Friday, August 18, 2023

Why Brain Healthy Habits and Thinking Strategies are so Important After a Concussion

 By Doreen Bridgman, MS,CCC-SLP-CBHC

If you’ve had a concussion, you may feel as if you’ll never be the same again and you now know how impactful a concussion can be on daily life. The ongoing physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms can make everything about your life harder to manage - from dealing with the crushing headaches and fatigue, to being able to do your job the way you did before, to even feeling overwhelmed about meeting friends for dinner. But there may be something you can do to help…

By incorporating brain healthy nourishment (in the form of brain healthy lifestyle choices), and learning (and using) specific attention and memory strategies, you can optimize your recovery from concussion and improve your overall performance. You’ll simply learn how to use your brain differently… by compensating, or learning to work around your difficulties.

Here’s what we mean:

1. Nourish your brain the right way. Yes, what you eat matters! Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce brain inflammation and lead to clearer thinking. Foods rich in antioxidants like berries, dark leafy greens, and colorful vegetables can help to protect brain cells from oxidative stress. Remember to stay hydrated and maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.

2. Sleep is essential. You know how you can feel after just one lousy night’s sleep, so you likely already know that getting the right amount of good-quality sleep is crucial for your brain to function at its best. And there are so many reasons why! Memories are consolidated (or organized) while you sleep, and this is also the time when toxins are cleared from your brain. Following a concussion, sleep patterns are often disrupted. This is a problem that can continue for months, or even years after the injury. So, it’s important to develop pattern of doable habits that promote sleep every night (this is called sleep hygiene). Start by avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime, and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

3. Get physical. Exercise is key, because it promotes neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to adapt, reorganize, and form new connections. Research has shown that strength training and aerobic exercise are both important, each improving cognitive function and mood in different ways. So, it’s important to incorporate both kinds of exercise into your daily routine. Yoga and tai chi combine movement and mindfulness which can give you the benefits of exercise while also helping to decrease stress. Be sure to consult your medical provider before starting any exercise program.

4. The role of mindfulness in management of stress. Mindfulness has been shown to regulate the body’s stress response and support overall emotional well-being. A regular mindfulness practice can also help you manage internal distractions (rogue thoughts) and irritability, both of which commonly occur with post-concussion syndrome.

5. Attention and memory techniques. You may be experiencing difficulties with memory and thinking, even after completing your course of rehabilitation therapy. There are simple techniques and strategies you can learn that can help with attention and memory, and improve your ability to manage daily tasks. These strategies range from acronyms and mnemonics, storytelling, and associative memory techniques. All of these techniques (and more) are taught in the Long Live Your Brain program.

6. Social and emotional support. Staying socially active is important for your continued recovery. Engaging in social activities and connecting with friends and family provide the emotional support you need and can prevent feelings of isolation, which can negatively impact your brain health overall, further slowing your recovery from concussion. Integrating brain health strategies into your life following a concussion can increase your brain’s resilience and lead to a more complete recovery. You can find attention and memory strategies like these, in addition to more nuggets of wisdom that will teach you how to nourish and heal your brain can be found in BrainThrive’s Long Live Your Brain program. LLYB is a fun and friendly online group brain health and education program for people who want a more reliable memory and clearer thinking. The consistent implementation of these strategies, along with lifestyle choices that can support your healthy brain can lead to a brain that’s healthier, and works better for you every day - so get started today!

If you want to learn more about the Long Live Your Brain program, visit our website at


DOREEN BRIDGMAN (aka the Cognitive Coach) is a Speech Language Pathologist and Brain Health Coach with over 30 years of experience. Specializing in cognition, executive functioning, and pragmatics, she focuses on brain injuries, particularly post-concussion syndrome and ADHD. Doreen's roles include the Center for Cognitive Rehabilitation (UMDNJ), Center for Head Injuries-JFK, and collaboration with Neuropsychologists. Her expertise covers executive functioning, interpersonal communication, coaching individuals with ADHD, and working with clients struggling to manage daily demands. Doreen empowers clients to achieve goals through strengths and strategic development. Her passion for Brain Health lead to the establishment of BrainThrive Consulting LLC, offering online Brain Health education with Marilyn Abrahamson. 

By: Dr. Jerry Dreessen

In a common case like a patient surviving a car accident, one of my first targets is to evaluate what's happened to the inside of their head. There's a difference between the effects of a slight rear end-- Was it a high or low speed impact? Was it a T-bone? Did they experience two car accident?  Any kind of quick stop is going to cause everything to slide forward in the head and then come back-- what we call as "coup contrecoup". And it can disrupt the brain and may cause a mild hemorrhage. It can cause a little bit of bruising. Some people talk about feeling a little foggy after an accident- similar to walking into an attic with dust flying all around. That's what can happen to your brain when it starts to slap around inside the skull, just even from a mild car accident. 

There are concussion protocols that we perform in the clinic. To process this type of patient starts with a questionnaire about:

* Cognitive abilities: What are the things that they can or can't do? 

* Do they have a headache? 

* Are they having a hard time focusing? 

We also get into studying their emotional state as far as any feelings of SADNESS. Some people may have immediate reactions and seek help right away, while others come in for a consult weeks later. 


A standard exam is studying a CRANIAL NERVE CHECK. Not only do you have the brain sitting in the skull with a brain stem, which can be greatly affected with a whiplash scenario, but in the floor of the skull, there's 12 sets of nerves that come out and they perform different functions. This is often overlooked.  There are many cases that do not show apparent concussion symptoms, but if they have one of the cranial nerves that doesn't work properly, this is a sure giveaway. 

We can start by helping that nerve system heal either through nutrition or through cognitive exercises but also eliminating the inflammation. Reading an MRI can be a challenge when looking for any mild type of inflammation in the brain- but with the proper diagnosis, we can reduce not only the concussion, but the possible post traumatic stress disorder and, and personality changes that can go along with it. 

This standard process of reading the performance of the cranial nerve means studying 12 different nerves. This test helps determine if there's any kind of cranial nerve loss due to a car accident or sports injuries. 

The first is the OLFACTORY nerve; this conveys the sense of smell. Some people can come in, barring the challenges of Covid symptoms and may already have loss of smell.  Otherwise, if the accident may have affected their ability to smell, that's one signal that the olfactory nerve isn't functioning properly. (2) The next nerve that we check is the OPTIC nerve and that is what transmits information including blurry vision vs. the ability to focus on an object. Retinal reaction to light gets us the pupillary response.

STUDY OF INTRACRANIAL IMPACT DISORDERS - Concussions are viewed as a mild form of traumatic brain injuries and most frequently occur following an event that involves an acceleration–deceleration mechanism without actual injury to the head, such as whiplash, or the head striking an object. As we study these, researchers and clinicians are learning that these are fairly common, but often underdiagnosed.  While the vast majority of people with concussions recover without obvious disability, people can end up with long-term cognitive, emotional and functional issues affecting quality of life – including memory issues and Alzheimer’s disease. Efforts to better predict outcome from head injuries by focusing on the age, sex, type of injury and acute assessments have led to some improvement, but still fail to predict or explain the variation in healing and outcomes. Studies in professional athletes have shown that about 80–90% are sufficiently recovered to return to playing within 7–10 days. But that means that 10-20% are not, and their recovery can take up to 3 times longer. Even taking into account variations in initial injury, this variation is difficult to explain or predict.  (see complete feature by Dr. Roberta Kline)

Saturday, June 17, 2023



6/23/2023 - Dr. Paul Dreschnack, 4-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee for clinical studies on cell regenerative therapeutics announced an upcoming exploratory research on what may just be the most groundbreaking treatment strategy for Type-2 Diabetes.  From a recent interview, IPHA NEWS editors  contacted 
Dr. Dreschnack to introduce his latest project (release), starting with some astounding statistics about our current global data.  "You can read the latest stats from The International Diabetes Federation... where an estimated 425 million people worldwide have diabetes, making it the largest global epidemic of the 21st century. 115 million people in China, 73 million in India and 30 million in the United States have diabetes3. Other estimates include 388M from China, 133M in India and 85M in the United States."  He also expounded on the global health expenditure at $727 billion with no slow-down in sight.(1)  All this data calls for an action plan that Dr. Dreschnack is excited to spearhead with his 2023 Extracellular Vesicles research program.

Diabetic neuropathy is comprised of various types of nerve damage associated with diabetes mellitus. Symptoms can include weakness, sensory symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or pain; or autonomic changes such as urinary symptoms. [2]  The different types of diabetic neuropathy include Peripheral neuropathy --nerve damage that typically affects the extremities-feet, legs or hands). Another type is Autonomic neuropathy which is comprised of damage to nerves that control your internal organs. Focal (damage to single nerves) and Proximal neuropathy- a rare and disabling type of nerve damage in your hip, buttock, or thigh. [3]




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Meet our newest Functional and Holistic Health Expert- Dr. Robert Kornfeld.  In this issue, IPHA NEWS features Dr. Kornfeld's advanced knowledge in the topic of Type-2 diabetes. He is a seasoned researcher and therapist in functional medicine and is well-published and broadcast for his expanded insight on chronic disorders.  Originally promoted as a certified Podiatrist, he employs this specialized study to add to his diagnostic insight to support the management of chronic disorders while building prevention and wellness care for his many patients. 

From an interview with Dr. Robert Kornfeld

A diabetic patient may walk into my office with painful neuropathy or pain caused by vascular disease from the microangiopathy (microscopic blood vessel disease). What I discover in almost 50 to 60% of these patients is that their hemoglobin A1C is normal and their endocrinologist or internist tells them everything's great. You’re well controlled. And they'll share that with me when they walk in. So my question to them at that point is “Then what are you doing here? If everything's fine, why are you 

We must take a bird's eye view of the entire condition because there's a lot of different aspects to diabetes. TYPE-2 is an epidemic in this country and we need to start addressing all the possible downstream drama. 

Too many walk into doctor's offices in this day and age with open wounds that don't heal. And now, we have a whole new subspecialty in podiatry called wound care and it exists because it's really necessary.  How many antibiotics can you give them before it starts to wreak havoc on their kidneys, on their microbiome and essentially, on their immune system? In addition, there are larger problems with bone infection and eventual amputation.  We have a fine line that we must walk with these patients because unfortunately diabetes also damages kidneys, it can damage the retinas. There is a lot of secondary pathology that we can avoid with proper understanding of what's going on in this patient’s epigenetics.  I’ll also look into possible DNA mutations that interfere with normal healthy immune function and if we find them, we can intervene on behalf of those mutations and change the dynamics of that patient's physiology.

The very first thing I do as a functional medicine specialist is to have the patient JOURNAL their diet. Even though they're supposedly well controlled (medically), I get back diet journals that are 60, 70, sometimes 80% carbohydrate. Now we know why the patient is a diabetic. So I explain to them your A1C reading is an average. If you spike up and then fall below and spike up and fall below, it may come out a decent average over time, but every time your blood sugar spikes, there are certain things that happen. 

(To be continued)


DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) makes up the genes that contain the blueprint for how our bodies operate ‐ from energy production in mitochondria to walking and breathing, from cellular health to digesting food, from thinking and running to protection from viruses, how we age and more. While humans are 99.9% alike in our DNA, it's the difference in that 0.1% that makes us each unique. Much of that difference comes from millions of small changes in our DNA.

Genomic testing focuses on these small changes in DNA called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that potentially predispose to disease or problems with medications by altering the body's biochemistry. But knowing about these potential areas of weakness is just the first step. The powerful part is that we know how to modulate their impact, thus potentially changing the outcome by reversing course, delaying onset or even preventing a disease process altogether.

By decoding the instructions contained in DNA, each person becomes empowered with their own operating manual as to what they need for health. They can let go of the struggle as their blueprint guides them to the diet, lifestyle, exercise, supplements and medications that are best suited to their genes. And because we are only human, when life throws a curveball, having this personalized roadmap helps to get back on track much faster and with more precision.

NUTRIGENOMICS evaluates DNA to provide personalized diet, lifestyle, supplement and exercise recommendations for prevention and disease management strategies.

ONCOGENOMICS is a sub-field of genomics that characterizes cancer-associated genes. It focuses on genomic, epigenomic and transcript alterations in cancer.

PHARMACOGENOMICS evaluates DNA to provide personalized medication guidance for current and/or future medications.

By Marilyn Abrahamson, MA,CCC-SLP - CBHC

Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes high levels of sugar in the blood (glucose) and wide glucose excursions (where glucose levels are uncontrolled, fluctuating from high to low and back again). These can have negative effects on the body, including the brain. Recent scientific research has determined that diabetes can harm cognitive function and the structure of the brain. Acknowledging and understanding the effects that diabetes has on the body and brain is important so we can intervene early and effectively to manage the disease.

Research has shown that people with diabetes are more likely to experience cognitive decline with an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Diabetes mainly affects four cognitive domains; attention, processing speed, executive function, and memory. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause these cognitive problems, which suggests that high blood sugar, wide glucose excursions, and insulin resistance all play important roles.

There are several ways in which diabetes can harm the brain. High blood glucose, or wide glucose excursions cause:

     Oxidative stress: causing certain types of toxins called free radicals to build up in the blood. 

     Inflammation: can damage blood vessels, and impair brain function. 

     Insulin resistance:  a common feature of type 2 diabetes, which can disrupt and damage important neural pathways in the brain needed to function normally.

BRAIN IMAGING RESEARCH has shown that diabetes can also cause changes in the brain’s structure. Certain areas, like the hippocampus, frontal lobes, and basal ganglia, are particularly vulnerable to damage, which can result in reduced brain volume (size) as a result of the reduction of gray matter. These changes may also explain why people with diabetes often experience cognitive problems and have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Detecting and managing diabetes early is crucial for minimizing its impact on the brain and how it functions. Lifestyle choices that support and healthy body and brain, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight, are important for controlling glucose and for managing diabetes. Medications, like insulin and other drugs, can also help regulate glucose levels. Taking care of cardiovascular health by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol is essential because these factors contribute to both diabetes and cognitive decline.

*See other BRAIN HEALTH ARTICLES by Marilyn Abrahamson
What is Brain Training? [article & video]
The Doorway Effect – Why We Forget Why We’ve Walked Into a Room [article & video]
Post-Covid Brain Fog vs. Work Performance

MARILYN ABRAHAMSON, MA, CCC-SLP : As a Brain Health Education Specialist at Ceresti Health, Marilyn offers initiatives that supports education and empowerment of family caregivers and she is part of the editorial team at the Ceresti monthly newsletter- producing all brain health education &  coaching programs for caregivers.  Marilyn's prior work is as a NJ Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 1987 and is an Amen Clinics Certified Brain Health Coach.

(Continued- "Battling Diabetes with Functional Medicine- with Dr. Robert Kornfeld")

The buildup of sugar in the bloodstream causes damage to the inside lining of microscopic blood vessels. So these patients wind up with microscopic vascular disease, we call it microangiopathy. The nerve cells of the foot receive all their nutrition from microscopic blood vessels. The skin receives nutrition from microscopic blood vessels. Over time, if the patient starts failing in the microscopic blood vessel realm, they will develop painful neuropathy, painful vascular disease, wounds that won't heal, infections that are difficult to manage because the body cannot deliver immune cells to attack whatever bacteria is colonizing in the area and in the worst case scenario, bone infection and gangrene.
Although they probably did take a class on diabetic diets, most don't follow them. Part of my job as a doctor is to educate them, not just to say here's a good way to eat, but if you continue to eat this way, this is what happens. However, if you eat this new way, we can prevent and in many cases reverse a lot of the damage. So we key in to keeping the blood vessels healthy, making sure they're properly hydrated, making sure there's zero refined sugars in their diet, making sure they're eating their carbs at the right time of day. And that's kind of a patient specific issue. 

One of the big issues we come across with diabetics is many of them have anxiety and depression. As soon as sugar builds up in the bloodstream, the brain thinks you're in danger. The brain thinks you're having a survival challenge because when a predator wants to consume you, we have a hormone that's released from the adrenals called cortisol.  Its job is to signal the cells to dump sugar into the bloodstream.  Sugar builds up in the bloodstream and the brain reacts as if there is a survival challenge. One of the problems is as time goes on, we start to see an excitatory neurotransmitter dominance. Those are the neurotransmitters that wake us up in the morning, help us to think, help us to understand and reason they give us our stimulus to problem solve. But one of the excitatory neurotransmitters is called epinephrine and it is a very, very powerful and potent peripheral vasoconstrictor. So every diabetic has to have an adrenal neurotransmitter assessment to see if we're dealing with an excitatory dominance. Otherwise, the eventual loss of circulation due to clogging and spasming of the microscopic circulation will surely lead to amputation.

Insulin-Dependent & Non Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.

Even when we control the diet, we can still wind up with persistent problems in the adrenal neurotransmitter- HPA axis. This is often addressed through dietary changes and through amino acid therapy, certain herbs and nutrients, adequate hydration and exercise (so many of them are classic couch potatoes).

Included in the many health areas to consider with diabetes, there's also an issue with immune function. We find with many diabetics, a problem in the ratio of copper and zinc. In the standard American diet, copper levels go way up and zinc levels begin to drop and the immune system goes to sleep.  To reawaken it, we need to find out what's going on in that ratio- and in many cases, we can (carefully) supplement with an appropriate level of zinc.   On the other hand, when you give a patient too much zinc, this can elevate some of the B vitamins to the point where they can cause neuropathy. So everything has to be managed. 

There's important lab testing involved when coming up with the right therapeutic plan.  There are metabolic antioxidants that protect nerve cells from damage. One of them is called alpha lipoic acid. And it's an important adjunct to what we do with diabetics because it is neuroprotective. Just as important is it is also neuro-regenerative. Same thing with blood vessels. We want to keep them patent and open and delivering blood. So managing the elevation in excitatory neurotransmitters and making sure they have enough magnesium (which is one of the most important nutrients to keep blood vessels supple and able to pump blood) is essential.

Magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America. Sometimes we have to augment the nitric oxide pathway with things like l-arginine or some of the other nutrients that help to create a more flexible and responsive arterial tree.  

Diabetics also have a very difficult time neutralizing and eliminating free radicals, which are the positively charged ions that damage our cells. We do an oxidative stress blood test to look at breakdown products of cell membranes so we know what level of oxidative stress they're dealing with. All of these can be quantified by lab work, but it's different lab work than just looking at an A1C or a fasting blood sugar and telling the patient, well everything seems fine right now. It's such a small part of what we have to do to keep these diabetic patients healthy. And to be honest, so many of them can get off or decrease their medication if they actually were taught exactly what they needed to do because they do all know that this could lead to disability and amputation. And it's not a pretty sight at all. 

These are generalities because so much of what we do in functional medicine is patient specific. Most importantly, we need to educate our patients and support them toward a different and more health-promoting lifestyle.  Right now, approximately 40 million Americans have been diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes. We are seeing increases of about 1,000,000 new diagnoses each year. We need to work much faster on controlling underlying mechanisms of pathology lest this problem will totally break the “medical bank”.

In closing, I will say that the approach to preventing diabetic disasters must be built from the ground up!

DR. ROBERT KORNFELD is a Podiatric Specialist with an expanded background in Functional Medicine. His intensive focus on treating chronic foot/ankle pain through a functional medicine model enables him to  train podiatrists in the paradigm of integrative/functional medicine for foot and ankle pathology.  He founded a course called FAST TRACK TO A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DIRECT-PAY PRACTICE FOR PODIATRISTS that is available through an online educational platform.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

How to Detect & Manage INFLAMMATION the Non-Invasive Way

Learn about the latest in non-invasive diagnostic imaging modalities and the current breakthroughs in personalized therapies with pulsed bioenergy regenerative science. The AngioFoundation, the Integrative Pain Healers Alliance, the Women's Diagnostic network and all branches of the NY Cancer Resource Society unites under a coalition called "WAR ON INFLAMMATION"- an educational, advocacy and research initiative in pursuit of resources and solutions to offer new informative support against the many chronic disorders of our day.  Additional support comes from the BioEnergy  Therapeutic community and the Paul Dreschnack Research Foundation exploring the many advantages of Extracellular Vesicles.   

The Answers Collected from Ultrasound Imaging

Historically speaking, the most favored (and sensible) way to identify the results of any treatment is by tracking the body's immediate response to it. Controlled testing must show the patient's condition PRE and POST effects, where true data-finding is collecting the necessary EVIDENCE of its claims. The investigator can pull a significant amount of data from this form of validation testing: including stage-by-stage bodily response to future projections of possible side effects.  Modern diagnostic science looks to imaging for its safe, non-invasive yet quantifiable analyses of what’s under the skin. In this latest review, ultrasound offers a flicker-free visual (10-30 frames per second) of muscle contraction.  The “real-time” advantage of video under a 3D Doppler Ultrasound easily and clearly shows the frequency of the muscle bundle’s firing (twitching) indicating fatigue and potential pathology.

Part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli (such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants) is inflammation. It is also a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.

The five cardinal signs are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity. Too little inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus (e.g. bacteria) and compromise the survival of the organism. In contrast, too much inflammation, in the form of chronic inflammation, is associated with various diseases, such as hay fever, periodontal disease, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis.

ACUTE inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli from the blood into the injured tissues. A series of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response within the injured tissue. Prolonged or CHRONIC inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells in the inflamed area and is characterized by simultaneous destruction & healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

One of the most comprehensive ways to confirm the results of any treatment is by clinically tracking the body's physiological response from underneath the skin.  Diagnostic imaging captures measurable data about the injured or inflamed area, allowing both clinicians and patients the ability to identify therapeutic progress in real time.  Widely preferred scanning modalities include the Doppler Blood Flow Ultrasound (or sonography) and Elastography, both using high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body. Like an internal video camera, these high speed scanning innovations capture actual movement of the body's internal organs.  This offers a vast amount of biometric information about the patient’s condition, in comparison to still images of conventional x-rays. The ultrasound's ability to evaluate abnormalities within the soft tissue in research and clinical trials are widely used in recording  evidence-based biomarkers to trace therapeutic efficacy. 


The term "energy medicine" has been in general use since the founding of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine in the 1980s.  Energy medicine often proposes that imbalances in the body's "energy field" result in illness, and that by re-balancing the body's energy-field health can be restored. Some modalities are described to "bring balance to the body's overall wellness", while others bring claims of addressing pain, detoxing, cell regeneration or an improvement in overall energy. 

Every living thing requires energy to exist and function, and this comes in different forms. For example, in the human body are “energy generators” called the mitochondria. These tiny powerhouses in our cells convert fat, protein and glucose into (ATP) the energy that fuels everything that is needed for us to be alive. 

When that vibrational frequency or information flow is disrupted, cellular health suffers and the end result can range from minor aches and pains to major illness. But now our knowledge of the energy of the BIOFIELD also provides the opportunity for healing in a much more effective way.  This healing can complement or even replace the need for more invasive conventional therapies. 

(See complete feature on HEALTH & HEALING 101)

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation (PBM) is a form of medicine that applies low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to the surface of the body. It is claimed that application of low-power lasers relieves pain or stimulates and enhances cell function. It  addresses the underlying cause of all dysfunction in the body (inflammation & disease) in support of cellular health and wellness.  Red light is recognized for its ability to penetrate deeper into the skin, allowing for better absorption by cells deep in the body. Today's Red Light therapy comes in a variety of models with different capacities- including the full body red light bed (TheraLight) and targeted deep tissue laser therapy systems (Aspen Laser).

PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) devices have a wide range of frequencies available.  They can influence cell membrane potentials of many different tissues to enhance communication and increase blood flow, decrease inflammation and activate a number of genes possibly through epigenetics. Pharmacology is also leveraging electromagnetics to explore more effective ways of getting medications into cells. Drug delivery systems are being developed using nanoparticles designed to manipulate cell membrane electromagnetic fields to improve absorption.

In 1979 the FDA approved PEMF therapy for stimulating bone growth, and in 1987 for adjunct therapy for treating postoperative edema and pain. The FDA also approved PEMF therapy for the treatment of patients with depression in 2011. For both animals and humans, PEMF therapy is marketed commercially to address inflammation by stimulating microcirulation, the lymphatic vessels and mobilizing toxins from the cells more efficiently. PEMF therapy is also reported to support restorative health  mechanically by improving blood flow.  (source: AOPP/ Association of PEMF Professionals and AuraWell PEMF)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Advocacy Leadership Spotlight: Meet Daniel Drapeau- PTSD Awareness


IPHA News is proud to present one of Canada’s honored advocates for Post-Military life.  As a retired military professional, Mr. Dan Drapeau’s more recent initiatives include his volunteer work for the recent generations of retirees – including those suffering from PTSD. Mr. Drapeau also volunteered once a week as an interpreter at the Canadian War Museum. In 1974, he joined the Canadian Force Armoured Corps then enlisted in the UN Mission for serve some of the most underserved areas of the world.  

Our editors connected with Mr. Drapeau in this exclusive interview about post military injuries and his own journey with surviving the “voices and ghosts” of war.  “No matter what trade you are in, anyone suffering from PTSD… please get help!  Go and get some help because you, you owe it to your family and your friend and yourself. Go and get some help because you are living with a cancer- the kind that chews you up slowly. Uh, in my case, I had two strokes because of PTSD. I have a brain illness cause of PTSD and because it keeps your blood pressure up the roof. So please get help- your family deserves better knowing you can be a better you than the one you are under PTSD.”

Excerpts from an interview with Daniel Drapeau

There's a term they say "you leave as a boy, come back as a man".  War changes you – and you only have two choices; you cry and go underground and hide, or you [become] a man and fight.  That was a rule. You cannot be a coward. If you're a coward, they'll kick you out.  Staying in the military, you need to push everything inside and build walls so that nothing can bother you after a while.  Unfortunately, over time, your wall falls apart and [eventually] this leads to problems.

I found a saying in one of my tours: "VIOLENCE IS THE LAST RESORT FOR THE IMBECILE" written on a rock in No Man's land between Syria and Israel during the Yom Kippur War.  The message here was stating that it's much easier to do war than do peace.  Unfortunately, in today's world, it's more crazy [than ever with] violence and war than ever before – as if any excuse is good to start a war with your neighbor. It seems like there's no boundaries about how far stupidity can go.  We tend to react the wrong way instead of thinking twice before acting.

The problem with PTSD is how people receive help.  [In some cases, therapists] can make them talk about their issues right away and get it off their system.  But for so many others like me, it's [buried deep] in our system - and you will never get it out.  The older the wound, the more wouldn’t want to reopen it. It's more pain that way.  

As of now, the only organization I'm still attending is the United Nations Peacekeeper. Groups like this really want to help and they're trying to help their members as much as they can, but the problem is that they're running after ghosts. Sometimes, PTSD lock you in the room and you don't want to get out. And oftentimes, it's about many incidents- not just one. You can have many recurrences as soon as the wall drops, then you'll be getting more stuff coming at you.

One of my close friends (who unfortunately passed away) told me once, "PTSD used to be associated with veterans and it shouldn't be... it could be associated with police, ambulance drivers and all those who have to deal with situations.  Unlike war (where you get to come home), with an ambulance driver and all those guys, you don't get to get away from it- it's always there night after night in their work.

With so many, trauma is often suppressed.  You might get them laughing but inside, they may be crying. Or if their wall is up, they have no problem- then the next thing you know, you'll see one of your friends just go and kill himself and you won't know why. You’ll wonder why he always (seemed) so happy- then you realize that maybe inside he was not so happy after all.  Some people will have PTSD and thanks God for them to cope with it and live with it. Some other people have to deal with it differently. You can never understand what they are going through because we're all different and we all have to deal with different things. 

We have different triggers of what kicks up our PTSD. I can hear a gun shooting won't bother me. I can hear a big bang and it won't bother me… except if I hear that unique pitch that brings me back to when I lost six friends because of grenade explosion.  That the same pitch literally brings me back to hell.  My reaction from this is terrible-- I'm the type of person who won't back up. If you're doing that nasty noise and you don't stop, I cannot leave. I'll make you stop no matter what I do! 

One of the main things we try to do is “build a wall”- as a way to disassociate yourself.  Having seen enough death can do this- such that if you see anyone else die around you now, you wouldn’t care.  The same goes if you hit a dog or a fly or any animal - my wall is built.  Disassociation helps separate and survive from that initial pain again from witnessing friends dying in service.

I retired officially in 1995. One of my last tours was in Cyprus for seven months.  I spent about three weeks in Israel at the Golan Heights. At that time, there was still friction between both and being stationed on land, you have a chance to see stuff that nobody gets to see- where at that time, anything could happen. We didn't have the internet to hear about it right away.  You, you could be sitting somewhere and one plane would flying overhead and another comes out of the blue just to shoot it down without any warning.  It’s the kind of surprise that happens when.  

Another example is a friend of mine was on the post in Cyprus and he would see a shepherd coming every day with his sheep. And he was a very nice guy. One morning, about half an hour later, they hear a big bang. The sheep and his dog came back alone. The poor guy stepped on a mine and was killed instantly.  In wartime, they put mines all over the place and they don't remove them after the war. And the only way you can find out where the land mines are is by stepping on it.  

I built a wall around seeing these things in order to deal with the job. You're in 18 and half and you're in Cyprus, driving in a mine field in No Man’s land with an armored vehicle.  I was conditioned not to care- I wasn't scared. When you're young, nothing bothers you. You're superman. Later on they'll ask you if you would do it again-- and you WILL do it again. Because for me, as long as they didn't kill each other, that's what mattered. That for me was success. 

When you deal with people from different countries at war, know that there's good people on both sides. Outside of the battlefield, they are all really nice people. One thing I keep doing is I speak to the children in classrooms. I say, “listen, you have choices here in Canada. You want to go to school, you go to school. And the only one stopping you for become something is yourself. You want to be a doctor? Be a doctor. Be the best you can. Like me. I joined the army and after that, I became a policeman. Then I became a firefighter because I wanted to try those. If I lived to 200, I probably would've tried to be a doctor. 


1) Veterans Affairs Canada: Daniel Drapeau (Ottawa, Ontario):

2) CPAC-TV: LIVE: Veteran Daniel Drapeau speaks with reporters in Ottawa

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In 1981-1994, Mr. Dan Drapeau (L-image) enlisted in the Canadian Military Police, continuing a career in public service.  Dan shared details on how law enforcement professionals were exposed to varying cases of psychological distress- some leading to depression, alcoholism and suicide.  "Military police is the same as civilian police. It's a highly stressful job and you have to find a way to cope with it because every day is different and you never know in what shape you'll come back from work." 

Here, he described the challenges of experiencing on-the-job trauma without the release valve of a department psychologist or therapist to offer any mental health support. "The way it is nowadays, psychiatric HELP was accessible so you can talk about any disturbing experiences on the job. Your boss would encourage you to get help, which is a big difference from my generation- where this did not exist at all". Dan concluded the interview about specific challenges to one's psyche while in uniform. "As a policeman, you have to deal with death- and that's not easy. If it's an old person,  it's easy to put up a wall against it. If it's a young person, it's much harder- especially young children. Especially when you enter a scene of a suicide... these kinds of cases just stay with you!"

Our publishers give special thanks to Mr. Daniel Drapeau for this exclusive interview and his contributions included in this story. Additional thanks go to Prof. Joseph J. Toy for his generous time and effort that helped bring Mr. Drapeau and his achievements to our attention – both without whose kind generosity this feature would not have been made possible.

Mr. Daniel Drapeau introduces his long-time friend and colleague in the world of PTSD post-service support-- Prof. Joseph J. Toy, neurostimulation specialist and seasoned caregiver of countless cases of military associated PTSD.

High risk professions like law enforcement, military service, healthcare and emergency response are known to have exposure to some of the most extreme levels of trauma - both physically and psychologically. They range in effects from manageable symptoms to crippling disorders. Over time, most people overcome disturbing or traumatic experiences and continue to work and live their lives. But others who get affected by traumatic experiences may trigger a reaction that can last for months or even years. This is called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Proportionately, studies have shown a lower percentage of retirees from such challenging careers acquire PTSD (from 15-20%) while an estimated 30-40% who suffer from PTSD associated symptoms go undetected or do not register as full cases. (See full article)

The BRAIN HEALTH COLLABORATIVE, a branch of the Integrative Pain Healers Alliance (IPHA) awards Prof. Joseph J. Toy with a prestigious academic position with the clinical advisory board for his work on PTSD management.  His long-standing program to address neurological and psychological injuries from military service with various countries has gained him significant recognition for his advanced work in the research and clinical applications of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy. (see videos and complete article)

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