Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Crohn’s?

By Diana Rodriguez | Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

It’s well known that people with Crohn’s disease are likely to lack sufficient levels of vitamin D — but can a deficiency of the nutrient actually lead to development of Crohn’s?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for overall good health and bone health in particular. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and boosts bone growth, and vitamin D deficiency can cause bones to thin and break easily, a condition called osteoporosis. But that’s not the only reason you need this nutrient. A lack of vitamin D has recently been linked to health problems as varied as aggressive breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Crohn’s disease.


The strong link between vitamin D deficiency and Crohn’s disease is well known — it’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies found in people with this type of inflammatory bowel disease. Now a recent study has investigated whether vitamin D deficiency might actually precede Crohn’s disease and insufficient levels of vitamin D may be related to the onset of the illness.

Though vitamin D deficiency is a known complication of Crohn’s disease, a recent study shows that the vitamin D deficiency may actually result in an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease.

The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it’s thought to be an autoimmune disease, one that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy cells because it mistakenly identifies them as unwanted invaders. This can result in inflammation in the large intestine, which occurs in Crohn’s disease.

The recent study found that vitamin D directly impacts two different genes that have already been linked to Crohn’s disease in previous research. Researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency could actually contribute to the onset of Crohn’s disease. They also noted that people who are at an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease could benefit from taking vitamin D supplements.

Soak Up These Sources of Vitamin D

There are three main ways you can get vitamin D: sunlight, a limited number of foods, and vitamin D supplements.

Spending a little time in the sun — just 10 to 15 minutes each day — stimulates the body to produce vitamin D on its own. But with daily sun exposure, increased risk of skin cancer is a concern, so don’t go overboard trying to boost your vitamin D levels.

Try increasing your intake of foods that contain vitamin D. These include:

  • Fortified milk
  • The yolks of eggs
  • Liver (from beef)
  • Certain fish and fish liver oils
  • Vitamin-D fortified foods, such as margarine, orange juice, yogurt, and cereals — always read labels to know what you’re getting

Vitamin D supplements can also ensure that patients with severe Crohn’s symptoms — and so much damage to the small intestine that vitamin absorption can be a problem — get needed amounts of vitamin D.

Are Vitamin D Supplements for You?

You should talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements, whether to try to prevent Crohn’s disease or to prevent the vitamin D deficiency associated with Crohn’s disease. Risk factors for Crohn’s disease that lead you to consider taking vitamin D supplements include:

  • Having other family members with Crohn’s disease
  • Being of Jewish ancestry
  • Being Caucasian
  • Being a smoker

Having a family history of Crohn’s disease is one of the biggest risk factors — the risk of getting Crohn’s disease is 10 times higher for people who have a relative with the disease than for people without a family history. Having a sibling with Crohn’s increases the risk even more, to 30 times higher.

Are you doing everything you can to manage your Crohn’s? Find out with our interactive checkup.

Vitamin D deficiency is a real concern for people struggling with Crohn’s disease and for people at risk of developing the disease. Getting enough vitamin D may help ward off the onset of the disease in those at risk, so consider vitamin D supplements in addition to eating plenty of foods fortified with vitamin D. Talk to your doctor for advice on the best dose of supplemental vitamin D for you.


First Cannabis Resort Opening in Colorado

March 14, 2016 By

First Cannabis Resort

Marijuana tourism in the U.S. is about to make a big leap forward. That’s because cannabis company The MaryJane Group, Inc. just announced its plans to open the nation’s first cannabis resort in Colorado.

In a press release, the company said that it had signed a Lease and Service Agreement to launch Camp Bud+Breakfast.

The resort will be located in the mountains west of Denver, in the small town of Parshall.

It will be situated on 414 acres of land and will include everything from recreational marijuana to outdoor activities like hiking, fly fishing, and river tubing, to yoga, sports, hot tubs, and cannabis-inspired meals.                

First Cannabis Resort Opening in Colorado

First Cannabis Resort

Marijuana tourism in the U.S. is about to make a big leap forward. That’s because cannabis company The MaryJane Group, Inc. just announced its plans to open the nation’s first cannabis resort in Colorado.

In a press release, the company said that it had signed a Lease and Service Agreement to launch Camp Bud+Breakfast.

The resort will be located in the mountains west of Denver, in the small town of Parshall.

It will be situated on 414 acres of land and will include everything from recreational marijuana to outdoor activities like hiking, fly fishing, and river tubing, to yoga, sports, hot tubs, and cannabis-inspired meals.

“There truly is no place like this in the entire world,” said Joel Schneider, CEO of The MaryJane Group. Schneider will also be the lead operator of the up and coming cannabis resort.

RELATED:  Legal Cannabis Delivered To Your Doorstep

For many involved with the project, Camp Bud+Breakfast will essentially be a summer camp for adults.

“We’re bringing an element of luxury to that adventurous, exploratory vibe of childhood summer camp in a beautiful setting where visitors can enjoy marijuana in a safe, comfortable, social environment,” said Schneider.

First Cannabis Resort Colorado

The resort will not be able to automatically include marijuana in the cost of renting a room in one of its cabins or guest houses.

But it will have a full-time cannabis concierge service that can make recommendations to guests. Visitors to the resort can also buy marijuana from the concierge.

The MaryJane Group said that it has teamed up with a number of dispensaries. These shops will provide cannabis to the resort’s concierge, and will also offer guests private dispensary tours.

Once on the resort, tourists will be able to smoke marijuana pretty much anywhere they want to. This will be an important aspect of the new resort, since Colorado laws still make it difficult for people to smoke marijuana in most hotels and other public places.

But the people designing Camp Bud+Breakfast said they’re building a number of communal spaces where people can smoke. Each room will also come with its own private deck where guests can smoke.

As of now, The MaryJane Group plans to open the cannabis resort later this summer. People can begin making reservations on March 15.

The resort’s first season of operation is scheduled to run from July 1 to September 30, 2016.

(Photo Credit: Bud+Breakfast)


Why PCOS caused fabulous and fat Whitney Thore to gain 90kg

Changing your diet and lifestyle could take weeks, even months, before a notable difference in your weight becomes apparent.

Whitney Thore



But, this was not the case for US dancer, Whitney Thore, who gained around 90 kilograms in just a year thanks to a disorder that affects women’s hormones and ovaries.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that creates a hormonal imbalance in woman. The illness begins during a girl’s teen years and can cause a number of symptoms which include irregular periods, unwanted hair growth, and acne. It can also affect female fertility.

PCOS more common than you think

The American website Womenshealth.govreports that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of a reproductive age have PCOS and that over 5 million women in the United States may be affected. A normal population has a prevalence of 16–22%.

A number of celebrities including Victoria Beckham and UK chef Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools Oliver have also publicly revealed that they suffer from PCOS. Although these celebrities are not faced with obesity as a result of the condition, they have showed other symptoms and expressed difficulty getting pregnant.

A study published by BMC Medicine in 2010stated that “insulin resistance occurs in around 50% to 80% of women with PCOS, primarily in the more severe NIH diagnosed PCOS and in those who are overweight.” The study adds that “lean women and milder Rotterdam diagnosed PCOS [the Rotterdam PCOS diagnosis is more broad] appear to have less severe insulin resistance.”

In Whitney’s case, PCOS has caused her to become insulin resistant which is why she has gained weight so suddenly and so severely. It has also affected her menstrual cycle.

“I do not have a regular menstrual cycle and have never have, I’ve probably had 20 cycles in my entire life, so when I decide to have a family that could present problems for me.

“Also, my testosterone levels are really high for a woman, so that lead to unwanted hair growth on my face and it causes me to lose the hair on my head”, she says.

How is PCOS treated?

PCOS treatment usually requires a team approach. Medical specialists such as gynaecologists and dermatologists will treat the hormonal and skin/hair manifestations of this condition, while endocrinologists or physicians may assist with prescribing medications to help control raised insulin and blood fat levels, as well as hypertension.

Health24’s DietDoc says if you have insulin resistance (IR), which usually accompanies PCOS and is associated with weight gain and inability to lose weight, women need to visit a dietitian because the correct diet is one of the most important factors in treatment.

The dietitian will take your insulin resistance, medications and other conditions such as PCOS and being overweight, into account when working out a diet, which will be based on low-fat foods with a low glycaemic index (GI).

Tip: Use our GI tool to calculate the glycaemic index of different foods.

Interestingly enough, she says, such a diet will contain vegetables and low-GI carbohydrates because the high-protein, high-fat diets that are all the rage at the moment, are generally unsustainable.

Regular daily aerobic exercise for at least 30 min per day can also help improve insulin and glucose levels. Start doing an aerobic exercise (running, jogging, skipping, cycling, swimming, join a gym or Walk for Life).

Most women who suffer from the illness should be able to have children and lead normal, active lives.

The positive side for Whitney

Whitney Thore has had to relook everything she does due to her drastic weight gain but, despite her medical struggles, Whitney has managed to find happiness in herself and change her life.

She explains that despite being skinny in the past, she was very ashamed of her body, but PCOS has helped her change her opinion of herself.

“The biggest difference now is that I, for the first time, really found happiness in a way that I never had when I was thin and undiagnosed with PCOS.”

She has since self-choreographed a performance called ‘A Fat Girl Dancing’, which became an overnight sensation and motivated the dancer to live her life. She now has a fresh outlook on everything: she’s dating more than ever before, pursuing an aggressive dance schedule, and trying to make a name for herself in a world that judges people for their size.

“I started making videos and posting them on YouTube called ‘Fat Girl Dancing’ and it was so liberating. I got so much positive feedback from other people and I started to realise how important it was to be a voice for fat women who are still ashamed of themselves. I wanted to show them an image of a happy and fulfilled person, who’s also fat – not something we often see in the media.”

This is one of Whitney’s introductory videos on YouTube

Whitney has changed the fact that “fat people are often stereotyped and only really publicised on TV in a weight loss competition”. She has launched her story on TLC Entertainment (DStv channel 172) called My Big Fat Fabulous Life.

Read more:

Heroin’s youngest addicts are dying in high school

KIRKWOOD • Bryan Gavan climbed the steps up to the stage at Kirkwood High School to tell the story of how his son became addicted to heroin as a teen and died three years later, a needle in his arm.

Later he would speak to students, but first he talked to parents. He told them he once thought as some of them probably do, that his child at a suburban high school couldn’t be using hard drugs.

Then he drug-tested his son after noticing changes in his behavior. Gavan prepared himself for alcohol or pot to show up in the results.

“I never considered what we were about to find out,” Gavan said. “We had absolutely no clue what we were dealing with.”

Heroin. When confronted, Klaeton Gavan told his father his addiction began with the painkillers a doctor prescribed after having wisdom teeth removed several months earlier. Soon it was heroin, which teens can now get for as little as $5 to $10.

It’s a story of addiction that counselors and advocates are trying to drive home. Users are all too often starting with painkillers and graduating to heroin. And they are doing it at an age when such drug use isn’t even on their parents’ radar.

The pervasiveness of the problem has more schools taking an active role in prevention. That’s a change from several years ago, when high schools feared the stigma associated with the drug.

“No high school at the time wanted to be known as ‘Heroin High’ — that was a justification for declining to host a town hall meeting,” said Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Olivette.

Now schools are openly tackling the issue.

Lafayette High School in the Rockwood district even served as the setting for an ad that will air during Sunday’s Super Bowl, portraying an addict as a member of the dance team. The spot is aimed at students and meant to show the downward spiral of a suburban high school girl and what she loses because of heroin.

That kind of turn became a reality for Kolton Kaleta, 16. He first tried heroin during his sophomore year at Kirkwood High. He stole to support his addiction.

“I felt kind of like a shell of a human being,” Kolton said. “Every day, I was waking up dope sick.”

A fellow Kirkwood student died of an overdose just weeks after Kolton entered rehab for the second time. Kolton has been clean since.

Amid a national spike in heroin deaths, the St. Louis metro area saw heroin and prescription painkiller fatalities more than triple over a seven-year span, climbing to 445 in 2014. Preliminary numbers for 2015 show a decrease, but probably no lower than in 2013, when 342 people died.

The recent decline in overdoses probably has less to do with lower drug use than it does with an increased use by doctors and emergency responders of a drug that can stop an overdose.

‘It can’t be hush-hush’

Cecilia Bodet graduated from Kirkwood High School eight years ago. When she returned to the affluent suburban school district to work as a counselor, she found high school students had moved beyond beer and pot and were trying heroin, quickly becoming addicted and overdosing. Two have died of overdoses within a 13-month period.

Allyson Porter was 16 when her dad went to wake her up for school on Sept. 26, 2014, and she was slumped over her bed in their home. Another Kirkwood student, 17, died on Nov. 3, 2015. Autopsy results on both of the Kirkwood teens confirmed heroin was the cause of death.

Bodet said she found it shocking that even after the death of two students, there are still people in the community who don’t want to talk about the problem.

“It’s all hush-hush, and it can’t be hush-hush anymore,” she said. “It’s everywhere, including in our perfect world of Glendale and Kirkwood. ”

Kirkwood High has alcohol and drug policies that can require students to receive an addiction evaluation and treatment if they are found with drugs on campus. The challenge is what’s happening outside of school, Bodet said.

Allyson Porter
Allyson Porter, a Kirkwood High School student, died in September 2014 at age 16 of a heroin overdose. Photo courtesy of Dennis Porter

In St. Louis County in 2014, there were 27 people who overdosed under the age of 30, the average age of a heroin victim.

According to data from the St. Louis County medical examiner, Allyson and another 16-year-old, Ryan Lang, who went to Pattonville High School, were the youngest deaths from the drug recorded that year.

Dennis Porter, Allyson’s father, said she had a difficult time when she was younger after her mother’s death. Even though Porter tried to keep Allyson busy outside of school with activities such as ice skating, ballet and horseback riding, she became friends with the wrong crowd and started smoking marijuana, he said.

Then he got a call from police in St. Louis. They had stopped a car. Allyson was inside with a boy, and they had heroin with them, police told him. Porter took her to rehab and called police when he caught her with drugs.

On the night she died, she had just been drug-tested at a treatment session. She said goodnight to her father and went into her room.

She sniffed from a capsule of heroin and overdosed. When he found her, her body was already stiff. Her cellphone, which was lying under her, had burned a mark into her chest, Porter said.

“I always have that image etched on my mind every day,” he said. “I did everything right, everything the (rehab) professionals told us to, and we still lost her.”

Leah Schweiss
Leah Schweiss, a Rockwood student, died in August 2014 of a heroin overdose when she was 17. Family photo

Leah Schweiss, 17, a Rockwood student who died in August 2014 of an overdose, started smoking pot when she was just 13 before moving on to heroin, said Linda Schweiss, her mother. Looking back, her mother has regrets. Many of her friends were shocked when Leah died because Schweiss hadn’t really talked about Leah’s addiction to heroin.

“I was embarrassed. I wish it wasn’t such a horrible stigma attached to it.

“I think it would make it easier to come out and ask for help if people know how much of a problem it is for all kinds of people,” Schweiss said.

Kolton agreed to an interview with the Post-Dispatch in hopes of helping other youth his age who don’t know where to turn for help.

“With the culture and availability of drugs, they think it’s hopeless,” Kolton said. “It’s sad because people don’t know there is help out there or they don’t ask because of the stigma.”

Essential as any subject

Weissman, of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said schools struggled to find the time and resources to create addiction awareness programs.

“They are fighting for accreditation, or have to concern themselves with test scores, so they are sometimes reluctant to give away part of the day to something they might see as nonessential,” Weissman said. “I would argue these are essential skills as much as any other subject.”

In Kirkwood, the entire high school heard a new presentation in January by Clayton Behavioral, a clinic with addiction treatment programs. The school also hosted a meeting with about 100 parents before the assembly, meant to inform them of the accessibility and affordability of a dose of heroin. Some parents were surprised to hear it could be snorted.

At two separate assemblies for about 1,700 students, a recovering addict and counselor posted his cellphone number and urged Kirkwood students to reach out if they needed help.

Within 10 minutes, seven had texted him. Dozens of additional texts would follow.

“I have absolutely no doubt, especially now, that we have addicts sitting right here in this very room,” said Bodet, the Kirkwood counselor. “This is a life-saving presentation.”

Gavan, the father who lost his son, warned students and parents of the dangers of trying the drug even once.

Klaeton Gavan
Klaeton Gavan (left), posed for a photograph with his brother Dalton Gavan after their high school graduation in 2013 in this family photograph. Klaeton later died of a heroin overdose. Photo by Sid Hastings

He told of Klaeton’s childhood, growing up in a typical suburban two-parent home in Jefferson County, playing baseball with dreams of becoming a marine biologist. He was 20 when he overdosed.

Before his death, the drug addiction drastically changed their family. His mother made national headlines when she went to trial after she attacked his alleged drug dealer, Joshua Lloyd, with a baseball bat. Lloyd, 24, died five months later of an overdose. Gavan and his wife have since separated.

Gavan told the students of a photo he found, a Little League picture of Klaeton and four friends. He said he realized each boy in the picture would later become addicted to heroin.

“This is a demon,” Gavan said, voice shaking after describing his son’s death to the auditorium of hundreds of students at Kirkwood.


Sudden death in epilepsy: Researchers finger possible cause

Sudden death, a mysterious and devastating outcome of epilepsy, could result from a brain stem shutdown following a seizure, researchers report today in Science Translational Medicine. Although the idea is still preliminary, it’s engendering hope that neurologists are one step closer to intervening before death strikes.

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) has long bedeviled doctors and left heartbroken families in its wake. “It’s as big a mystery as epilepsy itself,” says Jeffrey Noebels, a neurologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the senior author of the new paper. As its name suggests, SUDEP attacks without warning: People with epilepsy are found dead, often following a seizure, sometimes face down in bed. Many are young—the median age is 20—and patients with uncontrolled generalized seizures, the most severe type, are at highest risk. About 3000 people are thought to die of SUDEP each year in the United States. And doctors have struggled to understand why. “How can you have seizures your whole life, and all of a sudden, it’s your last one?” Noebels asks.

In 2013, an international team of researchers described its study of epilepsy patients who had died while on hospital monitoring units. In 10 SUDEP cases for which they had the patients’ heart function and breathing patterns, the authors found that the patients’ cardiorespiratory systems collapsed over several minutes, and their brain activity was severely depressed. “Their EEG went flat after a seizure,” says Stephan Schuele, an epileptologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, who wasn’t involved in the study.

A different piece of the SUDEP puzzle had emerged a few years before, when Noebels’s lab found that mutations in a gene associated with sudden cardiac death in people predisposed mice to epilepsy and SUDEP. Cardiologists then noted that patients with similar cardiac gene mutations also had epilepsy. Although the whole picture was still hazy, this suggested that certain gene mutations might put patients at risk for both brain and heart disorders. The defective gene Noebels studied in mice clearly wasn’t enough to trigger SUDEP on its own, however—many epilepsy patients have similar mutations, but they also have an apparently normal life span.

To learn more, Noebels and postdoctoral neuroscientist fellow Isamu Aiba at Baylor created two different SUDEP mouse models. One had mutations in a potassium ion channel gene, which disrupts the normal firing of neurons; another had mutations in a sodium ion channel gene with a similar function. Both genes are linked to SUDEP in people, and the sodium channel mutation can cause Dravet syndrome, a particularly aggressive form of epilepsy in children with a high SUDEP risk.

The researchers then induced seizures in the animals and monitored activity in the brain stem and elsewhere in the brain. Nine of 18 mice had what’s called “spreading depolarization” in their brain stem—essentially, a shutdown of electric activity that sweeps across the critical brain region and silences neurons. Spreading depolarization has been recorded in other neurologic conditions, but it usually happens in parts of the brain where it’s not normally fatal. For example, depolarization seems to cause the perceptual “aura” described by migraine sufferers. But in the mouse models of SUDEP, “the spreading depolarization is noxious because it’s occurring in a very critical tissue” that controls breathing and heart function, says Michael Moskowitz, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who has studied the phenomenon for years.

Noebels and Aiba also found that in 15 animals without the gene mutations, inducing seizures didn’t cause spreading depolarization. Instead, the mice recovered from the seizure afterward—just like most people with epilepsy do.

Examining tissue from the animals’ brain stems in the lab, Noebels and Aiba found that they could generate spreading depolarization far more easily in the mutant animals than in normal ones. They also found that the mutant animal tissue responded more readily to their efforts to induce spreading depolarization after death, by changing the chemical solution in which the samples were bathed. Noebels wonders if the gene mutations might make it easier for spreading depolarization to take hold. “The threshold for this kind of event is reduced” by expressing these mutations, Moskowitz agrees.

The study, Schuele says, is fascinating. “It’s the first paper that gives us an understanding of the potential mechanism.” Still, there’s much more to do to bolster the theory. He’s curious whether spreading depolarization will show up in other mouse SUDEP models and whether it’s detectable in people who don’t have these rare mutations. It’s also still unclear how seizures might cause spreading depolarization in the brain stem, and how to identify those at highest risk. Some patients are known to have abnormal responses during seizures, such as difficulty breathing or an erratic heart rate, as well as abnormal flattening of electrical activity in their cortexes — all of which might put them at increased risk, Noebels says.

There’s hope that certain drugs can inhibit spreading depolarization, including some migraine therapies and antidepressants. If those at highest risk can be identified, Schuele says, it might make sense to “selectively treat patients” with medications that aren’t part of the usual epilepsy regimen.


Too much cake and chocolate could cause Alzheimer’s disease, new research claims

Too much cake and chocolate could cause Alzheimer’s disease, new research claims

A study in mice found high levels of blood sugar rapidly increased rogue proteins which killed brain cells and led to dementia

  • 11128SHARES

Risk: The study adds further evidence to links between diabetes and dementia

Eating too many chocolates, cakes and other sugary treats could help triggerAlzheimer’s disease, says new research.

A study in mice found high levels of blood sugar rapidly increased rogue proteins in the body which combine and kill brain cells, ultimately leading to dementia.

Too much sweet food would cause high blood sugar, particularly in a person with diabetes, which cuts ability to metabolise sugar.

The findings add to evidence that diabetes raises risk of dementia.

Dr Shannon Macauley, of Washington University, St Louis, said: “The link we discovered could lead us to treatment targets.”

Last year German scientists found too much sugar harms brain structure as well as function.

About 3.8 million Britons suffer from type 2 diabetes.


Is Fibromyalgia to Blame for Your Sleep Problems?

By Robert Rosenberg, DO

Published Jun 2, 2014


Sleep disturbances are among the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition affecting the spinal cord and brain that causes people to feel pain and fatigue, and affects concentration. In fact, along with the tiredness, pain, and psychosocial distress, sleep disturbances are a core feature. In the last few years, it has become increasingly clear that treating the associated sleep disturbance improves the daytime symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Here are eight things you need to know about fibromyalgia and sleep.

1. It is estimated that 2 percent to 10 percent of the population suffers from fibromyalgia.

2. Three quarters of those with fibromyalgia have sleep complaints. The most common is a feeling of non-refreshing or non-restorative sleep.

3. Insomnia, characterized by an inability to either fall asleep or stay asleep, is very common in fibromyalgia. Treating the insomnia with cognitive behavioral therapy and good sleep hygiene has been shown to improve symptoms of fibromyalgia.

4. People with fibromyalgia show less deep sleep, increased lighter stages of sleep, and more frequent arousals during the night than do others. Many of the newer medications approved for use in fibromyalgia such as pregabalin (Lyrica) work in part by increasing deep sleep.

5. In several studies of normal sleepers, disrupting deep sleep nightly for 7 to 14 days with either noise or awakenings resulted in symptoms indistinguishable from patients with fibromyalgia.

6. The incidence of restless legs syndrome has been found to be in excess of 50 percent of people with fibromyalgia, as opposed to 7% of the general population. Fibromyalgia patients experience improvement in their symptoms of fatigue and sleepiness when restless leg syndrome is treated.

7.  The incidence of sleep apnea in fibromyalgia was found to be 61 percent in men and 32 percent in women, according to a 2013 study published in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology. A particular variant of sleep apnea called upper airway resistance syndrome is very common in women with fibromyalgia. Treating sleep-disordered breathing improves both pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia.

8.  Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) is a drug used in narcolepsy that works in part by increasing deep sleep. I am often asked by patients with fibromyalgia if it is available to them. In 2010 the FDA rejected its use for fibromyalgia as being too risky. It is chemically very similar to the date rape drug GHB and they felt that the risks of wide dissemination outweighed the benefits.

In my practice I see many patients with fibromyalgia who come to me for their associated sleep disturbance. Whether it is insomnia, restless legs syndrome, or sleep apnea, I can say that treating the associated sleep disturbance has a very positive effect on their fibromyalgia. My colleagues and I see an improvement in fatigue, cognitive function, and pain when the sleep disorder is addressed. \


5 Things a Nutritionist Wants You to Know About Carbs

By Johannah Sakimura, RD

Published Nov 4, 2015

Carbs are taking a lot of heat these days. Now that fat as a category is off the hook, carbs are being single-handedly blamed by some for the rise in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. But broad assertions like that are pretty ridiculous when you recognize that some of the most nutritious foods on the planet are primarily carbohydrates. Many people take carbs to mean pasta, rice, bread, and cookies, but the grouping also encompasses many of the plant-based staples of a whole-foods diet: vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, and whole grains. The field of carbohydrate-rich foods is much too diverse to make blanket statements about their healthfulness or lack thereof. As obesity expert David Katz, MD, likes to say, “a jelly bean is not a pinto bean.”

Carbs have earned a bad rap because the most common sources in Americans’ diets are nothing to celebrate. According to government survey data from 2003 to 2006, the top five contributors to U.S. adults’ carbohydrate intake are soda, breads and rolls (mostly white, refined versions), baked goods such as cookies and cakes, candy, and fruit (phew, something positive). So people eating the typical Western, high-carb diet are loading up on sugar and white flour from junk foods that offer minimal nutritional value. On the other hand, a carb-heavy diet that’s rich in whole plant foods can be incredibly beneficial. In fact, people living in the world’s “Blue Zones” — a term for regions with especially high longevity — subsist on a diet that’s primarily minimally-processed carbohydrate foods, including beans, whole grains, and starchy root vegetables.

Clearly, carbohydrates are one of the most misunderstood nutrients in what is already, for many, a confusing landscape of food choices. To help set the record straight, here are five carb myths that may be tainting your view of healthy eating.

Carb Myths You Should Ignore

  1. A carb is a carb. Both a serving of Frosted Flakes and a serving of chickpeas have roughly the same amount of carbohydrates, but their nutrient profiles could not be more different. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are high in fiber — indigestible carbohydrates that increase fullness, promote regularity, and nourish a diverse, well-balanced gut microbiome. These complex plant foods are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients, biologically active compounds that may help protect the body from disease. On the other hand, heavily processed carbs, including sugary drinks, sweets, white bread, and snack foods, provide a hefty carbohydrate load with few or no additional nutrients. Because they are more refined, they are digested rapidly and generally produce a greater rise in blood sugar. In short, carbohydrates are not a uniform category by any means, and the source determines the quality.
  2. Carbohydrate-rich foods contain only carbohydrates. Classifying foods as carbohydrates is a bit misleading, since nearly all whole foods are actually a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, the three major macronutrients. For example, although grains and vegetables get most of their calories from carbohydrates, they do contain trace amounts of fat, and small-to-moderate amounts of protein, which also contribute to the body’s needs. On a similar note, avocados and nuts deliver most of their calories as fat, but they still provide some carbohydrates. Rather than focusing on macronutrients like carbs, which makes sensible eating more complicated than it needs to be, I encourage people to zoom out, so to speak, and concentrate on eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods.
  3. Cutting carbs is the best way to lose weight. A recent meta-analysis found that the low-carb diets led to more weight loss after at least one year compared to low-fat diets, but the difference was only 2.5 pounds, which isn’t a meaningful advantage. According to the study, published in The Lancet, participants following any diet only kept off an average of 6 pounds after one year or longer, so the real takeaway is that making lasting changes to eating habits is a major challenge. If weight-loss research has taught us anything, it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the most important thing is to identify an approach that you personally find sustainable. Restricting portions of starches like rice, pasta, bread, and snack foods can be a very successful strategy, and it leaves more calorie room for nutrient-dense foods. But strictly limiting your daily carbohydrate grams — or cutting out higher-carb superstars, like fruit, whole grains, beans, and sweet potatoes — certainly isn’t a requirement for shedding pounds.
  4. All carbs wreak havoc on your blood sugar. All carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood sugar, but not to the same degree. Generally speaking, foods such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains that are high in fiber and minimally processed (and therefore require more extensive digestion) have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slow, steady incline in blood sugar, compared to refined carbs like sugary drinks, white bread, white rice, and chips. That said, some increase in blood sugar and the hormone insulin after eating is a natural part of digestion — and nothing to fear. These processes allow the body to extract energy from food and fuel the brain, muscles, and other organs. And in people with a healthy metabolism, the body has no problem handling the occasional high-carb meal, such as a bowl of pasta or plate of pancakes (although I don’t recommend eating this way on a regular basis).
  5. There is no place for refined carbs in a healthy diet. It’s wise to choose whole grains most of the time and limit foods made with white starch and sugar, but that doesn’t mean you should never, ever indulge in cookies, crusty bread, or french fries. Eating well really is about achieving balance, and if you’ve built a solid dietary foundation that prioritizes vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, then there’s certainly room for some of these “less wholesome” foods in small portions. Baked goods, sweets, and packaged foods made with white flour aren’t deadly toxins, but they should be the exception rather than the rule in a healthy eating pattern.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?


  • Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD
  • This inflammatory disease of the digestive tract affects about 700,000 people in the United States.

    Crohn’s disease is a chronic digestive disorder that causes irritation and swelling in the digestive tract.

    The disease belongs to a group of conditions called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

    Crohn’s disease most commonly affects the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine (colon), but inflammation can occur anywhere in the digestive tract.

    There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but there are many treatments to help manage its symptoms.

    Most people with Crohn’s disease go through periods of remission in which they have no symptoms, and flare-ups during which symptoms worsen.


    Out of every 100,000 U.S. adults, 201 people have Crohn’s disease.

    This means about 700,000 people in the United States have the disease, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

    Crohn’s disease is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can be diagnosed at any age.

    Men and women are equally likely to be affected.

    The disease is more likely to affect Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent than people of other races or ethnicities.

    Crohn’s Disease Causes and Risk Factors

    The exact causes of Crohn’s disease are unknown.

    Experts believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to a person’s risk for the disease.

    Some risk factors for Crohn’s disease include:

    Genes: While no one gene can be said to cause Crohn’s disease, scientists have identified more than 100 genes that may raise the risk of the disease.

    Family history: Crohn’s disease appears to run in families. About 5 to 20 percent of people with Crohn’s disease have a parent or sibling with it.

    Where you live: Crohn’s disease is more common in developed countries than developing ones. It’s also more common in urban than rural areas.

    Cigarette smoking: Smokers have double the risk of developing Crohn’s disease compared with non-smokers, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

    Crohn’s disease may also be caused by an autoimmune reaction.

    There’s some evidence that in the disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy bacteria that grows naturally in the human gut.


    Complications of Crohn’s disease may include:

    • Bowel obstructions
    • Anal fissures (small tears in the anus that cause itching, pain, or bleeding)
    • Ulcers (open sores in the digestive tract)
    • Fistulas (ulcers on the wall of the stomach or intestine that allow gut contents to leak into other parts of the body)
    • Malnutrition (such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies)
    • Colon cancer

    Not all Crohn’s disease complications are limited to the digestive tract. Some people develop complications that affect other parts of the body.

    Non-digestive complications may include:

    • Eye pain, itchiness, or redness
    • Mouth sores
    • Joint swelling and pain
    • Skin sores, bumps, or rashes
    • Osteoporosis (weak, porous bones)
    • Kidney stones

    Crohn’s Disease and Pregnancy

    Women with Crohn’s disease may have difficulty becoming pregnant during flare-ups or periods when disease symptoms are very active.

    For most women, fertility returns to normal during periods of remission.

    There’s a higher risk of pregnancy complications — including miscarriage, stillbirth, and developmental defects — when the disease is active.

    The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America recommends that women wait until at least six months after their last flare-up before trying to become pregnant.


Self-Sustaining Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

March 20, 2016 By

Emilia Lucht and Arne Sebrantke of German design studio We Love Eames wanted to create a lamp that would allow greenery to grow in windowless spaces.

Whether or not they had cannabis in mind when they designed their maps is unknown. But their design would be perfect for a low-key grow in your own home.

And because the design is self-sustaining and requires few resources, it could be possible to grow a personal cannabis plant indoors for years at a time.

That’s because with Emilia and Arne’s lamp, plants don’t require any direct sunlight or water. So it would be absolutely possible to grow cannabis in a windowless room, without all the lighting and hydration setup that a typical home-grow demands.

The pair drew many different ideas, but ultimately they settled on one they named the Mygdal Plantlamp. This is a lamp that would allow a plant to grow inside it, without the use of direct sunlight and water.

Arne crafted the glass bulb for the lamp by hand. He set out to create a kind of template using a mold. Then a glass-blower carbonized the mold, making it easy to shape several lamps quickly.

The end result comes in two versions. For one, there’s a pendant lamp that hands from the ceiling. The second is a standing lamp.

RELATED:  Growing Weed for Dummies: 10 Simple Steps to Get You Started

Both have enough room to grow a few small plants in them. And they use an LED light calibrated to replicate the light spectrum of sunlight that plants need to survive.

Here’s where Emilia and Arne’s design gets a bit sci-fi.

The standing lamp has a special feature. The standing lamp’s glass is coated with a clear, electrically conductive mater. This enables the lamp to stream the electricity invisibly along the surface of the lamp, powering the light.

Because of the conductive coating, there’s no cable connection between the power source and the LED light, giving the impression that the lamp has somehow bottled a little bit of perpetual sunlight.

The lights are a completely self-sustaining ecosystem where the plants can grow undisturbed for years, according to their designers.

The result looks amazing, and it’s easy to imagine how useful this lamp could be for small-scale home marijuana growing. Medical users could particularly benefit from the self-sustaining design.

Self-Sustaining Lamps

This is Emilia Lucht and Arne Sebrantke of German design studio We Love Eames, and they wanted to create a lamp that would allow greenery to grow in windowless spaces.

allow greenery to grow in windowless spaces.

RELATED:  The FBI Says It Can’t Find Hackers to Hire Because They All Smoke Pot

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

They drew many different ideas, but settled on one they named the Mygdal Plantlamp, a lamp that would allow a plant to grow inside it, without the use of direct sunlight and water.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

Arne then set out to create a template for the glass lamp to be shaped on. This involved creating a mold.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

Then the glass had to be blown for the lamp. Below we can see the glassblowers molds being carbonized. This helps the glassblowers form the glass into the desired shape.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

The glass blowers then work the glass to create the shape needed for the lamp.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

Almost there…

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

The end result is two versions, a pendant lamp and a standing lamp, that both have small plants growing in them, with an LED light replicating the need for sunlight.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

The standing lamp has a special feature. There’s an electrically conductive glass coating (patent pending), which is able to stream the electricity invisible along the surface, which means there is no cable connection between the power source and the LED light.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

The lights are a completely self-sustaining ecosystem, where they claim the plants can grow undisturbed for years.

Self-Sustaining Grow Lamps Can Grow Cannabis Undisturbed For Years

Photography by We Love Eames