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2012 March | NeuroPlus Institute I 630-357-2299

November 27, 2014

1 in 88 children now have Autism!

A recently released United States Governmental report gives the details of this epidemic.  Autism (ASD = Autism Spectrum Disorders) is on the rise and the numbers are frightening!

Statistics

In the past 10 years Autism has risen by 78%

1 in 54 boys have a diagnosis of ASD by age 8

The numbers are on the rise and are continuing to accelerate

Even though the study cites better reporting and diagnosis as part of the increase they admit it doesn’t fully explain the statistics.  More efforts are needed to help these children and families.  As a parent my heart goes out to these people.

Functional neurology and functional medicine are beginning to bridge our gap in understanding and helping these children.  It seems that there is a fundamental error with how their brains communicate information between neurons.  Timing and sequencing of information is not proper leading to classic presentation.

There is more to the story.  There is a link between the nervous system, digestion, the immune system and probably the endocrine system.  Information comes out daily on this topic so I’ll keep you informed as I learn.

If you would like to learn more about how I help children on the “spectrum” please go to my page CLICK HERE.  Even thought I primarily talk about ADD/ADHD the principles apply to ASD.  Order my white paper to learn much more on the subject.

Click Here to go to the governmental report.

 

 

Can’t Sleep? Try This…

Want to get a good night’s sleep but just can’t seem to settle into a relaxed state of mind?  The problem may be low Melatonin (the sleep hormone).  Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland located in the center of the brain.  Levels of this hormone slowly increase throughout the day a pique around bedtime.

Production is influenced by light coming in through the eyes, serotonin levels (joy neurotransmitter), methylation and several other aspects of metabolism.  This is key to our conversation – - I will come back to this.

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, helps set our circadian rhythm, influences the immune systems, libido, REM sleep, and dreaming among other things.

Sound like great stuff, right?  Well it is as long as Melatonin is balanced against another hormone “cortisol” and it stays in normal ranges.

Problems can occur when Melatonin is taken as a supplement to help with sleep.  There may be a “honeymoon” period when the supplement helps restore sleep patterns but long term (overuse) can get you into trouble. 

You body has receptors for all the hormones it uses.  These receptors have a fail safe switch which gets activated if there is too much hormone present for too long a time period.  Hormonal Resistance caused the receptors to become less active when exposed to higher levels of hormone.

So you can imagine what happens when you take Melatonin supplements.  By overriding the normal control mechanisms and adding high levels of Melatonin you receptors may become less responsive.  This means it takes more and more hormone just to get a response.  So over time the supplementation doesn’t work as well.

There is more to this vicious cycle…

Melatonin is counterbalanced with another hormone…Cortisol.  High levels of Melatonin can suppress cortisol output causing potential low blood sugar while you sleep.  Your brain isn’t going to stand for low blood sugar very long.  The brain uses about 50% of all the blood sugar available and when levels get low the alarms start going off.

The brain will send messages to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline.  This is your brains effort to wake you up so you can eat something.  Repeated exposure this abnormal hormonal stew can leave you with less than ideal sleep.

I come from the standpoint that correcting the underlying issue shouldn’t cause more harm to the body.

So how can we improve Melatonin production without dumping Melatonin into the system?

The answer comes from looking at the production of Melatonin from a different perspective.  Two important things are needed for Melatonin production – - the neurotransmitter serotonin and methylation.  Give the brain these building blocks and production of Melatonin can occur in a mild natural way.

There are products available that support both these pathways for a gentle more controlled balancing of Melatonin.

If you have questions on serotonin and methylation support please talk with me at the office.  I can steer you in the right direction about how to accomplish this so you too can have a good night’s sleep.

Worried About Your Kids and Concussion?

You should be.  Studies show that concussions related to contact sports is alarmingly high.  Visit the American Association of Neurological Surgeons for a detailed patient page listing concussion signs and symptoms.  Every parent should be educated for signs of concussion and what steps to take if they believe their child has sustained a concussion.

One the biggest areas of concern in my opinion is the “get up and just shake it off” mentality that most of us have when our child sustains an injury.  Concussions can be tricky to diagnose even for physicians let alone a coach and/or parent in the heat of competition.  If there is any question about the possibility of concussion then better to be safe and take your child out of play.

Educate yourself so you feel confident making tough choices in the middle of a game.  Another reliable source of information is PubMed Health.

Eating This May Change The Structure of Your Brain Causing You To Eat More

Scary stuff.  Check out my facebook post to read about this subject.  To join go to www.facebook.com/neuroplus.  You’ll stay current on the latest scientific breakthroughs.

Melt Away Arterial Plaques With This Single Nutrient

Imagine a single nutrient that could replace your daily aspirin for blood thinning, lower your cholesterol and melt away existing arterial plaques.

Sound too goo to be true?  Maybe not…

I belong to an online physician training course called Functional Medicine University.  They recently posted information on policosanol.  I give them credit for the information below.  Too important not to pass along to my patients.

The nutritional product policosanol not only dramatically slows down the progression of arterial narrowing, but actually reverses plaque. And it is safer, cheaper, and has additional biochemical benefits that the statins do not.

Policosanol makes blood less likely to abnormally form clots by lowering fibrinogen (decreases platelet aggregation), something that statins do not do.

In one study, 10 mg twice a day of policosanol worked better than 100 mg of aspirin. In another study it lowered the cholesterol as well as the prescription statin drugs do.

Policosanol also surpassed the statin drugs in effectiveness by lowering the LDL; bad cholesterol) better than the statin drugs did, while in addition it raised the (good cholesterol) HDL 31%. The statin drugs don’t touch HDL! Remember, having a high HDL is so protective that there are many people who have had serious heart problems who never had high cholesterol, but only had a low HDL.

Most importantly policosanol can actually dissolve away existing arterial plaque. In one study of policosanol given twice a day, not only did they stop getting worse and adding to their plaque, but there was regression of ischemia or melting away of plaque.

References:

Janikula MPolicosanol: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease? Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):203-17

Gouni-Berthold IBerthold HK Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J. 2002 Feb;143(2):356-65.

Castaño GMás RArruzazabala MLNoa MIllnait JFernández JCMolina VMenéndez A., Effects of policosanol and pravastatin on lipid profile, platelet aggregation and endothelemia in older hypercholesterolemic patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1999;19(4):105-16.

Dr. Serpe’s Food Pyramid

Hi Everyone,

I’m often explaining to patient’s how to eat a diet that will help them recover from chronic illnesses and stay healthy.  The conversation usually starts with me recalling the familiar USDA food pyramid and how they would do well to remove the bottom (grains) and start over.  A diet rich in grains many be full of fiber, “B” vitamins and plenty of carbohydrates but it doesn’t necessarily equate with being healthy.

Grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats) are mostly carbohydrates (sugars) and can play havoc with blood sugar levels.  Consumption of grains can also lead to inflammation and food sensitivities in some people.  We’ve been so conditioned to think we cannot survive or be healthy without grains as the basis of our diet.  This simply isn’t true.  You can live perfectly well and probably have greater health by eliminating or minimizing grain consumption.

The basis of my food pyramid is protein and vegetables.  Protein’s are the building blocks of life.  They literally provide the 2×4′s for construction of cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, DNA, etc.  Eating protein increases our metabolic rate by up to 10% (for a short time) after consumption, can stabilize blood sugar (this is especially true while sleeping) and is required to keep muscle mass stable.

Vegetables provide plenty of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals) and non-soluble fiber (bulk).  Go for less starchy vegetables like greens, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, etc and shy away from sugary carrots or potatoes.  And just so you know corn is not a vegetable; it’s a grain.  Not sure why it got put into the vegetable category???  Variety, organic and rich colors are what you should look at when making choices.  Don’t get into a rut.

Healthy fats and oils are essentials too; we just need less of them because they are calorie dense.  Coconut oil and grape seed oil both do well at high temperatures.  They don’t smoke, change into transfats (bad stuff) and don’t burn.  They are favor neutral and coconut oil has been shown to improve cholesterol levels.  Interestingly, coconut oil acts like a carbohydrate in that it is easily used for fuel by the body but it does not rise blood sugar.  How nice is that?  Great for diabetics!!!

Fruit is a higher up on the pyramid because it is too easy to consume too much.  Fruit is high in fructose (fruit sugar) which can make you hungry for more sugar if you consume too many servings.  Go for berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc.) as they have a low sugar to fiber ratio and are packed with numerous benefits.  Blueberries are great for the brain and memory.  Give your kids a serving before a test and watch them shine.  Pitted fruits are good too (plums, apricots, peaches, etc.); just don’t eat the fruit dried or you’ll be in the high sugar category again.  Stay clear of high sugar fruits like bananas, watermelon, papaya and the like.

I also removed diary products (milk/cheese/ice cream) from the pyramid because people often have issue processing dairy.  Children prone to ear infections and/or sinus drainage should refrain from dairy.  Problems with dairy go beyond just lactose intolerance.  Lactose is the sugar and some people have difficulty digesting causing gas and bloating.  Casein is a protein found in dairy that can cause digestive sensitivities in some people.

 

Chiropractic Care Success Story – Derrick Rose

I absolutely love hearing about how another athlete was able to recover faster and more completely by using chiropractic.  It re-enforces something I can take for granted because I see it happen everyday – the body has an amazing ability to heal itself if given the opportunity.  Even though this story is a month old it is still fresh in my mind.  Thought you’d appreciate it too.

All My Best,

Dr. Serpe
 
By K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune reporter
 10:57 p.m. CST, February 20, 2012
 

 Derrick Rose had never before sat for five straight games in his NBA career, so the deafening roar that drowned out his name after public-address announcer Tommy Edwards began “From Chicago …” didn’t surprise.

But when close to the same roar accompanied Rose merely dribbling on the Bulls’ first possession Monday, the impact of his absence became more fully felt.

His teammates didn’t cheer, at least publicly. They merely benefited from Rose’s aggressive presence that featured 23 points, six assists, five rebounds and four turnovers in the Bulls’ 90-79 matinee victory over Atlanta.

“It was awesome to watch,” Carlos Boozer said.

Rose, who had been sidelined by back spasms, logged close to 35 minutes and, in an atypical move, didn’t appear in the postgame locker room to address reporters. He spoke to ESPN’s Doris Burke on the court afterward.

“The whole week I was seeing a great chiropractor,” Rose told Burke. “Teammates and fans were waiting for me to come back. I was feeling good and just trying to play the way I normally play — aggressive.

“My teammates followed me. Coach did a great job with the game plan. (My back) feels good. I have to put a little ice on there. I should be all right.”

Boozer added 16 points for the Bulls, who have won 13 straight regular-season games following a loss. Joakim Noah rebounded from his rough outing on Saturday to grab 16 rebounds, helping the Bulls to a 51-41 advantage on the boards and 18-4 edge in second-chance points.

But Rose dominated attention. He survived a hard tumble after drawing a foul on Josh Smith for a three-point play midway through the third quarter.

“You don’t want him to change who he is,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re always concerned about health. But a guy could get hurt in practice or shootaround. That’s part of the game.

“He’s done a good job with his rehab. Our trainers have done a great job with him. As long as he’s pain-free and feels 100 percent, we felt comfortable. He met all the criteria that we were looking for him to meet before he played again. So we’re good.”

Actually, not everything was. For the second straight game, the Bulls started slow, forcing Thibodeau to burn a 20-second timeout early in which he blistered the starters. They responded with an 11-0 run as Rose scored nine first-quarter points.

But an eventual 21-point lead with just over 4 minutes to play in the third quarter got quickly whittled to nine by that quarter’s close. Former Bull Jannero Pargo heated up with three 3-pointers.

Then the Hawks, who played without Marvin Williams and with an ineffective Joe Johnson trying to battle through knee soreness, pulled within five in the fourth. Rose almost lost the ball before shoveling it to Luol Deng, whose 3-pointer with 2:59 left marked his first points since the first quarter and provided breathing room.

“Derrick’s explosion was there,” Thibodeau said. “His drives were there. Conditioning-wise, he’s not where he normally is. But that’s to be expected. Overall, I’m very pleased. He said he felt real good out there.”