Childhood Distrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

“My goal is to help those suffering from chronic conditions better understand the intersection between our neurobiology, immunology and the deepest inner workings of the human heart — and to use that understanding to embark on a transformation to healing.” —Donna Jackson Nakazawa Donna Jackson Nakazawa has just published a book “Childhood Disrupted- How Biography Becomes Biology” that illuminates the effects “childhood trauma” can have on health. She knows whereof she writes. Her fathers death during her teenage years probably set her up for a paralyzing attack of an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome decades later. crisis situation Adversity – in whatever form – during childhood can have long-term consequences. The effects of childhood trauma on illness later in life are controversial but they shouldn’t be – the science is well-established. Mix together childhood trauma and illness, though, and the results can be explosive. Blame or guilt sometimes gets introduced but this is not about coping – it’s about the sometimes inevitable physiological consequences of being exposed to adverse situations. Like any predisposing factor none of these events guarantee disaster – they just heighten the possibility it will happen. You don’t need to have a difficult childhood to have a screwed up immune system either. My ACE score is low: I got ME/CFS another way, but some cases of ME/CFS and FM surely got their start in childhood. It goes something like this: a period of stress – whether from an infection, an emotionally difficult situation or whatever – puts stress chemical production on a hair-trigger – permanently. Nothing obvious happens for many years but subtle homeostatic shifts are continually eroding the resilience of important systems. Ten, twenty, thirty years later some kind of threat – a toxin, a pathogen or some other stressor – breaks the camel’s back and a pathological state takes over. A new normal is established. immune system The immune system is heavily involved. A key takeway for ME/CFS and FM patients? It’s likely the immune system at work and that makes sense. The immune system jumps in during any stressful situation and it’s got a photographic memory. However your immune system got upset (childhood adversity, a later infection or both) Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s description of the process that occurs suggests she’s hitting on something that contributes to ME/CFS and FM. When a child faces chronic and unpredictable stressors their developing body and brain become routinely flooded with inflammatory stress chemicals that alter the expression of genes that control stress hormone output, triggering an overactive inflammatory stress response for life. When these changes occur in genes that should regulate a healthy stress response, a child’s inflammatory stress response becomes reset to “on” for life – and the brakes that should turn that stress response off don’t work. These epigenetic changes predispose an individual to lifelong inflammation and turn on genes associated with developing a range of adult diseases. As an adult, if we find ourselves overreacting to stressors in our life with a heightened stress response – an argument with our spouse, a bill we weren’t expecting, a car that swerves in front of us on the highway – our inflammatory response stays on high, and this leads to physical disease and neuroinflammation, and mental health disorders. Donna Jackson Nakazawa GET OUR FREE ME/CFS AND FIBROMYALGIA INFO New-postsLike the blog? Make sure you don’t miss the latest on ME/CFS and FM treatment and research news by registering for our free ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia blog here. Doing Something About It What can be done about this? Anything that takes the stress response off it’s hair trigger and reduces inflammation can be helpful. For some people it might be diet or immune modulating drugs or mind/body work. A years focus on mind/body techniques enabled Donna to bring her immune test results to normal, reduce her prescription drug needs and reduce her symptoms markedly. She wasn’t back to normal – two bouts of Guillaine-Barre Syndrome probably make that impossible – but her health was stunningly improved. She described her efforts in the The Last Best Cure – a book we’re following on Health Rising. With Donna’s new book hitting the shelves today let’s take this opportunity to take the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test. Simply collect your score at the end and tell us where you fit in the poll below. (All answers are anonymous). The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Test While you were growing up, during your first 18 years of life did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often…swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? If yes enter 1 ________ 2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often…push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? If yes enter 1 ________ Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever…touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you? If yes enter 1 ________ Did you often or very often feel that …no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special or your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other? If yes enter 1 ________ Did you often or very often feel that …you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it? If yes enter 1 ________ Were your parents ever separated or divorced? If yes enter 1 _______ Was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her or sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard or ever repeatedly hit at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

Read more: Childhood Disrupted – How Biography Becomes Biology: the Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS ACE Poll

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When the consistent sounds of tinnitus and other sounds take over in your head.

The reason I posted this story was because I suffer from the same sounds this gentleman suffered from.  Sometimes 1-5 different sounds, and try to concentrate with that going on.  That’s why the illness has a higher suicide rate, imagine no peace in your head, constant noises that make you want to go crazy and you cant sleep, just because you want to sleep doesn’t mean the sounds sleep.  Here is one mans story.  So sad.

Body of father who told his family tinnitus was driving him crazy is found at foot of 60ft fall in disused quarry

  • James Jones, 58, had suffered with tinnitus for the past six months
  • He vanished from Llandudno home and was found dead in nearby quarry
  • Boat skipper also suffered from hyperacusis where even the sound of a plastic bag rustling would cause him great pain
  • Son Danny says noises had left him feeling anxious and depressed
The body of James Jones, 58, who told his family that he was tormented by tinnitus, was discovered at the foot of a disused quarry near his home

The body of James Jones, 58, who told his family that he was tormented by tinnitus, was discovered at the foot of a disused quarry near his home

The body of a father who told his family that he was tormented by tinnitus was discovered at the foot of a disused quarry near his home.

James Jones, 58, from Llandudno, North Wales, is believed to have fallen more than 60ft to his death at the Llandulais Quarry.

He had been suffering from tinnitus, a condition which causes a constant ringing in the ears, for six months, and his family said the noises had caused him to become anxious and depressed.

‘It all started with a simple ringing in the ears which slowly crept into his life,’ said his son Danny, 32.

‘Soon after the ringing went to catastrophic disharmonious and painful noises.

‘He had five simultaneous sounds of extreme screeching, whistling, humming, buzzing and roaring every second of every day.

‘This along with little or no sleep can send anyone into despair.’

Mr Jones, a boat skipper who would ferry engineers out to marine windfarms off the Welsh coast, had been an easy-going family man before his life was blighted by the incurable condition which affects up to six million people in the UK, his son said.

He was also diagnosed with hyperacusis, a condition where even soft background noises become deafening.

‘Even the rustling sound of a plastic bag was painful for him,’ said Danny.

‘It made him withdraw from social and professional activities and my dad became isolated, anxious, stressed and depressed

Earlier this month, Mr Jones had vanished from his home. On July 9, he was found dead by police at the quarry.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned by the North Wales coroner.

Tinnitus is more common in people aged over 65, but it can strike at any age.

There is no single treatment for the condition and research to find a cure is ongoing.

Mr Jones's sons Wesley and Danny, pictured with their father and mother, Maria, are raising money for research into tinnitus

Mr Jones’s sons Wesley and Danny, pictured with their father and mother, Maria, are raising money for research into tinnitus

The charity Action on Hearing Loss describe it as an ‘invisible condition’ which can cause depression, anxiety and sleep problems.

Now Mr Jones’s family have launched a campaign in his memory to raise funds for research into tinnitus, and Danny and his brother Wesley hope to make £5,000 for charities including the British Tinnitus Association.

Mr Jones was due to be his son’s best man at his wedding next year.

‘He was a true gentleman, who was wise beyond belief,’ Danny wrote on Facebook.

‘He taught me everything I know, we shared the same thoughts, goals and ambitions. We were that close he wasn’t just my Dad.

‘He was also my business partner, my mentor, my best mate and my best man to be.’


Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ear, usually a ringing noise, although it can be a high-pitched whistling or buzzing, ringing, or hissing.

It’s estimated that seven per cent of men and women will visit their GP about it at some point.

For one in 100 sufferers, quality of life is severely affected, and it has been linked to depression, work and relationship problems and, in rare cases, suicide.

It’s not known what causes it, although in some cases it is linked to hearing loss – one theory is that when some sounds can no longer be heard, the brain overcompensates and creates phantom noise.

There is no cure, although treatments such as maskers (ear-plugs that generate white noise to try to block out tinnitus noise), antidepressants, and cognitive behavioural therapy, which aims to help patients to ignore or think differently about their tinnitus, can help.

Tinnitus is often worse in quite environments so some people benefit from listening to soothing sounds, such as the sound of the ocean.

The condition is most common in people over the age of 65 but it can affect people of all ages.

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Music for Neurologic Therapy.

Local Men Using Music as Neurologic Therapy

Traumatic brain injuries and strokes affect two and a half million people in the country, according to MedRhythms’ website.

Brian Harris, a Howland man and his UMaine fraternity brother are using music as medicine in Boston. Their company, MedRhythms, is just over a year old, but they are revolutionizing the medical landscape in neurologic therapy.

The gift of song can sometimes bring back more than a memory. And when used as therapy, music can bring back language or movement in people who have suffered a brain injury or another neurologic disorder. This type of healing is gaining traction in the medical world.

“What we’ve seen is sometimes this is the only thing that works,” said Harris.

Harris completed his undergraduate studies at UMaine where he assisted during his first music therapy sessions. It was then that he discovered his true calling.

“When I found this, I felt very fortunate to be so young and to feel like this really was what I wanted to do, but it was really the perfect synthesis of my two passions,” said Harris.

So Harris and his business partner Owen McCarthy founded MedRhythms, a one-year-old Boston company that partners with local hospitals, but is expanding to make this type of cutting-edge care available to everyone.

“We’ve always known that music has an effect, but this is one of the first times where we can quantify it and say ‘This is how much better someone gets,’” said McCarthy.

Harris uses one method, called Melodic Intonation Therapy, on patients who can’t speak. It looks like singing. He’s learned to harness the power of a pattern.

“Music has a profound effect on the human brain and that there’s no other stimulus on earth that engages our brain like music does,” said Harris.

Right now, only people who go through top rehab hospitals or have the means to pay for in-home care can receive their music therapy. MedRhythms’ mission is to make it a standard of care, so people getting physical, speech, or occupational rehab can also receive the healing treatment that music provides.

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Soda and your health.

By Dr. Mercola

Americans are finally starting to realize the dangers of soda, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) saying they actively try to avoid soda in their diet, a new Gallup poll revealed.1

This is a significant increase from 2002, when only 41 percent were trying to avoid soda, and a clear sign that, as TIME reported, “the soda craze is going flat.”2

Soda Consumption Falls to Lowest Level in Decades

The soda industry is a $75-billion market,3 an industry that reached its greatest heights in the US during the 1980s and 1990s, when Coca-Cola began pushing larger drink sizes and “upsizing.” Fountain drink sizes grew more than 50 percent by 1990, and in 1994, the 20-ounce plastic bottle was introduced in the US.

As people drank more and more soda, rates of obesity and diabetes soared, and while the soda industry still denies to this day any connection, research suggests otherwise. The “supersized” mentality seems to have backfired for Coca-Cola and other beverage companies, because as the health risks become clear, sales have been on a steady downward spiral.

As Businessweek reported:4

For decades, soft-drink companies saw consumption rise. During the 1970s, the average person doubled the amount of soda they drank; by the 1980s it had overtaken tap water. In 1998, Americans were downing 56 gallons of the stuff every year—that’s 1.3 oil barrels’ worth of soda for every person in the country.

And then we weren’t as thirsty for soda anymore, and there were so many new drink options that we could easily swap it out for something else. Soft-drink sales stabilized for a few years…

In 2005 they started dropping, and they haven’t stopped. Americans are now drinking about 450 cans of soda a year, according to Beverage Digest, roughly the same amount they did in 1986.”

Coca-Cola Seeks to ‘Reintroduce’ Coke to Teen Market, and in ‘Guilt-Free’ Sizes

Part of Coca-Cola’s plan to bring soda back is, ironically, introducing smaller sizes, a strategy they believe might reposition Coke so “people stop feeling guilty when they drink it, or, ideally come to see a Coke as a treat.”

Smaller, 7.5-ounce minicans and 8-ounce glass bottles have been selling well. Even Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, says he limits himself to one 8-ounce glass bottle of regular Coke in the morning. Any more would be too many calories, he told Businessweek.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola decided to target the teen market directly this summer. Teens, while notorious for their soft-drink consumption, have been quickly bailing ship and opting for energy drinks instead.

So Coca-Cola printed the 250 most common teen names on Coke bottles, hoping to entice teens with the “personalized” drinks. It worked. Sales increased by 1 percent in North America in the last three months.5

Beverage consultant Mike Weinstein, former president of A&W Brands, even noted that he goes right into high schools to find out whether teens can identify soda company slogans.

Yet, there seems to be a growing realization within the industry that, as American attitudes about diet change, and more people seek to reduce added sugar and sugary drinks in their diets, appealing to the “healthier” side of their image is needed.

And, here, too, Coca-Cola is quick to respond. They’ve invested heavily in small “healthy” beverage companies like Fuze tea, Zico coconut water, and organic Honest Tea. Coca-Cola also owns Odwalla and Simply Orange juices, Glaceau Vitaminwater, and Core Power sports drinks.

Coca-Cola Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent has no intention of letting Coca-Cola’s brands, and its namesake product Coke, fall by the wayside.

A $1-billion two-year marketing blitz’s sole goal is to drive its “sparkling” division back to its former glory. And in case you were wondering… its healthy-sounding “sparkling” division includes soda, which is completely delusional.

Your Brain on Soda

When you drink soda, numerous changes happen in your body, including in your brain. A new animal study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, found that sugary beverages may be particularly damaging to the brains of adolescents, one of the key age groups soda companies are trying to “court.”

Both adult and adolescent rats were fed sugary beverages for one month. They then were tested for cognitive function and memory.

While the adult rats did okay, the adolescent rats fed sugary drinks had both impaired memory and trouble learning.6 Next, the researchers plan to study whether soda leads to inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus, which is crucial for memory and learning.

Diet Coke Sales Plummet Amidst Aspartame Health Concerns

Diet Coke may not contain sugar, but that certainly doesn’t make it a better choice than regular soda. Here, too, Americans are catching on to the risks involved, especially in regard to the artificial sweetener aspartame. Businessweek, reporting on the decline in Coca-Cola’s sales, noted that while carbonated soda sales fell 2 percent in 2013, Diet Coke sales dropped 7 percent.

This, they said, was “almost entirely the result of the growing unpopularity of aspartame amid persistent rumors that it’s a health risk.”7 Rumors? Far from it. Research continues to pour in revealing proven health dangers to aspartame.

Among them, a recent commentary that reviewed the adequacy of the cancer studies submitted by G.D. Searle in the 1970s to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for market approval.8

Their review of the data found that the studies did not prove aspartame’s safety, while other recent research suggests aspartame has potential carcinogenic effects. The researchers noted:

Taken together, the studies performed by G.D. Searle in the 1970s and other chronic bioassays do not provide adequate scientific support for APM safety.

In contrast, recent results of life-span carcinogenicity bioassays on rats and mice published in peer-reviewed journals, and a prospective epidemiological study, provide consistent evidence of APM’s carcinogenic potential.

On the basis of the evidence of the potential carcinogenic effects of APM herein reported, a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health.”

You may also be surprised to learn that research has repeatedly shown that artificially sweetened no- or low-calorie drinks and other “diet” foods actually tend to stimulate your appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

A report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism highlighted the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.9 For the record, Coca-Cola maintains aspartame is a “safe, high-quality alternative to sugar.” Clearly they’ve not reviewed the hundreds of studies on this artificial sweetener demonstrating its harmful effects…

What Happens When You Drink Soda?

Soda is on my list of the absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume. Once ingested, your pancreas rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. A 20-ounce bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In addition to contributing to insulin resistance, the rise in blood sugar is quite rapid. Here’s a play-by-play of what happens in your body upon drinking a can of soda:

  • Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
  • Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
  • Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.
  • After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a blood sugar crash, and you may be tempted to reach for another sweet snack or beverage.

As I’ve discussed on numerous occasions, chronically elevated insulin levels (which you would definitely have if you regularly drink soda) and the subsequent insulin resistance is a foundational factor of most chronic disease, from diabetes to cancer. Today, while many Americans are cutting back on sugary drinks, soda remains a dietary mainstay for many. Along with energy drinks and sports drinks, soda is among the top 10 sources of calories in the US diet (number four on the list, to be exact),10 and, in 2012, Gallup found that 48 percent of Americans said they drink at least one glass of soda a day,11 with proven detrimental impacts to their health.

Some Advice for Coca-Cola? Get Ready for a Class-Action Suit

Some advice for Coke, plan your budget to include a class-action lawsuit similar to those filed against the tobacco industry. These products are now well linked to the obesity epidemic and chronic disease. Coca-Cola admits to targeting teens (and has previously targeted children through in-school advertising and product placement). Now, they are making attempts to rebrand Coke with a new, healthier image. Their new “Coke Life,” a low-calorie, low-sugar soda in a green can, no less, was designed to “quiet critics,” as it contains less sugar and no aspartame.12 Yet this new green-washed soda is just basically a cigarette with a filter.

Then there is Coca-Cola’s even more insidious side. Investigative journalist Michael Blanding revealed in his book, The Coke Machine — The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, that Coca-Cola bottling plants in India have dramatically lowered the water supply, drying up wells for local villagers while also dumping cadmium, chromium, and other carcinogens into the local environment. Similar claims have been made in Mexico. In many third-world countries, they already don’t have access to clean water, making soda their only choice for a non-contaminated beverage. As the demand for soda grows, the bottling plants increase, further taxing the water supplies left, in a vicious and dangerous cycle.

Join the Growing Number of People Saying ‘No’ to Soda

In order to break free of your soda habit, first be sure you address the emotional component of your food cravings using tools such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success. Be sure to check out Turbo Tapping in particular, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short amount of time.

If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make some changes to your diet. My free nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion. Remember, nothing beats pure water when it comes to serving your body’s needs. If you really feel the urge for a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice, or sweetened with stevia or Luo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Remember, if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would likely benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.

Sweetened beverages, whether it’s sweetened with sugar, HFCS, naturally occurring fructose, or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, are among the worst culprits in the fight against obesity and related health problems, including diabetes and heart and liver disease, just to name a few. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages can go a long way toward reducing your risk for chronic health problems and weight gain, not to mention your exposure to potentially cancer-causing additives like caramel coloring and aspartame.

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Supporting people with invisible illnesses