Depression and Subsequent Risk of Parkinson Disease”- What Can You Learn From This?

depression2In the article, “Depression and subsequent risk of Parkinson disease,” we learn that there is a direct association between depression and subsequent Parkinson Disease (PD). (You can read the article here… )  The authors conclude, “given that the association was significant for a follow-up period of more than 2 decades, depression may be a very early prodromal symptom of PD, or a causal risk factor.”

What continues to amuse me is the focus on symptoms in medicine and the attempts to link symptoms to symptoms as a cause of our medical conditions.  Both depression and Parkinson Disease are groups of symptoms. That they share some common causes is expected when you start to understand epigenetics and how environmental toxins and nutrient deficiencies put you at greater risk for numerous conditions.

If you have the MTHFR single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), then you have huge risks for many toxin induced problems than if you are homozygous for C677T (homozygous means you got one copy of the defect from each of your parents) and less risk if you are heterozygous (meaning you got one copy from only one parent).  Heterozygous is much more common than homozygous, hence the siblings in this study for example would be at little to no risk if we were looking at the MTHFR.

Except that it’s much more complicated than that.  There are about 40 known mutations affecting the MTHFR enzyme.

My suggestion, if you suffer from depression and are worried about risks of other health conditions, is to see a physician who looks at underlying health risks.  One who doesn’t just give you an antidepressant and then when other symptoms develop, just give you a pharmaceutical to treat those symptoms and so on until you are on multiple drugs.  This is the sad state of medicine today, with few doctors looking at why you are less than well.

You can find out your own SNP’s that are important for health a number of ways.  One simple way is at www.23andme.com and then run your results through either genetic genie or Prometheus, for example. You will likely need to find a physician who can then guide you on your journey back to wellness and help you interpret the information you get.  Consider finding a functional medicine doctor, a naturopath or someone who understand nutrition and it’s relationship to health and wellness.

Saying that “depression may be a very early prodromal symptom of PD” is like saying that driving a car is a risk factor for crashing and dying.  Yes there is a low level of underlying risk for all who drive to crash, and for all who are born to get PD, but you can greatly increase your risk of crashing by driving intoxicated just as you can greatly increase your risk of PD by eating poorly and exposing yourself to major neurotoxins.

If you struggle with depression, that’s a warning that neurotransmitters are out of balance and best you do everything you can to improve diet, add exercise, and avoid toxins among other recommendations to keep you safe when depressed.

 

To your health and wellness.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)- Improve Your Health, Reduce MI’s, Stroke and Heart Disease (studies)

guysjumpingThis one’s mostly for dads and grandpa’s, although I have found several teens and early 20’s young men suffering from anxiety, depression, or fatigue who have ended up having the testosterone levels of an 80 year old man.

A previous JAMA article (which you can read here… ) shows the huge benefit of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy), despite the title and wrong conclusions made in this article.

What an unfortunate blunder that JAMA – the Journal of the American Medical Association – would publish an article with the wrong conclusion in the title and the conclusion.

This article, picked up by the media and likely to be misquoted for years to come, suggests that there is increased risk of heart attacks and stroke for those on testosterone therapy. A simple reworking of the numbers they present in the study shows that they have miscalculated their results and came to the absolute wrong conclusion, opposite to what their results show. I present below a summary of their results and the links to the abstract in full for your review:

This was a retrospective study looking at a VA population of 8709 men with testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL. They present in the results that there were 1710 events (748 deaths, 443 MI’s and 519 strokes). Of the 1223 men who had been started on testosterone therapy, 67 died (5.4%), 23 had heart attacks or MI’s (1.8%), and 33 had strokes (2.6%).

Using these numbers, that means there were 8,709-1223 = 7,486 men not taking testosterone. Of this group 681 (748-67) died (9%), 420 (443-23) had MI’s (5.6%), and 486 (519–33) had strokes (6.5%).

This study shows that testosterone replacement therapy reduced the risk of death from 9% to 5.4 % cutting that risk almost in half. The chance of MI went from 5.6% to 1.8%, a 300% reduction and the chance of stroke went from 6.5% to 2.6%, a 2.5 times (250%) reduction in risk.

This study, in fact, shows what numerous other studies over the past couple decades have consistently shown: testosterone replacement therapy for those with low testosterone reduces deaths, MI’s, and strokes, not to mention the myriad of other benefits to mental health, energy, weight, sex drive, and overall fitness and well being.

I list for you below links to many of the articles showing the health benefits of testosterone replacement therapy for those with low testosterone:

 

http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/early/2012/04/11/jc.2011-2591.full.pdf

Testosterone Treatment and Mortality in Men with Low Testosterone Levels

Conclusions: In an observational cohort of men with low testosterone levels, testosterone treatment was associated with decreased mortality compared with no testosterone treatment.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23999642

Testosterone deficiency is associated with increased risk of mortality and testosterone replacement improves survival in men with type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Low testosterone levels predict an increase in all-cause mortality during long-term follow-up. Testosterone replacement may improve survival in hypogonadal men with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/116/23/2694.long

Endogenous Testosterone and Mortality Due to All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer in Men

European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) Prospective Population Study

Conclusions: In men, endogenous testosterone concentrations are inversely related to mortality due to cardiovascular disease and all causes. Low testosterone may be a predictive marker for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22013106

Low free testosterone predicts mortality from cardiovascular disease but not other causes: the Health in Men Study.

Conclusions: Low testosterone predicts mortality from CVD but is not associated with death from other causes. Prevention of androgen deficiency might improve cardiovascular outcomes

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21852391

Hypogonadism as a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in men: a meta-analytic study.

Conclusions: Lower testosterone and higher E(2) levels correlate with increased risk of CVD and CV mortality. TRT in hypogonadism moderates metabolic components associated with CV risk.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21816776

Clinical review: Endogenous testosterone and mortality in men: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Conclusions: Low endogenous testosterone levels are associated with increased risk of all-cause and CVD death in community-based studies of men

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21427069

Low serum testosterone, arterial stiffness, and mortality in male haemodialysis patients.

Conclusions: We showed that testosterone deficiency in male HD patients is associated with increased CVD and all-cause mortality and that increased arterial stiffness may be a possible mechanism explaining this association.

 

http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/31/12/1436.full

Testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) and the heart

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17911176

Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men.

Conclusions: Testosterone insufficiency in older men is associated with increased risk of death over the following 20 yr, independent of multiple risk factors and several pre-existing health conditions.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23382488

Plasma total testosterone and incident cardiovascular events in hypertensive patients.

Conclusions: Our results show that low plasma testosterone is associated with increased risk for a MACE (Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events) in hypertensive patients

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21339189

Low free testosterone is associated with heart failure mortality in older men referred for coronary angiography.

Conclusions: Low levels of FT are independently associated with increased CHF mortality.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646096/

Relationship Between Low Levels of Anabolic Hormones and 6-Year Mortality in Older Men

Conclusions: Age-associated decline in anabolic hormone levels is a strong independent predictor of mortality in older men. Having multiple hormonal deficiencies rather than a deficiency in a single anabolic hormone is a robust biomarker of health status in older persons.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23378050

Testosterone: a metabolic hormone in health and disease.

Clinical trials demonstrate that testosterone replacement therapy improves the insulin resistance found in these conditions as well as glycemic control and also reduces body fat mass, in particular truncal adiposity, cholesterol and triglycerides

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

Second-Hand Smoke Increases Your Child’s Risk for ADHD and Mental Health Issues (study)

tobaccoParents, if you smoke, I know it is hard to quit.  Smokers know it is bad for their health and yet after multiple attempts to quit, they return to that nicotine.  This is one of the most powerful and addictive substances known. As with any addictive substance or behavior, you can beat it.  You must have a reason, a WHY that is so powerful that you will make quitting your number one priority and keep it there until you win that battle. Wanting to quit, though, is just the start.  You have to follow that with action.  That might mean seeing your doctor for help. You may need a medication to assist you, or need to use nicotine replacement.  You may benefit from working with a counselor who deals with smoking cessation.

The study, “Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home and mental health in children: a population-based study,” (which you can read here… )  looked at 2357 Spanish children aged 4-12 and compared their scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and compared rates of ADHD along with many other variables to the second hand smoke exposure. About seven percent of the kids were exposed to secondhand smoke for less than one hour per day, and 4.5 percent were exposed for an hour or more each day. Children exposed to secondhand smoke for less than one hour a day were 50 percent more likely to have some mental disorder and 200% more likely to have ADHD, compared to kids not exposed at all. Those exposed for over an hour had an almost 300% increase (3X) risk of mental health issues and ADHD.

Parents, I know it is politically incorrect to advise you not smoke in the home or car as your way to minimize second hand smoke exposure because I am supposed to encourage you to stop smoking all together.  Well I do encourage you to stop completely and to do that now.  But while you struggle with that (if you do struggle) please make a commitment to your family and loved-ones that you will never light up in front of them, in the house, or in a closed space.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

Depression- Associated with Brain Inflammation

depression2Depression affects 4% of us at any given time and 10% of us at some point. If you are suffering from a severe episode, it can be incapacitating and feel like pain or you may have trouble feeling at all and just feel numb to any sensations. Often there is anxiety along with the depression. Anti-depressants only work half the time and really don’t address the underlying causes of depression, yet you should not avoid them if you are in a desperate state.  They could save your life while you explore the more permanent solution that likely requires a major life-style change along with addressing nutritional deficiencies.

The study “Role of translocator protein density, a marker of neuroinflammation, in the brain during major depressive episodes,” (which you can read here… ) while technical and focused on translocator protein density as the marker for inflammation in the brain, it does show the link. During a major depression there is brain inflammation, and microglial activation.

PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) have shown significant brain inflammation in those with depression, with the highest inflammation correlating with the most severe depression.

So what can you do if you are suffering from depression?

Avoid those things that increase inflammation:

  • Sugar and high fructose corn syrup (sweeteners in general should be avoided- especially aspartame)
  • Saturated fat and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (avoid junk food and fast food, and minimize animal fats)
  • For many, gluten and possibly most grains or highly processed grains trigger inflammation.
  • Substances of abuse (alcohol, marijuana, opiates and other mood altering drugs and substances)
  • Avoid toxic people and situations (emotional stress causes a real physical reaction)

 

Do these things every day:

  • Take 5000 IU vitamin D daily (teens and adults)
  • Take 1.5 to 2 grams of fish oil (EPA:DHA ratio of 2:1 or 3:1)- you need to stay on this for 6-9 months to rebuild your cell membranes. (take it for life).
  • Take methyl-B12 and methyl-folate (not regular folate)
  • Exercise (moderation) and get enough sleep (7-8 hours minimum during the usual night hours).

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

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