Better Living Through Well Being
Known as a complete system that focuses on the patient as a whole person and the self-healing properties of the body, integrative medicine answers the call of patients who ask for a combination of complimentary and conventional medicine. In the upcoming International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine in Stuttgart, Germany, over 70 renowned experts will present how they have put integrative medicine into practice in a variety of healthcare settings. The hope is to create a space where the brightest minds from around the world who have a deep sense of commitment to global health can come together to envision an integrative and modern medicine. The focus of the conference will be the World Health Organizations’s call to action on chronic non-communicable disease and antibiotic resistance. Integrative medicine is considered to hold answers to the critical challenge of helping patients with non-communicable disease (NCD) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental health disease, which have been declared a priority in over 190 countries in the WHO’s 2013-2020 Global Action Plan.
The Congress will highlight how integrative medicine’s emphasis on prevention, high-level collaboration between professionals, and integration of complementary treatment is part of the solution to this challenge.
“...there is always some soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon...” - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
The spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons warns about “the Somatizing of America.” According to the article, the use of psychoactive medication could become the “new normal.” Pharmaceuticals have become woven into the fabric of our lives. Yes, medication saves lives and bodily pain, and psychological problems are real, but the problem is that purveyors of pharmaceuticals have convinced many basically healthy people that an unchanging affect is preferable to experiencing life’s ups and downs and everyday “bumps in the road.” Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control.
The Earth Day Network is taking action to prove that the Climate Agreement created at the Paris Climate Conference last December was not all talk by imploring President Obama to sign it on this upcoming Earth Day. All the other world leaders are also invited to sign the agreement at the UN in New York. Two of the world’s largest CO2 emitters are China and India. Their signatures would be pivotal. Also, because the United States emits more greenhouse gases than every country except China, it is important that the U.S. should lead the way.
The Climate Agreement calls for nations to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions and keep the average planetary temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point where humanity starts to suffer from the most destructive and dangerous effects of climate change.
In a new report by the World Health Organization, over 12 million people die every year from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) from exposure to unclean air, water and soil, chemical exposure, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, all environment-related deaths that the WHO believes could be prevented by means of strategic measures implemented by regional governments.
The report emphasizes cost-effective measures that countries can take to reverse the upward trend of environment-related disease and deaths. These include reducing the use of solid fuels for cooking and increasing access to low-carbon energy technologies. Using clean technologies and fuels for domestic cooking, heating and lighting would reduce acute respiratory infections, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and burns. Increasing access to safe water and adequate sanitation and promoting hand washing would further reduce diarrhoeal diseases.
Many cities around the world are already starting to implement many of the measures outlined in the report.
In a recent study, experts have identified an alteration in the composition of human gut bacteria (microbiota) that can serve as a good indicator for the early development of insulin resistance and lead to prevention of Type-2 diabetes.
Another study focused on biomarkers found in the cells of the colon that are indicators for colon cancer risk. This study used two groups, a group of African Americans who are a population with high risk for colon cancer, and another group from rural South Africa where the cancer is rarely found. The two groups swapped diets for two weeks. The Americans were given a traditional African diet and the Africans were given a western diet. Within two weeks, indicators in the Africans showed a dramatic increase in the colon cancer biomarkers. The Americans had indicators showing beneficial metabolic interactions in intestinal bacteria which reduced cancer risk.
Other articles of interest in this Spring 2016 TMIS eNewsletter:
* Hyperlocal cuisine - a growing culinary trend where restaurants serve food they have cultivated themselves, or sourced locally from nearby producers.
* A study by the American Academy of Neurobiology finds older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems by engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as computer use, reading, crafting, and social activities.
* Research on natural circadian rhythms of animals in the wild shows how the obese insulin resistant/glucose intolerant state predisposing to diabetes evolved in vertebrates as a seasonal survival mechanism when food availability varied with the seasons, and how exposure to the western diet appears to promote a “lock” in this circadian pattern.
* Findings from a recent survey found that adopting a few simple renewable lifestyle habits that help protect the Earth’s natural resources can make people go from feeling glum to good.
* AllTrials campaign promotes a national conversation about the value of clinical trial transparency, ethics, open access to clinical trial data, and expanded registration for clinical trials to improve clinical practice and policy.
* Farmers in British Columbia safely and responsibly return obsolete and unwanted pesticides and livestock medications through the CleanFARMS program.
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- Mary Michele McLaughlin
From the Front Page of TMIS News
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From Disease Treatment to Health Creation, International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine, to Meet in June 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany
More than 1,000 healthcare practitioners, researchers and policy experts are expected June 9-11, 2016, in Stuttgart, Germany for the International Congress for Integrative Health & Medicine (ICIHM) to discuss the latest research, promising clinical approaches, and successful integrative care models from around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO)'s call to action on chronic diseases and antibiotic resistance will be a focus of the conference.
For most people in Europe, naturopathy, acupuncture and Far Eastern treatment methods, phytotherapy and homeopathy are seen as complementary to conventional medicine. As surveys in Europe show, patients are asking for a combination of complementary and conventional medicine. Integrative Medicine is one answer to that call. For advocates of the field, Integrative Medicine is more than an evidence-informed combination of conventional and complementary treatment methods - it is a complete system that focuses on the patient as a whole person and the self-healing properties of the body. Integrative Medicine focuses on quality of life and is based on an equal doctor-patient partnership. As expressed by conference planning committee member, David Riley, MD, "Simply put, integrative medicine offers best practices for optimal health and healing. It is holistic, considering the patient's bio-psycho-social dimensions as determinants of health."
Experts consider Integrative Medicine particularly useful for patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and mental health diseases. NCDs have garnered attention of policy makers in over 190 countries as a global health priority, as demonstrated by the WHO's 2013-2020 Global Action Plan on NCDs. The Congress will highlight how an Integrative Medicine approach with an emphasis on prevention, high-level collaboration between professionals and integration of complementary treatments and professions is part of the solution to the global NCD challenge. Speakers will also discuss how an Integrative Medicine approach could reduce antibiotic use, one of the key objectives in WHO's Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
Drugging of Americans Resembles Brave New World, Suggests Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
Recalling Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, where the totalitarian government kept citizens happy with a drug called "soma," Marilyn Singleton, M.D., warns about "The Soma-tizing of America" in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. "Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug," Dr. Singleton notes. And "20 percent are on five or more prescription medications (polypharmacy)." The use of psychoactive drugs is extremely common. "About one in 10 Americans aged 12 and over and nearly one-quarter of women between ages 50 and 64 take antidepressants." And sales of opioid or narcotic painkillers have quadrupled since 1999.
Illicit drug use is an enormous problem, with 7,800 new users per day. And so is misuse of prescription drugs: "Fifty-two million people age 12 and over have used prescription drugs nonmedically at some point in their lives."
Medical use of drugs to control behavior is shockingly high. According to one government study, one-third of nursing home patients with dementia were prescribed an antipsychotic medication as an off-label use to treat behavioral symptoms—despite black-box warnings of an increased risk of death. Psychotropic drugs that affect brain function are given to children on Medicaid at a rate four times higher than other children, and to children in foster care at a rate three times higher than to other children. As many as 10,000 toddlers may be receiving psychostimulant drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin).
Earth Day Network launches petition to pressure world leaders to sign Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day
Earth Day Network has launched a petition imploring President Obama to sign the Paris Climate Agreement this upcoming Earth Day, April 22nd. The official signing ceremony is to be held April 22nd at the UN in New York. All world leaders have been invited to the ceremony, planned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a staunch supporter of the agreement. The Climate Agreement - created by representatives of more than 190 UN members - calls for nations to decrease their greenhouse-gas emissions and to keep the global average temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels - the point where humanity will begin to feel the most destructive and dangerous effects of climate change.
In order for the Agreement to become binding, 55 countries - representing 55 percent of global emissions – need to sign. With less than two months until the Paris Agreement opens for signing, several countries have already pledged they will sign. However, too many countries that greatly contribute to global CO2 emissions have not. Without them, the agreement may never officially go into effect.
An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments
An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly one in four of total global deaths, according to new estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO). Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries. Noncommunicable diseases contribute to largest share of environment-related deaths.
The second edition of the report, Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks, reveals that since the report was first published a decade ago, deaths due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), attributable to air pollution (including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke), are amounting to as much as 8.2 million of these deaths. NCDs, such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, now amount to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments.
At the same time, deaths from infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and malaria, often related to poor water, sanitation and waste management, have declined. Increases in access to safe water and sanitation have been key contributors to this decline, alongside better access to immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines.
Gut Microbiota: A New Kind of Biomarker?
The composition of the gut microbiota provides a huge potential of new biomarkers for indicating intestinal conditions. Experts presented new findings at the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2016. The gut microbiota composition is significantly altered in patients with metabolic conditions. Prof. Max Nieuwdorp (University of Amsterdam / The Netherlands) presented studies that showed that an enrichment of Lactobacillus gasseri and Streptococcus mutans in the gut serves as a good predictor for the development of insulin resistance. Equally important is the observation that the amount of bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids such as Roseburia and Faecallibacterium prausnitzii is reduced in patients with Type-2 diabetes. Prof. Nieuwdorp said that connecting different types of microbial composition with classical clinical biomarkers may provide diagnostic patterns that help to assess disease risks and select the measures that are best suited for the individual patient.
A study presented by Dr. Kishore Vipperla, focussed on connections between diet and colon cancer risk factors. The study compared two groups: 20 African Americans (a population with high risk of colon cancer) and 20 participants from rural South Africa, where the disease occurs very rarely. The two groups swapped diets for two weeks: Americans were given a 'traditional African' diet, while Africans were given a western diet. Within two weeks the food swap dramatically increased the colon cancer risk In the African participants, indicated by inflammation and the proliferation rate of mucosal epithelial cells that count as important biomarkers for this condition. This was associated with altered metabolic interactions between the intestinal bacteria leading to raised levels of beneficial bacterial metabolites in the guts of the American participants while the opposite was true for the Africans.
The Rise of Hyperlocal Cuisine
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Food Miles is a term which has been with us since Sustain's 1994 The Food Miles report, citing the intense globalization of the food industry over the last 50 years and the huge diversification of where our food comes from. Go to any supermarket and you'll find lamb from New Zealand, bananas from Brazil and oranges from California. Of course, not every climate is suitable for producing every food, but often locally produced items are obtainable which are neglected owing to higher production costs, political factors and the availability of artificially cheap fossil fuels.
Hyperlocal cuisine is a growing culinary trend where restaurants serve food they have cultivated themselves, or sourced locally from nearby producers. Aside from offering environmental and sustainability benefits, hyperlocal restaurants feature constantly changing menus with seasonal products, challenging chefs to be creative and highly experimental due to the limited ingredients available.
Using a Computer, Social Activities Tied to Reduced Risk of Memory Decline
Keeping the brain active with social activities and using a computer may help older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems, according to a study released at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
"The results show the importance of keeping the mind active as we age," said study author Janina Krell-Roesch, PhD, with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and member of the American Academy of Neurology. "While this study only shows association, not cause and effect, as people age, they may want to consider participating in activities like these because they may keep a mind healthier, longer."
For the study, researchers followed 1,929 people, age 70 and older, who were part of the larger Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, Minn. The participants had normal memory and thinking abilities at recruitment to the study. They were then followed for an average of four years until they developed mild cognitive impairment or remained impairment-free.
Participants were asked about their engagement in mentally stimulating activities such as computer use, reading, crafting and social activities within 12 months before participation in the study using a questionnaire. The investigators then wanted to know if participants who engaged in mental activities at least once per week had a lower risk for new onset of mild cognitive impairment as compared to those participants who did not engage in these activities.
Published Review Paper from VeroScience Delineates 50 Years of Research Linking Circadian Rhythms with Metabolic Disease
Tiverton, Rhode Island
VeroScience, Inc., is pleased to announce that the prestigious Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism has published a comprehensive review of circadian rhythms (24 hour rhythms of biological activities) research from the VeroScience scientific team. These studies, dating back over 50 years, were the first to delineate important roles for circadian rhythms of biological activities in the regulation of body metabolism. Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that manipulating these rhythms through Circadian Neuroendocrine Resetting Therapy (CNRT) can treat a number of metabolic and chronic conditions, and this work led to the development of the Company's FDA approved drug, Cycloset, for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.
Initially, studying the natural circadian rhythms of animals in the wild during different seasons of the year, VeroScience researchers concluded that the obese insulin resistant/glucose intolerant state predisposing to diabetes evolved in vertebrates as a seasonal survival mechanism when food availability varied with the seasons. Animals prepare for seasons of food scarcity by becoming insulin resistant, allowing better management of fat fuel supplies and a glucose supply to the brain during prolonged reduced food availability/starvation. Interestingly, when this season passes and food is plentiful again, this insulin resistance - prediabetes - vanishes. Through their studies, however, researchers concluded this 365-day annual cycle of metabolism is primarily regulated by seasonal changes in the temporal interactions of circadian (24 hour) neuroendocrine rhythm activities, not food availability.
Protecting Earth's resources can boost personal happiness, new survey finds
Is renewable living the key to happiness? New data from Tetra Pak offers some compelling evidence that the answer is yes. Findings from a survey commissioned by Tetra Pak found that adopting a few simple, renewable lifestyle habits that help protect the Earth's natural resources can help people go from feeling glum to good, with 70 percent of those surveyed claiming they felt happier when making eco-minded choices.
These results come on the heels of the world's first social experiment in renewability, which uncovered how renewable lifestyle choices influence levels of happiness. The Renewable Living Social Experiment was conducted in partnership with University College London (UK) and the Tilburg University (NL). It challenged leading bloggers in five countries (United States, Brazil, India, France and Spain) to take small steps to adopt simple, renewable habits, from walking or biking to work, to making eco-minded choices at the grocery store. The experiment showed a significant increase in both how habitual the behaviors became, and how happy they made the bloggers over the 28-day period.
Now, Tetra Pak is inviting people to find joy in protecting the planet's resources with the #RenewableLiving Challenge that encourages participants to adopt simple, renewable habits every day over a 28-day period. To kick off the challenge, the company introduced the 'Habits of Happiness' Quiz to help participants assess where they stand in the happiness scale, both before and after the challenge.
"At Tetra Pak, we believe that even simple lifestyle behaviors have the power to make a big impact, on both a personal and global scale," said Elisabeth Comere, Director of Environment and Government Affairs for Tetra Pak. "This study shows that the collective benefit of the small actions we take, from taking shorter showers to choosing products with renewable packaging, can benefit the world around us while making us feel happier."
American Medical Association joins AllTrials campaign for clinical trial transparency
New York, New York
The American Medical Association (AMA) joins more than 641 patient advocacy groups, professional societies, medical organizations and thousands of patients worldwide in supporting the global campaign for clinical trial registration and reporting led by AllTrials.
"The AMA strongly supports improving the timeliness and accessibility of clinical trial data to reduce the duplication of research and help inform future research - ultimately improving health outcomes for patients," said AMA President Steven J. Stack. "The AMA is pleased to join the AllTrials initiative to continue efforts aimed at ensuring open access to clinical trial data for physicians, researchers and patients."
Enhanced clinical trial transparency and the efforts of the AllTrials initiative were part of a policy proposal submitted by the AMA's Medical Student Section for consideration at the AMA's 2015 Interim House of Delegates meeting. The House of Delegates adopted policy during the meeting to support the timely dissemination of clinical trial data, improved enforcement deadlines for sharing these results, and expanded registration for clinical trials to improve clinical practice and policy. In alignment with this policy and upon recent approval by the AMA Board of Trustees, the AMA has now joined the AllTrials initiative.
B.C. farmers return more than 28,000 kilograms of obsolete pesticides and livestock medications
Vancouver, British Columbia
Farmers in British Columbia turned in 27,672 kilograms of obsolete and unwanted pesticides, and 349 kilograms of livestock and equine medications through CleanFARMS' obsolete collection campaign in 2015.
Collections took place at 10 participating ag-retail and municipal locations in the Okanagan, Kootenay and Interior regions of the province from October 20 – November 5, 2015. This is the fourth collection program CleanFARMS, a national, industry-led waste stewardship organization, has run in the province. This marked the first time that a combined collection of pesticides and livestock medications has been offered in these regions of B.C. CleanFARMS partnered with the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) to add the collection of livestock and equine medications to CleanFARMS' existing program.
"Farmers are keen to responsibly manage waste on their farms. This program gives them the opportunity to safely and responsibly return unused products. The British Columbia Agricultural Council (BCAC) is proud to support this industry-led program that supports sustainable agriculture," said Stan Vander Waal, chair of BCAC.
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