FMS Community Newsletter #89

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Editor: Mary McKennell

What is the difference between an intermission and a remission? An intermission is defined as ?a temporary cessation; a pause; a space of time between period of action or activity.? A remission is defined as ?the diminution or cessation of intensity.? The word remission pops up here and there in fibromyalgia literature. I did a short search on how the word is used. Generally the term remission refers to a period during which symptoms of disease are reduced (partial remission) or disappear (complete remission).

The conclusion that I got from my lit search was that there is no agreement about how long a remission lasts. One source said that the average remission was 34 months long, with a median of 12 months and a maximum of 20 years. Another article said that remissions of two months were common.

I posed this question of what is the difference between a remission and an intermission to a doctor friend. She replied, in her ?doctor voice?, as if I should already know the answer, that one is a medical term and the other is a theater term. My response back to her was that Shakespeare said, ?All the world is a stage and we are merely players.? Therefore why can?t people with chronic illness have intermissions? We parried back and forth for several minutes until she started mixing up the two words and we were both giggling. Her suggestion was that rather than the word intermission, to go with the word recess, because what we often do when we are feeling good is to engage in some form of play.

I have long been fascinated with the concept of remission and it is the ?brass ring? that I keep going for. I think that I have been through some brief remission periods that meet that two-month criterion, never anything longer. My mind began toying with these two terms: remission and intermission. Remission seems like such a huge, far away goal that is always eluding me. I have learned to be grateful for the hours, pieces of a day, sometimes a whole day where there is a cessation of symptoms. Those are my little intermissions and sometimes they do become a recess, where I play.

The point is to pick the word the suits your fancy and pursue those interludes where illness is not in total control. If we are in pursuit of a an intermission or a recess we are evaluating and finding out what can make a difference in the way we view life or how we can make a difference in someone else?s life. Otherwise there is a tendency to wallow in negativity and pain and not find our way to any type of solution. I often say in the support group that I lead, ?There is always hope for feeling better than what you do right now. Your symptoms may not all go away, but if you keep looking and trying there is something out there that will work to improve some aspect of your life.?

Speaking of recesses, I have been away from the newsletter for several months. Jane has faithfully carried on while I have been absent from this project. I have had a friend in great need and a job that has been overly demanding. These two things consumed my energy and thought process so that I had very little left. I have learned a great deal about the depths of depression through my friend?s experience in that quagmire the last few months. She is better now and I am back at the helm of this newsletter as we try to find ways to make ourselves feel better, even if for only as few moments.

Wishing you joy in the journey!



~The Difference Between a Milk Allergy and Lactose Intolerance
~Balancing Probiotics and Candida Yeast
~The quackery of modern medicine
~Self-Acceptance: The Key to Inner Peace
~The treatment of Fibromyalgia and Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation
~Fibromyalgia Pain and Substance P Decrease and Sleep Improves After Massage Therapy
~Reduced Dopamine Activity in Fibromyalgia
~Eight Ways to Avoid Drug Supplement Interaction
~Build Up Your Resilience

The Difference Between a Milk Allergy
and Lactose Intolerance

by Vicki Koenig, MS, RD, CDN

Some folks think lactose intolerance is an allergy. But if you can eat some dairy products but not others, you?re not allergic.

Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is the inability to adequately digest the milk sugar, lactose. The amount of lactose that causes symptoms varies for each person. If you're lacking or have a reduced amount of the enzyme lactase, you have intolerance. The lactose stays intact and continues down the intestine where bacterial fermentation occurs. This fermentation causes the symptoms of lactose intolerance--gas, abdominal cramping, bloating and possibly diarrhea. Because lactose remains a larger molecule, it draws water into the intestine, which creates the symptoms.

Lactase is made based on need and genetics. If you produce lactase as a child and keep on drinking milk, you?ll likely make some lactase as an adult. If not, lactase intolerance onset is subtle over many years usually occurring in the late teens and early adulthood.

In a September 2006 article on Lactose Intolerance in PEDIATRICS, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the AAP Committee on Nutrition encouraged less avoidance of milk products with more use of yogurt, cheese and pretreated milk or use of lactase enzyme pills. It stated: ??.avoidance of dairy products may lead to inadequate calcium intake and consequent suboptimal bone mineralization? Dairy products remain principle sources of protein and other nutrients that are essential for growth in children.?

Why can someone with lactose intolerance still eat Stonyfield Farm yogurt? Our yogurt?s 6 live active cultures secrete lactase which reduces lactose content. The yogurt cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, L acidophilus and other cultures used in fermented milk products produce enough lactase in the intestine and stomach to prevent or reduce symptoms. Yogurt has less than half the lactose of milk.

Treatment for Lactose intolerance: Eat yogurt, lactose-free milk or take lactase supplements at the first bite of a lactose-rich food.

This article continues at:

Balancing Probiotics and Candida Yeast

Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast organism that lives within us. It?s part of our natural bacterial makeup: found inside the mouth, throughout the intestinal tract, on moist skin, and the vagina. In a balanced state, the yeast population is controlled by friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum and a healthy immune system. If this balance is disrupted, the yeast multiplies, causing infections with varied ailments. Most common is a vaginal yeast infection. This may clear up with medication, but can become pervasive into the bloodstream.

There are as many as 80 million Americans who suffer from yeast-related problems. A successful resolution of Candidiasis requires a comprehensive defense.

What Causes Increased Candida Growth?
The risk factors include: compromised immunity, (like with AIDS or cancer), hormonal imbalances, (like diabetes), pregnancy, increased antibiotic use, use of oral contraceptives and diets rich in carbohydrates, especially refined carbs.

A Successful Treatment of Chronic Candidiasis Requires a Broad Approach
Along with care from a qualified health professional, consider the following:

Antifungal medicine to kill the yeast
A yeast-free diet to decrease the food supply and starve the yeast
Increased beneficial bacteria to compete with and crowd out the yeast in the intestine
This article continues at:

The quackery of modern medicine
by Mike Adams

(NewsTarget) The closer you look at conventional medicine, the more you realize just how much it's based on quackery. From the exaggerated claims of drug advertisements (which imply that swallowing patented chemicals will solve your life problems) to the absurd pro-drug, anti-nutrition regulatory proclamations by the FDA, the modern U.S. "sick care system" has become the laughing stock of the world.

Americans pay, by far, the highest fees in the world for health care services, and yet we simultaneously suffer the highest rates of degenerative disease in the world. Conventional cancer treatments, which essentially involve varying degrees of poisoning patients with either toxic chemicals or deadly radiation, have barely altered the survival rates for cancer in three decades. Heart disease rates continue to rise, diabetes is now an epidemic, and yet the drug companies, mass media and FDA increasingly promote new fictitious diseases in the hopes that they can sell even more dangerous prescription medications to people who actually don't need them.

Now here's the funny part in all this: Desperate defenders of conventional medicine -- with all its toxic chemicals, drug-induced deaths and fraudulent science -- have the gall to call natural medicine "quackery." Anyone who promotes good nutrition through supplements, vitamins or herbs is labeled a "quack," and anyone who dares question the sanctity of the cult of pharmacology is discredited, attacked and sometimes even arrested and jailed. (See my documented history of armed FDA raids against alternative doctors and vitamin companies in my book Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them.

It's all so hilarious that it makes you wonder how the so-called "quack" police can continue to peddle their pro-drug propaganda with a straight face. According to them, sunlight is useless for human health, nutritional supplements have no impact on health, stress reduction through relaxation exercises is some sort of senseless voodoo and eating 100 calories of fresh produce has exactly the same effect on your health as drinking 100 calories of a sugared-up soda (to them, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source). Oh yeah, and they also say aspartame and fluoride are completely safe to swallow in unlimited lifetime quantities, with zero negative health effects.

In fact, the pushers of conventional medicine still believe that the mind has no health impact on the body -- a belief that was considered modern in the 1870's, but today, in 2007, it's downright antiquated. Don't believe me? Just ask your doctor about "mind-body medicine" and watch the condemnations roll off his tongue. M.D.s practicing today literally believe the body is divided into isolated compartments that have no effect on each other; hence the dividing up of doctor duties into roles like foot doctor, ear doctor, eye doctor, brain doctor and heart doctor. What happened to the WHOLE patient? You'd never see a Chinese medicine doctor limiting their treatment to the feet. The very idea would be considered laughable.

The rest of this article can be found at:

Self-Acceptance: The Key to Inner Peace
"Does age bring with it a deeper sense of acceptance? And what does it mean to accept?

"'We must learn to accept life and ourselves ... with a shrug and a smile ... because it's all we've got.' --Harvey Mindess

"Acceptance may be one of the hardest tasks for a human being because, by our very nature, we always want more.

"The practice of yoga is ultimately about letting go of discontentment and accepting things as they are in the present moment.

"But what if you don't want to accept that you are alone, don't have enough money, can't find success and are getting older? How does one wrestle with the discontentment and find acceptance?

"Life is ever-changing and the present is always subject to new experiences. You have no control over the future. You can only control how you react to the present moment."

The treatment of fibromyalgia with cranial electrotherapy stimulation.

J Clin Rheumatol. 2001 Apr;7(2):72-8.

Lichtbroun AS, Raicer MM, Smith RB.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, East Brunswick, NJ (ASL); Real World Health, Wall, NJ (M-MCR); Electromedical Products International, Mineral Wells, TX (RBS).
In cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), microcurrent levels of
electrical stimulation are passed across the head via electrodes clipped to
the ear lobes. After successful clinical use of CES with fibromyalgia
patients in our clinic, it was decided to test these results with a
double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which 60 randomly assigned
patients were given 3 weeks of 1-hour-daily CES treatments, sham CES
treatments, or were held as wait-in-line controls for any placebo effect in
the sham-treated patients.

Treated patients showed a 28% improvement in tender point scores, and a 27% improvement in self-rated scores of general pain level. The number of
subjects rating their quality of sleep as poor dropped from 60% at the
beginning of the study to 5%. In addition, there were significant gains in
the self-rated feelings of well-being and quality of life, plus gains in
six stress-related psychological test measures. No placebo effect was found
among the sham-treated controls.

A theoretical role of CES in affecting the brain's pain message mechanisms
and/or neurohormonal control systems is discussed.

It is concluded that CES is as effective as the drug therapies in several
trials, with no negative side effects, and deserves further consideration
as an additional agent for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Pain and Substance P Decrease and Sleep Improves After Massage Therapy.

J Clin Rheumatol. 2002 Apr;8(2):72-76.

Field T, Diego M, Cullen C, Hernandez-Reif M, Sunshine W, Douglas S.

Touch Research Institutes (TF, MD, CC, MH-R, WS), University of Miami
School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
(SD), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Massage therapy has been observed to be helpful in some patients with
fibromyalgia. This study was designed to examine the effects of massage
therapy versus relaxation therapy on sleep, substance P, and pain in
fibromyalgia patients.

Twenty-four adult fibromyalgia patients were assigned randomly to a massagetherapy or relaxation therapy group. They received 30-minute treatments twice weekly for 5 weeks.

Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately
after the first and last therapy sessions. However, across the course of
the study, only the massage therapy group reported an increase in the
number of sleep hours and a decrease in their sleep movements. In addition,
substance P levels decreased, and the patients' physicians assigned lower
disease and pain ratings and rated fewer tender points in the massage
therapy group.


About 700,000 people a year are rushed to hospital emergency rooms because of drug interactions, some involving mixing prescription medications with dietary and herbal supplements.

Here are tips to avoid showing up on the doorstep of the nearest ER.

First, tell your doctor. More than 70 percent of the supplement fans in a recent Harvard study said they never told their physicians they were taking herbal and dietary supplements, which could have set them up for dangerous interactions.

Then, health experts say, do these things:

? Check to see if you have the correct dose when you pick up your prescription medication;

? Know exactly how often to take it;

? Research the possible side effects and allergic reactions, as well as overdose signs, and what to do if the symptoms occur;

? Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should avoid certain foods, drinks, other medicines, or activities;

? Ask your doctor if you'll need blood tests or other monitoring measures;

? Call your doctor if you gain or lose a significant amount of weight, experience a change in diet or activity level, all of which might require changing the dose;

? Never stop taking a prescribed drug, especially an anti-depressant, without notifying your doctor to avoid "withdrawal" symptoms;

? Ask your doctor or pharmacist the same questions about any over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements or herbal products.

Sources: Journal of the American Medical Association, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Build Up Your Resilience
Learn to survive--and thrive--no matter what comes your way

by Joan Borysenko, PhD

I've seen people do all kinds of things to relieve anxiety. Some have a glass of wine at dinner. Others shop or eat. But these are troubling times--with hurricanes, tsunamis, war, and acts of terrorism--and if drinking, eating, or hitting the mall is your way of fending off anxiety over the state of the world, you should know that the bill will eventually come due. And I don't mean just the credit card statement. Such coping methods do nothing to build your inner strength and resiliency. Fortunately, there are ways to nurture true inner peace when outer peace isn't an option.

A few months ago, a woman I'll call Nancy attended one of my seminars. Nancy had been through hard times: Three years earlier her house had burned down; then her husband's National Guard unit shipped out to Iraq, and when he returned he was angry, depressed, and traumatized. The couple got therapy yet grew further apart until, finally, her husband asked for a divorce. Nancy realized she had a choice: She could drown in self-pity or move forward. After seeing how the trauma of war had torn up her husband, she wanted to make a difference with her life. So, at 35, she enrolled in nursing school.

I think even Nancy was surprised by her resilience. But her leap into a life of greater meaning came from a simple change in outlook. She shifted her focus from her own problems to the difficulties of others. And that one change brought her clarity and peace.

This time of global uncertainty challenges each of us to create our own sense of security. That doesn't mean you need to follow Nancy's lead into a nursing career, but keeping an eye on what really matters will help you maintain your balance when things around you seem to fall apart. Here are a few practical steps that can help you become more resilient.

Don't Let Bad News Overwhelm You
Journalists are biased. I don't mean politically--I mean that although good news rarely gets repeated, bad news is aired again and again in living color. But one exposure to mayhem is more than enough. Research by psychologist Turhan Canli, PhD, and his colleagues demonstrated that emotionally intense images get deeply etched in memory because they activate the amygdala. That's the part of the brain that processes threats to our survival, and it's involved in anxiety and panic. Why program it with frightening images that have staying power? Instead, during times of disaster, avoid being overwhelmed emotionally and physiologically by rationing TV, Internet, and radio news. You'll get all the information you need in a few minutes; after that, it's just more of the same. Place inspiring images where you'll see them often, because you'll remember them just as readily as distressing ones (and more easily than neutral photos).

Know What You Don't Know
There's an old story about a Ukrainian priest who walks to church each morning. One day, a Cossack stops him and asks imperiously where he's going. "I don't know," says the priest. The Cossack is furious--after all, the priest always went to church--and hauls him off to jail. There, the Cossack asks why he lied. "I didn't lie," the priest replies. "I really didn't know that I was going to jail."

We really don't know what will happen either. People who always expect the worst tend to be stressed-out and to suffer worse health than those who think more optimistically. But worry about a situation often turns out to be worse than the reality. Make plans to avert possible disaster, but repeat to yourself that you really don't know anything other than what's happening at this very moment.

Learn from the Super-Resilient
Dennis S. Charney, MD, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has investigated people who suffered extreme stress and emerged psychologically intact. With colleague Steven M. Southwick, MD, of Yale University, he studied 750 men, mostly pilots in the Vietnam War, who were held captive for up to 8 years and subjected to torture or solitary confinement--or both--but avoided depression. These men shared a number of characteristics.

Among other things, they were optimistic and altruistic, had a moral compass based on firmly held beliefs, used humor, had strong role models, and were guided by a sense of mission or purpose in life. You can nurture these traits in yourself. Look for ways to help others less fortunate than yourself, for instance, or strengthen your sense of right and wrong by reading biographies of inspiring men and women.

Explore Faith and Spirituality
Many of the POWs studied by Charney and Southwick said they prayed daily during their captivity; others didn't. You don't need to be religious to be resilient, in other words, but a sense that life has meaning does seem to help. Simply exploring different religious and philosophical traditions can deepen your sense of why you're here and what you think the purpose of your life is. These qualities can help you to endure and bounce back from adversity.

People such as Nancy, who face difficulty and emerge stronger, rekindle the hope in all our hearts. My holiday wish for you is to remember the good and the beautiful that are the essence of life--and to resolve to keep a positive outlook in the year ahead. That way you can become more resilient and help create a better future for the generations to come.

(Posted November 2006)

Joan Borysenko, PhD, is a scientist, psychologist, inspirational speaker, and author of Inner Peace for Busy Women and Inner Peace for Busy People.,5778,s1-1-192-209-7554-1-P,00.html

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