Archive for November, 2008

Killing You Softly


As discussed in a previous post Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an exclusionary diagnosis and has many causes.  One of these causes is Sick Building Syndrome.  In the 1970s, building construction techniques changed in response to the energy crisis.  As a result, homes and buildings became more airtight.  Also, cheaper materials such as drywall came into common use.  This combination of increased moisture and suitable substrates contributed to increased mold growth inside buildings.

Some of these molds produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans. Exposure, and especially repeated exposure like daily workplace exposure, to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death.

SBS is a combination of ailments associated with an individual’s place of work (office building) residence or school.  A 1984 World Health Organization report in to the syndrome suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS.  According to the latest data from the US Occupational Health and Safely Administration more than 20 million American workers may now be effected with toxins from SBS Fungi.  Add to that 10 million US school kids who are also exposed daily to building-related fungal toxins, and its easy to see why the word “epidemic” isn’t an exaggeration when it comes to describing the recent surge in SBS.

There are tremendous variations in the kinds of buildings that can become home to toxin-forming species of fungi.  Any building that provides the proper mix of food and water can potentially be at risk.  When the building has air circulation that is closed, with little outside air input and windows that don’t open, any intrusion of water can become the source of fungal blooms.

The worst part?  Standard medical diagnostic tests are usually normal in patients who have these biotoxin-induced illnesses, which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat.  Patients chronically ill due to biotoxin exposure are often misdiagnosed with other ailments including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Bell’s Palsy, Endometriosis, sinsory-neural deafness, low vision, Lyme Desease and learning disabilities.

The most common symptoms in patients affected with SBS are fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, respiratory symptoms that don’t respond to normal treatments for sinus congestion or asthma, joint problems, and here’s the big deal: memory problems, difficulty with concentration and assimilation of new knowledge, confusion and difficulty with word finding.  Neurologic problems include numbness, tingling, vertigo and metallic taste.

The good news is that recent research has led to the discovery of a diagnosis and treatment paradigm for chronic biotoxin induced illlness.  The paradigm includes detection of a deficit in the ability of the patient to detect visual patterns and treatment with a non-absorbable polymer to bind toxins and increase their elimination rate.  If you want more info on the treatment paradigm feel free to contact me.

Please subscribe to the Ordinary Miracles blog by email or RSS.

Read Full Post »

Don’t worry be happy!

happy smiley face on a dark blue background

Do you worry? If so, what about?  The sources of worry can be many, our families, our health, finances, school grades etc…  But 96% of the things we worry about are irrelevant as they never end up happening- and the things we worry about that actually end up happening are usually not as bad as we imagined.  Even more importantly, the bad things that do happen usually end up making us better and stronger.  Adversity makes us stronger, patient, able to persevere, it builds character and gives us the experience to be able to help others with their afflictions.

I can think of no better example than the story of Lance Armstrong.  A 2006 article claims that Armstrong’s testicular cancer actually helped him during the Tour de France.  The article outlines that surgical removal of testicles (even one) re-positions the body’s hormonal system, playing with the feedback system of normal testosterone production. Consequently, a cascade of events which allegedly favor or enhance endurance performance is proposed by the authors. They suggest that the increase in LH to testosterone ratio and the increase in free fatty acid (FFA) to glycogen utilization ratio which resulted in an increase in power-to-weight ratio (a favorable characteristic for mountain climbing) and a remodeling of type I and type II muscle fibers in Armstrong’s physiology all contributed to him becoming the super-athlete that he was.  Another mechanism by which the authors propose that Armstrong obtained and maintained his super physiology was that the altered hormonal state induced an increase in the production of red blood cells.  Also, had Lance Armstrong never gotten cancer he never would have set up his www.livestrong.org foundation which to date has raised $181 Mil. to support cancer survivorship programs and initiatives.

So even the things we worry about that actually end up happening are usually not all that bad, even beneficial.  By mulling over a problem often time a solution can appear.  To worry is to be vigilant for potential danger and come up with positive solutions for life’s dangers by anticipating those dangers before they arise.  Problems arise however when our worry is chronic, repetitive worry.  The worries that linger without ever getting to the positive resolution stage.  We need to be able to distinguish between the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots.

Worry also brings stress as it is well documented that chronic long-term stress suppresses the immune system.  Perceived mood also seems to play a role in immune system effectiveness. Having a positive attitude (not worrying so much about things) seems to correlate with an increased ability of the immune system in fighting diseases. In cases where patients have exhibited fear (worry) before a surgery, they have had a longer healing time afterwards.

Clearly we all have plenty of reasons to worry, even before we wake every morning, as falling out of bed is said to kill 600 Americans every year.  In summary however, the more we worry, the worse we feel; and the worse we feel, the more we think in a worried and anxious way.  We lose our joy worrying about things that may never happen, or that turn out not to be as bad as we had imagined, or even turn out to actually make us better.  Worry rarely helps so laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly!


Please subscribe to the Ordinary Miracles blog by email or RSS.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Read Less More

“Leaders are Readers”

loving books (pages of book curved into a heart shape)

A definite characteristic of highly effective leaders is that they are avid readers, that’s why serious leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to how to think.

Abraham Lincoln used to walk miles to borrow books which he would read by candlelight afetr working long days.  An article by the New York times talks about the reading habits of some very prominent people such as Phil Knight (founder of Nike Inc.) and Michael Moritz (the venture capitalist responsible for backing such respected compaines as google and yahoo).  These leaders make reading an indispensable part of their life and business.  Leaders who read are highly positive, creative and exude confidence and competence.

In my constant search for blogging material I find myself doing a lot of reading – as many as 3 or 4 books at any one time.  I’ve recognized the importance or reading for a while now, but despite that knowledge I can’t say I had ever really fellen in love with the concept.  If you can relate or are just in need to read through a lot of material in a short period of time here is a great resource that helps you read faster and retain the information better, its called Read Less More.  It almost sounds too good to be true but it really does work.  Give it a try!

I’ve found that by developing the habit of reading, even just a little bit, but every day, you will start to enjoy it.  Your thinking will sharpen, you’ll increase your knowledge and you will become a more interesting person.



Please subscribe to the Ordinary Miracles blog by email or RSS.
Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »