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Ideas of the Month 2016




There is great confusion about the increasingly popular gluten-free diet. About one percent of people have celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder involving intolerance for the protein gluten.  Unfortunately only a fifth of those with this condition ever have it properly diagnosed. Many people avoid gluten-containing foods in efforts to improve digestive health, lose weight, or find improved taste of food, while only a small percentage (about 8%) are motivated to avoid gluten because of concerns about gluten sensitivity. Common gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and distention have no correlation with the occurrence of celiac disease. The two best indications for proceeding with medical diagnosis seem to be (1) having an immediate family member with confirmed celiac disease and (2) iron deficiency. A diet that also eliminates casein along with gluten (the GFCF diet) is more challenging than going gluten-free. An excellent guide with some of latest research findings and many practical problem-solving solutions is "Special Diets for Special Kids." A thorough description appears in our online bookstore.





It's 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods.  When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Baking soda is a very cheap way to clean your home and very effective.


How To Use Baking Soda For Your Health


  • Natural deodorant – Pat powder on. This is good for those that want to avoid parabens and aluminum found in most antiperspirants.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda and water to mosquito bites and poison ivy.
  • Foot soak – Add three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of hot water.
  • Sunburn remedy – 1/2 cup of baking soda to a lukewarm bath.
  • Tooth and gum paste – Use six parts baking soda to one part sea salt. Place in blender for 30 seconds. Apply to moist toothbru





Many people are feeling frustrated by their visits to the doctor, but they say things like text alerts if there are delays could help. A new survey from Sequence shows that 61 percent of respondents said they would like to receive text alerts prior to leaving home for an appointment if they will not be seen by a health care provider on time. The survey of more than 2,000 Americans also found that 88 percent of doctor's appointments are still scheduled by phone. Sixty-three percent reported that their biggest stressor is waiting and all the uncertainty that it causes, and 85 percent wait between 10 and 30 minutes past their scheduled appointment time to see their health care provider.





The damaging effects of the consumption of alcoholic beverages by expetant mothers, especially during the first three months after conception, are becoming more apparent as science advances our understanding of them.  Teens and adults who were born with fetal alcohol syndryme (FAS) and a slightly milder syndrome called fetal alcohol effect (FAE) are at severe risk for such abnormalities as disrupted academic performace (60%), lawbreaking discovered and reported to police (60%), confinement in an institution for criminalkity or substance abuse (50%), and repeated sexual aggression and deviant acting-out (slightly less than 50%).  This form of organic brain syndrome, like so many other syndromes involving destrution of millions of nerve cells in the brain, represents a formidable challenge to adjustment for those who have it.





Researchers at the University of Washington say music may help babies learn language by helping them detect key rhythms. The team reported that nine-month- old babies who underwent 12 music sessions lasting 15 minutes showed more brain activity than babies who went through play and enrichment sessions without music. Researcher Christina Zhao said, "Our study is the first in young babies to suggest that experiencing a rhythmic pattern in music can also improve the ability to detect and make predictions about rhythmic patterns in speech." The babies were analyzed using a real-time brain scan called magnetoencephalography. The researchers played music but sometimes missed a beat, and they also played patterns of nonsense words but occasionally broke the pattern. The babies who had been through the music sessions recognized the mistakes more consistently than the babies who had not been given the music enrichment.





A new survey from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) indicates that, once informed of the potential health risks associated with overuse of personal technology devices, most parents and teenagers were willing to change. According to the data, after learning about communication health risks such as impaired speech and language development, nearly 80 percent of parents said they were willing to set stronger usage parameters at home and 90 percent were more likely to change their own personal tech device usage to set a better example for their families.





The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to ban food dyes in 2008. In 2011 an FDA advisory panel strongly influenced by pro-food marketing forces came very close to advising a ban on food dyes. The British government and the European Union have now taken actions that are virtually ending the use of most food dyes throughout Europe. Considering the adverse impact of these chemicals on children, and considering how easily they can be replaced with safe, natural ingredients, expect some good news in the near future about eliminating most food dyes in the United States and Canada.





New research may help scientists better understand the molecular and neurological basis of stuttering. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders produced mice with a mutation in Gnptab, a gene associated with stuttering in humans. Using an algorithm to analyze the length of the pauses in the spontaneous vocalizations of the young mouse pups, the researchers determined that with the mutation had longer pauses than mice without the mutation. The algorithm, when applied to recordings of people talking, correctly differentiated between people who stutter and those who do not. Meanwhile, the researchers found that mice with the mutation also tended to repeat the same syllables more often compared with mice without the mutation. The researchers, whose findings are published in Current Biology, are now using the mouse model to further investigate stuttering.





The brain constantly mutes and magnifies your awareness of sensory messages it receives from sense organs throughout the body. When it overdoes the muting or magnifying, the result is referred to as sensory processing difficulties. Everyone with autism has many of these SPD’s, as does everyone with ADHD (with and without hyperactivity), anxiety disorders, learning disabilities, and significant muscle coordination problems (when not because of muscle disease). A significant proportion of individuals with other psychiatric conditions also experience these difficulties. Because they overlap so many other conditions, these difficulties do not carry their own psychiatric label. Both the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization have been asked to christen them with the name “sensory processing disorder,” and both organizations have refused to do so. It is thus incorrect to apply such a label to anyone. What is legitimate is to say that an individual has significant sensory processing difficulties. My book “Learn to Have Fun With Your Senses” guides the reader in understanding, coping with and reducing these SPD’s.





The candy giant, Mars, announced a month ago that they will be removing synthetic dyes from their candies. This startling decision represents the pooled effects of efforts by many concerned parents and professionals, spearheaded by two dynamic and heroic organizations, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Feingold Association of the United States. A member of the FAUS, Renee Shutters, along with her son initiated a widely circulated petition calling for these toxic chemicals to be replaced with natural dyes, something Mars has already done with favorable profit benefits for the candies they sell in Europe. Hats off to such progress!





The relationship between bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depressive psychosis) and ADHD is many-faceted. Bipolar disorder is one of the (if not the most common) psychiatric conditions that children with ADHD “grow into” in adulthood. Some children and teens have both conditions at the same time, and this hybrid disorder, involving a dual diagnosis of the two conditions, is hard for professionals to resolve with ordinary treatments. The pharmaceuticals that reduce bipolar disorder symptoms are “downers” that slow brain metabolism, while pharmaceuticals that reduce ADHD symptoms are “uppers” that increase brain metabolism speed. ADHD medications used with those who have the dual diagnosis tend automatically to bring about a magnifying and worsening of bipolar symptoms, while bipolar medications tried on the same individual tend automatically to worsen the ADHD component of the symptom picture. In addition persons with this dual diagnosis appear to be at risk for violent acting-out, lengthy rages and poor development of conscience. As science continues to advance our knowledge of the nuances of brain chemistry and physiology, better answers for this difficult-to-treat dual diagnosis may eventuate.





The white flesh of potatoes is little more than starch, but they can be made much more suitable as a food for someone with ADHD by supplementing with protein-containing accompaniments such as cheese, broccoli, chili, sour cream/yogurt blend, met, fish, eggs, or scallions. The peelings are nutrient worthy also.


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