Biosis #45: Responsible Optimism, What to Do about Root Canal Teeth & More!


The November 2014 issue of Biosis, our quarterly newsletter, is now online. In this issue:

  • JoAnne’s Motivational Minute: Responsible Optimism

    The sound of rain on the roof was a common one when I was a kid growing up on the farm in northwestern Washington. It was the sound that meant “The Evergreen State” would live up to its reputation.

    Dad always carefully checked the weather report before harvest to make sure it didn’t get a soaking (or too much of one anyway!). His well-cared for herd of cattle always had a warm, straw-laden shed to protect it from the elements.

    He took his responsibility to care for his family’s livelihood seriously. As I remember, he always handled it well…

  • Dr. Verigin’s Comment: Root Canals Are a Chronic Focus, Part 4: What to Do About Root Canal Teeth

    Over the past few issues, we’ve looked at the research on root canal treated teeth and how they can become burdens on whole body health.

    Now that we have a better idea of the toxins such teeth can harbor and generate, let’s take a look at their impact on the power plants of each cell in your body, the mitochondria, and how this contributes to conditions such as chronic fatigue and cancer. Finally, we’ll return to the basic issue we started with: what to do about root canal treated teeth…

  • From Our Blog: Want to Age Faster? Drink Lots of Soda Pop!

    Sodas and other sugary drinks can damage your teeth. A lot. (Research from the University of Adelaide recently showed that the destruction starts within the first 30 seconds of exposure!) Regular consumption has also been shown raise your risk of stroke and heart disease.

    Now comes a new study suggesting that those cardiovascular issues may stem from the impact of sugary drinks on celluar aging…

Read Biosis #45 now.

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5 Tips to Stay Balanced During Thanksgiving Chaos – & Beyond

Thanksgiving tableWe usually think of Thanksgiving and the ensuing holidays as a time of joy, warmth and togetherness. It can also be a time of chaos, tension and stress – an altogether challenging time of year.

Recently, we received a great set of balance-maintaining tips from Megha Mehta, founder of The Balance Mantra and author of the new book Find Your Rhythm: Feel Your Way to Perfect Wellness.

Here, she says, is “how you can really activate your innate body wisdom this Thanksgiving!”

  1. Pause and Scan Several Times Daily: Set the tone for what’s coming up by building this really simple pause and scan technique several times into your day. All you need to do is pause whatever you’re up to for a minute and allow yourself to “feel into” your body. You can start from your toes and then go up all the way into your belly, chest, arms, head and so on. Make sure you’re acutely aware of the sensations, feelings and visions that may come up. The more often you do this, the better you will be tuned in to your body’s internal landscape.
  2. Breathe to Get Out of Your Own Head: Breathing is the fastest way to become aware and present. It can be a great route to getting out of your mind. Whatever it is that you’re onto just dedicate 1-2 (or more if can!) breaths to getting in to your body. If you aren’t able to feel more present in your body yet, don’t fret, this is a practice that you will get better at with time.
  3. Letting Go is Just Like Minimizing an App: Just before you go to bed at night, close your eyes and imagine yourself letting go of each part of your day. Just like minimizing apps on your smartphone or windows on your computer use 2-3 minutes to send each of your worries, thoughts, to-do’s and other ideas into ether (space). Depending on whether you’re spiritual or religious you can also hand each of these over to God, the universe or consciousness.
  4. Inhabit Your Body: Many of us are going about our days without fully “being” in our bodies. It’s like parts of our bodies have shut down or have been blocked and we can’t access them. A great way to activate your body’s wisdom is to take a moment to make each part of your body more fully awake and alive before you start your day. This can take as little as 30 seconds! Just allow yourself to stretch, move and say good morning to every single part of your body, first thing in the morning!
  5. Disconnect to Reconnect: Whether you’re in a conversation with friends or family or taking those calls, messages and emails that are urgent, it is critical to stop. The constant connection slowly erodes the internal connection we have with our bodies. That makes it more challenging to hear, understand and interpret the messages that our bodies’ are giving us all the time! So for a few seconds, just take time off from your computer screen, laptop, iPad, tablets and smartphones and let yourself just be where you are!

Image by liz west, via Flickr

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Dr. Glidden on the Healthcare System Status Quo

Posted in Functional medicine, General health, Industrial Medicine, Video | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Powered Toothbrush or Manual? What the Latest Evidence Says

powered vs. manual toothbrushFor a long time, the choice between manual and powered brushes was mainly one of personal preference. Now, more evidence suggests that when it comes to breaking up oral biofilm (plaque), powered brushes may in fact be more effective.

The latest Cochrane Review on the matter was published this past summer. Analyzing 56 relevant trials, its authors found “moderate quality evidence” that powered devices are better for reducing both plaque and gingivitis (mild gum disease), both in the short and long term.

But why might this be?

As we’ve mentioned before, the high-speed pulsating and oscillating actions of sonic brushes especially make them much more able to thoroughly clean areas that are hard to clean well with a manual brush. More, they stimulate the soft tissues more effectively, acting as a deterrent against gum disease.

Additionally, most models give an indication after every 30 seconds of use. This makes it easier to remember to spend a full 2 minutes brushing: 30 seconds per quadrant.

Of course, manual brushes have their own virtues. For instance, many find them easier to angle for cleaning the inner arches. Also, cleaning the tongue can be more comfortable with a manual brush.

A good many of our patients use both, alternating between the two.

Either way, the best brush of all remains the one you use regularly and effectively.

Image by mgstanton, via Flickr

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Stat!: One Step Forward, One Step Back

  • Percent decrease in smoking-related deaths in the US between 1960 and 2010: 54
  • Percent increase in obesity-related death: 166
  • Percent decrease in death from heavy alcohol use: 22
  • Percent increase in deaths from firearms: 29
  • Percent decrease in death due to motor vehicles: 46
  • Percent increase in death by toxins (especially prescription drug overdose): 1005

  • Quality-adjusted years of life Americans have gained thanks to to less smoking, less heavy alcohol use, and safer driving and cars: 1.82
  • Quality-adjusted years of life lost due to obesity, firearms, and poisonous substances: 1.77

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Want to Age Faster? Drink Lots of Soda Pop!

Sodas and other sugary drinks can damage your teeth. A lot. (Research from the University of Adelaide recently showed that the destruction starts within the first 30 seconds of exposure!) Regular consumption has also been shown raise your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Now comes a new study suggesting that those cardiovascular issues may stem from the impact of sugary drinks on celluar aging.

Ptelomereublished in the American Journal of Public Health, the study analyzed dietary factors and telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the end of our chromosomes that help protect them. They become shorter, though, as cells divide. When they get too short, the cell dies (as all cells do, eventually). Scientists have thus found telomere length to be a good sign of of aging. (Or as the title of one paper straightforwardly put it, “Short telomeres are sufficient to cause the degenerative defects associated with aging.”)

The current study found an association between regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and shorter telomeres. No such association was found for diet sodas, though – or, somewhat oddly, non-carbonated sugar-sweetened drinks. The authors’ conclusion was straight-forward:

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging.

Yet one more reason to steer clear of sugary sodas – or at least make them only a sometimes-thing.

Image by Samulili, via Wikimedia Commons

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Big League Chew, Major League Damage

Well, the Giants did it again last night and won their third World Series in 5 years!

And while the 2014 season is now all but history, baseball – maybe more than any other sport – basks in that history. As Lawrence Ritter once wrote, “The strongest thing that baseball has going for it today are its yesterdays.”

One of a recent yesterday’s greats – Curt Schilling – drew some extra attention last week courtesty of an interview in which he spoke about his having oral cancer. Like ex-Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, this 6 time All-Star and 3 time World Series champ was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which started in one of his tonsils, then spread to a lymph node in his neck. He attributes it to chewing tobacco.

“I never ever threw a pitch with a dip in my mouth,” Schilling said. “I knew it wasn’t good for you. I didn’t want to be dehydrated.

“But if you go back and look, after every single game I pitched, the first thing I did when I got to the dugout was put one in.

“I didn’t wait. I couldn’t wait.”

Curt SchillingThough as we noted before, seldom if ever is a condition like cancer the result of a single factor, tobacco use does major league damage on many levels – which may be compounded by conventional medical treatments, as well. If ESPN’s sobering summary of the damage doesn’t at least give pause, we’re not sure what it would take to convince a person that tobacco use is a terrible idea.

What followed was a 5-month ordeal in which brutal radiation and chemotherapy treatments left Schilling sobbing like a child, demoralized by the excruciating pain. He lost more than 70 pounds, developed a staph infection that could have killed him, endured two bouts of pneumonia, a bacterial infection in his intestines and multiple excruciating flare-ups of oral thrush, and wrestled with depression that required hospitalization and therapy.

His scars are internal, imperceptible to the human eye, but his mouth is ravaged by 30 years of chewing tobacco. Even before his cancer was detected, Schilling had decimated his taste buds by dipping. The radiation and chemotherapy have since destroyed his salivary glands.

Schilling doesn’t eat in public because he can’t be certain that his windpipe will close properly. Sometimes food seeps into his lungs and leaves him prone to infection. Other times he chokes, coughs his meal back up, then starts over again. Dining requires careful, methodical chewing, reducing his food to a pasty substance, much like baby food. “I don’t swallow normally anymore,” Schilling explained.

We wish Curt and his family the best, and sincerely hope that his sharing his experience so frankly will help keep others from having to go through anything like it themselves.

And lest you think only smokeless tobacco is a problem…

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