Category Archives: Life

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After Surgery

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After Surgery

Cancer Patients Fare Poorly After SurgeryUC Davis researchers are urging end-of- life patients to discuss their conditions prior to consenting to surgery. Those who have advanced cancer and undergo surgery are far more likely to endure long hospital stays and readmissions, referrals to extended care facilities and death.

A study that was published in PLOS One highlights the dilemma that surgeons and physicians face when they have a terminally ill cancer patient that has been diagnosed with the conditions that may benefit from surgery, and have the need for substantive discussions about the risks of surgery and implications on future quality of life. Even though the physicians consult with these patients for acute surgical conditions and advanced cancer, it leaves them to weigh the risks and benefits of surgical intervention. It’s very important to really examine the patient’s risks before surgery is proposed, and to completely understand their goals and wishes for their remaining days.

A study conducted by author Sara B. Bateni examined the cases of about 18,000 patients with stage 4 cancers and the option of surgery. The cases were then compared with other patients who had similar characteristics such as age, gender and functional status before surgery, and had undergone similar operations but did not have stage 4 cancer. The patients with stage 4 cancer spent more time in the hospital, were readmitted to the hospital more frequently, were more often referred to another facility, such a skilled nursing unit, and had higher mortality within 30 days of their procedures than their counterparts, who did not have late-stage cancer.

Choosing a more comfortable end-of- life stage, to me, would be achieving less pain and able to enjoy family and friends until the Lord chose to take me home. To me, surgery at this late stage would only cause more stress and pain to the patient as well as the family, and who wants to spend that time in the hospital rather than a comfortable place?

In conclusion of the study, Bateni and her co-authors suggested that surgeons should to talk with their terminally ill cancer patients about their end-of- life goals, palliative care and the risks and benefits of surgery. There are definite potential surgical interventions. Their plan now is to analyze the outcomes of stage 4 cancer patients with conditions that are considered operable, but who choose not to have surgery. After having been the support person for a woman with pancreatic cancer undergoing chemo treatments, my decision for treatment would be entirely different if I were to be diagnosed with any stage 4 cancers. What about the alternative of building the body and immune system before making any chemo or surgery decisions?

Everyone must choose his or her own decisions regarding treatment when faced with any type of stage 4 cancer. No two people are going to have the same goals, so if you or a loved one is faced with this decision, be sure to investigate all options and choose accordingly. These decisions are critical, and never easy on the patient, friends or family.
–Dr Fredda Branyon

Flowers that Looks Taste Good

Flowers that Looks & Taste Good

Flowers that Looks Taste GoodFlowers aren’t always just something pretty to look at and smell good. They can taste good, too. That profusion of color and fragrance is wonderful in our living spaces, but just think of the culinary value they have. Some edible flowers can be used in soups, casseroles, salads, roasts, desserts, jellies and cold drinks. Some well-known flowers that we all know about are chives and mustard blooms.

The recommendation is to trim away the white base of flower petals that can be bitter, however the entire Johnny-jump- ups, honeysuckle, violets and clover can be consumed. If you like lettuce, the gladiolus flowers taste a little like this and can be used in salads. The hibiscus has a citrus-like cranberry essence that is good for salads or can be dried for making tea. Besides being used by bees to make honey, tulips, roses and dahlias are gaining popularity in the kitchen. Over the last 100 years they have been popular in ancient Roman, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures. Romans used roses for creamy puree dishes but they are traditionally known now as an ornamental flower.

Some flowers and their flavors are as follows:
· Marigolds can be spicy, bitter, tangy or peppery
· Pansy petals impart a vaguely sweet, grassy essence and introduces a wintergreen flavor
· Queen Anne’s Lace has a flavor similar to carrots and lovely in soups
· Clover has a sweet, anise-like taste
· Dame’s Rocket has lavender and purple flowers and related to mustard plants
· Begonia leaves impart a sour citrusy flavor
· Day Lilies have a flavor between sweet lettuce or melon and asparagus
· Bachelor Buttons have a sweet, clove-like essence
· Carnations are sweet and work well added to desserts or as a garnish
· Honeysuckle has a sweet, honey flavor, but don’t eat the toxic leaves
· Chrysanthemums have a faint spicy flavor like cauliflower

A study that tested 12 flower species found antioxidants, phenolic and flavonoids, with mineral content found in the chrysanthemum, dianthus and viola, with high amounts of potassium. The Polytechnic Institute of Braganca in Portugal examined the nutritional aspects of flowers that were already known in the scientific world as having carotenoid content. Marigolds had the highest concentration of polyunsaturated fats like linolenic acid and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Rose contained the highest amounts of total proteins and organic acid while centaurea had the lowest percentage of saturated fats.

Flowers that we know as vegetables are artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower. The flowers of most vegetables and herbs are edible, but be sure to do your research first for any exceptions to the rule. Not all flowers are edible and may cause headaches, rashes, nausea or worse. Some of these to avoid are Lily of the Valley, Monkshood, Ageratina altissima, Foxgloves and Autumn crocus.

Use flowers in your culinary endeavors but keep the dish simple and never use flowers you find on the side of the road. Use only those flowers you can positively identify and be sure to shake all insects, then clean thoroughly in water before using.
–Dr Fredda Branyon

Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

Humor Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

The Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center at Montefiore Hospital hosted a hilarity session for the cancer patients, some even with advanced stages of the illness. Fox News published an article in November of 2008, revealing the results of humor on the cancer patients.

This was the hospital’s monthly “Strength Through Laughter” therapy. This is only one of several types of laughter or humor therapies being offered by medical facilities around the country for patient diagnosed with cancer or other chronic diseases. These programs all feature joke sessions, funny movies and even clown appearances. They are still waiting on a verdict on whether laughter plays a roll in healing, according to the American Cancer Society and other medical experts, but they say it does reduce stress and promotes relaxation by lowering the patients’ blood pressure, improving breathing and increasing muscle function.

About two dozen patients at the hospital even arrived in costume to “spook cancer” one day before Halloween. A breast cancer patient now in remission reported that the session makes her feel better. Incidentally, she came disguised as a security officer and said she felt healthy when she laughed. A warmth was generated among the group by the laughs that was palpable, particularly when this same lady changed into an angel costume and went around offering a red rose and a hug or kiss to each of the other participants. This woman truly is an angel!

The senior oncology social worker and facilitator, Gloria Nelson, started the session five years previous to help cancer patients focus on living, instead of dying. She also reported on their amazing strength even though it’s a constant challenge of the fear of it coming back, and how to go on living knowing you have cancer. Each time they laughed, it was like kicking cancer right out the door, while taking control themselves.

Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday review wrote in his book “Anatomy of an illness”, claiming that a combination of laughter and vitamins cured him of a potentially fatal illness. He made a discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect. Some people are so overwhelmed with their diagnosis that they are unable to participate in laughter and other complementary therapies, even though they can help to relieve the anxiety brought on by the disease.

Some patients practice laughter sounds like “he-he, ha-ha and ho-ho”, and greet each other in this regard in lieu of jokes, and engage in games until laughter overtakes them.

A big challenge of being diagnosed with cancer is preserving your dignity. Especially when told to don a gown where the back half is missing and everyone’s examining you and asking about bodily functions.

The Rx Laughter’s participation in two of the large medical studies discovered that patients who watched funny videos during certain painful procedures were more relaxed and tolerated the pain longer. Cancer patients also had less pain and slept better after such entertainment. Any comic entertainment can get us through very stressful times and save us the cost of psychotherapy that many people cannot afford. Maybe we all need to use this humor activity to lessen the stress in our own everyday lives.
–Dr Fredda Branyon<

Inherited Salt Perception

Inherited Salt Perception

Some people who find they have an enhanced bitter taste perception are almost twice as likely to consume too much sodium as those with less acute tasting ability. Gene variations that allow people to taste bitter more intensely may also taste salt more intensely and enjoy it much more, which can lead to sodium intake, according to researchers.

This inherited difference in taste perceptions may help to explain why some people tend to eat more salt than what is recommended. This is offered through a preliminary research that was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Lead author Jennifer Smith, B.S.N., R.N., a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing said “Genetic factors in taste perceptions that influence taste aren’t necessarily obvious to people, but they can impact heart health by influencing the foods they select.”

According to the authors, previous research has shown that people who have one of the two most common variants of a gene (TAS2R38) that enhances bitter taste perception, are likely to avoid heart-healthy foods with bitter properties, such as broccoli and dark leafy greens. They sought to determine if that bitter-enhancing genetic variation would also influence other food choices. The diet habits of 407 people (average age of 51, 73% female) who have two or more heart disease risk factors and were participating in a cardiovascular risk-reduction study in rural Kentucky were analyzed.

When those with one or two of the TAS2R38 gene variants that enhances bitter taste perception was compared to those without this variant, they found people who taste bitterness more strongly were nearly twice (1.9 times) as likely to eat more than the minimum recommended daily limit of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum reduction of sodium to no more than 2,300 mg a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day. It is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure that can lead to heart attacks and strokes by consuming too much sodium. This excessive sodium is from processed, pre-packed and restaurant foods.

It was also found that the study participants who had the bitter-enhancing gene variants were no more likely to consume more of the recommended daily amounts of sugar saturated fats or alcohol, which can have a negative impact on heart health. This research does suggest that those who taste bitter more intensely may also taste salt more intensely and enjoy it more, which in turn increases their sodium intake. They may also use salt to mask the bitter taste of foods and again, consume more sodium.

Perhaps some day the information about genetic influences on taste perception might help people select heart-healthy foods they can enjoy rather than to try to fight against their inborn preferences. Identifying which gene variant a person has might help them to make better food choices through education that is personally tailored to them.

Other factors as age, weight, smoking status and the use of blood pressure medications was taken into consideration in the analysis. The study participants were mostly white, but the results are likely to be similar in other ethnic groups because more than 90% of the U.S. population has one of the two gene variants. The research will continue to work and will include an ethnically diverse group of participants.

The study was funded by the University of Kentucky Center for the Biologic Basis of Oral/Systemic Diseases, the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institutes of Health Resources and Services Administration.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Screening For Adolescent Cancer Survivor

Screening For Adolescent Cancer Survivor

The Childhood Cancer Survivors Study has completed research that identified profiles of psychological symptoms in adolescent cancer survivors. This is expected to advance mental health screening and treatment. No psychological symptoms have been reported by most of the adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. However, an analysis by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital found that those who do, often have multiple symptoms and distinct symptom profiles. The Journal of Clinical Oncology has published the findings that highlight strategies to improve mental health screening and interventions.

Author Tara Brinkman, Ph.D., an assistant member of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control stated that mental health symptoms in childhood cancer patients were studied in isolation. She further said that this shows psychological symptoms typically occur together in adolescent cancer survivors rather than in isolation. With more screening efforts and identification of treatments we can help to prevent behavioral, emotional and social symptoms in adolescence from becoming chronic problems that persist into adulthood.

About 3,893 adolescent survivors of childhood cancer enrolled in the federally funded Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) that were included in the study and treated between 1970 and 1999 at one of 31 medical centers. Those between 12 to 17 years old when their parents or guardians completed the questionnaires used in this analysis survived at least five years. Behavioral, emotional and social symptoms were focused on.

Like adolescents in the general population, most adolescent survivors of childhood cancer were well adjusted with no significant reported psychological symptoms. Most survivors had no significant psychological symptoms, but when reported, they occurred together and never in isolation. They also found survivors had distinct symptom profiles that often corresponded with their cancer treatments or the late effects of treatment.

The need for more robust screening for attention problems alone might miss symptoms of anxiety, depression or headstrong behavior, which means missed treatment opportunities. Those adolescents with untreated attention problems and headstrong behavior are at risk for substance abuse as adults and survivors with those symptoms may benefit from substance abuse prevention effort during adolescence. Also, while stimulant medication is recommended for those with attention problems, survivors who also have anxiety may benefit from alternative therapies.

The study shows there is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the growing population of childhood cancer survivors and underscores the need for robust screening that includes survivor and parent reported symptoms. They tend to persist into adulthood if they are not successfully treated in adolescence. The study was supported in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health and ALSAC.
–Dr Fredda Branyon

Vetiver Oil The Soothing Grass Oil

Vetiver Oil: The Soothing Grass Oil

Vetiver oil is also known as khus oil and is a lesser-known plant oil offering a heavy, earthy fragrance that is reminiscent of patchouli, but with a touch of lemon. This oil is believed to give a grounding, calming and stabilizing result, and provides a range of essential oil uses and benefits.

The original name for vetiver oil is Chrysopogon zizanicides and is a perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family and native to India. This plant is known as khus in Western and Northern India. The name is derived from a Tamil word that means “hatched up” and grows up to 4.9 feet tall with tall stems and long, thin, rigid leaves.

The roots have particularly been used since ancient times. It is extensively utilized in perfumery for the body, room fresheners and coolers, as well as soaps, cosmetics and oils. It can also be a flavoring agent in beverages, sorbets and other foodstuffs.

Besides having an aromatic effect on the mind for grounding, calming and balancing, other uses are as antiseptic, antispasmodic, immune stimulating, warming and sedative to the nervous system. It also stimulates the circulatory system.

Benefits of vetiver oil are:
➢ Helps enhance libido and awaken sexual desire
➢ Helps speed up eradication of scars and other skin marks
➢ Helps provide relief from all types of inflammation
➢ Assists in rejuvenating the body and helps boost immunity
➢ Helps provide relief to insomnia patients
➢ Has antiseptic properties
➢ Helps improve and maintain good nerve health
➢ Helps heal wounds by promoting growth of new tissues

Some of the benefits of those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, absentmindedness, acne, arthritis, ADHD, depression, joint stiffness, menstrual cramps, mental fatigue, sore feet, tendonitis and vitiligo are also found in the use of vetiver oil.

The essential oils are extremely potent, so it is advised it should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Start with 1 drop to 1 to 3 teaspoons of carrier oil. Use caution when increasing the essential oil. The oil works in vapor therapy and can address nervous complaints, dispel anger and irritability and relieve insomnia this way. Blend it in a massage oil or diluted in the bath. It can assist with mental and physical exhaustion, nervous complaints, rheumatism and arthritic pain and skin healing, when used this way. It can also be used in a cream or lotion in moisturizing and nourishing skin. It will benefit dry, irritated and dehydrated skin and helps to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks, but NOT recommended to be taken internally.

Vetiver oil is considered non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-toxic, and therefore is generally safe. Pregnant women should not take the oil and be sure to use extreme caution and consult a doctor before using it on children. Conduct a sensitivity patch test on the skin, prior to use.

Any possible side effects of vetiver oil are not known, according WebMD. However, it is unsafe for breastfeeding women to take vetiver, and might cause a miscarriage for pregnant women.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Cancer-Promoting Protein Levels

Cancer-Promoting Protein Levels

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising frequently can lower blood protein associated with promoting cancer development. There was a study published in the journal Cancer Research that found a reduction in the levels of a blood protein involved in angiogenesis when overweight and obese women experienced weight loss through their diet and exercise.

The process by which damaged blood vessels are repaired and new blood vessels formed is angiogenesis. Both the healthy cells and cancer cells cannot survive without oxygen and nutrients. Signals are sent out called angiogenic factors, and these encourage new blood vessels to grow and cancer cell to grow into a tumor. Without a blood supply, tumors are unable to grow beyond a few millimeters in size, but once cancer cells stimulate growth of a blood vessel, they can develop quickly.

Principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., explained that researchers have suggested that preventing angiogenesis can prevent tumor cell growth. She also concluded that although this angioprevention may work as a strategy to prevent cancer in healthy individuals, the drugs involved in blocking this process have potential adverse effects that restrict their use in preventing cancer.

They took blood samples from 439 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women who were considered healthy and sedentary and aged 50-75. These are the four groups they were split into:

✓ Calorie restriction diet group with intake of no more than 2,000 kcal per day that included less than 30% of fat calories.
✓ Aerobic exercise group performing 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week.
✓ Combined diet and exercise group.
✓ The control group with no intervention.

The results were that after 12 months of intervention, the women in the diet, exercise, and combined diet and exercise groups, lost an average of 8.5, 2.4 and 10.8% of body weight, respectively. This weight loss was higher than the average of 0.8% in the control group.

After 12 months the participants in the diet and combined diet and exercise groups had significantly lower levels of the angiogenesis-related proteins than the control group. In the aerobic exercise group, these lower levels were not observed.

The ending results of the study show that weight loss is a safe and effective method of improving the angiogenic profile in healthy individuals. A trend was seen in the reduction in angiogenesis-related proteins that showed the higher the amount of weight loss the women experienced, the greater the reduction in protein levels.

Although exercise is important to prevent weight gain and maintain weight loss, exercise alone does not have a significant effect on the amount of weight lost by an individual. Making lifestyle changes to reduce weight can lower the risk factors for cancer.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

High-Fat Diet Starves Cancer

High-Fat Diet Starves Cancer

Dr. Otto Warburg won the Novel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. How does the metabolic inflexibility of cancer cells differ from healthy cells? Energy can be produced by a cell in two ways: aerobically in the mitochondria, or anaerobically, in the cytoplasm, which generates lactic acid and is a toxic byproduct. In the presence of oxygen, cancer cells overproduce lactic acid known as The Warburg Effect.

The prime cause of cancer was the reversion of energy production from aerobic energy generation to a more primitive form of energy production, anaerobic fermentation, according to Warburg. He believed you had to disrupt the energy production cycle that is feeding the tumor to reverse cancer, and that by reverting back to aerobic energy metabolism you could effectively “starve” it into remission. Before his death in 1970 he was unable to conclusively prove it and, sadly, his theories were never accepted by conventional science – until now. A long and detailed article was recently published in the New York Times about the history of modern cancer research, including Warburg’s theories on cancer.

Cancer cells are primarily fueled by the burning of sugar anaerobically. Without sugar, most cancer cells simply lack the metabolic flexibility to survive and Warburg’s effect is estimated to occur in up to 80% of cancers. When scientists turned their attention toward genetics, Warburg’s theories vanished. In 1953 cancer research began to primarily focus on genetics.

The Cancer Genome Atlas project came to an astonishing conclusion that the genetic mutations are actually far more random than previously suspected. Scientists have discovered that a number of genes known to promote cancer by influencing cell division, including a gene called AKT, regulates cells’ consumption of nutrients. Certain genes do appear to play a role in cancer cells’ overconsumption of sugar.

A Korean biochemist named Young Hee Ko Ph.D., working with Peter Pedersen, a professor of biological chemistry and oncology at Johns Hopkins, made a remarkable discovery in the early 2000’s that offers a great deal of hope for cancer patients. Ko continues her work in the field of cellular metabolism in cancer and neurodegenerative disease at the University of Maryland BioPark. They noticed that when cancer cells overproduce lactic acid, they have to produce more pores, called monocarboxylic acid transfer phosphates, to let lactic acid out, or else the cancer cell will die from the inside out. A compound called 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) might be able to slip into the pore that’s allowing the lactic acid to be expelled from the cancer cell, preventing the lactic acid from spilling out. Her finding was correct. Therefore, 3BP melts tumors away by preventing the lactic acid from leaking out of the cancer cell, thereby killing it from the inside.

The foundational aspect that must be addressed is the metabolic mitochondrial defect, and involves radically reducing the non-fiber carbohydrates in your diet and increasing high-quality fats. Without doing this, other treatments including 3BP, will not work. When you go from burning glucose as your primary fuel to burning fat for fuel, cancer cells really have to struggle to stay alive, as most of their mitochondria are dysfunctional and can’t use oxygen to burn fuel. Healthy cells are given an ideal and preferred fuel, which lower oxidative damage and optimizes mitochondrial function. Healthy cells begin to thrive while cancer cells are “starved” into oblivion.

Avoid all processed and bottled oil with the exception of third-party certified olive oils, as 80% are adulterated with vegetable oils. Do not exceed 5% of your calories as omega-6 fats. Healthy fats are olives and olive oil, coconuts and coconut oil, real butter from grass-fed organic milk, raw nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, avocados, sesame, cumin, pumpkin and kemp seeds, grass-fed meats, lard, tallow and ghee and animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Choose high-fiber carbs. Optimizing mitochondrial function is the key for cancer prevention and treatment.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

What we aren’t told about aging

Oh, those golden years! They actually do have some perks if we are good at using what we’ve learned. Crystalized intelligence just keeps getting better, even when you’re 65 or 70. Thank God, right?

As we age through our 60’s, we tend to be happier and less inclined to get angry. No one has figured out why exactly, but there are some theories. When we are older we might be able to control our emotions better and focus more on how to make the most out of life. Now where did that grumpy old man or woman go?

We tend to be more in tune with other’s emotions in our 40’s than at any other time. This makes living with our loved ones easier and helps us to get along better with coworkers.

Even though we older women may have less sex than when we were younger, we make it count! A study of women 40 and over found that sexual satisfaction improved with age. Those women over 80 were more likely than those between 55 and 79 to say they were satisfied during sex. Wow!

As we age our medications, illnesses and allergies can change our sense of smell and taste that will affect our diet and health. Try some oil, herbs like rosemary and thyme, garlic, onion, peppers or mustard to spice up that diet. Stay away from a lot of salt!

When the hair begins to disappear, all of a sudden it shows up in the weirdest places. Men get large hairs in their noses and ears and the women might notice small hairs on their chins. What in the world are they doing there? Those darned hormones!

As we age our sleeping patterns can shift so we get sleepier earlier and wake up earlier. Even though some over 65 tend to wake up during the night, most people say they regularly get a good night’s sleep. Finally, those migraines might go away once you reach the 70’s. It is a fact that only 10% of women and 5% of men over 70 still report having migraines. Those migraines are more likely to show up as visual or sensory disturbances instead.

Keep that day job. Retiring early might not be the best thing for your health. The Longevity Project study found that people who work hard at a job they enjoy, live the longest. Good friends, a good marriage and an enjoyable job might be the key to sticking around for a while. Even a great hobby will work.

Through a study it was found that 1/3 of adults over 65 have a fear of falling. Falling is the leading cause of injuries for older people. Don’t be too afraid of falling as that might make you more likely to take that tumble.

We gain self-esteem with our age that increases with wealth, education, good health and employment. After the age of 60 if may take a dip because people begin to have health issues and start searching for a new sense of purpose after retiring. Those that can keep healthier lifestyles and working to an older age might change and increase our life spans.

Older adults will usually have less stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America report. We will still have health and money problems at times but the APA says that 9 of 10 older adults say they’re doing enough to manage it.

Gravity brings us down the longer we are alive. Spaces that are between the bones in your spine get closer together. That will result in making us about an inch shorter as we get older. There is strength in numbers though. Those over 60 tend to cast ballots more than any other age groups and are the fastest-growing block of voters in the U.S. today. More voting power on topics that matter as you age means having an input on improving Medicare, Social Security and health care.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Light On for Better Sex!

Light On for Better SexCan we really enjoy better sex by leaving the light on? It’s proven that exposure to bright light does increase testosterone levels and enhances sexual satisfaction in men. A recent European study reveals that this even includes those with low testosterone. A pilot study presented at a recent European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Vienna, used a basic premise that around ¼ of the men on the planet say they have problems in this regard, especially those that have passed their 40th birthday. A placebo-controlled trial was partially inspired by the scientists’ previous observation that revealed there were sexual interest changes according to the seasons.

Sexual satisfaction levels can actually be tweaked. Using a light box similar to those used to reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD syndrome) in early morning hours for a two-week period, increased the subjects’ testosterone levels. Thirty-six men were participants in the study and had visited the university’s urology department and  been diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual arousal disorder. They were then divided into two groups by the researchers.

One of the groups was subjected to light from a specially adapted light box for half an hour every morning for two weeks. The other “control” group with a similar situation had the light boxes emitting much less light. The first group reported levels of sexual satisfaction after being subjected to the light therapy. Professor at the Department of Mental Health at Italy’s University of Sienna and study leader, Dr. Andrea Fagiolini, wasn’t surprised by the study conclusion and reported this in an ENCP news release.

The study determined a greater level of sexual satisfaction in the first group and constituted by the numbers that they had, there was an increase of 3 times higher than the second group.

The science isn’t yet at a point where it can be recommended as a clinical treatment for other individuals as there may be other factors to consider. Some men may have certain eye conditions or be on antidepressants, antibiotics or other medications that might affect their light sensitivity.

Light therapy is also one of the most effective therapies for depressions and SAD syndrome brought on by an absence of light, especially in areas of the world where sunlight is at a premium. In fact, sunshine could almost be considered an aphrodisiac because it can increase male testosterone level. Vitamin D is produced via sunlight on your skin and may be the trigger.

Sunlight used to be thought of by scientists as healthy because of the vitamin D is provides, but now know there is a lot more. The skin has large amounts of nitrite and nitrate that studies suggest the sunlight prompts the conversion of nitrate to nitrite and nitric oxide. The nitric oxide enhances blood flow and helps to regulate your blood pressure. The signals to the cells of your blood vessels are to relax so that the blood can flow more freely and help your arteries stay plaque free. Therefore, sunlight provides more than higher testosterone levels.

Someone that sits inside an office every day with fluorescent lighting, starves their body of the unfiltered ultraviolet light it needs to produce vitamin D. Lacking this can after your mood as well as your sexual desire. Only 10 minutes a day of sunlight on your skin can make a world of difference in the way you feel and think. Stress dampens your sex life and sex can relieve stress. Lack of sleep and energy is also a reason both men and women can have less of a desire for sex.

 – Dr Fredda Branyon