Rights and Obligations As To Human Remains and Burial

Our modern society seems to have difficulty addressing the issue of dying and death and that fact is reflected in many of our institutions and words used to describe the very natural act of dying. One “passes away” or “is in everlasting sleep.” Our instructions as to when to let people die is called a “Living Will” when in reality it is instructions for death. The list goes on and on.

It was not always so. The front parlor which still exists in many homes was called a parlor because that is where a hundred years ago people would put the body of relatives to be viewed before burial. It was only used for that purpose. People normally died at home, not in hospitals and the family performed the services normally now performed by hospice. See our article on Living and Dying Preparations for a further discussion of these issues.

The rights and obligations applicable to human remains is a topic of critical importance to a family facing a death yet is a subject that is seldom discussed or considered. This article shall outline the responsibilities and rights as to human remains.


The Basic Law:

A dead body is the physical remains of an expired human being prior to complete decomposition.

State legislatures have adopted many statutes that regulate the disposal of dead bodies. Although the right to a decent burial has long been recognized at common law, no universal rule exists as to whom the right of burial is granted.

The right to possession of a dead human body for the purpose of burial is, under ordinary circumstances, in the spouse or other relatives of the deceased. Sherman v. Sherman, 330 N.J. Super. 638 (Ch.Div. 1999). However, an unrestricted property right does not exist in a dead body. The matter of the disposition of the dead is so involved in the public interest, including the public’s health, safety, and welfare, that it is subject to control by law instead of being subject entirely to the desires, whim, or caprice of individuals. Wolf v. Rose Hill Cemetery Ass’n, 832 P.2d 1007 (Colo. Ct. App. 1991).

A body may not be retained by an undertaker as security for unpaid funeral expenses, particularly where a body has been kept without authorization and payment is demanded as a condition precedent to its release. At times, the need to perform an autopsy or postmortem examination gives the local coroner a superior right to possess the dead body until such an examination is performed. The general rule is that such examinations should be performed with the exercise of discretion and not routinely. Some state statutes regulate when an autopsy may be performed, which may require the procurement of a court order and written permission of a designated person, usually the one with property rights in the corpse.

The preference of the deceased concerning the disposition of his or her body is a right that is usually strictly enforced. Some states confer this right, considering a decedent’s wishes as of foremost importance.

For instance, Utah Code Ann. § 75-3-701 provides that, “the duties and powers of a personal representative commence upon his appointment. The powers of a personal representative relate back in time to give acts by the person appointed which are beneficial to the estate occurring prior to appointment the same effect as those occurring thereafter. Prior to appointment, a person named executor in a will may carry out written instructions of the decedent relating to his body, funeral, and burial arrangements. A personal representative may ratify and accept acts on behalf of the estate done by others where the acts would have been proper for a personal representative.”

In most instances, the courts will honor the wishes of the decedent, even in the face of opposition by the surviving spouse or next of kin. If for some reason a decedent’s wishes cannot be carried out, direction should be sought by the court if unanimous consent of the family to an alternative is not easily attained. The court will decide how the body shall be disposed of and will most likely do so according to the wishes of the surviving spouse or next of kin, provided those wishes are reasonable and not contrary to public policy.

After a body has been buried, it is considered to be in the custody of the law; therefore, disinterment is not a matter of right. The disturbance or removal of an interred body is subject to the control and direction of the court.

Control of the Body and Burial:

Certain rights and duties exist regarding the burial and disposal of the body of a decedent. Upon the death of a married person, the surviving spouse has the paramount right as to the custody of the remains of the deceased and its burial. Radomer Russ-Pol Unterstitzung Verein v. Posner, 176 Md. 332 (Md. 1939). There is no right of property in a dead body in the ordinary sense, but it is regarded as property so far as necessary to entitle the surviving spouse or next of kin to legal protection of their rights in respect to the body. Lubin v. Sydenham Hospital, Inc., 181 Misc. 870 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1943).

While the primary and paramount right to possession of the body and control of the burial or is vested in the surviving spouse, the right of a surviving spouse to control the burial is dependent on the peculiar circumstances of each case, and may be waived by consent or otherwise. Southern Life & Health Ins. Co. v. Morgan, 21 Ala. App. 5 (Ala. Ct. App. 1925). This means that the right of a surviving spouse to the custody of the dead body for purposes of burial is not an absolute one. For example, if a spouse does not promptly assert their rights to the body, then the right to possession of the body for burial will be waived in favor of the next of kin. Id, Southern Life.

Additionally, if the deceased had expressed any particular place for his/her burial, then consideration must be given to that place. However, in the absence of such a circumstance, the surviving spouse is entitled to select a place of burial. If there arises any dispute between the surviving spouse and the next of kin, then the spouse’s preference prevails in determining the place and time of burial, and manner of disposal. If there is no judicial separation, a wife separated from her husband has some rights regarding the funeral services of her husband. However, if she does not exercise these rights, the estate of her husband must bear the reasonable costs of his funeral and burial. In re Estate of Barner, 50 Misc. 2d 517 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 1966)

If there is no surviving spouse or the surviving spouse has waived the right, the right of burial of a dead body is in the next of kin in the order of their relation to the decedent. In other words, if there is no surviving husband or wife, the right lies in the next of kin in the order of their relation to the decedent, usually in the following order: children of proper age, parents, brothers and sisters, or more distant kin. This rule of priority is to be applied with reason. It is flexible and may be modified by circumstances of the moment. Pettigrew v. Pettigrew, 207 Pa. 313 (Pa. 1904).

However, if two or more persons with equal standing as next of kin disagree on disposition of the decedent’s remains, then preference will given to the person who had the closest relationship to the deceased. In re Estate of Weiss, 2009 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 236 (Pa. C.P. 2009). In the absence of a surviving spouse, wishes of the next of kin regarding control of the body depend upon the nearness of the kinship and the personal relations between them and the decedent. In exceptional circumstances, a distant relative or a friend not having any blood relation may possess a superior right. Pettigrew v. Pettigrew, 207 Pa. 313 (Pa. 1904)

In some jurisdictions, while delineating the rights of family members to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the courts clearly places the decedent first. Further, the decedent’s preference may be determined by resort to both testamentary and nontestamentary statements. Sherman v. Sherman, 330 N.J. Super. 638 (Ch.Div. 1999). The extent to which the desires of a decedent as to the method of burial or disposal of his/her body will prevail against those of a surviving spouse depends in part on circumstances as to the mental condition of the decedent. However, if a decedent is proved to be mentally incapable, then his/her stated wishes often will not be given effect. Rosenblum v. New Mt. Sinai Cemetery Asso., 481 S.W.2d 593 (Mo. Ct. App. 1972).

A surviving spouse has an implied contractual obligation to pay for necessary funeral expenses arranged by a third party. However, such expense must be reasonable. The test in determining reasonableness states that the surviving spouse must assist according to his/her ability to do so.C. Battle & Sons Funeral Home v. Chambers, 63 Ohio Misc. 2d 441 (Ohio Mun. Ct. 1993).

In the absence of a normal parental and filial relationship at the time of death, an adult child may not claim a paramount right as the nearest next of kin to dictate the manner and place of his/her parent’s burial. In re Application Pursuant to Article 4200 of the Pub. Health Law, 196 Misc. 2d 599 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003).

It is to be noted that if there is no surviving spouse or children for the deceased, then the deceased’s parents have the right to possession of the body. Similarly, if the parents are divorced, the right to bury the child belongs to the parent who was awarded with the custody of the child. If the duty to bury a person is given to a personal representative of the deceased person, then such representative has the right to bury the deceased. However, this right can be waived by the inaction of the executor with regard to the disposition of the body.

Types of Disposal and Rights and Obligations Applying:

Disposal of dead body is the practice and process of dealing with the remains of a deceased human being. Several methods for disposal are practiced. In many cases, the manner of disposal is dominated by spiritual concerns and a desire to show respect for the dead, and may be highly ritualized. This event may be part of a larger funeral ritual. In other circumstances, such as war or natural disaster, practical concerns may be forefront. Many religions as well as legal jurisdictions have set rules regarding the disposal of corpses. Since the experience of death is universal to all humans, practices regarding corpse disposal are a part of nearly every culture.

The most common methods of disposal are:

  • Burial of the entire body in the earth, often within a coffin
  • Cremation, which burns soft tissue and renders much of the skeleton to ash. The remains, known as “cremains” may contain larger pieces of bone which are ground in a machine to the consistency of ash. The ashes may be stored in an urn or scattered on land or water.

Many jurisdictions have enacted regulations relating to the disposal of human bodies. Although it may be entirely legal to bury a deceased family member, the law may restrict the locations in which this activity is allowed, in some cases expressly limiting burials to property controlled by specific, licensed institutions. Furthermore, in many places, failure to properly dispose of a body is a crime. In some places, it is also a crime to fail to report a death, and to fail to report the disposition of the body. See our article on the Law of Cemeteries.

Although common law did not regard dead bodies as property, the courts, through the centuries, have treated them in a quasi-property context. The right to the remains of one’s deceased kin for the purpose of providing proper burial has long been recognized as a legal right. The surviving next of kin have a right to the immediate possession of a decedent’s body for preservation and burial and damages will be awarded against any person who unlawfully interferes with that right or improperly deals with the decedent’s body. This right, characterized as the right of sepulcher under common law, continues to be recognized by the courts notwithstanding the passage of many hundreds of years. Correa v. Maimonides Medical Ctr., 165 Misc. 2d 614 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1995).

All governments have recognized legitimate governmental interest in the provision of burial services in that the disposition of the dead is so involved in the public interest, including the public’s health, safety and welfare, that it is subject to control by law instead of being subject entirely to the desire, whim or caprice of individuals. In the exercise of its police power, the state may adopt reasonable regulations as to burials or other means of disposing of dead bodies. There is no question of the power of the legislature to exercise complete control of burials so far as is necessary for the protection of the public health and the promotion of the public safety. Thruston v. Little River County, 310 Ark. 188 (Ark. 1992).

Federal Law:

Federal statutes authorize the payment of expenses for the burial or disposal of the remains of certain persons in federal custody, persons dying on or in federally owned property or facilities, and certain federal employees who die in the line of duty. Also, federal statutes authorize payment of interment of employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service who die while in a foreign country in the line of duty. Federal provisions also make specific provision as to the payment of expenses for the transportation of dead bodies of particular individuals. For example, 10 USCS § 1483 provides that, “the Secretary concerned may provide for the care and disposition of the remains of prisoners of war and interned enemy aliens who die while in his custody and, incident thereto, pay the necessary expenses of–

(1) notification to the next of kin or other appropriate person;
(2) preparation of the remains for burial, including cremation;
(3) furnishing of clothing;
(4) furnishing of a casket or urn, or both, with outside box;
(5) transportation of the remains to the cemetery or other place selected by the Secretary; and
(6) interment of the remains.”

Further, 16 USCS § 17e provides that, “the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to provide, out of moneys appropriated for the general expenses of the several national parks, for the temporary care and removal from the park of indigents, and in case of death to provide for their burial, in those national parks not under local jurisdiction for these purposes, this section in no case to authorize transportation of such indigent or dead for a distance of more than fifty miles from the national park.”


The practice of cremation has been increasingly common in recent times, and it is advocated mainly on the ground that it is safer for the living, more sanitary, than ordinary burial in a cemetery. The practice has become general and crematories are now so common in many of the larger cities of the United States that the courts may take judicial notice of the usual method of operation. Abbey Land & Improv. Co. v. County of San Mateo, 167 Cal. 434, 439 (Cal. 1914).

In California, for example, according to Cal Health & Saf Code § 7010, “Cremation” means the process by which the following three steps are taken:

(a) The reduction of the body of a deceased human to its essential elements by incineration.

(b) The repositioning or moving of the body or remains during incineration to facilitate the process.

(c) The processing of the remains after removal from the cremation chamber

Cremated remains, which are not a health risk, may be buried or immured in memorial sites or cemeteries, or they may be legally retained by relatives or dispersed in a variety of ways and locations. Since a crematorium does not make “interments” within the meaning of a statute governing the cemetery business, it is not a cemetery corporation or association. Nevertheless, the regulation of crematories is within the police power of the municipality, and reasonable restrictions upon the operation thereof are valid.

In Abbey Land & Improv. Co. v. County of San Mateo, 167 Cal. 434 (Cal. 1914), the court held that “ a county ordinance which prohibits the establishment or maintenance in any one township of more than one crematory for the cremation of human bodies cannot be upheld as a police measure as against a cemetery association located near another crematory and in close proximity to several cemeteries and in a neighborhood where there are but few dwelling-houses and no buildings devoted to any business except that of burying the dead.”


Transportation of Bodies: Liability of Mortuaries:

According to the common law, it is the duty of a mortuary to deliver a dead body relatively in good condition to the relatives of the deceased person. A mortuary must do their duty with utmost care and attention. A reasonable expedience is expected from a mortuary that carries a dead body. Moody v. Messer, 489 S.W.2d 319 (Tex. Civ. App. Corpus Christi 1972). The mortuary will be held liable if any damage is caused to a dead body due to their negligence. Quesada v. Oak Hill Improvement Co., 213 Cal. App. 3d 596 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 1989)

However, a mortuary that fails to deliver a dead body that is donated to medical students cannot be held liable either in contract or tort. In order to make a mortuary liable under a contract or tort, following conditions need to be satisfied. They are:

  • it must be proved that there existed a meeting of mind between a mortuary and the relatives of a deceased person regarding transportation method; and
  • it must be proved that the provisions of law regarding donation of dead body gave the relatives of a deceased person the authority to decide about delivery of dead body. Hinze v. Baptist Memorial Hosp., 1990 Tenn. App. LEXIS 601 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 1990)

But a mortuary that has entered into a contract to ship the cremated remains of a dead body will be held liable for negligent performance, if cremated remains of a dead body are lost due to mortuary’s negligence.

Close relatives of the deceased person can sue the mortuary for tortuous infliction of emotional distress. Contreraz v. Michelotti-Sawyers & Nordquist Mortuary, 271 Mont. 300 (Mont. 1995). See our article on Torts.

In Quesada v. Oak Hill Improvement Co., 213 Cal. App. 3d 596 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 1989), the plaintiff, sister of the deceased person, brought an action for damages against defendant/funeral home. The allegation against defendant/funeral home was that the defendant/funeral home mishandled the dead body and caused emotional distress to plaintiff. The defendant/funeral home delivered another person’s dead body for burial. In spite of the protest made by the relatives of the deceased person, the dead body was cremated in the plaintiff’s property. However, the trial court ruled in favor of defendant/funeral home for the reason that there was no contractual relationship between plaintiff and defendant/funeral home. Hence the defendant /funeral home had no duty towards plaintiff.

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court judgment and held that the duty of defendant/funeral home was to be decided on the basis of test of foreseeability of injury to close relatives and friends of a deceased person. The court of appeal further held that plaintiff is a close relative of the deceased person and is entitled for damages.

The family of a deceased person has a personal right to bury the dead body of their relative. Any mutilation or disturbance of a dead body is considered as an interference with this personal right and it gives rise to an actionable wrong. Whoever negligently withholds a dead body or prevents it from cremation or cut open a dead body is liable for causing emotional distress. In order to bring an action for tortuous infliction of emotional distress against the mortuary, a plaintiff must establish that a defendant has caused a serious emotional distress to plaintiff intentionally. Powell v. Grant Med. Ctr., 148 Ohio App. 3d 1 (Ohio Ct. App., Franklin County 2002)

Apart from the tortuous liability, a mortuary will be imposed with criminal liability if a dead body is transported without removal permit or burial transit.

Expenses for transporting the remains/bodies of officers to their homes for burial, who die while performing their job in foreign countries, are paid on a written order of the Attorney General by the home country. In the case of persons employed with National Park Service, and indigents the expenses for transportation of deceased employee’s body or indigent’s dead body will be given by the Secretary of the Interior.



A post mortem examination or autopsy is a medical procedure that consists of the examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor.

Forensic autopsies are autopsies performed to determine if death was an accident, homicide, suicide, or a natural death. The extent of an autopsy can vary from the examination of a single organ such as the heart or brain, to a very extensive examination. Examination of the chest, abdomen, and brain is considered standard autopsy procedure by most pathologists.

Performance of certain autopsies or other postmortem operations is subject to federal regulations. According to some statutes, autopsies or other post-mortem operations can be performed on the body of a deceased patient only by direction of the officer in charge and only after obtaining consent of the authorized person. Further, documents embodying consent must be made a part of the clinical record. 42 CFR 35.16

However, a hospital or its medical personnel cannot order the removal of tissue or other body parts of a deceased person for forensic or scientific study without consent from the spouse or next of kin. Kelly v. Brigham & Women’s Hosp., 51 Mass. App. Ct. 297 (Mass. App. Ct. 2001). A wrongful autopsy claim is based on the general principles governing thetort of negligence. Rubianogroot v. Swanson, 13 Mass. L. Rep. 276 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2001). As a result, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him/her a duty, that his/her act or failure to act was negligent and that the negligence caused him/her harm.

If consent is given by the concerned party for the performance of an unofficial autopsy, then there is no liability for a pathologist, even if such autopsy results in the removal and destruction of some organs or the failure to return organs to their original placement in the body. Lashbrook v. Barnes, 437 S.W.2d 502 (Ky. 1969). However, liability may be imposed if the person performing the autopsy exceeds his/her authority by causing a negligent or unnecessary mutilation of the body during the autopsy.

It is to be noted that an unofficial autopsy cannot be performed over the objection of a surviving relative or friend of the deceased that such a procedure is contrary to the religious belief of the decedent. Liberman v. Riverside Mem. Chapel, 225 A.D.2d 283 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 1996). Similarly, an action to recover damages for the performance of an unauthorized autopsy is meant to compensate family members for the emotional and mental suffering occasioned as a result of an improper autopsy.

An autopsy helps in evaluating new diagnostic tests, the assessment of new therapeutic interventions and the investigation of environmental and occupational diseases. Moreover, medical knowledge on existing diseases derived from autopsy based research is often important.


Emotions can become powerful during a time of death of a loved one and as one client commented, one is required to make difficult decisions, often involving tens of thousands of dollars at a time when one can barely think. That same client had somehow agreed to a funeral arrangement with a casket costing thirty thousand dollars. To the credit of the funeral home, they did back down when our protest was made but something for all of us to consider is how it would help our relatives to receive not only clear instructions as to the type of funeral and burial to have, but to indicate who has what rights to handle the details.

Such instructions should be in writing and delivered to those trusted persons who will handle the matter and, ideally, one’s attorney and executor. Too often people place such instructions in safe deposit boxes which cannot be opened or, worse, put them among piles of papers which are only examined long after burial.

Such an effort on your part can be one of your kindest bequests to your loved ones.

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Connie Dello Buono


Alzheimer’s Disease Might Be a ‘Whole Body’ Problem

Summary: Using a technique called parabiosis on pairs of mice, researchers discover what they call ‘cancer like mobility’ of amyloid beta, reporting it can travel to the brain from other parts of the body.

Source: University of British Columbia.

Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, has long been assumed to originate in the brain. But research from the University of British Columbia and Chinese scientists indicates that it could be triggered by breakdowns elsewhere in the body.

The findings, published today in Molecular Psychiatry, offer hope that future drug therapies might be able to stop or slow the disease without acting directly on the brain, which is a complex, sensitive and often hard-to-reach target. Instead, such drugs could target the kidney or liver, ridding the blood of a toxic protein before it ever reaches the brain.

The scientists demonstrated this cancer-like mobility through a technique called parabiosis: surgically attaching two specimens together so they share the same blood supply for several months.

UBC Psychiatry Professor Dr. Weihong Song and Neurology Professor Yan-Jiang Wang at Third Military Medical University in Chongqing attached normal mice, which don’t naturally develop Alzheimer’s disease, to mice modified to carry a mutant human gene that produces high levels of a protein called amyloid-beta. In people with Alzheimer’s disease, that protein ultimately forms clumps, or “plaques,” that smother brain cells.

Normal mice that had been joined to genetically modified partners for a year “contracted” Alzheimer’s disease. Song says the amyloid-beta traveled from the genetically-modified mice to the brains of their normal partners, where it accumulated and began to inflict damage.

Not only did the normal mice develop plaques, but also a pathology similar to “tangles” – twisted protein strands that form inside brain cells, disrupting their function and eventually killing them from the inside-out.

Other signs of Alzheimer’s-like damage included brain cell degeneration, inflammation and microbleeds.

In addition, the ability to transmit electrical signals involved in learning and memory – a sign of a healthy brain – was impaired, even in mice that had been joined for just four months.


Besides the brain, amyloid-beta is produced in blood platelets, blood vessels and muscles, and its precursor protein is found in several other organs.

But until these experiments, it was unclear if amyloid-beta from outside the brain could contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. This study, Song says, shows it can.

“The blood-brain barrier weakens as we age,” says Song, a Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Jack Brown and Family Professor. “That might allow more amyloid beta to infiltrate the brain, supplementing what is produced by the brain itself and accelerating the deterioration.”

Song, head of UBC’s Townsend Family Laboratories, envisions a drug that would bind to amyloid-beta throughout the body, tagging it biochemically in such a way that the liver or kidneys could clear it.

“Alzheimer’s disease is clearly a disease of the brain, but we need to pay attention to the whole body to understand where it comes from, and how to stop it,” he says.


Source: Brian Kladko – University of British Columbia
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to University of British Columbia.
Original Research:Abstract for “Blood-derived amyloid-β protein induces Alzheimer’s disease pathologies” by X-L Bu, Y Xiang, W-S Jin, J Wang, L-L Shen, Z-L Huang, K Zhang, Y-H Liu, F Zeng, J-H Liu, H-L Sun, Z-Q Zhuang, S-H Chen, X-Q Yao, B Giunta, Y-C Shan, J Tan, X-W Chen, Z-F Dong, H-D Zhou, X-F Zhou, W Song and Y-J Wang in Molecular Psychiatry. Published online October 31 2017 doi:10.1038/mp.2017.204

University of British Columbia “Alzheimer’s Disease Might Be a ‘Whole Body’ Problem.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 31 October 2017.


Blood-derived amyloid-β protein induces Alzheimer’s disease pathologies

The amyloid-β protein (Aβ) protein plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is believed that Aβ deposited in the brain originates from the brain tissue itself. However, Aβ is generated in both brain and peripheral tissues. Whether circulating Aβ contributes to brain AD-type pathologies remains largely unknown. In this study, using a model of parabiosis between APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic AD mice and their wild-type littermates, we observed that the human Aβ originated from transgenic AD model mice entered the circulation and accumulated in the brains of wild-type mice, and formed cerebral amyloid angiopathy and Aβ plaques after a 12-month period of parabiosis.

AD-type pathologies related to the Aβ accumulation including tau hyperphosphorylation, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and microhemorrhage were found in the brains of the parabiotic wild-type mice. More importantly, hippocampal CA1 long-term potentiation was markedly impaired in parabiotic wild-type mice.

To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to reveal that blood-derived Aβ can enter the brain, form the Aβ-related pathologies and induce functional deficits of neurons.

Our study provides novel insight into AD pathogenesis and provides evidence that supports the development of therapies for AD by targeting Aβ metabolism in both the brain and the periphery.

“Blood-derived amyloid-β protein induces Alzheimer’s disease pathologies” by X-L Bu, Y Xiang, W-S Jin, J Wang, L-L Shen, Z-L Huang, K Zhang, Y-H Liu, F Zeng, J-H Liu, H-L Sun, Z-Q Zhuang, S-H Chen, X-Q Yao, B Giunta, Y-C Shan, J Tan, X-W Chen, Z-F Dong, H-D Zhou, X-F Zhou, W Song and Y-J Wang in Molecular Psychiatry. Published online October 31 2017 doi:10.1038/mp.2017.204

From Wiki:

Normal function


The normal function of Aβ is not well understood.[7] Though some animal studies have shown that the absence of Aβ does not lead to any obvious loss of physiological function,[8][9] several potential activities have been discovered for Aβ, including activation of kinase enzymes,[10][11] protection against oxidative stress,[12][13]regulation of cholesterol transport,[14][15] functioning as a transcription factor,[16][17] and anti-microbial activity (potentially associated with Aβ’s pro-inflammatory activity).[18]

The glymphatic system clears metabolic waste from the mammalian brain, and in particular beta amyloids.[19] The rate of removal is significantly increased during sleep.[20] However, the significance of the glymphatic system in Aβ clearance in Alzheimer’s disease is unknown.[21]

Disease associations

Aβ is the main component of amyloid plaques (extracellular deposits found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease).[22] Similar plaques appear in some variants of Lewy body dementia and in inclusion body myositis (a muscle disease), while Aβ can also form the aggregates that coat cerebral blood vessels in cerebral amyloid angiopathy. The plaques are composed of a tangle of regularly ordered fibrillar aggregates called amyloid fibers,[23] a protein fold shared by other peptides such as the prions associated with protein misfolding diseases.

Brain Aβ is elevated in patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. Aβ is the main constituent of brain parenchymal and vascular amyloid; it contributes to cerebrovascular lesions and is neurotoxic.[32][33][34][35] It is unresolved how Aβ accumulates in the central nervous system and subsequently initiates the disease of cells. Some researchers have found that the Aβ oligomers induce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease by competing with insulin for binding sites on the insulin receptor, thus impairing glucose metabolism in the brain.[36] Significant efforts have been focused on the mechanisms responsible for Aβ production, including the proteolytic enzymes gamma- and β-secretases which generate Aβ from its precursor protein, APP (amyloid precursor protein).[37][38][39][40] Aβ circulates in plasma, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain interstitial fluid (ISF) mainly as soluble Aβ40[32][41] Senile plaques contain both Aβ40 and Aβ42,[42] while vascular amyloid is predominantly the shorter Aβ40. Several sequences of Aβ were found in both lesions.[43][44][45] Generation of Aβ in the CNS may take place in the neuronal axonal membranes after APP-mediated axonal transport of β-secretase and presenilin-1.[46]

Increases in either total Aβ levels or the relative concentration of both Aβ40 and Aβ42 (where the former is more concentrated in cerebrovascular plaques and the latter in neuritic plaques)[47] have been implicated in the pathogenesis of both familial and sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. Due to its more hydrophobic nature, the Aβ42 is the most amyloidogenic form of the peptide. However the central sequence KLVFFAE is known to form amyloid on its own, and probably forms the core of the fibril.[citation needed] One study further correlated Aβ42 levels in the brain not only with onset of Alzheimer’s, but also reduced cerebrospinal fluid pressure, suggesting that a build-up or inability to clear Aβ42 fragments may play a role into the pathology.[

Low-temperature and low-salt conditions allowed to isolate pentameric disc-shaped oligomers devoid of beta structure.[65] In contrast, soluble oligomers prepared in the presence of detergents seem to feature substantial beta sheet content with mixed parallel and antiparallel character, different from fibrils;[66] computational studies suggest an antiparallel beta-turn-beta motif instead for membrane-embedded oligomers.[67]

The suggested mechanisms by which amyloid beta may damage and cause neuronal death include the generation of reactive oxygen species during the process of its self-aggregation. When this occurs on the membrane of neurons in vitro, it causes lipid peroxidation and the generation of a toxic aldehyde called 4-hydroxynonenalwhich, in turn, impairs the function of ion-motive ATPases, glucose transporters and glutamate transporters. As a result, amyloid beta promotes depolarization of the synaptic membrane, excessive calcium influx and mitochondrial impairment.[68] Aggregations of the amyloid-beta peptide disrupt membranes in vitro.

Connie’s comments:







Writing heals the body

In 1986 the psychology professor James Pennebaker discovered something extraordinary, something which would inspire a generation of researchers to conduct several hundred studies. He asked students to spend 15 minutes writing about the biggest trauma of their lives or, if they hadn’t experienced a trauma, their most difficult time.

They were told to let go and to include their deepest thoughts, even if they had never shared these thoughts before. Four days running they did the same thing. It wasn’t easy. Pennebaker told me that roughly one in 20 students would end up crying, but when asked whether they wanted to continue they always did. Meanwhile a control group spent the same number of sessions writing a description of something neutral such a tree or their dorm room.

(Credit: iStock)

Studies have shown expressive writing can reduce the amount of times people visit the doctor (Credit: iStock)

Then he waited for six months while monitoring how often the students visited the health centre. The day he saw the results, he left the lab, walked to his friend who was waiting for him in a car and told him he’d found something big. Remarkably, the students who had written about their secret feelings had made significantly fewer trips to the doctor in the subsequent months.

Ever since, the field psychoneuroimmunology has been exploring the link between what’s now known as expressive writing, and the functioning of the immune system. The studies that followed examined the effect of expressive writing on everything from asthma and arthritis to breast cancer and migraines. In a small study conducted in Kansas, for example, it was found that women with breast cancer experienced fewer troublesome symptoms and went for fewer cancer-related appointments in the months after doing expressive writing.

There is one area where the findings are more consistent and that is in the healing of wounds

The aim of the study wasn’t to look at long-term cancer prognosis, and the authors are not suggesting the cancer would be affected. But in the short-term other aspects of the women’s health did seem better than for those in the control group who wrote about the facts surrounding their cancer rather than their feelings about it.

But it doesn’t always work. A meta-analysis by Joanne Fratarolli from the University of California Riverside does demonstrate an effect overall, but a small one. Nevertheless, for an intervention that is free and beneficial, that’s a benefit worth having. Some studies have had disappointing results, but there is one area where the findings are more consistent and that is in the healing of wounds.

In these studies brave volunteers typically do some expressive writing, then some days later they are given a local anaesthetic and then a punch biopsy at the top of their inner arm. The wound is typically 4mm across and heals within a couple of weeks. This healing is monitored and again and again, and it happens faster if people have spent time beforehand writing down their secret thoughts.

(Credit: iStock)

Simply imagining a traumatic event and writing a story about it could have health benefits (Credit: iStock)

What does the act of committing words to paper do? Initially it was assumed this simply happened through catharsis, that people felt better because they’d let out their pent-up feelings. But then Pennebaker began looking in detail at the language people used in their writing.

He found that the types of words people used changed over the course of the four sessions. Those whose wounds healed the fastest began by using the word “I” a lot, but in later sessions moved on to saying “he” or “she” more often, suggesting they were looking at the event from other perspectives. They also used words like “because”, implying they were making sense of the events and putting them into a narrative. So Pennebaker believes that the simple act of labelling your feelings and putting them into a story is somehow affecting the immune system.

But there is a curious finding which suggests something else might be going on. Simply imagining a traumatic event and writing a story about it also makes wounds heal faster, so perhaps it’s less to do with resolving past issues and more to do with finding a way of regulating your own emotions that makes a difference.

Writing about your feelings doesn’t boost your immune system for life

After the first day of writing most people say that churning up the past has made them feel worse. Does the stress cause people to release stress hormones such as cortisol, which are beneficial in the short-term and could enhance the immune system? Or is it the improvement in mood after several days of writing that brings the benefits for immunity? So far, no one knows.

Whatever the mechanism, despite several decades of research showing it works, it’s rarely used clinically. You could imagine a situation where people booked in for surgery are given expressive writing instructions in the preceding weeks, but very few studies have used clinical populations with real, surgical wounds, rather than giving healthy students artificially-induced wounds. Also, it works better for some people than others, all depending on how well they engage with the process. What’s more, the effect is short-lived, so you’d have to get the timing just right. Writing about your feelings doesn’t boost your immune system for life. If the same people are wounded again a few months after an initial study, they don’t heal any faster than anyone else.

(Credit: iStock)

The writing could work after you’re wounded – such as when you’re healing after surgery (Credit: iStock)

But now new research from New Zealand suggests it’s not essential to do the writing before you are wounded. It can work just as well if you do the writing afterwards. This opens up the possibility of using expressive writing not just when surgery is planned, but for real-life injuries which of course we can’t predict. Kavita Vedhara from the University of Nottingham and her team in New Zealand took 120 healthy volunteers, and made them write about either a distressing event or how they spent the previous day. They did this either before or after a punch biopsy on their upper arm. The people from the expressive writing group were six times more likely to have a wound that had healed within 10 days than the people in the control group.

We’d need to have more studies conducted with real life patients, but maybe one day when we’ve had an operation, we might be told to go home with instructions on expressive writing. As Kavita Vedhara told me in the BBC’s Health Check, the effect is “short-lived, but powerful”.


Obesity damages your mind and body

Lucy Cheke and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge recently invited a few participants into her lab for a kind of ‘treasure hunt’.

The participants navigated a virtual environment on a computer screen, dropping off various objects along their way. They then answered a series of questions to test their memory of the task, such as where they had hidden a particular object.

When examining what might have influenced their performance, you might expect that Cheke would have been more concerned with the participant’s IQ – not their waistline. Yet she found a clear relationship between their Body Mass Index – a measure of your weight relative to your height – and apparent memory deficits: the higher a participant’s BMI, the worse they performed on the Treasure Hunt task.

In doing so, Cheke has contributed to a small but growing body of evidence showing that obesity is linked to brain shrinkage and memory deficits. This research suggests that obesity may contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Surprisingly, it also seems to show that the relationship between obesity and memory is a two-way street: being overweight or obese not only impacts on memory function, but may also affect future eating behaviour by altering our recollections of previous eating experiences.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Overeating may cause long-term changes to the brain, damaging our recall (Credit: Getty Images)

Cheke’s interest in the subject began unexpectedly. “At the time I was looking at the ability to imagine a future state, particularly in terms of making decisions about food,” says Cheke. “If you’re hungry, you’ll imagine your future self as being hungry, too, but obese people seem to make such decisions on fact-based judgements rather than imagining.”

One possibility was that the obesity might have been damaging their capacity for “mental time travel”. Scientific research has long shown that memory and imagination are intimately linked, as we piece together fragments of past recollections to predict how future events might pan out.

The link made sense, she says, with some signs that obesity affects areas of the brain known to be used in memory and imagination. In 2010, for instance, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine reported that healthy, middle-aged adults with increased abdominal fat tend to have slightly lower overall brain volume. In particular, the hippocampus, a deep brain structure sometimes called the brain’s printing press thanks to its role learning and memory, was significantly smaller in obese people compared to leaner individuals.

There were also some hints from animal studies. “In studies focusing on weight changes and eating behaviours in rodents, the animals were terrible at learning tasks such as the Morris water maze,” explains Cheke. “The more I looked into it, the more I expected to see memory deficits, but that question was still very much open.”

Hence her experiment with the treasure hunt. Sure enough the obese participants found it particularly difficult to remember the location of the different objects – adding some important evidence for her hypothesis, and supporting earlier findingsthat indirectly linked obesity to impairments of cognitive function.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Unhealthy eating can age the brain, accelerating the natural cognitive decline by 10 years (Credit: Getty Images)

More recently, a brain scanning study including more than 500 participants confirmed that being overweight or obese is associated with a greater degree of age-related brain degeneration. These effects were biggest in middle-aged people, in whom the obesity-related changes corresponded to an estimated increase in ‘brain age’ of 10 years.

Obesity is a complex condition with many contributing factors, however; so exactly how it might affect brain structure and function is still unclear.

“Body fat is the defining feature of obesity, but you’ve also got things like insulin resistance, hypertension, and high blood pressure,” says Cheke. “These can go hand in hand with behavioural factors [such as overeating and lack of exercise] and they can all potentially cause changes in the brain.”

“For example, insulin is an important neurotransmitter, and there’s a lot of evidence that diabetes is associated with changes in learning and memory,” she adds, “but there’s also evidence that high body fat on its own leads to inflammation in the brain, which can also cause problems.”

Inflammation is another potential culprit. Psychologists from the University of Arizona examined data from more than 20,000 participants in the English Longitudinal Ageing Study, in which measures of memory, BMI, and blood plasma levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein were collected every 2 years between 1998 and 2013.

They found that greater body mass was associated with a decline in memory function, and also with higher levels of the inflammatory protein. Although these links are indirect, the results suggest that brain inflammation is one plausible mechanism by which differences in body mass might influence cognitive function in otherwise healthy, aging adults.

Two-way street

This should be of particular concern, given recent evidence that the path between memory and obesity may go both ways, as attention and memory control our appetite and eating behaviour. In other words, a deficit in your memory could cause you to gain weight.

Early evidence that memory plays an important role in eating behaviour came from a 1998 study showing that patients with severe amnesia will readily eat multiple meals one after the other, because they could not remember that they had just eaten.

“This shows that when we’re deciding how much to eat we’re not just basing those decisions on physiological signals about how much food there is in our stomach, but also on cognitive processes like memory,” says experimental psychologist Eric Robinson of the University of Liverpool.

“If your memory’s impaired or just not very good then you might overeat,” he adds. “I wanted to know if this could be reversed. If you improve a person’s memory, could that be a useful way of getting them to eat less?”

(Credit: Getty Images)

People with amnesia tend to overeat, suggesting that a good memory of our last meal may curb hunger pangs (Credit: Getty Images)

Robinson and his colleagues recruited 48 overweight or obese people and invited them to eat lunch in the lab. The participants were randomly divided into two groups, and given audio recordings to listen to while they ate.

Those in one group listened to audio instructing them to pay attention to their food, while those in the other listened to an audio book with non-food related content.

The researchers then invited them back the following day, presented with some high-energy snacks, and measured how much they ate. They found that those who had been instructed to focus on their lunchtime meal the previous day ate nearly one third less of the snacks than those who had been distracted by the audio book.

A larger follow-up study confirmed these findings. This time, Robinson and his colleagues randomly assigned a total of 114 women to one of two groups, and tried to manipulate the extent to which they were aware of their eating behaviour.

Again, they gave all participants the same lunchtime meal, consisting of a ham sandwich, mini sausage rolls, a packet of crisps, rice cakes, chocolate chip cookies and seedless grapes.

Before sitting down to eat, the participants in one group were told that they were taking part in a study of eating behaviour, and that the amount of food they ate would be measured. The rest were told that they were taking part in a study of how their thought processes and moods change during the course of the day.

The researchers found no overall difference between how much participants in both groups ate. Those who had been told that they were taking part in a study of eating behaviour tended to eat fewer cookies than those in the other group, however, apparently because their awareness of their own food consumption was heightened.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Interventions that boost our attention to food may help us to lose weight (Credit: Getty Images)

Attention and memory are independent of each other, but they are closely linked – we cannot remember something that we did not pay attention to and, by the same token, our memories of something tend to be more vivid the more we attend to it.

It’s therefore possible that a vivid memory of lunch could reactivate the body’s physiological state, so that we do not feel so hungry, and consequently eat less at dinner. On the other hand, someone who was distracted during lunch would form weak memories of the meal, and so thinking about it at dinner might make them feel hungrier and eat more.

In one 2011 study, for instance, half the participants played Solitaire on a computer while eating their lunch. Sure enough, they had hazier memories of their lunch and went on to eat significantly more biscuits later on than those who did not.

This is particularly interesting, given the evidence that over-eating can impair your memory, with both the over-eating and the memory problems reinforcing each other, pushing you down a slippery slope. “Our research suggests that you might eat more if you have an impaired memory,” says Robinson, “so you end up in a vicious cycle where memory’s impaired by an unhealthy lifestyle, and then that impairment promotes over-consumption.”

He points out that we still have to be careful not to draw firm conclusions, though, until we have stronger proof that this vicious cycle exists and has a real effect on people’s health. “This idea makes sense intuitively, but there’s still no direct evidence for it.”

Staging an intervention

In the meantime, the finding that food memories and awareness can influence eating behaviour does at least suggest a novel approach to helping people lose weightand maintain a healthy BMI, and Robinson and his colleagues have developed a smartphone app that encourages people to eat more attentively.

“There’s now convincing evidence that attention and memory affect how much people eat, but this comes from laboratory studies,” says Robinson.“We’re trying to see if the lab findings translate to the real world. Our app encourages people to take photos of what they’re eating and answer questions about their meals, the idea being that creating vivid memories will make them less likely to overeat during the day.”

Cheke and her colleagues are now following up their initial findings by trying to pick apart the various factors that contribute to obesity, in order to try to determine which are likely to influence brain structure and function.

They are also using a smartphone app to collect information about people’s lifestyles and behaviour, and are recruiting volunteers in and around Cambridge to help them gather the data they need.

“One person may be obese because they don’t do any exercise and eat a lot of junk food,” says Cheke. “Another might be obese for genetic reasons but actually eat really well and do lots of exercise, and yet another may be obese because they have insulin problems.”

“We’re trying to get all these different variables to see the relative contribution, so we’ve got people out wearing activity monitors and filling food diaries for us. Doing studies like this is the only way we’ll be able to tease these things apart.”


Deficiency symptoms

by Walter Last

Eye, hair, nail, mouth and skin symptoms are among the early outward warning signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The following compilations may help in diagnosing and treating these deficiencies. However, increased metabolic requirements for indicated deficiencies may persist for a long time after the outward symptoms have disappeared. Many listed symptoms may also be caused or aggravated by allergies and problems with the blood sugar and fat metabolism.

The right-hand column gives the primary deficiencies first, additional treatment or cause is given in parentheses. For each condition only the more prominent nutrients are mentioned. However, all the typical nutrients should be supplied in increased amounts in the treatment of all conditions.

Eye-deficiency Symptoms

Symptom Deficiency / treatment / cause
Bitot’s spots – foamy patches on conjunctiva vitamin A
Bloodshot eyes boric acid for fungus infection, blue light
Blurred vision vitamins B2, B6, pantothenic acid
Bulging eyes vitamin E, nicotinamide, iodine
Cataracts (lens becomes opaque) vitamins B2, C, E, antioxidants (avoid lactose)
Color-blindness vitamin A
Conjunctivitis vitamins A, B2, C (B6, zinc)
Cross-eyes vitamins E, C, B1, (allergy testing)
Dark spots in front of the eyes vitamins B6, C, zinc (liver problems)
Dim vision (amblyopia) vitamins B1, B2, C, B12 (allergy testing)
Dry, hard eyeballs (xerophthalmia) vitamin A
Farsightedness (hyperopia) magnesium, potassium, MSM
Glaucoma magnesium, vitamin C (B2, B1,salt)
Hemorrhaging in the back of the eye (retinitis) vitamin B6, zinc, bioflavonoids (also magnesium, vitamins C, B2, B12, E, pantothenate)
Infected, ulcerating eyes (keratomalacia) vitamin A (vitamins C, B2, B6, zinc, blue light, boric acid)
Itching, burning, watery, sandy eyes vitamin B2
Macular degeneration vitamins A, B2, B6, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, esp. lutein & zeaxanthin, ginkgo biloba, bilberry, eyebright, MSM, EFA
Near-sightedness (myopia) chromium, vitamins C, E, D, calcium (proteins, avoid sugars)
Night blindness (nyctalopia) vitamins A, (B2, B6, zinc)
Red blood vessels in the sclera vitamin B2
Retinal detachment zinc, vitamins B6, B2, C, E, A
Sensitive eyes, fear of strong light (photophobia) vitamins B2, A
Tics of eyelids magnesium, vitamins B2, B6, zinc

Skin-deficiency Symptoms

Symptom Deficiency / Treatment / Cause
Acne vitamins A, E, B2, B6, C, niacin, biotin, zinc, EFA*, lecithin, MSM, retinoic acid topically (minimize sweet food & fats)
Addison’s disease – adrenal exhaustion: increased tanning, especially on skin-folds, scars, elbows, knees; black freckles all B vitamins, especially pantothenic acid; vitamin C; all minerals, digestive enzymes, allergy testing, avoid sweet food
Arterial spiders (fine branching arteries on face, neck, chest) antioxidants, bioflavonoids, glucosamine, cartilage, calcium
Bedsores vitamins C, E
Blisters vitamin E
Brown discoloration around small joints vitamin B12
Brown skin spots antioxidants (weak liver)
Dry skin vitamins A, C, EFA
Eczema, skin ulcers vitamin C, B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, EFA, allergy test, cleanse
Eczema, infantile EPA, zinc, vitamin B6
Edema vitamin B6, zinc (also vitamin C, magnesium, avoid salt)
Fingers white, numb, stiff, swellings (Raynaud’s disease) vitamins B6, B1, antioxidants, niacin, magnesium/calcium, EFA
Fungus infections (e.g. athlete’s foot, ringworm) B vitamins, (external tea tree oil, intestinal sanitation)
Gangrene vitamins C, E, B1 , magnesium chloride, (urine packs)
Greasy dermatitis around eyes, nose vitamin B6, zinc
Greasy skin eruptions (seborrhea) vitamin B2
Horny red skin on pressure areas (e.g. knees, elbows) zinc (vitamin B6)
Hot flushes vitamin E, boron, magnesium, calcium (Wild Yam cream)
Ichthyosis (fish-like scales) vitamin A, retinoic acid topically, MSM
Infant dermatitis with inflamed pustules around body openings vitamin B6, zinc
Infections of the skin (boils, cold sores, impetigo, and so on) vitamins C, A, B6, zinc, magnesium chloride (hot Epsom-salt packs, tea tree oil or propolis rubs)
Itching vitamins B, C, EFA, alkalizer, bicarbonate rubs, (allergy tests)
Jaundice vitamins C, E, A, B12, B6, lecithin, magnesium, zinc (blue light therapy, treat gall bladder & liver)
Keratosis, horny, goose-pimple-like skin vitamin A internally & externally
Lemon-yellow skin vitamin B12
Oily skin, white-heads vitamin B2
Over-sensitivity to sunlight vitamin B6, zinc, PABA, beta-carotene, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, alkalizers
Pale skin biotin, folic acid, vitamin B6, , iron (anemia)
Prickly-heat rash vitamin C
Psoriasis as for acne; blue light, sunlight; avoid gluten
Purplish or blue-black skin areas vitamin C, B2, bioflavonoids
Rash allergy test, alkalizers, vitamin C, calcium
Red-brown, often symmetrical discoloration of skin exposed to the sun, later ulceration niacin or nicotinamide (folic acid)
Red-brown or dark-red spots manganese
Rosacea (redness of part of face) vitamin B2
Scaly dermatitis biotin
Scaly eczema around nose, ears, scrotum, vulva vitamin B2
Scar tissue vitamin E, MSM externally & internally, camphorated oil rub
Scleroderma (hardening and swelling of skin) vitamin E, C, A, PABA, MSM, magnesium chloride (zapper, pulser and parasite therapy, tea tree oil packs)
Sensitivity to insect bites vitamin C, B1, calcium, alkalizers, bicarbonate rub/bath
Shingles vitamins B12, C, A, B, E, zinc, lysine, zinc oxide lotion, zapper
Skin cancer vitamins A, B6, PABA, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenes, chlorophyll, propolis, zinc (blue light, escharotics)
Skin-folds red, infected niacin
Stretch-marks vitamins E, B6, zinc
Subcutaneous bleeding (red or purplish spots under the skin, bruises easily) vitamin C, bioflavonoids and rutin, grape seed extract, glucosamine, alkalizer
Swellings (for example, face) zinc, magnesium, vitamins B6, B12
Vaginal itching vitamins B2, E, C (avoid synthetic underwear, treat Candida)
Warts, moles vitamins C, A, E
Weals on the skin (urticaria) vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin C, (alkalizer, allergy test)
White skin patches (vitiligo) PABA, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, zinc
Wrinkles or aging skin vitamins C, E, A, EFA, bioflavonoids (too much sun)

* Most skin conditions benefit from external as well as internal application of the indicated nutrients. Retinioc acid is the acid form of vitamin A. EFA means essential fatty acids, mainly linoleic and linolenic acid; recommended are ground-linseed, linseed oil, fish oils and Evening-primrose oil.

Hair and Nail Deficiency Symptoms

Symptom Deficiency treatment cause
Coarse, brittle hair zinc
Dandruff vitamins B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, biotin
Dry hair vitamin A, zinc
Graying hair folic acid, pantothenic acid, PABA, biotin, minerals (weak adrenals, avoid sweet food)
Hangnails vitamin C, folic acid, proteins
Hair loss copper/lead contamination: use zinc, vitamin B6, sulfur (MSM), selenium, biotin
Nails opaque, white spots/bands zinc, vitamin B6
Oily hair vitamin B2
Peeling nails vitamins A, C, calcium
Ridges on nails, longitudinal vitamin A, protein, calcium (anemia, poor circulation, thyroid/parathyroid glands)
Ridges on nails, transverse fever, infection, inflammation, menstrual problems, period of protein deficiency
Scaling of cuticle or lips biotin

With graying hair or hair loss improve the circulation to the scalp, e.g. daily inversion such as headstand, shoulder-stand, hanging upside down or using a slant-board. Also vigorously rubbing nourishing or slightly irritating solutions into the scalp, e.g. fresh grass or vegetable juice, MSM with copper salicylate, ginger juice.

Tongue and Mouth Deficiency Symptoms

Mouth problems are often due to amalgam fillings, allergies or Candida infestation (thrush).

Symptom Deficiency treatment cause
Beefy, enlarged tongue pantothenic acid
Burning, sore tongue vitamins B2, B6, B12, niacin
Cracked lips & corners of the mouth (cheilosis) vitamins B2, B6, folic acid
Distended, purplish-blue veins under the tongue vitamin B2 (circulation poor, congested)
Edema or tooth-marks on tongue niacin/nicotinamide
Furrowed tongue vitamin B1, pantothenic acid
Gums receding, bleeding (gingivitis) vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, alkalizers
Halitosis (bad breath) vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, propolis, chlorophyll (cleansing, intestinal sanitation)
Mouth ulcers, canker folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc (alkalize, allergy test)
Papillae prominent or erased niacin/nicotinamide
Purplish or magenta tongue or lips, also veins under the tongue vitamin B2
Tongue red at tip or edges; severe deficiency: whole tongue scarlet red, sore niacin (vitamin B6)
Tongue shiny, smooth, beefy; early sign: strawberry-red tip/sides vitamin B12, folic acid
Tongue too small or too large niacin, pantothenic acid
White-coated tongue intestinal putrefaction, cleansing
White patches on tongue vitamin B2 and other B vitamins (allergy)
Yellowish-brown-coated tongue liver or gall bladder problems

Healing ways from within by Connie Dello Buono

The many healing powers

There are many healing powers: positive images, positive words, positive feelings, positive energies from people and places and positive belief from You.

The start of wellness or good feeling of wellbeing is enabled by the owner of the body and mind, YOU. There are many documented stories of coming back to life during times when our heart stopped beating. My sister experienced this event during her difficult childbirth with her firstborn.  Coaxed by a strong voice and spirit and her determination to live and see her new baby, brought back her spirit to her body.  Our body is made up of electrical energies and our brain is comprised of nerve impulses that communicate to every cell in our being.  Energy inside our bodies allow us to breath and live each day.  As we instruct our legs to move, we build more neurons in our brain.

Somatic psychology centralizes body awareness as a primary healing agent in psychotherapy

Somatic therapy starts with an understanding of our nervous system.

Our body, nervous system

What does the nervous system do?


The nervous system along with the endocrine (hormonal) system works to control all activities within the human body. It does this by communicating messages between the brain and the body very quickly using nerve impulses (action potentials).

The four main functions of the nervous system are:

Control of body’s internal environment to maintain ‘homeostasis’

An example of this is the regulation of body temperature. As we exercise we create heat, in order to maintain a relatively constant core temperature the nervous system sends messages to the blood vessels to dilate (expand), increasing blood flow to the skin, and increasing sweating to help disperse the accumulating heat.

Programming of spinal cord reflexes

An example of this is the stretch reflex. This reflex functions to protect us from injury. If we were out jogging and accidentally ran into a pot-hole and rolled our ankle, the stretch reflex would instantly sense the stretch in the muscles around the ankle and send messages to those muscles telling them to contract and resist the stretch. This reflex serves to protect the ankle from breaking and results in a minor sprain rather than a severe break.

Memory and learning

You didn’t learn to read or write overnight did you? A certain amount of repetition was required to learn and memorize these key functions. The same applies with exercise. New movements, especially complex ones, take time for the nervous system to learn. Remember this when teaching new exercises to people – a certain amount of repetition will need to occur before their nervous system gets it right!

Voluntary control of movement

Every voluntary movement that a person performs is under the direct control of the nervous system as the nervous system sends the messages to the particular body parts to move. If the movement has been repeated numerous times (walking for most of us…) the movement will be very efficient. If however the movement is new and still requires some repetition then we would expect the movement to be less efficient and in some cases look awkward and ungainly (such as a person learning the squat for the first time).


Why is the nervous system important?

The nervous system is integral to our ability to function in every way. As we know muscle creates movement by contracting and pulling on our bones. However it is the nervous system that is responsible for stimulating the muscles and causing them to contract. Without the neural impulses of the nervous system, muscle would simply not work.

When someone experiences a severe trauma to their spinal cord, it will often result in paralysis of their body below the point of trauma. For example if the spinal cord is damaged above the nerves that stimulate their lower body (legs etc..), then they will not be able to walk again. This is because the messages, which are intended for the legs can no longer reach them. In essence it is like the power cable to your house being cut and the lights going out.

The nervous system is not just responsible for stimulating muscle; it stimulates every tissue and organ within the body. It is therefore important that you understand the nervous system so that you can train clients safely and effectively.

CNS somatic

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