How Adult Stem Cell Therapy Can Treat Disease

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

The title “stem cells” can be categorized as an umbrella term that defines cells with the ability to create other types of cells throughout the human body. These amazing organisms can repair themselves, as well as develop practically any part of the body, both internally and externally. When applied to older individuals, adult stem cell therapy can be incredibly beneficial in treating a range of diseases.

While this form of treatment comes with some controversy, there is no denying the remarkable benefits that come with adult stem cell therapy. Originally used as a way to treat disease of the immune system, stem cells first saw success in the late 1990’s. The therapy was first applied to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and even heart disease, seeing a surprising amount of achievement in little time.

A great deal of the controversy surrounding the use of stem cells is due to the fact that some are harvested from embryos just a few days after they are fertilized, though other sources include blood and bone marrow; these are often much easier to harvest. Stem cells derived from embryos possess the ability to divide thousands of times due to their youthfulness, and can be applied to several parts of the human body. Adult stem cells on the other hand, are fully developed, and are thus unable to benefit other parts of the body that they haven’t already created. However, these cells can essentially travel throughout organs and tissue.

Cell-based therapies have the potential of repairing, and even replacing damaged or diseased tissue or organs, which is why many medical researchers today are expressing their excitement for this field of study. Stem cells from bone marrow, for example, have been shown to effectively treat different types of leukemia because of their ability to replace white blood cells. After undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, an individual suffering from leukemia will have a significantly lower white cell count, which must be made up over time. Stem cells taken from bone marrow have the potential of cutting this time in half.

According to many scientists, some of the main factors holding back research in this field are the political, ethical, and religious concerns that come with obtaining stem cells and the tests used to judge their efficiency. In the past, animals that have undergone these tests have reacted negatively, painting a poor image on the field as a whole. However, numerous patients suffering from heart disease have seen regular improvement after receiving stem cell injections. Those with Parkinson’s Disease, brain injuries, and diabetes are currently able to undergo adult stem cell therapy, and successes have been recorded on nearly all fronts.

While research is still being done on this exciting and slightly unknown area of medicine, adult stem cell therapy has shown incredible promise in the treatment of a variety of diseases. Miracle cases have been observed all over the world so far. But, like every other form of treatment, there are risks that exist when undergoing this therapy, such as the possibility that these cells will develop into the wrong types of cells, and contribute to genetic damage.
Adult stem cell therapy certainly holds the key for future treatment of diseases, but the medical field has a long way to go before it is considered standard procedure. The FDA discourages this therapy outside of clinical trials until it has been proven that there are much more benefits than risks in the near future. If you yourself are considering undergoing stem cell therapy, talk to your doctor beforehand to receive all the necessary information needed in ensuring it is right for you. There are a large number of stem cell clinics throughout the United States that offer treatments which have never been vetted, and visiting these is an unnecessary risk that you should avoid at all costs.

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Unhealthy Habits That Can Shorten Your Lifespan

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

There are countless blogs spanning across the internet detailing what is and is not a healthy habit, with some being factually proven, and others being based purely on speculation. These can vary from person to person, but understanding what can and typically is bad for your health is crucial in preserving your well-being. Here are some surprising habits that may go unnoticed from day to day which can shorten your lifespan.

Sitting

Standing desks have become largely popular due to these relatively new findings claiming that sitting for too long is harmful to your overall health. Even sitting more than 3 hours per day could increase your chances of contracting illnesses or muscle complications. However, regular exercise and stretching has been shown to combat these negative side effects. Pay attention to how often and how long you are spending your days on the couch or in a chair. Standing every now and then just to stretch can prove extremely beneficial in the long run.

Spending too much time alone

Many people prefer to spend their days alone, but too much of this can have damaging psychological effects. Specifically, having trouble finding a significant other was shown to be a cause of a shorter lifespan, as well as neglecting friend groups. While solitude is certainly not a bad thing, knowing how much is too much is very important. A contributing factor is that people with weaker social connections were shown to smoke cigarettes more and partake in other unhealthy habits. When you step back to look at the bigger picture, finding companionship in another person seems like a sure way to boost and preserve your mental health.

Extended work commutes

Sitting in traffic and driving long distances to work is something very few people enjoy. Those people may be right in feeling that way though, as longer drives have been linked to increased levels of stress, and physical complications that come with sitting for so long. So, if you have the option, explore different modes of transportation from time to time to break up the monotony of your daily commute. Take a city bus, ride your bike, or even walk to work if distance is not an issue.

A continued job hunt
Spending long periods of time unemployed and searching for a job can do damage to both your wallet and health. According to a study conducted in 2011, an individual’s risk of premature death is increased as much as 63% when unemployed. So while that morning commute may be something worth avoiding, not having a career at all can be significantly worse.

How Location May Determine Your Lifespan in the U.S.

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

Determining exactly how long you will live is nearly impossible, but longevity and living a longer life is being studied now more than ever. Family history, nutritional habits, and physical fitness are obviously factors that contribute to a longer life, but an aspect that many people may not take into consideration is their geographical location.

One’s location can play a large role in determining just how long they may live. This may be obvious when looking at underdeveloped countries and those more prone to famine or disease, but there are many societal aspects that can lead to a shorter or longer lifespan in any country in the world; specifically, the United States.

Considered one of the most dramatic statistics discovered in the U.S., some counties vary in life expectancy by as much as 20 years. Many professionals believe that the largest reasons why that is include average income, and education. Both of these are relative to one’s access to healthcare. The more educated an individual is, the more likely they will seek out a healthcare plan fitting for them, but to have the money to afford it is an entirely different story.

Take a look at this map. Areas like Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota have a significantly shorter life expectancy, with an average of 67 years. This may be due to the surprisingly low average income (roughly $26,000) combined with the how few citizens earned anything higher than a high school degree.

On the other hand, areas in central Colorado tend to see a much higher life expectancy than most, with an average of 85 years. Citizens here tend to be much more affluent, with better access to healthcare, and better healthcare plans that come with more money. Living in an environment that encourages outdoor activity certainly helps as well. Many residents ski, snowboard, hike, and more in the state of Colorado.

Lifestyle behaviors are obviously large factors in the contributions to life expectancy, and these can be molded by the environments we live in. These trends seem to be continuing in their normal directions, with many county’s life expectancies increasing, and other’s decreasing. Thus, the gap continues to grow.

How Stress Can Affect Your Overall Wellness

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

Stress is something that affects everyone sooner or later. While often viewed as a minor psychological condition, it can take a serious toll on a person’s health. According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), 77% of adults experience physical ailments because of stress. While stress affects people’s health in different ways, some of the most common problems include the following.

Trouble Sleeping

Many people who suffer from chronic stress also have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Stress triggers biochemical changes in the body, such as the production and release of cortisol, that disturbs normal sleeping cycles. When stressed, a person may toss and turn all night. And if they happen to fall asleep, they generally won’t enter the deep sleep stage when it’s most rejuvenating and valuable.

Fatigue

Stress also causes fatigue, which is intensified from lack of sleep. Stress is essentially the body’s fight-or-flight response. When a person encounters a perceived threat, his or her body responds by producing adrenaline, cortisol and other stress-related chemicals. This results in a sudden boost in energy and alertness. Unfortunately, these effects are short-lived, with stress causing the person’s energy levels to drop thereafter.

Muscle Pain

When a person experiences severe, prolonged stress, he or she may develop muscle pain and soreness. There are a few reasons for this phenomenon, one of which is the fact that stress causes muscle tension. A stressed person may unknowingly keep his or her muscles in a contracted state. If this tension isn’t released, the person’s muscles will become painfully fatigued. Stress also contributes to muscle pain by promoting lactic acid buildup. As lactic acid accumulates in muscle tissue, the affected muscles become sore.

High Blood Pressure

Stress is a primary risk of high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic explains that stress hormones cause a person’s blood pressure to rise. Previously, it was believed that this effect was temporary, but research has shown this isn’t the case. Chronic stress contributes to both short- and long-term high blood pressure.

Weakened Immune System

The immune system relies on proper hormone balance to function as intended. When a person’s hormones are out of balance, his or her immune system will become suppressed, thereby increasing the risk of infection. And because stress disturbs a person’s hormonal balance, it can lead to a weakened immune system.

These are only a few ways that stress affects a person’s health and wellness. When left unchecked, stress can also damage the heart, cause depression and contribute to poor lifestyle choices.

How Adding Spices to Your Diet Could Add Years to Your Life

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that adding spicier foods and seasonings to one’s diet could have some lasting health benefits. According to this find, people who consumed spicy foods 6-7 days per week were 14% less likely to succumb to age-related deaths than those who ate spicy foods once or fewer per week; a statistic worth noting for those worried about their health in later years.

Many different types of hot peppers contain the compound capsaicin. This has been used for centuries as a form of medicine, dating back to Native Americans. Today, researchers have found that individuals who consume hot peppers fairly regularly show lower levels of insulin after consumption, suggesting that capsaicin could potentially lower one’s risk of type-2 diabetes. Additionally, heart health among men who ate hot peppers was shown to improve, as their resting heart rates lowered, and overall function increased. Capsaicin can also reduce inflammation, which can protect your body’s cells, effectively preventing cancer.

If your threshold for spice is not particularly high, there are a number of other seasonings that can give you the same health benefits as capsaicin, if not more. Replacing salt and excess fats with herbs and spices is a great way of maintaining blood pressure, and adding more minerals to your diet, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.

Garlic and turmeric are two more spices that come with an array of health benefits, and are very easy to add to any meal. Garlic, as most people know, goes great with Italian dishes, stir-fries, vegetables, and more. The advantages this spice brings to the table are reduced risks of colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, and even breast cancer.

Turmeric is typically the main ingredient in curry powder and yellow mustards; an optimal replacement for mayonnaise and other condiments with high levels of fat. This compound also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, in addition to boosting the body’s output of antioxidants.

Many green herbs like basil, mint, oregano, and rosemary contain flavonoids that protect cells from damage and prevent the growth of bacteria. The oils in these spices prevent this, and the marinades that these are often in can reduce the levels of compounds that grow cancer cells.

On the sweeter side, spices like cinnamon and ground nutmeg are both anti-inflammatory as well. Cinnamon contains gingerols, which can prevent colorectal cancer, in addition to lowering your levels of blood sugar. Adding these spices to your morning cup of coffee, baked goods, and even salads could provide you with these additional health benefits.

The foods and meals in which you can introduce these multiple spices are endless. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. The ultimate goal is to harbor the advantages that these super-spices provide for your overall health.

Common Factors That Can Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com

Today, over 5 million Americans struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and 1 in 3 senior citizens pass from this complication or another form of dementia. This neurodegenerative condition comes with a lapse in memory (which can worsen with time), behavioural issues, and general forgetfulness. Those symptoms may seem tame, but Alzheimer’s often pays a heavy toll on the individuals suffering from it, as well as their friends and family.

Though researchers are still attempting to better decipher this perplexing disease, several risk factors have been identified, some being more preventable than others. Below are some of the most common contributors to Alzheimer’s to understand.

Genetics

Everyone understands that aging is the most basic contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s, but some people are more prone than others. This is based largely on one’s genetic makeup, which can tell specifically when an individual is likely to develop this disease (see early-onset and late-onset dementia). Early-onset dementia can occur in someone as young as 30, which is often caused by genetic mutations from those inherited by a parent.

Similarly, your family history can determine your likeliness of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If one or more of a person’s relatives have had the disease in the past, the odds that they develop it later down the road are typically higher than those whose family has never experienced the complication.

Cardiovascular Health

One may not think it, but preserving your heart health and overall cardiovascular health could actually decrease the chance of developing Alzheimer’s at a later age. This may include managing diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other heart conditions. While there is still much more research to be done on this theory, the connection between the heart and the brain may provide further insight on an array of mental health issues.

Head Injuries

Trauma to the head and repeated contact over the years has actually been linked to an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s. This study conducted on World War II veterans found that those who suffered from any type of brain injury during the war were more prone to dementia. Athletes are in the same realm. Football players who devote years of their lives to full contact sport put themselves at risk of developing mental health issues as well.

As mentioned before, researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how Alzheimer’s works, how it develops, and how we can prevent it. For now, it’s best to take the aforementioned factors into consideration to know and understand them, thus preventing yourself from worsening your chances of developing this troublesome complication.

A Few Ways to Protect Your Mental Health

The preservation of mental health is finally being considered as important as one’s physical health in recent years thanks to the significant amount of research that has gone into this topic. It can be much more difficult working out your brain in comparison to your body, but doing so is important for your well-being. The following tips are just a few of many ways you can flex your mental muscles.

Think Positive

Even so much as having a positive outlook on life and valuing yourself as a person can do wonders for your mental health. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and do your best to avoid self-criticism.

Though that may be easier said than done, as these negative thoughts can drown out the positives at times, there are a few ways you can adjust your mindset. Mental exercises like crossword puzzles, painting, playing an instrument, or even cleaning can promote positive thoughts.

Eat Well

Mental and physical health can actually go hand in hand. The more you take care of your body, the more improved your mental health will become. Eat nutritious meals as often as possible. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables in your regular diet, and avoid junk food as much as you can (though a little splurging could help as well).

Avoid alcohol and tobacco too. Though alcohol can be acceptable in moderation, cigarettes and the addiction that comes with them can be detrimental to your mental health. Drink water and chew gum instead of taking part in these unhealthy habits.

Exercise and physical activity have been linked to reduced levels of stress and anxiety as well. While exercise is recommended anywhere from three to five days a week, even just going for a daily walk can have its benefits in increasing your mood.

Learn How to Cope

Everyone has darker days in comparison to the brighter ones. Knowing how to adequately cope with them however, is crucial. Stress is an everyday occurrence that can either serve as a mild inconvenience or an overbearing sensation that ruins your entire day. In order to prevent the latter, try taking a break from the task at hand and taking a walk, meditating, or just stepping outside for a moment. Allowing yourself to be overcome with this negative emotion can create a vicious cycle of negative thought.

Do Not Avoid Assistance

If you believe that you are actually suffering from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or any other type of mental health disorder, do not wait to seek assistance. Consult a mental health professional to get the best treatment available. This can help you recover from these complications at a much faster rate as opposed to fighting the battle alone.

Originally published on JerryShiveley.com