Monthly Archives: July 2015

MS AMERICA AND THE COMING ATTACK ON YOUR DISABILITY BENEFITS

     

Newspaper article about disability

The positive effects about disability laws.

     If you haven’t heard yet, the government is saying that social security disability will run out of money by the end of 2016. There are a couple of things that have been discussed to deal with this problem. The first would be to blend social security disability straight into the social security trust fund which is sound financially, at least, for the near future. The second would be for Congress to make a one time cash infusion making it sound until another plan can be worked out. And the third, and the one that seems to be the most preferred by Congress right at the moment, is to just let it go bankrupt forcing a 19% cut in cash benefits across the board for every one on disability including veterans.

     And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are also many members of Congress who would like to dissolve the Medicare health care plan that retirees as well as people with disabilities depend on for their health insurance needs. And replace it with a voucher system where you would be required to go out and purchase your own health insurance on the open market. And I can almost assure you right now that whatever voucher they plan on giving you it certainly will not be enough to cover your health care coverage.

     I’m not sure how this would affect each of you personally? But for me a 19% cut in my cash benefits means that I will have to put my house up for sale next summer as I would no longer be able to afford both my health insurance premiums as well as the mortgage payment on my home.

     In America one in six people are considered to have a disability. And that makes us a very large and powerful voting block with a National election coming up in 2016. I worked all of my life before multiple sclerosis invaded my body and I have no intention of going down without a fight on this. And just as I have written this article I will also be writing letters and making phone calls to Senators as well as members of the House of Representatives letting them know that this is not acceptable.

     And that’s something; you should consider doing as well!


 

GUNS MEN AND VIOLENCE: A question that needs asking.

     What do Charleston, S.C, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and the Navy Yard all have in common, along with all the other mass shootings over the last few years? A American Flag at Half  Mastgun was used in each place to commit these heinous acts of terror. However, there is one more thing that each has in common, and it’s just as obvious, at least to me, these shootings were all committed by young to middle aged men, not a single woman among them. Which begs the question, why?

     Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that America’s gun laws are far too liberal, but it’s obvious that there are more issues than just our gun laws at play here. And putting the blame on mental health problems also falls willfully short of an explanation. Women have just as many mental health challenges as men do and they seem far better at controlling the urge to grab a weapon and act out on their uncontrolled rage.

     Is this the fault of society in general or is the American family dynamic so miscued that we are blind to what male children and young men are learning as they grow up, or would it be better to study how we raise are girls and young women to see if an answer to why they are less prone to violence when they reach adulthood?     

     Just where does the answer lie? And is it possible that if we find that answer might we also discover why rape and sexual violence are also so prevalent, not only in the United States, but also throughout the world?   

It’s certainly something to consider, in my opinion!       

Diplopia

Diplopia is an eye condition that I have never heard of and thought that I would pass along to my readers. Thank you for this article, very informative!

Ferocious Cantaloupe

diplopiaDiplopia. Ever heard of this word before? Me neither – at least not until I ended up with it. It’s more commonly referred to as double vision. This is the latest of my MS relapses. It’s been a killer hot, dry summer here. And like most people with MS, I have heat intolerance (also called Uhthoff’s Phenomena – there’s another fun new name to learn!). What that means is that my body doesn’t regulate its own temperature properly. So when it gets hot, my system becomes overly stressed, causing nausea, weakness, “pseudo-exacerbation” (which is a fancy term that just means existing symptoms feel worse for a while), and sometimes even new relapses.

Suddenly, about seven weeks ago, we were on our way to church when I noticed that everything looked very strange. Every item in my view outside of the car was slightly out of focus, similar to viewing…

View original post 1,176 more words

MS CHOCOLATE AND MY RESPONSE TO A COMMENT

 

Wine Chocolate and Cherries

Yum!

     My last article discussing the benefits of eating small amounts of high quality dark chocolate was seen and read by literally thousands of people who also made hundreds of comments. A few of these comments told of getting headaches or stomach aches after eating chocolate. And a few discussed how they just didn’t like chocolate. However, one from a man in Europe, flat out stated that the entire piece was complete rubbish and I shouldn’t be writing such things. It goes on to say that there are several studies showing that chocolate is harmful for people with multiple sclerosis.

     And that comment sent me off to the internet for a three hour plus search to see if I could find these studies that he was referring to. My search came up empty as to any study that found chocolate to be bad for people with MS. What I could find basically said that if chocolate, or anything for that matter, makes you feel worse after eating it, then don’t eat or drink it. The closest thing that I could find to a study that was not favorable to chocolate came from a Naturopath site and their belief that MS is primarily a disease that is being caused by food allergies of which chocolate could be one of these foods.

     You would think out of the thousands of people who read the article, some of which most certainly work in the health care industry, that one of them would have disputed what I wrote about, but not one of them did.

     What I did find of relevance, which wasn’t a whole lot, is copied below with links so you can read it for yourself. And I encourage anyone to do their own searches as I could have missed something along the way. And with that said, I stand behind what I wrote a couple of weeks ago!

Why Dark Chocolate for Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Previous studies suggested dark chocolate may have a role in helping people with peripheral vascular disease. Dark chocolate can help the diseased blood vessels dilate; allowing more blood flow, according to a study in the journal Heart in 2011. Dark chocolate also has properties that block chemicals in the body that constrict the blood vessel, researchers from Heinrich-Heine-University in Germany found. Finally, as mentioned in my prior column, dark chocolate improves body inflammation, is an antioxidant, and can help with certain parts of our cholesterol, all of which contribute to the growth and stability of the atherosclerotic plaques.

What’s New With Dark Chocolate?

A new study of dark chocolate included twenty patients with an average age of approximately 70 years and with moderately severe peripheral vascular disease. The authors, from Rome, Italy, wanted to understand what happened to the function of the arteries and exercise capacity 2 hours after people ate 40 grams of dark chocolate (40 grams of dark chocolate on average is about 200-220 calories, and 1.4 ounces).

The investigators studied blood flow into the patient’s limbs before and after consuming the dark chocolate. They also performed treadmill exercise testing. The patients were studied after having 40 grams of dark chocolate and then a second time after receiving a placebo chocolate (milk chocolate). Even with a single treatment the findings were quite interesting.

  • 11 percent increase in the patients’ walk distances after eating dark chocolate
  • 15 percent increase in their walking time
    • 57 percent increase in the blood protein (nitric oxide) that helps with relaxation and dilation of the arteries
    • Two markers associated with constriction of the arteries went down by 23-37 percent

    In summary, dark chocolate improved blood flow through mechanisms related to relaxation of the arteries (nitric oxide) and oxidative stress and as a result improved walking distances and times.

    We currently don’t know how much dark chocolate is too much. So if you are a dark chocolate enthusiast, look to use 40 grams (1.4 ounces) a day as this is what has shown in this study to provide benefit. Hopefully these studies will continue to stimulate investigators to look at multiple doses to allow the consumer to receive the maximum benefit without risks.

    1. Jared Bunch, MD

    Dr. Bunch is a native of Logan, Utah and graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine with alpha omega alpha honors. He completed internal medicine residency and fellowships in cardiovascular

     

    I use chocolate- dark chocolate- to battle pain which presents in a certain part of my brain. It works quite well for me and the pain disappears quite quickly. Yesterday I had this pain twice in one day which is rare. Still, each time the pain hit, the dark chocolate was 100% effective- for me- in melting the pain.

    I read of a recent study in Italy using chocolate to combat dementia and to slow down Alzheimer’s. Though the study is still inconclusive, the initial results have been quite promising. Knowledge is important and I always encourage others to read and learn because it is a lifelong pursuit. If we do not use our brain, we will in fact lose it. The saying ‘use it or lose it’ applies to muscles and brain both!
    Now I do not have dementia nor Alzheimer’s, but I will keep using it for my MS pain!

    This conversation continues at the link below:
    Read more: http://www.healthboards.com/boards/multiple-sclerosis/914130-chocolate-mmmmmmmm.html#ixzz3ftvh2tFJ

     

    Foods which are high in magnesium include raw spinach, squash and pumpkin seeds, soy beans, fish (mackerel), brown rice, avocados, plain non-fat yogurt, bananas, dried figs, and dark chocolate.  Foods high in folate include raw spinach, black eyed peas, lentils, asparagus, romaine lettuce, avocado, broccoli, mango, oranges, and wheat bread.
    Would you be willing to independently undertake the effort to study your own nutritional intakes and take note of any effect on specific MS symptoms you may have, including fatigue?  The results would be interesting.

    – See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-sclerosis/c/19065/169283/folate-correlates/#sthash.7KToo5xt.dpuf

    The following from a Naturopath site was about the only extremely negative comment about chocolate that I could find in two hours of searching. And again even here it assumes that a food allergy may be the cause of Multiple Sclerosis.

     Chocolate Avoidance

      Epidemiology studies have documented a correlation between high cocoa consumption and high MS incidence. When cocoa is introduced to an area, MS incidence rises sharply. Cases are reported in which chocolate ingestion by MS patients was followed by exacerbations [Maas AG, Hogenhuis LAH. Multiple sclerosis and possible relationship to cocoa: A hypothesis. Ann Allergy 59: pp.76- 9, 1987]

    Here is the abstract of this article: “The hypothesis presented in this paper suggests that MS may be caused by an allergic or other adverse reaction to certain foods, mostly cocoa products, cola, and coffee. Many MS patients have one or more manifestations of other well known reactions to those foods, such as migraine, urticaria, or gastrointestinal disturbances.”

MS INFLAMMATION AND CHOCOLATE

 

A Pacific Northwest Skyline at sundown!

A Pacific Northwest Skyline at sundown!

     Research has already proven that one of the biggest factors in Multiple Sclerosis, as well as many other diseases both autoimmune and otherwise, is that of inflammation. It is becoming apparent that this one indicator of an MS attack is what may be the biggest factor in why people suffer from the debilitating effects of MS, which is why a recent study about chocolates amazing ability to reduce inflammation in both heart attack and stroke victims caught my eye.

     This study was done on older adults, and to be fair here, it had nothing to do with multiple sclerosis but the study did show the amazing ability of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate, to decrease inflammation throughout the entire circulatory system as well as the brain. And since the brain is nothing more then a cluster of neuron tissue, which is what MS attacks, I think it’s only safe to assume that chocolate would also significantly reduce inflammation in the nervous system as well.

     And this study was done with people who were eating about half of a regular cheap store bought candy bar each day made of mostly milk chocolate and not the darker higher content of cocoa chocolate bars that you find in many health food stores. These chocolate bars cost significantly more then what you pay at your local convenience store and have far less sugar in them, but the flavonoid content of them is many times higher then what milk chocolate contains, which is very little.

     If you are unaware of what flavonoids are, you may have heard on the news in the past that drinking either grape juice or red wine is healthful because of the high amount of flavonoids found in them. It’s thought; that maybe the reason why Italians can eat such a high fat and carbohydrate diet without the same incidents of heart disease that we experience in this country is because of the daily glass of wine they consume at lunch and/or dinner. And the flavonoids in chocolate bars with a cocoa content of at least 50% and higher is many times higher then what is found in even a full glass of  red wine.

     Another natural food that is also extremely high in flavonoids are dried cherries which are actually prescribed by dieticians for many ailments to also fight, or counter, inflammation throughout the body. So if you can find a candy bar with 80% cocoa that also has dried cherries mixed in as well then that’s all that much better and they do make them because that’s what I eat but they cost anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 dollars. However you only need to eat four or five small pieces to get a large dose of the beneficial flavonoid content which means one candy bar can last a week.

     In my opinion this is one of the best things that you can try on your own to see if it may help in reducing some of the effects of multiple sclerosis and the accompanying inflammation. And let’s face it the worst outcome you could experience is that nothing changes accept you have something to look forward to each and every night, either after dinner, or before you go to bed.

     Bone Appetite!  

 

By Bill Walker  

If you would like to submit your own blog piece for this page please contact me at: msandbeyond@gmail.com

Here are five of my previous blogs from the past in case you missed them!

https://msandbeyond.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/ms-obamacare-my-story/

https://msandbeyond.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/can-ms-burn-itself-out/

https://msandbeyond.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/ms-and-spontaneous-remission/

https://msandbeyond.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/spontaneous-remission-part-two/

https://msandbeyond.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/multiple-sclerosis-by-the-numbers/

 And Don’t forget to look for my new book VISUS available on Amazon.com!