Improving Cognitive Function Through Supplementation

Improving Cognitive Function Through Supplementation

Improving Cognitive Function Through Supplementation

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Convincing evidence shows that certain substances can improve specific aspects of thinking. Here are three promising supplements to consider for anyone interested in improving cognitive function. DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol):  DMAE is a relative of the nutrient choline.  But, unlike choline, DMAE readily crosses the brain-blood barrier.  It thus directly increases the generation of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Choline (and DMAE?) is (are?) found in eggs, fish and soybeans. Acetylcholine is abundant in both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum, and is thus involved in cognitive processes controlled by these parts of the brain, such as memory, problem solving, organization, rational thinking, balance and movement.  Children with motor issues and low arousal may benefit from an increase in acetylcholine availability. Indications: Best for children whose prevailing problems are spaciness and poor organizational skills. Precautions: Avoid in children who have high muscle tension, sleep disturbances or agitation rather than distractibility. DMAE can increase muscle tension levels.  As with…

Does Mitochondrial Dysfunction Finally Connect the Diverse Medical Symptoms We Now See in Children With Various Health Problems?

Does Mitochondrial Dysfunction Finally Connect the Diverse Medical Symptoms We Now See in Children With Various Health Problems?

Does Mitochondrial Dysfunction Finally Connect the Diverse Medical Symptoms We Now See in Children With Various Health Problems?

By Alyssa Davi, Parent Advocate What is mitochondrial disease and why may it be important to my child with developmental delay, low tone, GI problems, seizures, feeding problems, failure to gain weight, autism, diabetes or neuro-psychiatric symptoms? Research connecting mitochondrial disease and many diverse medical problems is increasing.  Dr. James Anderson, the Director of Program Coordination at the National Institute of Health (NIH) stated that the NIH currently funds more than half a billion dollars in mitochondrial research. Researchers are linking mitochondrial disease with everything from diabetes, autism, mood disorders, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even some cancers. Why would mitochondrial disease be involved in such a vast array of disorders?  The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation states, Mitochondrial diseases are not one disease, but a group of metabolic diseases.  These diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized organelles present in almost every cell of the body Mitochondria are responsible for providing more than 90% of the energy needed…

Nutrition and Low Muscle Tone

Nutrition and Low Muscle Tone

Nutrition and Low Muscle Tone

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Low muscle tone, or hypotonia, is one of the physical problems often associated with developmental delays; nutrition and low muscle tone are intimately connected.  Children can have generalized hypotonia or it may affect just specific areas such as the hands or upper body. Hypotonia is clinically significant because in severe cases the muscles are literally too weak to perform important tasks such as holding a pencil or sitting without slumping in a chair. In milder cases, stamina or precision are affected. For example, children with severe hypotonia of the hands are reluctant or sloppy writers whose interest in writing or drawing declines in direct correlation with the severity of the low tone. When the concerns are milder, youngsters may try to overcompensate for difficulties by holding pencils too hard and causing cramps or creating blisters. Causes There are two possible causes of hypotonia.  Occupational therapists contend that the vestibular system imbalances are to blame. The…

road to recovery sign

The “R” Word: Sensory Processing Disorder Recovery

road to recovery sign

You may or may not know my personal recovery story. I have recovered my 2 sons, now ages 5 and 7, from sensory processing disorder (SPD), asthma, allergies, acid reflux and eczema with a biomedical approach, which means correcting nutritional and hormonal deficiencies, removing toxicities and correcting gut dysbiosis. Most people don’t know that sensory processing disorder recovery is possible, but my sons have recovered from it. I’m still working on failure to thrive, mitochondrial dysfunction, hypothyroidism and persistent eczema in my older son. In addition, they both had developmental delays, and my older son had severe hypotonia as a baby. I have recovered from immune dysregulation, in which I had shingles twice, the worst case of poison-ivy ever, bronchitis (which I’d never had before), constant sinus infections and constant colds that would last 3-4 weeks at a time. My older son had immune dysregulation, too, when he was younger: he would go to preschool, get sick and be out…

Is It Fatigue or Is It Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

Is It Fatigue or Is It Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

Is It Fatigue or Is It Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

Because of my son’s failure to thrive, our pediatrician sent us to see Vicki Kobliner, a holistic nutritionist, who’s also on the board of Epidemic Answers with me. Given that Crane Man has constant fatigue and stomach pain, poor growth, mild sensory issues and developmental delays, Vicki suggested having preliminary tests for mitochondrial dysfunction done. Checking the levels of carnitine, lactic acid, pyruvic acid, alinine and lysine are easy preliminary screening tests that can be done from a standard blood-test lab like Quest Diagnostics. Having symptoms across 3 or more organ systems is suggestive of mitochondrial dysfunction. Crane Man’s developmental delay is a symptom of brain dysfunction; His GI problems and former acid reflux are symptoms of muscular dysfunction; His possible hypoglycemia is a symptom of liver dysfunction; His failure to thrive, fatigue and former unexplained vomiting are symptoms of system dysfunction. At this point, you’re probably scratching your head, thinking “Mitochondria, I vaguely remember something about that from high…

Failure to Thrive

Failure to Thrive

Failure to Thrive

“Failure to thrive” is when your child’s weight percentile falls to the 3rdpercentile or below or when it crosses 2 or more major percentile curves.  When either of these (or both, as in the case of my older son) happens, it’s an indication that the child is not growing as he or she should be. I could scream every time someone tells me that I’m not that big or my husband’s not that big, so my sons’ failure to thrive is something I shouldn’t worry about.  Or how about when I’m told to stop comparing my kids to fat American kids?  I’m NOT comparing my boys to other kids.  I’m comparing them to THEMSELVES.  That’s the point of a growth percentile curve.  A child is born at a certain height and weight, which puts them on a growth-percentile curve, and they should track that curve.  Otherwise, what’s the point of having these curves? For example, my older son was born…

Retained Reflexes, Learning and Happiness

Retained Reflexes, Learning and Happiness

Retained Reflexes, Learning and Happiness

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP My older son with sensory processing disorder (SPD) benefited greatly from going to a land-based occupational therapist (OT) for six months.  I asked her what we should do about him learning to swim, given that he had such a bad experience with it when he was 2 years old. You might remember that he was so overwhelmed by the lights, sounds, the way the water felt, and his gravitational insecurity in the water that one day after class he came home and wiped down half the kitchen to relieve his stress.  That’s a pretty strong reaction from a toddler. Aquatic Occupational Therapy The land-based OT recommended an aquatic OT at Angelfish Therapy, whom we began using initially in private sessions after his dismissal from the land-based OT. From their website:  “Aquatic therapy takes place in the water, which is a combination of OT and PT (physical therapy), muscle strengthening, coordination, motor planning, endurance, body…

Vestibular Processing Dysfunction: Scared To Be In His Own Body

Vestibular Processing Dysfunction: Scared To Be In His Own Body

Vestibular Processing Dysfunction: Scared To Be In His Own Body

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP When my older son was 3-1/2, I finally learned that he had sensory processing disorder (SPD); this realization let me recognize the signs later on that my younger son had it as well. My older son began seeing an occupational therapist (OT) when he was 3-1/2 years old.  Before his first visit, she had me fill out two questionnaires:  a sensory profile caregiver questionnaire and a foundational listening skills assessment sensory checklist. The answers I gave provided a foundation for her to plan sessions with my son.   She noted that my primary reasons for seeking her services were my son’s muscle weakness, decreased ability to play with others in a physical manner, and general anxiety. Sensory Profile Caregiver Questionnaire From the caregiver questionnaire, the OT concluded that my son had probable differences (scores between 1 and 2 standard deviations below the mean) in auditory, visual, vestibular and multi-sensory processing. She noted that he had…

How I Got Help for My Sons' Sensory Processing Disorder

How I Got Help for My Sons’ Sensory Processing Disorder

How I Got Help for My Sons' Sensory Processing Disorder

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP For my older son, I had a litany of signs for 3-1/2 years that told me something was wrong, despite reassurances to the contrary of his doctors.  So what was the tipping point? The Tipping Point It all hit the fan when our nanny left to have her own baby shortly after my oldest son turned 3.  Yes, I was extremely fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom with a nanny; but, looking back, I really needed the help. My older son had been used to having either me or the nanny completely to himself.  All of a sudden when she left, he was forced to share me with his baby brother.  So what did he do? He cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  Over EVERY little thing. The only relief I got from his clinginess and neediness was when he started preschool for a few hours a week shortly after the…

Recovery from Sensory Processing Disorder, Reflux, Asthma, Eczema

Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms

Recovery from Sensory Processing Disorder, Reflux, Asthma, Eczema

If I were to tell you that both of my sons have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), you might: a) ask, what is that? b) ask, how did you know that they have it? or c) not believe me unless you had met them – especially my older son – a few years ago. I believe that they are mostly recovered because of occupational therapy (OT) interventions over the course of a year and a half and because of ongoing naturopathic medicine and dietary changes. My goal here in this article is to help other parents understand what SPD is and what can be done about it. To answer the first question, people with SPD have a problem with the wiring from their nervous system to their brain; SPD is a neurological disorder.  SPD is usually more noticeable in kids; most adults have learned to compensate. Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders There are two kinds of people with SPD: sensory seekers…