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November 20, 2011

New Resarch on the Obesity Epedemic


Obesity (and complications such as diabetes and heart / circulation problems) is quickly moving into the position as the leading causes of lifestyle related illnesses and health care expenditure. 

The old "calories in vs. calories out" model of thinking about weight management has steadily been undermined by new  research, indicating that weight management is a much more complicated matter. It is no longer a scientifically defendable that for everyone, weight control is a simple matter of just eating less and exercising more.

Spurred on by the escalating health care costs related to the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, increased funding has been allocated to try to increase our understanding and more effectively treat and prevent them. 
One study in the journal Cell Metabolism outlines how one of the body's own calorie intake balancing mechanisms located in this case in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus can be reduced in its ability to communicate and control  Most recently a research team headed by Kim Loh from Monash University in Australia, found that elevated levels of a compound named TCPTP (tyrosine phosphatase) reduced the hypothalamus' sensitivity to leptin (a neurotransmitter secreted by fat tissues). 
This now opens another door through which it is possible to combat the obesity epidemic. 

September 05, 2011

The Dangers of Soda / Läsk

Just saw this info-graphic on the danger of drinking high-sugar carbonated drinks.  Makes you wonder about the what the soda vending machines are doing on school campuses in some countries.  Possibly a smart move financially (subsidies from the soda manufacturers) but definitely a higher risk of health related expenses in the long term. (Source http://www.termlifeinsurance.org.uk)

April 12, 2011

Welcome to 1985 - as George Orwell Predicted it!

Welcome to 1985!
No this is not a strange of incident of "Back to the Future" - this is George Orwell's 1985 taking place in 2011 - and, unfortunately, it is not fiction.
Picture this: You are no longer in control of your health, you can't decide what to eat and what not to eat, you have no say in how you manage your health - that is has all been decided for you - by politicians and people who don't have your best health in mind.
How could this happen???
A group of multinational companies have successfully lobbied the EU to impose powerful new legislation (THMPD: Traditional Herbal Medicine Products Directive) to limit YOUR choices in what you eat and how you choose to stay healthy.  You no longer have say in the matter!  The politicians - who you elected - have already given away the keys to the kingdom, made the choices for you…never bothered to ask what you thought about it.
Who are the people that initiate such a vile act? - and why would they do it?
Answer: Big Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies & MONEY!!!!!
Yes, the same people who brought you massive heart attacks thanks to Vioxx (and failed to also remove the other, almost identical drugs from the market) and the people who used a recent humanitarian crisis on the African continent to perform unauthorized testing of an unproven drug on hundreds of unsuspecting African children - of which some died - have decided that (apparently) people were getting too healthy on "this herbal stuff" - and have successfully lobbied the EU politicians that you and I elected to make sure that the citizens of Europe no longer have a non-drug option to staying healthy.
I don't mind pharmaceutical drugs, actually I recommend them to very symptomatic patients fairly regularly.  But I do mind when these same companies limit my choices of known, proven - and fairly safe non-drug options to keep myself, my family and my patients as healthy as we can be.
And I definitely mind when the motive appears to be money - pure greed! There is nothing in motivation of the EU bill about public safety, there is no public record of industry-wide unsafe manufacturing processes within the herbal remedy industry - this just comes down to pure corporate greed and it is disgusting!!
The bill has already been passed, but apparently it is not quite too late to keep it from being used in practice - time is prescious!!
Watch the video and make up your own mind - please!!

Back2Life - "Don't try it at home"

Today, I saw a gentleman I hadn't seen in a while.
He walked in, stooped over, using one crutch.
He had previously used a crutch for foot problems and had had intermittent low back problems before, but he had recently bought a "Back2Life" machine in an attempt to improve his health.  Unfortunately, it had backfired completely and he was now stuck bent forward, in significant pain.
I haven't seen this device before, but at first blush it looked like another one of those "get rich quick" schemes based on selling a "get better quick" device. However, since he had brought along the documentation and user manual, I took a look at it.
It would appear that the device is yet another attempt at spine traction, possibly combined with non-specific mobilization. While traction has been used for centuries, the method regained popularized in the 70'ies and 80'ies where people would hang upside down by their knees or boots secured up high or on inversion tables. This method has worked decently for many, but has limitations and many potential drawbacks. At the end of that era, some tried to combine traction and flexion (forward bending of the trunk relative to the hips), most notably to treat disc problems.  This strategy yielded results yielding from great to catastrophic. It is no longer in widespread use.
As far as I can see, this device tries to exert long axis traction just like the inversion tables of the 70'ies and 80'ies did, but ends up, at least in some cases, causing flexion also - even without user error.
As was learned in the 80'ies, treating a problematic low back in any form of flexion position brings a whole host of potential problems, raining from facet locking to disc herniation, which might also explain the set-back that my patient experienced. As the success with Robin McKenzie's extension (backward bending of the trunk relative to the hips) in the 90'ies has shown, extension is a much safer and potentially more beneficial mode of treatment than is flexion. 
Unfortunately the patient position with the Back2Life device is a far cry of extension, it would appear to be neutral at best.
Looking at the comment thread at Spine-Health.com (http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/back-2-life-machine) my patient was not the only one to feel a detrimental effect of the Back2Life device.
Things worked out decently for my patient though.  I worked on him for a good while, there were lots of problems, but he walked out upright, not needing to use the cane, with a smile on his face.

In summary I would opine that this device is not for people with any hint of disc herniation or segmental instability in the low back. In reality,  I would say that the potential dangers would render this device very risky in a home-based treatment setting under the above mentioned circumstances.  Possibly best to check with a spine specialist before purchase - unless you believe that the company will live up to any stated money back guarantee.

March 31, 2011

Of Horses and Horsemen (and -women).

As a chiropractor I have treated numerous horseback riders with significant injuries acquired from falling off their horses numerous times.  Based on the severity and chronicity of the injuries I have treated, it is my sincere opinion that every horse should come with its own rebate punchcard for chiropractic services - falling off is just that injurious!
However, I have also treated a fair number of expert riders - and entirely different issues come up.  Instead of whiplash-looking neck trauma and massive low back pain; headaches with neck pain and massively inflamed shoulder and back muscles - we are talking balance and posture in the saddle, communication with the horse and performance.
I have now seen it enough times that I can predict what the rider is going to experience from our care: A feeling of improved balance in the saddle from a more upright riding posture, more equal pressure on the ischial tuberosities ("sit bones") leading to less stress on the low back, mid back and arms, a more harmonious experience with their horse.
What happens is this: When the pelvis stops functioning correctly, the resulting "misalignment" most often places unequal pressure downward from the pelvis to the saddle. The problem arises because this asymmetrical pressure from the hips, in horse language, is an order to turn to one side.  In order counteract this, the rider then has to pull harder on the reigns on the other side.  The net result is that the horse finally goes straight, significant strain on the rider's arm and back muscles and spine - and one pissed off horse!
Today, an expert rider mentioned that after we got the problem corrected, apart from her backpain being gone, her horse actually seemed more eager to go riding with her and reacted quicker to commands - pretty neat!!

February 12, 2011

A wonderful day with Hunger Project

Thanks to all our patients who showed up and recommended us to friends (who also showed up) for a wonderful day of health and helping others.  Our fundraiser for The Hunger Project (www.hungerprojektet.se) was a resounding success!!  Together, we generated almost 10.000 SEK, which helps The Hunger Project enable people in 3rd world countries to establish infrastructure, businesses, education and careers  to give hope for a better future and raise themselves out of poverty.
Thanks to all our amazing patients who made this possible and thanks to the volunteers who showed up and were a part of this incredible day.  Niels & Sami Wagner.

January 25, 2011

You are unemployed - and you WILL BE HAPPY!!

Scandinavia is on occasion every so often brought up as the perfect societies where the government takes care of everyone so that no-one is left behind - and everyone is happy.  There are drawbacks, however: With increased benefits come increased government control - which is not always a good thing. 

The "We Know Better What is Good for You Than You Do" attitude goes overboard once in a while, as this article in the Danish newspaper "Politiken" highlightes.   http://politiken.dk/indland/ECE1229809/kommuner-tvinger-dagpengemodtagere-til-at-tage-lykkepiller/

The article describes how unemployed are forced to take antidepressants in order to stay eligible for unemployment benefits!!

This policy is most likely illegal and will be challenged -  but just the thought that someone in city hall thought that this would be OK to begin with just boggles the mind!!!