A More Collaborative Medical Approach … on the horizon

One of the key drivers for this page, is sourcing current research and therapies regarding Auto Immune disorders.   The most interesting issue coming forth from various publications (books) is how fractured the current medical model is.   Currently the way the system works here in New Zealand, is you are allocated a specialist within the body system of your disorder (ie. a Hepatologist if you have Auto Immune Hepatitis, or a  Neurologist if you have Multiple Screlosis) who manage and treat the symptoms of our disorders.  Unfortunately, very rarely do we get to see an Immunologist to examine why our immune systems have gone awry.   It simply doesn’t make sense that medical professionals continue to take a ‘manage the symptoms’ approach and fail to seek out the cause.   Thankfully, internationally there has been acknowledgement of this rather fractured approach.

In the USA, where Auto Immune disorders are prevalent and growing, the John Hopkins Medical Institute, has developed an Auto Immune Disease Research Centre, to foster a ‘collective’ approach to understanding and treating Auto Immune diseases. With such insight, the ideology to create a specialized centre, where researchers, physicians and partners, can collaboratively explore Auto Immune, took shape back in 1999.  While they seem to focus upon a collaboration between researchers and research centers, ultimately it is hopeful that the more knowledge and collaborative relationships filter down to medical communities on the ground.  Specialists who adapt and begin to develop models of care that are ’rounded and holistic and individualised’, where the cause is indentified and addressed, for those of us living with these disorders.

A More Holistic – Whole Body Approach … on the horizon

Without the medical fraternity bringing a more holistic approach (to date) it is a goal of AutoImmune New Zealand, to seek out and work with several high calibre Integrative Health professionals, who we hope can round out the picture, and bring to our community, an awareness about how we can address our overall health and well-being, in a reverse model as opposed to the bottom up model when we are critically ill.   As we move into 2014,  we are exceptionally lucky to have the following practitioners come on board: Ange Haldane from the Natural Ange Clinic in Grey Lynn, Auckland, ND Cliff Harvey of Holistic Performance Nutrition, Auckland, Dr Jennifer Garrett, of Jennifer Garret ND Clinic, Auckland, and Cate Grace, from Leap2it (CHCH).  Combined these professionals bring a wealth of practical, evidence based information and knowledge and we look forward to long-standing relationships with them.  Look out for their contributions on this site, page: 9.

Recently sourced pieces of research:

2014: From right here in New Zealand, the Malaghan Institute in Wellington comes new research regarding Immuno-therapy.  Here is a link to their piece: http://www.malaghan.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Scope/MIMRScope53.pdf

2014: From the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Boston, comes this article: New Strategy for Auto Immune Disease Treatment: http://www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=26570

2014: From The Shepherds Centre, a research and rehabilitation centre in Georgia, USA, comes this article: New Therapy could battle Auto Immune Diseases: http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/23138444/new-therapy-could#axzz2s3bPR4hQ

2014: Columbia University, New York, USA: Discovering a new compound for treating Auto Immune diseases: http://techventures.columbia.edu/blog/profile/discovering-new-compound-treating-autoimmune-diseases

2013: University of California: Auto Immune Disease Strategy Emerges from Immune Cell discovery: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130909172223.htm

2013:  RMIT University, Health Innovations Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.  Professor Marc Cohen is an Australian GP who retrained in Integrative Health.  I recently read an article in Issue 141 of the Australian publication (magazine) Wellbeing.   Here is a link to a recent interview ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoNqf9xlJ0U).

2013: John Hopkins scientists discover cancer may be a trigger for Auto Immune Scleroderma: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20131206/Cancer-triggers-scleroderma-shows-evidence.aspx

2013: Northwestern scientists successfully treat Lupus with Non-Toxic therapy:http://www.news-medical.net/news/20131112/Nontoxic-therapy-shows-encouraging-results-in-blood-samples-from-lupus-patients.aspx

Key concepts/New Kids on the block:


The New Biologics:  In the world of immuno suppressives, biologic agents are the new kids on the block. A number of these targeted drugs are in development or are already on the market, and are capable of selectively blocking interleukin-2 (IL-2) or tumor necrosis factor (TNF). “These biologic agents are extremely promising,” said Dr. Nussenblatt. “Not everything new, of course, is necessarily better, but these biologic agents have shown great specificity in their response.  Infliximab, which is a chimeric human-murine antibody to TNF, has been FDA-approved since 1998 for the management of Crohn’s disease.  Encouraging results have also emerged from studies of daclizumab, which is a humanized monoclonal antibody to the IL-2 receptor

Cellular science:  What if you could “reboot” your immune system like a laptop? In stem cell therapies, drugs wipe out old immune cells, then doctors replace them with fresh stem cells from your bone marrow or blood, says Richard Burt, M.D., chief of the division of immunotherapy at Northwestern University in Chicago. It’s too soon to know if it’s a permanent cure, but so far, it has put various autoimmune diseases in remission. Also, suppressing B cells, immune agents that identify intruders, can successfully treat rheumatoid arthritis. Benlysta, a drug that starves B cells, may become the first medicine approved to treat lupus in 50 years.

A Changed Diet:  I read time and time again, that anyone diagnosed with an autoimmune condition should avoid wheat, as well as its nearly genetically identical brethren, rye and barley (identical gliadin and wheat germ agglutinin sequences), as well as corn (some overlap of corn zein with gliadin) and rice (identical wheat germ agglutinin).  Also required is to restore vitamin D (e.g., achieve a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml or 150-180 nmol/L), re-balance the Omega fats in your body by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, correcting disrupted bowel flora (probiotics, naturally fermented foods, prebiotics).  Eat more vegetables in their clean (unaltered) form, and plenty of fish.

Mercury toxicity:  Mercury works on the Central Nervous System and damages the myelin sheath around the nerves. Heavy metals such as mercury act as free radicals which are highly reactive, charged particles that can cause damage to body tissues. This cumulative poison builds up in the body with repeated exposure having devastating effects. It then can prevent nutrients from entering the cells and wastes from leaving, and block enzymes necessary for the body’s detoxification processes,” says Dr. Shelton,  “Mercury can bind to the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of cells, as well as to the cell membranes, distorting them and interfering with normal cell functions. When this happens, the immune system no longer recognizes the cell as part of the body and will attack it. This is the basis of an autoimmune disease.”

Note: “Free radicals are formed when molecules within cells react with oxygen (oxidize) as part of normal metabolic processes. Free radicals then begin to break down cells, especially if there are not enough free radical quenching nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, in the cell. While free radicals are normal products of metabolism, uncontrolled free-radical production plays a major role in the development of degenerative disease, including cancer and heart disease. Free radicals harmfully alter important molecules, such as proteins, enzymes, fats, even DNA. Other sources of free radicals include pesticides, industrial pollutants, smoking, alcohol, viruses, most infections, allergies, stress, even certain foods and excessive exercise.” Dr. Bruce Shelton, M.D.(H), Di.Hom.

From: http://rinf.com/alt-news/latest-news/removing-mercury-from-the-body-are-you-being-poisoned

Gut health: The importance of your gut health in aiding your immune system. The health of the gut bacteria is critical for the immune system. There are literally trillions of bacteria in the gut, and one of their jobs is to train and regulate the immune system. In recent decades, our gut flora has been damaged by antibiotics, the Birth Control Pill, and by the modern western diet.  Imbalance in the gut flora has been shown to directly increase the risk for autoimmunity and other immune disorders.  When gut bacteria are disturbed, digestion becomes less efficient.    This causes damage to the lining of the intestine, and it compromises the barrier that is supposed to separate the blood stream from the contents of the intestine. The resulting ‘leaky gut’ allows food molecules to enter the blood stream.  These food ‘molecules’ then place a huge burden on the immune system.  They cross-react with the body tissues, and can trigger autoimmunity.  Some foods are more likely to cross react than others.  The worst items are wheat gluten and cow’s milk casein. Wheat gluten has been shown to cause or worsen Ankylosing Spondylitis and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Cow’s milk casein has also been linked with Type 1 Diabetes.

Immune Tolerance Therapy: Immune tolerance therapies (as opposed to Immune Suppressive therapy) are designed to stop, or even prevent, the autoimmune disease while leaving the body’s disease-fighting abilities intact. These tolerance therapies essentially reprogram the immune system, so that a short course of treatment will have long-lasting, perhaps lifelong effects. While immune tolerance therapies are mainly experimental, the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) believes that targeted reprogramming of the immune system holds a great deal of promise to effectively treat autoimmune diseases with fewer side effects than current drugs. Their site is: http://www.immunetolerance.org/researchers/clinical-trials/autoimmune-disease

Vitamin D deficiency:  A possible suspect for the increasing frequency of autoimmune disease is vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is an immune modulator. It enhances immunity against cancer, but at the same time, it prevents the immune system from forming ‘autoreactive’ cells.  Vitamin D comes from the sun, so being without sun creates deficiency.  Check your risk: Blood level of vitamin D should be between 80-100 nmol/L

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a medical term as defined “a treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing or surpressing an immune response”.  In many cases, anyone suffering with an Autoimmune disorder will be using some form of immune suppressent as a key therapy.  The down side of immunosurpressents is that they do not differentiate the killer T cells, and supress all immune function.  By contrast, recently developed immune tolerance therapies are treatments that directly prevent the immune system from attacking the person’s own tissues. Immune tolerance therapies are designed to work by targeting only those T cells that are already causing disease. In this way, they represent a better alternative to immunosuppressive therapies and their toxic side effects.

Molecular Mimicry: Infection triggers some types of autoimmunity such as Rheumatic Fever and Ankylosing Spondylitis. In these diseases, autoimmunity occurs because, to the immune system, the body’s own cells have a similar appearance to the bacteria that it is trying to kill. This process is called molecular mimicry. When infection is the cause, antibiotics are effective treatment. Antibiotics are currently being trialled as treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis, based on the theory the disease is caused by infection by an as-yet-unidentified. Infectious agents that can trigger autoimmunity include bacteria, yeast, and viruses like the Epstein Barr virus.

QRA: Quantum Reflex Analysis.  An advanced form of kinesiology.   It works with bio-energy in your body and seeks out areas where there is an energy break or low energy point (indicating that system, organ or group of cells are in trauma or disease. or system is in disorder).  Using the QRA process the practitioner will then provide a tailored prescription using nutrients (and exact dosages) to assist in recovery.   I have had this work done myself and used Auckland Naturopath and Registered Medical Herbalist, Angela Haldane.  She is extremely well versed and experienced and I was impressed with her skill and the subsequent use of nutrients.

Mycoplasma: Here is a link to a paper written by Lesley Taylor (2001) (USA) in regards to Mycoplasma: http://www.rain-tree.com/myco.htm#disease

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