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Hot Topics & Readers’ Notes – 06-27-12

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Enter the Spoon Theory Fun Photo Contest

Years ago, Lupus patient Christine Miserandino wrote “The Spoon Theory” to explain what it’s like to live with limited energy. It went viral and remains the centerpiece of Christine’s website – www.ButYouDontLookSick.com. To see a video of her Spoon Theory presentation at the 2010 Annual NC Lupus Summit, click here.

Now, all fans of The Spoon Theory can enter a photo contest. It’s simple: Take a photo of yourself with the words “I am a Spoonie!” somewhere on it, and enter it by August 25. There are prizes in 7 wacky categories. You can read the entry details and see a gallery of past photos at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/the-spoon-theory/official-i-am-a-spoonie-photo-contest.

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Gene Causing Vitamin D Deficiency Found: May Also Explain Multiple Sclerosis

Mutations of the CYP27B1 gene, which controls vitamin D levels in the body, have been associated with vitamin D deficiency – and now multiple sclerosis, according to a recent study at Oxford University. It well known that populations closer to the equator with more sun exposure have much lower MS incidence, and this study further supports a role for low vitamin D in MS.

Since MS does not develop in all people who are vitamin D deficient, the researchers can only speculate that this genetic distortion may cause other still-unknown complications that can lead to MS. Nevertheless they believe research can now “focus on gene therapy, and that will accelerate a cure.” Every year, 2.5 million people develop MS, worldwide.

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Replacing ‘Western Diet’ Fats with Omega-3s May Keep Inflammation on the Ropes

New research at Ohio State University, published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, shows that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (‘good fats’) can support lower levels of inflammation in healthy but overweight, middle-aged and older adults. Among the 138 study participants who otherwise maintained a normal diet:

• Four months of omega-3 fish oil supplementation at either 1.25 grams or 2.5 grams per day decreased one important protein in the blood that signals the presence of inflammation (interleukin-6) by an average of 10% & 12%, and led to a modest decrease in one other inflammation marker measured.

• In comparison, participants taking the placebo oil mix (2 teaspoons daily of a mix of oils representing a typical American’s daily intake) saw average increases of 36% and 12%, respectively, of those same markers.

• So by month 4, the levels of inflammatory markers – known to be related to overall health – were as much as 48% lower on average (for interleukin-6) in the fish oil group than the Western diet oils group.

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An Old Standby – Magnesium Plus Malic Acid

Re: “Magnesium Plus Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue”

I am a good example. The most significant improvement in my pain has been due to magnesium and magnesium malate. I take 500mg magnesium and 150mg Malate. Even one day without magnesium results in more muscular pain in calves, wrists, forearms and lower back. Two days without magnesium results in muscle cramps. No other supplement has that obvious effect. – I

Detecting magnesium deficiency. Blood tests may not detect Mg deficiency, but tissue (hair) mineral analysis will. I have ME/CFS and I have borderline low Mg despite having taken supplemental Mg. – L

I have used magnesium with malic acid and without. …I can definitely “feel” a relaxing effect about an hour after taking the form with malic acid. – J

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Thank P.A.N.D.O.R.A. as It Celebrates its 10-Year Anniversary

In 2002, Marly Silverman founded PANDORA, a grassroots organization to advocate for the needs of people with ME/CFS, FM, MCS, Gulf War syndrome and Lyme disease (neuro-endocrine-immune disorders). For 10 years she and PANDORA’s many dedicated advocates have worked tirelessly, often at the expense of their own health, to create change. And now we have the opportunity to say THANKS by signing this 10th Anniversary e-card.

Just go to http://www.groupcard.com/c/m8bPQ3qnDhy and add your ‘hand-written’ message by July 30.

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Low Vitamin D as a Factor in Restless Legs Syndrome & Severity 

Some experts believe that restless legs syndrome involves an imbalance in dopamine – a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells in the brain and is involved in movement. And, noting that vitamin D may play an important role in dopamine function, a recent study measured serum vitamin D in a group of restless legs syndrome patients by comparison with normal controls.

They found that vitamin D levels were much lower in the RLS patients – and that the lower the vitamin D the more severe the symptoms. (See “Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in restless legs syndrome patients,” Sleep Medicine, Jun 13, 2012.)

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Alzheimer’s – A Prion Disease?

In mice, at least, the contorted amyloid-beta protein found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients seems to act like a prion – a contagious ‘misfolded’ protein that ‘kicks off a cascade’ contorting the brain’s native A-beta (as in human Creutzfelft-Jakob disease and mad cow disease). The study, reported Jun 18 by a team at UC San Francisco in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the misfolded A-beta they seeded in one part of mice’s brains had spread throughout their brains within 300 days.

“It sure looks and smells a lot like prion disease,” says a leading expert quoted in a ScienceNews report. If so, there’s no explanation for how Alzheimer’s might be contracted/initiated, but thinking of Alzheimer’s as a prion disease could change the way researchers pursue treatment & prevention strategies.

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Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing in in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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