There are 58 Million Diabetic Feet in America – How do We Protect Them?

FeetAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States has increased over 500% (from 5.5 million to 29.10 million) in the past 25 years. Yet, lower limb amputations among diabetics due to peripheral neuropathy (diabetic nerve damage) and peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation) have decreased by approximately 60% in the last decade. Doctors attribute the decrease in lower limb amputations to diabetic management programs consisting of strict blood glucose control and foot care plan.

Blood glucose is the naturally occurring sugar that provides energy to your cells. Diabetes disrupts this natural exchange causing damage to your body’s cells, making it necessary for you to adhere to medication and lifestyle changes. Control over blood glucose levels decreases damage to your organs and systems – heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, bone and skin – vital to the health of your feet. Strict blood glucose control means minimizing hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemic (high blood glucose) levels – striving for a normal blood glucose range (determined by your health team) minimizes risks of diabetic complications such as amputation. A diabetic management program incorporating a foot care plan will decrease your risk of foot wounds and possible amputation.

Diabetic Management Program

Meet Your Diabetic Health Team. Composed of your primary doctor, diabetic nurse educator, nutritionist, podiatrist and, most especially, you. Your team will determine your blood glucose goal for success, and will educate and monitor your progress to achieving this goal. They will show you how to care for your feet and monitor for signs of wounds. They are your “go to” people, use them to protect the health of your feet.

Eat Well. Your diabetes educator or nutritionist will collaborate with you to create a healthy diet plan including fresh vegetables, lean proteins, fish and fruit. Eat smaller portions and try not to go in for seconds. A good diet protects the health of your blood vessels by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Healthy blood vessels transport the nutrients to your feet.

Exercise. Your diabetic health team will encourage you to start exercising gradually and increase to at least 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Always check your blood glucose levels before exercising to avoid a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic event. Low impact exercises such as swimming, walking, yoga and dancing are wonderful alternatives for diabetics who already experience some degree of peripheral neuropathy or for diabetics just beginning an exercise program. There are so many activity choices – if you get bored, don’t stop, just try something new. Exercising not only strengthens your heart and lung health, it also improves your circulation allowing nutrients to flow into your body’s cells and wastes to be eliminated.

Lose Weight. Eating well and exercising may result in weight loss. Losing just 5% of your body weight may lower your blood glucose level, decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol rates, and increase your energy level.

Follow Your Doctor’s Prescription. Proper medication administration is vital for maintenance of controlled blood glucose levels. You need to understand when and how to administer your medication, as well as consequences of possible drug interactions if you are taking multiple medications. Even something as simple as over-the-counter cold medicines may interfere with your blood glucose levels. If you have questions, speak with your diabetic health team.


Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels. Check your blood glucose levels before each meal, before bedtime, and before exercising. Your daily monitoring provides a gauge on how well you’re maintaining control over blood glucose levels. Look at it as an historical record of how your food intake, exercise routine and lifestyle modifications affect your blood glucose level, and “adjust” accordingly.

Your diabetic health team with administer a blood test called a HbA1c test at least twice a year which will indicate the average amount of blood glucose during the previous three months. High test results (above 7%) mean that your diabetes is not well controlled and there is an increased risk of complications. Meet with your diabetic team to “tweak” your diabetic management program.

Quit Smoking. The results are in, nicotine increases blood glucose levels. Research in 2011, led by Xiao-Chuan Liu of California State Polytechnic University, concluded that nicotine raised levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by as much as 34%. High blood glucose levels caused by smoking not only damage your heart, lungs and kidney, but contribute to blood vessel compromise and poor circulation. Consequently, the risks of peripheral neuropathy and vascular disease, and subsequent amputation markedly increase. So, if you smoke, speak with your diabetes team and let them find the right smoking cessation program.

Develop a Daily Foot Care Routine. Bathe your feet in warm water, pat dry and check the bottoms of your feet and between your toes for any wound problems. Signs and symptoms such as redness, pain, corns, bunions open wounds, and changes in foot shape need to be addressed by your diabetic team. The risk of wounds increases if you walk barefoot – always wear low-heeled shoes or boots outside the home, and slippers inside the home. Speak with your diabetic educator regarding a foot care routine.

Take advantage of your diabetic health team’s knowledge. Adhering to a diabetic management program will decrease the risk of peripheral neuropathy and vascular disease, as well as amputation.

For further information, call a member of your diabetic health team, and you can find information at the following sites:

American Association of Diabetic Educators
American Diabetes Association
Joslin Diabetes Center


American Chemical Society. (2011, March 29). First identification of nicotine as main culprit in diabetes complications among smokers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2016 from

Barshes, N.K., Sigireddi, M., Wrobel, J.S., Mahankali, A., Robbins, J.R., Kougias, P., and
Armstrong, D.G. (2013) The System of Care for the Diabetic Foot: Objectives,
Outcomes, and Opportunities, Diabetic Foot & Ankle. 4: 21847. Retrieved from

Nemcová, J., & Hlinková, E. (2014). The efficacy of diabetic foot care education. Journal Of
Clinical Nursing, 23(5/6), 877-882. Retrieved from

Shrivastava S.R., Shrivastava P.S., and Ramasamy J. (2013) Role of self-care in management
of diabetes mellitus. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. 12:14. Retrieved from
DOI: 10.1186/2251-6581-12-14

The Lunar Effect: Does a full moon really have an impact on human behavior?

Monday’s November 14, 2016 super moon as captured by photographer Greg Kretschmar.

On Monday, millions of people around the globe went outside to observe the super moon. Armed with their smartphones and camera equipment, the super moon quickly became a trending topic as people shared their captured photos of this phenomenon. A super moon is the occurrence of a full moon during a time when it’s orbit is close to the earth’s atmosphere. During this most recent time, the moon was just 221,525 miles from earth making this the closest the moon has been to earth since 1948.

Monday’s brightly lit moon reminds us of an age-old superstition, does the super moon affect human behavior? This superstition has been around for thousands of years and is known as the lunar effect. Today, much of the superstition lies in the medical field. Some speculations are that a full moon may increase hospital admissions, emergency room visits, psychotic behaviors, trauma & blood loss. Others theorize that the lunar effect may induce pregnancy labor or have an impact on the rate of death in hospitals. It is not only the common population who believes in this theory, but medical professionals.

Social media meme that may be shared among nurses who believe in the lunar effect.

The Today Show discusses this trend among medical professionals. Social media has also proven that this is a common thought process. For those working in the medical profession, or know of others, you may see Facebook or Twitter comments regarding the phenomenon. The question still begs, with so many people believing in the lunar effect, is there any truth to it?

A study in 2014 out of ISRN Emergency Medicine magazine looked at the effects of the full moon on psychiatric emergency departments. It found that while the opinions that emergency department personnel felt that a full moon results in an increased demand in patient services that very little research is available to confirm this. Two doctors of medicine, Templer & Veleber are often cited as finding links between full moon and suicides, homicides, crime rate and hospital stays. However, this study was conducted in 1980 which today leaves it as being 36 years old and since then, flaws have been discovered in the research methods. Although this study is commonly cited as confirming that the full moon has these effects, the M.D.’s concluded that there is no correlation and that the lunar effect is mostly folklore.

Popular social media news source, Buzzfeed, shares some theories on the lunar effect exploring fact and fiction.

The video confirms that doctors believe that nights of a full moon cause more activity in the hospital setting. It speculates that the reason that this might happen is because the brain is wired to remember “events” over “non-events”; just as one may remember your 16th birthday over any average day. The thought is that if strange behaviors occur during a full moon, you are more likely to remember them.

The Buzzfeed video also looks at the opinions that a full moon has ties to mental health. This is an opinion that has been going on since the Middle Ages. During these times we did not have artificial light. The folklore may have developed because sleep deprivation can effect a person’s mental functions. A recent study was conducted in 2013 in India looked at this aspect of the lunar cycle. It found that of the participants, the average amount of sleep lost during a full moon was 21 minutes. Many thoughts are on the fact that this may be related to the added light that the full moon provides.

This video explores the full moon’s effect on sleep loss. They speculate that there is an extra effect from the full moon beyond the added light. They reference a Switz study where individuals were found to sleep better during new moons (where the moon is not present in the sky), and full moons. This study was conducted in 2003 and was not originally conducted to look at the link between the moon and human sleep patterns. Despite this, another study was conducted last year following the sleep patterns of 201 individuals. Although there were slight results in the REM Cycle (Rapid Eye Movement or Deep Sleep stage of sleep), the study showed inconclusive results that the lunar cycle had any effect on the human sleep cycle.

The moon has always been one of our biggest mysteries. We raced to the moon in 1969. We have looked to it for it’s wonder since the beginning of human history. It is no wonder that it has driven us to study in great depth. Despite all of this, it is difficult to draw conclusions. Is it the moon, or is it what we believe the moon brings us? This is our unsolved question, and it proves to be an unsolvable one yet. Our best bet is to be aware that the full moon, although mysterious, does not have enough proven evidence when it comes to practical medicine.




8 Facts about tonight’s ‘biggest and brightest supermoon’ (2016, November 14). Retrieved November 16, 2016, from

Chakraborty, U. (2013). Effects of different phases of the lunar month on humans. Biological Rhythm Research, 45(3), 383-396. doi:10.1080/09291016.2013.830508

Effects of lunar phase on sleep in men and women in Surrey. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2016, from

Parmar, V. S., Talikowska-Szymczak, E., Downs, E., Szymczak, P., Meiklejohn, E., & Groll, D. (2014). Effects of Full-Moon Definition on Psychiatric Emergency Department Presentations. ISRN Emergency Medicine, 2014, 1-6. doi:10.1155/2014/398791

Templer, D.I. and Veleber, D.M. (1980) The moon and madness: A comprehensive perspective. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 36, 865-868.


Sensory Processing Disorder; A Better Understanding


Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a dysfunction is the way the body receives and perceives sensory input. This could be taste, touch, smell, sights, sounds, body movement and balance and body positioning.

This could affect every day life such as the following:

  • How we interact with other individuals
  • Social and family relationships (hugging, talking etc.)
  • Learning and processing
  • Emotional regulation
  • Behavioral obstacles
  • Regulating our bodies
  • Sleep

Medical professionals have the ability to maintain this disorder! Occupational Therapy practitioners provide treatment on individuals with Sensory Processing disorder to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although there is not cure for SPD, is is 100% possible to live a healthy, long life!


OT practitioners provide Sensory Diets to individuals with SPD. This is an in home way to maintain and prevent sensory “outburst” the outside stimuli may cause. OTs perform therapy on individuals with SPD in outpatient settings. Sensory gyms are a great way for a child to become regulated. Some children have vestibular sensitives such as swinging on a swing because it makes them feel unsafe or dizzy. OT practitioners will help children work through those insecurities through play to provide a natural treatment.

How many children does SPD affect?

In 2007, 16% of children ages 7-11 had symptoms of SPD.

What are risk factors for SPD?

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Prenatal complications
  • Maternal stress
  • Maternal illness
  • Maternal use of medications
  • Delivery complications

It is important to know that these risk factors will not 100% cause SPD.

Do symptoms of SPD get worse if they go untreated?

Yes, SPD needs to be recognized and maintained. It is extremely uncomfortable and fairly frustrating for individuals with SPD and their family to deal with the concerns SPD arises. SPD becomes manageable and symptoms subside with proper maintenance and treatment. When individuals with SPD learn how to regain control, it is a rewarding and relieving feeling.

How does SPD affect the individual and family?

Some family members do not understand the symptoms that come along with SPD. It is frustrating for outside individuals when a child is screaming because it is too loud, or having a tantrum when the get their hands dirty. Awareness is important in family aspects so the child and the family can help each other have a better understanding and success rate.

As shown in the video above, children can be both under responsive and over responsive to certain stimuli which can be concerning for families. If is a child is under responsive to touch, the child could easily burn themselves on hot water, or if they are over responsive they may not feel it at all!

It is best to take a multidisciplinary approach with medical practitioners for the best treatment for your child. This includes; Pediatricians, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapists, Psychologists and Speech Pathologists.

Online blogs, websites and social media groups can assist parents on coping with SPD and learn from each other to better improve their child’s life!



Latest Research Findings | STAR Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2016
Gonthier, C., Longuépée, L., & Bouvard, M. (2016). Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 46(9), 3078-3089. doi:10.1007/s10803-016-2850-1
Stewart, C., Sanchez, S., Grenesko, E., Brown, C., Chen, C., Keehn, B., & … Müller, R. (2016). Sensory Symptoms and Processing of Nonverbal Auditory and Visual Stimuli in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 46(5), 1590-1601. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2367-z



The Health Benefits of Laughter

The Health Benefits of Laughter

By: Robert Agthe

For as long as I can remember, everyone has always said that laughter is the best medicine. Why is this? And does the power of laughter really have any medical benefits?

Fact or Fiction Does Laughter really have Health Benefits?

The benefits of laughter are always talked about, but did you know that there can be health complications from laughter as well? According to research here is a list of the benefits as well as the complications.

Health Benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Releases endorphins that make you feel good
  • It’s good for you
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases immune system
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Burns calories

Health Complications:

  • Puts increased pressure on the thorax, interfering with breathing
  • Cardiac arrest could occur (Heart in distress)
  • Cerebrovascular accidents (Stroke)
  • Myocardial infarctions (Heart attack)

According to research conducted laughter can be a very powerful thing. It can help doctors and nurses bond with their patients. It can increase your heart rate and help boost your mood. It can help with managing pain and burning calories. It also releases endorphins to your brain which in turn makes you feel “happy.” It also has the power to help reduce stress.

Research has however stated that laughter can also be dangerous as well, especially in older adults with preexisting health issues. Laughter can cause increased health complications and possible death. Decreased oxygen to the brain, a stroke and a heart attack can all be induced from laughter, especially in older adults.

But because everyone is different and no two people laugh the exact same way, it is hard to really measure the actual health benefits and complications of laughter. We know what it, “can do” but what it, “actually does,” and, “how much,” is impossible to measure. For example, Sally might burn 10 calories from laughing, while Henry burns 25 calories. We know it burns calories, but “how much” is different person to person. More research needs to be conducted to find out how to measure the actual benefits of laughter as well as the complications. If this process can even be done, it would be interesting to see what exactly the power of laughter can really do.

Without a doubt, when you are happy and laughing, you feel better. This point is at least indisputable, and usually people that are happier, are healthier. Can laughter be used as a form of medicine? No, probably not, but it will at least make you smile and feel good for a little while. And I think there’s medicine in that. So keep smiling and laugh on!



Berk, R. A. (2001). THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS IN HUMOR: PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS AND RISKS   FOR OLDER ADULTS. Educational Gerontology27(3/4), 323-339. doi:10.1080/036012701750195021

Martin, R. (2002). Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Humor, Laughter, and Physical Health. Current Directions In Psychological Science11(6), 216-220.

Bennett, H. J. (2003). Humor in Medicine. Southern Medical Journal96(12), 1257-1261.

Childhood Obesity… Still on the Rise


In the United States from 2011 to 2012, 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2 through 19 years were obese and 31.8% were either overweight or obese (Peek, 2016). These numbers are still rising and will continue to do so unless preventative measures are taken. Obesity that starts in childhood, can continue through adulthood leading to an increased risk of later developing health conditions such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

What are the leading factors?

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Physical activity
  • Diet
  • Behaviors

Image result for childhood obesity

What are the risks?

Eating a poor diet during childhood can negatively affect growth and development during a vital time. With children spending such a significant amount of time in school, the food being provided can impact childhood obesity. A child with an obese parent is more at risk of becoming overweight. Having an inactive lifestyle such as watching over two hours of TV a day can also increase the risks. The behaviors that we have as children can continue to adulthood, making them harder to change.

What can be done?

  • Limiting the consumption of sugar
  • Consuming a balanced diet
  • Limiting television and screen time
  • Eating breakfast daily
  • Limiting dining out, especially at fast food establishments
  • Encouraging family meals
  • Limiting portion size

Prevention does not only need to happen at home. Families, doctors, schools, and communities should all get involved. By working together, we can all make a difference.


Emmett, P. M., & Jones, L. R. (2015). Diet, growth, and obesity development throughout childhood in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Nutrition Reviews, 73175-206. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv054

Peek, L. A. (2016). Interventions in childhood obesity. Clinical Advisor, 19(11), 30-45

Schanzenbach, D. W. (2009). Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?. Journal Of Human Resources, 44(3), 684-709



Sensory Processing Unlocked! A key to understanding Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

The reactive behavior of an individual affected by sensory processing disorder (SPD) can be very puzzling to an outside observer. However, a simple explanation of sensory processing can change the perception of behaviors so they no longer seem out of place. 

What is sensory processing? Sensory processing is the brain’s organization of sensory messages from inside oneself as well as through interaction with the environment. These include messages from the well-known senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight; in addition to less known, but equally important, senses of movement, balance, and body awareness (Wheble & Hong, 2006).

Why is sensory processing important? Meaningful interactions within the environment are essential for successful functioning in everyday activities.

What is sensory processing disorder? Sensory processing disorder (SPD) refer to the inability of the brain to effectively process sensory information. An individual may have difficulty recognizing the presence of sensory information, or in contrast have difficulty ignoring the presence of sensory information (Sweet, 2010, p.2).

Margarita Sweet is an Occupational Therapist who works with children with sensory processing dysfunction also known as sensory processing disorder (SPD) or sensory integration dysfunction. She described the effects of SPD on a child’s ability to function during everyday activities, such as focusing in school or playing on the playground (Sweet, 2010, p.2).

For example: 

Children appear comfortable as they actively participate in classroom lesson, an example of successful sensory integration.
Children appear comfortable and alert as they actively participate in a classroom lesson; an example of successful sensory integration. By: US Embassy Canada

Classroom success relies on integration of important sensory information  such as the sound of the teacher’s voice and the visual information the teacher posts on walls or boards. In contrast, extraneous, possibly distracting sensory information include the feeling of hard, cold seats and desks, the sounds of fidgety peers and hums of fluorescent lights, and colorful, cluttered classroom walls and bookshelves. For a child with SPD, they may feel so uncomfortable or distracted by their inability to ignore extraneous sensory information that they are unable to participate and meet typical classroom expectations.

What does sensory processing feel like? 

Hear the Point of View of a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder 


In the above video, a boy with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) describes experiencing difficulties during many daily activities such as:

  • Difficulty responding to loud and unexpected noises
  • Feeling uncomfortable in clothing because of tags, seams, buttons, or textures.
  • Difficulty making eye contact and interacting with peers
  • Difficulty tolerating transitions between activities, especially if unexpected


How can occupational therapy help?

Watch an Occupational Therapist Treat a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

In the above video, the occupational therapist demonstrated several techniques for treating symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD. She described:

  • Differences between calming, alerting, and organizing sensory information
  • The use of movement, deep touch, and deep pressure to promote effective sensory integration
  • The unique role of occupational therapy in addressing a child’s specific sensory needs

Occupational therapists often use sensory integration strategies to increase a child’s ability to regulate their responses to environmental stimuli. Sensory integration treatments have been shown to have measurable positive outcomes in the areas of nighttime routines and sleeping, tactile discrimination (ability to identify and understand the environment through the sense of touch), self-dressing skills, participation in safe play, and planning and coordination with coloring activities. (Schaaf, Hunt, & Benevides, 2012).

Watch a reporter from Wall Street Journal describe treating children for Sensory Processing Disorder 

In the above video, the Wall Street reporter describes that:

  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is not classified as a medical diagnosis, and therefore treatment may be not be covered by insurance reimbursed differently by insurance
  • Symptoms of SPD are usually recognized between the ages of 2 and 7
  • Children with SPD are commonly also affected by disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • SPD can affect all of the senses differently
  • Occupational therapy services treat children with SPD through play based games and activities


Where to look for more detailed information? Popular media can be used to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of sensory processing and sensory processing disorder (SPD).  A comprehensive literature review revealed a high rate of accuracy and reliability in non-professional literature on SPD. For the most part, uniformity in terminology was high and popular media clips offered a unique and beneficial opportunity to visualize reliable information. However, it should be noted that there is a need for more evidence that scientifically supports the efficacy of sensory integration treatments for symptoms associated with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) (Schaaf et al., 2012).





Schaaf, R. C., Hunt, J., & Benevides, T. (2012). Occupational Therapy Using Sensory Integration to Improve Participation of a Child With Autism: A Case Report. American Journal Of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 547-555. doi:10.5014/ajot.2012.004473

Sweet, M. (2010). Helping Children with Sensory Processing Disorders: The Role of Occupational Therapy.Odyssey: New Directions In Deaf Education, 11(1), 20-22.

Wheble, J., & Hong, C. (2006). Apparatus for enhancing sensory processing in children. International Journal Of Therapy & Rehabilitation,13(4), 177-181.


Assistance with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an autoimmune disease where your body no longer produces enough or ceases to produce insulin. What is an autoimmune disease you ask? An autoimmune disease is actually your body “attacking itself”, in the case of Type 1 DM, if your body is producing insulin, the sees this insulin as a foreign invader and destroys it! What is insulin you ask? Insulin is a hormone that our pancreas (an organ in the body), allows the body to break down sugars. Without this protein, our blood glucose (sugars) levels rise and are not able to properly return back to normal ranges. This disease is also something you will have to live with, as there is no cure. However, there is good news, you will be able to take control of your sugars with the help from your doctor(s), dieting, and exercise!

After you have met with your doctor, you may experience a series of moods, these feelings can range from fear, nervousness/uncertainty to even anger! Don’t worry, you are not alone! You are not alone with this disease and there numerous ways to cope and deal with the symptoms! One of the best steps you can take with your recent diagnosis is of acceptance and realizing that it will not control your life.

One of the best ways to fight this disease is with proper dieting & exercise. Additionally, your doctor will prescribe insulin – this will come in the form of injections, patches or even a pump! This man made insulin will assist your body in lowering blood glucose levels. Proper dieting and exercise can lower these levels even more. One of the biggest challenges I have experienced with dieting is to cut my carbohydrates & sugars intake – I have a large sweet tooth! Your doctor may inform you of a special chart that I use weekly to ensure that I am following the correct meal plan for my body. The Glycemic Index is a chart that measures the sugar content found within foods. Sugars can come in many different forms in foods, from carbohydrates, natural fruit sugars and additives.The glycemic index is system that ranks foods 1-100 based on their effect of blood glucose levels; 100 is set as pure glucose. The lower the number falls on the GI, the slower it affects the blood glucose level, thus a “better” choice for diabetics. Additionally, diabetics should avoid to many carbohydrates, as the body processes these types of foods into sugars, usually falling on the higher end of the GI scale. Generally, you want to achieve 45-60 grams of carbohydrates a meal. Examples of these foods include starches (grains, rice oatmeal), fruit and juice and some dairy products. When there are no labels present, these are general guidelines for 15grams of carbohydrates for a few foods:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4oz
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
  • 2 small cookies
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • ¼ serving of medium French fry

In addition to counting your carbohydrate intake, everyone can benefit by reading and understanding nutrition labels. Look at serving sizes, grams of carbohydrates, look at calories (roughly 2000/day for women, 2500/day for men). Additionally, to assist with reducing the risk of stroke, monitor your saturated & trans-fat intake & sodium for blood pressure levels. To help a diabetic patient or anyone who is worried about their dieting, the American Diabetes Association has helpful hints & ideas on how to overcome the worries of proper eating. Their link & are specifically designed to help understand proper eating habits. Choose My Plate also has helpful hints, especially for younger children,


Are GMO’s really good for you?

gmosThe world we live in is full of amazing new discoveries and nuances.  There are creatures on this planet that have yet to be seen by human eyes.  Some of which live in impossible conditions, like the tube worms living in hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean or the glass frog secluded within the rain forest of the amazon.  We also live in a world of wondrous innovation and scientific discoveries.   Man, has always had a curiosity to learn about life and how it evolved.  These curiosities lead to scientists unlocking the mysteries of the human genome. 

This new knowledge has been at the forefront of many useful medical interventions and targeted treatments.  However, learning more information about how genes work has spearheaded other scientific work.  In 1994, Scientists began transferring genes from one species to another in an effort to create food that could sit on store shelves for a longer period of time.  We are now in a situation where chemical companies are producing the food that we eat.  These companies routinely take genes from bacteria or other organisms and place them into foods in order to create a crop that is resistant to pesticides.  This is what is commonly referred to as GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), GE crops (genetically engineered crops), or GM foods (genetically modified foods).


Some may think this is great, now farmer’s do not have to worry about pests eating all of their profits.  But did anyone ever stop to think of the other implications of this practice?  How do we know that these foods are safe to eat? The only answer provided by scientists and proponents of these crops is that there is no proof of harm.  Which isn’t exactly the same as saying they are safe.  What impact will these foods have on the human genome?  If we are indeed what we eat, then how will these foods modify us?  How will the addition of these foods affect the ecosystem?  How do the introductions of these crops effect the farming community?  It is strange to think that such a small change in how the worlds food is grown can have such an enormous impact on life as we know it.


GM foods have entered our food supply with such an incredible swiftness, that the public was not properly informed about what had happened.  Furthermore, until recently there was no way to know if the food you are eating contains GMO’s.  As the public became more aware and wary of GM foods, protests and demands for disclosure began.  This lead to state senators proposing the so called “dark act”, which protects companies from being required to label foods that contain GMO ingredients.  You can read more about that here:  Some food companies have chosen to voluntarily label their products due to consumer demands and protests.  The chemical companies that produce these GM seeds are fighting against mandates that require the labeling of their product as genetically modified. There are still many questions about what kind of effect GMO’s will have on the population and its food supply.  When asked if GM foods are harmful, the only answer given is that there is no proof that they cause harm.  This is not the same as saying that they are not harmful or that they are in fact safe. 

pearsScientists in favor of GMO’s argue that their process is no different than the practice of selective breeding done by farmers for decades.  However, farmer’s engagement in selective breeding involved combining different types of the same plant life i.e. two types of tomatoes that have the flavor or color desired.  This is entirely different than combining bacteria with corn that makes it produce a insecticide in its core.  When it comes to GMO’s don’t we have the right to know what we are eating and what the long-term effects of eating it will be?  Monsanto is one of the largest producers of GM seeds, they also happen to produce Round Up.  They call there brand of seeds “Round Up Ready seeds”Shall we let companies that produce pesticides also produce the food we eat?  I’ll let you decide.


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Pelletier, D. L. (2005). Science, law, and politics in FDA’s genetically engineered foods policy: scientific concerns and uncertainties. Nutrition Reviews, 63(6 Pt 1), 210-223.

PETHERAM, J. (1999, April 29). Genetic concerns in future food. Nelson Mail, The. p. 11.



Alzheimer’s Disease: A Comprehensive Guide for Families and Caregivers

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease poses many potential challenges for families and caregivers. The demands of daily care, changes in family roles, and decisions about your loved ones future can place a high physical, emotional, and financial toll on you and your family. It can be difficult to comprehend the physical, mental, and emotional changes associated with this disease, so taking advantage of the many resources available to caregivers is essential.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a chronic or persistent disorder that affects memory and other intellectual abilities enough to cause a disruption to an individuals daily life. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include issues with memory, thinking, and behavior which slowly progress over time until the person is no longer able to function independently. The Alzheimer’s Association ( estimates nearly 1 in 3 seniors are currently living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, there is no known cure, however there are several treatments available to reduce symptoms as well as continuing research to slow it’s progression. 


The Caregiver Role
The demands placed on individuals responsible for caring for family members diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are significant. This type of care is physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. The role of caregiver can be time-consuming as nearly 1 in 4 caregivers are required to provide “constant care”—committing 40 or more hours per week to caregiving— which may impact work and family life.

When caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, caregivers are often required to provide personal care such as bathing, feeding, dressing, and assisting with incontinence issues. This is not an easy task as many individuals with Alzheimer’s are noncompliant due to feelings of confusion and disorientation. They are typically unable to assist even in the most basic activities of daily living so the responsibility falls solely on the caregiver.

Caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease often face unique challenges as well due to their loved one’s cognitive impairment. Responsibilities such as taking on financial management, medication management and household chores are all added items to the caregiver’s plate.

When combined, it is clear that these newfound responsibilities placed on you as a caregiver may lead to feelings of stress and caregiver burden.

Recognizing Symptoms of Caregiver Burden
High levels of stress are frequently reported by Alzheimer’s caregivers. The following is a look at some of the possible symptoms:

  • Denial about the diagnosis and the effect it will on the relative in the upcoming years. Thinking they will get “better”
  • Anger directed towards the person you are caring for and frustration when they are unable to do activities they once were able to
  • Social withdrawal from friends and family that you once enjoyed
  • Anxiety about your loved ones future and fear that you will not be able to continue caring for them
  • Depression that affects your ability to cope. Thinking “I just don’t care anymore”
  • Exhaustion inability to complete daily tasks because you’ve become to tired
  • Sleeplessness sometimes caused by a never-ending to do list and concerns.
  • Irritability causing you to respond to your loved one negatively
  • Lack of concentration forgetfulness and inability to complete tasks
  • Health problems from the  physical and mental exhaustion

In this video, families discuss the transition from spouse, child, sibling or other relative to caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and various ways they cope with stress associated with their new role.

What you can do…
One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself. While you may be busy caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease, it’s important to recognize the impact this role has on your own emotional, physical and mental health. Be aware of feelings of frustration, confusion, anger and sadness that may occur and recognize these feelings are normal. Taking action to address your own mental health will only increase your ability to be the best version of yourself while caring for your loved one.

Always remember, it is okay to ask for help whether it’s from other family members, use of adult day services, or involving a home health care agency, if caregiving becomes too much to handle alone be sure to reach out. Utilizing these resources will not only bring you relief, but may prevent any illness or depression associated with caregiver burden.

Additional ways to take care of yourself

  • Ask family and friends to help you in specific ways (ex: taking the person with Alzheimer’s out for a few hours, making a meal, help with cleaning around the house etc)
  • Join an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group—available online or in person
  • Maintain your hobbies and interests
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Spend time with friends
  • Utilize relaxation techniques (visualization, meditation, breathing exercises)

The following video is an inspiring story of a woman who took on the role as caregiver to five of her relatives who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her story focuses on the positive impact this experience had on her life over the two decades she spent caring for her mother, aunts, and uncles. She recognizes the extreme sacrifices that are required to care for individuals with this disease, but with the right outlook, it can be one of the greatest experiences in your life.

It is important to remember caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease is a balancing act. In your role as caregiver, continue to do what you can to provide the best possible care for your loved one while maintaining your own personal well-being. Never hesitate to seek out help and support when you need it.


Alzheimer’s Association and National Alliance for Caregiving. (2004). Families Care: Alzheimer’s Caregiving in the United States. Retrieved from

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). (2012, July). Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Caring for Yourself. Retrieved from

Mendiola-Precoma, J., Berumen, L. C., Padilla, K., & Garcia-Alcocer, G. (2016). Therapies for Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Biomed Research International, http:// fa34-43e2-8328-6aba78159cb4%40sessionmgr4008&hid=4106&bdata= JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ccm&AN=117065533

Mittelman, M. (2004, May). Sustained Benefit of Supportive Intervention for Depressive Symptoms in Caregivers of Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from http://

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Epilepsy effects millions of people in today’s society. Imagine someone close to you is suffering from epilepsy and having multiple seizures a day. Medication after medication bring on side effect after side effect and nothing’s helping to stop the seizures. Imagine if there was a new drug that could help reduce seizures with minimal side effects.

Medical Marijuana is a new type of drug that is being used to treat those living with severe epilepsy.

Toddler’s seizures treated with medical marijuana


How it Works

Seizures are caused by abnormal brain activity. Although they can be caused by infections that can be treated with medications there are many cases of people living with epilepsy that are not caused by infections. Instead these people living with epilepsy have a misfiring of synapses in their brain causing seizures to happen. Medical Marijuana has the ability to change brain activity and preventing and stopping seizures.


Meet the 14-Year-Old Who Helped Legalize Medical Marijuana In NY [Documentary] | Elite Daily


According to the Chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Denver Health and Hospitals, the use of CBD (cannabidiol):

  • CBD can drastically reduce the number of seizures someone with epilepsy experiences. Charlotte, a little girl who had on average 50 convulsive seizures a day, was featured on a CNN special to discuss her success with taking cannabidiol, Charlotte was given a high concentration of CBD daily for 3 weeks straight. After being exposed to the CBD her seizures reduced from 50 a day to only 2-3 nocturnal convulsions per month. Not only did the CBD have an overall positive effect on Charlottes seizures, but she was also able to be taken off of her other seizure medications. This experiment shows medical marijuana can improve seizures in those living with severe epilepsy.

Marijuana Cures Child’s Seizures


Medical Cannabis owns this epileptic seizure


According to the epilepsy foundation and their research on if medical marijuana has a positive impact on seizures report to their site:

  • Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports and studies on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) showed positive outcomes
  • Experiments with epileptic patients were given medical marijuana for 12 weeks
  • Reports show a decrease in seizures by 54%


Side Effects

Like any medication out there, there are always a possibility of side effects. These side effects can include but are not limited to fatigue, diarrhea, and a decrease in appetite.


A study done by Robert Preidt decided to take a look at the effects of medical marijuana on patients with epilepsy:

  • This trial used cannabidiol (CBD) on 130 participants living with epilepsy
  • Reports from this study show that the drug gave some negative side effect
  • 12 patients had to discontinue treatment with CBD because of harsh side effects
  • These effects included diarrhea, tiredness, and decreased appetite

After researching the benefits of medical marijuana and its effect on those living with epilepsy I have concluded that the media does in fact support its medical use that can be backed up by research. These media reports show the effects that research proves.


Preidt, R. (2015). Liquid Medical Marijuana Shows Promise for Epilepsy. Retrieved

August 15, 2016, from Web MD:


Sirven, J. MD (2015). Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy. Retrieved 08 15, 2016, from

Epilepsy Foundation:


Stong, C. (2014). Is Marijuana Effective for Epilepsy?. Neurology Reviews, 22(4), 18.