Archive for tag: research

Time Is Flying

Boy did last week fly by! I finished up my time at the VA, participated in the Loop the Lake Doggie Bones 5k, and wrote 3 papers (among other things). Actually, this whole trimester has flown by. I can't believe I'll only be writing with you all for a few more weeks.

The last month at the VA has been CRAZY! Our volume of patients was pretty high. In my last week, we saw 11 patients in just a few hours. I'm grateful for the experience there. I was definitely exposed to things that I likely would have never seen. I had the chance to use a multi-disciplinary EMR system that absolutely blew my mind. Imagine putting 20+ specialties into one system, having access to ALL films, bloodwork, lab reports, physician notes, and pharmaceuticals in one record. It was awesome! It allowed me to go through more records in a few minutes, than I could have in hours otherwise.

I had the chance to work with some pretty complex problems. Some of the patients had severe systemic metabolic problems. It was interesting (and sad) to see the "end result" of what happens when health isn't maintained. There were some good reminders for me there -- and definitely opportunities. Chiropractic and Functional Medicine are most definitely needed within that system. There's so much good we can do!


On Saturday, I joined Dr. Fava and Dr. Gambina at the Loop the Lake Doggie Bones 5k -- which was actually a cycling and running event, a walk, and a dog walk all in one day. We must have had 500 athletes there in one capacity or another (and it seemed like even more dogs). Seeing all the super high tech bikes made me want to ride again -- although I can't tell you when was the last time I rode. Dr. Fava and Dr. Gambina are extremely talented sports chiropractors, and I was able to observe some intense Graston work, as well as see some different stretching techniques. It was a good event. There weren't any crashes or major injuries, but we did have a few cramps and pulled muscles.

There's a triathlon this weekend that I'm hoping to attend at the same location. Several of the interns are going. We should be seeing quite a few patients. I can't wait! I'm finishing up the master's program at UWS. I have only 9 days left until the last of the final exams are finished. I honestly can't believe it's over. It's really gone so unbelievably fast. Last week I wrote 2 position papers and a research paper on Vitamin D and Metabolic Syndrome. I must have read 25 articles, and found teasers for at least a dozen more on peripheral topics like vitamin D's influence on autoimmune disorders (which will definitely be a topic of mine for the future). All of the papers were well received - as far as I know. I don't think that I have any more to write -- which also makes me a little sad. It looks like I'll have to publish in the future, just to get my writing "fix."

We have less than 6 weeks left in the trimester. It'll go by even faster. Everyone is making plans for graduation -- to travel to Lombard and walk the stage. It all seems so surreal, but it's really, finally happening.

See you all next week!!!!

Week 4?

Week 4. What? How did that happen? Time is absolutely flying.

I feel like one of those time warp photos - you know the ones where someone stands still and everything passes them by 800 miles an hour. Just like this.

I feel like I just can't get everything done fast enough -- that the "to do" list keeps growing and growing, and as soon as I get things checked off, a million are piled up in its place. And yet, things keep getting checked off. We are now officially done filling out college applications for Grey. I've ordered my application for Oregon licensure. I'm nearly halfway done with this last quarter of the master's program, and I start at the VA next week.

I spent the last week, besides doing everything else, reading journal articles. I read 14 articles on various (potentially) controversial topics in nutrition: dairy, egg, whole grain, and meat consumption. It addressed cholesterol and eggs, lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, whole grains and cancer, and several other topics. But even after all of that, it was pro-ingestion. These papers were FULL of statistics. Each one loaded with numbers trying to support its case.

And then I looked at the lists of conflicts and references.

In Journal Club, we were taught to read everything with a critical eye, to see the potential conflicts, and judge the studies accordingly. For everyone that I talked to about these articles, my only comment was -- "Statistics can manipulated to support anything."


Always read with a critical eye. You never know what information might be valuable, and what might be... 87.

Have an amazing week, Everyone. And if you come across some good studies, feel free to send them my way.

Where Does Time Go?

Do you ever feel like there aren't enough hours in the day? Or how you got to the end of the day when it all flew by so fast? This is what it feels like, when I'm busy. The days when I have 3 patients in the clinic (which is the most I've had so far) seem to fly. There's barely enough time to get all of the paperwork done: chief complaint, history of present illness... I find that on those days, it feels like maybe 2-3 hours have passed, and then the shift is over. How did that happen?

There are a million things that I want to go over with patients. I take LONG histories; really long ones. I ask questions that nobody ever asks (and often have to spend time explaining why I'm asking them). This piece of information is important for that. I need to know that so I can tailor it for them so I can help them get better. It never fails. Of course, it's hard to go through all of that, feel like I haven't left something out, and still get everything covered.

Of course, one of the great downsides to asking all of those questions is having to write down all of those notes. I write books in my patient files. In a way, I feel sorry for my clinician having to read all of these notes, and then on the other hand, I like being thorough.

A chalkboard used by Nobel Peace Prize winner Linus Pauling

Clinic is cooking along. I have a few regular patients, and new patients coming in here and there. My favorites will always be those with complex problems, especially functional ones. These patients need so much more time. Their appointments seem to go by even faster than the more simple ones. What changes can we make? Are there things that can be changed? What are the parameters that we're working with? So many questions, so little time to ask and answer them.

Research is ongoing. I'm trying to squeeze in articles when I can, or when I have any free time. Right now I'm reading one about xenobiotics and autoimmune disorders. Sometimes I think my head will explode, or at least want to bang it into the wall when I can't remember what a specific interleukin does (even though I've looked it up 9,000 times already). Really I just love it, and can see why people go into research full time. Although, the application of it is exciting in and of itself. If only I could know "everything." Of course we'd find new things to learn and explore, and learn that things that we knew before were completely and totally wrong, and have to learn them all over again - differently. I guess that's why we're scientists.

The photo above is from one of Linus Pauling's chalkboards. If you're not familiar with Linus Pauling, he was the only person to be awarded two unshared Nobel Peace Prizes. He was a brilliant chemist/biochemist and activist, and completely changed the way we think about human biochemistry. He was a huge advocate of "orthomolecular medicine" (which we now know as functional medicine), vitamin therapies, and supplementation. I'm absolutely fascinated by his work, and have had one of his books sitting on my bookshelf for many months. If only I had the time to read it.


OK, Everybody, go learn something really cool (and then tell me about it so I can learn too). But in case you're burnt out and don't want to learn anything, enjoy some Moose yoga. I wish I could stretch some of my patients out like that!

Have a Great Week, Everybody!!!!

Hanging Onto Summer

I walked into the store this weekend and saw Christmas decorations. Can you believe it? Christmas decorations?!?! I never know whether I should be excited and festive or mortified at the consumerism of having things out 3 months in advance. Seriously. Who starts buying and decorating for Christmas 3 months before the holiday? I guess it's just a reminder, though, that the end of the trimester will be here before we know it. We're already looking at midterms. My first one, in lab diagnosis, is this coming Friday.

Banyan Tree on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete

I hear that the rest of the world is starting to cool off in honor of the season--but here in Florida we're still averaging upper 80s or lower 90s. It's. Been. Hot.  I find I'm a little envious of my friends and loved ones that are donning sweaters and complaining about it being chilly. I haven't owned a sweater in nearly 8 years. The closest to needing one has been dealing with crazy air conditioning issues in the Annex. Sometimes it gets downright chilly in there! We're threatening to bring teapots and mittens. I can see it happening. It might start cooling off by the end of October. For now, even though we're technically in Autumn, it still feels like Summer--rain, heat, and all.

I'm getting into the Marketing project with planning my future clinic. I spend a little bit of time every day, it seems, pondering how things will be--how I want them. I know I need to do a lot more research on my geographic regions and desired demographics, etc. It's actually a pretty big project--but I think it will help me tremendously when the time comes. I've even been working on putting a logo together. I have no idea if that's what it will end up as--but I think it's a good start.

I've started clearing the yard for a fall garden. I'm wondering how long the growing season will be. I've never had a fall garden before--having grown up in the Midwest. I will let all of you know how that works out. If all works well, I could have fresh herbs and veggies around Christmas. Maybe I'll decorate with them instead of glitz and glitter from the store.

I'm still working on some pretty intense research topics. My Pubmed list grows just about every day. Here is a listing of my topics: oxytocin, C reactive protein, eicosanoids, anti-inflammatory diet, food allergy, gluten, celiac, botanical, functional medicine, vitamin D and asthma, stress, and naturopathic medicine. There may be a couple of others--ones that I don't get search returns on daily. There's amazing research that comes through every day. Pieces of the puzzle come together. I'm learning things about bloodwork that I never knew, how biochemistry is affected by nearly everything, and what we can do (and what we're doing and not doing) to fix it all. Fascinating.

Banyan Tree in Crescent Lake
One of the biggest I've ever seen (a little bit like the "Tree of Life" from Disney)

Since I'm boycotting Christmas trees for at least another two months, here are some Banyan tree pictures. Banyans are actually fig trees and sometimes known as strangler figs. In some places they're considered invasives. Here in this part of Florida, we've got some Banyan trees that are OLD--REALLY, REALLY old. There are several places around town where Banyan trees can be seen--there's even a "Banyan Tree Motel"--although the only Banyan tree there is on the sign. I've always found them to be majestic, spirited trees that are absolutely beautiful.

Have a great week everybody!

Laughter Yoga and Oxytocin Research

Boy, last week sure went by fast! Unfortunately I missed the tri-mixer. I'm guessing that my classmates carried on in my stead. I was, instead, fighting with car issues. I'll spare you all the details. Suffice it to say, the "Wonder Wagon" (my car) will be seeing some time with the mechanic in the very near future. Hopefully it's all fixable.


I wouldn't dare have taken pictures of this, but in Functional Rehabilitation this last week, we had a guest "lecturer" come do a yoga class with us! It was AWESOME! I used to do a fair amount of yoga and stretching but have fallen out of practice with it. It was good to learn some different poses. It's definitely something I'd like to get back into. Of course a lot of our patients will likely be yoga followers--so it's good to be familiar in that aspect.

The best part of the demonstration was trying "laughter yoga." If you haven't tried this--I highly recommend it. The teacher challenged us to laugh for one minute--stating that our bodies don't know the difference between fake and real laughter. Now, I disagree with this philosophically, but it was absolutely hilarious. I have to call out my classmate Alid Perez. We all started our "fake laugh," and I swear he burst into authentic laughter. Within seconds I was crying because I was laughing so hard. It was therapeutic in really amazing and odd ways. I'm honestly thinking that I will try to find a laughter yoga group to participate in. Here's a web article from The Body Knows Best about the benefits of laughter yoga. If you're interested in finding a laughter yoga group near you--try the Laughter Yoga website. Have a laugh! It might make all the difference.

I've been doing some research on a variety of topics this week, the latest of which is on oxytocin and its roles in social conditioning. It's absolutely fascinating. Most of the research stems from the links between oxytocin and bonding between mother and child, but there's also research regarding partners and long-term relationships. I had, jokingly, made comments about relationships and oxytocin before. I had absolutely no idea there was truth to it. So I'm eating it up with a spoon. I've even added it to my Pubmed research returns. I'll probably have a million of those before too long.

2013-09-24_pasagrille _warm

Now that I'm driving a car without AC (in Florida!), I want to remind everybody how important it is to drink a lot of water. This page, The Health Benefits of Water, isn't very flashy, but has a lot of good factoids about water. The body is over 70% water, the brain 75%. We lose 1/2-1 cup of water out of the soles of our feet every day! That blows my chronic flip-flop wearing mind! To contribute to my own dehydration, I went out to Pass a Grille beach to take some pictures for you all. Enjoy and have a great week!