Latest Medical Research

Here are six brand new find­ings from the world of bio­med­ical research that I think are par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing.

One: Need Yet Another Reason to Exercise?

In order to be healthy, you need robust, diverse colonies of bac­te­ria liv­ing peace­ably in your gut. Eat­ing the right mix of car­bo­hy­drates, pro­teins and fats keeps these help­ful bac­te­ria in bal­ance. Fer­ment­ed foods or pro­bi­ot­ic sup­ple­ments help too. And as much as pos­si­ble, stay away from antibi­otics that indis­crim­i­nate­ly slaugh­ter the good guys and bad guys alike.

Now sci­en­tists are study­ing a new fac­tor that influ­ences the health of your intesti­nal flo­ra – the amount you exer­cise.

Two: The Sense of Smell, A Window to Your Brain

Test­ing the sense of smell is a sen­si­tive indi­ca­tor of the state of your ner­vous sys­tem. Loss of smell is one of the most com­mon (and most com­mon­ly over­looked) side effects of head trau­ma. Now, test­ing the sense of smell is prov­ing use­ful in arriv­ing at an ear­ly diag­no­sis of Parkinson’s syn­drome.

Three: Exercise and Chronic Pain

Those with fibromyal­gia and chron­ic pain often get some ben­e­fit from med­ica­tion, but experts are learn­ing more about the lim­i­ta­tions of a strict­ly phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal approach. There’s a stronger under­stand­ing than ever that a mod­er­ate lev­el of phys­i­cal exer­cise goes a long way in address­ing these con­di­tions.

Four: Mind-Body Medicine and Low Back Pain

You can’t ful­ly under­stand back pain by sim­ply ana­lyz­ing the phys­i­cal com­po­nents (the joints, mus­cles, lig­a­ments, discs, etc.) that are dam­aged. Chron­ic spinal prob­lems are a mul­ti-dimen­sion­al expe­ri­ence, involv­ing nutri­tion­al, meta­bol­ic, sleep, social, brain, and emo­tion­al issues. In par­tic­u­lar, depres­sion is strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with chron­ic back pain and may need to be addressed in its own right.

Five: Risks of Low Back Surgery

Spine sur­geons con­tin­ue to be con­cerned about the risk of sec­ondary prob­lems devel­op­ing above or below the lev­el of the orig­i­nal low back surgery. Peo­ple who have had spinal fusion are espe­cial­ly at risk.

The lat­est find­ings are that in 22% of spinal fusion patients, their “adja­cent seg­ment dis­ease” is bad enough to require a sec­ond surgery with­in 10 years.

Six: Intervertebral Discs Show Regenerative Abilities

Sci­en­tists are study­ing the ways that inter­ver­te­bral discs main­tain their resilience – and even heal and regen­er­ate – despite being sub­ject to repet­i­tive mechan­i­cal loads.

Recent research has unveiled a meta­bol­ic shift that can occur in the cells of the inter­ver­te­bral disc. Depend­ing on the bio­me­chan­i­cal load they’re sub­ject to, the cells’ genes will pro­duce one of two dif­fer­ent mix­tures of pro­teins: “cata­bol­ic” pro­teins that break struc­tures down, or “ana­bol­ic” pro­teins that rein­force disc strength.

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.

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