How Zyprexa Alters Your Metabolism

How Zyprexa Alters Your Metabolism

Zyprexa, is an incredibly popular psychiatric medication manufactured by Eli Lilly. Yet, although Zyprexa was originally developed for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, it has now gained widespread use for the treatment of depression as well.

Back in 2007, Lilly was required to add a strong warning label to Zyprexa indicating the drugs tendency to cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and other metabolic problems. It was found that weight gain could continue for as long as two years after the medication was stopped and that one in six patients who took the medication would gain more than 33 pounds after two years of using it. And this is information that was added to the label.

These issues, weight gain and changes in metabolism, profoundly threaten long-term health. The relationship with respect to the drug is clear, but what hasn’t been well defined is the actual mechanism by which Zyprexa causes these events to occur. Continue reading

Sulforaphane Improves Autism Symptoms

Sulforaphane Improves Autism Symptoms

Normally, I would be sharing a new blog post with you today. In fact, I already had one lined up about the link between antidepressants and weight gain (which I hope you’ll check back for in a few days). However, just this week a press release from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found its way to my inbox, and I was so caught by the results of the study they reported, that I want to immediately share it with all of you. What this study means for the treatment of autism is groundbreaking. 

Read MGH’s press release below, copied in its entirety, and view the original study here, for your reference. You can learn more about sulforaphane, the subject of this groundbreaking research as it relates to Parkinson’s disease, in this 2013 study.

BOSTON – A small study led by investigators at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found evidence that daily treatment with sulforaphane – a molecule found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage – may improve some symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. In their report being published online in PNAS Early Edition, the investigators describe how participants receiving a daily dose of sulforaphane showed improvement in both behavioral and communication assessments in as little as four weeks.

The authors stress that the results of this pilot study – conducted at the MGHfC-affiliated Lurie Center for Autism – must be confirmed in larger investigations before any conclusions can be drawn about sulforaphane’s therapeutic benefit. “Over the years there have been several anecdotal reports that children with autism can have improvements in social interaction and sometimes language skills when they have a fever,” explains Andrew Zimmerman, MD, a co-corresponding author of the current report who also published a 2007 paper documenting the fever effect. “We investigated what might be behind that on a cellular level and postulated that it results from fever’s activation of the cellular stress response, in which protective cellular mechanisms that are usually held in reserve are turned on through activation of gene transcription.” Affiliated with the MGHfC Department of Neurology, Zimmerman is now based at UMass Memorial Medical Center.  Continue reading

DHA Keeps Your Brain Healthy

DHA Keeps Your Brain Healthy

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a central role in brain health. As I have discussed before, one of the key factors that correlates levels of DHA to brain health and disease resistance is DHA’s ability to turn on the brains “growth hormone” called BDNF. 

In this report, from the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, researchers evaluated the level of DHA in red blood cells in a group of over 1500 men and women aged 67 ± 9 years who were dementia free . The study then measured the size of their brains, and evaluated their brains by doing MRI scans to look for small strokes. In addition, the subjects underwent a variety of cognitive assessments.  Continue reading

Whole Eggs vs. Egg Whites.  Which is Healthier?

Whole Eggs vs. Egg Whites. Which is Healthier?

Remember when back in the day we were told that the food we definitely don’t want to eat is eggs? Because if you eat eggs all kinds of terrible things will happen to you.  But we now understand that there is a robust level of science that really shows us that eggs are actually a good food.  Let’s take a look at one report that really illustrates this.

Weight Loss – Mixed Messages from the American Medical Association

Weight Loss – Mixed Messages from the American Medical Association

In this report, Canadian and American researchers performed a comprehensive analysis of 48 randomized trials that encompassed over 7,000 individuals. They looked at the weight loss achieved by either a low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate diet at both 6 and 12 months. They were able to determine that both of these approaches did lead to weight loss but that the “largest weight loss was associated with low-carbohydrate diets.”

There were no significant side effects of either diet, but the most frequent mild side effect, constipation, was seen to occur more frequently in the low-carbohydrate diet compared to the low-fat diet. 

In this study, a diet deriving less than 40% of total calories from carbohydrate was considered low carbohydrate, high-fat. On the other hand, low-fat diets, found to be less effective in terms of weight loss, derived 20% or less calories from fat and had about 60% of calories derived from carbohydrate.  Continue reading

Grain Brain – Scientific Validation

Grain Brain – Scientific Validation

Last month I had the great honor to serve as program chairman for an integrative brain symposium held in Hollywood, Florida. What was so exciting for me was the fact that I was given the opportunity to invite some of our most well-respected thought leaders in the field of brain science to lecture on their research.

One of our esteemed presenters was Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., an Alzheimer’s researcher at the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA. Dr. Bredesen provided a unique assessment of the current approaches to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. It was very clear from his presentation that the idea of focusing on a single drug or single intervention was simply not going to be appropriate if we are ever going to be able to offer up any meaningful therapy for the more than 5.4 million Americans who are afflicted with this devastating condition.

Dr. Bredesen described a “systems approach” to dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, looking at a variety of factors that seem to conspire, ultimately leading to brain degeneration that we know recognize as representing this disease. Using his approach which he termed, “systems therapeutics,” which integrates a variety of parameters, he has actually been able to reverse cognitive decline in this devastating condition. Continue reading

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity

I recently treated a patient who had a history of headaches for 40 years. I did some blood work and found that she was gluten sensitive. I took her off of gluten and her headaches went away. She then visited with her gastroenterologist who picked up the phone and called me and said “Why did you put this patient on a gluten free diet? She doesn’t have celiac disease.” I began to explain about something called non-celiac gluten sensitivity and I have to admit there was a lot of silence on the other end of the phone. There are still a lot of people that don’t believe that there really is such a thing as being gluten sensitive if you don’t have celiac disease. Let’s look at what the science is really telling us about this notion of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.