Better Living Through Well Being
Rhythm is a fundamental aspect of the universe at every level, and serves as a critical foundation for life on this planet. This is the premise behind the Rhythm and the Brain project, a collaboration between a neurologist, Dr. Adam Gazzaley, and former drummer of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, to support research into the positive interplay between rhythm, music and cognitive health, in order to finally prove what many already know. Science has already discovered that brain function itself is dependent on complex rhythms of activity, which guide interactions between brain regions, generating synchronized neural networks.
The goal of Rhythm and the Brain is to advance our understanding of the role of rhythm in higher-order brain function and how we can influence brain rhythms through novel interventions such as neuromodulation, rhythm training, video game training, and neurofeedback, with the ultimate goal to improve cognition and mood in the healthy and the impaired, positively impacting the quality of our lives.
The two collaborators made history in September by being the first to demonstrate brain activity in real time on stage before an audience. Mickey played rhythms on his drum while wearing an EEG cap with sensors that fed his brain waves to a device projecting an image of his brain activity to a big screen, along with audible sonified tones representing the different brain frequencies.
Hart, who has been making music therapy his work for many years now, believes that they have found the “grail” of the human genome and that by being able to understand and control the rhythm of the brain, therapists will be able to medicinally reconstruct broken synapses that are broken in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. “That vibratory mystery called music has healing powers; the brain controls the rhythm. The brain is Rhythm Central,” says Hart.
Other articles in this Fall 2012 TMIS eNewsletter:
Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms have been shown to be statistically significantly decreased through use of healing touch and guided imagery. A new report chronicles findings of a randomized controlled trial among returning active duty Marines who received these interventions in six sessions within a three week period. The practitioners who conducted the study say that service members are seeking out non-drug complementary and integrative medicine as part of overall care. To be eligible for the trial, participants were screened to confirm that they were currently re-experiencing trauma via flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, exaggerated startle response, or avoidance of people or places that remind them of trauma.
The report finds that those receiving the complementary medicine interventions showed significant improvement in quality of life, as well as reduced depression and cynicism, compared to soldiers receiving the as usual treatment alone. The intervention actually decreased the PTSD symptoms by 14 points, putting their condition below the threshold for a PTSD diagnosis.
Healing touch is an energy-based, non-invasive treatment that restores and balances the human biofield to help decrease pain and promote healing. Healing touch is often used as an adjunct to surgery and other medical procedures to assist in pain reduction, decrease anxiety and elicit relaxation.
Guided imagery is a way of using the imagination to help a person reduce stress, decrease pain and enhance overall well-being through visualization. For the purposes of this study, guided imagery was administered to the subjects through a recorded CD simultaneously with healing touch and then listened to independently by subjects at least once daily.
The treatment intervention paired deep relaxation with a self-care approach that can be used at home. The results of the study underscore the need to make effective, non-stigmatizing treatments for PTSD available to all service members.
A recent paper released by the Institute of Medicine based on a survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center found that patients view evidence about what works for their condition as more important than either their provider’s opinion or their personal goals and values. The paper urges doctors to take note that people want and deserve meaningful engagement in conversations about their care, and they value it when rating their experience of care. Also, they do not want their practitioner to make decisions for them or offer only some of the options. Shared decision-making between patients and clinicians produces informed decisions and a higher degree of patient satisfaction.
Also, learn more about:
The Mind as Medicine meditation retreat held recently in Tel Aviv, Israel with Dr. Eliaz.
How use of a variety of natural compounds can outsmart cancer, the Harry Houdini of disease, by hitting it from all sides.
When the American Chemical Society highlighted modified citrus pectin as a solution to chronic disease marker Galectin-3.
How doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa are using the new Arctic Front device for cyroballoon ablation to cure atrial fibrillation.
How a new breakthrough catheter-based 4.0 liter heart pump eliminates the need for invasive surgery in patients with chronic heart disease.
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From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Rhythm Central: Mickey Hart and Dr. Adam Gazzaley Make History Through Visualizing and Sonifying Brain Activity in Real Time for Live Audience
San Francisco, California
Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead percussionist, and neurologist Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of California San Francisco made history by becoming the first to sonify and visualize brain activity in real time in front of a live audience. The two did so at the closing session of Life @50+, the AARP National Event & Expo in New Orleans on September 22nd.
Dr. Gazzaley has extensively studied how the brain handles memory, attention and aging. Gazzaley awed the crowd midway through the session by strapping an EEG on Hart as he paced, clutching a drum, while images of the rhythms coursing through his brain were displayed on the giant screens throughout the hall. As the audience looked on, Gazzaley explained what was happening, adjusting to show more or fewer rhythms coursing through Mickey's brain. "This is scary," Mickey joked.
"It all comes down to vibration and the rhythm of things," Hart says of his collaboration with Dr. Gazzaley. "Can you imagine being able to entrain with these rhythms and focus on a certain part of the brain? To be able to see what part of the brain lights up while you play a certain instrument, a certain rhythm at a certain amplitude. What does the brain look like before, during, and after an auditory driving experience?" Hart continues, "This is about breaking the rhythm code, our genome project. Once we know what rhythm truly does, then we'll be able to control it, and use it medicinally for diagnostics, for health reasons. To be able to reconnect the synapses, the connections that are broken in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, that's where we are heading." It's just the beginning, as far as Hart is concerned. "I've been working in my field for many years and so has Adam, it's a handshake between science and art. Life is all about rhythm, and the brain is Rhythm Central."
New Study Shows PTSD Symptoms in Combat-Exposed Military Can Be Reduced with Healing Touch and Guided Imagery
San Diego, California
Healing touch combined with guided imagery provides significant clinical reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms for combat-exposed active duty military, according to a study released in the September issue of Military Medicine.
The report finds that patients receiving these complementary medicine interventions showed significant improvement in quality of life, as well as reduced depression and cynicism, compared to soldiers receiving treatment as usual alone.
The study, led by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, Calif., conducted a randomized controlled trial of returning active-duty Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. from July 2008 to August 2010. Participants were separated at random into two groups, one that received treatment as usual (TAU) for PTSD and another that received TAU as well as healing touch (HT), a practitioner-based treatment aimed at eliciting the participant's own healing response, with guided imagery (GI), a self-care therapy aimed at eliciting relaxation as well as enhancing trust and self-esteem.
After six sessions within a three-week period with a Scripps practitioner, the HT+GI group reported a significant improvement in PTSD symptoms as a result of these combined complementary therapies.
Options and Evidence: It's What Patients Want
Patients want more meaningful discussions with their care providers when making health care decisions, according to a new discussion paper released today by the Institute of Medicine. The survey found that 8 in 10 people want their health care provider to listen to them, but just 6 in 10 reported that it actually happens, and fewer than 4 in 10 say their provider clearly explains the latest medical evidence. Additionally, less than half of people surveyed reported that their provider asks about their goals and concerns for their health and health care.
"Simply stated, engaging patients in their own medical decisions leads to better health outcomes," concluded the authors, participants in the IOM's Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative on behalf of its Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care. The paper is based on fresh qualitative and quantitative research, as well as an extensive review of relevant research on evidence- and medical-decision making, all commissioned by the collaborative.
Several authors discuss the research further in a just-released "Viewpoint" in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "Recognizing an Opinion: Findings from the IOM Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative."
The authors say there are three essential elements to an informed decision based on shared decision-making. First, people must have timely access to the best available medical evidence. Second, providers must provide sound, unbiased counsel based on their clinical expertise. Third, patients' and families' goals and concerns must be actively elicited and fully honored.
Mind as Medicine: Retreat Brings Healing, Growth
Tel Aviv, Israel
More than 100 people attended a recent meditation retreat in Tel Aviv, Israel: Physicians, journalists, holistic practitioners, cancer patients and meditation enthusiasts. They came to learn holistic, mind-body approaches to healing and find avenues to spiritual growth. The retreat was led by integrative medicine pioneer and meditation expert Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac. and was coordinated by Taatsumot, a non-profit organization. The in-depth, two-day retreat program focused on the mind's innate healing power.
"The theme of my retreat is connectivity and having an open heart," says Dr. Eliaz. "The heart has no concepts. It's our mind, our negative emotions, our thought patterns that put up barriers and don't allow our heart to just open. Real healing begins, continues and ends with an open heart." One of the exercises that the group practiced was a form of meditation called Tonglin, during which participants "take in" suffering and generate love and compassion in return. The process allowed people to step outside their natural barriers, such as reluctance to interact with "negative" energy. However, as people overcame their fears, they embraced the practice and found it transformative.
During the retreat, Dr. Eliaz offered hands-on healing to participants while they were meditating, and taught them how to use meditation to heal themselves and others. Throughout the retreat, he answered questions and discussed related topics such as nutrition, natural cancer treatments, mind-body exercises, lifestyle approaches and other subjects.
Hitting Cancer from All Sides: Outsmarting the Harry Houdini of Disease
Santa Rosa, California
Cancer may be the Harry Houdini of diseases. It often finds devious ways to escape treatment. Because cancer disables our cellular quality control mechanisms, rampant mutations that cause tumor cells to grow uncontrollably can also generate resistance to anticancer drugs. Even if 99 percent of the tumor is destroyed, that 1 percent can come roaring back. How do we knock out that 1 percent? By attacking the cancer from multiple angles, using multiple treatments and strategies.
"We need to outsmart the cancer before it outsmarts us. To do this, we have to find ways to attack cancer from many angles, so it doesn't have the opportunity to develop protective mutations," says integrative medicine pioneer, Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
Recent research has demonstrated a variety of multipronged approaches to defeat cancer resistance. One study found that a sophisticated botanical formula restricts the aggression of metastatic breast cancer. The in vivo study, conducted by researchers at Indiana University and published in Oncology Reports, showed that a combination of medicinal mushrooms, botanical extracts, the flavonoid quercetin and 3, 3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) slowed highly aggressive triple negative breast cancer.
The formula significantly decreased tumor growth and breast-to-lung metastasis. The cancer metastasized to the lungs in only 20 percent of the treated group, compared to 70 percent of the untreated group. Also, in the treatment group that did metastasize, the number and size of the lesions was dramatically reduced. Significantly, these results were achieved with no toxic side-effects.
The formula's success against cancer may, in part, be due to the independent, anti-cancer properties of each ingredient working together to create a synergistic effect. On their own, medicinal mushrooms Trametes versicolor, Ganoderma lucidum, Phellinus linteus have been shown to reduce cancer growth and invasiveness. Extracts from the botanicals Scutellaria barbata, Astragalus membranaceus and Curcuma longa induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) and reduce cancer metastasis. Quercetin reduces cancer cell proliferation and helps suppress tumor growth. DIM, an active component of cruciferous vegetables, reduces cancer growth, migration and invasiveness.
American Chemical Society Highlights Modified Citrus Pectin as Solution to Chronic Disease Marker Galectin-3
San Francisco, California
Cancer, heart disease, chronic inflammation, these disease conditions plague humanity, causing early death and untold suffering. Slowly, scientists are uncovering their numerous causes including genetic anomalies, environmental toxins, obesity and other factors. However, a rapidly expanding body of research points to a single biological culprit that profoundly affects these and other conditions, the molecule Galectin-3.
On August 21, integrative medicine expert Isaac Eliaz, M.D., presented breakthrough research on Galectin-3 and Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP), a therapeutic carbohydrate that helps deactivate this rogue molecule, at the prestigious 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). With over 164,000 active members, ACS is the world's leading scientific society, providing comprehensive access to chemistry-related information, research, funding, networking and education.
Dr. Eliaz's presentation titled, "Galectin-3 and the Role of Modified Citrus Pectin in Health and Disease," was featured as part of the ACS symposium "Renewable Biopolymers: Carbohydrates for Food, Nutrition, Health and Medicine" under the section "Chronic Disease Prevention and Therapy." Dr. Eliaz states, "It is an honor to speak at the prestigious American Chemical Society Meeting and discuss important research regarding Galectin-3 and Modified Citrus Pectin with leaders in the scientific community."
Doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital Are Stopping Atrial Fibrillation Cold
For years, Tampa resident Catherine DeMare had atrial fibrillation and lived with the irregular heartbeat and uncertainty that affects approximately three million Americans. That is, until a procedure stopped her atrial fibrillation cold, literally.
On January 10, 2011, just one day after the FDA approved the Arctic Front cryoballoon catheter for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, DeMare reported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa for surgery, hoping she would soon have the quality of life she had prior to being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. She was one of the first patients in the country to undergo cryoballoon ablation, or "freezing," of the pulmonary veins using the FDA-approved device.
"I waited for nearly three years because the procedure sounded so promising," said DeMare.
It worked; it was worth the wait.
"Three months after my surgery, I was able to stop taking my medication," said DeMare. "I was waiting to see if my irregular heartbeat would happen again and it didn't. I actually forgot all about it."
Her doctor, St. Joseph's Hospital Electrophysiologist James Irwin, M.D., has worked with dozens of patients over the past few years who are now considered to be cured thanks to the Arctic Front. "I have never seen more grateful patients than those who no longer have to live with the risk, uncertainty and discomfort of atrial fibrillation," said Dr. Irwin.
How does it work? The Arctic Front catheter includes a balloon-like device that goes into the opening of the pulmonary veins. Dye is injected to assure that the opening of the pulmonary vein is closed off. Then a liquid refrigerant is used to scar the tissue so that it no longer spreads the electrical current that causes atrial fibrillation. Compared with spot (or radiofrequency) ablations, which have a 50 percent recurrent rate, the cryoablation boasts a seven percent recurrent rate for atrial fibrillation.
As one of the first doctors to utilize the Arctic Front, Dr. Irwin is one of the nation's most experienced users of the device. He participated in all three stages of the FDA's investigational trial, STOP-AF (Sustained Treatment of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation), which tested the safety and efficacy of the Arctic Front. St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa was one of 23 centers in the United States that enrolled patients for the trial, and quickly grew to become the largest enrolling center in North America. The clinical trials found that 70 percent of patients treated with the cryoballoon were free from atrial fibrillation after one year. Patients in the hands of physicians with more extensive experience with the procedure fared even better with a 90 percent cure rate. The study further demonstrated that treatment with the device is safe. Patients experienced a significant reduction of symptoms, a decrease in the use of drug therapy and substantial improvements in both physical and mental quality-of-life factors. For most patients who qualify for the procedure, the Arctic Front is a cure for atrial fibrillation.
New Catheter-based "Impella CP" 4.0-liter Heart Pump Makes Non-invasive Heart Repair Possible
The Detroit Medical Center (DMC) announced today that the hospital group's Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) has conducted the nation's first artery-repair procedure using a new high-tech, catheter-delivered tool designed to pump up to four liters of blood per minute through a patient's circulatory system. The new device allows the heart to rest while repairs are made to damaged arteries.
The breakthrough "Impella CP" procedure, the first ever conducted in North America, was used successfully on Tuesday at the DMC's CVI catheterization lab during a one-hour angioplasty (artery repair) in which the pump worked successfully to maintain blood-flow while doctors inserted stents to repair all three major coronary arteries in a 59-year-old patient. Cardiovascular Institute heart specialist Dr. Theodore Schreiber, stated that the patient was "comfortable and already back at work" one day after painless, 60-minute procedure.
"For the first time ever in this country, this exciting new device has been used in a procedure aimed at helping a patient with a damaged arterial system to undergo artery repair," said Dr. Schreiber, who led the DMC team. "What we did was to insert the Impella pump via catheter through a tiny incision in the patient's femoral artery. Then we moved it into position so that it would pump large quantities of blood for the patient's heart, in order to facilitate the process.
"The new device allows us to pump up to four liters a minute of [blood] flow through the patient's suspended circulation and that allows the patient to survive while the heart totally stops contracting. The new Impella CP makes a procedure that could be very risky for a patient with a weakened heart much easier to undergo."
Dr. Schreiber added that previous versions of the heart pump could provide only about 2.5 liters of blood-flow per minute. Increasing the flow to four liters, he said, is a major gain for patients with stressed or weakened circulations systems who require arterial repair.
Dr. Schreiber pointed out that the new procedure is much easier on heart patients, who are spared "chest-cracking surgery" along with the accompanying pain and risk of infection. The need for surgery is eliminated, in appropriate patients, he said, because the new Impella CP heart pump is delivered by a soft, flexible catheter (tube) that can be moved throughout the circulatory system without requiring major incisions.
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