The Brain That Changes Itself – Introduction

Our last post on Brain Research was the final of fifteen posts from Dr. Jane Healy’s book Endangered Minds.  We did not move those from the blog on our website so you can go there to read : (scroll down on left)

We now embark on another journey in Brain Research by reading through: The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D. (Penquin Books, 2007)  In this book, Doidge shares with his readers many true accounts of patients who were thought to have incurable brain damage, and yet without treatment, surgery or medication, their brains’ function improved.  “The common wisdom was that after childhood the brain changed only when it began the long process of decline; that when brain cells failed to develop properly, or were injured, or died, they could not be replaced.  Nor could the brain ever alter its structure and find a new way to function if part of it was damaged.” P. xvii-xviii

This common wisdom was based on three major sources:

1) brain-damaged patients were not improving
2) we could not observe the brain’s microscopic activity
3) the idea that the brain was a ‘glorious machine’ – machines do not change and grow

When Doidge, a research psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, became interested in this area when he heard that perhaps the brain was not “hard-wired” after all.  Beginning in the late 1960s he traveled and worked with other scientists.  Their surprising discoveries led them to begin using the term: neuroplasticity (neuro – meaning neuron – a nerve cell in brain and plastic meaning ‘changeable, malleable, modifiable”)

Doidge said, “The idea that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity is, I believe, the most important alteration in our view of the brain since we first sketched out its basic anatomy and workings of its basic component, the neuron. Like all revolutions, this one will have profound effects, and this book, I hope, will begin to show some of them.” P. xx

The concept of neuroplasticity is the foundation on which the neurodevelopmental approach rests.  With this foundation we can give people hope.  With specific stimulation missing pieces in development can be stimulated. This is one reason why we do not diagnose or provide labels in our evaluations. Labels, while thought to be helpful in obtaining services, they are generally arrived at by a list of symptoms / behaviors. This can affect our expectations. Rather than expecting symptoms to be eliminated or behaviors changed, we often think, “My child has dyslexia so she will not read well.”  Let us remember that our brains can be stimulated to encourage development.

What do you think about labels?  Give your opininon.

Iodine Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It

Iodine Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It
4th Edition 2009
By David Brownstein, M.D.
Medical Alternatives Press
Reviewed by Maggie Dail
Brownstein begins by telling “What does Iodine do? “For over 100 years, iodine has been known as the element that is necessary for thyroid hormone production. However, it is rare to see any further mention of iodine’s other effects in the body. Iodine is found in each of the trillions of cells in the body. Without adequate iodine levels, life itself is not possible. Iodine is not only necessary for the production of thyroid hormone, it is also responsible for the production of all other hormones of the body.” P. 21

As defined by the World Health Organization, about one third of the world’s population (app. 1.5 billion people) are iodine deficient. P. 21

How is it that medical professionals are not doing everything in their power to reverse this situation? Within the last few months we asked an allopathic doctor to test his patient’s iodine. His response was “we docs don’t believe that to be helpful.”

Brownstein gives the following therapeutic actions of iodine: antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitic, antiviral, elevates pH and mucolytic agent. In the same chart he lists Conditions Treated With Iodine: ADD/ADHD, atherosclerosis, breast diseases, dupuytren’s cantracture, excess mucous production, fatigue, fibrocystic breasts, goiter, hermorrhoids, headaches and migraine headaches, hypertension, infections, keloids, liver diseases, nephrotic syndrome, ovarian disease, parotid duct stones, peyronie’s, prostrate disorders, sebaceous cysts, thyroid disorders and vaginal infections. P. 22

Iodine is not present in adequate amounts in most foods, so we must ingest it as a supplement to the diet. Iodine (as potassium iodide) has been added to table salt, but with the concern of ill effects of sodium many people have stopped eating salt. Refined salt is not good, but unrefined salt is healthy. Iodine in the soil is not adequate unless it is near the ocean. The RDA for salt is from 150 mg/day to 290 mg/day. In the United States the content of iodine added to salt is 77 mg per gm of salt. P. 41

Diets That May Cause Iodine Deficiency include: 1) those without fish or sea vegetables. 2) those inadequate use of iodized salt including low-sodium diets. 3) those high in consumption of bakery products (e.g. breads, pasta) which contain bromide. 4) those vegan and vegetarian diets. P. 45

“The iodine-loading test is performed after taking 50 mg of an iodine/iodide combination. Urine is collected for 24 hours after taking the iodine. In an iodine sufficient state approximately 90% of the mixture of a 50mg mg dose of iodine/iodine would be excreted (i.e. 45 mg), and 10% of the iodine would be retained (i.e. 5 mg). Levels of below 90% excretion would indicate an iodine-deficient state.” P. 48 Based on Brownstein’s documentation of his patients, he recommends Lugol’s Iodine Solution because it is a combination of iodine and iodide (10% Potassium Iodide, 5% Iodine and 85% Distilled). P. 55

There is a connection between estrogen hormones and iodine, thus Iodine is used to treat conditions such as Breast diseases, Fibrocystic Breasts, Ovarian Disease, Prostrate Disorders and Vaginal Infections. P. 22 and 69-90

Iodine is part of the class of elements known as halogens along with bromine, chlorine, fluorine and astatine. Bromine/ bromide is actually toxic and yet is put in baked goods and currently used in medications used for breathing difficulties and bladder dysfunction (inhalers and sprays). P. 98-107

Chloride is an important element for the body, however chlorine is toxic. Chlorine in steaming hot water is very toxic – steam of a dishwasher, shower water and “chlorinated table sugar” (Sucrlose / Splenda). Perchlorate (one atom of chlorine and 4 of oxygen) can displace iodine binding in the body, damaging the iodine transport mechanism. Perchlorate is used in car air bags, leather tanning, and fireworks. Consequences of Perchlorate include: breast disease, hypothyroidism, immune system problems, mental retardation in newborns, poor fetal development, poor neonatal development and thyroid cancer. To detox perchlorate is best done by supplementing with iodine. P. 107-114

Not only are we deficient in iodine, but we have toxic levels of the toxic hallogens (including floride). Dr. Brownstein suggests a connection between toxic levels of bromide and flouride with breast cancer. P. 118-121

“Iodine is an essential ingredient in all of the thyroid hormones. T4 (thyroxine) contains four iodine molecules. T3 (thriodothyronine) contains three iodine molecules. Without sufficient iodine supply, the thyroid gland is unable to make thyroid hormones in adequate amounts.” P. 127 Iodine-deficiency may lead to any of the following: goiter, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid diseases (Grave’s and Hashimoto’s). More detail is given in Brownstein’s book, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, which I reviewed earlier. (See this blog on

After a discussion on the chemical process that goes with iodine in a molecule, Brownstein completes this chapter saying, “My research and my clinical experience have been clear: the RDA dose for iodine is inadequate to prevent cancer. In fact, I believe that lowered iodine levels will provide fertile ground for cancer to begin in many different hormonally sensitive tissues including thyroid, breasts, ovaries, uterus and prostrate gland.” The optimal dosage for adults varies from 6-50 mg.

In the chapter on The Oxidation and Organification of Iodine, Dr. Brownstein states, “A diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid disorder does not have to be a prescription for life-long suffering.” “An autoimmune thyroid (or any autoimmune disorder) is an example of excess oxidative stress in the body. Remember, oxidative stress in the body is  similar to a fire burning. You can put out the fire by providing the body with what it needs: adequate intake of water, salt, and healthy food full of nutrients. Finally, it is important to reduce your stress levels.” P. 176-177

Selenium, a trace element, is essential for health even though it is not manufactured in our bodies. It must be taken as a supplement or in food. Common Foods that contain selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, cod, turkey, whole wheat bread and in a smaller amount, white bread. P. 181-182 Illnesses that have been shown to have a correlation to a deficiency of selenium: death from cancer (lung, colorectal, and prostrate), arthritis, heart disease and cardiomyopathy and HIV disease progression. P. 184 Optimal levels of selenium is essential for thyroid function. P. 199

Treating Iodine deficiency can favorable affect the symptoms that children diagnosed with ADHD exhibit. P. 199 Iodine levels in women of child-bearing age must be maintained.

How to Detox from Toxic Halides (bromide, floride, chlorine)

1. Adequate Hydration (weight in pounds /2 = ounces of water per day)
2. Take vitamin C (3-6000 mg a day)
3. Ingest Unrefined Salt (1-1.5 tsp/day – See author’s Salt Your Way to Health)
4. Supplement with Iodine (6-50 mg / day; test by doing the Iodine Loading Test) p. 212-213

Iodine, like any substance, can cause adverse effects (mentioned in the last chapter). For individuals unusually sensitive to supplements and medications, Dr. Brownstein recommends starting low and monitor as you build up. P. 233

Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism

A Book Review: Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships
Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism
By Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron Edited by Veronica Zysk
Future Horizons, Inc 2005

One of the most difficult areas for individuals on the Autism Spectrum is to navigate social relationships. This is especially true for high-functioning autistic individuals and those with the more specific label of Aspergers. “Age appropriate” expectations are not met and anxiety and other emotions run rampant. Two well-known individuals on the autism spectrum have collaborated in this book addressing this important issue. While they do not come from the neurodevelopmental approach there is much that can be learned from this book. Dr. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron represent two different types of autistic individuals, thus reminding us that everyone is an individual even those who have been diagnosed with the same condition.
Grandin sees in pictures, maintaining an immense database of pictures that she has categorized as if on a well-organized hard drive. Therefore, the book has been arranged in Acts and Scenes as if in a play that she can visualize. On the other hand, as Barron grew up he developed his own a set of unwritten rules that he designed and expected everyone to follow. When people unknowingly broke the rules, he was angry. After telling their stories and introducing themselves to the readers, they give their ten main unwritten rules with personal examples and many sub-rules. Here are their ten main rules:

  •  Rules are not absolute; they are situation-based and people-based.
  •  Not everything is equally important in the grand scheme of things.
  •  Everyone in the world makes mistakes; it doesn’t have to ruin your day.
  •  Honesty is different from diplomacy.
  •  Being polite is appropriate in any situation.
  •  Not everyone who is nice to me is my friend.
  • People act differently in public than they do in private.
  •  Know when you are turning people off.
  • “Fitting in” is often tied to looking and sounding like you fit in.
  • People are responsible for their own behaviors.

Those who are not on the autistic spectrum are sometimes called “neuro-typicals.” These rules are generally learned by neuro-typicals with little or no effort. How? I would say that it is a combination of being inherent, direct teaching as with parents and children and by observation. Those on the spectrum (ASD) think differently enough that they do not learn these rules at what is considered the “age-appropriate” time. It is hard for neuro-typicals to understand why those on the spectrum have not learned these rules. Grandin and Barron have produced a book that helps parents, teachers and friends to better understand and help those on the autism spectrum. Most importantly, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships provides credible help for those on the spectrum.

Learning A Struggle for Your Child? Investigate Possible Health Factors

Learning A Struggle for Your Child? Investigate Possible Health Factors

If your child struggles to learn, one important area to explore is health related factors.
Here are some areas to explore:

A.  Hearing  – If you suspect a hearing problem, see an audiologist. A screening done at the doctor’s office can miss many hearing problems. Audiologists can determine auditory acuity – the ears’ ability to hear sounds at different frequencies. An audiogram reveals how well the ear hears. You can test for acuity by speaking to your child behind or to the side. If he or she does not seem to hear or understand have a specialist check this. Further, you should have a tympanogram done to determine whether there is fluid in the ears. If so, it is like hearing under water.

B. Vision – Again, visual screening and even an exam by a regular optometrist can miss some information that you need. Seeing a behavioral optometrist helps many children with learning or attention problems. Behavioral optometry is an expanded area of optometric practice. When you visit your behavioral optometrist, you may notice a difference in your examination. You will find that you are tested for very specific skills… Tracking, fixation, focus change, depth perception, peripheral vision, reduced performance, discomfort, fatigue, etc. Some children benefit from visual training; others from different kinds of glasses. Think about the difference in the types of demands we place upon our eyes compared to 200 years ago. Are we requiring skills of our children’s eyes before they are developmentally ready? Neurodevelopmentalists also address these issues as a part of seeking to look at the whole person.

C.  Allergies – According to some experts there are fixed allergies (you react every time), accumulative allergies (you react when your system takes in too much), and addictive (you crave what you react to; you may not notice if you have chronic problems and many allergens). Some common food allergens are: nuts, grains, dairy products, caffeine, refined sugar, table salt, MSG, artificial flavors and dyes. Some common environmental allergens are chlorine in shower water, molds, dust, mercury, lead, and other chemicals.

1. Discover the allergens by:

a. Skin testing – M.D.s use this method and it is more likely to be covered by insurance.
b. Blood testing – Alternative health professionals use this form of testing.
(The results from these two types will not necessarily be the same.)
c. Elimination diets – difficult, but are helpful and less expensive than allergy testing.

2. Remedies:

a. Mainstream M.D.s frequently use allergy shots.
b. Alternative health professionals recommend a rotation diet, eliminating, at least for a time, the allergens. They may eventually be added back for at least occasional use. There are a variety of eliminating diets.
c. Get to the root cause. Homeopaths and others seek to do this. Allergens are less of a concern with a strong immune system.

For more information on allergies: Is This Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies by Doris Rapp, MD Available on

The Asperger’s Difference

Asperger’s Syndrome is on the autism spectrum.

Center for Spectrum Services produced the DVD, The Asperger’s Difference to highlight briefly what it is like for these individuals.

Asperger’s Syndrome brings strengths as well as weaknesses.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? (as described by 3 young people who have AS)
Affects the brain and how one thinks.
Social Skills
Way the brain is wired

Challenges/ Weaknesses

  •  Social skills – making and keeping friends, understanding unwritten social rules
  •  Communication Skills – making eye contact, face-to-face conversation
  •  Processing – understanding what people say; slow reaction time; difficulty understanding metaphors; strong in literal thinking
  •  Conversational skills – mind goes faster than they can talk or the other way around; they interrupt; they are annoyed when they have something say and can’t
  •  Computer communication can be easier because there is a degree of anonymity and you can edit what you want to say before you send it
  •  Passionate interests – can’t stop distractions; using a timer can help
  •  Perfectionism – wash hands too often; “Perfectionism and procrastination are enemies.”
  •  Organization –
  •  Fidgety – can’t sit still
  •  Sensory Sensitivities – sensory overload
  • Emotional Control – temper tantrum
  •  Targets for teasing and bullying
  •  Isolation and depression

Positive Aspects / Strengths

  •  Bright
  •  Musical ear / creativity
  •  Memory – long term statistics; doesn’t need to study hard for tests
  • Language and memory for movies
  • Visual learning / imagery
  •  Sensory strength – very observant
  •  Good citizens – following rules

Self Advocacy -Sometimes you have tell people – it is your choice:
1. Ask: What is the nature of the relationship?
Can have positive and negative effects
Longer term relationships – more important to tell
Trusted – potential girl(boy)friends once you know them
2. Ask: What is the purpose of the relationship?
Professor – to get help – “Get all the help you can get, but don’t use it as an excuse to be lazy.”

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders

A Book Review: Overcoming Thyroid Disorders          
David Brownstein, M.D.
Medical Alternatives Press
2nd Edition, 2008

Dr. David Brownstein, is the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan. This is one of eight books that Dr. Brownstein has authored. In this book he lays out what he has, along with other medical professionals, discovered regarding thyroid diseases. While I am not a medical practitioner and the solutions I offer for learning challenges are within the context of education, I do recognize that we need to look at the whole person. One condition that we have seen in many of our clients is hypothyroidism. In this review, I will summarize the ideas of Dr. Brownstein for your consideration.

Key Points:

I. Brownstein often reminds his readers that he is offering information, but he does not intend for it to replace working with a trained medical professional.
II. Dr. Brownstein contrasts his “holistic treatment plan” which aims to resolve underlying causes with “conventional approach” which generally treats the symptoms.
III. Brownstein quotes often the man who got him started in helping his patients with hypothyroidism. Broda O. Barnes, M.D. is considered highly among professionals like Brownstein. Barnes authored, Hypothyroidism, the Unsuspected Illness (1976).
IV. “Symptoms and Diagnoses  of Thyroid and Other Endocrine Imbalances: Acne, allergies, arthritis, birth defects, brittle nails, cancer, candida, chronic fatigue, constipation, coronary artery disease, cystic breasts, cystic ovaries, decreased sex drive, diabetes, dry skin, eczema, endometriosis, fatigue, fluid retention, gout, hair loss, headaches, heart palpitations, high cholesterol, hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, infertility, intolerance to cold, intolerance to heat, low blood pressure, low immune system, memory impairment, mental disorders, muscle loss, multiple sclerosis, nervousness, nutritional imbalances, overweight, P.M.S., premature aging, psoriasis, repeated infections, ridged nails, underweight.” P. 22
V. Hypothyroidism – an under active thyroid gland – butterfly shaped gland in lower neck. “Every single muscle, organ and cell in the body depends on adequate thyroid hormone levels for achieving and maintaining optimal functioning. Thyroid hormone acts as the body’s metabolic regulator. In a hypothyroid state, the thyroid gland is releasing inadequate amounts of thryoid hormone to meet the body’s metabolic  demands, and the metabolic rate is therefore reduced.” P. 33
A. “Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism: brittle nails, cold hands and feet, cold intolerance, constipation, depression, difficulty swallowing, dry skin, elevated cholesterol, essential hypertension, eyelid swelling, fatigue, hair loss, hoarseness, hypotension, inability to concentrate, infertility, irritability, menstrual irregularities, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor memory, puffy eyes, slower heartbeat, throat pain, weight gain.” p. 34
B. Prevalence of hypothyroidism – in US possibly 10% or 13 million people have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. P. 35
C. Thyroid Function – “A pituitary hormone, known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH stimulates the thyroid gland.  When TSH is secreted from the pituitary gland, it causes the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone. THS is very sensitive to T4 and to T3. When the body has adequate amounts of thyroid hormone available, TSH levels are lowered so that the thyroid gland can lower its production of hormones.” P. 37 The thyroid produces more T4 than T3 and when the thyroid is functioning properly, it converts the majority of T4 into T3.
D. Traditional medicine considers normal TSH range to be 0.4-4.5 mIU/L and anything less than 4.5 mIU/L to be hypothyroid. This has been the “gold standard” for over 30 years. P. 38 Studies show that this is not accurate and many people with hypothyroidism are going undiagnosed. Some have proposed a change of the “Normal Range” to 0.5-2.0.
E. Dr. Brownstein and other holistic doctors use the following to confirm or rule-out the diagnosis of hypothyroidism: thyroid blood tests, medical history, basal body temperatures and a physical exam. P. 42
F. A full thyroid panel tests not only the TSH, but also T3 and T4. Some people have plenty of T4, but are poor T4 converters. Factors that contribute to this problem: nutrient deficiencies (chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12) medications (beta blockers, birth control pills, estrogen, iodinated contrast agents, lithium, phenytoin, steroids, theophylline) diet (cruciferous vegetables, soy) and Other (aging, alcohol, lipoic acid, diabetes, flouride, lead, mercury, obesity, pesticides, radiation, stress and surgery). P. 45 Another list: “Factors Associated with Decreased T4 to T3 Conversion: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Anti TPO antibodies, chronic illness, cigarette smoking, drugs, external radiation, fasting, growth hormone deficiency, heavy metal toxicity including mercury toxicity, hemochromatosis, high stress, iodinated chlorestorgraphic agents – used in x-ray procedures, low adrenal states,  malnutrition, mineral and vitamin deficiencies – selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 & Vitamin B-12, old age, physical trauma, postoperative state, soy” p. 76 Because the thyroid affects every cell in the body, the symptoms discovered in a medical history is broad ranged.
G. The Basal Temperature (known as Barnes Basal Temperature – Dr. Broda Barnes) “How to Measure the Basal Body Temperature: 1. Shake down a basal thermometer the night before and place at bedside or use a digital basal thermometer. 2. Upon awakening, place the thermometer snugly in your  armpit for a period of 10 minutes and record your temperature for 5 days in a row. You must not get out of bed before checking your temperature or you will have an altered reading. 3. For women who are menstruating, the temperature should be taken starting on the second day of menstruation. …. For men and postmenopausal women, it makes no difference when the temperatures are taken. 4. If your thyroid function is normal, your temperature should be in the range of 97.8-98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature below this may indicate a hypothyroid state. 5. You can also check oral and rectal temperatures. Normal oral/rectal temperatures should be in the range of 98.8-99.2 Fahrenheit.” P. 50
H. During the physical exam common symptoms discovered include: outer third of eyebrow is very thin (Sign of Hertoghe) and “periorbital edema” or swelling under the eyes. P. 51
I. Conventional Treatment of Hypothryroidism: Synthetic Derivatives of T4 (thyroxine) – Synthroid, Levothroid, Unithroid, etc. Since this conventional treatment monitors TSH which is very sensitive to T4, this can actually lower the function of the thyroid because TSH levels will decline as T4 increases. P. 53
J. Holistic Treatment of Hypothyroidism – The goal is to find where in the normal thyroid function breaks down. What is the underlying cause? Is the individual a poor T4 to T3 converter? Which factors listed in F. above contribute? Dr. Brownstein recommends the use of “a desiccated glandular thyroid products (e.g. Armour Thyroid, Nature-Thyroid, Westhroid). These are not synthetic but are porcine (pig) derivatives – while not identical, the closest possible available, according to Brownstein. Further Armour Thyroid has diuretic effect on the swelling. P. 55, 56
K. “Thyroid hormone resistance is a condition in which the target tissue for thyroid hormone (i.e. the cells of the body) has a reduced responsiveness to thyroid hormone. In other words, thyroid hormone is not able to bind effectively to the cells of the body, resulting in signs of hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone resistance can occur even with adequate production of thyroid hormone.” P. 90-91 Detoxifing the body, increasing thyroid hormone availability and correcting imbalances help the body to respond appropriately to TSH. “In cases of thyroid hormone resistance, higher  than normal doses of thyroid hormone may be required to produce the desired effects on the body.” P. 91-92 Blood tests of those with thyroid hormone resistance may indicate that a person is hyperthyroid when the symptoms are consistent with hypothyroidism. P. 93

VI. Hyperthyroidism and Autoimmune Disorders
A. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism – “nervousness, sweating, palpitations, nerve tingling, fatigue, heat intolerance, hyperactivity, eye disorders and an increased appetite.” P. 115 “Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism: fatigue, goiter, heat  intolerance, hyperactivity, hypertension, menstrual disturbance, nervousness,  palpitations, sweating, tremor, weakness, weight loss.” P. 117
B. “Examples  of Disorders that can lead to hyperthyroidism – Chronic thyroiditis with transient thyrotoxicosis, graves’ disease, hashimoto’s disease, hyperfunctioning adrenoma, subacute thyroiditis, toxic multinodular goiter.” P. 116
C. “Autoimmune illnesses: Chron’s, Graves, Hashimoto’s, Juvenile Arthritis, Juvenile Diabetes, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Polymyalgia Rheummatica, Polymyositis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Reiter’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma,  Sjogren’s Ulcerative Colitis, Vasculitis”  p. 118  Many of these and other appear to have “infections” as the underlying cause. P. 120
D. Iodine Deficiency plays a major contributing factor to autoimmune disorders and a poor functioning thyroid. Helpful supplements: Vitamins B2 (500 mg / day) and B3 (300 mg / day); Magnesium -chelated (200-400 mg); Vitamin C (3-5000 mg / day); Iodine (dosage varies) p. 123; in addition to these – B12 (hydroxyl or methyl cobalamine – injected 1,000-5,000 mcg per day for 30 days); Vitamin B6 – 50 mg per day; Cat’s Claw – 600-900 mg per day; L-Carnitine 1-2 gm per day. P. 137-138 See Brownstein’s book: Iodine: Why You Need it, Why You Can’t Live Without It
E. Diet related factors: Gluten  sensitivity, Aspartame (toxic in body), Sucralose or Splenda (chlorinated table sugar), medication.
VII. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A. “Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder, characterized by poor sleep, muscle pain, stiffness and tender trigger points on the body. p. 143
B. “Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by severe fatigue that is unrelieved  by rest.” P. 144 At least 4 of the following: short-term memory impairment, sore throat, tender cervical or axillary nodes, muscle pain, multijoint pain without redness or swelling, headaches of new pattern or severity, unrefreshing sleep, postexertional malaise lasting less than 24 hours.” P. 145
C. “It is my belief that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are inter-related syndromes that often have a common underlying factor: hypothyroidism.” P. 144
D. “Possible Causes of Fibromyalgia – Allergic disorder, autoimmune disorder, bowel dysbiosis, emotional distress, infections (viral, bacterial, parasitic), nutrient deficiencies, toxicity (heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, etc.), trauma (physical or psychological).” P. 146
E. “Triggers for Chronic Fatiue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS): Allergic Disorder, Autoimmune Disorder, Bowel Dysbiosis, Emotional Distress, Infections (viral, bacterial, parasitic), Nutrient Dificiencies, Trauma (physical or psychological), Toxicity (heavy metals, chemicals, etc.).” p. 155
F. If Brownstein’s hypothesis is correct, then by treating the underlying cause (hypothyroidism), there would be a better outcome for those being treated for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Traditional medicine treats the symptoms and holistic medicine seeks to treat the underlying causes.
G. To treat these disorders: “In evaluating the hormonal system in fibromyalgia or CFIDS, the thyroid gland is not the only gland that should be evaluated. These patients often have multiple hormonal systems out of balance, including the adrenals, sex glands (ovaries in women and testes in men), pituitary, hypothalamic and others. The entire endocrine system needs to be appropriately evaluated and balanced with natural hormones to achieve the best results.” See Brownstein’s book: The Miracle of Natural Hormones. P. 164
VIII. Adrenal and Gonadal Hormones and Their Relationship to the Thyroid
A. “Although this book focuses on recognizing and treating thyroid problems, it is important to look at all of hormone glands because they are all closely related. If there is a need to use a hormone for any condition, I recommend using natural, bioidentical hormones. I have found a synergistic effect that is readily apparent when small (physiologic) doses of natural, bioidentical hormones are employed to balance the endocrine system.” P. 169
B. Brownstein uses the following in treating his patients and covers them in Chapter 7: DHEA, Hydrocortisone, Testosterone, Natural Progesterone, Natural Estrogens, Human Growth Hormone and Pregnenolone. P. 170
IX. Diet and Detoxification
A. “6 Steps to Improving Your Diet: eliminate refined sugar, eliminate trans fatty acids, eat organic food, drink more water,  eliminate artificial sweeteners, eat a  balanced diet.” P. 216
B. “Eating a healthy diet can be difficult. Much of the refined food is inexpensive and readily available. It may take some work suggest that you try to follow the six steps listed” above. P. 244
C. Areas in Detoxification to explore: heavy metal toxicity (mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, nickel), nutritional support for aiding detoxification, sauna therapy to enhance detoxification. P. 251
D. Sources of toxic mercury – fish, water-based paint, polluted water, fungicides, some pesticides, immunizations, some cosmetics, soft contact lens solutions. P. 253
E. Toxic mercury affect: brain, kidney, gastrointestional tract, liver, fetal issues (from mother’s fillings). P. 254
F. “Mercury has been shown to bind to the thyroid gland and disrupt its functioning.” P. 256
G. “Steps for treating heavy metal toxicity: remove source, improve diet, take proper medicine and nutritional supplements, drink adequate amounts of water, sweating.” P. 261-265
H. “Nutritional Supplements Recommended for Detoxification: Cilantro drops – 4/day; Garlic – 500 mg/day; L-Glutamine – 3-6/day; multiple vitamin-mineral complex, Selenium – 400 mcg/day; Vitamin C – 3000mg / day; Vitamin E – 800IU/day.” P. 264
X. Coagulation Disorders
A. “When the immune system of the body is not functioning correctly, as in an autoimmune disorder, this can lead to a hypercoagulable state. This means that the blood has an increased tendency to become thicker and perhaps form blood clots.” P 272
B. “Agents that trigger coagulation: genes, allergens, bacteria, biological warfare agents, chemicals, fungi (candida), heavy metal (mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and others), parasites, trauma, vaccinations and viruses).” P. 275-276
C. “Treating the coagulation disorders – drinking water, detoxifying the body, treating pathogens, exercising, eating a healthy diet, using anticoagulant herbs and vitamins, taking natural hormones, using anticoagulant medication.” P. 278
XI. Iodine and the Thyroid Gland
A. “Iodine is perhaps the most important nutrient for the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland cannot make thyroid hormone without iodine.” P. 281
B. “Iodine is found throughout the body. In fact, every cell in the body requires and utilizes iodine. The thyroid gland contains the largest concentration of iodine – approximately 15-20 mg when iodine levels are sufficient.” P. 292
C. “Research has shown that 100x the RDA for iodine provides enough iodine necessary to produce the molecules, such as d-idolactone, necessary to prevent thyroid cancer. This amount would be approximately 15 mg.” P. 296
D. For more information read Brownstein’s book: Iodine: Why You Need it, Why You Can’t Live Without It
XII. Final Thought –Dr. David Brownstein says the first step is to educate yourself. It is my desire that this review will begin or add to your self-education. We have found many of our clients have hypothyroidism. When treated, the individual’s function physically and academically will improve.

Another source:

For our local readers, our medical advisors also treat thyroid disorders.

Dr. Thomas Young 

Dr. Gary Kiefer

Temple Grandin, the Movie

Temple Grandin, the movie.   Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie, Temple Grandin.  I have read at least one of her books, Thinking in Pictures, but hadn’t even heard of the movie. After my friend left, I went to and placed it on hold. Ronnie and I watched the movie and then watched the movie again with the audio commentary. We decided that a friend of ours would benefit from seeing it. So we watched the movie two more times one without and one with the audio commentary. All three of us wanted to watch it again without the audio commentary. Ronnie and I watched it 5 times and I had it checked out twice from the library so I think it qualifies for a movie we could buy. Temple Grandin is an adult autistic individual who has done very well in life — she has a Ph.D. in Animal Science, teaches at Colorado State University as well as travels speaking on autism. While some of her thoughts do not reflect the neurodevelopmental approach, I highly recommend the movie for the following reasons.
1) It is very well made.
2) The acting is excellent. Temple said in the audio commentary that Claire Dane did an excellent job of becoming Temple.
3) But more importantly, it gives those of us who are not on the autism spectrum an understanding of the kinds of sensory issues that those on the spectrum face everyday. The movie also talks about how Temple was teased and laughed at for being different. Hopefully, our understanding will help us be more kind.
4) Our friend, who is on the autism spectrum, could relate to Temple and agreed that it was well done.

Nutrition, Learning and Behavior

In our work we recognize that what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment contribute to how we learn and behave. Here are just two things that may be affecting you or your children:

Vitamin D and Sleep

Dr. Stasha Gominak, a neurologist, was treating headaches in her patients, which led her to sleeping difficutlies and then Vitamin D deficiency. Watch as Dr. Gominak discusses sleep and Vitamin D:

Menefe Syndrome

Manganese, in too high a concentration, produces neurotoxicity. Dr. Shauna Young, a PhD and a naturopath has developed the Spectrum Balance Protocol, which is helping many who suffer with ADD, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder and more. They have just released “The Science” (summary of third party research) behind their own findings. For more information: