Friday, October 29, 2010

The Safe and Efficacious Use of Chinese Herbs for Radiotherapy Patients (Part I)

Alex Comments:  The following two newsletter posts I wrote prior to my own cancer diagnosis.  Little did I know I was going to be receiving radiation myself.  My friend, colleague and visionary, Ellen Rudolph directs the Life Cycle Health Center.  I have been working with her for a few years. 

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Life Cycle Health Center
The Safe and Efficacious Use of Chinese Herbs for Radiotherapy Patients (Part I)

Dear Doctors, Nurses, Caregivers, Patients and Friends:

Previously we have referenced some of the numerous research studies from China demonstrating that integrating Chinese medicine--acupuncture, therapeutic exercise such as qi gong and tai qi, massage, diet therapies, and herbal medicine--with Western medicine benefits cancer patients more than either medicine on its own.

This week, Alex Berks, licensed acupuncturist and Clinical Director of Oncology for Life Cycle Health Center, who has himself just completed active treatment for an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma, discusses how Chinese herbal medicine combined with conventional radiotherapy can be of tremendous value to cancer patients:

While advances in the targeting of radiation therapy have vastly improved, allowing greater protection of surrounding tissue, radiation can still pose a significant challenge for some patients. Radiotherapy may damage fragile mucosal barriers in the lungs and intestines, injure salivary production, cause digestive problems, dryness, inflammation and even scorching of fragile tissues, depending on location, intensity and duration of the treatment.  It can also injure the bone marrow.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, radioactivity damages tissue, causes inflammation and oxidation and is considered a "toxic heat".  Chinese medicine refers to cancer itself as a toxin.  Radiotherapy is viewed as a toxin used to kill a toxin.

"Rebalancing" is the core concept of Chinese medicine and forms the basis of the diagnostic system that allows for individuation of treatment based upon patterns that individuals express, not just their western disease diagnosis.  For example, a person who has a "dry" constitutional type (think post menopause, for example) will have a more difficult time with radiation than a person who has more phlegm, or excess body weight or a more moist constitution.  According to Chinese medicine, when the organ systems are in balance and qi (vital energy) and blood flow smoothly, it is much harder for disease to take root.  

Eating foods and taking herbs that are cool in nature, with moistening properties that mitigate toxic heat and activate and nourish the blood provides the natural balance for radiation toxicity and are generally recommended for radiation patients.  Aloe is an example of a cool, moistening anti-inflammatory plant. It is used topically and internally to soothe burns and ease inflamed tissue.  Patients undergoing radiation therapy may benefit from many herbs in the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia that have cooling and moistening properties and that target specific organs. 

As radiation damage accumulates over the course of treatment and in its aftermath, lingering toxic heat depletes the moistening properties of the blood (a Chinese medicine concept) and injures the mechanisms of energy production (excessive oxidation and inflammation).  If the body cannot successfully compensate for this then opportunistic infections and inflammation can injure vital organs, possibly leading to long term damage and secondary cancers.  Applying Chinese medicine diagnostic principles and appropriate treatment at each stage is a way to help prevent this degeneration and many side-effects.  
In summary, Chinese herbal medicine can be combined efficaciously and safely to improve and prevent side effects of treatment, as well as preserve long term vitality and survival.  To achieve maximum benefit, patients should commence herbal treatment 1 week before starting radiotherapy and continue for at least 6 months after treatment.

Please consult with a trained Chinese Medicine practitioner who is knowledgeable in the integrative support of cancer recovery, such as our team at Life Cycle Health Center.
In good health,
Alex Berks, L.Ac., Clinical Director, Oncology and
Ellen Rudolph, Executive Director,
Life Cycle Health Center

Resources and Studies Showing Benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine for Radiotherapy Side Effects

Integrative medicine has been practiced in China for 50+ years. 77 year-old Dr. Zhang Dai-zhao, a well-known oncologist in China who is currently chief physician and doctoral supervisor at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing has been engaged in preventing and treating tumors with integrative medicine for over 40 years. He is one of the leading authorities on the usage of integrative medicine to relieve the side effects of cancer treatment and has focused his research and practice on improving the quality of life for tumor patients by increasing the survival rates and lessening side effects from radiation and chemotherapy.

The 2007 English translation of his book, An Integrated Clinical Approach with Chinese Medicine: Alleviating the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment (2nd Edition People's Medical Publishing House), is an invaluable resource for  clinicians who are involved in the management of cancer. It focuses on   using modern diagnostic methods and Chinese medical treatment to address the undesirable, adverse effects of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other treatment modalities.

His book cites cites studies that demonstrate the value of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in conjunction with radiotherapy (RT) to improve survival rates, lessen the impact of depletion of white blood cells, and improve a patient's ability to complete the full course of radiotherapy treatment.

1. This study, from page 22, reported by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, included 197 nasopharyngeal cancer patients who were treated with  Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM)  plus radiotherapy (RT), compared to radiotherapy alone.

Survival Rate
1 year  3 Years 5 years
CHM + RT 91.3% 67.4% 52.4%
RT 80%  33.3% 24%

Disappearance of the tumor
CHM + RT 95.7%
RT 88.6%

Cause of Death - primary lesion relapse or metastatic lesions
CHM + RT 34.8%
RT 52.4%

The combined therapy group had more than double the 5-year survival compared to the radiotherapy alone group. The tumor was killed in more patients in the combined therapy group and the remote metastasis rate was less in the combined group. 

2. In a study looking at the efficacy of herbs to prevent and treat side effects of radiation therapy, 71 patients were an active treatment group with herbs and radiation. The control group was given a placebo herbal formula plus radiation. Results showed that 84.5% of patients were able to finish the full course of radiotherapy versus 63.3% in the control group.  (Neither the type of cancer nor the staging was not revealed.)

3. In another small study, white blood cell counts did not go as low in a combined treated group as they did with radiotherapy alone.  One particular formula, Fu Zheng Xiao Formula (FZZX) was shown to moderate T-lymphocyte subset to enhance radiotherapy efficacy.

4. Another combined herb-radiation study was conducted with nasopharyngeal cancer patients who continued taking herbs for 6 months after radiation was finished.  The 5-year survival rate was 75%.  The authors indicate that Chinese medicine combined with radiation improved the effectiveness of radiation therapy while minimizing its toxicty in both the short and long term.  There was no mention of a control group in this study.

5. Rat studies have shown improved efficacy of white blood cell counts and survival rate when radiation and herbs were combined.  Interestingly, survival rates were even higher in the rats that were given the herbal mixture 1 week before beginning treatment with radiation.

The information in this newsletter is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with your doctor. 

The Safe and Efficacious Use of Chinese Herbs for Radiotherapy Patients (Part II)

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Life Cycle Health Center
The Safe and Efficacious Use of Chinese Herbs for Radiotherapy Patients (Part II)

Dear Doctors, Nurses, Caregivers, Patients and Friends:

In part I  Alex Berks, licensed acupuncturist and Clinical Director of Oncology for Life Cycle Health Center discussed the ways in which Chinese herbs can be used to treat some of the more troubling side effects of radiotherapy. In Part II we'll look at how Chinese herbs have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy.

A tumor's sensitivity to radiation is partly dependent on blood supply and oxygenation of the tissues. Herbs can improve both.  It has been reported that tumors have a ratio of anoxic cells that have poor radiation sensitivity and that radiotherapy may reach only about 1/3 of cells in a low oxygenic state. Low tumor infiltration by radiation is considered one of the factors causing tumor relapse.  

In Chinese medicine, herbs are generally prescribed in formulas, with modifications based upon the individual's unique presentation. In tailoring herbal formulas to the patient it is said that in Chinese medicine "the patient is treated". This contrasts with biomedicine's focus on cellular pathology, which leads to an approach by which "the disease is treated." Curiously, as biomedicine advances, it is resembling Chinese medicine more and more in providing specific treatments that are individualized to the unique presentation and characteristics of patients' tumors.

Research conducted on single herbs, though not representative of how Chinese herbs are most beneficially and clinically applied, illustrates the efficacy and principles of more complex herbal formulas.  An example of this is a study on a Liguistrazine extract of the common Chinese herb Chuan xiong (Radix Liguistici Wallichi). (See link at top, right.) This herb is known in the Chinese pharmocopeia as a blood activator.  It has anti-platelet, anticoagulant and blood vessel dilating properties.  It has also been researched for its ability to increase blood perfusion in the brain.  

Results of an animal study with this herb showed that rats responded to the herbal extract with increased microcirculation in caliber, flow speed, flow status and capillary count.  It is not hard to see that a formula with liguistici could improve the microcirculation of peri-tumor tissue and the tumor body, increase blood perfusion in the tumor body, improve cell's anoxic state and elevate the sensitivity of tumor tissue to radiotherapy.

The studies cited at right demonstrate the value of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in conjuction with radiotherapy (RT) to improve survival rates, lessen the impact of depletion of white blood cells, and improve a patient's ability to finish the full course of radiotherapy treatment. These findings imply that Chinese herbal medicine could enhance the radiosensitivity of tumors.   

In summary, Chinese herbal medicine can be combined efficaciously and safely to enhance radiotherapy's efficacy, improve and prevent side effects of treatment, as well as preserve long term vitality and survival.  

To achieve maximum benefit, patients should commence herbal treatment 1 week before starting radiotherapy and continue for at least 6 months after treatment. 

Please consult with a trained Chinese Medicine practitioner who is knowledgeable in the integrative support of cancer recovery, such as our team at Life Cycle Health Center.
In good health,
Alex Berks, L.Ac., Clinical Director, Oncology and
Ellen Rudolph, Executive Director,
Life Cycle Health Center

Research, Sources, and Viewpoints: Chinese Herbs to Enhance Radiotherapy

1. A 3-part study, "Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Breast Cancer" by Isaac Cohen, LAc, OMD, Mary Tagliaferri, MD, LAc & Debu Tripathy, MD includes herbs that are commonly used in radiation such as Chuan Xiong  Read the article >>

2. Another excellent resource is: "Integrating Conventional and Chinese Medicine in Cancer Care: A Clinical Guide"

 (Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2007) by Tai Lahans, MTCM, M.Ed., L.Ac., a Chinese medicine cancer specialist with over 20 years of experience, practicing in SeattleRead excepts>> scroll to page 119 for information on Chinese herbs and radiotherapy.

Book excerpt: "The purpose of XRT is to kill local and regional cancer cells mainly by making cell-damaging free radicals. Antioxidants, and by extension Chinese herbs that clear heat, are thought to possibly inhibit radiation from having its full effect. The scientific data shows that, counterintuitively, antioxidants, and by extension Chinese herbal formulas that clear heat and nourish yin, actually improve the efficacy of both chemotherapy and XRT. There is no current evidence that herbal medicines will decrease the effect of XRT. ...The vast evidence from research regarding herbal medicine and antioxidant therapies during radiation show that especially blood-regulating herbs like dan shen enhance the effectiveness of radiation."

3. "Breast Cancer and Botanical Medicine", a June 2008 article by Steven Gomberg, L.Ac., CCN, RH (AHG) and Brandon Horn, PhD, JD, L.Ac. provides a context and clinically relevant information on the use of herbs in the treatment of berast cancer. Read the article >>

Article excerpt: "...given the wealth of historical information on the safety and efficacy of various herbs (some of them having been used for thousands of years), an herbal regimen could be considered as an additional and potentially effective tool in the treatment of breast cancer." "By utilizing herbs that have both historical data and modern research demonstrating potential mechanisms for efficacy, it is possible to maximize the chances of favorable outcomes while minimizing discomfort associated with conventional therapies."  "...a lack of data on the combined effects of herbs and drugs should not necessarily be a hindrance to their use. The same prudent monitoring that allows for widespread use of untested pharmaceutical combinations can enable us to successfully apply the combined use of herbs and pharmaceuticals. With proper monitoring, herbs can be a substantial asset both in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer." 

The information in this newsletter is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with your doctor. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fertility and Cancer: What Are My Options?

Fertile Hope is a national LIVESTRONG initiative dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

View charts summarizing currently available data on the fertility risks associated with specific cancer treatments. This information represents a compilation of clinical experience and research on common cancer treatments that may impact reproductive function and capacity. The links below will re-direct you to a PDF file.

Fertile Action™ is an organization dedicated to eradicating cost as the primary barrier preventing women  from preserving their fertility.  I have met the founder, Alice Crisci.  She has amassed a list of Reproductive Endocrinologists who will do free fertility evaluations.   Contact Fertile Action for local RE's in your area. 

Fertility and Cancer: What Are My Options?

List of types of cancer treatments are their effect on fertility. 

Pregnancy after breast cancer

Pregnancy after breast cancer

In the past, many doctors advised breast cancer survivors not to become pregnant for at least 2 years after treatment. Although only a few studies have been done, nearly all have found that pregnancy does not increase the risk of the cancer coming back after successful treatment. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Sometimes counseling can help you sort out the complex issues about motherhood and breast cancer survivorship.

Pregnancy No Hazard to Breast Cancer Survivors

Pregnancy After Breast Cancer

Scientists from Belgium and Italy announced they have now shown that getting pregnant is in fact quite safe for women with a history of successfully treated breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most commonly seen form of cancer in women during their childbearing years. And yet, as women postpone starting their families until they are older, and as survival times from breast cancer continue to increase, more and more breast-cancer survivors want to have children after they have completed their breast-cancer treatment.
Most health professionals, however, have long believed that women with a history of breast cancer should not get pregnant. These doctors fear that the increase in estrogen levels that accompany pregnancy and birth might stimulate cancer cells and cause a recurrence
But now comes some good news from the March 2010 European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona. Scientists from Belgium and Italy announced they have now shown that getting pregnant is in fact quite safe for women with a history of successfully treated breast cancer. In fact, their data revealed that pregnancy is not only safe for these women but that it might even improve their chances of survival.
To reach this exciting conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from 14 clinical trials that other scientists had carried out previously. These 14 earlier trials involved 19,476 women with a history of breast cancer, 1,417 of whom had gotten pregnant and 18,059 who had not. The data showed that the patients who became pregnant after successful breast-cancer treatment had a significant reduction of 42 percent in their risk of death compared to those survivors who did not get pregnant.

Having a Child After Cancer Treatment (Part I and II) | Cancer.Net

Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology

Having a Child After Cancer Treatment (Part I) | Cancer.Net

A cancer survivor’s ability to have biologic children after treatment depends on the type and location of cancer, the type and dose of treatment, and the age when treatment was received. Although not all types of cancer or cancer treatment cause infertility (the inability to start or maintain a pregnancy), it is important to talk with your doctor before you start a family to learn how your body may have been affected by having a history of cancer. In this two-part series, learn how fertility may be affected in cancer survivors and find out about some fertility procedures and other parenthood options to discuss with your doctor. This article explains how cancer treatment may affect fertility and addresses some common questions and concerns of cancer survivors.

Having a Child After Cancer Treatment (Part II) | Cancer.Net

Although infertility— the inability to start or maintain a pregnancy—can be a serious complication of cancer and cancer treatment, many cancer survivors may still be able to become parents. A wide range of procedures can preserve fertility, and other options, such as surrogacy or adoption, can be explored. Talk with your doctor to learn about your options and to find the information you need to make the best decision. This article is the second in a two-part series and discusses fertility procedures and other options for people with a history of cancer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fasting May Improve Chemo.

Standard Dietary recommendations during cancer treatment are based on the prevention or reversal of nutrient deficiencies to preserve lean body mass and minimize nutrition-related side effects, such as decreased appetite, nausea, taste changes, or bowel changes [16]. Consequently, for cancer patients who have been weakened by prior chemotherapy cycles or are emaciated, many oncologists could consider a fasting-based strategy to be potentially harmful. Nevertheless studies in cell culture and animal models indicate that fasting may actually reduce chemotherapy side effects by selectively protecting normal cells [9]. Following the publication of this pre-clinical work,several patients, diagnosed with a wide variety of cancers, elected to undertake fasting prior to chemotherapy and shared their experiences with us. In this heterogeneous group of men and women fasting was safely repeated in multiple cycles for up to 180 hours prior and/or following chemotherapy. Minor complaints that arose during fasting included dizziness, hunger, and headaches at a level that did not interfere with daily activities. Weight lost during fasting was rapidly recovered in most of the patients and did not lead to any detectable harm.

Ralph Moss, a wonderful writer, asks what is the actual science of fasting and its relationship to cancer treatment? Recently Dr. Valter D. Longo, Fernando M. Safdie and colleagues at the University of Southern California (USC) Andrus Gerontology Center and Department of Biological Sciences, have shown that a 48-hour fast protects normal cells and mice, but not cancer cells, against high-dose chemotherapy.
They also described 10 patients who voluntarily fasted prior to and/or following chemotherapy. None of these reported side effects caused by fasting other than lightheadedness and, of course, hunger. However, most patients reported less fatigue, weakness or gastrointestinal side effects from chemotherapy if they also fasted before and/or after receiving the drugs.
Nor did fasting decrease the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. These USC scientists therefore suggest that fasting, in combination with chemo, is “feasible, safe, and has the potential to ameliorate side effects.” They also recommend consulting one’s physician before undertaking a fast, and I totally agree. There are certainly individuals with cancer who should not fast. But fasting should be feasible for other patients, is cost-free and, at least in this preliminary report, effective at reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.
The full text of the study in the National Library of Medicine can be found here

Fasting May Improve Chemo « Cancer Advisor: Ralph Moss on Cancer News
Alex Comments: It appears a good case is being made for fasting before and after chemotherapy. It is definitely worth taking a close look into. As for my own chemotherapy treatments, I did not know this information and I approached chemo. with an"eat my way through it" mentality (which is how I approach lots of things that are anxiety producing). My chemo. If I had to do it all over again I would probably fast around my chemotherapy. Tell me your experience.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Paradoxes in Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Moving Forward

Paradoxes in Acupuncture Research: Strategies for Moving Forward


In November 2007, the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) held an international symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of the 1997 NIH Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture. The symposium presentations revealed the considerable maturation of the field of acupuncture research, yet two provocative paradoxes emerged. First, a number of well-designed clinical trials have reported that true acupuncture is superior to usual care, but does not significantly outperform sham acupuncture, findings apparently at odds with traditional theories regarding acupuncture point specificity. Second, although many studies using animal and human experimental models have reported physiological effects that vary as a function of needling parameters (e.g., mode of stimulation) the extent to which these parameters influence therapeutic outcomes in clinical trials is unclear. This White Paper, collaboratively written by the SAR Board of Directors, identifies gaps in knowledge underlying the paradoxes and proposes strategies for their resolution through translational research. We recommend that acupuncture treatments should be studied (1) “top down” as multi-component “whole-system” interventions and (2) “bottom up” as mechanistic studies that focus on understanding how individual treatment components interact and translate into clinical and physiological outcomes. Such a strategy, incorporating considerations of efficacy, effectiveness and qualitative measures, will strengthen the evidence base for such complex interventions as acupuncture.

OncoFertility from Time Magazine

Alex Comments:  The growing field of fertility for cancer patients combines what I know a lot about: fertility and cancer.  I am a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.   and knowledgeable about treating cancer from my own cancer experience, training and practice.  See my website for fertility and cancer information.  As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine I can help a woman restore her fertility when appropriate.  Whether using amazing technologies such as surrogacy, ovarian tissue cryopreservation, embryo freezing, or sperm freezing, the need for cancer patients to integrate strategies to maximize their vitality and intelligently manage side effects of cancer treatment is a life and fertility enhancing strategy.  Like Oncofertility, integrative oncology is an area of research and clinical practice that is a new concept for many. 

Recently I met with Alice Crisci,  a cancer survivor and founder of Fertile Action.  This is a cancer charity of community partners for women of reproductive age. They ensure women can protect their right to motherhood for women who are being treated for cancer.  This is a great organization and resource. She states, It is the only 100% inclusive discount program for all women to pursue fertility preservation. She also launched the Fertile Action Network, a multi-disciplinary outreach campaign to ensure every doctor discusses fertility risks with their patients.

Holly Trandel was married on Oct. 1. Like any other bride, she juggled an endless to-do list before gliding down the aisle of St. Alphonsus Church in Chicago, the train of her fluted ivory silk gown sweeping between the oak pews.
Unlike other newlyweds, however, Trandel, 29, already has her future as a mother mapped out — five potential babies on ice at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she works as a community health educator.
Trandel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, two months after getting engaged. But in many ways she considers herself lucky. Her cancer was caught early. It also happened to be discovered at the hospital that serves as the hub of the nationwide Oncofertility Consortium, a network of some 60 cancer centers where doctors take a larger-than-usual view of the aftereffects of cancer—namely, the impact of treatment on a patient's fertility.
What it means to survive cancer today is very different from what it meant 20 or even 10 years ago. Back then, doctors and patients approached cancer like a monster to be slain; surviving was the only goal. But as treatments have improved, cancer patients have begun demanding more than just survival. They want a return to life as usual. They want to be normal people, leading normal lives. They want to have babies.

Read the whole Article here :,9171,2022642-1,00.html#ixzz12e4IjHjf

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cancer Ruminations

Getting cancer is like losing your wallet. You are so bummed out when it is gone but when you get it back again you are so thankful just to have the stuff you had all along.  That's what I said.  Perhaps Lao Tzu said it better it better: 

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu
My first post treatment scans were clean.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Wonder Vitamin: Vitamin D

Alex Comments:  Vitamin D is a key anticancer nutrient and whole lot more. Most of us know we need vitamin D for strong bones. Now it appears that this nutrient, or rather a lack of it, may play a role in asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes, even weight gain.It is a rising star of nutritional supplements along with Omega 3 fats.
Every cancer patient should absolutely have their Vitamin D levels checked.  The studies on the use of Vitamin D3 to prevent cancer and prevent metastasis are impressive.  
Low vitamin D may worsen the prognosis for women with breast cancer. In one study, women deficient in vitamin D when they were diagnosed had a 94% greater chance of the cancer spreading. They also had a 73% greater chance of dying over the next 10 years. Other studies suggest that vitamin D may even offer protection against developing breast cancer.  Other cancers may benefit from Vitamin D as well. 
Serial testing of vitamin D levels is important. It takes a long time to raise levels and one can find themselves with vitamin D toxicity if supplementing at high levels over a long period of time.  Ideal levels of Vitamin D3 should be for a cancer patient between 70-100.  My issues with the slide show are that the recommended dosages are too low.  And they do not give recommendations about limited sun exposure without sunscreen which is important for Vitamin D production. 

Another reason to test is that Vitamin D absorption rates are tremendously variable from person to person not only based on skin color, sun exposure and latitude but also by genetic polymorphism.  In other words there is genetic variability in how well a person absorbs Vitamin D.  

If you are taking Vitamin D in dosages 2,000 IU's a day or higher it is important to take a supplement that combines Vitamin D with Vitamin K.  I sell a product in 2,00 and 5,000 IU dosages in my office that contains a balance of vitmin K.  
Increasing the amount of vitamin D, via supplementation, in the presence of inadequate levels of vitamin K, can increase the risk of calcium deposition in arteries and soft tissue and have a very negative effect on artery elasticity.
I personally take 5,000 IU's/ day.  Two years before my cancer diagnosis I had my D3 levels checked in September.  One would think that my D.  levels would be the highest they would be all year at that time.  Mine were in the low 20's at that time.  I am still working on getting it up to the 70's

To watch the slideshow click here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Acupuncture has Major Post Surgical Benefits

Alex comments:  Anasthesia can be very difficult to recover from in addition to the surgery itself.   It is gratifying that there were good results in upregulating the immune system in the post-anasthesia period. 

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010 Jul;30(7):585-8.

Effects of acupuncture-drug compound anesthesia on perioperative inflammatory factors in patients undergoing cardiac surgery

[Article in Chinese]
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Renji Hospital, Medical College of Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200127, China.


OBJECTIVE: To explore the effect of acupuncture-drug compound anesthesia on immune function in patients with extracorporeal circulation undergoing cardiac surgery.
METHODS: Thirty cases undergoing cardiac surgery which included atrial septal defect neoplasty, ventricular septal defect neoplasty, mitral valve replacement and pulmonary valve coarctotomy were randomly divided into group A and group B, 15 cases in each group. Group A was given general anesthesia plus acupuncture at Neiguan (PC 6), Lieque (LU 7) and Yunmen (LU 2), and group B was given simple general anesthesia. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) levels before and after surgery were compared.
RESULTS: The level of TNF-alpha was increased and the levels of IL-2 and IL-10 in the serum were decreased in both groups after extracorporeal circulation for 2 h and 24 h, and the ranges of all changes were more less in group A (all P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Compared with simple general anesthesia, acupuncture-drug compound anesthesia can improve immune suppression partially in the perioperative periods under the same conditions of controlling anesthesia degree.
PMID: 20862944 [PubMed - in process]