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Maria Augustyn


Maria Augustyn - BLOG


Anti-cancer curries

Posted on May 30, 2011 at 10:36 PM Comments comments (0)
Curcumin compound boosts
head and neck cancer therapy
The May, 2011 issue of the American Medical Association journal Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery published the finding of researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center of a benefit for a derivative of curcumin, which occurs in the spice turmeric, in the treatment of head and
neck cancer with cisplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug. The development of chemotherapy-resistant tumor cells is a major cause of treatment failure in head and neck cancer, resulting in relapse or metastasis.

University of Michigan professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology Thomas Carey, PhD and his associates evaluated the effects of varying doses of cisplatin or cisplatin combined with the 
curcumin-derived compound FLLL32 on cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant cultured head and neck cancer cell lines. FLLL32 added to a low dose of cisplatin was found to be as effective at inducing programmed cell death in cisplatin-resistant cells as four times as much cisplatin alone. The team found that FLLL32 reduced activation of the protein known as signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which is elevated in approximately 82 percent head and neck cancers and has been associated with cisplatin resistance.

"Typically, when cells become resistant to cisplatin, we have to give increasingly higher doses," explained Dr Carey, who is the codirector of the Head and Neck Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. "But this drug is so toxic that patients who survive treatment often experience long-term side effects from the treatment."

"This work opens the possibility of using lower, less toxic doses of cisplatin to achieve an equivalent or enhanced tumor kill," he remarked.

"The absence of dose-limiting toxic effects seen with curcumin, the compound on which FLLL32 is based, suggests that STAT3 inhibitors may have a clinical role in the future," the authors conclude. "Continued investigation of the JAK/STAT pathway and the design of novel inhibitors, like FLLL32, that are capable of targeting this pathway may herald new therapeutic approaches that enhance or obviate the need for currently used chemotherapeutic agents."
Curcumin, commonly known as Turmeric is a very powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer herb/condiment.Turmeric is used in Indian and Thai cooking. Turmeric is the herb that gives the yellow colour to curries.
Enjoy your food as medicine, including turmeric as often as possible.

Menopause: the love deficiency disease.

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM Comments comments (0)
When menopause is a disease
Menopause has never been a disease that needed to be treated until our 'modern' age. Additionally, primitive cultures of the world don’t even have a word to describe ‘menopause’. They view a woman that is not menstruating any more as a more powerful being, that possesses wisdom and knowledge, someone to be respected and revered.  
The medical establishment, generally speaking, considers a menopausal woman as a patient deficient in this or that drug. But, the drug will make you deficient in another drug, and the multiple uses of drugs create other states that are unknown and not even studied yet. Most drugs are subjected to scientific studies before being used in the general public singly and by and large in healthy people. There is no study of multiple drugs being used on sick or fragile people. The synergistic effect of multiple drugs is unknown.
Our culture promotes the devaluation of our older people, instead of cherishing their wisdom they are seeing as mindless, useless burdens that need to be medicated and kept out of sight.
It is true, often menopausal women present themselves with multiple issues that reflects a weak organism, frail nerves, unsettled emotions, pains and complaints.
Why are menopausal women feeling sick?
During the reproductive years a woman’s busy stressful life takes a big toll on the function of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are the ones that secrete hormones that make her get up fast in the middle of the night to look after a crying infant. Those hormones also are very active during the long days of a working mother attending to a full time job (often not paid well), demanding children/teenagers, a husband that has little time to participate in family life, a household…the shopping…the cooking…the washing…and…while doing all that she must look pretty, gentle, happy and attractive…When menopause comes the adrenal glands are exhausted. When the ovaries stop functioning the adrenal glands should be taking over the job of the ovaries, but they are fatigued. Therefore she is less capable of feeling strong and healthy; she has given up all her ‘juices’ in the process of bringing up a family.
Can you see the need for support for working mothers? Is it reasonable what we expect of our young women?
Lifestyle intervention is the most efficient way of promoting health during menopause. Exercises, good food, sun, laughter, purpose in our lives are the best promoters of health. Weight bearing exercise promotes bone health and muscular health. A busy purposeful mind with the ability to relax and be peaceful, promotes optimism and health. Menopause is not a disease, is a passage of woman into wisdom, freedom from the reproductive responsibilities and even more enjoyment out of life.
Why are many menopausal women feeling unhealthy, nervous, and fragile? I think the extended family is the natural environment for the bringing up of a family; unfortunately an extended family is not the norm in our society. Migration between cities and continents in search of material benefits has made the typical family structure fractured.
If you are a young woman, please make time in your life for relaxation, nourish yourself well, and make sure you laugh regularly. Many of my patients have commented that they feel guilty if they relax or have a little time off from their multiple responsibilities. Spending some ‘me’ time can make you a better mother, spouse, worker, a better manager of your multiple complex business that you run every day.
 Further more, you will be investing in your future health (mental and physical) and thus becoming a more productive grandmother, a stronger pilar of our society, more able to support the young women that your daughters and granddaughters will be.
Please consider a health promoting program appropriate for the stage of your life that you are at:

Stress...Are you coping well...What can you do?

Posted on May 15, 2011 at 10:54 PM Comments comments (0)
Mentally-ill doctors
failing to get treatment
Doctors are under so much pressure to keep-up the image of a “super-person” that those struggling with a mental-illness are failing to access healthcare, a new study suggests.
A survey of doctors including GPs reveals that “unrealistic expectations” are preventing those with a mental illness from seeking help.
“Several described self-treating with medication, exercise, relaxation, etc until a point of crisis or desperation was reached.”
The survey also found that most doctors who saw a psychiatrist were self-referred due to concerns about their work performance and fear of being reported to the Medical Council.
The authors suggest more support needs to be given to doctors to help them "acknowledge vulnerability". They also say more informal doctor to-doctor conversations could be beneficial.
Gemma Collins 6minutes
The Naturopathic Treatment of Stress
What is stress?
The stress response is well characterised as the “flight or fight” response, and is highly variable between individuals. Therefore there is no one-size-fits-all approach to stress management strategies, and why we need to develop individual treatment strategies based on the patients presentation, their lifestyle and their own health goals.
Manageable stress is beneficial to mental and physical health; it challenges us, encourages change, creates adaptation and makes us stronger, both emotionally and biochemically.
However, when faced with extraordinary stress or under constant stress, without adequate recovery, the stress response can become over-stretched and predispose to physiological and neurological changes, leading to the major chronic diseases of modern life, including neurological imbalances, insulin resistance, hormonal disturbances and immune suppression.
Causes and Risk Factors
Factors that increase stress include the following:
Major life stressors:
(top 20 life stressors from Holmes and Rahe Stress Score)
1. Death of a spouse
2. Divorce
3. Marital separation
4. Imprisonment
5. Death of a close family member
6. Personal injury or illness
7. Marriage
8. Dismissal from work
9. Marital reconciliation
10. Change in health of family member
11. Pregnancy
12. Sexual difficulties
13. Gain a new family member
14. Business readjustment
15. Change in financial state
16. Death of a close friend
17. Change to different line of work
18. Change in frequency of arguments
19. Major mortgage
20. Foreclosure on mortgage or loan
Chronic stress & anxiety risk factors:
• In-utero stress (Maternal stress experienced during gestation – foetal programming)
• Traumatic early life experiences
• Stress, depression, other psychiatric conditions
• Life situations (social or financial problems)
Lifestyle Factors
• Lack of exercise – sedentary lifestyle
• Excessive caffeine and / or alcohol consumption
• Excessive consumption of high fat and simple sugars
• Overweight and obesity
• Food intolerances and allergies.
• Tobacco smoking increasing the stress response.
• Toxin exposure
• Nutritional deficiencies, especially B vitamins, zinc and magnesium
Symptoms & Signs of excessive stress or our inability to cope
• Neurological dysfunction: Anxiety, poor concentration, excessive worry, insomnia, depression &/or extreme fatigue.
• Cardiovascular symptoms: Palpitations, clammy palms.
• Digestive dysfunction: Digestive cramping, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances, hypochlorhydria.
• Immunological dysfunction: Inflammation, increased risk of infection, predisposition to allergies.
• Metabolic dysfunctions: insulin resistance, obesity.
• Musculoskeletal disorders: Muscular tension (eg: shoulders), tension headaches.
• Other common presenting signs and symptoms: declining vision and/or hearing,
fatigue, loss of skin elasticity.
Diet and Lifestyle
Lifestyle guidelines may assist in the management of stress:
• Take regular exercise
• Practice relaxation, guided visualisation and/or breathing techniques.
• Set boundaries in relationships, families and work.
• Get support from friends, family, colleagues.
• Assign “time-to-fret” then get on with day to day activities with enthusiasm.
• Take regular work breaks throughout the day.
• Take weekend or holidays away from obligations and worries to gain a fresh perspective.
• Express your creativity. Write, garden, paint, sing – or take up a new hobby or classes.
• Stop smoking
Dietary guidelines may assist in the management of stress:
• Reduce pro-inflammatory foods in the diet including saturated fats (meats, especially poultry, and dairy), refined foods, and sugar. Patients sensitive to antibiotics should eat only organic meats to avoid antibiotic residues.
• Emphasise foods high in essential fatty acids such as oily fish and nuts/seeds. (
• Eat a minimally processed diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients ( and bioflavonoids.
• Protein is essential for connective tissue support, and should be consumed regularly.
• Nutrients to support digestive health including fibre and yoghurt should be consumed.
• Minimise intake of caffeine, alcohol and salt.
Programs that may assist the stressed patient
Integrated Detoxification
Dysbiosis (poor intestinal health) and toxic accumulation are two of the main triggers for the inflammation that drives many chronic degenerative diseases.
The integrated program also addresses digestive competence and aspects of dietary tolerance.
Professional Weight Management Program
A carbohydrate-controlled, ketogenic fat loss program is an essential approach for those with severe insulin resistance, who will usually also be overweight or obese. Reducing dietary glycaemic load will reduce insulin release and help patients lose fat, particularly visceral (waist) adipose tissue, thus helping to minimise the risk of many chronic illnesses.
Wellness Lifestyle Program
This program is for those of relatively normal weight (i.e. fat percentage) and activity. This approach is designed to maintain a healthy body composition and insulin sensitivity by utilising an anti-inflammatory diet, stress management and regular exercise, all associated with optimum health and longevity.
Elimination diet and /or alkalising dietary strategies may be incorporated with Wellness for maximum benefit.
Supportive Herbal Treatments
Depending on the patient’s needs the treatment may include the use of herbs such as
  • Bupleurum
  • Gingseng
  • Rehmannia
  • Rhodiola
  • Withania 
Make an appointment today: [email protected]

A Photo Can Be a Painkiller!

Posted on May 10, 2011 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)
Photographs Of Loved Ones
Can Be Effective Painkillers
You may remember being calmed by your mum the first time you had blood drawn in the doctor’s office, or a loved one helping you feel like you’re not alone.
The benefits of other people have been obvious to us for awhile, but new research is showing that a reminder as small as a photograph can have the same effect.
Ferris Jabr, writing for Scientific America, elaborates:
A Psychological Science study in 2009 first showed the effect. Psychologist Sarah Master of the University California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues studied 25 women and their boyfriends of more than six months. The researchers subjected the women to different degrees of thermal stimulation-a sharp, prickling sensation-as they either held their boyfriend’s hand while he sat behind a curtain, held the hand of a male stranger behind a curtain, viewed a photograph of their boyfriend or viewed a photograph of a male stranger. Holding their partner’s hand or viewing his photo decreased the women’s pain significantly more than touching or viewing a stranger-and the photo was just as effective as the physical contact.
Next time you’re coping with pain, consider looking at photographs of people you care about. It might make enduring that pain a bit easy.
For a look at other studies and more evidence, be sure to check out the full article.
When Photos Are Painkillers [Scientific American]

How you see colours and your thyroid gland's health

Posted on May 7, 2011 at 2:26 AM Comments comments (1)
 Thyroid Regulates How We See Colours!
Turns out our sensitivity to seeing in colour is not only due to cone cells in the retina, but also through the thyroid gland by controlling which visual pigment is produced in the cones. Research conducted on mice and rats has revealed that the production of visual pigment present in mature cones is regulated by the thyroid hormone.

The team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt/M., along with colleagues at the University of Frankfurt and universities in Vienna, assumed that this process must be present in all mammals, including humans. If this were the case, the adult-onset of thyroid hormone deficiency would affect colour vision.

Most mammals have two types of spectral cones, which contain two different visual pigments (opsins). The first opsin is sensitive to shortwave light (UV/blue opsin), and the second is sensitive to middle-to-long wave light (green opsin). These cones are receptive to the thyroid hormone, and when activated by the hormone, the cones will suppress the production of UV/blue opsin, and activate the synthesis of green opsin.

It was long believed that the thyroid only controlled opsin production during developmental stages; in mature and established cones, the opsin had reached its plateau, needing no further regulation. However, this theory is now challenged.

A study carried out by lead authors Martin Glösmann and Anika Glaschke in Leo Peichl's team at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, along with their colleagues at the universities of Frankfurt and Vienna, conducted a study which proves opsin production in mature cones continually depend on the thyroid at a hormone level past developmental stages. The researchers had started with an analysis of thyroid hormone involvement in the early postnatal development of mouse cones.

"We wanted to know how long the time window for the hormone effect was, at what point the hormone's influence on opsin production stopped," Glaschke was quoted saying. "To our surprise we did not find such an endpoint, even several weeks after birth there was a hormone effect".

A treatment was administered to several adult mice and rats that caused an insufficient production from the thyroid hormone. During the treatment, the functions of the opsin switched: the production of UV/blue opsin was activated, and green opsin production was suppressed. When the treatment ended, hormone levels returned to normal and the cones reverted to their regular production of opsin.

The results of the study led researchers to conclude that the two types spectral cones, which are defined by the opsin they express, are dynamically and reversibly controlled by thyroid hormone past the developmental stages, and throughout life.

"In addition to their importance for basic retinal research, our findings may also have clinical relevance," Martin Glösmann, who currently examines the genetic foundations of the process at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna was quoted as saying. "If this mechanism also acts in human cones, the adult-onset of thyroid hormone deficiency - e.g. as a consequence of dietary iodine deficiency or removal of the thyroid - would also affect the cone opsins and colour vision."

SOURCE: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, March 29, 2011