Category Archives: Pain

Colitis and Arthritis share what?


New research is revealing that various types of Arthritis share a common factor with diseases that afflict the gut of younger age groups.  A ten year old, Emma, uses fecal transplants and maintenance doses of medicines to manage her ulcerative colitis.  The idea of fecal transplants, perhaps a more extreme form of probiotics, is to “borrow” the stool from a healthy person with  a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria. The theory behind this is that a healthy person without leaky gut, colitis, Crohns, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBD) may have an environment inside their bowels that supports the growth of natural “good” bacteria, while a person with IBD may lack such natural “good” germs.

What could be common between Arthritis and IBD? Although the ultimate cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis remains elusive, new research suggestions on the role of the gut microbiome is summarized here by scientists Dr. Scher and Dr. Abramson. The gut’s natural bacteria support environment, predisposing genetic factors and environmental triggers are required for disease manifestation. Other scientists have demonstrated that Atherosclerosis was accelerated in “germ-free” mice on a low cholesterol diet. These scientists concluded that identifying the “good” germs and understanding how they exert their beneficial activities, could aid in disease prevention and treatment. Click here to read this scientific study by Dr. Tlaskalova-Hoganova and team.

Colitis and Arthrtis share immunology
It is no surprise that families share arthritic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis. However, it is a surprise find that the same families share these conditions. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and an outside the intestine condition. While arthritis is commonly seen with aging, irritable bowel disease is commonly seen even in children. Of these, arthritis is the most common shared condition found in 25 percent of all irritable bowel disease syndrome sufferers (IBD).  Arthritis and IBD are both autoimmune diseases. They need to be looked at as “co-existing” conditions that influence and interact, while searching for the causes of the auto-immunity.

Prevention is the major goal. The incidence of arthritis in people with IBD is same in men, women and children, which indicates a genetic linkage form of inheritance. Different intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and celiac disease can lead to different forms of arthritis. Read more.

Ancient Food Habits included Whole Grain. Yet, a gluten - free diet and other life style changes in modern day may keep many free of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Arthritis. Copyright 2013 (c) Pursue Natural

Ancient Food Habits included Whole Grain. Yet, a gluten – free diet and other life style changes in modern day may keep many free of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Arthritis. Copyright 2013 (c) Pursue Natural

Learn more about these auto immune diseases by clicking here,  from the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation of America. to read more on the relationship between ulcerative colitis and psoriatic arthritis click here, from Health Central.

Dr. Elena Koles, of the UK Medical system finds it unfortunate that western medical system separates different body systems by ignoring their intricate relationship. Quote

…They need to be looked at as “co-existing” conditions that influence and contribute to one another, rather than two separate, unrelated illnesses. Only a thorough approach that addresses the causes of auto-immunity and recognizes the interaction of IBD and arthritis can ameliorate both diseases….

Unquote. Read more.

Prevention
A personalized approach is best. Pursue Natural prefers that it’s readers are comfortable with the term ‘pharmacogenomic’ which essentially means that if you know how your genes are different from other people, your treatment could in the near future be tailored to the genes that you inherited from your parents. So, assuming that with each article our readers will get quite used to the concept of their own genes being different and unique to require personalized attention to detail, we suggest the following steps:
1) Your treatment must be individualized, by a physician open to a holistic approach combining the knowledge of modern medicine with the following;
2) Physiotherapy and Yoga – individualized routine to keep you pain free and in constant motion; Yoga has helped ease IBD, perhaps by slowing down the breathing rate of anxiety, and relaxing fatigued muscles. Read more.
3) Supplementation – to make up for lack of any minerals and vitamins dictated by modern diagnostics;
4) A comprehensive dietary plan – adding or removing one food item at a time to discover which one causes an auto immune reaction;
5) A comprehensive “emotion review” plan – maintaining a diary of minor or major event each day, because IBD is triggered by an emotional reaction to excitement, fear or unknown fact of life.

Genetics and Shared Immunology of IBD and Arthritis
They share at least the following five genetic factors:

1) Genetic susceptibility to abnormal antigen presentation
2) Aberrant recognition of self, autoantibodies against specific antigens shared by the colon and other 3) extracolonic tissues,
3) Increased intestinal permeability, and
4) An infectious trigger.

The immunological alterations shared are the following:

• E-cadherin expressed highly in gut of patients with IBD and SpA;

• Th1, Th17, and Treg cells active in the intestinal mucosa of patients with IBD and synovial fluid of those with ankylosing spondylitis and SpA;

• Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha is a dominant cytokine in IBD and SpA;

• Interaction of antigen-presenting cells with microorganisms;

• Toll-like receptors TLR-2 and TLR-4; and

• HLA-B27+ and IgA anti-saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies in CD.

In addition, HLA-B27 transgenic rats develop IBD, psoriasis, enthesitis (inflammation at the sites where tendons or ligaments attach to bone), synovitis, and epididymitis.entation
Abherrant recognition of self
Autoantigens against antigens shared by the colon and other extra colonic tissues
Increased intestinal permeability
Infectious trigger

Read more in medscape.

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Migraine is a brain disorder according to latest research


Recent research advances strongly suggest genetic changes. People with migraines may have brains that not only look different structurally under an MRI but may function differently, allowing it to be labeled a neurological disorder.  Migraine patients could be more susceptible to pain and process stimuli differently.  These findings were published online March 26, 2013 in Migraine Radiology, and come from MRI scans of 63 adults with migraines, and 18 migraine-free men and women, entitled “Cortical Abnormalities in Patients with Migraine: A Surface-based Analysis”.

A summary of migraine research findings
An excellent article including detailed figures summarizing our current understanding of migraine as a primary brain dysfunction(s) and susceptibility to cortical spreading depression is in the scientific journal Cell, May 25, 2012 – Summary. Migraine is a common disabling brain disorder whose key manifestations are recurrent attacks of unilateral headache and interictal …

Neurologists present their opinions on this scientific discovery : WebMD presents the MRI studies that suggest changes in the brain regions associated with pain; the outer layers of the brain (cortex) is thinner and smaller than in headache-free adults, Mar 26, 2013 – That’s important because it helps “legitimize” migraine as a neurological disorder associated with “real structural changes in the brain”.

What is migraine?
Migraine is three times more common in women than in men and affects about 10 percent of the people world-wide. People with migraines tend to have recurring attacks. There is currently no treatment since the pathophysiology of this “throbbing unbearable pain in the head” condition remains to be understood. Prevention is very important from allowing this condition to become chronic.

More about migraine
1) More about what is a migraine is discussed in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Researchers believe that migraine is the result of fundamental neurological abnormalities caused by genetic mutations at work in the brain. New models are …

2) A New York Times article discussing Migraine causes, treatment, alternative names and as a brain disorder, Feb 11, 2012 – A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity, which can be … are due to muscle tension, sinus problems, or a serious brain disorder.

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Yoga can reduce blood pressure but know your body’s injury potential


A clinical study led by holistic researchers in Florida Atlantic University,Boca Raton,studied the effects of yoga on hypertensive patients in Thailand. You may click here to read the 2005 article published in the journal, Holistic Nurse Practice in 2005. The researchers, Ruth McCaffrey, Pratum Ruknui, Urai Hatthakit, Payao Kasetsomboon, studied a group of hypertensive patients in Thailand, both male and female, to determine the effectiveness of a yoga program on hypertensiion and stress. They concluded that the experimental group showed significantly decreased mean stress scores and blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index levels compared with the control group.

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is usually higher than it should be. It is also called hypertension.. If your blood pressure is not lowered, there is risk for damage to your eyes, brain, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Talk to your doctor. Ask if you are at risk for having high blood pressure.

This study is easy to test on yourself.
Borrow or buy a blood pressure monitor. They are very small and portable. Make two charts. On one write no yoga. On the other write with yoga. On both write headings for the following columns:
1) Activity
2) Food or drink
3) Stressful event
4) Exciting or sad event
5) Date
6) Time
7) Blood pressure Diastolic
8) Blood pressure Systolic
9) Pulse

Now, simply measue your own blood pressure every two hours. Note, if you exercised or walked the dog or cooked or shopped. Especially important to note if you met friends, colleagues or aquaintances
Note under food if you had a meal or a coffee (which has caffeine) or tea (herbal or regular) or water or salty or sugary snacks or fruit/ vegetable snack
Note all the other self explanatory columns

Next day, follow a supervised hypertension yoga program. Measure your own blood pressure at the same times as on the day with no yoga. Try to follow the same routine and eat the same meals and drink the same drinks. For people with diabetes or kidney disease, blood pressure lower than 130/80 is good. Lower than 120/80 is ideal. For the average individual blood pressure lower than or equal to 120/80 is ideal.

Compare the results of your own two charts; one with yoga and one after just a single supervised hypertension yoga program. Make your own conclusions for your own body.

Keep in mind that no two people are alike.
You are a unique individual. Read how to avoid sports related injuries by clicking here. Yoga was never meant to be a sport. It is a reverant, spiritual, slow breathing, stretching, restfull, practically no impact routine. Poorly trained, irresponsible, irreverant individuals who call themselves yoga teachers with little knowledge of yoga and the purpose it serves, are hurting yoga enthusiasts. Avoid them. Find the right yoga teacher. What works for you may not necessarily work for your neighbor or best friend or a relative. Your genes are your own unique signature and dictate how you respond to stress and being around people you like or dislike. If you enjoy shopping for groceries while your friend finds vacuuming relaxing which stresses you out, then the two activity charts will record different results for such people.

Invest in research on effectiveness of yoga on your own hypertension
Yoga may easily serve one level of stress. However, to conclude if yoga will reduce the levels of daily stress in your personal routine, invest in the research on the effectiveness of yoga on your own hypertension. You deserve it. Go on. Take the step. Also, you might need two yoga routines a day instead of doing it all at one time. Discuss with your yoga supervisor. If your research shows that you are hypertensive at 2 pm daily, then enquire if is there a short routine that you could personally follow that might ease your stress levels. It might do you wonders by keeping an extra yoga mat in your office. Simply lay it down and do a routine for 5 minutes. Measure your blood pressure with or without yoga at same time in the office over two days at the time when the stressful event occurs daily. Perhaps, your boss walks in at the same time everyday to chat with you. If that stresses you out daily at the same time, measure your blood pressure one day right after the boss leaves. Next day, lay down the yoga mat and do a short yoga routine discussed with your yoga supervisor. Measure your blood pressure. Did the yoga help you?

Can yoga cause injuries?
There have been several recent reports on yoga related injuries. Listen to your body. Go to three different teachers before choosing one. The following articles cover yoga related injuries very well. Read them well before trusting any yoga teacher. The first one is the most important.
1) Top 10 Sports – Related injuries and yoga poses to avoid them
A must read
2)How yoga can wreck your body by NY Times
3)Practising safe yoga – 5 tips to avoid injuries by Huffington Post

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The Red pea pod fungus that became a deadly meningitis causal agent


As the 15 fungal scientists at the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) work thirteen hours a day, seven days a week (see 1) on how to detect, understand and curtail this unusual meningitis, the larger community is wondering what could have prevented this meningitis. There are two fungi causing this recent deadly meningitis (see 2, 3, 4.). They are Aspergillus and Exserohilum. While Aspergillus has caused meningitis in the past, Exserohilum is the surprising enemy. While there are a few scientists already working on fungal meningitis (see 3, 5), there are none who had worked on Exserohilum for meningitis, but perhaps as a sinusitis causal agent or a plant pathogen. 

The current emphasis of the scientists working around the clock is to figure out how to detect the fungus that is causing the meningitis.  Since one of them has never caused meningitis before, there are no confirmed, FDA approved detection tests for the current crisis. This is one of the topmost and most urgent priorities of the CDC scientists. “The scale is much bigger than we have previously worked with”, says Dr. Ana Lituintseva, CDC Fungal Research Laboratory Team Leader (see 6). While most patients have been reported from among those who received spinal pain corticosteroid injections, there has been at least one report of meningitis from a patient who received a joint pain corticosteroid injection (see 2). Fortunately, this fungal infection is not contagious. Fungal medication is very toxic. It is not recommended to take the fungal medication as a precautionary measure, because fungi and humans are very similar. When you attempt to kill the fungus, you may harm the human. So, the advice is to listen to the doctor. In a following article we will explain how fungi are similar to humans.

The Red Pea Pod Fungus that causes an unusual meningitis

Why is one of the fungi causing this infection called “The Red pea pod”? Because it looks like a red pea pod. For a photo of what it looks like when it was observed causing an infection in plants click on 4; compare with this  photo (see 6) of what it looks like when it causes infection in humans as meningitis. Then, decide for yourself and begin to ask the question, how different are we humans from the common plants around us? The answer is important for the survival of our civilization as we know it today and begin to create an alternate civilization in space, Mars and the universe beyond us.

Related Articles
1. At CDC, scientists fight to halt a deadly fungus .
2.Fungal meningitis stats continue to rise.
3. What are the two fungi causing the meningitis outbreak in USA?
4. Exserohilum and Aspergillus: what turned them deadly?
5. Advances against Aspergillosus
6. CDC says one new death from meningitis

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Aspergillus and Exserohilum: what turned them deadly?


The recent outbreak of Meningitis (July – October 2012) has been deadly. Of the approximately 13000 individuals exposed to tainted steroid back pain injection (click here for details) 18 had died until October 8, 2012. Fortunately, the average healthy individual is able to fight off the causal agents of this outbreak – two fungi. Well, lets get to know these fungi better.  The two fungi are Aspergillus and Exserohilum.  Here, we cover Exserohilum.

Exserohilum
First described by Leonard and Suggs and subsequently reviewed by Sivanesan (see 11)

Exserohilum rostratum conidiophores
Fungal colonies are grey to blackish – brown
Source: Mycology, Adelaide University

Exserohilum sp. conidia
Note the strongly defined protruding truncate “exserted” hilum
Hilum is defined as the scar on the conidia at the point of attachment to conidiophore
Source: Mycology, Adelaide University

More commonly known as an invader of grasses (see 1;2), Exserohilum has rarely caused a disease in humans. While meningitis is known to have a fungal causal agent (see 5), it has never been by the genus Exserohilum (see 7,8). It is an emerging human pathogen and needs to be better understood (8). This genus while found to cause leaf spots and leaf stripes on certain plants (see 10), does not even invade healthy grasses, let alone healthy humans. Sivanesan described 20 species of Exserohilum in 1987 and is the established published source (see 11) on the illustrated biology, pathogenicity, toxin production and distribution of Exserohilum. Robert Leahy has added information on Exserohilum sp. leaf spots of Bromeliads (see 2). Bromeliads in their natural setting are fungus free. Since Bromeliads became increasingly desirable they are now cultivated under conditions where they are susceptible to destructive leaf streaks by this fungus. Hence, the study on how to recognize the symptoms and control them.

What turned the fungus deadly?

Very few scientists study human diseases caused by Exserohilum simply because they are so rare. They do cause  sinusitis (see 9). It has never been located in meningitis disease samples to date (see 8). Meningitis causing fungi are more commonly Aspergillus, Cryptoccocus and Candida (see 5), and Prof Robert Cramer’s laboratory is among the few who are studying the destructive process of human invasion by Aspergillus(see 5).

Certain types of Exserohilum are known to produce toxins, which could perhaps weaken or destroy/kill a weakened host like a plant or a human. A list of some of the toxins it produces are: Glyceolin, Cynodontin, Exserohilone, Monocerin, Monocerin, Ophiobolin A, and Ravenelin (see 10). The first two are produced by E. rostratum, the most commonly studied.

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What are the fungi that are causing the meningitis outbreak in USA?


Aspergillus fumigatus

75 clinics in 23 states in USA are monitoring their patients who received a spinal steroid injection for pain. They may be infected with a rare meningitis caused by a fungus. The name of the steroid is methylprednisolone acetate. The Calgary Herald’s Malcolm Ritter  discusses the fact that there were (on October 8, 2012), at least two fungi linked to this unusual meningitis outbreak and they are Aspergillus and Exserohilum. Therapy is limited by the fact that very few anti-fungals penetrate the blood-brain barrier and researchers are working on more effective antifungals (see scientists below).

The causal fungi were contaminating the vials of the steroid produced and packed only by the New England Compounding Center in Massachussetts. Dr.John Jernigan, an epideomologist at the CDC, is leading the charge against these fungi. He has been quoted by various news sources stressing the fact that unlike bacterial meningitis, this is a very rare type of meningitis with little clinical research (PBS – a video recording, NY Times, Wall Street Journal). According to Huffington Post’s Amanda Chen, patients in Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have developed Meningitis. Dr. William Schaffner, President of the National Foundation of Infectious Disease said that the causal fungus is commonly found all around us, normally does not make people sick, but does cause an illness in some immunocompromised people like those with AIDS, and is not contagious.

Meningitis may be caused by fungi, bacteria or virus. To get this disease from a tainted vial is highly unusual. Needless to say, this steroid has been recalled immediately. By October 7, 2012 there were 18 confirmed deaths from fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroid back pain spinal injections says the local Detroit CBS news. Only those patients who sought relief for back pain with a steroid spinal injection July to September 2012 should be concerned.  Senator Richard Blumenthal has called for extending the FDA’s monitoring authority, if necessary (Wall Street Journal)

FUNGAL MENINGITIS
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) USA, assures that fungal meningitis is not contagious. You may click here to reach the CDC site to learn about typical Fungal Meningitis. It talks about:
CAUSES
TRANSMISSION
RISK FACTORS –
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
RISK FACTORS
DIAGNOSIS
TREATMENT – usually IV medication and usually patients are immunocompromised already.

WHAT IS MENINGITIS?
The Tennessean has done such a wonderful job explaining this disease that you should probably click here to learn more about their explanations on:
What is meningitis and how many types are there?
What is Aspergillus Meningitis?
How is it diagnosed?
Should I go to the doctor for Aspergillus Meningitis?
Should I pursue other pain management options until this has been cleared?

THE DEDICATED SCIENTISTS WHO RESEARCH FUNGI THAT CAUSE MENINGITIS 
Do email these scientists and encourage them to continue their research. Send them dolloar bills if you must, but mostly tell them you appreciate their contribution.
ASPERGILLUS FUMIGATUS – involved in the tainted steroid outbreak

CRYPTOCOCCUS NEOFORMANS – not involved in this 2012 outbreak

EXSEROHILUM – involved in the tainted steroid outbreak (Old research click on 1 & 2; and 3 for Six newer citations)

Associate Professor William Steinbach
The source of the featured photo in this article

The Duke University’s mycology group studies several fungi that cause diseases of humans including Aspergillus. One of their researchers in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases is Associate Professor William Steinbach. He is interested specifically in Aspergillus fumigatus because it is the leading killer of immunocompromised patients with cancer or following transplantation. You may write to him at: 427 Jones Bldg
Research Drive, Durham, N.C. 27710 or email him at bill.steinbach@duke.edu.

Texas A&M University has biologists who have recently discovered that ZOLOFT, a medication already FDA approved for and most commonly prescribed for depression, and can cross the blood-brain barrier, can pack quite the punch against Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that may cause meningitis. The two chief scientists who are working to discover anti-fungals against C. neoformans are Professor Mathew Sachs and Assistant Professor Xiaorong Lin and published in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial agents and Chemotherapy, where they discuss how there are a limited number of anti-fungals today. Also, the fact that antifungals available today do not penetrate the blood-brain barrier thus complicating anti-fungal therapy. Their research so far is only in the lab but is promising. Sertraline or ZOLOFT acs by not allowing the fungi to synthesize proteins for their own use, thus destroying them. Address correspondence to Xiaorong Lin, xlin@bio.tamu.edu, or Matthew S. Sachs, msachs@bio.tamu.edu or you may write at Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.

Professor Mathew Sachs

Assistant Professor Xiarong Lin

A meningitis causing fungus, Cryptococcus

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