Archive | November 2015


While an all-day eating holiday like Thanksgiving can wreak havoc on otherwise good eating habits, one non-ideal meal (or day) does not lead to pounds of weight gain. The big issue for many is how to deal with the days following Thanksgiving when we have lots of temptations to keep the celebration going on.

Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, author of Savor Fitness & Nutrition.


“I think the promise of music as medicine is that it’s natural and it’s cheap and it doesn’t have the unwanted side effects that many pharmaceutical products do.

Daniel Levitin – 2013 meta-analysis, authors Mona Lisa Chanda and Levitin  came to this conclusion that music effects our immunity.

Part III How music impacts the brain–regarding our health.

how music impacts the brain IIa                How music impacts the brain III

                           How music impacts the brain C


Another factor in music’s ability to reduce pain likely stems from its competition for our attention. “If you’re thinking about something else, then you’re not thinking about your pain, and you feel less pain,” says psychologist David Bradshaw, who studies pain relief at the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center.  Bradshaw’s research shows that the more actively engaged a person is in music, the less pain they feel. For instance, a group of non-musicians asked to listen for errors in a musical passage reported less pain when receiving small electric shocks than those who passively listened to the music.

Other work out of Bradshaw’s lab suggests that certain personality factors, such as a propensity toward anxiety or the ability to become easily absorbed in activities, may lead individuals to experience greater relief from engaged music listening. These findings suggest that physicians should consider patients’ personalities when recommending pain treatment programs.

Listening to a song can have a real effect on various parts of the brain, with studies showing that areas responsible for aspects, such as memory and vision, can ‘light up’ in response to music.

‘There’s a very wide range of reactions in the body and mind to music, and brain imaging studies have shown that various parts of the brain may be activated by a piece of music,’ says Dr Victoria Williamson, lecturer in psychology at Goldsmith’s College, London.


‘For example, a recent study in Canada showed that there’s a real causal relationship between music and the reward system, a core part of the brain that reacts to stimuli, which are good for us – food, light, sex for example – and reinforces these behaviors meaning that we do them more.’

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any description induced ‘musical chills’, which triggered the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

‘We all know from our own individual experiences that listening to music can affect mood,’ says Bridget O’Connell, head of information at the mental health charity Mind.


Music may even be able to help you concentrate.

A new ‘digital tonic’ called U brain, which can be downloaded onto smartphones, claims to be able to help people focus, energize, wake up as well as relax.

The process uses two different beats in each ear to create a third ‘perceived’ beat (a binaural beat), which can stimulate certain activity in the brain.

‘By helping the brain cortex to generate specific brain waves, we can induce different states of alertness, depending on what we aim to do,’ explains Paris-based clinical psychologist Brigitte Forgeot.

‘If we’re feeling anxious or stressed, we can encourage our cerebral cortex to produce slow alpha-frequency brain waves, while on the other end of the scale, if we help our cortex to produce faster beta waves, we will be better equipped to concentrate and focus our attention on a fairly lengthy task.

PREVENTION OF DISEASE by increasing the immunity through music—AMAZING!

Can listening to music actually help prevent disease? Some researchers think so.

Wilkes University researchers looked at how music affects levels of IgA — an important antibody for our immune system’s first line of defense against disease. Undergraduate students had their salivary IgA levels measured before and after 30 minutes of exposure to one of four conditions — listening to a tone click, a radio broadcast, a tape of soothing music or silence. Those students exposed to the soothing music had significantly greater increases in IgA than any of the other conditions, suggesting that exposure to music (and not other sounds) might improve innate immunity.

Another study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of interleukin-6 — a protein that has been implicated in higher mortality rates, diabetes and heart problems.


Music can actually have a significant positive impact on patients with long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory conditions (Home, in nursing homes, hospitals, the office, etc…)

Numerous trials have shown that music can help lower heart rate, blood pressure and help relieve pain, anxiety and improve patient quality of life.

‘Music can be incredibly useful for somebody who is in a situation where they have lost a lot of control from their external environment – say they are in hospital for a long period of time with a serious illness and less able to move around,’ says Dr Williamson.

‘It can give them a sense of control back, as well as creating a calm personal atmosphere and blocking out some of the disturbances around the patient.

According to sports researchers Peter Terry and Costas Karageorghis, “Music has the capacity to capture attention, lift spirits, generate emotion, change or regulate mood, evoke memories, increase work output, reduce inhibitions and encourage rhythmic movement — all of which have potential applications in sport and exercise.”








“That music can prevent the transmission of pain signals from the spinal cord to the brain.”

Mathieu Roy (Psychologist of the University of Colorado, Boulder-who has done research studies on how music impacts pain).

Part II How Music Impacts the Brain — Even our health Part A

How music impacts the brain IIdHow music impacts the brain IIcHow music impacts the brain IIb


Pain relief with a pain relieving nature-MUSIC.

The improvement of physical wellbeing through music isn’t only about perceived pain relief. Studies show that playing music for patients before, during, and after medical procedures can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, ease muscle tension, and more.  At the Chronic Pain Care Center at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, music therapy is part of the array of techniques that patients learn to help control their pain, according to osteopathic physician Steven Stanos, medical director of the center. As Stanos sees it, there is no reason not to take time to listen to music.  “What we’ve learned from our pain patients is that any intervention that can be distracting, relaxing, and enjoyable — whether it’s music or another therapy — can decrease the experience of pain,” Stanos says.

Listening to a song can have a real effect on various parts of the brain, with studies showing that areas responsible for aspects, such as memory and vision, can ‘light up’ in response to music.

‘There’s a very wide range of reactions in the body and mind to music, and brain imaging studies have shown that various parts of the brain may be activated by a piece of music,’ says Dr Victoria Williamson, lecturer in psychology at Goldsmith’s College, London.


‘For example, a recent study in Canada showed that there’s a real causal relationship between music and the reward system, a core part of the brain that reacts to stimuli, which are good for us – food, light, sex for example – and reinforces these behaviors meaning that we do them more.’

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any description induced ‘musical chills’, which triggered the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Music so impacting to our brain that music is even considered having a pain-relieving nature, scientists are exploring how the brain processes music during pain. Look at when we go to the doctor or better the dentist. More are less out to go to the dentist as opposed to the MD since a doctor’s visit doesn’t include the day of the visit or soon later a drill going in out mouth to take care of a cavity or worse Root Canal Surgery, you get the picture. Remember when you have or if you still do regularly go to the dentist there is always soft music in the background. This is because it calms the body through how the brain reacts to soft music as opposed to hard rough music.

When the body encounters something painful — you step on a tack or having a drill applied to a cavity with no novacaine if allergic or the patient just refuses the medication, for instance — electrochemical signals travel from the site of the injury to the spinal cord and on to the brain. There, several brain regions work together to process pain signals — ultimately resulting in the conscious experience of, “Ow, that hurts!” In contrast, brain scans reveal that listening to pleasing music increases activity in parts of the brain’s reward center.

“Pleasant music triggers the release of the brain chemical dopamine,” explains Robert Zatorre, of McGill University, who studies emotion and music. This change “is strongly associated with other rewarding and motivating stimuli, such as food, sex, and certain addictive drugs,” Zatorre adds. Scientists believe that music’s ability to make you feel good may be one way it helps to alleviate pain.


Studies also suggest that how good a song makes you feel affects your perception of pain. Although musical taste is subjective, there are common features of music that evoke fairly universal responses. For instance, most people find musical consonance (harmonies or chords) to be pleasant and dissonance (clashing notes) to be unpleasant.

When scientists asked study volunteers to evaluate pain while they listened to different types of music, researchers found that people who listened to excerpts of music judged by most to be pleasant (such as the Romantic music piece “The Blue Danube Waltz”) reported less pain than those who listened to unpleasant music (such as Steve Reich’s modern classical piece “Pendulum Music”). The more pleasing the listeners found the music to be, the less pain they felt.

Other studies suggest that music can interfere with pain signals even before they reach the brain — at the level of the spinal cord. In these studies, scientists examine how different types of music change the withdrawal reflex: an involuntary organized entirely in the spinal cord.

In one study, scientists measured how forcefully volunteers withdrew their feet after being mildly electrically zapped on an ankle as they listened to music. Compared with pleasant music, unpleasant music resulted in stronger leg reflexes and greater reports of pain.

Psychologist Mathieu Roy, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who conducted the study, says these results suggest that music can prevent the transmission of pain signals from the spinal cord to the brain.


“Cyclists pedaled faster while listening to music than they did in silence.”

Leonard Ayres-In 1911, an American researcher.

Learn more on today’s article “Part 1 How Music Impacts the Brain”







What is Amyloidosis?  Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.

The cause of primary amyloidosis is unknown. The condition is related to abnormal and excess production of antibodies by a type of immune cell called plasma cells. Clumps of abnormal proteins build up in certain organs. This reduces their ability to work correctly.

Symptoms depend on the organs affected.  Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure. This disease can affect the tongue, intestines, skeletal and smooth muscles, nerves, skin, ligaments, heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys.  Skin changes, such as thickening or easy bruising, and purplish patches around the eyes, difficulty swallowing,

Symptoms include: enlarged tongue, difficulty swallowing, feeling full quickly when eating, and significant weight loss, diarrhea possibly with blood or constipation, abnormal heart rhythm, fatigue, numbness of hands or feet, shortness of breath, hoarseness or changing voice, swelling of your ankles and legs and joint pain.

Amyloid is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ affecting the tissue and organs like stated previously. The specific cause of this condition depends on the type of amyloidosis present.

Unfortunately, there are many different types of amyloidosis.  Here are the types:

Immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidosis.  This is the most common type, can affect your heart, kidneys, skin, nerves and liver. It was previously known as primary amyloidosis. It occurs when your bone marrow produces abnormal antibodies that can’t be broken down. The antibodies are deposited in your tissues as amyloid, interfering with normal function.   Most people diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, the most common type, are age 50 or older, although earlier onset can occur.  This is  hard in preventing this disease from occurring.  Nearly 70 percent of people with AL amyloidosis are men.

AA amyloidosis, mostly affects your kidneys but occasionally your digestive tract, liver or heart. It was previously known as secondary amyloidosis. It occurs along with chronic infectious or inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.  One way to prevent this is through good health to prevent chronic infections, possibly rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Hereditary (familial) amyloidosis, is an inherited disorder that often affects the liver, nerves, heart and kidneys. One type is caused by a certain amyloid (transthyretin amyloid) that can affect the nervous system or the heart.  This is hereditary and unlikely to prevent but see your MD regularly to be checked for it every 6 months or yearly.  See what your MD suggests if you know this is in your family. African-Americans have a greater risk of this type than do Caucasians. It is thought to be a significant cause of heart failure in African-American men.

Dialysis-related amyloidosis, develops when proteins in blood are deposited in joints and tendons which end up causing pain, stiffness and fluid in the joints, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. This type generally affects people on long-term dialysis.  Dialysis can’t always remove large proteins from the blood. If you’re on dialysis, abnormal proteins can build up in your blood and eventually be deposited in tissue. The good news regarding this type of amyloidosis is this condition is less common with modern dialysis techniques.


1.) Amyloid can harm the kidneys’ filtering system=our toileting system of the human body which takes toxics out of the bloodstream dumping them into the urinary bladder that our body voids out of the body through urinating.  If this organ, the kidneys are affected, this ends up causing protein to leak from your blood into your urine. The kidneys’ ability to remove waste products from your body is lowered, which may eventually lead to kidney failure (if 100% failure occurs now hemodialysis starts causing the amyloidosis to be at risk for just getting worse, see above dialysis-related amyloidosis).

2.) Amyloid can harm the nervous system, which affects our electrical system of the human body.  You may experience pain, numbness or tingling of the fingers or numbness, lack of feeling or a burning sensation in your toes or the soles of your feet. If amyloid affects the nerves that control your bowel function, you may experience periods of alternating constipation and diarrhea. Sometimes amyloidosis affects nerves that control blood pressure, and you may experience dizziness or near fainting when standing too quickly, as a result of a drop in your blood pressure due to orthostatic hypotension occurring secondary to the nerves affecting the B/P.

3.) Amyloid if it affects the engine of the human body it will cause reduction of that organ’s function being the heart.  It causes your heart’s ability to fill with blood between heartbeats. Less blood is filled up in each chamber of the heart at the normal level an this causes the heart to pump out less cardiac output with each beat, especially the left ventricle of the heart that pumps out oxygenated blood throughout the body.  This causes less oxygenated blood to our tissues and like plumbing when the pipes (in this case the arteries with veins) cause back up in the running of blood which go back to the lungs first (does not take long) all the way down to the feet (this takes time).  This in the end can make you experience shortness of breath due to fluid build up in the lungs. If amyloidosis affects your heart’s electrical system, your heart rhythm may be disturbed.  This can put you into arrhythmias the longer you don’t take care of the situation the worse the rhythm will get.

You may go to your general practitioner first depending on your insurance coverage but if it is questionable or your GP thinks it amyloidosis you should be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood disorders (hematologist).  Be prepared with questions already written out at home when you see your doctor so you don’t walk out of the office knocking your head saying “I forgot to ask him…”.   That could be from signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors, tests, treatments/medications, etc…

There’s no cure unfortunately for amyloidosis. But treatments can help you manage your symptoms and limit the production of amyloid protein.



Diagnosis and Tests for Amyloidosis:


*1. First your doctor would do a thorough medical exam with blood/urine tests searching for clues of high protein where it shouldn’t belong or certain liver or thyroid abnormal findings. The MD will follow with further diagnostic tooling especially if these findings show up in blood/urine tests. Common blood exams used are BNP (basic natriuretic peptide). BNP is a substance secreted from the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart in response to stress and changes in pressure that occur when to heart failure develops and worsens. The level of BNP in the blood increases when heart failure symptoms worsen, and decreases when heart failure condition is stable. It is not so much elevated over the norm but more with this disease patients the MD will see where the BNP level was at last visit & compare.

Another blood test is troponin and this gets released into the bloodstream when your heart is affected by amyloids.


*2. Second your MD may want to further diagnose for this disease through getting a tissue biopsy where the MD’s intent is to check for signs indicating this is highly possible for amyloidosis. The biopsy could be taken from your abdominal fat, bone marrow, or an organ such as your liver or kidney. Tissue analysis can help determine the type of amyloid deposit.


*3. Imaging Tests. Images taken of the organs that are affected by amloidosis can help the MD establish the intensity or stage your disease is at. There are 2 most commonly imaging tests used and can diagnose the disease early. There is the echocardiogram test, sound wave imaging of the heart, that will be used to assess the size and functioning capability level of the heart. Another test is a MRI of the heart (magnetic residence imaging). Other imaging tests can evaluate the extent of amyloidosis in the liver or spleen.


When the heart chambers become filled with amyloids it thickens the walls of those chambers especially the lower chambers which can be picked up by the echocardiogram through the different angles of sound waves that go via the heart during this exam. Another thing that can be measured through the echocardiogram is your diagnostic function; that represents a measure of how stiff your heart is and how well is your heart actually functioning.

Another technique that can be used is strain imaging. This is also done through echocardiogram. This tells the doctor in more detail how much the muscle fibers in the heart are actually shortening and contracting. It measures certain parts of the heart in actually contracting and function. This is actually better in help diagnosing compared to just looking at ejection fraction, which is the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle chamber upon contraction of the heart (When he hear lub dub of the heart with a stethoscope that is the heart actually contracting. First the upper chamber on lub is contracting and on dub is the lower chambers contracting). This test is a specializing test and is not widely used but it is available in certain hospitals.

Ending line amyloidosis is a group of diseases in which one or more organ systems in the body accumulate abnormal proteins known as amyloid. The name amyloidosis was first used more than 150 years ago, but cases were described over 300 years ago. However, only in the past ¼ of a century have MD’s understood the specific make up and structure of amyloid proteins. Although amyloidosis is not a cancer but it is a serious condition. It is disabilitating and gets to life threatening. However, growing awareness of the condition seems to be leading to substantial new research and Rx alternatives.

Through “The Amyloidosis Foundation” they provide over the world medical facilities/hospitals that major in this disease.

Hope I have helped you in someway for yourself or family or friend in better understanding about the disease, knowing tests for it, and places majored with this unfortunate disease an expert can treat in a medical facility.


















Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.