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A cardiologist friend of mine in Indiana, who had referred countless patients for open-heart surgery to me in the 80s and 90s, had a freak accident at home that broke his neck (like actor Christopher “Superman” Reeves, who fell from a horse), which left him quadriplegic, unable to breathe on his own, with total paralysis of his arms and legs.

Connected to a ventilator for almost 10 years now, he has survived with a mind that is brilliant and clear as ever.

Unfortunately, the injury to his spinal cord remains “without cure.”

A potential hope for patients with broken spinal cord, with paralysis from the hip down (paraplegia) or from the neck down (quadriplegia) might be in the offing, albeit this could be years down the line.

Human neural (nerve) stem cells “can restore mobility in cases of chronic spinal injury,” suggested a study from the University of California Irvine, following successful results of transplanted human stem cells in mice, which recovered from their 30-day laboratory-induced spinal cord injury.

This encouraging preliminary finding will need more laboratory confirmations and, later, application to human clinical trials, before the final verdict is made.

At least, it is a spark of hope.

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Vitamin C has been found to rapidly improve a person’s mood state, especially among acutely hospitalized patients, in a double-blind clinical study at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research.

While Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate) supplements are available in pills, this anti-oxidant and essential nutrient is abundant in these plant sources, in the order of level of Vitamin C content:

kakadu plum, camu camu, rose hip, acerola, jujube, red pepper, red hot chili, guava, parsley, broccoli, kiwifruit, brussels sprouts, papaya, strawberry, orange, kale, lemon, melon, cantaloupe, lime, mango, blackberry, potato and other fruits and vegetables.

The phyto-phenols and Vitamin C in these foods also boost immunity.

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The gene that increases an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, tagged MTHFD1L, a gene on chromosome 6, has been identified in a genome-wide study at the John P. Hussman Institute of Genomics at the the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

This discovery will help the scientific community understand Alzheimer’s better and potentially develop a marker for higher risk persons and, hopefully, discover a preventive regimen, if not an effective treatment for this tragic disease.

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Actor Michael Douglas, husband of Catherine Zeta-Jones, recently admitted he had cancer of the throat, which he attributed to alcohol.

As far as head and neck cancers are concerned, alcohol is the new cigarette, and drinking, the new smoking.

The risk of developing any of these cancers, including the esophagus (food pipe), is markedly increased by frequent alcohol intake, says the researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

People who stop drinking can significantly lower their cancer risk.

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Tuberculosis, the second deadliest infectious disease in the world, was detected in more than 9.3 million as new cases in 2007 alone.

The World Health Organization reported that about 1.8 people dies from TB that year.

A third of the global population has been infected with TB.

The currently available BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, introduced 90 years ago, which has been found to be insufficient in preventing TB, might soon be replaced by a new, more effective, and more  immunogenic TB vaccine called AERAS-422, which could be used for all forms of tuberculosis.

The clinical trial of this live recombinant TB vaccine at the Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, which will soon be started, was announced at the international gathering of TB vaccine researchers in Tallin, the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.

Prevention and vaccines are fundamentally the most effective way in dealing with any disease condition afflicting man, including cancer.

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Anger and any form of stress, especially emotional, can make one ill.

Psychosomatic disorders are real.

Anger, for instance, causes the release of stress hormones, like adrenalin, cortisol and nordrenalin, which increase heart rate, breathing, body temperature, muscle tone, sweating, alertness and elevated blood pressure.

All these also lead to constriction of arteries in most organs, lessening their blood supply, channeling a large share of blood supply to the muscles, as a part of the body’s defense mechanism.

This is normal physiology when anger sets in, as it prepares the body for fight or flight.

Anger also depresses the immune system, slows down digestion, and the alertness it causes impairs sleep.

Chronic emotional stress and anger do cause a lot more illnesses, and aggravate existing diseases (depression, heart condition, impending stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, insomnia, even allergies and skin diseases, etc.).

On the other hand, positive thoughts, laughing, listening to soothing music, relaxing, loving and the knowledge of being loved, spending quality time with family and friends, feeling happy and having serenity and peace, all these allow the body’s built-in “pharmacy” to produce the good hormones, called endorphins (from the word endogenous, meaning produced by the body, and the word morphine, which is like opium, heroin, and the medical pain killer, morphine).

This gives us a high when produced by our body in abundance, circulating in our blood stream.

Endorphins switch OFF the nerves in the frontal lobe of the brain, inhibiting pain, and this part of the brain is then flooded with endogenous dopamine, resulting in the sense of euphoria, the reason why many are addicted to drugs.

Let’s us encourage our mind and body to produce these endorphins more often and be addicted to them, for a cheaper, healthier and legal way of getting high.

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