Doctor List Newsletter Free/Low Cost Medication Community Store Home FMS Community Newsletter #105. May 18, 2008
Mary McKennell
Editor: Mary McKennell(Photo in left column)


As usual I have some story as to why this has not appeared in a timelier manner. Suffice it to say, I have CMP/FMS/CFS and life just does not always go as I plan it in my head. I think it also has to do with bronchitis that lasted from December to April.

I have developed a new hobby which is fun and helpful at the same time. I started “messing around” with essential oils because of my massage therapist. She uses a combination of things on me, depending on what is bothering me the most or what pops into her brain. One of the things that she frequently treats is bronchitis. I decided after a previous bout with bronchitis that I should buy some of my own oils to treat these troublesome respiratory problems. So I bought a book on essential oils and got started on my learning journey.

One bottle led to another until I developed quite a collection. My “respiratory brew” has worked on most people. I don’t know that I was a good advertisement for the concoction, since I could not get well. But all sorts of people around me have had the flu or colds and felt miserable enough to let me practice on them. They improved with the use of essential oils. Did they improve faster than normal or did it just make their symptoms more tolerable? In my case, it made things more tolerable and maybe I would have been sick for longer without the use of it.

I have had some things that worked wonderfully for me. I have had a lavender aromatherapy jar on my desk for several years. When I feel myself getting stressed out, I just open the jar and take a whiff. Geranium oil (with some lotion) has worked great when I wake up in the middle of the night with cramps in my feet. Lavender and peppermint on a cotton ball help me to go to sleep when my head is pounding and I don’t want to take more medication. Clove oil mixed with some lotion helped tremendously with the terrible cough that I had. My massage therapist tells me that clove oil has antibacterial properties. She always carries a cotton ball with clove oil on it when she flies to scare off the germs. I certainly am trying it this week when I fly, as I got this terrible bronchitis after a plane flight.

One of the secretary’s at work and I have been doing a little experiment. I have this blend called “peace and calming” and we started putting one drop on our wrists in the morning when work began and then again after lunch. We concluded that we were better able to withstand the chaos of the workday with its assistance and not be as frazzled.

Another blend called “no more grazing” has worked well at controlling food cravings. It also has worked well for the 10 people in my weight loss class who were willing to try anything! None of us are certain why it has been effective, but agree that it has worked. Is it because we are doing something distracting before we actually pick up the food? Or is it the smell itself that discourages eating?

I have been using this blend called “enlightenment” on the soles of my feet at night. I have extremely blissful sleep and pleasant dreams the nights that I remember to use it.

I have not experimented with anything specifically for pain so I have nothing to report about that. The only true disaster that I have had was 3 years ago when someone put peppermint oil on my feet. I went through the roof! I wound up with excruciating pain and had a (mild) shock reaction. I had a similar reaction when I gingerly tried a drop more recently.

Speaking of pain relief, if you have not discovered Biofreeze, try it! It’s a staple in our household. It comes in either roll or in a gel. They have introduced a new version that goes on warm rather than cold that is nice. It has nothing to do with essential oils, it just popped into my head, while I was thinking about pain. And I have no commercial interest in the product. I get mine through my chiropractor but I have also seen it at beauty supply stores.

I have been buying most of my essential oils through a company called Birch Hill Happenings. One of the reasons that I kept buying through them is their excellent customer service. I can’t believe how fast that box arrives on my doorstep! I have no commercial interest in giving the company a plug here. They also have a series of unscented products for the multiple chemical sensitivities folks out there. It was coincidental that Birch Hill had an article on Fibromyalgia recently in their newsletter.

Wishing you joy in the journey!



1. Fibromyalgia and Aromatherapy
2. Not Only Cars Deserve Maintenance
3.What Is Quercetin? Why You Should Care?
4.Pain in Fibromyalgia Is Linked to Changes in Brain Molecule
5.Cortisol Could Alleviate Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
6.Brain scans reveal smokers' clouded judgment
7.1 in 5 veterans found with mental disorder
Trauma Patients Suffer Even 12 Months After Injury
9.Prevalence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in a Cohort of Multiple Sclerosis Patients
10.Fibromyalgia: The Misunderstood Disease
11.FDA now requires suicide assessment of new drugs prior to approval.
12.Sore Wrists and Hands Can Result from Our Work: but Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
13.Demolishing Anger’s Walls

Fibromyalgia and Aromatherapy
by Penny Keay

We have been asked often about Fibromyalgia the past few months. So in this newsletter issue we will give a few suggestions of what essential oils or massage blends you can use.

Aromatherapy and Massage therapy are often suggested to help those afflicted with Fibromyalgia. These complimentary alternatives will often time work on the symptoms to help give the sufferer some relief.

Fibromyalgia has the following symptoms; pain that can be moderate to severe when touched lightly on any muscle. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue and having trouble sleeping.

When we are asked about Fibromyalgia we usually will address the sleeping issue and the painfulness.

First we start out by suggesting the use of Lavender or other relaxing essential oils to be used about 30 minutes prior to bedtime. You can diffuse it in the air or just inhale a few breaths from a tissue or Personal inhaler. Also put a drop or two on your pillow at the same time to get a little Lavender in the bedroom.

The rest of this article can be found at:

It's Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Maintenance-Brain Care 101

Last week, the US Car Care Council released a list of tips on how to take care of your car and “save big money at the pump in 2008.”
You may not have paid much attention to this announcement. Yes, it’s important to save gas these days; but, it’s not big news that good maintenance habits will improve the performance of a car, and extend its life.
If we can all agree on the importance of maintaining our cars that get us around town, what about maintaining our brains sitting behind the wheel?
A spate of recent news coverage on brain fitness and “brain training” has missed an important constituency: younger people. Recent advancements in brain science have as tremendous implications for teenagers and adults of all ages as they do for seniors.
In a recent conversation with neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University, he related how surprised he was when, years ago, a reporter from Seventeen magazine requested an interview. The reporter told Dr. Stern that he wanted to write an article to motivate kids to stay in school and not to drop out, in order to start building their Cognitive Reserve early and age more gracefully.
What is the Cognitive Reserve?
Emerging research since the 90s from the past decade shows that individuals who lead mentally stimulating lives, through their education, their jobs, and also their hobbies, build a “Cognitive Reserve” in their brains. Only a few weeks ago another study reinforced the value of intellectually demanding jobs.
Stimulating the brain can literally generate new neurons and strengthen their connections which results in better brain performance and in having a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Studies suggest that people who exercise their mental muscles throughout their lives have a 35-40% less risk of manifesting Alzheimer’s.
As astounding as these insights may be, most Americans still devote more time to changing the oil, taking a car to a mechanic, or washing it, than thinking about how to maintain, if not improve, their brain performance.

The remainder of this article can be read at:

What Is Quercetin? Why Should You Care?

Quercetin is a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, red apples, green tea, onions, and broccoli and belongs to a class of compounds called bioflavenoids, pigments found in thousands of plants. Quercetin is beneficial in reducing bladder irritation from various causes and improves the quality and duration of sleep for patients. Quercetin is also believed to enhance visual performance, and has been claimed to improve upper respiratory symptoms in allergies and colds. The effect is thought to be the result of a stabilizing effect on the break-up of certain infection-fighting cells called mast cells. These cells contain histamine, which produces many of the symptoms that we associate with colds and allergies. In the presence of a chemical or biological irritant, these cells rupture and release their contents into the circulation at the site of irritation, producing pain, swelling, and increased secretion of fluids in the area. Quercetin is believed to prevent the rupture of the cell walls of these inflammatory mast cells.
Read the rest of the article to find out what this has to do with CFS and Fibromyalgia.

Pain in Fibromyalgia Is Linked to Changes in Brain Molecule

Newswise — Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found a key linkage between pain and a specific brain molecule, a discovery that lends new insight into fibromyalgia, an often-baffling chronic pain condition.
In patients with fibromyalgia, researchers found, pain decreased when levels of the brain molecule called glutamate went down. The results of this study, which appears in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, could be useful to researchers looking for new drugs that treat fibromyalgia, the authors say.
“If these findings are replicated, investigators performing clinical treatment trials in fibromyalgia could potentially use glutamate as a ‘surrogate’ marker of disease response,” says lead author Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the U-M Medical School's Department of Internal Medicine and a researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.
The molecule glutamate is a neurotransmitter, which means it conveys information between neurons in the nervous system. When glutamate is released from one neuron, it diffuses across the space between cells, and then binds to receptors on the next neuron in line and causes the cell to become excited, or to be more active.
This molecule was suspected to play a role in fibromyalgia because previous studies had shown that some brain regions in fibromyalgia patients appear to be highly excited. One such region is the insula.
In functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, researchers at U-M had previously shown that the insula displays augmented activity in fibromyalgia, which means neurons in these patients are more active in this part of the brain. The U-M team hypothesized, Harris notes, that more activity among these neurons might be related to the level of glutamate in this region.
To gauge the linkage between pain and glutamate, the researchers used a non-invasive brain imaging technique called proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H-MRS). H-MRS was performed once before and once following a four-week course of acupuncture or “sham” acupuncture.
Researchers used either acupuncture or sham acupuncture to reduce pain symptoms. The sham procedure involved using a sharp device to prick the skin in order to mimic real acupuncture sensations.
Read the rest of this article at:

Cortisol Could Alleviate Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia

Newswise — Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) are two serious and debilitating diseases with no confirmed cause and limited treatment options. However, results of a new comprehensive literature study propose a simplified treatment process that could help alleviate symptoms for patients suffering from these diseases.
Kent Holtorf, M.D., medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group Center for Endocrine, Neurological and Infection Related Illness in Torrance, Calif., is advising a simplified treatment process that may help alleviate CFS and FM symptoms. From an extensive review of more than 50 published studies that assessed adrenal function in CFS and FM patients, Dr. Holtorf found that that the majority of CFS and FM patients displayed abnormal adrenal function due to hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction. The comprehensive review also showed that the majority of patients could be treated for this adrenal dysfunction. Dr. Holtorf’s analysis, recently published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, demonstrated that patients that were given cortisol as part of a multi-system treatment experienced significant improvement in their symptoms.
“My review of existing studies suggests that a treatment protocol of early administration of cortisol may help improve and reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia,” said Dr. Holtorf. “This research provides a new understanding that treating the known causes of illness in CFS and FM can improve the symptoms and quality-of-life of patients who suffer from these conditions.”
CFS and FM primarily affect women in their 30s and 40s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than one million Americans suffer from CFS while it is estimate that FM affects about 2 percent of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, both of these diseases are poorly understood by many physicians and there is no generally accepted test to accurately detect them. In addition, many CFS and FM patients express frustration because there is no clear treatment path for their conditions.
There is more to be found about this cortisol study at:

Brain scans reveal smokers' clouded judgment

A defining feature of smoking addiction is that smokers pursue their habit even when it's clear they are forgoing other benefits, such as good health. Now brain scans suggest that this dodgy decision-making may extend into other areas of their lives.
Pearl Chiu and her colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, studied 31 chronic smokers and 31 non-smokers as they played a game inside an fMRI scanner. The players had to invest money in a simulated stock market over several rounds. After each round, they were given feedback on the returns from their investment choices, including how they might have earned more had they invested differently.
While non-smokers generally used this feedback to shape future rounds of investment, the smokers' behaviour was barely affected. Brain scans revealed that they were processing the information but, unlike the non-smokers, they could not seem to act on it to alter their performance (Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn2067). The finding may help researchers home in on brain differences in people who are prone to addiction.

Editorial comment: If you are already having problems with a fibrofog-why make it worse by smoking?

1 in 5 veterans found with mental disorder

By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times | April 18, 2008
WASHINGTON - The latest and most comprehensive study of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has concluded that nearly 1 in every 5 veterans is suffering from depression or stress disorders and that many are not getting adequate care.
The study shows that mental disorders are more prevalent and lasting than previously known, surfacing belatedly and lingering after troops have been discharged into civilian and family life.
An estimated 300,000 veterans among the nearly 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are battling depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of those people, according to the study conducted by the Rand Corp., are slipping through the cracks in the bureaucratic system, going without necessary treatment.
The Rand study underscores one of the hard lessons of modern counterinsurgency conflicts: Such wars might kill fewer soldiers than traditional fights but can leave deeper psychological scars.
Screening techniques for stress disorders are vastly improved from previous wars, making comparisons with Vietnam, Korea, or World War II difficult or impossible. But a chief difference is that in Iraq and Afghanistan, all service members, not just combat infantry, are regularly exposed to roadside bombs and civilian massacres. That distinction subjects a wider swath of military personnel to the stresses of war.
"We call it '360-365' combat," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. "What that means is veterans are completely surrounded by combat for one year. Nearly all of our soldiers are under fire, or being subjected mortar rounds, or roadside bombs, or witnessing the deaths of civilians or fellow soldiers."
Military officials praised the Rand study yesterday, arguing that its findings were consistent with their studies and said it would reinforce their efforts to try to improve mental health care. Veterans Affairs officials, while questioning the study's methodology, said their department has intensified efforts to find discharged service members suffering from mental disorders.
The Rand Study was undertaken for the California Community Foundation, which has funded other programs for returning veterans. Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, said the study would help draw the nation's attention. "They are making this a national debate," Schoomaker said.
The Army previously has said that an estimated 1 in 6 service members suffers from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a slightly lower rate than Rand's study found. In addition to PTSD rates, the Rand study found that 19.5 percent of people who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffered a concussion or another traumatic brain injury during their combat tour, a number similar to Army estimates.
Taken together, the study shows that 31 percent of those who have served in combat have suffered brain injuries, stress disorders, or both.
Combat-related mental ailments and stress can lead to suicide, homelessness and physical health problems. But more mundane disorders can have long-term social consequences.

The rest of this article continues at:

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Trauma Patients Suffer Even 12 Months After Injury

Those with joint and extremity damage had chronic pain lasting years

(HealthDay News) -- One year after suffering major trauma, many patients have moderately severe pain, a U.S. study finds. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, who noted that post-injury pain can lead to disability, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, analyzed data from 3,047 patients (ages 18 to 84) who were hospitalized for treatment of acute trauma and survived at least one year.
"At 12 months after injury, 62.7 percent of patients reported injury-related pain. Most patients had pain in more than one body region, and the mean (average) severity of pain in the last month was 5.5 on a 10-point scale," the study authors wrote.
"The most common painful areas were joints and extremities (44.3 percent), back (26.2 percent), head (11.5 percent), neck (6.9 percent), abdomen (4.4 percent), chest (3.8 percent) and face (2.8 percent)," the researchers wrote. They also found that 59.3 percent of patients with injury-related pain had three or more painful areas one year after injury, while 37.3 percent had a single painful area.
Patients 35 to 44 years of age were most likely to experience pain one year after their injury, while patients 75 to 84 were least likely to have pain.
"The reported presence of pain varied with age and was more common in women and those who had untreated depression before injury. Pain at three months was predictive of both the presence and higher severity of pain at 12 months. Lower pain severity was reported by patients with a college education and those with no previous functional limitations," the researchers wrote.
The study was published in the March issue of the journal Archives of Surgery.
"The findings of this study suggest that interventions to decrease chronic pain in trauma patients are needed. The high prevalence of pain, its severity and its effect on functioning warrant such interventions. This may consist of interventions during the acute phase of hospitalization to aggressively treat early pain and better manage neuropathic pain," the study authors concluded.
More information
The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences has more about trauma and other kinds of injuries.
Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Editor’s note: I am certain any number of PWFM or PWCMP could testify that this information is correct. I still feel the results of a car accident that happened in 1982!

Prevalence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in a Cohort of Multiple Sclerosis Patients

More than 50% of multiple sclerosis patients experience chronic pain syndrome. This study suggests that multiple sclerosis patients are at a higher risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome than the general population.

Background: More than 50% of multiple sclerosis patients experience chronic pain syndrome. We set out to determine the specific type
of chronic pain that was seen in our multiple sclerosis patients.
Methods: Patients with multiple sclerosis were catalogued between
January 2002 and April 2006 and identified by a search of the database.
Only MS patients that met the 2005 revised McDonald criteria
were included.
Results: We determined the prevalence rate of complex regional
pain syndrome in a cohort of multiple sclerosis patients. In our sample
of 205 multiple sclerosis patients, the prevalence of complex regional
pain syndrome was 4 cases per 205 compared to an expected age and
sex-adjusted total prevalence of 0.078 cases per 205 (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: This study suggests that multiple sclerosis patients are
at a higher risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome than
the general population.
Key words: Multiple sclerosis, complex regional pain syndrome,
Pain Physician 2008; 11:133-136

Fibromyalgia: The Misunderstood Disease

ScienceDaily (Jun. 2, 2007) — Fourteen years ago, Josephine* began to experience severe pain throughout her body. As her symptoms became worse, she sought help from a variety of specialists, but no one could diagnose her condition.
“I was told they didn’t know what was wrong with me; the blood tests came back good, x-rays came back clear,” she says. “They had no idea and they’d shuffle me to another doctor, another specialist.” She saw rheumatologists, neurologists, internists, and blood specialists, but there was still no answer.
After more than a year, she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic and debilitating condition that causes severe pain throughout the body. Ongoing research at the University of Michigan is demonstrating that fibromyalgia may affect millions of Americans, and research using sophisticated imaging techniques is helping the medical community better understand this disease.
“Fibromyalgia is a condition that’s characterized by widespread pain involving the muscles, the joints, and in fact, any area of the body,” explains Daniel Clauw, M.D., director of the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. “In addition to pain, individuals with fibromyalgia often experience sleep fatigue, difficulties with sleep, and difficulties with memory and concentration, among other symptoms.”
Click on the link below to finish reading this article:

Editor’s comment: Some creative person out there needs come up with a jingle from that Dr Pepper commercial of several years back. “Dr Pepper so misunderstood”. Maybe next year for Awareness Day?

FDA now requires suicide assessment of new drugs prior to approval
Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.:

For many years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has served a screening role to help insure the safety of new drugs coming on to the United States health care market. Simply put, the FDA must approve drugs for sale and approve them for specific uses before they can be legally sold in the United States. The FDA doesn't do it's own evaluation of drug safety, however. Instead, it requires that the pharmaceutical companies evaluate the safety of their own new drugs, albeit according to strict research guidelines and rules. You'd think that this is like asking the fox to watch the hen house, and in many ways it is like that. Pharmaceutical companies are, for instance, seemingly free to run as many studies as they like and to ignore the ones that fail to show positive effects or which otherwise make the drugs they are evaluating look bad. Drugs don't get approval if no studies demonstrate that the drugs work, however, and drugs are also not approved when unsafe side effects are noted. It's a flawed system, but it isn't all bad.
Apart from the fact that the company with a vested interest in getting drugs approved is running the show regarding the approval testing process, which is a killer flaw, if you ask me, there are other flaws in how the approval process occurs. One of them has to do with how broadly drugs are tested for dangerous side-effects. For instance, many drugs are not routinely tested for safety when used with child and elder populations. Also, many drugs are not routinely tested to see if they create subtle changes in behavior (rather than obvious physical changes) which might cause people to develop mental illness style side effects such as heightened suicidal ideation and suicidal urges. This was the case with antidepressants and children not so long ago when it became known that some antidepressant medications were associated with heightened suicide risk. The FDA responded by issuing a mandate that such medications carry a black box warning detailing the possibility of suicidal side effects. A warning is a good thing, but the agency can do better. Today, the New York Times is reporting another step the FDA is taking to improve drug safety, namely to require that new drug evaluations routinely include an evaluation of suicide symptoms.

Sore Wrists and Hands Can Result from Our Work: but Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Newswise — Do you feel numbness, burning pain or a tingling sensation in your hand or wrist that seems to increase at night; have difficulty holding objects without dropping them; or find it increasingly difficult to perform repetitive movements such as using your computer mouse or keyboard without pain? If so, then you may be one of the estimated 2 million people in the United States affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). About half of all cases are work-related, and in fact, carpal tunnel syndrome accounts for the highest average number of days missed at work, when compared to all other work-related injuries or illnesses.
An estimated 260,000 carpal tunnel surgeries are performed annually in the United States, and of those, more than 35,000 were performed in 2006 by neurosurgeons, according to AANS statistics. A neurosurgeon’s primary role in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosis, interpretation of test results, and when necessary, surgery. There are frequently other medical professionals involved in the treatment process, such as physical therapists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome most often occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes inflamed, caused by a combination of thickened ligaments over the nerve and repetitive movements. “Carpal tunnel syndrome is most prevalent in women ages 40 to 60, and also tends to affect people more frequently who use their hands excessively, such as pianists, concert violinists, hairdressers, computer operators, manual laborers, artists, sculptors, dentists, and even neurosurgeons,” says James R. Bean, MD, AANS president-elect.
Any repetitive motions that cause significant swelling, thickening or irritation of membranes around the tendons in the carpal tunnel can result in pressure on the median nerve, disrupting transmission of sensations from the hand up to the arm and to the central nervous system.

The remainder of this article can be found at:

Demolishing Anger’s Walls

Anger, when channeled into the pursuit of change, can be a useful tool in our emotional palette. Anger is experienced by most people, some more than others. It is when anger has no outlet and morphs into resentment that it carries with it the potential to cause great turmoil. Allowing us to assign blame for the pain we are feeling, thereby easing it, resentment tends to smolder relentlessly just below the surface of our awareness, eroding our peace of mind. The target of our resentment grows ever more wicked in our minds and we rue the day we first encountered them. But resentment is merely another hue on the emotional palette and therefore within the realm of our conscious control. We can choose to let go of our resentment and to move on with our lives, no matter how painful the event that incited it.

Hanging onto resentment in our hearts does not serve us in any way. Successfully divesting ourselves of resentful feelings can be difficult, however, because doing so forces us to mentally and emotionally confront the original source of anger. When we cease assigning blame, we realize that our need to hold someone or something responsible for our feelings has harmed us. We thought we were coping with our hurt when in fact we were holding onto that hurt with a vice grip. To release resentment, we must shift our attention from those we resent back toward ourselves by thinking of our own needs. Performing a short ceremony can help you quell resentful feelings by giving tangible form to your emotions. You may want to write down your feelings and then burn the paper and close your ceremony by wishing them well. When you can find compassion in your heart, you know you are on your way to healing.

Free of resentment, we have much more energy and attention to devote to our personal development. We can fill the spaces it left behind with unconditional acceptance and joy. And, as a result of our subsequent freedom from resentment, blessings can once again enter our lives as the walls we built to contain our anger have been demolished.

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