Thursday, April 23, 2015

Duct Tape and Other Anti-Tick Tips


"Ticks: the foulest and nastiest creatures that be." --Pliny the Elder, 23-79 A.D., Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher

Rhinebeck, NY, April 28—Sunshine and flowers are especially welcome this year following the extremely harsh winter.  The season has finally begun for hiking, gardening, picnicking, and simply enjoying the great outdoors.  It is now also tick season—which means increased exposure to the serious infectious diseases they carry.
The frigid temperatures did not kill ticks as they have a two-year life cycle and are well regulated to survive winters.  They become active once the weather starts to thaw, and by the time it reaches 40 degrees they are seeking warm-blooded hosts to feed on.

"According to the New York Department of Health, ticks are most active late spring through mid-August," says Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc., Rhinebeck, NY, the makers of the Topricin line of natural pain relief and healing creams.  "Now is the time to avoid contact with them and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme and Babesiosis, two dangerous tick-borne illnesses."


The Lyme disease bacterium (Borrelia burgdorfen) is carried by a species of ticks known as Ixodes.  Ticks in this group include deer ticks, western black-legged ticks, and black-legged ticks.  These tiny terrors are small—typically no larger than a poppy seed—and transmit the bacteria when feeding on warm-blooded hosts, including mice, deer, dogs, and humans.  The bacteria enter the skin through the bite during feeding and eventually make their way into the bloodstream. 

Lyme disease is rampant.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of Americans diagnosed each year is approximately 300,000, and the agency has gone on record to say that it believes only 10% - 12% of Lyme disease cases are actually reported to them. Most documented cases have occurred in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, with some incidences reported from western states, including Oregon and northern California.  Moreover, the Companion Animal Parasite Council Parasite Forecast Maps predict Lyme is expanding its range to the west as well as southern states.

The NY Dept. of Health reports that in 60 to 70 percent of Lyme disease cases, the first symptom is often a rash that occurs at or near the site of a tick bite and has a round, "bulls-eye" appearance.  It can be between 2" and 6" in diameter, and lasts up to five weeks.  Other symptoms occur from several days to weeks, months, and even years after a bite.  They include "flu-like" symptoms, such as aches and pains in muscles and joints, chills and fever, headache, sore throat, stiff neck, swollen glands, dizziness, and fatigue.  Even if these symptoms fade away, untreated Lyme disease may lead to arthritis, nervous system abnormalities, and an irregular heart rhythm.


Babesiosis is another infection transmitted by ticks and is caused by a parasite that lives in red blood cells. The babesia microti parasite infects and destroys red blood cells, and the disease—which is a malaria-like illness—can cause hemolytic anemia.  Symptoms begin anywhere from five days after a bite or longer, and may include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, nausea, tiredness, and a rash.  Unlike Lyme, Babesiosis has been known to be fatal.  Therefore diagnosis and treatment should begin as soon as possible after it is contracted. 


Because tick bites are usually painless, the incubation period is long, and the symptoms so varied, a tick-borne disease may go unrecognized for weeks or even months.  Moreover, these diseases often mimic other conditions—such as the flu, meningitis, or, in some instances Multiple Sclerosis—making it easy for there to be a misdiagnosis.  Further complicating matters is the fact that diagnostic tests are not always accurate or conclusive.

Test timing is a factor in diagnosis.  According to Sally Hojvat, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Microbiology Devices at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, "It's important to know that blood tests that check for antibodies to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease are not useful if done soon after a tick bite.  It takes two to five weeks for initial antibodies to develop."


Avoiding contact with ticks and disease prevention are the first and best lines of defense against tickborne infections.  Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe from these tiny threats.

  • Ticks are carried by deer, mice, and other common woodland creatures.Keep these uninvited guests away by installing a deer fence and moving brush piles and wood piles (where mice find shelter) and bird feeders (a source of food for rodents) away from your house and play areas.
  • There are a number of plants you can cultivate around your yard that repel ticks, including lavender, garlic, pennyroyal, pyrethrum (a type of chrysanthemum), sage, and eucalyptus.
  • Use natural tick repellents.  According to award-winning author and green living expert Annie B. Bond, the essential oil of rose geranium is an effective repellent.  "Do not apply it directly on skin, but mix a drop or two in an oil, or dab onto your clothing, particularly shoes, socks and pants, shirt cuffs, and collar" says Ms. Bond.  "You may also use it on your dog, but again not directly on the skin.  Apply a drop to a bandana, or on a collar or harness."  Other products she recommends include Rose Geranium Hydrosol, available from Simplers Botanicals for $12.65 (  and Buzz Away Extreme, which is formulated with citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and peppermint.  Studies have found it to be as effective or better than DEET-based products, and it was rated as the most effective natural insect repellent by the Good Housekeeping Institute. 
  • It seems that dryer sheets also offer some protection.  According to Dr. Gary Wilkes, a veterinarian at Westside Animal Hospital, Augusta, GA, "To avoid ticks, I like to place dryer sheets in my socks, pockets and hat.  I don't know if it's the smell or the fragrance, but it seems that loading up on Bounce provides good protection."
  • If your lifestyle permits, raising chickens, ducks and guinea hens will help keep the tick population down as these feathered friends have a voracious appetite for them.
  • Keep your lawn manicured and avoid walking in wooded, brushy, and grassy areas. When hiking in an overgrown or wooded area, try to stay near the center of the trail, and do not sit on stonewalls, which harbor rodents.
  • When outdoors, protect yourself and your children by wearing long sleeves and long pants, preferably in light colors so you can spot a tick more easily.Wear shoes and socks that you tuck pant legs into or a pair of tall boots.
  • After being outdoors, remove clothing and place them in a dryer first for 15 minutes, then wash your clothes and dry again.Washing alone will not kill ticks—even with bleach—it's the heat of the dryer that does the trick.
  • Do a thorough body check of yourself and your children after spending time outdoors, and take a shower or bath within two hours of coming inside.In the case of Lyme disease, infection from a tick to a human typically takes 30 – 40hours, so spotting and removing them quickly is an important first defense. (It is uncertain how long it takes for Babesiosis to spread.)
  • De-tick with duct tape.To get the pests off you or your pet, use sticky duct tape to remove before they bite.
  • Your four-legged friend may pick up an unwanted hitchhiker after being outside.Be sure to inspect dogs for ticks after they've been outside as they may deliver a tick to you, and they can also become sick with Lyme disease.

If you discover a tick attached to you, carefully remove it. Using tweezers, grasp it close to the skin and pull straight back without twisting or yanking. There are also devices on the market today that are made for effectively and efficiently removing ticks.Avoid pressing or squeezing the tick's belly as it can push bacteria into your body. Similarly, do not use the heat of a match that you light and blow out, or petroleum jelly.After you've removed the tick, disinfect the bite area.Save the tick for possible identification by a doctor or the local health department.


There is now research showing the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), offering hope to patients crippled by chronic Lyme disease. Dr. William Fife at Texas A & M University has published extensive research demonstrating profound improvements in Lyme disease patients treated with HBOT. These improvements include pain reduction, return of clarity of the mind, and reduction of depression.


Doctors will often prescribe antibiotics if they suspect Lyme or another tick-borne illness.  Here are some ways you can assist your body further with some safe, natural treatments.
"With tick-borne diseases, the body needs to detoxify, especially joint, muscle and nerve tissue," says Paradise. "Applying Topricin is helpful as it gives the body the support for its basic function of maintaining healthy cells and repairing damaged ones through enhanced healing.  Its combination of natural biomedicines in a clean water-based cream base that's free of chemicals and other irritants helps restore vitality to joint, nerve, and muscle tissues while providing safe, effective pain relief." 
The reference book Prescription for Nutritional Healing offers the following recommendations for helping to recover from Lyme Disease.
--Nutritional supplements recommended include:
--Essential fatty acids (for helping to reduce inflammation and joint stiffness)
--Pancreatin and bromelain (to aid protein digestion and reduce inflammation)
--Evening Primrose oil capsules (to help combat pain and inflammation, with significant benefits to the skin and cardiovascular system)
--Garlic (immune system stimulator with antibiotic properties)
--Kelp (a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals, aids in detoxification)
--Vitamins A, C, and E (antioxidants and immune system support)
--"Green drinks" provide chlorophyll (aids in detoxification while providing important nutrients and enzymes).
Herbs recommended include:
--Alfalfa (supplies minerals and detoxifies the body)
--Dandelion root, ginseng, hawthorn, horsetail, and marshmallow root (help cleanse and rebuild the blood and damaged tissues)
--Echinacea (immune enhancer fights bacterial and viral infections; caution: should be used with caution if you are allergic to ragweed)
--Goldenseal (use for one week only as a natural antibiotic; caution: do not use during pregnancy and with caution if you are allergic to ragweed)
--Milk thistle extract (protects the liver and kidneys and stimulates the production of new liver cells)
--Red clover (cleanses the bloodstream, helps fight infection)

About Topical BioMedics, Inc.
20 years in business and a Certified B Corporation, Topical BioMedics is the research and development leader in topical patented natural biomedicines for pain relief. The company's flagship product, Topricin® Pain Relief and Healing Cream, was introduced in 1994 and is now a leading natural therapeutic brand. A combination biomedicine formula, Topricin has been awarded a patent for the treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy, was listed among the Top 100 Green Products of 2012 by Healthy Holistic Living.
The Topricin family of natural healing products also includes Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, specially formulated to treat painful foot and ankle issues and conditions, and Topricin for Children, which received the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval (with 5% of sales donated to pediatric cancer foundation). Made in the U.S.A., all Topricin products are federally-regulated over-the-counter medicines with no known side effects, no parabens, petroleum, or other harsh chemicals, no grease, and no odor.
Topricin is available in independent pharmacies, natural food and co-op stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Pharmaca, The Vitamin Shoppe, Fred Meyer, Wegmans, CVS (Foot Care Section), Walgreens (Diabetic Section), and other fine retailers, as well as directly from the company.
For more information visit

Ideas for Mother's Day


For the beauty junkie: Carrington Farms Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Paks
  • When you hear the term Coconut Oil - the furthest thing from your mind is probably all of the added health and beauty benefits that come with it.  Yes, that is right - Coconut Oil has many beauty advantages and can be used for skin and hair care.  This on trend beauty must-have multipurposes as a body moisturizer, massage oil, leave in hair conditioner, shaving cream, and eye makeup remover.  Best part is, the Coconut Oil is available in portable, convienent Paks, super easy for mom to toss in her purse and use on-the-go. ($8.99/8- 0.5 oz packets per box/
For the foodie: Colman’s Dry Mustard Powder and a Cookbook
  • Established in 1814, Colman’s Mustard of Norwich has been recognized widely as the iconic English mustard in the U.K. Just 10 calories per serving, and the fiery kick will help to rev your metabolism to make exercise a touch easier. What makes Colman’s unique is that it is available in a dry powder form, which is great for spice rubs for meat or fish as we approach summer grilling season.  The perfect gift to pair with a cookbook from mom’s favorite chef.  Available at Walmart and Whole Foods.
For the coffee connoisseur: Krups Moka Brew Coffee Maker
  • For the mom who loves her morning java jolt, the KRUPS Moka Brew Coffee Maker delivers up to 10 satisfying cups of full-bodied, aromatic coffee at the optimal brew temperature.  Featuring the Moka Brew steam extraction method to thoroughly saturate coffee grounds for a fuller, more robust flavor. Features an oversized shower head ensures optimal coffee ground saturation and extraction. Available at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $149.99
For the mom with a sweet tooth: Bauli Mini Croissants
  • Bauli Mini Croissants are a fun and irresistible way to enjoy the full sweetness and delicious taste of Bauli croissants in a smaller, bite-sized snack. A favorite, tasty snack in Italy, the Mini Croissants come in handy, easy-to-pack bags which make for a great snack at home or on-the-go.   Oven baked and ready to eat, making it the perfect portion controlled treat!  Available in vanilla custard and chocolate cream; MSRP: $1.99 for 2.64 oz (6 mini croissants per bag).
For the mom who loves wine (but not the calories): VINIA Red Grape Powder                                             
  • Imagine being able to reap all of the benefits of red wine…without the sugar, calories, or alcohol? VINIA is the first-ever biofood (a new kind of superfood) and is completely calorie-free.  Simply mix the red grape powder in anything you would normally eat or drink (oatmeal, yogurt, water, smoothies, salads, etc.) for a wellness boost when you’re on the road. One serving of VINIA contains a similar amount of Resveratrol as found in 1,000 grapes or 1 bottle of fine red wine.  Supports blood circulation, healthy arteries, and blood pressure already within normal range.  Available at

A Pantry Essential Fit for a Queen!

Spring is not only a time to eat healthier, it's also a time to do some spring cleaning, clear the clutter from your cabinets, and stock your pantry with smart choices.Add to your pantry an all-star condiment and pantry essential is on your radar, iconic English mustard, Colman's Mustard of Norwich. 

Available in a dry powder for the pantry (great for spice rubs) as well as a traditional prepared liquid mustard, Colman's has been a must have kitchen staple for nearly 200 years, and is the brand of choice among British royalty (Colman's received the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1866). Let's face it - if Colman's meets the standards for being stocked in the pantries of Buckingham Palace, surely it is essential for your pantry.

From sautéing meat and fish, to preparing dips, dressings & sauces, and even cookies & cocktails, Colman's is a necessity for all types of cooking. With a zesty and fiery kick, this high quality mustard will certainly help to spice up typical weeknight meals. Here are some ideas for using Colman's Mustard. 
  • Kick Meals Up a Notch with Condiments
  • Spicy Low Fat Sandwiches
  • Essential for Grilling
  • Cocktails with a Surprise Ingredient
  • A Royal Ingredient for a Royal Soiree

About Colman's Mustard
Established in 1814, Colman's Mustard of Norwich has been recognized widely as the iconic English mustard in the U.K. Using a unique and zesty blend of brown mustard seeds (Brassica Juncea) and white mustard seeds (Sinapis Alba), Jeremiah Colman created a mustard with a flavorful heat sensation that has become an essential condiment and paramount ingredient for favorite recipes, even to the highest royal order. In 1866 Queen Victoria bestowed the ultimate seal of approval – the Royal Warrant – galvanizing Colman's Mustard as the crown jewel of mustards and securing its place in the most discerning kitchens around the world. Sold as dry powder mustard and prepared liquid mustard, Colman's Mustard provides a pure, fiery and complex condiment for all recipes and dishes. Visit for more information.

NEW Rose Petal Jelly- for Mother's Day


Can Bech rose petal jelly contains only natural products, and are made with real rose petals and aroma and raspberries which exalt the flavor of this delicious jelly. An ideal product for Mother's Day gift-giving and for offering your loved ones. MSRP: $8.50

Rose Petal Jelly:
·         Combines with fresh or Parmesan cheese, with ice cream or fresh yogurt. It is also delicious with foie gras canapes or with dark chocolate for a cake. Perfect for making a very glamorous rose Cosmopolitan cocktail!   
·         All-Natural and Non-GMO
·         MSRP: $8.50

Waterwise Gardening

Water Wisely for a Beautiful Garden and Landscape

By Melinda Myers

Too much or not enough water and never when you need it. That seems to be the long time plight of gardeners. Add to this extended droughts, flooding and watering bans.  What is a gardener to do? Become a waterwise gardener.

Waterwise is not just about growing drought tolerant plants or eliminating plantings. It is a holistic approach to managing water to avoid flooding that overwhelms sewer systems, improper watering that wastes water, and poor landscape designs that generate too much work and require too many resources.

Make this the season that you incorporate a few waterwise habits into your gardening.  You'll find it is good for your garden, the environment and your pocketbook. Start with one or more of these strategies this year.
  • Select the right plant for the growing conditions.  Plants that thrive in normal growing conditions for your area will be healthier, require less care and need less water. Look for drought tolerant plants that require less water once established.
  • Keep water out of the storm sewers and in the garden instead. Prevent flooding while improving your garden. Adding several inches of compost to the top 8 to 12 inches of soil increases the soil's ability to absorb and retain water. This means less runoff into the storm sewers and less frequent watering.
  • Use plants to prevent runoff and conserve water. Plant trees, shrubs, and groundcovers to slow the flow of rainwater, increase the amount of water that stays in your landscape for your plants, and to filter water before it enters the groundwater. Install one or more rain gardens to intercept surface water runoff for use by rain garden plants and to help recharge the groundwater.
  • Provide plants with a healthy diet. Use a slow release non-leaching organic nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite ( You'll encourage slow steady growth, so your plants will require less water and be less prone to insect and disease problems. Plus, the slow release nitrogen encourages healthy growth and does not prevent flowering and fruiting.
  • Water wisely. Water plants thoroughly and only when needed. Water the soil, not the plant, using a watering wand, drip irrigation or a soaker hose so less water is lost to evaporation. Water early in the morning whenever possible to reduce water loss during the heat of the day and diseases caused by wet foliage at night.
  • Manage your lawns to reduce water use.  Select drought tolerant grass varieties to reduce watering needs.  Prepare the soil before seeding or sodding or aerate and spread a thin layer of compost over existing lawns to increase water absorption and reduce runoff. Mow high to encourage deep roots that are more drought tolerant and pest resistant.  Allow lawns to go dormant during hot dry weather. If irrigating, water thoroughly when needed, that's when your footprints remain in the lawn.
  • Conserve water and reduce time and money spent on plant care. Mulch the soil around trees, shrubs and other plants with several inches of woodchips, shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material.  Mulching reduces watering frequency, prevents soil compaction from heavy rainfall thus increasing water absorption. It also adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.
  • Repair leaking faucets, fittings and garden hoses. A slow leak of one drip per second can waste up to nine gallons of water per day.
  • Look for and use wasted water. Collect the "warming water" typically wasted when preparing baths and showers. Use a five-gallon bucket to collect this fresh water and use it for your containers and gardens. Collect water from your dehumidifier and window air conditioners for use on flowering plants. Do not, however, use this water if environmentally harmful solvents have been used to clean this equipment.
  • Check with your local municipality if you are considering using gray water. Once you wash clothes, dishes or yourself, water is classed as gray water and most municipalities have guidelines or regulations related to its use.
  • Harvest rainwater if your municipality allows. The ancient technique of capturing rainwater in jugs, barrels and cisterns has made a comeback. Collecting rain when it is plentiful and storing it until it is needed is one way to manage water for the landscape. But first check local regulations before installing a rain harvesting system. Several states have banned rain harvesting, while others offer rebates or rain barrels at a discount to gardeners.
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can't Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener's Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda's Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers' web site,, offers gardening videos and tips.

Weill Cornell Investigators Discover a New Pathway that Prevents Chronic Inflammation in the Gut

Investigators Show How Immune Cells are "Educated" Not to Attack Beneficial Bacteria

New York (April 23, 2015) -- An international research team led by Weill Cornell Medical College investigators has discovered an answer to why the human immune system ignores roughly 100 trillion beneficial bacteria that populate the gastrointestinal tract. The findings, published April 23 in the journal Science, advance investigators' understanding of how humans maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and may provoke new ways to treat inflammatory bowel disease -- including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis -- whose origins have been mysterious and treatment difficult.  

The investigators studied T cells -- critical components of the adaptive immune system -- which have the capacity to recognize, eliminate and remember foreign microbes that invade our bodies. T cells are named after the thymus, an organ where they develop and are taught not to attack normal human tissues and organs, leaving them free to target and eradicate disease-causing foreign invaders. One question that had puzzled scientists until now is how these cells learn to ignore beneficial bacteria in the intestine that are also foreign, but not harmful.

In the study, the research team discovered that once they leave the thymus, T cells are again educated in the gastrointestinal tract, or gut, to leave beneficial bacteria alone. This dual education strategy is vital to supporting healthy immune function, the investigators say. Disruption in the pathway that facilitates this education, they add, causes the immune system to attack beneficial bacteria in the intestine, which is often linked to the development and progression of diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, HIV, viral hepatitis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Therapeutic strategies to promote and boost the activity of this education pathway may be beneficial in treating patients with these chronic inflammatory disorders, the investigators say.

"In many chronic human diseases, the immune system attacks bacteria in the intestine that are normally beneficial. Although we do not yet know whether this is a cause or consequence of these complex diseases, experimental evidence suggests that this inflammatory process contributes to disease progression," says senior author Dr. Gregory F. Sonnenberg, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in medicine and a member of the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell. "Our study demonstrates that there may be an efficient way to eliminate pro-inflammatory T cells in the intestine that attack beneficial bacteria. This would not only help our patients with inflammatory bowel disease, but also might give us clues about how to treat other chronic inflammatory diseases caused by abnormal T cell responses, such as allergic and autoimmune disorders."

In earlier research, Dr. Sonnenberg and his team identified that a recently discovered member of the innate immune system -- innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) -- critically regulate immune cell interactions with bacteria. These ILCs, and other cells of the immune system, are found in the intestine, which is constantly exposed to and colonized by beneficial bacteria. "There is a physical separation between the immune system and most beneficial bacteria," Dr. Sonnenberg says. 

The researchers had previously found that ILCs reinforce a physical barrier between the immune system and intestinal beneficial bacteria, but in this study, they uncovered a new key role for these cells -- that they act like the cells in the thymus that educate T cells.

In a process that developed over evolution, bits of human tissues and organs are introduced to T cells in the thymus so they "know" what not to attack after leaving the organ. Specialized cells in the thymus teach T cells this behavior by interacting with a molecule known as the Major Histocompatibility Complex class II (MHCII). Any T cells with the potential to attack the human body and organs and cause auto-immunity are destroyed before they can leave the thymus. However, T cells with the potential to attack beneficial bacteria are not educated or eliminated in the thymus. It was therefore unclear what stopped these T cells from attacking beneficial bacteria in the intestine. 

The scientists found a similar process happening directly within the GI tract, an organ that contains the majority of the body's total immune system.

"Due to the similarities of what we know happens in the thymus, we have called this new process 'intestinal selection,'" says first author Dr. Matthew R. Hepworth, a postdoctoral associate in medicine who works in Dr. Sonnenberg's laboratory. "ILCs also interact with T cells through MHCII machinery to educate T cells in the intestine. 

"In the thymus, T cells are educated not to attack our organs," he adds, "and in the GI tract, using ILCs, they are further educated not to attack beneficial bacteria." 

Using mice to test their findings, the researchers discovered that ILCs destroy T cells with the potential to attack beneficial bacteria, and that impairing ILC function led to severe intestinal inflammation. Then, with the help of researchers at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, the team looked at intestinal biopsies of pediatric patients diagnosed with Crohn's disease, one of the major forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

"We found ILCs in intestinal biopsies from pediatric patients diagnosed with Crohn's disease, but they were not functioning properly because, in many cases, they were lacking MHCII machinery, so T cells were not educated to ignore beneficial bacteria," Dr. Sonnenberg says. "In fact, we found the loss of MHCII correlated with an increase in pro-inflammatory cells from matched biopsies of children with Crohn's disease. That tells us that this education process may be impaired in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and that restoring adequate levels of MHCII might help to eliminate pro-inflammatory T cells and reduce chronic intestinal inflammation."

Dr. Sonnenberg says there are likely many causes of inflammatory bowel disease, and other pathways that help control T cells in the gut. "But our work shows a previously unrecognized pathway whereby ILCs educate our immune system not to attack beneficial bacteria," he says. 

Dr. Sonnenberg, his laboratory and the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in IBD are now exploring how scientists can utilize this knowledge and design novel therapeutic strategies to boost MHCII on ILCs and limit chronic intestinal inflammation.

Co-authors include Thomas C. Fung from Weill Cornell Medical College; Terri M. Laufer from the University of Pennsylvania; Samuel H. Masur, Judith R. Kelsen and Robert N. Baldassano from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Fiona M. McConnell and David R. Withers from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; Juan Dubrot, Stephanie Hugues and Walter Reith from the University of Geneva Medical School in Switzerland; Michael A. Farrar from the University of Minnesota; Gerard Eberl from Institut Pasteur, France; and Charles O. Elson from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Research in Dr. Sonnenberg's laboratory is supported by the National Institutes of Health (DP5OD012116), the NIAID Mucosal Immunology Studies Team (MIST), Scholar Award in Mucosal Immunity and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, Transdisciplinary Program in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (UL1-RR024134 from the U.S. National Center for Research Resources). Other investigator support includes a research fellowship from the Crohn's, and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA, #297365), a Cancer Research Institute Student Training and Research in Tumor immunology (STaRT) grant, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship, and the National Institutes of Health (DK071176).

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit

American Association of Poison Control Centers Issues Warning About Reemerging Synthetic Drugs

Marijuana leaves
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) and the experts at America's 55 poison centers are warning the public about a group of dangerous new synthetic cannabinoids which have recently led to a dramatic spike in poison center exposure calls in the United States, according to Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC executive director.

Poison centers across the country have been receiving increased levels of calls related to these substances. From Jan. 1, 2015, through April 22, 2015, poison centers have received 1,900 exposure calls from people seeking help for adverse reactions to these drugs; this is almost four times the rate of calls received in 2014. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a health alert stating that New York emergency departments have reported seeing more than 160 patients in a nine day period. Alabama has seen 317 synthetic cannabinoid-related emergency department visits in an 18 day window as of April 20, 2015. Other states such as New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and Arizona have also seen dramatic increases in reports, signaling this is a national problem.

Synthetic "marijuana" products, also known as THC homologs, are in reality very different from marijuana. Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:

  • Severe agitation and anxiety
  • Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors
  • Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes
  • Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions
Physicians can experience difficulty trying to determine the cause of severe medical problems seen in users of these substances when they present to emergency departments due to the wide variety of chemicals used to make synthetic cannabinoids. These drugs are imported into the United States and can be sprayed on plant material or combined in other ways and marketed under such names as "Spice," "K2," "Keisha Kole," "Summit," "AK-47" and many others.

The harmful effects from these products were first reported in the U.S. in 2009. Since then, the synthetic drugs have spread throughout the country due to ease of access. For example, people are able to purchase them at gas station convenience stores. The chemical formula of these substances changes from one week to the next to avoid regulations banning specific compound formulations. As a result, the same brand purchased at different times may produce vastly different effects.

"These synthetic drugs present a potentially fatal risk that is not well recognized by people consuming these products," said AAPCC President Jay Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT. "The recent death of five people suspected of using this category of drugs underscores the urgency of controlling these drugs and educating the public of their dangers."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AAPCC have conducted public health surveillance using data stored in the National Poison Data System (NPDS) since 2000 to help identify and characterize emerging public health threats.

"We're greatly concerned by the rise in calls to poison centers regarding synthetic cannabinoids," said Dr. Amy Wolkin, chief of the CDC's Health Studies Branch. "The perception that these drugs are harmless is dangerous. People and hospitals need to be aware of the potential harm they can do."

"Our research shows that people are playing Russian Roulette with their lives because only the chemist creating the synthetic cannabinoid really knows what is in it," said Dr. Eric Wish, director of the Coordinating Center for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) located at the University of Maryland, College Park. "We have found very different metabolites in different sites across the country and even in the same site over time."

Erin Artigiani, NDEWS co-investigator, added, "We are very excited about the new partnership between NDEWS and AAPCC and the unique opportunity it provides to work together to identify and discuss new synthetic drugs as they emerge."

"One of the strengths of the poison center network is its ability to identify emerging public health threats virtually in real-time," said Kaminski. "Poison centers are staffed with medical professionals who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer questions about 'K2,' 'Spice,' or any other substances that could be harmful to your health. All calls are confidential."

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, AAPCC associate manager, Public Relations and Member Services, at 703.894.1865 or

For information about NDEWS, please contact Erin Artigiani at 301-705-9794 or

AAPCC supports the nation's 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as EPA, HRSA and the CDC, as well as private industry.
To learn more, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@AAPCC), and read our blog at
To learn more about NDEWS, visit and
People interested in joining the ongoing discussions about synthetic cannabinoids are welcome to join the NDEWS Network, a virtual community of more than 500 substance abuse experts, practitioners and concerned citizens working together to educate each other and the general public about substance abuse and its consequences.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Most Americans say medical marijuana shouldn’t be used by kids or in front of kids – legal or not

4 in 5 people say adults shouldn’t be allowed to use medical marijuana in front of children; support of patient use much lower for kids than adults

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Medical marijuana and children don’t mix, most Americans say.
While nearly two-thirds of people agree that their state should allow medical marijuana for adults, half as many – just over a third – say it should be allowed for children, according to today’s University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health that included a national sample of adults in the U.S.

Eighty percent of respondents go even further, saying adults shouldn’t be allowed to use medical marijuana in front of kids – a view most prominent among parents of children under 18 years old.

Nearly half of states now have laws permitting medical marijuana, and few such as Michigan enforce stricter rules for children’s use of medical marijuana. The Mott poll is the first to measure the public’s views about the use of medical marijuana for children compared to adults.

“We found that while most people support state laws that permit medical marijuana use among adults, the story is dramatically different for children. Medical marijuana is a controversial subject when we’re talking about kids,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School.

“Our findings suggest that not only is the public concerned about the use of medical marijuana among children, but that the majority of Americans worry that even exposure to it may be harmful to kids’ health. As is typical with anything involving health, the public’s standards are much higher when it comes to protecting children’s health.”

Ten percent of respondents in the Mott poll either have a medical marijuana card or know someone who does, while 7 percent either use marijuana when children are present or know someone who does.

News stories around the country have highlighted the complexity of medical marijuana laws, with cases of children even being taken away from parents using medical marijuana at home. In Maine for example, even though medical marijuana is legal, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled that it can make a person unfit as a parent and therefore risk custody rights.

As more states allow use of medical marijuana, lawmakers, doctors and families also face questions about whether children with qualifying conditions should be able to use it too. In Connecticut, lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program to children. In New Jersey, the health department recently took a step toward allowing edible medical marijuana for kids. States like Colorado permit a special strain of cannabis known as "Charlotte's Web" used by hundreds of children.

However, there is little science about the safety or efficacy of treating children with medical marijuana. Research also indicates that the brains and nervous systems of children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to adverse effects of marijuana use, a concern raised by the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The new Mott poll comes on the heels of new bills in Congress asking the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a controlled substance that can be dispensed legally. This would allow for broader federal funding of medical research about medical marijuana.

Advocates for medical marijuana argue that it can be safe and effective for treating symptoms related to diseases such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy for adults and children. Those opposed are concerned about inadequate scientific testing as a treatment, negative side effects on the brain and other organs and evidence that drug use early in life is more likely to lead to drug addiction in adulthood.

Full report: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health

Learn more:
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health:
Website: Facebook: Twitter: @MottNPCH

Purpose/Funding: The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health – based at the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan and funded by the University of Michigan Health System – is designed to measure major health care issues and trends for U.S. children.

Data Source: This report presents findings from a nationally representative household survey conducted exclusively by GfK Custom Research, LLC (GfK) for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital via a method used in many published studies.  The survey was administered in November/December 2014 to a randomly selected, stratified group of adults (n=2,176), from GfK’s web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, that closely resembles the U.S. population. The sample was subsequently weighted to reflect population figures from the Census Bureau. The survey completion rate was 54 percent among panel members contacted to participate. The margin of error is ±2 to 3 percentage points.

The findings of the poll reflect the views of the public and do not represent the opinions or positions of the University of Michigan, the University of Michigan Health System, or the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

What To Ask Your Doctor If You Feel Crappy All The Time

By Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories

Dr. Chad Larson
Do you feel crappy all of the time and don't know why? Well, food sensitivity just might be the cause. In all seriousness, if you are experiencing brain fog, gastrointestinal discomfort after meals, or just feel tired all the time, it may be due to what you are eating. Food sensitivity is an understudied area of health and wellness, consequently there is not much data about just how many Americans have food sensitivities. One thing is certain, food sensitivities can manifest in many different kinds of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, depression and skin disorders. Food reactivity can negatively influence your overall health. In light of this, I want to share five key questions to ask your doctor if you are experiencing what I like to call FCATT, or Feeling Crappy All of The Time.
  1. Do I have an autoimmune disorder? There is an epidemic of autoimmune disorders in America.  According to the American Autoimmune Disease Related Association, over 50 million Americans have autoimmune disorders that impact overall health. What's more, if you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, there is a 25 percent chance of developing another condition, according to the National Institute of Health. But why not try to predict and prevent it? A simple blood test can assist your Healthcare Professional in early detection of reactivity associated with possible autoimmune disorder(s) and allows you to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle to prevent it. 
  1. Am I sensitive to wheat and gluten or other foods? Food reactivity significantly impacts your overall health. The gastrointestinal mucosal immune system is the first line of defense when it comes to issues tied to dietary intake. Dietary triggers can cause a person to feel tired and feel discomfort, which can directly be related to how your body processes foods. Make sure to ask your doctor to test food reactivity in raw, cooked and modified foods. There is a difference because food proteins can take new form once cooked or modified.
  2. Am I getting enough sleep? More and more people are reporting and increase in sensitivity to light.  With the gadgets and devices you peer at late at night and sit on your nightstands emitting light and interrupting your sleep, it is a good idea to confirm you are actually getting the deep, REM sleep your body needs in order to repair and regenerate your body systems. There are some wearable devices on the market that can provide answers. Wearables can measure the depth of sleep, duration of sleep, and give a daily synopsis of just how much rest the wearer is getting. This insight will help your medical provider determine if you are getting enough sleep and how this may be impacting your overall health.
  1. Is there a blood test that can help determine why I have brain fog? If brain fog and fatigue are ruining your workday, look to your physician to help you find the source of these unexplained symptoms. Food sensitivities can manifest in numerous ways including gastrointestinal, neurological, dermatological, or behavioral issues. A simple comprehensive test can not only tell you what you are sensitive to, but also how that sensitivity may be affecting your brain and your gut.
  2. I've removed gluten from my diet but I'm still experiencing FCATT. Are there foods that I could be cross-reacting to? If you're already following a gluten-free diet, and still experiencing FCATT symptoms, ask your doctor to test you for foods that may be making your system cross-react. What this means is that your system is responding to those foods in the same way it responds to gluten. Again, a simple blood test will give your medical provider answers to possible cross-reactive food sensitivity that can help you make necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Unexplained symptoms can be scary especially when they're impacting the overall quality of your life. What's worse is that these symptoms are potentially an indicator of a larger health problem. But rest assured, there is a way to find out why you are feeling crappy all the time, and it begins with a simple blood test. These five questions can help your healthcare provider identify the problem and begin putting an end to FCATT.

About Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories
Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences, graduating with honors. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease. Cyrex Laboratories is a Clinical Immunology Laboratory specializing in function immunology and autoimmunity. Cyrex offers multi-tissue antibody testing for early detection and monitoring of today's complex autoimmune conditions. Cyrex develops innovative arrays through continuous collaboration with leading experts in medical research and clinical practice. 

Everyone knows their cholesterol number, their blood pressure number, and probably their glucose level. While these numbers are certainly useful and important, you must put vitamin D at the top of the list. There is a growing list of health conditions that can be prevented by, treated with, or associated with vitamin D. Most people know that deficient levels of vitamin D is a strong risk factor for osteoporosis and certain types of cancer, but the medical literature has also linked it with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto's thyroid disease. Now we can add to the list: heart failure.

Watch Dr. Chad Larson Discuss Vitamin D

Heart failure death occurred two to three times more often in people with vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency compared with those who had normal levels of the vitamin, according to data from a government survey.

Premature mortality, defined as death before age 75, also had a significant association with vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. "These data may represent yet additional justification for the idea of studying vitamin D supplementation in appropriate patients to determine whether a causal relationship exists and whether this is a potentially treatable condition," said Howard J. Eisen, MD, of Drexel University in Philadelphia. The analysis comprised data on 13,131 adults ages 35 and older, followed for a median of eight years through 2000. Serum 25(OH)D was measured at enrollment by radioimmunoassay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Recipe: Moroccan CousCous with Beef

Original recipe makes 8 servings
2 pounds of beef steak or roast
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

 1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
 1 red, green, or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
 2 zucchinis and/or yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
 1/2 cup golden raisins
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
 grated zest of one orange
 1 (14.5 ounce) can low sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of beef broth
 1/2 cup orange juice
 1 1/2 cups couscous
 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Optional: turnip, carrots, and potatoes
Cut the beef into bite sized cubes. Place a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add olive oil. Brown the beef with crushed garlic cloves. Then add 2 cups of beef broth. Turn heat down to simmer after the broth boils.  Simmer for 2 hours.

After two hours, in another pan stir in the cumin, ginger, cloves, cayenne, cardamom, coriander, and allspice; gently toast until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in oil and onion, cook until softened. Add to beef. Add in optional potatoes, carrots, and turnip. Stir in the bell pepper, and zucchini; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, salt, zest, and garbanzos.

Pour 1 ½ cups of beef broth and orange juice into a third pan; turn heat to high and bring to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, stir in the couscous and remove from heat; cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and fold in chopped mint.

Calories: 430 for 1 cup

7 Push-Up Mistakes You're Probably Making

By Tony Horton

There's a lot more to push-ups than getting on all fours and moving up and down. And knowing the proper technique is important: It'll reduce your risk of injury, improve core strength, and burn more calories. Make note of these common mistakes, then visit to see how doing push-ups can also help veterans nationwide.

The problem: Your butt rises
Push-ups are a great ab exercise, but this is a clear indication that you're not engaging your core.
The fix: Engage your glute muscles by squeezing the cheeks together. This will helplower your butt and raise your lower back.

The problem: Your back looks more like a hammock and less like a board
Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
The fix: Raise your low back toward the ceiling while simultaneously tilting your pelvic bones in the direction of your upper body.

The problem: Improper arm placement
Lots of people place their hands too far forward, which puts strain on the shoulder joints, making it difficult to comfortably engage the buttocks, low back, and abdominal area.
The fix: Your arms need to be straight up and down like a pillar holding up a building, allowing the bones in both arms to better support the weight of your body.

The problem: Poor head alignment
This happens when the chin and jaw are too close to your chest during the exercise.
The fix: Try to imagine a grapefruit-size space between your chin and upper chest, which will align your spine and relieve pressure from your neck muscles.

The problem: Dead legs
Most people think that their legs are just along for the ride. Not true.
The fix: To achieve more muscle recruitment and better alignment during a push-up, it's important to push the backs of your knees toward the ceiling and your heels toward the floor, while flexing your quadriceps ever so slightly.

The problem: You're holding your breath
This one is obvious, but quite often the most overlooked. It's difficult to do anything well while holding your breath.
The fix: Don't force it—just make sure you're exhaling on the way up and inhaling on the way down like you would breath naturally. No yoga-style exhales here.

The problem: You're only doing half a push-up
Far too often people don't go low enough or high enough, but you can't improve or get stronger doing a half push-up.
The fix: Try to straighten your arms at the top of every push-up and be conscious that your upper arms/triceps are at least parallel to the floor at the bottom, creating a 90-degree angle with your elbows.

For more from Tony Horton, check out
For more information go to Fitness