In This Issue:

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the December 2006 True North Tune-Up. We continue to emphasize "up stream" strategies for health in the areas of nutrition, mind-body, and lifestyle. The studies are from peer-reviewed scientific journals. 

To your health,

B. Joseph Semmes, MD
Director of Research, True North
Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine

Turmeric, the culinary spice, may help Alzheimer's sufferers.
Curcuminoids, which are present in the culinary spice turmeric, present in Indian curries and in mustard, were shown in a small pilot study to reverse the build-up of beta-amyloid, the plaque that is a major anatomic derangement in the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers.

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Massage helps in knee arthritis.
21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. This small pilot (68 patients) showed surprising improvements in symptoms and function for patients who received two massages a week for 8 weeks. 

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State-of-the art imaging and discrete stimulation provide new insights into human brain activity.
A woman clinically diagnosed as being in a "vegetative state" from a motor vehicle accident, studied after being in a coma for five months, showed the same responses as 11 normal "controls". This is a single case, possibly unique, but it implies we might be wise to continue to speak to comatose patients. Six months later she had progressed to "minimally responsive state" tracking with one eye or fixing on an object for a few seconds. 100,000 Americans are thought to exist in this state, some eventually regaining full awareness. Relying on the bedside clinical exam to diagnose the "vegetative state" may be out-of-date.

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(see also Benedict Carey, NY Times, 9/8/2006, page A1)

Stimulation of an area of the brain near the temporoparietal junction can trigger an "out-of-body" experience, as well as a "creepy sensation" of a nearby "shadow" person.

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Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and cognitive performance.
This recent study comparing 40 adults with dementia to non-demented controls found lower serum Vitamin D levels among the former.  This is not, however,  the study we'd like to see which would involve proactively giving Vitamin D to people and seeing if it makes a difference.  In fact many demented patients are kept indoors so they do not have the Vitamin D activating effect of UVB light on the skin. It seems the dementia might lead to the deficiency. So stay tuned.

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Information provided in the True North Tune-Up is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The information and links in this e-publication are intended to provide general education on the topics listed, but you should not use the information or links to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare practitioner. True North advises you to always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioner prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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