Health & Science

Go to Sleep

Author: Daniel Nguyen

I love sleeping, but like most people I sometimes have difficulty going to sleep. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and making sure you get a sufficient amount of sleep is much more important than you think. Have you ever find yourself staying up at 3am because you just can’t go to sleep? I know it sucks, I’ve been there. But I personally have several methods that have worked for me to get myself to sleep. One method is exercise. Not only is exercise alone good for your health, but I found that moderate exercise in the evening helps me go to sleep because it helps me feel tired. Having a 30 minute jog never fails to make me have the urge to sleep. Another method is resetting your sleeping schedule. What I mean by this is that if you find yourself waking up super late because you stayed up late, set an alarm early such as 8:00, and FORCE yourself to wake up at that time. Don’t take any naps that day, and by the time your bedtime rolls around, you’ll feel very tired and will very likely fall asleep easily. One of the last methods I use to fall asleep is to avoid caffeine. I don’t mean avoid it entirely, but refrain from drinking it in the evening. Coffee in the morning is okay, but as a college student I know many others who use caffeine to help stay up late to study. Caffeine prevents you from falling asleep easily, and you also shouldn’t put off sleep. Sleep is way more important than you may realize.

This year in spring quarter I took an applied mathematics class, and before the midterm my professor gave a short speech in class about sleep. He mentioned how important it is for us to sleep and that he would rather have us get a good sleep than spend the whole night studying. Based on my experiences, I very much agree with him. If you don’t think sleeping is that important, a news article published by the Perspectives on Psychological Science has Christopher Barnes (from the University of Washington) and Christopher Drake (from Henry Ford Hospital) explained how sleep deprived workers will likely make more mistakes, lose creativity, lose self awareness, and an overall negative impact on self-control. So sleep as a whole is very important to our brain because depriving yourself with sleep with impact your thinking and cognitive function. So if you have something important tomorrow such as a test or interview, I would highly suggest to think twice if you’re thinking about staying up. You will perform at best if you get a good night sleep!

 

Sources:

"The Working World Has a Sleep Crisis." Association for Psychological Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2018.

The Secret to Seasonal Sadness

Author: Natalie Andrewski

As the winter season blossoms into spring, it is almost impossible to notice a change of environment here in Seattle. Not only are flowers blooming and the sun is beginning to make more adamant appearances, but the people of this city seem to begin transitioning as well. During the winter months, the “Seattle Freeze”, as the often passive aggressive and not-so-welcoming demeanor of local Seattleites has been labeled by transplants, is very apparent. Groups of friends prefer to remain exclusive, and the activities they participate in may usually occur inside. However, once Spring has sprung, the frozen attitudes of Seattleites appears to defrost. Parks all over the city are filled with groups of people attempting the ever-tricky slack line, running with unexpected zeal, and hiking to new ascents. Rather than avoiding eye contact, members of the city are engaging in conversations with new people in attempt to try a new activity or finally say hello to a familiar face. I began to question why a singular season transition could have such a stark contrast in an entire city’s demeanor, and I believe my answer lies in the notion of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Growing up in Southern California, I was surrounded by sunshine basically 365 days a year. Most days were glorious enough to be spent outside, and my mom often referred to me as her “sunflower”. When I was in the 6th grade, my family migrated from California to the Pacific Northwest. Of course, the year we moved to Washington was recorded as having record rain fall in the Olympia area, and my days of playing outside were replaced with indoor entertainment. Even in my younger days, I knew my energy levels and happiness was positively correlated with my time spent in the sunshine. I began to struggle with depression, even though I didn’t quite understand that concept yet, and I would suffer from stress that would effect my quality of health poorly. After all these years, I have finally made the connection between the weather and my mood.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a “mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter”. It is quite an extraordinary event that people can maintain a stable mental health pattern for the majority of the year, but then be so affected by light levels that an imbalance occurs in the brain. These imbalances can lead to depression, hopelessness, and suicide. The main chemical involved in the brain during this process is serotonin, which is recorded as being in lower than average levels in patients suffering from the disorder. It appears that the brain becomes incapable of converting serotonin into N-acetylserotonin, which involves the enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase. In certain cases, antidepressants function by increasing levels of the enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase in order to increase levels of conversion and a reduction of depression-like symptoms. It has been discovered that patients that suffer from this disorder often have a delay in their circadian rhythm, which is a delay in their sleep patterns. The relation to sleep patterns also promotes the idea that the hormone melatonin is affected by this disorder. There are a variety of other factors that can contribute to suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, including a person’s predisposition to personality traits, such as agreeableness and an avoidance-orientated coping style (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

In order to begin alleviating the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, the interventions of light therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and supplementation of the hormone melatonin have been utilized, but I will focus on light therapy. In terms of light therapy, the use of a lightbox that emits an elevated level of lumens is necessary. The lights of the lamps can range in wavelength and lumen levels, usually depending on the light of the lamp: bright white “full spectrum” lights at 10,000 lux, blue light at a wavelength of 480 nm at 2,500 lux, or green-blue light at a wavelength of 500 nm at 350 lux. The process of light therapy usually lasts 30-60 minutes of being exposed to the light consistently.

 

Sources:

Seasonal Affective Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml.

Tommy Manning Act

Author: Aimee Garcia

Seattle has a relatively new initiative to help people with traumatic brain injury named The Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council, commonly known as the Tommy Manning Act. It was created through House Bill 2055 by the Washington State Legislature in 2007. It is to “recognize the current programs and services are not funded or designed to address the diverse needs of individuals with traumatic brain injuries.”  Its creation is to close the gap in knowledge by collecting the expertise from both the public and private sector. Membership includes twenty two people from both sectors that includes medical professionals, human service providers, family members of individuals, state agency representatives, and many more that can provide useful information to advance their agenda.

The Tommy Manning Act has taken upon itself to work in unison with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to address some of their goals. Unfortunately, the Manning Act has not posted their own goals on their website but directs the reader to the DSHS website, where they do not explicitly have goals that directly affect people with brain injuries.

Though the act is still fairly, new it could potentially have the momentum to change the lives and the families of those who have been affected by traumatic brain injuries. Yet, they have not stated their own goals and rely heavily on DSHS without any visible momentum to directly address the concerns of people with brain injuries. Yes, the program are only eleven years old but in those years, there has not been noticeable change for the people most in need.

Sources:

“Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council.” Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council | DSHS, www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/traumatic-brain-injury/traumatic-brain-injury-advisory-council.

“About Us.” About Us | DSHS, www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/about-us.

 

What Licensed Naturopaths Say About MS

Author: Catherine Waterbury

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is “an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.” MS effects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for MS. Common treatments for MS include: teaming up with a healthcare provider, taking pharmaceutical medication, and participating in physical therapy.

MS-Symptoms-FB
MS-Symptoms-FB

Other treatment options for MS are referred to as “Commentary or Alternative Medicines” (CAM). These treatments include exercise, alternative diet, and the addition of supplements. In a study done by members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, 52% of the naturopaths being surveyed suggested dietary changes to treat MS. The study also indicated that 45% of the naturopaths suggested essential fatty acid supplementation and 33% suggested vitamin/mineral supplementation. At the end of the study, 59% of patients claimed they experienced an improved quality of life by using a CAM system.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society advises those with MS to not “abandon conventional therapy” and be sure to “keep your physician informed about everything you are taking”. With that being said, if you are interested in adding elements of CAM system to your treatment, you should! There are a large variety of therapies you could try, including: acupuncture, nutrition lessons, exercise, cooking classes, and many more!

Can-acupuncture-mend-a-broken-heart
Can-acupuncture-mend-a-broken-heart

If you have MS and are interested in an CAM style therapy, The Plus One Foundation may be able to help you fund your therapy. Please look over our website for more information!

Sources:

"Home." National Multiple Sclerosis Society. N.p., 16 Feb. 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

"All IssuesUp Arrow In This IssueDown Arrow Left ArrowPrevious Article Next ArticleRight Arrow The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine About This Journal... Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Multiple Sclerosis: Survey of Licensed Naturopaths." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web.

Diabetes While Young

Author: Farhan Mohamed

I learned that the trouble in my family had finally reached me. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in May 2015. Since then my life has changed in many ways. I’ve been living with diabetes and I’ve learned a lot about myself since then. When I first learned I had diabetes, I was scared, and it was a big shock. My life was going to change. I couldn’t enjoy the things I loved anymore. All the sugary foods and drinks I had everyday were going to be a thing of the past. I was addicted to eating cookies. Cookies were and still are my favorite desert. It was something that was hard to give up but for my health I was willing to let it all go. I found a new passion for eating healthier. I was extreme with my diet and only ate foods that my nutritionist told me was okay. I gave up breads, pastas, and only drank water. This new healthy lifestyle lasted only 8 months and after then I slowly slipped back into my regular diet. I forgot I had diabetes and stopped taking my medicine. This was very dangerous for me. A normal person is supposed to have a blood sugar level between 80 and 120 and when I went to my yearly diabetes appointment last year my blood sugar level was 577.  My doctor was shocked and told me to fix my life because a person as young as I am can reverse a lot of the diabetes and live a healthy lifestyle through good dieting and working out. I am now on the road to recovery and my medication has changed. It is hard to give up the temptations of sugar, but I know I must change things while young or my diabetes will consume me when I’m older. It’s hard to take my medication every day and I’m still not good at remembering but I’m making an effort.

Diabetes is a disease that involves issues with insulin production in the body. There is no cure for diabetes. The only way to combat diabetes is to stay healthy with diet and exercise. There are three major types of diabetes being type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood. It is an autoimmune condition. Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves taking insulin that is injected via syringes. You can keep track of how good you are taking care of your diabetes through your A1C level from the blood test. It estimates your glucose level in your blood over the previous three months. It’s helpful to help identify glucose level control and risks of complications from the disease. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and it accounts for 95% of diabetes cases in adults. Type 2 diabetes is milder than type 1 but can still cause a lot of complications. Type 2 diabetes effects the small blood vessels in the body that nourish the kidneys, nerves, and eyes. It is very controllable through diet and medication. For more information about diabetes check with your doctor.

 

Sources:

"Types of Diabetes Mellitus." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2018.

Noah's Success Story!

Plus One Foundation helps so many people and we love doing it. The thing that makes us truly happy is when we hear stories such as this one and it's such a wonderful story that we just had to share it!  My name is Trishana and I am the proud mom of a special needs child named Noah.

Noah is 15 years old, and has struggled a bit more than the typical child with Autism, club feet, Spina biffida acolta, scoliosis, Somatic dramatic language disorder, and dyslexia.

With that said he is such a compassionate, kind, loving child. When Noah sees a disabled person struggling he always says "Mom I just pray that other people don't make fun of them the way they made fun of me." Noah has always wanted friends so badly. It has certainly been a struggle for him and such a strong desire.

I'll never forget the day a few years back when three neighborhood boys who have always ignored my son and teased him throughout his childhood, knocked on our door asking Noah if he would like to ride scooters with them. Before I could stop Noah, he was out the door with his new birthday scooter and a giant smile on his face. Noah ran inside 5 minutes later Saying “Mama, mama they really want to be my friend now. They just asked me to check the time for them.”

When he returned with the time..... they were gone and so was his new scooter. Needless to say Noah was heartbroken and devastated.

Shortly after we found a program called Little Bit Horse Therapy and signed Noah up for riding lessons. He sure loved grooming the horses and looking in their eyes and learning their body language.

Noah finally found friends who loved him unconditionally. They were in the form of animals, but friends no less.

Due to financial struggles we could no longer afford little bits lessons. Noah was heartbroken as he had to say goodbye to the horses that truly became Noah's friends. I still remember Noah kissing goodbye to his favorite horse Sunny on the side of the face and a tear started rolling down Noah's cheek.

I called Little Bit to explain our situation and due to a lack of funding they couldn't help Noah at that time. The gal at Little Bit told me about an exciting new foundation called the Plus One Foundation and gave me a contact number and said you never know, maybe they can help Noah out.

Within 3 hours of me leaving them a voicemail message explaining our situation, I received a phone call back from Kacey Kroeger, from the Plus One Foundation. I'll never forget that compassionate, female voice on the phone. So excited to talk to me. Within the two minutes of our conversation, all Kacey could say over and over was: “We really want to help you. We want to find a way to help Noah.”

She began to say “This is exactly why we are starting this foundation. This is why we've spend all of these long hours fighting to get this foundation off the ground. For all the other Noah's in the world.” Kacey said “We can't give up on Noah. He deserves to experience all the same things other typically developing children do. Friendships, good self esteem and success.”

Because of Plus One Foundation’s generous donation Noah is still riding horses at Little Bit as of today. Noah's self esteem has improved tremendously. He has fallen in love with several horses and even made real human friends there.

Thanks to the Plus One Foundation we've discovered that Noah is really a very good rider. Noah even went on to compete in two horse shows. Noah's face lit up with such pride and amazement as he heard his name being called as the first place winner. Not once, but twice.

As you can imagine these ribbons are so proudly displayed in our home and most importantly in Noah's heart and his self-esteem.

This story that I share with you is bigger than just a special needs child, riding a horse. It's about a child who will now carry with him his entire life the feeling of success, true friendship, and the most importantly the knowledge that a group a strangers at the time, now known to our family as the Plus One Foundation, believed in Noah and his dream to ride.

Thank you Sincerely, Trishana

To help more children, like Noah, and adults with neurological disorders, diseases, or injuries check out our homepage at http://www.plusonefoundation.org/

Also we have our Retro Bingo Fundraiser coming up in less than a month. This is NOT your grandma’s bingo. Join us for a night of food, bingo, and fun to support a great cause! You can register online!

Or if you can’t make it you can always donate here

To hear more success stories check out our YouTube channel

In the Blink of an Eye

Recently I got the chance to meet with one of Plus One’s grant recipients, Mary. Back in 2007, Mary had just given birth to her twin daughters eight days earlier, when in a blink of an eye her life changed forever.  Mary suffered from a brain aneurysm and was then rushed in to have an emergency brain surgery and fell into a coma for three months.  

 

Of course before meeting Mary I did a little research on brain aneurysms and here is what I found. A brain aneurysm is s a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery, when the aneurysm ruptures it allows blood to escape into the space around the brain. About 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture, or there is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

 

Needless to say Mary’s life has changed drastically since her brain aneurysm. She had to relearn all the basic things that we take for granted like walking, talking, and breathing. Mary does one-on-one Mobility and Balance training with a physical instructor, Sue. These sessions are so Mary can work on her strength, balance, and mobility. I got to meet with Mary during one of her sessions and got to learn how Sue is such an important part in Mary’s rehabilitation.

 

Sue does a lot to help Mary. One thing Sue does is since Mary is no longer able to drive, Sue drives to Mary’s house once a week for their sessions. Mary gets distracted easily and Sue is always thinking of new ways to keep her attention. One way she does this is through music. Mary danced and sang to Bruce Springsteen for almost the entire session and she absolutely loved it.  Another thing that Sue realized keeps Mary focused is numbers, when doing a certain exercise if Sue didn’t tell her to do a certain amount Mary would get distracted and start talking to me. But the moment Sue told Mary “Ok now do five more” Mary would instantly get motivated and would start counting in French!

 

My favorite part of going to Mary’s session with Sue was at the very end when Mary told me her goal to run again. Mary used to run on the UW cross country team and could run a half mile in TWO minutes. Since the brain aneurysm, Mary has had to relearn how to walk and now that she has got that down she wants to get back to doing the thing she loved, running. At the end of the session Mary ‘jogged’ across her living room and she had the largest smile on her face.

 

While talking with the two of them, I could see that Mary and Sue had become friends in their time together. And to end this I would like to quote Sue and Mary. Sue told me “My favorite part of working with Mary is her great sense of humor” to which Mary responded “You can’t get through life without being able to laugh” Even though Mary’s life changed so drastically and so quickly she remembers to laugh. And this reminds me that everything I do for Plus One is to help people like Mary smile again and find some hope and laughter in their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning more about brain aneurysms check out http://www.bafound.org/

 

Chelsea Husted

Plus One Foundation

Intern

Mary "jogging"

Making Connections - Music Therapy

April is a big month for Plus One Foundation. We, as a team were able to take a moment and reflect on our first anniversary -- what has been accomplished and the positive feedback we have been receiving from not only our Grant Recipients but also the service providers we work with. From art therapy to therapeutic horseback riding, we are still always surprised and pleased at how non-traditional medical methods can produce positive results for individuals living with a neurological condition. One approach that has garnished some recent media coverage is that of music therapy. Below is an overview of those who have seen positive effects, what music therapy is, and the Plus One Foundations support of this therapy. Earlier this year congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was interviewed in a few different segments by CBS and ABC focusing on how music therapy was able to help her regain parts of her speech and the ability to walk again. What is important about Giffords recovery is that it brought music therapy to the forefront as we are able to witness first hand her struggles with speech, to her overall progress of stringing words together. This is a pretty remarkable feat and all accomplished with the love of music. For a more detailed account on Giffords recovery and the use of music therapy I would suggest this article written by Emily Sohn from the Discovery News: http://news.discovery.com/human/gabrielle-giffords-photos-111116.html.

Defined by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to: Promote Wellness Manage Stress Alleviate Pain Express Feelings Enhance Memory Improve Communication Promote Physical Rehabilitation

It seems pretty evident while there are case studies that support the theory that music therapy can produce positive results, the medical community is still split on whether there is enough concrete data that music therapy does indeed work. However, this has not stopped the growth of music therapy even in the Seattle community. Swedish Hospital uses music therapy to treat their cancer patients, and complementary therapies including art, massage and meditation: http://www.swedish.org/Services/Cancer-Institute/Services/Complementary-Therapies/Music-Therapy#axzz1rrpK1l98

I watched a great video about Seattle local David Knott and his work over at Children's Hospital. Watching the short news clip leaves no doubt that music therapy can help alleviate pain and anxiety, but also allow a child to connect the dots. To read more: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/videos/healthlink-music-therapy/.

A great resource for Washington State certified Music Therapist is the Music Therapy Association of Washington (MTAW). http://www.musictherapywa.org/info/. MTAW is dedicated to providing resources and a connection point for professional music therapists, students, and others interested in learning about and promoting music therapy in the state of Washington. Included on their web site is a directory for Music Therapy providers: http://www.musictherapywa.org/info/directory-of-music-therapists.

Reading further, I found that the first and only program for becoming a certified music therapist in the state of Washington is at Seattle Pacific University. http://www.spu.edu/depts/fpa/music/therapy/. According to the programs documentation Music Therapy is a growing field where finding a qualified/certified therapist can be challenging. For more information on SPU's music therapy program visit: http://www.spu.edu/depts/fpa/music/therapy/index.asp.

What does this mean for Plus One? Well it means we are excited for the opportunity to help our grant recipients take advantage of music therapy, and the positive effects it will have on the recovery process. If you or someone you know is interested in a music therapy program please feel free to contact us for more information, or fill out our Occasions program application http://www.plusonefoundation.com/occasions.html.

If you are also a trained music therapist we would love to talk to you about your services.

Mark Nieves Board Member Plus One Foundation

Superbowl: Safety Shouldn't be Secondary

With college football signing day this week and the NFL Super Bowl days away all topics football have been circulating in the media. I have read headlines that cover everything from game predictions, Madonna's halftime show and of course the commercials. The only event I am aware of where more people are more interested in the commercial breaks than the actual game. Regardless, one CNN broadcast that caught my eye was the recent release of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary "Big Hits, Broken Dreams," which aired this last Sunday, January 29th, on CNN. Dr. Sanjay has been observing a North Carolina high school football team's players and exploring "Second Impact Syndrome". This syndrome is defined as another concussion that is sustained after the initial concussion has not fully healed. The documentary also highlights the story of a 17-year-old from Kansas, Nathan Stiles. Nathan passed away after a hit on the final game of the season during his senior year. In the end, Nathan was diagnosed with Second impact syndrome. It certainly was a tragedy in the loss of a young man who was not only skilled on the football field but also a straight A student, homecoming king, and overall great kid. But Nathan was able to help and assist in the advancement of the studies of brain injuries sustained by athletes as his brain was donated to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy located at the Boston University School of Medicine, also known as "The Brain Bank".

Nathan was not the first athlete to have his brain donated for research. As of last October more than 500 current and former U.S. athletes have agreed to donate their brains to research. This research has lead to the confirmation that a disease does exist from the repetitive hits these athletes take. Called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), it is described as a degenerative disease found in football players and other athletes in contact sports who get repeated hits to their heads. Researches have identified the abundance of tau proteins in the brain. This is the same protein found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Players may experience memory loss, emotional instability, erratic behavior, depression and impulse control problems, progressing eventually to full-blown dementia. Unfortunately, there are many retired sports athletes who played contact sports dealing with these symptoms today.

The good news is now the medical and neuroscience communities can begin to focus on how to prevent these injuries; in particular, identifying a player earlier who shows the symptoms of a concussion and thus being able to prevent a more serious long-term head or nervous system injury.

NFL players old and new have recognized the importance of these studies and are participating in research with the ultimate donation, their brains. Three active players in 2009 publicly committed to donating their brains to help with this research. Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu, and Arizona Cardinals receiver Sean Morey were the first active players to publicly endorse the studies. It is considered taboo for an active professional player to even insinuate of possible injury as it could effect their career.

What is clear that since the start of the Brain Bank in 2008, we have learned more about these sports injuries than ever before and I am confident these studies can help and assist in the prevention and/or recovery across all types of neurological disorders. It is also great for Plus One foundation as the work they are doing directly relates to the people we touch. But most importantly these studies can empower players, trainers, and coaches to correctly identify concussions before serious injury occurs. As a sports fan, I certainly enjoy the game but also want for everyone to leave the field safely.

Enjoy the commercials (and the game),

Mark Plus One Foundation