imagine, but there is no doubt as we create new medical treatments and expend our knowledge of medical science, new opportunities for advancement will be conceptualized that could be even more life-altering and fantastic than those that we just mentioned.

When you consider the future of medicine and longevity, you realize that human beings as they are now aren't simply the end result of millions of years of evolution, but also a gateway to the next state of terrestrial life, a transitional state between what was and what will be, an opportunity to experience even greater consciousness and enlightenment by conquering time, itself.

What is the Idea Behind Human Immortality?

When we discuss the idea of human immortality, it doesn't just mean allowing a human being to live forever, human immortality represents the idea that it will be possible, with future biomedical and genetic enhancements, for human beings to experience a practical immortality in which one is able to live as they were in the prime of their life, for all of their life.

It seems just as you master your body and your mind in the late twenties and early thirties, your body and mind start to enter a slow and unstoppable decline. What if you could preserve that period of physical and psychological perfection forever? It is during this period that the average person reaches his or her functional peak as an individual, with regard to strength, cognitive ability, immunity, and overall health.

How Much Better Would Life Be if You Lived to 200?

Think about how different and exciting that life would be if you could have the body and mind of a 29 year old for 120 years. There are a number of people that think that humans should not have this opportunity, but it sounds much better than spending the whole sum of those years in slow and steady decline.

How Much Better Would Life Be if You Could Live Indefinitely?

Immortalists subscribe to the belief that individuals that truly enjoy life and are creative or passionate enough to find interesting or fulfilling things to do would be able to easily take advantage of a significantly lengthened lifespan. I do understand how such a long life would feel to someone that lacks passion or imagination, however. I can imagine two hundred years of absolutely drudgery. If one does not have the propensity to invest or save to create wealth, I can imagine two hundred years of hard work with nothing to show for it.

With luck, a more automated world would allow us to enjoy our lives while actually working less. Imagine a world of eco-friendly machines could do the work of one hundred men. This could be a wonderful world of leisure for all, but it could also lead to a world where machines are used as a method of control and domination, like in Frank Herbert's dystopian novel Dune.

The Temptation of Human Immortality

Whether the opportunity for Human Immortality comes in twenty years or two hundred years, there will be those that seek out the opportunity for such a life, and there will be those that choose to reject the opportunity for immortality.

The central question that Immortalists posit is a simple one: Why would anyone actually want to die or grow old? When you think of it that way, it sounds absolutely silly. Who would ever want to do such things? But in reality, it seems as though most human beings are resigned to such a fate.

Who Really Wants to Grow Old?

More than simply growing old, who wants to lose their lust for life or their libido? Who wants to experience their own body slowly deteriorate as they are beaten down by illness and disease? Human Immortalists are those that are willing to fight against what is perceived as inevitable by society at large. They believe that those that have resigned themselves to decay and death are simply not willing to imagine a post-human age where they could evolve beyond the inevitability of death.

It seems that many humans think of Human Immortalists as harbingers of doom which are going to bring about a new genocide. They believe that Immortalists are going against the will of God by altering the Human Genetic Code in an attempt to foster extreme lifespans, improved aesthetic, and vastly improved health outcomes.

The Great Schism of Humanity

There is a strong chance that a rift will develop between those that choose genetic alteration and those that choose to forgo such opportunities. In the end, it is likely that humanity will rift into two distinct groups. Over time, greater and greater numbers will opt for Genetic Modification, and those that opt out of such procedures may potentially lose footing in society as a result of their choice.

If modification indeed has the ability to create such disparity, genetically modified humans will spread their genes with one another, and their offspring may have greater potential for both prosperity and intellect, which will create a socioeconomic rift between GM Humans and Unmodified Humans.

Will Post-Humans be able to act ethically under these circumstances? Will Unmodified Humans be able to accept a place in the world where they are unequivocally inferior to their GM counterparts? This new world will be different and exciting, and it's up to us to create a civil world where we can act in the best interest of all.

What Other Strange Opportunities May Become Available in the Future?

On top of our ability to vastly extend and improve our long-term health, the future will also provide us with enhanced opportunities with regard to personal aesthetic. We will not only be able to cure conditions such as psoriasis which plague millions in the world today, but many may choose to move beyond mere optimization and may choose to fully customize their appearance. Perhaps one may choose not to have olive or alabaster skin as many in society desire today, but go for a different color all together.

What if someone chose to color their skin orange, green, or blue? What if they wanted to be leopard print or covered in zebra stripes? This may appear otherworldly and unnatural to our minds, but when presented with an entire array of customization, what would be so strange about doing something like that to stand out? How different would it be to dying your hair blue or rainbow, if there were no dangers in undergoing such a change?

But, given enough time and scientific innovation, skin color and other basic augmentations like genetic breast and penis enlargement will be just another evolution in the concept of general aesthetic. The potential for more extreme changes would eventually become possible. What if humans wanted to take on the characteristics of animals? What if someone wanted the ears or tail of a cat, for example? There would even be the potential to do even more drastic things that we can barely imagine today.

Genetically Engineered Pets

These genetic advancements won't occur in a human vacuum. They will also apply to animals as well. Today people are paying top dollar for basic genetically modified hypo-allergenic dogs, and glow-in-the-dark mammals have even been developed in laboratories.

In the future, it is likely that scientists will come up with scientific modifications which significantly enhance both the aesthetic and intelligence of animals. It's even likely that animals will experience the benefits of genetic engineering more quickly than humans, as this future will largely be facilitated by means of animal testing.

The Post-Human Era Starts with Basic Genetic Engineering and Ends with Post-Humanism, Hyperlongevity, and Potential Immortality

You may not be able to tell, but we are already in the midst of the first phase of the Post-Human era. The beginning of this era was marked by the first time that egg and sperm from two different individuals was combined and implanted into an adoptive mother. It was such a grand event in retrospect, but the passing into this new era was not met with massive celebrations, but simply with concerns over the ethics of the new future.

Post-Humanity will have a litany of moral conundrums to unravel, some that we can imagine, and others that are unfathomable to us today. The state of the mortal mind is simply not equipped to handle the moral and ethical quandaries that the genetically modified mind will face. What if there are other lifeforms just like us in other parts of the galaxy, that have also learned to take control of their very existence on the cellular level? What if the number of unique alien civilizations in the universe is unlimited? What if we as earthlings are just one form of intelligent life among a countless litany of others?

The Current State of Genetic Modification and Gene Therapy

Today, scientists, researchers, and physicians are taking the first step into this future, with the quickly growing field of genetic therapy. We are on the cusp of doing some truly amazing things, like genetically altering viruses in order to protect humans from genetic disorders and conditions. At first, these initial treatments have been risky, reserved for those in most dire need, but as medical science becomes more well-versed in these therapeutic advancements, they will become safer and more widely available to the general public. Could you imagine reducing your risk of cancer by 80% just with a single injection? That may be the future for you.

The Current State of Organ Regeneration and Stem Cell Therapy

Another aspect of genetic therapy has to do with the advancing field of Stem Cell Therapy. There are new, state of the art treatments available which utilize stem cells in order to improve the health of the heart. Patients that have experienced heart attack or heart disease can be treated with stem cells which have the ability to develop into new and healthy muscle tissue.

Similar techniques have also been used in order to regenerate other parts of the body or parts of individual organs. In one famous case, scientists biomanufactured a windpipe for a patient with the patient's own cells. They were able to do this by taking the stem cells and allowing them to grow in culture before pouring them over a scaffold in the shape of a windpipe. Just by providing the cells with the nutrients to grow, they were able to recreate a human windpipe in the laboratory just in a matter of days.

Because the windpipe was created from the patient's own cells, the body did not reject the windpipe when it was surgically implanted into the body. This is one of the first successful cases where a patient's life was changed through the scientific advancements of genetic organ replacement.

Stem Cell Therapy Will Be Available in the Near Future: Hormone Replacement Therapy is Here Today!

Stem Cell Therapy is exciting and will become increasingly common and popular over the next century in the United States. Today, there are a few places where Stem Cell Therapy is available internationally, especially in Asia, but they have yet to be medically certified, and there are still a number of pertinent risks involved. In the Western World, Stem Cell Treatments are currently going through clinical trials. Although the results are mixed, continual progress is being made.

There are many scientists that believe that Stem Cell Research will lead to a new future in medicine, but policies enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush have set the United States behind by at least a decade, and other nations in Europe and Asia are currently taking advantage of their head start, and may one day eclipse us in these new and futuristic medical therapies.

In just a few short years, genetic testing will become affordable enough that it will become a common and recommended part of prenatal care as well as regular checkups throughout the lifespan. Over time, more and more Genetic Disorders will be able to be effectively treated with Gene Therapy, and with every breakthrough, people will be that much more likely to live a longer and healthier life.

Once the clinical science is sound, it won't even be a difficult ordeal for the patient. It would simply be like going to visit the pharmacist, or making a call to a specialist pharmacy. After receiving the medication, one will be able to administer the medication on his or her own and without the frequent oversight of a medical professional.

Not long after these Genetic Treatments are made available to the public, Stem Cell Therapies will quickly become more and more advanced as well. There are even companies that have expressed a desire to take your stem cells and develop them in a laboratory environment. The goal of this treatment would be to take your own stem cells and foster the healthiest cells to multiply. After these cultures are developed, they would be mailed back to you in order for you to inject them to alleviate health conditions and other symptoms related to the aging process.

Beyond Genetic Engineering and Stem Cell Therapies, will come new forms of medical treatment that we are just beginning to research today, but will surely flourish in the coming decades: nanomedicine and femtomedicine.

Nanoscience and the Healthcare of the Future

These are tiny, genetically engineered cellular machines that will be able to improve your health by altering the functions of your body in a positive manner. They will be able to repair and alter particular forms of cells so that they function optimally, even after a period of long life in which you would expect to see physiological breakdown. It is even believed that these treatments can also preserve and repair the brain itself! Isn't that exciting?

There are countless people in the world that have a litany of big dreams, more than they could ever hope to accomplish in a single lifetime in some cases. They have these long checklists of things they want to do in their life, a whole wide world they want to explore. Some have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and want to read thousands of books or learn dozens of languages in their life.

There are countless more people that have spent their early lives living on the edge, and suffer from issues such as alcohol dependency or drug addiction which have harmed their bodies and their brains. With these forms of genetic and nanomedicine, it will be possible to repair the bodies and minds of these individuals, allowing them to make a fresh start. It is possible that addiction itself may become a historical curiosity as a result of these medical advances.

What Would Do If You Had 200 More Years to Live?

  • Would you learn to play multiple musical instruments?

  • Would you research for decades in order to write the perfect novel?

  • Would you visit every country on earth?

The number of dreams that humans have yearned for is nearly infinite, and most never live to achieve all of their dreams, if they achieve any of their dreams at all. If you are still alive in the near future, around 2032, you will be able to take full advantage of what Longevity Medicine and Anti-Aging Therapy have to offer!

Some time in the future, we will finally overcome the condition of aging. We will be able to prevent all illness and be able to live in perpetuity, as long as we don't succumb to an accident or similar fate. This is the extreme vision of Immortality Medicine.

The First Immortals Could be Alive Today!

By the time we make it to the 22nd century, there will already be individuals that have taken the road to Hyperlongevity, and there will likely be millions of humans that have taken part in this great leap forward into Post-Humanism. They will not only be healthier, but smarter too, with further advances in Genetic Science that allow us to amplify the capacity of our brains.

As people continue to develop down this evolutionary road, will we even consider them humans anymore? They will represent a new version of humanity, and they will likely use a new term to define themselves, whether that be Neohuman or some other clever word or phrase.

I believe that this advance into Neohumanism will also lead to a new era in space travel and human colonization. With these extensive lifespans, many Neohumans will inevitably turn their eyes to the stars in a desire to find new worlds and discover new lands and extraterrestrial lifeforms. Brave Neohumans from all over the planet will take to interplanetary space vessels in order to colonize and experience new worlds and lands that are beyond the scope of human imagination.

Can I Live to Experience This New Era of Humanity?

All of the things we've discussed may seem incredibly exciting to you, but we understand that these innovations are going to come in the near future. If you want to take part in this grand human experiment, it's important that you live long enough to seize these innovations as they come! There are steps you can take now to alleviate the negative symptoms of the aging process and increase your odds of experiencing the new, human revolution.

My suggestions will not ensure that you will live for the next twenty years or longer, but they will potentially drastically decrease your mortality risk so that you are able to seek out this new and exciting future that we have laid before you.

Today, the door to Neo-Humanism, Hyperlongevity, and even Human Immortality is slightly open, and there are many alive today that will experience these magnificent and life-altering advances.

Will You Take Advantage of the Advances of Hyper-Longevity and Anti-Aging Medicine? Are You Willing to Commit to a Longer and more Youthful Life?

It's quite plain to see that we are at the crest of an event horizon, beyond which it will truly be possible to lengthen lifespans indefinitely. The most important thing is to breach that horizon. By taking steps to increase health and lifespan now, you allow yourself the opportunity to take care of further, greater medical enhancements down the road.

The most modern advances available today are in the form of Recombinant Hormone Replacement Therapies. By optimizing your hormone balance, you increase the odds that you will live long enough to experience the new, up-and-coming breakthroughs of the mid-21st century.

If you live just a few more years, new genetic medical treatments will become available which will significantly increase your lifespan. While you are enjoying the benefit of genetic medicine, researchers and medical scientists will advance and perfect Genetic Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy, allowing you to live even longer!

There are a number of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies going through clinical trials as you read this, which show great promise in preventing or treating serious illnesses which severely inhibit lifespan today. As the medical community becomes more adept at using these new tools for the purpose of treatment, they will begin to utilize these treatments as forms of Positive Medicine.

They will be able to treat patients before they even get sick in order to optimize their health and greatly improve lifespans as a result, because the incidence of illness will decline significantly. In addition, these same treatments will be able to streamline existing physiological processes, keeping the body physiologically stronger and more youthful. They will be able to tailor these treatments uniquely to the individual in order to give the best care to each individual patient.

Stay on the Cutting Edge of Longevity Medicine to Perpetually Extend the Human Lifespan

With each of these breakthroughs and treatments, we will come one step closer to Immortality. Eventually, scientists and researchers will crack the code of human life, and finally figure out how to allow us to truly live indefinitely. It may take 100 years or it may take 500 years to achieve true Immortality, but each life-extending advance will allow people to survive until the next great advance. Hyper-Longevity will eventually become a universal reality, barring accident, war, or any other form of life-ending catastrophe.

You may feel that this is a science fiction world that I am describing, but it very well may be possible for you to experience this all for yourself. It is estimated that at some point between 2032 and 2052 we will have perfected medical practices which allow us to live significantly longer lives than we do today. Those that are optimistic feel that we are just twenty years away from this era, while those that are more cautious suggest that fifty years would be a more reasonable estimate.

Twenty to fifty years may not seem like that long in scientific study, but in terms of your own life, it is a significant period of time. Are you willing to make the sacrifices now in order to experience Hyperlongevity in the near future?

Eight Ways to Extend Your Lifespan

There are a lot of steps that you can take in your life today in order to significantly increase the odds that you survive to experience this new and amazing future. If you follow the suggestions below, conscientiously, you will maximize your potential to extend your life until further longevity advances develop in the coming decades.

These eight factors have been shown to be most important when determining the length of an individual's lifespan:

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Environment

  • Social Circles

  • Vice

  • Climate

  • Calorie-Restricted Diet

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy

The Diet of the 21st Century: Caloric Restriction and Fasting for a Longer Life

A recent article in Newsmax Health explained that the future of longevity isn't fad dieting or strenuous exercise, but a Calorie-Restricted diet which manages metabolism and ensures a long and healthy life.

Over the last century, there have been more than twenty thousand studies regarding caloric restriction in animal species from around the globe. All of these studies have unequivocally shown that restricting the calories in an animal's diet has the ability to significantly increase the lifespan, and the same appears to apply to human beings..

This may sound like a starvation diet at first, but conscientiously and significantly restricting calories in the human diet is a powerful means to a longer life. Of course, most people consume at least 1500 calories per day and some consume several thousand! But, it appears that the sweet spot for human longevity is quite a bit lower than that 1500 calorie threshold.

For those that are struggling with Caloric Restriction, especially those that are currently overweight, HCG Injections can help relieve the feeling of hunger associated with the initial phase of the diet in order to acclimate to their new dietary lifestyle more effectively.

At first it may seem counter-intuitive, that too much of the Bread of Life can actually shorten the lifespan, but that absolutely seems to be the case. A diet that provides high levels of nutrients through the consumption of a small number of calories is the number one way to increase human longevity effectively. Intermittent Fasting and Caloric Restriction slow down aging and also reduce the incidence of a wide variety of illnesses that plague so many in America today.

The Modern Media and the Culture of Food in the West

In the United States, as well as other countries in the West including the United Kingdom, children were raised in a reality in which starvation was one of the greatest evils of the 19th and 20th century. The various forms of media available all showed the terrible fates of so many who were denied the food needed to live. Nowhere is this imagery more vivid in Western Civilization than in the footage captured after the end of World War II as the true horrors of the Holocaust were revealed to the world at large.

During the Cold War we also experienced further evidence of the horrors of famine as communist Russia and China struggled with providing their populations with proper nutrition, leading countless to die of starvation over many decades. Today, on modern television, there are advertisements for charities throughout Africa and Asia which show the plight of the starving in these third world nations.

I do not mean to discount the real and significant struggles that those that came before us experienced in the not so distant past, but it had a powerful impact on food culture in the West, particularly the idea that it is better to eat too much than too little. In our elementary education and beyond, we are confronted with story after story of mass famine, and it seems that part of the way that we culturally appreciate our current abundance is by partaking in it.

This appreciation for our abundance has led directly to a culture of overeating that borders on obsession. In the West, we simply love our food too much, and the expansion of cuisine in the West has allowed anyone to get whatever they want, when they want it, whether they go to the grocery store, the pizza parlor, or the Chinese buffet.

A Culture of Overeating Develops into a Culture of Force Feeding

Throughout the twentieth century, we have always been taught that we need to eat every last bite on our plates. Often times, we were also strongly encouraged, if not forced, to go back for a second portion. In addition to this, the proliferation of soda drinks has led directly to a significant increase in the empty calories that the average American consumes.

As the twentieth century barreled on, parents on average had less time to cook and prepare meals at home, which led to the greater proliferation of both fast food and microwavable dinners, loaded with sugars, salts, and carbohydrates which increased our caloric consumption even more!

During this age, restaurants like Burger King and McDonald's became the captains of the fast food industry, generating billions of dollars in profit funneling cheap calories into the mouths of men, women, and children all across the country.

Because of all these pressures to overeat, the longevity gains that people in the West experienced as a result of modernization all began to slip away, the combination of unhealthy eating and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is threatening today's generation with the prospect of living shorter lives than their parents on average!

The United States would be stronger in every way, if it could foster greater consciousness about the importance of eating smarter to eat longer. If we all just made the proactive decision to engage in a lifestyle of at least mild caloric restriction, it would both decrease the price of health care and allow the citizens of this nation to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Do You Dream of a Healthier, Happier Life? Contact the Conscious Evolution Institute Today!

If you are a man or woman over the age of thirty and currently live in the United States, the Conscious Evolution Institute can help you improve your health and longevity. We provide Doctor-Monitored Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy to patients all across the United States.

With just a simple phone call, we can arrange for you to meet with one of our affiliate physicians in order to set you on the road to a new you. We offer a variety of Hormone Replacement options, including Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Human Growth Hormone Injections, Sermorelin Acetate Injections, and HCG Injection Therapy for Weight Loss.

We also provide nutrition and lifestyle counseling in order to help you maximize the results of your treatment by choosing foods, supplements, and exercises that will get your body running on all cylinders!

If you feel that you may be a candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy, don't hesitate, call us today, and one of our friendly specialists will walk you through the process and answer any and all questions that you may have.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

American Neurological Association’s First-Ever All-Virtual, Interactive Meeting Attracts Record Attendance from 47 Countries With Special Focus on…

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

Newswise The 145th Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association, its first-ever virtual, interactive event, was attended by 1,421 members and guests from 46 countries and the U.S.A., a greater number than attended any Meeting in recent years. The five-day program which ran from October 4, 2020 through October 9, 2020, featured 67 sessions, with a strong focus on the ground-breaking science being conducted by the Associations early-career members.

This year, we added four Emerging Scholar sessions and highlighted the work of our junior and early career members with the Derek Denny-Brown Young Neurological Scholars symposium, explained ANA2020 Meeting Chair Conrad Chris Weihl, MD, PhD. These symposia were very well-received and well-attended, reflecting the excitement in the research community for this work.

In addition, the Meeting showcased an extensive number of poster abstract submissions, all of which demonstrated that extraordinary work is taking place at all career levels across all subspecialties, and reaffirming that ANA is committed to fostering and advancing academic neurology and neuroscience, Weihl noted.

The Meeting featured 18 Special Interest Group (SIG) Networking sessions this year, which provided an opportunity for members at all career levels to benefit from an exchange of ideas and exploration of the newest science in their respective fields. Also new this year was a Social Justice Symposium, which took place the day before the official start of the meeting, and featured an in-depth exploration of such topics as the impact of social determinants of health, adverse health outcomes for people of color, and health-care policy. In addition, participants participated in interactive breakout sessions designed to develop actionable steps to address inequity within academic neurology and neuroscience.

Members responded enthusiastically to the virtual, interactive format, commenting on the opportunities for networking that were still core to ANAs strong tradition of fostering relationships within the neuroscience and neurology research and educational communities. As an assistant professor, I look to ANA for opportunities for mentorship and networking that can help advance my career, and I wasnt sure this could be accomplished in a virtual setting, said Elizabeth Silbermann, MD But there were a surprising number of virtual sessions that allowed us to gather and discuss the topics we would be exploring in a live meeting setting. It was a great experience, and I ended the Meeting with a number of professional contacts Im excited to reach out to again.

Following the Annual Meeting, ANA announced the recipients of the Poster Awards, and the Emerging Scholar Awards.

ABOUT THE ANA

The American Neurological Association is a professional society of academic neurologists and neuroscientists devoted to advancing the goals of academic neurology; to training and educating neurologists and other physicians in the neurologic sciences; and to expanding both our understanding of diseases of the nervous system and our ability to treat them.

For more information, visit http://www.myana.org or follow @TheNewANA1 on Twitter, @AmericanNeurologicalAssociation on Facebook, or @ananeurology on Instagram.

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American Neurological Association's First-Ever All-Virtual, Interactive Meeting Attracts Record Attendance from 47 Countries With Special Focus on...

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

COVID-19 Pandemic and Neurological Disease: A Critical Review of the Existing Literature – DocWire News

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

This article was originally published here

Hosp Pract Res. 2020 Summer;5(3):81-86.

ABSTRACT

Most of what we know about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is limited to what we know about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and COVID-19s epidemiology, fatality, and acute care. However, infection with COVID-19 may also involve the central nervous system (CNS), which may or may not be due to a multi-organ injury. Our aim in this paper is to briefly summarize the main aspects of the growing literature on neurological manifestations of the COVID-19 infection. As such, after mentioning some general background on the economic and medical implications of the pandemic on individuals, the healthcare system, and the society, we summarize some common aspects of the published literature on neurological manifestations of the COVID-19 infection. We also highlight the existing gaps in the literature, which requires additional work. The most common neurological manifestation of COVID-19 infection is an olfactory deficit. However, it is still unknown if it is inflammatory or degenerative in nature. Still, the incidence of neurological complications, and also their mechanisms and treatments are unknown. This literature is predominantly composed of opinions and reviews rather than original articles, so the patients data are not used for a majority of the studies. Multi-center studies that not only conduct chest CT or MRI but also brain CT or MRI are needed. Randomized trials are still required on the management of acute and chronic neurological conditions due to COVID-19 infection. Cohort studies may also determine the natural history of the conditions and factors that are prognostic. Furthermore, while disparities in COVID-19 infections are known, inequalities in neurological manifestations are unknown. Besides this, the efficacy of specific treatments on CNS involvement is still unknown. We will discuss the health care needs of patients with chronic neurological conditions. We Included a few recommendations for practice and further research at the end of this paper.

PMID:33094214 | PMC:PMC7577209

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COVID-19 Pandemic and Neurological Disease: A Critical Review of the Existing Literature - DocWire News

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Neurology Devices Market Revenue, Growth Rate, Customer Needs, Trend, Manufacturers and Forecast to 2025 – Express Journal

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

Latest research with COVID-19 impact analysis of Global Neurology Devices Industry 2025 Situations, Growth, Prospects, & Sales Market is analyzed. The deep-dive analysis of Neurology Devices market development factors, risks & market maturity analysis is conducted. The research study is segmented based on top product types, applications, companies, & end-users. The Neurology Devices industry share & size analysis is conducted. The forecast strategies, Neurology Devices business plans, changing dynamics & policies are studied comprehensively. The crucial opportunities to focus on, market driving forces & statistics are evaluated.

The research report on Neurology Devices market offers a complete assessment of this business landscape while highlighting the production as well as the consumption aspects. Factors including growth drivers, limitations, and opportunities impacting the market dynamics are also specified in the document. A detailed five Porters analysis of each company operating in this industry is conducted to conclude emerging prospects.

The study specifies the major business strategies which offer a robust profit potential. However, the advent of COVID-19 outbreak may have major modifications in the expansion of the overall market. Thus, the report assesses and provides detailed assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the market remuneration.

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Neurology Devices Market Revenue, Growth Rate, Customer Needs, Trend, Manufacturers and Forecast to 2025 - Express Journal

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

What We Know So Far about How COVID Affects the Nervous System – Scientific American

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

Many of the symptoms experienced by people infected with SARS-CoV-2 involve the nervous system. Patients complain of headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and brain fog, or loss of taste and smellall of which can last from weeks to months after infection. In severe cases, COVID-19 can also lead to encephalitis or stroke. The virus has undeniable neurological effects. But the way it actually affects nerve cells still remains a bit of a mystery. Can immune system activation alone produce symptoms? Or does the novel coronavirus directly attack the nervous system?

Some studiesincluding a recent preprint paper examining mouse and human brain tissueshow evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can get into nerve cells and the brain. The question remains as to whether it does so routinely or only in the most severe cases. Once the immune system kicks into overdrive, the effects can be far-ranging, even leading immune cells to invade the brain, where they can wreak havoc.

Some neurological symptoms are far less serious yet seem, if anything, more perplexing. One symptomor set of symptomsthat illustrates this puzzle and has gained increasing attention is an imprecise diagnosis called brain fog. Even after their main symptoms have abated, it is not uncommon for COVID-19 patients to experience memory loss, confusion and other mental fuzziness. What underlies these experiences is still unclear, although they may also stem from the body-wide inflammation that can go along with COVID-19. Many people, however, develop fatigue and brain fog that lasts for months even after a mild case that does not spur the immune system to rage out of control.

Another widespread symptom called anosmia, or loss of smell, might also originate from changes that happen without nerves themselves getting infected. Olfactory neurons, the cells that transmit odors to the brain, lack the primary docking site, or receptor, for SARS-CoV-2, and they do not seem to get infected. Researchers are still investigating how loss of smell might result from an interaction between the virus and another receptor on the olfactory neurons or from its contact with nonnerve cells that line the nose.

Experts say the virus need not make it inside neurons to cause some of the mysterious neurological symptoms now emerging from the disease. Many pain-related effects could arise from an attack on sensory neurons, the nerves that extend from the spinal cord throughout the body to gather information from the external environment or internal bodily processes. Researchers are now making headway in understanding how SARS-CoV-2 could hijack pain-sensing neurons, called nociceptors, to produce some of COVID-19s hallmark symptoms.

Neuroscientist Theodore Price, who studies pain at the University of Texas at Dallas, took note of the symptoms reported in the early literature and cited by patients of his wife, a nurse practitioner who sees people with COVID remotely. Those symptoms include sore throat, headaches, body-wide muscle pain and severe cough. (The cough is triggered in part by sensory nerve cells in the lungs.)

Curiously, some patients report a loss of a particular sensation called chemethesis, which leaves them unable to detect hot chilies or cool peppermintsperceptions conveyed by nociceptors, not taste cells. While many of these effects are typical of viral infections, the prevalence and persistence of these pain-related symptomsand their presence in even mild cases of COVID-19suggest that sensory neurons might be affected beyond normal inflammatory responses to infection. That means the effects may be directly tied to the virus itself. Its just striking, Price says. The affected patients all have headaches, and some of them seem to have pain problems that sound like neuropathies, chronic pain that arises from nerve damage. That observation led him to investigate whether the novel coronavirus could infect nociceptors.

The main criteria scientists use to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 can infect cells throughout the body is the presence of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein embedded in the surface of cells. ACE2 acts as a receptor that sends signals into the cell to regulate blood pressure and is also an entry point for SARS-CoV-2. So Price went looking for it in human neurons in a study now published in the journal PAIN.

Nociceptorsand other sensory neuronslive in discreet clusters, found just outside the spinal cord, called dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Price and his team procured nerve cells donated after death or cancer surgeries. The researchers performed RNA sequencing, a technique to determine which proteins a cell is about to produce, and they used antibodies to target ACE2 itself. They found that a subset of DRG neurons did contain ACE2, providing the virus a portal into the cells.

Sensory neurons send out long tendrils called axons, whose endings sense specific stimuli in the body and then transmit them to the brain in the form of electrochemical signals. The particular DRG neurons that contained ACE2 also had the genetic instructions, the mRNA, for a sensory protein called MRGPRD. That protein marks the cells as a subset of neurons whose endings are concentrated at the bodys surfacesthe skin and inner organs, including the lungswhere they would be poised to pick up the virus.

Price says nerve infection could contribute to acute, as well as lasting, symptoms of COVID. The most likely scenario would be that the autonomic and sensory nerves are affected by the virus, he says. We know that if sensory neurons get infected with a virus, it can have long-term consequences, even if the virus does not stay in cells.

But, Price adds, it does not need to be that the neurons get infected. In another recent study, he compared genetic sequencing data from lung cells of COVID patients and healthy controls and looked for interactions with healthy human DRG neurons. Price says his team found a lot of immune-system-signaling molecules called cytokines from the infected patients that could interact with receptors on neurons. Its basically a bunch of stuff we know is involved in neuropathic pain. That observation suggests that nerves could be undergoing lasting damage from the immune molecules without being directly infected by the virus.

Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who wrote a commentary accompanying Prices paper in PAIN, says that the study was exceptionally good, in part because it used human cells. But, she adds, we dont have evidence that direct entry of the virus into [nerve] cells is the major mechanism of cellular [nerve] damage, though the new findings do not discount that possibility. It is absolutely possible that inflammatory conditions outside nerve cells could alter their activity or even cause permanent damage, Oaklander says. Another prospect is that viral particles interacting with neurons could lead to an autoimmune attack on nerves.

ACE2 is widely thought to be the novel coronaviruss primary entry point. But Rajesh Khanna, a neuroscientist and pain researcher at the University of Arizona, observes that ACE2 is not the only game in town for SARS-CoV-2 to come into cells. Another protein, called neuropilin-1 (NRP1), could be an alternate doorway for viral entry, he adds. NRP1 plays an important role in angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) and in growing neurons long axons.

That idea came from studies in cells and in mice. It was found that NRP1 interacts with the viruss infamous spike protein, which it uses to gain entry into cells. We proved that it binds neuropilin and that the receptor has infectious potential, says virologist Giuseppe Balistreri of the University of Helsinki, who co-authored the mouse study, which was published in Sciencealong with a separate study in cells. It appears more likely that NRP1 acts as a co-factor with ACE2 than that the protein alone affords the virus entry to cells. What we know is that when we have the two receptors, we get more infection. Together, its much more powerful, Balistreri adds.

Those findings piqued the interest of Khanna, who was studying vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a molecule with a long-recognized role in pain signaling that also binds to NRP1. He wondered whether the virus would affect pain signaling through NRP1, so he tested it in rats in a study that was also published in PAIN. We put VEGF in the animal [in the paw], and lo and behold, we saw robust pain over the course of 24 hours, Khanna says. Then came the really cool experiment: We put in VEGF and spike at the same time, and guess what? The pain is gone.

The study showed what happens to the neurons signaling when the virus tickles the NRP1 receptor, Balistreri says. The results are strong, demonstrating that neurons activity was altered by the touch of the spike of the virus through NRP1.

In an experiment in rats with a nerve injury to model chronic pain, administering the spike protein alone attenuated the animals pain behaviors. That finding hints that a spike-like drug that binds NRP1 might have potential as a new pain reliever. Such molecules are already in development for use in cancer.

In a more provocative and untested hypothesis, Khanna speculates that the spike protein might act at NRP1 to silence nociceptors in people, perhaps masking pain-related symptoms very early in an infection. The idea is that the protein could provide an anesthetic effect as SARS-CoV-2 begins to infect a person, which might allow the virus to spread more easily. I cannot exclude it, says Balistreri. Its not impossible. Viruses have an arsenal of tools to go unseen. This is the best thing they know: to silence our defenses.

It still remains to be determined whether a SARS-CoV-2 infection could produce analgesia in people. They used a high dose of a piece of the virus in a lab system and a rat, not a human, Balistreri says. The magnitude of the effects theyre seeing [may be due to] the large amount of viral protein they used. The question will be to see if the virus itself can [blunt pain] in people.

The experience of one patientRave Pretorius, a 49-year-old South African mansuggests that continuing this line of research is probably worthwhile. A motor accident in 2011 left Pretorius with several fractured vertebrae in his neck and extensive nerve damage. He says he lives with constant burning pain in his legs that wakes him up nightly at 3 or 4 A.M. It feels like somebody is continuously pouring hot water over my legs, Pretorius says. But that changed dramatically when he contracted COVID-19 in July at his job at a manufacturing company. I found it very strange: When I was sick with COVID, the pain was bearable. At some points, it felt like the pain was gone. I just couldnt believe it, he says. Pretorius was able to sleep through the night for the first time since his accident. I lived a better life when I was sick because the pain was gone, despite having fatigue and debilitating headaches, he says. Now that Pretorius has recovered from COVID, his neuropathic pain has returned.

For better or worse, COVID-19 seems to have effects on the nervous system. Whether they include infection of nerves is still unknown like so much about SARS-CoV-2. The bottom line is that while the virus apparently can, in principle, infect some neurons, it doesnt need to. It can cause plenty of havoc from the outside these cells.

Read more about the coronavirus outbreak from Scientific American here. And read coverage from our international network of magazines here.

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What We Know So Far about How COVID Affects the Nervous System - Scientific American

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Doctors contemplating plasma therapy to improve neurological condition of Soumitra Chatterjee – The Indian Express

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

By: PTI | Kolkata | Updated: October 25, 2020 9:08:54 amSoumitra Chatterjee is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kolkata for the past 18 days after he tested COVID-19 positive. (Photo: Express archive)

Doctors are contemplating whether plasma therapy can be useful to improve the neurological condition of legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in the city for past 18 days after he tested COVID-19 positive.

Dr Arindam Kar, who is leading the team of doctors in treating the veteran actor said in a statement on Friday evening, that the other organ functions like liver, kidney and heart conditions of Chatterjee are okay but he is barely arousable.

As he has responded briefly for steroids our neurology panel is contemplating whether plasma therapy can be useful and we are mulling future plan of action, Kar said.

The doctor said since Chatterjee has been in ICU for three weeks, it is always challenging to prevent secondary complications.

The present neurological condition of the octogenarian was due to Covid encephalopathy extended for a while, he said. It will be huge effort to get him out of this situation with other therapies for neurological complications. We hope he should recover, Kar said.

Also Read | Soumitra Chatterjees health a cause of concern, says doctor

The doctors are also administering anti-convulsants and stimulants to get him up and to rule out any auto immune disorder, post covid, he said.

The critically acclaimed actor, who has worked with renowned filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha and Tarun Mazumdar, was admitted to the hospital on October 6 after he tested COVID-19 positive.

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The dementia that can be cured – The Guardian

Posted: October 25, 2020 at 11:56 am

When John Abraham began to lose his mind in late 2019, his family immediately feared the worst. Abraham had enjoyed robust health throughout retirement, but now at 80 he suddenly found himself struggling to finish sentences.

I would be talking to people, and all of a sudden the final word wouldnt come to mind, he remembers. I assumed this was simply a feature of ageing, and I was finding ways of getting around it.

But within weeks, further erratic behaviours started to develop. Abrahams family recall him often falling asleep mid-conversation, he would sometimes shout out bizarre comments in public, and during the night he would wake up every 15 minutes, sometimes hallucinating.

Patients can go from being in a nursing home, unable to communicate, to returning to work

To his son Steve, the diagnosis seemed inevitable, one which all families dread. I was convinced my dad had dementia, he says. What I couldnt believe was the speed at which it was all happening. It was like dementia on steroids.

Dementia is not just one disease it has more than 200 different subtypes. Over the past decade neurologists have become increasingly interested in one particular subtype, known as autoimmune dementia. In this condition, the symptoms of memory loss and confusion are the result of brain inflammation caused by rogue antibodies known as autoantibodies binding to the neuronal tissue, rather than an underlying neurodegenerative disease. Crucially this means that unlike almost all other forms of dementia, in some cases it can be cured, andspecialist neurologists have become increasingly adept at both spotting and treating it.

At the John Radcliffe hospital, University of Oxford, neurologist Sarosh Irani is one of the worlds leading experts in treating neurological conditions caused by a malfunctioning immune system. When Abraham was admitted under his care in early January 2020 following a seizure, Irani soon realised that the source of his problems was an autoantibody which targeted a protein in the brain named LGI1.

The main telltale clue was the speed of onset, one of the key distinguishing features of autoimmune dementia. The symptoms usually come on very quickly, Irani says. Over a few weeks or months, patients develop memory problems, and change their behaviour and personality. Patients with neurodegenerative forms of dementia can develop movement disorders or seizures, but this typically happens later in the illness once degeneration has set in. In autoimmune dementia, these are early problems.

Abraham underwent a treatment called plasma exchange, which aims to wash the blood of the disease-causing antibodies. The impact was almost instant. For me it caused a complete transformation, in one or two days, he says. My family came in to see me in the hospital, and they just looked at each other in amazement.

Such dramatic improvements are often reported as soon as treatment which can also include steroids and other immunotherapies begins. Patients can go from being in a nursing home, unable to communicate, to returning to work, being able to drive again, says Eoin Flanagan, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, one of a handful of centres in the world along with Iranis research group, that is actively studying autoimmune dementia.

This is one reason why the condition, though rare Mayo Clinic neurologist Sean Pittock estimates that it makes up less than 5% of all dementia cases is so important to identify. The data available suggests that it is often missed. Among autoimmune dementia patients who were successfully treated at the Mayo Clinic between 2002 and 2009, 35% had been initially misdiagnosed with either Alzheimers or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

A lot of patients over 60 are misdiagnosed, says Flanagan. Thats a concern because if you miss these cases, youre committing them to a presumed neurodegenerative course when they could respond to immunotherapy, and their symptoms resolve.

But autoimmune dementia is also an illustration of a broader trend. Over the past 15 years, treatable diseases have been identified across an entire spectrum of neurological illnesses from epilepsy to multiple sclerosis and psychiatry, all caused by autoantibodies binding to different parts of the brain and central nervous system.

Its become one of the most exciting areas of neurology, says Irani. There are subgroups within all these illness groups that have very treatable diseases. If youre a dementia doctor, a small percentage of your patients will have this condition, the same if youre a psychiatrist or a multiple sclerosis doctor. And with these patients you can actually directly treat the underlying cause by suppressing the immune system.

In October 2019, another patient was admitted to the John Radcliffe hospital.Pippa Carter, aged 19, had just begun an English literature degree at the University of Leeds when she noticed that her vision seemed to be strangely distorted.

I would be in lectures and I was really struggling to focus with my eyesight and with concentration in general, she says. I was trying to audition for a university play, and I had to stop because I couldnt really read at all. Initially, I thought it was just nerves because I was starting a new chapter in life.

Within weeks, she found herself unable to get her words out properly, before she was taken to hospital after suffering a large seizure. Just like Abraham, it was the speed of her decline which alerted doctors to a potential autoimmune cause. Within a week she was hallucinating, shouting things, remembers Irani. In her hospital room, which she was in for several weeks, she drew these bizarre childlike pictures on the wall, like the sorts of things a four-year-old would draw. It was like something was causing her to regress in her behaviour.

Carter was suffering from a neuropsychiatric syndrome caused by an autoantibody binding to the brains NMDA receptors, proteins which play a key role in learning and memory formation. Soon after she began treatment, first with steroids, and then an immunotherapy called rituximab, she began to improve. Now more than a year on, she is hoping to resume her university studies soon.

Since 2004, scientists have been steadily discovering the autoantibodies behind these various neurological conditions, making it possible for clinics to test for them. Irani says that so far they have discovered approximately 25, with one or two new autoantibodies detected every year. There are probably many more out there still, he says. Were not at the tip of the iceberg, but I think were probably nowhere near the base either.

Precisely what stimulates the body to produce these autoantibodies remains unclear, but it is thought that there can be a variety of environmental triggers ranging from viral infections to tumours, along with an underlying genetic susceptibility.

Due to the number of patients who can be successfully treated, specialists are looking to raise awareness of the importance of keeping an eye out for them. Its really a not-to-miss set of conditions, says Irani. Our clinic runs a diagnostics lab where we receive UK-wide samples for many of these diseases. One in 100 are positive, and these patients clearly get better with steroids and similar medications.

There are signs that the interest is growing. In November 2019, data was published from the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of different treatments for patients with a type of epilepsy caused by LGI1 autoantibodies. Two more trials are under way looking at new experimental therapies aimed at trying to stop the body from producing these damaging antibodies.

Irani is hoping that this will yield many benefits in years to come. Theres definitely an under-recognition of these conditions, he says. But as the field continues to expand, there will be more and more of these patients who get picked up. Im sure that if you look hard enough in acute psychiatry wards, and in nursing homes, there are patients out there with treatable conditions who are being missed.

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